Health News

Precise Portions Launches A Spices Line

Ann-Marie Stephens and her husband, Ed, created Precise Portions divided plates so people could easily see what a healthy portion size looked like.

About half the plate is designated for non-starchy vegetables – and that throws veggie haters off, said Ann-Marie Stephens, who started the company with her husband in 2010.

“It’s a huge barrier because most people don’t know how to make vegetables taste great,” she said. “That is why they try to fill that spot with other things….We want to make it easy to add more vegetables to the plate.”

The couple have expanded their Precise Portions line, adding five spice blends they are calling Precise Spices. Used with a basil-infused olive oil that is also new to the Precise Portions line, the spices give vegetables a flavor boost whether roasted, stir-fried or steamed, she said.

“We are from the Caribbean. We really created the line based on recipes we grew up with,” said Stephens, a former executive at the now-defunct Circuit City chain.

“We have something we call a green seasoning which is a staple in almost every home, at least in Trinidad and Tobago, which is where I’m from. We created that as a dry spice. That features lots of celery and thyme and chives and oregano.”

The other spice blends are jerk, Himalayan seasoning salt, coconut-curry and tropical.

“We’ve had a request for at least one spice people can use for baking,” Stephens said. “The more people cook at home, the happier and the healthier everyone will be.”

The couple, formerly of the Richmond area, have relocated to Hampton Roads.

Precise Portions’ new spices line was among the Virginia-made products on display at the recent Virginia’s Finest conference presented by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and partners/sponsors in Richmond. The Virginia’s Finest program has promoted Virginia-made products for 30 years.

“It is so incredibly satisfying to share in the joy of Virginia specialty food and beverage producers bringing their products from kitchen to market to the delight of our community. Buying local is a win-win and we thank everyone for supporting Virginia agriculture,” said Olivia Wilson of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Find a list of Virginia-made products at and check many specialty stores for products, including Birdie’s Pimento Cheese, Homestead Creamery milk and ice cream, Edwards hams, Route 11 Potato Chips and Virginia peanuts.

Precise Spices are sold by mail order. Reach Stephens through

(804) 649-6572

Golden Jojoba Oil – Natures Blessing for Beauty

If you are already using any cosmetics for your skin’s health, you might have already been aware that “Jojoba oil” is one of the key ingredients in your products. But are you truly aware of the miraculous benefits jojoba oil has on your skin?

Jojoba oil is a golden oil, extracted from the plant which goes by the scientific name “Simmondsia Chinensis” that grows steadily in the United States. Unlike other vegetable oils, it suits all skin types and is rich with vitamins E & B, zinc, copper, selenium, chromium and iodine that brings an unlimited number of benefits for maintaining a healthy skin.

The following portrays those benefits:

Moisturizes the skin: This oil is filled with ceramides which seals hydration inside the skin and creates a powerful barrier against allergens and damages to the skin caused by dust. Not only that, it moisturizes the dry patches in your skin and restores the healthy look of the skin.

Treats the disorderliness of the skin: It’s a miraculous cure for skin disorders like eczema and rosacea. The natural anti-inflammatory properties within will heal the redness caused by dry skin in a snap.

Reduces the aging effects on the skin: As jojoba oil is filled with Vitamin E, linoleic acid, and antioxidants, it helps to regenerate new skin cells as well as reduce the fine lines and wrinkles on your skin and gifts you a younger, healthier and a golden skin.

Minimizes acne effects: This antiseptic and non-greasy oil cleans clogged pores on the skin and clears blemishes without leaving any scar marks on the skin.

Maintains healthy nails and feet: Jojoba oil is rich with natural Vitamin E, that reduces the breakage and encourages healthy nail growth. This wonderful ingredient also helps to heal cracks on your heels by increasing moisture.

Include this miraculous ingredient in your daily skincare routine, so you all would be able to experience its everlasting benefits.

Grape Seed Oil -The Panacea for all Skin Dilemmas.

If any of you were asked what your favorite fruit is; “Grapes” would most likely be your favorite fruit, despite the age differences. But did you know that the grape seeds which most of you spit away are an all in one panacea for most of your skin problems? The gentle oil extracted from these tiny seeds generate a wide array of benefits for your skin. The following is a list which assists in its discovery.

Reduce scars and wrinkles: grape oil is rich with beta-carotene and vitamins D, C, E as well as with essential fatty acids like palmitic, stearic, and linoleic acid which have been proven to have great effects on reducing wrinkles and minimizing the prominence and size of scars.

Prevents the effects of acne & slows the speed of aging: grapeseed oil contains high amounts of polyphenols which are anti-inflammatory antioxidants, which leads to reduced aging of your skin and prevent acne infections and outbreaks.

Skin balancing: this amazing oil is very light to the touch and it balances both oily and dry patches paving way for moisturized skin instead of making it too oily. It can be also used as a toner to prevent acne breakouts and to penetrate blocked pores.

Skin lightning: natural ingredients in the grapeseed oil helps to reduce under eye dark spots and maintain a lighter and brighter skin.

Collagen Restoration: It is found from biochemical researches, that grape seed oil contains high amounts of oligomeric proanthocyanidins which leads to restoration of collagen at the cellular level and removal of free radicals, gifting you a firm and undamaged skin which is soft to the touch and younger looking.

As result of these amazing effects of grape seed oil, most of skin care creams and toners include grape seed oil which you can directly use for your skin and relish the all in one panacea for skin difficulties.

STOP Derailing your Diet. Avoid the 5 Portion Pitfalls.

As an advocate of portion size, we believe that all foods can be incorporated into a healthy diet. However, even though one can relish larger portions of foods such as fruits and vegetables, attention must be heeded to how big portions are for other foods namely bread, red meat, baked goods, candy & chips.

Though there aren’t any records pertaining to people getting fat from consuming too many apples, berries or carrots, it is encouraging to relish generous portions of produce, while on the one hand, being mindful of the amount consumed from other foods, especially sweets. Often, the brain requires retraining, for to pay close attention to the exact amount of food which defines a healthy portion size & the formation of healthy habits to avoid overeating.

Being conscious of the aforementioned food snares is half the battle. For to abstain from overeating completely, the following portion pitfalls need to be averted.

  1. In the Search for a Bargain, You Purchase Oversize Bags of Chips.

Despite our love for a good bargain, for many of us, it is hard to resist buying the oversize bag of chips as opposed to the smaller bag, when it only costs a quarter or so more. However, though its great to stock up on mega rolls of toilet paper, the same is not applicable when it comes to food, especially Junk Food! The best bargain one can find should be in keeping one’s health and weight in check.

Suggestion: Avoid the purchase of mega-sized bags of food, unless time is taken for to portion out contents into individual servings in small containers or bags.

  1. Eating Directly from The Tub.

Eating straight from the package is one of the easiest ways to overeat. From a tub of ice-cream, a bag of chips or half a gallon of juice, it is very difficult to portion control the food when consumed straight from the package. As a result, leaving it up to one’s willpower seldom works.

Suggestion: Portion out a rational serving size onto a plate, savor it and enjoy while consuming seated.

  1. You Pour Instead of Dipping.

A central reason many of us consume more calories than we think is that for instance; after ordering a healthy salad, we tend to pour on tons of dressing. While, salad, veggies & greens won’t break you in the bank, calories of salad dressing add up instantaneously. One tablespoon of olive oil constitutes 120 calories. Modern-day salads and appetizers are found to contain several tablespoons worth.

Suggestion: Instead of pouring the dressing onto your favorite salad, dip your fork into a side dish of dressing. This way, you can always add more when needed.

  1. Attention to Serving Sizes on Food Labels are not heeded to.

Despite the increase in serving sizes of our favorite foods and while food labels would be getting a makeover, most individuals look at the calories listed as opposed to focusing on the serving size and number of servings per container.

While a single serving of your favorite food may contain 100 calories, eating several serving’s worths of it would make your calorie count much higher than simply 100 calories. Despite this very fact, yet many of us still hold on to the fact that they have only consumed 100 calories or so.

Suggestion: Along with the number of servings per container, attention must be paid to food label serving sizes. It is also suggested to utilize the aid of a measuring cup & food scale for to determine the exact number of servings actually on your plate.

  1. You Serve Food Family Style.

Whenever possible, the finest method to serve food is to plate it in the kitchen. Serving food family style by placing large platters of food straight on the dinner table is one of the easiest ways people end up consuming lot more than really needed. The larger the serving platter & utensils, the more food we are likely to consume.

Suggestion: When you plate out a reasonably sized portion in the kitchen, you can always go back for more if you are still hungry.


Cruciferous Vegetables For Health

Cruciferous Vegetables For Health

Each and every person in this world including me and you have a strong desire to live a healthy life without being sick or diseased. Maintaining a healthy diet with lots of “greens” especially cruciferous vegetables can help you achieve that purpose without much trouble. You may dislike them because of their bitter taste and pungent smell but, it has been found that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower have a strong ability to prevent or minimize clogged arteries, or atherosclerosis, one of the main causes of heart attack, stroke and sometimes even death.

Cruciferous vegetables belong to the Brassica genus category and they are rich sources of many valuable nutrition’s such as fiber; vitamins C, E, and K; several carotenoids; folate; and minerals that are essential for you to maintain a healthy body.

When you eat these cruciferous vegetables, glucosinolates within them break down into active components such as nitriles, indoles, isothiocyanates, and thiocyanates and comes to your body, giving you the ability to minimize the risk of being exposed to cancers. Also, the valuable nutrition’s in these vegetables have the ability to prevent atherosclerosis (a condition where deposits, or plaques made of cholesterol, fat molecules, calcium, and other compounds in the blood, build up on the inside walls of) by less thickening carotid artery wall.

Research studies have found that a person who consumes more green vegetables have 0.05 millimeters thinner carotid artery wall than who does not, and a 0.1-millimeter decrease in the wall can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by 10%- 18%.

The surprising factor is that if you increase the consumption of cruciferous vegetables by 10 extra grams you can reduce the thickness of carotid artery wall 0.8%! So, make a small change in your dietary portion and enjoy a happy healthy and long life without heart attacks and strokes.


Children Who Eat A Healthy Diet, Are Less Likely to Be Bullied – Finds Study.

Children Who Eat A Healthy Diet, Are Less Likely to Be Bullied – Finds Study.

A recent study by IDEFICS, have concluded that children adhering to healthy diets portray improved self-esteem, are happier and lacks emotional & peer problems.

Though it is a complex situation when encouraging children to eat nutritious food such as vegetables, fruit & fish, the aforementioned study has presented that children who do are more probable to benefit from a lack of emotional dilemmas and as a result, less inclined to being bullied.

Examining 7,675 children amid the ages of two and nine, entailing from eight European countries namely; Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Spain and Sweden, the researchers requested parents to report how frequently their child consumed food from a list of 43 items.

The children were then assigned a Healthy Dietary Adherence Score (HDAS), depending on their consumption of the aforementioned foods, aiming to record adherence to healthy dietary guidelines, including having more fruit and vegetables, reducing intake of fat & refined sugars.

The measurements of the children’s height and weight too were recorded and repeated once more two years later.

The results depicted that those who best met European healthy food guidelines portrayed improved self-esteem and wellbeing, irrespective of their weight.

Dr Louise Arvidsson, one of the authors from the study from the University of Gothenburg, further stated, “Among young children aged two to nine years there is an association between adherence to healthy dietary guidelines and better psychological well-being, which includes fewer emotional problems, better relationships with other children and higher self-esteem, two years later”.   

Fascinatingly, the data exposed a link between consuming fish two to three times a week to improved self-esteem and a lack of emotional and peer dilemmas, such as the absence of friends or being bullied.

While the consumption of fruit and vegetables was accompanied by improved wellbeing, augmented self-esteem was associated with sensible sugar intake.

A Big Breakfast Could Aid Weight Loss & Glucose Control…

healthy lunch meal fruits

As the eminent saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”; a new study has found to support this statement where consuming a big breakfast as opposed to a reduced size in lunch and dinner may be vital for individuals seeking to lose weight & maintain blood glucose levels.

The aforementioned study led by researchers from Tel Aviv University Israel have highlighted that adults both obese and with type 2 diabetes lost more weight and improved blood glucose levels after 3 months upon having had a high energy breakfast daily.

The results of the study were presented by lead study author Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz (Professor of Medicine Tel Aviv University) & colleagues at ENDO 2018, (The Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society) held in Chicago, IL.

A foremost risk factor for type 2 diabetes is obesity, where excess weight makes it problematic for the body to utilize insulin; the hormone responsible for the effective regulation of blood glucose levels.

The Obesity Society estimates that 90% of adults with type 2 diabetes are obese or overweight.

Though switching to a more healthier diet is often the norm in addressing obesity & type 2 diabetes, Dr. Jakubowicz highlights that it’s not always what and how much we eat that might induce problems; it’s also the time of day at which we eat.

Dr. Jakubowicz further explains that “Our body metabolism changes throughout the day. A slice of bread consumed at breakfast leads to a lower glucose response and is less fattening than an identical slice of bread consumed in the evening.”

B-Diet Led to Weight Loss & Reduced Hunger

29 adults were enrolled by the scientists for the study, of whom 11 were female & 18 were male. The subjects on average were 69 years of age and had obesity & type 2 diabetes.

For a total of 3 months, each adult was randomly assigned to two different groups. One group followed the “B-Diet” consisting of 3 meals per day: a heavy breakfast, medium sized lunch & a small evening meal. The other group followed the “6M-Diet” consisting of 6 small meals plus 3 snacks paced throughout the day.

During the study, the blood glucose levels of the subjects were tested every 2 weeks by the researchers, where continuous glucose monitoring was utilized in measuring both spikes in blood glucose & overall glucose levels throughout the study.

The researchers concluded that after 3 months, subjects in the B-Diet group lost an average of 5 Kg, while subjects of group 6M-Diet gained an average of 1.4 Kg.

Further, while hunger & cravings for carbohydrates augmented among subjects in the 6M-Diet group, for subjects in the B-Diet, these reduced significantly.

The Effects on Blood Glucose Levels

The scientists concluded that after 3 months, the fasting glucose levels of subjects in B-Diet group declined from 161 mg/dl to 107 mg/dl, an average of 54 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl); while subjects of 6M-Diet only reduced from 164 mg/dl to 141 mg/dl, an average of 23 mg/dl.

Upon observing the overall mean glucose levels, the team represented that in the first 14 days, these declined by 29 mg/dl, from 167 mg/dl to 138 mg/dl, for subjects of B-Diet, while only 9 mg/dl reduced among the 6M-Diet group, from 171 mg/dl to 162 mg/dl.

For B-Diet group at 3 months, overall mean glucose levels decreased by 38 mg/dl, from 167 mg/dl to 129 mg/dl as opposed to a reduction of 17 mg/dl in the 6M-Diet group from 171 mg/dl to 154 mg/dl.

Mean glucose levels during sleep did not lessen at all for subjects of 6M-Diet, whereas B-Diet group experienced a reduction of 24 mg/dl, from 131 mg/dl to 107 mg/dl at 3 months.

During the study period, subjects who followed the B-Diet required less insulin with a decrease of 20.5 units each day. However, subjects following the 6M-Diet needed more insulin, with an increase of 2.2 units every day.

The Timing of Meals Offers Benefits in Itself

Conspicuously, the study also exposed that participants following the B-Diet experienced a momentous decline in overall blood sugar levels in as little as 14 days, even when the subjects themselves displayed no weight loss.

According to the researchers, the aforementioned finding portrays that timing of meals itself can help with blood glucose management, though weight loss can aid to augment the benefits.

In conclusion, the team displayed that three meals each day, with breakfast being the biggest, may be of great advantage to individuals with obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Jakubowicz, further states, “that, in obese, insulin-treated type 2 diabetes patients, a diet with three meals per day, consisting of a big breakfast, average lunch, and small dinner, had many rapid and positive effects compared to the traditional diet with six small meals evenly distributed throughout the day.”

Positive effects comprised of improved weight loss, less hunger, and healthier control of diabetes while using less insulin.”

A diet with adequate meal timing and frequency has a pivotal role in glucose control and weight loss.”

Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz



July is National Cord Blood Awareness Month

Did you know that you could cure someone’s blood cancer by giving birth?

Chances are if you aren’t in the medical field or have been an expectant mother recently, you have only heard of Cord Blood, but still have yet to fully grasp the magnitude it’s importance…

What is cord blood?

The term “cord blood” is used to describe the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and the placenta after the birth of a baby. Up until recently this afterbirth was discarded as medical waste. Cord blood contains stem cells that may be cryopreserved for later use in medical therapies, such as stem cell transplants or clinical trials of new stem cell therapies. Umbilical cord blood, which is typically thrown away, is rich with the blood-forming cells that can give blood cancer patients hope for a cure. Donating your baby’s cord blood to a public cord blood bank can help patients get the transplants they need.


When parents contemplate cord blood banking, they consider the odds that their baby or an immediate family member will need a stem cell transplant. The cumulative probability that a child will have a stem cell transplant by age 10 is only 1 in 5,000 (.02%) for transplants from a donor and 1 in 10,000 (.01%) for transplants of the child’s own cells. Medical societies have warned parents that the odds of their child needing stem cells from cord blood are very low, and if the only consideration is using the cord blood for a stem cell transplant, that is certainly true for the average person. However, even if you never need access to the blood, there is the opportunity to give life to someone else in dire need. Donating your baby’s cord blood to a public cord blood bank can help patients get the transplants they need. Thousands of critically ill patients can benefit from umbilical cord blood.

Considering Donating?

Public cord blood banks accept cord blood donations for free. Most require the mother to register by the 34th week of pregnancy, and she must pass medical eligibility guidelines. If the donation meets the size threshold for transplant use, it is saved and listed on a registry that can be searched by patients.

There are a few ways to learn more and donate your baby’s cord blood to a public bank:

  1. More information on saving lives through your little miracle: at
  2. Find a donation site: A limited number of large birthing hospitals in the USA accept donations.
  3. Send your baby’s cord blood to a mail-in donation program.girl-18918_640