Jane dragged herself into my office. The family physician next door had sent her to me in my position as staff dietitian. He wanted me to see if there could possibly be a link between her frequent afternoon headaches and a possible dietary component before he sent her for further tests. I soon discovered that there was a link between her diet and her headaches, but it was due to what she was not eating. Jane told me she seldom had time for breakfast since her shift started at 7:00 and she often had only coffee or a diet coke until 3:30, when she was done for the day. Then she was famished and most often stopped to grab something to eat at one of the fast food places nearby. Frequently by this time her headache was already starting and she would spend the rest of the night lying on the couch, watching TV, snacking, and nursing her headache.
Has this ever happened to you? Do you need some energy food to rescue you?
Actually I didn’t need my degree in nutrition to figure out what the problem was. Probably Jane’s grandmother could have given her the right advice. She needed to eat something before 3:30. We discussed a number of options, but it was the Powerful Bran Muffin that fit her best. The recipe was easy, tasty, healthy, and filling. Jane could make it on her day off with a friend and the muffins they didn’t eat could be frozen and ready for breakfast or even lunch
Make these to have on hand when you need rescuing.
COMMENT - TELL ME ABOUT YOUR RESCUE FOOD
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tins - makes 18 muffins.
COMBINE IN A LARGE BOWL:
1/2 (7 oz) BOX BRAN CEREAL
3/4 CUP RAISINS
1 CUP SUGAR
1 CUP WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR
1 1/2 CUP ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
2 1/2 TEASPOONS BAKING SODA
3/4 TEASPOON SALT
MIX THE FOLLOWING IN A SEPARATE BOWL:
1/2 CUP WESSON OIL
1/2 QUART BUTTERMILK
COMBINE THE EGG MIXTURE WITH THE CEREAL MIXTURE.
OPTIONAL: 1/4 CUP CHIA SEEDS AND/OR 1 CUP OF WALNUT PIECES
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
I've been a dietitian for many years and counseled numerous clients successfully about weight loss. The diets I have recommended to my clients include the nutrient dense foods consistent with optimal health. But I have also emphasized how important the calorie content of the food is. Peter Wilson’s article in the April/May 2019 journal, The Economist, entitled "Is the Calorie Dead?”, has made me rethink this emphasis. The author claims that "Counting calories has disrupted our ability to eat the right amount of food … and has steered us towards poor choices." He also praises Weight Watchers for switching to a point system that is biased toward healthier choices.
As I looked further into the calorie question, I found an article by Cynthia Graber, an award-winning science journalist. She was reporting on the work done at the FDA’s Human Nutrition Center. In very carefully monitored human experiments researchers have found that the calories humans get from various foods are not what is normally reported; for example, the calories the human body can extract from nuts, particularly raw nuts, are much lower than normally stated and the calories from many highly processed food are often higher.
The science of nutrition continues to evolve, but the way calories are counted is very outdated, producing many numbers that are merely gross estimates. So what can be done? Graber found that many of the scientists were coming up with intricate ways of calculating how individuals uniquely metabolize their food, but, of course, few people have access to this kind of careful monitoring. But what if each individual could learn to recognize when his or her body feels full so that the amount of nuts they eat will not depend on the calorie number? That number, we now know, is not wholly accurate anyway. It appears that what we can learn from the high-tech examination of calories is that we need to pay attention to what our body is telling us, rather than relying on external information. We need to realize that each one of us can learn to recognize how much we need to eat by mindful observation.
Unfortunately, our scientific examination of this issue prevents us from seeing food as the pleasure it should be and as the wonderful lubricant of social interaction. Cooking and eating good food with friends can help us reclaim our balance. Check out a menu on this website, invite some friends, enjoy the food and the company. By cooking food together, you'll appreciate the food thoroughly with less need to overeat. You'll be avoiding the expense and also the extra sodium, fat, and calories that are often part of restaurant fare. Learning to enjoy good food will help you avoid overeating without the need to concentrate on calories.
#stonesoupblog, #souffles, #soupuniversity
There is no doubt that the idea of making soufflés sounds a bit daunting, even to those who are fairly comfortable in the kitchen. The basis for the soufflé is normally a custard, which can be a little tricky to make. It also includes whipped egg whites, which traditionally means separating the egg whites from the egg yolks very carefully.
HOWEVER, the following recipe for banana-walnut soufflés is as easy and as fool-proof as it gets. It doesn't require making a custard, which means egg yolks are not necessary. A small carton of egg whites will give you what you need without having to break eggs (and you don't have to figure out what to do with the yolks). These are individual soufflés that can hold their shape easier than those with the larger volume from a more traditional soufflé dish.
1. Measure two portions of sugar - three tablespoons each and also measure 2 teaspoons of sugar to dust soufflé dishes.
2. Toast walnuts very carefully on a small saucepan over medium heat.
3. Coat just the bottoms of six soufflé dishes with cooking spray and then sprinkle each with 1/4 teaspoon of sugar.
4. Melt margarine/butter in saucepan over medium heat and add flour slowly, stirring constantly to make a smooth roux and cook for 1 minute.
5. Gradually add milk and 3 Tablespoons of sugar, while continuing to stir. Cook and stir until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl.
6. Mash and measure banana and combine with walnuts and vanilla and lemon juice and add to milk mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool completely. (Put dish in ice bath to quicken the process)
7. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 3 Tablespoon of sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.
8. Gently fold egg white mixture into banana mixture.
9. Spoon evenly into prepared soufflé dishes
10. Place dishes in a 9 x 13 pan and add hot water to the pan to the depth of 1 inch. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until puffed.
Best if served immediately
An alternative to serving immediately, is stopping at step 9, putting the individual soufflés in the freezer until firm for about 2 hours and then wrapping with aluminum foil and freezing for up to two weeks. When you wish to serve them, continue to step 10, adding five or 10 minutes until puffed.
If you google good foods or superfoods you will find a variety of lists, many of which disagree. The same can be said about the lists of bad foods. As a matter of fact, when I googled bad foods the first list that came up was “7 Bad Foods That are Actually Good for You”. What we know is that, in general, something is wrong with our food choices as evidenced by our increasing obesity and chronic diseases.
So do we just throw up our hands and say it’s too complicated or is there way to begin? One item in which the health community has general agreement is that sugary drinks are inversely affecting our health. An article in the November 2013 issue of American Journal of Public Health stated:
“Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) may be the single most important driver of the obesity epidemic. In the past decade alone, per capita intake of calories derived from carbonated drinks and SSBs has increased by approximately 30%. Moreover, beverages are thought to account for 10% to 15% of calorie intake for children and adolescents”
Does taxing these beverages make a difference? This same article goes on to say that the states that tax these drinks have significantly less obesity than the states that don’t. Is taxing in this case taking away too much of our individual freedom? We tax cigarettes and alcohol. How does our individual freedom figure into the increasing cost of health care resulting from the increasing obesity? Good foods/bad foods - there is no disagreement about where the sugary drinks belong.
COMMENT - WHAT DO YOU THINK?
The smell of comfort food coming out of the oven at dinnertime creates the anticipation of pleasure, but when the weather is chilly, or downright cold, this pleasurable anticipation is elevated to a whole new level. But how do we make the act of creating this wonderful experience joyful? We enlist someone or someones to cook with us; we can enlist children, spouses, or friends. But what if they aren't as precise as we are - or, even worse, much more precise? What if they use three pans instead of one? It's important to focus on making the occasion joyful and also letting them understand they're involved in the clean up. If we can make cooking a joyful experience for others, we will enjoy our cooking more and reap the benefits of great home cooked food. The following is a favorite old standby in lots of homes. This is a recipe for six that fits nicely in a 10.5 inch baking pan, but my mother used to make them in individual ramekins and put our initials in the mashed potatoes on top. This is a great memory you can make together with family and friends.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces.
3. Add potatoes to large pot and cover with water and boil over high heat until potatoes are fork tender about 20 minutes.
4. While potatoes are boiling, dice the onions and carrots.
5. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions and carrots sauté about 2 minutes and add the meat and cook until the meat is brown.
6. Add beef broth and bring to boil over medium-high heat stirring well, lower heat medium and stir in tomato paste and Worcestershire, stir well and mixture begins to thicken.
7. Add peas and corn, stirring until well combined.
8. Add salt and pepper to taste*, remove from heat and put in a baking dish.
9. Drain the potatoes well and add butter, milk, and HALF the cheese and mash until desired consistency and salt and pepper to taste*
10. Spread the potatoes over the meat and sprinkle the remaining half of the cheese on top of the potatoes. Place dish on a baking sheet to catch any drippings.
11. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until potatoes are golden brown.
(* since in our house we add less salt than is common, 1/4 teaspoon usually works for us, but I do recommend you taste and add the salt and pepper by 1/4 teaspoons until it tastes good to you.)
#StoneSoupBlog #comfortfood #cookingtogether
, Clean out your refrigerator - throw all that toxic food away. Dairy has hormones, fruits and vegetables have pesticides, and meat will clog your arteries and add to our polluted environment. There is no longer any debate that our American diet is the chief cause of our obesity, leading to the "Diseases of Civilization" - diabetes, heart disease, many cancers, etc.
Such are the claims of the "clean eaters." Should you be one? Meat eating Keto and Paleo diet adherents call themselves "clean eaters", but vegan disciples don't agree that meat can be included. Adherents may choose different camps, some being quite militant, but the idea that foods with less preservatives, less pesticides, and are less processed are better for us only makes sense. Foods processed with the amounts of added fats, sodium, and sugar that we find in most of the packaged products in the grocery are not good for us. So, before we throw all our food out, let's begin with three of the basic tenants of clean eating. Incorporating these ideas into your daily pattern will put you on the path toward a healthier diet.
1. Eat whole foods, ideally organic These are foods that you could pick off a tree or from a garden. These would include fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. For people who include animal products, dairy, and meats, choose free-range varieties of each.
2. Avoid processed foods that include a lot of extra fat, sodium, and sugar. If the ingredient list with those unrecognizable words gets too long, that is food to avoid.
3. Eat whole grains rather than grains that have been milled with many of the vitamin and minerals excluded. Foods like quinoa, barley, whole wheat flour are good nutrient sources.
Have a happy, healthy, new year?
#stonesoupblog #clean eating
Doesn't it make sense to wait until the holidays are over to talk about mindful eating? There are so many special foods during this holiday season, why don't we just wait until the new year begins?
Mindful eating allows you to maximize the enjoyment of your foods!
Mindful eating is about how you eat and why you eat and not primarily about what you eat. It means eating with intention and without judgement. So does that mean you can eat all you want of anything? Yes! Doesn't that mean that you'll blow up like a ballon? Probably not. Though you might start by gaining a little weight, many find that as they give more attention to their food, learning to savor every bite and noticing when they are full, they slow down and start to eat less
But can't mindful eating be used for weight loss? Yes, it can certainly be an important tool to help with that. However, since our culture is filled with so many calorie-dense foods available all the time, additional approaches are sometimes necessary. The first research studies using mindful eating techniques were with binge eaters and it was found to be very successful with this population. There have been a number of other studies which have shown that it can help with weight loss, diabetes, and a number of other diseases.
So how can you start eating mindfully? Take a deep breath (or two) and understand that it takes practice. Be clear about why you are interested in starting. There are lots of good reasons to eat mindfully. Know what yours are. There are many great books to help guide you in this practice and I've listed two below.
But while you are getting your book or plan together, here are a few techniques that you can try.
> Close your eyes and count to at least 5 (10 is even better) before you put anything in your mouth.
> Notice how hungry you are - quantify it on a 1-10 scale.
> Don't take a second bite until you've completely swallowed the first.
> Try to recognize the various flavors and become aware of
how their intensity changes as you chew.
Mindfulness in all areas of life is beneficial. The American lifestyle is a hectic, stressful one and often results in mindless eating contributing to obesity and many of our other diseases. Enjoy your next meal to the fullest - do it mindfully.
Two good books to get you started.
Eating Mindfully by Susan Alber, Psy D
& Liliam Cheung, DSc, RD
Discover Mindful Eating by Megrette Fletcher, MEd, RD
#stonesoupblog #mindful eating #cookingtogetherwithfriends #holiday eating
This is the time of year when we feel free to indulge a little more since we know that New Year's resolutions are right around the corner. However, there is no reason that some of these wonderful foods can't have some nutritional benefits. Whole wheat flour and rolled oats are the "good" carbohydrates and when I substituted the olive oil for butter or margarine, which was part of the original recipe, I found it worked as well. As a result there is very little saturated fat in these cookies!!
1/3 cup whole wheat flour 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup old-fashion rolled oats 1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt 1 egg
3 Tablespoons olive oil 2 oz dark mini chocolate chips
(orange-infused olive oil is my favorite)
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Measure and combine the the flour and the oats into a bowl.
3. Measure and add the baking soda and salt to the flour and oats and stir together.
4. Measure the olive oil into a small bowl.
5. Measure and add sugar to the bowl and mix until smooth.
6. Add sugar mixture to flour mixture and blend well.
7. Beat egg in small bowl and blend into the flour mixture
8. Measure and fold in the vanilla, cherries, and chocolate.
9. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet with parchment paper.
10. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Cool for 3 minutes and put on wire racks.
#oatmeal cookies #cookingtogetherwithfriends
Party time! Cooking with a large group is really fun. Our church encourages members to offer small groups with any topic of interest. I offered a "cooking together with friends" group and limited the number to 12. Many of you have gatherings of friends or family that are about that size and these recipes are really fun and flexible for such a group. Who doesn't like a pasta entree or a fruit crisp for dessert? Since the quantities for the recipes on my website are mostly for six - I doubled them. Each person was assigned to bring some of the ingredients and we were able to keep it under $8.00 apiece. Everyone was also asked to participate in the clean-up. I've included the menu items which are linked to their recipes on my website. Since each recipe makes six generous servings, we found that we had a lot left over, however, we didn't have heavy eaters in our group. You should take into account the individuals that are coming to your group and adjust the quantities needed, though they do make great left-overs. Have this great meal with good friends and enjoy the party!
Below is a one minute video of the making of the meal. Cooking together, not only results in wonderful food, but creates a sense of community and smiles of contentment.
#stonesoupblog #cookingtogetherwithfriends #cookingtogether #churchdinner @triciascooking
It's fun to serve this soup because the presentation is so pretty. However, there are other reasons to serve it. It's easy to make, tastes great, and is really good for you. The artistically inclined can use a knife or fork to create a beautiful swirl with the dollop of sour cream or yogurt put on the center. This is a lovely first course for a dinner or a larger portion with great bread and a salad is a wonderful meal. You may start with fresh broccoli and squash, which is what I did initially; however, I have found that the frozen version of both these vegetables works equally well and still gives a wonderfully nutrient-rich soup.
1 head broccoli
or 20 oz frozen broccoli, thawed
7 cloves of garlic, divided or
(or 7 teaspoons garlic paste)
2 cups divided reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
If you have an untrimmed head of broccoli, trim the large leaves from the broccoli and remove the tough ends of the lower stalk and chop the broccoli into pieces.
2. Peel and mince 4 of the garlic cloves.
3. Combine the broccoli, 2 cups of the broth, and the minced garlic in a soup pot. Bring it to a boil.
4. Reduce heat and simmer the soup, partially covered, until the broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Remove the soup from the heat. Transfer the mixture in batches to blender. Cover and process until smooth. Keep if warm until squash soup is finished.
24 ounces frozen butternut squash
½ teaspoon of ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons butter or oil
6 tablespoons of sour cream
salt, pepper, and cayenne to
6. Peel and mince the remaining 3 cloves of garlic and combine with the salt, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne into a small cup.
7. Sauté the garlic in oil or butter over medium heat for 30 seconds and add the spices and cook 1 minute more.
8. Add the squash to the garlic and spices.
9. Add the remaining 2 cups of broth, stirring until well-blended. Simmer until squash is tender and flavors have mingled. Season with salt and pepper.
10. Pour ½ cup of each mixture at the same time into opposite sides of each soup bowl.
11. Drop 1 tablespoon of sour cream in the middle of each bowl and swirl with a fork, creating a design.
#stonesoupblog #soup #broccoli
#healthy eating #squash
Tricia Gregory, MA,RD/N
A dietitian who is a foodie and loves a great dinner party with wonderful food and terrific friends.