Sunday, April 13, 2008

Beautiful Bones: An Osteoporosis Food Event

Since I started this blog in January 2007, I have shared a lot of things about myself. One thing I haven’t shared is that I have osteoporosis. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) osteoporosis is "a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break."

I’m not a senior citizen; that really is me in pictured to the right. But as I discovered last summer, you can be an otherwise totally healthy woman in her (let's say 30's) and still have osteoporosis.

Of the estimated 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, 8 million are women. In fact, osteoporosis is actually believed to be under-diagnosed which means there are likely many more women who are unknowingly afflicted with it. It is sometimes discovered by an astute internist (which is what happened to me) but unfortunately is often discovered after fracturing a bone (which happens to many women).

According to the NOF, there are many risk factors for osteoporosis in women, including:

  • Just being female
  • Missed periods (amenorrhea)
  • Low estrogen levels (especially during menopause)
  • Family history (especially mother and grandmother)
  • Being of a particular race/ethnicity such as Caucasian, Asian, or Latino, although African-Americans are also at risk
  • Low Body Mass Index (BMI) (being thin and small)
  • Lack of calcium and vitamin D, especially in childhood (this can be a real problem for lactose intolerant people)**
  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Certain conditions such as anorexia nervosa and asthma
** Amazingly, 90% of adult bone mass is acquired in girls by the age of 18! That means that after 18, you have only 10% of your bone mass that you can still build.

I have decided to host a food blogging event to alert women to the potential risks of osteoporosis and encourage them to take steps to protect their bones at every age. I am sure that I am not the only food blogga who has osteoporosis and was not aware of it.

Here’s the plan: May is National Osteoporosis Awareness Month which is the perfect time to hold an event. If you’d like to participate, then kindly follow these steps:

  1. Post one calcium-rich recipe on your blog any time between May 1st and May 31st. (Please no back dating or late entries.) And of course boy bloggas are welcome to participate.
  2. Include a link to this announcement.
  3. Email the following information to foodblogga [at] yahoo [dot] com, and mention beautiful bones in the subject line.
    • Your preferred name
    • Blog name
    • General geographic location
    • Your post URL and recipe name
  4. Please attach a 200 pixel image if you'd like an image to appear in the round-up.
  5. I would, of course, also appreciate your placing the event logo in your post.
No blog? No problem. Just email your preferred name, location, name of the recipe, and a 200 pixel image to foodblogga [at] yahoo [dot] com, and mention beautiful bones in the subject line.

The recipe can be for any type of dish you like as long as it contains at least one calcium-rich food as a main ingredient.

Calcium-rich foods:

  • Dairy products: all types of cheese, especially mozzarella and Parmesan, milk, soy milk, yogurt, soy protein or whey protein (for smoothies)
  • Soy: edamame, soy milk, tofu, tempeh, and other soy products
  • Nuts and seeds: all kinds, especially almonds and sesame seeds
  • Legumes: all kinds, especially black beans, black-eyed peas, and navy beans
  • Seafood: oysters, salmon, sardines, and shrimp
  • Green leafy vegetables: beet greens, collards, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens
  • Other vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, avocado, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, cremini mushrooms, fennel bulb, garlic, green beans, okra, potatoes, radishes, rhubarb, romaine lettuce, summer squash, tomatoes (yes, it's a fruit, but come on)
  • Fruits: bananas, blackberries, cantaloupe, grapes, kiwi, lemons, limes, oranges, strawberries, watermelon
  • Whole grains: (grains that are not milled) such as barley, cornmeal, oats, popcorn (no kidding!) quinoa, rice, rye, spelt, and whole wheat flour
  • Spices and herbs: black pepper, caraway seeds, cinnamon, coriander seeds, dill seed, parsley, oregano, poppy seeds, rosemary
  • Others: leavening agents, such as baking powder; corn tortillas; calcium fortified juices, breads, and dairy products
Meal ideas:

  • Breakfast: frittatas, granola, muffins, oatmeal, quick breads, scones
  • Lunch: burritos, salads, sandwiches, soups, stuffed potatoes, wraps
  • Dinner: pasta, pizza, grain dishes, seafood, stir-fries, tofu, vegetarian entrees
  • Appetizers/Snacks: bruschetta, crostini, cheese, dips, nuts, popcorn
  • Desserts: cakes, cookies, fresh fruits, ice cream, pies, puddings
  • Drinks: milkshakes, smoothies, yogurt drinks

During the month of May, I’ll write several posts for this event, sharing information about osteoporosis with you and providing a recipe with each post.

Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you may have in the comment box or email me directly at foodblogga [at] yahoo [dot] com. I'm looking forward to your bone-building, delicious submissions!

Logo was adapted from an image from the National Museum of Health and Medicine.