Food Intolerances and Allergies

They say that age brings maturity and wisdom. Yet it also brings intolerances and allergies. It is hard to attest whether the latter were there all along and we did not pay attention to them or if they developed along the way. This is still a debatable topic, for which no one has a firm answer.

Here are some examples related to this topic:

Dean drinks beer on and off but not on a regular basis. His meals are quite nutritious. He has his share of the food plate or food pyramid. He complains that his belly is huge, bloated and sore. He calls it his pregnant belly. Dean was told to test drinking lactose free milk for three weeks. At the end of the trial period, Dean reported he was no longer passing gas. He spent days with frequent urination, passing large amount of urine and then went back to normal. His belly had decreased in size, was less tender, but what pleased him the most was that he was slowly bringing his pants up toward his waist.

Jennifer reports that more and more she is developing joint and abdominal tenderness. She is stiff and has difficulty doing the yoga moves she used to do. She has a hard time understanding what is taking place because she has a healthy lifestyle. Upon paying attention to her food intake, she was told to test the gluten free theory. She therefore replaced her diet of barley, rye, spelt and wheat as well as processed foods which might include the stated ingredients. She switched to gluten free breads, pasta, oats, cookies and cereals. She even made her own crackers by using gluten free flour. The result was astounding.

Mary states that for many years she has seen, dark skin patches on the sides of her feet come and go. She attributed them to wearing non-leather shoes and sandals. As time went by she noticed that patches still developed even with leather shoes. Now much older, Mary states that these patches are more frequent and make wearing sandals unappealing. She was told to pay attention to her diet and the very beginning of the patches. She therefore noted that a day after eating peanuts, almonds and cashews, she not only felt abdominal bloating but also an itch in her feet. The itch persisted and then days later the patches developed. Now she knew the culprits and tailored her food intake accordingly.

Juliet has had fibroids for many years but since they did not pose great threat to her health, she waited for menopause to set in, since she was told they would shrink in size. Years have passed, menopause has set in and she continues to feel the fibroids. She is now more aware of them because they pulse and ache daily. Her body has gotten more sensitive to caffeine and even though she started drinking decaffeinated tea, her fibroids are still responding to the small caffeine amount. Upon switching to caffeine-free teas, her fibroids slowly started responding in kind and she felt the fibroids less and less.

Christopher lately gets into a doom mode, like he is about to have a heart attack but nothing happens. He fears going to sleep. He has been told that his heart is in good shape and he has nothing to worry about, but the problem continues. The main goal is to figure out where this feeling is coming from? Is it mental or physical? It so happens that he had a large plate of spinach, meat and potatoes one night. When he woke up the next day, the doom effect was vibrant. Spinach and kale were the major culprits. He tested the new discovery and indeed it was so.

These are five examples of food intolerances or allergies but by no means is this the complete answer to the human body. An allergy test is the beginning process. It is up to each one of us to address our own needs and make an informed decision.

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List of Foods for Diarrhea

Rice On Spoon by scottchan,

Rice On Spoon by scottchan

Many conditions or illnesses cause diarrhea. The latter can occur due to bacteria, fructose, parasites, viruses, medications, lactose intolerance, artificial   sweeteners,  digestive disorders or abdominal surgery.

And so it is that a few months ago a friend of mine had an emergency bowel surgery which resulted in a condition called small bowel syndrome. This condition causes malabsorption of foods and fluids, leading to diarrhea.

So what has she been doing to help herself instead of taking medications which she took the first two weeks after the surgery? She has learned about her own body and the foods that could assist her in limiting or controlling the diarrhea.

First of all, she redressed her meals’ frequency. She ate several small meals instead of three large ones like she used to. She did bowel training by repeating a time routine until it became a habit thereby reestablishing her bowel’s normal reflexes. In other words, she set an exact time to have a bowel movement twice a day at the beginning and then once a day.

And so it is this woman named Paula has won her battle over diarrhea. She goes at will and has soft stools. She has been following a specific diet which has done her well and she drinks plenty of water. Now she worries about constipation when she does not go for two days. Go figure 🙂

So what is Paula’s specific list of foods for diarrhea?

  • White potato without skin
  • White rice
  • White bread
  • Banana
  • Blueberries specially dried ones
  • Chamomile tea
  • Applesauce
  • Peppermint tea
  • Bland chicken or turkey
  • Probiotic yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Water biscuits or soda crackers
  • Bland cod or red snapper
  • Cooked asparagus or mushrooms

This diet may be rigid but it worked for one person. It took time, effort and patience for Paula to reach this state of well-being.

List of Inflammatory Foods

Ideago/freedigitalphotos.net

Ideago/freedigitalphotos.net

Last Thursday I received an email from a reader named Beverley: “Your list for the best Anti-Inflammatory foods is very helpful. Do you have a list of the top foods to avoid? Many thanks Bev.” So, in response to Bev, I now have a list of inflammatory foods. By no means is this list the entire picture but it is a good start.

It is important to balance meals out by eating natural healthy foods as often as possible. Yet, it is also wonderful to be able to splurge every once in a while by savoring foods we do not eat on a regular basis. In my case for example, at home I have fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, vegetables, spices, dairy and oils. I keep some cans of herrings and salmon in case I am in the mood for fish. On the other hand, when I go to parties or I travel, I sample other foods to my heart’s content 🙂

LIST OF INFLAMMATORY VEGETABLES

  • Cassava
  • Potato flour
  • Potatoes, au gratin, dry mix, unprepared
  • Potatoes, mashed, dehydrated, flakes without milk, dry form
  • Potatoes, mashed, dehydrated, granules with milk, dry form
  • Potatoes, mashed, dehydrated, granules without milk, dry form
  • Potatoes, scalloped, dry mix
  • Pickle relish

LIST OF INFLAMMATORY FRUITS

  • Apricots, dried, sulfured, uncooked
  • Cherries, sour, red, canned, extra heavy syrup pack, solids and liquids
  • Cranberries, dried, sweetened
  • Cranberry sauce, canned, sweetened
  • Figs, dried, uncooked
  • Fruit, mixed, (prune and apricot and pear), dried
  • Grape juice cocktail, frozen concentrate, undiluted, with added ascorbic acid
  • Maraschino cherries, canned, drained
  • Peaches, canned, extra heavy syrup pack, solids and liquids
  • Peaches, dried, sulfured, uncooked
  • Pears, dried, sulfured, uncooked
  • Plums, dried (prunes), uncooked
  • Raisins, seeded
  • Raisins, seedless

LIST OF INFLAMMATORY GRAINS

  • Amaranth, uncooked
  • Barley flour or meal
  • Corn, yellow
  • Cornstarch
  • Couscous, dry
  • Macaroni, dry, unenriched
  • Macaroni, whole-wheat
  • Millet, raw
  • Oat bran, raw
  • Oats
  • Quinoa, uncooked
  • Rice, brown, medium-grain, raw
  • Rice, white, long-grain, regular, raw, unenriched
  • Rice, white, long-grain, parboiled, unenriched, cooked
  • Spaghetti, dry, unenriched
  • Tapioca, pearl, dry
  • Wheat flour, white, all-purpose, enriched, bleached

 LIST OF INFLAMMATORY SEEDS AND NUTS

  • Chestnuts, Chinese, dried
  • Chestnuts, European, dried, peeled
  • Coconut milk, canned (liquid expressed from grated meat and water)
  • Coconut cream, raw (liquid expressed from grated meat)
  • Coconut meat, dried (desiccated), toasted
  • Coconut meat, dried (desiccated), sweetened, shredded

LIST OF INFLAMMATORY MEATS, POULTRY, FISH AND BY-PRODUCTS

  • Chicken, heart, cooked, simmered
  • Chicken, liver, cooked, pan-fried
  • Chicken, liver, cooked, simmered
  • Pastrami, turkey
  • Pork, cured, ham with natural juices, spiral slice, boneless, separable lean only, unheated
  • Pork, fresh, spareribs, separable lean and fat, raw
  • Salmon, Atlantic, farmed, cooked, dry heat
  • Sausage, turkey, breakfast links, mild
  • Turkey, all classes, dark meat, cooked, roasted
  • Turkey, all classes, meat only, cooked, roasted
  • Turkey ham, sliced, extra lean, prepackaged or deli-sliced
  • Turkey, heart, cooked, simmered
  • Turkey roast, boneless, frozen, seasoned, light and dark meat, roasted
  • Turkey roll, light and dark meat

LIST OF INFLAMMATORY OILS AND FATS

  • Fish oil, menhaden, fully hydrogenated
  • Oil, vegetable, cottonseed, salad or cooking
  • Oil, vegetable, industrial, palm kernel (hydrogenated), confection fat, uses similar to 95 degree hard butter
  • Oil, vegetable, industrial, palm kernel (hydrogenated), confection fat, intermediate grade product
  • Oil, vegetable safflower, salad or cooking, linoleic, (over 70%)
  • Salad dressing, french dressing, fat-free
  • Salad dressing, thousand island dressing, fat-free
  • Shortening confectionery, coconut (hydrogenated) and or palm kernel (hydrogenated)
  • Vegetable oil, coconut

LIST OF INFLAMMATORY SWEETS, DESSERTS, SUGARS, SNACKS AND SYRUPS

  • Candies, caramels
  • Candies, milk chocolate coated raisins
  • Chewing gum [bubble gum]
  • Chewing gum, sugarless
  • Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened
  • Frozen yogurts, chocolate, soft-serve
  • Honey
  • Ice creams, vanilla, rich
  • Jams and preserves
  • Jellies
  • Marmalade, orange
  • Molasses
  • Popcorn, oil-popped, microwave, regular flavor
  • Potato chips
  • Puddings, vanilla, dry mix
  • Sugar
  • Sweeteners, tabletop, fructose, liquid
  • Syrups, corn, dark
  • Syrups, corn, high-fructose
  • Syrups, grenadine
  • Syrups, maple
  • Tortilla chips
  • Trail mix

 LIST OF INFLAMMATORY BEVERAGES

  • Chocolate-flavor beverage mix
  • Coffee and cocoa (mocha) powder, with whitener and low calorie sweetener
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Coffee
  • Cocoa mix, powder [hot chocolate]
  • Fruit-flavor drinks

LIST OF INFLAMMATORY DAIRY AND EGGS

  • Cream substitute, flavored, powdered
  • Cream substitute, liquid
  • Cream substitute, powdered
  • Egg Mix,
  • Egg, yolk, dried
  • Egg, yolk, raw, fresh
  • Milk, canned, condensed, sweetened
  • Milk substitutes, fluid
  • Sour cream, imitation, cultured
  • Whey, acid, dried
  • Whey, sweet, dried

If you want more information about inflammatory foods, there are many websites available online such as inflammationfactor.com.

Iced Drinks Collection

nongpimmy/freedigitalphotos.net

nongpimmy/freedigitalphotos.net

Summer is around the corner and we all know what the heat index can be in some areas. Here is a sample of ice drinks that will quench our thirst on a hot day. On such days, our body cries out for fluids and we got to deliver. Let us take time to enjoy the one that suits our mood for the moment. It is all about enjoyment. We will not deny ourselves.

For myself, these are the ingredients that I foresee using: Hazelnut Herbal Coffee, Chai, raspberry, peach and black cherry teas along with Sprite, mango, banana, spinach, strawberries, limes, passion fruit, pomegranate juice, yogurt, evaporated milk and low-fat milk.

I leave you to make your own concoctions. Good Luck and enjoy your creations!

Foods for Constipation

This gallery contains 1 photo.

There are different reasons why we suffer from constipation. Here are just a few of them: Inadequate fiber amount Inadequate fluid intake Lack of physical activity Medications such as iron supplements, pain medications, diuretics and others Ignoring the bathroom call … Continue reading

Leek Soup

m_bartosch/freedigitalphotos.net

I went to my nutritionist friend last week for lunch and she preferred eating at home rather than going to the restaurant as planned. She wanted me to try some new recipes of hers. Thus, I am sharing with you her leek soup recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large leeks, cleaned and sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound kale stemmed and chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions (white and dark green parts)
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • Iodized salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Steam the kale, leeks, garlic, parsley, walnuts and green onions over medium heat in a soup pot. Stir for about 5-10 minutes until tender. Let cool off just a bit.
  2. Puree the steamed combination in a blender.
  3. Pour this mixture into the soup pot. Add coconut oil, almond milk, salt and ground pepper to taste. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper if desired. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes at low heat.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Spicy Crab Stew

Markuso/freedigitalphotos.net

Markuso/freedigitalphotos.net

Here is the recipe for a spicy crab stew à la Sirène.

Ingredients:

  • 10 okras cut in small pieces
  • 3 celery stalks cut in small pieces
  • 1 plantain cut in small pieces
  • 2 large red potatoes cut in small pieces
  • 1 whole onion – diced
  • 5 garlic cloves – diced
  • 1/2 tsp clove powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp parsley flakes
  • 1/2 lb fresh crab meat
  • 5 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 fresh Scotch Bonnet pepper (if can tolerate), otherwise use milder pepper
  • 1 whole zucchini cut in small rounds
  • 10 baby carrots cut in small pieces
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp iodized salt
  • 5 sticks of fresh thyme chopped in pieces

Directions:

In a tall pot, put in 2 cups of water  to boil. Once boiling, add all the vegetables and spices (except zucchini) and let cook for 20 minutes under medium temp with pot cover on. Then, add flaxseed, olive oil, zucchini and crab meat. Stir until flaxseed is well mixed. Cover and let cook for another 15 minutes under medium temp. Stir and taste to see flavor, such as salt. Turn off heat and let cool off with pot cover on. It is now ready to be served. A good hearty bread to accompany the stew will do it justice. Have drinks ready such as cold lemonade, limeade or orange juice.

On a final note, my cousin always says if he sweats while eating the stew he knows there is some serious pepper effect going on 🙂

Fruit Smoothie

vanillaechoes/freedigitalphotos.net

vanillaechoes/freedigitalphotos.net

Here is a quick and easy recipe for a fruit smoothie.

Ingredients:

  •   1 ripe mango, peeled and then sliced
  •   1 ripe banana, peeled and then cut into chunks
  •   1 cup of coconut milk
  •   1  cup of plain Greek yogurt
  •   2 cups of ice

Directions:

In a blender, combine mango, banana, coconut milk and yogurt. Blend until it is pureed. Add ice and blend to desired consistency. Pour into glasses and serve.

Tips on Hypothyroidism

Grant Cochrane/freedigitalphotos.net

Grant Cochrane/freedigitalphotos.net

Were we recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism or have we noted some changes in our body that may relate to it? The first step to take if we have not been diagnosed  is to see our physician and report our symptoms. TSH and T4 lab levels are great determinants of this condition.

Hypothyroidism is a state in which our thyroid just does not produce enough thyroid hormone. So it’s important to know what might cause our thyroid to “misbehave.” An underactive thyroid is more common in women over 50. Other causes may be thyroiditis due to immune system disorder, cold or respiratory infection, pregnancy, certain drugs such as lithium, radiation treatments, radioactive iodine treatment or severe bleeding during pregnancy or childbirth.

Iodine deficiency is a biggie around the world.  Another reason is iodine depletion due to profuse sweating while exercising in hot weather without adequate replacement. Certain foods called goitrogens such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, soy products, sweet potatoes, millet and flaxseed inhibit iodine absorption.  So the key is balance in what we eat, along with adequate iodine intake.

Here is a list of symptoms that relate to hypothyroidism:

  • Cold intolerance
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Thin and brittle nails
  • Thin and brittle hair
  • Joint Pain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Menstrual dysfunction
  • Depression
  • Elevated serum cholesterol

When hypothyroidism is not treated, the following symptoms may be seen:

  • Goiter (the enlargement of the thyroid gland)
  • Infertility for men and women
  • Low basal temperature
  • Decreased libido in men
  • Dry puffy skin, specially the face

The recommended daily Allowance (RDA) for iodine is 150 mcg for 19+ yrs old females and males, which translates into approximately 1/2 teaspoon of iodized salt.  Also keep in mind that a continuous excess of iodine may eventually lead to thyroid dysfunction.

Common sources of dietary iodine are:

  • Cheese
  • Cows milk
  • Eggs
  • Frozen Yogurt
  • Ice Cream
  • Iodine-containing multivitamins
  • Iodized table salt
  • Saltwater fish
  • Seaweed (including kelp, dulce, nori, wakame)
  • Shellfish
  • Yogurt

In the end, a diet that encompasses adequate amounts of needed nutrients helps keep us in shape.

List of anti-inflammatory foods

SOMMAI/freedigitalphotos.net

SOMMAI/freedigitalphotos.net

Yesterday, I wrote about arthritis (Need help with arthritis?) and some anti-inflammatory foods that help alleviate its detrimental effects on the body. Today, I have compiled a whole list of foods  that help prevent inflammation and assist the body in neutralizing negative outcomes.  

BEST ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FRUITS

  • Avocados, raw
  • Cantaloupe, raw
  • Grapefruits, raw, pink and red, all areas
  • Guava, raw
  • Kiwi fruit, (Chinese gooseberries), fresh, raw
  • Lemons, raw
  • Papaya, raw
  • Pineapple, raw, all varieties
  • Strawberries, raw
  • Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw

BEST ANTI-INFLAMMATORY VEGETABLES

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Pumpkin
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Potato
  • Swiss chard
  • Watercress

BEST ANTI-INFLAMMATORY NUTS AND SEEDS

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashew nuts
  • Flaxseed
  • Hazelnuts
  • Filberts
  • Macadamia
  • Pecans

BEST ANTI-INFLAMMATORY OILS AND FATS

  • Cod liver oil
  • Canola oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Hazelnut oil
  • Herring oil
  • Olive oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Salmon oil
  • Sardine oil
  • Sunflower oil

BEST ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FISH AND SEAFOOD

  • Anchovy
  • Caviar, black and red, granular
  • Halibut, Atlantic and Pacific
  • Herring, Pacific
  • Mackerel
  • Mollusks, eastern, wild
  • Oysters, eastern, wild
  • Roe, mixed species
  • Salmon, canned, sockeye, drained solids with bone
  • Sardines, Atlantic, canned in oil, drained solids with bones
  • Shad, American, raw
  • Trout, Rainbow, wild
  • Tuna, White, canned in water, drained solids

BEST ANTI-INFLAMMATORY SPICES AND HERBS

  • Cayenne pepper   
  • Chili peppers, hot, red, raw
  • Curry powder
  • Garlic, raw
  • Ginger, ground
  • Onion, powder
  • Paprika
  • Parsley, raw
  • Turmeric, ground

BEST ANTI-INFLAMMATORY GRAIN

  • Wheat bran, crude   

If you want more information about anti-inflammatory foods, there are many websites available online, such as inflammationfactor.com.

Need help with arthritis?

MaggieSmith/freedigitalphotos.net

MaggieSmith/freedigitalphotos.net

Last month my brother complained in front of me that he was having a hard time dealing with the pain of arthritis. He showed his fingers and I saw they all had some degree of deformation. I also noted that he held on to his waist when he slowly stood up blaming all his symptoms on this inflammatory disease.

I pondered on what to do next. My solution to health issues has to always be one of comprehension, not just the theory behind it but also the practical aspect of it. Therefore for me, observation and assessment go hand in hand with treatment. My family knows how determined and diligent I tend to be with health issues. They often don’t bother saying things in front of me, for fear I might suggest they change their lifestyle 🙂 So what I do is mention solutions to them, if comments are made in my presence and then leave them be. There is no need to ever try to impose one’s will on someone else.

Yet, I wanted to see what could be done to alleviate some of his problem. So I went into an experiment of my own. I spent three weeks eating foods that I had read about that caused inflammation. My diet consisted only of white potatoes, whole milk, 100% whole wheat bread, corn, oats, eggplant, sugar, banana, soybean and corn oils, sunflower seeds, pastries and cakes, white rice, red meat, deep-fried thick battered chicken, French fries, sausages, ham and dumplings. I have to admit that my salivary glands went on delight mode.

Well, pain in my left shoulder and left elbow caught up with me during my sleep Saturday night. I had no pain during the day except for soreness but Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night taught me a hard lesson. Since I realized what the problem might be, Tuesday during the day up till today, I have been eating foods that are highly anti-inflammatory. I have three meals of a specific stew that I make. The ingredients that I use are: ground flaxseed,  sweet potatoes, canola oil, broccoli, turmeric powder, spinach, kale, carrots, lots of fresh garlic, cayenne pepper, green beans and asparagus. I also eat almonds, avocado, sardines and wild salmon. I drink green tea, freshly squeezed Ruby Red grapefruit juice and lots of water.

The result for the past two nights is unbelievable. I have had no pain whatsoever. I just lifted my left arm up and down and bent my left elbow repeatedly to see if I would get even a twinge of pain. Not a twinge. I learned with this experiment that beyond a doubt the symptoms of inflammatory diseases can be decreased or alleviated by diet. Those of us with years of free radicals, radiation, unhealthy foods, pesticides and the many damaging factors to the human body will show signs and symptoms of degenerative diseases faster than a young body. Notice that my body reacted quickly to all the inflammatory foods whereas a 15-year-old would take much longer to suffer their ill effects, but by the same token this same 15-year-old having a sports injury would benefit by eating mainly anti-inflammatory foods until fully recovered.

Now we know that the minute the physician says to us that we suffer from an “itis” disease, such as arthr-itis, spondyl-itis, burs-itis, tendon-itis and so on that we have the option to help ourselves any which way we can in order to decrease our pain and suffering. We realize that the disease is not gone but what we are doing is diminishing its detrimental impact on our body.

Life is about choices and choices are personal. Life is also about trial and error in order to reach the solution that fits us best.

Please feel free to view the List of anti-inflammatory foods.

Why Vitamin E?

antpkr/freedigitalphotos.net

antpkr/freedigitalphotos.net

I remember many years ago when a female patient visited her family practitioner because of  lumps in her breast, she was diagnosed with fibrocystic breast disease. Once an ultrasound proved that the lumps were fluid-filled, the patient was seen again for fluid removal. I can still see the two Styrofoam cups full of fluid. I also remember vividly when the physician told her to avoid coffee and caffeinated foods but also to take vitamin E tablets. He also recommended that she eat foods high in vitamin E.

Why vitamin E? What is the function of vitamin E?

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects body tissue from damage caused by substances called free radicals. Free radicals can harm cells, tissues, and organs. The body also needs vitamin E to help keep the immune system strong against viruses and bacteria. Some studies have shown that vitamin E can calm portions of the immune system that are involved in allergic reactions.Vitamin E is also important in the formation of red blood cells and it helps the body use vitamin K. It also helps widen blood vessels and keep blood from clotting inside them. Cells use vitamin E to interact with each other and carry out many important functions.

Some non-conclusive studies claim that vitamin E may prevent or slow the progression of Age-related macular degeneration, Allergic rhinitis, Altitude sickness, Anemia, Angina, Asthma, Atherosclerosis, Bladder cancer, Breast cancer, Breast cancer-related hot flashes, Cataract prevention, Colon cancer prevention, Dementia / Alzheimer’s disease, Diabetes mellitus, Dysmenorrhea, G6PD deficiency, Healing after photorefractive keratectomy, Hyperlipidemia, Liver disease, Osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s disease, Pre-eclampsia prevention, Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), Prostate cancer prevention, Respiratory infection prevention, Tardive dyskinesia, Venous thromboembolism (VTE). Please view on the home page Vitamin E under Links for further explanation.

The best way to get the daily requirement of vitamin E is by eating food sources. The food that carries the highest amount is sunflower seeds. Vitamin E is found in the following foods:

  • Vegetable oils (such as wheat germ, sunflower, safflower, corn, and soybean oils)
  • Nuts (such as almonds, peanuts, and hazelnuts/filberts)
  • Seeds (such as sunflower seeds)
  • Green leafy vegetables (such as spinach and broccoli)
  • Fortified breakfast cereals, fruit juices, margarine, and spreads. Fortified means that vitamins have been added to the food. Check the Nutrition Fact Panel on the food label.

Eating vitamin E in foods is not risky or harmful. In supplement form, however, high doses of vitamin E might increase the risk for bleeding. High levels of vitamin E may also increase the risk of birth defects.

Symptoms of vitamin E deficiency include walking unsteadily, muscle weakness, reduction in muscle mass, impaired vision and abnormal eye movements. Long-term vitamin E deficiency can cause liver and kidney problems.

We each are the best judge for what works for us! So, how about taking the recommended daily intake of 15mg of vitamin E to help prevent or slow down some illnesses!

Foods high in potassium

Maggie Smith/freedigitalphotos.net

Maggie Smith/freedigitalphotos.net

Are we having muscle cramps, a small elevation in our blood pressure, heart irregularities, muscular weakness, myalgia and constipation? Are we told that our potassium level is low? Is our lab result proof that our potassium level is below the normal range of 3.7 to 5.2 mEq/L?

There are several causes for low potassium. When we exercise a lot, specially during the summer we tend to sweat a lot and therefore we lose potassium. Sometimes it may be due to a low potassium diet. Other times, it may be due to diarrhea, vomiting, excessive urination due to diuretics or some other medications, low level of magnesium, some kidney diseases or heavy consumption of colas.

A comprehensive metabolic panel is a good way of finding out if our electrolytes such as potassium, chloride, calcium and sodium among other values, are within a normal range. The recommended daily amount of potassium for people 14 years old and older is 4,700 mg.

So, here are the top foods highest in potassium:

  • Beans (white, lima, lentils)
  • Potatoes (white and sweet)
  • Leafy greens (Swiss chard, spinach,…)
  • Acorn squash
  • Broccoli
  • Dates
  • Yogurt
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes/canned tomatoes
  • Fish (halibut, salmon, tuna)
  • Strawberries
  • Raisins
  • Dried apricots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Papaya
  • Banana
  • Milk

A Memorable Réveillon

anankkml/freedigitalphotos.net

anankkml/freedigitalphotos.net

Réveillon is a French word defining the activities and celebration of Christmas Eve. It is the gathering of family and friends, young and old after the midnight mass to herald the new day. It is that sumptuous dinner where we put out the best in linen, china and silverware. It is a time of rejoicing.

Last year, our réveillon was at my sister’s house.  Those of us who still go to church go to Christmas Day mass to avoid the huge crowd on Christmas Eve. Therefore our celebration started early. Friends and family were coming in at around 10 pm and kept arriving even after midnight.

From 10 to 11:30 pm, people were just mingling around talking, eating hors d’oeuvres and drinking. Then it was time to start our mini show. We had printed a whole program for the evening.

We gathered everyone in the living-room and surrounding spaces so they could all participate. We started the program with “Petit Papa Noël” and “Minuit Chrétiens” on behalf of the older crowd. They loved it. It was their childhood coming back all over again. And then we caroled in English and in Spanish to satisfy every taste.

Afterwards we moved on to Christmas games like Book Exchange, Freeze and Word Find among others . All winners won a gift. After the games, we had singing competitions. Everyone participated: children with each other, men against women, young against old, singles against singles and duos against duos. We then proceeded to showcase our voices. My younger sister and I sang “The Christmas Song.” She also sang with her son and I swear that we thought we were performing at Carnegie Hall. 🙂 The final gift was the most expensive one. Everyone had dropped their name in a clear bowl. The youngest kid was called to choose one name. And the winner happened to be a friend whose birthday was December 24. What a thrill for him!

We ended the program an hour or so later with everyone singing “We wish you a Merry Christmas” and “Feliz Navidad.”

And then it was time for the sit-down dinner. We had lined up tables to tables the whole length of the patio so everyone could be together. The meal consisted of the traditional pumpkin soup to be followed by fried pork, rice and beans, macaroni and cheese, spicy island chicken, potato casserole, green salad and several other dishes. We had our version of bûche de Noël and other desserts. Mom made her prayer of blessing and it was time to dig in. After desserts, several people wanted fresh and strong coffee. They got it!

Once the meal was over, we disbanded into several groups all around the house. Young and old remained up as long as they could. The last person must have left at around 6 AM or thereafter. It was a memorable réveillon!

Libido Boosters

Simon Howden/freedigitalphotos.net

Some say age deters libido and others say they have no need for it but I say what is life without sex? Why limit sex to young people? Why place a limit on when it should be done and on how often?

Sex is a part of mankind as well as food and drink but consensual sex based on a loving relationship is even more uplifting and nurturing. So, let’s enjoy ourselves through the magic of sex. And for that purpose, I have a suggestion which is called libido boosters. These foods assist our metabolism to induce the desire and excitement needed toward the sexual dance. By no means I am saying only these ingredients matter. Other aspects of healthy living also play a role in our sexual prowess but by the same token the boosters do help.

So here is a list of known libido boosters due to their nutrient content of zinc, bromelain, folic acid, vitamin A, B5, B6, B12, K, allicin, theobromine, phenylethylamine, anti-oxidants, potassium or Omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Pomegranate
  • Chocolate
  • Oysters (Raw)
  • Oily Fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel
  • Irish Moss
  • Fenugreek
  • Eggs
  • Liver
  • Garlic
  • Figs
  • Dates
  • Almonds
  • Pine Nuts
  • Banana
  • Mangoes

Now I understand why guys show up to our doorsteps with a box of chocolate. They already know the secret 🙂 So here to a night of pleasure! Let’s give it the best we got! Here! Here!