Category Archives: cholesterol

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

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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,

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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

White Cheese Lasagna + Q&A

Interesting comments on yesterday’s “OIAJ: Safe or not?” post! Thanks for all the feedback!

White Cheese (Chicken) Lasagna adapted from All Recipes and recommended by Holly

9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
1/2 cup butter Smart Balance Light
1 onion, chopped
1 6 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
4 cups shredded 2% mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained 6-8 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350º F. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic in the butter until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in the flour and salt, and simmer until bubbly. Mix in the broth and milk, and boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Season with the basil, oregano, and ground black pepper. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Spread 1/3 of the sauce mixture in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Layer with 1/3 of the noodles, the ricotta, and the chicken. Arrange 1/3 of the noodles over the chicken, and layer with 1/3 of the sauce mixture, spinach, and the remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Arrange remaining noodles over cheese, and spread remaining sauce evenly over noodles. Sprinkle with parsley and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven. Serves 12

Nutrition Information (per serving): 449 calories; 23.4 g. fat; 59.2 mg. cholesterol; 1117 mg. sodium; 20.5 g. carbohydrate; 2.3 g. fiber; 39.8 g. protein

Feedback: Yummm! Mr. Prevention gives a big thumbs up, too! He does, however, request chicken the next time I make this lasagna. I omitted chicken because it is 1) fairly high in calories as is, and 2) contains lots of protein even without the chicken! Great recommendation, thanks Holly!

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Q&A!!

It’s been awhile! Here we go! 😀

Molly: Do you know if there are any draw backs to cooking with instant (5-10 minute) brown rice versus regular brown rice?  I use the quick stuff cause after getting off of work, hittin the gym and then coming home, sitting around for 45 min waiting for rice isn’t all that appealing, hahaha.

Prevention RD: Um, totally agree! Unlike oats, for example, instant brown rice undergoes no additional processing to decrease its cook time. Instant rice is simply pre-cooked and dehydrated to shorten the cook time and the nutritional losses are insignificant. Really great question!

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Carissa of Fit to Indulge: I know you work with diabetics, and as an RD I need your backup. My grandpa’s physician wants him on this Atkins style diet and it ticks me off that his MD isn’t referring him to a dietitian instead. He wants my opinion, but I know as a student, it sounds better coming from a Registered Dietitian. What would you tell a patient?

Prevention RD: RED FLAGS!!! To be honest, I think his MD might be getting a kick back for referring patients to this program based on what the diet consists of in terms of low-carb/low-fat and the product information you attached. If you cut out carbs and fat, there’s nothing left but protein! I’d get an MD to refer him to an RD, or he could attend Weight Watchers meetings if he’s looking for the group support. Not ideal, but he won’t get to see an RD but maybe 1-2 sessions that would be paid for by private insurance or Medicare, unless he was willing to pay out of pocket. As a general rule of thumb, physicians should (and do!) give scientifically sound, broad nutrition and exercise advice: “Exercise more”…”Increase your fruits and vegetables.”…”Cut out the soda and candies”…“You need to lose 20 pounds,” etc. Excellent question, and I do hope he finds (safe) success!

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Lena of LMC in the World: I have found here in Asia that I don’t eat much meat, besides my random deliveries of KFC.  But, I find I am eating a lot more eggs.  I’ve never gone through a carton of eggs so fast and there’s almost always an egg involved if I get a local dish.  How does it compare if I’m swapping out eggs for meat (albeit unintentional)? Any words of caution or other thoughts?

Prevention RD: Eggs have moved up in the rankings – they are incredible and edible, after all! I would be sure to get adequate iron, especially as a woman. Fortified cereals, leafy greens (consumed with a Vitamin C-rich source), and beans are good sources of iron. A daily multi-vitamin doesn’t hurt, either! As for the cholesterol content of eggs, unless someone has high cholesterol, I don’t limit eggs if they are consumed as a part of a healthy diet. If someone has elevated cholesterol, limiting eggs may be necessary (~3 a week). Most cholesterol is synthesized in the body and does not elevate due to high cholesterol intake (found in liver and egg yolks). Good question! Jealous of all that yummy cuisine in Singapore! 😉

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Molly: I have a family friend who has type 1 diabetes.  She’s had it if not since she was born, definitely since she was a very young girl.  I’m friends with her on Facebook and many of her statuses are diabetes related.  I copied and pasted one of them cause I was curious what you would have to say. It reads: “15 carbs of juice officially does absolutely nothing to her sugar. And yet, AND FREAKIN YET, 10 carbs of kettle chips will kick her right over the edge. Why bother assigning numbers to carbs when they are So Clearly interpretative?”

Prevention RD: Yep, this is common among diabetics, particularly type 1’s. This concept is highly dependent on when blood glucose is measured, how quickly the food/beverage is absorbed (liquids are absorbed much more quickly than solids), the glycemic index of the food, the fiber content of the food, what the food was or was not consumed with, what exercise or lack thereof has been performed, and plenty more that even science cannot explain. There’s just no possible way to isolate each variable and determine concrete cause and effect data. For example, I have SEVERAL patients who record unfavorable rises in blood glucose after eating certain foods. For some, it’s potatoes, for some it’s milk. It’s a matter or trial and error to find what works for each individual and while trends in blood sugar can vary despite carb-counting, a pattern is still apparent in most. Unfortunately, there’s no EXACT science to insulin dosing, carb-counting, and diabetes, but it is still the best (and only!) system for determining insulin titration. AWESOME question – love the diabetes Q’s 🙂

Question: What’s your favorite Italian dish? Lasagna? Ravioli? Manicotti? Spaghetti?

P.S. Thank you for all the Lily love! I wish she knew how many caring bloggie mamas and papas are out there!! 🙂

Happy Hump Day,

36 Comments

Filed under blog topic request, blood glucose, carb-controlled, carbohydrates, cholesterol, diabetes, diet, dinner, fiber, glycemic index, healthy cooking, microwave, protein, recipe, supplements, Uncategorized

Back to the grind!

Houston was such a fun weekend away! We finished off the weekend with the AIDS 5k walk. Here’s some shots. There was such a great turn out for this event, I was really impressed!!

And as soon as I landed back in Tulsa, it was back to the grind. With just a brief evening before the start of the work week, I spent time preparing. I made Yogurt Carrot Muffins to take for breakfast this week and Mediterranean Barley Salad to take for lunches. I sampled both, and yummmm! Feeling ready for the week now! And trust me, grocery shopping and meal planning was the last thing I wanted to do after a weekend getaway, but success entails planning and if that’s what you gotta do…that’s what you gotta do! And come tomorrow morning, I’ll be really glad I did 😉

Yogurt Carrot Muffins adapted from Cupcakes in Paris

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour + 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2/3 cup agave syrup
2 cups grated carrots
1/4 cup canola oil (was out of applesauce)
2 beaten eggs
½ cup plain Greek yogurt (non fat)
¾ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the agave syrup and carrots.

Beat in the oil, eggs and yogurt and stir in the walnuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool the muffins in the pan for 15 minutes.

Yield: 12 large muffins

Nutrition Information (per muffin): 162 calories; 4.9 g. fat; 35.8 mg. cholesterol; 136 mg. sodium; 26.5 g. carbohydrate; 2.5 g. fiber; 3.6 g. protein

Mediterranean Barley Salad from Cooking Light

2 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked pearl barley
1 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
8 pitted kalamara olives, halved
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Directions:

Bring water and barley to a boil in a saucepan. Cover, reduce heat, and summer for 25 minutes of until tender and liquid is almost absorbed. Cool to room temperature.

Combine lemon rind, lemon juice, olive oil, and mustard in a bowl; stir well with a shisk. Add barley, fennel, and next 6 ingredients (through beans); toss gently. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Garnish with walnuts just before serving. Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Information (per serving): 313 calories; 16.1 g. fat (1.9 g. saturated fat; 7.5 g. monounsaturated fat; 6.2 g. polyunsaturated fat); 6.6 g. protein; 38.9 g. carbohydrate; 8.2 g. fiber; 0 mg. cholesterol; 2.9 mg. iron; 643 mg. sodium; 79 mg. calcium

And all ready for lunches this week…

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Today’s NNM Topic: Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia

Ideally, we want to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, the 7th leading cause of death in the US.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are diagnosed based on groups of systems which show intellectual and social decline that interfere with their standard living, along with memory loss in most cases.

Risk factors for dementia and Alzheimer’s include many nutrition-related factors, including: alcohol intake, atherosclerosis (heart health), blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, homocysteine levels, and exercise.

Among individuals diagnosed with dementia, a balanced, healthy diet is important to maintain energy and proper nutrition. A high-fiber diet to prevent constipation is also recommended. During meal times, distractions should be eliminated so that the individual can stay focused on their eating. Eating should be at a slow pace with small pieces to chew and swallow for safety reasons.

In my experience, as dementia procresses individuals can disassociate food from eating — they no longer understand that food is to eat and many people need full feeding assistance. For some, swallowing ability declines and a modified texture is required — chopped, pureed, etc. This helps the individual safely swallow foods and prevent aspiration. Most individuals would not expect dementia patients to require extensive nutrition modifications, but it is not the case. Dietitians are in great demand in nursing homes and dementia units.

Looking forward to catching up on everyone’s blogs this week. 🙂 Sorry I’ve been a bit MIA with my weekend travels!

Question #1: What’s for breakfast today? And lunch…? 😉

Question #2: Do you know someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia? What symptoms do they display showing their disease?

Make it a healthy one!

P.S. I’ve received several Q&A questions for this week! Send your questions on over – PreventionRD@gmail.com!! 😀

33 Comments

Filed under breakfast, cholesterol, Cooking Light, dementia, dietitians, exercise, fiber, friends, heart health, hypertension, lunch, memory, physical activity, racing, recipe, sodium, travel, weight loss, weight maintentance

Happy National Registered Dietitian Day!

Happy National Registered Dietitian Day to all my fellow RD’s and bloggers…!!!

Gina of Candid RD
Estela of Weekly Bite
Melinda of Nutrition, Food, Travel, and More
Rebecca of Chow and Chatter
Kristen of Eating RD
Kristen of Swanky Dietitian
Nour of Practical Nutrition
Georgie of Ask Georgie
Nicole of Nicole Geurin, RD
Anthony of From a Dietitian’s Perspective

I hope I’m not missing anyone! RD’s, chime in! Happy RD Day to you, too!

This is my 2nd National RD Day as I became a dietitian last March! March 8th to be exact! I passed the RD exam just in time to celebrate last year! Dietitians are the registered (and licensed in most states) professionals in diet and nutrition. I urge you to check out the above bloggers and learn lots from them just like I do! Nutrition is a forever evolving field and we are constantly learning together. If you saw my post from Monday on “real food” you know there are some extremists out there who have no credentialing to back up their claims. As wonderful as the Blogosphere is, always be weary and cautious of any off-the-wall posts or ideas. Anyone can be a blogger, but not everyone is a Registered Dietitian! 😀

If you ever think of a nutrition-related question, send it on over to PreventionRD@gmail.com. My weekly Q&A’s help give accurate and helpful nutrition information to topics YOU want to know more about! Never hesitate to ask! 😉

So, Happy RD Day to all the dietitians out there! Cheers to a wonderful and rewarding career committed to making people healthier and happier one bite at a time!

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I must also update you on my garden! This past weekend I planted all my seedlings in starter kits (which are toasty under our bed).

…And painted my garden….WHITE. I was going for red, but the fencing to keep Miss Lily out only came in white. And I can’t have an un-stylish, mismatched garden!!! I’m really happy with the final product!

Total Cost: $343 (ahhh!)

I purchased a large planter and soil for basil after a recommendation from a reader to keep the basil out of direct sunglight some of the day. I feared the Oklahoma heat would just smolder the basil and I need basil to support my love of pesto which is currently costing a small fortune to buy in stores! I also picked up paint, fencing, and steaks to make where my vegetables are growing.

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Today’s NNM Topic: Hypertension

Stoke is the 3rd leading cause of death and is often exacerbated by the “silent killer”: hypertension (high blood pressure). Blood pressure refers to the force of blood agansty artery walls. Over time, too much force on the arteries can cause hardening of the arteries.

There are a lot of ways to control high blood pressure through diet and lifestyle changes, including:

Limiting sodium in the diet to 1,500 milligrams a day (2,300 milligrams in non-hypertensive individuals)
Smoking cessation
Exercise
Stress management
Potassium, magnesium, and calcium
Eating a high-fiber diet containing lots of fruits and vegetables
Reduce cholesterol, trans fat, and saturated fat intake
Reduce red meat intake
Limit simple sugars and sweets

Hi from Lily!!!

Happy RD Day to those celebrating! And Happy Hump Day to everyone!

Q&A on Friday — send in those questions! 😀

Be well,

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Filed under American Dietetic Association, blog, cholesterol, diet, dietitians, exercise, fiber, fruits and vegetables, garden, heart health, hypertension, minerals, National Nutrition Month, pets, physical activity, saturated fat, sodium, stress, trans fat, volumetrics

‘Taters are in! Onions, spinach, and kale, too!

Garden update!

That’s right…potatoes, onion, spinach, and kale are all in the ground and watered. I’m going to start everything else indoors tomorrow! I’m really excited! I believe I’m going to paint the garden….RED!!! I hope it doesn’t end up looking like a Christmas themed garden, though!!

And I’m munching on some more dates + walnuts! The Barhi dates are seriously TO DIE FOR! I am in LOVE! Thank you to those who suggested Brazil nuts, goat cheese, and bleu cheese as date stuffing! YUMMM!

And you may have noticed that I’ve seemed to catch up on EVERYONE’S blogs today! That’s a first in a long time! Amen for Friday’s off (at least most of Fridays!) 😀

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Today’s NNM Topic: Gout

Gout is defined by the body’s inability to break down purine in the body. This results in a build up of urate crystals in the joints which results in painful inflammation. Purine is primarily found in foods of animal origin, with the exception of eggs and dairy products. Gout is treated with combination drug and diet therapy and typically affects more men than women.

Nutrition therapy for gout treatment includes:

Limiting protein intake to 10-15% of calories or 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight
50-55% calories from carbohydrate and 30% of calories from fat
Cholesterol intake should be limited to 300 mg or less each day
Obtaining or maintaining a healthy body weight
Alcohol, especially beer, should be avoided
Adequate fluid intake (2-3 L/day)

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Thank you so to Melinda who passed this award on to me 😀

So, here is the deal.  Now I am supposed to leave 7 creative tidbits about myself, but only 1 is true.  This means 6 are lies…um…I mean false.  I will let you try to figure out which is true and which are false and let me know what you think.  Oh, and then I will graciously pass this award on to 6 other fantastic bloggers.

Here goes:

1.  I’ve competed in an Olympic triathalon.
2.  My friends think I should write a dating book because I give really good dating advice.
3.  Mr. Prevention and I met on the Chicago subway.
4.  I require 9 hours of sleep every night to function.
5.  I prefer to run outside than on the treadmill.
6. I play defense on my ice-hockey teams.
7.  My husband brings me donuts and coffee to bed on Sundays mornings.

Now, I get to pass this along.  I love all of the great blogs that I read and I only get to pick 6, so I’ll spread the love to some of my newer blog reads

1.  Joanne of Eats Well with Others
2. Tracey of I’m Not Superhuman
3. Andrea of Can You Stay For Dinner?
4. Kerstin of Cake, Batter, and Bowl
5. Cara of Cara’s Cravings
6. Evan of Food Makes Fun Fuel

Question: Which of the above statements is my TRUTH???

Giveaway Alerts!

Lauren of Eater Not A Runner is having a giveaway for her 300th post! Check it out!

Kristen of Eating RD is giving away what readers vote to recieve! And if you’re as excited as me about the Back to Basics Blender Express Plus, you’ll vote for that! Go here to enter!

Rachel of Coconut Crumbs is giving away a kitchen gadget of your choice! Go here to enter!

Happy Saturday, bloggies!! 😀 Hope it’s as beautiful near you as it is in Tulsa today!!!! 😉

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Filed under alcohol, beer, blog award, cholesterol, diet, garden, Giveaway, meat consumption, National Nutrition Month, protein, water, weight loss, weight maintentance

Green Monster Success!

😀 TGIF! 😀

I am pouting for a moment because I have to go in for a meeting today! Boo…!!!! 😦

Most of you know I do bi-weekly taste tests for the employees at my work. Employees pay $1 to help cover the expense of groceries and I prepare a healthy recipe to taste along with a copy of the recipe to try at home. I went out on a limb this week and decided to make GREEN MONSTERS! Not gunna lie, I didn’t know how these would go over with our staff…

I used the Designer Whey Protein Powder I won from Heather’s giveaway!

Into the blender went:

pineapple
papaya
banana
blueberries
strawberries
spinach
honey
vanilla whey protein powder (good stuff!)
skim milk

Rainbow of delicious nutrition!

Green Monsters to taste!

Feedback from taste testers:

I had 2 that weren’t fans, but the other 14 were all pleasantly surprised! I think people REALLY enjoyed the green monsters and I think some will even go on to make them at home. I strongly encouraged employees to give the smoothies a shot, despite their “look” and I am really happy with their willingness to step outside the box!

Taste Test…………………….Success! 😀

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Today’s NNM Topic: Nonalcholic Fatty Liver (NAFL)

Simply put, nonalcholic fatty liver disease is the accumulation of fat in the liver in individuals who consume little to no alcohol. Excessive fat accumulation can cause scarring in the liver and lead to liver damage and cirrhosis. There are usually NO signs or symptoms of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, but fatigue, weight loss, and abdominal pain may present. There are several risk factors for NAFL including obesity, gastric bypass, rapid weight loss, high cholesterol, certain medications, malnutrition, metabolic syndrome, pesticides, type 2 diabetes, malnutrition, and Wilson’s disease. As you can, NAFL is HIGHLY correlated to proper nutrition.

Ways to treat nonalcoholic fatty liver through nutrition include lowering carbohydrate intake (simple carbohydrates, specifically), limiting fats in the diet, specifically saturated and trans fat, weight loss, and a high plant intake including fruits, vegetables, and legumes.

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And lastly….my new favorite snack!!! I RARELY post my daily eats, so you must understand how FABULOUS this snack is!!

They look like roaches or chocolate turtles, don’t they!?

The large date is a Medjool and the smaller dates are Barhi — they are so sweet and creamy!! I’ve heard that they taste like caramel if you freeze them. Must try! So to snack on, just remove the pit and shove a walnut right in! YUMMM!

Question #1: What’s the last snack you ate? Don’t fib!! 🙂

Question #2: Do you like dates? How do you like to eat them? Any favorite varieties?

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Filed under carbohydrates, cholesterol, diabetes, diet, dietitians, fiber, fruits and vegetables, Giveaway, Green Monster, healthy cooking, low-carb, meat consumption, Metabolic Syndrome, MUFAs and PUFAs, National Nutrition Month, prescription drug, protein, recipe, saturated fat, snack, supplements, trans fat, weight loss, work

Q&A

I think it’s been MONTHS since I posted 2x in one day! Whew! So much going on and so little time in which to share and catch up with you all! Forgive me for not being as “active” in the Blogosphere — work is busy and I am continuously striving for a healthy life-work-happiness-blog balance 🙂 Just like my garden should come with a warning, so should blogging — it quickly becomes very time-consuming!! 😉

If you haven’t already checked out my finished garden bed, be sure you do! I am very proud!

On to the Q&A…

Ambre: I’m a new-vegetarian…as of the end of November/beginning of December…Well, technically pescetarian. I’m doing the Susan G Komen 3-Day for the Cure in November (my 2nd time), which is a 60 mile walk over the course of three days. I found this information on their website, and I was wondering if there was anything else you recommend for me?

In order for vegetarian diets to support optimal athletic performance, it is important to incorporate an adequate amount of protein into your daily diet. Many people believe that following a vegetarian diet means they automatically will lose weight. This is not necessarily the case as many vegetarians inadvertently have a high fat intake based on whole-fat dairy products, butter, eggs, cheeses, nuts and seeds. Below are some tips for following a healthy vegetarian diet to help lose weight, maintain an optimal protein intake and support your training walks: 1. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products or low-fat fortified soy products. 2. Build your protein around legumes, tofu and tempeh. 3. Watch serving sizes on nuts and seeds; they are full of healthy fat but are very concentrated in calories. 4. Avoid fried foods and choose those that are baked, broiled, or steamed. 5. Add protein powder to shakes or cereal if you are not getting enough. 6. Increase your bean intake; they are high in protein and fiber. 7. Add soy products to your diet. 8. Limit snacks that are high in sugar and fat. 9. Flavor foods with salsa, lemon juice and vinegars instead of high-fat condiments like butter, mayonnaise and high-fat dressings. Certain vitamins and minerals such as iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12, calcium and zinc must be consumed in adequate amounts. These typically are found in animal based foods. Fortified soymilks are great for boosting calcium and vitamin B12. Eggs also are a great source of B12. Outstanding iron sources include fortified breakfast cereals, bread, textured vegetable protein, legumes, dried beans, nuts, dried fruit and green leafy vegetables. Eating rich sources of vitamin C with meats will help enhance iron absorption.

Prevention RD: Great question, Ambre! The suggestions the website made are really helpful. I don’t agree that soy should be added to the diet, however. I think that there are some benefits of soy in moderation, but some research suggests soy intake is related to increased risk of breast cancer. I particularly like that the information fully discloses that a vegetarian diet does not necessarily produce weight loss. When you cut out major foods groups in the diet, intake of other food groups naturally increases. When meat is taken out of the diet, protein intake tends to drop and fat and carbohydrate intake goes up. Thus it is important to get adequate protein (0.8-1 gram per kilogram of body weight) and to ensure fat sources are rich in mono and polyunsaturated fat versus saturated and trans fat and carbohydrate sources are complex and high in fiber. I hope this helps! Feel free to email me any further questions on this and I can help calculate some nutrient goals for you! And thanks for walking the Susan G. Komen 3-Day! You are inspirational!

Also, please consider giving to Ambre’s fund-raising! A little bit will truly make a difference! I always feel so empowered after giving to a great cause!

John of Challenges 2010: When I get my blood checked can you give me an idea of what things to make sure they check. I mean they check for the good/bad cholesterol and blood sugar and really can’t remember what else. Reason I ask is I’m up here in Canada and it sounds like they don’t check out as many things or I just don’t know what other info I should be trying to get off them.

Prevention RD: This is a really great question and my answer may be biased from a nutrition perspective, but I’ll give it a go! I ALWAYS check: total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol (the “bad”), HDL-cholesterol (the “good”), triglycerides, GFR (kidney function), plasma glucose, HbA1c (on my diabetics and pre-diabetics), TSH (metabolism), hemoglobin, hematocrit, TIBC (total iron binding capacity), AST and ALT (liver enzymes). For what it’s worth our clinic runs a CMP (complete metabolic panel), lipids (cholesterol), TSH, and CBC (complete metabolic panel) on patients annually. This is going to include everything I look at as a dietitian and then some. Good for you for being an active advocate for your health! We cannot always leave our well-being in the hands of professionals.

John of Challenges 2010: According to SparkPeople I don’t eat enough carbs. I do not try to avoid carbs. I do try and get my macronutrients in a 40:30:30 ratio for carbs, fats and proteins. Is there a minimum number you recommend and can you give me some ideas besides arborio rice 🙂 that are higher in carbs but still not bad in calories?

Prevention RD: Risotto everyday! Just kidding…that’s a joke for John since he got me hooked on Arborio rice 🙂 I think knowing your body weight would give me a better idea of how many grams you need, but with all of your exercise I would think 50% calories from carbohydrates may be a better fit for your needs. I’m a fan of 40:30:30 for those who are inactive, but that’s not you. Exercise requires a lot of glycogen (carbohydrate stores) and replenishment of the glycogen stores after long workouts. For a 2,000 calorie diet, this would be 250 grams of carbohydrates. I never recommend much below 150-160 grams, and that’s for my diabetics or petite patients. As for sources of carbohydrate: fruits, vegetables, legumes, milk, yogurt, and whole grains (bread, rice, pasta, quinoa, millet, barley, oats, etc.). Of course juice, sugar, candy, pastries, and sweets will contain plentiful amounts of simple carbohydrates, as well. But aim to have at LEAST half your grains as whole each day!

John of Challenges 2010: Green Tea…what are the health benefits and is there a difference between the stuff you brew at home or pick-up bottled?

Prevention RD: Green tea — thumbs up! Green tea with aspartame or loads of sugar — thumbs down! Like many things health-related we can observe the practices of the East where tea (green and otherwise) are staple beverages. There is no denying that green tea offers a zero-calorie, antioxidant-rich, tasty thirst quencher with a MUCH lower caffeine content than most other caffeinated beverages, but what is added TO the green tea is the deciding factor in it’s benefit. Most of the green teas on the market which are bottled and sweetened contain excessive amounts of sugar (64 grams in some!) or aspartame. Additionally, many bottled teas are made from tea powder which lacks the antioxidants of brewed tea. The bottled green teas may also contain preservatives to extend shelf-life which many times add sodium to the tea, as well as making it less “pure” (I will NOT use the word “CLEAN”!). I hope this helps some…another really great question!

Rebecca from France: I’m curious to know your opinion on artificial sweetners/sugar substitutes.  My mother uses Splenda a lot and these types of sweeters are just starting to grow in popularity in France.  But how healthy are they really?  I ask because most people would agree that “processed meat,” for example, isn’t as healthy as a cut of meat.  So why, then, would processed/artificial sweetners be a good choice to put in our bodies (as opposed to “real” sugar)?

Prevention RD: I want to quote Cara from Cara’s Cravings. Last week’s Q&A had a question about sweeteners, and she left a great comment that read:

I don’t think there’s a definitive answer on what the healthiest alternative to sugar is. There are so many ways to be healthy! For some people, it’s really important to limit those extra calories, and I happen to think that some artificial sweetener here and there is not going to kill you, and can certainly help with a weight-loss diet. For some people, keeping it all-natural is a top priority. Personally? I’m somewhere in the middle so I use a variety of sweeteners – Truvia, agave in moderation, a little splenda here and there, and real sugar.

I agree with Cara’s words 100%. Working with a large diabetic population, I know the importance of artificial sweeteners. And for those watching their weight, artificial sweeteners allow a lot more flexibility in their diet. As someone who not only “knows” nutrition, but also struggles with their weight, I too see the value in non-nutritive sweeteners (calorie-free). However, I do believe artificial sweeteners are WAY over-used in our society. I aim to use a variety of sweeteners and ALL of them in moderation — I drink 1 can of Zevia a day (Stevia-sweetened carbonated beverage) and use Splenda, brown sugar, suncant, cane sugar, granular sugar, powdered sugar, agave, honey, molasses, maple syrup, and so on in cooking and baking. As far as artificial sweeteners, I strictly use Splenda and Stevia products and steer clear of aspartame and Sweet ‘n’ Low, Equal, Twin, etc. Bottom line is that there’s no single way to reach “good health” and that one person’s goals and needs are very different from the next person’s. I hope this helps — excellent question! 🙂

Thanks everyone for submitting wonderful questions! Feel free to send any nutrition questions my way and I will be happy to answer them on the next Q&A!

And an Oklahoma joke for the day…

You know you work in Oklahoma when the doctor on staff leaves at 1 pm to go deliver a calf. But, he’ll be back just as soon as he can!


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