Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Childhood Hates and Adult Loves: How your taste buds can change when you grow up!

Do you remember when you were a kid and your parents tried to get you to eat something you didn’t like? I know it sounds general because all parents try to get their kids to eat things they do not like.
Do you remember what those foods were? I remember what I despised the most. I utterly despised cantaloupe, coffee, Burger King, yellow mustard or any mustard for that matter. I hated Thanksgiving stuffing, any type of greens and cabbage.
My dad used to always tell me that things you hate when you are a kid you will love or grow to love as an adult.
When I was a kid I never believed him.
I was definitely finicky with my food and if my mom cooked those foods I would not eat or I made sure the offending food was not on my plate.
Just the thought of those items made me want to vomit. I avoided them like the plague.
When I got older and became an adult (hopefully), I realized that my taste buds had changed. I believe it all started when I was pregnant with my first child and I began to crave those foods that I would never have eaten in a million years.
When I was pregnant I craved cantaloupe. I just had to have it and after I gave birth…I sill wanted to eat it. That is when it dawned on me that maybe it wasn’t just the pregnancy. Maybe, my taste buds were changing.
I hated walking past a coffee shop and smelling the coffee. Then one day when my husband and I were at the airport, I gave in and bought some Star Bucks coffee. I ordered a white chocolate mocha…and I loved it. Eventually it led to me buying a coffee pot and drinking coffee every morning.
I used to want to murder my husband if he forgot and put mustard on my food. But guess what? I love it now.
That doesn’t mean that I like everything that I hated. I still hate cabbage, greens, refried beans, and Thanksgiving stuffing.
Yet, I continue to try new foods and checking once in a while to see if anything has changed.
I have yet to tell my father he was right though…

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Artificial Sweeteners: My diet's salvation

You know the movie “The Shining” with Jack Nicholson? Well that is what my house is like when Mommy has not had any sugar.
“No Cookies, No cakes makes mommy go Crazy”
I have a massive sweet tooth and when I do not have sugar I can be a bit grouchy and grumpy to say the least.  Yet, I have been trying to lose a few pounds for a healthier me.  I tried cutting back on sweets but that never works.  I always end up abstaining only to have a sugar fit one day and eat massive amounts of sugar.
I started to eat the low calorie or fat free foods.  I realized that they were not all that bad. Most of them tasted really good. I wondered how they could be so low in calorie and sometimes really sweet.
I discovered that most of these diet and low calorie and low fat foods contained artificial sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes but may be derived from naturally occurring substances, including herbs or sugar itself. Artificial sweeteners are also known as intense sweeteners because they are many times sweeter than regular sugar.
Most them claim to be zero calories and often times are sweeter than sugar.

There are pros to using artificial sweeteners
·         They contain zero to no calories.
·         They can be substituted for sugar in baking and cooking.
·         You sometimes can use less of artificial sugars than sugar.
·         They can help with a low calorie diet.
Some claim that there are drawbacks to using artificial sweeteners.
·         Some people have found out they are allergic to them.
·         There are claims that they can lead to health issues such as cancer and organ damage.
·         They have no real nutritional value.
·         They are not natural.
·         They are bad for pregnant women.
But according to the National Cancer Institute and other health agencies, there's good scientific evidence that any of the different types of artificial sweeteners approved by the FDA for use in the United States cause cancer or other serious health problems. It is shown that artificial sweeteners are generally safe in limited quantities, even for pregnant women. As a result of the newer studies, the warning label for saccharin was dropped.
The point is that all things need to be use in moderation and artificial sugars are one of those things.  You can use them but it is probably best to not use them very often and keep them from children until more research can be done.
I know that my family is a lot happier (and safer) now that I have found artificial sweeteners.  My sweet tooth has been tamed…for the moment.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The way to a woman's heart is to show her you care about her heart!

It’s Valentine’s Day and men all over the world will try to woo and shower their wives and girlfriends with gifts, flowers and chocolates. They will try to make their hearts melt.
But listen men…
If you really care about the heart of the woman in your life you will make sure that she takes care of it.
According to the American Heart Association and, heart disease is the leading cause of death of American women, killing more than a third of them. 35.3% of deaths in American women over the age of 20 are caused by cardiovascular disease each year. More than 200,000 women die each year from heart attacks- five times as many women as breast cancer.
Almost two years ago today my mother died from a sudden attack heart attack and our family was devastated. She complained of heart burn for a week before her death and waited before she made a doctor’s appointment.
 Sometimes I wish that I could have done more to convince her to stop smoking. She didn’t know that cigarette smoking results in a 2-3 times increased risk of dying from heart disease.
Ignorance is a factor when it comes to the number of deaths from heart disease for women. Many women can significantly reduce their risk of heart disease if they have the information they need, know the questions to ask their health providers and receive the support to make heart-smart changes in their lives.

Here are some more facts from
Who is at-risk?
·         Cigarette smoking results in a 2-3 times increased risk of dying from heart disease.
·         48% of adult women have a total cholesterol of at least 200mg/dL.
·         50% of Caucasian women, 64% of African-American women, 60% of Hispanic women, and 53% of Asian/Pacific Islander women are sedentary and get no leisure time physical activity.
·         58% of Caucasian women, 80% of African-American women, and 74% Hispanic-American women are overweight or obese.
·         Women with diabetes are 2.5 times more likely to have heart attacks
Affects more women than men
·         More women than men die of heart disease each year.
·          23% of women and 18% of men will die within one year of a first recognized heart attack; 22-32% of women and 15-27% of men heart attack survivors will die within five years.
·         12-25% of women and 7-22% of men heart attack survivors will be diagnosed with heart failure within five years.
·         Women are less likely than men to receive appropriate treatment after a heart attack.
·         Women comprise only 27% of participants in all heart-related research studies.
Remember, taking care of your heart is important and visiting your doctor on a regular basis is a good way to lower your chance of dying from Heart Disease.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Joy of Cooking with Kids!!

When we get older we forget about the traditions and the things handed down by our parents.  We can stray away from their teachings.

When I was younger, my mother used to always cook with us.  On Holidays we always were responsible for making a dish.  As a mother myself I never thought much about cooking with my kids.  I am a control freak when it comes to those things and I am always sure that they are going to mess things up or burn the house down. 

I would let them watch me cook in the kitchen.  My 4 year old seemed to really like that. She and I would sit around and watch Rachel Ray cook her amazing 30 minute meals.  It clicked for me one day when my 4 year old decided that she loved to cook and wanted to be a chef when she grew up. 

I was excited for her and told my husband that we should sign her up for these cooking classes so she can learn to cook.  He stopped me and said “Why don’t you teach her?” Now I had thought about this but I was worried that with my writing career taking off and a new baby I would not have the time to teach her. 

We signed her for the classes and she was so happy to cook and would bring stuff home for us to try.  The first thing she brought home did not look appetizing.  She so badly wanted me to try it so I had to pretend to eat it.  It just looked so awful.  Meal after schooled cooked meal sent home was just horrible. 

I realized that I was forgetting how great it could be to cook with kids.  It was as if my mother smacked on the head from heaven. My mother did it with us all the time and the meals would come out fabulous.  I realized that I was paying for someone else to teach her to cook and the food was not looking good. 

I vowed that I would prioritize my time better so that my daughter would learn to cook some good food.  I want her to learn it from me just like I learned from my mother.  I know times are changing and women are not stuck in the kitchen slaving away while the man goes to work, but this is not just cooking because a man may want you to cook.

This is a tradition and I would be letting my mother down if I let my daughters leave my house without knowing how to cook a decent meal.  I can just hear her now…