‘Eat Well, Be Well’

Weekly Wisdom – 5 ways to reduce cancer risk

August 14, 2012
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian,

5 pathways to reduce cancer risk

  • Immunity: Try meditation to keep your immune system strong
  • Inflammation: Reduce inflammation by eating a diet rich in fruits & vegetables
  • Hormones: Reduce stress in your life by doing something creative or joyful
  • Insulin: A balanced diet, exercise & regular sleep help your body maintain proper blood sugar levels
  • Digestion/Detoxification: our natural detoxifier…the liver;  limit alcohol
 

Finding inspiration in food

August 8, 2012
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian,

What inspires you in the kitchen?  For me, my food inspiration comes from visiting farmer’s markets & watching my garden grow (and actually produce) fresh-as-you-can-get veggies.  As a dietitian, I know all about the nutrients in food, what types of foods to eat for health, etc, etc.  But sometimes I don’t want to think about the nutritional content of food, I just want to focus on the pleasure it brings me.  The best tasting food comes from “real” food in its simplest form and there is no better season to enjoy this food than in the summer.  Tomatoes, zucchini, squash and eggplant are now flourishing in gardens and these foods don’t need much adornment.  “Googootz” is the the Italian slang for zucchini and I recently had the pleasure of partaking in this simple Italian dish which was basically sautéed zucchini with tomatoes & sprinkled with some fresh parmesan cheese & basil.  Throw in an egg for good measure (and some protein) and you have a main dish meal.  A Google search yielded many different versions of Googutz, but I find this simple dish doesn’t really require a recipe.  Simply pick vegetables from your garden and prepare with love.

Weekly Wisdom – More cutting=more healthy compounds

August 1, 2012
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian,

Minced garlic is more redolent than chopped garlic. The smelly, heart-healthy compounds are created as the clove is cut.
Thiosulfinates: found in minced garlic prevent blood platelets from clumping, keeping arteries unobstructed.
Bonus: chop garlic early and set aside for a few minutes, giving time for the thiosulfinates to develop.
Grate on a microplane to release even more (garlic press offered no benefits).

Choosing the right carbs

July 25, 2012
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian,

A recent article about dietitian’s “forbidden foods for weight control” got me thinking about fad diets and personal dietary restrictions.  As a nutrition professional, I have heard it all, from no carbs, to no white carbs, to no carbs at night, the list is endless.  But one thing that has never changed over the years is that there is no magic bullet to weight loss (and weight maintenance which is just as challenging).  It all comes down to calories, how much you consume, or don’t consume for that matter.  But we can choose our calories wisely and get the most nutrition bang for our buck.  Some say a calorie is a calorie, but like Mark Bittman (http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/26/which-diet-works/), I disagree.  But I think one of the biggest culprit in the American diets is our (over) consumption of refined (i.e. processed) carbohydrates.  We are lovers of all things white, be it bread, rice or pasta. But, thankfully unprocessed whole grains are becoming more mainstream, which makes it easier for fellow carb lovers to enjoy the foods they crave.  Growing up in an Italian family that never met a refined carbohydrate it didn’t like; I retrained my taste buds over the years and now I actually prefer (without hesitation) non processed carbohydrates.  Rather than reinvent the wheel of explaining what a “good” carbohydrate actually is, I have provided a very informative chart that was brought to you by the nutrition experts at Appetite for Health.  So, the next time you reach for a carb check this out

Weekly Wisdom – How to translate being more healthy.. Part 4

July 17, 2012
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian,

How to Translate: “Eat more fruits & veggies, cut back on salt & sugar, switch to whole grain, exercise.” Part 4…Eating out

  • Asian: veggies not noodles. Order mixed sautéed veggies with chicken, tofu or shrimp.
  • Pizza: thin, not thick crust.  Ask for half the cheese, a whole grain crust if available and veggies instead of meat.
  • Mexican: tacos, not a burrito for less calories. Fajitas to share.

Gazpacho – Cool soup for a hot day

July 11, 2012
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian,

The past few weeks have not provided much inspiration for a food blog given the major power outage and 100-degree heat that followed.  Though I wished for power, my mind was far from thoughts of using my oven to heat an already overheated kitchen.   The day that power returned proved to be an obnoxiously hot day at over 100 degrees and despite restoration of modern conveniences, I had no desire to utilize anything that resided in my kitchen.  Thankfully my husband Tom decided that he would pull out his Vitamix and whip up a cold gazpacho.  The electricity came on just in time for us to visit the market and be guaranteed our gazpacho treasures would not wilt inside our refrigerator.  There are many variations of gazpacho out there, but I prefer my gazpacho without onions or peppers.  Tomatoes, cucumbers, even a bit of watermelon, fresh basil from the garden, the possibilities are endless.  The next day Tom decided on a whim to throw in some grilled zucchini (again no oven required) that added a whole other level of flavor.   Sitting on my back porch savoring sips of my cool refreshing soup; I must admit at that moment the heat did not seem quite so bad (although I don’t wish for it to return, gazpacho tastes just great in 80 degree weather).

August recipe: Zucchini Carpaccio

Zucchini Carpaccio
Serves 8

4 small zucchini (about 1 lb total)
2T extra virgin olive oil
2t fresh lemon juice
1/4t fine sea salt
1/8t black pepper
1/4c pine nuts
6oz parmigiano-reggiano, grated or shaved
1/3c loosely packed fresh mint leaves
crostini

  1. Cut zucchini into paper-thin slices with knife or slicer
  2. Whisk together oil, lemon juice, sea salt & pepper. Pour over zucchini slices
  3. Marinate zucchini for 30 - 60 minutes
  4. Overlap slices on platter, drizzle remaining marinade
  5. Top with pine nuts, parmesan & mint

Serve as first course or with crostini

 

Weekly Wisdom – How to translate being more healthy.. Part 3

July 10, 2012
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian,

How to Translate: “Eat more fruits & veggies, cut back on salt & sugar, switch to whole grain,
exercise.” Part 3 - Eating out

  • Get salad dressing on the side Salad dressings can add 400-600 calories in a typical restaurant main dish salad.
  • Double the veggies Instead of potatoes, rice or pasta, ask for 2 sides of vegetables or extra salad.  For variety
    check out veggies listed with other entrees on the menu. 
 

Learning to shop healthy

June 25, 2012
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian,

As a mother I want to involve my children in the process of purchasing our foods, learning about money, etc, etc.  However, lately our grocery store trip has become a high powered negotiation of what my boys can and cannot put in our grocery cart.  Angry Birds, Sponge Bob, Star Wars, Super heroes, the list goes on and on.  Somehow food (and non food) is just more appealing when it has a beloved character on it (or any character for that matter).  Now, this is not new information and maybe I am preaching to the choir here, but it is a topic that keeps coming up. 

Take children’s breakfast cereals, one of the biggest sources of sugar and refined carbohydrates in our children's diets.  A recent “Cereal Facts” study from Yale University noted that while cereal companies are making healthier cereals, they are still spending top dollar to promote their unhealthiest products.  On average, children consume 2 servings of breakfast cereal meaning that presweetened cereal consumption can put them at their sugar maximum (20 grams a day) before they even make it out the door. 

I wish in writing this blog I had the answer, but being a dietitian does not give me magical powers and honestly sometimes I just don’t want to fight with my children in the grocery store.  But that doesn’t mean I am going to constantly load my cart with pint sized Oreo’s, M & M’s  and everything else at their hand level during checkout.  So, my “answer” right now is to allow some “treats” as my boys call them, talk to them about food costing money (Oliver says “you mean its not free”) and set a good example by making wise food choices myself (which I often think they don’t pay attention to, but I still try). I combat my grocery store challenges by taking them to the farmer’s market on Saturdays (no media advertisement there) and letting them help me pick out the food.  Oliver had a ball picking out baby squash for us to grill, getting a thrill out of the “twins” that were in the bin.  We have a small garden, which allows the boys to check the “progress” on our tomatoes and maybe someday they will actually take a bite of that juicy fruit!

Weekly Wisdom – How to translate being more healthy.. Part 2

June 20, 2012
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian,

How to Translate:  “Eat more fruits & veggies, cut back on salt & sugar, switch to whole grain, exercise”
Part 2

  • Try nuts instead of croutons  Unlike croutons (salty white flour bread) nuts have plant protein & polyunsaturated fat
  • Work out to TV  Do some crunches, push ups, bicep curls, lunges, etc.  Have a treadmill or stationary bike…park it in front of the TV
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