As Seen On


Blueberries – the blue jewel! Celebrate its month and our nation’s birthday!

Red, white and blue – our nation’s colors. Two of those colors happen to be some of my favorite fruits! What’s better than strawberries and blueberries? Not much in my book. That’s why I take every opportunity to use them in one of my fave guilt-free desserts. Strawberry/Blueberry Shortcake with Whipped Topping. Continue reading

Confessions of a blueberry addict and where I bought 34 pints for $40

Heaven for me would be living on a blueberry farm. My love of blueberries started when I was a kid living in the Midwest. I remember my mom would take me and one or both of my brothers to a blueberry farm where we picked the luscious blue gems till we could pick no more. We only had to pay for what we brought back from the fields not for what ended up in our bellies. One summer goodness knows how many blueberries I ate in one day. Yet we still brought home a stash of 45 pounds. Continue reading

Superfoods = Super diet


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 (, 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

Krill oil for omega 3s? Is it worth the money?

English: A Northern krill (Meganyctiphanes nor...

English: A Northern krill (Meganyctiphanes norvegica). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Confused about krill oil? Is it worth the money?

Dietetic intern Charlotte Collins and I spent time talking about omega-3s in a series of three videos.

The first video was what to look for in a supplement, the second video speaks to the vegans and vegetarians on what options to pursue. This last video is a discussion of krill oil. Is it worth it? To view the video or click here.

(Something to think about: WHERE are you getting nutrition information? I have absolutely no vested interest in any omega 3 supplement—personally I’d rather you eat fatty fish. But many that tout the benefits of certain supplements—like krill oil—often are suppliers or have a financial tie. So always, consider the source.) Continue reading

“The Best Things You Can Eat” – interview with “guyatitian” Dave Grotto

The Best things you can eat pic of book

“The Best Things You Can Eat” interview with Dave Grotto – part 1

I’m a longtime fan of David Grotto, RD, LDN, author of several books. His new one just came out this month.

We had the chance to catch up in Philadelphia at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics annual conference in October, 2012. Here was part one of our conversation. (scroll to bottom to see the fun interview with Dave on YouTube or click here.)

Neily:               I’m here with Dave Grotto, aka the “Guyatitian”. One of my favorite

dietitians! He is a registered dietitian in Chicago—my hometown!

Dave: I knew there was something I liked about you 🙂
Neily: (laugh) Dave’s got a number of books, 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life, and 101 Optimal Life Foods. This one is…
Dave: The Best Things You Can Eat: For Everything from Aches to Zzzz, the Definitive Guide to the Nutrition-Packed Foods that Energize, Heal, and Help You Look Great.  I am really excited about it because I wrote this with registered dietitians in mind.
Neily: So what are the best foods that we can eat?
Dave: Well, there are about a 150 of them. I know we don’t have the time to go through all of them.But the way I discovered this is that I had this patient of mine who was on a potassium wasting diuretic. Dietitians always turn to the USDA reference 24 for the best foods. I knew there was something goofy because the very first food I came across highest in potassium was one cup of tomato paste!
Neily: Oh
Dave: When was the last time you sucked up a cup of tomato paste?
Neily: Oh gosh, it’s been a while!
Dave: It’s been a while… right. Second food highest in potassium—three cups of frozen orange juice concentrate. So, I thought—not an even playing field. Totally useless for the RD and the consumers.
Neily: I think it (the USDA database) is based upon a 100 gram (3.5oz) portion..
Dave: That’s right. Exactly. I thought what will be more useful is if we did most   consumed versions of food… real food, no fortification and in the ‘My plate’ serving size guidelines. So I did it for 33 nutrients. The top 7 foods that you can eat that are best for those nutrients.
Neily: And…
Dave: And… and 27 lists for what are the best foods for pre and post work outs, controlling diabetes, lowering cholesterol, fighting heart disease—7 best foods for fighting cancer. It’s a great book. I am really excited about it. And my buddy, Lisa Lillian aka ‘Hungry Girl’ wrote the foreword to it.
Neily: Wonderful! And we will talk about the foods in just a moment (read part two of our interview)
Dave: That sounds great!

Do genes influence cancer? Research directions: part 1 of 3 with Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN

Epigenetic mechanisms

Research directions: part 1 of 3—Do genes influence cancer?

Karen Collins has been the Nutrition Advisor for the American Institute for Cancer Research over 25 years. I had the privilege of interviewing her for a series of videos on nutrition and cancer. The first interview focused on some myths and known causes of cancer. This is the first of three interviews about new research directions. (To view the video, scroll to the bottom or click here.) Continue reading

Red, White, & Blue – Happy Birthday to You! Enjoy a simple dessert to celebrate!

Red, white and blue – our nation’s colors….AND two of those colors happen to be some of my favorite fruits!  What’s better than strawberries and blueberries?  Not much in my book.  That’s why I take every opportunity to use them in one of my fave guilt-free desserts. Strawberry/Blueberry Shortcake with Whipped Topping.  So easy:

Strawberry/Blueberry Shortcake with Whipped Topping

  • Slice of angel food cake
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Whipped topping

What a patriotic dessert! And just goes to show healthy good-for-you food CAN taste great!

That’s it!  It’s a treat anytime. But especially this time of the year when the brilliance of the colors coincide with our nation’s birthday.  I’ve always got berries on hand ready to go in the freezer if I can’t get them at a reasonable price at the grocery store. Sometimes I even prefer the frozen because when they thaw they get nice and juicy.  Or I’ll mix the fresh with the frozen.

Disease fighting phytonutrients

Surely you’ve heard how good berries are, but why?  For similar, yet different reasons.  Like most plant-based foods they’re terrific sources of the disease fighting plant compounds called phytochemicals or phytonutrients.  Strawberries contain flavonoids believed to have protective benefits as well as other nutrients like folate, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.  My colleague, registered dietitian and “Guy-a-titian” Dave Grotto, author of 101 Foods That Can Save Your Life states that “The plant nutrients found in strawberries, particularly polyphenols, have antioxidant capabilities that can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.  These two harmful processes have been linked to major challenges to our health.  Polyphenols help to protect and repair cells.”

And then there are blueberries.  I remember as a kid going blueberry picking in the Midwest.  One beautiful summer afternoon my mom, brother Mark and I brought home 45# of blueberries!  And that’s just what we had to pay for—we picked considerably more.  I can only imagine how many ended up in my belly.  I’m surprised I still love blueberries as much as I do—I ate so many that day.  We washed them, dried them and packed them in the freezer.  Year round we would have wonderful blueberry treats.  They were great to munch on straight from the freezer since they froze like marbles.

Little did I know those succulent little blue things were going to end up being such a super great food.  They contain a different phytochemical than strawberries called anthocyanins which gives them their beautiful rich blue color.  They’re also good sources of resveratrol also found in grapes and red wine.  Like the polyphenols in strawberries, these phytochemicals are also disease-fighting antioxidants.

If those aren’t enough reasons to eat these nutrient-rich powerhouse fruits July is National Blueberry Month!

Do YOU share my passion for berries?  What’s your favorite berry dessert or treat?

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