Need to make some healthy changes to your diet?  For the best success, start slow and make your changes over time.  Start with a small steps and only one or two at a time.  For example, add a salad to your diet once a day, switch to olive oil instead of using butter or shortening when cooking, or eat a piece of fruit at least once a day.   





Eating Right

Fad Diets:  Danger Ahead

You may already be thinking about a weight-loss program to get you looking better in your clothes this summer. But beware of fad diets. They don’t promote permanent weight loss and can even damage your health if you stay on one too long. Here’s how to spot a fad diet.

The plan...

  • contradicts what trusted health professionals recommend.
  • sounds too easy.
  • encourages you to lose more than one or two pounds a week.
  • suggests that certain foods are “bad” and certain ones are “good.”
  • restricts certain foods; recommends others in large quantities or in certain combinations.
  • uses testimonials instead of scientific research to document claims.
    doesn’t recommend healthy  lifestyle changes or exercise.   

The healthiest way to lose weight? Don’t overeat. Concentrate on a permanent, healthy diet that includes a variety of foods such as meat, vegetables, dairy products and whole grains. Get plenty of aerobic exercise. And keep fad diet books off your shelf. There’s no “magic” way to lose weight.

Note: Doctor-supervised liquid protein diets are designed to help severely obese people lose weight for their health. They aren’t considered fad diets.

A Walk on the Wild Side

You’ve heard of wild rice, but have you been bold enough to try it? If you’ve been looking for ways to enhance your kitchen repertoire, wild rice may fit the bill. This versatile food isn’t rice at all but the seed of an annual water grass. It offers a dramatic flavoring accent, can be added to sweet or savory dishes and goes as well with meat as it does with fruits and vegetables. It adds a chewy texture and a nutlike taste. Best of all, this highly nutritious food is low in fat and calories (less than one-half gram of fat and only 82 calories per one-half cup of cooked rice). It’s also an excellent source of fiber, protein, potassium, B vitamins and phosphorous. And the entire grain is equally nutritious — unlike rice which contains most of its nutritional value in its outer hull.

Serve wild rice:

  • as an ingredient in soups, breads, salads, stuffings, desserts, stews and casseroles
  • as a cereal with fruit or cream and  sweetener
  • with gravy or mushroom sauce
  • blended with poultry or meat

But beware. A little bit goes a long way, so be sparing while you’re learning to cook with it.

Cooking with Wild Rice

Wild rice comes in several varieties and blends. Some recipes won’t work with wild rice blends. Experiment with different varieties to see which you like best. The darker the color of the wild rice, the longer cooking time required. Color doesn’t affect the quality of it.

Wash the rice before cooking. Place it in a colander and run water over it until the water runs clear. The more you wash it, the milder its flavor will be.

Wild rice quadruples in volume when cooked. For example, one-half cup uncooked wild rice equals four half-cup servings of cooked rice. You can cook wild rice ahead of time so it’ll be ready for your favorite recipes. Store it covered in the refrigerator for up to a week. Or drain well and store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to six months.

Here’s the Scoop on Food Allergies

While all allergies are frustrating for the sufferer, food allergies are of particular concern since they are among the most severe and potentially life-threatening. True food allergies are caused when the body’s immune system reacts to a protein or other ingredient. The allergy in turn causes skin conditions including rashes, hives and eczema; gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea and vomiting; and respiratory symptoms like sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. In severe cases, some individuals may experience a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.

Following are some of the most common questions and the latest information about true food allergies:

  • What foods usually cause allergies? There are eight foods that are known to cause 90 percent of all severe allergic reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. However, many other foods also can cause mild or severe reactions.
  • What is anaphylaxis? This allergic reaction, also known as “anaphylactic shock,” is a severe reaction that includes itching, hives, swelling of the throat, difficulty breathing, lowered blood pressure and unconsciousness. If not treated quickly, it can be fatal.
  • How do I know if I have a food allergy? Most people do not have a true allergy, but merely an “intolerance” for certain foods, which causes a mild reaction or irritation. True food allergies affect about five million Americans, roughly 1 percent to 2 percent of adults and 5 percent to 8 percent of children.
  • What do I do if I think I am allergic to a food? Visit a board certified allergist for an accurate diagnosis. An allergist and dietitian can help you manage nutritional issues without sacrificing your health or the pleasure of your meals.
  • Do I need to share information about my allergy with family and friends? If your reactions are severe, then by all means. Because true food allergies can be life-threatening, the allergy-producing food must be totally avoided. If it’s accidentally eaten, be sure family members call 911 immediately. If you have a child who is allergic, make sure that all of their caretakers and teachers know about the allergy and what to do.

Finally, if you or a family member have a severe food allergy, talk to your doctor about a prescription for a device such as the Epi-Pen. These devices contain a self-administered dose of epinephrine, a drug that can offset an unexpected allergic reaction.


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