Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31, 2012 Celebrating One Year of Living Smoke-free

Today is my one year anniversary of living smoke-free. After 45 years of smoking, on December 31, 2011 I quit smoking cigarettes. The decision was easier than I expected. I just got out of the hospital for facial bacterial cellulitis. My face was swollen, my eyes forced closed, and when I tried to speak it was hard to understand me as I wiped away the drool of saliva - all from an infection in my mouth – all related to years of smoking. 

The infection would eventually clear up, but I was left with having all my upper teeth and most of my bottom teeth removed. I never saw myself as vain, but I was horrified at the woman staring back at me in the mirror. I love to laugh and smile. It took over 6 months for dentures to be prepared so I could smile again.

For the young who believe, you have all the time in the world to quit; time passes quickly and some damage cannot be undone. For the older people who believe it is too late; unless you are a fortune teller you have no idea what the future holds.

This year I saved $6,055.50.
This year I earned 70.1 days.
This year I had 1,614,800 Smoke-Free Breaths.
This year I spent quality time with my son, family and friends.
This year I started a garden.
This year I began a photography program.
This year I took the time to enjoy the taste of foods and breathe fresh air.

Thank you Quit for Life Program

Saturday, December 29, 2012

United Nations Declares 2013
International Year of Quinoa

The year 2013 has been declared "The International Year of the Quinoa" (IYQ), by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2011.

“Quinoa is considered to be the organic food of the future and holds great potential in efforts to eradicate poverty worldwide and provide global food security and nutrition.” The United Nations, in connection with the presentation of the International Year of Quinoa created a multi-media exhibit. Events throughout the year relating to the International Year of Quinoa will be headed by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), in collaboration with NGOs, indigenous peoples' organizations and, the Governments from the Andean region.

The objective of the IYQ Plan is to focus world attention on the role quinoa´s biodiversity and nutritional value plays, in providing food security and nutrition, the eradication of poverty in support of the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. 

Quinoa is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudo-cereal rather than a true cereal, or grain. Quinoa originated over 3,000 years ago in the Andean region of Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. 

Quinoa Nutritional Information

Quinoa is high in protein, a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is also gluten-free.

Quinoa has a natural bitter-tasting coating called saponins. Most quinoa sold commercially has been processed to remove this coating. However, the directions may require additional rinsing before cooking.

Quinoa can be added to a wide variety of dishes and substituted in recipes using rice or couscous. Quinoa flour can be used in wheat-free and gluten-free baking. To enhance the flavor, stock can be exchanged for water during cooking. Quinoa also can provide a nutritious breakfast with the addition of honey, nuts or fruits.

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Recipe Card

United Nations, International Year of the Quinoa (IYQ-2013)  
Facebook, International Year of Quinoa 
Twitter, International Year of Quinoa  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Best Choices at the Vending Machine

Vending machines have a history of containing foods high in sugar, calories and fats. With the desire to choose healthier alternatives, new foods are being added to vending machines.

More information can be found at Kids Eat Right

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November 28, National French Toast Day
Featuring Raisin Bread French Toast
and Low Cholesterol Variations

Each French Toast Recipe contains variations substituting soy milk for skim milk; and egg substitute for the egg.

Raisin Bread French Toast
with Banana, Crunchy Peanut Butter,
and Gingersnap
Ingredients for One Serving
1 slices Raisin Bread
2 Tbsp Milk, Skim or Soy Milk
1/2 Egg or 2 Tbsp Egg Substitute
1/2 Banana
1 teaspoon Peanut Butter, crunchy
1/2 Gingersnap Cookie, crushed

Variation: Substitute Soy Milk for Skim Milk; and Egg Substitute for Egg 

Nutrition Information

Raisin Bread French Toast
with Berries Topped with
Crushed Gingersnap Cookie
Ingredients for One Serving
1 slices Raisin Bread
2 Tbsp Milk, Skim or Soy Milk
1/2 Egg or 2 Tbsp Egg Substitute
1/3 cup Berries
1/2 Gingersnap Cookie, crushed
 Variation: Substitute Soy Milk for Skim Milk; and Egg Substitute for Egg

Nutrition Information

Thursday, November 22, 2012

November 22, 2012
Comfort Soups for Thanksgiving

A comfort food can be a warm bowl of soup surrounded by loved ones
 on Thanksgiving Day.  - Sandra Frank, EdD, RD, LDN

Split Pea Soup with Reduced-fat Sour Cream 
and Basil in a Winter Squash Bowl
Canon EOS T3i; focal point: f/4; exposure time: 1/25 sec;
ISO 3200; focal length 47 mm; artificial light with diffuser; 
nutrition:139 kcal; 5 g Fiber

Vegetable Soup served in a Pumpkin Bowl
Canon EOS T3i; focal point: f/3.5; exposure time: 1/30 sec;
ISO 3200; focal length 21 mm; artificial light with diffuser; 
nutrition:106 kcal; 5 g Fiber

Visit Dietitians Online Blog for a Thanksgiving Day Special Edition

May your Thanksgiving be filled with special moments,
and the love of family and friends.
warm wishes, Sandra and Jake Frank

Thanksgiving Song
by Mary Chapin Carpenter

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Remembering the Twinkie

FDA GRAS, Corn Dextrin 

End of the Twinkie (November, 2012)
World News With Diane Sawyer

Whats in a Twinkie? (2007)



Thursday, November 15, 2012

November 15, America Recycles Day
and Use Less Stuff Day

November 15, 2012: America Recycles Day; Use Less Stuff Day; 
Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day; Great American Smokeout

America Recycles Day is dedicated to the promotion of recycling programs in the United States. Since 1997, communities across the country have come together on November 15th to celebrate America Recycles Day.

Keep America Beautiful believes each of us holds an obligation to preserve and protect our environment. Through our everyday choices and actions, we collectively have a huge impact on our world. Keep America Beautiful follows a practical approach that unites citizens, businesses and government to find solutions advancing core issues of preventing litter, reducing waste, and beautifying communities.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

According to the U.S. EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency), recycling:
*Conserves natural resources to help sustain the environment.
Reduces the need for landfilling and incineration.
*Saves energy and prevents pollution.

Recycle Guys in the Supermarket

How You Can Help

1. Each community has different standards for what can be recycled and how to do it. Visit Keep America Beautiful and enter your zip code for your local information and resources.
2. Plastic. Look for the recycling symbol on plastic packaging or containers. #1 and #2 plastics should be accepted by almost every recycler.
3. Cans. Aluminum and steel cans are always welcomed by recyclers, and most metals can be recycled infinitely with no loss of quality.
4. Recycling and Traveling. Keep two trash bags in your vehicle - one bag for garbage, and one for recyclables. Pre-sorting makes it easier to transfer your recyclables to the proper container once you’ve reached your destination.
5. Recycle your wireless phone. Millions of out-of-service phones are waiting to be reused or recycled. Find a local charity with a phone recycling program, or visit  to download a postage-paid mailing label and return your unused phones.
6. Paper. In addition to newspaper recycling, most communities will accept corrugated cardboard, and some will even accept junk mail, catalogs and phone books.
7. Electronics. Never throw old computers, monitors, TV’s, printers, or other electronics in the landfill. Instead, donate them to a local charity for reuse, or find out about your local e-cycling programs.
8. Reduce the amount of trash you throw away and reuse products before you throw them out or recycle them. This creates the least impact on the planet and our resources. 

The Thursday before Thanksgiving is "Use Less Stuff Day." The purpose of this day is to raise awareness to the amount of garbage produced in American between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. The estimated extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage.

Through education, and in collaboration with many individuals and organizations around the world, the aim of  is to share the message of common sense, timeless wisdom, and gratitude for what we have been given. Just Use Less.

Ways to Use Less Stuff
During the Holidays and Any Time
Plan meals using portion control to minimize waste.
Food/DrinkPortion Per Person
Turkey3 ounce, without bone
Stuffing1/4 cup
Sweet Potato Casserole1/3 - 1/2 cup
Green Beans1/2 cup
Cranberry relish2 to 3 Tablespoons
Pumpkin Pie1/8 - 1/10 of a 9" pie
After a party, put leftovers in plastic containers or bags and send them home with guests, or donate to food banks.
Bring your own camera instead of using disposable cameras.
Cancel mail order catalogues you know longer use.
Bring your own shopping bags.
Consolidate your purchases into one bag rather than getting a new bag at each store.
Plan your shopping in advance. Save money on fuel by making fewer trips to the stores. Avoid last minute shopping when you won’t have time to make careful gift choices.
Consider giving gift certificates or making a donation to a favorite charity in your friend/family's name.
Give homemade food or something you’ve made yourself from reused items.
Shop for gifts at antique stores, estate sales or flea markets, since one person’s trash is another’s treasure.
When buying electronics, remember to buy rechargeable batteries to go with them.
Send e-greetings to family, friends and business associates who are on-line. Did you know about 2.65 billion Christmas cards are sold each year in the US?
Get a tree that can be planted or mulched afterward, or buy an artificial one.
Compost your food waste. Fruits and vegetables and their peels, pits and seeds are all perfect for composting, a great natural fertilizer.
Resource: The Use Less Stuff Report

The Use Less Stuff Report (ULS) Bob Lilienfeld is the editor of The ULS Report, a newsletter aimed at spreading the benefits of source reduction. The goal of ULS is to help people make more informed decisions about the products and packages they take home every day.  

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tricky Treats, Halloween Story from the CDC

Tricky Treats is part of the Centers for Disease Control,
animated Eagle Book Series.

The Eagle Books consists of four books that are brought to life by wise animal characters, Mr. Eagle and Miss Rabbit, and a clever trickster, Coyote, who engage Rain that Dances and his young friends in the joy of physical activity, eating healthy foods, and learning from their elders about traditional ways of being healthy. Animated versions of the four books bring the characters to life. Narrated by author Georgia Perez and voiced by children and adults from the Standing Rock Sioux tribal nation, the animated versions provide an interactive tool to engage children in activities and discussions about healthy eating, and the joy of being active while looking to traditional ways to stay healthy and prevent type 2 diabetes.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

October is National Pretzel Month

How Pretzels are Made

Pretzels with Dips

A Look at Pretzel Commercials Over the Last 39 Years
In 1971, the use of the word "Salt", did not have the negative effects it has today -
as seen in the Mister Salty Pretzel's commercial below.

Today, the popular advertisement words are Sustainability or Renewable.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

August 26, 2012 National Dog Day
Health Benefits of Having a Dog

Studies have found that:

• Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
• People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets.
• Playing with a pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
• Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than those without pets.
• Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without.
• Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.

Caring for a pet can help with those healthy lifestyle changes by:
• Increasing exercise. Exercise doesn’t have to involve boring repetition at a gym. Taking a dog for a walk, riding a horse, or simply chasing a kitten around are fun ways to fit healthy daily exercise into your schedule.
• Providing companionship. Isolation and loneliness can make disorders such as depression even worse. Caring for a living animal can help make you feel needed and wanted, and take the focus away from your problems. Most pet owners talk to their pets, some even use them to work through their troubles.
• Helping meet new people. Pets can be a great social lubricant for their owners. Dog owners frequently stop and talk to each other on walks or in a dog park. Pet owners also meet new people in pet stores, clubs, and training classes.
• Reducing anxiety. The companionship of a dog can offer comfort, help ease anxiety, and build self-confidence for people anxious about going out into the world.
• Adding structure and routine to your day. Many pets, especially dogs, require a regular feeding and exercise schedule. No matter your mood—depressed, anxious, or stressed—you’ll always have to get out of bed to feed, exercise, and care for your pet.
• Providing sensory stress relief. Touch and movement are two healthy ways to quickly manage stress. This could involve petting a cat or taking a dog for a walk.

Pets and older adults
The key to aging well is to effectively handle life’s major changes, such as retirement, the loss of loved ones, and the physical changes of aging. Pets can play an important role in healthy aging by:
• Helping you find meaning and joy in life. As you age, you’ll lose things that previously occupied your time and gave your life purpose. You may retire from your career or your children may move far away. Caring for a pet can bring pleasure and help boost your morale and optimism. Taking care of an animal can also provide a sense of self-worth.
• Staying connected. Maintaining a social network isn’t always easy as you grow older. Retirement, illness, death, and moves can take away close friends and family members. And making new friends can get harder. Dogs especially are a great way for seniors to spark up conversations and meet new people.
• Boosting vitality. You can overcome many of the physical challenges associated with aging by taking good care of yourself. Pets encourage playfulness, laughter, and exercise, which can help boost your immune system and increase your energy.

Resources and References

5 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health
The Therapeutic Benefits of Pets

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Edible Art: Olympic Colors

The symbol of the Olympic Games is composed of five interlocking rings, colored blue, yellow, black, green, and red on a white field. This was originally designed in 1912 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, adopted in June 1914 and debuted at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics.

The Olympic Charter states the Olympic symbol represents the union of the five regions of the world and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games.

Olympic Colors made from fresh foods.

Olympic Cups and Skewers

: Layer raspberries, blackberries, kiwi, yellow squash, and blueberries in a dessert cup.

: Use a wooden skewer. Add the following fruits and/or  vegetables: zucchini or kiwi; yellow squash or grapefruit; blueberries; raspberries; and black berries.

Serve skewer in Olympic cups.

Nutrition Information.

41 Calories
1 g Protein
10 g Carbohydrates
3 g Dietary Fiber
0 g Fat
0 g Saturated Fat
0 mg Cholesterol
36 mg Vitamin C
1 mg Sodium 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

July is National Hot Dog Month

National Hot Dog and Sausage Council
How It's Made - Hot Dogs
U.S. Laws Regulating Hot Dogs
Food Safety
Hot Dogs and Nutrition
Hot Dogs and Sodium Nitrate
Choking risk
Commercials Then and Now

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce designated July as National Hot Dog Month in 1957. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council ( is an organization created in 1994 by the American Meat Institute and is funded by contributions from hot dog and sausage manufacturers and suppliers of equipment, ingredients and services. The Council conducts scientific research and provides information to consumers and media on questions related to quality, safety, nutrition and preparation of hot dogs and sausages.

What's In A Hot Dog by Joy Bauer

How It's Made - Hot Dogs  

U.S. Laws Regulating Hot Dogs (
A hot dog, frankfurter or wiener is a cooked sausage. They are made from beef, pork, veal, turkey, chicken, or a combination and the label must state the type of meat and other foods used.

Federal Standards of Identity.
1. Hot dogs may not contain more than 30% fat or no more than 10% water.
2. Beef or all-beef: Contains only beef with no soybean protein or dry milk solid fillers added.
3. Kosher: All-beef, usually heavily seasoned.
4. Frankfurter may contain up to 3.5 percent fillers and made from a combination of meats.
5. Turkey or Chicken Franks can contain turkey or chicken and turkey or chicken skin and fat in proportion to a turkey or chicken carcass.
6. If variety meats, cereal or soy fillers are used, the product name must be changed to "links" or the presence must be declared on the label. Hot dogs can be 15% byproducts; heart, kidney, liver or other organs. But it must be labeled.
7. Up to 3.5% non-meat binders and extenders (such as nonfat dry milk, cereal, or dried whole milk) or 2% isolated soy protein may be used, but must be shown in the ingredients statement on the product's label by its common name.
8. If a hot dog has a casing, or a thin skin and it is different than the meat used in the hot dog, the label must say so. For example, if a chicken hot dog has a pork casing, the label must list the pork casing on the ingredients list. If the casing is artificially colored, the label must indicate this
9. All ingredients in the product must be listed in the ingredients statement in order of predominance, from highest to lowest amounts.
10. To protect consumers against Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, mechanically separated beef is considered inedible and is prohibited for use as food. It is not permitted in hot dogs or any other processed product. (Mechanically separated meat is a process whereby meat is separated from the bone by scraping, shaving, or pressing the meat from the bone without crushing, breaking or grinding the bone.)
11. Mechanically separated pork is permitted and must be labeled as "mechanically separated pork" in the ingredients statement. Hot dogs can contain no more than 20% mechanically separated pork.
12. Hot dogs can contain any amount of mechanically separated chicken or turkey.
A vegetarian hot dog is a hot dog produced completely from non-meat products. Vegetarian hot dogs are usually from some sort of soy protein, but some contain egg whites (not acceptable to vegans). There are also vegetarian hot dogs made from tofu.

Food Safety
1. Hot dogs should be reheated until steaming hot before eating, due to the threat of listeriosis.
2. If there is no product date, hot dogs can be safely stored in the refrigerator in the unopened package for 2 weeks; once opened, only 1 week.
3. Frozen hot dogs maintain their quality for about 1 or 2 months.
4. Do not leave hot dogs at room temperature for more than 2 hours and no more than 1 hour when the temperature goes above 90 °F.
Hot Dogs and Nutrition
The traditional hot dog is high in fat and salt, and contains very little or no fiber. Yet Americans typically consume 7 billion hot dogs during Hot Dog Season which runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Below is a list of hot dogs, from beef, pork, turkey, low fat, no fat and vegetarian. Moderation, individual needs and preferences are key to planning your meals. If you are someone that eats hot dogs more than once a week, it might be wise to choose a lower-fat variety.

The analysis provided is based on 2 ounces cooked. It is important to read the label and check the portion size. Some of the hot dogs listed below were rounded up to 2 ounces in order to show a comparison of equal weight.

Hot Dogs and Sodium Nitrate/Nitrite
Many brands of hot dogs contain sodium nitrite and nitrate. It is used as a food preservative, flavor enhancer, prevents spoilage and helps prevent botulism. Sodium nitrite and nitrate occur naturally in some vegetables, fruits, grains, spices and water. In the 1970’s there were a number of studies that linked the consumption of nitrite with cancer in laboratory rats.

As a result, the FDA and the USDA commissioned a comprehensive review of sodium nitrite's role as a food additive. The results from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) stated that nitrite does not cause cancer, although exposure to high nitrite levels in certain populations may be associated with cancers. The NAS recommended people's exposure to both nitrates and nitrites be reduced as much as possible without endangering the protection against botulism.

The meat industry made substantial changes in the past 20 years to address the concerns about nitrite in cured meats. It reduced the use of nitrite in the processing of cured meats and now averages one-tenth of what the regulations allow.

In a Consumer Report analysis, it was found that the nitrates and nitrites in all the hot dogs tested were well below the maximum level for the additives established by the USDA. A hot dog labeled uncured cannot add nitrates or nitrites, but that does not necessarily mean the product is free of them. The three uncured hot dogs tested contained nitrites and nitrates because the compounds occur naturally in spices and other natural ingredients added during processing.

As I reviewed the literature, it was clear the controversy over nitrites causing cancer still exists today. The American Institute for Cancer Research report found that consuming one 50-gram serving of processed meat (about one hot dog) every day increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 20 percent. According to the AICR, the average risk of colorectal cancer is 5.8 percent, but 7 percent when a hot dog is consumed daily over years.

Choking Risk
Policy Statement Prevention of Choking Among Children, American Academy of Pediatrics (pdf)
Hot dogs present a significant choking risk, especially for children under 14 years of age. Seventeen percent of all food-related asphyxiations are caused by hot dogs. It is suggested the size, shape and texture of hot dogs be modified to reduce the risk of choking. Pediatric emergency doctors note that a wedged hot dog is almost impossible to dislodge from a child's windpipe. To serve hot dogs safely for children, one should slice the hot dog into bite-size pieces. For adults it is recommended to slice hot dogs down the middle length-wise.

Commercials Then and Now

Hebrew National Hotdog Commercial

1978 commercial for Oscar Mayer Hot Dog Wieners. Hot diggity!


Hot Dog Commercial (2010)
OSCAR MAYER Selects. They're a great way to re-connect with your family.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Create a Kid-friendly Kitchen

June is Home Safety Month and the
 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has prepared tips to
Cooking and spending time in the kitchen is fun for kids, and also provides parents with an opportunity to teach children about healthy nutrition. Here are tips to create a kid-friendly kitchen:

Cooking with Kids - Kitchen Safety - The Smart Shopper

Dietitian Blog List