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Oatmeal Smoothie For The DASH Diet Breakfast

Why breakfast smoothie? On workday, in the morning, we don’t always  have time to make our breakfasts. Stopover at Tim Horton’s or Starbucks results in parting with some hard earned money; but, more importantly, it results in breaking the diet.

Because you either don’t know what’s inside that muffin, or don’t want to know ( for an obvious reason).

By the way, check out other DASH diet breakfast  recipes and another example of a  tasty BP-lowering smoothie and a super-healthy green smoothie

Oatmeal smoothie for the DASH diet breakfast

Oatmeal smoothie for the DASH diet breakfast

Breakfast smoothie is an emergency food for us.  We blend it in the morning, or before a tough workout. The benefit of smoothie is two-fold:

  • Blended food gets digested really fast so you feel a surge of energy right away
  • You know what’s inside that smoothie and stick to the diet.

This breakfast smoothie can be used as a legitimate  pre- or post-workout meal. All its ingredients are DASH-approved.

Warning:

If you follow the flavor of DASH diet by Marla Heller, widely advertised by Dr. Oz, and you are on the first stage of the diet, this smoothie doesn’t fit its requirements. But if you are follow the original DASH diet ( or the second phase of the above version), this smoothie fits your diet.

Original smoothie calls for  coconut water. Coconut water has its benefits – it contains electrolytes  and trace elements that your body needs when working out. However, it is already naturally sweet, and some brands contain added sugar. If you use dairy instead, or almond milk, you will be more in line with the DASH diet.

Breakfast Oatmeal Smoothie For Two

(Inspired by Martha Stewart’s recipe that is no longer to be found online)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup ice plus  1 banana –  or just 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries (any berries. I use the Costco mix)
  • 1/2 cup plain lowfat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup milk (or other liquid, such as almond milk) – adjust to taste
  • 1 tsp honey or some stevia to sweeten it up

Directions:

  1. Place ingredients in your blender, first frozen ones, then oats, then  liquids.
  2. If using frozen banana, don;t forget to peel ( just kidding!) and slice it
  3. Blend until mixed well.

Smoothie can store for a day, so you can use it for your breakfast tomorrow.

DASH diet servings:

  • Fruit – 4
  • Dairy – 1,5
  • Grains – 1
  • Sugar: 1 or 2

So be careful – if you are on 1200 calorie DASH diet, 1/2 of this smoothie will provide all fruit for the day and 1/2 the sugar you can eat.

Happy blending!

 

 

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Why Brown Rice For The DASH Diet

In this article, I want to discuss not only why brown rice is so important, but also how to start cooking it so that you can enjoy it. Because only then eating brown rice can become an automatic choice rather than tough  dietary decision. And so protection of your health will become automatic. Won’t it be nice?

The DASH diet doesn’t restrict your rice choices. So let me ask you, when on the DASH diet, do you choose brown rice or white rice?

If you opt for white rice or no rice at all, you are not alone. Many people have difficulty making brown rice a permanent part of their diet.

Even though researchers assert that brown rice provides the whole array of health benefits.

Brown Rice Polishing: Loss of nutrients

Brown Rice Polishing: Loss of nutrients

Health benefits of brown rice

Brown rice
lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.
• offers protection from atherosclerosis and heart disease
• has been linked to protection against ischemic stroke, insulin resistance, obesity, and premature death
• substantially lowers risk of type 2 diabetes
• helps women lose weight and keep it off
• helps keep energy levels up
• contains fiber and antioxidants that help protect from colon and breast cancer (and several other types of cancer)
Yes, besides lowering blood pressure, brown rice is essential in anti-cancer diet. While attending one of the natural health events, I met Denny Waxman, the leading educator of the macrobiotic lifestyle in the US. I met his clients, who are now free of cancer. I listened to their stories. These people won their fight with cancer using macrobiotic diet. They ate brown rice at least once a day. Denny repeatedly stressed the importance of two grains for the optimal health: brown rice and millet

Why brown rice, not white?

Brown rice as an excellent source of manganese, and a good source of minerals selenium and magnesium. WHFoods website states that “the complete milling and polishing that converts brown rice into white rice destroys 67% of the vitamin B3, 80% of the vitamin B1, 90% of the vitamin B6, half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60% of the iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids. “

DASH becomes SuperDASH With Brown Rice

DASH diet doesn’t restrict what kind of rice you should choose – but if you want your DASH plan to work faster, I recommend that you start choosing brown rice over white. It’s only a smart thing to do as you can lose more weight and lower blood pressure faster.

So why many people don’t eat brown rice?

Old habits die hard, and that’s exactly why many people cannot switch to brown rice. It doesn’t feel the same, it is not as tasty, complaints just go on.
Eating rice is natural for the Asian cultures, but not as much for the Western diet. When we traveled China, our traditional breakfast was congee – boiled rice stew with fermented veggies and peanuts. Everyone eats it at least once a day there. While in North America, you can go for weeks without eating any rice, unless you order a takeout from an Oriental restaurant. So people might not know how to best use brown rice and they are not accustomed to cooking it.

How To Start Eating More Brown Rice

  1. Try different types of brown rice

    Just like white rice, brown rice comes in the same varieties, because “brown” means “hulled but not stripped of bran layers.” For example, brown basmati rice is chewier than white, and has the same aroma. There are brown short-grains, you can cook them so that they either stick or fall apart, they are reminiscent of Arborio rice that is used for Italian rizottos. And there are purple, red, black rice varieties – relatively new and more expensive.
    You might like basmati but not brown basmari rice. That’s why it is important to try a few types and see which one works for you.
  2. Experiment with cooking rice

    It seems, every Asian household has a rice cooker. Rice cooker steams rice, preserving the most nutrients and keeping its nice texture. However, you don’t have to buy a rice cooker.And you don’t have to work hard and spend much time on looking after your rice while it cooks.

    Simple Way To Cook Brown Rice In 20 Minutes

    I use non-sticky wok to cook my rice. The sequence is simple:
    Step 1. Wash the rice and put in on the pan ( wok) on high heat
    Step 2. Add hot water in proportion as per instructions on the package. Add salt, spices and if you like it, some vinegar
    Step 3. Once rice boils, mix it well, reduce heat to a minimum, cover rice with the lid, and let it cook for 40 minutes.
    Once it absorbs water, try it – if you feel it is undercooked, add a little bit of water and cook for another 10 minutes.

    I cook rice in 20 minutes. I soak it in water overnight, and use the sequence above, just adding water in the proportion 1:1 as opposed to usual 1:2.


  3. Try different dishes

    Brown rice is great in soups, salads, stews, rizotto. It can be used in stuffings, and some people even make brown rice milk out of it. You can freeze some of it and use later.

You are welcome to explore brown rice dishes on this site. Even a half a cup brown rice a day can make a difference.

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Vegetarian Lentil Soup Recipe For The DASH Diet

This lentil soup recipe is a high blood pressure sufferer’s dream. It contains THAT much of  blood pressure lowering ingredients. Actually, it contains so much garlic that I would think it was created by an Ukrainian ( never saw anyone loving as much garlic as we do!) It has a healthy amount of ginger, very little oil, and overall is a very healthy soup.

VEGETARIAN-LENTIL-SOUP

Curried Lentil Soup (Vegetarian)

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The DASH Diet And Diabetes

By Stacy Ostrager, Nutritionist, M.A., M.S.

It has been well established that following a healthy diet is critical to stopping or reversing progression of diabetes.  There are many studies on which diet is most beneficial for diabetic patients, and there are many diets, so choosing a plan that will keep your blood glucose in check can be confusing.

The Dash Diet And Diabetes

The Dash Diet And Diabetes

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet has been touted by most doctors as the optimal choice for patients who are trying to lower their blood pressure and control glucose levels. Scientific clinically proven evidence has found that following the DASH diet has one of the highest success rates in addressing these medical concerns and reducing patients’ weight. 

  • DASH offers a structured eating program that will prevent and help manage  diabetes and heart disease.
  • The DASH diet guidelines encourages a reduction in the amount of sodium in your diet and to eat a variety of nutrient rich foods.  This plan will aide you in   making choices which will reduce blood glucose levels. 
  • The diet is low in calories, high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and whole grains.      and promotes increased number of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products     which have been associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. 
  •  This is NOT a pre-packaged, fad diet, with expensive ingredients and recipes  that are difficult to follow. 

How Can the DASH Diet Help Me Control My Diabetes?

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes may be viewed as a wake-up call to change your lifestyle.  In most instances both diabetic and hypertensive patients are eating a high sodium, high fat diet, and consuming too many calories. The association of excess weight and high blood pressure puts them in a higher risk category for additional medical complications:

  • Hypertensive patients are predisposed to the development of insulin resistance and diabetes.
  • People with diabetes are likely to have a higher incidence of stroke and heart disease. 

You CAN reverse or alleviate these complications by choosing to change your lifestyle with the DASH program.

  • One of the key features of following the DASH diet is that your blood pressure and weight will decrease.  You can avert negative health consequences by choosing the low cholesterol and reduced sodium foods that are on the DASH plan.
  •  Foods included on the DASH diet are full of nutrients such as magnesium, calcium and protein which help with insulin resistance. Remember, lowering your glucose levels is a critical component in the development of type 2 diabetes.
  • The diet in combination with an exercise program proves more beneficial for patients’ weight and fasting insulin levels.  Patients achieved improvements in glucose metabolism while on the DASH diet plan.
  • The DASH diet may lower homocysteine levels and help reduce inflammation. Diet and exercise reduce stress and inflammation as well. Both are important elements to control the complication by damaging blood vessels for diabetics.  

If you are ready to make the DASH work for you, you can take these steps to prepare yourself and get your kitchen ready:

  1. Keep track of what you are currently eating,  and then you will be able to replace your preferences with healthier options.
  2. Make a shopping list and try not to buy anything else. Focus on the DASH guidelines and meeting your goals.  A good place to start is by looking at the nutrition labels of the foods going into your cart.  Try to find items with less sodium and fat.  Look for “sodium-free” items.
  3. Shop the perimeter of the store and look for a variety of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. Aim for organic, whole-grains and lean meats, wild fish, and skinless chicken.
  4. Change the way you prepare foods at home.  Try not to add salt when you are cooking and experiment with spices and other flavors.  Rinse canned foods to wash away extra salt.  Modify your recipes and don’t be afraid to try new foods.

 Your Good Health is Worth Making the DASH:

Following the DASH diet requires some effort but over time this lifestyle will likely reduce health risks associated with diabetes.  Your efforts to stay on track will be worthwhile. Imagine throwing out your medications and not having to check your sugars. You can reduce stress, expenses, and avoid major medical problems with this lifestyle.  The DASH dietary pattern is a comprehensive plan that may be used as a non-pharmacologic intervention for blood pressure control and insulin action. The DASH diet offers protection against the development of type 2 diabetes.

_____________________________________________________________________________
Stacy R. Ostrager has over 15 years experience in the health care field. She has worked in leading teaching hospitals and co-authored numerous consulting projects for doctors and private medical groups. She is currently working in private practice. Stacy has a Masters degree in Health Administration as well as a Masters in Nutrition.

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Rice Side Dish – Pesto Rice With Roasted Peppers

Pesto Rice with Roasted Peppers is an authentic recipe from the Mediterranean kitchen.  It is not a low fat recipe, but is definitely within the guidelines of the DASH diet. Mediterranean rice side dish recipes are great:  Spanish rice, Greek rice, Italian rice  are so fragrant, distinctly different, and easy to cook!  

 

Rice Side Dish For The DASH Diet: Pesto Rice

Rice Side Dish For The DASH Diet: Pesto Rice

 
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DASH Diet Recipes To Avoid

This article will  help you recognize DASH diet recipes that you should avoid.

The reason I am frustrated is because a lot of reputable websites misrepresent the DASH diet. They post recipes that don’t pass the DASH diet requirements because they contain too much sugar.  You might think a blood pressure diet is all about Sodium, but it has a strict restriction on sugar, too.

Guess what happens? You buy books, you cook new foods, you work hard, you suffer, but  you don’t follow the DASH diet to the letter. Will it surprise you that you might not get the results you expected?

Your blood pressure just won’t go down… You won’t lose weight.

So, why do they do this?

Partly, because it is harder to post delicious recipes that allow for less sugar than we are used to. But here is another reason: they may not believe that you will be willing to accept the dietary restrictions required to lower blood pressure.

Here is a jaw-dropping example:

In one survey, cardiologists were asked what they believed would help heart attack survivors, and what they actually prescribed. The majority  of doctors said that changes in the diet would help, but only half of them actually prescribed these changes.

Why? Because they thought that patients wouldn’t believe them or wouldn’t follow their recommendations.

I prefer to be told the truth, without the sugar-coating. I want to make my own choices. What about you?

How to detect recipes you need to avoid

I cannot list every wrong recipe that sugar-coats the DASH diet. But I can show you how to determine whether the recipe passes the DASH diet test.

All you have to know is how much sugar you are allowed per day.

You are allowed 5 or less tablespoons of sugar per week!  To make it easy, this is one or less teaspoon of sugar per day. Check out the source if you don’t believe me.

Knowing this makes it easy to examine recipes.

  1. Locate sugar, molasses, or honey in the ingredient list.
  2. Divide the amount of sugar in the recipe by the number of portions.
  3. If the recipe uses more than 1 teaspoon, don’t use it. It doesn’t comply with DASH.
  4. If the recipe uses exactly this amount, remember that all other meals and drinks for the day must be sugar free.
  5. You can still try to replace sugar with stevia. But now you need to examine the rest of the ingredients. If the recipe doesn’t meet one requirement, how can you trust that it meets the others?
  6. If the recipe calls for artificial sweeteners, I am not using it (for this reason). It’s up to you to decide what you want to do with it.

Google DASH recipes and see for yourself why I get so frustrated.

P.S. By the way, check out my list of DASH-friendly and unfriendly breakfast foods.

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Fat Free Baked Root Vegetables For The DASH Diet

Most recipes for baked root vegetables include this step – adding oil. I was cooking this way too, until my daughter came up with a completely fat free way that is still delicious.

fat free root veggies bake

Fat free root veggies bake

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How To Lower Blood Pressure In Two Weeks

People who are diagnosed with hypertension often wonder whether it is possible to lower their blood pressure naturally. A little-known fact is that most of them can reduce their blood pressure in a matter of two or three weeks without medication.

We do not recommend to stop taking your medication or disobey your doctor.  We do want to share with you several natural strategies you can take in parallel with your treatment in order to speed up your recovery from hypertension or pre-hypertension.

how-to-lower-blood-pressure-in-two-weeks

How To Lower Blood Pressure In Two Weeks....

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Best And Worst Breakfast Ideas For The DASH Diet

It’s easy to make a DASH Diet breakfast, and here is why. DASH allows plenty of fruits and vegetables,  lots of grains, and some dairy. All of these food groups are a good foundation for a tasty, healthy breakfast. You can see a good example of a DASH breakfast inside my 1200 calorie DASH diet plan sample.

NOT a good DASH diet choice…

  • The typical North American breakfast can be a big contributor to high blood pressure and cholesterol. This popular breakfast, eggs and bacon, is definitely not a DASH-approved choice.
    Firstly, only lean meat is allowed on DASH. Secondly, the DASH position about eggs in unclear. I would think that occasionally it’s OK to eat an egg. Its “danger” could be that the yolk contains fat that the DASH diet is trying to control. While it has been proven again and again that eggs are not as evil as they were portrayed for years, you shouldn’t go wild on eggs. Certainly, it is OK to eat egg whites; they should be counted as lean meats (they contain lean protein). If you decided to eat an egg while on DASH, I suggest you poach it, boil it, or fry it in a non-stick pan. This is because you are allowed very little oil on the DASH diet, so I found it is better to use it in salads than for frying.
  • Another popular breakfast choice is bread with butter and jam. While eating bread is wholeheartedly endorsed by the DASH diet, jam and butter are not the greatest choices. You are only allowed a teaspoon or so of sugar per day and very little fat, and you can certainly use this allowance toward one piece of bread with jam and butter if you feel compelled to do so. But this leaves you with no sugar and no fats for the rest of the day’s meals.
  • Cereals: only certain healthy wholesome cereals will be OK to eat on the DASH diet. It’s good to keep a box of them for times when you are in a rush.
  • Muesli: While wholesome grains are fine, you should exercise caution with dried fruit. You need to be able to evaluate how much dried fruit is there, and whether it is dried with added sugar (for example, pineapple and cranberries often are). So while I don’t rule out muesli, I prefer to make my own, so that I can control fruit and sugar intake.
  • Commercial fruit juices are not the best choice either. While allowed on the DASH diet, they usually contain too much sugar. So if you choose fruit juice, make sure it is natural and without added sugar.

DASH Diet Breakfast Recipes/Ideas

Let’s look both at grain-based and at fruit-based DASH diet choices:

  • Oatmeal with fruit and milk or yogurt
  • Overnight oats
  • Cereals
  • DASH-approved sandwich
  • Salad
  • Healthy Smoothies
  • Yougurt-based smoothies
  • Smoothie in a bowl
  • Homemade fruit, greens, and vegetable juices
  • Gallo Pinto – this is rice with black beans and veggies, a typical Costa-Rican meal
  • Miso soup – yes, miso lowers blood pressure despite its Sodium content, and yes, in many countries this is a breakfast of choice

Other good breakfast ideas while on DASH

  • Egg whites omelette with greens (great for fat loss, by the way)
  • Tofu scramble

Breakfast choices that can get you in trouble with the DASH guidelines

  • Fried eggs
  • Fried potatoes
  • Packaged cereals
  • Pancakes: while you can make healthy oatmeal pancakes and make sure you use little or no oil to fry them, it is really hard not to top them with something sweet. And the sugar allowance on the DASH diet is so small, that you will probably go over it with just one or two pancakes.

As you can see, there are plenty of good breakfast choices for your life on DASH. Your family will benefit from healthy DASH breakfasts too – although they are welcome to add a bit more sugar to their bowls. The DASH diet breakfast will give you energy to go through the day.

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Coconut Milk Rice With Spinach For Your DASH Diet Menu

Whether you are on the 1200, 1500, or 1600 calorie DASH diet, every calorie counts. This recipe for coconut milk rice with spinach is ridiculously easy, quick to make (if the rice is prepared in advance) and very tasty. It contains lots of fiber, Potassium, Magnesium and other vitamins and minerals needed to lower your blood pressure.

I served it with tilapia under pineapple salsa; the whole meal was delicious and very well put together.

coconut milk rice with spinach

Coconut milk rice with spinach for the DASH diet

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