Category Archives: diet

“Dieting” and Larabar Winners!

Can I get a TGIF? It’s been an exciting, but very tiring week. One more day to get through and then…weekend bliss. I want to see if I can out-do last weekend by staying in my PJ’s until 6pm! 😉 Kinda kidding…kinda not!

Let’s get the party started with the Larabar winners! Congrats to:

Kasey
Karina
Kari
Kristina
Kristen
Jen
Anbre
Meagan
Julie
Heather

I sent all of you lovely ladies an email requesting your mailing address. I want to get these tasty treats out to you ASAP! Thanks to everyone for entering and to Larabar for helping me host a fabulous giveaway! 😀

I wanted to give a little glimpse into my food journal since starting Weight Watchers on Wednesday. While attending WW started as a learning opportunity to be able to assess the quality of the new PointsPlus program, I jumped on board with my co-workers and am having my company pick up the tab for the next 18 weeks. And of course, losing any PCOS weight in the process is an added bonus. Sometimes, we just need that swift kick in the…you know 😉

If I can be perfectly honest, following the Weight Watchers program has been exhausting and tedious! However, this is a new program I am not familiar with, and life has definitely been in the fast lane for me this week. I won’t go into logistics about the program just yet — I want to test it out a few more days. But here’s what days 1 & 2 panned out to be:

Day 1

Breakfast: 2 corn tortillas (3), 1 egg (2), 1/4 cup Egg Beaters (1), 2 slices turkey bacon (2), coffee + creamer (1)
Snack: banana (0)
Lunch: 2 Lasagna Roll-Ups (10), salad with 1 tsp olive oil + 1 tsp red wine vinegar (1)
Snack: clementine (0)
Dinner: 1 piece Lightened Up Crème Brûlée French Toast (9), 2 Tbsp light syrup (1)
Snack: 1 cup strawberries (0), 1/2 banana (0), Crystal Light (0)

Total: 30 points (1 over my daily points of 29) — approx. 1310 calories

Day 2

Breakfast: banana (0), 1/2 peach (0), 1 cup strawberries (0), 1 cup coconut milk (2), 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (2), 4 oz. 2% plain Greek yogurt (1 1/2), coffee + creamer (1 1/2)
Lunch: 1 piece Lightened Up Crème Brûlée French Toast (9), 2 Tbsp light syrup (1)
Snack (pre-workout): 1/4th piece Oatmeal Banana Nut Bread (1)
Dinner: 1 cup spaghetti squash (0), light homemade alfredo sauce (2), 18 small shrimp (3), 2 cups lettuce (0), 1 Tbsp homemade light Caesar dressing (1)
Snack: 1 light beer (3), 3 Hershey Kisses (2)
Workout: 5.4 mile run (~9 activity points earned)

Total: 29 points — approx. 1375 calories

I would calculate my needs as being closer to 1500-1700 calories/day for weight loss. I haven’t posted my daily intake in probably over a year, but there you have it. Having to food journal and account for points/calories certainly makes me, even as a dietitian, very aware of true portion sizes. It’s also very humbling to measure everything as I would encourage a patient to do 😉 It’s nothing I haven’t done before, and while I can eyeball serving sizes pretty darn accurately, going through the motions of Weight Watchers is part of the “experience” I want in doing this.

My biggest concern, other than low calorie counts, is that I am least hungry after working out. A small dinner is usually all that interests me after a tough workout, so I will definitely plan for a good breakfast this morning. And as for the beer, it was only appropriate to go along with college basketball O:-)

Question: Have you ever kept a food journal? What do you think you learn from keeping records of what you eat?

TGIF! Have a FABULOUS weekend!

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31 Comments

Filed under diet, Giveaway, Larabar, Uncategorized, Weight Watchers

Digging deep for the jolly

It seems like the closer we get to Christmas the less jolly I feel. Quite frankly, I am beat. I haven’t been sleeping well with the anxiety I’m feeling towards my new teaching job. Obviously I am well-versed in nutrition, but I have never lectured 5 hours a week…while balancing a nearly full-time job and a growing private practice. I feel like my to-do list leaves me feeling like nothing ever gets accomplished and there’s always so much on my plate yet to get done. Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited about my new teaching gig…I just hope I do well and give my students the best dose of nutrition ever!

My schedule come January is going to be…insane. I work 34 hours a week in dialysis, teach 5 hours + prep and grading, spend time in private practice and meetings with my partners as much as possible, and love to spend time cooking, exercising, playing ice-hockey, and blogging. I feel like there’s about 8 million balls in the air and I’m trying to keep them all from colliding or crashing to the ground. I thrive in busy environments, but this impending schedule is simply stressing me out.

In order to keep blogging a hobby that brings me enjoyment, I will have to see what my schedule allows as far as posting. While I hope to continue blogging most every day, that may no longer be realistic. As much as that saddens me, I hope you understand…a girl has got to do what a girl has got to do!

Today I am working a short day before picking up Lily at doggy daycare and we make the trip together to Chicago. Mr. Prevention is off on a “Poker Run” today in Illinois with his high school friends. Imagine 30-year-old men in 80’s workout clothes, running around the University of Illinois campus collecting poker cards from various bars for drinking certain beers, shots, and cocktails. As imature as this sounds, it’s a blast….and I will be stuck working. Bitter much? You betcha! The excessive alcohol doesn’t interest me, but not being able to witness this event this year is a shame! But really, I just miss having an actual “Christmas Vacation”…or any substantial amount of time off for the holidays. Oh well. I am very thankful for being employed, there is no doubt.

On a completely unrelated note, several of you have asked me about the new PointsPlus plan from Weight Watchers. As familiar as I am with Weight Watchers, I am not familiar with the new plan. I did, however, find out that my company reimburses 100% for Weight Watchers and so I have plans to attend a meeting very soon to get the skinny (pun intended). With my company, however, you sign-up for either a 13 or 18-week package and are then reimbursed if you attend all the meetings (you can miss up to 3). Several coworkers are taking the plunge to join and I figured it would be a great opportunity to learn about the new program (and give my honest feeback to you all, of course!) and to possibly take off some weight that I have commonly referred to as my “PCOS weight”. Being the go-getter that I am, in addition to feeling as heavy as a boulder with all the Christmas eats, I went all out for the 18-weeks of Weight Watchers. Sure, it will be a challenge to take that time out for meetings, but it is a part of my “me” time that I require for sanity.

It will certainly be interesting, as a dietitian, to sit in on a Weight Watchers meeting. It’s been a long time since I attended Weight Watchers AND lead Weight Watchers meetings. I have heard bits and pieces of the new program — good and bad…from media and members alike. The information regarding PointsPlus found online is very vague and I hope to bring you all information on the new program from my perspective.

Well, that’s a wrap for the most whiny and random post…ever (?) on Prevention RD. I will be glad to pull into Chicago this evening and spend some time with the family, and hopefully a good night’s rest!

I’ll leave you with a recipe for some tasty Pumpkin French Toast with Light Pumpkin Butter, inspired by our hosts in Albuquerque. Their pumpkin french toast was delicious!!


Pumpkin French Toast with Light Pumpkin Butter

1-16 ounce loaf challah, cut into 8 slices, about 3/4 to 1-inch thick
1 cup of Egg Beaters or egg substitute
1 cup + 3 Tbsp pumpkin puree, divided
1 cup of skim milk
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
3 Tbsp Smart Balance Light or Earth Balance
1 Tbsp brown sugar
non-stick spray

Directions:

For the butter, combine 3 tablespoons of pumpkin puree with the Smart Balance Light and brown sugar. Combine well.

Cut bread into 3/4 to 1-inch thick slices. In a large bowl, whick together Egg Beaters, 1 cup pumpkin puree, milk, and pumpkin pie spice. Soak bread in milk-egg mixture for 1-2 minutes.

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place the soaked bread in the skillet or on the griddle, flipping after the bottom has browned. Cook the opposite side until browned. Serve immediately. Serves 8 with ~1 tablespoons of pumpkin butter.

Nutrition Information (per slice with 1 Tbsp pumpkin butter): 221 calories; 6.6 g. fat; 17 mg. cholesterol; 340 mg. sodium; 35 g. carbohydrate; 3.4 g. fiber; 8.2 g. sugar; 8.2 g. protein

Result: Carb-o-licious! It’s hard to limit to just 1 piece, but they are rather large. I splurged and had 2 one morning and I ate the leftover pieces one at a time with an over-medium egg. Delicious! Pumpkin is never out of season in my kitchen or belly!!!

I may not be 100% jolly (just yet!), but our neighborhood is sure all decked out! Our block all decorates our trees the same and it really does look festive and beautiful!

Question: Does the hustle and bustle of the holiday season make you giddy with glee, or do you get a bit overwhelmed and stressed?

I think working adults need sanctioned holiday vacations like kids in school. I remember the days of a full MONTH with nothing but sleeping in was of concern! College, I miss you!

Tis the season,

15 Comments

Filed under breakfast, butter, carbohydrates, coffee, condiments, diet, dietitians, holiday, PCOS, recipe, stress, weight loss, Weight Watchers, work

Cookie Round-Up 2010!

Grab some insulin, here we go!!

Based on your feedback, Christmas (Crack) Bark is the 2010 delight that needs to come with a warning sign and disclaimer.

I take no ownership for Christmas Crack addictions. Prepare at your own risk (of complete ecstasy!)!!

 

A perfect Rolled Sugar Cookie with Christmas Cookie Frosting.

 

Chocolate & Peppermint Bark Cookies were 2009’s top pick!

 

Lemon Coconut Snowball Cookies lighten up and refresh any Christmas cookie spread. These cookies are perfectly bite-sized and full of lemon & coconut flavor.

 

The Peanut Butter Blossom is the classic cookie aimed to please both the peanut butter and chocolate lovers in your life. You can never go wrong with peanut butter + chocolate, sealed with a KISS!

 

Quick, easy creamy Peanut Butter Fudge.

 

Candy Cane Biscotti…coffee has never been classier or more delicious.

 

The life-changing Maple Snickerdoodle. Look no further, you just landed upon the recipe for THE BEST snickerdoodle…ever!

 

Almond Toffee is the traditional, rich candy treat. There is something about toffee that is elegant and very chic.

 

 

Smooth, creamy, mouth-watering Fleur de Sel Caramels with Vanilla Bean

 

Mr. P’s personal favorite: Crock Pot Peanut Clusters..

 

Chocolate Truffles…decadent and rich.

 

The perfect red & green treat: White Chocolate Cranberry-Pistachio Fudge

I did say to grab some insulin, right? 😉

I don’t know about you, but I’ve more than had my fill of holiday junk…I’m ready to ring in the new year with some wholesome, nutritious, and delicious foods.

How about you? Are you all tuckered out on junk and sweets? Do you have plans to start 2011 out on the right, healthy foot?

Be well,

18 Comments

Filed under dessert, diet, hockey

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!

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(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?

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

Food Fun

Mr. Prevention’s work had a Ohio State “tailgate” yesterday and they served buckeyes for dessert. If you’ve never had a buckeye, you’re missing out. That is, the chocolate and peanut butter delight, not the actual poisonous nut. Because you probably know by now my palpable distaste for all things Ohio State and buckeye-related…unless we’re talking about the chocolatey, peanut buttery goodness.

So Mr. Prevention comes home from work with 3 buckeyes in a baggie (the yummy kind, I’m speaking of). He pops one in his mouth and offers one to me. Gone! One remained, and I certainly had my eye on it for after dinner. In my mind, it was mine…

We go out to dinner and as we’re pulling in the driveway Mr. P asked if I finished the 3rd and last buckeye. I responded with, “Not yet!” and as he threw the car in park we were SCRAMBLING to get out of the car, up the 2 garage steps, and to the island in the kitchen faster than the other. I kid you not, a full-out sprint with elbows flying and all.

Well, I lost. Dang it.

Mr. Prevention grabbed the beloved last buckeye and I rolled my lower lip into a sad face and tried to guilt him into sharing. ::eye-lash flutter::

“I’ll share with you IF you make more buckeyes tomorrow!,” he bargained.

“YES! Fine! Okay!,” I responded without hesitation.

I got half, and today I believe I will be making buckeyes.

College Game Day is covering MY Illini and I am making buckeyes. Oh the irony!

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This is the recipe from my protein waffle taste test at work.

Perfect Protein Pancakes (or Waffles) adapted from here and Foodologie

¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 scoop (~30 grams) vanilla whey protein powder
½ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup whole milk
1 egg white
½ tsp vanilla extract (or almond extract)
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Cooking spray

Directions:

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add the applesauce, milk, butter, and vanilla and stir together until just combined.  In a small bowl whip up the egg white until it’s frothy.  Add it to the rest of the batter.  Bake in a heated waffle iron or cook on a griddle/pan for tasty protein filled breakfast goodies. Yield: 1 serving (1 large waffle or 3 small pancakes).

Nutrition Information: 513 calories; 26 g. fat; 69 mg. cholesterol; 381 mg. sodium; 44 g. carbohydrate; 1 g. fiber; 27 g. protein

Result: The patients and staffed loved these protein waffles! I would like to make note that these waffles are “healthy” for a dialysis patient — a patient with end-stage kidney disease. The use of whole milk, butter, and sugar is more-or-less in an effort to add calories (and tastiness!) as most of my patients require 2200-3000 calories daily. There are protein powders with MORE protein than the one I used, however I had to choose one with low sodium, phosphorus, and potassium values. I also subbed in all-purpose flour for whole wheat because wheat is too high in phosphorus — my patients are on a very strict phosphorus restriction and whole wheat/whole grain anything is too high. Milk is also high in phosphorus, but it is recommended for renal patients to get 1/2 cup of milk daily. I tried subbing in rice milk (low in phosphorus), but it did not work as well. The original recipe also calls for banana, which I subbed in applesauce for as bananas are very high in potassium. The waffles/pancakes are filling because of the fat and protein content, but I was SHOCKED at the number of people who ate a whole Belgium-sized waffle and 27 grams of protein. And while many of my patients reside in extended care facilities, those at home felt the recipe was very doable and said they planned to make these at home. While my Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday group were dainty eaters (I believe I made 20 waffles for 48 patients), the Monday-Wednesday-Friday group had me make 40 waffles for 48 patients! They gobbled them right up! Such a fun activity for me and my patients. With protein requirements of 75-100 grams a day, a protein pancake/waffle can help break the monotony of meat and eggs for these people (note: dairy, nuts, and nut butters are too high in phosphorus to be used as a protein source).

Important note: This is a good recipe for end-stage kidney disease patients (those on dialysis). I over-heard many people grabbing for the recipe saying they would give it to so-and-so with “stage 3 or 4 kidney failure”. Those with chronic kidney disease (CKD stages 1-4) should be on a very LOW protein diet.

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Last story. I opened up my email yesterday afternoon to an email from my mom:

We have a little friction at work over sweet vs. mashed so I throw the question to my guests.

Thinking of you and your group:

A sweet potato casserole or version of sweets OR

A cheesy hash brown casserole type deal

Vote now!

I voted sweet potato casserole well knowing Mr. Prevention would prefer the cheesy hash brown casserole. Maybe karma bit me in the butt with that buckeye ordeal.

Question: Which would you choose — sweet potato casserole or cheesy hash brown casserole?

Last chili contest entry is today!!!

Go Illini,

12 Comments

Filed under dessert, dialysis & kidney disease, diet, holiday, protein, 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!

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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…

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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!

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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!


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