Saving Money on Groceries and Organic Produce

How can we take budget considerations into account when choosing our foods? This is definitely not my area of expertise, but I do have a few suggestions.

Choose a grocery store with lower prices. It seems obvious, but many customers flock to big-name health stores, despite the higher prices. (That “flocking” virtually ensures the higher prices will continue.) In many cases, at least one store in your area will be known for its better values.

• Avoid junky foods. Junk foods can be relatively expensive, AND they have no nutritional value. So avoid granola bars, candy, bags of chips, and other junk. Instead, spend money on real food.

• Choose the less expensive option whenever you can. For example, when choosing protein foods, choose chicken instead of beef. Chicken is less expensive, but has pretty much the same quality of protein. Eggs are another less expensive protein option.

Organic Foods Cost More, So…

Eat produce from the Clean 15 Produce list (a quick search will locate it). Those foods are grown with the lowest pesticide levels, so it’s less crucial to buy organic.

• With the money you save, buy organic produce whenever foods are on the Dirty Dozen Produce list.

• Produce with a thick skin or shell that we don’t eat is somewhat protected from the effects of pesticides, so you may not have to buy organic versions. Examples include bananas, avocados, walnuts.

Frozen organic produce is often less expensive than fresh. It may also have a higher nutrient value because the produce is typically frozen almost immediately after harvest, then shipped frozen. Fresh produce may sit in a truck for days during transport and lose nutrient value in that time.

What About Food, Brain Chemistry & Hormones?

• Avoid sugar. Sugar increases appetite and causes cravings. That has to do with brain chemical effects of sugary foods. It won’t help us save money on food if we just want to eat more and more.

Eat protein throughout the day. Protein can help us control appetite and cut down on food cravings, especially for junk.

However, don’t eat fake proteins just because they have a lower price. Examples include nuts, quinoa, beans & rice. Those are not protein foods!

Animal proteins include fish, chicken, beef, eggs, shrimp, crab, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt (unflavored, unsweetened).

Vegans, I strongly recommend plant-based protein powders: pea, hemp, brown rice, vegetable.

Want more quick and easy tips on food? Perfect; that’s what I do. Just visit LastResortNutrition.com and grab your free Boost My Energy consult. I look forward to helping you.

Foods for Eye Health

The eyes are the window to the soul. You’ve probably heard this saying before. The eyes are also your personal window to view the colorful world around you. Preserving your vision is important and you can help with the very foods you choose to eat each day. Without protection, you run the risk of developing different eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends a diet abundant in lutein and zeaxanthin, essential fatty acids, vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid), zinc, and vitamin E for protecting your eyes.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are nutrients that have been found to reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. These nutrients are primarily found in dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale, collard greens, and turnip greens. They are also present in lesser amounts in corn, broccoli, green beans, peas, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, orange peppers, persimmons, kiwi, honeydew, and tangerines.

Essential Fatty Acids

The fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6 are considered essential because your body does not make them and therefore, you need to get them from your diet. These fats are important for maintaining the central nervous system and maintaining proper eye function.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means it protects the body’s cells against damage from free radicals which are unstable molecules that the body produces because of environmental exposure and other factors. This protection helps to slow the process of macular degeneration and vision loss.

Zinc

Zinc is important for transporting vitamin A from the liver to the retina of the eye. In the retina, it helps the eyes produce melanin which protects the eyes.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another antioxidant working to protect the eyes by sparing the body’s cells from damage by free radicals.

Choosing foods abundant in some or all of these nutrients is a great way to eat for your eyes health. Keep reading to find out some examples of these foods.

Foods Good for Eye Health:

Kale

Collard Greens

Lentils

Spinach

Hemp seeds

Turnip Greens

Broccoli

Spinach

Brazil nuts

Zucchini

Beef

Peas

Cashews

Corn

Romaine Lettuce

Eggs

Chia seeds

Brussels Sprouts

Fish

Walnuts

The Honorable Mention: Carotenoids

Carotenoids are the colorful pigment found in many fresh fruits and vegetables which help to protect your eyes. They are what give carrots their bright orange color or tomatoes their vibrant red.

How to incorporate carotenoids into your daily diet:

Broccoli salad with walnuts and cashews

Steam spinach with garlic for 2 to 4 minutes

Scrambled eggs with broccoli chunks

Corn/ green pea salad

Coleslaw salad, using green cabbage and low fat mayonnaise

To maximize the benefits from your intake of carotenoids, the USDA suggests that lutein and zeaxanthin-containing foods are most beneficial when steamed or microwaved.

The average American takes in approximately 2 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin per day, compared to the 6 mg per day seen to decrease the risk of developing AMD and cataracts. Consider a multivitamin/mineral containing lutein and zeaxanthin to better meet your needs if unable to through food sources alone. Talk to your physician before starting any nutrition supplements.

Bonnie R. Giller is a Registered and Certified Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. She helps chronic dieters, emotional eaters, and people with medical conditions like diabetes, break the spell that diets have over them and reclaim WholeBody Trust™ so they can live their life to the fullest. She does this by creating a tailored solution that combines the three pillars of WholeBody Trust™: Mind Trust, Hunger Trust and Food Trust™.

Soothing Arthritis Pain Through Nutrition

Arthritis is a painful condition where one or more joints of the body become inflamed; it typically worsens with age. With over one hundred different types of arthritis, the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While the different types have different causes, most often the body’s immune system begins to attack its own tissues, thus breaking them down.

Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are several common treatments that can help to manage the condition and the associated pain. These treatments include plenty of rest, physical therapy, medication, exercise, and sometimes surgery.

Nutrition can help treat arthritis pain as well. Certain foods can help to improve the pain while others may worsen it. Understanding which foods to choose can make all the difference in your body’s experience with arthritis.

Foods that Help Arthritis Pain:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Once ingested, omega-3 fatty acids convert into compounds that are much more potent than the original fatty acids themselves. One important type of compound, called resolvin, is effective in signaling the inflammatory response to end. In arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, an overactive immune system causes degradation of body tissues. Resolvins flip the “inflammation switch” to the off position. For best results, food sources of omega-3 fatty acids, like fatty fish salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines, walnuts, walnut oil, flaxseed and flaxseed oil are preferred over supplements.

Fiber: Consuming adequate amounts of fiber appears to lower a protein in the blood called C-reactive protein (CRP), an indicator of inflammation. When blood levels of CRP are high, it is a strong indicator that something is causing an inflammatory response in the body. While it can’t be officially said that high fiber foods will treat arthritis specifically, lowering CRP levels may be helpful.

Strawberries: These juicy red berries have the same effect on blood levels of CRP as fiber does. A study conducted at Harvard University found that women who ate 16 or more strawberries each week were 14% less likely to have elevated CRP levels compared to those who did not eat strawberries.

Cruciferous Vegetables: Foods like broccoli or kale contain chemical components that can help to decrease the inflammation seen in arthritis. As a result, the symptoms associated with arthritis often decrease too.

Foods that Hurt Arthritis Pain:

Omega-6 Fatty Acids: This type of fatty acid is prevalent in all types of snack foods, deep fried foods, and margarine-like spreads. Coincidentally, overindulging in processed snack foods has been linked with enhancing joint inflammation and obesity. Obesity and arthritis are further associated with one another because fat cells can produce cytokines, a type of protein that promotes inflammation.

Processed Foods: Packaged foods are often high in sodium, oils, and sugars, none of which is good for managing arthritis. These ingredients encourage the progression of arthritis and do little to help.

Alcohol: Alcohol increases inflammation in the body and puts your body at risk for several different health complications. It’s best to avoid alcohol completely or consume it in amounts that are sparing.

Hopefully this information can be of practical use to your or a loved one dealing with arthritis. If you find a food causing an increase in your pain levels, consider eating less of that food to see if your experience improves. The goal of arthritis treatment is to prevent the condition from getting worse and to manage painful symptoms. Eating healthfully can do just that.

Bonnie R. Giller is a Registered and Certified Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. She helps chronic dieters, emotional eaters, and people with medical conditions like diabetes, break the spell that diets have over them and reclaim WholeBody Trust™ so they can live their life to the fullest. She does this by creating a tailored solution that combines the three pillars of WholeBody Trust™: Mind Trust, Hunger Trust and Food Trust™.