Know what clean eating means? Here’s some help

Clean eating is one of those food terms that has been tossed around so much in recent years it’s almost lost it’s meaning. What does it mean, exactly?

Good question. You could do a Google search and get pages of links to explore. Or you can check this piece I found recently from the Cooking Light diet blog, Ask Our Expert: What Is Clean Eating, And How Can I Eat Clean With This Meal Plan?

Clean eating means sticking to whole foods as opposed to processed ones.

“In its broadest and most agreed-upon sense, clean eating means centering one’s diet around whole and minimally processed foods and ingredients,” the blog expert notes. But also, “it’s important to first note that “clean eating” has no official definition or defined protocol. Because of this, the eating approach can be interpreted and twisted to also include a variety of additional restrictions.”

So beware of food offerings claiming to be “clean,” with no official definition or regulation, the term is open to marketing manipulation.

Love eating local? Then here’s where you should live, according to a new study

I’ve written before about the challenges of eating local. How much locally grown food is available to us is often a function of geography. A new study shows the truth in that, with a few surprising exceptions.

A firm called Lawn Starter looked at the 150 largest U.S, cities and came up with the following rankings of the best cities for eating (and drinking) local:

Continue reading “Love eating local? Then here’s where you should live, according to a new study”

Here’s a January Challenge: No Sugar All Month

My wife presented me with a food challenge as 2020 was drawing to a close — could I go a month without eating foods high in sugar like candy, cake, frozen yogurt — basically all my favorites, and all foods I’d been eating more of last year to cope with the pandemic?

Yes, this blog has no sugar in its name, but I’ve written before that sugar is the toughest of the big three of poor nutrition — salt, fat and sugar — for me to give up. We normally load each other’s Christmas stocking with chocolates of all types.

This year, I asked we go easy, but there was still a lot, along with cookies and cakes. After having lost seven pounds because of illnesses last year, I gained back five pounds in the final month of the year because of sugary treats.

No candy bars for me in January. I’m already freaking out over it.

So I’m up for the challenge. I also have been spurred on by a recent decision by the federal government to ignore scientific guidelines for sugar consumption. Nutrition should not be a political issue but sadly it became one in the Trump years as he tried to undo everything the Obamas did, including their efforts to improve American eating habits.

“A report issued by a scientific advisory committee last summer had recommended that the guidelines encourage Americans to make drastic cuts in their consumption of sugars added to drinks and foods to 6 percent of daily calories, from the currently recommended 10 percent,” the New York Times reported in discussing newly released  Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The new guidelines do no such thing, however.

Continue reading “Here’s a January Challenge: No Sugar All Month”

A Record Year for Nosaltnofatnosugar.com Thank You All

We had a record number of visitors to our No Salt No Fat No Sugar Journal in 2020, more than 34,600 people, eclipsing our old record set in 2017.

“Covid and the move to more eating at home sent a lot of people looking for healthier recipes like we provide,” says site Founder and Editor John N. Frank. “While a lot of people were binging on chips and junk food, I’d like to think some realized they need to get the salt, fat and sugar out of their diets as they think more about what they eat every day.”

This site’s recipe page remains its most popular feature.

Frank started the blog in late 2012 after his first angioplasty to open a blocked artery which nearly killed him. He’s since had a second stent inserted in a different artery in 2017.

He has utilized his prior experience as a food journalist to find or modify recipes to get out the excessive salt, bad fats, and high amounts of sugar that many Americans eat every day without realizing what’s in their food.

Frank recently was named a 2020 top executive by Marquis’ Who’s Who in recognition of his career in journalism, his work on this blog, his efforts to start a small theater and his volunteer work with Mended Hearts, a national peer-to-peer support group for those dealing with heart disease.

“I’ve been stuck inside all year like everyone else but I’ve tried to keep busy,” he jokes.

5 Sites With Low-sodium Christmas recipes (one is our site!)

Google “Low Sodium Christmas recipes” and you won’t find a lot, unfortunately. We know, we just tried it. But we have found some for you, so don’t lose hope. Ourcommuntiynow,com, for example, runs through where you can find low-salt ways to make turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. It sounds a bit Thanksgiving, but I have made turkey for Christmas too, so it’s feasible.

Epicurious.com has a page of side-dish recipes that are low in sodium.

Good Housekeeping has a piece called 35 Healthy Christmas Recipes That Still Taste Totally Indulgent. It seems to start with sides too but does have an interesting salad take on the traditional Italian Christmas Eve feast of the seven fishes.

And while not Christmas focued, tasteofhome.com does have 40 Low-Sodium Recipes That Are Kind to Your Heart which has some interesting sounding main courses you could make for Christmas.

And don’t forget to check our recipe page which has a host of special occasion low-sodium recipes to choose from, including a low-salt, low-fat take on a traditional Italian holiday manicotti.

My low-fat, low-salt manicotti, One of these has 128 calories, 1.8 grams of fat and 70 mgs of sodium. I eat five at a time

Did You Miss National Cookie Day? It’s every day during the pandemic, apparently

Did you know Dec. 4 this year was National Cookie Day? Me either, but it’s ok because it seems like during this pandemic, every day is cookie day for many. many Americans. U.S. cookie demand is up 25% in the pandemic while global cookie demand (crisps in Britain) is up 31.6%, found integrated marketing network Top Global LLC.

And almost all Americans, 95%, eat at least one cookie per month, Top Global found in its research. Roughly four in 10 of us eat many more than that (see the table here, provided by Top Global).

Top Global also has a map of the United States showing cookie consumption by state, along with data on which cookies are most popular where; just click here to see all that…and then have a cookie to celebrate 2020 being almost over!

Pandemic Cooking: A Quick, and Tasty, Tilapia Recipe

I’ve been eating a lot more fish since my heart issues started back in 2012, but fish preparation can sometimes confuse people and take time. So when I came across a recipe called Easy Baked Tilapia (or Cod), how could I not check it out, and try it?

I used tilapia and the result was a very tasty dinner that was, indeed, easy to make. I made one major change to the recipe, however, switching in olive oil where it called for butter in the topping to get a healthier fat into the mix.

My baked tilapia just after it came out of the oven. Using panko breadcrumbs cuts the salt in the dish since they normally have less salt than regular breadcrumbs.

Also, because I had five large tilapia fillets instead of the four in the original recipe, I doubled the amount of everything to make the topping, which worked out great. I also used bottled lemon juice since I did not have a fresh lemon.

So, as with any recipe, be prepared to adjust depending on what you have available for cooking.

Here are the details:

Easy Baked Tilapia

  • PREP TIME 5 minutes
  • COOK TIME 15 minutes
  • TOTAL TIME 20 minutes
  • SERVINGS 4 servings
  • AUTHOR Holly Nilsson
  • COURSE Dinner
  • CUISINE Asian

Ingredients
4 filets white fish such as cod or tilapia
½ lemon
1 ½ tablespoons melted butter

Topping

  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon butter melted (I used olive oil instead)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Rinse tilapia filets, pat dry and place on a pan sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Squeeze lemon juice over the filets.
  • Top with the Panko mixture.
  • Cook 15 minutes or just until cooked through and fish is flaky.
  • Broil for the last minute if desired

And kudos to Spendwithpennies.com for also listing the nutrition information for the dish.

NUTRITION INFORMATION
Calories: 240, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 35g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 100mg, Sodium: 203mg, Potassium: 532mg, Vitamin A: 390IU, Vitamin C: 8.5mg, Calcium: 57mg, Iron: 1.3mg

I think using the oil instead of the butter likely cut some, if mot all, of the saturated fat content too.

Pandemic Shopping Trends: Back to online grocery buying in November

With Covid cases, as well as hospitalizations and deaths, rising across the country, Americans turned increasingly to online grocery shopping in November, according to new data from firms Brick Meets Click and Mercatus Grocery Shopping.

“U.S. grocery delivery and pickup sales for November 2020 totaled $5.9 billion, up 3.6% from August’s $5.7 billion, in a market where the customer and sales mix are shifting toward delivery and pickup services,” states a release from Brick Meets Click, a supermarket industry consulting firm.

More poeple are buying groceries online and they’re doing it more frequently, apparently.

“The number of active online grocery shoppers placing at least one delivery or pickup order during the past month increased to 38.7 million, up 3.6% from 37.5 million in August 2020, and they placed an average of 1.62 orders per month, up 2% compared to 1.59 orders per month in August 2020,” the firm found.

Roughly 39 million people ordered online in November, below the peak of about 46 million in June.

Brick Meets Click conducted this online survey Nov. 11-14, 2020 with 2,067 adults, 18 years and older, who participated in the household’s grocery shopping.

Pandemic Food Shopping: Predictions for 2021

While talk of vaccines is everywhere these days, those in the know seem to agree we’ll be well into 2021 before a large part of the country has access to vaccines, let alone has gotten the two shots of one to protect themselves. So how will that impact food shopping trends as 2021 begins?

Florida-based sales and marketing firm Acosta has put together the following predictions.

“Many of the changes we saw implemented in 2020 due to the pandemic will carry over into 2021,” said Colin Stewart, executive vice president of Business Intelligence at Acosta, ina press release. “Health and safety will continue to be paramount for retailers and consumers, and e-commerce growth will continue on its accelerated path. Grocery shopping was not fun this year, and post-COVID, stores will need to make it a more enjoyable experience with unique offerings, better prices and stocked shelves.”

Pandemic Shopping: Tips for bulk storage

The Covid-019 pandemic has certainly changed American eating and food-shopping habits. People are cooking at home and emptying store shelves of many staple items as a result. Just trying buying some yeast to find out what I mean.

Many people ahve turned to bulk buying, which is jsut a step short of hoarding in that hopefully they have need of the large quantities of foodstuffs they’re buying for large families.

We store non-perishable paper and cleaning products in our basement store room.

But buying in bulk can have its pitfalls, which is why I was attracted to this piece, 7 Life-Changing Tips from a Bulk Shopping Expert. While the headline is a bit melodramatic, the piece makes a few good points. Chief among those:

  • Determine (and buy) your highest-use items and target those for large purchases.
  • Have the proper storage space and type for items you stock up on.
  • Plan enough time to repackage perishables as soon as you get home.
  • Label everything with dates, keep a list of what you have, and use oldest to newest.

As the article states, “Buying in bulk is a shockingly great way to save money and to reduce the frequency of shopping trips for staples.” With food prices rising in the pandemic, stocking up may be the best way to stretch your food dollars.

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