Monthly Archives: October 2009

Happy Halloween!

I wish you all a Happy (and safe!) Halloween! Yesterday at work, a few of us dressed up and snapped a shot. I, am the banana. Not the most flattering of looks on me, but all too appropriate seeing as I’m a dietitian 🙂

Before I settled in for college football and trick-or-treaters, I got in a good run and dashed out to do my errands. And of course, that included not only a trip to the grocery store…but also to the health foods store! Needless to say, I got lots of goodies. With husband gone most of the week, I wanted some easy meals for one and enough balanced “snack foods” that I could just snack for dinner since I’m flying solo. Check it out!
 Here we see: USDA organic Acai juice (can’t wait to try it!), all-natural Pineapple Coconut juice (it’s low in calories, surprisingly and I also cannot wait to try it!), Apricot Pumpkin Butter (my new favorite food — AWESOME in oatmeal!), fat-free cottage cheese (I was CRAVING cottage cheese and pineapple!), 100% resveratol juice (only 130 calories for 10 ounces!), POM (per the recommendation of Candid RD!!), and skim milk way back there (next to the beer, haha!)
Moving over a bit in the fridge you can see…
USDA organic Oregon Chai (yummmm! I haven’t spoiled myself with any in QUITE some time!), fresh salsa, and my favorite hummus: Sabra Classic Hummus (I’m making falafel at some point this week!)

I also got: low-calorie/high-fiber noodles, Terra chips (YUMMMMMMM!), USDA organic wheat pizza crust, organic old-fashioned oats, lots of ZEVIA!, a HUGE mango, kiwi, pears, bananas, limes, salmon, pumpkin puree, and HALLOWEEN CANDY!!!!!

My (cheap) husband bought Nerds, Bubba gum, Smarties, Jaw Breakers, and Lemonheads. I was afraid our HOUSE would get EGGED if we didn’t include any CHOCOLATE!!!!! So, he left town and I bought chocolate : )

Anyways…Lily and I are ready for trick-or-treaters, as you can see!

And my fruit basket is looking ready for the week, as well…

And just as I was getting ready to press “Publish Post”….my doorbell rang. Package for Nicole. It was my Nutridel cookies! After reading about Nutridel cookies on Jenny’s blog, I just had to try them. 
And they are DELICIOUS! I ordered the assorted pack of 28 packages (2 cookies per package). The flavors are: pecan, flaxseed, almond, and oatmeal. I tried the flaxseed and it was SOOOO good!! 57 calories a cookie! They are all-natural, cholesterol free, contain no trans fat, are dairy-free, and contain no refined sugar. The cookies are high in fiber (3 grams!) and contain antioxidants and omega-3’s. And, they are GOOD!

Welp, it’s time to commit my full attention to football. Yesterday’s diet was about the same as the day before, so I will spare you! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

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Filed under beer, dietitians, fruits and vegetables, grocery store, holiday, snack, work

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!

I have a little routine on Friday afternoons after a busy work week: a beer.

MSNBC published an article on Tuesday entitled, “Is it beer-flavored water or water-flavored beer?” In recent years there have been efforts made in creating a lighter beer which is lighter in calories. Most standard beers have approximately 150 calories and are 5% alcohol by volume while domestic light beers contain approximately 100 calories and 4% alcohol by volume [1].
Miller came out with MGD 64 as of somewhat recently, a 64-calorie beer for a standard 12-ounce serving. And most recently, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Select 55 hit the market — a 55-calorie beer for a standard 12-ounce serving. Both beers contain approximately 3% alcohol by volume [1].

While I have tried MGD 64, I am yet to try Select 55. MGD was acceptable, not great. Personally, I drink because I LOVE the taste of both beer and wine. So while producers are creating these low-calorie beers, I can’t help but wonder, what population are they catering to?

Most people drinking beer are doing so for one of several reasons:
1. Because they like the taste of beer and probably will drink what they prefer, in which case they will probably prefer a beer with average to above average flavor.
2. To get a buzz or to get drunk, in which case a 3% alcohol beer by volume would not assist them in their goal.
3. To be social and have a drink with friends or family, in which case a lower-calorie and less flavorful beer would be acceptable. HOWEVER, those who are extremely health conscious or watching their weight would probably opt NOT to consume calories by means of alcohol.

What do you think? As the article goes on to explain, the population of consumers desiring lower calorie, lower alcohol content beer is marginal at best. Interesting, anyways. At least it’s an option for consumers who would opt for a Select 55 or MGD 64 over a regular beer just because.
Yesterday’s diabetic diet went like so…

2 whole wheat waffles (2 carbs)
2 Tbsp peanut butter (0 carbs)
1 banana (2 carbs)
     Total: 4 carbs

tuna salad wrap in a spinach tortilla with tomatoes and lettuce (2 carbs)
1 serving baby carrots (0 carbs)
cucumber slices (0 carbs)
6 ounce fat-free Greek yogurt (1 carb)
     Total: 3 carbs

1 cup spaghetti squash (2 carbs)
2 Tbsp pine nuts (0 carbs)
1/2 cup marinara (1 carb)
4 ounces of broiled tilapia (0 carbs)
     Total: 3 carbs

1 cup skim milk (1 carb)
1 sheet of graham crackers (1 carb)
     Total: 2 carbs
No real plans for the weekend. Husband is headed out of town so it’s just the puppy and I. I’m planning to get in a few good workouts and catch up on sleep…as much as the puppy will allow, anyways. Have a wonderful start to your weekend!

[1]. Associated Press. Is It Beer-Flavored Water or Water-Flavored Beer? MSNBC. October 27, 2009.

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Filed under alcohol, beer, diabetes, diet, wine, work

Butternut Squash Sauce…B12 & Weight Loss…Dental Health and Halloween…National Peanut Board

Happy Hump Day! I can’t decide what I want to blog about today, so I am blogging about 4 completely unrelated things: Butternut Squash Sauce, B12 and weight loss, the best Halloween candy to consume to preserve your dental health, and blog post recognition from the National Peanut Board. And of course, my diabetic diet from yesterday (2 days to go!). So, here we go…

Last night I decided to make a modified version of a Butternut Squash Sauce recipe I ran across while perusing the Weight Watchers recipe board.

First I peeled and seeded one large butternut squash. I cubed the squash and simmered it for about 30 minutes in 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock with 6 cloves of crushed garlic, fresh ground pepper, and 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar. I added about 2/3 cup fresh chopped basil leaves about 20 minutes into the cooking process.

While my squash was simmering, I enjoyed a DELICIOUS (best beer ever??) Southampton Pumpkin Ale. YUMMMYYY!!!

Once my squash was nice and tender, I blended it into a thick paste.
I added the Butternut Squash Sauce to some whole wheat tube noodles. I topped the dish off with goat cheese crumbles and pine nuts (not pictured).

Question: Does this sound or look appetizing to you? My dear, dear husband ate this creation, Lord love him. The taste and flavors were WONDERFUL, but the consistency was that of baby food. What should I do differently next time?

In other news…B12 injections and weight loss. I feel the need to address this because I see SO many patients who hear that B12 injections will induce weight loss. This is COMPLETELY FALSE. Here’s what Mayo Clinic has to say about B12 and weight loss…

Question: Vitamin B-12 injections for weight loss: Do they work?

Answer from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

There’s no evidence that vitamin B-12 in any form — including vitamin B-12 injections — enhances weight loss. One study published in 2005 suggested that people who took a number of different supplements, including vitamin B-12, gained weight more slowly over a 10-year period than did those who took no supplements. However, many factors must be considered when interpreting the study results, including the fact that people who take dietary supplements tend to be more health conscious — which may contribute to better weight management. 
If you’re hoping to lose weight, resist the lure of quick and easy solutions. What counts is a healthy lifestyle. Enjoy healthier foods and include physical activity in your daily routine.
Verdict from this RD: “If it sounds too good to be true, chances are it is!”
And…dental health for Halloween candy?
As an avid Julie Deardorff reader, I was happy to see this article in the Chicago Tribune today featuring the best and worst candy for your TEETH! New research is showing that the first line of defense in preventing cavities is xylitol-containing candies and gums. So, the low down on candy….
(Examples: Pixy Stix, Sweet Tarts)
Trick: Yes, Pixy Stix are a sack of sugar. But if poured directly on the tongue, it won’t touch teeth, leaving nothing for cavity-causing bacteria to feed on. Powdery candy also dissolves quickly, before bacteria can cause damage.
Why this scares dentists: There is no such thing as “best” candy for teeth.
(Examples: Hershey’s Kisses, M&M’s)
Trick: Chocolate, which won’t stick to teeth for long periods of time, contains calcium, which could help protect tooth enamel. Research shows dark chocolate with at least 65 percent cocoa content is a potent antioxidant. Still, moderation and timing are important. “It’s better to eat four chocolates at one time rather than having one chocolate every three to four hours,” said Dr. Girish Herekar, a dental expert for
Why this scares dentists: At room temperature, chocolate clings to tooth enamel. When it melts, it sinks into the crevices of teeth. Try freezing it to make it better for your teeth.
(Examples: Snickers, Almond Joy, Twix)
Trick: Caramel, nougat and other fillings add sugar, which may erase chocolate’s benefits.
Why this scares dentists:  Candy with fruit or nuts is “sticky and can get caught in the pits and grooves of teeth, causing decay,” said Dr. Julie Barna, a spokeswoman for the Academy of General Dentistry.
DON’T DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Examples: jelly beans, candy corn, Dots, Tootsie Roll, Skittles)
Trick: It takes longer to eat, so you may eat less. But the higher the melting temperature something has, the worse it is for teeth.
Why this scares dentists: “If a 5-year-old ate an orange jelly bean and didn’t brush, I could look three hours later and still see orange in the grooves of his teeth,” Weinstein said. “Sticky, chewy candies linger there for hours and can create a higher acid content, which allows the bacteria to feast.”
 Question: What’s YOUR favorite Halloween candy? I’m a Twix and Butterfinger fan. Almond Joy, too. Oops! Ironic – I scheduled my dentist appointment TODAY.
And lastly, I received an AWESOME email from the National Peanut Board today! The email read:
Dear Nicole,
I want to thank you for posting the Q&A on peanut butter. It’s always great to hear a dietitian’s point of view on the healthful benefits of peanuts and peanut butter. The charts you provided were also wonderful. I will keep them on hand for future reference. I enjoyed your post so much I posted the link on my company’s, the National Peanut Board, Facebook fan page. You can check it out here:
I would like to send you some nutritional information on peanuts and peanut butter and some peanut flour. Peanut flour is an emerging product from the peanut industry and is different from peanuts and peanut butter. In order to make the flour, fat must be removed during the process, making it a lower fat product that still contains all the protein and nutrients peanuts have. It can be used in many cooking applications from baking to soups, sauces, desserts and beverages. If you would like to try some please send me your address and I will ship it out to you.
Thank you again for the post!
All the best,
Lindsay Spencer  
Lindsay Spencer
Communications Coordinator | National Peanut Board
Tel | (678) 424-5753
Fax | (678) 424-5751
I, of course, happily responded with my address. What a cool email to receive, huh? I’ve also asked Jenny of PB & Jenny to write a guest post on peanut butter. We’ll see what she comes up with for us! Check out her blog, it’s fun!
As for my diabetic diet yesterday, it went something like this…

1 serving mini shredded wheat (3 carbs)
1 cup skim milk (1 carb) 
     Total: 4 carbs

2 cups chicken noodle soup (1 carb)
6 ounces fat-free Greek yogurt (1 1/2 carbs)
1 small apple (1 carb)
     Total: 3 1/2 carbs
Dinner (it was totally a random meal…)
1 chicken enchilada with black beans, chicken, 2% shredded cheese, and enchilada sauce (2 carbs)
1/3 cup whole wheat pasta (1 carb)
3 Tbsp Butternut Squash Sauce (<1 carb)
     Total: 3.25 carbs

1 graham cracker (1 carb)
1 Tbsp peanut butter (0 carbs)

Side note: Today was taste test #6 or 7 at work — Buffalo Chicken Lasagna and it was a HUGE hit! I had the most participants to date — 15!!! 🙂


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Filed under beer, blog, diabetes, diet, dinner, garlic, healthy cooking, holiday, Julie Deardorff, recipe, sodium, weight loss, work

Reader Question: Peanut Butter

I received an EXCELLENT question this morning from a reader. She asked:

Q: I am trying to vary my snack routine, and I keep hearing that peanut butter is a great snack to enjoy on an apple or whole wheat toast. I have avoided peanut butter in the past because it has a lot of fat and calories, but I wanted to get a dietitian’s point of view. I would love to see a blog post about the health pros and cons of peanut butter and recommend certain things to look for when buying PB to keep it on the healthy side. Thanks!

A: Firstly, I completely understand the confusion surrounding peanut butter and healthfulness. Peanut butter does have a LOT of calories and fat! However, peanut butter is actually a very balanced food item when used in moderation (i.e. 2 tablespoons). While a serving of peanut butter will run you 190-200 calories, you’re getting a lot for the “cost” including plentiful amounts of monounsaturated fats (those are the REALLY good fats), polyunsaturated fats (good fats!), 8 grams of protein, approximately 4 grams of fiber, and a mere 1 gram of sugar. Natural peanut butter is cholesterol-free and low in sodium. Here’s a nifty chart from the USDA on peanuts and peanut butter…
 There are a few things to be aware of when purchasing and using peanut butter, however….

– Buy natural peanut butter. Peanut butter containing “hydrogenated oil” or “partially hydrogenated oil” contains trans fat (that’s the REALLY BAD kind). Buying a natural form of peanut butter insures that it is trans fat-free. Check your labels and ingredient lists to be sure!
– Measure your portions! Two tablespoons is a generous portion, but peanut butter is easily a food that can get a bit plentiful in portion sizing over time.
– When adding peanut butter to a snack, pair it with a low-calorie food item as to have a healthy snack that’s relatively low in calories. Examples: celery, pretzels, crackers, fruit, etc.
– Every thing in moderation. No single food should comprise the bulk of your diet or nutrient intake.

Verdict: Thumbs up! Shop smart and watch portions as always! Personally, I opt for All-Natural Jiff.

As for the diabetic diet, I’m pluggin’ along. Yesterday ended up like this:

1 egg, cooked in Pam (0 carbs)
1 Arnold’s bread thin (1 1/2 carbs)
2 Morning Star Vegetarian sausage patties (1 carb)
6 ounces low-sugar toffee cappuccino (1 carb)
     Total: 3 1/2 carbs

1 serving chili (1 carb)
1 banana (2 carbs)
baby carrots (0 carbs)
1 Vita Top Muffin (1 carb)
     Total: 4 carbs

2 cups chicken noodle soup (1 carb)
1/2 acorn squash (2 carbs)
2 tsp Splenda brown sugar (1 carb)
2 Tbsp Smart Balance Light (0 carbs)
     Total: 4 carbs

6 wheat tortilla chips (1 carb)
1/3 avocado (0 carbs)
3 more days of diabetic dieting! Have a great night, thanks for reading!

P.S. Meredith: I am not a CDE…yet! I am working on racking up the hours to sit for the CDE exam and I work with a population where I see a LOT of diabetics. I hope to get become a CDE within the next 2 years and I am SO excited about it! As passionate as I am about weight loss, I LOVE working with diabetics. It is fascinating!

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Filed under blog topic request, MUFAs and PUFAs, saturated fat, snack, trans fat

Type 2 Diabetes and Insulin Treatment

New research suggests that treating type 2 diabetes with insulin therapy + metformin improves outcomes when compared to the traditional exercise, weight loss, and oral hypoglycemic agent drugs when needed. Three years into a 6-year study at the University of Texas’s Southwestern Medical Center, results showed that the insulin-treated group had fewer hypoglycemic episodes, gained less weight, and reported high treatment satisfaction [1].
While an abundance of my patients state that they will never take shots, I found this research interesting. As a clinician, I am deeply concerned about hypoglycemic episodes for patients on insulin regimens. Without the fundamental understanding of carbohydrates, carbohydrate counting, and insulin dosing, insulin therapy can open flood gates of displeasures and dangers. This research, however, recommends a sliding-scale of insulin dosing which is determined based on blood sugar readings [1].
Interestingly, the International Diabetes Foundation states that 3.8 million people will die from diabetes and related illnesses each year. With the number of diabetics growing from 20 million to 246 million in the past 20 years, diabetes is without a doubt a growing disease state among the US and other countries. The highest increases in diabetes cases are occurring in developing worlds, such as India (40.9 million) and China (39.8 million) [1]. I would’ve never guessed.
Yesterday’s diabetic diet went like this…

2 whole wheat waffles (2 carbs)
2 Tbsp apple butter (1 carb)
cappuccino with 2 Tbsp sugar-free International Delight (0 carbs)
     Total: 3 carbs

1 serving chili (1 carb)
6 wheat crackers (1 carb)
1 small apple (1 carb)
8 oz. V8 Fusion Light (1 carb)
     Total: 4 carbs

1 cup mini shredded wheats (2 1/2 carbs)
1 cup skim milk (1 carb)
     Total: 3 1/2 carbs

1 small banana (1 carb)
1 cup skim milk (1 carb)
     Total: 2 carbs
[1]. Research Points to New Way to Treat Type 2 Diabetes: Insulin First. Diabetes in Control. October 21, 2009.

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Filed under chronic disease, diabetes, diet

Oktoberfest 2009

While my husband has had the pleasure and honor of attending THE Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany…the Tulsa Oktoberfest was no disappointment. Laden with all traditional food, beverage, music, and dance! While I thoroughly enjoy both food and beverage, the highlight was surely the traditional music and dance. I don’t believe I can count on my 20 digits alone how many times we did the Chicken Dance. While it was a forbidden “DON’T PLAY” for our wedding DJ, I sure had fun doing it last night with friends and thousands of Tulsans.

Here are some low-quality pictures. Apologies, my camera battery died, so I had to take them with my phone.

 Pitchers in the air!
Awesome German Band playing traditional German music

Sadly, however, husband informed us that at THE Oktoberfest music is not typically played. Whereas Tulsa’s Oktoberfest had lots of tents, of varying sizes, playing a variety of music. Our tent we believed to be the largest and held SEVERAL thousand dancing fools by the time we left.

The food and drink were wonderful as well, but my dietitian tummy was upset after consuming so much FAT last night. I tried the funnel cake and brat with kraut. While it was delicious, it did not agree with me!!

Between the 5 of us we were able to try several traditional beers, too. On tap they had Spaten Oktoberfest, Samuel Adams Oktoberfest (probably not so traditional), Franziskaner, Spaten Pils, Spaten Premium, Spaten Optimator, and Oktoberfest Lager. Mmmm!

Hockey game tonight – excited!

Yesterday ended up like this…

1 cup oatmeal, prepared (2 carbs)
1 cup skim milk (1 carb)
2 Tbsp pumpkin butter (1 carb)
1/2 ounce pecans (0 carbs)
     Total: 4 carbs

1 1/2 cups chili (1 carb)
6 wheat crackers (1 carb)
8 ounces V9 Fushion Light (1 carb)
     Total: 3 carbs

2% cheese stick (0 carbs)

1/3 small funnel cake (2 carbs)
1/2 bratwurst with saurkraut (1 carb)
3 German beers (2 carbs)
     Total: 5 carbs – over!

1/2 cup shredded wheat (1 carb)
1/2 cup skim milk (1/2 carb)
     Total: 1 1/2 carbs

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Filed under beer, diabetes, diet, festival, fried food, friends, saturated fat, trans fat, travel

#1 Chili

People get very competitive about their culinary delights. Above all, I would consider chili a dish open to much debate. In the past, my chili has been very heavy on the beans and tomatoes and lighter on the meat (generally, I used 93% lean ground beef). Recently, however, I have had a change of heart and admitted chili recipe defeat.

During this (pathetic) college football season, our friends treated us to their version of chili, and man…it is GOOD! I would consider this chili VERY hearty and “manly”, in the stereotypical sense of the term: meaty. The meat, however, is very lean and not red meat, but rather, 98% lean ground turkey and lean boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

In hopes of having a decent Illini game to watch this weekend (so far, status quo), I made the chili last night. While it’s rather laborious, it is totally worth it! I am yet to calculate the nutrition information, but it is extremely low in fat and high in protein. I do have a feeling that it’s somewhat high in sodium, however. 
So, here’s how it goes…

“Josh and Tiffany’s Chili”

Main Batch
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground turkey, lean
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, chunked
14 ounces low-sodium beef broth
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 large green pepper, diced
1/2 large sweet onion, diced

Batch One
1 Tbsp onion powder
2 Tbsp garlic powder
1 jalapeno, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 can kidney beans, drained

Batch Two
5 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp brown sugar

Batch Three
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

In a large heavy bottom pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the meat, pepper, and onion and cook until meat is browned. Drain off drippings. Add the rest of the main batch and simmer for 1 hour. Add all of the ingredients from Batch One, stir and simmer for 35 minutes. Add Batch Two to the pot and cook for an additional 20 minutes, stirring often. Add Batch Three and cook for 10 more minutes before serving.
Diabetic diet yesterday went like this…

1 cup mini shredded wheat (3 carbs)
1 cup skim milk (1 carb)
stevia (0 carbs)
     Total: 4 carbs

2 cups homemade chicken noodle soup (1 carb)
6 wheat crackers (1 carb)
1/2 pomegranate (1 carb)
1 small banana (1 carb)
     Total: 4 carbs

1 serving Frito Twists (1 carb)
1 1/2 cups Josh and Tiffany’s Chili (1 carb)
2/3 cup Greek yogurt (1 carb)
     Total: 3 carbs

1 small apple (1 carb)
1 Tbsp peanut butter (0 carbs)

Question: How would you describe your favorite chili dish? Beany? Meaty? Salty? Spicy? Loaded with vegetables? Beefy? Vegetarian?

Off for a bowl…have a great Saturday!!


Filed under diabetes, diet, friends, healthy cooking, recipe