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Tuesday
Oct122010

Shopping with the Nutritionista!

Be sure to read my latest article - Shopping with the Nutritionista

Saturday
Oct022010

Asparagus, Mushroom and Cherry Tomato Frittata

Ingredients

4 Tbsp pure olive oil, divided

1 C asparagus, cut in 1-inch pieces

4 oz fresh crimini (baby bella)

mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 C cherry tomatoes

2 Tbsp chopped basil

6 large eggs

4 Tbsp crumbled goat cheese

S & P

Directions 

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat

Add asparagus, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes; season with salt and pepper and sautée until tender. Remove from heat

Preheat broiler. Whisk eggs with salt and pepper

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in medium nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggs and gently stir in vegetables

Reduce heat to medium, sprinkle in cheese and cook until eggs are almost set, about 5 minutes

Transfer frittata to broiler. Broil just until set in center, about 1 minute

Serve warm or at room temperature

Monday
Sep272010

Lentil Salad with Carrot, Mint and Basil

Ingredients

7 oz brown lentils

Chicken stock or water

4 Tbsp olive oil

4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 Tsp Dijon mustard

1 carrot, peeled and finely shredded

2 Tbsp chopped basil

S & P

Directions 

First rinse the lentils well and cover with water or stock. Cook until lentils are soft, adding more water if necessary

Whisk balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard together with olive oil

Drain and pat dry the cooked lentils and add to the dressing, while still warm

Add the remaining ingredients and season heavily with salt and pepper to taste

Serve warm or at room temperature

Tuesday
Apr132010

Fad Diets

Michael Pollan, in his book The Omnivores Dilemma, states that as a society we have moved away from an innate wisdom of eating from a place of tradition and pleasure to a place of confusion and anxiety. A media storm of diet books, scientific studies and government initiatives paved the road for our nation’s new diet revolution, leading to some of our most basic nutritional components (red meat and most recently breads and other carbohydrates) disappearing from the American dinner table.

In 1977, the Senate issued a set of “dietary goals” that encouraged Americans to limit their intake of red meat. This set the tone for the adoption of the new health term “low-fat” that is still very much in usage and practice today. Meaning that eating “low-fat” would protect us from becoming physically fat. More recently in 2002, one of our most basic nutritional components disappeared from the American dinner table. This of course was bread and later extended to all forms of carbohydrates. The collective demonization of carbohydrates brought about new terms such as Low-Carb, Good-Carb, Bad-Carb and even Net Carb that are now incorporated into our daily vocabulary.

This aggressive change in our cultures eating habits clearly demonstrated signs of a national eating disorder—the same culture that denies its intuitive wisdom to eat for energy or enjoyment and recognizes itself as collectively unhealthy people obsessed with the idea of eating healthy.

Consequently, it comes as no surprise that our culture annually supports the discovery of new nutrients while demonization others, and the adoption of fad diets. This is also exacerbated by the notion of “weight loss” as a major concern for the US population.

Despite the apparent low success rate of fad diets and their efficacy for short term weight loss, these reduced eating plans continue to grow in popularity with the steady rise in obesity. Americans desiring to lose weight becomes a lifelong struggle that drives individuals who are looking for a quick fix that many diet books promise. This desire has strongly contributed to the proliferation of top-selling diet books published in the past seven years.

Unfortunately, the most significant commonality that popular diet books share is that they seldom promote sound weight loss or encourage dieters to learn some very basic weight management strategies like portion control and serving sizes, let alone develop the skills necessary for a lifetime of balanced nutrition.

Monday
Oct122009

Uncovering the Mystery of Whole Grains

When shopping in the grocery store, consumers encounter so many different labels–Stone Ground, Made from Whole Grains, 100% Wheat, Multigrain, Enriched Whole Wheat Flour, Cracked Wheat, Bran, or Pumpernickel-it’s little wonder most come away confused. To further complicate matters, these descriptors do not actually indicate that a product contains whole grains.

 

What are Whole Grains?

Whole grains contain a rich source of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, proteins, and contain enzymes and bioactive components such as B vitamins, unsaturated fatty acids, trace minerals, and high levels of antioxidants. Subsequently, the consumption of whole grains has been linked to a decreased risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular health, obesity, diabetes and cancer. Food companies are quick to capitalize on current health trends with misleading labels so it is important to clear upmisconceptions about what they are and what constitutes an effective serving. 

 

Whole Grains Anatomy

The term “whole grain” refers to the grain kernel in its unprocessed or processed forms containing all essential parts and naturally occurring nutrients - the bran, endosperm and germ. The bran, which is the protective outer shell, contains the fiber source, B vitamins, trace minerals and unsaturated fats. Under the bran layer is the endosperm, the largest part of the grain. It contains carbohydrates, protein and a small amount of B vitamins. The germ nestled below, contains a rich source of unsaturated fats, trace minerals, B vitamins, and antioxidants. The germ is the grain’s seed, which can be replanted.

Graphic Courtesy of Bob’s Red Mill

Purchasing Whole Grains

When purchasing whole grains, consumers should be aware of terms such as cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked. This indicates that the grain has been processed and may not contain all essential components. Instead, look for the word “whole” before the type of grain and make sure it is listed higher up in the ingredient listings to ensure the highest possible serving. The Whole Grain Council recommends 3 daily servings of whole grains, approximately 48 total grams. To help consumers reach this goal, the WGC has recently created easy to identify labels indicating accurate grain content. The “100%” label indicates that all of the grain is unprocessed and whole. The WGC stamps do have their limitations, however. Companies must pay to feature them, so not all whole grain products will carry the stamp. It’s important as savvy individuals to be educated about what to look for when buying whole grains and to aim for high quality whole grains of at least 8g per serving.

 

Courtesy of Oldways and the Whole Grains Council