Category Archives: enriched/fortified

baked falafel & 10 not-so-healthy “healthy” foods

Happy Friday! 😀

Yesterday’s trivia answer: Madagascar. Madagascar produces 2/3rd of the world’s vanilla. Thank you, Madagascar! And I am seriously impressed with everyone’s food trivia knowledge!!

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The only thing that would’ve made last night’s dinner better would’ve been someone to enjoy it with! I’ve been wanting to try this recipe of Karla’s for quite a number of weeks now…and I knew that I’d have to do so when Mr. Prevention wasn’t around. He hears “garbanzo beans” and he loses interest. His loss. Seriously.

Baked Falafel adapted Foodologie and Epicurious

1 cup dried garbanzo beans
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp salt
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp baking powder
6 Tbsp flour (I used all-purpose flour)

Directions:

Soak beans overnight in plenty of water.

The next day, put the garbanzo beans and onion in the food processor and pulse to roughly chop.  Next, add remaining ingredients and pulse until combine.  Refrigerate mixture for a few hours.

After the  mixture is chilled, pre-heat your oven to 375° F.  Form garbanzo bean mixture into 25 walnut sized balls.  Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes. Increase oven temperature to a 500° F broil. Broil falafel for 3-5 minutes (or longer) until the tops are golden brown. Serve with pita, cucumbers, tomato, and either hummus or a tahini yogurt sauce. Yield: Serves 5 (five falafel per serving).

Nutrition Information (per 5 falafel): 135 calories (27 calories per falafel); 1.6 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 567 mg. sodium; 27.4 g. carbohydrate; 5.4 g. fiber; 7 g. protein

Result: Soooo good! There are so many falafel lovers among my family and friends…I can’t wait to spoil them with this healthy falafel rendition. These really did FAR exceed my expectations, and I do consider myself somewhat of a falafel connoisseur after working in a Middle Eastern restaurant during high school. And as for the nutrition? A++!! Low calorie, low-fat, high-fiber! 😀 A much leaner choice compared to the deep-fried traditional preparation.

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10 Not-so-Healthy “Healthy” Foods from Cooking Light

1. Multi-grain and wheat breads. Ideally, breads are from whole grain and 100% whole grain sources, not enriched, bleached, or from a refined source.

2. Prepared salads. Tuna, egg, and chicken salad are loaded with calorie-dense mayonnaise. Even tossed salads which have lots of yummy, tantalizing ingredients atop a pile of greens can yield one very high calorie meal. Be careful not to assume salads are always the healthiest choice on a menu.

3. Reduced-fat peanut butter. Peanut butter contains healthy monounsaturated fat. When fat is removed from products, like peanut butter (and salad dressings), sugar is substituted in. Furthermore, there is no calorie difference between regular and reduced-fat peanut butter.

4. Energy bars. Many energy bars are packed with calories, high fructose corn syrup, and saturated fat. There are much healthier (and cheaper) alternatives for pre and post-workout fuels.

5. Bran muffins. Bottom line: portions of such baked goodies are way, way too big. I agree with Cooking Light, make your own muffins at home! Cut calories and cost for your breakfasts on-the-go! Need muffin recipe ideas? There’s tons on my recipes page under “Breakfast”!

6. Smoothies. Many chains add sugar, sherbet, or ice cream to smoothies to get that oh-so-wonderful taste leading you back for more time after time. Smoothies are simple to make in the home with fresh or frozen fruit, low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt, and/or 100% juice or calorie-free beverage.

7. Packaged turkey. While packaged turkey offers and easy, low-cal meal option it is loaded with sodium.

8. Foods labeled “fat-free”. Fat-free does not mean calorie-free. Always read labels to get the whole scoop on a product.

9. Restaurant baked potatoes. The potato isn’t the problem, but the heaping scoops of butter, sour cream, bacon, and cheese sure are! Ask for toppings on the side and watch the portions.

10. Sports drinks. These drinks are designed for intense exercise and training, not your weekend stroll or casual jog. Using them inappropriately simply packs on the calories (and cost) unnecessarily.

I really enjoyed this article. While I think a few of them were obvious, the information was factual and valuable.

Question: What are you up to this weekend?

More chili is in our future…entry #3, bring it! And I’m cutting Mr. P off from his buffalo chicken dip…but not completely! I have a new buffalo chicken appetizer I want to swoon him with!! Stay tuned! Have a super weekend! 😀

TGIF,

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Filed under carb-controlled, convenience foods, Cooking Light, diet, dining out, dinner, enriched/fortified, fiber, Flexitarian Diet, fried food, fruits and vegetables, garlic, guilt-free, healthy cooking, heart health, herbs, high-fructose corn syrup, MUFAs and PUFAs, protein, recipe, restaurant, salad, saturated fat, snack, sodium, weight loss

Q&A: ginseng, hidden sodium, and raw milk

Quick update: Home inspection did NOT go well…at all (you can’t judge a book…or a home…by its cover!). Back to square one. Oh the joys of buying a home…I’ll keep you guys posted. Thanks tons for all of your support and well wishes on our big move. Despite the hurdles and big changes, I need to stay positive while we’re in transition!!

As for the job-hunt, I am trying to keep an open mind but I want to still keep my paws in diabetes…some how…some way. I am nearly 50% complete with my 1,000 diabetic education hours needed to sit for the exam and I am not giving up that easily on pursuing my CDE. Diabetes is my passion!

And on to a most excellent line-up of Q&A!

Jodie of Jodie Pilates: I would like to know your opinion on ginseng, specifically for energy. Are there any other supplements you can suggest for energy?

Prevention RD: Caffeine and ginseng are the two most natural stimulants that come to mind. I recently started taking ginseng for my blood glucose and have noticed no increase in energy*. However, ginseng is most commonly found in large doses in energy drinks, such as Red Bull and Monster and is most “famous” for its stimulant-effects. I feel both caffeine and ginseng can be a part of a healthy diet, but I think a good night’s sleep is the best energy boost of all! 😉 Note: If you do utilize ginseng or caffeine, do so earlier in the day to help avoid sleep disturbances.

*Ginseng is working beautifully in lowering my fasting blood glucose, however! My fasting blood sugars have gone from 95-103 mg/dl into a much preferred 83-90 mg/dl range. In less than a week, I am SO pleased with the results!

Liz in Dallas: My grandmother and my dad have both recently been put on low-salt diets. It is easy for them to deal with at home, since my grandmother and my mom cook all their own food and very rarely eat anything processed. The problem seems to be out at restaurants. Both of them eat out for lunch pretty much every day, and my grandmother also goes out to eat for dinner quite frequently. What should they be ordering to avoid sodium overload? Are there dishes that they should always avoid? What do you think are the most sneaky sources of sodium?

Prevention RD: Low-sodium “diets” are tough…really, really tough. Restaurants are notorious for using exorbitant amounts of salt. If it’s possible, your grandmother and dad could decrease the frequency of meals out, or dine at restaurants with published nutrition information (e.g. Chili’s, Applebees, Subway, etc.) so they are sure to make a salt-friendly meal selection. If meals out are a must, there is plenty to know, however! Anything breaded or fried is going to have more salt, so looking for key words on menus such as baked, broiled, steamed, and grilled can be helpful in reducing salt. Chips, fries, and other side dishes such as potato salad are also high in sodium, as are sauces, dressings, and other condiments. Because sodium is hidden in just about everything, the best thing to do at restaurants is to exercise portion control, especially since the portion sizes are generally rather large. When ordering food at a restaurant, they can ask the server to put dressings and sauces on the side so they can control how much they consume. And it’s always an option to take home half their meal and have a small snack before and/or after dining out. Sharing meals is another great option. Best of luck to them! Great question 🙂

Lena of LMC in the World: I read an article in a recent Economist magazine about the trend of raw milk. It was saying there are some nutritional benefits which are eliminated in the pasteurization process and some people are selling/buying raw milk. Had you heard of this trend? It also said the FDA has not identified any nutritional benefits and there are still a number of laws to restrict the sale of raw milk because it can be dangerous. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Prevention RD: What a great question! This is a HOT trend right now, you betcha! Raw milk and dairy simply not been pasteurized, as you stated. Unpasteurized dairy can contain harmful and potentially fatal bacteria including E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella. The National Dairy Council, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, among others, endorse pasteurized milk and dairy. According to the National Dairy Council there is no scientific evidence to suggest that there is any nutritional benefit to raw milk and dairy of that which has been pasteurized. In fact, pasteurized milk is fortified with vitamin D, making is a more nutritionally desirable product over raw milk. And did you know that it is actually illegal to sell raw milk in some US states? Check out your local raw milk and dairy laws if you choose to consume raw dairy. While raw milk and dairy carries some risk of bacterial contamination, I think the larger issue is knowing where the products come from and the cleanliness of the site. I know there are many raw milk and dairy advocates out there, but I tend to side with the majority on this one. Would I try raw milk or dairy from a dairy I trusted? Probably. Is it recommended for the young, old, or uninsured? Probably not. 😉

I’ll leave you with a picture of my sleepy girl after her day at camp. She snored ALL night!

Question: What supplements do you take and why?

Happy half-way to Friday!

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Filed under blog topic request, blood glucose, coffee, complimentary and alternative nutrition, condiments, diabetes, dietitians, dining out, enriched/fortified, farming, fast food, food safety, hypertension, minerals, raw food/rawism, restaurant, sleep, sodium, supplements, vitamins

Loose Flexie

I find dietary preferences fascinating, especially those that differ from my own.

I received an email this week from a reader, who will remain anonymous. The reader wanted me to analyze her intake. I did. I made a lot of recommendations, including eating more calories, healthy fats, and fiber, as well as getting 2+ servings of calcium-rich foods each day.

The reader responded saying she borders on veganism and would prefer to get her dairy from animal-free sources. I recommended calcium citrate supplements.

I get why people shy away from meat and dairy. I do, I really, really do. So much involving meat and dairy is unclean, unethical, costly, and not always so healthy. Yet, as we cut out major food groups, we run into nutritional deficiencies. If our body requires these nutrients, why do we cut out the most concentrated sources in which they’re found? Seems…odd, no?

I try and support all lifestyles, especially those surrounding food, but I do find this curious and somewhat ironic. As a blanket statement, many vegetarians and vegans eat the way they do for health reasons…many of which I agree with (strongly plant-based diets rock!). And yet these restrictions result in laborious micromanagement of the diet to ensure nutritional needs are being met…and more times than not, supplementation (talk about unethical, costly, and often unsafe). Supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and the 3rd party tested supplements cost a small fortune — certainly more than the difference between feed lot and ethical, organic meat and dairy, anyways.

Funny story.

Last week during my employee taste test at work, I served the Pork Carnitas recipe I raved about recently (employees loved it, too!). One of our doctors who usually participates in the taste tests opted out of this taste test because she abstains from eating pork. One of our nurses asked, “Doc, can I ask why you don’t eat pork?” The doctor recited some facts about the cleanliness (or lack thereof) of pigs and how they were inferior sanitary-wise to other animals. The nurse politely thanked the doctor for explaining and after a few moments, the doctor had left the break room. The nurse wasted no time in turning to me to say, “Apparently she’s never seen a chicken.” 😉 True or not, I found it amusing. And valid.

I think my “take” on food lifestyles is scientifically biased because I see the health benefits in all food groups and they way they impact everything from weight loss to chronic disease management. And this is why I am an Flexitarian-Everythingatarian (a “Loose Flexie” as I lovingly refer to my eating preferences).

Question: Are you an Everythingatarian? Vegetarian? Vegan? Raw vegan? Pescatarian? Flexitarian? Loose Flexie? Any why?

…And how about those DO what you DON’T challenge goals? Still holding strong? Nearly one week in!

Happy Hump Day!


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Filed under challenge, chronic disease, diet, dietitians, doctors, enriched/fortified, farming, Flexitarian Diet, meat consumption, minerals, protein, recipe, supplements, US Pharmacopeia, vegan, vitamins, weight loss, work

Oh, the irony! …and a Q&A

John asked a question last week on my Q&A regarding Arborio rice and it’s nutritional benefits. Or lack thereof. Oops. You know, like a kid told not to touch an open flame, I went and made an Arborio recipe (because 24 1/2 years was too long to go without this treat). But I blame Kerstin for this…her recipes are all too enticing! Behold:

Gruyere Risotto with Asparagus and Mushrooms adapted from Cake, Batter, and Bowl

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups 1 large bunch asparagus, chopped
2 cups mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter Smart Balance Light
1 yellow onion, 3 small shallots, chopped (I didn’t have an onion! The shallots were awesome!)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Arborio rice, dry
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese (approx. 7 ounces)
2 tablespoons 1/4 cup lemon juice (juice from one lemon)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large pan and sauté asparagus and mushrooms until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, melt butter over medium high heat in a large stockpot. Sauté the onion for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender; add garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Add the rice and stir until well-coated and translucent. Reduce heat to medium and stir in 1 cup of chicken stock. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the stock has been absorbed; add another cup and continue in this way until all the chicken stock has been absorbed, for about 30 minutes. Stir in gruyere cheese, lemon juice, and salt and simmer an additional 5 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Stir in asparagus and mushrooms. Scoop into bowls and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Makes 5 servings.

Nutrition Information (1/5th of recipe): 382 calories, 18 g. fat, 40 mg. cholesterol; 610 mg. sodium; 33 g. carbohydrate; 1.4 g. fiber, 19.2 g. protein per serving

Ok, sure…not the best stats, but this recipe is a W-O-W recipe! You know, the kind you make for a special someone you’re trying to impress…or when your in-laws come to town (my in-laws read my blog AND they’re amazing, so this doesn’t apply to me, of course!). At least it has vegetables!? But yeah, Gruyere doesn’t come in a low-fat version to my knowledge 😉 But MAN, it is GOOD! My husband was so sweet to me tonight. I got a, “Thanks for making dinner, babe! It tastes really Italian.”

::blink blink:: Thumbs upppppppppp!

And on to the brief (but good!) Q&A for the week…

…Or possible known as the once-a-week, really long, exhaustively detailed posts!

Biz of Biggest Diabetic Loser: If I know I am going to have a hard workout, I tend to give myself a bit less insulin at breakfast so my blood sugar doesn’t crash and burn. Take today for instance – I was 180 before working out, and when I got back it was a perfect 102.  I then took the right amount of insulin for my lunch. Do you think having that “temporary” high will hurt me in the long run? My blood sugar numbers on average for 30 days are between 116 and 125.

Prevention RD: For those of you who don’t know Biz, she is a type 1 diabetic and author of the wonderful blog, Biggest Diabetic Loser. I feel comfortable answering this because I know your HbA1c is just below 7.0% — my answer would vary for someone with a higher HbA1c. I think that if this is working for you, you’re fine to continue with this regimen (especially if you’re on an insulin pump, which I’m not sure if you are or not…). The one option you have is to take a ligher dose of insulin with breakfast – bolus for maybe half the carbs you consume with whatever carb:insulin ratio you use and exercise with a G2/water or water/juice mix and drink that throughout your workout. This would have you starting your workout closer to a 120-140 mg/dl reading (I wouldn’t recommend below 120 to start in case you don’t intake enough and risk bottoming out) and fueling your blood glucose as the exercise works to decrease the glucose, hypothetically keeping you right in the 100-130 range throughout the duration of your exercise. If you decide to take this approach, I would certainly have your monitor nearby and come prepared – glucose tabs, honey or whatever agent you use in emergency hypoglycemic instances. I do feel there could be some benefit in your HbA1c if you’re able to prevention missing any insulin doses in light of working out. It may take some trial and error to work out any kinks, but it can be done! The key with type 1 diabetes and exercise is consistency. I say it all the time – diabetics know their bodies better than ANYONE else…even the best of doctors and endocrinologists out there. I hope this makes sense and keep me posted – I want to know what you decide to try out, if anything! Awesome make-Nicole-think question! P.S. I ran this past both our Diabetes Nurse and one of the doctors on staff today, and they agreed! 🙂

Molly: I’ve been meaning to ask this question for quite some time.  I’d say I live a healthy life style; working out regularly and watching what I eat.  I try to eat  as balanced of a diet as I can, getting the right amount of good fats, proteins and carbohydrates.  But one thing that will ALWAYS be hard for me to control is my love for salt.  I definitely love salty over sweet and almost always salt my food (even if it doesn’t need it).  What I try and do to compensate for my love of salt is drink A LOT of water…I mean a lot.  I feel as though this will some how help or “reverse” the effects.  Is it crazy for me to think that or is there actually some logic behind it?

Prevention RD: Hey Molly! Good question! I have to put in my plug on the importance of a low-sodium diet. Salt is a hard habit to kick, so don’t wait until you’re any more set in your ways to change! The majority of the salt we ingest is present in our food through the processing it undergoes, so any additional salt to our diet is likely too much. Excessive salt intake can cause serious electrolyte imbalances, water retention, and hypertension – also known as “the silent killer”. Having high blood pressure puts undue strain on every vessel in our bodies and over time, this can cause serious internal damage and lead to strokes and cardiovascular disease. While I am catastrophizing (not a word…) some, it is a serious matter. Make sure you get your blood pressure checked regularly and exercise is definitely a huge help! How much water are you drinking? Large loads of sodium can off-set the sodium balance of the body and thirst does increase when this balance is off. If your high water intake is habitual that sounds fine, but if your thirst seems excessive, this could indicate a sodium in balance in the body. If this is the case, I would look to decrease your salt usage even more so. Another thing to consider is increasing your intake of potassium; potassium and sodium work together in the body to carry impulses through the body which are vital for proper health. Using less processed foods and cooking from scratch can help lower the salt in your diet without changing the content too much. But as far as water actually flushing out all the sodium, this isn’t really the case. Water can help ease the effects of bloating, but it doesn’t reverse salt intake. Sorry! Great question!!

Anonymous: I’ve read a lot about agave nectar being just as bad as sugar – is this true?

Prevention RD: I’m sure you’ve seen this claim a lot – it’s all over right now! Agave is the natural sweetener that comes from the same Mexican plant used to make tequila! Agave has similar calorie and carbohydrate content to sugar, however agave is three times sweeter and thus requires less to achieve the same sweetness. Agave can be up to 90% fructose – the natural sugar found in fruits which has a lower glycemic index than sugar itself. While agave nectar is a tasty, all-natural sweetener, it is still a high-calorie sweetener that should be used in moderation. Until we find a 100% all-natural, organic, calorie-free, perfectly safe sweetener, we will be able to find a problem with any other sweetener for one reason or another! People hear that something is “good” or “healthy” and they take that to mean more is better, and that’s just not the case. Really great question!

Alison of Waisting Duxie: I am trying to conceive. Can I get too much folic acid? Most supplements are 800 mcg, the supplement that I am taking to lengthen my luteal phase (gotta love pre-menopausal in my mid 30s) has 200 mg and I’m supposed to take it 3 times a day, BUT I often forget.  Is it better to take the 800 one in the morning when I know I won’t forget and then maybe get 400 more over the day? How much does a typical diet high in dark leafy green veggies add and ultimately is this one of those vitamins you can overdo.

Prevention RD: The “tolerable upper limit” for folate is 1000 micrograms a day, though risk for toxicity is low. Because so many foods in the US food supply are fortified and enriched, most Americans meet the 400 mcg recommended daily value. What I am unable to locate is any folic acid recommendations to lengthening of your luteal phase. Best as I can tell and rationalize, you shouldn’t need additional folic acid and 800 mcg’s should be more than sufficient. I would not recommend taking over 1,000 mcg’s a day as this exceeds the upper limit. Check with your doctor regarding the 3 doses a day. Other than better chances of absorption, I don’t know of any other rationale for the frequent dosing, but I’m not a MD! I hope this helps – really interesting question! And congrats to you in starting a family! 😀

Happppppppppy Hump Day! Half way there, folks!

Question #1: What vitamins, minerals, or other supplements do you take?

Question #2: What’s your take on agave nectar? Like? Dislike? Healthy? Not-so-healthy?

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Filed under artificial sweeteners, blog topic request, blood glucose, butter, carbohydrates, convenience foods, diabetes, diet, dietitians, dinner, doctors, enriched/fortified, entertaining, exercise, fruits and vegetables, garlic, glycemic index, hormones, minerals, physical activity, physicians, prescription drug, recipe, saturated fat, sodium, sugar substitutes, supplements, water, work

Omega-3 "Fortification"

First, let’s set the record straight. Foods that are “enriched” have nutrients added back which were lost in the refining process. Foods that are “fortified” have nutrients added which weren’t originally present in the food item.

So, with all the fortified omega-3 products out there, you can get in your omega-3’s from just about any source — butter, pasta, oil, juice, eggs…just to name a few. These products are not only more expensive, but they’re also over-promoting health claims. A serving of salmon can have up to 50x more omega-3 content than most omega-3 fortified products [1].

So is the bang worth the buck? Not likely.

“But what if I don’t like fish?” (I know that’s the next thing you’re thinking…).Well, omega-3 research is still undetermined for use among the general public. We know that elevated triglycerides, personal history of cardiovascular disease, or family history of cardiovascular disease are indications for adequate omega-3 intake or supplementation, however. For omega-3 content in fish, check out this previous blog post.

Bottom line: omega-3 fortified foods are not the end all, be all that advertising leads you to believe. Save the dough for fish or supplements if indicated.

Curiosity has the best of me — do YOU supplement omega-3’s in your diet? I do — 3 grams a day.

[1].
Enersen, Jean. How Omega-3 Fortified Foods Compare to the Real Thing. King 5. September 4, 2009.

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Filed under enriched/fortified, fish oil/omega-3's, healthy cooking, heart health, supplements