Hot Topics

The Newest Craze: Sprouted Grains

(Because whole grains suddenly aren’t good enough)

Well much like that long lost ex of yours, traditional whole grains are about to resent you. Just when you thought you were doing everything right, sprouted grains come on the scene and you are left wondering where it all went so horribly wrong. I’m chalking sprouted grains up to a (legit) fad food, one equivalent to Salute Your Shorts. Sure you remember it, but then you realize it only ran for two seasons.

So what’s the deal with this new grain fetish? Look all grains start out as seeds with the potential to sprout into new plants with proper watering and sun light. Below is a comparison of wheat berries (aka kernels without the hull) and sprouted wheat berries.

Sprouting enables certain changes to occur in the seed and thus the final baked good. Benefits include…

  • Milder glycemic (blood sugar) response
  • Improved bioavailability of minerals (think calcium and iron)
  • Higher folate levels
  • Increased antioxidants
  • Insoluble fiber decreases (stuff that makes you poop)
  • Soluble fiber increases (stuff that forms your poop so it’s not just water and food debris)
  • Gluten decreases

The key with sprouting grain is the sprouting process must be stopped before the seed has time to start rotting or breaking down. Ew. Side bar – sprouted grains, specifically wheat, barely, rye, and their derivatives, are not indicated for those with Celiac disease despite their lower levels of gluten.

If you like sprouted grain products, by all means, go nuts. If you don’t, my tried and true stand by rule is to read your whole grain product’s ingredient list. The first ingredient should contain the word ‘whole’. If it doesn’t, your label is lying to you.

Satisfied?

 

*Reference: Whole Grain Council

How Much is Too Much Caffeine?

(And an aside on pumpkins)

To be honest I have no idea how much is too much caffeine. No, no, no – I do. I’m just not sure I TOTALLY agree with the generally recognized recommendations. Be that as it may, I am here to inform your sweet, knowledge-seeking buns.

Before we get started, can I just say this whole pumpkin shortage thing is very alarming. This is coming from a girl who stockpiles canned pumpkin. If there was a show devoted to people who hoarded canned vegetables, I think I would be the host. Welcome folks, today we meet Becky from Rhode Island who has so much canned rutabaga in her basement, her house is actually sinking! *Cue enthusiastic eye roll* Just FYI – the pumpkin shortage is coming from too much rain in the Midwest. Libby’s, the largest producer of canned pumpkin, gets most of their pumpkins from Illinois. I’m sorry. If you don’t believe in global warming now, you never will. Pumpkins man. Pumpkins.

So what is the deal with caffeine? Please repeat that question as Jerry Seinfield would. Do it. Now. 

The going recommendation for healthy, older adults is 400mg of caffeine per day, that is about four cups of joe. Adolescents, you get 100mg per day. The Caffeine Informer can provide you with more information on the caffeine content of various drinks, all the information you do and don’t want to know.

Boom end of post. But seriously, if you experience insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, stomach aches, rapid heart beat or muscle twitching this may be a sign of too much caffeine and you need to tone it down.

Basically, too much caffeine feels a lot like this…

 

Yes. We know.

Please drink responsibly.

*Pumpkin knowledge gathered from NPR.

Canadian Bacon Your Face Off

People are the most moronic morons these days. It’s mind blowing, isn’t it? For example. I’ve been having all this lower body joint pain recently. And by recently I mean 14 months and counting. So I finally tell my doctor about it and she directs me to see a rhuematologist. You know, like the guy diagnosing old cripply people with arthritis. No offense old cripply people. So I go and you know what he tells me? I need to stretch more. I’ll allow you to let that sink in. STRETCH MORE. Are you kidding me? You just charged my insurance company what I can only reasonably estimate to be $3,000 for this 15 minute FaceTime of an appointment and poof, just stretch? Do you know what’s not a good sign? When you walk into the doctor’s office and he says, ‘Let me see if I can make this worth your while’. Uhhhhhh. So if you haven’t caught on by now, I am the moronic moron mentioned above. Be right back, need to go stretch my achilles. My stupid, tight, over-paid-for achilles.

In the spirit of giving my few, but feverish readers their money’s worth today, we’re going to talk about bacon.

Is this you?

Nailed. This. Segue.

 

Canadian bacon. I’ve long since been accused of being a liar when I tell people they can not only eat it, but do so relatively guilt-free. K-dawg, do I look like I was born yesterday? You want me to eat a food that has the word bacon in it? Did you secretly just take out life insurance in my name as well? No. No. I didn’t and here’s why.

1. ) I am not organized enough. I mean to take out life insurance in someone else’s name sounds like a boatload of paper work, commitment (you know, to the fraud) and research.

2.) Canadian bacon is ham’s leaner, sexier cousin. It’s like if a pig and turkey (white meat only) made a baby. Boom. Canadian bacon. It’s meat from the back of the pig which is then cured.

Now then, because it’s cured means you can’t eat it in piles for days. Curing is a flavoring and preservation process often involving salt. Ew. But let’s look at the big picture. Big picture today will be focused on calories and fat and sponsored by Gillette. We can’t compare one piece to one piece because canadian bacon is much larger and more dense than traditional bacon. So we’re working in grams as a reference point in addition to pieces folks. You gotta be kidding me, the metric system? Why don’t you just write the rest of the post in Russian too? Chill. I will translate.

So 2 pieces of Canadian bacon (57 grams) and contains 89 calories, 4g total fat and 1g saturated fat. Four pieces of bacon (32 grams) contains 176 calories, 12g total fat and 4 grams of saturated fat. Say what? Oh hell no. Let’s face it, no one is eating one slice of regular bacon. Oh and the only reason I didn’t compare equal gram servings is because who is really going to eat eight pieces of bacon?! I am looking at you. 

As you can see the average serving of bacon compared to Canadian bacon has almost double the calories, triple the fat and quadruple the saturated fat. Aim to purchase a nitrate-free brand of Canadian bacon. The caveat to Canadian bacon as mentioned before is the (dun dun duuuuuuun!) sodium. One serving of it has roughly 800mg, while 4 slices of bacon has 700mg. So C.B. isn’t a total ten, but she’s a pretty good substitute overall. Sorry I just added a pronoun to a dead pig. Makes it too real, right?

Happy oinking everybody.

Nutrition information above pulled from Self.com nutrition database. 

 

 

 

Talk Turkey to Me

I know, I know. I’ve treated you all so poorly these past few months. The drought of nutrition information has been appalling. My posting has been about as frequent and abundant as rain in California. Well, let’s try to rectify that. Like right meoooow.

I have always been more of a boob chick than a big booty lover. Yes, even in the era of this non-stop Kardashian reign. Before you go getting any naughty ideas, I am talking about poultry and not female human beings. Kim – seriously, The Healthy Revival was finally getting interesting…exit screen. 

The funny thing about eating turkey, especially ground turkey, is how misleading it can be in terms of the nutrition. We all know poultry has white and dark meat. The breasts are the white meat of the bird. The dark meat consists of the legs and thighs.  Why the difference? It all has to do with how much the bird uses the muscle. Muscles used more frequently have more myoglobin in them, a compound which enables activity.  Muscles used less, breast and I suppose wings because chickens are flightless birds,  have less myoglobin in them. That’s all you need to freaking know because if I have to launch into a discussion about oxygen right now, I might just stop writing for another 6 months.

People fall prey to cooking with simply ‘ground turkey’. OMG dude, these tacos are amazing! Can’t believe you made them with turkey meat brah. Let’s go post something on Facebook about being healthy. 

So why is ‘ground turkey’ so bad? It is usually made from the dark meat. Let’s compare the dark to white, shall we? Oh. Oh. Oh. We shall! And just to make it MORE informative, I have added 90% lean ground beef to the comparison chart. Nutrition information below was pulled from Self.com nutrition database and Jennie O Poultry websites, based on 4 ounce servings.

Most boring chart ever made and viewed. Created by the talented Kimberly Sabada

Most boring chart ever made and viewed. Created by the talented Kimberly Sabada.

As you can see, ground turkey is much higher in calories and fat compared to ground turkey breast. The ground turkey product above is the 85% lean variation too. Not that impressed now, are we? The ground turkey is comparable to the 90% lean ground beef.  I am not promoting red meat over ground turkey either. I am saying two things: 1) if you’re looking to cut calories and lose a few pounds (which let’s face it, most everyone is) or 2) watching your cholesterol levels – ground turkey breast might be the best option.

Dark meat has plenty to offer. Compared to white meat, it has more B vitamins, iron and zinc. Awesome, if you’re deficient. Yeah, that is about all I got. So the next time someone makes you turkey tacos and you see an 85% lean ground turkey container in their trashcan, I hope you feel like this…

Go eat some ground turkey…breast.

Ground turkey breast recipe coming soon. But honestly, I think we both know better than to get your hopes up. The last post I gave you was 6 months ago. Fingers crossed.

 

Is It Over Yet? Spring Diet Overhaul: 2015

Winter is finally coming to a close. As I write this post St. Patrick’s day is slipping away, meaning one thing, Spring. Even as a dietitian, I can honestly tell you I am sick and tired of eating heavy food. If I consume one more meal with a meat and potato base, I might just turn vegan and say to hell with it.

Much like we turnover our closets come warmer weather, we should also do the same to our diets. Out with the sweaters, in the kale! No more elastic waist sweatpants, football jerseys or perpetual yoga pant wearing. Same can be said for what we consume. It is time to ‘retire’ all the dense, warm foods and bring in the dietary version of jorts. For those of you unaware of the jort fanomon, they are jean shorts. Jean + shorts = jorts. Consider yourself youthanized. See what I did there?

So here I am. To provide you with ideas for ways to get out of eating canned food and back into the produce section!

Spring Diet Overhaul: 2015

From Google Images

From Google Images

1. Fruit

Stop eating apples and oranges. I feel as though my fruit consumption this winter was a math problem your third grade teacher asked you to solve. ‘If you have 4 apples and Brad eats two of them, but then Andrea gives you 3 oranges, how many pieces of fruit do you now have?’ For the love Chiquita Banana, please give me more options! Spring will now provide you with seasonal fruits such as apricots, honeydew, mango, pineapple and strawberries. Dig in!

2. Vegetables

Potatoes, carrots, brussels sprouts and parsnips has been the bounty of the winter doldrums. I feel I have reinvented ways to make sweet potatoes 20 times over the past few months. Roasted, mashed, grated, steamed – you name it. My winter vegetable series looked something like Red Robin’s hamburger menu. Sure, you can add different toppings and condiments, but it all starts to taste the same after a while. Good news! Spring vegetables include asparagus, broccoli, snow peas and spinach. These next few months are basically the equivalent of a movie I hope to produce one day, ‘Spring’s Green Latern’. You are welcome Ryan Reynolds for the quasi plug.

From Google Images

From Google Images

Check out local vendors and grocery stores for seasonal proteins in your area. And do not forget to reincorporate whole grains. I know you’ve been living on nothing but sticky white rice, Cocoa Puffs and sourdough bread for the past few months. So get to gettin’! The bounty is here and you needs some vitamins. I mean seriously, your skin could use some help. Believe me, I know. I am pretty sure I look translucent these days and skin flakes the size of quarters are falling off my face.

August’s Nutrition Hot Topic: Vitamin D-ficient

You would think in today’s world, a dietitian would never be subject to a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Well, I hate to break it to you but in 2014, it happened. This very principle was proven wrong during my last physical a few short weeks ago. The appointment was filled with highlights: a breast exam, peeing into a Dixie cup and my doctor curb siding me on an irritable bowel syndrome diet. Perhaps the greatest (and by that I mean worst) was when she read my vitamin D levels to me. As I redressed on the other side of a curtain, she informed me my lab work came back great, except for one thing. I beat her to the punch with, ‘Let me guess, I’m vitamin D deficient’. Her response, ‘good guess’. I ain’t no dummy. Damn my New England exposed skin.

You see, even the best of us with grand diets, can fall short when it comes to certain vitamins. I’ll tell you something, a vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common. Image from Google.com

Image from Google.com

Not getting enough sunshine? Below are a few foods high in vitamin D

Wild salmon
Mackerel
Mushrooms (exposed to sunlight, such as shiitake)
Cod liver oil
Canned tuna
Egg yolks
Cheese (such as ricotta)
Beef liver
*Fortified sources include milk, yogurt, orange juice and ready-to-eat breakfast cereals.

If you’re looking to supplement 1,000-2,000 International Units should do it. Check with your doctor before supplementing.

Looking for sunlight exposure as a solution? The time spent out in the sun really depends on where you are in relation to the equator. Generally speaking, you need un-SPF-protected skin exposed for 10-15 minutes per day; face and arms should do it. Be sure to check your body or face lotion though, they often come with built in SPF – great for sun protection, not so great for vitamin D production.

June’s Nutrition Hot Topic: Debunking Vitamin C and the Common Cold

This post is hitting a little too close to home as I sit on my bed with Saved by the Bell on in the background. Covered in Vics Vapor Rub, a box a tissues to my right and countless cough drop wrappers strewn around me, I figured what better post to create today while I stay home sick from work than to feature the effects of vitamin C on the common cold. Here goes!

Image from Google.com

Image from Google.com

Vitamin C has long been touted as the cure all for the common cold. Feel a few symptoms coming on, drink a little orange juice and POOF! Those symptoms just disappear. At least that seems to be the way most people see it. But does vitamin C really have an effect on your immunity? A theory once seen as a truth some 40 years ago, now seems to be falling by the wayside.

Studies looking into the effects of vitamin C on the common cold have produced inconsistent results over the years. In a 2007 meta-analysis, researchers compiled study findings from the past 60 years on supplementation of >200mg of vitamin C and its effects on the frequency, duration and severity of common colds. The findings are as follows: if supplementation was started after the onset of a cold, there was no significant impact on its duration or severity. The researchers did find vitamin C supplementation had the most effect on those under extreme conditions – i.e. marathon runners; taking daily supplementation of vitamin C reduced this population’s risk for a common cold by 50%.

Bottom Line from Web MD:

‘The average adult who suffers with a cold for 12 days a year would still suffer for 11 days a year if that person took a high dose of vitamin C every day during that year’

 

So if you want to start supplementing vitamin C, check with your doctor first. The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women.

 Stay healthy out there!

Sources:
Douglas, R.M. The Cochrane Collaboration, 2007.
Wed MD: Vitamin C for the Common Cold
UptoDate: “The common cold in adults: Treatment and Prevention.”