Category Archives: glycemic index

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


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!



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!


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!


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! 😉


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,



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

Coconut oil: health food or health fad?

Firstly, I want to give a shout out to all the new readers of Prevention RD! In the past 2 days there’s been lots of new “faces” – so happy to hear from you! I am insanely behind this week on blog reading, but can’t wait to catch up with you this weekend! 😀 I didn’t know if Thursday would ever make it here, but I’m sooo excited to start my 3-day weekend!



If you buzz around the blogosphere you’ve definitely read something about coconut oil and/or butter. Tracey brilliantly asked me to share some important information about these foods on my blog, and I am so glad she did! This is a HOT topic right now!

My $0.02 on Coconut Oil

[Note: Due to MAJOR differences in nutrition components, I will discuss coconut water in a later post.]

Various fat sources are like various sugar (and sugar substitute) sources…they can all be a part of a healthy, balanced intake. Unfortunately, we (the consumers) hear something is “good” for us, and we become OBSESSED with this illusive idea of “super healthy foods”. Take for example, antioxidants. Cooking Light recently discussed the passing phase of “Super Foods” and “antioxidants” – we knew nuts, seeds, salmon, and berries were good for us. But we need not shun everything else. Same goes for sugar and sugar substitutes. Stevia is showing great promise as a 100% safe and all-natural, calorie-free sweeteners, but why commit to just one sweetener? Honey and agave sure have their place, especially with their low glycemic index. Food monogamy = no bueno!

I feel the same about fats, including tropical fats such as coconut oil and butter. If you simply Google “Is coconut oil healthy?” get ready to find a lot of coconut proponent sites. This is NOT where credible information is found…it’s where suckers go and money-making happens. There are no large-scale, valid, or reliable studies to date supporting claims that coconut oils and butters produce weight loss, boost energy, increase immunity, cure hypothyroidism, increase satiety, or decrease cravings. However, there are credible studies supporting heart-healthy diets which include a healthy balance of fats – saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat. A mixed-fat diet best supports a healthy ratio of HDL-cholesterol (the good) to LDL-cholesterol (the bad). Note: TRANS fat is never considered a healthy fat to include in the diet. Coconut oil should be never be hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated (check the ingredient list for these key words!), as that indicates trans fat content.

What we do know is that coconut oil contains a lot of saturated fat – 91-92% saturated fat — 4x the amount in Crisco shortening and 12x more than canola oil. The fat in coconut oil is in the form of medium-chain triglyercerides (MCT), which means little to most. In brief, medium-chain triglycerides are quickly cleared from the blood and are a completely oxidized for energy. While that is wonderful for critically ill patients unable to properly digest fats, that means little for the general, healthy population. Furthermore, MCT’s do not contain any essential fatty acids (omega 3’s and 6’s which are not made by the body). And for what it’s worth, the Food and Drug Administration, as well as the American Medical Association, endorse limiting saturated fats, and therefore tropical oils (but that’s not to say don’t include them in moderation).

Tracey’s Q: Is coconut oil healthy?
My A: Not really…nope.

Tracey’s Q: Is it just a fad?
My A: I’d say so. Unless people are just now learning they enjoy coconut?? 😉

Bottom Line:

  • If you choose to consume coconut oil/butter, choose a product which has not been hydrogenated (check the label!)
  • Limit your saturated fat intake to 7% or less of your daily caloric intake (11.5 grams for a 1,500 calorie intake; 14 grams for a 1,800 calorie intake; 15.5 grams for a 2,000 calorie intake)
  • Include a variety of fats from the diet – canola oil, olive oil, and flaxseed oil all contain both essential fatty acids, and contain WAY less saturated fat than coconut oil
  • Complete annual blood work with your medical provider – this should include a lipid panel
  • Never “marry” a food – variety is the key to success!

There’s so much conflicting information on health and nutrition…and it can be hard to decipher. And while some of it is confusing, or contains a lot of gray area, that’s the way the health industry goes. We’re all learning together. Always. But the more we learn, the more we can utilize in optimizing our health.

Me, personally? It’s ironic that Tracey asked this question this week, because I picked up some coconut oil on Monday at the store. I have several recipes calling for coconut oil that I’d like to try. My draw to trying coconut oil is simply pleasure…love coconut! Unless it’s to-die-for-good, it will likely be a one-time purchase for my kitchen! Personally, I’m canola oil’s #1 fan! 😉

Question: Have you used coconut butter or oil? Did you like it? Were you/are you weary to use it based on its saturated fat content?

Heart smart,


Filed under antioxidants, artificial sweeteners, aspartame, blog topic request, butter, coconut oil, fish oil/omega-3's, food safety, fruits and vegetables, glycemic index, healthy cooking, heart health, hydrogenation, MUFAs and PUFAs, research study, saturated fat, stevia, sugar substitutes, trans fat, Uncategorized

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


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?


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

get fiber from nature

…Hope we all survived Monday Fun-Day! On to some research…

Foods that naturally contain high amounts of fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Over the past several years there has been huge efforts made towards increasing fiber in the diet from alternate sources such as yogurt (e.g. Yoplait’s Fiber One yogurt) and granola bars (e.g. General Mill’s Fiber One bars), to name a few. These fiber sources contain isolated or functional fiber ingredients such as inulin, maltodextrin, and polydextrose [1]. The health benefits of these fiber sources remain to be seen. Mayo Clinic dietitian, Jennifer Nelson, states, “They have not necessarily been studied to see if they’re beneficial [1].”

Naturally-occurring fiber, dietary fiber, contains powerful cholesterol-lowering effects. Dietary fiber also decreases the glycemic index of foods, a most desirable feature among diabetics and the insulin resistant. Further, dietary fiber aids in preventing constipation and reduces the risk of hemorrhoids and diverticulosis [1]. And lastly, a high-fiber diet helps to improve satiety, an important piece to any weight-loss or weight maintenance endeavor.

Fiber One bars are a perfect example of why label reading is crucial. While a 1.4-ounce breakfast bar contains a whopping 9 grams of fiber – nearly a third of the daily recommended intake – the product also contains chicory root extract (inulin), high-fructose corn syrup, and maltodextrin. Unfortunately, none of the “dietary” fiber in Fiber One bars comes from a natural, whole grain source.

While this post is not intended to slam Fiber One bars (truly!), I am simply trying to emphasize a diet rich in naturally-occurring high-fiber foods – whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. While the jury is out on the efficacy of inulin, malrodextrin, and polydextrose, I recommend sticking to the tried and true fiber sources!

Remember 25 to 35 grams a day…every day! 😉

And in other news, we tried (and loved) another new recipe tonight…

Crock Pot Cranberry-Chipotle Chicken

Crockpot Cranberry-Chipotle Chicken

1 cup chopped onion
1 15 oz. can black beans (rinsed/drained)
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans (rinsed/drained)
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 cloves minced garlic
1 lb. skinless/boneless chicken breasts
1 16 oz. can whole cranberry sauce
1 small can chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce
1 tbs. lime juice
salt/pepper to taste

Layer everything in the crock pot (chicken, onions, tomatoes, beans). Mix the broth, cumin, cinnamon, garlic, cranberry sauce, chipotle peppers and lime juice in large bowl. Pour over all. Cook on low for 8 hours or on low for 4 hours. Yield: 5 servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 380 calories; 3.3 g. fat; 30 g. protein; 625 mg. sodium; 11.4 g. fiber; 59.6 g. carbohydrate

This recipe is not for the temperature weenie! It is hot-say-tot-say!

[1]. Conis, Elena. All Fibers May Not Be Created Equal. The Los Angeles Times. January 11, 2010.

Question: Have you heard of inulin before? Do you know of any research in support of isolated or functional fibers ability to lower cholesterol?

And on a lighter note…do you watch The Bachelor? Team Jake or Team No-way Mr. Perfect?

Giveaway over at Eat Move Love — a Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook!


Filed under blood glucose, chronic disease, diabetes, dinner, fiber, fruits and vegetables, glycemic index, healthy cooking, high-fructose corn syrup, recipe, weight loss, weight maintentance


My favorite mornings are those that start with oats and laptop time (blogging) time. Oh, and cappuccino. Absolutely cannot forget the cappuccino.
And not any oats, bloggies…the best oats. Oats a la pumpkin butter! With Splenda brown sugar, turbinado, and pecans. Mmmmm! To DIE for!!!
What’s your favorite way to start your morning?

Sadly, Lily’s toe is hurt. She was playing with her sissy yesterday, though we’re not sure what actually happened. Sweetie pie has been limping around looking all pathetic since it happened. She’s going in to see the doggie doc this afternoon. Poor punkin…
Literally, she’s looked like this since yesterday. Doesn’t she just look…sad? And pathetic?
Count her chins..that always makes me smile.
 Lunch today was Tuna Edamame Salad, light string cheese, a Nutridel cookie, and a can of Zevia. It was a really satisfying lunch — one of the most satisfying I’ve had in a long time! High-five, self, for planning ahead and making that tuna salad last night!!
The wonderful people at The Healthy Baking Company sent me suncakes and Heart Thrive Meals-to-go. Not only are they adorable, but check this out…

One 2-ounce Heart Thrive contains…
~150-165 calories
~2 grams of fat
~32 grams of carbohydrate
~6 grams of fiber
~15 mg sodium
~6-7 grams of protein
~260 mg calcium
Ingredients in the Apricot Heart Thrive: Oats, unsulfured apricots, brown rice syrup, brown rice flour, soy protein concentrate, soy flour, inulin (chicory root extract), rice bran, natural fruit juice, dried plums, dried apples, dried pears, orange peel, calcium citrate, almond extract.
Facts: Vegan, wheat-free, dairy free, no preservatives, no GMO, low glycemic index
Taste: A
Nutrition: A-
These Heart Thrives are GOOD! My only regret is that they’re not lower in calories. Hence the minus. Would I recommend this product? ABSOLUTELY! The Heart Thrive was extremely filling, but I would need something more to call it a meal. Though, I do have the appetite of a heifer.
Thank you, Mark over at The Healthy Baking Company for the tasty samples! If you’re interested in trying Suncakes or Heart Thrives, go here
BEST PART!! If you place an order, you get SIX FREE Heart Thrives/Suncakes…and I do, too! Did you hear that?! Drop my name or blog name saying that you heard about The Healthy Baking Company through me and you get 6 FREE items with your order! 
You may also be a lucky recipient of a suncake or Heart Thrive if you participate in this
I received a slew of recipes yesterday for the cookbook but none yet today. 😦 Don’t forget to send your recipe(s) to! You will be the lucky recipient of tried and true favorite recipes and also enter to win a fabulous giveaway (which will be edible!). Up to 12 entries per person! Go here for more details!
In nutrition and health news…
Will the Food Guide Pyramid eventually include weekend and holiday guidelines? Studies show that weekend eating habits are as terrible as at the holidays. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that the quantity and quality of foods eaten during a meal over the course of the day differs considerably on weekends and and holidays [1]. If you’re anything like me, that’s not an understatement in the least.
Question: Do you think it’s sensible to add holiday and weekend guidelines to the Food Guide Pyramid?
Have a good evening, all…and to all a goodnight! Just kidding…I’ll be poking around reading blogs later!
[1]. Leff Ritchie, Amanda. Should Guidelines For Weekend and Holiday Eating Be Incorporated Into Food Pyramid? University of Pittsburgh. December 11, 2009.


Filed under blog, breakfast, coffee, Giveaway, glycemic index, lunch, Nutridel, recipe, research study, The Healthy Baking Company, vegan

Slow day…post day…

You know work is slow when it’s a double-post kinda day… : )

Mari asked me a wonderful question about PCOS and what type of diet is best for women suffering from PCOS. Great question, Mari…I hope this is helpful!

Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are at increased risk for heart disease and diabetes. Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance, causing the pancreas to secrete more and more insulin in order to transport glucose (sugar) out of the blood and into muscle, fat, and liver cells where it is converted to energy or stored as fat. Elevated insulin levels can cause polycystic ovaries, weight gain or difficult losing weight, increased risk of heart disease (elevated LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels and decreased HDL-cholesterol levels), and increased clotting factors. The risk of the developing diabetes in women with PCOS can be up to 40% by the age of 40. Most women (50-60%) with PCOS are obese (BMI greater than 30). Weight loss, even as little as 5% can lead to decreased insulin levels which is critical due to the fact that elevated insulin levels promote fat storage [1].

In researching how much carbohydrate a woman with PCOS should consume, I found varying recommendations. Before prescribing a standard 50-55% carbohydrate diet or a low (40% or less) carbohydrate diet, I would want to know a PCOS patient’s fasting blood sugar and HbA1c – a lab value indicating an average blood glucose reading representing 6-8 weeks. Agreeably, women with a higher BMI are statistically more likely to have insulin resistance, in which case a lower (less than 50-55%) carbohydrate diet is probably advisable.

I am of the opinion that to prevent diabetes, one should eat like a diabetic. For most women of normal to overweight size, this would include 30-45 grams of carbohydrates at meal times and 15-30 grams of carbohydrate + 1-2 ounces of protein before bedtime. Emphasis should be placed on complex, low-glycemic index carbohydrates, as well as a diet low in saturated (13 grams or less per day) and trans fat (none, preferably). For women with a BMI greater than 30, carbohydrate and energy needs go up – consult a Registered Dietitian for recommendations.

For example, a 180-pound (81.8 kilograms) female requires roughly 1230-1640 calories a day to lose weight (15-20 calories per kilogram of body weight. In order to find your weight in kilograms, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2). At minimum (30 grams of carbohydrate per meal with a 15-gram carbohydrate evening snack), carbohydrate comprises 26-34% of the daily intake. At maximum (45 grams of carbohydrate per meal with a 30-gram carbohydrate evening snack), carbohydrate comprises 40-54% of the daily energy intake.
(Note: one gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories – this is needed for calculations).

Other diet-related suggestions for women suffering from PCOS [1]:
Pair carbohydrate-rich foods and snacks with a lean protein or fat high in mono and/or polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Consume foods with a lower glycemic index – these foods are typically high in fiber
Space carbohydrates out throughout the day. Consuming consistent, moderate carbohydrate levels is best for blood sugar control
Consume plenty of decaffeinated, sugar-free beverages, especially water
Exercise on a regular basis — aerobic and anerobic
Take a multi-vitamin mineral supplement daily

[1]. McKittrick, Martha. PCOS and Diet. Publications.

The above information was provided by the above source. The author, Martha McKittrick is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. In other words, she is a wonderful resource!

Cookie Taste-Test Results!

The preferred cookie in yesterday’s cookie taste testing was the Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies. Hands down. There were only 2 votes NOT for the Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies and they were for the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies and the Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies.

P.S. I had 2 late-comers who wanted in so the total participation was 18 employees!

Last night I made deer meat tacos for dinner!
My father-in-law is a bow hunter and provides us with deer meat. Yum!

I had 1 deer meat taco, a dollop of fat-free refried beans, and a bed of shredded lettuce with deer meat, salsa, corn, and homemade guacamole. Mmmm!

Nutritional comparison of deer/venison vs. ground beef
(values represent a 1 ounce, raw portion)

– deer meat is 40 calories versus the 72 in ground beef*
– deer meat contains 0.8 grams of fat compared to 5.7 grams in ground beef*
– deer meat contains 7.6 grams of protein compared to 4.9 grams in ground beef

*this is standard 70-80% lean (does not specify)

Question: Have you tried deer meat? Did you like it? Did it taste “game-y” to you?

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Filed under blood glucose, cholesterol, diabetes, exercise, glycemic index, heart health, low-carb, meat consumption, minerals, PCOS, saturated fat, trans fat, vitamins, weight gain

Steel Cut Oats

There’s sooo much talk surrounding steel cut oats, and to be honest…I’d never heard of them until somewhat recently. As I shared last weekend, I FINALLY found steel cut oats at a health food store here in Tulsa and I FINALLY tried them this morning. Annnnnnnnnnnnndd? I really liked them!

So you’re probably thinking, what’s the big whoop about these steel cut oats compared to old-fashioned and instant oats, right?

First things first, all oats undergo cleaning, hulling, and conditioning, which removes the outer shell (the hull), leaving the inner kernel (oat groat). From this stage, oat groats are processed differently. Steel cut oats, also known as Irish oats, are cut with steel blades, creating a chewier oatmeal consistency. Rolled oats, commonly referred to as old-fashioned oats, consist of steamed groats which are then run through rollers to flatten them. Instant oats are rolled even thinner than old-fashioned oats as to decrease the necessary cook time. Additionally, instant oats are cooked and dried so that they simply need hydration and a short cook time before consumption.

Here’s what steel cut oats look like:

Therefore, steel cut oats are less “processed” than old-fashioned and instant oats. They also have a lower glycemic index which can cause lengthened satiety, blunted blood glucose curves, and a denser consistency. Draw backs: cook time!

So here’s how I prepared my steel cut oats this morning…..
Step 1: Boil 4 cups of water
Step 2: Add 1 cup steel cut oats to water and return to a boil

Step 3: Reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 4: Add flavoring of your choice.
My additions: 1 Tbsp pumpkin butter, 1 tsp turbinado, 1 tsp Splenda brown sugar

Step 5: Enjoy!

The consistency is much different than old-fashioned oats — more of a dense tapioca if you will? Overall, thumbs up. Like others, the extensive cook time and preparation may deter me from enjoying steel cut oats on busy mornings. I did make plenty for leftovers, so we’ll see how those reheat.

Is the “juice worth the squeeze”? Maybe for a change, but I’m pretty happy with old-fashioned oats! Based off this morning alone, I did feel “satisfied” for a long time! Even with old-fashioned oats, I’m typically hungry by late morning — not so much with the steel cut oats.

And in football news…sorry for ya, OSU! *happy dance* Fingers crossed for my Illini at 6!!

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Filed under breakfast, glycemic index, recipe