By Lee Crosby, R.D., L.D.
We all know that we should eat our fruits and vegetables during the holiday season. They not only help prevent holiday weight gain and give our immune systems a boost, but they can brighten up the holiday table, too! This morning, I stopped by Washington’s WJLA today to share ideas for healthy and simple holiday centerpieces:
1. Bejeweled Fruit Tree
Whether at the center of your table or in place of a candy bowl, this tree is simple, beautiful, and healthy. Your kids will love helping you create it. All you need is toothpicks, a bamboo skewer, and your favorite fruits—the more colorful the better! Be sure to load up on blue and purple berries, like blackberries and blueberries. They get their color from pigments called anthocyanins, which may help improve brain function.
2. Pomander Oranges
Wow your guests with this all-natural method of making your house smell amazing! Simply decorate oranges with whole cloves and stack in a glass bowl or vase. Added bonus? A small study showed that just the smell of citrus may help with depression and boost immunity.
3. Pomegranate and Tangerine Bowls
Officially the easiest holiday centerpiece in the history of centerpieces: Fill a bowl with pomegranates and flank with two smaller bowls of tangerines. Be sure to grab extra so you can snack on these throughout the holiday season. Pomegranates may help fight prostate cancer, while tangerines have vitamin A and vitamin C, both of which are needed for a healthy immune system.
4. Cranberry Candles
Add some greens to the bottom of small jars or vases, fill with water, float cranberries or blueberries, and top with a floating candle. Beautiful, fast, and easy! Plus, cranberries contain resveratrol, the heart-healthy chemical also found in grape juice.
5. Three-Tiered Treat Tower
Use fruits, veggies, nuts, and plant-based cheeses to create a beautiful, edible centerpiece for your holiday table. Added bonus? The healthful fruits, vegetables, and small amounts of nuts and seeds in this tower can help protect your loved ones’ hearts.
I’m excited to announce that we just launched a podcast: The Exam Room by the Physicians Committee. In each episode, we’ll be examining the knowledge and tools you need to live a long and healthy life.
The show is hosted by “The Weight Loss Champion” Chuck Carroll who lost 265 pounds and has kept it off for more than eight years with a vegan diet. He’ll speak with inspirational guests who have saved their lives by losing weight and reversing diabetes and other chronic and acute illnesses.
We’ll also talk with doctors and dietitians about the science behind a plant-based diet and review—and sometimes debunk—the latest in medical research. Plus, we’ve got tons of recipes for you to try. And we’ll even bring in our celebrity friends!
Americans are drinking less soda. According to a new study, about half of American adults now drink sugary beverages on any given day—down from 61.5 percent in 2003. That’s good news for Americans’ health. But it’s not enough to stop our worsening obesity epidemic.
Per capita sugar consumption has been steadily falling since 1999. Yet, obesity rates continue to climb. Last month, the CDC reported that obesity among adults in the United States reached an all-time high of 39.8 percent in 2016.
So what happened?
In 2012, Americans collectively consumed 52.2 billion pounds of meat. Individually, we eat about 270 pounds per year. Compared to just a century ago, that’s nearly 150 additional pounds of meat per person each year. At the same time, cheese consumption has soared from just four pounds per person in 1909 to 36 pounds today. These foods are not only packed with calories, but also fat and cholesterol—which aren’t good for our arteries or our waistlines.
To start making progress against obesity, it’s time to move these high-fat foods off of our plates and start focusing on plant foods.
Populations who base their diets on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are the healthiest and trimmest on the planet. Epidemiological studies have analyzed the diets of thousands of people and found that vegetarian and vegan diets are best for weight control. Clinical trials have come to the same conclusion, like the 2015 study finding those consuming vegetarian diets lost more weight, compared with those following omnivorous diets.
The results are clear: The more we set aside high-calorie foods like meat and cheese and embrace vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans, the healthier we will be.
A plant-based diet, packed with leafy greens, legumes, and fruits and vegetables in place of animal-based foods, can slash the risk for type 2 diabetes in half. But, even so, are all plant-based foods created equal? Barnard Medical Center’s dietitian, Maggie Neola, R.D., dishes out a few tips to show you how to make your meals work for you, stabilize blood sugar, and boost insulin function.
For additional resources, visit BarnardMedical.org to sign up for free cooking and nutrition education classes or to participate in a free online nutrition program, the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart, which goes live the first day of every month.
Looking for healthy, festive treats to make with your kids in the week leading up to Halloween? We’ve got you covered!
In a new video, Physicians Committee dietitians Karen Smith, R.D., Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., and their kids share some of their favorite fall recipes, including dairy-free Pumpkin “Nice” Cream and homemade Sunflower Seed Butter Cups!