How to Trim Calories this Holiday Season

Kimberly Distilli Healthy Food, Healthy Living, Nutrition, Obesity Leave a comment  

Holiday Choices

Kicking off the holiday season is that wonderful Thanksgiving feast, where, according to the Caloric Control Council, the average American eats more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat. That would be more than twice the number of calories most people should eat in an entire day. The fat content is actually enough fat for three days. What can you do to make reasonably healthy food choices this holiday? Read on. Read more

Vitamin D: How Much is Too Much?

Kimberly Distilli Education, Healthy Food, Healthy Living, Nutrition, Uncategorized Leave a comment  
Vitamin D

Vitamin D

Getting the right amount of vitamins is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Ideally, getting vitamins through the food we eat is the best way for our bodies to receive nutrition. When that fails, supplements can be a good source of nutrition. Unfortunately, many people tend to treat supplements less seriously than medicine and often take larger doses than necessary. Vitamin D is easy to over-ingest. Often, Vitamin D is found in daily supplements AND in calcium supplements, and many people, especially women, can take too much. Conversely, with decreasing outdoor activity and increased sunscreen usage, many people are diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency. Read more

The Effect of Sugar on the Body

Kimberly Distilli Detox, Healthy Food, Healthy Living, Nutrition Leave a comment  
Too much sugar makes us want more sugar.

Too much sugar makes us want more sugar.

Early humans needed sugar to survive. They needed it for energy (glucose) and to help store fat (fructose) for times when food was scarce. In order to help them survive the human brain developed a craving for this delicious ingredient. Richard Johnson, professor in the Medicine Department of the University of Colorado, speculates that the “feel good” response modern humans get from sugar is a holdover from this early survival response.

Today, in our sugar-run-amuck world, that craving has the opposite effect. Too much of a good thing is making us sick. Most of us know it’s bad for our teeth and our waistline, but it is much more destructive than that. Overindulgence on sugar affects many areas of our body. Read more

Are there Toxins in Seafood?

Kimberly Distilli Detox, Healthy Food, Healthy Living, Nutrition Leave a comment  
Toxins in Seafood

Toxins in Seafood

Many people are concerned about the amount of mercury in fish. Unfortunately, pollution affects all of our food sources, whether fish, fowl or fruit. Making better decisions about all of the food we eat is essential, and fish is no different. Reduce consumption of toxins in seafood by deciding how often to eat fish, which varieties to eat and from where the fish come. Read more

Food Safety in a Globalized Market

Kimberly Distilli Healthy Food, Healthy Living, Nutrition Leave a comment  
smart tomato

Ensuring Food Safety for Tomatoes

Food is being shipped all over the world. In our economy, the globalization of the food supply brings us oranges in winter, pineapples and pomegranates from exotic locales, and it can help bring food to countries who are experiencing a drought or famine. Along with the wonderful benefits of a global food supply chain, though, come some hazards. Food safety becomes a bigger concern when our food comes from farther away.

How Do We Ensure Food Safety?

Since our food supply has become more globalized, it has created the opportunity for unsafe practices in the supply chain. With so many stops along the way whether during production, warehousing, or transportation, technologies have been developed to keep the supply chain free of vulnerabilities.

One way we see damage to the supply chain is in the increased number of food recalls that occur. The FDA’s website lists eight pages of food recalls for the first four months of 2016. National recalls have the effect of undermining confidence in the supply chain, and increasing prices. Recalls cost money and time, and that expense is passed along to the consumer.

According to, the number of recalls per year in the U.S. has almost doubled since 2002. This is due to regulatory changes, as well as the increasingly globalized food supply chain. Food contamination cost U.S. health authorities $15.6 billion per year.

We can take steps to mitigate these concerns over the safety of food. Growing your own fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to make sure you have healthy food to eat. Reducing chemical pesticides on your property will ensure healthy produce for your family. Purchasing from a local famer reduces the number of “stops” food has to make, thus reducing the chance of spoilage and contamination.

Whether you purchase food from a local farmer’s market or by becoming a member of a local Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) program, you will have access to locally grown products. Learn about what type of pesticide methods your farmers use and their effects. Shopping locally gives you the chance to talk to the farmer directly. Also consider local farms for butchered meats and dairy products. When you do purchase produce from grocery stores, be sure to wash fruits and vegetables with a natural produce wash, or a homemade combination of water and vinegar. Knowing who grows your food is a great way to reduce the length of your supply chain and stay your healthiest.

GMOs: Concerns and Benefits

Kimberly Distilli Healthy Living, Nutrition Leave a comment   ,


Investigate your food sources

Concerned about GMOs? Investigate your food sources.

One of the most controversial topics lately has been the concerns and benefits of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.  It’s easy to find a variety of opinions and lots of disagreement on this topic. One area that most people can agree on is the definition of a genetically modified food. By definition, a genetically modified organism occurs when DNA from one organism has been altered with DNA from another organism. In the case of food, this is usually done with the intent to provide some benefit to the food supply. Concern arises out of fear that these changes may have unintended harmful effects or that large corporations will hold an inordinate control over the food supply. Read more

Need to Reduce Sodium? Try Cooking with Flavors

Kimberly Distilli Healthy Living, Nutrition Leave a comment   ,
reduce sodium

Learn to reduce sodium in your food.

Reducing sodium is often discussed, but infrequently acted upon. Estimates suggest that one in three Americans have high blood pressure. Reducing the amount of sodium we eat could help to reduce the number of Americans who have high blood pressure. Some of the biggest sodium culprits include lunchmeats, hot dogs and canned soups. Other foods that tend to be sodium-laden are unexpected items like frozen foods, boxed cereals, breads and rolls. To find out how to reduce your sodium intake, read on.

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Does Coffee Hydrate You? Is it Too Good to Be True?

Kimberly Distilli Healthy Living, hydration, Nutrition Leave a comment  

Looking to stay hydrated? Love your morning cup of coffee? Turns out coffee and hydration are more compatible than you may believe.

Coffee versus Water

Beverage Plan, hydration, does coffee hydrate you

Sample Beverage Plan, created by Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health

So, does coffee hydrate you? A Harvard study recently compared the hydration effects of drinking water and coffee, and found very little difference. Coffee does have a mild diuretic effect, but this effect is reduced in regular coffee drinkers since they build up a tolerance, giving coffee a great ability to hydrate as well as wake you up. Even more important, coffee also contains natural polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties, so in addition to helping with hydration, coffee also holds the potential to boost your body’s ability to fight diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Read more

Turning Childhood Obesity On Its Head

Kimberly Distilli Healthy Living, Nutrition, Obesity Leave a comment   ,

Childhood obesity

In 2012 Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy took on a monumental task. They wanted to study a disease that was reaching epidemic proportions in the U.S. This disease affects children in all age groups and crosses economic, social, racial and ethnic lines.  The epidemic? Childhood obesity.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded the almost $7 million project, that led to the development of ChildObesity180, an effort to reverse the pernicious trend. According to the website since 1980, “rates of obesity have doubled in 2-5 year olds, quadrupled in 6-11 year olds, and tripled in 12-19 year olds. While recent reports show encouraging signs that obesity rates are stabilizing, and even beginning to decline in certain populations in the U.S., rates remain unacceptably high in all age groups.”

Making this situation more complex is the fact that many reasons seem to account for childhood obesity and they are complicated and interconnected. Culture, the norms of a society, community resources, and home environment all affect children’s weight. In order to tackle this multi-faceted problem ChildObesity180 (CO180) took a multi-faceted approach.

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How to Cook with Essential Oils

Kimberly Distilli Essential Oils, Healthy Living, Nutrition Leave a comment   , , ,

How to Cook with Essential OilsMany of the Essential Oils available on the market today are extracted from plants that often double as spices or flavoring agents. This leads many to wonder if they can cook with their Essential Oils and the answer is yes!  Food grade Essential Oils can be used to flavor candies, baked goods, soups, and other savory dishes.

However, because these oils are incredibly potent you will need to use a great deal less than you would with regular spices. For example, herbal based oils such as basil and thyme have a ratio of one drop of oil for every teaspoon of loose spice.

When using citrus based oils such as lemon, lime, or grapefruit in place of a peel or zest, the flavor is a little more forgiving and you need not fear overpowering your dish. In your given recipe, replace one tablespoon of zest with 1/8 of a teaspoon of your corresponding oil.

You can even use Essential Oils for baking as a replacement for alcohol based extracts (i.e. using peppermint oil instead of peppermint extract). Essential oils are significantly stronger than these extracts; a good place to start would be using ¼ of a teaspoon of oil for every whole teaspoon your recipe calls for. If you are using the oils to flavor chocolate, you will want to be very careful with measuring your Essential Oils. Aim for ¼ to ½ of a teaspoon per pound of chocolate to avoid overpowering the candies. Below are more tips for how to cook with essential oils. Read more