Friday, July 14, 2017

4 Reasons to Join the Meatless Monday Movement

Have you heard of the Meatless Monday movement?  It was started in 2003 as part of the Healthy Monday Initiative which encourages Americans to make healthier choices at the beginning of each week.  Meatless Monday is a weekly reminder to work on choosing healthier eating habits!  Good reasons for you and your family to join this movement follow:
It’s good for your health!
Eating a plant-based diet has been proven to reduce the risk of or even reverse heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.  Those who eat plant-based diets generally have a lower body weight and live longer.  Taking one day a week to eat meatless is a good way to start!
It’s good for the environment!
Going meatless one day a week helps us all by saving water, fossil fuels and decreasing the production of greenhouse gases, compared with eating meat. People who join the Meatless Monday movement feel good about doing their part for the environment.
It saves you money!
Animal protein is more expensive than plant-based meals.  A few realistic estimates calculate $1,200 to $3,000 savings per person per year if the switch is made to a plant-based diet.  You can start to save by choosing to go meatless on Mondays!
It’s easier than you think!
You just have to think creatively and meatlessly.  For example:

  • Substitute soy burger for the meat in chili, spaghetti or tacos. 
  • Make pizza with more vegetables and no meat. 
  • Look for/ask about meatless options at local restaurants.
  • Try a veggie burger.
  • Make old-fashioned bean soup or beans & cornbread without the meat.
  • Look up meatless recipes online. Following are some for you to try:
Saute 1 chopped onion in small amount of oil. Add 1 can kidney beans, drained. Simmer on low until hot. Mash and serve on tortillas with salsa, chopped tomatoes, lettuce, hot sauce, etc.
Mix together 2 cans diced tomatoes, 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed, 1 diced onion, 1 can corn, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder and 2 tsp. chili powder.  Serve with tortilla chips.
Layer in a 13 x 9 pan: refried beans, avocado mashed with lemon juice and salt, diced fresh tomatoes, chopped onions, chopped black olives, shredded cheese. Serve with tortilla chips. 
Topeka Pharmacy is here to help encourage you to choose and enjoy healthy habits!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Gluten-Free Diet

By now you have heard of the gluten-free diet.  Perhaps you have wondered if you should try it.  This column will look more closely at this topic.

Who should follow a gluten-free diet?
3 million Americans are estimated to have celiac disease, requiring a gluten-free diet to live symptom-free. But only 17% know they have it, leaving about 2 1/2 million people with symptoms and not knowing there is relief at hand.  There are also an estimated 18 million people with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS). People with wheat allergy would also benefit from a gluten-free diet.

What are the symptoms of gluten intolerance?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.  If a person has an autoimmune or allergic reaction to gluten, it can damage the intestines and other parts of the body.  Symptoms indicating a possible need for a gluten-free diet include recurring abdominal pain & bloating, chronic diarrhea or constipation, chronic fatigue, nausea/vomiting, headaches and joint pain, as well as
other possible symptoms.  A series of blood or skin tests would be needed in order to diagnosis celiac disease, gluten intolerance or wheat allergy.

What foods must be avoided on a gluten-free diet?
Besides wheat, barley and rye, oats are often cross-contaminated with gluten by processing, so oats must be certified gluten-free. Basically, all wheat flour products are to be avoided; all bread, cereals, pasta, noodles, seasoned chips, crackers, baked goods, most bakery items and breaded meats, unless they are labeled gluten-free.  Ready-to-eat and convenience foods will usually have gluten-containing ingredients.  Those who follow a gluten-free diet must do their research and read labels carefully in order to avoid ingredients which contain gluten. The extensive list of processed foods to be avoided makes this diet hard to follow if you do not do your homework.  

What foods can be eaten on a gluten-free diet?
The good news is that most other unprocessed, healthy foods are gluten-free naturally. Common gluten-free grains include: rice, soy, corn & quinoa.  Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables are gluten-free (no sauces or breading). Fresh meats, poultry and fish are gluten-free.  Read the label on processed or packaged meats, like bacon or sausage for gluten-containing ingredients.  Unflavored milk, butter, eggs and cheese are gluten-free.  Unflavored coffee and tea are gluten-free.

There is a lot of information online about gluten-free eating, like Gluten-free eating is not for everyone, but might be worth the try if you have symptoms.  Topeka Pharmacy provides professional and friendly health care services- we want to help you!