In a medium-size saucepan heat olive oil, onions, and garlic over medium-low heat until fragrant and translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the pumpkin purée, thyme, cumin, ginger, and ground pepper. Heat over medium heat stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add vegetable broth and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 additional minutes. Remove pot from heat and stir in maple syrup and heavy cream. Using an immersion blender purée soup until it reaches your desired consistency. If you don’t have an immersion blender let the soup cool for 10 minutes then transfer contents to a food processor or blender. After the soup is puréed only heat contents on low heat, so it doesn’t boil. The cream separates if the liquid gets too hot. Serve the soup warm with pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top.
There are several types of diabetes, but the most common are Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes.
-Type 1 can occur in anyone at any age. It happens when the body does not produce insulin. Usually the body would break down carbohydrates that you have eaten in food and use that for energy. Then it uses insulin, which is a hormone, to get those nutrients into the cells. Type 1 is managed with insulin therapy along with a healthy diet and exercise.
– Type 2 diabetes is more common, and it is when your body cannot use the insulin correctly. Sometimes this disease can be managed with a healthy diet and exercise, but for others, medication and insulin therapy are needed. The key component of managing this disease is exercise. It does not matter how you get started but you have to get up and start moving!
-Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. The exact cause is not known on why some women develop it and others do not. One theory concludes that the hormones of the placenta prevent the mother’s insulin from working correctly and make it more difficult for her body to use it properly, which is called insulin resistance. Another theory is that the mother’s body cannot produce enough insulin it needs throughout the pregnancy. This causes glucose to be unable to leave the blood and convert to energy; a buildup called hyperglycemia. Treatments for this type of diabetes include individualized meal plans, exercise, and sometimes daily blood sugar testing and insulin injections.
No matter what kind of diabetes you or a loved one may have, it is important to remember that you are not alone and that there are treatment options available that will allow you to live a long, happy and healthy life.
Take this quick test from the American Diabetes Association to see if you or a loved one is at risk for developing diabetes:
The foods you eat not only affect your overall health, but those foods also play a part in your oral health. Sugary snacks and beverages can lead to tooth decay, which according to the American Dental Association is the most common chronic childhood disease, but it is completely preventable. Tooth decay occurs when plaque comes into contact with sugar and causes a reaction which leads to acid attacking the teeth. Some common sources of sugar in the diet are found in soft drinks, candy, and desserts.
The American Dental Association also suggests reducing the number of snacks you eat during the day, and if you do have a snack pick something that is healthy such as a fruit, vegetable, whole grain products, yogurt or cheese. The food that you eat during a meal causes less harm than foods eaten for a snack because more saliva is released while eating a meal. The saliva helps wash the foods from the mouth and reduces the effects of the acids.
They also recommend brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily and visit the dentist regularly. It’s important to remember that with good personal discipline for practicing good oral hygiene practices and choosing healthier food choices, you can prevent tooth decay from ever occurring.
Nutrition for strong and healthy teeth
Calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus all play a vital role in the formation and maintenance of healthy teeth and gums in both children and adults. Calcium plays a role in building strong bones and teeth, however, calcium needs phosphorus to maximize its bone strengthening benefits. Vitamin D regulates the body’s balance of calcium and phosphorus, and can promote absorption. Vitamin D can also help to decrease inflammation of gums which is associated with periodontal (gum) disease. A healthy diet is essential for healthy teeth. Below are foods that contain calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus.
Calcium – Dairy foods such as cheese and yogurt, Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, collard greens, and broccoli, spinach, white beans, sardines, and calcium-fortified orange juice.
Vitamin D – Natural sunlight, vitamin D-fortified milk, eggs, some cereals, oily fish (tuna, sardines etc), mushrooms.
Phosphorus – protein-rich foods such as meats, poultry, fish, nuts, beans and dairy products and whole grains.
Fruits and vegetables are important for a well-balanced and healthy diet. They contain key vitamins and minerals that your body needs to be able to function properly.
According to the CDC, only 1 out of 10 adults get enough fruits and vegetables every day. That means that most people are missing out on the essential nutrients and fiber that these foods can provide. The CDC also stated that 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in United States are from chronic diseases and by consuming a diet that has higher amounts of fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of developing these diseases. Some of those diseases include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and obesity.
Each color of a fruit or vegetable tells a lot about what that produce item contains. All fruits and vegetables contain many nutrients, but the color gives a hint of the key nutrients. Make sure to try and eat as many different colors as possible to ensure you are getting enough of all of the nutrients that your body needs. Below is a quick summary of what each color means for fruits and vegetables.
Red – contains Vitamins A & C, manganese and antioxidants. Aides in heart health. Foods: tomatoes, red peppers, beets, red apples, red potatoes, grapefruit, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon
Orange – contains Vitamins C, A & B6, potassium, folate and antioxidants. Aides in eye health. Foods: carrots, orange peppers, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, oranges, peaches
Yellow – contains Vitamins C, A & B6, potassium, folate and antioxidants. Aides the immune system health. Foods: yellow peppers, squash, bananas, cantaloupe, pineapple
Green – Contains Vitamin K, B vitamins, folate, potassium and antioxidants. Aides in strong bones and teeth. Foods: broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, green peppers, dark leafy greens, peas, green beans, zucchini, avocados, kiwi, green apples, pears
Blue & Purple – Contains B vitamins and antioxidants. Aides in memory. Foods: eggplant, red onions, purple cabbage, purple potatoes, blueberries, blackberries, plums
White – Contains Vitamins C & K, folate, potassium and antioxidants. Aides in immune system health, and healthy eye, skin, bones. Foods: cauliflower, garlic, jicama, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, turnips, potatoes, rutabagas
Wellness is a term that can encompass things such as mediation, exercise, making time for friends and family, or just your general lifestyle. Whether you are just starting your wellness journey, or you are trying to refine some aspects, everyone can improve parts of their life to live a healthier and more fulfilling life. One important aspect of wellness is nutrition; the things you eat today will not only affect your overall life now but also help improve your quality of life in the future. Here are some key features of a healthy diet.
Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables: set a goal to include at least one fruit or vegetable into each meal and snack.
Remember to eat high fiber foods: high fiber foods are whole grains, many fruits and vegetables, beans and split peas.
Limit the number of sugary beverages and foods: exchange sodas, sweet tea and other high calorie drinks for water, unsweet tea, and low calories drinks.
Go for the whole grain options: whole grain options include cereals, pasta, bread, brown rice, oatmeal and popcorn.
Make sure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D.
Drink alcohol in moderation.
Slow down while eating, the faster you eat the more calories you tend to consume.
Make sure you are consuming enough water.
Remember to exercise- start with small changes, like taking the stairs, park your car at the end of the parking lot, take a daily walk or do simple exercises during commercials while watching TV (try sit ups, jumping jacks or lunges).
A consistent, healthy diet rarely happens overnight so try to incorporate small changes at a time and continue to add them to achieve an overall healthier lifestyle. Wellness is about making yourself feel the absolute best and by improving your diet, you will begin to feel better. It can help reduce chronic disease risk for your future.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that your body must get from other sources. It is naturally found in a few foods; some products may be fortified to contain vitamin D or there are also supplements. According to the National Institutes of Health, some foods that have vitamin D are:
Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna or mackerel
Fortified orange juice
The majority of our vitamin D actually comes from when our bodies convert the UV-B light from the sun into vitamin D. According to the National Institutes of Health, it is recommended that we get at least 5-30 minutes of sun exposure between the times of 10 am and 3 pm at least twice a week. Although we need sun exposure to make vitamin D, it is also important to be safe while outside and not be over exposed to the UV light because of the dangers it can do to your skin and health such as skin cancer.
Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium and helps maintain the calcium and phosphate concentrations in our bodies. It is also necessary for bone growth and remodeling. Other roles that vitamin D plays in the body are: cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function as well as decreasing inflammation. If you do not consume enough vitamin D, it can lead to some very serious health concerns. A deficiency of vitamin D can cause brittle and thin bones which can increase the risk of fractures and in older adults it can lead to osteoporosis. In children with a deficiency in vitamin D, it can cause rickets which is a very serious condition where there are weak, soft bones, stunted growth and even skeletal deformities.
Vitamin D is a very important nutrient that we need to make sure we are consuming adequate amounts of to protect us from these dangerous conditions as well as help prevent the formation of these diseases in the future.
Summer not only brings warmer weather and fun outdoor activities; it is also a great time to take advantage of the in-season fruits and vegetables and local farmers markets. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of key vitamins and minerals that the body needs to properly function. According to the USDA, some in season produce you may want to try:
Another key thing to remember during summertime is the importance of hydration. Your body relies on water for so many functions and aspects that help you survive. For example, you need adequate water to maintain your body temperature, remove waste and to keep your joints lubricated. Staying hydrated does not just mean drinking water, there are so many ways to help you stay hydrated if you find drinking water to be difficult. You can get water from fruits, vegetables, milk and tea; there are just added calories when you consume these products that water does not contain. It is important to continually drink water throughout the day because we lose water every time we go to the bathroom, sweat and even when we breathe. If you are not continuing to replace that lost water you will become dehydrated. According to the familydoctor.org website, here are some tips to staying hydrated:
Keep a bottle of water with you during the day
Add fruit such as berries or lemons to your water if you do not like the taste of water
Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise
If you feel hungry, drink water because often times, we confuse hunger with thirst
If you have trouble remembering to drink water create a schedule such as at the start of every hour or at certain times throughout the day.
As we welcome the Summer Solstice, the longest day and shortest night of the year, we encourage you to let the ethereal warmth of these summer days fill your heart.
In many cultures, this day represents a time of celebration — to embrace the heat of the sun, the warm nights, the fragrance in the air, fresh, vibrant food, and our connection to nature. Plants have often played a role in honoring the change of seasons, but herbs have traditionally been prevalent in solstice events as many of our favorite herbs are at the peak of their growing season.
However you choose to honor it, it’s a special moment in time, and the perfect opportunity to surround yourself with the power, playfulness, and abundance of this season.
Make plant mandalas The word mandala means “circle.” A mandala represents wholeness, a diagram that reminds us of our relationship to something greater, extending beyond our bodies and minds. As plant lovers, we can’t think of a better way to appreciate and experience the beauty of nature than with a creative project made from the plants we love.
Collect herbs, branches, twigs, blossoms, grass, blooming flowers, crystals, and stones. Use what you can find around you, or take a trip to a local flower shop. Set them into a layout and pattern that makes sense to you. Sit in silence as you do this, and take the time to think about your intentions on these bright days, and which aspects you want to take with you into the coming year.
Spend time in nature with a meditation Find a quiet spot, somewhere in nature; under a tree in a park, in your backyard, or near a running creek. Stretch out and salute the sun, then settle into quiet stillness to give thanks and gratitude. Slow down for 10-20 minutes and notice the sounds, scents, and views around you. Savor this particular moment in time as you breathe deeply and soak up this summer day.
Take a cold plunge or a cool bath If you are new to the idea of hydrotherapy, a warm summer day is an ideal time to start this practice. Cold therapy is thought to encourage systemic rejuvenation and renewal and is a lovely tradition to invite into your wellness routine.
If you don’t have access to a cold creek, use your shower or tub at home, or introduce this practice following a daily shower. Allow yourself to experience a burst of cold water, standing in it for as long as you can, breathing deeply, allowing yourself to experience the sensations that arise. Once finished, give yourself a little time to rest, either by laying down for 5 minutes, or starting your day a little slower than usual.
Make Summer Solstice cordials Preserve the sweetness of peak summer with your favorite fruit and herbs. Perfect for special occasions or as a delicious dessert!
The simple version of a cordial recipe is equal parts simple syrup, fruit and herbs, and a solvent, like brandy or vodka.
A favorite this time of year is Strawberry Lemon Balm Cordial:
Strawberry Lemon Balm Cordial
Preserve the sweetness of peak summer with your favorite fruit and herbs. Perfect for special occasions or as a delicious dessert!
Servings: Makes 1 quart. Serving size is 1 oz.
Ingredients: About 1 quart of fresh strawberries 10 Traditional Medicinals Lemon Balm tea bags 1-2 cups simple syrup (a 2:1 ratio of honey & water) 1-2 cups alcohol preference; brandy or vodka is most popular.
Directions: Make a simple syrup by simmering on the stovetop 2 cups of honey with 1 cup water. Cut and chop the fruit, filling a mason jar ¾ of the way. Cut open the tea bags and empty the dried tea into the jar. Fill halfway with simple syrup, and then fill the rest of the jar with alcohol. Let the cordial sit on your counter, occasionally shaking for about 4 weeks. Once done, strain and preserve the liquid in an airtight bottle. This will keep for a year in the refrigerator. Enjoy as is, over ice, or save for the dark days of winter when you need to bring out a little summertime energy.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so it’s crucial to serve the family a healthy and enjoyable morning start. Here at Libby’s®, we know that spending quality family time together at the kitchen table is the best time of day. We also know that at times it can be difficult to get the kids to eat breakfast. It’s key for not only the young ones to get their morning power, but also for the whole gang.
Change up your normal breakfast menu and get everyone enthusiastic to begin the day with these family-friendly hearty recipes. Who could ask for more?
Sneak in Those Oats and Fruits!
Looking for a way to incorporate both oats and fruits in the morning? These baked Fruit & Oat Snack Bars made with Libby’s® Apricot Halves are the perfect nutritious whole grain breakfast recipe. If you’re in a rush, don’t freight because these are also perfect for on-the-go!
Whoever said that oatmeal is boring hasn’t tried this Overnight Pear Oatmeal. Made with Libby’s® Pear Halves, this recipe gives classic oatmeal a serious meal makeover. Delicious, simple, and quick – everyone will be asking for seconds, especially during the upcoming cold winter mornings!
Not only are eggs packed with protein giving you the fuel to help power through your day – they also help satisfy those savory cravings. Get your veggies in while also enjoying a classic with this Scrambled Eggs with Peppers & Peas recipe. Serve on warm bread of your choice or simply on its own!
People are always asking questions about the latest nutrition trends and if they should try them. Nutrition is individualized and what might work for your friend or colleague might not always be best for you. If you are curious and want to try something new, we recommend consulting with a Registered Dietitian before starting any nutrition program. This will make sure you are better informed with all the science-based evidence and facts before you make any drastic changes. If the research supports the trend and your RD give the thumb up, then it is okay to give it a try and see if it works for you.
With the start of a new season, everyone can always use a refresher of everyday nutrition tips. Take advantage of the spring time as with a spring cleaning of your eating habits to start anew, and add some “spring” to you diet! Below are several RD tips that are easy to follow and incorporate in your everyday lifestyle.
Go for water! Swap out a sugary beverage for water and stay hydrated, especially as the weather warms up. Drinking water has many benefits such as keeping your joints lubricated and promoting healthy skin.
Pack a snack. Plan ahead and always have a snack on hand that you know enjoy, is easily portable, and provides nutrition. This way you are not tempted to reach for less nutritious options. One great option: Libby’s® Vegetable Cups!
Add yogurt to your diet. Try Greek yogurt for added protein and live probiotics to help aid digestion. It can be enjoyed for breakfast, as a snack, or even as a cooking substitution for sour cream or cream cheese.
Go meatless once a week. Going meatless is a great way to practice sustainability. There are lots of delicious and satisfying vegetable-based dishes you can help amp up your nutrient intake. Libby’s® Canned Fruits and Vegetables are a great option because they help take care of some the prep work.
Try something new! Try taking a traditional dish and prepare it with a twist, maybe with a new vegetable or fruit. The concept of new beginnings is always on trend!
Libby’s® Fruits and Vegetables can help you easily spring clean your diet! Check out the recipes below that incorporate some of the tips above.
Warm Baby Green Salad with Peas, Pistachios and Pecorino – Try something new!