Hot Topics

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.