Monday, July 30, 2012

In The News: High Dietary Antioxidant Intake Might Cut Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Increasing DIETARY intake of vitamins C, E and selenium could possibly reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to two thirds according to new research published in the journal Gut by UK investigators from the Universities of Cambridge and East Anglia, Norfolk arm of the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC) study. (The European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC) is a large multi-centre cohort study looking at the connection between diet and cancer. EPIC-Norfolk is part of this Europe-wide program).

The researchers followed the health of more than 23,500 40 to 74 year olds, who had entered the Norfolk arm of the EPIC study between 1993 and 1997, all the participants completed detailed food diaries as part of the study.  According to the summary published in Science Daily: "The analysis showed that a weekly intake of selenium in the top 25% of consumption roughly halved their risk of developing pancreatic cancer compared with those whose intake was in the bottom 25%.
And those whose vitamins C, E, and selenium intake was in the top 25% of consumption were 67% less likely to develop pancreatic cancer than those who were in the bottom 25%.
If the link turns out to be causal, that would add up to the prevention of more than one in 12 (8%) of pancreatic cancers, calculate the authors. Antioxidants may neutralize the harmful by-products of metabolism and normal cell activity -- free radicals -- and curb genetically programmed influences, as well as stimulating the immune system response, explain the authors."

This is exciting news because pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly cancers, often with a very serious prognosis, so if simple dietary measures could be taken to aid in its prevention this could be a tremendous help!  It's important to note that this was a cohort/observational study so more research needs to be done to prove a causal association.  Also a key thing to note is that the research pointing to prevention may be through diet NOT supplements.  Other studies investigating antioxidant supplements have not produced such successful results, possibly because food sources of these nutrients may behave differently from those found in supplements scientists report.

Food sources of selenium include turkey, chicken and tuna, so try my Easy Chicken Cacciatore, Grilled Vegetable and Chicken Kabobs and Tasty Turkey Salad recipes to get a healthy dose. Sunflower seeds and oats are a good source of selenium AND sunflower seeds provide vitamin E so make my Simple Sunflower Bars recipe to get these nutrients in at snack time.  Other nuts like almonds and hazelnuts also provide a decent amount of vitamin E, so have a side of my Almond Cranberry Rice with your meal. Vitamin C is plentiful in citrus fruits and red peppers, as well as broccoli and strawberries so choosing to prepare my Spinach and Strawberry Salad, Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad, Creamy Red Pepper and Tomato Sauce or Snappy Stuffed Peppers will be sure to put some in your daily diet!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cornflake Energy Bites

These easy prep refrigerator cookie treats are a great pick me up for a snack or mini-dessert!


½ cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter (I used Trader Joes salted crunchy)
¼ cup pure maple syrup or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup dried cranberries
1.5 cups cornflakes, crushed


In a medium bowl combine the peanut butter, maple syrup or honey and vanilla extract and mix well.  Stir in the cranberries and cornflakes and continue to mix until well incorporated. Form into balls and place onto wax/parchment paper or a container lightly coated with cooking spray and refrigerate for at least one hour.  Store in the fridge in an airtight container.
Makes 16 bites, 16 servings

Serving size: 1 bite Calories 80 Protein 2 g Carb  8 g Fiber 1 g Sugars 5 g Fat 4 g Saturated fat < 1 g Sodium  50 mg


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Zucchini Caprese Salad- Recipe ReDux Post # 3

I hope you all enjoyed last week’s summer squash “noodles” tutorial, now on to some recipes using them as promised! This has easily become one of my favorite salads and when the Recipe ReDux challenge for July was unveiled to be “No Cook Meals” I was so excited to share this recipe as one of mine.  My husband loves it to and my toddler will even eat it on occasion.  I have enjoyed using the zucchini “noodles” cooked as a pasta substitute so much that it had never occurred to me to try them cold.  One warm evening I decided to test my luck with using them raw in a salad and this recipe was born. It is a great refreshing ow calorie side dish that can even be made a meal topped with some white beans, tuna or chicken- like my Simple Grilled Garlic Chicken. Try it and some of these other awesome no cook recipes by the talented bloggers from the Recipe ReDux Clan
2 cups zucchini “noodles”(check out how to make those HERE)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 sticks low fat string cheese sliced into 1/4 inch think rounds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
a dash garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
Toss all the above in a medium sized bowl and serve.  Chill if not serving immediately
Makes 6 servings
Serving size, a little over ½ cup: Calories 45 Protein 1 g Carb 2g Fiber 0 g Sugars 1 g Fat 4.5  g Saturated fat <1 g Sodium  0 mg 

Variations: This salad is also great topped with 1-2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese or even without any cheese (if you want to drop the Caprese theme and go non-dairy!)
You can also sub in any of your favorite light vinaigrette or Italian dressing in place of the olive oil/lemon. I have enjoyed this salad topped with Trader Joe’s fat free balsamic vinaigrette


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer Squash Noodles

Using summer squash as "noodles” is a delicious, low calorie, vitamin rich and gluten-free alternative to pasta! They can be used raw or cooked and are extremely easy to make.  This post will show you how to make them and I will be posting a few awesome recipes in the coming weeks to give some additional serving ideas.

Ingredients/What you’ll need:

Zucchini or yellow squash


A julienne peeler (or regular peeler if N/A).  I have one made by Kuhn Rikon which is great. The peeled squash comes out like thin spaghetti. 

If you use a regular peeler the squash will be more like wide egg noodles.


Wash the squash well, then cut about a ½  inch off the top and the bottom.

Peel the squash lengthwise (like you would a carrot) using the julienne peeler or regular peeler,

Try to peel as much off as possible, once the seeded middle is hit is usually when you may get some resistance and will stop.  (You can dice the peeled, seeded  middles up into cubes to put in an omelette, stir fry or try some in my zucchini homefries recipe!)

One medium squash will make about 2 cups of “noodles.”   And that’s all there is to  it!  Use in place of pasta or raw on salad.

The “noodles cook very quickly” in a pan, about 3-6 min.  You can serve them with your favorite sauce (pasta style), simply dressed with a bit of olive oil, fresh herbs and parmesan cheese or even cold topped with your favorite salad dressing.  Try them!!!!!


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Grilled Cilantro Chicken

A unique grilled chicken recipe, great for 4th of July or any summer BBQ!

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 4 medium sized)
1-2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce 
(use a gluten-free brand such as San-J if you are on a gluten free diet)
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon brown sugar
a dash red of pepper flakes (optional)
To make the marinade: In a small bowl whisk together the cilantro, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic powder, brown sugar (and red pepper).  Add the chicken and the marinade to a large ziplock bag or Tupperware container and toss to evenly coat the chicken.  Marinate in the fridge for 3- 6 hours.  When ready to grill: Discard the marinade  Preheat a large nonstick pan or barbeque grill and cook on high heat for 10-12 minutes each side until no longer pink in the center.
Makes 4 servings:

Serving size: 1 chicken breast Calories 170  Protein 25 g Carb 1 g Fiber 0 g Sugars 1 g Fat 6 g saturated fat 1g Sodium  90 mg


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