Nutrition Basics 1

Nutrition information comes to us from many directions. I want to let you know about one reliable source: Food and Nutrition magazine. Food and Nutrition (FaN) is published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the largest group of dietetic professionals in the US. The Academy also publishes one of the prestigious scientific, nutrition journals, The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. AND is also the certification body for Registered Dietitians (RDs). Lately, AND added the word nutritionist to the RD credential, and some dietitians can opt to have the initials RDN attached to their name as a registered dietitian nutritionist. FaN provides a snapshot of the way many dietetic professionals see their work.

Dietetics and nutrition make up a vast field. Fan’s coverage is, therefore, wider than most of us might expect. Articles can range from, for example, the latest in how maple syrup is made on farms and the upcoming changes in the quality ratings that govern maple syrup labeling, to ethnic and religious foodways as well as the expected health topics.

Readers will find the basic facts and more on common foods and nutrients. The magazine presents features on foods from different cultures, balanced information on the latest super-foods, recipes, food market trends and the latest food products and gadgets. It is readable, informative and frequently right on the nutrition money. A subscription is $14.99 a year for 6 issues, a great deal for accurate, readable and usable information that includes healthful recipes. To subscribe go to: .

I want to draw attention to three recent articles. The January/February 2015 issue contains an article “Breakfast Anytime” about shifting breakfast foods to lunch and dinner. This article provides some simple and tasty recipes that maximize the use of whole grains, fruits and vegetables that might be attractive to you and your child. One is for whole wheat dinner waffles with pomegranate syrup. Another is for ‘okonomi’, savory Japanese lunch and dinner pancakes that are ideal for using leftover vegetables, chicken, meat or fish. The okonomi recipes call for easily obtainable oat flour, with an eye towards health, instead of flour made from refined rice or wheat.

The March/April 2015 issue provided two articles on alternative care. One, “Diffusing the Benefits of Essential Oils,” balances the story on aromatherapy and shows how aromatherapy pertains to food and nutrition. We are given some facts that divides the unsupported practice from verified facts. For example, some essential oils have a role as fungicides in food processing. Other essential oils inhibit the growth of intestinal parasites. Peppermint oil has been shown to reduce some symptoms of Irritable Bowel Disease and may also aid in the healing of cracked nipples associated with breast feeding.

The March/April 2015 also discussed spices, in general, and, specifically, the use of turmeric, a natural food coloring and ingredient in much South Asian food. Turmeric is a hot herbal medicine topic these days as an anti-inflammatory. Turmeric supplements are available and popular. The article clues us in to the degree to which turmeric supplements are established as healthful and being tested as potentially able to support health. The article’s author ends by quoting Kathy Gehlkin, an RDN who trained Ayurvedic, or, traditional Indian medicine. Gehlkin says that, from the Ayurvedic perspective, routine use of turmeric in meals is likely to provide more benefit than large, daily supplement doses. For more insight into how Gehlkin sees food and Ayurvedic medicine, which uses food and herbs, you can go to her website: . She has figured out a way to balance Sanskrit texts and modern medical science in a few choice blogs. Her advice is expanded upon by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Pregnant women and breast feeding women are allowed turmeric seasonings but not turmeric supplements. The scientific jury is currently unsure about the use of turmeric supplements for those nurturing women. For the full story of turmeric supplements’ advantages and contraindications go to this NIH link:

FaN readers also get other useful features. One is a book review section that also aids in separating facts from hype. Trained dietitian/nutritionists write paragraph length reviews so you can see what the book presents in terms of facts and fiction. Another useful feature surveys the latest in apps covering nutrition, weight loss and exercises. These apps get the same brief slicing and dicing as the book reviews. Another engaging feature is the advertisements. Of course, the ads tout all the benefits of given foods. Some are straight ads for supermarket products like diced tomatoes packed in low-sodium juice. The purpose of that ad is to remind us dietitians about which products to recommend to you, our patients.

More complex are the advertisements from the food producers. Two, for avocados and walnuts, struck me. Both foods are excellent sources of special nutrients but high in calories, which require moderation in use. The producer groups provide downloadable recipes and scientific findings encouraging the use of their products. Those of us with training have learned how to sift out what is useful for individual patients. You can sift, too. The recipes provide calorie counts, sodium levels and other relevant nutrition facts that individuals need to attend to. We must be alert. The walnut producers provide many downloadable recipes including many by noted cookbook author Mollie Katzen: . I am looking forward to making her cilantro-walnut pesto. Pesto is usually served in tablespoon portions. Avocados, while having less fat when they’re substituted ounce for ounce for straight fats or oils, often get eaten in bigger portions. To link to the Haas Avocado website, go to .