Category Archives: farming

Blackberry Pickin’

No more than a mile from our home, there’s a blackberry farm. On my last trip to the grocery store I saw this sign:

I had to go.

And so I did 🙂

And they are soooo good!

Question: Have you ever picked fruit? Berries? Apples? Pumpkins?

Happy Saturday!



Filed under farming, fruits and vegetables, local produce

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!


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

7 foods in question

Happy Friday! 😀 Bring on the weekend, right?!

I left for work at 6:30am yesterday and didn’t walk in the door til 8pm! Loong day! Last evening was the Bariatric Surgery Support Group I lead and the turn out was excellent! My group continues to grow and I have learned SO much! While I think there’s a “right” and a “wrong” candidate for bariatric surgery, the bottom line is that people are going to get weight loss surgery somehow…some way. As a dietitian, it is my duty and my job to help these individuals make the right surgical or non-surgical decision for THEM and to help them adopt lasting lifestyle changes in their eating and exercise habits. It has been very rewarding once I was able to put personal biases aside.

Today I wanted to discuss an article called “The 7 Foods Experts Won’t Eat” [1]. Seven different medical and nutrition experts each listed a different food they strictly forbid in their diet. I thought the list was not only interesting, but controversial and I was curious to hear some feedback from you all! So here it goes…

1. Canned tomatoes shunned by Fredrick vom Saal, PhD, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A.

The issue: The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Unfortunately, acidity (a prominent characteristic of tomatoes) causes BPA to leach into your food. Studies show that the BPA in most people’s body exceeds the amount that suppresses sperm production or causes chromosomal damage to the eggs of animals [1].

The solution: Choose tomatoes in glass bottles.

2. Corn-fed beef shunned by Joel Salatin, co-owner of Polyface Farms and author of half a dozen books on sustainable farming.

The issue: Cattle evolved to eat grass, not grains [1]. Grain-fed beef have less nutritional value and are higher in saturated fat than grass-fed beef.

The solution: Purchase and consume grass-fed beef.

3. Microwave popcorn shunned by Olga Naidenko, PhD, a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group.

The issue: Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans, according to a recent study from UCLA. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer [1].

The solution: Pop popcorn in a skillet.

4. Nonorganic potatoes shunned by Jeffrey Moyer, chair of the National Organic Standards Board.

The issue: Root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil [1].

The solution: Buy organic.

5. Farmed salmon shunned by David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany and publisher of a major study in the journal Science on contamination in fish.

The issue: Nature didn’t intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT [1].

The solution: Switch to wild-caught Alaska salmon. If the package says fresh Atlantic, it’s farmed [1].

6. Milk Produced with Artificial Hormones shunned by Rick North, project director of the Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and former CEO of the Oregon division of the American Cancer Society [1].

The issue: Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production [1].

The solution: Check labels for rBGH-free, rBST-free, produced without artificial hormones, or organic milk. These phrases indicate rBGH-free products [1].

7. Conventional apples shunned by Mark Kastel, former executive for agribusiness and codirector of the Cornucopia Institute, a farm-policy research group that supports organic foods [1].

The issue: Apples are heavily sprayed with pesticides.

The solution: Buy organic. Otherwise, wash and peel apples before eating.

Question: Do you avoid any of these 7 foods, too? Are there any you disagree with? Any changes you may make in your grocery purchases?

I think I will make apples and potatoes 2 produce items I purchase organic. I buy wild-caught fish and grass-fed beef, and I never eat popcorn. Canned tomatoes are a tough one, but if jarred tomatoes are safe…I can do that! And I always buy milk that does not contain rBGH-free.

Any fun weekend plans?

I can’t wait to relax!

Happy weekend!


Filed under farming, food safety, fruits and vegetables, going "green", grocery store, hormones, meat consumption, microwave, obesity epidemic, saturated fat, work

Dirty Dozen and Clean 15

Last week, many of us read how there’s possibly no benefit to organic. This week, there’s not only a “Dirty Dozen” but also a “Clean Fifteen”. Here’s what CNN reports:

The “Dirty Dozen”

1.    Celery
2.      Peaches
3.      Strawberries
4.      Apples
5.      Domestic blueberries
6.      Nectarines
7.      Sweet bell peppers
8.      Spinach, kale and collard greens
9.      Cherries
10.  Potatoes
11. Imported grapes
12.  Lettuce

The “Clean 15” (contain little to no pesticides)

1.      Onions
2.      Avocados
3.      Sweet corn
4.      Pineapples
5.      Mango
6.      Sweet peas
7.      Asparagus
8.      Kiwi fruit
9.      Cabbage
10.  Eggplant
11.  Cantaloupe
12.  Watermelon
13.  Grapefruit
14.  Sweet potatoes
15.  Sweet onions

Also included in this CNN article was the fact that 45% of the world’s crop is lost due to spoilage and damage, and this is why pesticides are utilized by farmers. Then someone commented on the article, “Why does organic cost more than inorganic produce if farmers save money on chemicals?” And while I don’t know that the answer is damage from pests, insects, etc…I’d imagine that’s a pretty good guess. Therefore, it would make sense that organic farmers have to plant nearly 2x as much as inorganic farmers to produce the same yield.

Silver lining? There’s more on the “Clean 15” list than there are on the “Dirty Dozen”! 😉

I give a lot of credit to farmers. My tiny 10′ x 6′ garden has been a lot to plant, weed, water, and sow. I can only imagine it being my full-time job and fearing the wrath of weather, storms, pests, and everything in between.

My spinach just this week went from thriving…to DEAD. It just shriveled up in the 98º Oklahoma heat and that was that. 😦 My potatoes are seeming to do the same, HOWEVER, I believe that looks to be the case because they are actually ready to harvest! Potato leaves die off when the potatoes are ready to dig from the ground. Here’s hoping! I’m going to give them a few more days but they currently look like this:

But other than my spinach, things are doing well…ESPECIALLY kale, romaine, and TOMATOES!!! 😀

Bell Peppers!


Last night was a cook-free night as we met friends for Mexican food! I behaved so that I could come home and knock out a few miles on the treadmill in order to stay on track with my 101 Days of Summer Challenge to run 70 of the next 101 days. It was day 3 after all…I can’t be slacking already! I pounded out a quick 2 miles…even though it was later (okay, it was only 8:30pm…but I am a grandma about my evenings!)…and I had just eaten. I also did my push-ups for Heather’s challenge…but I did them in the privacy of my living room today! 😉 Glad everyone found that story to be as funny as me!

Question: What do you think of potatoes nutritionally speaking? Do you try to limit them at all? Potatoes get a bad rap these days and I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on spuds!

Spud love,


Filed under challenge, dining out, dinner, exercise, farming, food safety, friends, fruits and vegetables, garden, local produce, news, physical activity, restaurant, running, self-control

One savvvory breakfast

Good morning! 😀

If it weren’t so GLORIOUS, I’d be ashamed to admit that Mr. Prevention and I crawled into bed at 10pm last night. WILD and CRAZY kids, I’m tellin’ ya! 😉 9 hours of sleep…ahhhh. 🙂

Anyways, if you’re a Cooking Light lover like myself, you probably started drooling at page 28 in the most recent May issue. On page 28 there was a recipe for Open-Faced Sandwiches with Ricotta, Arugula, and Fried Egg. While Cooking Light didn’t specify whether this was a morning or evening dish, I made it a morning dish of my own with a few modifications.

Nicole’s Open-Faced Sandwich with Hummus, Arugula, and Fried Egg

1 slice bakery bread (I used an Asiago cheese bread)
cooking spray
1 large handful of arugula
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
ground pepper and salt, to taste
1 large egg
1 Tbsp hummus (I used pesto hummus)


Toss arugula, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper gently. Set aside.

Lightly spray bread with cooking spray. Broil or toast until browned.

Heat a small skillet. Coat with cooking spray. Cook 3/4’s of the way through and toss.

Spread hummus over toast. Layer on fried egg. Top with arugula and serve. Serves 1.

Nutrition Information: 301 calories; 16 g. fat; 225 mg. cholesterol; 470 mg. cholesterol; 27 g. carbohydrate; 2 g. fiber; 14 g. protein

Result: This is delicious! I think it would be great with ricotta, too…just didn’t have any on hand! This would work as a savory breakfast, or quick, light supper! Mmmm mmm! I served it with OJ + POM – additional Mmmm mmm!


The farmer’s market yesterday was wonderful! Mostly radishes and greens are out thus far. I was most excited to see free-range, organic, local eggs and grass-fed, organic, hormone-free, local meat! 😀

I got:

1 bag arugula ($2!!)
pesto hummus ($4)
Asiago Cheese Loaf ($6)
1# grass-fed ground beef ($4)
sesame seeds ($1.50!!)
dried rosemary ($2!!)
ground mustard ($1.50!!)
bones for Lily ($4)

The spices were so fresh and wonderful! And cheap! It was hard to only get what I needed! And the bones for Lily…impulse buy. 🙂

I’ve got 2 hockey games today and grocery shopping to do! And of course, getting ready for the busy work week ahead!

Question: Do you prefer a sweet breakfast…or a savory breakfast? What did you have (or will you have) for breakfast this morning?

Enjoy Sunday…tomorrow is Monday,


Filed under breakfast, Cooking Light, farming, fruits and vegetables, grocery store, hockey, hormones, meat consumption, recipe, sleep, Uncategorized

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!


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

gardening class & progress

Um, tomorrow is March 1st. Ahh!

…Good thing Mr. Prevention and I attended a gardening class put on my 3 “master gardeners” from the Oklahoma State University Extension Group yesterday morning — it certainly lit a fire under my tush! I’ve just been obliviously going through the motions of life since I planned my garden several weeks ago. Maybe I was hoping it would assemble itself? 😉

After attending the class I learned that my plot selectionsucked. While the original plot I selected is on the south side of our house, some “research” proved that there’s just not enough sunlight.  So, I have decided on a raised bed garden. I was planning to smother the Oklahoma bermuda grass, but I’m going to do a little smother action with a raised bed.

Mr. Prevention and I pow-wowed today and one trip to a garden & nursery shop and one two trips to Lowes, we are nearly in gardening business.

The plan:

6 ft x 10 ft raised bed made with 2 in. (wide) x 8 in. (height) wood
8-inch tall 2 in. x 4 in. posted corners for stability
6 sheets of newspaper over the grass within the bed to smother and kill the grass
7-8 inches of soil to level with the top of the frame
8+ hours of daily sunlight exposure
close access to water
no more than 10% incline (fairly flat surface)

Garden cost:

3 bobcat loads of soil + delivery and taxes = $96
2″ thick wood for a 6′ x 10′ bed = $16
2 shovels = $32
hand tools = $20
wheel barrel = $37
nails = $4
seeds = $12

$217 total

I must say, it was a sight to see Mr. Prevention, a wheel barrel, shovels, nails, gardening hand tools, and 2 x 8 x 10 wood planks hanging on for dear life from the back of my crossover (hatchback open) during the brief 2 mile ride from Lowes to home. One of those very few times, of course, I didn’t have my camera with me! 😦

The soil is being delivered to our driveway early next week so the garden should be fully assembled by next weekend!

BUT, I am already behind. I learned today that my lettuce, spinach, potatoes, and onions should already be in the ground! Oooops! Like I said, full speed ahead…we’ll make due!

Peppers and squash are planted later in spring, and tomatoes don’t go in til after the last frost: May 1st.

Did you know that you shouldn’t water the leaves of tomatoes? I do now! And that it’s best to water in the mornings? I do now! The class was great…I learned lots!

I’m really excited about my gardening prospects! Thus far, this project is much more time-consuming and costly than I had anticipated. But the prospect of home-grown, delicious vegetables and herbs will keep this project a priority for me and I will update you guys along the way! 😀

Question #1: If you get wood cut at Lowes/Home Depot free of cost…do you tip the person who helps you?

I say yes, husband says no. Just curious what you guys thought 🙂

Question #2: Does the cost of this gardening project surprise you? It sure does me!!

A reader emailed asking me to post about her fund-raising endeavors for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. Ambre will be walking 60 miles over the course of 3 days and needs to raise $2,300. Having participated in the Avon Breast Cancer walk and needing to raise $2,300, I KNOW how difficult it can be. Please consider giving to this great cause, if even just a little. Go here to donate! Ambre and I both thank you in advance! Every dollar counts!


Filed under blog topic request, farming, fruits and vegetables