Recent Posts for the 'Special Foods & Supplements' Category

Glycemic Index Food Guide by Dr. Shari Lieberman

Friday, July 31st, 2020


The Glycemic Index Food Guide is a true pocket book ( 4″x 7″, 140 pages) packed full of important information about you and your food plan. Written in lay terms, this handy book will help you measure the impact of glucose on your body to help you manage your food intake, to help you lose weight, to keep your heart healthy, and to manage diabetes (or help it from developing). Such a tall order for such a tiny book! ( I cut my carbohydrate load and have lost 10 pounds, so I know it works for me.)

The Glycemic Index is a relatively new concept created in 1981 by a team of researchers at the University of Toronto, headed by Dr. David J. Jenkins. Originally designed for diabetics, the glycemic index (GI) measures carbohydrates and signifies how quickly a carbohydrate food triggers a rise in your blood sugar, the main indicator used to determine diabetic issues.

Because foods with a low GI rank break down more slowly than foods with a high GI, the former results in a gradual release of glucose in the blood stream, rather than a quick breakdown of foods that cause an “undesirable surge of blood glucose and a resulting surge of insulin.” Additionally, by using this index one can also help the body lower blood cholesterol levels, weight gain, energy level and maintain overall good health.

But it gets better! The GI measures the quality of the carbohydrate one consumes.Scientists realized that the amount a person ingests is also important, so they developed the glycemic load (GL). This measures the amount of a particular carbohydrate eaten. The reason this additional factor is so important is explained using carrots, which are a high-GI load, but the glycemic load is quite low. In order for the GI to have a negative impact, one would have to eat  almost 3 cups of carrots. Since one cup is more realistic, the GL is quite low.

Also taken into account are: riper foods have a higher GI, processing a food generally pushed the GI higher, and cooking a food hastens the digestive process and therefor increase the GI. The best way to counteract these situations, the author notes that by increasing the fiber content of your meals, eating more fiber is the best “antidote.”

The bulk of the book is the list of foods with their GI and GL. For the Glycemic Index (GI), low is between 0 and 55; for Mid-GI the numbers are 56-59; and High GI will be listed between 70 to 100.  The last column that lists the Glycemic Load (GL): less than 10 is low; 11-19 is moderate; 20 or more is high. By using both the GI and GL, you will have a better idea of how much of that particular carbohydrate is found in the serving size listed, a more reasonable calculation than just using the Glycemic Index.

I think you will find this pocketbook quite valuable if you are looking to reduce your carbohydrate intake for whatever health reason. As the author notes, it is only one (two-pronged) tool  for choosing foods, keeping in mind that you also eat foods in balance that provide “healthful portions of all essential nutrients.”

The Glycemic Index Food Guide is published by Square One Publishers and costs:$7.95. I consider it an affordable and essential tool in my own food plan.







A Unique Passover

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

(Pictures of different Seder plates are from the Internet. Some are very fancy; others very plain. The small circles are for the different symbols listed below. All Seder plates contain the symbols, and if you don’t have a special plate, you can use a regular platter with the different foods.)

Passover (Pesach) at my paternal grandparents was a memorable affair, because my mother was not religious and my grandparents were ultra-religious, so the event was something I still remember even though I was very young. Once my grandparents died, I don’t have strong memories of the Seder. (Seder means order, because the meal has a special order.)

What I do remember is that the meal was very long, perhaps four hours, and it was one of the nights my father came home early from his gas station/repair business close to our home and his parents’ home. Since my father worked 7 days a week from early morning to late at night, having him at the table for 4 hours was a treat!

The meal was a traditional Seder meal with all the trimmings and the story found in the Haggadah (a booklet). Perhaps the most important part of the Seder, besides the story of the Jews leaving Egypt (Exodus in the Bible) was the Seder plate with all the metaphorical symbols, listed below, which may vary with some additions as Seder’s have kept up with modern times.

Karpas (vegetables): Parsley or celery or cooked potato (as a blessing) dipped in salt water to represent Egyptian slavery of the Jews

Shank Bone: A reminder of the 10th plague when the blood of a lamb was put on Jewish doors so their families would not die. (I substitute something meatless)

Roasted Hard boiled Egg: symbolizes first food served to mourners and thus mourning the loss of the two temples is done on Passover.

Charoset: A mixture of apples, nut, wine, raisins and spices or of figs, dates and raisins, representing the mortar Jews had to make for Egyptian buildings when they were slaves.

(Maror) Horseradish: (Or bitter part of Romaine lettuce) symbolizes the embittered lives of the Jews under the Pharoes.

Chazeret (Bitter Vegetable) Romaine lettuce, which has bitter root, also represents Jews’ bitter lives in Egypt.

(Note: a Hillel sandwich is made combining charoset and horseradish between two pieces of matzoh.)

 An optional addition is an orange, a recent item introduced by Jewish feminist and scholar, Susanna Herschel representing inclusiveness, specifically women and the GLBT community.

Throughout the meal, we drank wine, so I don’t really remember the exact meal, because I was probably drunk. But I do remember sitting around the table and eating and my grandfather and father being very serious about the story of Passover.

Over the years, our Seder’s have become shorter, because we are not Orthodox, but the Seder plate and 10 plagues remain. On Thursday we will attend the second night of Passover on ZOOM with our rabbis. This will probably be the most memorable Seder yet! Will share with you in a future posting.



Wherever you are, if you are celebrating Passover, be safe!