The Environmental Impact of What We Put On Our Plates

The food choices that you make have as large an impact as the car that you drive.  Let your $ support the production of food that has the least negative impact.

The most ideal diet, from an environmental standpoint, is one that consists of organically and locally grown plant based foods.  The closer you eat to the ideal, the better it is for the planet.

Buy local produce to limit the distance your food must travel, lessening the energy used in transporting your food.  In season, shop at Farmer’s Markets or join a CSA (Community Sustained / Supported Agriculture), so as to buy directly from local farmers.

An important, often overlooked personal choice of substantial greenhouse gas emission consequences is one’s diet. It only requires a dietary intake from animal products of around 20% to increase one’s greenhouse gas footprint by an amount similar to the difference between an ultra efficient hybrid (Prius) and an average sedan (Camry)**

For a person consuming a red meat diet, in which 35% of calories are coming from animal sources, the added greenhouse gas burden above that of a plant eater (vegan) equals the difference between driving a Camry and an SUV.**

** Excerpted from “Diet, Energy, and Global Warming,” by Gidon Esthel and Pamela Martin, Earth Interactions (2006)


Treasure of the Sea

Seaweed, vegetable of the sea, literally a “sea weed,” much like many weeds that grow on land, is full of nutrients and hidden benefits for our bodies.  It is packed with minerals, and is especially high in iodine, necessary for proper thyroid function. A small amount of seaweed, just 25 grams laver (nori), 3 grams of dulse, 1 gram of alaria (wakame), or ½ gram kelp provide more than the RDA of iodine for an average person.

A great use for seaweed, is as a tenderizer and flavor enhancer, when cooking a pot of beans.  Add one strip kelp (Maine Sea Coast Vegetables) to a pot of beans, once the water is boiling.  Its flavor is certainly of the sea, but in the middle of winter, it reminds us of the ocean and summer!


Caelee’s Corner: Prevent Bloody Noses by Eating Your Veggies

To prevent bloody noses, eat dark green vegetables.  They have a lot of Vitamin K, which helps our blood to clot.  People who don’t get enough Vitamin K in their diet  get bloody noses more often.  My favorite vegetable is kale.  Kale happens to have the most Vitamin K in it of all the vegetables listed on the USDA’s website.

I like kale because it tastes good and it’s a little like my name.  Some other dark green vegetables that have a lot of Vitamin K  are collards,broccoli, spinach and Brussels   sprouts.

Eat lots of vegetables!

Until next week,



With the holidays approaching, here’s how to keep off the excess pounds!

The trick to weight maintenance is balance.  Eat what you want, but make sure at most meals, you are eating more non-starchy vegetables than any other foods.  For example, whatever else you have on your plate, make sure you are consuming at least twice as much volume in fresh vegetables, such as lightly dressed salad or steamed or lightly sauteed, primarily non-starchy vegetables.   Non-starchy vegetables include dark greens such as collards and kale, cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, summer squash, green beans, etc.  Starchy vegetables which should be eaten in more moderation include sweet potato, winter squash, carrots, potato, and corn.  The non-starchy vegetables will help fill you up, while providing a variety of nutrients, and as they are lower in carbohydrates, they would be considered low glycemic, having less of an effect on the blood sugar, allowing you to have more level energy, with less tendency to crave sugar!


Controlling energy ups and downs through diet

Often the cause of ups and downs in our energy level can be attributed to our diet, specifically our intake of high glycemic foods (foods that convert quickly to sugar in our bodies and thus cause a quick spike and then drop in our blood sugar levels.  Read on to learn more!

Glycemic Index (GI) = how fast and far blood sugar rises after eating. GI compares the potential of foods which contain equal quantities of carbohydrates to raise blood sugar. Foods are compared to portions of white bread or pure glucose with equal amounts of carbohydrates to the food being tested.  .The GI is the percentage of blood glucose response as compared to that from the white bread or pure glucose.
The consumption of foods with a high glycemic index results in higher and more rapid increases in blood glucose levels than the consumption of low glycemic index foods. Rapid increases in blood glucose signal the pancreas to increase insulin secretion. The high insulin levels may then cause a sharp drop in blood glucose levels, resulting in hypoglycemia.
Diets filled with high glycemic index food are linked to an increase in diabetes and heart disease. Lower glycemic index food helps to control
Consumption of lower glycemic index foods results in lower more sustained increases in blood glucose and lower insulin demands.
Postprandial (after a meal) blood glucose and insulin responses are greatly affected by food structure.  Any process that disrupts the physical or botanical structure of food ingredients increases the plasma glucose and insulin response (pureeing, cooking, etc.). Food structure was found to be more important than presence of soluble fiber in determining glycemic response.
Glycemic Response = the effect that carbohydrate containing foods have on blood glucose concentration during digestion.  How a food is processed determines glycemic index. Fiber shields the starchy carbohydrates, so there is a slower release of sugar molecules into the bloodstream. Ripe fruits and vegetables have more sugar and a higher glycemic index. The more fat or acid a food contains, the slower its carbohydrates are
converted to sugar and released into the bloodstream. The more finely ground a grain is, the more rapidly digested it will be and the higher the glycemic index will be. Low GI = 55 or lower. High GI = 70 and above.
Because the amount of carbohydrates consumed also affects glucose levels and insulin responses, glycemic load takes into account the amount of carbohydrates.
Glycemic Load = GI multiplied by the amounts of carbohydrates provided by a food, in grams, and divided by 100.
Dietary Glycemic Load = the sum of the glycemic loads for all food consumed. Increased fiber correlates with decreased glycemic load. Decreased consumption of sugary foods, potatoes, and refined
grains correlates with decreased glycemic load. The University of Sydney has an excellent searchable database for carbohydrate content, glycemic index, and glycemic load for a variety of common foods and can be accessed at Additional information on glycemic indes and load, can be accessed online, at, courtesy of the Linus Pauling Institute, of Oregon State University.
Low glycemic index foods* (can vary with specific food and testing situation) generally include 1 cup of fresh apple or carrot juice, 1 small apple, 1 medium banana, ¼ pound (4 ounces) cherries, ¼ pound
grapefruit, ¼ pound grapes, ¼ pound oranges, ¼ pound pears, ¼ pound plums, ¼ pound strawberries, 1/8 pound pitted prunes, Kellogg’s All Bran Cereal, 2/3 cup cooked pearled barley, 2/3 cup cooked bulgur, 2/3 cup black eyed peas, navy beans, kidney beans, black beans, green lentils, red lentils, mung beans, pinto beans, or yellow split peas, 1 ½ ounces cashews, 1 ½ ounces peanuts, ½ tablespoon agave nectar, ½ tablespoon of fructose, and ½ tablespoon xylitol,
Medium glycemic index foods* (can vary with specific food and testing situation) generally include 1 cup of orange juice from concentrate, ¼ pound kiwis, ¼ pound mango, ¼ pound papaya, ¼ pound peaches, ¼ pound pineapple, 1 ounce strawberry jam, 1 piece of rye bread, 1 slice sourdough wheat, 1 slice Rudolph’s linseed rye bread, 1 slice whole spelt bread, Quaker Quick Oats, 2/3 cup cooked buckwheat, 2/3 cup cooked couscous, 2/3 cup cooked long grain white rice or brown rice, 25 grams of
Ryvita Rye Crispbreads, 1 cup sweet corn, and 1 sweet potato.
High glycemic index foods* (can vary with specific food and testing situation) generally include 1 cup of Ocean Spray Juice Cocktail, 1/8 pound raisins, 1/8 pound dates, ¼ pound watermelon, 1 slice Wonder
Bread, Cheerios, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Grapenuts, Nabisco Shredded Wheat, 2/3 cup cooked millet, 1 cup brown rice pasta (boiled 16 minutes), 1 cup durum wheat pasta (boiled 20 minutes), 1 cup beets, 1 cup carrots (Canadian), 1 cup parsnips, 1 baked potato, and ½ tablespoon sucrose (table sugar),
Amounts listed above are sourced from the article, “The International Table of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values,” Kaye Foster-Powell, Susanna HA Holt and Janette C Brand-Miller published in
2002, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 76, Number 1, pages 5 – 56. These amounts listed above as low, medium, or high glycemic index are usually mean listings for the specific food or the
amount listed for product from the USA or Canada, as GI values often differ quite a bit and vary with specific varieties of a particular food, moisture content, cooking time and method of processing, as well
as with different testing methods. Glycemic index and load ratings, as found in, “The International Table of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values,” are available online from the American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition at
Studies have found that a diet with a high glycemic load is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. Evidence has been accumulating that a low glycemic index diet might lessen the risk of development of obesity, colon cancer, and breast cancer.  Higher blood HDL cholesterol (“good cholesterol”) concentrations were observed in patients consuming a low glycemic index diet. In people with cardiovascular disease, low glycemic index diets were shown to be associated with improvements in insulin sensitivity and blood lipid concentrations. Low glycemic index foods are relatively more satiating than high glycemic index foods. Foods containing little or no        carbohydrate cannot have a GI value.


What is the skinny on “good” fat?

Today’s post should make you an expert on essential fatty acids.  It might sound a bit “bookish” but take your time.  It is worth knowing and post questions if you have any!  Essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that must be consumed in our daily diet, as they cannot be synthesized by our bodies. The essential fatty acids are linoleic acid (omega 6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega 3).  Our diets tend to be naturally high in omega 6 oils, found in abundance in seeds, nuts, and many common vegetable oils, but low in omega 3. The estimated ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids in the diet of early humans is 1:1, but the estimated ratio in the typical western diet is about 10-20 omega 6:1 omega 3.  A number of researchers have set the optimal ratio at 1-4 omega 6 :1 omega 3, for optimal conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), longer chain forms of omega 3, needed for numerous functions in our bodies.

Omega 3 can be found in high amounts in flaxseed, hempseed, and walnuts. Healthy bodies synthesize the longer chain omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – the forms of omega 3 found in fish. Our bodies are designed to synthesize gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and arachidonic acid (AA) from the omega 6 oils (abundant in seeds, nuts, and many vegetable oils) in our diet.

EPA, DHA, and GLA are all necessary for production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins and are needed for healthy brain function, cholesterol, skin health, and can make a noticeable difference in the case of inflammation related conditions. Viral infections and eczema can block the conversion of omega 6 oils to GLA. Also at greater risk for poor conversion of fatty acid precursors (linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid) to the longer chain EPA, DHA, GLA, and AA, are diabetics, those with neurological disorders, premature infants, and the elderly. Insufficient calories, protein, vitamin B6, biotin, calcium, copper, magnesium, or zinc, or excessive intake of trans fatty acids or alcohol can impair fatty acid conversion. High intake of omega 6 can impair omega 3 conversion and omega 6 to omega 3 ratio of less than 1:1
can impair omega 6 conversion because linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid compete for the same enzymes required in the synthesis of longer chain fatty acids. Dietary sources of GLA are borage, hemp, black currant, and evening primrose seed oils, important for those whose bodies may not be properly converting their dietary linoleic acid.

Symptoms of fatty acid deficiency include a dry scaly rash, decreased growth in infants and children, increased susceptibility to infection, and poor wound healing. Essential fatty acid deficiency has been found to occur in patients with chronic fat malabsorption and cystic fibrosis.

Precautions – Supplementation with evening primrose oil induced seizure activity in people with undiagnosed temporal lobe epilepsy. Therefore, people with a history of seizures are often advised to avoid GLA rich oils. High omega 3 fatty acid and GLA intakes can increase bleeding time and inhibit platelet aggregation. Therefore those on blood thinners should be cautious and ask their physician to monitor their coagulation status (blood clotting time). Although the suppression of inflammatory
responses resulting from increased omega 3 fatty acid intakes may benefit individuals with inflammatory or autoimmune disease, anti-inflammatory doses could decrease the potential of one’s immune system to destroy pathogens.

For optimal conversion of ALA and LA, try to consume 1 g ALA for every 2-4 g LA. High omega 3, such as 2 tablespoons flax oil a day with the absence of omega 6, (less than a 1:1 ratio) can impair omega 6 conversion. So when consuming a high omega 3 source, such as flax, be sure to balance it with the appropriate consumption of omega 6 sources, such as most other seeds and nuts.

Increased omega 3 consumption has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.  Decreasing or eliminating saturated and trans fat from the diet and obtaining LA from whole foods, such as seeds, nuts, avocado, and edamame (green soy beans), can be very beneficial to cholesterol levels.  Essential fatty acids can be damaged by heat, light, and oxygen, so they should not be heated and should be kept closed in a cool, dark, spot.

Omega 3 and sources of GLA can help to mediate or balance inflammatory conditions, whereas an excess of linoleic acid or arachidonic scid can increase inflammation.  If necessary nutrients are missing, or in certain health conditions, our bodies may not properly convert ALA and LA to other needed fats, such as EPA and DHA, in the case of omega 3, and GLA in the case of omega 6, and we may need food sources or supplementation. Information on essential fatty acids is available online, courtesy of the Linus Pauling Institute, of Oregon StateUniversity, at
Vegan sources of alpha linolenic acid, (flax / hemp oil / seeds), GLA (borage, hemp, evening primrose, or black currant seed oil) and DHA (from algae) are available in natural food stores in the United States.  There is a company in the UK which produces a vegan EPA and DHA combination, V-Pure Omega 3. Information regarding V-Pure Omega 3 can be accessed online at


When you are putting out seeds for the birds, consider this!

Seeds and nuts supply the essential fatty acids, the kinds of fat required by our bodies to function properly.  Flax seeds and oil are excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Other seeds and nuts provide an abundant amount of omega 6 essential fatty acids.  Walnuts and hemp seeds provide both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Seeds and nuts can help provide satisfaction to dieters and consumption has been shown to correlate with success on weight management plans. 1/3 cup of sunflower seeds provides more than  the daily requirement of vitamin E for the average, healthy individual. Seeds and nuts are good sources of a number of important minerals, including copper, magnesium, and zinc. You can view the list of nutrients found in sunflower seeds on the USDA’s website.

So next time you look at sunflower seeds, don’t think bird food.  Think this could do a body good!


We all want strong bones

We all want strong bones.   As many people learn that they are lactose intolerant, or are avoiding dairy due to research that has linked dairy consumption with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, it is reassuring to know that there is increasing evidence that dairy products are not the answer

Looking for some calcium rich meals?  How about steaming up some edamame (green soy beans found in your favorite natural food store or Asian market freezer) and serving them with some steamed or sautéed greens (collards are one of the richest sources).  Just 1 cup of cooked collards and 1 cup of cooked edamame, served together, provide 50% of the average adult’s RDA for calcium!

But if this doesn’t float your boat, know that many foods contribute significant amounts of calcium.  If you eat 2 kiwis, 1 orange, 1 cup of kale, 1 cup of cooked chickpeas, 1 cup of mashed sweet potato, 1 cup of squash, and 1 cup of broccoli, over the course of the day, you will be getting more than 500 mg of calcium, more than half the RDA for the average adult.  Looking for other sources of calcium?  Check out the USDA website which tells exactly how much calcium can be found in nearly every food you can think of!

Got milk?  I don’t think I need it!

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Nourish and Delight is proud to announce the birth of our new blog

We are glad you are present to witness the birth of our blog!  It does not weigh much but we are sure it is healthy!  Each day we will be giving you a bit of nutritional information.  If you read regularly, you should be quite informed, within  a few months.  So visit us regularly to learn more!