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Claxton Dietetic Solutions Articles

New Year's Day Dinner (Courtesy of the South)
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Now that Christmas is over, many are looking forward to the coming new year. A fresh start with endless possibilities is at hand. And what better way to start off the new year than with a healthful, flavorful and potentially lucky dinner spread? That’s right, I said lucky. The southern part of the United States (otherwise known as “The South”) is known for its rich traditions and they bring a particularly lucky one to New Year’s Day. They believe there are certain lucky foods that you must eat on New Year’s Day in hopes of bringing prosperity into their lives in the coming year. Now, we know this is just a superstition, but there is nothing better than food, fun and tradition with the people you care about! So read below to discover more about these so called lucky foods and host a dinner party for your friends! Lucky Foods: Peas/Beans: These are supposed to symbolize coins or wealth indicating good fortune in the coming year. Black eyed peas are a favorite choice among southerners and pair well with the foods mentioned below. And as you may already know beans and peas are a good source of lean protein and fiber! Greens: Greens are supposed to represent dollar bills or good financial fortune as well. Southerners tend to choose cabbage or mustard/turnip/collard greens. Green leafy vegetables are high in fiber, folate, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Pork: Pork in some cultures represents prosperity because pigs root forward. This means they use their snout to push or nudge into something repeatedly and is considered a sign of progress. If you don’t want to cook an entire pork loin or cut of meat you can incorporate the pork into the beans or greens. Pork is a good source of lean protein. Cornbread: Cornbread can also be used to symbolize wealth as the corn kernels represent gold. But in all reality, southern people just REALLY like to get cornbread with their peas and greens. Since there are 2 other foods representing wealth in this list you can choose to skip the bread if you want. But I have to say it’s great for sopping up the liquids left from the bean, greens 😊. I hope you all have a great New Year’s and are surrounded by people you love! Head on over to the recipe page for a lucky southern new year’s staple.
Peppermint: Your Holiday Helper!
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We are about a week away from Christmas and the holiday bustle is in full swing. Last minute shopping is being done, recipes are being googled and Amazon prime boxes fill doorsteps across the country. Preparing for Christmas day, or even the days leading up to Christmas if you have family coming in town can lead to stress. And let’s be honest stress never stays in, it always manifests itself in some physical form. Whether it be a stomachache, appetite changes, headache, change in bowel habits…it always makes itself known. I have found one holiday ingredient staple that can help alleviate some of these unwanted, irritating symptoms. Read below to learn more about 4 positive benefits of our holiday helper, the peppermint. Calms GI Distress: Peppermint is known to relax the tissues in the GI tract and can help relieve nausea and vomiting. Research shows that coated peppermint oil capsules can alleviate side effects of IBS like stomach pain, gas, constipation, and diarrhea. Relieves Headaches: The active ingredient in peppermint is menthol which can ease symptoms of migraine headaches like pain, light sensitivity, nausea, and vomiting. Applying a peppermint oil solution to your forehead and temples can help take away tension headaches, as well. If you have any friends that sell essential oils, you have probably heard them talk about these benefits! Fights Bacteria: Not only does the flavor of peppermint freshen your breath, but its antibacterial properties may also help get rid of the germs that cause the bad breath in the first place and could also help you fight off the common cold. Sharpens Focus: If you want to feel more alert during the day, peppermint oil will do the trick. Research has shown that capsules of peppermint oil can help people process problems longer without getting mentally tired. The herb’s potent smell may also boost your memory. I don’t know about you, but in middle school our teachers gave us peppermint candies to eat whenever we took standardized tests! Now I know why! Whether you consume peppermint through leaf, candy, capsule or oil form the benefits are the same! Some forms are more potent than others so always follow the directions for capsules and oils. Head on over to the recipe page for a quick and easy holiday peppermint snack!
InstaPot vs. CrockPot
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I am not the cook in our household. My husband does ALL of the cooking. You may laugh and say, “You are a dietitian and you don’t know how to cook?!” It’s true. I have no real cooking skills. And to top it off, I don’t enjoy the process of cooking. Cooking comes very naturally to my husband and he even enjoys it so I leave that task to him and I clean up afterwards. All that to say…I had to do a little research before writing this article. Today I am comparing the CrockPot and the InstaPot. Which is better? How do they differ? What can you make in them? East Tennessee just experienced their second snow of the season so warm, hearty dishes are on my mind and these devices are just the ones to provide the goods. Let’s dig into the details. Instant Pot (AKA InstaPot): -          Type of Cookware: This is an electric pressure cooker. The lids of these electric pots create an extremely tight seal, lock the heat inside and cook food fast…. really fast. -          Functions: This item has seven different functions: pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, sauté setting, rice cooker, yogurt maker and warmer. WOW! -          Ease of Use: Research shows the Instapot can be more difficult to use than the crockpot.  It’s important for the user to learn about cooking times, safety, and each different setting. Timing is important to consider the cooking times as well. Be sure to factor in how long it takes for the pot to come up to pressure and the time it takes to release that pressure. Crock-Pot -          Type of Cookware: This is a slow cooker. A slow cooker is also electric but has a stoneware insert that is used to heat the food. -          Functions: This item only functions as a slow cooker. It cooks food between 4 and 10 hours, depending on the recipe. -          Ease of Use: The Crock Pot appears to be much easier to use. All you have to do is put the ingredients in there and turn it on. Based on my research, I believe it’s hard to compare the two because they are essentially two completely different pieces of cookware. That being said, I think the CrockPot is the true winner for those who struggle with cooking (AKA me) and that the InstaPot is a great piece of cookware for those who feel more confident in their cooking abilities. But you decide for yourself! Check out the recipe page for an InstaPot friendly recipe you can try at home.