protein

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.

 

Shameless Product Placement of April: Ancient Harvest Quinoa Harmomy

Some say you can’t have your cake and eat it too. When it comes to quinoa, I beg to differ. Quinoa is the ‘moving on up’ of whole-freaking-grains so get ready to be amazed by what THR is about to throw at your noggin!

Whole grains are obviously a hot topic of discussion here on THR. This post isn’t about to stray far from that very subject today. Quinoa is one such example of a whole grain, despite it actually being a pseudo-cereal (we’re getting to that). And for those swearing off gluten, for medical or fad purposes, it also happens to be gluten-free!

Photo Credit: Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Photo Credit: Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Quinoa is a ‘pseudo-cereal’ meaning it’s a food similar to grains in how it’s cooked and eaten, as well as it’s nutrient profile. Having been harvested back nearly 4,000 years ago in the Andes region is what gives this seed its ‘ancient grain’ moniker. Us late-blooming Americans must be pretty late to the game because this protein-rich seed seems to be just now making its way into the forefront of the dietary world and current grain research. Such newbs. How late? Well, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) officially declared that the year 2013 be recognized as “The International Year of the Quinoa.” Yeah, that late. Sure America doesn’t make up the United Nations, but you get my point. 

Grains (and their look-a-like counterparts) are often thought of as mainly carbohydrate, but quinoa bucks the traditional views of the grain world with its high protein-to-carbohydrate ratio. Whole grains contain three parts: the bran, the germ and the endosperm. The bran and germ make up 25% of the grain’s protein content. Keeping that in mind, the germ of a quinoa seed takes up 60% of the grain’s real estate. To put this in perspective, the germ of a kernel of wheat makes up a measly 3% of the grain. Psh! What’s that wheat? I can’t hear you over quinoa’s awesomeness. 

Letmegeekoutforaminute. To dig a little deeper on this protein point for one hot second, those in the nutrition world look at protein in two categories: complete and incomplete. Sometimes it’s not just about quantity, but rather quality. The distinction between these two forms of protein lies in the number of essential amino acids the protein contains. Essential amino acids are deemed ‘essential’ because our stupid human bodies cannot make them, but are necessary for survival. Animal proteins are complete. Plant proteins? Not so much. But I’ll give you one guess as to which plant contains all nine essential amino acids. You guess it! I hope. Quinoa!

Now that you know why quinoa is so great, we are FINALLY to the Shameless Product Placement of April:

Ancient Harvest Quinoa Harmony Blend

Image from ancientharvest.com

Image from ancientharvest.com

Ancient Harvest Quinoa Harmony Blend is a combination of traditional, black and red quinoa. While I enjoy traditional quinoa, the blend is a fun way to jazz up salads, serve in place of rice or pasta and works well when manipulated into burger form. The blend retains the natural nutty flavor of traditional quinoa that pairs well with a variety of ingredients. Do not be afraid to experiment with this beautiful product.

One rule to keep in mind prior to preparing: rinse the quinoa. Yeah, I know it says it’s ‘pre washed’, but quinoa develops a natural bitter coating called saponin that fends off pests and helps it grow without the necessity of chemical pesticides. I agree with the Whole Grain Council on this one, the extra rinse may help remove any residue left on the grain. Hey, a little extra water aint’ never hurt nobody (my words, not theirs).

One quarter cup of this tri-blend quinoa (dry) contains 170 calories, 2.5 g fat, 30g carbohydrate, 5g of protein. Ancient Harvest Quinoa Harmony Blend is certified USDA Organic and is a non-GMO food, if you’re into that stuff. Sold in most natural foods stores, click this link to find your nearest retailer.

Come back next week for a Harmony Blend quinoa recipe!

Resources:
wholegrainscouncil.org
http://www.whfoods.com

Lentils Are The New Beans

I hope we all enjoyed the Mini Turkey Parmesan Meatloaves. I know you all made them over the past week. Don’t lie, it’s unbecoming. As Spring settles in and beach season approaches, if you’re like me, there’s one thing on that fine mind of yours: How can I eat more lentils? No? Oh that’s just me then. Let me put it to you this way, if lentils were ingestible self-tanner, I’d be Snooki.

Clearly lentils have nothing to do with beach season, but rather everything to do with finding an alternative, non-meat protein. I will not lie to you. I love a good piece of steak or salmon just as much as the next red-blooded American, but damn, can we ease up on the animal flesh? I don’t boast being a vegetarian, but I do try to limit animal proteins to one meal per day (excluding eggs, those things are absolutely delicious).

Lentils are one such example of a solid vegetarian protein source. They house themselves in the legume family along with their sister, beans. Little known fact, lentils are actually seeds originally harvested in central Asia. Grown in pods, you can find these little guys in either the whole or split variety. I prefer the whole lentils; I find them to be a bit meatier. Lentils are also available in a range of colors, but the green and brown varieties tend to hold their shape best during the cooking process. Readers take note: lentils can deteriorate under heat. Choosing the proper form and cooking technique are essential to avoid eating colored mush for dinner. Prepare as directed and trial and error are my two best recommendations when it comes to cooking lentils. Alas, I am not a cooking expert on everything.

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Lentils are an excellent source of B vitamins and iron. You menstruating or pregnant? You’re going to love these little suckers! Sorry boys. Lentils also carry a sizable fiber punch – one half cup serving contains 8 grams of dietary fiber. I’m talking the good stuff, the fiber that helps lower your cholesterol. Just dare me to take care of my heart! I’ll do it too, don’t test me dude! Lastly, as mentioned above, they are well endowed in the protein department with 9 grams (a little over 1 ounce) per half cup.

While lentils are loaded with nutrients, one to not ignore is their carbohydrate content. Lentils are what we dietitians call a ‘dual food’. Yes they pack the protein, but they also carry carbohydrate. Not a bad thing, but something to be conscious of nonetheless. If we return to the half cup portion example, lentils have about 20 grams of carb (equal to an average slice of bread). This doesn’t make them off-limits. Just don’t fool yourself eating them with a load of brown rice, a few potatoes and peas smothered in yellow curry sauce. Easy does it young grasshopper.

I have a few lentil tricks in my wheelhouse. Throw them onto salad or into a broth based soup. A favorite post-run snack of mine is lentils atop steamed broccoli and a little marinara. See below for picture-based knowledge.

Photo Credit: Kimberly Sabada

Photo Credit: Kimberly Sabada

In closing, if you want to get a little fancier, I really enjoy lentils in vegetable marinara. Free (hidden) recipe alert! Oh wait, this is all free for you. For 4 people, I’ll sauté 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 chopped yellow pepper, 8 ounces of chopped button mushrooms, a few minced cloves of garlic and some chopped fresh herbs. Stir in marinara and precooked lentils. Serve over some whole-wheat pasta, top with a little shaved Parmesan cheese and BAMB! You got a mighty tasty din-din at your fingertips.

Come back next week for my all-time favorite lentil recipe. Clue – they are delivered in patty form and incorporate cashews. Get so freaking excited. I mean it, right now!

April’s Hot Nutrition Topic: Ch-Ch-Chia Seeds

Chia seeds boast numerous health claims – weight loss and a good source of antioxidants and protein are just a few of them. But seriously! What the heck is the deal with these little black and white seeds? A few years back, chia seeds started coming into the forefront of healthy eating. Why? What’s their deal? Sure, ‘healthy people’ are throwing them into their oatmeals, smoothies and yogurt, but we as informed individuals should know why. Surely these seeds must offer some nutritional punch, which bring us to April’s Hot Nutrition Topic. Oh yeah, these posts (much like Shameless Product Placements) are freaking back. And I got news for you my few but avid readers, I love these posts because there’s nothing better than exercising your brain, learning more and getting to the facts on all things nutrition.

Image from Google

Image from Google

As a kid, Chia Pets were all the rage for my generation. Just add water and watch these terra-cotta pots sprout! It was my first introduction to chia seeds.  Now in 2014, these little babies are back, but instead of watering them to grow grass, we’re ingesting them to better our health.

Chia is an edible seed cultivated in Mexico dating back to the Myan and Aztec cultures. Little known fact, these seeds are also a member of the mint family. Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, protein, omega-3s and antioxidants. And unlike flaxseed, chia seeds are able to be processed and absorbed by the body. In theory, chia seeds are thought to expand in the stomach and increase satiety, thus promoting weight loss. However, in terms of the chia research out there right now, this weight loss theory continues to go unproven. But you know what curbs over eating and promotes satiety? Protein and fiber – oh yeah, chia seeds have both those features! One ounce (about 2 tablespoons) of chia seeds contains 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams fat, and 11 grams of fiber.

“Over a 12-week period, we did not see a change in appetite or weight loss” in study participants who consumed chia seeds, says researcher David Nieman, DrPH, a professor at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. “Our study showed no reduction in body weight, body fat and no improvement in traditional cardiovascular markers from 50 grams of chia per day.”

As a dietitian, I say food before supplements. While chia seeds may not help you shed the added winter weight for beach season, they are still a good good source of protein and fiber to help keep you feeling full. Their mixture of fatty acids and antioxidants also provide an excellent anti-inflammatory mixture. For weight loss, I advise sticking with a healthy, calorie-reduced diet and exercise. Sorry kiddos.

Add chia seeds to smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, salad dressings and baked goods for added nutritional punch. Below is HR’s Overnight Oats recipe for a simple way to start incorporating chia seeds into your diet. Make this recipe the night before and store in a sealed plastic container overnight in the fridge. Voilà! The next morning you have delicious oaty goodness at your fingertips ready to be devoured come breakfast time.

For the full post, click here.

Image by Kimberly Sabada

Overnight Oats

One Serving
1/2 cup dry rolled oats
1 cup milk (skim, soy, or almond)
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 Tablespoon of chia seeds
A dash or two of cinnamon

In your plastic container, mix together oats, cinnamon, and chia seeds.  In a small separate bowl mix together milk and the mashed up banana. Add the milk and banana mixture to your dry ingredients.  Stir well. Cover and place in fridge overnight. Stir up in the morning and enjoy! I enjoy it as is, but feel free to top with nuts, dried coconut, peanut butter, dried fruit or pure maple syrup.

 

Recources:
Nieman, D. Nutrition Research, May 2009; vol 29: pp 414-418.
http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442472548
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/truth-about-chia
https://www.nutrition.org/asn-blog/2012/03/the-real-scoop-on-chia-seeds/