Thursday, December 30, 2010

Emerald Cocoa Roast Almonds

I used to hate nuts, especially almonds. However, over the past year I have learned to like almonds (yes, it is possible to make yourself like a food if you try it enough!!). I wanted to start liking almonds since they are one of the most nutritious nuts for you as they contain high levels of vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, manganese, riboflavin, copper, fiber, and monounsaturated fats. The research surrounding almonds is extremely positive, and most studies demonstrate that about 1/4 cup can reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol, and can be protective against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even weight gain! Almonds (especially the skins) are also high in antioxidants which may be another reason why they are so beneficial for your health, but make sure you have almonds with the skin on.


When I did my research at UD on the Raw Foods Diet I began eating raw almonds with dried fruit. Then, I went home where my parents buy salted and roasted almonds, so I adopted eating those. Just two days ago at work I was introduced to a new almond product: Emerald Cocoa Roasted Almonds. If you like chocolate and you like almonds, this snack is for you! They are no higher in fat and calories than plain almonds, and taste like candy! I highly recommend these to curb your appetite for something sweet. However, one draw back is they do contain artificial ingredients and additives for the cocoa coating... but even so, these are way healthier than eating a chocolate and almond candy bar! One word of advice: watch your portion size!

To learn more, visit: http://www.emeraldnuts.com/

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Years Resolutions

The holiday eating season is almost over and now is the time when people start trying to make big changes in their lives for the New Year. The only problem is that big changes, such as New Year’s Resolutions, are extremely hard to stick to, as evidenced by the surge of people in the gym during January, and the lull that occurs in February of every year.
Weight loss is one of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions, but very few people are successful at maintaining weight loss during the entire year.  One major reason for this lack of success is because people are trying to change too much at one time. You may increase your exercise routine from two days a week to five, in addition to trying a new low-carb diet. Talk about taking on a whole new lifestyle!! The key to be successful is to take baby steps… maybe increase your workouts to three days, then try four, and determine if it is realistic that you will stick to this exercise regime for the foreseeable future (ie: more than 1 year).  After all, a baby doesn’t go from rolling over to being a proficient walker in a matter of days… it takes time and small baby steps.
Like a sudden increase in exercise, an extreme change in your diet will also be hard to maintain for more than a few weeks. Your diet is a vital component of everyday life and a sudden and extreme change will not bode well for your physical and mental wellbeing. What you eat, where you eat, how you eat, and who you eat with all help to contribute to who you are as a person. So, if you suddenly go on a diet, your body will be shocked and dislike this extreme change. You may lose weight, but you may become deficient in nutrients, lack energy, become irritable, and not be able to enjoy social activities like you used to. So, to be successful, you need to adopt healthy eating habits and try to follow the 90/10 rule (90% of the time= healthy; 10%= unhealthy).
            If your New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight, or just be healthier, I highly recommend that you take small steps instead of a huge leap. If you live in the area and are considering changing your diet, I encourage you to meet with me so I can establish your nutritional needs, educate you about choosing healthy foods, and help you with meal planning and how to stock your pantry. If you are a member of CLM, be sure to join the Big Loser Contest (even if you aren't trying to lose weight) and take advantage of the super-cheap Personal Training and Nutrition Specials!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wawa Trip

Going to Wawa is fun and a must-do experience for all people when they visit the Mid-Atlantic region. I love Wawa and look forward to going. However, it is usually a treat since I rarely eat out (because, really, I could make a much cheaper sandwich at home). Wawa in theory doesn’t sound like it would be hard to find healthy foods… but it is (mostly due to the high sodium content of foods).

Kelly’s Guide to Healthier Eating at WAWA:

HOAGIES: Hoagies or sandwiches on 100% whole wheat bread can be a healthy choice if you choose correctly (ie: eliminate cheese, choose lean meats, and eliminate fancy sauces) except for the high sodium content. Ask for low-sodium items and eliminate mustard if you are watching your salt intake:
MeatTurkey, Ham, or Roast Beef120-135 kcal
RollWhole Wheat Shorti220 kcal
ToppingsLettuce, Tomato, Onion20 kcal
SauceSpicy Mustard, Yellow Mustard, or Oil & Vinegar30 kcal, 50 kcal (oil)
NUTRITION TOTALSCalories: 390-405, Fat (g): 5.5-7 (add 5 if oil), Sat Fat (g): 0-1.5 (ham), Sodium (mg): 1680-2320 (mustard), Carb (g): 50, Fiber (g): 5, Protein (g): 28-32

 SOUPS: Soups can be a very healthy option in terms of calories, fat, and vegetable content.
Again, the only problem with Wawa Soups is the extremely high sodium content. Always choose a size small:
SOUP NAMECaloriesFat (SFA) (g)Carb (Fiber) (g)Sodium (mg)Protein (g)
Chicken Noodle1002 (0.5)15 (1)8205
Maryland Crab700.5 (0)13 (1)8604
Minestrone902.5 (0)14 (3)6704
Santa Fe Chicken1004 (1.5)11 (3)8305
COFFEE: If you have read my blog, you know that I believe coffee is a healthy beverage, if not consumed in extremely large quantities. At Wawa, stay away from the cappuccinos and fancy coffee-house drinks (even if they say “low fat”). These products are loaded with sugar, fake additives, and sometimes heavy cream. If you have to have that cappuccino flavor, add a very small amount (1/4-1/2 cup) and fill the rest with black coffee. Add skim milk and a max of  2 sugar packets to your black coffee (I recommend caffeinated or ½ decaf and ½ regular). 

BAGELS, PASTRIES, BREAKFAST FOODS: I do not advise eating the whole bagel, even if it is 100% whole grain. Eat only ¼ to ½ of the bagel with your meal, and be sure to add in some fruit and protein. Obviously I do not recommend any pastries or muffins, even if they are “low-fat.” I also do not advise eating any sausage and cheese product, even if it is Turkey Sausage- this is still high in sodium and preservatives and not the best choice (but better than regular!) 

HEALTHY SNACKS & MEALS: As far as salads, choose the Garden with low-fat dressing, or eliminate the croutons, cheese, and bacon found in others. Stay away from wraps, they are loaded with calories and are not much lower in carbs than the hoagies. I recommend the fruit bowls, light yogurt, cottage cheese, pita & hummus, or protein pack (fruit & cheese is okay if you can limit the amount of cheese you consume.)

ENJOY THE WAWA EXPERIENCE!!!
Source of nutrition info: Wawa Website “Meal Builder” http://www.wawa.com/WawaWeb/Nutrition/Default.aspx

Soda Tax: Sin Tax or Super Tax?

You may have heard a lot about the so called ”soda tax” (Sugar Sweetened Beverage (SSB) Tax) over the past year and be a little unclear as to the meaning of it. Well, the soda tax varies greatly depending on the specific legislation in a community, if they even have it. In general, the soda tax would tax a small charge on each soda, fruit drink, sports drink, and other SSBs. SSBs are the target because they have been identified as the largest contributor of excess (discretionary) calories and one of the main factors in the development of obesity. They contribute no nutritional value except for calories. But, to be clear: the main goal of this tax is to raise money, direct obesity prevention is a small and unlikely benefit politicians are hoping for (and they do know that this tax will most likely not prevent obesity). However, a main proposal for use of the revenue generated from a sin tax is to use the funds for obesity-prevention campaigns... which would be a way to indirectly reduce obesity rates from the Soda Tax.

According to Michael Jacobson from the Centers for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI): ”Beverage companies market more than 14 billion gallons of calorie-laden soft drinks annually. That is equivalent to about 506 12-oz. servings per year, or 1.4 servings per day, for every man, woman, and child.” Just a one cent tax on a 12-oz soda would generate an estimated $1.5 billion annually. Higher taxes would generate more revenue and be more likely to decrease soda consumption (since most people would not decrease their spending if a Coke costs $1.50 instead of $1.49).

A recent study out of Duke University found that a 20% increase on SSB sales tax would result in a daily consumption of 6.9 fewer calories, and 0.7 lbs/yr per person. A 40% tax would generate weight loss up to 1.3 lbs/yr/person. However, the study found that middle income families would see the most benefit from this tax (by benefit I mean weight loss), as high income households are likely to be unaffected by increased prices and low-income groups would wait for sales to purchase or buy generic brands (although I am unsure as to why generic brands would avoid the tax?).

The debate surrounding this topic is prevalent…. some think the government is taking too much control, and where will the taxing stop? You can’t tax every food that “might” contribute to weight gain, and also, who determines which foods are “bad”?? Another argument, which I think is less impressive, is the notion that this tax “disproportionately affects the poor (b/c they buy more SSBs than the higher class). I disagree, only because no one is forcing lower income households to purchase SSBs (and they can purchase Diet soda for a cheaper price if they are really craving soda, or drink free tap water!).

The other argument is that this is one way to generate a ton of revenue and help get our country out of a financial crisis. If obesity is a secondary effect of the tax, fabulous! Then we can save even more money from the healthcare bills associated with obesity. Other pro-arguments say that a 1-2 cent tax really won’t make a difference for people buying soda…… and they shouldn’t be buying it in quantities that would make those 1-2 cents add up to a significant amount. Oh, another thing: most states already have soda and candy taxes, people are just unaware of it. Pennsylvania already has a 6% tax on soda (and some for chips/pretzels) from grocery stores and vending machines. See: http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparemaptable.jsp?yr=92&typ=2&ind=696&cat=1&sub=9&sortc=2&o=a to check out your state.

So, it is up to you to decide your stance on the soda tax. I just gave you a small summary of the debate, so I hope you take the time to look into the research for yourself… instead of making hasty decisions or agreeing with your favorite political news correspondent.


Sources:
  1. Eric A. Finkelstein, Chen Zhen, James Nonnemaker, Jessica E. Todd. Impact of Targeted Beverage Taxes on Higher- and Lower-Income Households. Arch Intern Med., 2010;170(22):2028-2034. DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2010.449
  2. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-5009316-503544.html
  3. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101213163742.htm
  4. http://www.statehealthfacts.org/profileind.jsp?ind=696&cat=1&rgn=40

Breast Milk is the Best Milk (for Babies)

My mother was the President of Wayne-Paoli Nursing mothers way back when my brothers and I were infants. Consequently, I have been brought up thinking that breastfeeding is what I must do when I have children (because my mom nags… I mean encourages… every mother-to-be or new mother about the topic). However, it was only the past few years that I have learned about all the benefits associated with breastfeeding, especially with regards to health and development, and my feelings about breastfeeding intensified.

Question: Why am I writing about this in a nutrition blog? Answer: Breastmilk is a major source of nutrition during a critical developmental period

Anyway, at Penn State I was able to take a breastfeeding (BF= breastfeeding, not boyfriend or best friend) lecture series through one of my courses, and then during the dietetic internship we had opportunities to learn about the benefits. Also, I try to keep up on my BF research because it is always a topic of conversation with my older friends and cousins who are having babies.

Here are the basic facts showing why BF is a good choice:
  • On average, women will burn an extra 350-500 calories/day during lactation, and therefore, it is an easy way to help get rid of the extra “baby weight”
  • BF is cheap. If you don’t need to lose weight, the extra 400 calories/day can be supplemented by 4 tbsp of peanut butter, which ends up costing about $0.33/day(assuming 15 tbsp/container, $2.50/container) versus on average $5.00/day for formula (see http://www.suite101.com/content/cost-comparison-of-breastfeeding-and-formula-a128286 for a more detailed analysis of all products needed for both options).
  • BF forms a bond between mother and child
  • Many other reasons not really related to nutrition…..
Now, for the nutrition and health-related reasons:
  • Breastmilk contains anti-bodies that formula cannot provide allowing the infant’s immune system to gain strength
  • A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that children (especially boys) that were breastfed for >6 months performed better academically after 10 years than those who were not. Another study also found that children breastfed for >8 months performed higher on verbal and performance IQ tests at ages 7 and 8. (3,4)
  • The previously mentioned study findings could be attributed to the long chain fatty acids that are found in breastmilk (formula cannot mimic) which are critical to brain development
  • Adults who were breastfed have a lower risk of countless diseases and health disorders (gastric cancer, peptic ulcer disease, breast cancer, osteoporosis, obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and others).
Because of all the benefits associated with breastfeeding, the World Health Organization recommends that all mothers breastfeed for at least 6 months. If you are unable to breastfeed, do not worry, your child will most likely turn out fine. However, do not discount breastfeeding if you haven’t tried. For more information about breastfeeding, visit La Leche League Int’l: http://www.llli.org/resources.html

A final quote to leave you with from the World Health Organization:
“Lack of breastfeeding – and especially lack of exclusive breastfeeding during the first half-year of life – are important risk factors for infant and childhood morbidity and mortality that are only compounded by inappropriate complementary feeding. The life-long impact includes poor school performance, reduced productivity, and impaired intellectual and social development.” (6)


References:
1. Breastfeeding Facts: http://www.breastfeedingfacts.com/
2. La Leche League International Facts: http://www.llli.org/cbi/facts.html
3. Dewey, K.G. Is breastfeeding protective against child obesity? J Human Lact 2003; 19 (1) 9-18.
4. Pediatrics, DOI: 10.1542/peds.2009-3489
5. Horwood, L. J. et al. Breast milk feedings and cognitive ability at 7-8 years. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2001:84:423-27.
6. World Health Organization. Global strategy on infant and young child feeding. 2002-4;13.10.

Coffee

Picture Source: Gryphon Cafe (Wayne, PA) website


I surprise most people when I say that I am a big advocate of coffee. For some reason, most people I come across are afraid to tell me that they drink coffee and believe I will tell them it is bad for them. Quite the contrary! Personally, I really like coffee and probably drink 12-16 oz each day. While I advocate coffee, I do not advocate drinking copious amounts (more than 3 cups/day) because doing so can stress the heart.

Here are my reasons why coffee is healthy:
  • If it’s black, it is a very low-calorie beverage choice
  • The caffeine in it can actually aid in weight loss and boost the metabolism
  • Studies have shown that heavy coffee drinkers are at significantly lower risk of getting type 2 diabetes than non-coffee drinkers (possibly linked to the increase in metabolism) (2)
  • In men, coffee is shown to be protective against Parkinson’s disease
  • Though still controversial, coffee may be protective against certain cancers possibly due to the high level of antioxidants (and protective against colon cancer because it keeps things “moving” through the digestive tract)
  • Drinking tea and coffee during midlife may help protect against Alzheimer’s and Dementia later in life (3)
  • Coffee helps prevent constipation and keeps waste moving through your system (see colon cancer bullet) which helps keep your digestive system clear
 The caffeine content of coffee varies on the brew style and type of bean, but is generally safe unless consumed in high quantities or consumed by people with pre-existing heart condtions or other illnesses where coffee is not recommended. Research is still inconclusive, but seems to support that coffee consumption does not increase blood pressure long-term. Below is the average caffeine content of coffee beverages (4):
  • brewed: 1 cup (7 oz, 207 ml) = 80–135 mg.
  • drip: 1 cup (7 oz, 207 ml) = 115–175 mg.
  • espresso: 1 shot (1.5–2 oz, 45–60 ml) = 100 mg
Negative side effects of coffee consumption:
  • Inhibits the absorption of iron (and other nutrients), which can lead to iron deficiency anemia
  • Caffeine in coffee may aggravate pre-existing conditions such as GERD and heart arrhythmias and may lead to dependency
  • In one study, there were thousands of chemicals found in roasted coffee, and 19/28 were rodent carcinogens. However, humans have many protective enzymes against these carcinogens and they may not be harmful (5). 
My recommendation:
Enjoy your daily cup of coffee (or two) but do not add excessive amounts of sweetener or half-and-half. Sure, you can use it if you watch the rest of your diet… just don’t be like Manny on Modern Family who adds several sugar packets to one ounce of expresso. Also, be wary of flavored creamers which often contain Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil (trans fat)- even if they say they are fat free!!! They also probably contain High Fructose Corn Syrup, so just read the label.


References:
1.  Coffee Health Benefits: Coffee may protect against disease. February 2006.  Harvard Health Letter. 
2.  Pereira, Mark A; Parker, Emily D; Folsom, Aaron R (2006). “Coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: an 11-year prospective study of 28 812 postmenopausal women”. Archives of Internal Medicine 166 (12): 1311–6. doi:10.1001/archinte.166.12.1311. PMID 16801515. http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/166/12/1311.
3. “Midlife Coffee And Tea Drinking May Protect Against Late-life Dementia”. ScienceDaily. January 15, 2009. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090114200005.htm. Retrieved December 20, 2010.
4. Bunker, ML; McWilliams, M (January 1979). “Caffeine content of common beverages”. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 74 (1): 28–32.
5. Ames, Bruce N; Gold, Lois Swirsky (1998). “The causes and prevention of cancer: the role of environment”. Biotherapy 11 (2–3): 205–20. doi:10.1023/A:1007971204469

Vitamin Supplements

I get a lot of questions about whether you should take vitamin supplements. People are bombarded by the media, friends, holistic counselors, personal trainers, etc. telling them which vitamin or mineral is hot right now and will keep you young looking, prevent disease, help you lose fat, and work other miracles. I’m not saying there isn’t any truth to some of these claims, there is a lot of solid research out there on specific vitamins and minerals being good for certain things. However, the majority of the most compelling research usually compares the difference between people who are deficient (or in the lowest quintile) of vitamin status versus those in the highest quintile. For example, a study might suggest that Vitamin D protects against breast cancer, but that is when comparing women with the lowest vitamin D plasma levels versus those women with the highest. Also, you have to keep in mind that plenty of studies show a world of difference in benefits when comparing a vitamin/mineral in supplement form versus IV infusion (ex: Vitamin C studies), or for Vitamin D, most studies show the greatest benefit through UV ray exposure. Generally, more benefit is seen through high doses via IV or (Vitamin D) UV rays.

So, do I recommend taking vitamin/mineral supplements? The answer depends on each and every person. I can’t categorize all women over the age of 50 and say they all need to take calcium (Reason: Imagine that one lady eats 4 yogurts/day, 2 glasses of milk, 1 glass kefir, and eats a can of sardines with the bones- she most likely doesn’t need to take excess calcium!).

What I do recommend is having your diet analyzed to determine if you are at risk for being deficient in any vitamins or minerals, and determine if you can easily fix that through diet. If not, taking a supplement may be warranted. Or, if your diet is terrible and you  have no plans for changing this (which obviously I don’t advocate and don’t know who would want to keep a terrible diet), a multi-vitamin might be okay once every few days.

Keep in mind taking in high levels of vitamins and minerals can harm you, especially minerals. Some build up in your system and can be toxic and fatal (eg: iron), or taking high doses of one can inhibit the absorption of another (eg: iron and calcium). So, before you start taking 800 mg of folate, speak with your doctor or a registered dietitian to see if there will be any negative reprocussions. You can look to my previous posts about my thoughts on Vitamin C and fish oil supplementation. So that’s my point of view on vitamin and mineral supplementation…. my recommendation (and the recommendation of most RDs): get it through food and save yourself the money!

COOKIES!!!

Everywhere you turn you see them. Everybody gives them to you. You can’t help but make them and get everything dirty while doing so. They make you happy. They are sweet and colorful. Some like them gooey, some like them crunchy. Some like them warm, some like them dipped in milk. There are hundreds of varieties from all different ethnic backgrounds. Your grandmother made them the best, but you’re not so bad at it yourself.

What am I talking about? COOKIES!!!!!!!! (of course!). We are in the midst of Christmas (or “Holiday”) cookie season! In the next week I will be trekking to my Aunt Alice’s in Hellertown, PA for our annual Christmas cookie bake-a-thon. This entails one full day (formerly an entire weekend) where my cousins, aunt, brothers, and I go through over 25 lbs of flour and make hundreds of cookies in over a dozen varieties. So, I know something about being tempted to eat cookies (and especially the batter!). Instead of writing a detailed analysis of the different types of cookies or ”healthy” cookies you can make, I think it will just be more informative to put the nutrition information for various cookies in front of you. Because seriously, I don’t know anyone in my family who looks favorably upon a “healthified” cookie (sometimes I do sneak in some whole wheat pastry or white whole wheat flour without anyone noticing… shhh). Anyway, see my previous post on mindful eating to remind you not to eat too many.
But here it is, the hard facts:
Cookie Name
Serving Size
 (cookie- diameter)
Calories
Fat (g)
Saturated Fat (g)
Total Carb (g)
Fiber (g)
Sugar (g)
Protein (g)
Chocolate Chip
3”
140
8
3.5
16
0
10
1
Sugar cut-out
2”
55
3
2
6
0
3
1
Oatmeal Raisin
3”
70
3
0.5
10
0.5
7
1
Pizzelle
4 ½”
70
3
0.5
11
0
4.5
1
Gingersnap
4”
135
3
1
25
0.5
6
2
Peanut Butter
3”
110
6
1
12
0
6
2
White Choc Macadamia Nut
3”
110
6
3
12
0
7
2
Peanut Butter Kiss
3”
115
6
3
14
0
7
2
Snicker- doodle
2 ¾”
60
3
1
9
0
5
0
Gingerbread Man
3” tall
70
1
0
15
0
8
0
Russian Tea Cake
1” ball
75
5
1
6
0
6
1
Chocolate Crinkle
1.5”
70
3
1
10
0
7
1
Frosted Bon Bon
1” ball
80
3.5
1.5
10
0
6
0
Almond Meringue
1.5”
65
3
2
5.5
0
3.5
2
Molasses Sugar
2”
95
4.5
1
13
0
7
1
Lindzer Tart (raspberry)
3”
120
4.5
2
18
0
12
1
*Serving size is the diameter of the cookie (usually 1/4″ thick), unless otherwise specified

Sources: USDA Food & Nutrient Database and www.BettyCrocker.com

Mindful Eating

Do you eat to live… or do you live to eat? This is a question my brother brought to my attention during one of our many discussions relating to food and nutrition and I think it’s a great one. I think my siblings and I primarily eat to live, rather than live to eat. A lot of our relatives and friends don’t understand this way of life and often respond with: “How can you not gorge yourself with lasagna and homemade cookies when they are right there and are so delicious?!”  Personally, I like food, but I have learned to really like healthy foods (ie: I honestly enjoy them- I prefer grilled vegetables over any cut of meat, pasta, mashed potatoes, french fries, etc. I don’t eat them just because they are healthy- I sincerely prefer the taste). I also know that I will have other opportunities in my life to eat cookies, so I don’t need to load up at that particular time. I do like unhealthy foods too… I enjoy cookies, pumpkin pie, ice cream, candy, etc. So, I do eat those unhealthy foods in moderation. I’m lucky that I’m not the type of person that craves junk food and can’t stop eating, but I also know that eating more of anything won’t make me feel any better and doesn’t do anything for me, so what’s the point? Living at college also taught me to buy food on a budget… so I think that really helped me out in the long run. When I grocery shop I don’t usually buy cookies or candy because I see it as just throwing my money away. I could use that $2.50 I would have spent on junk food and use it to buy my favorite Trader Joe’s hummus, or an exotic piece of fruit I haven’t had before. I believe that anyone can train themselves to think this way….. I didn’t do it purposely, but taking nutrition classes and living on a budget really made me think about where I spent my food dollars.

Anyway, back to mindless eating: During our whole existance, humans have always relied on food for survival. It is only recently that food is plentiful, and calorie-dense food is the norm, so most Americans do not have to binge on food when it becomes available…. because it is almost always around. What I just said partially explains the obesity epidemic. Our bodies are built for survival, and our bodies have evolved over the centuries to have a liking for fat and sugar (calorie dense= more energy, more insulation= better chance of surviving) which explains why people can’t turn away cookies, cakes, lasagna, french fries, hamburgers, deep-fried twinkies, etc. There is also research out there showing that humans innately love salt + fat, and salt + sugar (so salt + fat + sugar= a recipe for deliciousness coupled with overeating). This is probably the reason why I love a recipe my friend’s mom made for a dinner party- dark chocolate with dried fruit, pistachios, and Fleur de Sel (Flower of salt= French Sea Salt)- it has all three components. I think she learned how to make this at a William Sonoma cooking class, look it up- it’s always a classy dessert and crowd pleaser.

Again, back to mindful eating… Google “mindful eating” and you will come across dozens of websites and even institutes based on mindful eating. My simplified version of mindful eating encompasses the following principles:
  • Be conscious of what you are putting in your mouth
  • Realize that food is supposed to be nutritious. That is, you should only eat to derive necessary nutrients (fat, carb, protein, vitamins, minerals, etc.). Think of your body as a car, and food and drinks as fuel. You would never pour soda (ie: high fructose corn syrup, chemicals, and acid) into your gas tank, so why the heck would you put it in your body?
  • Food that is healthy and you like the taste of is out there, trust me. You just need to find it. Also, your taste buds adapt, so try eating a lower-sodium diet and you will find that things you once enjoyed  (eg: frozen pot pie meals) now taste too salty, same thing with sugar. Also, you will learn to really enjoy eating vegetables if you cook them right and eat them frequently. Anyone who says they don’t like vegetables just hasn’t had them made the right way.
  • Before you pick up that cookie or piece of candy, think: “Is this really going to make me feel better, or is it going to provide me with good nutrition?” The answer is probably no. In fact, after you eat it, you might even regret it and then feel worse than you did before you ate it. If you ask yourself this question before you reach for extra snacks or that second serving of mashed potatoes, you will no longer be “mindlessly eating”, you will now be “mindfully eating”! If you think about it, you’re now using your mind.
The point to this blog is to reinforce the fact that (hopefully) food will always be available to you and you will never need to binge for survival. Understand that eating’s primary job is to provide you with nutrition, but it should be enjoyable at the same time.

Be conscious of the food you are putting into your body and ask yourself these questions before you eat something:
1) Am I hungry or will I go several  hours without eating?
2) Is this food I’m about to eat going to provide me with proper nutrition?
3) Do I need to eat a lot of this food to obtain any benefits (eg: Eat a lot of veggies at one sitting to get your servings in for the day- a rare example of when eating a few servings may be okay)? 
4) Will eating this piece of junk food really make me happier and/or feel better than if I don’t eat it? Will I regret eating it after?
5) Do I eat to live or live to eat? How can I change my way of thinking?

Vitamin C

Beer is High in Carbs, Right???



There is a lot of talk out there about beer being high in carbs. Please refer to my previous post about my feeling on carbs (they are not the cause of weight gain… but you should focus on eating all natural carbs- fruit, veg, whole grains, and not too many). But that being said, the majority of calories in beer do not come from the carbs, they come from the alcohol! Alcohol contains 7 calories/gram. To compare:
  • Carb= 4 cal/g
  • Protein= 4 cal/g
  • Ethanol (alcohol)= 7 cal/g
  • Fat= 9 cal/g
 So, alcohol is closer to fat in terms of calorie density than carbs or protein. That is why one shot (1.5 oz) of 80 proof Vodka will run you almost 100 calories. Pretty comparable to drinking a shot of vegetable oil!

The carbs in beer are derived from whatever cereal the beer is made of (malted barley, wheat, corn, or sometimes, rice). In general, most beers have fewer carbs per 12 oz. than a glass of milk. The lower the carbs in a beer, the less flavor the beer will have (hence the reason why a lot of people compare drinking light beer to drinking water). But there is a certain point where they cannot decrease the calories in a beer anymore, without eliminating all the alcohol. 

Here is a brief list of the calorie, carb, and alcohol content of a select few beers:

BEER CONTENTS BASED ON 12 FL OZ.:
Beer nameCaloriesCarb (g)Alcohol (%)
Budweiser14510.65
Bud Light1106.54.1
Michelob Ultra952.64.1
Sam Adams Boston Lager160184.75
Yuengling Lager135124.4
Source: USDA Nutrient Database, http://www.livestrong.com/


If you want to know how to calculate calories in your beer, you have to be pretty math-savvy, and need to know the following:
  • mL of alcohol (mL of beer x % alcohol)
  • # mL of alcohol x 1 g alcohol/1 mL alcohol
  • # g alcohol x 7 calories/gram= ________ calories
Example: 12 oz beer= ~355 mL x 0.045 (4.5%) alcohol= ~16 g alcohol, 16 g x 7 kcal/g= 112 calories just from alcohol…….. and then you need to add additional calories for carbs (on average, say 10 g carb/beer= 40 extra calories)= 152 kcals in this example beer (+ any additional calories from added sugars for your fruity beers).

Picture Source: http://s3-media3.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/cn8tvD_K_sTzVf5opOtvFw/ls.jpg (Teresa's Next Door, Wayne, PA= great beer on tap!)

My Favorites at: Trader Joe's

Another new blog category came to mind today… I’m calling it “My favorites at: ______”. For this I will list my favorite food items you can buy at a particular store, restaurant, or point of interest (Ball Park, street, town, mall, etc.). So, for my first post in this category, I am writing about my favorite grocery store: Trader Joe’s.
Oat Bran:
For <$2.75 you get a bag of TJ’s brand oatbran that lasts weeks (for one person). This is super cheap compared to other packaged oatbran products and very high quality. Throughout my blogs, you will notice I am a big advocate of Oat Bran (so look for future postings with recipes).

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
I keep this frozen in 2 oz. portions so I can just de-thaw, then whenever I am using the oven, I roll this out to make a whole wheat flatbread. Bake for ~8 minutes in a 375 degree oven… and now you have a healthy whole-grain side to any meal! Sooo doughy and delicious.

Hummus
Seriously, Trader Joe’s has the creamiest and most delicious hummus I have ever tasted- their Original Hummus. This is a great alternative to a dip at parties. Lots of people think hummus is bad for you because it is thought to be high in calories. However, as I try to remind people, calories aren’t the determining factor in what is “healthy”, and hummus is lower in calories than most dips you will have at a cocktail party. TJ’s hummus contains only 80 calories and 5 grams of healthy fat in 2 tbsp.

High Fiber Cereal
TJ’s brand cereal is very cheap compared to other commercial brands, and in general, usually natural and healthy. My favorite are their “High Fiber” varieties- the original is the best to mix into your other cereals to get that added fiber in your morning meal…. but the High Fiber with fruit & nuts also works well on it’s own- it tastes good and is good for you! (~90 calories for 2/3 cup).

Unsalted Peanut Butter (Natural)
Just peanuts. This PB gets some taking used to, but once you try it, you will be hooked. It is very liquidy, but that makes it easier to spread (and use less if on a diet). This is my favorite peanut butter because it has no hydrogenated oil, no added sugar, and no added salt- all natural, all peanuts!

Frozen Unshelled Edamame
Just boil these babies for a few minutes and you have an incredibly healthy snack or addition to any meal. Also known as soybeans, Edamame is very high in healthy fat, fiber, folate, thiamin, Vitamin K,  and protein. TJ’s gets it right when judging price, prep, and taste of the product.

Dark Chocolate
I don’t advocate eating lots of dark chocolate, but for those of you that want something sweet after a meal, this is for you. TJ’s has numerous varieties of dark chocolate, and they even sell one bar for less than 30 cents! Their chocolate is high quality and pretty cheap.

These are just a select few of the items on my shopping list when I go to TJ’s (usually weekly). There are dozens of other products I buy there, because TJ’s has fair prices and they offer many healthy products. If you haven’t visited a Trader Joe’s, I highly recommend it- it is quite the experience. Be sure to bring you re-usable bag and stop by the back to try a free sample of coffee and food of the day!

http://www.traderjoes.com/

Vegetarian Protein Sources Everyone Should Try

Clarification: VEGAN means no animal products are in the food (that is, no dairy, no fish, chicken, pork, beef, gelatin, and in some strict vegans, no honey).  The definition of VEGETARIAN varies greatly depending on if one is  lacto-ovo-vegetarian (eats dairy and eggs), pescatarian (eats fish products), or flexitarian (a new term that doesn’t mean much- surveys show that most Americans believe they are flexitarian, or  ”occasionally eat meat”- but it still means you are a carnivore). Flexitarian is usually defined as a mostly vegetarian diet, but you can consume chicken, fish, or other lean meats occasionally. This is a good goal for people to strive for, although, I do recommend that people eat fish a few times each week. I would call myself “flexitarian” if I wanted to be trendy and label my eating style. When I was at school I was pesca-lacto-ovo-vegetarian except for the few weekends I woud be at home where my parents cooked meat. So, during college and grad school I became very familiar with cheap vegan food items (since I was on a limited budget and didn’t feel like buying raw meat and cooking it just for myself). Thus I learned to cook unique vegan protein sources and use them in recipes. Below are a list of a few that I used regularly to add protein and nutrition to meals, along with helpful websites to find out more info on the products.

TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)
A very cheap dried form of soy protein. Rehydrate and add to any meal without adding flavor. https://www.usaemergencysupply.com/information_center/all_about_textured_vegetable_protein.htm

Seitan or Wheat Gluten
Dr. Blair at Penn State introduced me to this during my Global Foods Class. You can find these prepackaged at Whole Foods or any healthfood store. However, I recommend making your own with wheat gluten flour, chicken broth, garlic, and any other spices. Follow the recipe listed here: http://www.vrg.org/recipes/vjseitan.htm then use just as you would beef (bake, stir fry, grill, etc.). Very high in protein, but for all you gluten-phobes, you may want to stay away.

Tempeh
Tempeh is higher in fat than tofu, but even more delicious and nutritious (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=126). It is fermented soybeans, but don’t let that dissuade you. You can find pre-packaged in the refrigerator sections of most healthfood stores.

Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is a wonderful product because it is an excellent source of B12 for vegetarians. Vegetarians often become deficient in Vitamin B12 b/c it is mostly found in animal products. You can add this to popcorn to make it taste cheesey, add a little butter to make a cheesy tasting sauce, or add to anything to add a spicy and cheesy flavor. (http://www.bestnaturalfoods.com/nutritional_yeast.html)

TOFU!!!
Of course I have to write about Tofu! This food product is made from soybeans. Firm varieties make a great addition to stir fries, or you can marinate in BBQ sauce and grill. Be sure to press out all the excess moisture before cooking. Use silken tofu in smoothies or to reduce the fat content in dips and cheesey recipes. (http://www.nasoya.com/)

Quinoa
An ancient grain that is high in fiber, protein*, and other essential nutrients. It is kind of like cous cous but way more nutritious. *See my note below

Quinoa and Soybeans offer a complete protein- many people I come across don’t believe that vegetarians can get enough protein or any high quality protein in their diets. Well, if you plan on becoming vegetarian, I recommend researching complementary proteins and making sure you eat enough of each type throughout the day (contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to eat rice and beans at the same meal). Also, eating quinoa and soy is very similar in protein quality to meat and contain all the essential amino acids that make up a “complete protein.”

Fish Oil, Worth the Hype??

Over the past two years everyone has been bombarded with hearing “fish oil” and “omega-3′s”. So, why all the hype?
Fish oil contains 2 omega-3 fatty acids (DHA & EPA) that your body cannot make on it’s own. The body can only make these important fatty acids from ALA, which is found in foods like flaxseed and nuts. However, the % conversion of ALA->EPA->DHA is limited. EPA & DHA are incredibly important to your body because they are integral in the makeup of the brain, the retina of the eye, regulating cell & cardiovascular function, growth & development, etc. So… if you are deficient in these important omega-3′s, you may suffer serious consequences.

Most people think fish oil is just beneficial for those with cardiovascular disease. While most of the evidence points to this relationship, there are numerous other uses for fish oil. In many studies, taking fish oil has shown to lower triglycerides, improve cardiac function and reduce risk of sudden death, improve brain function (eg: dementia, alzheimer’s), help improve depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, RA, protect the kidneys, preventing visual decline related with age, along with other benefits.

The bottom line is that most studies point to fish oil being beneficial for the body. Even though I am young and healthy, I still take one fish oil tablet each day for all the benefits associated. I do consume a generally healthy diet, but there are some weeks I don’t consume enough servings of fish (or ALA) to get the recommended amounts of DHA & EPA. I always advise getting nutrition from food instead of supplements, but when it comes to the omega-3′s, it can be quite the challenge even for the healthiest of eaters (and cost $$).

DOSAGE: For people with CVD, fish oil dosage can be upwards from 1-6 grams a day. The recommendation is to consume 500 mg of EPA & DHA/day, which can be met by 2 servings of salmon/week or 3 servings of rainbow trout. The content of omega-3′s in fish can vary greatly (15-20%), so my recommendation is to try to consume at least 2 servings/week of fatty fish.

If you can’t consume the recommended amount of fish each week, I recommend you speak with your doctor to decide whether you should start taking a supplement, and if so, how much. Be aware that there are negative side effects with taking fish oil as it can interact with other meds, and too much can cause excessive bleeding and even increase the risk of stroke.

NOTE: Be sure to speak with your doctor before taking any new supplements.

REFERENCES:
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=84
www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/993.html

A blurb on Eating & Exercise

Many people work out most days of the week but never lose a pound. One reason could be because you are replacing fat with muscle (muscle weighs more than fat). Another plausible reason is that you think you burn more calories than you actually do and are overcompensating by eating too much.

If you just hop on an elliptical for 30 minutes at a moderate intensity, chances are you don’t need your pre- and post- workout meals or sports drinks. Sure, you shouldn’t exercise in the afternoon after not having eaten all day…. but you certainly don’t need to fuel up and re-fuel after as if you ran 15 miles.

TIPS:
  • If you are on a calorie-restricted diet, consume carbs before a workout to spare your body from breaking down muscle for energy.
  • Drink water during workouts lasting <90 minutes (unless you sweat excessively or the workout is extremely intense- then sports drinks may be appropriate)
  • After an long and intense workout with resistance training, consume a carb-protein snack/meal in a 3:1 ratio (Whole wheat sandwich with 2 tbsp peanut butter)
  • If you are exercising everyday and still gaining unwanted weight, re-evaluate how many calories you are ingesting
You may need to work with a dietitian if you are still unable to estimate your calorie needs, calorie intake, and daily energy expenditure. I do not recommend following the “rules of thumb” calorie estimates, such as “100 calories burned for every mile run” or “600 calories burned for every hour of spin.” These estimates are usually based on a 150-lb person and the calories vary significantly depending on the intensity of the exercise (eg: running at 8 mph vs. 4 mph). So, if you are 5’1″ and weigh 105 lbs, you most likely do not burn anywhere near the estimated calories for these activities. Then again, if you are 6’0″ and 300 pounds and go all-out during an hour of spinning you could be burning close to 1,000 calories in an hour.

If you are interested in learning about your specific needs, please contact me and we can set up an appointment where I can tell you your average daily intake of calories, the calories you burn each day, and how many calories you need (+ meal ideas) to reach your weight goals.

Sweet Potatoes!

I decided to start a new category called “Fruit or Veggie of the Week.” The reason for this is to get everyone educated about all the fruits and vegetables available to consumers, inspire you to try something new, and perhaps find a new favorite recipe. I highly recommend stopping by Gentiles Farmer’s Market in Newtown Square, PA to see the wide variety of unique and interesting produce. Everytime I go there I try to find something I’ve never had before and then research ways to eat it.

For my first post, I have to focus on my all-time favorite food: Sweet Potatoes. I don’t just like these root crops because they are nutritional powerhouses, but I have liked them since I was a kid for their sweet and delicious flavor.

ABOUT: Sweet potatoes come in all sorts of colors and varieties (over 400!) from purple, beige, to the most common orange and brown fleshed. They are loaded with antioxidants (beta-carotene), phytonutrients, anti-inflammatory agents, and are excellent for blood-glucose control in diabetics.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SWEET POTATO AND A YAM? Sweet potatoes are often incorrectly labeled “yams.” Yams are very starchy, dry, and not very sweet root crops native to Africa and can grow to enormous sizes… not commonly sold in the US. Most likely you’ve eaten sweet potatoes and not yams.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE: 1 small potato, baked w/ skin (77 g):  95 calories, 0 g fat, 22 g carb, 3 g fiber (1 g soluble, 1.5 g insoluble), 2 g protein, 262% (DV) Vit A, 4% Thiamin, 5% Riboflavin, 12.5% B6, 28% Vitamin C, 4% Folate, 13% Copper, 26% Manganese, 9% potassium

KELLY’S FAVORITE COOKING METHOD: Wash and scrub sweet potato, prick a few times with knife or fork. Wrap in tin foil, and put on baking sheet (potato will leak syrup). Bake in a 350-400 degree (I usually just throw in whenever I am baking something else, to be more energy efficient), and bake for 1 1/4- 2 hours until super soft and syrupy. These will be so sweet when baked you don’t need to add any sugar or anything. You can add cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice… and pecans if you like. Make sure you have some fat (>5 grams- preferably mono-unsaturated) with your meal for optimal absorption of vitamins!

Carbs have a bad "wrap"


Over my past month working at CLM, I have noticed that most conversations revolve about carbohdyrates. More specifically, it sounds like most people think of carbs as being on the same playing field as alcohol (ie: “use in moderation”). I  understand why people might believe this, and I attribute a lot of this misinformation to ”low carb diet” marketing, and also, since we are in a fitness center, protein is obviously king (or weight lifters believe anyway…. but protein is a topic for another day). One day I actually had someone ask me if eating plain oatmeal for breakfast is bad…. let me tell you, that is usually the ultimate goal when working with clients- to have someone eat plain oatmeal for breakfast! That would be huge!

So, let me try to unravel the truth about carbs for you. If carbs were really bad and the cause of weight gain, then why is the staple food of 90+ percent of all ethnic diets a carbohydrate and the diets that are most carb based did not see an obesity epidemic until newer processed foods were introduced? (Asian= rice, noodles; Indigenous America= corn, wheat; Africa= wheat, root crops; Mexican= rice, beans; Eastern Europe= Potatoes; Meditteranean= pasta (wheat)). Populations have survived for thousands of years with the large majority of their diet based heavily on carbohydrate, and it isn’t until recently that we’ve seen obesity. Interesting, eh?

But while our ancestors may have followed a “high carb” diet, they weren’t exactly eating the same “carbs” that we see today. I’m not even sure if I would call many of the products out on the market real food…. but they do contain carbs. I’m talking about potato chips, “cheese puffs”, high fructose corn syrup and acid (ie: soda), puffed rice/corn loaded with sugar and called “cereal”, grains stripped of their natural nutrition and called “white bread”, etc. If only we ate natural and unprocessed foods, we would be eating some of the healthiest foods on earth (ie: sweet potatoes, beans, quinoa, fruit, etc.). Yes, carbs are found in fruit, vegetables, and dairy… and that doesn’t make them bad! There is a reason why the majority of most diets are carbohydrate based- high quality carbs contain high quality nutrition (iron, folate, B6, riboflavin, B6, zinc, etc.) that you just can’t find in protein and fat.

So, stop counting carbs and instead go load your shopping cart with whole grains, legumes, fruits, veggies, and dairy. Enjoy!

Does calorie labeling on menus really make a difference in food choice?

There’s been a lot of hype over the past few years about required menu labeling at restaurants. Soon restaurants and chains with 20 or more locations will be required to post the calories of food and beverages on the menus (and additional nutrition info available in writing) in most major cities, including Philadelphia. If you’ve traveled to NYC anytime in the past year you will have seen numbers next to menu items at most establishments- those are the calories.

But does posting the calorie information prompt consumers to make healthier decisions? I often discuss menu labeling with friends and family, many who say “if I’m going out to eat, I’m going to eat what I want. I don’t need to know that there are 1,000 calories in that appetizer.” However, most of the people I know don’t eat out on a daily basis. Menu labeling is really targeted to frequent consumers of fast food type restaurants. The people menu labeling targets are those that consume many meals a week from chain restaurants- like those that consume breakfast at McDonald’s, lunch from Subway, and dinner at TGIFridays.

I would think that if the calories are listed, one would be inclined to choose an option lower in calories. I would also think that if you are going to order a meal and see that it is 1,750 calories, you might reconsider. But hey, that’s just me.

There have been numerous studies recently researching the subject, and most do show some improvement in nutritional content of foods purchased. A recent study published in the  American Journal of Public Health had six restaurants in Washington record entrees sold for 30 days without and 30 days with nutrition labels. The results were somewhat promising: the average post-labeling entree contained 15 fewer calories, 1.5 g fewer fat, and 45 mg less sodium than pre-labeling entrees. Moreover, 71% of patrons reported noticing the nutrition labeling, 20.4% reported ordering a lower-calorie entree, and 16.5% reported ordering an entree lower in fat as a result of the labeling.

So, overall, nutrition labeling seems to be a positive step in allowing consumers to make healthier choices. One can be trained to identify “healthy choices”, but there is a lot of variation between restaurants. For example, in the study, 4 of 6 restaurants served a Reuben sandwich. The nutritional values ranged from 480-1730 calories, 19-83 g fat, 1770-4990 mg sodium and 39-182 g carb. These variations can be attributed to ingredients used (bread type, amount of sauce, meat, etc.,), preparation method (frying, grilling, baking), and most importantly: portion size.

In conclusion, I believe menu labeling is a positive step in government regulation. Information regarding nutrition is sparce and the common man has no idea how many calories are packed into simple menu items. By adding nutrition labeling to menu items, I think consumers will gain a stronger interest in nutrition, will make healthier choices, and ultimately lead to lower rates of obesity and lower health care costs (eventually….. in the future).

Post written by: Kelly Strogen, MS, RD, LDN

Reference:
Pulos E and Leng K. “Evaluation of a Voluntary Menu-Labeling Program in Full-Service Restaurants.” American Journal of Public Health, 100(6): 1035-9, 2010.

What to do with those Leftovers

Thanksgiving has come and gone. You ate a lot, but now you still have plenty of leftovers. Luckily, if you have Turkey leftover you can make plenty of healthy and exciting new dishes (unfortunately you can’t really turn mashed potatoes and stuffing into anything healthy). Below are some ideas and recipes for what to do with some of those leftovers:
A FEW LEFTOVER IDEAS:
1. Use leftover fresh veggies from your appetizer plate and stir fry them with turkey and your favorite Asian sauce (Soy, Soy Vay!, etc.)
2. Use leftover canned pumpkin and mix with cottage cheese (or fat-free ricotta), a dash of vanilla, sweetener (honey, agave, splenda), cinnamon and/or pumpkin pie spice for a delicious treat! Mix in fat free whipped topping for an even creamier dessert.
3. Mix in leftover cranberry sauce into plain yogurt, cottage cheese or oatmeal as a sweetener.

RECIPES (My picks from Cooking Light):

1. CURRY TURKEY SALAD

This is a great way to mix up the traditional Thanksgiving Turkey flavor. I recommend using whole wheat pita rounds (available at Trader Joe’s or Wegman’s). -Kelly
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup salad and 5 pitas)

Ingredients

  • 2  tablespoons  reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2  tablespoons  plain yogurt
  • 1  tablespoon  fresh lime juice
  • 1  tablespoon  honey
  • 1  teaspoon  curry powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  cups  chopped cooked turkey
  • 1  cup  seedless red grapes, halved
  • 1/2  cup  diced celery
  • 1/4  cup  chopped red onion
  • 2  tablespoons  cashew pieces
  • 20  mini pita rounds (about 5 ounces, such as Toufayan Pitettes)

Preparation

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl. Add turkey, grapes, celery, onion, and cashews; stir gently to combine. Serve with pitas.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 309 (21% from fat), Fat: 7.3g (sat 2.4g,mono 2.2g,poly 1.7g), Protein: 25.5g, Carbohydrate: 35.3g, Fiber: 2g, Cholesterol: 57mg, Iron: 2.8mg, Sodium: 419mg, Calcium: 83mg
 
SOURCE: Elizabeth Taliaferro, Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2004
2.  TURKEY CHILI
*I recommend using brown rice and your leftover turkey (not ground) to give this dish an extra nutritional boost. Also, since the beans contain plenty of carbohydrates, the rice is not necessary to balance out this meal… so you can omit or just decrease. -Kelly
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups chili, 1/2 cup rice, and 1 tablespoon cheese)

Ingredients

  • 1  (3 1/2-ounce) bag boil-in-bag long-grain rice
  • 1  tablespoon  vegetable oil
  • 1  cup  chopped onion
  • 3/4  cup  chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2  pound  ground turkey breast
  • 1  tablespoon  chili powder
  • 1  teaspoon  Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1/2  teaspoon  dried oregano
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1  (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  (14.5-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes with jalapeƱo peppers and spices, undrained
  • 1  (5.5-ounce) can tomato juice
  • 1/4  cup  (1 ounce) preshredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Preparation

Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. While rice cooks, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and turkey, and cook 3 minutes or until done, stirring to crumble. Stir in chili powder and the next 8 ingredients (chili powder through tomato juice); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Serve over rice, and sprinkle with cheese.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 380 (26% from fat), Fat: 10.5g (sat 2.8g,mono 2.6g,poly 3.3g), Protein: 21.4g, Carbohydrate: 51g, Fiber: 11.2g, Cholesterol: 50mg, Iron: 4mg,  Sodium: 739mg, Calcium: 125mg,
Source: Barbara Seelig Brown, Cooking Light, MARCH 2004

Easy on the Salt!

After posting the nutritional value of Thanskgiving dinner around the Club, I’ve had several people come up to me and say “oh well, it’s Thanksgiving, I don’t care about nutrition.” However, people with medical conditions, especially heart problems should be in tune to the nutritional value of foods they are eating….and Thanksgiving is one day of the year to pay extra attention to nutrition (check out the sodium content on the previous post). Here’s a great article from Medical News Today about emergency room visits around the holidays: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/209119.php

Moreover, throwing nutrition out the window on Thanksgiving can be a slippery slope….. don’t forget about all those sodium and fat rich leftovers for the next week, holiday parties, then it’s Christmas and cookie time, New Years= appetizers & champagne, winter, spring & birthdays…. next thing you know it’s 4th of July and you have gained 10 pounds! I’m not saying to weigh and measure your food on Thanksgiving, just be sure to include all food groups and not to gorge yourself (being so full you can’t move is not a good feeling for anyone!). If you have health conditions, be responsible and save your family the trip to the ER (because you happened to OD on salt).

Have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!!!

Nutritional Value of Thanksgiving Dinner

FoodServing SizeCaloriesFat (g)Saturated Fat (g)Sodium (mg)
Turkey, Dark Meat, No skin1/2 cup1153155
Turkey, Light Meat, no skin½ cup1001.2540
Mashed potatoes1 cup23795.5666
Homemade Gravy½ cup11063320
Sweet Potato Casserole½ cup19584.7187
Green Bean Casserole2/3 cup16810.33916
Corn (canned)½ cup16510571
Jellied Cranberry Sauce¼ cup1100010
Homemade Stuffing w/ Giblets¾ cup244148501
Dinner roll (egg)1 2½” diameter1102.50.5161
White Wine10 oz238000
Pumpkin Pie w/ whip cream1/8 pie + 2 tbsp331166357
 Total Carb (g)Sugar (g)Fiber (g)Protein (g) 
Turkey, Dark Meat, No skin00020 
Turkey, Light Meat, no skin00021 
Mashed potatoes35334 
Homemade Gravy8200 
Sweet Potato Casserole2919.51.42.5 
Green Bean Casserole154.52.33 
Corn (canned)417.54.25 
Jellied Cranberry Sauce252100 
Homemade Stuffing w/ Giblets202.419 
Dinner roll (egg)181.513 
White Wine6000 
Pumpkin Pie w/ whip cream41.7525.52.57 


DINNER TOTALS (Recommendation): 2123 (2000) calories, 70.8 (44-78) g Total Fat,  32 (<15) g Saturated Fat, 3784 (1500-2300) mg Sodium, 239 (225-300) g Carb, 86.9 (no rec) g Sugar, 15.4 (25- female, 38- male) g Fiber, 74.5 (50-175) g Protein

Kelly's CottaMilk Shake

Here is a great high-protein, low-sugar substitute for a chocolate milkshake- creamy and delicious!:
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup soy/rice/hemp/coconut/cow’s low-fat milk
1 tbsp cocoa
1-2 packs Splenda (or sweetener of choice)
4 ice cubes

DIRECTIONS:
Pour all ingredients into Magic Bullet or blender. Blend until smooth and top with fat-free whipped cream if desired. Add more or less cocoa or sweetener if desired (Hazelnut agave is great too!) Enjoy!!!

NUTRITION FACTS:
1 serving: 180-200 calories, 0-3 g fat, 11 g carb, 0 g fiber, 10-14 g protein
(nutrition varies on type of cottage cheese & milk used)

Recipe by: Kelly Strogen, MS, RD, LDN

Sorry, no Reece’s for him, he has a peanut allergy

I was shocked this past Halloween to find that a number of children out were trick-or-treating couldn’t have Reece’s cups, Snickers, Baby Ruth’s, or any other yummy treats except the pure high-fructose corn syrup candy (eg: skittles, swedish fish). The reason: they said they have “food allergies.” However, many studies have shown far fewer people actually have food allergies than they would have you believe.
Be sure to do your research and get your child tested a few times before you restrict important foods for growth and development from your child’s diet due to food allergy fears. The most common cause for allergen-related diet restriction seems to come from a child having a skin rash and/or one positive immunoassay test, which experts say is tricky to analyze and may have false-positives for several food items. Therefore, it is important to use other lab tests, as well as “gold standard” for food allergy testing: an oral food challenge in which the suspected food is fed to the child.

A new report from the National Jewish Health physicians found that 177 different foods were being avoided by a total of 125 children in their study due to alleged food allergies. Interestingly enough, by the end of the study intervention 84-93% of avoided foods were restored to the children’s diets after completing an oral food challenge. The oral food challenge validation allowed children to eat many foods again and regain a normal and balanced diet. By restricting a child’s diet, especially from dairy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, and vegetables, parents risk their child becoming malnourished, spend unnecessary money on allergen-free food products, and make mealtime complicated and stressful. It is important to note that foods should definitely be restricted if children have had severe life-threatening reactions or if your doctor has confirmed that your child is allergic and should avoid a certain food product. Otherwise, have your child tested several times and have a doctor complete the oral food challenge to confirm an allergy.

Source:
Fleischer DMBock SASpears GCWilson CGMiyazawa NKGleason MCGyorkos EAMurphy JRAtkins DLeung DY. Oral Food Challenges in Children with a Diagnosis of Food Allergy. Department of Pediatrics, National Jewish Health, Denver, CO; Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, CO. J Pediatr. 2010 Oct 27. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21030035
Written by: Kelly Strogen, MS, RD, LDN

Holiday Eating Season is Upon Us

It’s coming….. a little over a week……TURKEY DAY!!!!  We all look forward to it, but also are scared of it because it is just the start of a long month of holiday parties and lots of eating and drinking. Do not fret! There are two simple ways to stay slim during the holiday season: don’t lag on your workouts, and practice self-control when it comes to eating and drinking. When faced with endless amounts of hors d’oeuvres, sweets, and cocktails, you should educate yourself so that you can determine those that are good choices and those that are not. In order to ensure that there will be a healthy food choice at a party, offer to bring  something that you can make yourself, and therefore,  be in control of the calories, sugar, sodium, and fat. A good word of advice is that anything wrapped in pastry, deep fried, containing ground meat, or loaded with cheese (cream cheese included) is probably not the best option for your waistline.

When it comes to cocktails, try mixing in a calorie-free beverage (club soda, diet Sprite) into your cranberry/vodka or choose “light” beer. Drink water in between cocktails and stray away from calorie-laden ciders, any specialty drinks like “holiday punch”, and especially egg nog. If you are interested in learning more about healthy eating, or need a nutrition coach to help you maintain your weight through this holiday season, please email me at: nutrition@clublamaison.com or call 610-964-8800 ext. 65 to schedule an appointment. Have a healthy and festive month!

Written by: Kelly Strogen, MS, RD, LDN