Tag: fitfam

Food Allergy vs. Intolerance: Do you Know the Difference?

It seems like everyone has a food sensitivity these days. However, there is an increase in individuals who are self-diagnosing their food allergies and intolerances, or even worse, using a food sensitivity as an excuse to restrict important foods from their diet.

Researchers estimate that 32 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.6 million children under 18. However, an expert-led survey found that almost 50 million people THINK they have one. This number was after the survey’s strict criteria for labeling a food allergy as well as its exclusion of food intolerance symptoms from the study.

In order to determine whether someone truly has an issue with food it is important to first understand the distinction between a food sensitivity/intolerance and an allergy.
  • A food sensitivity (or intolerance) = a symptomatic response to a food that is usually caused by a digestive issue, such as not producing enough of a certain enzyme to properly break down a food. This can lead to symptoms such as: bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or gas, but is NOT an immune response. (i.e IBS or lactose intolerance)
  • A food allergy = an adverse immune response to a dietary protein within a food. Basically, the body thinks it is being harmed from the particular food and causes a range of symptoms from mild (rash or itch) to more severe, life-threatening reactions such as difficulty breathing/anaphylaxis. (i.e Celiac Disease or nut allergy)
The major difference is that with a food sensitivity/intolerance you may be able to eat small amounts of the problematic food without trouble or mild symptoms, whereas with a food allergy you may be at a risk of a life-threatening reaction.
If you suspect you have a problem with a particular food(s), it is best to see an allergist or gastroenterologist. Never self-diagnose or remove key foods from the diet without consulting a Registered Dietitian first.

Try 1 New Recipe Each Week

Since Covid 19 hit, almost everyone I have spoken to both personally and professionally have all told me the same thing, “I am cooking more than I ever have!”
With both limited restaurant options available as well as at-home working and schooling, we have been able to connect more with our kitchens than we previously had time or resources for. While I am so happy to see so many people put their chef hats on and learn new skills, the Catch 22 is that many of us are getting cooking burn-out.
One way to combat the cooking exhaustion is to make it a goal to find and try 1 new recipe a week. Thankfully, we have countless options available at our fingertips. These include: internet sites, Pinterest, Instagram, and Youtube. Not to mention, all of the paperback cookbooks and books that are available online.
By far, my favorite website for finding new recipes is: Epicurious. This website allows you to build recipes around a single ingredient, which is perfect for those who are wanting to try a new food but have no clue where to begin. You can filter by type of cuisine, dietary considerations, and type of cooking method. I also like the recipe comparison feature and the recipe rating system.
Another one of my favorites is Yummly. Some of the features require you to pay, however there are plenty of free recipes to choose from. The recipes are easy to read and follow and you can actually purchase all of the ingredients for a particular recipe directly from the website via Walmart, Ralph’s/Kroger, and Instacart. That to me is the coolest part!
America’s Test Kitchen is another great resource as are the Cooking Light and Eating Well websites. With the last two options be careful to review the recipe entirely as I have caught some that are listed as “Healthy” but were in fact not.
Whichever resource you choose, adding variety to your recipe library will help you “spice” things up (pun intended) in the kitchen and beat the cooking boredom.
Comment below with some other cookbooks, sites, or apps that you use to find new recipes.

Food Spotlight: Pears

With over 10 varieties to choose from in the U.S. and 3,000 varieties worldwide, pears are a perfect seasonal fruit for this time of year. Their crisp, soft texture and sweet taste make them versatile in many dishes.
History: The common pear is probably of European origin and has been cultivated since ancient times. The pear was introduced into the New World by Europeans as soon as the colonies were established.
Nutrition Profile: Pears are roughly 100 calories each and provide fiber, Vitamins C, K, potassium, copper and tons of antioxidants. One medium-sized pear provides 22% of your daily fiber needs. Pears contain a soluble fiber called pectin, which is a prebiotic that nourishes gut bacteria and improves gut health. Because they have a high water content, they also help keep stools soft while flush toxins from the digestive system. Pears, particularly the skin, contain a variety of polyphenols, which help fight against oxidative or cellular stress inside the body. Vitamins C, K, copper, and copper help reduce inflammation and protect against certain diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure, assists with muscle contraction, and promotes kidney function.
Additional Tips: Since several health benefits are found in the skin, so be sure to include the skin in your eating and preparation methods.
Healthy Recipe Ideas: They can be eaten on their own, cut up onto a salad, made into a sauce, jam, or spread, baked into a dessert, mixed in with alcoholic drinks, topped onto a crostini, or roasted with vegetables. Popular cooking methods include roasting and poaching. They pair well with chicken, spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, cheeses like Gouda and brie, and ingredients like lemon and chocolate.