WHAT IS CORNED BEEF??

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Get lucky 😉

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, and our mouths are watering for some corned beef and cabbage. But what exactly is Corned Beef?

First off, it has NOTHING to do with corn (on the cob)!!

Corned beef and cabbage
Corned beef and cabbage

Corned beef got its name from an old English word, “Corn”, which refers to large grains, or “corns” of rock salt, which were used to preserve and prevent from spoiling the large chunks of beef brisket. (FYI random knowledge: BRISKET is the underside chest or breast of the cow).

Today we usually brine the beef brisket in salt and flavorings (also including lots of spices and peppercorns), and then boiling the beef to cook it before serving.

What about nutrition in corned beef?

Since it is brined (aka soaked in salty salty water), there is A LOT of sodium in corned beef–about 1000 mg per 3 oz serving. Doctors recommend about 2500 mg sodium per day on average. Aside from salt, there is also a lot of protein and fat (about 15 grams each) in a serving. Given that it is beef, you are also getting about 10% iron from a 3 oz serving! Cool!

Now that you know the general ingredients and nutrition in corned beef, you can make the proper decisions to guide your own healthy eating plan! Remember, there are no bad foods if you eat with awareness and knowledge of nutritional content!! HAPPY ST. PATTY’S!!!!

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It’s all gravy!

With Thanksgiving approaching, I thought I’d touch on a food that usually goes under the radar: Gravy.

Most of us don’t think about what gravy is or how it is made. All we know is that without gravy, we would be having some extremely dry turkey breast or plain mashed potatoes. So what is gravy? Let’s clear up this mystery once and for all! Gravy is very simple. It is made of meat drippings with a little cornstarch or flour to thicken it up. gravy

It is an easy way to add flavor to your meal, and quick to make since you are using drippings from meat that you have cooked.

Now, what about the nutrition in gravy?

Since the majority of gravy is the drippings from the cooked meat–the main macronutrient you are consuming when you have gravy is…FAT! We need fat for survival and maintaining a healthy body.

There is also a lot of sodium since drippings contain the salt/seasoning you used to flavor the meat.

Fat and sodium–no wonder gravy has so much flavor! It adds that extra umami and spices to bring harmony and umphf onto our Thanksgiving plate.

It is important to know the nutritional makeup of the foods we eat so we can make the best decisions for our health. Gravy is not bad for you. No foods are bad for you. The only thing that is bad is eating without knowledge and awareness of the foods you consume and how they affect your health.

So now that you know what gravy is, please answer this relevant yet irrelevant question: Do you like gravy? What do you like to put it on?

Ramen-it can fit into your diet!

Ooooooh Ramen. We all remember glorious college days living off those 10 cent blocks of noodles. It was cheap, it was food, and it was delicious.

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Now all we see in the media regarding instant noodles are negative things like this.

But let’s remember that there are no bad foods. We should not label or assign a moral value to foods, or the people eating certain foods.

Let’s just look objectively at the nutrition of Ramen. Here is a PDF of Top Ramen nutrition for your reference.

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If you were not aware before, the Ingredients List on a nutrition label is listed in order of greatest to least by weight. Looking at the Top Ramen nutrition label, you can see that Ramen is mostly made from enriched flour, oil, and salt.

These three main ingredients-flour, oil, and salt- signal that Ramen probably is high in carbohydrates, fat, and sodium. The enriched flour means that the noodles are fortified with vitamins and minerals, which explains why you may see 10-15% iron per serving of noodles.

By the way, a “serving” of Ramen is only HALF the block. So remember if you are consuming one entire package, you are getting twice the amount of nutrients on the label.

Eating an entire block of Ramen noodles means you are getting 70-80% of you daily sodium needs (based on the average diet), and about 20-25% daily fat.

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And that is ok! We need sodium to survive. We need fat to survive. We need carbohydrates. We need vitamins and minerals.

Food is nourishment for our bodies, and we should never feel guilty or ashamed of eating something. But we should make the best nutritional choices for our health, and to do so requires knowledge of the nutrient content of foods. We need nutrients, but don’t forget that over-, under-, and mal-nourishment are things too!

With knowledge, we can make  choices to nourish our bodies in the best possible, balanced way. With positivity, we can see the benefits of ALL foods– even Ramen!

Check out this article for how Ramen could be Saving the World.

Now, how do you feel about instant noodles?

Milk and Cheese, Similar..Yet So Different

Check out the nutrition labels below taken from 1% milk and white cheddar cheese cubes.

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Milk
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Cheese

When you look at the ingredients list, you can see that both are made from milk. (The milk carton also has vitamin D added because most milk in the USA is fortified with vitamin D.)

So let’s ignore the vitamin D since we know that is an added fortificant.

If both are milk products, the nutritional info must be the same right?? HMmmm.

Well for one thing, both have similar amounts of calcium.

But let’s look at and discuss the three MACROnutrients: Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates.

– The cheese has more fat because this particular kind  was not made from skim milk. Ok makes sense.
Protein levels are similar as well. Cool. Still makes sense.

But let’s look at the carbohydrates. This is the most shocking difference! Why does regular milk have a a whopping 12 g of carbohydrates per serving and cheese have practically NONE??

??????????????Why does milk have SUGAR and cheese NOT????????????????????

Well, my friends, this is due to the sugar, Lactose, which is present in milk but not most cheeses. Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar in milk, kind of like fructose is the naturally occurring sugar in fruits.

When making cheese, the lactose is converted into something entirely different. The fermentation process in cheesemaking practically gets rid of all the lactose. And the longer the cheese ages, the less lactose it has! So for all those lactose intolerant people.. cheese may be A-OK!

So what does this all mean? This means that milk has carbohydrates, while most cheeses do not! Carbohydrates are our bodies primary source of energy, but some people may need to monitor their carbohydrate intake more than others. For example: endurance athletes, diabetics, etc.

Make sure to keep this nutritional fact in mind! And help share the education! Please comment below if you know any other foods that are made from similar ingredients yet have different nutritional properties!! 😀 Happy Learning!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beans and Oatmeal have WHAT in common?

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Pretty much EVERYTHING. Take a look at the nutrition labels below (taken from Old Fashion Quaker Oats and Eden Food Pinto Beans, respectively).

Oatmeal on the left, Beans on the Right
Oatmeal on the left, Beans on the Right

For both, a half cup serving is a little over 100 calories, a few grams of fat, no sodium, around 5 grams of fiber and protein, and about 10% iron!

Crazy! If you enjoy that nice, hearty, filling sensation of oatmeal for breakfast, you can probably can the same energy and satisfaction from a serving of beans as well!

Try this little experiment: find foods similar in nutrition and then switch up your diet! Life is fun when we have variety. Variety is the spice of life!!

Now tell us below in the comments, which foods have you discovered with similar nutrition labels?