Category Archives: trans fat

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British news outlet, calorie-counting as previously endorsed by Weight Watchers has since been proven “inacurate” and “outdated”.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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Filed under blog topic request, carbohydrates, Cooking Light, dialysis & kidney disease, diet, dietitians, dinner, fiber, fruits and vegetables, garlic, healthy cooking, herbs, hydrogenation, obesity epidemic, pizza, protein, recipe, saturated fat, sodium, trans fat, vegetarian, weight loss, work

beware of the fair’s fare!

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Mr. P’s birthday was fun! We ended up going to the fair with some friends and I tried my first fried Oreo. As apprehensive as I was to take that first bite, boy am I sure glad I did…they are delicious! They’re hard to describe, but are something like a chocolate-filled donut hole. I’m glad we opted to split an order — one for each of us! That’s called damage control! Good thing fairs are a once-a-year deal!! 😉 And it’s probably not all too surprising that Mr. P wanted Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. I’m beginning to NOT enjoy anything involving buffalo sauce!

Nutty Fruit Bars adapted from Anja’s Food 4 Thought

1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup dried dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup dried figs, roughly chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raw pepitas pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (I used 1 Tbsp flax seeds + 3 Tbsp pistachios)
1/2 cup dried, unsweetened coconut

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300° F. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pour fruit juice over dates and let soak for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place nuts, apricots (or your fruit of choice), and figs in a food processor and pulse a few times until coarsely chopped. Add dates with orange juice and pulse until mixture starts to stick together. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add cranberries, coconut and seeds, kneading the batter until all is well incorporated.

Use the prepared baking sheet as surface and fill large cookie cutters with the batter. Gently remove the cutter to keep the bars in shape. Repeat until all batter is used up.

Bake 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Yield: 11 bars.

Nutrition Information (per bar): 236 calories; 17.5 g. fat; 56 mg. cholesterol; 102 mg. sodium; 18.3 g. carbohydrate; 10.8 g. sugar; 5.1 g. fiber; 5.4 g. protein

Result: These are a breakfast or snack DELIGHT! They are loaded with nutrition — fiber, mono and polyunsaturated fats, low in sodium….yum! I am a huge fan…and they are very simple to make. I may add in 1 tablespoon of agave or honey next time to just help them hold together a BIT more…but they are decadent! And like I said, nutritionally, they’re an A++!

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My business partners and I are meeting this morning to make some major head-way on our WEBSITE! That’s right, in less than 2 weeks Mid Ohio Nutrition Specialists (that’s us!) will be up and running on the web. We’ve got a pitch to a group of docs on October 18th and another pitch to prepare for a group of 11 nephrologists in Columbus. We need to bring our A-game! Exciting stuff!!

Question: What’s the weirdest or best deep-fried food you’ve ever had?

P.S. Pumpkin pie spice contains: cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg! Several of you got it right…not that I’m surprised! But I honestly had no idea…learn something new every day!

P.P.S. My Pumpkin Lasagna photo was on Foodgawker yesterday…awesome!! 😀 First submission and a home run! I was flattered!

P.P.P.S. My friend Erica is giving away a prep bowl set! Be sure to enter to win!

P.P.P.P.S. Stop by tomorrow for a giveaway!

Enough P.S.’s? I think so…ciao!

xoxo,

18 Comments

Filed under breakfast, carb-controlled, dietitians, dining out, dinner, dog, festival, fiber, flax, fried food, friends, healthy cooking, marriage, MUFAs and PUFAs, pets, recipe, saturated fat, self-control, snack, sodium, trans fat, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian

sweets for my sweetie

A bit ironic with yesterday’s post on high fructose corn syrup that this email pops in to my Blackberry at 7:22am while I’m on my way to work:

You want to make some brownies or cookies tonight for the bake sale? If not, I should probably pick something up at the store.

Love,

Me

That would be my husband. Less than 24 hours notice for a bake sale at his work. Isn’t Mr. P one lucky guy that I responded happily with a, “Sure! No problem!” And I think his co-workers are lucky he asked, too. Store bought baked goods can’t hold a candle to homemade! 😀

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies adapted from My Wellnest and originally from Cooks.com

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter 50/50 Smart Balance Butter Blend
1 cup sugar
1/4 skim milk
1/8 cup cocoa
1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter
1 1/2 cups quick oats or old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Combine butter, sugar, milk, and cocoa in saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter, oats, and vanilla until thick. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Cookies will harden as they cool. Yield: 16 large no-bake cookies.

Nutrition Information (per cookie): 146 calories; 7.6 g. fat; 10 mg. cholesterol; 58 mg. sodium; 18.4 g. carbohydrate; 1.5 g. fiber; 2.9 g. protein

Result: Ohhhh my! I should’ve stayed a no-bake virgin…these things are DANGEROUS!!! They taste so rich and just melt in your mouth. For that reason, I find the nutrition stats to be pretty wonderful. The fat in the cookies is primarily heart healthy MUFA’s and PUFA’s from the Smart Balance and trans fat-free peanut butter and they contain fiber from oats. And calorie-wise, I think they’re a great bargain for the size of the cookie. YUM! Added bonus: most people have every ingredient on hand, so when your hubby or kid pulls a bake sale out of left field, you don’t have to add grocery shopping to your to-do list, too 😉

Since the kitchen was already messy, I decided to make another recipe for the bake sale…

Basic Cookie Dough Recipe from Kitchen Daily

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter 50/50 Smart Balance Butter Blend, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined.

With the mixer on low speed, beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in any goodies (i.e. chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit, etc.). Tear off two sheets of waxed paper, each about 12 inches. Spoon half the dough lengthwise down the center of each sheet of paper forming a strip about 8 inches long. With your hands, roll each strip into a log about 2 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. Wrap the logs up in the paper. Freeze several hours until firm or freeze up to 3 months.

To bake: Preheat oven to 400° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap frozen dough and with a sharp knife, slice 1/4-inch thick. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden around the edges, rotating baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back. With a wide, thin metal spatula, remove from baking sheets to wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Nutrition Information (per cookie, dough without goodies): 54 calories; 2.2 g. fat; 8 mg. cholesterol; 51 mg. sodium; 8 g. carbohydrate; 0 g. fiber; 0.6 g. protein

Result: I made 1/2 of the batch into standard chocolate chip cookies by adding 1/3 cup chocolate chips and the other half into white chocolate chip cranberry cookies by adding 1/3 cup white chocolate chips and 1/4 cup dried cranberries. I love the versatility of having a simple dough recipe, especially since you can stash a batch in the freezer for up to 3 months! This was your classic, yummy cookie!

OIAJ or LTIAJ (Lily’s tongue in a jar)? LTIAJ sure occupies her, so I went with that… 😉

Other than baking last night, I dragged my tush through a 3 mile run on the treadmill. I don’t know why, but my legs felt like lead…certainly one of my worst runs in awhile. However, after watching Biggest Loser last night, I don’t think I can complain!! Jillian is MEAN!!

Question: Are you going to be watching The Biggest Loser this season?

Half way to Friday,

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Filed under butter, dessert, dog, exercise, fiber, heart health, high-fructose corn syrup, MUFAs and PUFAs, pets, physical activity, recipe, running, The Biggest Loser, trans fat

Avec coconut oil!

Thank you for all your comments on my coconut oil post yesterday. Obviously it’s a hot and controversial topic. Several of you shared your positive experiences with coconut oil and while I don’t discredit any potential benefits, I simply summarized the scientific findings. I believe nutrition is a science and what I teach and believe is based 100% on research and science. While “I feel more satisfied after eating coconut oil” is without a doubt true, we cannot then correlate satiety with said food. Period. It’s a well-known fact that protein and fat provide more satiety than carbohydrates and we have to be able to differentiate placebo effect and variable factors in credible research (i.e. did you lose weight because of coconut oil or because something, subconsciously or not changed in your diet, lifesytle, intake, or exercise routine?). This is why so-and-so heard from so-and so-that blah blah blah is great to treat xyz nutrition-related problem.

Gracie pointed out that saturated fat has recently captured a lot of positive research attention. Some research is now finding saturated fat to not be as harmful to heart health as originally thought. Key word: some. But excellent point, you’re absolutely right in that statement.

Health is a spectrum and what works for some…doesn’t for others (Like why is my margarita-slurping, Twizzler-eating, pizza-loving husband thin and I am not?). And old wives tales and personal testimonies are not something that hold credence in a science-based practice. To me, anyways. But truly, I am open minded. And to prove that, here is a recipe which includes coconut oil! A delicious recipe, at that! 😉

Mocha Granola slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is

2 cups rolled oats, uncooked
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/2 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 cup shredded coconut Let’s Do Organic Low-Fat shredded coconut
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 Tbsp 1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 375º F.

Combine all ingredients together and mix until wet. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 1o minutes. Flip the granola and bake for another 5 minutes. Flip again and bake for a final 5-10 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Yield: 12 servings (1/2 cup each)

Nutrition Information (per 1/2 cup): 305 calories; 14.4 g. fat; 46 mg. sodium; 40.5 g. carbohydrate; 5.4 g. fiber; 7.3 g. protein

Really yummy granola! I can’t so much taste the coconut oil, so I’ll probably be trying another coconut oil-containing recipe soon. Since it’s in my arsenal now and all 😉

Today is the LAST DAY of the Do What You Don’t Challenge! I want to hear from all 77 of you participants! 😉 I have some yoga to get to today! But I assure you, it will get done! 😀

Question: What are you up to this weekend? Any fun plans?

TGIF,

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Filed under breakfast, challenge, coconut oil, coffee, diet, recipe, trans fat, Uncategorized, yoga

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!

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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,


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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

Impromptu Q&A: NY Salt Ban

Lena of LMC In the World: Would love to hear your thoughts on the new bill in New York banning salt from restaurants.  Just heard about it and immediately wondered “I wonder what Nicole thinks of this” :).

Prevention RD: I’m so flattered, Lena 😉 Brooklyn democrat Felix Ortiz did propose salt being banned from food preparation within every restaurant in the state of New York and violations to be ticketed a $1,000 fine for a single violation. The bill reads, “No owner or operator of a restaurant in this state shall use salt in any form in the preparation of any food for consumption by customers of such restaurant, including food prepared to be consumed on the premises of such restaurant or off of such premises.”

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration is considering a request for government intervention to regulate the salt content of food.  This similar bill submitted by the New York City Health Department 2 months ago, requesting a goal of reducing salt intake by 20% over the next 5 years.

After reading MSNBC’s article, I love that they addressed the real issue at hand: most of the salt (over 75%) American’s consume is found IN foods, and not put ON foods by the consumer. And simply, American’s eat far, far too much salt. The MSNBC article stated, “A recent analysis showed that for every gram of salt cut, as many as 250,000 cases of heart disease and 200,000 deaths could be prevented over a decade.” Certainly some motivation to cut the salt right there, eh?

Opposition to these bills supports the campaign “My Food, My Choice”. Consumers should take initiative in their health care and well-being, but the issue is…they don’t. And therefore, our healthcare costs are continuing to rise at obscene rates.

And for me? I actually DO oppose the bill suggesting a ban on salt. I cook with salt. Most of my recipes contain salt. Salt is a natural preservative which can brighten the colors of foods and facilitates pH balance in foods. Salt changes the texture and consistency of baked goods, and obviously adds flavor.

Chefs in New York strongly oppose this bill, and I understand why. The issue, however, remains the exorbitant amount of sodium in restaurant-prepared foods. Due to the bulk and pace at which restaurants must turn out food, many of their ingredients are likely processed and heavily preserved…cutting corners on time and prep-work wherever possible. Maybe the issue goes back to the ingredients – your food is only as good (or as healthy) as the ingredients you use to make it.

There are many ways to get food to be as flavorful and rich, and that need not constitute salt and salt-containing products. Fresh herbs, spices, and blended ingredients can be used to create a most desirable dish. Restaurants may be looking at creating their own red sauces and ingredients from scratch, such as tomato sauce which contains 360 milligrams of sodium in 1/4th cup!

Consumers are not accountable in addressing their health and diet, even when nutrition information is readily available. And restaurant menu items contain far too much salt. The happy medium: reduce the salt, help the consumer help themselves, and continue to educate, educate, educate!

Salt isn’t the problem, WE are the problem. And the excessive salt, too. 😉

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Blue Cheese-Stuffed Chicken with Buffalo Sauce adapted from Cooking Light

1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
1 Tbsp reduced-fat sour cream
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp 2% reduced-fat milk
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 1/2 Tbsp butter 50/50 Smart Balance Butter Blend, divided
6 Tbsp finely chopped and drained roasted red peppers
2 tsp water
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp fresh garlic, minced
1/2 tsp hot sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Combine first 4 ingreidents in a small bowl. Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast to form a pocket. Stuff cheese mixture evenly into pockets.

Place flour in a shallow dish. Combine milk and egg in a shallow dish, stirring well with a whisk. Place panko in a shallow dish. Roll chicken breast in flour, then egg mixture, and lastly in the panko to cover. Repeat for each breast.

Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of Smart Balance/Butter Blend; swirl until butter melts. Arrange chicken in pan; cook 4 minutes of until lightly browned. Turn chicken over; place skillet in over. Bake at 350º F for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn broiler to 450º F and broil for 4-5 minutes, until lightly browned on top.

While chicken bakes, combine remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of Smart Balance/Butter Blend, bell peppers, water, Worcestershire, and garlic in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer; cook until butter melts. Remove from heat and stir in hot sauce. Serve sauce with chicken.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Information (per serving): 392 calories; 12.9 g. fat (6.7 g. saturated fat, 3.4 g. monounsaturated fat, 1 g. polyunsaturated fat); 47.4 g. protein; 18.5 g. carbohydrate; 1.1 g. fiber; 175 mg. cholesterol; 2.3 mg. iron; 421 mg. sodium; 120 mg. calcium

Result: THUMBS UP from Mr. Prevention and I! Sooo good! I wasn’t so sure about the sauce, but it was wonderful! 🙂 You know us…we love all things buffalo chicken-like! 😉

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Today’s NNM Topic: Hypertension (all too appropriate!)

Hypertension and high blood pressure are associated with stroke (3rd leading cause of death in the US), cardiovascular disease, and renal disease. A healthy blood pressure is 140/90 mm HG or lower (according to the ADA’s Manual of Clinical Dietetics), however some sources state “normal blood pressure” is less than 120/80 mg Hg.

A high-fiber diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy is recommended. Reducing saturated and trans fats have been shown to help reduce blood pressure. Sodium (salt) is also limited to 1,500 milligrams a day for persons with hypertension or at risk for hypertension. Risk factors for high blood pressure include: age, race (African American), family history, obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, excessive sodium intake, low potassium intake, low vitamin D intake, excessive alcohol intake, and stress.

Up Tomorrow: Garden updates! But I’ll tell you this….lots is growing! Indoors AND out! 😀

Question: What do YOU think about this salt ban? Is it realistic to “ban” all salt used in restaurant food preparation and cooking? Do you feel it is the obligation and right of the US government to impose nutritional standards among US citizens? Weigh in!

Salt lover (in moderation…),

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Filed under American Dietetic Association, blog topic request, Cooking Light, dinner, hypertension, RDA, recipe, saturated fat, sodium, trans fat, Uncategorized

Q&A + garden + renal failure

Gooooooooood morning, Friday!

I have a 7am hair appointment (weird time, I agree) and then I’m off to Houston to see my BFF for the weekend! I’m really excited! I don’t know that we have anything in particular planned other than a day trip to Galvelston. I will bring my beloved laptop and try to check in at some point!! But if you don’t hear from me, I’m enjoying the Houston sun! 😀

But not before a Q&A…!

Heather of Get Healthy with Heather: I used to have big issues with lactose but now it seems to only happen with non fat dairy products. Do you know why that could be?

Prevention RD: Okay, I’m making a deduction here. RD’s chime in if you have any ideas on this! When fat is taken out of products – sugar is put in. For example, whole milk has less “sugar” (carbohydrate) than fat-free milk. This sugar is in the form of lactose in dairy products. All products are going to vary based on the brand, so start checking out the carbohydrate content on your whole fat versus low-fat versus fat-free dairy products. I’ll bet this is the issue! While only a small change, chances are your body has its “happy zone” for lactose tolerance. GREAT question…got me thinkin’! 😉

Bridget: I just discovered your site recently, and I have a topic request: my husband (who had not had a physical for nearly 10 years) and I got back our annual physical results today. It turns out that he has a shockingly high triglycerides count: 574! Our doctor is going to start him on nicotinic acid medication to get his triglycerides down, since she says that it could cause pancreas damage at its current level. She wants to check his blood again in 6 weeks. Obviously I don’t want him to be on medication forever, so I am going to research what we can do from a dietary standpoint. She says to decrease sugar intake in his diet–do you have any other info on what might help him?

Prevention RD: So glad you found me! While 574 is a high value and he does risk pancreatitis with such high levels, I have seen much worse! Like…5,000+!! Crazy, huh? More like scary, really. Triglycerides are largely influenced by the diet because the value represents the lipid (fat) found in the blood. Weight loss, lower calorie intake, limited alcohol intake, and reduced carbohydrate (simple carbohydrates – i.e. sugar, white flour, sodas, juices, sweets, etc.) intake help lower triglycerides. A low saturated and trans fat diet should be implemented and healthy fats (mono and polyunsaturated fats) should be increased (e.g. nuts, seeds, natural nut butters, avocados, canola oil, olive oil, etc.). Additionally, I recommend 3,000 milligrams of omega-3/fish oil supplementation a day. Omega 3’s work beautifully to lower triglycerides. Good luck to your hubby! Great question!

Kenya: Does water maintain its health benefits if I add one of those sugar free sweeteners like Crystal Light or does it really just become more like a ‘kool-aid’ type of drink?

Prevention RD: I am not opposed to these beverages because they encourage calorie-free, caffeine-free beverage choices. Is it preferred to water? Nah (because of the artificial sweeteners and preservatives). But I think it’s WAY better to consume those products to help stay properly hydrated versus not consuming enough liquids each day. I think a good rule of thumb is to have at least half of your water needs each day coming from water and the rest from caffeine-free, calorie-free beverages (i.e. flavored waters, Crystal Light, Fit and Active, etc.), if needed. Good question!!

John of Challenges 2010: I came across something where it’s said green tea can block testosterone and that black tea would be better for males. What do you think?

Prevention RD: I checked with the ADA, MayoClinic, and WebMD which report nothing of the like. I’ve never heard of this before so I also ran it past our medical providers. None of them batted an eye in recognition of this as an issue. A Google search turned up nothing but body building and supplement sites. Sketch! I’m going to suggest an “everything in moderation” approach. 🙂

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GARDEN UPDATE!!!

I have some growth!!! 4 days later and we’re in gardening business!!! 😀

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Today’s NNM Topic: Renal Failure

Today’s topic is renal failure because so much of the renal failure in the US is secondary to uncontrolled diabetes, yesterday’s topic. Elevated blood glucose can cause scarring to the delicate and intricate renal nephrons which comprise the kidneys. During the beginning stages of renal failure, protein, sodium, potassium, and phosphorus may be limited to help preserve kidney function. These electrolytes are closely monitored to ensure proper fluid and pH balance, among other things.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, 30% of type 1 diabetics and 10-40% of type 2 diabetics develop kidney disease. Once the kidneys fail transplant or dialysis are required to live. When the kidneys can no longer clean the blood of waste and fluid, dialysis must be initiated. Dialysis sessions typically last 3-4 hours and must be completed several times a week.

Kidney failure due to uncontrolled diabetes is a very scary reality.

Question: Where was the last vacation or getaway you took? Any fun weekend plans?

Enjoy the weekend!!

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