Saturday, October 29, 2011

Snow in October!?

Yes, that is a picture taken from our living room-- SNOW in October. Sheesh!

In other news, this recipe was delicious and super-healthy. Director Doc and I enjoyed preparing it together and eating it:

Crab primavera with quinoa pasta

1/2 cup quinoa pasta (see brand above, cook for 9 minutes for perfect al dente!)
1/2 cup each chopped red pepper, onion, and zucchini
1/2 cup Tomato and Basil pasta sauce
1 can crab meat (found at Costco in the same aisle as the tuna fish)
Saute veggies first before adding the crab and sauce to heat through. Sprinkle Italian Seasoning on top. Serve over quinoa pasta. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Article Review

Best jobs for saving the world
(Dietitian is #3 out of 20)

Many Don't Believe Their Obesity is Unhealthy: Study

Research involving ER patients finds poor communication with doctors a big factor

5 Ways to Stay Slim This Halloween

Tricks and treats to a healthy holiday.

Digestive troops prepare for battle.

Eat well to strengthen your immune system

Fertility Foods,0,1100611.story

Mindless Eating Habits That Cause Weight Gain

Basic bad habits like eating while standing or dumping creamer
in your coffee can hurt your waistline in a big way

Eating Green Veggies Improves Immune Defenses

A healthy tailgate menu is easy!

5 Fall Superfoods You Need to Eat
Healthy in-season bites!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Easy stir fry dinner

This is a super easy recipe that I also lovingly refer to as a clean out the veggie drawer and throw it in a wok supper:
2 chicken breasts, cubed
1# broccoli florets
2 regular carrots, diced
1 zucchini, diced
Other options if you have them: leeks, peppers, shallots, cauliflower, cabbage, jicama (oh no, I'm out!)
I used about 1/4 cup of low sodium ginger soy sauce (Ken's) but you can certainly tweak this depending on your taste buds (spicy versus sweet versus savory). This dish can be thrown together (literally) in 5-8 minutes and served solo or over quinoa, brown rice, millet, couscous, farro, or any of your favorite whole grains. Note: you can also sub out the chicken for lean pork tenderloin, lean beef, shrimp, scallops, really any protein of your choice-- even tofu :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Articles of Interest

BPA may make girls anxious, hyperactive, study says

Nutrition, hydration tips can give marathon runners a leg up

Food is not really the enemy for athletes

Exercise and Hunger

One pound of fat equates to 3,500 calories. You need a deficit of 500 calories a day to lose a pound, so rewarding yourself with a burger or a cake will automatically cancel out that deficit. The catch is that this is so easy to do. It can take an hour to burn off 400 or 500 calories, and just two minutes to eat that.

Exercise has been found both to curb and stimulate hunger. Unfortunately, only very intense exercise will suppress appetite. A Loughborough University study found that vigorous exercise increases levels of peptide YY, an appetite-suppressing hormone, and reduces ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone. But an hour later, the appetite will kick in again. Another study, from the University of Massachusetts, found that not only does exercise increase hunger, by increasing levels of insulin and leptin, both appetite-stimulating hormones, but that women are affected more than men.

A few years ago, the American peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE, the publication of the not-for-profit Public Library of Science, ran a surprising study. It suggests that even holding back on the treats and ignoring post-exercise hunger pangs will have little effect. The study put 464 overweight women who did not exercise regularly into four groups. Three of the groups worked out for different lengths of time each week with a personal trainer, and the control group remained inactive. The women were asked to stick to their usual diets. Although all groups lost weight (though some individuals gained more than 10lbs), those who exercised did not lose significantly more weight than the inactive participants. They did reduce their waist measurements a little, but lost no more body fat overall than the control group.

One theory for this is that the women who worked out most did the least at other times of the day to compensate. After all, exercise wears you out. Doing too much increases our levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which leads to tummy fat.

When you're purely running, you're not creating lovely lean muscle fat, so people end up having that 'skinny fat' look, where there is no real muscle tone because they haven't done any resistance work. Half an hour of running every few days is plenty, along with resistance work.

This encapsulates why running fares worse in the weight-loss stakes compared with other forms of exercise. If you are preparing for a long run, the likelihood is you're trotting along at little more than a fast walk, so your muscles hardly get going. Then there are the different consequences of aerobic versus anaerobic exercise. We burn fat during aerobic exercise (running, cycling, walking, dancing), but as soon as the exercise is over, so is the fat burning. With anaerobic workouts (weights, circuits, sprints, interval and resistance work) you burn fat and also convert some into muscle while training, but the muscles keep working out after you have stopped, so you end up with a higher calorie burn and a higher proportion of lean muscle to boot.

"It is now commonly thought that varying the intensity of your training is better than grinding along at a slow pace, because you work the heart harder and you get this afterburn," says Andy Dixon, editor of Runner's World magazine, "It's not running that makes you fat, it's eating. It's a common habit for runners to think that everything else will look after itself, but even more important than the exercise is looking at nutrition.

Running is easier than going to the gym or engaging in team sport. It's accessible, easy to get into, cheap and a very effective mode of burning fat.

The NHS recommends between 75 and 150 minutes of exercise per week, depending on the intensity, plus two sessions of muscle-strengthening activities. But the exercise doesn't have to be done in one go: the message is to become more active, rather than to offset a sedentary lifestyle with bursts of exercise.

It is important not to downplay the benefits of exercise. The part it plays in weight loss has been overstated, but it has a crucial role in most aspects of our physical health, in fighting disease and in moderating mental health. Even better, a morning jog will put a smile on your face.

Running and weight loss: the dos and don'ts

* Eat an hour-and-a-half before a run and have a healthy snack available for afterwards.

* Mix up the intensity of your run. Running for 30 minutes with bursts of sprinting is better for fat burning, lean-muscle building and fitness than a 45-minute trudge.

* Exercise followed by a treat is better for overall health than not exercising. But be aware of the calories burnt. Running for 40 minutes does not buy you two doughnuts – more like three or four oatcakes with hummus, 80g of dark chocolate or two eggs on slices of wholemeal toast.

* Avoid isotonic drinks (i.e, Gatorade, Powerade, etc) if you're exercising for less than 60 minutes. You don't need them because the carb reserve in muscles and the liver sustains us for an hour. Rehydrate with water instead.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Smelly Post and Seitan Review

Body odor can be affected by diet as well as sweat

(By Molly Kimball, RD)

Interesting food bite I thought I'd share with you:

If glorious smells make us want to eat, is there a scent that could have the opposite effect and actually reduce our urge?

Yes, there is, says psychologist Bryan Raudenbush, a professor at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia.

It's peppermint.

His study showed that volunteers who sniffed peppermint scent every two hours were not as hungry as nonsniffers and — even better — they ate 2,800 fewer calories in a week. That's enough to lose close to a pound.

The peppermint, he says, "is distracting you from your hunger pains, and you don't feel as inclined to eat as much."

(Eating peppermint candy or chewing peppermint gum doesn't work as well.)

Raudenbush's earlier studies showed that athletes perform better if they sniff peppermint. "They were able to go longer at the gym, able to push themselves, were more motivated, less fatigued and felt like they had more energy."

The study also concluded "another implication would be that peppermint scent could be used to curb individuals' false hunger cravings, i.e. emotional eating."

Peppermint oil is available online and can be dabbed on a wristband, for example, for easy sniffing. Raudenbush's study used packaged peppermint inhalers available in nutrition stores or for $9.99 at

Q: What is seitan? How healthy is it?

A: Also called wheat gluten, seitan (pronounced “say-tahn”) is a meat substitute that does a better job of resembling real meat than others. A staple in Asian cuisine, wheat gluten made its way to the West with the rise of macrobiotic diets several decades ago under the name seitan, which loosely translates into “made of protein.” Another name for it is “wheat meat.”

Seitan is traditionally made by mixing whole-wheat flour with water and kneading the dough under water until the starch dissolves away. The stretchy gluten (protein) that remains is cut into strips and cooked in broth, resulting in a product that has the chewy and stringy texture of meat. It can be flavored to taste like meat, too.

Seitan is low in calories (90 to 140 in three ounces) and has no saturated fat or cholesterol. It has as much protein as chicken, beef and other meat—and more than tofu. Seitan also provides a little calcium and iron, but doesn’t have the fiber of whole grains. Watch out for sodium, though—some products have more than 400 milligrams per serving.

You can find seitan, refrigerated, at health-food stores, Asian markets and some mainstream supermarkets, in various forms and flavors. You can eat it straight from the package. Or add it to stir-fries, stews, soups, fajitas and other dishes. It’s often an ingredient in other meat substitutes, too, listed as wheat gluten. Some people make their own seitan from gluten flour (“vital wheat gluten“) or commercial mixes.

Seitan is often on the menu at vegetarian restaurants; it may be described as wheat gluten or mock duck, among other names. But if you have a gluten intolerance, keep seitan (and anything that lists wheat gluten as an ingredient) off your own menu.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

More quinoa and black water

Another yummy and super easy quinoa recipe:
1cup cooked quinoa (made in water)
1 chicken breast (made in the slow cooker with Trader Joe's Barbecue sauce)
1 cup sauteed yellow pepper, green pepper, and zucchini

Served with more barbecue sauce on top. Mix it all together when eating for maximum flavor :)

That is correct-- black water. This is a new product which is essentially spring water that has been infused with fulvic acid (an antioxidant) and 77 trace minerals. It looked pretty gross (it is naturally black) but tasted just like regular water with a hint of mineral essence. One of the purported health benefits is the high pH (9+) which means alkaline water that can help neutralize acidic environments (think, protects against cancers, supports thyroid and immune function, and aids in digestion). Potent stuff. This 16.9 oz bottle was $1.99, courtesy of The Healthy Parents . . .

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Turkey Chili Over Quinoa

I finally nailed this recipe! Yum :)
1# ground turkey breast
1 small can tomato sauce (no salt added)
1 small can tomato paste
1 can each, rinsed black beans and small red beans
seasoning blend (1Tbsp each: paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper flakes)
Mix those ingredients together right in a saucepan and cook over medium heat (covered) for about 10 minutes until the meat is cooked through.
In a separate saute pan sprayed with PAM, cook 1 diced zucchini, 1 diced sweet onion, 1 green pepper, and 3 regular carrots (NOT baby carrots) until fork tender (about 5-10 minutes). Once cooked, dump into the rest of the chili pot and mix together. Serve with shredded Mexican blend cheese and dollop of Fage yogurt. This is great over quinoa but you could easily serve it with lentil crisps (another favorite), over a baked potato, over a salad (don't knock it till you try it), or over whole grain pasta. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pancakes and Cioppino

Breakfast today included banana pancakes (gluten-free and dairy-free!):

I used the above GF, vegan baking blend (1cup) and added 1Tbsp maple syrup, 1tsp baking powder, 1 egg, 1Tbsp canola oil, 3/4cup almond milk, and sliced a banana placed atop the pancakes (weird shape, I know). They were light and fluffy! Yum :)

Dinner was a delicious langastino cioppino:

gluten free rigatoni
langastinos (courtesy of Costco!)
no-salt-added tomato sauce plus can of crushed tomatoes
italian seasoning
diced zucchini, red pepper, and 1/2 onion (sauteed first before adding the sauce components and lastly, the langastinos which really only simmer for 3-5 minutes to heat through)
This fancy sounding and looking dish only took 15 minutes total to prepare and is pretty much a one pot wonder (aside from the pasta). Definitely a keeper!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stop the Supplements

Proof why I really do not recommend taking supplements on a daily basis:

Healthy Diet May Counteract Heart Disease Gene

Piling plates with fruit, veggies, berries reduced genetic risk in large study

Broccoli health benefits require the whole food, not supplements, says study

Source: J Agric Food Chem

More bad supplement news: Vitamin E may be risky for prostate

Source: JAMA

Americans favor vitamins but nutritionists say eat healthy

(Liz Kirk, RD quoted)

Should older women take those vitamins or not?

(Bonnie Jortberg, RD quoted),0,1618324.story

Saturday, October 8, 2011


I would like to use this post as an introspective glimpse into my personal goals and aspirations. Goal-setting has always been a helpful, measurable means of accountability for me [and something I encourage my patients to try as well]. I am breaking up my goals for the coming months into 3 categories: personal, professional, and "coupled." I figure that by posting them, there will be another reminder to keep me honest and on track.

1. Personal Goal: I am learning to listen to my body. It seems to take longer to recover from tough workouts, and my knees so not allow me to complete more than 1 long run weekly. That being said, I feel that I am in great shape and want to maintain the muscle I have gained and aerobic endurance I have built. Since both of my coaching opportunities did not pan out this season, I would like to find another volunteer activity to be involved in.

2. Professional Goal: Since I am really enjoying my current consulting and nutrient coaching projects, I hope to continue them as well as expand my services in the coming months. I want to finish at least one of the books I have started and hopefully continue to gain some media recognition.

3. Coupled Goal: This goal takes two to tango and involves the constant effort of making my marriage extremely fulfilling and filled with love. I vow to help Director Doc de-stress and keep work-related issues in perspective. I also recognize that my domestic skills need some tweaking as I have gotten more reliant on take-out (even from grocery stores) and not as diligent about the cleaning duties; therefore, I aim to limit non-home-cooked meals to once weekly and devoting 10-15 minutes/day to tidying up :)

There you have it! I hope that this post inspired you to consider your own goals and aspirations.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Crabby Monday

Guess what? It's raining . . . AGAIN! Sheesh. I am done with the rain. Now add in the cold factor and it seems to have skipped over Fall and gone straight to dreary winter. Blah. I am sharing my dinner [pictured] above-- one of my personal favs: snow crab legs, green beans, and jicama (kind of got cut off, but certainly worth mentioning as it is delicious).

Things accomplished today:
1) prepared handouts for patients in my Manassas office tomorrow :)
2) answered interview questions for a piece in the Loudoun Times Mirror newspaper
3) took the day OFF from lifting to allow for proper recovery of sore muscles
4) made an oatmeal loaf substituting NuNaturals Fiber Blend for sweetener and peanut butter instead of oil-- verdict? crappy texture but the taste wasn't too bad (not worth photographing)
5) saw the cutest puppies (yorkies and some other small breed mix) and tried to convince Director Doc we need company ;)

I am contemplating a hefty work decision at the moment that involves teaching at a medical college . . . not sure if I am going to take this on right now. More to come . . .

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Recap of Rain

The rain is still here, and it certainly has cast a dark cloud over everyone I have come in contact with this week. It is evident that bad weather really does impact people's outlook and mood. Even I have been a little down despite taking my vitamin D3, exercising regularly, and eating "good mood foods." It really reminds me why I will not be living in PA again, as it was dreary and cold 95% of the time. Moving on . . .

I thought I would use this rainy Sunday as a time to reflect on the recent family interactions and work appointments. I LOVE helping people. I truly am in the best mood and feel great about myself by being able to enlighten and educate others. Sometimes people do not want my help. Sometimes people who love me also have the ability to hurt me the most. I do not mind giving my family members [and friends!] nutrition advice. I DO mind when they over step their boundaries and then proceed to tell me all of the things they do wrong and plan on continuing to do wrong despite my urges to change those unhealthy habits. As I am writing this post, I am reminded of the mantra that "people need your permission in order to hurt you." It is true that if I let them get me down, then that is where I will be. If I choose to ignore those comments or to rise above them and offer my suggestions with the side note, "this is what the nutritional science states is true" or "I believe this makes then most sense so that is what I purport." Perhaps if I practice this technique, it will become second nature, and I won't get so defensive. Just a thought.

On the foods front, I have made my first pot of turkey chili for the season (with some yummy cornbread to go with it) and am planning on roasting a turkey-- once I find one in the grocery stores! There will also be the return of soups and roasted veggies (hello brussels sprouts, I missed you!). I bought some mixed grain hot cereal at TJ's today and plan on creating some porridge concoctions as well as some "healthy" baked goods. Tip: use cooler weather to your advantage by investing in a crock pot to make everything from soups, to meat products, and even hot cereals. It will be a great time-saver, and you can batch cook recipes to have leftovers for lunches and dinner during the busy workweek :)