Tips for Reading Food Labels

By Angela Sidlo/ Certified Health Coach and Co-op Board Member

Angela Sidlo for webMost packaged foods have a Nutrition Facts label. Here are some tips for reading the label and making smart food choices:

Check servings and calories. Look at the serving size and how many servings you are actually eating.  That bowl of chips you ate while watching the ball game could have been as much as 4 servings worth!  That means 4 times the calories too.

Make your calories count.  Look at the calories on the label and compare them with the nutrients they offer.  Tip: When you look at a food’s nutrition label, first check the calories, and then check the nutrients to decide whether the food is worth eating.
reading nutrition label for web
Eat less sugar.  Read the ingredient list, if sugars are one of the first few ingredients, put it back on the shelf. 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon.  The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends for men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons), women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).  Tip: names for added sugars (caloric sweeteners) include sucrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, maple syrup, and fructose.

Know your fats.  Look for foods low in saturated and trans fats, and cholesterol, for heart health.  Most of the fats you eat should be polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, such as those in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.  My favorite good oils list includes olive, avocado, sesame, sunflower and organic canola oils.  Tip: goods fats should be in the range of 20% to 35% of the total calories you eat.

Reduce sodium (salt); increase potassium.  Research shows that eating no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day, the equivalent of about 3/4 teaspoon, reduces the risk of high blood pressure.  To meet the daily potassium recommendation of at least 4,700 milligrams, consume fruits and vegetables that are sources of potassium including: sweet potatoes, beet greens, white potatoes, white beans, prune juice, and bananas.  These counteract some of sodium’s effects on blood pressure.  When choosing salt, get himalayan or sea salt as they are high in trace minerals as well.

Use the % Daily Value (% DV) column: 5% DV or less is low, and 20% DV or more is high.

Keep these low: saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium.

Get enough of these: potassium and fiber, vitamins A, C, and D, calcium, and iron.
Check the calories: 400 or more calories per serving of a single food item is high.

To learn more about Angela Sidlo or to get in touch, check out her web site.

Where Does Wellness Begin?

Local wellness coach tackles that question at our monthly talk in November

“Where Does Wellness Begin?” That’s the title of a talk Wellness Coach Angela Sidlo will be giving as she answers that question. Her presentation will begin with the concept of primary food and secondary food and focus on soil, organics and how to choose the best way to nourish one’s self to create healthy bodies, families and ultimately healthy communities.

011Sidlo has been out and about in the community conducting interviews, getting to the root of wellness. For example, Dr. Jennifer File, a local pediatrician, feels that wellness begins first as a mindset, while Farmer Teresa Retzlaff believes wellness begins in the soil. Sidlo will bring her findings and knowledge to the public in a talk titled “Where Does Wellness Begin”.

“I personally believe that wellness begins with awareness: just the simple act of being aware of what you put on your plate, what you choose at the grocery store, where you spend your restaurant dollars,” Sidlo said.

Sidlo says food is only one aspect of wellness. Also important are your choices when it comes to exercise such as allocating some of your budget to a gym membership, a tai chi class or a meditation group.

“By raising awareness about wellness we all begin to start making better choices about food, exercise, relationships and all the things that create a healthy mind, body and spirit. It is what I am passionate about and what I love to teach the most,” Sidlo said.

Sidlo is a wellness coach, licensed reflexologist, certified holistic aromatherapist, certified tai chi instructor, and Usui Reiki Master Teacher. She owns Waves of Change Wellness Center. Sidlo is also a member of Astoria Co-op Grocery’s board of directors.

Learn more from Sidlo on Thursday November 12 at 7 p.m. at our food and wellness talk “Beers to Your Health” at Fort George Brewery. It happens in the brewery’s Lovell Showroom, located at the corner of 14th and Duane Street in downtown Astoria. Doors open at 6 p.m. for food and drinks (available from the Taproom). The talk lasts about an hour, with an opportunity for questions and answers. This is a free community event open to all ages.

Natural Relief for Springtime Allergies

By Angela Sidlo, Holistic Aromatherapist (also a Co-op Board member)

AngelaSidlo2013 for webIt won’t be long and springtime weather will arrive. I know it is time to get serious about using the essential oils that help to stay ahead of many of those allergy symptoms.
Scratching throat, itchy eyes, sneezing, nasal congestion, post-nasal drip and runny water eyes and nose, etc are the most common symptoms. The best course of action is simply inhaling a few essential oils blends daily to help me stay ahead of the ‘game’ and avoid a majority of these.

The correct term for allergies caused by pollen is Seasonal Rhinitis. Indicating that it occurs ‘seasonally’ and second involves namely the nasal passages and upper respiratory tract. Many different allergens cause any number of allergies, or allergic reactions. It is possible you will need to individualize for your situation.
What is a great first line of defense? Roman Chamomile and German Chamomile help many folks. So starting when the first signs of spring to really take hold you may want to start using an inhaler with several drops of either (or both) of these two essential oils. You should inhale 4 times a day.
There are other forms of allergies too. Food and contact allergies will act differently and the body will have a different response. Some people develop hives or swelling of the areas affected.

Others will develop eczema or psoriasis as a more chronic allergic form. Still others may develop mild forms of hives or other skin rashes.

The good news is that it means your body is paying attention to foreign substances that it thinks are attacking it. Your immune system goes into hyper-mode and over reacts. Unfortunately it is not good news either as it actually is bringing your body’s defenses down. If, and when a ‘real’ invader attacks your bodies reserves may be too depleted to put up a real fight!

Therefore, we need to get things under control so the body gets on the right track. Essential oils are wonderful in their ability to help the body balance itself at the cellular level. However, not only can the essential oils give you a wonderful enjoyment of smelling all those beautiful scents, they get your chemical makeup back into alignment or ‘balanced’. Then your body’s immune system can fight where and when it needs to fight.
Here is a list of a few essential oils known to help with inhalant or airborne allergens to varying degrees.

Some of the best-known ones are the Chamomiles – Roman Chamomile and German Chamomile, both have antihistaminic properties and are typically the first choice. Other essential oils include, Helichrysum, Lavender, Blue Tansy, Tarragon, Yarrow, Geranium. Patchouli, Clove Bud and Niaouli.

Remember there are other essential oils that may work just for you but no one else. The following essential oils may give you some relief too and include: Bergamot, Fragonia, Juniper Berry, Lemon, Lavindin, Orange, Palmarosa, Rosemary, Sage, Spikenard, Hyssop, Rose, Ravensara and Peppermint.

The former list may help with the symptoms caused or related to the allergic reactions instead of actually stopping the reaction.

Try a few oils in a, inhaler and inhale several times a day.

Try this simple blend:

Roman Chamomile – 4 drops
(You may want to try German Chamomile or Helichrysum in place of Roman Chamomile)
Lemon – 3 drops
Lavender – 3 drops

Blend these in an amber bottle and then place a drop or two on a tissue or place several drops in an inhaler.

If you have nasal congestion that is causing you grief add one drop of peppermint to the above mix. One of the best things that may help this time of year is to start using some of the anti-histaminic essential oils prior to the season actually starting. If you know what you have seasonal allergies now is the time to watch the daily pollen counts.

In the spring before the conifer type trees start to pollinate simply use just a little Lavender and if your sinuses start to hurt – sniff a little peppermint. Just a little inhale in the morning and night for a few days and you may not be bothered. Allergy symptoms can make you miserable and if not controlled you can end up with sinusitis and other problems.
To relieve your congestion make sure you drink plenty of fluids. When your body is reacting to an inhalant allergen your body will naturally increase the flow of fluids in your nasal passages. In turn, your body will need more water. It is very important for you to increase the amount of fluids you consume.

Water is best but soothing teas may help relieve the itch and scratch in your throat. Keeping the fluid thin and running helps your body rid itself of the allergen.

Start now and be prepared before the pollen starts to fly.

Simple Allergy Relief Blend
Lavender – 5 drops
Bergamot – 2 drops
Lemon – 1 drop
Juniper Berry – 1 drop
Peppermint – 1 drop

Blend these together in glass bottles. Then put these drops in an inhaler. Use when you feel congested or need relief to breath more easily.

When your Sinuses are a problem:
Eucalyptus globulus – 10 drops
Helichrysum – 5 drops
Peppermint – 3 drops

Blend these essential oils together in a glass bottle. Then place several drops (3-5) in a bowl of hot water (not boiling). Hot water from the faucet usually is warm enough. You can cover your head with a towel if desired and ‘Steam’ yourself for about 10 minutes. Keep your eyes closed during the steaming. Repeat every 4-8 hours as needed for sinus congestion.

So spring in to action and get a jump on those allergy symptoms by using essential oils to help your body fight back!

You can find many essential oils in the Co-op's wellness department.

You can find many essential oils in the Co-op’s wellness department.



Angela Sidlo is a certified holistic aromatherapist in Astoria, Oregon and formulates custom blends for people who want to use essential oils as part of their wellness program.