Food facts you may not have known

One day in the communal office mini-kitchen, I received a cooking lesson. There’s no stove in our kitchen; just an ice machine, sink, two microwaves and a refrigerator that holds the leftover meals most of us bring to reheat for lunch. It’s not a place I’d expect a quick lesson in cooking.

My lesson came from a coworker, a uniquely qualified individual who was a licensed dietitian who transitioned into marketing. The topic that day was buttermilk, which I had considered a healthy substitute for heavy cream. True, but buttermilk contains a high level of sodium. Licensed-dietitian-turned-marketer’s tip: make your own buttermilk, using regular milk with lemon.

Here are a few other ways to create homemade buttermilk.

Now I was hooked.  Here are some other practical tips from dietitians:

  • Forget the jarred spaghetti sauce. It’s packed full of sodium and added sugar. Instead, sauté fresh, chopped tomatoes in olive oil with Italian herbs and garlic.
  • Strive to eat five fruits and vegetables per day, and eat your fruit— don’t drink it.  Fruits and veggies have a lot of fiber that helps to fill you up without adding a lot of extra calories.
  • Avoid bacon and other breakfast meats to eliminate unnecessary fat and sodium.
  • Cut out soft drinks from your diet.  One 20-ounce bottle of soda has as many calories as an order of fast-food chicken nuggets, with 4 tablespoons of added sugar.  In addition, they offer no benefit in terms of vitamins, minerals, or important nutrients.
  • I will not eat canned meat.  It’s full of unnecessary sodium and looks and smells interesting.
  • If you want to be healthy, it is advantageous to eat more healthy foods and fewer unhealthy foods.  I have no desire to ever eat a pork rind.  Why?  The calories, unhealthy fat and sodium content, and lack of fiber, basically make them of ”no known redemptive value.”
  • If you are dehydrated, expect low energy and possibly muscle cramps. One of the best ways to decrease physical hunger and get the willpower to eat healthy is to sleep 7-8 hours a night. It’s hard to eat healthy when you’re sleep deprived.
  • Avoid added sugar as much as possible, as it can lead to insulin resistance, inflammation and chronic disease. But you should not replace sugar with artificial sweeteners, which train your brain to crave sweets and can interfere with normal metabolism, leading to weight gain.

About the author

Susan Hall
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Susan joined Baylor many years ago when Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas was the only Baylor facility in the area. When not at work, she’s outside – Big Bend National Park is her favorite with Glacier National Park a close second.

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Food facts you may not have known