Soy: One Option for Menopause

CDC edamame

Image via Wikipedia

By Jane Hart, MD

Despite a lack of conclusive research, many women try soy because they have heard that its plant-based estrogen-like compounds (isoflavones) may ease menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and irritability. Now a study published in Maturitas affirms the benefits of soy and reveals that postmenopausal women who add soy to their diet may experience similar relief from symptoms as women who took hormone replacement therapy. Soy soothes symptoms caused by “the change” In the past, some women have relied on hormone replacement therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms, but since the news about the increased risk of breast cancer associated with long-term hormone therapy use, women and clinicians have searched for alternative options for relief.

In this study, 60 healthy women (40 to 60 years old) were randomly assigned to receive dietary soy supplementation (90 mg of isoflavones), hormone therapy (1 mg estradiol and 0.5 mg norethestirone acetate), or placebo daily for 16 weeks. Participants were surveyed about their symptoms before and after treatment. Results showed that women in all the treatment groups experienced relief from hot flashes, muscle pain, and psychological symptoms such as irritability and fatigue. But compared with the placebo group, relief from hot flashes, muscle pain and urogenital symptoms was greater in the hormone therapy and dietary soy group. “Many women consider the risk associated with hormone therapy to be unacceptable and request nonhormonal alternatives for the management of their…symptoms,” said Lucio O. Carmignani and his colleagues from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, State University of Campinas, Brazil. The authors state that soy may be one helpful option that women and clinicians consider, and they recommend that treatment be based on each person’s specific symptoms and level of distress.

Should you use soy?

• It’s nutrient-rich. Soy is an excellent source of protein, which is important for people who are vegetarians or vegans as they rely on plant rather than animal sources of protein. Soy foods are also full of other key nutrients such as potassium and magnesium.

• It has a wide range of healthful effects. Regularly eating soy may support bone health, heart health, and cancer prevention, among other healthy effects. Recent research suggests that men who regularly eat soy may reduce their risk of prostate cancer. Further research is needed about the full range of health benefits from soy and the optimal amount to eat.

• It’s not for everybody. Soy may not be appropriate for certain people, so check with your doctor before taking soy supplements.


(Maturitas 2010;67:262–9.) Jane Hart, MD, board-certified in internal medicine, serves in a variety of professional roles including consultant, journalist, and educator. Dr. Hart, a Clinical Instructor at Case Medical School in Cleveland, Ohio, writes extensively about health and wellness and a variety of other topics for nationally recognized organizations, websites, and print publications. Sought out for her expertise in the areas of integrative and preventive medicine, she is frequently quoted by national and local media. Dr. Hart is a professional lecturer for healthcare professionals, consumers, and youth and is a regular corporate speaker. Copyright © 2011 Aisle7. All rights reserved.


Thai Green Papaya Salad with Grilled Strawberries

From: California Strawberry Commission
Quick Facts
Servings: 3
Prep Time: 10 min.

Fresh, colorful and aromatic, this salad boasts exciting flavors like lime, mint and Thai basil!
1/2 clove garlic
1 tsp chopped shallot
8 cherry tomatoes
1 cup Chinese long beans, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 Tbs Thai fish sauce
2 Tbs palm sugar or light brown sugar, or to taste
2 cups shredded green papaya
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, stemmed and cut into wedges
1 Tbs crushed roasted cashews
1 Tbs chopped dried shrimp (optional)
red chili flakes
6 large fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in half
1 tsp finely slivered Thai basil leaves
1 tsp finely slivered mint leaves
1/4 cup carrot shreds
In a large mortar and pestle, or in a bowl with a metal meat mallet, mash garlic and shallot to a paste. Add tomatoes and long beans; pound a few times to release juices. Add lime juice, fish sauce and sugar; stir gently to dissolve sugar. Add papaya; pound lightly.
Mix in strawberry wedges, cashews, shrimp and chili flakes; season with salt. Place strawberry halves on a hot grill, cut side down, 30-40 seconds or until grill marks form. Mound salad on a platter or 3 salad plates; garnish with grilled strawberries, basil, mint and carrot shreds.

Nutrition Facts
Calories 335
Calories from Fat 25 (7%)
Total Fat 3g
Saturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 953mg
Potassium 0mg
Total Carbohydrate 67g
Dietary Fiber 10g
Sugars 0g
Sugar Alcohols 0g
Protein 16g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Nutrition facts are calculated by a food expert using nutritional values provided by the USDA for common products used as recipe ingredients. Actual nutritional values may differ depending on the amounts or products used and can be affected by cooking methods.

Copyright © 2011 Aisle7. All rights reserved.



I hope this inspiring video helps you become an active participant in caring for our EARTH!!! The Earth needs our daily love & care. Be an act of GREEN:)

Health, Harmony & Nature
“health in harmony with nature”

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 22, 2011 in Earth Day


Blackened Salmon

Gunther Emathinger
New Orleans-style blackened fish is customarily coated Cajun seasonings and then cooked in a very hot cast iron skillet.


  • 2 8 oz salmon filets
  • 3 Tbs Cajun seasoning
  • 2 Tbs oil
  • 4 cups hot cooked short or long-grain rice
  • Vegetables8 oz haricot verts (thin French green beans) or regular green beans
  • 2 oz carrots, sliced julienne (thin strips)
  • 1 Tbs fresh basil finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Mango salsa3/4 cup chopped, pitted & peeled mango
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 small jalapeño seeded, finely diced
  • 2 Tbs chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbs fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  • Preheat cast-iron pan to medium-high heat. Coat the top and bottom of the salmon filets with Cajun spice. Add the oil to the pan, then the salmon filets rounded side facing downward. Sear salmon filet for about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn filets over (the seasoning on the cooked side should be nice and dark to almost black in color) and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes to a medium to medium-well doneness.
  • Green Beans:Trim regular green beans if using fresh, place them in a large saucepan of boiling salted water and cook until crisp-tender (2 minutes for haricots verts or 3 to 4 minutes for regular green beans) and drain in a colander. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.) In a small sauté pan melt the butter, add carrots, green beans and basil. Sauté vegetables until hot, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Mango Salsa:Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
  • Place the rice in the center of plate. Top with the sautéed vegetables, and then with the backened salmon filet. Place the mango salsa on top of the salmon filet and around the plate. Enjoy!
Recipe courtesy of the National Fisheries Institute

Nutrition Facts

Calories 527
Calories from Fat 181 (34%)
(31%)Total Fat 20g
(23%)Cholesterol 68mg
(20%)Sodium 483mg
(19%)Potassium 677mg
Total Carbohydrate 54g
Sugars 7g
Sugar Alcohols 0g
(60%)Protein 30g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Nutrition facts are calculated by a food expert using nutritional values provided by the USDA for common products used as recipe ingredients. Actual nutritional values may differ depending on the amounts or products used and can be affected by cooking methods.

Copyright © 2011 Aisle7. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 8, 2011 in Diet, Egg-Free, Fish, Food, Low-Calorie, Main Course


Mushroom Consommé with Sake

A fusion of East and West techniques and flavors, it makes a refined first course. It is also comforting sipped from a mug if you omit the garnish.


  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 10 oz white mushrooms, with stems, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup dried porcini mushrooms (1/4 ounce)
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 1/4 tsp rubbed sage
  • 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 cup diced soft regular tofu (4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup fresh spinach, cut in 1/4″ ribbons
  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 2 tsp tamari
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup enoki mushrooms, for garnish
  • 4 paper-thin slices daikon radish, for garnish


  • Heat the oil in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion until it is well-browned, 10 minutes. Pour in 10 cups cold water. Add the mushrooms, celery, parsley, sage, and peppercorns. When the liquid boils, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes.
  • Set the broth aside to steep for 30 minutes. Strain it into a large bowl. Press lightly on the solids before discarding them. There will be about 8 cups mushroom broth.
  • To serve, set out 4 small, deep bowls. Place one-quarter of the tofu and spinach in each bowl. Heat 4 cups of the broth in a saucepan over medium-high heat. When the soup starts bubbling around the edges, add the sake, tamari, and salt. Divide among the 4 bowls. Add in the enoki and daikon slices, and serve.
Copyright © 2005 by Dana Jacobi

Nutrition Facts

Calories from Fat 54 (22%)
(10%)Total Fat 6g
(0%)Cholesterol 0mg
(37%)Sodium 883mg
(50%)Potassium 1743mg
Total Carbohydrate 31g
(41%)Dietary Fiber 10g
Sugars 5g
(29%)Protein 14g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Nutrition facts are calculated by a food expert using nutritional values provided by the USDA for common products used as recipe ingredients. Actual nutritional values may differ depending on the amounts or products used and can be affected by cooking methods.

Copyright © 2011 Aisle7. All rights reserved.

The information presented here is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2011.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Food, Soup


Macrobiotic Diet

A macrobiotic diet is a strict whole-foods pesco-vegetarian (a diet that includes fish but no meat or poultry) diet. It is appealing to health-minded people who are practicing a holistic approach to physical and spiritual well-being. It focuses on balancing yin and yang foods, which are described below. There have been numerous anecdotal reports of the macrobiotic diet curing people of cancer or other serious diseases, but very little scientific evidence exists. * 50 to 60% of your diet should be whole grains, 25 to 30% vegetables, 5 to 10% miso and bean soups, and 5 to 10% beans and sea vegetables. * Avoid very yin or very yang foods (see description below). * The diet includes other principles like eating only when hungry, chewing food completely, and keeping the kitchen tidy.

Best bets: Brown rice, barley, whole wheat, fresh broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, chickpeas, tofu, sea vegetables like kombu and nori, and vegetable soups. A few servings of nuts and seafood per week are allowed.

More about this diet

The earliest recorded usage of the term “macrobiotics” is found in the writings of Hippocrates. Translated literally, macro is the Greek word for “great” and bios is the word for “life.” Macrobiotics is used by its practitioners as a tool that allows one to learn to live within the natural order of life. Throughout history, philosophers and physicians from many parts of the world have used this term to signify living in harmony with nature, eating a simple, balanced diet, and living to an active old age. The modern practice of macrobiotics was started in the 1920s by a Japanese educator named George Ohsawa. Ohsawa is said to have cured himself of a serious illness by changing to a simple diet of brown rice, miso soup, and sea vegetables. At the core of Ohsawa’s writings on macrobiotics is the concept of yin and yang. In Chinese philosophy, the opposing forces of yin and yang govern all aspects of life. Yin—representative of an outward centrifugal movement—results in expansion. On the other hand, yang—representative of an inward centripetal movement—produces contraction. In addition, yin is said to be cold while yang is hot; yin is sweet, yang is salty; yin is passive, yang is aggressive. In the macrobiotic view, the forces of yin and yang must be kept in balance to achieve good health. The macrobiotic diet, therefore, attempts to achieve harmony between yin and yang. To this end, foods are classified into yin and yang categories, according to their tastes, properties, and effects on the body. The two food groups—grains and vegetables—that have the least pronounced yin and yang qualities, are emphasized in the macrobiotic diet. Eating these foods is thought to make it easier to achieve a more balanced condition within the natural order of life. Foods considered either extremely yin or extremely yang are avoided. The standard macrobiotic diet recommendations are as follows:

* Whole grains—including brown rice, barley, millet, oats, corn, rye, whole wheat, and buckwheat—are believed to be the most balanced foods on the yin/yang continuum, and should comprise 50 to 60% of a person’s daily food intake. Although whole grains are preferred, small portions of pasta and bread from refined flour may be eaten.

* Fresh vegetables should comprise 25 to 30% of food intake. Daily consumption of any of the following vegetables is highly recommended: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, collards, mustard greens, turnips, turnip greens, onion, daikon radish, acorn squash, butternut squash, and pumpkin. Vegetables to be eaten occasionally (two to three times per week) include celery, iceberg lettuce, mushrooms, snow peas, and string beans. Vegetables should be lightly steamed or sautéed with a small amount of unrefined cooking oil (preferably sesame or corn oil).

* Beans and sea vegetables should comprise 5 to 10% of daily food intake. Especially recommended are adzuki beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), lentils, and tofu. Sea vegetables, including wakame, hijiki, kombu, and nori, are rich in many vitamins and minerals, and are easily added at each meal.

* Soups and broths comprise 5 to 10% of food intake. Soups containing miso (soy bean paste), vegetables, and beans are acceptable.

* A few servings each week of nuts, seeds, and fresh fish (halibut, flounder, cod, or sole) are permissible. Brown rice syrup, barley malt, and amasake (a sweet rice drink) may be used as sweeteners. Brown rice vinegar and umeboshi plum vinegar may be used occasionally. Naturally processed sea salt and tamari soy sauce may be used to flavor grains and soups.

* Fluid intake should be governed by thirst. Only teas made from roasted grains, dandelion greens, or the cooking water of soba noodles are generally considered acceptable. All teas with aromatic fragrances or caffeine are avoided. Drinking and cooking water must be purified.

* To maintain proper yin/yang balance, all extremely yang foods and all extremely yin foods are avoided. All animal foods, including eggs and dairy products, are believed to have a strong yang quality. Extremely yin foods and beverages include refined sugars, chocolate, tropical fruits, soda, fruit juice, coffee, and hot spices. In addition, all foods processed with artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives must be avoided.

* All foods should be organically grown. Produce should be fresh and locally grown. Macrobiotic principles also govern food preparation and the manner in which food is eaten. Recommendations in this area include: avoid using a microwave oven to prepare food; cook rice in a pressure cooker; eat only when hungry; chew food completely; eat in an orderly, relaxed manner using good posture; and keep the home in good order, especially where food is prepared.


Posted by on March 20, 2011 in Diet, Vegetarian, Yin and Yang


Demystifying Detox Programs

By Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD
Demystifying Detox Programs: Main Image

Detoxification programs are based on the idea that the body functions poorly when harmful substances build up in the colon and liver. A wide range of symptoms, from fatigue and headaches to allergies, sinus problems, bloating, weight gain, and dull skin and hair are attributed to toxin exposure and build up.

There is no official definition of what constitutes a detoxification program, but the general idea is to cleanse the body of damaging substances, which can include alcohol, caffeine, sugar, air and water pollutants, pesticides and herbicides, artificial sweeteners, and food additives.

What the advocates say

Many supporters of detoxification acknowledge the lack of scientific evidence behind the approach, but point out that people often report increased energy, clearheadedness, and a general feeling of well-being afterwards. When approached correctly, advocates claim a good detoxification program can jump start weight loss, identify food sensitivities, increase energy, and empower people to adopt healthier eating and lifestyle habits. Juicing programs where a person fasts but continues to drink nutrient-rich raw juices are thought to provide energy and help cleanse the colon and liver.

What the critics say

There is little or no scientific evidence to support claims that the approach improves health, and the list of symptoms for which detox programs are prescribed is so vague that it’s often impossible to know the cause or whether detoxification really is a cure. Further, some practices related to detoxification, such as colonics, may affect a person’s electrolyte balance, which has caused some doctors to warn against it. Another approach for detoxification, taking laxative herbs, has been reported to disturb healthy digestive tract bacteria needed for digestion and immunity, and cause loss of important minerals, such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium.

Detox dos and don’ts

If used with care, detoxification programs may help you feel better and get health habits back on track. Many of the safest practices simply involve eating foods that are well-known to support a healthy digestive system and colon, or to stimulate bile production (a sign your liver is working well) in everyone. Use the following tips to decide if and when detoxification is right for you.

  • Consult a professional. Talk to your doctor before you add any dietary supplements to your self-care plan. This is especially important if you have chronic conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
  • Avoid aggressive approaches. Do your research and talk with experienced, reputable practitioners before considering more aggressive detoxification practices, such as colonics and the use of strong laxative products,as these practices are associated with potential side effects.
  • Weed out offenders. Many detox diets advise that you cut out caffeine, alcohol, white sugar and flour, artificial sweeteners and all processed foods. We all would do well to follow this advice.
  • Conquer caffeine. A complete ban on caffeine can lead to withdrawal symptoms, including nasty headaches. Instead of going cold turkey, slowly decrease caffeine intake in the lead up to your full detoxification program.
  • Be a label reader. If you try detoxification products, read the label carefully and follow all instructions. Taking more than the recommended dose may cause unpleasant and potentially harmful side effects.
  • Note ingredients. Any detox product that contains laxative ingredients such as senna, slippery elm, or psyllium will move waste more quickly through your colon and out of the body. These products also will remove medications, and if a medication passes through too quickly, it may not work as intended.
  • Focus on food. To get the most of any detox product, clean up your diet too. Fresh vegetables and fruit should cover two-thirds of your plate. Include cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, chard, kohlrabi, bok choy, collard greens, turnips, rutabaga, mustard greens, radishes, and watercress, which contain nutrients that bolster liver detoxification.
  • Drink up. You’ll need fluids to digest the extra fiber you may be eating. If your urine is pale yellow or straw-colored, you’re getting enough water. Any darker than this and you need to drink more.

Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health, and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered over 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by the New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor.

Copyright © 2011 Aisle7. All rights reserved.

1 Comment

Posted by on March 13, 2011 in Detox Programs, Healthier Eating Habits