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healthy cooking

Just because it’s organic or gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s healthy

Alex Twiss and Neily

 

I love educating people and increasing nutrition awareness with label reading, ingredient lists, etc. The main theme of my message at a Southwest Airlines health fair was—just because it’s organic or gluten-free or comes from a health food store does not guarantee healthfulness.

Here are a few examples focusing on organic and gluten-free.

Continue reading

An interview with Sharon Palmer: The Plant-Powered Dietitian™

Sharon Palmer, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist from California, and I spent time talking about the health benefits of a plant-based diet. This is the first of a series of 4 videos transcribed for my blog. Here we discussed Sharon’s inspiration to write a book called The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Optimal Health, Beginning Today, and why eating more plant foods and cutting down on meats, is beneficial to health. Even small changes will go a long way! Continue reading

Why I don’t like steel cut oats

Steel cut oats

Neily’s Easy Steel Cut Oats (recipe below)

Okay that title is a bit harsh and perhaps misleading. Let me explain.

A number of years ago a client told me she didn’t eat oatmeal because of not having time to make steel cut oats. She had heard—by an ill-informed friend—that if she couldn’t eat steel cut oats not to bother. Reason number one I ‘don’t like’ steel cut oats—someone not eating a nutrient-rich food like oatmeal because she was told if she couldn’t eat steel cut not to bother. Continue reading

Enjoy the festivities. Celebrate the season. But don’t let it be a feeding frenzy!

Dinner-neily12

The holidays are in full swing! For some it’s a feeding frenzy starting with Halloween and sometimes not ending until the Superbowl!

Contrary to popular belief the average person does not gain 5-10 pounds over the holidays. They may gain one or two. The problem is it may not come off after the first of the year and therefore causing weight creep. Continue reading

Superfoods = Super diet

Fresh-veggies-neily

Really interesting discussion on a Twitter chat I participated in recently. For those not familiar with chats they’re an opportunity for tweet peeps to get ‘together’ at a certain date and time to discuss a topic. Everyone uses the same hashtag. For example #healthtalk is the tweetchat I participated in. Hosted by @EverydayHealth (everydayhealth.com), registered dietitian nutritionist Rachel Begun (@RachelBegunRD) was the special guest on the topic of superfoods.

What do you think of when you hear that word—superfood? Does a particular food come to mind? To some perhaps, but to many on the chat it was much bigger than that. Here were some tweet highlights: Continue reading

Why shopping with a list is critical!

Grocery shopping. Some people love it. Some hate it. But me? You would think I hated it since I go so infrequently. I’ll be down to the bare minimum in my fridge before I venture over to my local Kroger.

In between my big monthly grocery hauls are stops for some necessities. I might pick up some milk and eggs at Walgreen’s. Tomatoes are a necessity I’m never without—those I get at the Coffee Company. The Coffee Company? Yes. They’re right next to my dry cleaner and many years ago I couldn’t resist the urge to stop by as I saw a beautiful display of tomatoes outside their door with a hand lettered sign “home of the killer tomato.” How could I not stop?Coffee Company sign

Coffee Co tomatoes outside Continue reading

Are you “hypoglycemic” or do you just need to have a snack?!

Fruit and Nut Granola Bars - nutrition babes

Mid-afternoon snacks—Interview with The Nutrition Babes

The Nutrition Babes (www.nutritionbabes.com) and I had the opportunity to meet in Philadelphia at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics annual conference in October, 2012.

Kathy Siegel, RD, CDN and Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RD are registered dietitians passionate about better health through balanced nutrition, exercise, and cleaner living.

They had a lot to say when I asked them about what to do when people get that mid-afternoon slump. (To see the video interview, scroll to bottom or click here.)

Neily: Over the years I’ve had patients and clients tell me how fatigued they are, light-headed­—they claim they’re “hypoglycemic”.  It often happens mid-afternoon. I tell them I think you just need to eat.
Kathy: Absolutely…
Neily: Tell me about some ideas of what to eat.
Kathy:   This is a big problem. This is when everyone is headed towards the candy bowl—I am just going to grab something little now…But we have to plan and prepare a little bit before we get to that point.You are having more of an early lunch and yes around 3 o’ clock that’s when you really start hitting it. You have to incorporate a snack because there is no way you are going to be able to go from lunch to dinner. And if you don’t incorporate that snack you are going to end up driving home, getting home and that’s it. You’re heading towards the cabinet or refrigerator and grabbing the first thing there.You want to have a healthy dinner and want to be able to prepare it when you get home.  You need to incorporate that snack when you are not so hungry in the evening. We have some great ideas for high fiber, high protein snacks. Lauren, maybe you want to discuss that.
Lauren: Definitely. We have so many snacks.  Again protein and fiber so easy… a little preparedness and just bring it with you.In a little cooler you can have some whole wheat crackers with a little bit of low-fat cheese or some edamame (boiled soybeans) —its a high protein and high fiber snack all by itself.Something like cottage cheese with some berries or Greek yogurt with berries. Or even Greek yogurt by itself is going to have enough protein. The berries are going to have the fiber. Or a little high fiber cereal you can sprinkle in.We have a lot of recipes on our website that are great little snacks. We have make-your-own granola bars—you can play with the ingredients however you want. But we have got fruits, nuts and oats and it makes a great little package when you play with the amount of sugar you want in it. You can really control it (what you eat) instead of purchasing something in the store.

There are great little mini-muffin recipes. We sub out Greek yogurt for a lot of oil or applesauce for oil. We always use whole wheat flour and fruits and sometimes nuts. Again, you get the protein, the fiber and they are really yummy. With a little preparation, you can come up with some great snacks. You just have to think ahead.

Kathy: That is the key: the planning. So either, if you have some time on the weekend, you want to do the shopping then and you want to think about the week. Keep things at your desk: packets of oatmeal, great fiber. A lot of offices will provide basics­ like milk or you can run down to the cafeteria and get some skim (nonfat) milk, sliced cheese, hard-boiled egg, something else to have that protein and then you have the fiber from the oatmeal.Some whole-wheat crackers, pretzels, things like that—that are shelf-stable and you can keep on hand, at your desk. There are a lot of great options.You have to remember to just go for the right things: the protein and the fiber in the afternoon.Eat your snack on the drive home, if it is convenient—a cheese stick or some milk in a cooler or thermos. Just don’t go home too hungry. You will sabotage it.
Neily:    You walk in that door and…
Kathy:   That’s it. We have all done it. But just with a little planning…
Neily:    Planning, fiber and protein. Great ideas. Their website is www.nutritionbabes.com You can get all those ideas, recipes and much more!

 

Curious about the Mediterranean Diet? Interview with Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RD

Wendy Jo Peterson photo

Mediterranean dietwhat’s it about? With Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RD

Wendy Jo Peterson is a registered dietitian in San Diego, owner of Fuelin’ Roadie and Edible Nutrition and author of Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies. (To view the video, scroll to bottom or click here.)

Neily: Let’s talk about the Mediterranean diet. What is it?
Wendy Jo: Mediterranean diet is based on research that has been done throughout the Mediterranean region about why the longevity of health has been so prevalent over there. People live longer and not only do they live longer but they live healthier, longer. So, the quality of life is improved. I always think back to my girlfriend’s grandmother. She is 96 and when I traveled to Italy for her   wedding, she literally—in a dress and all, and heels—was riding her bike to and from the grocery store. It just showed right there how people live their lives. That’s the base of it. Based on that research they looked and said let’s figure out what they are doing right. And so the obvious things that we have talked about for years—the olive oil, the fish-based diet, the plant-based diet, a lot of nuts and tons of legumes (beans). Legumes are a huge part of the everyday diet in that region.
Neily: Any particular ones?
Wendy Jo: You know, it depends on where you are. You’re not going to really see the black bean or the pinto bean that you would see throughout more South and Central American in the United States. But, more of the white beans, the chickpeas, the garbanzo beans, lentils. Lentils are stars—they take shape in a lot of foods over there. I have a lot of recipes that are lentil-based in my cookbook.But   the biggest thing that I found interesting is that they really grace their plate with 3 to 5 servings of vegetables or fruits at each meal. I always say to my patients—really look at breakfast as a great starting point to kind of boost it. Because you will find tomatoes or fava beans or spinach—those types of hearty vegetables—served as a breakfast starter for most people. They do a lot of paninis for breakfast or beans are a huge part of the breakfast food throughout the region. And so, what a great way to start your day but with something such as that. And not just berries and stuff, that we love here, which is great but to really complement and offset days where you do berries one day and get vegetables other days. Three to 5 servings per meal.IMG_0727 good veggie pix porch
Neily: So, what would be an example of a meal?
Wendy Jo: A meal would typically look like salmon, some type of fish, they like their fatty fish with capers or olives and then maybe some sliced cucumbers like spears of cucumbers, the Persian cucumbers are very popular, maybe some slices of tomatoes, and then maybe a handful of grapes. And right there, that’s 3 servings. All raw, all simple. No prep time. Quite easy to palette. Even the pastas, where people really think, oh pasta makes us fat. The portion distortion that we have in our country is outrageous. And it is so evident because when you go over there, pasta is a primi so it is a first course. And the portion is—I always tell my clients—when you think of a Mott’s apple sauce cup, a half cup, double that or the little milk carton that’s the   actual portion of one cup of pasta. And maybe, really don’t eat that much. That’s their primi.And then they do their secondi, which is usually meat. So, often times for them, proteins are combined with a lot of vegetables; they’re also combined with legumes. So, lentils may be paired with chicken or maybe white beans with fish. So they will be paired together.And then they do their anti-pasta. Over there, they have a belief about eating your digestive foods after. So they eat their salads after their meal.
Neily: Interesting.
Wendy Jo: And the idea is it helps push things through your system. Then they will also have a digestive drink. So like a grappa or some type of alcoholic spirit that will also help burn the system through.Some interesting techniques but, you know, over there as well they do… they drink wine like water but you don’t see the overconsumption as you see in our country or in our culture. And you just don’t see the overconsumption in the food. The other thing that I always look at is how mindful they are eating—really in tune with savoring every bite.
Neily: Enjoying it.
Wendy Jo: Yes. You sit down to a meal—they dissect the food. As a family, everybody is talking about the food, what they are tasting and whether or not Nonna (which is grandma) did the spices correctly or did she change it. Or what did she have on hand that they normally didn’t have in it. It is comical but it is so in tune with what you are eating which we know mindful eating really does help with satiation.
Neily: Absolutely.
Wendy Jo: So, to me, it think, there are many facets that make up the Mediterranean diet. It’s not just the food they consume but how they approach food.
Neily: So, it is a real plant-based diet, olive oil, fish and legumes.It’s a great book, Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies.
Wendy Jo: Or my website www.JustWendyJo.com.
Neily: www.JustWendyJo.com. Thanks so much. Thanks for watching Neily on Nutrition and we’ll see you in the next video.Mediterranean Diet cookbook photo

Tips on keeping motivation high – Interview with Jill Weisenberger, MS, RD, CDE

Diabetes Wt Loss week by week - jill pic of book

Jill Weisenberger – author of  Diabetes Weight Loss: Week by Week: A Safe, Effective Method for Losing Weight and Improving Your Health in conjunction with the American Diabetes Association – talks to Neily on Nutrition about keeping motivation with diabetes and/or weight management. Jill is a registered dietitian and a certified diabetes educator. (To watch interview on YouTube, scroll to the bottom.)

Neily: So, what are some of the challenges? There is a lot of great information in the book (Diabetes Weight Loss Week by Week) but what are the take home messages that you would like people to know?
Jill: Diabetes Weight loss Week by Week’ is a very practical book. It is not a prescriptive diet so it will work with anybody using strategies: skills, strategies, planning – not will power. Will power never works for more than a short period of time. One of the things that I have right at the outset of the book is for preparing to be successful.  So you know how people when they start on a plan are very very motivated? Motivation is up there but it doesn’t stay. Very normal for motivation to wax and wane.So, one of the things I suggest is while you are very motivated, gather what I call a motivation kit. Get a box or notebook and put everything in there that motivates you. Because when your motivation is high, you put things in there and when your motivation is down, you can go back to it. So maybe it is magazine articles, maybe it is photographs, affirmations, a list of the reasons that you want to lose weight, a list of the benefits that you will get by losing weight and controlling blood glucose. All those things, keep them all in one spot where it is easy to reach because you want to add to it often and you want to go and get motivation from it often.
Neily: Great idea! A motivation box. Excellent. That’s a great idea not just for anyone with diabetes but for weight loss in general!
Jill: Yes
Neily: Thanks. This is Neily on Nutrition and Jill’s book Diabetes Weight Loss: Week by Week: A Safe, Effective Method for Losing Weight and Improving Your Health.

Neily’s Whole Wheat Pasta Salad

16oz whole wheat rigatoni, dry
Leftover from rotisserie chicken (3/4c white, 1/4c dk meat)*
2oz sugar snap peas
3/4 red onion
40 cherry or grape tomatoes
1c chopped carrots
1/3 c Newman’s Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette
2T balsamic vinegar

Cook pasta. Mix all ingredients. Chill before serving.

*Can leave out for vegan dish or substitute shrimp.

Servings: 8

Nutrition information per serving:

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