FDA Updates the Nutrition Label

Individuals across the country have heavily relied on the nutrition facts label to speak the ChooseMyPlatetruth about their food choices. On May 20, 2016, the FDA released a new and updated nutrition facts label to help individuals make better informed decisions about the foods they consume.

The new nutrition facts label includes:

  • A design that better emphasizes the amount of “calories” and the number of “servings” in a package
  • “Dual column” labels to indicate both “per serving” and “per package” calorie and nutrition information.
  • A declaration of grams and a percent daily value (%DV) for “added sugars” to differentiate the amount of added sugars from the natural sugars.
  • Updated daily values for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber and vitamin D that are consistent with the Institute of Medicine recommendations and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • A declaration of grams and a %DV of vitamin D and potassium for consumers who are deficient in these nutrients and are, thus, at greater risk for chronic disease. The %DV and actual gram count for calcium and iron will continue to be required, whereas the %DV and actual gram count for Vitamins A and C will no longer be a requirement.
  • A removal of “Calories from Fat” because research shows that the type of fat is more important than the amount of fat. “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat,” and “Trans Fat” will continue to be required.
  • An abbreviated footnote to better explain the %DV.

New Nutrition Label

Don’t expect to see these changes right away.  Most food manufacturers will be required to use the new label by July 26,2018. Manufacturers with annual food sales of less than $10 million will have an additional year to adjust to the change.

However, the new label is a big step towards helping individuals be more conscious of the products they are eating. For more nutritional tools, visit: https://www.supertracker.usda.gov.

Take another step by watching the recording of our free webinar on nutrition and plant-based diets.

What kind of water should I drink?

by Julie Lanford, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN
Infused-Water-in-Jars-landscape-reshoot-Photo-by-Vanessa-Greaves-e1434731790958
First off, it’s important to remember that we need to drink fluids to keep our bodies hydrated. In general, our bodies simply need plain water. It’s our taste buds (and sometimes our emotions!) that want something different!
 
Just because your water is clear, does not mean it is healthy! The majority of flavored waters that are available, such as vitamin or sparking waters, are filled with sugar and artificial sweeteners. The best way to know is to simply read the ingredient list. 
 
Unfortunately, even the “vitamin water” brand is not just water with added vitamins. There are many ingredients in these beverages that have no benefit to your health. To see a full list of these ingredients, check out my post “Is Vitamin Water Healthy? Plus a Recipe to Make Your Own” (link here: http://www.cancerdietitian.com/2011/07/is-vitamin-water-healthy-plus-a-recipe-to-make-your-own.html). Most of the added vitamins in these drinks come from synthetic forms and do not provide you the same benefit as you would by eating food. 
 
Remember that drinking any form of plain water is better than choosing a soda or other sweetened beverage! Luckily, there is a way to drink delicious flavored water without being at risk of consuming unnecessary additives.
 
Make your own infused water!
 
Here are a few tips to get you started making your own infused water. Not only is it nutritious, it’s also really pretty!!
 
First, you choose the flavor. There are limitless possibilities! You can choose fresh fruit flavors such as strawberry, orange, or blueberry or you can choose a vegetable-based flavored water by adding cucumber, beets, or celery. 
 
Herbs and spices such as basil, rosemary, and cinnamon can also be used to add some extra flavor. I think the best flavored water comes from a combination of all of the above! Making your own infused water gives you the opportunity to select the flavors that you like best and allows you to individually customize each beverage you make.
 
The directions for making your own “vitamin water” are very simple. 
1.     Choose your fresh fruits, vegetables, or herbs. 
2.     Make sure you thoroughly wash your produce.
3.     Slice or cut your produce however you like it. The more surface area of the produce that touches the water, the better!
4.     Add all the ingredients into a pitcher filled with water.
5.     Let it soak in the refrigerator overnight. 
6.     Enjoy!
You also want to make sure to use cold water. Hot water can make produce fall apart and compromise some of the nutrients. Also if you want an extra “vitamin boost”, feel free to eat the produce!

Unflavored sparkling water is equivalent to flat water. One of my favorite ways to have a “special drink” is to mix 1 part juice to 2 parts sparkling water. Have it over ice, with a slice of lime and an umbrella and you’re really feeling good!!

The Cancer Dietitian BOTTOM LINE: Drink water without added sweeteners (artificial or natural) most of the time. Have processed water drinks (sodas, diet sodas, “vitamin waters”, etc) 2 times a week or less. If you like a little flavor to your water, find ways to add flavor with fruits or vegetables!

Julie Lanford MPH, RD, CSO, LDN, is a member of Triage Cancer’s Speakers Bureau and wellness director for Cancer Services, a non-profit in Winston-Salem, NC. She is a registered dietitian, licensed nutritionist and a board certified specialist in oncology nutrition. Lanford developed www.CancerDietitian.com a healthy living web site for Cancer Services that translates evidence based nutrition guidelines into consumer friendly messages for everyday life.

Spring Recipe Series: Grilled Fruit Kabobs With Chocolate

As the days are getting longer and we enter into summer, we thought it was only appropriate to round out the Spring Recipe Series with this delicious creation from the one and only Pam Bruan!

This is a fun dessert to serve to company in the summer, and a great way to use the grill.
2 mangos, peeled and cut in1 inch pieces
2 bananas, peeled and cut in 1 inch chunks
2 peaches, cut in wedgesTriage Cancer Blog Fruit Kabob
1 cup cherries, pitted
½ fresh pineapple, cut in 1 inch chunks

Skewer fruit pieces randomly onto six 12 inch skewers. Place on a clean, medium-high, oiled grill and cook until fruit is soft and caramelized, about 5 minutes on each side.

Using a pot holder or oven glove, remove skewers and place on a large platter. Drizzle with the Melted Chocolate.

Serves 4

Melted Chocolate
1 cup dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao), cut into small pieces
Place the candy in the top pot of the double boiler and stir until the candy melts and becomes smooth. Be careful not to splash any water into the chocolate in the top of the double boiler or the chocolate will seize and become unusable.

Pam Braun is a late-stage, ten-year cancer survivor, and author of The Ultimate Anti-Cancer Cookbook.

DISCLAIMER: This article is intended to provide general information on the topics presented. It is provided with the understanding that the author is not engaged in rendering any legal, medical, or professional services by its publication or distribution. Although this content was reviewed by a professional, it should not be used as a substitute for professional services. Furthermore, Triage Cancer is not endorsing the organization(s) mentioned in any way.  

Spring Recipe Series: Grilled Marinated Artichokes with Garlic Dip

We cannot wait to try Pam Bruan’s latest creation.  Perfect for the warmer weather!

The little artichoke is an antioxidant giant! One of the highest ranked foods in antioxidants per serving.

3 large artichokes or 6 baby artichokes, trimmed and cleaned
¼ cup balsamic vinegarTriage Cancer Blog Artichoke
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Cover the bottom of a large pot with an inch of water and place the artichokes in the pot. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until artichokes are par-cooked. When done, remove from pot and allow to cool. Split in half lengthwise and remove hairy choke. Set aside.

Prepare marinade by whisking all the other ingredients in a bowl. Dip each artichoke half into the marinade and then place cut side down in a 9” x 13” baking dish. After all have been dipped, pour remaining marinade over them, cover, and allow to sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours to overnight.

Place artichokes on medium-hot grill. Cook for about 5-10 minutes on each side to create grill marks. Serve warm with Garlic Dip.

Serves 5-6

Garlic Dip
¼ cup nonfat sour cream
¼ cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon raw brown sugar
Pepper to taste
Whisk together and chill until ready to serve

Pam Braun is a late-stage, ten-year cancer survivor, and author of The Ultimate Anti-Cancer Cookbook.

DISCLAIMER: This article is intended to provide general information on the topics presented. It is provided with the understanding that the author is not engaged in rendering any legal, medical, or professional services by its publication or distribution. Although this content was reviewed by a professional, it should not be used as a substitute for professional services. Furthermore, Triage Cancer is not endorsing the organization(s) mentioned in any way.  

– See more at: http://triagecancer.org/blog/category/nutrition/recipe/#sthash.56gDHN13.dpuf

Spring Recipe Series: Tomato Herb Bisque

She’s back and once again she is making us hungry for lunch!  Big thanks to Pam Bruan for contributing the Spring Recipe Series!

The taste is gourmet, but the preparation couldn’t be simpler. Tomatoes are a carotene-rich food, and studies confirm that eating more carotene-rich foods will reduce not only your risk of cancer, but also your risks of heart disease, hypertension, and stroke.

2 (14-ounce) cans fat free chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, undrained
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, undrained
1 (15-ounce) can diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
¼ cup chopped curly parsley
¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 large red pepper, quartered
1 large orange pepper, quarteredTriage Cancer Blog Tomato Bisque
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons raw brown sugar
1 cup nonfat milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 small hot pepper, diced, seeds removed (optional)
Salt and pepper

This soup is a bit unusual, as it gets blended first, then cooked. All of the ingredients will not fit into one blender carafe, so you will have to fill twice. Place ½ of the broth, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, and red pepper into a blender and puree until the mixture is smooth (with hot pepper if desired). Pour into a soup pot.

Place the remaining broth, orange pepper, diced tomatoes, and crushed tomatoes, both types of parsley, basil, cilantro, garlic, oregano, and balsamic vinegar into blender and blend until mixture is smooth. Pour into soup pot. Add brown sugar. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

In a small cup, dissolve cornstarch in milk. Bring soup back up to a boil and slowly whisk in cornstarch mixture. Soup will thicken slightly. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Serves 6-8.

Pam Braun is a late-stage, ten-year cancer survivor, and author of The Ultimate Anti-Cancer Cookbook.

DISCLAIMER: This article is intended to provide general information on the topics presented. It is provided with the understanding that the author is not engaged in rendering any legal, medical, or professional services by its publication or distribution. Although this content was reviewed by a professional, it should not be used as a substitute for professional services. Furthermore, Triage Cancer is not endorsing the organization(s) mentioned in any way. 

Spring Recipes: Beet Salad

Our resident chef extraordinaire, Pam Braun, is back with a Spring Recipe Series. Check back for the next couple of weeks for even more wonderful recipes!

Most of us think of beets as red vegetables, but they also come in white and yellow Triage Cancer Blog Beet Salad(golden). I’ve included some golden beets in this recipe, but if you can’t find them, you can use all red beets instead. Red beets may prove to be a powerful cancer-fighting food. The pigment that gives beets their rich red color is betacyanin, and it’s been shown in several studies to be an effective cancer fighter.

2 large red beets
2 large golden beets
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
3 cups arugula
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Trim the tops and roots from the beets and wash the vegetables very well. Separate the golden beets from the red beets. Cut two large pieces of aluminum foil (large enough to fold over and seal beets in). Place the red beets in the center of one piece of foil and the golden beets in the center of the other piece of foil. Fold each piece of foil over and seal each packet so beets are tightly enclosed in the foil packets. Place the beet packets on a cookie sheet, and bake in the preheated oven until the beets are soft, about 1 hour.

Test if they are cooked by poking a beet, through the foil, with the top of a sharp knife. If the knife glides in smoothly, the beets are done. Remove from the oven and allow the beets to cool while still in foil. When the beets are cool enough to handle, open the foil packets carefully. Run the beets under cold water while rubbing them, and the skin will peel off easily. Still keeping the beets separate, slice the beets and place the red beets in a small bowl and the golden beets in another small bowl.

In another large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and mustard. Add the beets, basil, and walnuts and toss gently. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve on a bed of arugula.

Serves 3-4

Pam Braun is a late-stage, ten-year cancer survivor, and author of The Ultimate Anti-Cancer Cookbook.

DISCLAIMER: This article is intended to provide general information on the topics presented. It is provided with the understanding that the author is not engaged in rendering any legal, medical, or professional services by its publication or distribution. Although this content was reviewed by a professional, it should not be used as a substitute for professional services. Furthermore, Triage Cancer is not endorsing the organization(s) mentioned in any way. 

Food Safety for People with Cancer

By J’aime Moehlman, Triage Cancer Program Coordinator

Why is Food Safety Important?

With the holiday season fast approaching, we wanted to share some tips and guidelines on food safety, brought to you by the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

A common side effect of cancer treatment is a weakened immune system. To avoid foodborne illness caused by bacteria and other pathogens, be extremely careful when handling, preparing, and eating foods.

The Food Safety website describes the causes and symptoms of foodborne illness.

Handling and Preparing Food Safely

When you’re eating at home, remember that foods most likely to contain harmful bacteria or viruses fall into two categories:

  • Uncooked fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Animal products, specifically:
  • Unpasteurized (raw) milk
  • Raw or undercooked eggs
  • Raw meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish
  • Luncheon meats and deli salads

Always consult your doctor if you have questions about making food choices, and if you’re not sure of food in your refrigerator… When in doubt, throw it out!

It’s important to follow the Four Basic Steps to Food Safety:

Triage Cancer Blog Four Basic Steps to Food Safety

Because foodborne pathogens can be sneaky, and appear in food that looks completely fine—be sure that your food is always prepared and handled safely by following the Four Basic Steps to Food Safety!

  1. Clean—Wash your hands and surfaces often. Wash hands for at least 20 seconds in warm soapy water and wash or sanitize all surfaces that contact food.
  2. Separate—Don’t cross-contaminate different foods
  3. Cook—Always cook your food to safe temperatures, using a food thermometer to measure internal temperatures

Triage Cancer Blog Food Safety Tempatures

  1. Chill—Promptly refrigerate foods

Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, and other perishables within 2 hours of cooking or purchasing. Refrigerate within 1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90°F.

Shopping for Groceries

It is also important to become a better shopper when trying to avoid unsafe food. Carefully read food labels, check the “sell by” dates, put raw packaged meat into a plastic bag before you place it in the shopping cart, purchase only pasteurized milk and juices, purchase eggs in the shell from the refrigerated section, buy produce that is not bruised or damaged, and make sure canned goods are free of dents, cracks, or bulging. Another important tip is to pick up your perishable groceries last when shopping and then head directly home from the grocery store.

Smart Choices When Dining in Restaurants

Going out to dinner with friends and family can be a fun and rewarding experience. To avoid foodborne illness, be sure to ask questions and observe your food when it is served. Let your waiter or waitress know that you don’t want to eat foods containing raw meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, as well as sprouts. If you follow some basic rules for ordering food and make smart menu choices, you will greatly reduce your chances of getting a foodborne illness. When you order, ask if the food contains uncooked ingredients, how the foods have been cooked and to what temperature, and if you want to bring your leftovers home—refrigerate as soon as possible and always within 2 hours.

Foodborne Illness Action Plan

If you suspect you may have a foodborne illness, follow these guidelines:

  1. Contact your health care team, or seek medical treatment
  2. Often those undergoing treatment or who have cancer are at risk for severe infection
    • contact your physician if you have symptoms.
  3. Preserve the food
    • Label a portion of the suspected food “DANGER” and freeze it.
  4. Save all the packaging materials of suspected food or drink items
  5. Call your local health department if you believe you became ill from food at a restaurant

Resources:

Food Safety for People with Cancer—A need to know guide for those who have been diagnosed with cancer. U.S. Department of Agriculture & the Food and Drug Administration. 2011.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. www.foodsafety.gov. 2015.

Summer Recipe Series: Garlic Salad Pizza

For the final installment of our Summer Recipe Series – Pam Braun shares a wonderful recipe for Garlic Salad Pizza!

Ingredients
1 Whole Wheat Pizza Crust (see directions below)Garlic Salad Pizza
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons low-fat grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup shredded cheese (part-skim mozzarella, veggie, or soy)
Cornmeal for dusting
1 cup arugula greens
1 cup mixed salad greens
2 tomatoes, chopped
½ cucumber, sliced thinly
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and onion in a small skillet over a medium heat. Cook until onion is translucent. Stir in the garlic and set aside to cool.
Sprinkle a pizza paddle with a little cornmeal. Place the rolled out pizza dough onto the paddle or place pizza dough onto a cooling rack that is at least as large as the rolled out dough. Using the paddle, slide the dough directly onto the oven rack in the center of preheated oven, or place the cooling rack in the center of preheated oven. Cook until dough is slightly firm, about 3 minutes. This will allow you to easily slide the pizza off of the paddle or cooling rack once the toppings are on it.

When the dough is slightly firm, carefully remove from oven using the paddle or by removing the cooling rack. Do not turn oven off. Brush dough with remaining olive oil and evenly spread out the garlic/onion mixture over the dough, leaving a ½ inch border. Sprinkle with the two cheeses.

Place pizza back into oven. Continue to cook until the crust is crisp and the cheese melts, about 7-10 more minutes. Check occasionally. While pizza is cooking, in a medium bowl, toss together greens, tomatoes, cucumber, and basil. Dress with olive oil and vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.

Remove pizza from oven and top with salad. Cut with pizza cutter or large knife.

Serves 2

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

Ingredients
2 packages active dry yeast
¾ cup water (110-115 F.)
3½ cups white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons raw brown sugar
¾ cup nonfat or soy milk (110-115 F.)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Whole wheat flour for dusting
Cornmeal for rolling out 12 inch circle
Olive oil spray

Directions
Dissolve yeast in a small bowl with water. Allow to sit for10 minutes.

Place flour, raw brown sugar, and salt in a bowl and mix well (you can use a mixer with a dough hook or you can do it the old fashioned way, by hand). Slowly add milk, yeast, and oil while mixing, until dough comes together in a ball.

Sprinkle flour on table top and place dough on work surface. Knead until dough is smooth, about five minutes. Spray a large bowl with olive oil spray. Place dough in bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to sit in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about one hour.

Punch dough down, and allow to rise again, about 30 minutes.

Split dough into four balls. Each will make a 12 inch pizza. Sprinkle your work space with the cornmeal. Roll the dough out and stretch into a 12 inch circle. If you own a pizza paddle, sprinkle the paddle with cornmeal and transfer the rolled out dough onto it or place pizza dough on a cooling rack. You’re ready to start loading it up with the good stuff!

Makes four (12 inch) crusts

Pam Braun head shotPam Braun is a late-stage, ten-year cancer survivor, and author of The Ultimate Anti-Cancer Cookbook.

DISCLAIMER: This article is intended to provide general information on the topics presented. It is provided with the understanding that the author is not engaged in rendering any legal, medical, or professional services by its publication or distribution. Although this content was reviewed by a professional, it should not be used as a substitute for professional services. Furthermore, Triage Cancer is not endorsing the organization(s) mentioned in any way.  

Summer Recipe Series: Indian Spiced Cole Slaw

A big thanks to Pam Braun for providing some fantastic recipes!  Make sure to check out her other recipes for even more healthy and delicious dishes!Cole Slaw

This is a “quadruple hitter,” as it has 4 cancer fighters in it, cabbage, garlic, onions, and turmeric! It also has omega 3’s from the oil. Besides all of that, it tastes pretty darn good. Its interesting flavors make for a great side dish, or a first course salad.

Slaw Ingredients
2 cups red cabbage, shredded
2 cups green cabbage, shredded
1 small fennel bulb, shredded
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, shredded
½ cup raisins
1 large apple, diced
Salt and pepper

Sauce Ingredients
1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons canola oil or light olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon raw brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 tablespoons tahini sauce
1 tablespoon celery seed

Directions
In a large bowl, mix all of the slaw ingredients well. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients until blended. Add the sauce to the slaw ingredients and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve chilled.

This is even better if it sits in the refrigerator overnight so the flavors get a chance to
meld together. It lasts a week in the refrigerator and still tastes fresh.

Serves 4-6

Note: For a real gourmet treat, mix this cole slaw 50/50 with a garden salad and dress with olive oil and vinegar. Makes a terrific lunchtime salad!

Pam Braun head shotPam Braun is a late-stage, ten-year cancer survivor, and author of The Ultimate Anti-Cancer Cookbook.

DISCLAIMER: This article is intended to provide general information on the topics presented. It is provided with the understanding that the author is not engaged in rendering any legal, medical, or professional services by its publication or distribution. Although this content was reviewed by a professional, it should not be used as a substitute for professional services. Furthermore, Triage Cancer is not endorsing the organization(s) mentioned in any way.