Health is not just a Word

By Bailey Roden, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

When we think of a healthy person we typically think of a slimmer individual who eats salad and works out. I recently got to thinking about my health and was disappointed in the way I eat healthily and exercise. Mostly because I don’t do either of those……ever. My diet consists of fast food, and sweets and my exercise is made up of me walking to and from the fridge if I’m being honest.

Right now, I’m lucky because I’m naturally thin. But, as we age and our metabolisms slow down, I will have to change my behavior.

I have always wanted a toned body and to feel comfortable as well as confident. So, this year I’m taking action. It’s incredibly difficult but I am making an effort to reach my health goal.  If you are looking to tone your body maybe my journey will be helpful to you.

My New Routine

I hardly ever eat breakfast and if I do, it’s a doughnut or maybe some high-in -sugar cereal. As of three days ago, I have switched to a meal replacement protein for my breakfast. This meal replacement provides me with helpful vitamins while also allowing me to feel full and awesome for my most important meal of the day. However, they don’t always tell you that meal replacement protein does not taste the best but I hold on to that feeling that it gives me of feeling full and that I am ready to take on the day. Simply drinking my morning meal replacement gives me motivation because it’s a difficult task I start my day with so that also leaves me feeling accomplished each morning. You could tell me, I need to scramble up a couple eggs. However, I don’t always have the time. At least give me props for creativity.

For lunch, I pack a meal that allows me to keep track of how many calories I intake. A lot of packaged food has the calorie amount on the top in a box which makes it easy to find. This way I am able to eat the food I enjoy, fill up, but also keep track if I’m overdoing it or not.

For dinner, I allow myself a nice meal. After working hard all day and avoiding temptations I eat a heftier meal, however, I still watch the number of calories I’m taking in. During this meal, I am allowing myself more but not too indulgent and avoid ruining the hard work that I went through all day.

Now, in terms of exercise, I do simple routines. I once took a yoga and palettes class and although the moves were arduous they were still simple enough to do on your own. I began to take what I learned in this class and apply it at home. I feel more refreshed after a good workout and feel that my healthy eating sacrifice is paying off.

I am no expert when it comes to nutrition or fitness. However, I do know what works for me and what has allowed me to see many personal improvements. I wanted to share my techniques in hope that it helps other individuals looking to add a little tone to their body.

You’ve heard of the “Freshman Fifteen” once you get to college. That phrase created my drive to get healthy, in hope to avoid excessive weight gain.

If you’re looking for more articles to read regarding nutritional information, be sure to check out the Fill Your Plate blog. New blog articles are posted every week! Or if you need some inspiration for healthy recipes, take a look at the Fill Your Plate recipe section. There are hundreds of recipes to choose from.

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Supplements: The Pros and Cons

By Noor Nouaillati, Recent ASU Nutrition Student


We all tend to take supplements losing weight, gaining muscle, or even to stay healthy. Is everything listed on the bottle accurate? An article that I found on Everyday Health goes into detail regarding this issue. I know I’m not the only one that is curious about taking supplements or changing my daily intake routine unless I do some major research and ask around.

Those herbal and dietary supplements that you bought have been analyzed by researchers and the ingredients that are listed are often different from the label. The Everyday Health article states, “Bodybuilding and weight-loss supplements, in particular, tended to contain ingredients not listed on their packaging.” They did some research on both supplements and found that half of the bodybuilding supplements that have been made contained undeclared anabolic steroids.

From personal experience, a couple of years ago my brother wanted to start building muscle and eventually started competing in the bodybuilding programs. He found a trainer and trained 4 times a week. He was on a strict diet and was taking a supplement that was supposed to boost his energy and help him see results quicker. He eventually got the body that he wanted and continued on the program he was doing. However, when he would stop for a week or two he would lose the shape of his muscle. He would also lose the energy he had and once he got back to working out and started taking the supplement again he would gain everything back. After reading this article, I concluded that this company had falsely described their products and used celebrities to advertise their products in order to boost sales. This article informed me that not everything listed on the supplement bottle label is true. This means the ingredients listed may not be correct and there can be ingredients in the supplement that are not listed.

According to Mind Body Green. The FDA is not authorized to review supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed. However, it is the responsibility of the manufacturers and distributors responsibility to ensure the safety of the supplement.


For more informative blog article check out the Fill Your Plate blog! Not only are there so many amazing articles to read, but also hundreds of recipes to choose from.

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The Wonders of Lettuce

By Kevann Jordan, Recent ASU Nutrition Student

Lettuce is a vegetable that has taken the back seat over the past few years. All the attention has been on kale and its amazing nutritional contents. While kale does have great nutritional value lettuce should not be forgotten, especially the darker green lettuces. Lettuce can lower cholesterol, help control cancer, protect neurons in our brain, induce sleep, help control anxiety, lower inflammation and contains a whopping amount of antioxidants.

Lettuce contains a large amount of water and fiber which is a powerhouse team. It also contains protein, fat, carbohydrates and sugars. Minerals and vitamins are plentiful in lettuce; calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B-6, C, A, E and vitamin K.

What does all this mean? It means lettuce is great as an anti-inflammatory vegetable due to its containing lipoxygenase and carrageenan. This leafy plant has antimicrobial properties and antioxidant properties. The antioxidants within lettuce are barriers against free radicals preserving healthy tissues and cells. Antioxidants counteract free radicals and neutralize these free radicals before they can attack. Which is great news, since there is no way to hide from free radicals there is a way to stop them before they can do damage.

Lettuce also has some very special attributes. Uniquely lettuce has the ability to induce sleep and reduce anxiety. This is great news for people who suffer from anxiety and are looking for additional nutritional supplements that can help manage their anxiety. In Arabian medicine, or Islamic medicine also known as Unani medicine, lettuce is used as a sleep inducer. Lettuce contains a depressant chemical that decreases heart rate and ventricular contractions and also blocks excitatory signals to muscular and neural tissues which help to bring on a deep sleep. The Unani system and more recent research have found that lettuce contains anxiolytic properties which help to manage anxiety levels.

Lettuce can be used for meals other than salads. You can add lettuce to smoothies or juice the leaves. Use them in Sautés and stir-fries, make them into slaws, soup, sauces, lettuce wraps, or grill a head or a wedge.

In Arizona, we grow lots of lettuce. Yuma Arizona is the winter lettuce bowl of the country.

Try this amazing lettuce recipe listed below:

Green Sauce Rice Bowl

For the Green Sauce

1/3-1/2 cup food tasting olive oil

1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard

Stems from 1 bunch watercress or upland cress, cleaned and dried

4 scallions, light and dark green parts only, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large garlic clove


For the Rice Bowl

1 cup cooked brown rice

Cooked or uncooked vegetables (broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus, small potatoes or sweet potatoes, snap peas or winter squash)

Reserved watercress leaves

¼ cup toasted walnuts or cashews per serving

Thinly sliced scallion, to garnish



  1. Place 1/3 cup olive oil and the mustard in a blender, and top with the watercress stems, scallions, and garlic. Puree until very smooth, pouring in additional olive oil as needed to get the motor running and unit the sauce is smooth and fluffy.
  2. Place the rice in a serving bowl. Arrange your vegetables, as well as a heaping tablespoonful of sauce, on top of the rice. Crumble the nuts over then garnish with the scallions, and serve.


If you’re looking for more lettuce recipes check out the Fill Your Plate recipe section. Or, if you’re looking for new recipes to bring to the family, Fill Your Plate offers hundreds of unique recipes.

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Fiber is your friend

By Kat Brown, Recent ASU Nutrition Student


What is Fiber?

Fiber forms the support structure of leaves, stems, and plants. It is the part of foods that are hard to digest, or that the body cannot digest at all. This is because humans do not have the proper enzymes to break down the bonds that form fiber. Important properties of fiber include solubility in water, water holding capacity, binding ability, and fermentability. Fiber is usually classified in as either soluble or insoluble.

  • Soluble fiber dissolves in hot water. Oatmeal is a great example of soluble fiber. When you add hot water to oatmeal it expands. This makes you feel fuller longer and provides increased bulk in your intestines. That increased bulk helps to trap toxins in the intestines and remove them instead of your body absorbing them. Since soluble fiber absorbs water this is what helps prevent constipation and irregular bowel movements.


  • Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in hot water. An example of insoluble fiber is celery. When you add water to celery nothing happens, but when you bite into celery you often see the stringy fibers that make up the stalk. Insoluble fiber is often part of the skin of fruits and vegetables.


Why is it good for you?

When fiber moves through the body it slows down digestion. This can help slow glucose from entering the body quickly. This results in lower and more stable blood sugar levels which can help with weight management. Studies show that when people try to adhere to a low carb diet it can cause rapid changes in blood sugar. This has been linked to increased hunger and food consumption.


Fiber also helps to lower cholesterol. When fiber enters the gastrointestinal tract it binds things like fatty acids and cholesterol. By binding to the cholesterol it prevents it from being absorbed and instead the cholesterol is excreted.


Clinical trials of foods high in fiber have found that high fiber foods reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.


Where do I get my Fiber from?

Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, and grains. The daily recommendation for fiber is 21-25g for women and 30-38g for men.


Food Serving Size Total Grams of Fiber
Broccoli 1 cup 5.1g
Black beans 1 cup 15g
Almonds 1 ounce 3.5g
Brown rice 1 cup 3.5g
Raspberries 1 cup 8g
Pear, with skin 1 medium 5.5g


For more informative articles, check out the Fill Your Plate blog. New articles are posted every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

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Gluten Free is it for me?

By Jessica Bombace, Recent ASU Nutrition Student 

Have you ever went food shopping and saw a gluten-free product, thought to yourself “oh this is healthier!” buy it and didn’t even know what gluten is?

Well if you have, you are not alone, I will be honest I am guilty of this situation if not once a couple of times.

So let’s clear the air on what is this gluten we speak of!

  • Gluten is basically a protein that can be found in wheat, barley and rye products.

I was guilty of buying gluten-free products thinking they were healthier alternatives but didn’t know what gluten was. This happened before I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease earlier this year. This has dramatically changed my lifestyle in every way I eat. Not only do I have to change products at home but also going out to eat has changed for me.


Following the gluten-free diet and not having any intolerance towards gluten or have celiac disease has become pretty popular lately.  To be exact, the years from 2011-2016 sales in gluten-free products have significantly increased 116% (2). While sales increase 116% within 5 years, according to the Food & Function Journal, people in the US with celiac disease are .71%. The real question that keeps popping in my head is, “Does someone without any health conditions towards gluten even benefit from a gluten-free diet and is it healthier?


A study was conducted on campus in Phoenix, Arizona this year to compare glycemic levels between people who consumed gluten-free pasta versus traditional pasta (2). This study was considered to be a double-blind randomized crossover trial (2). At first, the study had 16 participants that volunteered (2). Before the study was conducted 2 people withdrew and halfway through the study another person withdrew (2). That left the study 13 subjects to figure out the difference between gluten-free pasta versus traditional wheat pasta (2). The 13 people’s ages ranged from 19-55 years old with three people being obese (2). All of these adults were considered healthy; people with prior health conditions were not accepted (2).  Meals in the study consisted of 80g of dry elbow pasta in salted water, with 4 TBS of butter, ½ cup of 2% milk and 20 g Kraft processed cheese sauce. People who ate gluten-free pasta there was 3 different kinds of gluten-free pasta ( brown rice pasta, rice and corn pasta, and corn & quinoa). Blood insulin was measured in venous blood and portable glucose check monitor measured capillary blood glucose.

Results: Glucose scores for gluten-free diet pasta were 14%, 18% and 47% above traditional wheat pasta (2).


Misinformed people think that following a gluten-free diet is healthier but the study shows a gluten-free actually raises your glucose levels significantly.


Gluten and Celiac Disease   

  • Gluten and celiac disease go hand-in-hand, not in the pleasant way but there is a relationship between them.
  • Celiac Disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine as well as interfering with the absorption of nutrient (1).
  • Not only do people with celiac disease have to avoid gluten ingredients in their food, they must also look out for gluten in medicines, lip balms and vitamins (1).
  • Celiac disease is considered an autoimmune disease. Which basically means that a process that is usually normal (person w/o autoimmune disease), someone with an autoimmune disease’s body thinks that this process is dangerous and their immune system responds by attacking (in this case) the villi (in the small intestine for nutrient absorption).
  • If villi in your intestines continue to get destroyed then it may lead to malabsorption since the villi help with nutrient absorption.



If a person with celiac disease consumes gluten they can experience the following symptoms:


Infants & children (mostly digestive symptoms)

  • Abdominal bloating and pain
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Pale, foul-smelling fatty stool
  • Weight loss


Adults (one or more)

  • Unexplained irony-deficiency anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Arthritis
  • Bone loss or osteoporosis
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Tingling numbness in hands or feet
  • Seizures
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Infertility or recurrent miscarriage
  • Canker sores inside the mouth
  • Itchy skin rash called dermatitis herpetiform



Here is a sample of a gluten-free diet that I follow

“Yay” foods

  • Amaranth                  > legumes                                > soy
  • Arrowroot >nuts                                        > wild rice
  • Buckwheat >millet
  • Cassava >rice
  • Corn                        >potatoes
  • Flax > seeds


“Nay” foods

Wheat: including einkorn, emmer, spelled, Kamut



Triticale (a cross between wheat & rye)


The good news is celiac disease is very rare. If you don’t have the disease and are not sensitive to the gluten protein, you don’t need to go gluten-free. Remember, protein is very important in our diets.


I personally did not have a good doctor so I had to find a new one along with educating myself on this disease. I learned that not only is gluten found in food but also items such as toothpaste and shampoo. That really blew my mind, who would’ve known!

For more informative articles, be sure to check out the Fill Your Plate blog. New articles are posted every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.


(1) Celiac disease. (2008). National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Retrieved from


(2) Johnston, C. S., Snyder, D., & Smith, C. (2017). Commercially available gluten-free pasta elevate postprandial glycemia in comparison to conventional wheat pasta in healthy adults: a double-blind randomized crossover trial. Food Funct8(9), 3139-3144. doi:10.1039/c7fo00099e



[photograph]. (2016). Retrieved from

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