My DC trip and new obsession

Hello everyone, Hope all is well! I just returned from a trip to Washington DC to my National Conference, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo, #FNCE2018. It was a great trip, both the conference and sightseeing.

I attended sessions on Exploring the Microbiome and Diabetes, Disordered Eating and the Science of Emotion, Mindfulness, the Neurobiology of Dieting and Improving Mental Health, Prevention of Metabolic Adaptation in Weight Loss as well as Genetic Testing and Dietary Reference Intake research.

One of my favorite sessions was learning about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Empowering patients to make meaningful change. Using mindfulness and through acceptance of feelings and commitment to ones individual values and goals and their compelling reason to change, behavior can change. Feelings are not good or bad, they just are and it is our reaction to those feelings that can keep us stuck. Mary Jo Parker, MS, RDN, CDN and Sherry Farrow, PhD led us through this session.

In addition to these sessions we were treated by a presentation from Chef Jose Andres talking about Changing the World through the Power of Food. He has been to natural disasters all over the globe, including close to home here in Southern California, feeding people and first responders after the devastating fires of December 2017.

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My favorite meals in DC were simple, satisfying and nutritious.

 Picked up this bowl at a fast casual kind of like a “chipotle type” restaurant in DC but with a ton of veggies!!

Picked up this bowl at a fast casual kind of like a “chipotle type” restaurant in DC but with a ton of veggies!!

So the food in DC like in many large cities is diverse and flavorful. The fast casual mediterranean concept that I was obsessed with in DC, does exist in Southern California, just not anything exactly like this in my town. And certainly not as many options locally as in DC. What I ate was just a yummy, healthy bowl of goodness. The combinations are endless, vegetarian or not. There are some basic ingredients that make it different from a salad. They are hummus, yogurt type dressing (easy to make) pickled vegetables, chickpeas and any kind of grain if you choose, in addition to the usual greens and other veggies.

 Another fast casual restaurant in DC with tons of veggies.

Another fast casual restaurant in DC with tons of veggies.

Below is my version of the veggies bowls from DC. I am going to continue to fine tune my own bowls at home. Over time I can make my own ingredients if I so choose, but until then, here are the ones I would buy to make it as simple as possible. At my favorite Farmers market on Sundays in Westlake Village, I find hummus at Moms products hummus stand. So many varieties to choose from. And if you choose interesting flavors, the bowls stay flavorful and different every time. The other ingredient I find really yummy is something pickled, (onion, or cabbage in particular). For my bowl at home I used a Mom’s product, pickled turnips. The beet juice makes it bright pink! Super yummy!

 Arugula, red cabbage and  brown basmati rice  made with some veggies as a base. The way I make my rice is linked to a previous post.

Arugula, red cabbage and brown basmati rice made with some veggies as a base. The way I make my rice is linked to a previous post.

 Add two kinds of hummus. I love the kale almond and original. Avocado cilantro hummus is another personal favorite!

Add two kinds of hummus. I love the kale almond and original. Avocado cilantro hummus is another personal favorite!

 Thinly sliced kale, carrots (yellow and orange) and beets. I also love the golden beet variety.

Thinly sliced kale, carrots (yellow and orange) and beets. I also love the golden beet variety.

 Added chickpeas, pickled turnips, watermelon radishes, persian cucumbers and yogurt sauce.

Added chickpeas, pickled turnips, watermelon radishes, persian cucumbers and yogurt sauce.

I started with arugula and shredded red cabbage along with brown basmati rice made with carrots onion and celery. Next I added two kinds of hummus, regular and kale almond hummus variety. Then I added more vegetables, orange and yellow carrots, kale and beets followed by persian cucumbers, picked turnips (from Mom’s products) and watermelon radishes. Next I added a simple yogurt sauce made from greek yogurt, garlic and lemon juice with a little salt. You can keep it vegetarian or add some chicken. I added a few pieces of chicken along with some chickpeas for protein.

The combinations are endless and more colors means better nutrition. If you are pressed for time, you can find things pre shredded (carrots and cabbage) and pre cooked beets. Trader Joes even has an organic golden beet variety that is pre chopped. I find washing, chopping and prepping easiest right when I get home with all my veggies! Way less work than putting them away and getting them all out again! Posted about this on my Facebook page the other day

Enjoy in good health!

** Blog content may not be applicable to your condition. Please discuss individual nutritional needs with Brenda during scheduled visits.

More Time Savers

Hello everybody, I hope you are having a great week so far. I'm keeping the same theme going as my last blog post...saving some time. I was talking about this with a client last week and she saw this same concept on one of the morning news shows. I love it! 

Making a double batch of roasted cauliflower that can be served at 3 meals with a different presentation each time saves us some time and gets us out of a rut.

Night one can be a simple side dish of roasted cauliflower. However with some unique spices, it doesn't have to be bland! 

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Night two use leftover cauliflower as part of a salad.

This salad is beautiful and so nutritious with lots of different flavors. That is where the extra roasted cauliflower can come in handy! This salad has a few steps so having the cauliflower done is a bonus. Click here for the recipe.

Lastly, for night three (or as part of a great lunch) soup is amazingly easy to make with leftover roasted cauliflower. Modify the recipe as needed depending on how much leftover veggies you have.

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Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Step one: Roast Cauliflower 

Cauliflower chopped into uniform pieces mixed with red onion, olive oil, cumin and turmeric makes for a great side dish for night one. Add 3 (whole slightly smashed) garlic cloves per tray of veggies (reserve for the soup recipe on the last night).

Step Two: Use leftover Cauliflower from Night one to add to salad for dinner tonight!

Although the salad recipe doesn't call for turmeric to be added to the cauliflower, it does call for it in the soup recipe so I just add it when roasting the initial batch of cauliflower. Tumeric contains curcumin a polyphenol with antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties.

This salad calls for parsley as a green. Its a great source of Vitamins A, C and K, folate and Iron.  Give the parsley a try either as the sole green for the salad or in addition to other greens. I like using a variety of greens especially when you can use up what you have on hand. I love arugula, mixed greens and different varieties of kale in addition to the parsley.

The healthy plant based fats in the tahini dressing helps our body absorb the fat soluble vitamins found in the greens. Tahini (basically ground sesame seeds) gives a unique flavor to the salad. Sesame seeds are a good source calcium and magnesium. The dressing is quickly made in a blender or food processor with tahini, garlic, water, lemon juice and spices. If you don't like the heat, go easy on the cayenne pepper and add to taste. 

 Can of chickpeas drained and rinsed with some garlic powder smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and I added some chili powder as well. Saute' 5 minutes in a skillet with olive oil and add to the salad. A great source of soluble fiber to help with cholesterol lowering!

Can of chickpeas drained and rinsed with some garlic powder smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and I added some chili powder as well. Saute' 5 minutes in a skillet with olive oil and add to the salad. A great source of soluble fiber to help with cholesterol lowering!

Step Three: Use leftover cauliflower to make a flavorful soup.

I promise you the soup has very few steps and having the cauliflower already made, makes it a snap to get cauliflower in a different way. Basically chop onion or combo of onion, leek and celery, soften in a stock pot (5 minutes or less) with olive oil and the add vegetable or chicken stock and the leftover cauliflower, simmer 15 minutes and puree.

Don't worry about making the recipe exactly as it says. The recipe only calls for chopped onion but I love to add celery and the white part of a leek. After I made the salad the night before, I put the leftover cauliflower and chickpeas in one container in the frig. I wasn't then going to then pick out the chickpeas so...I added them all the leftovers to the soup. I left out the coconut milk since the chickpeas thickened it nicely. A little cilantro and cashews made a nice garnish for the soup. Click here for the recipe.

I love the variety of flavors and textures you can get from the same vegetable. I hope you do too!

 

Enjoy in good health!

Chop Once, Eat Twice

Hi there! It's been awhile since I last posted. Life at home and at work is full and busy. So thought I would jump back in to posting with a quick and appropriate topic! When life is busy, streamline as much as possible! 

I was making dinner the other night and didn't feel like roasting vegetables and didn't want to make a salad either so I decided to make a veggie tray to serve with dinner. Chopping extra veggies for a salad makes a lot of sense and saves time for the next day. You can certainly prep more food than enough for just one extra day, but you get the idea. Here is an article from Cooking Light magazine for more tips on meal prep. Pre chopped vegetables are best used within a couple days, not for the whole week.

 

 Carrot, Orange Bell Pepper, Radishes and Persian Cucumbers.

Carrot, Orange Bell Pepper, Radishes and Persian Cucumbers.

 The veggies felt way more special with the hummus I picked up from the  Westlake Village Farmers Market  on Sunday. I LOVE this Kale Almond hummus from the  Moms Products Hummus stand . Check them out if you are a local!

The veggies felt way more special with the hummus I picked up from the Westlake Village Farmers Market on Sunday. I LOVE this Kale Almond hummus from the Moms Products Hummus stand. Check them out if you are a local!

 My arugula salad the next night with mushroom, red onion pizza on Trader Joes Cauliflower crust. YUM!

My arugula salad the next night with mushroom, red onion pizza on Trader Joes Cauliflower crust. YUM!

I have shared other recipes on my Pinterest page that work well with the Chop Once, Eat Twice theme. Red, yellow, and orange peppers can be Italian one night and Mexican the next! It can also be as simple as making extra roasted vegetables to enjoy at dinner one night and then thrown into a salad or a wrap the next day, or making extra brown rice or quinoa to use for a few days. Soup is a great way to eat several times from one chopping day!

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  Giada's Roman Style Chicken,  go heavy on the veggies by doubling the peppers and tomatoes.

Giada's Roman Style Chicken, go heavy on the veggies by doubling the peppers and tomatoes.

What are your life hacks to eat well and save time? Would love to hear. :)

Take good care! Have a Wonderful Weekend!

Be Well!

-Brenda

Diabetes Awareness Month

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. As we end this month dedicated to raising awareness of diabetes, here are some thoughts, facts and resources to share with you regarding an important topic and that affects so many people. 

For almost 25 years, I have been honored to work with clients week in and week out who struggle with all types of diabetes (or pre-diabetes) and who work very hard to stay healthy. Even before I finished my schooling, I was interested in this area of nutrition and health. I volunteered at a summer camp for children with type 1 diabetes. We went cabin to cabin checking blood sugars at 3 am. This was way before continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps. These advances in technology have helped those with type 1 diabetes, and their families, live a better life but managing type 1 diabetes is a 24/7 job. I salute you all. 

In the days after Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the people and families I have met and continue to meet, hearing their stories and helping them better their health. There is a steep learning curve when someone is diagnosed with diabetes (whether it is type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes) and I am passionate about helping people navigate this curve! 

Diabetes by the numbers

Of those diagnosed with diabetes 90-95% have type 2 diabetes and approximately 5% are estimated to have type 1 diabetes. (1)

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the insulin producing cells of the pancreas. Once the cells stop producing insulin, injections or infusion of insulin through a pump is essential for people with type 1 diabetes. (2)

Type 2 diabetes is when your body doesn't use it's insulin properly, generally result of insulin resistance and over time less insulin being produced by the body. Type 2 diabetes is managed with diet and lifestyle changes, oral medication, insulin or other injectable medications. 

Gestational diabetes, occurs in 2-9% of all pregnancies and this type of diabetes is thought to be related to hormones in pregnancy that block the action of insulin and often goes away after pregnancy. (1) It is important to have follow up care to test for diabetes after pregnancy.

The National Diabetes Statistics Report (click here to read more) from the Center for Disease Control gives the most recent numbers about Diabetes. 30.3 million people in the US or 9.4% of the US population had diabetes in 2015. Unfortunately out of those 30.3 million people, 7.2 million of those people did not know they had diabetes. That is almost 25% of those with diabetes that don't even know they have it! (3)

Lifestyle as prevention for Type 2 Diabetes

When we talk about prevention of diabetes, we are referring to type 2 diabetes. There is no prevention associated with Type 1 diabetes. 

An estimated 33.9% of the adult US population has pre-diabetes but only 11.6% of this population had been told by a health professional about their pre-diabetes! (3) This is also unfortunate since those at risk for developing diabetes can significantly reduce their risk by engaging in regular physical activity (150 minutes per week) and losing a modest amount of weight, (approximately 5-7% of current body weight).  A large study called the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) looked at reducing the risk of developing diabetes with lifestyle and also with medication (metformin). Those assigned to the lifestyle group showed a 58% reduction in risk of developing diabetes throughout the study. Those in the medication group also reduced their risk but not as significantly as those in the lifestyle intervention. Since that original study, a 10 year follow up study showed continued benefit and risk reduction. Read more here about the follow up study, The Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS).

What are some simple things you can do to either achieve better blood sugar control if you already have diabetes or if you are in the pre diabetes range?

The first thing is to stay on top of regular doctor appointments so you know what your numbers are. Here is a quick test from the American Diabetes Association to assess your risk of type 2 diabetes and to start a conversation with your doctor. If you have diabetes it is important to know your HgbA1c, cholesterol and blood pressure numbers as well.

Secondly, working on improving the quality of your diet, is key in better blood sugar control. Meeting with a registered dietitian to come up with a realistic plan to help you achieve your individual goals is a great place to start. Changing your diet does not require you to avoid all carbohydrate but to be mindful of sources and portions of carbohydrate. Choosing those carbohydrates which may provide a benefit (such as whole grains, beans, and vegetables) and allow for better blood sugar control. Testing blood sugar before a meal and then again 2 hours after eating can help one learn about the effect of a particular meal on their blood sugar.

Lastly, moving more helps as we learned from the Diabetes Prevention Program. Exercise is important but so is activity and movement throughout our day. Going to the gym and getting on the treadmill is great but we miss out on opportunities to increase activity throughout the day if we never make it to the gym. Parking further away, taking the stairs, walking to do errands when possible, or walking to lunch are great ways to log steps through the day. No amount of exercise or activity is too small! One of my clients aims for walking at least 250 steps every 30 minutes while at work and then walks 1 mile in the morning and 1 mile in the evening. People with type 1 diabetes or those with type 2 diabetes on insulin (or some other medications) have to consider other things when adding exercise to their routine but it can be done.

Below are some resources to find out much more about diabetes, preventing diabetes or living a better life with diabetes. 

Resources, click on the red area

American Diabetes Association diabetes.org  

Juvenille Diabetes Research Foundation: jdrf.org 

Center for Disease Control/Diabetes www.cdc.gov

Diatribe.org Online publication

dlife.com

Joslin Diabetes Center joslin.org

National institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) 

 

Sources

1. American Diabetes Association 

2. Juvenile diabetes research foundation jdrf

3. Center for Disease Control, National Diabetes Statistics Report

 

Dinner Tonight and Another Favorite Thing!

Quick post for a quick meal. If you know me, you know I love a good one pot meal, less clean up and great way to get a lot of veggies in without making them separately. The nutrition pros: Vitamin E rich plant based fats, loads of veggies that range from vitamin A, B vitamins to vitamin C. Also, you have hit the jackpot when your teen says, "You have to make this often!" Not just a healthy dish but creamy and scrumptious too! 

You can use whatever veggies you like or have on hand but in my opinion the snow peas and red/orange peppers are a must. Garnish with cilantro and chopped green onion and serve with basmati rice or just as is!

  Thai Peanut Skillet Chicken, from  The Recipe Critic.  Click  here  for the recipe

Thai Peanut Skillet Chicken, from The Recipe Critic. Click here for the recipe

  Heres what you need... for a double recipe. 8-10 boneless skinless chicken thighs, a couple of carrots, 3-4 red and orange peppers, snow peas, garlic, limes, soy sauce, natural peanut butter, white vinegar and brown sugar and cayenne pepper (not pictured). I also added cilantro and green onion.

Heres what you need... for a double recipe. 8-10 boneless skinless chicken thighs, a couple of carrots, 3-4 red and orange peppers, snow peas, garlic, limes, soy sauce, natural peanut butter, white vinegar and brown sugar and cayenne pepper (not pictured). I also added cilantro and green onion.

  I doubled the recipe and used 8-10 boneless skinless chicken thighs. I get in there with kitchen shears and cut out   as much of the yellow and white fat as possible. Brown 4-5 minutes on each side in a skillet with 2 Tbsp of oil.

I doubled the recipe and used 8-10 boneless skinless chicken thighs. I get in there with kitchen shears and cut out as much of the yellow and white fat as possible. Brown 4-5 minutes on each side in a skillet with 2 Tbsp of oil.

  Add the carrots and peppers and cook with the chicken until chicken is done (165 degrees) remove from the skillet and set aside.

Add the carrots and peppers and cook with the chicken until chicken is done (165 degrees) remove from the skillet and set aside.

  Make the sauce: Combine the vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, peanut butter, brown sugar, water and garlic. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add cayenne pepper to your liking.

Make the sauce: Combine the vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, peanut butter, brown sugar, water and garlic. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add cayenne pepper to your liking.

  I add the snow peas here instead of steaming separately. Otherwise, it's not a true one pot meal!!

I add the snow peas here instead of steaming separately. Otherwise, it's not a true one pot meal!!

  Add the chicken and veggies back to the skillet and simmer 3-5 minutes.

Add the chicken and veggies back to the skillet and simmer 3-5 minutes.

Lastly, enjoy your yummy, easy, healthy creation while sipping on my new favorite flavor of sparking water. I love this mango pineapple sparkling water. I am not paid to say that! :) I just really enjoy my sparkling water. And if you know me, you know that is so true!

This dish could easily be made with tofu as the protein and I will likely try that next time!

Enjoy in good health!

-Brenda

 

** Blog content may not be applicable to your condition. Please discuss individual nutritional needs with Brenda during scheduled visits.

 

A New Favorite Thing and a Quick Dinner Idea

Hi everyone, hope you have been enjoying the summer! I have a new favorite thing, well actually a couple, but I'll post more later. This gem is a wonderful convenience item you can feel good about eating...shaved brussels sprouts. I've always loved brussels sprouts and make them often. I'll probably love my new find even more in the winter months but I found some cool enough mornings and even a few evenings to roast these guys in the oven. If you can't imagine turning on the oven in mid August, this product can work well raw in a salad or a slaw as well or sautéed with other veggies.

 Trader Joes Shaved Brussels Sprouts.

Trader Joes Shaved Brussels Sprouts.

A quinoa or rice bowl makes for a quick, nutritious dinner.  You can vary the vegetables you add to the bowl and can vary the whole grain base. For my clients with diabetes, you can go heavier on the vegetable part of the base of the bowl. This is my own concoction and I have made it both with quinoa and with my favorite texmati brown rice.

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Quinoa bowl

with shrimp, fish, garlic, lemon, dried oregano, mushrooms, green onion, roasted broccoli and roasted shaved brussels sprouts.

Cook 1 cup quinoa according to package, takes about 15-20 minutes. I use chicken broth for the liquid for more flavor. You can also toast the quinoa before cooking as highlighted in a previous blog post here.

Roast shaved brussels spouts and small pieces of broccoli florets at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes. Make sure broccoli is cut in size similar to the brussels sprouts to ensure even cooking.

While the quinoa and vegetables are cooking, saute sliced mushrooms in a small skillet with a little olive oil. I like them best when they are browned a bit.

 Mushrooms will give up their liquid so no need to use too much oil here.

Mushrooms will give up their liquid so no need to use too much oil here.

Slice 3-4 green onions and reserve for later.

For the protein I used 12-16 ounces of raw, deveined, shrimp and a 4-5 ounce piece of white fish cut in pieces sprinkled with some dried oregano and pinch of salt. Heat a skillet or grill pan that has approx 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1/2-1 Tbsp butter, add shrimp and pieces of white fish (I used cod here) and a couple cloves of minced garlic. The protein cooks quickly, maybe 5 minutes. If the shrimp you use is small (mine were larger size) you may want to add the fish first so they are done at the same time. Shrimp is done when it is pink and fish, when it flakes. I add lemon when it is done cooking.

To assemble the bowl, first add 3/4-1 cup cooked quinoa, then the sautéed mushrooms and fresh green onion. Add the broccoli and brussels sprout mixture and then shrimp/ fish on top. Add more lemon to taste. 

You can make this your own with different vegetables, grains and proteins. The raw green onions add a nice fresh texture and compliment to the other cooked veggies.

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Brown Rice bowl

with shrimp, fish, garlic, roasted cauliflower and red onion topped with roasted shaved brussels spouts and kale.

For my brown rice bowl I used shaved brussels spouts and chopped kale as a crunchy topping and roasted separately cauliflower and red onion for part of the base of the bowl. The shrimp and the fish are prepared as mentioned above in the quinoa bowl.

For more tips including how to add more flavor to the rice, check out a previous blog post about the rice and the quinoa. 

In the picture below I chopped some kale to roast with the shaved brussels sprouts for my rice bowl. Since the brussels sprouts are pretty fine, you need to cut whatever vegetable you are using pretty small so they are done at similar times. The crunch of the brussels sprouts and kale mixture help provide a different texture and flavor to the other vegetables and rice.

 Sliced kale with some shaved brussels sprouts, along with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and roasted at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Sliced kale with some shaved brussels sprouts, along with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and roasted at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

The nice thing about the size of the shaved brussels sprouts is that they are very quick to cook. Keep an eye on your oven so not to burn them.

 Topping for the rice bowl, DONE!

Topping for the rice bowl, DONE!

 Extra vegetables for the base of the bowl! Roasted separately at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Extra vegetables for the base of the bowl! Roasted separately at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

 Brown rice bowl with shrimp, fish, garlic, roasted cauliflower and red onion with kale and shaved brussels sprouts as a topping. 

Brown rice bowl with shrimp, fish, garlic, roasted cauliflower and red onion with kale and shaved brussels sprouts as a topping. 

Best in health!

-Brenda

** Blog content may not be applicable to your condition. Please discuss individual nutritional needs with Brenda during scheduled visits.

Happy Fourth of July!

Hope this entry finds you well and enjoying some downtime. Summer is a nice time to slow down a bit and enjoy so many fresh fruits and vegetables of the season. 

I've never been a big fan of mayonnaise and so I like this potato salad since the dressing is a vinaigrette. It feels more light and fresh to me this way. I purchased a couple small bags of these mixed colored potatoes for the holiday. 

Some of my clients with diabetes are a bit fearful of potatoes but there is actually some science behind the chilling of potatoes and their glycemic effect. The cooling of the potatoes may create a resistant starch, reducing the amount of carbohydrate absorbed by the small intestine or the cooling, slows the absorption rate of the carbohydrate. Cooled potatoes produced a reduced response in blood sugar (whether they are eaten cold or reheated after being cooled) compared to eating directly after cooking. Read more here and here.

Living with a chronic condition requires thought and planning when it comes to food but doesn't require perfection. The reality is even my clients with diabetes are going to live their life, enjoy holidays and celebrations and aim for balance and a good quality of life. Enjoyment of food and good nutrition can be balanced. Most summer barbecues have many carbohydrate choices, some are our favorites and not to miss and others are easier to pass on. A typical barbecue may have corn, beans, fruit, bread, potato salad, macaroni salad and the list can go on not to mention desserts. If you are watching carbohydrates, pick your favorites and enjoy them.

Potatoes are a great source of vitamin C, potassium and fiber if you keep the skin on. The purple variety of potatoes has a higher concentration of anthocyanins, the dietary flavonoid that has been linked to reduction in cardiovascular risk and cancer prevention.

Purple potatoes need less cooking time and bleed into the others so best to cook separately. I did not cut the purple potatoes ahead of time, but rather after cooking. I left out the eggs, since I do not care for them in my potato salad. To save time I added all the herbs, onion, spices, vinegar and oil to one bowl and tossed rather than adding the onion, parsley dill, and chives as a separate step.

1 cup of this potato salad provides approximately 40 grams of carbohydrate. Find the recipe and nutrition information here.

Enjoy your holiday! 

** Blog content may not be applicable to your condition. Please discuss individual nutritional needs with Brenda during scheduled visits.

 

Muffin Makeover

Good Morning!!

Taking advantage of some recent cooler nights and an abundance of fresh blueberries, I decided to bake. I made two recipes from a collaboration of the Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard School of public health.

The first recipe I experienced tasting at the Healthy Kitchens Healthy Lives Conference last February. It is full of goodness...soluble fiber in the chickpeas for cholesterol lowering, and healthy fats in the oil. Find the recipe along with a video tutorial here.

I didn't even follow the directions exactly and mine turned out great. I forgot to beat the egg whites separately and then add them at the end. I just made sure to mix the ingredients thoroughly in the food processor. Next time I will take the extra step and beat the egg whites and fold them into the batter. The purpose of that step is to make the muffin lighter.

Puree the chickpeas, oil, juices and zests, egg yolks until smooth. Add sifted ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom) to the chickpeas, stir. Then add ground almonds. Next, you are supposed to whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks and fold into the batter. (I forgot that part, oops!) scoop batter into muffin papers and top with additional sugar, ground almonds and cardamom. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-13 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Mine took longer, and I am wondering if this was written for a convection oven. 

A fun and abundant blueberry picking adventure provided the opportunity to make a healthier blueberry muffin. These muffins are just the right size, not the super large, all white flour, high sugar versions you find in the bakery section of the supermarket or big box stores. 

This recipe from the Culinary Institute of America uses whole wheat flour, almond flour and less sugar than a traditional bakery style muffin, resulting in an overall lower sugar and a higher fiber content. I did not have whole wheat "pastry flour" but instead used whole wheat flour and my tasty treat turned out just fine.  Since this recipe makes about 18 regular sized muffins, I had leftover batter after I made the traditional 12, so I made some mini muffins as well.  If you are looking for a smaller treat, these are a nice couple bites. 

Mix dry ingredients first, then add the blueberries to the dry mixture to help coat the berries with flour so they do not sink to the bottom of the batter. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs first and then add the liquid ingredients and sugar. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and berries but do not overmix. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. 

For those of you signed up to get my blog delivered straight to your inbox, click here for my last post that due to technical difficulties, did not get sent. You can see my blueberry picking adventure :)

Enjoy in good health!

 

** Blog content may not be applicable to your condition. Please discuss individual nutritional needs with Brenda during scheduled visits.

The most wonderful time of the year!

Blueberry season! This is my favorite time of the year. I love picking these berries with my family...so many fond memories with my kids (pictured below) when they were younger. We just went picking yesterday, so still creating memories!

These berries are beautiful to photograph (my pictures below). And I LOVE eating them. If you search anywhere online about a healthy diet, berries, especially blueberries will pop up on the preferred list of most diets.

Why is this fruit considered a super fruit? Berries in general are a great addition to any diet because of their high nutrient value and fiber content compared to their caloric content. Not to mention they taste so good. You can just see by the beautiful purplish-blue color that they are full of nutrients. Regular consumption of blueberries has been liked to better memory, lower risk of heart disease and cancer prevention.

Blueberries contain anthocyanins, phytochemicals that have been shown to be beneficial to our health. Anthocyanins are the compounds responsible for giving the berry it's rich color. These flavonoids can be found in other richly colored food such as red cabbage, eggplant, red grapes blackberries or red onion. An article in Todays Dietitian explains in more detail what anthocyians are. How much do we need to eat to derive health benefits? One study shows even 3 times per week can provide benefits. The Nurses Health Study, showed "women who ate the most blueberries and strawberries had a 32-percent reduction in their risk of heart attack compared to women who ate the berries once a month or less -- even in women who otherwise ate a diet rich in other fruits and vegetables." In addition to heart health, you can find berries listed as a preferred fruit on many kinds of diets including, for cancer prevention, anti-inflammatory, DASH diet for hypertension, and the MIND diet for memory.

1/2 cup of blueberries has approximately 40 calories and 2 grams of fiber. Full of antioxidants that may be beneficial in preventing cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants neutralize "free radicals" in our body that cause damage to the DNA which can lead to cancer. Antioxidants such as those found in blueberries may decrease the incidence of heart disease by decreasing the amount of bad cholesterol that becomes oxidized in our system. They are a good source of vitamin C, folate, potassium and manganese.

Some of my clients who have diabetes are often concerned about eating fruit because of it's sugar content. Berries in general are a good value food in terms of carbohydrate, fiber and nutrients. Blueberries can fit into diets of all kinds, including those for diabetes. Eating whole fruits, not taken in a juice or supplement form will provide the most benefit in terms of providing a low calorie, high fiber food to fill us up. A study led by the Harvard School of Public Health looked at whole fruit content of a diet and showed "people who ate at least two servings each week of certain whole fruits — particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples — reduced their risk for type 2 diabetes by as much as 23 percent in comparison to those who ate less than one serving per month."

For a summary on blueberries and health, click here.

 Outside of just washing some off and eating them plain, this is my favorite way to enjoy blueberries, topped with greek yogurt and some toasted slivered almonds with a drizzle of honey.  As a dessert, think about a "dessert flip", instead of ice cream with berries on top, reverse it. Try 1/2-3/4 cup of blueberries topped with a couple small spoonfuls of ice cream and some sliced almonds and coconut shreds.

Outside of just washing some off and eating them plain, this is my favorite way to enjoy blueberries, topped with greek yogurt and some toasted slivered almonds with a drizzle of honey.

As a dessert, think about a "dessert flip", instead of ice cream with berries on top, reverse it. Try 1/2-3/4 cup of blueberries topped with a couple small spoonfuls of ice cream and some sliced almonds and coconut shreds.

Enjoy in Good Health!

-Brenda

** Blog content may not be applicable to your condition. Please discuss individual nutritional needs with Brenda during scheduled visits.

National Nutrition Month!

 National Nutrition Month, March 2017

National Nutrition Month, March 2017

Putting your best fork forward suggests for us to think about the foods we are eating and strive to get the best nutrition possible. One of the best ways to do this is to be in charge of what you are eating by cooking more at home. You do not have to be a gourmet chef, just willing to experiment and try new things. 

We all know to have better nutrition, we need to eat more vegetables. Just by knowing that fact does not mean it translates into action. Most people will eat more vegetables if they are delicious.  So we all know broccoli is healthy and probably even know it is a superfood and can help prevent heart disease and may be protective against some cancers. Some may be motivated to eat steamed broccoli on the side of their plate solely for the health value. Many though will become tired of this and need variety. In my last newsletter, I posted a broccoli soup recipe. Other yummy ways to enjoy the same food are in a salad version or roasted with other satisfying flavors. 

From Food and Nutrition Magazine

Top: Broccoli Salad with Almonds and Creamy Dijon Dressing Sara Haas, RDN

Above: Lemon Thyme Roasted Broccoli Jamila Rene' Lepore, RDN 

One of my favorite ways to increase vegetable intake is to add them to what I am already making. For example, you can make plain quinoa below as a side dish or with a couple extra steps, you can boost the nutrition and flavor by adding sautéed additions. 

 To increase the flavor of Quinoa, toast it first in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes

To increase the flavor of Quinoa, toast it first in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes

Sauteed mushrooms in olive oil and a bit of white wine, added to quinoa and topped with green onion really increase the flavor (pictured in first 2 photos above). Last photo shows minced shallot, mushrooms and kale which were sautéed and later added to cooked quinoa on another day. Spinach could work in place of the kale but added way at the end of the sautéeing process since it wilts quickly. Kale can stand the longer cooking time as it is tougher.

Same idea with brown rice. Instead of just a plain side of brown rice, how about adding some onion, celery and carrot? Neither of these vegetable additions mentioned will get us to 1/2 plate of veggies however, they give us a head start and make a side dish a little more intersting and definitely more nutritious!

Chop 1/2 onion, 1-2 celery stalks, 1 carrot and soften a bit in pan with 1 Tbsp olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add brown rice and stir for 1 minute. Add vegetable or chicken broth and cook as directed. Yum!

 Simple goals for a salad, pick three colors and then vary those colors each time.

Simple goals for a salad, pick three colors and then vary those colors each time.

Those of you who know me, have heard me suggest, "pick three colors for a salad." If you choose vibrant colors, you are getting great nutrition. A simple and easy combo is green, orange and red. Immediately you might think of lettuce, carrots and tomato but red pepper works great too. Some pre-shredded or pre-chopped veggies may help you get the job done when crunched for time. Some of my favorite convenience veggies are shredded purple cabbage and shredded carrots. Enlist the help of family members to get the vegetables on the table!! Kids love to twirl salad spinners! Vary your lettuces to keep it new. Arugula adds a spicy flavor. 

There are so many places to get inspiration to try new things or add vegetables in a new way. Some of my favorites are Cooking Light and Eating Well. Head over to pinterest to find loads of inspiration. I am regularly adding recipes to my own pinterest page. Feel free to check it out for some ideas. 

Have a great week! Be Well!

-Brenda

 

 

 

Go Green For St. Patricks Day!

 Cooking Light Magazine,  Green Pea and Parsley Hummus

Cooking Light Magazine, Green Pea and Parsley Hummus

Happy St. Patricks Day (a day early)! Seems like a good day to fit more green things into our diet, ones that are actually healthy for us!

Breakfast: How about avocado toast with an egg and green pepper scramble? Avocado is full of good-for-you monounsaturated fat, folate and potassium. 

Snacks: Edamame is the perfect mix of carbohydrate, protein and fat for an afternoon snack, packed with fiber, folate, vitamin K, manganese and potassium. Or try the cooking light Green Pea and Parsley Hummus pictured above, with a variety of veggies.

Lunch: Add a kiwi to the side of your sandwich or salad. One little kiwi packs 100% of our daily requirement for vitamin C! What a great fruit, just slice off the top of one side and you can eat it with a spoon, scooping out the yumminess!  

Dinner: Add some parsley to turkey meatballs for dinner. Parsley is not just a garnish but full of vitamins A, C and K as well as folate. And if you make the hummus above, you will have some on hand for this recipe! A favorite dinner recipe of mine is from Chef Joyce Goldstein presented at the Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives Conference, Moroccan meatballs. It calls for about 1/2 cup total chopped parsley between the sauce and the meatballs. Check out my Facebook post from May 2016 for the recipe.

  Moroccan Meatballs , Chef Joyce Goldstein

Moroccan Meatballs, Chef Joyce Goldstein

Have a great day! Be Well.

-Brenda

 
** Blog content may not be applicable to your condition. Please discuss individual nutritional needs with Brenda during scheduled visits.

My Favorite Recipe from Napa

As participants of the Healthy Kitchens Healthy Lives conference In Napa Valley, CA, we were exposed to hundreds of recipes. This was my favorite. I have never worked with lemongrass before and some of these ingredients can be hard to find. I did not want to wait until I had everything on hand to make this dish so I skipped the thai chilis and added some cayenne pepper to the marinade. I also used regular basil this time. It was still good! Next time I will experience it as written. Click here for a short video on prepping lemongrass.

Using a firm (not extra firm tofu) I take it out of the package and get some of the moisture out of it by placing on paper towels and then putting something heavy on top of it for about 30 minutes. While that is prepping, you can get the lemongrass ready by first chopping it into a much smaller piece and then basically peeling it back until you get to the softer inner part. Then you can chop it and put into a mortar and pestle to pulverize it along with the chilis (not pictured here). After the chilis and lemongrass are pulverized, add the soy sauce, sugar and tumeric and mix well.

 tumeic, soy sauce and sugar for the marinade., Onions shallots and garlic for a saucepan.

tumeic, soy sauce and sugar for the marinade., Onions shallots and garlic for a saucepan.

Add the marinade to the sliced tofu (sliced fairly thin) and let it sit for 30 minutes. The marinade is more like a dry rub. It is not supposed to have much liquid. Add the onions, garlic and shallots to a sauce pan with 1 Tbsp oil, seasoned with some salt. The vegetables are not meant to brown,  more like steam. Cook for one minute, covered and then add 1 Tbsp water and continue to cook covered for 5-8 minutes until the onions are translucent and soft, then set aside.

After the tofu has marinated 30 minutes, it is time to cook in a non stick pan with 2 Tbsp of oil. Make sure the oil is hot and then place the tofu in the pan and cook on both sides until brown and caramelized, (last picture above).

Once the tofu is brown, add the onion mixture and toss to warm and combine with tofu. Add 1/2 of the peanuts and thai basil and then garnish each plate with the rest of the nuts and basil. I served this over brown rice with some steamed broccoli on the side. Enjoy!!

Finding Inspiration in Napa!

 Beauty is abundant in Napa Valley

Beauty is abundant in Napa Valley

Hi everyone! I just returned from a 4 day conference in Napa Valley, called Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives. This conference is a collaboration between the Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard School of Public Health. We sat in sessions focusing on the science of health and then how to translate that science into the food that is on our plates through cooking demonstrations and a hands on workshop. It is not very hard to be inspired by the beauty of Napa Valley. It is also easy to get inspiration being surrounded by healthcare professionals and amazing chefs who are committed to improving the lives of others through healthy food. I feel reinvigorated with new motivation and commitment to health for me and my family and for my clients. 

Pictured below with Chef Lars Kronmark. I love how he teaches, 'recipes are a guide!" In the past I would not have made this if I did not have every single item. I did not have the chilis at home so I sprinkled some cayenne pepper for a little heat. This recipe I created with my group in the hands on kitchen session I attended, highlights a whole grain in the brown rice and just enough animal protein. You can add any additional vegetables or greens to your preference. I made this at home since returning and used bok choy, baby bok choy and Lacinato kale. Use what you can find in the vegetable crisper. Easy on the fish sauce and additional salt if you are watching your sodium. I did not even use the ham and it was great. The fried shallots are so yummy! 

There was so much information, too much to share in one post. So here are some of the highlights which will be expanded upon in future posts along with some of my most favorite recipes from the conference!

  • The mediterranean diet with it's emphasis on vegetables, whole grains and unsaturated fats, in particular olive oil, has many benefits for our health. 
  • The type of dietary fat we choose is important. A recent study from Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health showed lower mortality in those who ate more unsaturated fats and higher mortality in those who ate more saturated fats. Read more here
  • In order to eat more vegetables we need to make them delicious and craveable, not just a steamed side of something on our plates.
  • Home cooks eat more healthfully and eat fewer calories than those who dine out.
  • Mindfullness is very important to our overall health and affects our food choices positively when we can be mindful. Conversely, when we are not being mindful with our food, it can have negative effects on our health.
  • Exercise is great of course but it is only a subset of the greater big picture of "activity." Many of us need to work on becoming more active and therefore less sedentary, instead of focusing only on "getting exercise."
 Walking back to my car one afternoon.

Walking back to my car one afternoon.

As I was walking back to my car at the end of the conference I started thinking about the 4 days spent here. Funny thing, even though I truly enjoyed my time away, conferences like this can be overwhelming. Because of the sheer amount of information and ideas presented, it can be hard to know where to start when applying to daily life. It's tempting to take all of these recipes and try to add them all in over the next two weeks. A better option is to pick one thing, one idea, one recipe and start there. So I think I will do that! Wanna join me?

** Blog content may not be applicable to your condition. Please discuss individual nutritional needs with Brenda during scheduled visits.

Happy Valentines Day!

 For a sweet treat, enjoy berries with some dark chocolate!

For a sweet treat, enjoy berries with some dark chocolate!

Happy Valentines day! Lets start with dessert first! Yum. There are health benefits in chocolate if you choose the dark variety. Look for 70% cacoa or above. Dark chocolate has less sugar than milk chocolate and has a rich flavor. Read more about some of the benefits of dark chocolate here!

For a quick, and "good for your heart" dinner, try this Smoky Tomato and White Bean Soup. For a video tutorial on how to make it, click here. Go slow on the smoked chipotle powder if you are not a fan of spicy food, start with 1/4-1/2 tsp and add more if you wish. Enjoy!!

Have a great day!

** Blog content may not be applicable to your condition. Please discuss individual nutritional needs with Brenda during scheduled visits.

Hello and Welcome!

I’m so glad you stopped by to check out my blog. Here you will find equal parts information and inspiration with recipes, articles and likely some affirmations! 

One of the most common things people comment on when coming to see me for the first time is, “I thought you were going to take away everything I like to eat.” You are in charge of what you want to do with your health. It is never about me. My approach is one where we work together to chart a plan for your lifestyle and unique situation. Many new clients have actually told me they went out to eat for a big meal the night before and can laugh about it at the end of the session. An approach that is too restrictive is not likely to last and not encouraged. I will always promote balance and nudge toward better health but in a realistic way. I hope you find this to be a great resource for you today and in the future!

February is Go Red for Women, American Heart month. Learn the signs, work on prevention and being the healthiest you can be. Lots of information and tips to stay healthy!

If you are looking for a take action point, consider adding some of the red fruits and vegetables pictured here into your daily diet. We have all heard "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" but a diet filled with all kinds fruits and vegetables is a healthy way to go. How about adding red peppers or radishes to your salad or as a snack alongside hummus instead of carrots and celery?  Make a tomato based dinner or fajitas with red peppers to infuse more red into your day. Enjoy!

 One of my favorite one pot meals, chock full of tomatoes!. I use a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes and 4 peppers (red, yellow and orange) in  Giada de Laurentis Roman Style Chicken . 

One of my favorite one pot meals, chock full of tomatoes!. I use a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes and 4 peppers (red, yellow and orange) in Giada de Laurentis Roman Style Chicken

  Quick Chicken Fajitas  are a quick and easy weeknight meal. 

Quick Chicken Fajitas are a quick and easy weeknight meal. 

  Roasted Almond Romesco , I use red wine vinegar and roast a fresh red pepper >>

Roasted Almond Romesco, I use red wine vinegar and roast a fresh red pepper >>

  >> I also roast a tomato, which could be left out.

>> I also roast a tomato, which could be left out.

  Start your day off with some fresh berries. 

 Start your day off with some fresh berries. 

I found it fitting to start my newsletter with tomatoes since my website puts them front and center.

Be well!

-Brenda

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** Blog content may not be applicable to your condition. Please discuss individual nutritional needs with Brenda during scheduled visits.