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Food 101: Choosing a Safe Fish

Whether you celebrate the feast of seven fishes on Christmas Eve, or if you are just looking to eat healthier, many people will be checking out the seafood aisles this season.  While choosing the perfect fish can be a little confusing at times, it boils down to choosing a fish with the least amount of mercury.  Mercury in fish has been linked to brain and nervous system damage. Here are some ways to keep your mercury levels in check:

Selecting safe fish
Selecting a safe fish

  • Pass on shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish as these fish have longer life spans and tend to eat other fish, absorbing the mercury in their prey.
  • Eat approximately 12 ounces a week of canned light tuna, Pollock, salmon and catfish because they tend to have a shorter life span and feed on aquatic plants, worms and insects.
  • Check out your state's website to determine how mercury-laden the local fish can be.

 

Food for thought: Thanksgiving Calorie Calculator

Avoid packing on the pounds this holiday season by figuring out how many calories are in your favorite meals using this handy, holiday calorie list.

Thanksgiving Calorie Counter

Salads and Appetizers:

3 cups salad (with light dressing):  100 calories

½ cup JELLO with fruit: 120 calories

½ cup Waldorf salad: 110 calories

1 cracker with cheese: 70 calories

½ cup mixed raw vegetables: 25 calories

½ cup mixed nuts: 440 calories

1 oz. tortilla or potato chips: 150 calories (75 extra calories per tablespoon of dip)

Main Course:

6 oz. cured ham: 300 calories

6 oz. white and dark turkey: 340 calories

½ cup stuffing: 180 calories

½ cup cranberry sauce: 190 calories

½ cup mashed potatoes: 150 calories

½ cup gravy: 150 calories

½ cup green bean casserole: 225 calories

½ cup candied sweet potatoes: 150 calories

1 dinner roll: 110 calories (45 extra calories with one pat of butter)

Drinks:

1 mixed drink: 250 calories

1 glass of wine: 120 calories                                     

1 glass of cider: 120 calories

1 cup eggnog: 343 calories

Desserts:

2 small chocolate chip cookies: 150 calories

1-piece apple pie: 410 calories

1-piece pecan pie: 480 calories

1-piece pumpkin pie: 180 calories

½ cup whipped cream: 75 calories

½ cup ice cream: 145 calories

Leftovers:

1 turkey sandwich with mayo and cranberry sauce: 450 calories

1 open-face turkey sandwich with stuffing and gravy: 290 calories

Eating Healthy: Spotlight on Turkey

It's that time again for Thanksgiving and while Americans eat it nearly every year to celebrate Thanksgiving, how much do you know about turkey?

  • Turkey is very low in fat and high in protein. It is also a good source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins.
  • The fat and calorie amounts vary because white meat has fewer calories and less fat than dark meat and skin.
  • Turkey is also naturally low in sodium. It typically contains less than 25 milligrams (mg) of sodium per ounce on average.

Spotlight on Turkey

Recipe: Turkey Chili

  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 (35 oz.) cans stewed tomatoes, crushed
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans kidney beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¾ cup chicken or turkey stock
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus more if desired to taste
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 to 4 cups shredded, cooked turkey meat
  • Sugar
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, chopped red onion, sour cream for optional garnishes

In a large, 8-quart thick bottom pot, cook the onion and green pepper over medium heat, stirring until golden, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring, for a minute or two more.  Add a bit more olive oil if needed.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, beans, oregano, salt, pepper and cooked turkey meat.  Bring mixture to a simmer and reduce heat to low.  Simmer uncovered for an hour.

Recipe: Creamed Turkey

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup sliced mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • ½ cup hot chicken broth
  • 1 small jar diced pimento, drained
  • 4 cups diced cooked turkey
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Melt butter over medium-low heat. Sauté mushrooms until golden and tender. Add flour; stir until smooth. Slowly pour on milk and broth, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Add pimiento, turkey, salt and pepper. Cook until heated through, but do not boil. Serve with rice or toast.

 

Food for Thought: Your Child's Lunch- To Pack or not to Pack

It's a well-known fact that school-aged children who do not eat a nutritious breakfast or refuel with nutritious lunch during the middle of their school day lack focus, can be disruptive in class, and can oftentimes be very distracting to their fellow classmates.

Healthy lunch for children

Because kids are growing daily, they need the appropriate calories and nutritious value in their meals, especially breakfast and lunch, so that they can meet the demands of their growing bodies. If you need some help in decided what you should be packing in your child's lunch and what you should be keeping at the grocery store here is some help,

Lunchables or other pre-packaged lunch kits : Nutritionists call this “double packing” in that manufacturers have already packed the lunch and then you repack it into their lunch.  Most of these pre-packaged lunches contain lots of sodium and fat, along with very few nutrients.  These packaged meals leave kids feeling unfulfilled and therefore not refueled when it comes to tackling the rest of their day.

White bread : While sandwiches are a good choice for your child's lunch, if you are using white bread to make your sandwiches, then you are missing out on some significant nutritional value. Instead try some whole grain bread, with at least 3 grams of fiber per slice, so that your child gets more out of their sandwich than usual.

Fruit snacks : Fruit snacks are so very deceiving, they say they are made with real fruit, but they are made with fruit juice which is just sugar.  Plus, fruit snacks get lodged into your kid's teeth very easily leading to decay.  Choose an apple, orange or another healthy fruit for your child's lunch instead of those deceptive fruit snacks.

Soda : sure it's a no-brainer that you shouldn't be packing soda into your child's lunch, but still kids drink soda.  Soda is high in sugar, high in calories, and high in caffeine and that's about it!  Nutritionists are also weary of sports drinks, like Gatorade, because they are primarily sugar with some added salt. Milk or water is always best.

Healthy Living: Pumpkin Spice Latte Breakdown

One sure sign of fall is not the changing and falling leaves or the drop in temperature, it's definitely the Pumpkin Spice Lattes EVERYWHERE!

While they taste delicious, they can be one of the unhealthiest things you can drink all year. Here are some of the most popular brands that unfortunately aren't good for your overall health.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

  • Au Bon Pain Pumpkin Pie Latte : this latte packs 290 calories, 7 grams fat, 115 mg sodium, 49 grams carb, and 47 grams sugar. That's 12 tablespoons of sugar!
  • Krispy Kreme Pumpkin Spice Latte : this seasonal favorite contains 310 calories, 11 grams fat, 120 mg sodium, and 43 grams carbs.  The one saving grace of this drink is that these amounts are for the smaller size 12 oz cup.
  • McDonald's McCafe Pumpkin Spice Latte : people are “lovin' it” but it's filled with 340 calories, 10 grams fat, 51 grams carbs, and 160 mg sodium.  With 160 mg of sodium, that's twice the amount of salt than a kid's size French fries.
  • Einstein Brothers Pumpkin Latte : this latte contains 370 calories, 10 grams fat, 65 mg sodium, 59 grams carbs, and 54 grams sugar.  With 59 grams of carbs, that is twice the amount of a bagel, maybe it's time to rethink your beverage of choice!
  • Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte : this is hands down the most popular fall drink of choice (come on, it had its own trending hash tag!) and it is filled with 440 calories, 8 grams fat, 280 mg sodium, and 63 grams carbs.  You would be better off eating a pumpkin cream cheese muffin : which contains fewer calories!
  • Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Latte : this latte contains 470 calories, 13 grams fat, 250 mg sodium, and 71 grams sugar.  And just because they offer three different flavors of pumpkin latte that doesn't mean you are in the clear if you order one over another : they are all made up of the same nutritional content.  You would be better off eating three of their chocolate caramel donuts!