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Natural Health Newsletter Brought to you by Diets in 

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems”

Fall is my favorite season and we are also in that exciting time of year when the holidays are nearing. You can almost feel the electricity in the air change and if I had it my way, my house would be decorated just after Halloween. A bit early you might say but I love celebrating all that leads up to time with family and friends, which also means lots of parties and lots of temptations with both food and drink.

To keep your health and diet in check this holiday season avoid indulging in all the sweets that present themselves but, of course, allow yourself a few treats in moderation. Do be careful when grazing over a variety of desserts as many small bites can add up quickly. Most important, have fun this year and remember that the best part is spending time with the people you love.

Best in Health!

How to read labels on packaged goods

The "Nutrition Facts" listed on the back of almost all packaged food is provided in order for you to know all the specific ingredients and nutrients in the food you are purchasing. The items typically listed include fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Reading these labels can be confusing but more often than that they can also be misleading if not read correctly. Below are the top areas to concentrate on:

Serving Size: This is one of the most important areas to pay attention to as most food packages contain more than 1 serving and therefore the nutritional facts should be multiplied. For example, if a package has 3 servings then in order to get a full calorie count you will need to triple what is listed on the packaging. Upon quick glance, 250 calories may not seem overly high, but by eating the full package you have actually eaten 750 calories!

Ingredient listing:: Each packaged good should account for all ingredients listed from largest to smallest amount (by weight). When reading the label of a potential purchase and the first ingredient listed is sugar, that product is better left on the shelf rather than in your shopping cart.

Allergens: In January 2006, the USDA mandated that products clearly identify if any of the top 8 allergens are contained in all packaged goods. These allergens are milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. Typically these ingredients are written in bold letters at the bottom of the ingredient list.

Calories and Fat: The number of calories listed on a packaged good is based on one individual serving size. This is also where you will find the listing of fat per serving. You want to limit your total fat intake (bad fat vs. good fat like nuts, healthy oils and avocado) to no more than 55-80 grams a day, so paying attention to this number and the serving size is key.

Nutrients/Vitamins: This area lists the daily amount, based on government recommendations, for each nutrient in the food package, which is usually based on a 2,000 calorie diet. The goal is to reach 100% in each of the healthy nutrient areas (Fiber, Vitamin A, Calcium, Vitamin C, Iron, etc.) to meet your daily needs. For fat, saturated fat, trans-fat and cholesterol, choose foods with a very low % Daily Value. As mentioned above, fat should be no more than 55-80 grams, saturated fat should be less than 15 grams, less than 275mg of cholesterol and zero trans-fat.

Reading and interpreting labels can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but start opening your cupboards and checking out the labels to see what you may learn about the food you are eating. You’ll be surprised at what you discover with what you currently have on your shelves. A few last quick tips:

  • Your diet may require more or less than 2,000 calories, so it’s important to keep this in mind when evaluating the information on the labels
  • When doing a quick scan of a product, a good rule of thumb is that 100 calories per serving is a moderate amount, while 350-400 calories per serving is considered quite high
  • If the product has a thick paragraph of ingredients and/or ingredients you can’t pronounce or haven’t heard of, you most likely don’t want to be eating it

Recipe of the Month: Roasted Curry Cauliflower

Roasted cauliflower is one of my favorite side dishes with dinner, and with the addition of the curry and mustard flavoring, this will make a tasty dish for your Thanksgiving dinner or any upcoming meal!

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon curry powder (add more if you enjoy a stronger curry flavoring)
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 large head cauliflower (1 1/2- 2 pounds), cut into florets
  • Non-stick cooking spray (I prefer an olive oil cooking spray)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, mix together oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry powder, and salt
  3. Add the cauliflower and mix until fully coated with the curry mixture
  4. Spray a baking sheet with the non-stick cooking spray and lay out cauliflower evenly in a single layer
  5. Roast cauliflower for about 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned on bottom and tender when pierced

In the News

Self magazine just released their top healthiest cities in the U.S. for women. Take a look to see if your city made the list and what these cities have done to become the healthy models the rest of the country could use. Healthiest U.S. cities

Giving Back

The holiday season can feel extra hard on kids in need not knowing if Santa is going to find them this year. Each year my husband and I make it a point to provide secret Santa gifts to deserving children in the hopes of bringing smiles and cheer into their lives during this magical time of year. There are so many ways to give of yourself, and one organization that I really like is non-profit pairs individuals with local toy drives that need your support and care. Please visit their site and if you have any other great charities to share, please send a note to me at [email protected] and I will feature in an upcoming issue.

Action Items

  • Check out the products that are lining the shelves in your own kitchen and read their labels. If they don't follow the guidelines provided in this month's article then it's time to make some different choices for what makes it into your shopping cart
  • Sign up for your very own secret Santa this year by visiting to find those children in need in your area
  • Check out the blog for the latest in health and fitness

Weekly Articles

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Also, if there is something you are interested in learning more about or would like me to feature in an upcoming newsletter please contact me.

Eat, Live Laugh newsletters are intended for overall general wellness. If you have condition specific concerns please feel free to contact me.