Friday, December 29, 2006

Here I Come 2007

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! In light of the upcoming New Year, I sat down last night to make a list of my New Year’s resolutions for 2007. You see, every year I make not one but usually three resolutions for the upcoming year. Do I succeed at all of them? Of course not! But, I figure I have a much better chance of succeeding when I have three options to pick and choose from. So, without further ado, these are the things I will try to change and improve upon this year:

Truly incorporate healthier dishes into my diet.
That means using margarine (of course!) in all of my recipes, using skim milk instead of ½ percent milk, eating more heart healthy fish, basting my meat and veggies with fat-free marinades, etc. You get the gist of it. Basically, just focusing on living on a heart healthy lifestyle. The disease runs in my family, and I really want to take all precautions not to get it!

I must admit I don’t like physical fitness. I don’t enjoy pumping iron at the gym with men who look like they belong in a bodybuilding competition and women that could be models. So, I’ve decided to start taking walks around my neighborhood everyday after work. It will help burn calories plus relieve the stress that the workday inevitably brings!

Follow the golden rule ALWAYS. I try to be a good person most of the time but every once in a while I say or do something that I shouldn’t. I’m not going to gossip about people because it’s petty and hurtful, and I’m also going to try to be more aware of the feelings of others.

So there it is – my goals for the upcoming year. What are yours?

Welcome 2007 - Here I Come!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! In light of the upcoming New Year, I sat down last night to make a list of my New Year’s resolutions for 2007. You see, every year I make not one but usually three resolutions for the upcoming year. Do I succeed at all of them? Of course not! But, I figure I have a much better chance of succeeding when I have three options to pick and choose from. So, without further ado, these are the things I will try to change and improve upon this year:

Truly incorporate healthier dishes into my diet. That means using margarine (of course!) in all of my recipes, using skim milk instead of ½ percent milk, eating more heart healthy fish, basting my meat and veggies with fat-free marinades, etc. You get the gist of it. Basically, just focusing on living on a heart healthy lifestyle. The disease runs in my family, and I really want to take all precautions not to get it!

Exercise. I must admit I don’t like physical fitness. I don’t enjoy pumping iron at the gym with men who look like they belong in a bodybuilding competition and women that could be models. So, I’ve decided to start taking walks around my neighborhood everyday after work. It will help burn calories plus relieve the stress that the workday inevitably brings!

Follow the golden rule ALWAYS. I try to be a good person most of the time but every once in a while I say or do something that I shouldn’t. I’m not going to gossip about people because it’s petty and hurtful, and I’m also going to try to be more aware of the feelings of others.

So there it is – my goals for the upcoming year. What are yours?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A LIttle Margarine Vocab for You

Don’t we all like to think of ourselves as smarter than everyone else? We certainly don’t want to consider ourselves the dumbest in the crowd? I believe it’s innate to want to feel that you have more knowledge than the average human being. I might not be the smartest person out there but I, like everyone else, consider my self above average when it comes to intelligence.

That’s why, when possible, I learn new vocabulary and random facts that I can present to others to make myself look smarter than I actually am! Below is some margarine vocabulary (from the UK’s Margarine and Spread association) that might find useful one day because you just never know when the subject of margarine might come up! Happy holidays!!!

Retention of moisture:In bakery items, margarine can help retain a product’s moisture and therefore increase its shelf-life. It can also be used to baste foods that are cooked using dry heat, for example, when you spoon the fat over your Sunday roast.

Glaze: Placed on hot vegetables, margarine gives a glossy appearance. It also adds shine to sauces.

Plasticity: Fats do not melt immediately, but soften over a range of temperatures. This property is called plasticity, and gives each fat its unique character. The plasticity is due to the mixture of triglycerides, each with its own melting point. Some fats have been formulated so that their melting points are low and they can be spread straight from the fridge, e.g. soft margarine.

Flavour: All fats and oils have unique flavours and odours. Some are more suited for particular purposes than others, e.g. olive oil for salad dressing (for flavour) and lard for pastry (due to its blandness).Back to Top

Monday, December 18, 2006

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Wow, I can’t believe Christmas is exactly one week away. Where has December gone? I’m heading home to Houston on Friday but in the meantime, I’ve been in my kitchen whipping up some delicious goodies for friends. Below is a LOW-FAT recipe (courtesy of that is sure to tempt your taste buds. Naturally, it contains my dietary staple – margarine!!!


Yield: 12 Servings
1 cups Graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoon Sugar
2 tablespoon Margarine, melted
3 package Fat-free Cream Cheese (8oz)
¾ cups Sugar
2 tablespoon Flour
3 tablespoon Lemon juice
3 tablespoon Cholesterol-free egg product
1 ct Non-fat lemon yogurt
Lite whipped topping
1 can Cherry pie filling

1. Heat oven to 350øF. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and margarine; mix well. Pat onto bottom of 9" or 10" springform pan. Set aside.

2. Beat cream cheese, sugar and flour together until light, fluffy and smooth. Gradually add lemon juice and egg product; beat well. Add lemon yogurt and mix thoroughly. Pour over prepared crust.

3. Loosely place aluminum foil over springform pan.

4. Bake at 350øF 60 to 70 minutes or until center of cake is set.

5. Gently run tip of knife between cake and edge of pan. Cool to room temperature before removing from pan. Chill.

Served topped with cherry pie filling and whipped topping. Per 1/12th serving:

Calories.....................216 Protein...................16g Carbohydrates................30g Total Fat..................4g Saturated Fat.................1g Cholesterol................9g Sodium.....................542mg Fiber......................6g % of Calories from Fat 17

* * * * *


Per Serving % Calories Fat from Fat Cholesterol -------------------------------------------- This Cheesecake 4g 17% 9mg

Regular Cheesecake 26g 63% 120mg

Your HOLIDAY DELIGHT CHEESECAKE (Lo-Fat) is ready. Good luck

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Thoughts About Saturated Fat

Well, I’m back from Chicago. It was a wonderful trip even if the temperature was 11 degrees during the day. No, I’m not kidding.

We shopped a lot and ate even more. While I was there I got to thinking about fat. Now, I know this is a very random thing to think about but when it comes to my life food is very important so naturally, fat plays a role.

Why do we need fat? If it’s so bad for us, then why is it so necessary for us to consume it?

According to

Fats do play a vital role in a balanced diet. Not only is fat an important energy-providing nutrient, some dietary fat is needed for the body to function properly. Fat assists the body in transporting and digesting fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E and K, but fat from vegetable oil sources also provide two essential fatty acids that the body requires. Health professionals do not recommend that individuals eliminate all fat from their diets. Rather, they state that a person’s diet should contain no more than 30 percent of total calories from fat and less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat.

Now, there are different kinds of fats but in general, I try to avoid foods that are high in saturated fats, such as butter. I can almost feel my body cringe when I consume it. That’s how I ended up with margarine. I really enjoy the taste plus I don’t feel guilty about putting it into my body.

What your thoughts on saturated fat?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Overweight Human Snowwoman

I’m heading to the Windy City today and I must admit, I’m a little nervous. You see, I’m a Southern girl and do not deal well with cold weather. To me, 50 degrees is about the coldest I can handle.

Below is the predicted weather report from while I will be there:

Dec 6 Today
Occasional snow flurries developing. Morning high of 37F with temps falling to near 30F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph.

Dec 6 Tonight
Snow flurries this evening will give way to partly cloudy skies during the night. Cold. Low 13F. Winds NW at 15 to 25 mph.

Dec 7 Tomorrow
Partly cloudy skies with gusty winds. Colder. High 16F. Winds NW at 20 to 30 mph.

Dec 7 Tomorrow night
Clear skies. Cold. Low 11F. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph.

Dec 8 Friday
A few clouds. Highs in the upper 20s and lows in the low 20s.

Dec 9 Saturday
Mainly sunny and windy. Highs in the upper 30s and lows in the upper 20s.

A low of 13 degrees!!! Is that humanly possible? Anyways, I’ve already resigned myself to the fact that I will be looking a ridiculous fool, all bundled up in my winter clothing. Women from Chicago look adorable with their stylish yet functional winter clothing while I basically pile on as many clothes as possible onto my 5’3” frame. Think obese human snowman or should I say, snowwoman.

If anybody has any recommendations for things to do or see, I would love to hear them. I’m also a foodie so if you’ve got any restaurant recommendations, I’d really appreciate it!

Talk to you guys on Monday!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Pfizer Stops Clinical Trial Experimental Cholesterol Drug

Yesterday was a somewhat disappointing day for those with high cholesterol. A new drug, torcetrapib, which was undergoing clinical trial, was found to be causing “a disproportionately large number of deaths and cardiovascular problems among patients receiving the drug,” according to HealthDay. Pfizer announced that an independent board had recommended the clinical trial be stopped.

“It’s big news.” Said Dr. Daniel Fisher, clinical assistant professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine. “This was going to be a blockbuster drug because it represented a new form of treatment – raising HDL cholesterol significantly. It had a lot of promise to it. Heart disease is the number one killer,” Fisher explained.

Unlike other cholesterol drugs, which lower the bad LDL cholesterol in the body, this drug would have raised the good HDL cholesterol.

Until a new drug is developed, Pfizer’ Lipitor will likely continue to be the most popular cholesterol drug on the market.

Friday, December 01, 2006

I Heart Pecans Almost as Much as Margarine

As a serious proponent of heart healthy eating, I wanted to bring to your attention a recent study that supports the benefits of yet another heart healthy food, pecans. Pecans are delicious in recipes or as a snack and provide numerous health benefits. Below is a recent press release discussing a clinical study that found eating about a handful of pecans each day may help prevent heart disease.

Who knew that consuming something so delicious might actually help you live longer? Read on and let me know what you think…

New research confirms antioxidant-rich pecans protect against unhealthy oxidation in the body

Loma Linda, California – New research from Loma Linda University (LLU) shows that adding just a handful of pecans to your diet each day may inhibit unwanted oxidation of blood lipids, thus helping reduce the risk of heart disease. Researchers suggest that this positive effect was in part due to the pecan’s significant content of vitamin E.

“Plant foods, including pecans, are rich sources of phytochemicals that can have a unique effect on the body,” says LLU researcher Ella Haddad, DrPH, associate professor, department of nutrition, School of Public Health.

Pecans contain different forms of vitamin E – known as tocopherols – which protects fats from oxidation. Pecans are especially rich in one form of vitamin E – gamma tocopherol.
“We found that eating pecans increased levels of gamma tocopherol concentrations in the blood and subsequently reduced a marker of lipid oxidation,” adds Dr. Haddad.

Oxidation of fats in the blood – a process akin to rusting – is detrimental to health. When the “bad” cholesterol becomes oxidized, it is more likely to build up and result in arteriosclerosis.

These latest research findings on pecan’s healthfulness were published in the recently released August issue of Nutrition Research. They are from the second phase of a research project designed to evaluate the health benefits of pecans, according to Dr. Haddad. She analyzed blood samples from study participants (a total of 23 men and women between the ages of 25 and 55) who ate two diets: one that contained pecans and one that did not. Participants were randomly placed on either the American Heart Association’s Step I diet or a pecan-enriched version of the Step I diet. (The pecan-enriched diet was similar to the Step I diet but replaced 20 percent of calories with pecans). After four weeks on one diet, they then switched to the other diet.

In the laboratory analysis of blood samples from the research subjects, Dr. Haddad’s team found that the pecan-enriched diets significantly reduced lipid oxidation (by 7.4 percent) versus the Step I diet. Oxidation levels were evaluated using the TBARS test, which measures oxidation products. The researchers also found that blood levels of tocopherols were higher after participants were on the pecan diet. Cholesterol-adjusted plasma gamma-tocopherol in the study participants’ blood samples increased by 10.1 percent (P < .001) after eating the pecan diet. The researchers concluded that these data provide some evidence for potential protective effects of pecan consumption in healthy individuals.
Another key research finding, beyond the reduced level of blood lipid oxidation, was that the various phytochemicals found in pecans seem to be protective of the pecan’s high levels of unsaturated fat. All unsaturated fats in foods can be prone to oxidation themselves (which some may describe in foods as rancidity).
So, did eating pecans lead to an increased risk of oxidation? No, according to this analysis, which found that pecans, while high in unsaturated fat, are “self-protective” due to their vitamin E content (tocopherols) and relatively high content of complex phytonutrients, some of which have been identified as proanthocyanidins, or condensed tannins, which are recognized for their ability to slow the oxidation process.
“We concluded that even though the pecan diet was high in unsaturated fats, which one may think would increase blood oxidation, that did not happen. We found the opposite result: the pecan diet showed reduced oxidation of blood lipids,” states Dr. Haddad.
The dramatic initial research findings from this research project were published earlier in The Journal of Nutrition by LLU’s Joan Sabate, MD, DrPH, professor and chair, department of nutrition, School of Public Health. He found that the pecan-enriched diet lowered levels of LDL cholesterol by 16.5 percent – more than twice as much as the Step I diet. Similarly, the pecan-enriched diet lowered total cholesterol levels by 11.3 percent (also twice as much as the Step I diet).
Loma Linda University is a health-sciences university with more than 3,000 students in seven schools – Allied Health, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Science and Technology. The university also includes a Faculty of Graduate Studies and a Faculty of Religion. The campus is located about 60 miles east of Los Angeles. For more information, check out

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Getting Back on My Heart Healthy Track

Now that Thanksgiving’s over, I’m trying to get my diet back on track. As I’ve noted before, my focus is really on heart-healthy eating. Through eating foods such as margarine, olive oil, low-fat milk, salmon and lots of beans, I’m able to reduce my risk for heart disease.

Heart disease is really at the forefront of my mind when it comes to health. Not only does it run in my family but also more and more people are dying of it everyday. In my opinion, I think people aren’t paying enough attention to their risk of heart disease and are instead obsessed with cutting out food groups or carbs or fat to lose weight.

Weight loss is extremely important but it can’t be obtained over the long run if you’re cutting out whole food groups. That’s just not sensible! Instead, it’s important to fill your diet with fresh veggies and fruit, whole grains and lean meats without eliminating any major food group. In addition, cooking with margarine and using it as a spread over butter can help reduce the saturated fat in your diet.

Common people, stop falling for this fad diets that offer a quick fix. Losing weight and living an overall healthy lifestyle takes work! Fill your diet with foods that fill you up but also offer balanced nutrition.

This article from the Mayo Clinic provides sound advice on choosing foods that will benefit you in the long haul.

Happy and heart healthy eating!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving to All

I’m off to Houston for a week so I likely won’t be doing much blogging. In the meantime, I would like to offer a few tips on keeping your Turkey Day a little healthier.

Folks, it’s all about simple substitutions. By making small changes in the diet, you can avoid gaining weight during the holidays. Experts warn against trying to lose weight during the holidays as that’s likely setting yourself up for failure. Instead, why not avoid gaining weight. That’s a much simpler concept!

Here are a few tips for a healthier and lighter holiday feast:

Try cooking with more heart-healthy liquids, rather than oil. These include lemon juice, sherry, tomato sauce, vinegar, skim or 1% milk, wine, low-fat broth, fruit juice or a combination of these.
Use skim or 1% milk when the recipe calls for whole milk.

To thicken a liquid without adding fat, use one of the following: flour, cornstarch, potato flakes, yogurt, non-fat evaporated milk.

Use an egg substitute or 2 egg whites in place of a whole egg.

Use low-fat versions of cheese, sour cream, ice cream, salad dressings, etc.

Replace butter with margarine. (Note for optimal results, be sure to cook with a margarine that has greater than 50 percent oil. This works well for most cooking. Also note that many recipes have been specifically developed for the use of margarine products. However, if a recipe calls for a precise amount of fat and moisture, such as pastry crusts and spritz cookies, you should use a margarine that contains 60 percent oil. All other margarine products are appropriate for spreading, topping and adding flavor to recipes.)

Use vegetables as the main course. Hearty (and more "meat-like") vegetables include Portobello mushrooms, artichoke hearts, eggplant, green, red or yellow peppers.
Use fresh spices to enhance your meals.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Yummy Velvet Chocolate Cheesecake

Thanksgiving is creeping upon us! I usually gain a pound or two during the holidays but it’s the one time of year when I just allow myself to sit back and enjoy the food, without obsessing about the calorie content. Below is a delicious heart healthy recipe (courtesy of Parkay) that will satisfy your taste buds. Enjoy

Velvet Chocolate Cheesecake

38 chocolate sandwich cookies, finely crushed
5 tablespoons tub margarine spread
5 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, divided
8 ounces cream cheese
1-1/2 cups dairy sour cream, divided
1/2 cup Egg Beaters® Egg Product, or 2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix cookie crumbs and Parkay in bowl. Press firmly on bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Stand 14 whole cookies around the inside edge of pan, pressing firmly into crumb mixture. Set aside.
Melt 4 ounces of chocolate in small saucepan over low heat; set aside.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar with electric mixer at medium speed. Beat in 1/2 cup sour cream, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Blend in melted chocolate. Pour into prepared crust.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until cheesecake is slightly puffed and center is set. Blend remaining 1 cup sour cream and 2 tablespoons sugar; spread over cheesecake. Bake 5 minutes more. Cool to room temperature.
Melt remaining 1 ounce chocolate; drizzle over cheesecake. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

My Winter Cravings

I’m taking a break from margarine news today to discuss my winter cravings. Yes, I did just say (or write) winter cravings. You see, in the winter when it’s frigid outside, I crave a handful of foods constantly. I suppose it’s the same for many people – in the summer, I want fruits and veggies while in the winter I want warm and hearty foods. Below is my list of favorite winter foods:

Soups and Stews: This is a typical winter craving. Beef stew is one of my all-time favorite foods but I just don’t feel right eating it during the summer. It’s kind of like eating a popsicle during the winter – odd. I also love chicken noodle soup, minestrone soup and your basic vegetable soup. Stews and soups are great ways incorporate vegetables into your diet during the winter when the produce isn’t as good.

Mashed Potatoes: I know this is a weird thing to crave during the winter but mashed potatoes remind me of Thanksgiving. My cravings for mashed potatoes start around November 1st and don’t let up until the end of February. I love adding shredded smoked gouda or some sharp cheddar cheese to the potatoes for a little extra kick. Also, you can feel good about adding margarine to your potatoes rather than butter and reducing the saturated fat in this yummy food.

Steak: Another really strange thing to crave during the winter but I love a good steak when it gets cold. During the summer, my appetite wanes and I usually prefer a salad or something light for dinner. But in the winter, I love nothing more than a delicious steak. And, it’s a great way to get some protein in the diet!

Tea: I’m not a tea drinker. I am a fanatical coffee drinker and will refuse to pull myself out of bed in the morning without it. But something happens during the winter. At night, it’s comforting to curl up with a good book and a piping hot mug of tea. I sweeten mine with a low-calorie sweetener (Equal or Splenda) and a little milk. Some prefer to use lemon juice.

So there’s my list of winter cravings. What do you crave?

Monday, November 06, 2006

A Historical Day for Margarine

According to the Detroit Free-Press:

On Nov. 7, 1950, Michiganders marched to the polls and voted for the right to -- buy colored margarine.

The spread we call margarine was invented as a substitute for butter. In fact, some states had laws that required oleo, as it was sometimes known, to be colored pink so that consumers would not be confused. In some places, shoppers had to pay an extra tax to get yellow margarine. There was even yellow margarine smuggling! Michigan was one of seven states where the manufacture and sale of yellow margarine was a crime.

Older Michiganders remember buying margarine in bags that contained a capsule of food coloring. They broke open the food coloring and mixed it with the margarine to make it look edible.

The last state to legalize yellow oleomargarine was the dairy state of Wisconsin.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A "Margarine" Made in Heaven

Well, have I got a story for hopeless romantics! According to this BBC article, a couple recently celebrated their diamond anniversary (60 years). That in itself is amazing but listen to how they met – through a tub of margarine!

According to the article, Bette Kennedy was 16 and working at a margarine factory when she slipped her name and address into tubs destined for British forces, hoping for a reply. Her future husband, Herbie Reynolds, was on a board a minesweeper and the cook found the note from Bette and persuaded Herbie to make contact with her.

The two began communicating regularly and finally set up a place to meet. They met, fell in love and eventually married.

"It was a bit like a message in a bottle - it could have ended up anywhere. Maybe it was fate but I was a very lucky man," says Herbie.

Ahh, margarine really is good for the heart!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Women Have Hearts Too

I was perusing a magazine the other day when I saw a really interesting advertisement entitled, “Women Have Hearts Too.” The ad was not for a particular product but encouraged women to examine their risk for heart disease. According to the ad, “Nearly every minute a woman diet from heart disease in the United States.” That’s a pretty scary statistic!

Apparently there some key factors a woman can try to adjust in order to avoid her risk for heart disease:

Smoking: Because women are smaller, cigarettes are even more harmful for us. Our bodies are exposed to more of the harmful chemicals. Basically, there’s a really easy way to fix this: STOP SMOKING! It’s incredibly harmful to your health and offers no benefits except for yellow teeth and a bad odor.

Cholesterol Abnormalities: High levels of LDL cholesterol, or the “bad” cholesterol, is a huge risk factor for heart disease. You also want to keep your HDL cholesterol levels high and triglyceride levels low. Margarine can be helpful in lowering the bad cholesterol and can help you live a heart healthy lifestyle. You know I had to get my margarine plus in there. I love the stuff!

Hypertension: High blood pressure, which is defined as 140/90 or higher, is also a high risk factor. Apparently high blood pressure is more common in women than I thought. I did a quick survey of the women sitting around me at work, and many of them have high blood pressure.

Heart disease isn’t always preventable but there are a lot of things you can do to lower risk of getting it. Eating properly, exercising and good communication with your physician can help ensure you stay healthy for a long time.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Halloween is Almost Here

I don’t know about you guys, but I absolutely adore Halloween! Here in Atlanta, the weather is starting to cool down and the leaves are turning. Fall is such a great time of year.

In preparation for Halloween, I went and gathered my Halloween costume yesterday. I plan on being a disgustingly ugly witch. Yes, large mole on my nose and all! What will you dress up as for Halloween? Here’s a delicious Fall recipe, courtesy of that’s perfect for Halloween. And, it’s only got 121 calories per serving. Enjoy!


Yield: 24 servings
1 package Active dry yeast
1 cups Warm water (110 F)
1/3 cups Honey
2 tablespoon Margarine
1 teaspoon Salt
½ cups Nonfat dry milk
1 cups Canned pumpkin
About 1.5 tb pumpkin spice
1½ teaspoon Cinnamon
¾ teaspoon Cloves
¾ teaspoon Nutmeg
¾ teaspoon Ginger
2½ cups To 3 cups all purpose flour
1½ cups To 2 cups whole wheat flour
Nonstick vegetable spray

1. In a large bowl or food processor, dissolve yeast in water. Add honey, margarine, salt, dry milk, pumpkin, spices. Beat well to blend, then gradually beat in about 4 cups of the combined flours to make a stiff dough.

2. Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth about 15 to 20 min, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.

3. Turn dough over in a bowl coated with nonstick spray, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (1½ - 2 hours) Punch down dough, knead briefly on a lightly floured board to release air.

4. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces. Shape each into a smooth ball and place balls in 2 greased 9-inch round baking pans coated with nonstick spray. Cover and let rise until almost double.

5. Bake in a preheated 375 F oven for 25 minutes or until browned. Cool on racks.

1 roll, 121 calories 3 g protein, 1 g fat, 24 g carbohydrate, .3 g fiber, 0 cholesterol, 103 mg sodium, 82 mg potassium Exchange: 1½ starch/bread

Your PUMPKIN ROLLS are ready. Happy cooking!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Happy Tuesday to All

Oh, what a weekend! To celebrate my upcoming birthday, which is October 21st for those who are interested, I made the long trek home to Houston, TX this weekend. Although my brother and I both went away to colleges n the Southeastern Conference (Go Dawgs!), my parents decided to stay put in Houston.

My weekend was one of many indulgences. I shopped a lot, ate a lot and slept a lot. Now I’m back at work in Atlanta, sitting at my desk and watching the rain fall outside and wishing I were at home in my bed. I absolutely adore my job (really!) but in my opinion, rainy days should be spent at home in bed, curled up with a good book or movie.

Anyways, I’ll be back with an interesting article on margarine on Thursday so be sure to tune in. In the meantime, wish me luck getting through the workday. The only bad thing about going on vacation is sorting through the hundreds of emails you receive while you’re gone. Happy Tuesday everyone!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Margarine May Benefit Pregnant Women

Pregnant women who consume products with vitamin E, such as margarine, may help reduce their child’s risk of asthma, suggests a study from the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom. Researchers examined the vitamin E intake of 1,253 mothers and the respiratory status of their children throughout a 5-year period, according to Newswise.

Children whose mothers were in the low vitamin E consumption percentile were 5 times more likely to have asthma than children with mothers in the high percentile for vitamin E consumption.

“Our findings suggest that vitamin E has a dual effect on lung function and airway inflammation and that the effects could change at differing periods of prenatal and early life,” said lead researcher Dr. Devereux. “Lung function was associated with early vitamin E exposure independent of atopy, whereas allergic airway inflammation was associated with vitamin E exposure later in life.”

Researchers from the study recommended vegetable oils (sunflower, rapseed and corn), margarine, wheat germ, nuts and sunflower seeds as major sources of vitamin E.

In my opinion, this is yet another reason that margarine can be part of an overall healthy diet!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Have a Heart Healthy Snack

I would like to say thanks to Audrey over at the SugarFreeStyle blog for giving me this recipe. These muffins are packed with fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. They can also be part of an overall healthy diet since they're made with margarine instead of butter. Enjoy and please let me know what you think!

Healthier Blue Berry Muffins
1 Box of Duncan Hines Bakery Style Blue Berry Muffins
2 cups frozen blue berries
1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup whole flax seeds
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
One egg
Crunchy Topping
2Tbsp light margarine
1/2 cup Splenda Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Splenda for Baking
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Pinch of salt (to taste)

Preheat the oven and prepare the muffin batter according to the directions on the box (adding the canned blue berries, egg, and water or milk). Then add the frozen BB, oatmeal, protein powder, and flax seeds. Check batter consistency. Add one egg and a little more water if the muffin batter is too thick. Spoon batter into muffin cups or into greased muffin pan. For the topping, melt the margarine in a sauce pan and remove from heat. Next, add the splenda and the pecans and a pinch of salt. Stir all ingredients. Topping should be moist and crumbly. Top each muffin with the mixture and bake as directed on the box. They should come out of the oven when the tops are golden brown. Note: because of the added protein, they will have a different consistency than standard muffins (might be a little chewy). Play around with the recipe to adjust it to meet your taste/preferences. Hope you enjoy!

Nutritional advantages:
Higher fiber
High protein
Lower Glycemic load
Omega 6 and Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Increased anti-oxidants

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Debunking the Myths About Margarine

This article from Health 24 debunks many common myths surrounding margarine. The Internet is a constant source for information but often it ends up providing misinformation. In order to prevent any additional false information being spread (no pun intended!) about margarine, I have included some of the factual information included in this article:

“Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys”

This statement then goes on to say that margarine killed the turkeys, which made the manufacturers turn to a human audience instead.
According to, "margarine was created by a Frenchman from Provence – Hippolyte Mège-Mouriez – in response to an offer by the Emperor Louis Napoleon III for the production of a satisfactory substitute for butter.
"To formulate his entry, Mège-Mouriez used margaric acid, a fatty acid component isolated in 1813 by Michael Chevreul and named because of the lustrous pearly drops that reminded him of the Greek word for pearl – margarites. From this word, Mège-Mouriez coined the name margarine for his invention that claimed the Emperor’s prize in 1870."
So, no turkeys were involved.

“Butter has many nutritional benefits, where margarine has a few only because they are added!" – incorrect
Butter is a source of energy and vitamin A, as is margarine, but whereas margarine is nowadays enriched with a variety of other nutrients such as vitamins E and D, and calcium, butter only contains traces of these nutrients.

"Margarine is very high in trans fatty acids" – incorrect
While this may have been true before the danger of trans fatty acids was identified about 15 years ago, manufacturers have taken great care to ensure that modern margarines only contain traces of trans fatty acids and in some cases, none at all.
Be logical – if you were a manufacturer and were told that your product contains potentially harmful fats, would you not also take great care to remove these fats and adapt your manufacturing process to make sure that your product is free of these harmful fats?
I'm sure you would, and this is precisely what margarine producers have done.

"Margarine lowers the quality of breast milk" – incorrect
The quality of breast milk is not solely influenced by eating margarine, but by the entire diet ingested by the nursing mother.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Why I Heart Margarine

I remember running around the playground with him, laughing and screaming at the top of my lungs. I remember making ice cream sundaes with him and always stealing the cherry from his bowl. I remember him teaching me how to play gin rummy and how he always used to let me win.

Growing up, my grandfather lived in Florida and loved having his grandchildren make the trip from Texas to come visit him. We always spent a week of our summers there. The days were filled with fun, laughter and lots of food. My grandmother had a penchant for cooking southern foods and no meal was complete without something fried or battered. She was an amazing cook and my grandfather showed his love for her by always cleaning his plate.

Years of eating poorly combined with a lack of exercise led to my grandfather being diagnosed with heart disease. He had high cholesterol and was moderately overweight. His doctor told him if he didn’t make some major adjustments that he would die.

In an instant everything changed and he took immediate action. Out went the fried chicken, bacon and fatty meats. In came the fruits, vegetables, fish and margarine. My grandparents adopted a complete different way of eating. My grandfather adopted heart healthy lifestyle habits, lost the weight and felt better than ever.

Today, he still loves to eat but does so in moderation. Margarine has become a huge part of his life as well as in my life. It tastes great, is low in saturated fat and can be a part of an overall healthy diet. I’m proud to work in nutrition and to work with the National Margarine Manufacturers because it’s something both my grandfather and I truly believe in.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Fun Facts About Margarine

Sorry for the lack of updates last week but I came down with a nasty case of strep throat as well as a virus last week. To kick this week off, I thought I might share some fun facts and figures about margarine, courtesy of These facts are not only fascinating and heart healthy but they just might help you win a game of trivia one day!

1. By eating margarine instead of butter, the average person will save a minimum of 1196 grams of saturated fat per year (and could save even more by selecting a reduced-fat or low-fat margarine product).

2. An average consumer could reduce his/her fat intake by approximately 2,000 grams (18,000 calories) each year by simply switching from regular margarine to low-fat margarine? [Those calories translate to a weight reduction of five pounds by making this one easy switch.]

3. By substituting a margarine product for butter over a week’s time, you can save yourself a whole day’s worth of saturated fat.

4. A whole stick of butter has almost as much fat and cholesterol and double the amount of saturated fat as THREE popular quarter-pound burgers with cheese.

5. Some states used to have laws requiring that margarine had to be colored pink so it would not be confused with butter.

Be sure to tune in on Wednesday! I’ll give you more insight as to why heart healthy eating (including margarine) is such an important part of my life.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Help Yourself During National Cholesterol Education Month

September is National Cholesterol Education Month, and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is doing its part to help inform millions of Americans on how to lower their cholesterol and risk for heart disease.

This year’s theme is “Know Your Cholesterol Numbers – Know Your Risk – Give Yourself Some TLC.” Most of us think of the term TLC as “tender, loving care” but when it comes to lowering your cholesterol, TLC stands for “therapeutic lifestyle changes.” TLC incorporates a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol, and margarine, which contains no cholesterol, little to no trans fat, and increasingly lower levels of saturated fat, can be a part of this healthy diet. Other elements of TLC include increasing physical activity and learning to manage your weight.

NHLBI has created an educational online kit to help the millions of Americans with high cholesterol. Remember, high cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease, the number one killer in the U.S. The online kit includes strategies to lower your cholesterol, a Question & Answer section on the new food label, heart healthy recipes, worksheets to help track your progress and much more.

In the Q & A section, NHLBI addresses the issue of butter vs. margarine when it comes to trans fat

Q. Is it better to eat butter instead of margarine to avoid trans fat?”

A. No. The combined amount of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol in butter is usually higher than in margarine, even though some margarines contain more trans fat than butter. There are margarines available that contain no trans fat. Soft (tub) or liquid margarine usually contains less trans fat than hard (stick) margarine and less saturated fat and cholesterol than butter.

The Q & A, as well as many other educational materials, is available at I sincerely encourage everyone to check out this information and try to give your own body a little TLC.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Spread of Choice

Why have people made margarine the spread of choice for decades? The reason could be related to taste, versatility, spreadability and/or affordability -- but many choose margarine products because they contain no cholesterol and less saturated fat. Most margarine products also contain no trans fats and have less total fat and fewer calories than butter. Plus, margarine is a great source of vitamin E, which has been shown to protect against coronary disease and reduce the formation of “bad” cholesterol known as LDL. For optimum heart-health, the American Heart Association states, “Use margarine as a substitute for butter, and choose soft margarines (liquid or tub varieties) over harder stick forms.”

The most popular margarine product in today’s marketplace is a 60% soft vegetable oil spread. Compare its label with butter, per tablespoon serving

The reasons are limitless – choose margarine for an important part of a heart-healthy lifestyle! But it’s just one simple sub we can make in our diets – this blog will be a forum for all those interested in reducing the risks of heart disease and taking care of our hearts.