Category Archives: Healthy Eating

New Year’s Traditions Around the World

We all have our traditional meals we eat for luck or prosperity or health at New Years, but what do other people eat? Here are some examples from around the world.

In Spain, many people watch the broadcast from Puerta Del Sol, Madrid. There party-goers gather in front of the clock tower in the square to ring in the New Year (much like Times Square, NY City). Those at home eat one grape for each of the 12 tolls of the bell. This is a turn of the 20th century custom supposedly thought up by grape farmers who had a fantastic yield that year. The tradition is now popular across Spanish-speaking nations.

In Austria and Germany they call New Year’s Eve Sylvesterabend, the eve of Saint Sylvester. For this celebration it is tradition to drink a red wine spiced punch and to eat suckling pig for dinner. The table should be adorned with small marzipan pigs—these are called marzipanschwein. Additionally, Glücksschwein or good luck pigs, are given commonly as gifts and are made from all kinds of things.

In Mexico tamales are the traditional food of New Years. One would be hard pressed not to find restaurants and street vendors selling them all hours of the day during the season. Tamales being a thick corn dough stuffed with meat, cheese and other ingredients. They are wrapped in either banana leaf or corn husk and are often steamed.

Many cultures share the tradition of a New Year’s cake. Many Greeks celebrate with Vasilopita, Mexicans enjoy the Rosca de Reyes, Bulgarians eat the banitsa, and the French enjoy the gateau or galette des rois.

In many traditions the cake is eaten at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Other’s may consume this at Christmas or on January 6th, the Epiphany. Often there is a gold coin or small figure baked into the cake. Which ever guest finds this in their food should have a prosperous year.

 

 

 

 

Attention: Pet Food Recall

The FDA is alerting all pet owners about high levels of aflatoxin in some specific pet foods. 28 dogs have been reported dead and 8 others were made sick.

Sportmix products by Midwestern Pet Foods contain the high levels of aflatoxin. The products were voluntarily recalled. The FDA and the company continue to look into the issue.

Pets affected by aflatoxin can display the following symptoms: jaundice, sluggishness, loss of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting. Even if a pet who has consumed the aflatoxin may not show symptoms, pet owners should call their vet as it can cause long term liver damage.

The following dry pet foods have been flagged for recall:

Sportmix Energy Plus, 50-pound bag

  • Exp 03/02/22/05/L2
  • Exp 03/02/22/05/L3
  • Exp 03/03/22/05/L2

Sportmix Energy Plus, 44-pound bag

  • Exp 03/02/22/05/L3

Sportmix Premium High Energy, 50-pound bag

  • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

Sportmix Premium High Energy, 44-pound bag

  • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

Sportmix Original Cat, 31-pound bag

  • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

Sportmix Original Cat, 15-pound bag

  • Exp 03/03/22/05/L2
  • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

 

New Dietary Guidelines from the USDA and DHHS.

The USDA and the DHHS have issued new dietary guidelines for Americans. And, for the first time, they include guidelines for babies and toddlers.

These new guidelines are more than just suggestions for healthy eating by our government. The health care industry and law makers will use the guidelines in their work. At the federal and state level the guidelines will dictate much of what Americans of all ages will eat over the next five years and will be the basis of federal nutrition programs.

The guidelines state that their goals included “customizing and enjoy nutrient-dense food and beverage choices to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgetary considerations” and “meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages and stay within calorie limits.”

Many have noted that the guidelines glaringly lack any quantitative recommendations on alcohol or sugar intake.

Another highlight included suggestions on added sugar in babies’ and toddlers’ diets. While the amount of added sugar remained at 10% of daily calories the guidelines did suggest that for children under 2 years old, they consume no added sugars what so ever.

 

Do Something Different Food-Wise This New Year’s Day

This New Year’s Day perhaps instead of worrying over a heavy, meat and cabbage-based meal (or whatever your tradition is) something else all around easier and lighter or just plain different might be in order.

A simple brunch that is protein heavy and carb-light could be one idea. Eggs, a protein, fruit, a slice of light toast with a glass of orange juice mixed with sparkling water.

If you want to go an easier but heavier route, prepare a breakfast casserole the night before (besides the baking, of course) and pop that fella in the oven sometime late morning on New Years Day.

Charcuterie boards are popular these days and will allow everyone to graze at their leisure. You might include a signature beverage and a full fruit plate. Something like fruit nectar with sparkling water with frozen fruit as ice could be an option.

If you want bread and grease, something that might be fun for a family looking for an activity on New Years Day would be to create homemade pizzas. One can prepare ingredients the night before, so prep is minimal on New Years Day.

Similarly, preparing heavy appetizers to be cooked or finished the next day would be an easy way to go and allow people to graze and their leisure.

“Greener” Mediterranean Diet Heart Health Boon, Study Finds

A new study found that a green Mediterranean diet that contains less meat could be a way to promote a health heart. The study showed that eaters who consumed plant-based proteins and a limited amount of poultry and red meat had healthier hearts when compared to a traditional Mediterranean diet. A traditional version would have meat and seafood combined with veggies, whole grains and olive oil in moderation.

Three groups of obese patients, mostly mean, were giving different kinds of instruction on physical activity and nutritional guidance in the form of versions of the Mediterranean diet.

Patients following the green Mediterranean diet lost 13.7 pounds compared to those following the traditional version who lost 11.9 pounds. Those who were given just general guidelines lost only 3.3 pounds. Likewise, the groups lost 3.4, 2.7 and 1.7 inches at the waistline.

This study helps to confirm previous research results that all found that adults who a plant-based or vegan diet tend to have the most success with weight loss and decreasing body fat. Many nutrition experts agree there is no downside to upping one’s intake of leafy greens, legumes and nuts and provide plenty of protein.