Special Dietary Needs
Casablanca Specializes in Meal Options for Those Requiring Special Dietary Needs:
Low Fat & Cholesterol
Dietary guidelines for Americans suggest a diet that provides 20-35% of the daily energy intake from fat. For a 2000-kcalorie diet, 20 – 35% represents 400-700 kcalories from fat (roughly 45-75 grams). Some of the fats should include essential fatty acids (known as omega-3 and omega-6 fats).
There are many reasons to choose a low fat diet. Fat is most often linked with heart disease, some types of cancer, and obesity. Beyond controlling total fat levels, the recommendations include choosing a diet low in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol. Fats from animal sources such as meats and milk products are the main sources of saturated fats. The major sources of trans fats are from foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils. Cholesterol is found only in animal foods. Most high cholesterol foods are also high in saturated fat. Replacing saturated and trans fats with mono and polyunsaturated (liquid) fats is one strategy in preventing heart disease. There are many benefits from consuming Omega-3 essential fatty acids including the following: preventing blood clots, protecting against irregular heartbeats, and lowering blood pressure, especially in people with hypertension and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acids support a healthy immune system and defend against inflammatory disorders, which are at the root of chronic disease. Fatty fish are among the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6 fats are easily found in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils.
At Casablanca, we offer a variety of ways to meet your low-fat selections including selections of fish, lean meats, and vegetarian options. We also focus on meeting the FDA guidelines of 3 grams of fat or less per reference amount. A low fat food that is a “main dish product”, as defined in the standards (21 CFR 101.13) must not exceed 19.5 g fat, 6.0 g saturated fat, 90 mg cholesterol, or 720 mg sodium per serving without disclosing the other nutrients. A low fat food that is a “meal product”, as defined in the standards (21 CFR 101.13) must not exceed 26 g fat, 8.0 g saturated fat, 120 mg cholesterol, or 960 mg sodium per serving without disclosing the other nutrients. Casablanca low fat meals would not exceed those standards.
Dietary guidelines for Americans recommend consuming less than 2300 mg (approximately 1 teaspoon of salt) of sodium per day. Because high sodium intakes correlate with high blood pressure the Upper Level (UL) for adults is set slightly lower than the Daily Value (DV) used on food labels at 2400 mg. The average sodium intake for adults in the US exceeds the recommendations, and most adults will develop hypertension (high blood pressure) at some point in their lives. Many doctors recommend low sodium diets for medical conditions such as congestive heart failure (CHF) and Coronary Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). These recommendations are frequently between 1,500 and 2,400 mg sodium per day. At Casablanca, our goal is less than 800 mg per dinner meal with most individual items meeting the FDA guidelines for low sodium, or 140 mg per reference amount. To achieve high quality flavor standards in our menus we use a variety of herbs and potassium chloride, a salt substitute.
The diet plan known as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet may also lower blood pressure. The DASH approach emphasizes, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat milk products; includes whole grains, nuts, poultry, and fish; and calls for reduced intakes of red meat, butter and other high-fat foods. The DASH diet in combination with a reduced sodium intake is even more effective in lowering blood pressure than either strategy alone. At Casablanca, our goal is to offer food selections consistent with the DASH diet.
Salty facts – Adequate Intake (AI) for sodium is set at 1500 mg/day for 19-50 years of age, 1300 mg/day for 51-70 years, and 1200 mg./day >70 years. Salt (sodium chloride) is about 40% sodium by weight. One tsp salt weighs 6 grams and contributes about 2300 mg sodium. Sodium is also naturally occurring in many fresh foods. Processed foods have higher levels of salt, and therefore sodium, than fresh foods.
Diet is an important component of diabetes treatment. Diabetes characterized by high blood glucose concentrations either from insufficient insulin, ineffective insulin or a combination of the two. To maintain near-normal blood glucose levels, the diet is designed to deliver the same amount of carbohydrate each day, spaced evenly throughout the day. There are many different approaches recommended in the medical community. Most approaches include attention on counting carbohydrates. The amount of carbohydrate affects blood glucose more than the source of carbohydrates. Low carbohydrate diets (less than 130 grams per day) are not recommended. Carbohydrates include starches, sugars and fiber. Starches and sugars contribute to a rise in blood glucose and fiber tends to slow the rate of the rise. Dietary recommendations state the following: at least half of the grains consumed should be whole (to increase fiber). People with diabetes have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and therefore are advised to follow the low fat recommendations (mentioned above). Often people think that diabetics need to avoid sugar and sugar containing foods. Sugar recommendations for people with diabetes is similar to the general population, which suggests choosing foods and beverages with little or no added sugars. Of course, sugars (and starches) must be counted as part of the daily carbohydrate allowance.
Ideally, your diabetic diet should match the advise of your medical care provider. When registering with Casablanca, please be clear about your medical needs. At Casablanca, we focus on providing low carbohydrate vegetable options at each meal. We include many low fat selections, and fruits and whole grain items to provide fiber. We do not include dinner rolls with each meal; however, rolls can be purchased with additional points. We also offer dessert options for additional points as well as soup options when there is room for additional kcalories. While glycemic index is not calculated, the load is reduced through fiber and protein content in the meals while moderating the carbohydrate and fat supplied. We calculate carbohydrate content in order to help you monitor your diet.
Weight loss diets are ideally supervised by a health care professional. Generally safe rates for weight loss are ½ to 2 pounds per week or 10% body weight over 6 months. Successful weight loss strategies generally embrace small changes over time. People who lose 10-20 pounds in a year by consistently choosing nutrient dense foods and including physical activity are much more likely to maintain the loss and experience the health benefits than if they were to loose quickly with a radical fad diet. Medically supervised rapid weight loss diets eventually transition back to a meal pattern of nutrient dense foods for weight maintenance.
At Casablanca, we provide only a portion of your meals. Our patrons make their own choices about how they approach weight management overall. Nutrition information is available for menu items, which include low fat, nutrient dense options with portion control. Consultation with a registered dietitian is available. Meals can be used to support weight loss or the maintenance phase after weight loss.
Allergies and Gluten Restrictions
At Casablanca, we rely on you to disclose your allergies and the severity of your symptoms. Some restrictions can be honored. Please check with us on a case-by-case basis. Gluten free diets are not an option at this time due to our shared kitchen facility. FDA Guidelines for disclosing allergens are followed and provided with ingredient statements and nutrition information.
References: Understanding Nutrition, 12th Edition by Ellie Whitney and Sharon Rady Rolfes and Code of Federal Regulations: 21 CFR 101.13. For more information about labeling, check out “A Food Labeling Guide”, a 65- page booklet on FDA’s web site, http://www.cfsan.fda.gov
Low-carbohydrate diets or low-carb diets are dietary programs that restrict carbohydrate consumption usually for weight control or for the treatment of obesity. Foods high in digestible carbohydrates (e.g. bread, pasta) are limited or replaced with foods containing a higher percentage of proteins and fats (e.g. meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, cheese, nuts, seeds, peanuts, and soy products) and other foods low in carbohydrates (e.g. most salad vegetables), although other vegetables and fruits (especially berries) are often allowed. The amount of carbohydrate allowed varies with different low-carbohydrate diets.
Sugar-Free and Low Sugar
Cut out added sugars by not drinking liquid calories. Liquid soft drinks are the largest source of added sugars in the average diet, according to the American Heart Association. Some other ways to cut sugar and adopt a low sugar diet are to limit desserts to once per week, use Splenda or Truvia in place of real sugar, and avoid sweetened food products like candy, cereal, granola bars, yogurt, chocolate and cookies.
Understand that there’s a difference between “added sugar” and natural sugar. Natural sugars are found in products like fruits and milk and should not be counted toward your daily sugar consumption because there are many nutrients found in these foods that make them worth eating. Added sugar has no nutritional value and only contributes empty calories to your body, according to The American Heart Association. Additionally, they estimate the average intake of added sugars per person in a day is about 318 calories. Eating too many sugary foods can lead to changes in brain receptors, according to research from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Sugar has also been linked to aging, according to researchers at the Université de Montréal.
In terms of how much added sugar you should eat, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 6tsp. per day for women (24g) and 9tsp. per day (36g) for men. This is less than the sugar found in a single can of soda.