Monthly Archives: March 2016

Nutrition Tips During Chemotherapy & Bucket Lists

Ccard & me

Last year I wrote an article about nutrition tips during chemotherapy for my friend Ali Gilmore’s 2nd book: The C Card and Me 2: How I Beat Stage 4 Cancer (again & again). I decided that it was time to update/add to the tips. I also wanted to add a few resources for you. 

The first resource is Ali Gilmore’s page. You couldn’t ask for a better role model to follow. Her books are about the lessons she learned during her cancer journey. The books are full of useful information written with a wonderful sense of humor. She is not only an author, but a singer & song writer as well. But she didn’t stop there; her newest adventure is called 12 Adventures. Right now she is in Montana on her 2nd adventure, to learn to “mush”. Here is an article written about this: A bucket-list ride on a dog sled. I am following her on Facebook; the page is called 12 Adventures. What an amazing lady!

At the end of this post you will find a list of Blogs by other cancer survivors. You may find some of them a little “too close to home” & maybe even upsetting. I think you will also find them inspiring & easy to relate to. Regardless, they are honest about what they are going through & it helps to hear other peoples stories.

During chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy maintaining a healthy immune system should be your goal. Diet, exercise and stress management can help you attain this. My additions/edits will be in red.

Because you are an individual, not a statistic, your cancer experience will be different from anyone else’s. Keeping a food diary will be very important. I know I have said this many, many times before, but believe me this is really important. Write down the foods you eat each day. Add how you felt physically, emotionally and if you had any symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, or pain. When you experience the same side effect the next day or week go back and compare the foods you have eaten. This will help you build a list of foods that work for you and which to avoid. You will also see this changing during your treatment. What made you nauseous during chemo the first week will no longer do that by the next round of chemo. Important for you and your caregivers to know. 

Apps to track your food: 

Here are a few tips to help you during treatment. Pick what works for you. You are an individual. What works for the person next to you in the chemo bay may not work for you. 

  • Changes in taste & smell. A metallic taste is the most common.

Avoid: Red meat & food with strong odors. Any foods that are unappealing to you at this time.

Eat: Add flavor to your food with spices. Broil or bake mild flavored meats: chicken, turkey, & fish. Try flavoring your water with lemon, cucumber and or mint.

Tips: Use plastic or wooden utensils; glass or ceramic cooking pots. Avoid metal utensils, canned foods, and metal pots & pans. Cold or room temperature foods don’t smell or taste as strong as hot food does.

  •  Constipation

Avoid: Processed foods, white foods (rice, bread, and pasta), red meat & dairy.

Eat:  High fiber foods such as whole grains, beans, nut butters, vegetables (the lowly radish is very high in fiber & a natural detox food), & fruits. A fresh whole pear, kiwi, or prunes eaten an hour before breakfast will keep you regular. If you prefer, a glass or warm water with lemon juice first thing every morning helps to keep you moving as well.

Tips: Keeping yourself hydrated is very important. Fiber requires fluids. Herbal teas such  as Smooth Move by Traditional Medicinals & Soothing Mint: Get Regular by Yogi Tea, are safe to  use. Have one cup in the evening before bed time.

  •  Diarrhea

Avoid: Sugary drinks including fruit juices, greasy & fried foods, dairy, alcohol & spicy foods. High fiber, high fat, and high sugar foods can cause diarrhea & should be avoided.

Eat: Eat potassium and sodium rich foods such as miso soup, bananas, peaches, & white potatoes. Low fiber foods are needed in this case: white rice, pasta, low fiber bread, cream of wheat. Baked or broiled lean meats.

Tips: Have all foods at room temperature. Increase your water intake to replace the fluids you lose. Chamomile, ginger or mint tea will help settle the stomach.

  • Dry Mouth: very similar to sore mouth. 

Avoid: Dry foods such as crackers, course raw vegetables, & dry meats or vegetables without sauces.

Eat: Pureed or soft foods as seen under sore mouth. Casseroles with sauces, stews, smoothies & soups are easier to swallow. 

Tips: For a take along snack try a small bottle of organic baby food. It is already pureed & tasty. Make sure you check the ingredient list. Sip on water frequently to keep your mouth moist. Rinse your mouth with just water as salt will dry it out. 

  • Fatigue.

Avoid: Sugar! Fruit juice is concentrated sugar; avoid drinking more than 4-6 ounces a day. Ensure is also high in sugar, avoid drinking it unless your health team has recommended it. 

Eat: Healthy protein snacks throughout the day. Nuts & nut butters are easy & portable. Whole fruits & vegetables will give you a pick-me-up without an overload of sugar. Greek yogurt with fresh fruit is high in protein; 21 grams per cup. Small meals & snacks 8 times a day will keep your energy level stable. 

Tips: Hydrate! Drink water. Dehydration can contribute to fatigue. Light exercise will help. Nap when needed. 

  • Loss of appetite.

Avoid: Processed foods, added sugar, sodas, & foods with strong odors.

Eat: High calorie, nutrient dense snacks. Nut butter on whole grain bread or crackers, small portion of turkey, chicken or fish, avocado, whole fruits (fruit juice is too high in sugar without the fiber), hummus, oatmeal, nuts & seeds.

Tips: Eating small meals & grab & go snacks frequently during the day will work better than the traditional 3 meals. By eating 6 to 8 snacks/meals a day you will take in more calories. Ginger chews or Ginger tea 2- 3 times a day will stimulate your appetite. A drop of orange essential oil on your napkin will also stimulate your appetite!

  • Mouth sores.

Avoid: Spicy foods, alcohol, acidic foods, rough, course or dry foods,

Eat: Soft foods, mashed yams/potatoes, smoothies, oatmeal, bananas & applesauce. Puree fruits, vegetables & meats if the sores are causing difficulty with swallowing.

Tips: Eating a tablespoon of dark honey slowly (Manuka honey is very beneficial) will not only coat your mouth and throat, it will promote healing. Sip water frequently, keeping your mouth moist. Rinse your mouth with salt water after each meal.

  • Nausea

Avoid: Strong odors, greasy & fried foods, sugar laden drinks & foods. High fat foods stay in your stomach longer & are more difficult to digest.

Eat: Warm cereals, soups & low fat protein foods; skinned chicken & tempeh for example. Ginger chews or crystallized ginger helps with all types of nausea.

Tips: Small meals or snacks. Hydrate! Being dehydrated can cause nausea & headaches. Drinking mint or ginger teas during the day also relieves nausea. Keep crackers at your bedside or in your purse along with the ginger chews.

  • Thrush: An oral yeast infection caused by candida albicans.

Avoid: Sugar (all types) and yeast-containing foods. Foods such as bread, beer and wine encourage candida growth. Avoid sprouted whole grains. Kambucha is popular but should also be avoided in cases of thrush. Dairy; butter, milk, cheese & yogurt.

Eat: Garlic, 1 clove, raw if tolerated, per day. Eggs, avocado, nuts, & seeds. Eat lean meat; chicken, turkey, & fish. Fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and spices (if they don’t irritate your mouth).

Tips: Plain yogurt (the exception) with lactobacillus acidophilus in small amounts will act as a probiotic. It will keep your ‘gut buddies’ healthy. An alternative to the yogurt is to take a dairy free probiotic daily. If you are having difficulty swallowing consider pureeing your meals.

  • Weight Loss: Maintaining your weight is important. Here are some tips to help you.

Eating small meals/snacks 8 to 10 times a day helps get those calories in. Make each one nutrient dense and high in calories and protein. Check out my Blog post Tips for a Healthy Weight Gain for more information. Put together several “grab & go” snack bags to carry with you to appointments or for that long chemo day. Don’t forget water!!!!

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole grain crackers
  • String cheese in one serving packages
  • Baby Bell cheese in one serving packages
  • Cut up veggies: carrots, celery, avocado; high in fiber and nutrient dense.
  • Fruits: apples, oranges, pears, berries; all are high in antioxidants, fiber & are nutrient dense.
  • Whole grain cereal: remember doing this for small children when on an errand?
  • Nut butter that comes in small one serving packages for those crackers & veggies.

As I stated before: You are an individual. What works for the person next to you in the chemo bay may not work for you. This is also true of the side effects of chemotherapy, radiation & surgery. A person with the same diagnosis on the same chemotherapy meds will experience their treatments differently than you will. They may lose all their hair & you may lose none. They may be weak & nauseous & you may not. Go into your treatments whether it be chemo, radiation &/ or surgery with an open mind. Your healthcare team has to tell you what the side effects might be but you may not experience them!

Blogs you might like to follow. If you google your type of cancer with the word blog after it, you will find a long list of sites. These are just a few that I am aware of.

  • Dancing with Cancer: Dancing with Cancer: living with mets, the new normal.”
  • Nancy’s Point:  “My name is Nancy Stordahl. I am an educator, author, blogger and free-lance writer. I also review products via this blog if they are relevant to breast cancer survivorship.”
  • The Accidental Amazon: “Readers of Kathi Kolb’s Accidental Amazon will get a healthy dose of snarky attitude, but they also get much, much more. Kolb is a force of nature, calling out for better treatment, more research, and simply a greater understanding of breast cancer. She rails against the “pink peril” of breast cancer awareness merchandise, and questions the healthcare system’s approach to the disease.”
  •  My Fabulous Boobies, “Nicole speaks out to young black women dealing with breast cancer just like she was not that long ago. She was diagnosed in her 30s and endured treatment successfully.”
  • Blog for a Cure: Cancer Sucks: This is a community of cancer survivors who blog. These blogs cover all cancer diagnosis. “The mission of Blog for a Cure is to make life a little bit easier for cancer survivors by providing a free personal web publishing service for them and continuing to develop and upgrade this service to be the best it can be for its users.” This site is free. 
  • Prostate Cancer BlogsThis site is from the Prostate Cancer Association & lists blogs by prostate cancer survivors.
  • Kris CarrThis is a good site. Kris wrote Crazy Sexy Cancer. I think her story is inspiring. 

Start your own Blog or journal your story on a computer or in a notebook. Writing about your struggles puts them into perspective & also shows the progress you have made. I recommend attending Expressive Art Therapy with Alessandra Colfi. She will guide you in expressing your highs & lows through art.
For information, please email:

Until next week…………Mary 🙂


Tofu, Tempeh, Seitan, Oh My!

If you have ever toyed with the idea of becoming a vegetarian or a vegan, you have probably heard about “meat substitutes”. Tofu, tempeh & seitan are the first to be recommended. What exactly are they and how do you prepare them?

Carob has been touted as a substitute for chocolate, chicory a substitute for coffee. In fact neither is true. Nothing can take the place of chocolate or coffee 🙂 Carob & chicory have their own unique taste, aroma & texture. The same with tofu, tempeh & seitan. You can make them tastes like meat but they are so much more than that.



Tofu is a bean curd. It is made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the soft curds into white blocks. They can be soft to firm, and have very little flavor. The texture is smooth or cheese like. It has been used in Asia for thousands of years. What makes it so much fun to cook with is its ability to absorb whatever flavors you marinate or cook it in. I either fry it or bake it in a small amount of olive oil until browned. It tastes bland this way but it is a good topping on a mixed salad!

Nutritionally, in a 1/2 cup serving:

  • 94 Calories
  • 6 grams Fat: 0.9 are saturated fat
  • 0 Cholesterol
  • 9 grams Sodium
  • 150 mgm Potassium
  • 2.3 grams total Carbs
  • 0.4 grams fiber
  • 10 grams Protein



Silken tofu is soft & can be used in recipes in place of yogurt or cream. I use Silken tofu to make creamy salad dressings. My favorite is:

Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing ..I no longer know where the original recipe came from.

Whisk together. Makes about 1 cup. Refrigerate. Stir or shake before using.

For a firm block of tofu, I prefer sprouted tofu by WildwoodI slice it or cube it depending on what I am using it for. For a stir-fry, I marinate the cubes in Shoyu or Tamari sauce for an hour before adding it to the recipe.

My husbands favorite is from the  Tofu Cookery cookbook by Louise Hagler:

Barbequed Tofu    Yield: 8 servings   Preheat oven to 350º F. 

Using frozen tofu lends a chewy texture. Try this on the grill covered with aluminum foil to save the sauce.

To Prepare the Tofu: 2 pounds firm or extra firm tofu: Freeze, thaw, squeeze dry, and cut into 1/2 inch thick strips. I use extra firm & I don’t freeze it first.

Spread a cookie sheet with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Arrange the tofu strips on the oiled cookie sheet. You can also use parchment paper for an easier cleanup 🙂

Mix together:

    • 1/4 cup water
    • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 1 clove garlic, pressed or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pour this mixture evenly over the tofu strips and press into the strips with a spatula or an open hand. Bake for about 15 minutes, then turn the pieces over and bake for about 10 minutes more.

Pour your favorite Barbeque Sauce over all and bake 10 minutes more. I bake it for about 20 minutes more. Serve with French bread and a green salad. This is delicious the next day on sprouted bread as a sandwich. You can also use tempeh instead of tofu for a different texture.

Tofu can replace eggs in a “scramble”. Easy & tasty. Saute onions, peppers, garlic & then add the crumbled tofu. Continue cooking as you would scrambled eggs. I add turmeric for it’s benefits plus it fooled my grandson’s into thinking this was an egg dish 😉 

Here are websites for tofu recipes:



Tempeh is my favorite. It is a traditional soy product originating from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. (Wikipedia) A tempeh cake is firm & you can see the pressed soybeans in the cake. I like it because like tofu, it takes on what ever flavor you marinate or cook it in. It can also be sliced, diced or crumbled! I use Litelife Tempeh 

 Nutritionally for a 1/2 cup serving of Tempeh:
  • 160 Calories
  • 9 grams Fat: 1.85 grams are saturated fat
  • 0 Cholesterol
  • 7.5 grams Sodium
  • 342 mgm Potassium
  • 8 grams total Carbs
  • 0 grams fiber
  • 15.5 grams Protein

I use tempeh as a veggie burger either on sprouted bread or just as is. I don’t marinate it first. I rub olive oil on the slices & bake it in the oven until brown. Usually I am doing this in a 450 degree oven while roasting vegetables. You can also fry it in a small amount of olive oil until browned. It is perfect for a vegetarian Reuben sandwich. For a vegan Reuben add vegan cheese or simply leave it off!

Links to Tempeh recipes:



Seitan isn’t for everyone because it is 100% wheat gluten. Wheat gluten, also called seitan (Japanese: セイタン), wheat meat, gluten meat, or simply gluten, is a food made from gluten, the main protein of wheat. It is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch granules have been removed, leaving the sticky insoluble gluten as an elastic mass which is then cooked before being eaten. (Wikipedia).

From Livestrong: “Seitan, also known as wheat meat, is a vegetarian meat substitute made from wheat gluten, soy sauce or tamari, ginger, garlic and seaweed. This nonmeat alternative is high in protein, low in fat and a good source of iron. The meatlike food, however, can be high in sodium and thus affect blood pressure. 

Whether you make it yourself or buy it ready-made, seitan is a low-calorie choice with 100 to 120 calories per 3-ounce serving. Seitan is also considered a low-energy-dense food, which means it has few calories compared to its serving size. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says filling your diet with more foods low in energy density, like seitan, is a healthy and easy way to manage weight because it satisfies hunger on fewer calories.

Although seitan is made from wheat, it is low in carbs and high in protein. A 3-ounce portion of seitan contains 2.5 to 4 grams of carbs, 1 to 2 grams of fiber, 0 to 2 grams of fat and 21 grams of protein. The publication “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010″ says that including alternative sources of protein in place of your usual meat and chicken can help improve the nutritional quality of your diet by providing nutrients that promote health. Seitan is low in fat, has no saturated fat and provides a source of fiber, making it a good choice for heart health. So, instead of making your usual beef stew for dinner, try stew with seitan.”

Nutritionally for 3 ounces:

  • 100 – 120 Calories
  • 0 – 2 grams Fat
  • 0 Cholesterol
  • 29 grams Sodium
  • 30 mgm Potassium
  • 2.5 – 4 grams total Carbs
  • 1 – 2 grams fiber
  • 21 grams Protein

I have a tofu stroganoff recipe that I like. Instead of using tofu, I use seitan for a change. I like the texture with the mushrooms much better than the tofu. Seitan comes cubed, in strips, plain or already marinated. Pacific Seitan is organic. Safeway, Von’s, Henry’s & Jimbo’s sells it. 

Of the three, seitan is the one that can be plugged into everyday meat recipes without doing anything differently. Here are some sites to get you started.

Wheat Gluten



Bob’s Red Mill sells the Vital Wheat Gluten so you can make your own seitan. It is easy & economical. I made this yesterday, using my own combination of spices. This recipe makes too much for a small household. Cut it in 1/2 but use the same amount of broth. It swells as it cooks in the broth so use a bigger pot than you think necessary. Here is their recipe:

Basic Seitan

  • 2 cups Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Sage
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Marjoram
  • 2 cups Water
  • Broth
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 6 cups Water
  • 2 Tbsp Molasses
Bring to a boil the water for the broth, molasses and soy sauce.

Mix together the gluten flour and spices. Add water to mixture and stir into a sponge-like dough. This should not be excessively wet. Knead dough a minute to make dough tougher and more elastic. Cut into 2 x 2 inch pieces and place into boiling broth. Cook in broth for about 1 hour, lowering heat as needed. Drain and use seitan for a stir-fry, sandwiches, stews and more.

I allow the seitan to cool in the broth. I then put the seitan in glass storage jars & add the broth evenly. It will keep in the refrigerator for 10 days. Strain when ready to use; although you could use the broth in the recipe!

Makes 12 servings. *Freeze drained broth for future use if desired.

This should take the mystery out of tofu, tempeh & seitan. Experiment with replacing the meat in your favorite recipes or try out some of the recipes in the links I provided.

I don’t recommend using these three products everyday. Once a week or in moderation works! They are a much healthier choice than the processed soy “meats” such as hot dogs, sandwich slices & burgers; which all have added salts, fats & sugars.

Remember that beans, whole grains, seeds & nuts are all healthy, unprocessed sources of protein & other nutrients. 

I will end with two of my favorite cookbooks. I have had them for well over 20 years. They are dogeared, stained & well loved. Tofu Cookery & Simply Vegetarian!


Healthy bones thru nutrition & exercise.



Our bones don’t stop growing until our late 20’s & are strongest at about age 30, then they begin to “thin” which means they lose density. This is the natural aging process. This process can be accelerated due to bad habits, medications & disease. But, there are ways to maintain & even increase bone density.

What can we do to slow down this process:

  • Stop smoking: Nicotine can block calcium absorption & it decreases Vitamin D levels.
  • Alcohol: There is a direct link to drinking alcohol, bone loss & an increase in fractures. The risk is greater the more alcohol consumed.
  • Salt: Your body needs sodium but too much salt leaches the calcium from your bones. The more processed a food is, the higher it is in salt. Canned foods usually have added salt. Read your labels! Fast food is heavily salted.
  • Caffeine: The first 3 cups of coffee have a minimal effect on calcium loss 🙂 but the more you drink the higher the risk.
  • Carbonation: This is a myth. Carbonated sodas do cause a loss of calcium, but not due to the carbonation. Research shows that the culprits are the high amounts of caffeine & phosphorus in the soda. You can now enjoy your Perrier.

GZumba Vista


Exercise: Check with your healthcare team before you begin an exercise program. North County Cancer Fitness is a wonderful place to safely begin. They will evaluate you before they recommend an individual exercise routine. This is just a partial list that will get you started. 

  • Weight bearing exercises can help to build bone & stronger muscles. This means any exercise done while standing: tennis, walking, jogging.
  • Lifting weights will build bone & strengthen muscles. Make sure you get professional guidance.
  • Dancing is a great workout. It gets your pulse up & strengthens your heart, muscles, and bones. It is also good for the memory! Check out Alessandra Colfi’s Zumba classes for a gentle routine.
  • Gardening! My favorite pastime. All the bending, kneeling, pulling & even the watering strengthens you heart, muscles & bones. Connecting with Nature reduces stress & increases gratitude.
  • Yoga: Strengthens bones & muscles. It helps with balance & flexibility which decreases the risk of falling. Check our list of free Yoga classes.
  • Walking 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week is a good start.

My Plate 1


Nutrition: 11 Unexpected Foods That Are Good for Your BonesThis is the link to a slide show that I received from WebMD in their Newsletter. Great reminders. Remember that your daily intake of Calcium should be between 1200 mgm & 1800 mgm including any dietary supplements you are taking. If your healthcare team has told you that you need more than that, listen to them. They are basing their assessment on lab-work.

1. Go darker with your greens. Nothing beats calcium for your bones. Sure, you can get it from dairy, but it’s also found in lots of vegetables. Why not do both? One great choice: dark leafy greens such as bok choy, Chinese cabbage, kale, collard greens, and turnip greens. One cup of cooked turnip greens has about 200 milligrams of calcium (20% of your daily goal). On top of that, dark greens also have vitamin K, which can reduce your risk for osteoporosis. Check under our Topic page for Calcium. I have a great vegan list.

2. This spud’s for you. Two lesser known nutrients that help keep bones healthy are magnesium and potassium. If you’re low on magnesium, you can have problems with your vitamin D balance, which may affect your bone health. Potassium neutralizes acid in your body that can leach calcium out of your bones. One delicious way to get some of both of those nutrients is by eating a baked medium-size sweet potato with no salt, which has 31 milligrams of magnesium and 542 milligrams of potassium.

3. Start your day off tart. Add a grapefruit to your breakfast and you’ll be doing more than waking up your taste buds. Citrus fruits have vitamin C, which has been shown to help prevent bone loss. One whole pink or red grapefruit has about 91 milligrams of vitamin C, giving you the amount you need for the entire day. Can’t handle the sourness of a grapefruit? A navel orange comes in close with 83 milligrams. The whole fruit has fiber which slows down the absorption of the fructose into your blood stream.

4. Get figgy with it. If you’re looking for bone-strengthening fruits, figs should be near the top of your shopping list. Five medium fresh figs have around 90 milligrams of calcium and other skeleton-saving nutrients like potassium and magnesium. Fresh figs are grown in California through the summer and fall, but you can find them dried all year. And dried ones are just as good: Half a cup of dried figs have 120 milligrams of calcium. We planted 3 fig trees last spring. Hoping for a bumper crop this year!

5. Think beyond canned tuna. Salmon and other types of fatty fish offer an array of bone-boosting nutrients. They contain vitamin D, which helps your body use calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids, which may also aid bones. One of the best ways to buy salmon is actually canned. Three ounces has 183 milligrams of calcium. Why such a high amount? Small, soft bones get included with the meat in the canning process (don’t worry, you won’t even notice them) Check our blog post on Fish 2 weeks ago.

6. A superior sandwich spread. Made simply from ground up almonds (and maybe a little salt), almond butter is an easy way to boost your calcium intake. Two tablespoons has 112 milligrams of calcium. Plus, almonds contain potassium (240 milligrams in 2 tablespoons) as well as protein and other nutrients that play a supportive role in building strong bones. Make your own by putting almonds in a blender or food processor. Add enough water to just barely cover them. You may add a dash of salt if you want to. Blend. This spread is a bit thinner than almond butter but much easier to make! Adjust consistency by adding more water to thin or more almonds to thicken. You can use any nut you like.

7. “Milks” from plants. You’d think that by swapping out dairy milk for the kind made from soybeans, almonds, or coconuts, you’d lose all that calcium and vitamin D. But most of the varieties you’ll find in the store have been given an extra boost of those nutrients. Check the label to be sure. Recipe to make your own: Almond Milk I use vanilla extract & I never filter mine. I like the “nutty stuff” left in. Tastes wonderful on whole grain cereal or in a recipe. Again, you can use any nut you want!

8. Swap in some vegetarian proteins. Tofu is a mainstay in Asian cooking, both for its versatility and the fact that it’s a nutritional powerhouse. Half a cup of calcium-enriched tofu contains more than 400 milligrams of calcium. Tofu has other bone-building benefits, too. Research suggests that isoflavones, which are plentiful in tofu, may make soy useful in warding off bone disease in women after menopause. For those of you who worry about phytoestrogens; moderation is the key here. You can also use Tempeh, fermented soybean cakes. 

9. Juice up a classic. It may go perfectly with pancakes, but orange juice doesn’t naturally contain much calcium. That said, it can still be a great way to increase your intake. How? Manufacturers often sell versions that have been fortified with calcium (look for it on the packaging). In fact, fortified orange juice has about the same amount of bone-building calcium as dairy milk. High in sugar & doesn’t have the fiber to slow it down; 4-6 ounces a day max.

10. A dried fruit often ignored. Hear the word “prune” and you probably think of something older people eat to stay regular. But everyone should actually be snacking on dried plums (what is what prunes actually are!). Research has found that eating them every day, along with calcium and vitamin D, can help improve your bone density by slowing the breakdown of bone in your body.

11. Select a smarter sweetener. Unlike refined white sugar, molasses is a source of calcium. In just 1 tablespoon of the sweet syrup you’ll get 41 milligrams of calcium. You can do more than bake with it. Try it instead of honey to top your yogurt or oatmeal or mix into a smoothie. I have always loved the flavor of dark molasses, but in small amounts. The flavor can be overpowering.

The Mayo ClinicBone health: Tips to keep your bones healthy: Protecting your bone health is easier than you think. Understand how diet, physical activity and other lifestyle factors can affect your bone mass. This article includes information that affects bone health that I haven’t covered: gender, age, ethnicity, hormone levels, medications & eating disorders.

With a plant based diet, the nutrition part is not difficult! Exercise takes more effort. Dancing with Alessandra Colfi and Yoga with Justine at Yoga Vista Studio is more fun than effort because they both add in laughter therapy 🙂 


P.S. Here is a link to an article I would like to share with those of you who need to safely gain weight: Gain Weight the Healthy Way With These 11 Foods

New nutrition resources!

Frig Suzi


This week I would like to share some very good nutrition resources. They are informative, scientifically based & as a bonus have recipes. My research started with an article about the fourth annual “What’s Trending in Nutrition” Survey from Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian. 

Annual Survey of Nutrition Experts Predicts What’s In and Out for 2016“When it comes to forecasting nutrition trends, there are no better experts than registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs). They are at the forefront of everyday eating habits and purchasing decisions of people from all regional and economic environments. With almost two decades of working on behalf of dietitians, we know they have their finger on the pulse,” says Today’s Dietitian publisher Mara Honicker.

Here are the highlights of the survey.

1. Clean Shopping
According to the survey, RDNs agree that more consumers will base their purchasing decisions on “clean eating”, or shopping for foods that fit a plant-based diet, such as a Mediterranean-style diet. Gluten-free and Paleo diets will still be popular, but the nutrition pros’ results show that consumers will move towards “clean” vs caveman. 
This is fantastic news! 

2. Seeds Bloom
Most registered dietitians say seeds (55%) have superfood star-power, followed by avocados (52%) and ancient grains (50%). Meanwhile, kale loses its luster. When it comes to popular beverages, green tea brews to the top. 
More good news. I am tired of kale 🙂 

3. And the Influencer Award Goes To…
Celebrities! According to the survey, most registered dietitians believe that nutrition trends start with celebrities, with 33% citing them as the initiator of food and eating fads, while 26% name social media as having the most influence on consumer eating trends. 
Hmm, like celebrities are known for their great choices? When will we learn that fad diets, no matter who is singing their praises, do more harm than good to our health.

4. Protein Picks and Peaks
Shopping carts will have less beef, bacon, and other processed and red meats as more consumers look to seafood, nuts and seeds, eggs, poultry, and dairy to provide quality protein in their diets. That said, the number of individuals focusing their attention on high protein eating may have peaked—two-thirds of RDNs say that protein enthusiasm will be about the same in 2016. 
Good, Americans eat way too much protein as it is.

5. Shopping for Free
When it comes to the messages and claims that impact shopping decisions, 2016 will look for “free.” Claims like “GMO-free” and “antibiotic-free” will prompt purchases, as will “additive-free” and “locally sourced.” The question is whether these characteristics actually drive healthier purchases. Jenna Bell, PhD, RDN, senior vice president, director of food & wellness for Pollock Communications, says you can’t be so sure. “While consumers may look for GMO-free or other ‘free-from’ claims on the label, it doesn’t mean that it has always led to healthier, more nutritious options.” Dr. Bell warns that an unintended consequence of choosing “free” foods could be that consumers might not assess the overall healthfulness, consider food safety issues, understand truly sustainable practices, or might pay unnecessary costs. “Make decisions based on the quality of the whole food and the variety and quality of your overall diet,” Dr. Bell suggests. 
Good advice. Don’t believe what is on the front of the package. Read the ingredient list first. Then make an informed decision.

6. A Matter of Taste
When it comes to deciding what to eat, RDNs say that taste and convenience are consumers’ most important considerations. Some 97% and 93% responded that convenience and taste, respectively, are important or very important when it comes to deciding what to eat. While healthfulness is the not the deciding factor according to one-half of the respondents, Dr. Bell points out, “Even when you’re making healthy choices, RDNs know that taste and convenience are deal breakers if not satisfied.” 
In a fast paced society like ours this is very true. The healthy answer is to fill your frig & cupboards with healthy choices. Make dishes ahead of time & freeze them to be used when you are too tired to cook. Eating on the run can be healthy but it takes forethought. Stopping at a fast food place is okay as long as it is occasionally & not an every day habit.

7. Healthy Eating — There’s an App for That
Seventy-one percent of RDNs believe more consumers will use technology to help improve their diet in 2016, likely tracking their food intake or activity with smartphone apps or wearables like MyFitnessPal, LoseIt, and Fitbit, among others. 
These apps are very useful. It is like a food journal & can be kept on your phone, which makes it convenient.

8. Blogs, Social Media and TV Trumps…
When it comes to getting nutrition information, the RDNs cited blogs, social media and TV – in that order. “This could be good news,” remarks Dr. Bell, “a growing number of RDNs author national and personal blogs, are active on social networks and are making TV appearances.” Dr. Bell notes that for credible information, look for that RD or RDN after their name when online or watching TV. 
I have a list of the one’s I felt would be helpful to you following this part of the post.

9. Mis-Fortunate Information…
However, not all blogs are created equal. Nearly two-thirds of RDNs are concerned that consumers are getting wrong and potentially harmful nutrition information from blogs and social media. Dr. Bell speculates that this may be due to the number of non-experts sharing information. 
There are some very good blogs that are not by RD’s or RDN’s. Food Babe comes to mind.

10. Nutrition Ed — Choose MyPlate
Year after year, Choose MyPlate, the USDA’s guidance for healthy eating (, continues to play an important role in nutrition education, with 76% of dietitians utilizing MyPlate as a tool to help consumers eat right—up from 73% last year. 
It should be higher than that. The MyPlate is an easy way to eat healthy. MyPlate should be the #1 educational tool. One glance at your plate is all you need to see if you have chosen a balanced way of eating. If #6 is true then we need to think simple. MyPlate is simple.

Again, read the entire article here: Annual Survey of Nutrition Experts Predicts What’s In and Out for 2016

I researched some of the top Registered Dietitian blogs I found on a list: 10 Dietitians You Need to Follow on Social Media Here are the ones I found relevant to what we discuss on our website. Simple, scientifically based, nutrition. 

My favorite is Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN. Her website is called: Healthy Living, Hold the Boring. She has the Super Food Swap Diet: “Everyone talks about SWAPS. Eat this, not that. Order X, instead of Y. Problem is the modern day swaps focus on calories, not nutrition. So sure you may lose weight, but your body is being starved of nutrition. Your body craves real food. It wants to be fed. The Superfood Swap is the first ever plan to give you swaps that not only save calories, but also super-charge your nutrition. There are nutritious swaps (a.k.a. SuperSwaps) for all of your favorite foods. Ranch dressing, pizza, burritos, sandwiches, energy drinks, coffee drinks, candy bars…you name it…there’s a SuperSwap for you.”  Watch her short video: The Super Food Swap Diet I love what she said about CRAP! She is the kind of RDA we need more of. Take a look at her recipes. I made the Sunflower Lentil Loaf last night. It was easier to make than it looked. It was very good & made enough for me to have leftovers. It passed my husbands taste test & he asked for it again tonight! Paired with a simple salad this was a great meal. I made her Sesame Ginger Dressing. It is thin but tasty. Worth trying.

The next Blog I found is Sharon Palmer RDN’s: The Plant Powered BlogOn her Home Page, you can download her free Seasonal Produce Guide &  The Plant-Powered Rainbow of PhytochemicalsBoth are very useful. She also has 12 pages of Recipes! 

One of her Blog posts is: Eating a Plant-Based Diet Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank“There are so many reasons people put off eating a more healthful plant-based diet: time, motivation, and cooking skills, to name a few. But one of the main reasons people are not eating a cancer and disease protective diet, filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, boils down to one simple factor: cost. In fact, a new AICR survey found that 35% of Americans who said their diets were not very healthy cited cost as being the most important factor getting in the way.” Read the rest to learn what you can do to stay within a budget. Very good tips.

Healthy Aperture website:  “a unique image-based recipe discovery platform. It is the only site of its kind moderated by registered dietitians and solely focused on healthy food blogs.” This is an interesting website of beautiful food photos with their recipes. The recipes include healthy proteins such as meat, chicken, seafood & categories such as dairy free, kosher & many more. Lots to try!

Ellie Krieger; Delicious, Meet Healthy: “Well known as the host of the Food Network’s hit show “Healthy Appetite,” Ellie’s warmth and charisma have made her the leading go-to nutritionist in the media today. Krieger’s success can be attributed to her unique way of offering real life advice without any of the gimmicks and extreme diets that permeate the media today. She reaches people with her message that it is possible for anyone, given the tools and knowledge, to live life to the maximum by keeping a healthy balance and nurturing a richly satisfying and sumptuous, attainable lifestyle.” Lots of nutritious Recipes. Her recipes also include meat. While visiting the website, check out her videos.

The last RD site I will share is called Stirlist; Amber Pankonin RD. I like her introduction: “Hello! I’m RD amber. I’m a Registered Dietitian passionate about food, nutrition science and agriculture. When I grow up, I’d like to be a photographer or maybe a backup dancer.” Good Recipes. She wrote a post on her blog that I think you would benefit from: Healthy Eating While on a Budget Plan, Purchase & Prepare are the three parts of the post. Well done.

Our NUT Elf, Suzi, sent me a link to a website about cooking. The recipes are categorized by season, or meal or by type, such as vegan or vegetarian. It is called Vintage Mixer“The heart of Vintage Mixer is about a meal, a table and a conversation.  Too many meals are filled with over processed foods. I like to revert back to my Grandmother’s era when folks cooked with what was fresh and used real ingredients (you know… like ripe fruit, fresh vegetables, real butter, and eggs).” While you are exploring her recipes, don’t forget to look on the right side of the page for a list of her blog posts. Thank you Suzi 🙂

The internet is full of wonderful information about nutrition & so many recipes! It is also full of misinformation. If you find a website that you are unsure of, email me! If you come across one that you would like to share with us, email me!

Have a good week & don’t forget to change your clocks this Sunday! Daylight Savings time is here again; Spring forward 🙂 Mary