Monthly Archives: March 2017

March Nutrition Nuggets



The health headlines were varied this past month. They made for interesting reading. Let us explore what the new trend is 🙂 ; what’s new at EWG; and what studies scientists & researchers have published. “Inquiring minds want to know!” I have also included some new recipes at the end of the post. 

Fooducate: New Trend: Shop with your Doc “California is the trend-setter when it comes to food, nutrition and health. It’s no surprise then, to learn about a new program whereby doctors in white coats greet shoppers at a supermarket and help advise on healthier food choices. Many grocery chains have already implemented dietitian guidance into their stores, but medical doctors are a novelty.

On one hand, this makes a lot of sense. Most Americans get their nutrition advice from their doctor, not dietitians. If doctors can prescribe “food as medicine” instead of more pills, everyone wins (expect for the pharma industry). By changing health care systems into “health systems” where the focus is prevention of disease instead of fixing things after they break, the US can save hundreds of billions of dollars every year.

However, there is a problem with doctors prescribing nutrition advice. The vast majority of physicians receive almost no nutrition education when in medical school. They often provide generic advice such as “lose weight, exercise more, and stop smoking”. Dietitians are much better suited to help people in the trenches, with practical advice on specific food choices in the supermarket. If you are trying to lose weight and improve your health, consider getting advice from a registered dietitian.” I agree. A dietitian can be compared to a physician with a specialty; more knowledgeable about the subject. A Board Certified Oncology Dietitian is even better & becoming easier to find in large medical centers.

This new trend didn’t just bring a smile to my face but made me laugh visualizing a physician in a white coat wandering the isles of Ralph’s grocery store! This is the program that Fooducate based their information on. Food As Medicine: It’s Not Just A Fringe Idea Anymore: “Several times a month, you can find a doctor in the aisles of Ralph’s market in Huntington Beach, Calif., wearing a white coat and helping people learn about food. On one recent day, this doctor was Daniel Nadeau, wandering the cereal aisle with Allison Scott, giving her some ideas on how to feed kids who studiously avoid anything that tastes healthy.” Read the article & one mothers reaction to his advice. It is an interesting idea & I applaud their efforts to try to help people on the spot to learn how to eat healthier; thus reversing some diseases that respond to diet. 

 NPR’s article: Eating More — Or Less — Of 10 Foods May Cut Risk Of Early Death confirms, yet again, what we have been discussing on this website.Scientists at Tufts University identified the foods that seem to contribute the most to the risk. At the top of the list? Salt. Consuming too much salt was associated with 9.5 percent of the deaths. Just saw an article this morning that another study has found that too much salt means getting up at night to pee 🙂 Check your salt intake!

Next — and I sympathize with all of you who love to eat these — high intake of red meat and processed meats such as bacon was linked to 8 percent of the deaths. And sugary drinks were a factor in 7.4 percent of the deaths. We know, it may be tough to cut back on foods you love. Bacon is so alluring to many that it has even been called the ‘gateway’ to meat for vegetarians! 

But, here’s the flip side: The researchers also found there’s a significant risk in eating too little of certain healthy foods. So, think of it this way: You can start consuming more of the foods that are protective. For instance, the study found that low consumption of nuts and seeds was linked to about 9 percent of deaths.

In addition, diets low in seafood, whole grains and fruits and vegetables were found to contribute to about 6-8 percent of the deaths. Think about this with some of the fad diets. A balanced diet using all the food groups is so important. It is the only way to get all the nutrients your body needs. Cut out one group or eat less of it & you are cutting out nutrients that the other groups don’t have. 

EWG, my favorite website, has a new section: Rethinking Cancer  We all know that diets rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains are healthier for us than those dependent on processed foods loaded with added fats and sugars. But, did you know healthy diets can actually help fight against the development of several common cancers?

Produce and whole grains, and the nutrients they contain are good for us – but why and how do these food help defend against cancer? How can you make the most of their beneficial properties? Use our resources…….”

Their resources include a Nutrition Calculator for Cancer Prevention : “Are you eating enough of the foods most likely to help lower your cancer risk? …A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help reduce your risk of cancer. See how your diet stacks up. Use our calculator to find out.” Try it!

This is a “bookmark-able” addition to your resources for a healthy lifestyle. 

I looked at several headlines about this study & felt that they were misleading. Tech Times: Components In Soy Products Slow Growth Of Breast Cancer Cells, New Study Finds The study found that: The decrease in risk was largely limited to patients with hormone receptor-negative tumors and women who have not undergone anti-estrogen therapy.

“Based on our results, we do not see a detrimental effect of soy food intake among women who were treated with endocrine therapy,” said Dr. Zhang. She added that soy food products can act as a shield for women diagnosed with hormone receptor-negative breast cancer. A weaker but significant association was also observed among women who did not undergo endocrine therapy treatment.” The study is talking about patients with hormone receptor-negative breast cancer & those who have not undergone anti-estrogen therapy.

If you read just the title of the article you think soy is okay for everyone. The article doesn’t mention what types of soy products they were using in the study or if they isolated the isoflavons for the study. Makes a huge difference. I agree with the last paragraph: “Although the research provides positive results pertaining to consumption of soy-based products by breast cancer patients, Kathy Chapman, chair at Cancer Council Australia warned women to be cautious as the “jury is still out.” 

This article reports the study more accurately: Tufts University: Isoflavones in Food Associated with Reduced Mortality for Women with Some Breast Cancers ““Since we only examined naturally occurring dietary isoflavone, we do not know the effect of isoflavone from supplements. We recommend that readers keep in mind that soy foods can potentially have an impact, but only as a component of an overall healthy diet,”  Too many variables for me. I still recommend being cautious with soy, especially supplements & products that are processed. 

USA Today: Strawberries and these other foods have the most pesticides     “Just about all the samples of strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries and apples contained pesticide residue, the analysis found. The most contaminated of the strawberries had 20 different pesticide types.” This article is based on the EWG’s 2017 “Dirty Dozen List” 

This is a very good article to read. This paragraph still amazes me. The Alliance for Food and Farming, which represents organic and non-organic growers, is opposed to the EWG’s list. The alliance’s Executive Director Teresa Thorne said the list has been “discredited” and dissuades people from eating fruits and vegetables.

“If EWG truly cares about public health,” Thorne said, “it will stop referring to popular produce items that kids love as ‘dirty’ and move toward positive, science based information that reassures consumers and promotes consumption.” I wonder what word they would use. Bad? Tainted? Toxic? I can’t think of a positive word to describe foods with 20 different pesticide residues on it. 

The article that required me to read over & over again & then ponder its content is about the reason people join the diet culture. It is a long read but definitely worth it. Not all of you will appreciate this article as I did. I often wonder about what drives us to go on a fad diet just because a celebrity endorses it or a friend, worse yet, a stranger swears it will cure what ails you, instead of sticking to a simple plant based, balanced diet. I have been as guilty of this as you have. So what is the reason? 

Basically this article is about our quest for immortality. We aren’t eating just to survive anymore, we are chasing the dream of being immortal or at least to extend our life. 

The Atlantic: Eating Toward Immortality “Nutrition is a young science that lies at the intersection of several complex disciplines—chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, psychology—and though we are far from having figured it all out, we still have to eat to survive. When there are no guarantees or easy answers, every act of eating is something like a leap of faith…….By creating and following diets, humans not only eat to stay alive, but they fit themselves into a cultural edifice that is larger, and more permanent, than their bodies. It is a sort of immortality ritual, and rituals must be performed socially. Clean eating rarely, if ever, occurs in secret. If you haven’t evangelized about it, joined a movement around it, or been praised publicly for it, have you truly cleansed?”

Later in the article: “The act of ingestion is embroidered with so much cultural meaning that, for most people, its roots in spare, brutal survival are entirely hidden. Even for people in extreme poverty, for whom survival is a more immediate concern, the cultural meanings of food remain critical. Wealthy or poor, we eat to celebrate, we eat to mourn, we eat because it’s mealtime, we eat as a way to bond with others, we eat for entertainment and pleasure. It is not a coincidence that the survival function of food is buried beneath all of this—who wants to think about staving off death each time they tuck into a bowl of cereal? Forgetting about death is the entire point of food culture.” 

I haven’t decided if I totally agree or disagree with this article. It certainly presents an interesting premise. No matter, it is thought provoking, and I enjoy anything that makes me think the subject through. Let me know your thoughts.

Next week I want to tackle the research connecting a gluten-free diet with the risk of diabetes. Is there really a link? Until then….Mary 🙂

New Recipes: Fresh greens at your local farmers market beckon!

  • Ordinary Vegan: Top 5 Oil-free Salad Dressing Recipes “I love oil-free salad dressing recipes. While some oils may be healthier than store bought commercial salad dressing, oil-free salad dressing can provide just as much flavor without all the fat.”
  • Ordinary Vegan: One-Pot Tomato Basil Spinach Pasta “I ran across this recipe from a friend of mine. I was very skeptical. One-pot vegan tomato basil spinach pasta? Impossible. I thought something won’t taste right. To my surprise, I was 100% wrong. This one pot pasta was delicious and so easy to make.
  • Epicurious: 14 Main Course-Worthy Vegetarian Salads These salads are very versatile. You can add hard-boiled eggs or a portion of chicken, turkey or fish to them. Perfect for a brunch or a main course for dinner.


The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Protein Sources by Joey Bruno

When I returned from vacation I checked my email & there was one from a Joey Bruno. He introduced himself & told me about an article he had written regarding vegan protein. I get quite a few emails like this but Joey’s was different. His article is the most comprehensive, informative, scientifically based article about the vegan diet I have read. It is a treasure chest of information laid out so that you can easily understand the vegan diet, detailed information regarding protein sources & it also includes recipes! 

You should look at his article even if you have no interest in a vegan diet because the information is useful for everyone. 

Most Americans get way more protein than is beneficial each day. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that the average American male consumes 102 grams of protein per day, while the average female eats about 70 grams. That’s almost twice the daily recommended protein by the Food and Nutrition Board. Adults should eat 10% to 35% of their daily calories from protein foods. That is about 46 grams for women, and 56 grams of protein for men. The World Health Organization recommends 10-15% of your daily calories, or the minimum protein intake at about 1/3 of a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. This is the minimum to maintain a healthy body. For 140# that would be 46 grams. 

When you are confronted with a disease such as cancer you should increase the amount of protein you consume to help maintain your weight. It is important to look at your unique situation. I would recommend you speak with an Oncology Certified Nutritionist to decide what is right for you. It depends on the individuals health picture.

Before I introduce the link to the article, I would also like to give you the link to his website. Thrive Cuisine His mission statement matches ours!  “The mission of Thrive Cuisine is to make plant-based eating easy and accessible for all people and clear up many of the misconceptions floating around online.”  Check out his Blog 

My favorite part of Joey’s website is: How To Go Vegan: The Ultimate Step by Step Guide Deciding to adopt a vegan lifestyle can be a daunting and seemingly challenging task. One may think they need to give up all the foods that they love, cut ties with all their non-vegan friends/family, and drive a Prius. This is simply not the case….” Listed are many reasons people choose a vegan diet. Under health he states: “While one of the more controversial subjects of veganism, the topic of health and veganism can lead many people astray. Despite conflicting opinions from bloggers and online news websites, scientific consensus is clear…..Click on the link to read on 🙂 

The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Protein Sources  January 17, 2017 / By Joey Bruno   Many people in the Western world have been brought up with the idea that you need to consume animal products (especially meat) to meet your daily needs for protein. Without doing so, you’re liable to end up frail, weak, and unhealthy. However, in 2017, there is more than enough peer reviewed scientific evidence to know this is not the case.

We’ve put together this article order to help educate people on the truth of vegan protein sources, as well as protein itself. By understanding plant protein can be just as adequate, if not better, than animal based protein for staying healthy and building muscle, one can make informed choices about the food they consume and it’s impact on the well-being of animals, the environment, and their own bodies.”

As you read through the article you will come to this section: Vegan Protein Sources, Benefits, & Recipes  To make sure you’re eating the right foods, especially in the beginning, it’s important to know what to look for. Here we’ve listed the most protein-heavy vegan foods that can be used in a variety of recipes and eaten as staple foods. Most of these are inexpensive, they are all easy to cook, and they can all lend themselves to different cuisines and styles of cooking. Check out the recipes linked, too – they’ll give you new ideas on how to jazz up old favorites.” 

Here is how he has laid out the protein sources: under Beans & Legumes for example: 

Navy Beans

  • 100g = 22g protein
  • The navy bean is so named because it was a staple food of the United States Navy in the early 1900s. Many battles were fought on this little bean, which has historically been used to make baked beans and provides a hearty dose of magnesium, folate, and potassium – all of which can improve your heart health.
  • Read more about Navy Beans….


  • 100g = 26g protein
  • Lentils are fiber powerhouses, and are also very high in iron. One of the greatest virtues of lentils is their versatility: there are so many different varieties, each of which lends itself best to a different style of dish. They’re quick-cooking, too, so there’s no excuse not to reach for them in the cupboard.
  • Read more about Lentils….

He has sections like this one for Grains; Nuts & Seeds; & Soy Beans & Soy Products. Recipes are at the end of each section. 

Using this information you can easily set up a vegan diet for yourself, add a vegan day to your diet plan or apply the information to wean yourself off of red meat. As I said in the beginning, this article is a treasure trove for everyone! This is a good article to bookmark for protein sources. I have! 

Thank you Joey! Until next week…Mary 🙂 

About the Author Joey Bruno…Also known as the “Hairy Vegan Animal”, cooking healthy, delicious, plant-based meals has been Joey’s true passion since he went vegan in 2015. He’s committed to making the internet a place of education and knowledge rather than misinformation and clickbait. He currently lives in Delaware with his wife,


Linking Foods to Boost Their Nutritional Clout



February’s newsletter from “Nutrition WOW”, Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, started me thinking about how you can pair foods to boost their nutritional value. Sometimes we do this automatically; tomatoes & olive oil for example. Let’s explore this idea beginning with “Nutrition WOW’s” list.


Food “Power Couples” from Nutrition WOW  “Hey lovers! Just as your sweetheart brings out the best in you, certain foods are healthier when paired with the right partner.” 

Meet my favorite Food “Power Couples”:

  • Tea + Lemon
    Why we’re a power couple: Citrus makes healthy tea antioxidants, called catechins, more absorbable.
  • Pasta + Balsamic Vinegar
    Why we’re a power couple: Vinegar slows carb digestion to lower post-meal blood sugar & increase fullness.
  • Yogurt + Almonds
    Why we’re a power couple: Almonds are a prebiotic that strengthen the good probiotic bugs in yogurt.
  • Spinach + Strawberries
    Why we’re a power couple: Vitamin C in berries helps the body absorb iron in spinach.
  • Tomatoes + Olive Oil
    Why we’re a power couple: Olive oil increases the absorption of heart-smart lycopene in tomatoes.
  • Turmeric + Black Pepper
    Why we’re a power couple: Black pepper increases the power of turmeric by over 2000%.
    *Try GOLDEN MILK: A mood-boosting, energy-enhancing, pain-reducing wonder drink. This is a wonderful drink to have in the late afternoon.
  • Rosemary + Grilled Meat
    Why we’re a power couple: Rosemary’s natural antioxidant content decreases carcinogens from forming during cooking.
  • Eggs + Salad
    Why we’re a power couple: Eggs increase the absorption of cancer-fighting carotenoids in raw vegetables. 

Now that you get the idea, let’s look at more “power couples”.

From EveryDayHealth: 7 Foods You Should Always Eat Together By Debbie Strong “Certain foods just belong together — and no, we’re not talking about peanut butter and jelly (although it’s definitely delicious!). There are foods that when combined, not only taste great, but help you absorb nutrients more effectively.” 

This slideshow adds even more foods to link together & why ~Check out the slide show for the complete list.

  • Yogurt & Bananas ~protein + potassium~ Turns out, your go-to portable breakfast may also make the perfect post-workout snack. Combining the potassium found in bananas with high protein foods like yogurt (especially Greek yogurt) helps build muscle and replenish amino acids that are depleted during exercise. A great snack for those long hours in treatment!
  • Carrots & Hummus ~healthy carbs + protein~ Looking for a way to beat the afternoon munchies? “Choosing snacks that combine protein and healthy carbs can help to curb hunger and give you an extra boost of energy,” says Sakimura. Another portable snack.
  • Avocado with Salsa ~healthy fats and carotenoids~ Good news if you love going out for Mexican: Salsa with avocado is a nutritional power duo. Bright and colorful veggies in salsa are rich in carotenoids, disease-fighting plant pigments that help protect you from cancer and heart disease. Adding healthy fats, like those found in avocados, can maximize protective benefits. Had this last night. Yum!
  • Raw Veggies and Eggs ~carotenoids and egg yolks~ Next time you’re at the salad bar, add a few hardboiled eggs to your bowl. Recent research out of Purdue University presented at the American Society for Nutrition’s Annual Meeting during Experimental Biology 2015 suggests that the protein-packed topping may help increase the nutritive properties of raw vegetables. Now that eggs “are back”.. 🙂

Even the Readers Digest got into this subject. 3 foods that are healthier eaten together 

  • Pair pasta with red wine vinegar ~ Red wine vinegar (like other types of vinegar) contains acetic acid, which research has shown reduces the spike in blood sugar that occurs after consuming starchy foods high in carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and bread.
  • Pair tempeh with leeks ~ In 2010, researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto showed that the joint consumption of inulin (a prebiotic substance found in leeks, onions, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes and chicory) with soy protein and soy isoflavones can reduce LDL ( “bad”) cholesterol while simultaneously raising HDL ( “good”) cholesterol. I roast the tempeh & leeks together. 
  • Pair chicken with grapefruit ~ Poultry, beef, pork and fish are all top dietary sources of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). This “power plant” of our body’s cells plays a vital role in the production of the energy we use for everything from digesting food to running on a treadmill. The coenzyme may also help control blood pressure in those with hypertension. A 2010 Japanese study discovered that eating grapefruit allows up to 50 percent higher cellular absorption of CoQ10 (grapefruit appears to inhibit a protein in the membrane of cells that limits CoQ10 uptake).

Click on the link above to see a recipe after each pairing. 

I found this pairing in an article from India; no argument with this one!  FOODS YOU SHOULD ALWAYS EAT TOGETHER  

  • Apples and Dark chocolate…Why: When nibbled together, dark chocolate and apples can boost heart health. Apple skin contains the flavonoid quercetin, which acts like an anti-inflammatory in the body. Meanwhile, the cocoa in dark chocolate is rich in catechins, an antioxidant that helps prevent the hardening of arteries.Try it: Dip apple slices into melted chocolate. You can use milk chocolate, but the darker variety contains up to six times more of the health-boosting catechins.

Remember, these “couples” are boosting the nutritional value. Pairs like bacon & eggs; ham & cheese; macaroni & cheese; & peanut butter & jelly, don’t count. 🙂

I am on vacation right now, enjoying the warmer weather & family. My next Blog Post will be on March 20th. Until then…Mary 🙂

Additional Resources

  • Food Synergy: Nutrients That Work Better Together  “Why eating a variety of whole foods is your best nutritional bet
  • Dynamic Dietary Duos  by Dr. Oz on These nutrients pack a much greater punch in tandem than solo.
  • The Science behind Foodpairing® Foodpairing is a scientific method to identify which foods & drinks go well together. To understand why ingredients match it’s important to know how humans perceive flavour. Not the food pairing we are discussing but interesting none the less.