Holiday Ham: Tips for ChoosingWritten by Linda Schnable
The holiday ham is traditional centerpiece for Easter, Christmas, and other holiday gatherings. Almost any special meal warrants a holiday ham. Many options are available in choosing a holiday ham and in quest to make choice your holiday ham centerpiece a success. You can not judge value of your holiday ham by price per pound; you need to look beyond price for differences in hams that are available.Nutrition labels are a great place to start your comparisons of ham. The nutrifacts gives information about calories, fat, cholesterol, protein, and sodium contents of ham. Generally, nutrifacts for ham are healthy since ham is a relatively lean cut of meat before anything is added. When comparing hams, be certain that you note serving size that has been used to establish nutritional statistics of ham. Although nutrition information is very similar from one ham manufacturer to another, there are several factors that will present distinguishable differences in hams. These factors may represent differences in flavor and texture profile from one brand of ham to another. These factors are bone-in ham versus boneless, slow curing of ham versus efficient curing, water levels added to ham, different methods of smoking ham, cooking duration, and, of course, ingredients included cure or marinade of ham. Bone-in hams provide 2-3 servings per pound and tend to highlight added ingredients. The natural fats of ham help to enhance ingredients that are added to cure (marinade). Although you may want to trim fat away when consuming ham, cooking ham with its natural fat will bring out unique differences in many spices and sweeteners used to make ham. Boneless hams provide 4-5 servings per pound. Boneless hams usually have all visible fats removed when preparing ham for smoking and cooking. Boneless hams are extremely simple, however if you do not mind trimming away a little fat, you will probably enjoy flavor profile of bone-in ham more than boneless ham. If carving is a concern, try a pre-sliced spiral sliced ham with bone-in. Another factor that presents definitive differences in hams from one brand to another is method of curing ham. Ham is made with a flavorful cure, a marinade of water and brine that gives ham its typical taste and appearance. Technology advancements have helped ham curing process (adding ingredients through moisture enhancements) to become a much more efficient process than early days of ham processing. Equipment has helped process of getting ingredients into ham quickly to get ham to store quicker. Although efficiency factor helps reduce costs of production of some hams, it is not always effective in maximizing flavor enhancement factor. Whether using new technology or traditional methods, slowing curing process will bring out unique differences from added ingredients. Getting ingredients into meat is only half of process, giving them a chance to work before cooking is second half. Water is medium in which ham makers use to get different ingredients into meat. Over years, some ham makers have improved their methods to get more and more moisture into meat. Labels will read ham, ham with natural juices, water-added ham, and ham with X% added water. Obviously, ham and ham with natural juices will have least amount of water diluting natural taste of ham and its added spices. Adding more and more water will help drive down cost of ham, but generally does little to enhance flavor and texture of ham itself.
The Dr. Phil Diet ExplainedWritten by Helen Laxton
Dr. Phil McGraw once published a book entitled "The Ultimate Weight Solution: Seven Keys to Weight Loss Freedom" in which he introduced world to his new diet, "Shape Up Plan". This popular diet (allegedly top 10 in USA) is based on 7 main foundations, namely:-
* Right thinking for self control * Healing feelings as key to emotional control * No fail environment * Mastery over food and impulse eating * High-response cost / high-yield nutrition * Intentional exercise * The circle of support
Dr Phil is a realist - he reminds us that dieting is never easy. but then again, nothing worth having ever is! The Shape Up Plan is a balanced approach to weight control. You will essentially be eating high fiber foods such as complex carbohydrates, whole grains, fruits and vegetables plus lean protein and "good" fats.
Dr Phil explains that you need to focus on eating only "high-response-cost, high-yield foods." - a perfect example would be sunflower seeds - your body needs to do a lot of work to process these kinds of food before calories in them actually become available to you. This is in direct contrast to "low-response-cost, low-yield foods" like burgers or tacos which are easy to eat and digest. Dr Phil believes that extra steps body needs to take to process these good foods mean that they are leass likely to be converted to fat. Unlike some diets, you can eat most things in moderation. This is because Dr Phil believes restrictive diets don't work - banned food make dieters unhappy, and they tend to become obsessive about them leading to sudden binges, and dropping of diet. Instead, Dr Phil recommends you watch portion sizes, eat mostly foods that are high in nutrients and fiber, stay away from salts and fats, and choose foods that involve some work when eaten (such as broccoli, peanuts and fish).