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Archive for the month “May, 2012”

Foods You Must Try When Visiting the United States

Guest post by Robert Hall, a Tech writer with a travel obsession.

Many people from all over the world love to visit the United States. Some even try to come on a yearly basis. The United States is simply a melting pot; there are so many different cultures and backgrounds located here in this one place. And sometimes people from other countries just love to get that sense of diversity.

Though if you enjoy visiting the United States and you think you may want to stay then you have to apply for a ESTA US Visa. The ESTA US Visa will help you stay in the United States for a while before it has to be renewed and everything. The ESTA Visa Application can be found online, which is very easy to fill out. While in the United States there are some particular foods you absolutely have to try.

1. Barbecue. If you will visiting or possibly living in the Southern United States, then you must try the barbecue. Barbecue is very popular in North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia as well. It’s simply a staple food of southern cooks and visitors alike. Each state has its own way of doing it, sauces simply vary by state. But when you are here you must try, it’s delicious and you will enjoy it quite a bit.

2. Philly Cheese Steak. Stopping off in Philadelphia, you absolutely have to try an authentic Philly cheese steak. The cheese steak has been around since the early 20th century. Though, two natives of Philadelphia are given the credit of inventing the awesome sandwich in around 1930.

3. New York Style Pizza. If you will be in the Northern part of the United States in around New York, you must try the pizza. New York style pizza is large and thin, made with gluten bread to make the crust. There are many different pizzerias all around the state so you will definitely not have trouble finding one to visit.

4. Chicago Hot Dogs. Chicago is known for its delicious hot dogs, and there are hot dog vendors all around the city. They simply began making their hot dogs like that in around 1929 or the depression era. There is always a little history behind all these popular foods from all over the States.

5. Fajitas. While in the Western part of the country the foods and flavors are mainly influenced by Mexican and Native American cultures. This type of food will have great flavor and spice.

If you are getting an ESTA Visa to come to the United States from any country, please be sure to try the top five foods. You will enjoy them and will learn a little bit more about our culture here as well.

About the Author: Written by Robert Hall a Tech writer with a travel obsession – catch me @travelplex.

Charity of the Month for June 2012 – National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias

EatSmart fans will select each Charity of the Month in 2012. Fans will submit short stories about the charity’s mission and why it’s meaningful to them. We began our Charity of the Month donations in 2011.

For June 2012, loyal EatSmart Fan, Virginia Higgins selected the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias. We will be donating 50 cents for every new Facebook LIKE during the month of June. (So spread the word!)

Read why Virginia picked the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias:
With summer fast approaching, many people start looking forward to outdoor activities.  Swimming, camping, boating… you name it.  As the weather warms up, and others start packing beach bags and picnic baskets, I am packing our cooling gear. 

My son and I are both affected by a rare skin disorder.  The syndrome (specifically Hay Wells Syndrome) is part of a larger group of syndromes known as the Ectodermal Dysplasias.  Although many have never even heard of the Ectodermal Dysplasias, it affects as many as 7 in every 10,000 births.  While each syndrome is unique in its combination of characteristics, the Ectodermal Dysplasias may affect hair, teeth, nails, sweat glands, mucus glands, hand and feet, skin, and possibly even the immune system.  For us, the syndrome affects our hair- hence me being That Bald Chick, our teeth (many permanent teeth are missing from birth), our ability to sweat (we can’t), and our skin.  It also contributes to a host of other anomalies.

June is National Ectodermal Dysplasias Awareness month, and each year, the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias (the NFED) hosts a fundraising golf tournament in the St Louis region.  This tournament is one of the major fundraisers for the NFED, and the NFED is the leading organization in the world providing services and information to those affected by the ectodermal dysplasias.  This year, in addition to hosting the golf tournament, the NFED is launching their first annual “Don’t Sweat It” Walks.  My family of four is registered to walk to help raise awareness.  I have chosen the NFED as the Charity of the Month because we would love to raise $1000 as a family to support the NFED, so they can fund vital research as well as other important programs.  The Foundation has invested more than $1 million in research through the years.  They are making a real difference in the lives of children and adults affected by ectodermal dysplasias.  They make a difference in my life, and in my son’s life. 

About Virginia: My name is Virginia. I am a wife, mother of two, minister, blogger, and 5K hopeful.  I have ectodermal dysplasia and I don’t sweat it!

If interested in submitting a charity for consideration, please email karen@eatsmartproducts.com. The donation amount will be capped at 500 new followers/likes.

Simple Baked Oatmeal

DSC_3155Guest Post by Anne, author of the blog, fANNEtastic food.

This simple, nutritious, and versatile breakfast recipe is perfect for a group brunch or to make ahead so you have a healthy breakfast ready to go during the week. Enjoy plain or topped with yogurt or extra fresh fruit. Double (or triple!) the recipe for larger groups. Makes ~4 servings

Ingredients:
Dry:
2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup dried fruit (we used raisins)
1/4 cup chopped nuts (e.g. walnuts or almonds; optional)
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder

Wet:DSC_3154
1/2 cup skim or low-fat milk
1/2 cup applesauce
1 very ripe banana, chopped (optional)
2 Tbsp. oil
1 egg, beaten

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375.

1) In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry, stirring gently until mixed.

2) Coat an 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray; pour in batter.

3) Bake for 20 minutes; fork check to test doneness. Serve warm.

DSC_3156

About the Author: Anne is the writer behind the food and fitness blog fANNEtastic food, which she uses as a way to motivate others to lead happier, healthier lives through nutrition and exercise, whether encouraging them to try healthy twists on a traditional recipe, to go running for the first time, or to embrace yoga. Stop by her blog for delicious healthy recipesrunning training planshealth tips, and lots of fun. You can also follow her on Twitter@fANNEtasticfood, or on Facebook.

What are the Differences in Flour?

Guest Post by Janine McHale, owner of the blog, The Empowered Plate.

What is the best one to use, what are the differences, and how do you know which one to choose? As a holistic health counselor and a baker, I get asked a lot about different types of flour.

The main difference in the types of flour is the protein content. When the protein from wheat is mixed with water it makes gluten. Gluten is what makes the dough have its elastic and doughy texture.

Bread flour – this is made from hard wheat and has a high gluten content which makes this dough more elastic and has a good rise. It’s used for breads, bagels, and pizza crust.

All purpose flour – is made from a mix of hard and soft wheat and is used for cookies and quick breads. It has a medium amount of gluten.

Pastry flour – Also a mix of hard and soft wheat flours with more soft than hard. It makes a lighter texture of pastry than all purpose flour.

Cake flour – this flour has the least amount of gluten and is made from soft wheat. It produces delicate baked goods and can have a tendency to crumble. It can have chlorine added in to allow the flour to hold more liquid and sugar to make a moist cake.

All of the above flours are considered white flours, the bran and germ have been stripped from them. The lack of fiber in them makes them higher on the Glycemic Index, meaning the sugars in them enter the blood stream much faster than whole wheat flours. They can be bleached or unbleached and they can be enriched or not.

Bleached flour – a bleaching agent is literally added in to bleach the flour to a bright white color. It tends to have a finer texture and can have a slightly off metallic taste.

Unbleached flour – plain flour without the bleaching agent added in. It can appear yellowish in color and may have a tendency to clump.

Enriched flour – is flour with specific nutrients added back in. These nutrients include iron and B vitamins; calcium is sometimes also added back in. This process is supposed to add back what has been lost during the stripping of the wheat germ. The fiber is not added back in, however, and enriched flour does not have the same nutritional benefits of whole wheat flour.

Wheat flour – I tend to use whole wheat flour since it has the most nutrition. Whole wheat flour has not had the germ and bran stripped from it so it has a higher fiber content, takes longer to digest and the sugars take longer to enter the bloodstream. It is lower on the Glycemic Index than white flours.

Wheat flour can make a baked good feel denser so I like to use 2/3 cup of all purpose wheat flour and 1/3 cup of whole wheat cake or pastry flour to have a lighter texture. When making bread from whole wheat flour you can add in a tablespoon or two of vital wheat gluten which will lighten the texture and promote a good rise.

People who have gluten intolerance have to be careful as to the flours they choose. There are a variety of gluten free flours on the market and they generally need a binding agent, such as other grains; potato flour; or gums, added to make the baked goods hold together. Almond flour is one of the most versatile flours and doesn’t need a binding agent according to Elana Amsterdam of the Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook. Good to know!

About the Author: Janine McHale is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor and the owner of The Empowered Plate. She empowers busy women and runners to reach their goals of weight loss, better nutrition, stress management and more energy via nutrition and lifestyle tweaks. For more posts, visit Janine’s blog.

Vacations and Celebrations!

To show our fan appreciation and celebrate the arrival of summer, THREE lucky fans will each win EatSmart Precision Voyager Luggage Scales! Entering the contest is easy, and can be done through the form below. Here is how you can win:

  • Fill in your name. (1 Entry)
  • Fill in your email. (1 Entry)
  • What is your top tip to travel stress-free? (1 Entry) Bonus: We will feature the most unique responses in our special Summer Travel Blog Post in June.
  • Like this blog post. (1 Optional Entry)
  • Follow us on Twitter. (1 Optional Entry)

Giveaway ends on Monday, June 4th at 12 noon EST. The lucky winners will be selected at random and notified by email. They will have 48 hours to reply back before a new winner is selected. (Sorry, but it’s limited to US residents only!)

Healthy Breakfast – Yam Pancakes

Guest Post by Amy Roskelley, author of the blog, Super Healthy Kids.

Ingredients and Directions:
½ cup of cooked and cooled yam, scooped out of its skin (leftovers are perfect!)
1 cup low fat milk
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. vanilla
1 egg
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth and runny.

Then put in a bowl:
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Next, add the liquid ingredients to the dry. You can add more milk if you need to for the consistency of pancake batter. I like mine thin, so it pours easily and cooks thoroughly.

Then pour batter onto a hot griddle. Flip pancake when it begins to bubble.

Then EAT! MMMM!

About the Author: Amy Roskelley has a passion for healthy family living. She is a graduate of health education, and owner of Super Healthy Kids, an online resource for parents who are looking for ideas, healthy meal plans, recipes, and tips for feeding their kids healthier and living better.

How to Talk to Your Children About Nutrition

If your kids had a choice, when it comes time to grab a snack, would they pick ice cream or an apple? Ice cream, of course! That’s a pretty typical reaction for kids and adults alike, and there is definitely nothing wrong with treats now and then. But, with the rate of obesity in the United States rising to higher levels than ever before, there is no time better to talk to your kids about nutrition. In fact, the rate of child obesity has risen to alarming levels in recent years, prompting lawmakers, school officials and even the First Lady to step in and advocate for the importance of nutrient-rich diets for young people. So, how can you talk to your kids about nutrition in a way that they will understand and adhere to?

First, you have to convey to them what nutrition is and why it’s so important. Try to steer clear of the word “nutrition” because your kids may start to tune you out at the first sign of adult-style jargon. In fact, you may not need to sit your kids down to have a formal talk about the matter at all. Instead, try integrating awareness about nutrition into your family’s daily life and talk to your kids about it in a natural way.

To convey the importance of nutrition to your kids, you can point out foods that are yummy and healthy for your body while you’re cooking or shopping in the grocery store. Tell your kids that fruits and vegetables are some of your favorite things to eat (hopefully, they are!) and tell them that, if you want to grow up strong and healthy, fruits and veggies will help. You can also explain to your kids that you really are what you eat. If you don’t eat enough, you will be too small to be healthy. And, if you eat too much, or eat too many bad things, you will be too big to be healthy.

Drive the importance of nutrition home by giving your kids examples of things that are not healthy to eat. Explain to them the difference between food and a treat. A spaghetti dinner or a turkey sandwich would be considered food. A can of Pringles or a trip to McDonalds would be considered a treat. You can explain to your kids that, sure, those types of foods may fill you up, but they don’t have any of the nutrients that your body needs, so they don’t count as real food for your family. But it’s okay to eat them once in a while for fun.

If your kids have idols they look up to who also have healthy bodies, you can reference those celebrities when you talk about healthy eating and let your kids know that their idols try to eat healthy, too. You can also point out celebrities who are not making good health decisions, and let the kids make their own connections.

Finally, make nutrition a fun thing in your household. In fact, try to make it nothing at all. If you integrate good nutrition into your entire life, your kids will naturally gravitate toward healthier foods, because that will be the only things available. Have fun with your kids by trying new fruits, making homemade juice, or trying new healthy recipes.

There are so many ways to introduce good nutrition habits to your children, but the best way to go about it is to always practice what you preach.

Do you have any good tips on how to talk to children about nutrition?

About the Author: This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey. She welcomes your comments at her email: blauren99@gmail.com.

Photo Credit: Drinking Milk by Stuart Miles and Holding Carrots by Clare Bloomfield.

Blackberry Smoothie

Guest Post by Brittany Mullins, author of blog Eating Bird Food.

Ingredients:
1 cup of fresh blackberries
1/2 of a frozen banana
1 – (6 oz) container of low fat vanilla yogurt
4 cubes of ice
splash of milk or non-dairy milk, if needed

Directions:
Place blackberries, banana, yogurt and ice cubes in blender and blend until fruit is pureed and ingredients are well combined.
Add a splash of milk (or non-dairy milk beverage) to get the desired thickness.

About the Author: Brittany Mullins is a holistic health coach and the author of Eating Bird Food, a blog that features healthy recipes, fitness activities and tips. Brittany strives to inspire and motivate others by showing that small changes can create a big impact!

Healthy Time Spent with Mom

To celebrate Mother’s Day, we asked our fans to share their favorite “healthy living” activities they’ve done with Mom. Stories can be from past or present – but all should be examples of promoting a healthy lifestyle.

We received many responses, the best of which we wanted to share with you.  Perhaps, some of these stories will bring back fond memories from your childhood or maybe inspire you and Mom to start something new together.

From our Fans
My mother frequently had my younger sister and I join her on an after dinner walk or bike ride around the neighborhood (I had an awesome hand-me-down banana yellow Schwinn – that’s besides the point but still… it was pretty fab, haha). These outings were not only great exercise but also a great way to get to know neighbors. She would also have us prepare little baskets for May Day each year, filled with healthy snacks for our elderly home bound neighbors. Again, promoted a wonderful sense of community while learning healthy habits in the process.
–Megan Crose

My mother, along with my sister and her kids plus my husband and I with our kids, run a 5K race every year.  –Anne Lehnick

We have spent a lifetime of cooking, walking, playing, exercising, and laughing together. But, the most important thing we have done is love and respect each other which is needed for a healthy lifestyle. –Barbara Platt

When I was a young teenager my mom would take me to the grocery store on Friday nights when my dad and brother were at work.  When we got home we would prepare a dinner and dessert for Saturday night.  Those were certainly were the days.  Those Friday nights helped shape me into the cook I am today with healthy eating habits and practices that I have begun to pass along to my children.  Good quality food made with healthy ingredients, most of the time! –Jeffrey Lammers

I am mom. :) My daughter and I have embarked on a healthy lifestyle which includes clean(er) eating and exercise. We enjoy walks, zumba, zumba toning and recently added in pilates.  My daughter will soon be a bride and I wish to look and feel good, too. –Maria Davis

When I was in school my mom would help me practice for whatever sport was in season at the time.  Softball, track, basketball or golf.  Now we play golf together and walk our dogs together as well as sharing healthy recipes. –Stephanie Fisher

Shopping! You’d be surprised at how much walking and lifting you do in a day long of shopping.  –Susan Chew

My mom and I just attended a Women’s Health Expo put on by the local hospital. They had a doctor who talked about cancers,a dietitian giving us healthy ideas, and another speaker that talked about finding joy in your life. They also had nurses there taking our blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight. They had delicious fruit and veggie appetizers during the breaks for us. We learned a lot and just really enjoyed the morning together. –Stephanie Kako

Have a Happy Mother’s Day!
Please share any healthy activities you have done with your Mom.

Gluten Free Recipe: Berry Cornbread Muffins

Guest Post by Jenny Manseau, Culinary Arts/Culinary Nutrition student and author of the blog, Creative Cooking Gluten Free.

Ingredients:
1 Cup Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Corn Flour
3/4 Cup Corn Meal
1/2 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum (only if your mix does not have it already)
1/4 Cup of Sugar (I use Wholesome Sweeteners Natural Cane Sugar from Malawi)
4 Teaspoons of Baking Powder (make sure it is gluten-free)
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
Zest of one Orange (reserve some to sprinkle on top after removed from the oven) – You could also use lemon zest.
1/4 Cup Egg Beaters (Or 1 Large Egg)
1 Cup Soy Milk (Almond or other nut milk would work just fine)
1/4 Cup Canola Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract (pure if possible)
1 Cup of Frozen or Fresh Berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400°
  • In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together all of the wet ingredients until well combined.
  • Slowly add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • Do not over mix the batter, as it will result in tough muffins.
  • Gently fold in the berries.
  • Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  • Scoop the batter evenly into each paper lined muffin cup.
  • Optional – Sprinkle the top of each muffin with a little bit of the Wholesome Sweeteners Raw Cane Sugar from Malawi.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  • Insert a toothpick into the center of the muffins, if it comes out clean or will little stuck to it, the muffins are done.
  • Optional – Sprinkle with reserved zest
  • Cool in the pan for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  • May be eaten warm with a little butter, honey, or agave  if you wish.

About the Author: Jenny Manseau is a Culinary Arts/Culinary Nutrition student and author of the blog Creative Cooking Gluten Free. Jenny created her website after being diagnosed in 2008 with Celiac Disease and takes many “regular” every day recipes and alters them to the gluten-free diet.

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