In this age of information overload, we are constantly bombarded with health and nutrition advice from so many sources – some more reputable than others. To compound the confusion, it may also seem like “experts” often change their minds and the advice given next year may contradict current recommendations. Remember when margarine was “healthier” than butter, and eggs were getting a bad rap? And not only does advice change over time, experts often disagree with one another. Part of the reason for this is that Nutrition is an emerging science; consequently, research in this field is relatively new and there is so much more that we don’t know than what we do know. That being said, this post is an attempt to untarnish the image if the humble, often misrepresented, egg.
Eggs have served as a substantial part of the human diet at least as long as history has been recorded. It wasn’t until a few decades ago, when they were put on the “bad food” list, that people began to limit their consumption. This is unfortunate because health-conscious individuals may have actually been depriving themselves of disease-preventing nutrients. I confess that I was rebellious enough not to reduce my egg habits and I am happy that the research is now beginning to confirm what many of us thought was just plain common sense.
However, the redeeming of the reputation of eggs seems to be happening much more slowly than the vilifying occurred. I often see adults, especially older ones, still buying “egg substitutes,” and restaurants offering “egg white omelets” or “yoke-free Hollandaise sauce.
I’m not exactly proposing a Rocky style approach to eating eggs . . .
I just feel behooved to do my part to help restore their stellar slot in the human diet. Listen to my five-minute podcast: In Defense of Eggs.
One of the most fascinating areas of current research is how taste preferences are developed. Although there is a genetic component, environmental factors play a huge role in determining why we like to eat what we like to eat. It all starts in the womb! The ability to taste begins in the first trimester and is fully developed long before the baby is born. Many flavors, such as fruits, vegetables, spices, etc. (along with cigarette smoke and perfume) are detected in amniotic fluid. Preborn babies swallow up to a liter of amniotic fluid a day. What mama eats, baby tastes. Julie Mennella, who has done extensive research in this area, shows in her Carrot Study that infants whose mothers eat carrots during pregnancy have a greater preference for carrots when solid foods are introduced.
We recently got the joyous news that our daughter, who has struggled with infertility for years, is expecting! We could not be more thrilled, although the last few weeks have been quite rocky as she has had to cope with much nausea and vomiting due to morning sickness. One thing that she has found that has helped is ginger: ginger capsules, ginger tea, ginger candy, ginger gum . . . We do not know whether this little one will be a boy or girl, or what the name will be, BUT we do know that ginger will be a favorite food!
Indra Nooyi, CEO
I watched an interview last night on the News Hour with Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo. In an attempt to improve the health of Americans, the largest soft drink manufacturers worldwide have announced they will decrease the calorie content of their sugary drinks during the next 10 years by 20%. Part of their strategy will include selling smaller pack sizes and product reformulation to provide lower calorie options. You can read the interview transcript here.
Well, I guess it’s a start. Ms. Nooyi made a valid point that obesity is a complex issue and sodas are not the only culprit. She thought the government should focus more on improving school lunches and bringing back mandatory physical education, instead of taxing beverages or controlling their size. Maybe.
NHANES reports that sugar-sweetened beverages are one of the top five sources of calories for all age groups, two years old and up. And these nutrient-empty beverages are the number one source of calories for teens.
This NYC ad remains one of my favorite.
I love mornings. What a gift to have a bright, new, fresh start every 24 hours. Next to my devotional time and my shower, breakfast is the third main excuse for loving mornings. My current favorite breakfast menu item is oatmeal smothered with fresh peaches and berries. When I used to smother my oatmeal with brown sugar, I experienced only a singular taste sensation: sweet. Kicking the sugar habit has freed my taste buds to discern and relish all the nuances of the earthy, tangy, delicately sweet, savory, umami, etc. flavors that had been overpowered by my high tolerance for sickeningly sweet foods. It also makes me happy that research supports the notion that breakfast is the most important meal. John Hopkins School of Public Health gives some convincing reasons and some yummie recipes. I am a creature of habit and don’t mind eating the same thing most mornings, but if you are easily bored and need some snazzy ideas, you can download a free healthy breakfast cookbook here.