Friday, April 18, 2014

Nutrition Label Blooper - Lindt Easter Chocolate Carrots

Nutrition Label Blooper


April 18, National Animal Crackers Day


Animal crackers are usually in the shape of circus animals such as lions, tigers, bears, and elephants. During the late 1800's, animal crackers were imported from England to the United States. The first batch of animal crackers were made by Stauffer's Biscuit Company in 1871 in York, Pennsylvania. Other local bakeries soon came together under the National Biscuit Company, or "Nabisco Brands." In 1902, the animal cracker's box officially became "Barnum's Animals" with the circus themed box.

Animal Cracker Nutrition

Create Fun and Healthier Snacks












Thursday, April 17, 2014

April, National Garden Month
a Tribute to the Cooperative Extension

The ground has thawed from the winter, at least in most areas. Many people are deciding if they want to start a garden or what crops will they be planting this year.

Gardening is a passion of mine. I initially started my studies in agronomy and later changed to nutrition. The cooperative extension became an important part of my education and a wonderful resource. It was also the first job I had as a dietitian, teaching nutrition in a summer program through Cornell University Extension.



What is the Cooperative Extension?
The Cooperative Extension, also known as the Extension Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, is a research based educational program designed to help people in the areas of agriculture and food, home and family, the environment, community economic development, and youth and 4-H. The service is provided in every state's designated land-grant universities. 

NIFA is the federal partner in the Cooperative Extension System. It provides federal funding to the system and, through program leadership, helps the system identify and address current issues and problems.




History 

The Morrill Act of 1862 established land-grant universities to educate citizens in agriculture, home economics, mechanical arts, and other practical professions. Extension was formalized in 1914, with the Smith-Lever Act. It established the partnership between the agricultural colleges and the USDA to provide for cooperative agricultural extension work. 


Over the last century, the extension has adapted to changing times, and it continues to address a wide range of human, plant, and animal needs in both urban and rural areas. The cooperative extension focuses education in six major areas: 


1. 4-H Youth Development 

2. Agriculture
3. Leadership Development

4. Natural Resources
5. Family and Consumer Sciences

6. Community and Economic Development

Below are educational videos prepared by various Cooperative Extensions across the United States.

How to Grow Blueberries
North Carolina Cooperative Extension


University of California Cooperative Extension Turns 100


Caring for Asparagus
University of Maine Cooperative Extension

Eat Smart New York! - 
Cornell Cooperative Extension Westchester County


Color Yourself Healthy
University of Nebraska


Florida Statewide Extension Sustainability Programs


Resources
1. To find your nearest Cooperative Extension office.
2.  
National Gardening Association
3.  
Food Gardening Guide











Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 16, Day of the Mushroom

Growing Your Own Mushrooms

How Mushrooms are Made


Different Ways to Enjoy Mushrooms
1. Add mushrooms to egg white omelet.


2. Sauté, Grill, Broil, Roast or Steam mushrooms. Add to soup, salads, pasta, rice - the combinations are numerous.
3. Add fresh mushrooms to salad.

4. Stuff mushrooms

Resources
1. Fruits and Veggies, More Matters: Mushrooms: Nutrition, Selection, and Storage
2. Wikipedia, Mushrooms
3. Kitchen Dictionary: Mushroom



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Food History: April 15, 1955, McDonald's corporation
opens first franchised restaurant
by Ray Kroc, in Des Plaines, Illinois


McDonald’s Meal Builder allows you to create your own meal combinations. As you build your meal, you see the nutritional breakdown. An educated consumer has the ability to make wise food choices.
  
Ray Kroc Documentary McDonald's History

Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14, International Moment of Laughter
The Health Benefits of Laughter

"People who laugh actually live longer than those who don't laugh.
Few persons realize that health actually varies according to
the amount of laughter."
James J. Walsh, MD


Having a good laugh usually makes us feel good about ourselves.
This can be a factor in motivating a person to lose weight.




I Love to Laugh

Babies Laughing

A research published in the International Journal of Obesity discovered laughter can be beneficial in weight control.

Laughing helps burn calories by increasing the heart rate by 10 to 20 percent: The metabolism increases as well, meaning you will burn more calories at rest once you have stopped laughing.

Scientists calculated 15 minutes of laughter a day will burn 10 to 40 calories, depending on a person’s weight and the intensity of the laughter.

Laughter can relieve physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.

Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, which promotes an overall sense of well-being.

Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which may benefit the cardiovascular system.

Laughter may benefit people with diabetes. One study showed after watching a comedy, the group had lower blood sugar levels than they did after listening to a boring lecture.

Laugh because it feels great,
because it is healthy for you and
because we take ourselves too seriously.
It’s time to lighten up.


“Laughter is the best medicine.”

Foods Symbolic of the Passover Seder




Shalom Sesame
Khalikidan's Passover Seder
Khalikidan and her family came to Israel from Ethiopia. 
Join her family for a Passover Seder, and 
share Khalikidan's excitement in reciting the four questions.


The Symbols of the Passover Seder
 

Passover is a holiday rich in symbols retelling the story of the Jewish people's exodus from Egypt. The seder is a ceremonial dinner observed on the first night of Passover, and in many homes on the second night as well. The seder table is set with a seder plate, salt water, matzo, kosher wine, Cup of Elijah, Miriam's Cup, and a copy of the Haggadah for each guest.

Matzo
Matzo is an unleavened bread made solely from flour and water and is not allowed to rise. Matzo symbolizes freedom. As the Jewish people fled Egypt there was no time to wait for the bread to rise. A plate of three whole matzahs are stacked and separated from each other by cloths or napkins. The middle matzo is broken in half and put aside for the afikoman.

The afikoman is eaten as a dessert. The person leading the seder will hide the afikoman and ask all the children to find it. Children will receive toys or other gifts as a reward for returning the afikoman.

The top and other half of the middle matzo is used for the hamotzi (blessing over bread), and the bottom matzo is used for the korech (Hillel sandwich).

Haggadah. The book containing the story of the Exodus and the ritual of the Seder. It is read at the Passover Seder.

Many of the symbols are displayed on the seder plate, which is the centerpiece of the seder table.
 
Karpas (Vegetable). This part of the seder plate dates back to a first and second century tradition in Jerusalem. At the beginning of the seder a vegetable, usually lettuce, radish or parsley is dipped in salt water and eaten. It is said the salt water represents the tears our ancestors shed during their years of enslavement.

Z'roa (Shank bone). The roasted shank bone of a lamb reminds us of when the Jewish people marked the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a lamb as a signal that death should pass over them. The shank bone also reminds us of the sacrificial lamb killed and eaten during the days when the Temple stood. In modern times, some Jewish families will use a poultry neck instead. Vegetarians will often replace the shank bone with a roasted beet, which has the color of blood and is shaped like a bone, but is not derived from an animal.


Baytzah (Hard Boiled Egg). There are two interpretations of the symbolism of the hard boiled egg. One is an ancient fertility symbol. The other is a symbol of mourning for the loss of the two Temples, the first of which was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E. and the second of which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E. Hard boiled eggs were traditionally the food of mourners and became symbolic for the loss of these sacred sites.

Charoset. A mixture of chopped apples, nuts, wine and spices representing the mortar the Jewish slaves used to build structures for the Egyptian Pharaoh.

Maror (Bitter Herbs) reminds us of the slavery the Jewish people endured in Egypt. Horseradish, either the root or a prepared paste is often used.

Hazeret
(Bitter Vegetable) also symbolizes the bitterness of slavery. Romaine lettuce is usually used. When hazeret is not represented on the seder plate some families will put a small bowl of salt water in its place.

Elijah's cup is placed at the center of the table. After the seder meal there is a custom to pour a cup of wine, the "Cup of Elijah," and open the front door of the home. According to tradition, at this moment our homes are graced by the presence of Elijah the Prophet.

Miriam's Cup is a new ritual object that is placed on the seder table beside the Cup of Elijah. Miriam's Cup is filled with water close to the beginning of the seder. It serves as a symbol of Miriam's Well, which was the source of water for the jewish people in the desert. Putting a Miriam's Cup on your table is a way of making your seder more inclusive. It lets people know that the words of girls and boys, women and men, are welcome. It is also a way of drawing attention to the importance of Miriam and the other women of the Exodus story - women who have sometimes been overlooked. It is said, "If it wasn't for the righteousness of women of that generation we would not have been redeemed from Egypt"

To our Family and Friends, we wish you a Happy Passover.


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