Category Archives: blog topic request

Kale Gratin and a Q&A

Hello new readers and thank you for your comments! Lots of you lately…thanks for stopping by! 😀

Confession: I don’t LOVE kale. I like the flavor a lot, but the texture is one that likes to tickle the inside of my mouth and tends to be a bit sharp going down, and kinda makes me gag (if I’m being truthful). But because kale is so incredibly healthy and affordable, I love to find creative ways to eat it that are both delicious and nutritious! And in the form of cheesy goodness, I figured Mr. Prevention would be a taker, too.

Right I was. Unfortunately, he turned my beautiful gratin into a chip ‘n’ dip delight. What am I going to do with him?

One cup of kale provides 1328% your daily value of Vitamin K and almost 200% the daily value for Vitamin A. It is also high in Vitamin C, fiber, and omega 3’s. Containing over 45 flavanoids, kale is an anti-cancer vegetable topping the charts, and here’s just one delicious way to enjoy it…two ways if “on a chip” counts. According to Mr. P, it most certainly does.

Kale Gratin from An Edible Mosaic

1 Tbsp canola oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
6-7 oz kale, washed, stem removed, and chopped (about 8 cups chopped)
1 1/2 Tbsp butter, plus more to grease the pan
1 1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 oz Gruyère cheese, finely shredded
1 2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely shredded
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375° F; grease a medium-sized gratin dish (I used a casserole dish) with butter.

In a large, deep-sided pan with a lid, heat oil over medium heat; once hot, add garlic and sauté 30 seconds.  Add 1 cup water, turn heat up to between medium-high and high, and add kale.  Add 1/3 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper; cover pan and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Drain greens to remove water; put greens back into the pan they were cooked in.

Mix shredded cheeses together; set aside 1/2 1/3 cup to use as topping.  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter; whisk in flour and cook 1 minute.  Whisk in milk and a pinch freshly grated nutmeg; bring up to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer 1 minute.  Turn off heat and whisk in shredded cheeses, except reserved 1/2 1/3 cup for topping.  Taste cheese sauce and add salt and pepper as desired.

Pour cheese sauce onto greens and stir to combine.  Transfer greens and sauce to prepared gratin dish and spread out in an even layer; top with reserved 1/2 1/3 cup cheese.  Bake 20 minutes until cheese bubbles.  Preheat broiler and broil a couple minutes until cheese is browned in spots.

To Reheat: Preheat oven to 350F.  Cover gratin with aluminum foil and bake until warmed throughout and bubbling on the edges. Serves 6.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 203 calories; 12.2 g. fat; 18 mg. cholesterol; 200 mg. sodium; 13.8 g. carbohydrate; 3.5 g. fiber; 12.2 g. protein

Result: Yum! This was über rich and delicious! It’s hard to believe there are 8 CUPS of kale in the recipe…it cooked down to nothing! Next time, I think I’ll add an additional 3-4 cups of kale just to increase the nutrition with all the cheese…there was plenty to go around! Another HUGE thumbs up for Faith’s recipes!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

(Over-due) Q&A!

Renee of My Kitchen Adventures: My question is about vitamin D — how much do we really need and is it true most people are deficient? This is a hot topic right now!

Prevention RD: Hot topic, indeed! Increasing amounts of research are surfacing in support of vitamin D and its anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties, among other things (MS, for one). The tolerable upper limit (UL) is 2,000 IU for people over the age of 14. Unless you are consuming a TON of cod liver oil, sockeye salmon, mackerel, or Vitamin D-fortified milk, one is not at great risk for too much vitamin D. However, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin meaning it can be consumed in excess and cause toxicity. My recommendation for milk drinkers (in any form) is to find a milk or milk substitute which is vitamin D-fortified. For most individuals consuming a diet that is not exceptionally high in vitamin D (foods noted above), a supplement of 200 IU’s (up to 400 IU’s for vegetarians and vegans) is safe and appropriate*. The Adequate Intake (AI) for vitamin D is 200 IU’s for those 19-50 years of age, 400 IU’s for those 51-70 years of age, and 600 IU’s for those 71+ years of age. While diagnosed deficiency is not common (think rickets), vitamin D plays an integral role in bone health and research is showing more and more that more vitamin D (up to the UL) can provide potential health benefits without associated risks. For what it’s worth, I take a 200 IU vitamin D supplement daily. *This is a broad, general recommendation appropriate for adults eating an “average” diet consisting of 200-ish IU’s of vitamin D.

Samantha of Bikini Birthday: I’m not sure if you read “Weighty Matters”, a Canadian based blog about obesity. In a recent post on Weighty Matters, Dr. Freedhoff questions whether the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s endorsement of certain fast food restaurant meals through their Health Check program is hypocritical or beneficial to the restaurant-going public. I was wondering what your thoughts are on the matter.

Prevention RD: Firstly, I love this question and you for introducing me to that amazing blog. If you have time, please check out the original blog post and the humorous re-do of the post altered to the tune of heroin used as a metaphor for pizza (oh my). Of course I want to agree that in a perfect world, people would cook from scratch, eat 5-9 fruits and vegetables a day, eat only whole grains, and buy 100% organic, low-fat, free-range, grass-fed proteins. In a perfect world. Would I personally, as a Registered Dietitian, endorse “healthier” pizza claiming to improve health outcomes “one pizza at a time”? Heck no. Not from Pizzaville, anyways. Do I think what the dietitian did is WRONG? No. You have to meet people where they’re at. As a dietitian, if you walk up to a fast food junky/Hamburger Helper-aholic and tell them that unless they’re going to eat PERFECTLY it’s not good enough, you’ve lost all credibility and rapport with that person. Eating healthfully is like exercise – you can always do more…but is more always better? Just because 30 minutes of walking isn’t ideal, it’s sure better than sitting on the couch eating, and it’s making strides in the right direction. While posting nutrition facts on menus has yielded less than ideal results, ignorance should not be bliss. While most options are not the BEST options while dining out, you can easily shave THOUSANDS of calories and HUNDREDS of grams of fat from a single meal by making healthier choices. Final thought: Where does the concept of balance in the diet come into play? Eating is not an all or nothing and the sooner we recognize the importance and feasibility of a balanced diet, everyone will be healthier and happier. P.S. I am now subscribed to that blog – what a great one! 🙂

Tiffany of We Are Wedes: Can you explain to me Kefir, what exactly it is, and what it is used for. So far I’ve used it in smoothies (it’s delicious!) but a friend of mine says I can use it as a buttermilk substitute in cakes and other yummy treats. Is this true? Or will I destroy my yummy edible Christmas confections?

Prevention RD: Mmm…Kefir! Kefir is cultured milk made from the introduction of kefir grains into raw milk. Kefir has added fiber (inulin) and is described as a cultured probiotic milk smoothie. Kefir is known for its probiotic benefits, containing 12 live and active strains of bacterium (most yogurts contain 2-3 strains) at 7-10 billion CFU’s (colony forming units) per serving. Pribiotics are found to keep the gut and intestinal tract healthy and functioning properly, as well as help prevent infection and illness. Generally speaking, Kefir can be substituted for buttermilk without issues. If the pH of the Kefir differs from that of buttermilk, the leavening in baked good will flop. Good question!

Question: Do you feel that it is hypocritical for a dietitian to endorse restaurant dining, albeit healthier options?

I promise you won’t hurt my feelings 🙂

Is it Friday yet?

Advertisements

23 Comments

Filed under blog topic request, butter, cancer, diet, dietitians, dining out, dinner, exercise, fast food, fiber, fish oil/omega-3's, fruits and vegetables, garlic, pizza, recipe, restaurant, vegan, vegetarian, vitamins

Chocolate Fudge Pomegranate Cookies

I love the weekends. I love bouncing around in my nightie until all hours of the afternoon with nothing on the agenda. Usually that turns into what-can-I-make-with-what’s-on-hand time, and I love that just as much as my nightie. Which is why I bake while in my nightie. Ahhh…I love weekends. Unfortunately for my favorite nightie and I, however, it is stained and torn and just not looking too hot. When Mr. Prevention gave me a once over and chuckled, I knew the nightie would have to be retired. R.I.P. favorite nightie. Hopefully Santa brings me a new one! And then I will adopt apron wearing to preserve my new nightie. 😉

Sob story aside, this recipe sounded amazing…and I just happened to have a pomegranate on hand. Sold!

Chocolate Fudge Pomegranate Cookies adapted from How Sweet It Is

1 cup (2 sticks) butter 50/50 Smart Balance Butter Blend, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar 1 cup sugar + 1/2 cup Splenda granular
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tbsp pomegranate juice
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 3/4 cup pomegranate arils

Directions:

Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, then pomegranate juice and mix until combined.

Fold in chocolate chips and arils. Refrigerate dough for 2-4 hours (or more). When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350, roll into balls and set on baking sheet.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Let cool completely. Yield: 4 1/2 dozen (54 cookies).

Nutrition Information (per cookie): 77 calories; 4.2 g. fat; 12 mg. cholesterol; 35 mg. sodium; 9.3 g. carbohydrate; 0.9 g. fiber; 0.5 g. protein

Result: These were delicious — the chocolate and pomegranate are a wonderful combination! The cookies are fragile and break easily, but I’m okay with it because I know I altered the recipe a lot. I don’t think the whole wheat flour or the Smart Balance butter was the issue, but possibly the Splenda. I don’t think the recipe needs a whole cup of chocolate chips…they are very chocolaty with the cocoa powder. I am going to take some to work and see what people think; Mr. Prevention does give a thumbs up!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Cassie of A Pinch of This and A Dash of That tagged me to answer her 8 questions.

1.) What is your favorite magazine to read? Cooking Light. I know, I’m sooo predictable 🙂

2.) If you could develop/market a food product, what would it be? An oil lower in calories but still with plenty of healthy fat. I love oil, it adds texture, flavor, and body to cooking and baking, but it’s so darn high in calories!!

3.) Favorite Food Network show? I love Giada’s recipes most, but my favorite Food Network show is Down Home with The Neely’s — they are HILARIOUS!

4.) Clothing item you can’t live without? Hoodies. That was easy!

5.) Favorite thing about where you currently live? Ice-hockey. There are 175 adult hockey leagues and at least 10 sheets of ice around Columbus, I love it!! My team is a lot of fun, and I’m having a blast!

6.) Most memorable birthday? Definitely my 23rd birthday. I was living in Chicago completing my master’s and Mr. Prevention was living and working in Italy. I was napping at my parent’s house in the Lay-Z-Boy and I woke up to someone kissing me on the forehead. I opened my eyes and it was Mark (AKA Mr. P)! You can imagine my surprise, especially since there’s a 9 hour flight between Italy and Chicago! He had planned the surprise with my parent’s help and it was just perfect! We went to the Taste of Chicago and out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. 🙂

7.) Favorite holiday? This is one of those “favorites” that always changes! I love Christmas, though…the decorations, the music, the family, the food! It’s always a happy time of year!

8.) Where do you see yourself in five years? As a mom or soon-to-be mom (of a 2-legger) and a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). Outside of that, the sky is the limit!

I tag YOU! Share your responses to the above 8 questions! Copy and paste them into a comment and have at it! I love learning about you all! 🙂

I am working 8 of the next 9 days to flex my schedule in order to make it to Illinois for Thanksgiving. Gotta love not having vacation time when you start a new job 😦 So if I’m not around much, you know why!

P.S. I have a few Q&A questions already, so I will plan another Q&A for later this week. Send your questions to me at PrevetionRD@gmail.com! Thank you!! 🙂

<3,


30 Comments

Filed under blog topic request, butter, dessert, fruits and vegetables, recipe, reduced-calorie, sugar substitutes, Uncategorized, work

Q&A and Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding

Apologies for taking so long to get to your questions…all 2 of them! You guys used to be so inquisitive, what happened?! Have I simply answered your every last nutrition question? Doubtful 😉 Don’t be shy!

Heather from Get Healthy with Heather: Could you share if the nutritional value changes in yogurt that you strain yourself?   Would the stats of regular plain yogurt that you strain be similar to thick greek yogurt?

Prevention RD: I wish I had an exact answer for you, but I don’t. Homemade Greek yogurt (which can be made in a yogurt maker, crock pot, or simply by straining regular yogurt) has the water strained out so that the consistency of the yogurt is thicker and the protein concentration is greater (due to the lessened volume). How much water is left in homemade yogurt one will never know. You can strain the yogurt to simply be a thicker yogurt, or thick enough you can cut it with a knife. The more water you strain out, the higher the calorie (and protein/fat) content in the same size serving. The calories are slightly higher for commercial Greek yogurt when compared to regular yogurt — fat-free plain Greek yogurt clocks in at about 15 calories and 2.5 grams of protein per ounce while fat-free plain yogurt contains 13 calories and 1.5 grams of protein. Assuming the consistency is similar to your favorite plain Greek yogurt, the nutritional information will be very, very similar. I hope this helps!

Samantha from Bikini Birthday: A friend of mine recently started the Eat Clean Diet. I don’t know the specifics of the diet but I do know that she has been eliminating things such as refined white foods, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods in favour of more nutritious whole foods. Lately she has been feeling light-headed, dizzy, and has experienced a slump in energy that she attributes to her new diet. I’ve heard that people sometimes experience negative symptoms when they start a new diet. What’s your take?

Prevention RD: Firstly, I just want to profess my HATRED for the word “clean” used in regards to food. Not only does it not make sense to me, but it puts a totally negative “shame on you” connotation with anything listed as “unclean”. I’m a firm believer that health must encompass balance. ::Stepping off my soap box::The Clean Eating Diet encourages unprocessed, wholesome foods and exercise. The diet “guidelines,” as far as I can tell, include: 1) eating 5-6 times a day, 2) eating 200-300 calories at a time, 3) eating complex carbohydrate with protein at every meal, 4) drinking at least 8 cups of water daily, 5) never skipping a meal, especially breakfast, 6) avoiding saturated and trans-fats, and 7) sticking to appropriate portion sizes. The diet allows for 1 “cheat” meal a week, which thus requires meal plan compliance 97-98% of the time — a difficult task for most anyone. Moreover, are “appropriate” portion sizes really 200-300 calories? Certainly not for the traditional 3 meals with small snacks style of eater.

Now that we know what the diet entails, I don’t know why your friend is feeling that way. Her symptoms are consistent with a very low carbohydrate diet, but not the diet described above (maybe she’s not following it correctly?). It is important to have some carbohydrate, preferrably complex (fiber-containing), at every meal, along with some protein for satiation and blood glucose control. The average adult requires a MINIMUM of 130 grams of carbohydrate in the diet to prevent the body from using protein and fat for energy. Carbohydrates are the most usable form of energy in the body and are required for proper bodily function both at the muscular level and cellular level. Maybe she’s falling under this recommended guideline?

Some people experience negative symptoms after making major changes in the diet because they’re body requires an adjustment period. It could also be that they’re cutting out a major food group (carbs are something people love to banish), and that will certainly wreak havok on their bodies, especially at first. Balance and moderation are always key for restricting healthfully to produce weight loss. I hope that helps…sorry it’s so long!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding from Giada

Filling:
Cooking spray
8 ounces multi-grain loaf, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3 1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large or 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 1 1/3 cups (6 5 ounces) shredded Parmesan

Custard:
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Filling: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Spray a 9 by 13 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Add the bread cubes and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil. Pour the tomato mixture and Parmesan cheese over the bread cubes and combine well.

Custard: In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper together until smooth. Pour the custard over the bread mixture and gently toss to coat. Bake until slightly puffed and golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pudding from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 217 calories; 11.6 g. fat; 182 mg. cholesterol; 600 mg. sodium; 15.8 g. carbohydrate; 1.4 g. fiber; 13.8 g. protein

Result: I absolutely LOVED this recipe…it was like bruschetta bake! When I saw it on Giada’s show last week I know I had to have it. The basil was spendy, but worth it…the flavor was so wonderful. I also recommend splurging on the whole milk, it was incredibly thick and creamy, and I just don’t know that fat-free or even 1% milk would do the same. Mr. Prevention loved how the bread was crusty and the tomatoes and “pudding” were tender. It was a very well-balanced and simple dish and paired beautifully with those White Wine Steamed Mussels! Mmmmm!

I am getting so excited about Thanksgiving! I can’t wait to see my family and be home for the holidays, how about you?

Question: What’s one food at Thanksgiving that your family always serves?

My Grannie always made a pineapple souffle that was out of this world. We haven’t had it in a few years since Grannie stopped cooking, but I’ve decided that tradition must go on! Pssst, mom…you still owe me that recipe!!

Already playing Christmas music…

15 Comments

Filed under blog topic request, carbohydrates, diet, dinner, fiber, fruits and vegetables, garlic, healthy cooking, herbs, Italy, low-carb, protein, recipe, reduced-calorie, Uncategorized, weight loss

Weight Watchers catches on…

Bbrrrrrrrrrr!!! Mid Ohio has gotten down right cold!! Hope it’s toastier where ever you are! Check out what the mornings bring:

Told you so…COLD!!! I guess being a Southerner for 18 months did turn me into a wimp!! 😉

Before I gush about an awesome fall recipe I tried, read about changes coming to Weight Watchers.

Weight Watchers in the UK has launched a new program that includes “ProPoints” that will take into account protein, carbohydrate, fiber, and fat. According to the Grocer, a British news outlet, calorie-counting as previously endorsed by Weight Watchers has since been proven “inacurate” and “outdated”. The new Weight Watchers program in the UK also gives participants “real living” points that can be used on occasional treats and alcohol. No details on the new US Weight Watchers program are available as of yet.

While these changes in the UK program are vague, they seem to be working in the right direction. In recent years, types of calories are being examined more closely. In other words, all calories are not made equal. In theory, all calories are made equal — a calorie represents one unit of heat equal to the amount of heat required to raise the temperatiure of one kilogram of water by one degree — but we all know that calories “spent” on empty calories like alcohol and simple sugars are not ones well spent as they provide no nutritive value. While Weight Watchers has made strides to encourage members to utilize their points appropriately, that has not deterred some individuals from the Cheeto and turkey hot dog meal plan. I would know, because that was me…10 years ago. One can quickly learn that you can eat what you want, as long as your points are within your target range, and lose weight. However, Weight Watchers is wisening up to see that while people are losing weight, they are not doing so appropriately.

The new program sounds more sound in that is will take into account ALL macronutrients — the components that make up calories in foods: carbohydrate, fat, and protein. I would venture to guess that the new program will also set goals for macronutrient composition in the diet (i.e. a balance between carbohydrate, fat, and protein). We shall see what Weight Watchers has up their sleeves, but I do see some changes in the program for the better. But, of course, a visit to your friendly neighborhood dietitian is always best!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

And on to the eats! 😀

I saw this recipe on Erin’s blog and I knew I had to try it. Butternut squash and cannellini beans…what a perfect fall dish!

Butternut Squash Cassoulet with Bacon and Roasted Garlic adapted from Cooking Light and The Healthy Apron

1 whole garlic bulb (about 9 cloves), chopped
2 oz. (4 slices) turkey bacon, chopped
2 large onions, vertically sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp white wine (I used red because it was open, worked great!)
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup organic vegetable broth
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 cans cannellini or great northern beans
1 bay leaf
2 slices Italian or sourdough bread
2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
Chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Sauté bacon in large skillet or Dutch oven ~5 minutes or until crispy. Set aside.

While bacon cook, process bread pieces until course crumbs, add Parmesan, and 1/2 tsp olive oil. Set aside.

Drain fat from skillet and clean or use a separate skillet. Sauté onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil ~5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low, sauté another 10 minutes. Deglaze the pan with 2 tablespoons wine, cook ~15 more minutes or until onions are softened and brown. Keep stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar.

Preheat oven to 375˚ F.

Mix your onion mixture, garlic pulp, bacon, squash, broth, spices, and beans, in a large bowl and stir well. Transfer to a large casserole dish. Sprinkle with homemade breadcrumbs.

Cover and bake at 375˚ F for 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until squash is tender. (Remove cover the last 15 minutes of baking to brown the topping). Discard bay leaf and sprinkle with parsley. Serves 8.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 215 calories; 4.5 g. fat; 6 mg. cholesterol; 444 mg. sodium; 33 g. carbohydrate; 7.9 g. fiber; 9.9 g. protein

Result: I am BLOWN AWAY at how flavorful and delicious this cassoulet was. I knew it would be good, but it far surpassed my expectations. I ate this as a meal, but I think I would add goat cheese for a main course next time. I think that creamy richness would pair perfectly with the sweet, soft squash and the hearty beans. If you don’t have time to make homemade breadcrumbs, use Panko or just regular breadcrumbs…either would work just fine and be a time-saver! I am glad I halved the amount of beans…4 cans just seemed like a lot! I love beans, but I much prefer the squash to be the dish’s super star! The dish is a nice balance between carbohydrate, protein, and fat and is loaded with fiber while being low in calories. A winner all around! Enjoy!

Trivia question answer: the #1 most requested pizza topping in the U.S. is PEPPERONI! Most of you guessed it, kudos! I honestly thought it was sausage and no one else guessed that, oops! 🙂

Thanks for your great Q&A questions! If there are any others, send them over to me PreventionRD@gmail.com! I will post a Q&A next week, and keep a look out for Mr. Prevention’s cameo appearance post next week, too! 😉

Question: What do you think about the changes Weight Watchers is making to their program? Are there any other changes you would like to see?

I would love to see sodium and saturated/trans fat included in the Weight Watchers program.

I am off to an all-day meeting with renal dietitians from all over Ohio! Should be a great day packed with lots to learn!!

Happy day-before-Friday!


20 Comments

Filed under blog topic request, carbohydrates, Cooking Light, dialysis & kidney disease, diet, dietitians, dinner, fiber, fruits and vegetables, garlic, healthy cooking, herbs, hydrogenation, obesity epidemic, pizza, protein, recipe, saturated fat, sodium, trans fat, vegetarian, weight loss, work

herbs & spices for flavor and health

‘Morning!

I love this time of year, (even if Ohio may be seeing its first snow fall towards the end of this week…ugh) NCAA basketball and football seasons overlap. Basketball games during the week and football on the weekends makes me a happy camper! 😀 Anyone else??

I found an interesting article yesterday on herbs and spices and I wanted to share a few tidbits. The article was written by a Registered Dietitian and discussed dried vs. fresh herbs, and the overall health benefits of herbs and spices.

First things first, herbs and spices are essential in the health-conscious kitchen. Herbs and spices come with powerful flavor and with negligible calories, fat, or sodium. Rather than adding salt, the use of herbs and spices can flavor cooking and baking for a most delicious result. The article notes that herbs and spices should be used within 6 months for the most nutritional benefit. Dried herbs and spices lose nutritional value if they lose color or scent, so it’s best to only buy what you need. Store your herbs and spices in a cool, dark, dry place to keep them fresher longer. And remember, dried herbs can always be substituted for fresh in a 1-to-3 ratio.

The Stars:

Rosemary: antioxidant, anti-cancer and helps cholesterol
Cinnamon: the most potent anti-oxidant spice, can reduce blood sugar, is anti-inflammatory, can reduce symptoms of nausea and stomach ulcers
Thyme: antioxidant, anti-bacterial, contains omega 3’s
Curry powder: Reduces joint inflammation, may help prevent heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s
Ginger: Anti-inflammatory, helps circulation, used to tread digestion, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, menstrual symptoms, headaches, and flu-like symptoms

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

On that note…a delicious recipe with curry powder!

Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup from Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp roasted cumin
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp madras curry powder
1/2 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz (about 2 cups) chopped peeled butternut squash
1 cup light coconut milk
3 cups fat free vegetable or chicken broth
salt and fresh pepper to taste (1/4 tsp salt + pepper)
chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Directions:

Add oil to a medium soup pot, on medium heat. When oil is hot add onion, garlic and sauté. Add roasted cumin, masala and madras curry powder and mix well cooking another minute. Add broth, light coconut milk, butternut squash and cook covered until squash is soft, 12-15 minutes. Remove cover and using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth (or puree in a blender). Season with salt and fresh pepper and serve with fresh cilantro. Serves 3.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 158 calories; 6.7 g. fat;  0 mg. cholesterol; 374 mg. sodium; 22.3 g. carbohydrate; 4.3 g. fiber; 2.3 g. protein

Result: This was amazing! The flavors are outstanding – sweet, spicy, and a party in your mouth. When I heated up the leftovers in the break room at work, people thought it was a dessert. This soup is excellent, not sure what more to say other than it’s healthy, too!

I have a 3 mile run planned before work…off I go! 😀

Trivia Question: What is the #1 most requested pizza topping in the US?

I am planning a Q&A for next week. Send your questions (nutrition-related or otherwise) to me at PreventionRD@gmail.com!

Be well,

23 Comments

Filed under antioxidants, blog topic request, blood glucose, cancer, cholesterol, chronic disease, complimentary and alternative nutrition, diabetes, diet, dinner, exercise, fish oil/omega-3's, fruits and vegetables, garlic, healthy cooking, heart health, herbs, pizza, recipe, running, sodium, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian

productive day #2!

Wheeeew! Being productive is getting exhausting! I may have to slow things down a bit today 😉

Yesterday morning started off with a strength session (go, self!) and then a quick shower before throwing dinner in the crock pot. I dashed out the door with my hair in a frizzy mess and worked until after 7pm (I didn’t get to break away from the nephrologist until 4pm — I was GROWLING for lunch!). I got in the door at 8pm and the smells of Thanksgiving infused the house. YUM! Mr. Prevention had even followed directions for our brussel’s sprouts. Impressive. The crock pot and I are officially bonding, I would say…another successful crock pot meal 😀

8 am:

8 pm:

Note: You can’t judge a crock pot recipe by looks alone!! 😉

Cranberry Pork Roast from A Year of Slow Cooking and Bean Town Baker

1 (2.5-3 lb) pork tenderloin (I used 2 1/2#), trimmed
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp dried mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 1/4 cup white sugar + 1/4 cup Splenda granular
1/2 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup diet cranberry juice made with Splenda
1/2 small lemon, thinly sliced

Directions:

Use a 4 quart crockpot. In a plastic zipper bag, put dry spices and cornstarch and add meat. Shake to coat. Put contents into your slow cooker.

Add cranberry sauce, or your fresh cranberries and sugar. Put in raisins and garlic. Pour in cranberry juice, and top with lemon slices.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours (I cooked mine for 12 hours), or high for about 4. The longer you cook the meat, the more tender it will be. Serves 7 (about 5 ounces after being cooked).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 374 calories; 7.8 g. fat; 128 mg. cholesterol; 261 mg. sodium; 28.3 g. carbohydrate; 1.1 g. fiber; 46 g. protein

Result: It was an early Thanksgiving in the Prevention household! What a nice surprise! We loved this dish – it was so tender, and because of the low and slow cooking time with the long duration, the meat shredded with a fork. Mr. Prevention preferred this pork to the Slow Cooked Char Siu Pork I made last week. I liked both, but I definitely appreciate the leanness of the tenderloin cut – very low fat!! If you’re looking for an early T-day treat, look no further…it’s the perfect fall delight!

And Mr. P managed to put the Brussel’s sprouts in the oven…

1 lb Brussel’s sprouts tossed in olive oil, 1/4 cup pecans, salt, and pepper. Roast for 35 minutes at 350° F. Sprinkle with 1-2 ounces of Gorgonzola and bake another 3-4 minutes. DELISH!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I emailed lots of fellow RD and bloggers yesterday morning to see who would be interested in collaborating on a RD Q&A. I’ve had an amazing response and I look forward to adding a tab on my blog about becoming an RD, the schooling involved, what internships are like, job outlook for RD’s, career paths for RD’s, and our best advice for those entering the field. I get questions weekly from readers who are interested in nutrition, and I hope that joining forces with other RD’s and bloggers will help those interested! So look for that in a week or so! I’m excited!

Question: What did you want to be when you were a little kid?

I remember wanting to be a professional figure skater…and now I play ice-hockey. My, how things change! 😉

Bon voyage to my parental unit who are off to the shores of Puerto Vallarta for the week. I am green with envy! Off to work I go…!

Have a fabulous day!

24 Comments

Filed under blog, blog topic request, crock pot, dietitians, dinner, doctors, exercise, fruits and vegetables, garlic, healthy cooking, hockey, hunger, meat consumption, physical activity, physicians, protein, recipe, sugar substitutes, travel, work

high fructose corn syrup to be renamed corn sugar?

[source]

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) consumption is at a 20-year low with more than half of Americans believing corn sugar poses health risks. Consumers have become label-savvy when it comes to picking out HFCS on an ingredient list and companies including Gatorade, Sara Lee, Hunt’s ketchup, and Thomas English muffins have publicly removed HFCS from their ingredients.

HFCS has been around for decades and is the cheapest and most shelf-stable form of sugar on the market. HFCS is made by changing the glucose in cornstarch to fructose (a sugar naturally found in fruits) and the result is a combination of glucose and fructose, just like sugar. HFCS comprises just over half of the added sugars in our food supply but American’s consumption of sugar is up 50% from the 1970’s. It’s clear what’s really the problem, no?

Sweet Surprise is a multi-million dollar campaign put out by the Corn Refiners Association who have aired new commercials refuting any difference between corn sugar and cane sugar. That video can be viewed on the right side of the page.

A few other commercials have been put out by Sweet Surprise, and it’s definitely worth taking a few seconds to view them.

The Corn Refiners Association is petitioning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to have the name high fructose corn syrup changed to corn sugar. This is a potentially brilliant endeavor. When low erucic acid rapeseed oil was renamed canola oil, sales went up. Nothing about the product changed other than its name, and consumers bought it. Pun intended 😉

The difference in fructose/glucose composition of HFCS compared to sugar is negligible and to date there is no resolute data supporting the dangers of HFCS over sugar on “weight hormones” such as leptin, ghrelin, and insulin. Some rat studies have shown that HFCS promotes obesity more so than other sugars, but other studies have negated the very same claims. Basically, there are no definitive answers in the science world…yet.

It seems as though consumers want an “all-natural” sugar that offers sound nutrition and is “healthy” in abundance. Bottom line: sugar is sugar and should be used in moderation. Unlike the Sweet Surprise videos portrait, moderation is NOT in the form of Kool-Aid and sugary breakfast cereals…there are much better alternative out there. And whether Starbucks baked goods are made with HFCS or cane sugar, they will contain the same number of calories and have identical nutrition stats. Americans simply need to get down to business and limit ALL sugars and processed foods.

I would urge consumers to not get caught up in the gimmicks surrounding such issues. Why not assess labels for the lowest sugar content (grams per serving) rather than purchasing a high sugar product just because it contains sugar and not HFCS?

Is HFCS safe? I think so.
Is it the most “natural” sugar available? Nope.
Is HFCS over-used? I think so.
Is HFCS to blame for America’s obesity epidemic? I don’t think so.

I think this debate is very interesting, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Question: Do you think HFCS is worse than sugar? Do you avoid HFCS? Why or why not?

Credible, wonderful sources:
Journal of Nutrition, Misconceptions about high-fructose corn syrup… American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, High-fructose corn syrup, energy intake, and appetite regulation

P.S. Thanks, Kerstin for such a wonderful topic request!! 😀

Down with too much sugar,

33 Comments

Filed under blog topic request, obesity epidemic, sugar substitutes, Uncategorized, US health care, weight gain