August 3, 2013 by Johanna Burani
National Farmer’s Market Week 2013 – August 4-10
Living in the northeastern part of the United States, a designated parking lot in my small city becomes sacred ground every Sunday from June through October. This is when our neighborhood is visited by farmers throughout my state, New Jersey (the Garden State), selling their gorgeous, full-of-life produce. I go each week and stock up on luscious fruits and vegetables, mostly organic, always freshly picked. Here’s what my “low glycemic index” eyes find:
Vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, summer squash, onions, garlic, peppers, scallions, lettuces, corn, green beans
Herbs: basil, chives, thyme, marjoram, parsley, mint, sage, oregano, rosemary, dill
Fruits: peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, blackberries, cherries
All of the above foods have GI values ranging from 0-62, in other words, very low to moderate values. What does this mean in terms of impacting blood glucose levels? It means the body receives a slow, steady flow of energy for several hours in the amount the body is requesting at the time. And what does that mean? It means feeling good, no hunger, no cravings, no highs, no lows – just a feel-good steady state of energy until the next meal or snack. This, in turn, can translate over time into good glycemic control, weight management, an improved cardiac profile and extended stamina throughout the day.
So, pick up your reusable shopping tote and visit your local farmer’s market while it’s in your neighborhood. I hope you will thank the farmers for the hard work and dedication they have to their excellent, wholesome produce. Your body is surely thanking you with each low glycemic swallow!
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May 10, 2013 by Johanna Burani
My husband, Sergio, grew up in post-World War II war-torn northern Italy. Food was not plentiful but fresh eggs were always available for consumption, though not in excess. His family, like most other families in the neighborhood, owned 1 or 2 hens that they could always rely on for an evening’s meal. Sergio ate this at least once a week back then. He loves to make this recipe – for the good taste and for the good memories.
April 3, 2013 by Johanna Burani
This recipe is not of Italian origin. It came to me from Ireland during a culinary conversation with a fabulous Thai chef while we were visiting good friends in Bankok more than 20 years ago. This chef, Boonraud Poonruang, fondly called “Pao,” made this soup while previously working in Ireland. Pao recently left this life and it is in tribute to her that I share her recipe, just at a time when this year’s crop of asparagus is starting to show up in Italian markets. keep reading »
March 20, 2013 by Johanna Burani
Good – Better – Best!
Here are three breakfast meals. The Cheerios breakfast is good : it contains no saturated or trans fats and provides some protein, vitamins and minerals. The Raisin Bran breakfast is better: in addition to the nutrients in the Cheerios meal, it adds a wider variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as more fiber. The scrambled egg with rye toast breakfast is the best: it is naturally nutrient-dense and produces a naturally low glycemic response.
Calorically these meals are equal to each other. GI-wise they are not: 60 (moderate) for the Cheerios meal, 52 (low) for the Raisin Bran meal, 49 (low) for the egg and rye toast meal.
The most dramatic difference is in the glycemic loads: 30 (high) for the Cheerios meal, 25 (high) for the Raisin Bran meal and 16 (low) for the eggs and rye toast meal. Glycemic load (GL) measures how high glucose will rise in our blood after eating a specific amount of a specific type of carbohydrate. In these three breakfasts, the amount of carbohydrate was identical; it was the type of carbohydrate that made the difference.
What does “glycemic load” actually mean in day-to-day living terms?
1 GL unit = 1 gram of glucose entering the bloodstream.
So, in day-to-day living terms, the amounts of sugar released into the blood after eating these three breakfasts are:
CHEERIOS 30 grams or 7 1/2 teaspoons
RAISIN BRAN 25 grams or 6 1/4 teaspoons
EGGS + RYE TOAST 16 grams or 4 teaspoons
Good. Better. Best!
Some other good carb breakfast ideas:
- old fashioned/steel cut oats cooked in low fat/fat free milk, sliced peaches or berries, with a sprinkle of chopped nuts and cinnamon
- rye toast with natural peanut butter and all-fruit jam
- melted low fat cheese and low salt ham sandwich on pumpernickel
- 0% fat Greek yogurt, Bran Buds, sliced pears or blueberries, with a sprinkle of chopped nuts and cardamom
- fruit smoothie made with fat free yogurt and/or fat free milk, frozen cherries or berries, vanilla, cocoa powder
Tomorrow’s breakfast – will it be good, better, or best?
March 1, 2013 by Johanna Burani
Leave it to the Italians to take the humdrum vegetables that everybody has been eating all winter long and ZAP! them with shout-in-your-mouth flavor. What a combination of well groomed flavors! Feel free to adjust the dressing seasonings to appease your personal palate. And, if you find a little excess dressing pooling in your plate, do what the Italians do – soak up every last drop with a piece of fresh crusty Italian bread! keep reading »
February 25, 2013 by Johanna Burani
On February 21, 2013 the New York Times reported on a recent study about obesity in the United States. It was conducted by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. The time frame under scrutiny was from 1999 to 2010. The results of this study are the most current numbers we can put to the obesity crisis in America.
The bad news is that one third of American adults are obese and 15% of American children and adolescents are too.
The good news is that the adult obesity stats are plateauing and adults are consuming fewer fast food calories. More good news is that kids are eating fewer calories every day (75-150) than 10 years ago. This is a good match given the general physical inactivity of the average American young person.
We still have a long way to go to improve our nation’s weight status statistics but seeing even some improvements is a cause to cheer. At least we’re pointed in the right direction. We just need to stay focused and unwavering in our collective desire to feel good – better – best.
And here comes the very good news: Including low glycemic (GI) carbs in our daily diet helps keep us feeling full longer and having more sustained energy throughout the day. This is the perfect metabolic set-up to eat fewer calories and enjoy wholesome foods while working on those extra pounds.
So what are some low GI carbs to try right away? What do you think about rye or sourdough bread, old fashioned oats, a homemade strawberry smoothie, or al dente pasta, maybe some lentil soup or a bean salad, apples, pears, cherries or berries? All of these are low GI carbs that will keep you feeling full and energetic for hours after your meal. You can also click on the “Recipes” tab on this website for some great-tasting, wholesome low GI dishes. You may be surprised at what you find there!