Wellness News

by Tanya Fitschen

HOT Tap Water May Not Be Good

For Drinking Or Cooking

Many of us like the convenience of using hot water for cooking or preparing hot drinks to save time, but according to EPA experts, it is not a good idea to start with hot tap water for drinking or cooking.  Hot water is more likely to leach lead and copper from pipes.  Lead used in copper plumbing was banned in 1986, but older plumbing may still contain lead-soldered joints.  The law did not go into effect until 1988, and some homes may still contain pipes or brass plumbing parts made from lead.  The longer water stands in pipes, the more lead and copper is likely to dissolve, so it is important to allow cold water to run a minute or two to flush out standing water, if the tap has not been used for awhile. 

The EPA says even new homes with legally “lead-free” pipes may contain up to 8 percent lead.  These new pipes can leave significant amounts of lead in the water for the first several months after their installation.

In infants and children, exposure to lead in drinking water can result in delays in physical and mental development or cause slight deficits in attention span and learning abilities.  In adults, it can cause lead to kidney problems or high blood pressure.

If you need warm or hot water, take time to heat it.  It is especially important to use only cold tap water to mix baby food or formula.  Lead is especially dangerous for infants, and children.  If your faucets are old, consider replacing them with new low-lead models.  If you have a water filter that filters lead, be sure to change your filters on schedule. 

Source:  www.epa.gov/safewater/lead

Blueberries Are An Amazing Health Food!

Blueberries may lower triglycerides, protect your vision, and reduce your risk of diabetes and cancer.  Experts say it is an overall superb antioxidant!

In a recent study conducted by Rimando, Kalt, Magee, Dewey, and Ballington, an antioxidant compound found in blueberries appeared to lower cholesterol as effectively as a prescription cholesterol-lowering medication.  The compound known as “pterostilbene” not only lowers cholesterol but has powerful anticancer properties.  Not only are blueberries a good source of fiber, but they also are high in three important antioxidants:  resveratrol, pterostilbene, and piceatannol. 

Top your high-fiber cereal or bowl of ice cream with a handful of blueberries, or check out the blueberry recipes in my recipe section below. 

Source:  Rimando, A. M., Kalt, W., Magee, J. B., Dewey, J., Ballington, J. R., Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2004 July 28;52(15):4713-4719.

Yo-yo Dieting May Harm Your Immune System

A new study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that maintaining the same weight over time appears to have a positive effect on a woman's immune system.  Although no men participated in the study, researchers believe the immune systems of male dieters would likely be affected the same way.

Researchers working for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center interviewed 114 overweight, healthy, and sedentary older women about their weight-loss history during the past 20 years.  The women had to have maintained a stable weight for at least three months before joining the study, which was funded by the National Cancer Institute.

The study found that long-term immune function decreases in proportion to how many times a woman has intentionally lost weight.  Researchers measured natural killer cell activity in the women's blood.  Natural killer cells are an essential part of the immune system that help kill cold viruses, infections, and cancer.

One weight-loss episode of 10 pounds or more in the previous 20 years was not associated with current natural killer cell activity, but more frequent weight-loss episodes were associated with a significant decrease in natural killer cells.  The study found that women who maintained a fairly stable weight over several years had higher levels of these cells.

Those who reported losing weight more than five times had about 1/3 lower natural killer cell function, and women who maintained the same weight for at least five years had 40 percent greater natural killer cell activity as compared to those who maintained their weight for fewer than two years.

Although these findings are preliminary, researchers recommend avoiding fad diets, at least until further studies are conducted. 

Source:  www.sportsmedicine.about.com/od/sportsnutrition

Reasons To Buy Organic Foods

Organic foods are somewhat difficult to find in our community.  Albertson’s has only a scant few vegetables and occasionally organic bananas.  Wal-Mart has a small organic produce section with foods such as baby carrots, potatoes, apples, broccoli, and a few other items. 

There are several good reasons for purchasing organic foods.  Some of the best reasons are listed below:

    • Organic farmers avoid the use of pesticides.
    • They do not use dangerous additives.
    • They are not genetically modified.
    • They do not rely on drugs.
    • There are no hidden costs. (taxpayers often pay for chemicals to be removed from drinking water - including the pesticide runoff from conventional farms).
    • They maintain high standards and come from trusted sources that are inspected to ensure compliance to organic standards.
    • Animal welfare is taken very seriously under organic standards.
    • It is good for wildlife and the environment (it causes lower pollution from sprays, produces less carbon dioxide - the main global warming gas - and less dangerous wastes).
    • They are both healthy and flavorful (many people prefer organic food because they say it tastes better).


      The Wild Oats natural marketplace in Salt Lake has a large variety of organic produce.  If only there was a way to buy in bulk and maintain the freshness!


      No Time To Work Out?

    You don't need to work out like a maniac everyday to prevent chronic disease and obtain health benefits.  Results from a recent study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise concluded that short, mini-workouts throughout the day may lower your triglycerides as well as one long exercise session.  You can derive health benefits by getting a half-hour of exercise in three 10-minute workout sessions throughout the day.  Try taking three 10-minute brisk walks throughout the day if you can't find time to exercise.  If you like to dance, turn up the volume and move to the groove!  Whatever gets you moving at a good pace for 10-minutes, 3 times a day will improve your health.

    Exercise reduces the spike in blood fats that occurs after consuming a high-fat meal.  The study concluded that people who exercised in short bursts did not experience as sharp a rise in triglyceride levels after consuming a high-fat meal as those who did not exercise at all.  The results suggest that short bouts of physical activity help the body metabolize fats and may reduce the risk of heart disease.  It is important to remember that longer bouts of exercise are better for losing weight, while short bursts help with improving overall health.

    The study trials consisted of 30 min of treadmill jogging at 60% max.   One group exercised in three 10-minute sessions per day while another group did no exercise.  Exercise trials were completed 12 hours before the high fat meal. Trials were separated by 7-10 days and were performed in random order.

    Results: Plasma triglycerides were significantly lower in the short-burst exercise group compared with the no-exercise group. 

    You have heard all the advice:  take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car farther away from your destination, wear a pedometer to help motivate you, etc.  My advise is to do whatever activity you enjoy for 10 minutes, 3 times a day at a good pace.  Even if you only make two sessions a day, it is a good place to start!

    Source:  Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 36(8):1364-1371, August 2004.

      Live Longer with Legumes!

      A recent study of older people revealed that regular legume eaters have a significantly lower risk of mortality compared to non-legume eaters.

      Legumes are an incredibly diverse group of foods that includes peanuts, garbanzo beans, soybeans, lentils, peas, lima beans, and red, white, or black beans.  Legumes are good for you, because they are high in protein and fiber and low in fat.  They also contain other healthy nutrients such as folate, magnesium, and potassium that help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  Soluble fiber lowers cholesterol and stabilizes blood sugars by slowing digestion.  Folate (a B-vitamin) reduces blood levels of homocysteine (associated with arterial damage and heart disease).  Magnesium and potassium are minerals that are critical for blood pressure control.

      The study was a cross-cultural study conducted by the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Baseline data on food habits, health status and social variables were collected from subjects aged 70 and over (from Japanese in Japan, Swedes in Sweden, Anglo-Celtic in Australia, Greeks in Australia and Greece).  The data obtained from this seven-year longitudinal study showed that a higher legume intake is the most protective dietary predictor of survival amongst the elderly, regardless of their ethnicity.

      Source:  Public Health Division, National Ageing Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia.

    ,,, Recipes ,,,

                              From The Fitschen Kitchen

    Low-Fat Lemon Blueberry Cake

    Makes about 15 pieces


      • 2 TB cornmeal
      • 2 cups whole wheat (or unbleached) pastry flour
      • 11/2 tsp baking powder
      • 11/2 tsp baking soda
      • 1/4 tsp salt
      • 11/2 cups sugar or Splenda
      • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice zest from 2 lemons, minced
      • 1/4 cup canola oil
      • 1 egg
      • 2 egg whites
      • 2/3 cup buttermilk
      • 1 TB vanilla extract
      • 3 cups blueberries


      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
      2. In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients, set aside.
      3. Add remaining ingredients, except blueberries, to the dry mixture, one at a time, stirring constantly until combined and smooth. Gently fold in blueberries.
      4. Lightly spray or wipe a 7 x 11 inch baking pan with vegetable oil. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
      5. Serve warm from the oven.

Nutrition Info

Per Serving: 144 calories, 4g fat (0.5g saturated), 1.5g protein, 26g carbohydrates, 13mg cholesterol, 229mg sodium

Blueberry Spelt Muffins

Makes 1 dozen muffins


      • 4 TB canola oil
      • 1/3 cup sugar
      • 1/3 cup Splenda
      • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
      • 2 eggs (or ½ cup egg substitute)
      • 1/2 cup orange juice
      • 2 tsp vanilla
      • 2 cups spelt flour
      • 2 tsp baking powder
      • 1 tsp granulated orange peel
      • 1/4 tsp salt
      • 2 cups fresh blueberries

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together the oil, sugars, applesauce, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, orange peel, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the liquid and combine gently. Fold in the blueberries. Bake in lightly oiled or sprayed muffin tins for 30 minutes, or until done.

    Wild Blueberry Cobbler

        For the filling:

    • 6 cups blueberries
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 TB sugar or Splenda
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 TB orange juice
    • Zest and juice of one lemon


              For the topping:

    • 11/2 cups all-purpose flour (or ½ whole wheat flour and ½ all-purpose)
    • 2 TB sugar or Splenda
    • 1 TB baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 stick of unsalted butter, cut in small pieces and chilled
    • 3/4 cup half and half (or fat-free substitute)
    • 2 TB sugar or Splenda
    • Optional:  Low-fat vanilla ice cream

    Preheat oven to 375°F.

    In a large mixing bowl, combine blueberries, flour, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and juice. Pile mixture into a large baking dish or pie plate. In another bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter until it resembles coarse meal. Lightly toss with the half-and-half until it forms a soft dough. Drop the dough in tablespoon size pieces on top of the blueberries until the surface is almost covered. Lightly pat the dough down to evenly distribute the top, but leave spaces for the blueberries to show through. Sprinkle with two tablespoons sugar.

    Bake the cobbler for about forty to forty-five minutes until top is golden and the berries are bubbling. Serve with low-fat ice cream or yogurt.

    Blueberry Cornmeal Waffles

    Makes 16 waffles (8 servings)

    A good source of thiamin and selenium

    Equal parts of flour and cornmeal give these waffles a good crunch and corn-like flavor. Use a nonstick waffle iron if you have one or lightly brush a regular waffle iron with oil. This recipe makes 16 waffles that are about 3" square. Some waffle irons have four individual squares and some have only two. Whichever type of iron you have, use 1/4 cup of batter per waffle, spooning it into the center of the waffle square.


      • 1 cup flour (or ½ whole grain and ½ all-purpose)
      • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
      • 11/2 tsp baking powder
      • 3/4 tsp salt
      • 1/2 tsp baking soda
      • 1 cup blueberries
      • 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
      • 1/2 cup water
      • 1/4 cup maple syrup
      • 2 TB extra-light olive oil
      • 1 large egg yolk
      • 2 large egg whites

Prep Time: 20 minutes

      1. Preheat waffle iron.
      2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Stir in blueberries.
      3. In measuring cup, stir together yogurt, water, maple syrup, oil, and egg yolk.
      4. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Make well in center of dry ingredients and stir in yogurt mixture. Fold in egg whites.
      5. For each waffle, spoon generous 1/4 cup mixture into waffle iron. Close the lid and bake according to waffle iron instructions. Serve hot.

Nutrition Info

Per Serving: 211 calories, 4.5g total fat, 0.7g saturated fat, 2.8g monounsaturated fat, 0.6g polyunsaturated fat, 2.2g dietary fiber, 6g protein, 37g carbohydrate, 27mg cholesterol, 374mg sodium

Healthy and Nutritious Blueberry Pie

This wonderful pie is loaded with antioxidants. The filling is cooled and poured into a 9-inch baked pie crust.  This recipe for Healthy Pie Crust makes two 9-inch crusts.  Bake both crusts and freeze one for later, or simply use half the recipe.

Ingredients For Filling:

1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup light brown sugar
Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
1 baked
Healthy Pie Crust (1/2 the recipe) - see below

1. Heat the blueberries in a saucepan over medium heat until they begin to boil. Simmer gently for 10 minutes.

2. Add the sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon, and cook for another 2 minutes.

3. Mix the cornstarch well with the water, and pour mixture into the simmering blueberries while stirring. Cook, stirring, until mixture becomes clear and thick. Continue to cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool.

4. Spoon mixture into the pie crust and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Healthy Pie Crust

1 package (1/3 pound) low-fat graham crackers
2 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons sesame tahini (can be found at Fred Meyer or Wild Oats in Salt Lake -- and occasionally at Wal-Mart in the organic produce section)
1 1/2 teaspoons water

1. Pulverize the Graham crackers in a food processor.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and process until well-blended.

3. Press half of mixture into a 9-inch pie pan, firming it well.

4. If an unbaked filling is to be used, bake the crust in an oven heated to 350ºF for 20-30 minutes until lightly browned. Otherwise, add the filling and bake the pie as directed.

Nutrients Per Serving – Serves 8
Calories: 162.6
Protein: 1.6 grams
Fat: 4 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
Monounsat Fat: 0.9 grams
Polyunsat Fat: 0.7grams
Carbohydrate: 36 grams
Fiber: 3.7 grams

Sodium: 135 grams
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Vitamin A: 86.9 IU
Vitamin E: 1.1 mg/IU
Vitamin C: 12.5 mg
Calcium: 23.9 mg
Magnesium: 13.5 mg