Friday, March 31, 2023

World Autism Awareness Day
A Look at Nutrition and Autism

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that manifests itself usually during the first three years of life. The rate of autism in all regions of the world is high, and it has a tremendous impact on children, their families, communities, and societies.

The Center for Disease Control reported the number of U.S. children with autism has surged to one in 68; this is a 30 percent increase since the agency estimated just two years ago that one child in 88 suffered from the disorder.

World Autism Awareness Day

We are dealing with a national emergency that is in need of a national strategy. At 1 in 68, we now have over 1 million children directly affected by autism.  

Throughout its history, the United Nations family has promoted the rights and well-being of the disabled, including children with developmental disabilities. In 2008, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities entered into force, reaffirming the fundamental principle of universal human rights for all.

The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day to highlight the need to help improve the lives of children and adults who suffer from the disorder so they can lead full and meaningful lives. The United Nations officials highlighted the contributions to humanity by people with autism, noting that shunning them is a “violation of human rights” and a “waste of human potential.”

Nutrition and Autism

For decades nutrition and diet therapies have been used to treat people with autism, yet no single protocol has emerged. The development of individualized nutritional assessment and a plan of care is crucial in meeting the needs of people with autism.

Research has shown nutritional deficiencies can impair learning, growth, and development in all children. Children with autism have nutrition problems and gastrointestinal issues more often than other children. These problems can present developmental challenges.

Judy Converse, MPH, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian and the founder of Nutrition Care for Children, LLC (NCPA). She specializes in autism diets, special diets, biomedical interventions for autism, nutrition-focused strategies for babies and kids that help them learn, grow, and thrive.

Judy provides nutrition services for children ages 0-21, and works with non-profits, federal programs, and nutrition companies to provide education, training, and support on how nutrition and diets work for children with special needs.

The goal of NCPA is to assess nutritional status and develop a plan of care to "restore adequate and appropriate sources for calories, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates and correct essential mineral deficits. This can accommodate users of a variety of special diets."

For families affected by autism, gluten is one of the first items to be evaluated. Gluten sensitivity can have devastating effects on learning, growth, and behavior. Many studies have shown improvement in these factors when a gluten-free diet is followed.

To learn more about the work of Judy Converse, MPH, RD, LD follow her online at:
Twitter. @NutrCareAutism
Facebook. Nutrition Care for Children

National Autism Awareness Month

The Autism Society, the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. They do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research, and advocacy.

Founded in 1965 by Dr. Bernard Rimland, Dr. Ruth Sullivan, and many other parents of children with autism. The Autism Society is the leading source of reliable information about autism. The Autism Society's Advisory Panel is comprised solely of individuals with autism. They help Autism Society staff create programs and services that will advocate for the rights of all people with autism to live fulfilling, interdependent lives.

National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day

2 slices Whole Wheat Raisin Cinnamon Bread
1 Tbsp Jelly, favorite
2 Tbsp Low Sodium Crunchy Peanut Butter 

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Eat a Variety of Lean Protein

What foods are in the Protein Food Group?

The following foods are considered part of the Protein Foods Group: meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, tofu, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds. Beans and peas are also part of the Vegetable Group. 

Select a variety of protein foods to improve nutrient intake and health benefits, including at least 8 ounces of cooked seafood per week. Young children need less, depending on their age and calorie needs. 
Meat and poultry choices should be lean or low-fat. The advice to consume seafood does not apply to vegetarians. Vegetarian options in the Protein Foods Group include beans and peas, processed soy products, and nuts and seeds.

How much food from the Protein Foods Group is needed daily?

The amount of food from the Protein Foods Group you need to eat depends on age, sex, and level of physical activity. Most Americans eat enough food from this group but need to make leaner and more varied selections of these foods. 

What counts as an ounce equivalent in the Protein Foods Group?

In general, 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup cooked beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds can be considered as 1 ounce-equivalent from the Protein Foods Group.

Recipe: Spicy Garlic Soy Tofu, by Suganya Hariharan,, FoodNetwork, Nutrition Profile by @DietitianOnline  

Monday, March 27, 2023

Diabetes Alert Day
Take the Diabetes Risk Test

The American Diabetes Association is at the forefront of the fight to prevent, treat, and cure diabetes. They provide education, promote awareness, advocate on behalf of diabetes patients, and are the authoritative source on diabetes in the United States.

Check-up America: Diabetes Basics
National Diabetes Education Program  

To learn more about the American Diabetes Association and events planned for Diabetes Alert day, Visit American Diabetes Association Alert Day.

Try Healthy White and Black Foods

White and Black Foods

Food Sources
White: Cauliflower, Coconut, Garlic, Ginger, Green Onions, Scallions, Horseradish, Jicama, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Millet, Mushrooms, Onions, Parsnips, Quinoa, Shallots, Soy Products, Sunflower Seeds, Tofu, Turnips, White Beans, White Corn, White Sesame Seeds, Milk, Eggs

Do you know any other WHITE foods?

About White Foods
The white food category is diverse and includes fruits, vegetables, grains, milk, eggs, and tofu. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of fiber, and tofu is relatively high in protein. Eggs and milk are excellent sources of protein, and milk is rich in calcium, vitamin D, potassium, and magnesium. Potassium is also found in potatoes, which assists in protein synthesis and carbohydrate metabolism and is essential for normal heart function.

White fruits and vegetables contain the natural color pigment anthoxanthins, a type of flavonoid, which ranges in color from white or colorless to yellow and exhibit antioxidant properties. Allicin is a phytonutrient found in garlic and onions. Allicin may help reduce heart disease, lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of some types of cancer, act as an anti-inflammatory, and may function as an antioxidant. Quercetin is another anthoxanthin found in onions and shallots. Quercetin may lower the risk of heart disease and act as an anti-inflammatory.

by PhoebeLapine

Ways to Increase White Food Intake:
  Add onions, garlic, or shallots to salads, entrees, or soups.
  Snack on sunflower seeds.
  Try tofu in soups or prepare it as a main course.
  Add white beans to salads or season and serve as a side dish.
  Try a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk at bedtime.

Food Sources
Black: Black Beans, Black Cherries, Black Currants, Black Mushrooms, Black Olives, Black Quinoa, Black Raspberry, Black Rice, Black Sesame Seeds, Black Soybeans, Blackberries, Boysenberries, Prunes, Raisins, Seaweeds, Tamari (Soy Sauce)

Do you know other BLACK foods?

About Black Foods
Black-colored foods are rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Black Rice contains vitamin E and the antioxidant anthocyanin.  Black Lentils are rich in iron and fiber and may help heal wounds and lower blood cholesterol.  Blackberries are high in the antioxidant polyphenolic, which may reduce inflammation. Blackberries are also a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, and manganese. Black Soybeans are high in fiber and protein.  Raisins and prunes help in the treatment of constipation.  Raisins are a good source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, iron, potassium, and calcium. Prunes are a good source of fiber, vitamin A, potassium, and copper.

Ways to Increase Black Food Intake:
  Add raisins to hot cereal or use them as a snack.
  Add blackberries or black raspberries to salads or yogurt, or carry them as a snack.
  Substitute black rice for brown rice.
  Use black sesame seeds on fish or salads.

Wellness News employs young adults with "Special Needs" (Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy). My staff started the project in September 2010. Over the next five months, we would take over 600 photographs of colorful foods to create the March presentation for NNM. Many of the photographs are available for purchase, with the proceeds going to special needs young adults. Contact Dr. Sandra Frank for additional information (

Sunday, March 26, 2023

March 26, National Spinach Day

Nutrition Information

Spinach is fat-free; saturated fat-free; cholesterol-free; low calorie; high in dietary fiber; high in vitamin A; high in vitamin C; high in iron, high in folate; and a good source of magnesium.

Selecting and Storing Spinach 
1. Choose fresh, crisp, green bunches with no evidence of insect damage.
2. Store spinach loosely wrapped in a damp paper towel.
3. Refrigerate in a plastic bag and use within 3 to 5 days.

Oxalic acid and Spinach

The oxalic acid in spinach binds with iron, which inhibits iron absorption. You can improve the absorption of iron from spinach by eating it with foods that enhance iron absorption; such as foods rich in vitamin C.

Serving Suggestions
1. Add spinach to a pasta or rice recipe.
2. Enjoy a spinach salad with a variety of ingredients.


1. Spinach - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
2. Top 10 ways to enjoy Spinach, Fruits and Veggies more matters 
3. Spinach: Nutrition. Selection. Storage
Fruits and Veggies more matters 

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Earth Hour at 8:30 PM local time

Earth Hour in an uncertain time. Given the unprecedented circumstances, WWF advises participants to join Earth Hour at home or online following CDC guidelines.

People can participate in Earth Hour by turning off their lights for one hour to show solidarity and support for protecting our natural environments.

In the past, millions of people and places have participated. During these challenging times, it’s more important than ever that we take a collective pause and use this time to reflect, evolve and strengthen our relationship with ourselves, with each other, and with nature.

Here are some ideas you might enjoy while reflecting on your personal commitments to fighting climate change and protecting our forests, rivers, oceans, and wildlife. WWF designed these with current social distancing policies in mind.

  • Go ‘green’ in your living space with some indoor gardening projects.
  • Host a virtual in-the-dark dinner party for you and your friends.
  • Play some games.
  • Work up a sweat. Exercise the body and mind by candlelight.
  • Pamper yourself. Self-care is key.
  • Take a collective pause and reflect.
Our connection to Earth and nature is undeniable: Our planet's gain is everyone’s gain.
Biodiversity – the rich variety of life on Earth – continues to decline year on year. We must urgently prioritize our planet’s biodiversity and nature. Earth Hour was created to organize efforts, allowing us to shed light on topics impacting our planet’s well-being.

Get involved by starting conversations, sharing your thoughts, and spreading the word about our connection to this place we call home. 
Around the globe, food production, distribution, management, and waste threaten wildlife, wild places, and the planet itself.
Today, over 8 billion people consume 1.6 times what the earth’s natural resources can supply. By 2050, the world’s population will reach 9 billion and the demand for food will double.
Food production is sufficient to provide for all, but it doesn’t reach everyone who needs it. About 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted each year—four times the amount needed to feed the more than 800+ million people who are malnourished.
By improving efficiency and productivity while reducing waste and shifting consumption patterns, we can produce enough food for everyone by 2050 on roughly the same amount of land we use now. Feeding all sustainably and protecting our natural resources.
WWF works to secure a living planet that will sustain a more affluent population. From refining production and distribution to combating waste and environmental impacts, we want to improve how the world grows, transports, and consumes this precious fuel.

Official Earth Hour 2023 Video

Within hours, people in a record 134 countries and territories across the globe will switch off their lights for an hour in a unified show of support for action toward a sustainable future for our planet.

Healthy Diet for a Healthy Planet

About Earth Hour
Earth Hour is a global initiative in partnership with WWF (World Wildlife Fund). Individuals, businesses, governments, and communities are invited to turn out their lights for one hour to show their support for environmentally sustainable action. In 2010, Earth Hour created history as the largest voluntary action ever witnessed with participation across 128 countries and territories and every continent, including the world’s most recognized man-made marvels and natural wonders in a landmark environmental action.

About WWF
WWF is one of the world's largest and most experienced independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

The event will cross the globe over 24 hours, from the first lights being dimmed in Fiji and New Zealand to lights being turned on again in Samoa. The transition will last longest in Russia, where 11 time zones are covered.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has pledged his support for Earth Hour saying: “Let us join together to celebrate this shared quest to protect the planet and ensure
human well-being. Let us use 60 minutes of darkness to help the world see the light.”

How You Can Help

To learn more about how you can be involved
Earth Hour

Pecan Day

Pecans are a good source of fiber and protein. They  
are sodium-free and cholesterol-free.
A healthy snack, but watch the portion size.

Pecan Day is a commemoration of the plating on a pecan tree by George Washington at the Mount Vernon estate March 25th 1775. The pecan tree sapling was given to him by Thomas Jefferson, who had planted a few pecan trees from the southern US at Monticello, VA.

The pecan is native to southern North America. First cultivated by Native Americans, 

There are many ways people can enjoy pecans – like grabbing a handful to munch on, adding them to salads, making a pecan pie, eating pecan crusted fish or having pecan ice cream.

           Butternut Squash with Pecans

Nutrient Analysis Services
Ensure accurate and cost effective nutritional 
analysis for your recipes utilizing an extensive research database and over 25 years experience. A valuable service for the Recipe Blogger, Media, Cookbook Publishers, Writers, Chefs, and Recipe Websites. Your readers will enjoy and benefit from the Nutrition information. Contact: Dietitians-Online.comSandra Frank, Ed.D, RDN, LD, FAND at

Thursday, March 23, 2023

National Puppy Day
Health Benefits

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

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

March 23 Nutrition Related Topics of the Day

National Chia Day
Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid and fiber; and contains protein and minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc.

#NationalChiaDay What Are Chia Seeds? Eat raw or prepared in a number of dishes. Sprinkle chia seeds on cereal, rice, yogurt or vegetables #NationalNutritionMonth #Chia #eatright

National Melba Toast Day

#NationalMelbaToastDay - Melba toast is a dry, crisp and thinly sliced toast often served with soup and salad or topped with various foods.

Melba toast is made by lightly toasting slices of bread under a grill, on both sides. The resulting toast is then sliced laterally. The thin slices are then returned to the grill with the untoasted sides towards the heat source, resulting in toast half the normal thickness. Melba toast is also available commercially.

Chip and Dip Day - Looking for healthy alternatives for chips?

1. Cooking Light, Healthy Dips  
2. Lauren Swann, Pinterest: Healthy Chip Board on Pinterest
3. Lauren Swann, Pinterest: Healthy Dips board

Whole Grain Sampling Day

Whole Grain Sampling Day The Whole Grains Council is holding a Whole Grain Sampling Day. The goal is to have people try new foods with whole grains. Stop by the Whole Grains Council to learn more and meet some of the companies participating. 

Identifying Whole Grains
Whole Grain Stamps

There are three different varieties of the Whole Grain Stamp: the 100% Stamp, the 50%+ Stamp, and the Basic Stamp.

  • If a product bears the 100% Stamp (left image above), then all its grain ingredients are whole grain. There is a minimum requirement of 16g (16 grams) – a full serving – of whole grain per labeled serving, for products using the 100% Stamp.
  • If a product bears the 50%+ Stamp (middle image), then at least half of its grain ingredients are whole grain. There is a minimum requirement of 8g (8 grams) – a half serving – of whole grain per labeled serving, for products using the 50%+ Stamp. The 50%+ Stamp was added to the Whole Grain Stamps in January of 2017 and will begin appearing on products in the spring and summer of 2017.
  • If a product bears the Basic Stamp (right image), it contains at least 8g (8 grams) – a half serving – of whole grain, but may also contain some refined grain.

Examples of Whole Grains
Read the label and look for the following
whole grains as the first ingredient:

Brown Rice 
Bulgur (Cracked Wheat)
Corn (Polenta, Tortillas, Whole Grain Corn/Corn Meal) 
Oats, Whole Oats, Oatmeal 
Rye, Whole Rye 
Triticale Wild Rice
Whole Wheat Flour

Recipe: Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

United Nations World Water Day

Many UN entities work on water issues - distributing drinking water during disasters, protecting ecosystems, making sure that water is of sufficient quality, ensuring that our cities have enough water infrastructure, measuring the progress of access to sanitation, and looking at how we will have enough water to make food. The list is long. Many organizations around the world also work on these issues. To be as strong, as effective, and to have as big of an impact as possible, these organizations come together to work through UN-Water.

UN-Water coordinates the UN's work on water and sanitation for a better world. Through UN-Water, UN entities and international partners work together to place water and sanitation as top issues and 21st Century essential knowledge. World Water Day is one of UN-Water's campaigns that aim to inform, engage and inspire action.

International World Water Day is held annually on 22 March. The United Nations General Assembly designated 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day. Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of water.

Do you value the water in your food chain?

People are left behind without safe water for many different reasons. The following are some of the ‘grounds for discrimination' that cause certain people to be particularly disadvantaged when it comes to accessing water:

Sex and gender, race, ethnicity, religion, birth, caste, language, and nationality; Disability, age, and health status
Property, tenure, residence, economic and social status.

Other factors, such as environmental degradation, climate change, population growth, conflict, forced displacement, and migration flows can also disproportionately affect marginalized groups through impacts on water.

Environmental damage, together with climate change, is driving the water-related crises we see around the world. Floods, drought, and water pollution are all made worse by degraded vegetation, soil, rivers, and lakes.

When we neglect our ecosystems, we make it harder to provide everyone with the water we need to survive and thrive.

Nature-based solutions have the potential to solve many of our water challenges. We need to do so much more with ‘green’ infrastructure and harmonize it with ‘grey’ infrastructure wherever possible. Planting new forests, reconnecting rivers to floodplains, and restoring wetlands will rebalance the water cycle and improve human health and livelihoods.

Water, Energy, Food


World Water Day

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