Is Your Salad Making You Fat?

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Salads aren't always healthy.

Sure a bed of greens and chopped vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals. But, have you ever taken a closer look at all those salad toppings you pile on?

Beware of These 4 Calorie-Heavy Salad Toppings

  1. Croutons: These crispy chunks of dried bread add minimal nutrition and lots of calories to your salad. Instead try adding a sprinkle of equally crunchy almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds to add texture to the salad.
  2. Dressing: A drizzle of ranch or dollop of blue cheese dressing is just fine. But when your salad bowl looks like soup, you're simply using too much dressing. Experiment with non-creamy dressings like flavored vinaigrettes if you like a lot of extra added flavor.
  3. Cheese: I was shocked when I found out a serving of cheese is the size of two dice. Really? That's tiny! It's easy to sprinkle up to 200 calories and a day's worth of sodium on an entree-size salad without much thought. If you can't part with this dairy topping, opt for lower-sodium cheeses such as whole-milk mozzarella, sliced Swiss and crumbly goat cheese.
  4. Dried Fruit: Skip the raisins, dried cherries and dried cranberries preserved with extra sugar. Use fresh whole fruits like sliced grapes, strawberries or pears instead. You'll use less (since the chunks are bigger) and consume fewer calories.
The takeaway? Enjoy anything you want on your salad, but in moderation. If you're going to use half a bottle of dressing or a cup of dried fruit, you might as well skip the salad altogether and just order pizza.

So, what healthy salad toppings do you enjoy?

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

Gluten-Free Food for Life Brown Rice Tortilla Review

I'm always on the lookout for delicious gluten-free bread products. I was thrilled when my local grocery store started carrying wheat-free, gluten-free Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas.

 Finally, I could give corn taco shells and tostadas a rest and enjoy a soft taco or burrito. But, would the rice flour tortilla be as good as a wheat-based tortilla? Here's my opinion.

Tortilla quesadilla for lunch!

What do Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas taste like?
My first impression of these tortillas was positive. I used them to make a quick tortilla pizza piled high with tomato sauce, cheese and vegetables. The grainy flavor of the tortillas blended well with the Italian meal. Although the tortillas have a distinct rice flavor, the taste isn't overpowering.

What is the texture of the gluten-free tortillas?
One of the first things I notice about gluten-free pastas and breads is the texture. Many are crumbly, hard or extremely dense. Once loaf of bread I tried in the past was so dense melted butter couldn't even penetrate the bread when toasted.

I was skeptical when I tried these tortillas. But, surprisingly these tortillas are relatively soft. When taking a bite of a plain tortilla, the texture is chewy but soft. If you fold one burrito style, it cracks and tears.

What are the best ways to use these brown rice tortillas?
My favorite way to eat Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas is by keeping them flat. They are great for making quesadillas, a flat sandwich cut into quarters or as a base for gluten-free pizza.

If you want to fold or bend the tortillas, prepare to bake them with sauce and eat the meal with a fork. Although I haven't tried it yet, I think these tortillas would be great in a baked enchilada recipe or cut into strips and fried for a gluten-free salad topping.

Are these tortillas healthy?
According to the Food for Life website, these brown rice tortillas are kosher and made from sprouted grains. These tortillas include whole grain brown rice flour, filtered water, tapioca flour, safflower oil, rice bran, vegetable gum (xanthan, cellulouse) and sea salt.

Since they are a source of whole grains, these tortillas are healthier than other brands of tortillas made with bleached wheat flour.

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

Note: This article was originally written and published by myself on Yahoo! Voices on March 12, 2012.

Help Me Eat Gluten Free and Vegetarian in Las Vegas

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Next week I'm headed to sunny Las Vegas for the New Media Expo.

Thousands of content creators including bloggers, podcasters, video producers and marketers are gathering to listen to seminars, stroll the exhibit halls and network with potential clients.

And I'm nervous as heck.

No, not about the conference or meeting people. I'm not sure what I'm going to eat!

I follow a vegetarian diet by choice (since 1998) and have to eat gluten-free due to a gluten intolerance backed by multiple blood tests.

So, dear reader, I am asking for help.

Have you been to Las Vegas? Did you notice which restaurants are gluten-free friendly and have vegetarian options? I'm working on compiling a list of possible places to eat during my week-long stay.

I'd be especially grateful for suggestions in or near the Las Vegas Convention Center.

If you have ideas, feel free to comment below, message me on Facebook or send an email to angela.tague(at)yahoo.com.

Me and my digestive system thank you!

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

Can Honey Cure Seasonal Allergies?

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I’ve heard over and over that if you eat locally produced honey or bee pollen, you can minimize the discomfort from seasonal pollen and tree allergies.

But, is it true?

I decided it was time to put on my researcher hat and dig up some information.

What Honey Can (And Can’t) Do
After doing lots of reading, the honey cure isn’t backed by much credible evidence.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, “There is no scientific proof that eating local honey will improve seasonal allergies. One study, published in 2002 in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, showed no difference among allergy sufferers who ate local honey, commercially processed honey, or a honey-flavored placebo.”

However, honey is a healthy, whole foods sweetener that offers other health benefits.

Dr. Brent A. Bauer with the Mayo Clinic explains on the clinic’s website that honey does work as a cough suppressant and has anti-inflammatory characteristics, which might help an allergy sufferer temporarily.

A Word of Caution for Allergy Sufferers
Since raw honey does contain small amounts of pollen, mold spores and bacteria (which are usually filtered out by commercial processing methods), consuming natural unprocessed honey may cause an allergic response in sensitive individuals.

“The ingestion of unprocessed honey can result in an immediate allergic reaction involving the mouth, throat, or skin - such as itching, hives or swelling - or even anaphylaxis. Such reactions may be related to either pollen or bee part contaminants,” according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

So, should you eat honey if you have strong seasonal allergies? It’s best to talk with your allergist or family physician.

Do you know of any natural remedies to lessen the symptoms of seasonal outdoor allergies? I have a hubby and a few friends who would love to know what works for you! Please share your ideas in the comments below.

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Whole Foods Living

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