Sunday, March 29, 2009

What is Flexitarianism?

Have you ever head the term "Flexitarian" before? It was coined in the 1990's and is being used more commonly now, referring to a diet that is "mostly meatless". If you decide you would like to include fewer animal products in your diet without eliminating them entirely, you would call yourself a Flexitarian. Just as people have various reasons for being vegetarians, the same hold true for this type of diet.

Eating meatless meals more often can lower your intake of fat and cholesterol, increase your intake of fiber, and result in a healthier diet, overall. Another reason people choose the flexitarian way is for the environment. Larger livestock--like cows and pigs--use more resources and create more waste than other meat sources.

There are still more terms to describe diets that eliminate different animal products: if you only eat poultry (but avoid pork, beef and fish) this is called a pollotarian diet; if you eat fish and seafood (but not beef, pork, or poultry) you are a pescetarian.

The bottom line is, it's totally acceptable to be "vegetarian inclined" without making a commitment. If you decide to eat animal products less often, avoid them altogether but still eat poultry and/or fish, or eat more meals that are meatless, you'll be a member of an ever-growing group who are trying to do the same!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Healthy New Twist on Cake Mix Recipe

I read about this recipe before, and finally had the chance to try it today! Take a regular box of cake mix, and instead of the oil, eggs, and water, just add a can (15 oz) of pumpkin, mix well, and bake as directed. Still have some of those cans leftover from the holidays? This is a great way to use them up.
Here I have pictured one regular-sized muffin (about 100 calories and no fat) and a few mini-muffins (with probably less than 50 calories a piece!) that I just took out of the oven.
The resulting recipe saves you about 100 calories a serving if you're making a regular cake, and reduces the calories of a regular sized muffin or mini-sized muffin as well. PLUS, it provides you with 50-75% of your daily value for vitamin A in the form of beta carotene from the pumpkin, plus an extra gram or two of fiber per serving.
You can make some tasty combinations when you add pumpkin to a spice cake (which I chose today), a white cake, a yellow cake, a pineapple cake, or an orange cake. I'm not sure how it would taste with chocolate or some of the other flavors, but do let us know if you try one and add your comment below!
The other alternative to substituting pumpkin is using a can of diet soda in place of the water, egg and oil, which makes the final product even lower in calories--but adds no vitamins or fiber.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Pineapple Jerky-- Yumm!

I just found a great new snack I wanted to tell you about. I've heard of jerky before but always thought of it as dried meat. Now here's a dried fruit snack that is called jerky, and it's real pineapple with just a touch of honey.
Each 4 oz package has about 6 slices of this chewy treat. I've been having a slice after my evening meal to substitute for a high-calorie dessert. Although there isn't a nutritional facts panel available, I've done a little research to find out what I'm getting while I enjoy this fruit snack, a surprising combination of tart and sweet.
A slice satisfies my sweet tooth (as well as everyone else's in my household) and provides less than 75 calories. It contributes a gram of fiber, 2-4% of the daily value for iron, and about 1/3 of the daily value for vitamin C!
If you're not a fruit-eater because you just don't get around to peeling and cutting up the fresh fruit, this is a great option. Pineapple jerky is nutritious, easy to carry anywhere (onboard flights, in your car, in your office desk), and good for you! You can order it online at
I can't wait to try their other products--I'll report on them right here when I do!