Category Archives: food

Thanksgiving Side: Sautéed Nutmeg Kale Salad

First and foremost, THANK YOU so much. The Face of Fitness contest continues, and new VOTES can be put in every day until November 27th. As of this morning, I’ve bumped up to #14 thanks to you – please keep it coming!

Lululemon Run Ambassador photo 1

Click here to voteVegetarian BQ Marathoner!

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Now, let’s dine! Tomorrow is a day of family and feasting for those of us in the States. This morning’s yoga class was a “tribute to the birds” – we did crow, bird of paradise, eagle & pigeon – as we casually call this holiday “Turkey day!”.

The class was great – love me some arm balances and hip-openers! – but the Thanksgiving-Turkey association? Not my thing. I have a menu of bird-free eats lined up for D & I, largely thanks to holiday recipe roundups from Ashley (Edible Perspective) and the Peas clan.

One dish will be new to us, and is thanks to Lindsey’s post on Nutmeg and my recent kitchen salad experiment.

Sautéed Nutmeg Kale Salad

kale nutmeg salad 1

2-3 cups raw Kale
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup yellow pepper, chopped
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/2 block tofu, chopped (Optional)
1 tbsp. e.v. olive oil
1/4 cup pepitas
Seasonings: nutmeg, black pepper (~1/4 tsp. each)

Heat oil over medium in a large/deep sauté pan. Add onions, peppers and tofu, cooking and stirring for 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and seasonings, continue stirring and sautéing until all vegetables are soft and tofu is starting to brown (if applicable).  Toss in raw kale leaves to coat and cook slightly; mix in pepitas and serve warm.

kale nutmeg salad 3

The Nutmeg flavor tasted so good with this mix of vegetables; I never would have thought to throw that seasoning on a salad, but I am so glad I did. Now I know it’s delicious in treats and healthy eats! Its flavor is reminiscent of holiday baked goods and oatmeal cookies, making this salad the perfect healthy complement to your Thanksgiving day dining!

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What’s healthy on your holiday menu? What’s your t0tally-worth-it splurge/indulgence?

Happy dining & celebrating!

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Filed under dinners, food, holidays, lunches, recipes

Roasted Tomato & Quinoa Veggie Pot: Eat Food.

After posting my health library I realized that, while I love flipping through the pages, I’ve never fully read Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. It actually sits on my desk at work, should I ever need some very simple inspiration for a post (work-blog, not here), seminar or handout. Now, it’s sitting on my kitchen table as I realize it could be the inspiration for some new recipes.

I like to think we make up our own rules here in the DOTR kitchen, and that Mr. Pollan would approve. Our “rules” would have to mash together to form something that includes dark chocolate and a hankering for chips & salsa; there are some compromises to be made! But nonetheless, I opened the book to page 5 and started with this:

1) Eat food.

We can do that!

Today’s recipe is a simple one-pot wonder that will put dinner in your bowl/plate/mouth within 30 minutes (or less). If you wanted to roast the tomatoes yourself – power to ya! – then use this on a cooler summer evening with fresh summer tomatoes and go for it (adding some cook-time)! When they’re out of season, I reach for the Muir Glen Organic Fire-roasted Tomatoes because I know them well. The flavor can’t be matched!

Roasted Tomato & Quinoa Veggie Pot

2 cans (15 oz) fire-roasted organic tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 oz) organic chickpeas, undrained
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 cup dry quinoa (rinsed)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder (or one glove garlic, minced)
Salt/pepper to taste

Le Creuset Cooking

Heat oil over medium in a large pot or Dutch oven; add onion and sauté until opaque/softened. Add tomatoes, water, chickpeas, broccoli, quinoa and seasonings. Stir until mixed well; bring to boil and then reduce heat, cover and let simmer for ~20-25 minutes (until quinoa is cooked through). Stir every couple of minutes to prevent any burning.

Let it cool, and then dish it out!

Roasted tomato & quinoa veggie pot 2

This was the perfect, easy and flavorful one-pot creation on a colder DC night. Next up I might finally use that slow-cooker that’s staring at me and waiting to show its power!

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What was on your dinner menu this week?

5 Comments

Filed under dinners, food, Nutrition, recipes, vegetarian

NHBPM WEGO Prompt: Calling BS…

Per the WEGO health post prompt today, I’m ready to call “BS” on a few things.

Any health-world professional will tell you that there are too many ways to accomplish one goal –weight loss, health improvements, muscle toning…whatever it may be – some great, some ridiculous. Most people go for the quick fixes, while some are in it for the “long haul” (hello, life).

The fluctuating trends in nutrition and fitness are even confusing to professionals at times – your friend told you almonds do WHAT? you’re running backwards because of {insert new theory on gait-changing}? you bought that super-food for HOW much?  – and we try hard to keep up! It’s anyone’s guess as to how these get started, but thanks to our friend the internet they spread so dang quickly.

Enter: blogs. Our space and time to speak without interruption! If I may, here are a few things I’d like to call BS on…

Low-caloriesnacks:

We all remember the craze of “100 Calories!” snack-packs, yes? I think they’re still around, but thankfully I see them less and less.

We all know that it’s pretty easy to only snack on 100 calories, right? And it doesn’t have to be in the form of depressingly small “cookie” discs? It can be a banana, a grapefruit, a large apple, a baked sweet/regular potato, a small handful of nuts, a spoonful of peanut butter or even few pieces of dark chocolate. The list goes on and on. Nobody needs to tell you exactly how many calories are in your snack – if they feel like they do, you should probably feel like there’s no need to listen.

natural-peanut-butter

Oil separation = a beautiful thing. Get stirring…

Reduced-fat peanut butter:

Let’s show peanuts some love! They don’t need anyone messing with them, and they certainly don’t need any sugar in their butter. Yep, reduced fat peanut butter is just sweetened and plumped up with additives (read: crap) to make up for the missing fat. It’s just an oil and it’s plenty healthy for you. Plus, some of those vitamins and minerals in there need fat for storage. They’ll thank you for going au natural.

Bacon-wrapped/flavored/infused-everything:

Clearly, as a meat-free eater, I’m biased here. And I’ll be the first to say there’s room for balance in all things – indulge, enjoy, balance, repeat. But the praising of bacon has gone a little bit far, especially when we consider what it is– cured pork meat, mostly fat. That’s it. There’s no rejoicing in the hidden nutritional content here! Nope, it’s just a lot of saturated fat, salt and protein.

If you’re a bacon-lover, enjoy a strip here and there with breakfast, or around a scallop or chocolate-dipped if you’re so inclined. But chew with caution!

cat energy drink

Energy-drinks, “Full of B vitamins!”:

You’re a smart crowd – you probably know full well that energy drinks, with their crazy loud claims and 1980s-style commercials, can’t have anything good going for them. Serious health risks aside (important to note, though), they are not your ideal source of B vitamins.

You’d be surprised how many people seem to think otherwise, and are genuinely swayed to maybe believe these drink-makers for 1.2 seconds when they see the “nutrition” information. Wait, what?…1000% of Vitamin b12?!

No food/drink/product needs to provide you with 1000% of anything; aside from the obvious fact that this can’t be natural in any way, the body can’t absorb all of that! Your urine will be pretty amped up, though.

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I’m sure that list could go on forever, but we’ll leave it at that for now.

Health-enthusiasts (I’m looking at you) – what would you love to call “BS” on?

15 Comments

Filed under Dietitians, food, health, in the News

Spiced White Bean Pumpkin Soup (Vegan, GF)

It’s been a big week here, with dairy talk and elections, and it’s about time we eat. Yes? Sit down, and grab a spoon. This one is cozy and comforting…

pumpkin white bean soup

It started with a Pin, and an excuse to really bust out the slow-cooker. Then it was Monday night, and suddenly waiting five hours for soup to cook didn’t sound quite as a fun. Our version is still dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan, but just happened to find its way into our bowls much faster.

Spiced White Bean & Pumpkin Soup
Makes ~4 servings. Adapted from Healthy Eat’s Curried Pumpkin Soup.

1 tsp Olive Oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup lite coconut milk
1 can (15 oz) organic white (cannellini) beans, drained & rinsed
1 can (15 oz) organic pumpkin puree
3 cups vegetable broth (low-sodium)

Seasonings: garam masala, turmeric, salt/pepper, cayenne pepper.

In a deep pan or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium; sauté onion and garlic until softened.  Add remaining ingredients, stir to mix well – this may take a few minutes as the pumpkin “melts” into the mixture. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and let simmer for 25-30 minutes. Stir frequently.

Optional: serve with a green onion garnish.

pumpkin soup 2

This the first deliciously seasonal pumpkin meal we’ve had, and it was a big win. I have my eyes on this soup’s comeback happening sooner than later.

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Happy Friday!

What’s on your dinner menu(s) this weekend?

6 Comments

Filed under dinners, food, gluten free, recipes, vegetarian

WEGO Health Soapbox: Why I (Mostly) Avoid Dairy

I’ve signed up for the WeGo National Health post prompts (thanks to Sassy). I won’t touch on all 30 days, but I think it’s a great way to get some (hopefully) thought-provoking posts up here.

So, for now, we take a break from running…and I step on a soapbox.

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The back-story: After a lot of back-and-forth deciding what may be causing D some chronic discomfort, he finally let me play dietitian and test out a few theories. Eventually, we cut dairy and gluten from his diet – ergo, mine at home, too – and voila! Problem (mostly) solved! Just in time for the summer and his cycling season, whew.

got milk you dont need it
(Photo source)

Further back: I stopped drinking cow’s milk right after college, finally realizing I very obviously didn’t tolerate it well*. I stuck with yogurt and hard cheeses because they have little-to-no lactose thanks to the fermentation process. For the lactose-intolerant, they’re generally safe. For the dairy/milk-intolerant (often associated with the protein, not the sugar), they’re not.

*Cow’s milk is the number one cause of food allergies among infants & children.

Approximately 33% of adults are lactose-intolerant, and 75% have a decrease in lactase activity (the enzyme that breaks down lactose). These numbers significantly higher in African-, Native-, Mexican- and Asian-American populations (75 & 90% respectively).

For long-time readers, you may recall a love-affair with vegetable pizzas – homemade or a la the pizzerias of the world. After cutting out meat and poultry, it was a fun dish to be creative with and never miss the meat! When eating out, it was an easy go-to for a “vegetarian” option.

Alas, you may have noticed less pizza appearing on these pages as of late…

I’ll be  the first to admit that melted cheese leaves little to be desired in any dish. But knowing what I do now, and with all stomach discomforts left in the dust, it’s easy to avoid. And we have.

cow milk production then and now
cows milk production 2
(Photo source)

Cows treated with hormones means you’re drinking those hormones. The solution? You can opt to buy organic milks and look for packaging that clarifies something along the lines of “not treated with rBST”.

If nothing else, do this!

{There are a handful of companies responsibly producing dairy products that I’ve supported – notably, Chobani & Stoneyfield – and continue to follow for their quality initiatives, health promotion and community outreach.}

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So, let’s say you’re in the minority of adults that are fully able to digest lactose and you buy organic, hormone-free milks, cheeses and yogurts…

Then, what’s the problem?

milk studies
(Photo source)

Here are a few other reasons to think about decreasing your dairy intake:

  • “In multiple, peer-reviewed animal studies, researchers discovered that they could actually turn the growth of cancer cells on and off by raising and lowering doses of casein, the main protein found in cow’s milk.”
    China Study Cheat Sheet
  • “Some of the “experts” who helped create the pyramid actually work for the dairy industry, which makes the US Department of agriculture’s {dairy} recommendations reflect industry interests, not science or our best interests.”
    “Countries with the lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.”
    Dr. Mark Hymann – Dairy: 6 Reasons you Should Avoid it
  • “Dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, may worsen asthmatic symptoms…High-fat dairy products may worsen inflammation.”
    Foods to Avoid When Asthmatic
    Of note: there isn’t significant research (yet) to support this. The only testament is word-of-mouth & posts like this.
  • “…the truth is that {milk}  isn’t the only way to work toward your 1,000-a-day {recommended mg of calcium}. We gathered some of the most calcium-rich foods out there (including many vegan and vegetarian options) — just be sure to pair each of them with adequate vitamin D intake (the body needs this nutrient to absorb calcium, and milk is already fortified with it).”
    Surprisingly Calcium-rich Foods that Aren’t Milk

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What are those other calcium-rich foods? Things that I would bet most of you already eat, anyway!

white bean salad bowl of kale almond trail mix

Things like: salmon, kale, almonds, white beans, oranges, dried figs, arugula, broccoli, sunflower seeds & soy products (milk, beans/edamame, tofu, etc.).

Milk-substitutes: I primarily drink Almond Milk because I prefer the taste and consume other soy products throughout the week (tofu, edamame, etc.).

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I do believe in approaching all things with moderation. If you’re not up for cutting out dairy completely, just consider reducing your intake.

We’ve learned it can be frustratingly hard to completely avoid dairy – most restaurants use butter/creams in various cooking methods and sometimes  I’ll find “milk” on the allergen list of random foods like BBQ chips or dark chocolate (not okay – that’s what milk chocolate is for!). Sometimes it’s in dips, sauces, etc that I wouldn’t think of. And there are some random days when my 80/20 attitude kicks in, and that’s okay. For me.

Last week I bought organic peppermint patties at Whole Foods, and then saw “milk powder” low on the ingredient list. I didn’t care enough not to enjoy and indulge.

I’m not perfect and I would never expect anyone else to be. But, I care passionately about my health; the information here is too hard to ignore, and it’s worth mentioning that we are the only  species that drinks another animal’s milk. It’s not healthy nor environmentally responsible. Even reducing your intake – vs. eliminating it entirely – will make a difference.

“Eat Food. Not too Much. Mostly Plants.” – this will never steer you in the wrong direction. {Michael Pollan}

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And with that, I step off my soap box!

There’s always a sensitive discussion to be had around food. I think it’s important to be open and honest, especially as a dietitian, and I hope you’re along for the ride.


Sources:

Lactose Intolerance Statistics (source: National Digestive Disease Information)

China Study: 10 Things You Need to Know

Learn Stuff: Got Milk? Infographic

USDA ERS – Dairy: Background

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Filed under about me, Dietitians, food, health, Nutrition

National Nut Day! Celebrate the Nutritional Craziness

In the health world, national nut day celebrates the plant-based source of our favorite fatty acids, nutrients and protein. These small, nutrient-dense powerhouses are not to be left alone! On a side note, I was infamously known around the college apartment for saying things were “nuts” (i.e. crazy).

Is that unique to the Southwest? Me? My personal jargon?

Not a clue. But, what’s totally nuts is that in a phase of life, my only dose of nut-nutrition was via the peanut butter jar (not even the “natural” kind – gasp). I did empty that jar pretty quickly, but even so, my matured and acquired taste-buds are sad for the time we missed!

Now, they are a go-to snack, oatmeal topper and trail-mix must have (what’s trail mix without the nuts?! We’re not going there.)

Here are my favorite ways to enjoy nuts:

Mixed with fresh fruit for a snack – yes, they go with anything. I’ve paired pecans + cantaloupe, walnuts + apples, pears and bananas, almonds + everything. It all works.

Topping a lunch salad or quinoa mix.

Creamed into a “butter” and, well, we know where that’s going… (fruit, oatmeal, dessert, snacking….).

Sprinkled on top of a smoothie for some extra texture and flavor.

Thrown into a pasta to make things interesting (see: Basil Cashew Pasta Salad).

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Ready for something new? The Almond Board of California is riding high on a wave of new information that suggests almonds may be lower in calorie than originally thought.

I’m not suggesting we read too much into the numbers (see above: nutrient-dense powerhouse), but it’s an interesting update. Nuts get slammed by calorie counters because of their “high” value, but this food is bargain. Enjoy it, practice some portion control and you’re doing yourself a favor by choosing these over that “100 calorie snack pack”.

Here’s their idea for a creative homemade snack and/or dessert:

Almonds Mochaalmonds mocha

6 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbs. instant coffee granules
1 egg white
2 cups whole natural almonds

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In container of electric blender, combine all ingredients except egg white and almonds. Blend 30 seconds, pulsing on and off; set aside. In large bowl, whisk egg white until opaque and frothy. Add almonds; toss to coat. Add sugar mixture; toss gently to coat evenly. Oil, or coat a baking sheet with vegetable cooking spray. Arrange almonds on baking sheet in single layer. Bake in center of oven 15 minutes. Gently toss almonds and arrange again in single layer. Continue to bake 15 minutes longer; toss gently. Turn off oven. Leave almonds in oven with door ajar 15 minutes. Remove from oven; cool completely. Store in airtight container up to two weeks.

Photo and Recipe courtesy of Almond Board of California.

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Other ideas? Do tell…

Happy Nut Day!

6 Comments

Filed under Dietitians, food, Nutrition, what to eat

Whole Grain, Whole Heart: New Quaker Eats & Treats Giveaway!

I am a huge fan of oatmeal, and have yet to break the oatmeal-for-breakfast routine almost every day of the week. I find it comforting and satisfying, and while I usually stick with the same toppings (peanut butter, banana, honey/agave), I like that my cooked bowl of oats is open to variety!

The first oatmeal I knew and loved was Quaker, a childhood association equivalent to that of Cheerios and Eggo waffles (how else would you “make” oatmeal? eat cereal? have toaster waffles?!)I’ll stand by them now because their {huge} container of my favorite hot cereal still reads one ingredient: rolled oats. (This is obviously not true of the instant oatmeal packages; I stick with the simple, pure stuff.)

Because of this, I was open to the #QuakerInsiders invitation! This included an “insight into the latest and greatest tasty breakfasts and snacks”, and a chance to review seven new products.

The Quaker folks are branching out into new oatmeal flavors, new cereals and entirely new products!

Whole hearts cerealyogurt bars & cookies

That bowl on the left shows what I had for a “treat” most nights this week – handful of cereal + almond milk & dark chocolate chips! The Whole Hearts cereal has a hint of honey sweetness, with the usual whole-grain taste you expect. I’ll put dark chocolate chips in cereal, granola, or oatmeal – yes, I do think they complement everything.  Quaker had a similar idea…

chocolate chip oatmeal

Other items in the #QuakerInsiders delivery? Yogurt bars*, Stila strawberry bars, Soft-baked oatmeal raisin cookies, Soft-baked banana bread bars, Oatmeal squares (cereal), Whole Hearts (cereal, see above) and the above-mentioned chocolate chip oatmeal.

*Slightly disappointed to note that this item contains high-fructose corn-syrup. I wouldn’t recommend these as a first-choice healthy snack.

IMG_3353I can’t say that I’d reach for each one of these products and drop it into my grocery cart, but I did love the Whole Hearts cereal and D loved the banana-bread bars (so much so that I didn’t get a bite…!). I shared the cookies and yogurt bars with coworkers, and got a thumbs-up.

If you’re looking for whole grain products that are easy to bring on-the-go (individually wrapped), these are surely better than an candy bar or “power” bar. Each product boasts its own profile of nutrients from the whole grains, shown to be heart-healthy.


WANT TO TRY THEM OUT, TOO? Let me know! Enter to win your own package of Quaker goods by answering the following in your comment:

Are you a Quaker fan – oatmeal, classic granola bars, or otherwise? Which one of these products would you taste-test in your kitchen?


Winner will be announced Monday, 10/15!

Full Disclosure: The Quaker Insiders program provides the products free of charge to review. There is no monetary compensation for this post, and the opinions are my own.

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Filed under food, Giveaway, new things!, Nutrition