April 2009

April 1, 2009 in 2009 by Webmaster

April: In this Issue

Special Days and Monthly Celebrations

Grandma really enjoys celebrations and special days; so each month she will share a few ideas that she thinks are interesting.

Good Health Can Be Yummy

Recipes and thoughts on making food taste good and build healthy bodies. Read more…

Pure and Simple News

Research summaries and what it could mean to us.

Making it Happen

Hints and recipes for applying nutrition to everyday life.

Special Days and Monthly Celebrations

Grandma really enjoys celebrations and special days.

Most of us really enjoy celebrations and special days; so this month Dr. Grandma will share a few more excuses for celebrating.

Golden Rule Week: April 1 – 7

How could a grandma forget about Golden Rule Week? This is a good week to teach the concept of reciprocity to children that are old enough for vocabulary growing or an introduction to ethics. Treating all people, not just our close friends, in a manner that we would like to be treated is a worthy focus, even among the oldest of us.

National Garden Month

The crocus, daffodils, hyacinths, forsythia and tulips cheer and prepare us for National Garden Month; I think the garden will do ‘double duty’ and prepare us for Stress Awareness Month and all the spring themes. Even if there are April Showers, it easy to stay cheery knowing that more flowers are coming.

National Education Month & National Public Healthy Week

In this Dr. Grandma’s April Newsletter we there will be a discussion about fiber – the types and the benefits. The fiber information will be our observation of National Public Health Week: 7 – 11 and National Education Month. See the Pure and Simple News section below for the fiber article.

Fish Fry Week: April 20 – 25

Lent was a common time for serving fish – meatless meals. Dr. Grandma will share a menu for a tasty fish meal with a healthy side dish – it’s not fish and chips – good taste and healthy arteries, the Dr. Grandma’s Way. See the Making It Happen section below for the menu recipes.

Other Important Days

Dr. Grandma’s products always make it easy to make a little healthy treat to show someone that you appreciate them. This month is the month for Husband Appreciation Day on April 18 and Hairstylist Appreciation Day on April 30th. See the Making It Happen section for a recipe for Banana Nut Snack Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – one of Dr. Grandpa’s favorite.

Easter: April 12

The Easter holiday is filled with all sorts of traditions (hunts, hops, piñatas and of course, eating traditional foods.) One of those traditions is Hot Cross Buns on Easter Sunday.

The cries of the English street vendors who were advertising their wares became a nursery rhyme:
Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns!

If ye have no daughters,
Give them to your sons.
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns

Although Hot Cross Buns have been a Good Friday tradition for centuries, our family always had them on Easter Sunday. Now that we try not to consume white flour and sugar, we need to alter the tradition yet again. We know that we are not the only ones that are trying not to eat sugar and white flour, so I thought that I’d share our new tradition – Hot Cross Raisin Muffins. They taste really delicious, so they help maintain the feeling of tradition without a sacrifice. It’s nice for me too, because the house will be hopping with little grand bunnies and I won’t have much time to make yeast bread. This recipe is really, “as easy as it gets”, and everyone seems to still enjoy our family tradition.

See the Good Health Can Be Yummy section below for the Hot Cross Raisin Muffin recipe.

Good Health Can Be Yummy

Recipes and thoughts on making food taste good and build healthy bodies.

Hot Cross Raisin Muffins


One Package of Dr. Grandma’s Whole Wheat Muffins Your Way (with accompanying extra virgin olive oil packet).
Two eggs or ½ cup egg substitute
1 cup applesauce
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup raisins
3 oz. cream cheese
2/3 cup Dr. Grandma’s Sweetener
1/3 cup corn starch


Preheat oven to 400º F.
Coat muffin pans with vegetable spray.


1 cup applesauce
½ cup water plus included packet of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Two eggs or ½ cup egg substitute


One dry 12.5 ounce packet of Dr. Grandma’s Muffins Your Way
¾ cup raisins
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Stir two mixtures together until just moist (do not over mix).

Fill 12 muffin tins.
Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the muffin; about 16 to 22 minutes.
Remove from muffin tin to wire rack immediately, before cooling

Makes 12 muffins.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Mix thoroughly until sweetener is dissolved.

No added sugar version:

3 oz. cream cheese
2/3 cup Dr. Grandma’s Sweetener, plus 2 tablespoons corn starch
5 teaspoons of milk

– Or –

Sugar version:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. milk

Drizzle a cross on top of each muffin, when muffins are cooled. Or pipe with a rolled piece of waxed paper or piping bag.

Pure and Simple News

Research summaries and what it could mean to us.

Fiber and Health

So many people think that fiber is nothing more than the answer to the management of constipation. Yikes! Am I becoming my own grandma, actually using the ‘c’ word? I know that we have a number of grandchildren that would be glued to this article by using the ‘c’ word, but actually I’d like to direct this information to those who really want to understand a bit more about the multi-faceted benefits of fiber in our diets.

It is true; fiber helps reduce the risk for constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulosis. It is actually known for normalizing transit time. Fiber will increase the stool weight, which is, in reality, good, because it makes the waste pass easier. Gross! But let’s try to make it through this for the sake of health.

In addition, the fiber in foods is linked to a decreased risk of some cancers, a decreased risk of heart and vascular disease, and better management of diabetes.

Some of the fiber that is added to foods, like polydextrose, inulin, cellulose, are not as effective as intact fiber of whole grains and legumes.

Although dietary fiber can lower your cholesterol, help stabilize your blood sugar, and keep you regular, most Americans generally are consuming less than half as much as they need. If you’re thinking, ‘I’ll just take a fiber supplement,’ you should know that the fiber supplements don’t have all the benefits of natural fiber.

* Inulin – has not been shown to aid in regularity or in lowering cholesterol.
* Polydextrose -Not yet known to aid in regularity or lower cholesterol.
* Cellulose – not proven to lower cholesterol.
* Methylcellulose – ability to lower cholesterol is minimal.
* Psyllium – natural psyllium shown to lower cholesterol, air in regularity and in lowering blood sugar.


* consume more plant foods like whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
* Give up fruit juice and consume the whole fruit.
* Root vegetables, even if canned, are a good source of fiber.

If you’re not eating whole grains, legumes (beans), fruits and vegetables in proportionately large amounts you may not be getting enough fiber.

When choosing a whole food that is a good source of fiber, don’t worry too much about the specific type of fiber. Many food such as rolled oats, and whole wheat, for example, contain both insoluble and soluble fiber. The real challenge is getting enough fiber in the diet.

Both soluble and insoluble fiber are not digested – both types of fiber contribute to the control of blood sugar, insulin and diabetes.

Insoluble fiber is involved in moving bulk through the intestines quickly and controlling the pH in the intestines, which seems to limit the production of cancer-causing substances that are produced by the bacteria that live in our colon.

Foods High in Insoluble Fiber

Vegetables such as green beans and dark green leafy vegetables
Fruit skins
Root vegetable skins
Whole corn
Seeds & Nuts

Soluble fiber is involved more with binding with fat and, therefore, lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad kind). This is part of the reduction of heart disease, but as we will address later, it is not the whole answer. Soluble fiber is also an important component in stabilizing the intestine in Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Foods High in Soluble Fiber

Rolled Oats
Dried beans and peas
Flax seed
Fruits such as oranges and apples
Vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, beets

As related to fiber content, 100g of the grains below has the following amounts of fiber:

Whole wheat – 12.2 g
Whole oats – 10.3 g
Whole corn meal – 7.3 g
Brown rice – 3.5 g

Whole Grain Is More Than Just Fiber

Whole grains are more than just fiber – they also contain hundreds of other nutrients. Some are: vitamin E, folate, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and B-6; magnesium, zinc, iron, copper, and selenium; phytic acids, lectins, phenolic compounds and hundreds of other phytonutrients; short-chain fatty acids; and antioxidant activity.

Whole grains have been a cornerstone of the human diet for thousands of years; it has only been about a hundred years since mankind started eating processed grains. In 1980, the emphasis on eating whole grains focused on the digestive health benefits of fiber, but current research suggest that whole grains – not just fiber – offer health benefits. Late in the 1980’s whole grains began to be linked to the reduction in risk for heart disease and some cancers.

Whole grains appear to be greater than the sum of any of the individual nutrients contained in them. The researchers have not yet been able to describe why there are such positive results with whole grains. What they do know is that positive results happen when the entire grain is consumed. One suggestion is that there is a reaction between many of the nutrients. We will have to wait to see what the researchers eventually discover, but we don’t need to wait to reap the benefits of consuming whole grains.

When the researchers mathematically control for the fiber (subtract the effects of the fiber only) there are still significant benefits not accounted by the fiber in the whole grains. So eating whole grain foods is the best way to reap the health benefits, which can’t be duplicated by supplements or individual components of the grain – such as just wheat germ or bran.

Now there have been numerous studies that have shown links with whole grains and a list of chronic diseases, including: diverticular disease, constipation, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome, and cancer.

· Cardiovascular disease

Even if you take away the benefits of fiber, whole grains demonstrate a statistically significant reduction in Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), and other forms of Cardiovascular Disease.

· Obesity

Studies have shown that those who consumed more whole grain consistently weighted less and had a lower body mass index than those who consumed fewer whole grains. The key here is consumed more whole grains – not those that took fiber supplements. The mechanism may be that it prolongs emptying of the stomach – making people feel full longer. In addition, slower nutrient absorption in the small intestine may help delay the return of hunger following a meal. Whole grains are high volume, high fiber and low energy density and may enhance satiety and promote satiation with a lower calorie intake.

· Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome

Whole grain consumption contributes to increased insulin sensitivity, which of course is good if you’re diabetic or at risk for diabetes. Also, whole grains may improve carbohydrate metabolism and glycemic response (how much the blood sugar goes up after consuming food.) It’s not clear why whole grains reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes – it’s known to be more than just the fiber.

· Cancer

Whole grain consumption has been linked with lower risk of colon, rectum, pancreatic, and gastric (stomach) cancers. Some studies have even shown a lower risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer in those with the highest intake of whole grains.

One possible mechanism is that undigested carbohydrates (fiber) are fermented in the colon. This leads to the production of short chain fatty acids which lower the acidity of the colon, reducing the ability of bile acids to act as carcinogens.

Another mechanism may be simply the shorter length of time in the colon. Waste moves more rapidly, so there is less opportunity for the toxic mutagens of the waste to interact with the intestinal lining. Dietary fiber may also bind or dilute bile acids, which may contribute to this potential problem.

Antioxidants found in whole grains, may save cells from injury and the possibly of leading to cancer formation. Whole grain diets improve markers of bowel health, including promoting growth of prebiotic bacteria (good bacteria) and significantly increasing stool weight. In addition, they contain tocotrienols (vitamin E is one of them) and other antioxidants components. These nutrients act as scavengers of free radicals that damage cells. They protect our DNA, protein and lipids and essentially protect our tissues and ultimately us from cancer, heart disease and some of the effects of aging. The amount of antioxidant activity of whole grains is amazing.

Confusion as related to whole grains

Why are so many Americans not consuming whole grains? Part of the answer is that some people think that fiber is the only benefit of whole grains and also they may assume that if the fiber is high on the nutrition label, that it is a whole grain. Often, food manufacturers use processed grains plus inulin, cellulose, polydextrose, or other fiber supplements. This, of course, is not the same as eating whole grains and certainly does not yield the same health benefits.

The food processors make it difficult for the consumers who are looking for whole grains. They add molasses and other ingredients to make the product look brown – people think that they’re consuming a whole grain product because it’s brown. Moreover, the ingredient list may say: bran, stone ground, organic, multi-grain, 100% wheat, cracked wheat, wheat flour, enriched flour; none of which are whole grains. Look for 100% whole wheat, for example. The essential word is ‘whole.’

Another problem is that some people believe that it can’t taste good if it is whole grain. That has really become a challenge of finding recipes and products that make this passé. Check Dr. Grandma’s website for many recipes using whole grains.

If you want to read more, go to:

Making it Happen

Hints and recipes for applying nutrition to everyday life.

Americans are learning that whole grains are a genuine benefit to health. They are high in fiber and digested much more slowly than processed grain products. This fact results in a much smaller impact on blood insulin levels than refined grains and sugars. In addition, increased satiety – feeling full sooner and longer is a result. It’s a nice benefit for those wanting to control their calorie intake and maintain a more consistent and lower blood sugar level.

In addition, despite being considered a high-end restaurant item, whole grains are actually a superior high protein addition to everyday family meals. Consuming whole grains can help reduce the consumption of the amount of expensive, animal protein foods that are often rich in saturated fats.

Nutty textures, tangy earthy flavors and excellent nutrition are mixed in this one dish; definitely reminding us that Good Health Can Be Yummy™. I love the contrast of textures and colors in this salad. The nutty chewy textures and vibrant flavors are what make this a delicious addition to the day’s menu.

Hint: Cook the wheat berries and brown rice ahead in larger batches and have them on hand for this recipe or others. They can be frozen.

Wheat Berry and Bean Salad with Pecans and Asparagus


2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, finely minced or pureed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 pound asparagus, ends trimmed, cut in 1-inch pieces and steamed 4 minutes
1 cup wheat berries
Salt, to taste
1 28 oz. can drained garbanzo beans (or other cooked beans of your choice)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/3 cup broken pecans
Freshly ground pepper to taste


1. In a medium saucepan, bring 3 1/2 cups of the stock to boil. Add salt, if desired, and the wheat berries. When the liquid returns to boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 60 to 75 minutes, or until the berries are tender. Drain and transfer the berries to a large bowl.
2. Roast the pecans for a few minutes, until just golden. 300°F for 6 or 7 minutes.
3. While the wheat berries are cooking, make the dressing. Whisk together
the lemon juice, vinegar, salt, mustard, garlic and oils. Toss at once
with the warm wheat berries. Add the asparagus, garbanzo beans, and the
remaining ingredients, and toss together.

Note: You can make this up to a day ahead of time, but don’t add the asparagus, basil, chives and pecans until shortly before serving.

Fast, Full of Fiber, Fish Dinner Menu

  • Pan Fried Fish
  • Fish Relish
  • Zucchini and onions
  • Brown Rice
  • Banana Nut Snack Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pan Fried Fish

Place 2 – 4 fillets in a non-stick pan. Sprinkle with Lemon Pepper and cook slowly until it flakes – don’t overcook.

Fish Relish

1 cup fresh pineapple tidbits
5 – 6 radishes chopped fairly small
1 4 oz. can diced green chilies
1 Tbsp. lime zest
Juice of 1 lime
1 chopped tomato

Mix the above ingredients and serve on fish.

Zucchini and Onions

6 sliced zucchini
1 large sliced onion
1 tbsp. butter (optional)

Put zucchini and onion in pot with salt and boil until just tender, about 3-5 minutes. Drain. Add a little butter, if desired.

Brown Rice

Cook brown rice according to the package directions, sprinkle with a little soy sauce if desired. Or serve with one of the pilaf recipes on the Dr. Grandma website.

Banana Nut Snack Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


One Package of Dr. Grandma’s Whole Wheat Muffins Your Way (with accompanying extra virgin olive oil packet).
Two eggs or ½ cup egg substitute
1 cup mashed banana
½ teaspoon banana extract


Preheat oven to 325º F.
Grease and 8″ X 8″ baking dish with vegetable spray.


1 cup mashed banana, plus ½ teaspoon banana extract
½ cup water plus included packet of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Two eggs or ½ cup egg substitute
One 12.5 ounce packet of Dr. Grandma’s Muffins Your Way Mix

Stir until just moist (do not over mix).
Fill baking dish.
Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake; about 40 to 45 minutes.


4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup butter (4 tbsp.), at room temperature
½ pound (about 2 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Or, for the no added sugar version:
1 tbsp. cornstarch and ¾ cup Dr. Grandma’s Sweetener
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup broken pecans

Frosting Directions:

In a bowl, blend together the cream cheese and butter. Gradually add the sweetener and cornstarch or confectioners’ sugar and whip until light and fluffy (at least 4 – 5 minutes). Clean the edges, then beat in the vanilla. Sprinkle the pecans over the frosted cake. Frost the cake when it is completely cool.