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You may be young enough not to worry about macular degeneration but your food choices may give you these problems later in life. It is found that diets heavy in fats and red meat can be a main cause of macular degeneration.

You already know that diets heavy in fats like butter or margarine, and red meats aren’t exactly healthy. Add fast food to that and you are headed for trouble later on. Genetics and smoking are also factors for this condition.

A less healthy diet can cause inflammation which can also put stress on your eyes. It’s unknown if after a lifetime of poor eating, it can be made better later in life. Try to eat more vegetables and fish and perhaps this is another reason to follow the Mediterranean diet.


Do You Really Like Pork?

You may want to re-think that. According to this news report, you may want to change your pork eating habits. Some inspectors speak out and admit they do not even eat the pork from the plant they inspect. Because of the loose rules that will even become looser by having more plant employees inspecting rather than trained federal inspectors.

Another change is the faster speed the lines with the carcasses pass through for inspection giving these “inspectors” only 2-3 seconds per full carcass.

The inspectors interviewed are afraid there will be a potential for more pathogens to be present in the meat. What is even worse, is this process change is being looked at for beef processing as well.

Benefits of Wine

So part of the Mediterranean Diet is to have a glass of wine with dinner. Preferably red wine. Let’s explore this a little further.

The the health benefits are due to the polyphenols and antioxidants from flavinoids from the skin of the grapes. This can help to reduce heart disease, lowering cholesterol, increasing good cholesterol, and helps keep blood from clotting. One polyphenol in red wine is called resveratol that is the main one that has been studied.

The amount of wine is not a bottle, not a half bottle. It’s about 1.5-3oz for women and 2-5oz per men per day. If you are a tee-totaller, or have problems with alcohol and want to avoid wine, then there is good news. You can substitute red or purple grapes themselves or even grape juice for the wine. Drinking more than one or two glasses a day will reverse the benefits.

Grape juice has resveratrol as well. Grape juice may also help lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, reduce risk of blood clots.

It is not recommended to start drinking alcohol if you don’t already, so you can get the benefits from grape juice.

You can also look into supplements for resveratrol. This can also help lower blood pressure, help with cholesterol, protect your brain, help ease joint pain. The problem is that there haven’t been any recommendations on the amount to take. Most supplements range from about 200mg to 2000mg. A cup of fresh grapes ranges from 0.24-1.25mg per cup so to take too much would be overkill. Resveratrol may also be found in peanuts, peanut butter, pistachios, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, and few other berries. Mulberries have the most at 5mg per 100g berries (the same amount you would get in a full bottle of wine). If you choose to take a supplement, choose a lower dosage in case there could be unknown side effects.


Hints for Changing up Christmas Baking

If you are looking to reduce and have all sorts of temptations around, there are some things you can do to lighten your recipes.

Consider cutting fats in half by substituting with unsweetened applesauce.

Try using less sugar, you most likely won’t miss it, and many recipes will still work.

Substitute some of the sugar with stevia.

Look for alternative recipes – like these for brownies: 5-minute Espresso Walnut Brownies

Search the Internet for healthier options

Search Pinterest for lower fat/sugar baking recipes.

If you go to a party, bring something you made that you know will be a healthier option. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find some converts.

Incorporate ingredients like nuts or dried fruits to make it healthier.

Substitute whole wheat pastry flour for some of the all-purpose flour.

Incorporate some Mediterranean into Your Thanksgiving

This year, why not try to make some of your dishes in a Mediterranean style. Here are some of the more popular Greek recipes you could try:

Spanakorizo – a Greek Spinach Rice dish. This uses white rather than brown rice.

Fasolakia Lathera – Greek-style Green Beans – make this instead of the usual green bean casserole everyone is so used to. This can be made a day ahead.

Spanakopita – Greek Spinach and Feta Pie – I have made this and it is so good.

Patates Fournou – Greek Roasted Potatoes with Lemon and Garlic – This will be a great alternative to mashed potatoes.

Sweet Greek Pumpkin Pie – This is pumpkin pie with a twist – it is made with phyllo sheets instead of crust.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Victor crew.

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