Archive for the ‘Ask The Guyatitian’ Category

If you love BBQ like I do, then you are going to love these recipes. One is for a basic sauce that features California Strawberries and what has become one of my favorite juices to drink as well to use as a recipe ingredient – Welch’s Farmer’s Pick 100% Juice Blackberry. The other features favorite fruit such as cantaloupe, watermelon and California Strawberries. Of course, you are free to use whatever combination of fruit you’d like in the recipe I call Shish-Ka-Booze! Yes, there is definitely an adult theme to it but the alcohol in the recipe is burned off in the grilling process.

Besides great fresh fruit flavor and fun, there is a hidden agenda to using these ingredients when barbecuing. Antioxidant-rich fruit, such as berries, have been found to benefit heart health, cognition, diabetes and may protect against certain types of cancer. But I especially like to use berries as part of marinades and sauces which may help reduce the presence of heterocyclic amines (HCA’s) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are known carcinogens (cancer causing agents). Also, eating antioxidant rich food in the presence of foods containing HCAs and PAHs may reduce their harmful effects. The best advice is to avoid charring your meats by using indirect cooking methods. Here’s a great link to the American Institute of Cancer Research who offers great safe grilling tips.


California Strawberry Shish-Ka-Booze
Tip: If time allows, let skewers rest in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours after basting to absorb mixture.
Servings: Makes six skewers
Ingredients:
1 pound California Strawberries
1 large cantaloupe
1 pound watermelon
1 tsp Nielsen Massey Tahitian Vanilla extract (or other high quality vanilla extract)
½ cup Dark rum
½ cup Maple syrup
6 Skewers

Directions:
Apply non-stick grill cooking spray to grill surface. Preheat grill at its highest setting. Cut fruit into large cubes. Alternate fruit on skewers and set aside. Mix vanilla, rum and maple syrup in bowl. Brush mixture liberally over fruit skewers. When grill is ready, place skewers on the surface and cook for a few minutes on each side or until grill marks are visible. Remove and serve when all sides are grilled.

Berry BBQ Sauce
Ingredients:
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 cup Welch’s Farmer’s Pick 100% Juice Blackberry
1 cup chopped California Strawberries
3 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:
Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and cool slightly before using. Apply liberally to meat, poultry or firm fish when grilling. Store remaining sauce in the refrigerator.

Let me know how you like these yummy BBQ treats! And as always, I would love YOUR ideas for fun and healthy recipes for summertime grilling. Hit me up in the comments section. Have a great rest of the summer!

Disclosure: I am proud to be working with both California Strawberries and Welch’s to bring you today’s recipes and healthful summer tips!

Art Grotto
(That’s my almost 94-year-old dad enjoying one of his favorite purple beverages in moderation!)
David Grotto, RDN

I know you may be thinking that “seeing “red” was your only color choice when it comes to making smarter dietary choices to support heart health. Not so fast!

Though red is a wonderful color, there are more colors in the rainbow when it comes to doing what’s best for your ticker. Many of the foods that I recommend and feature in The Best Things You Can Eat for heart health actually come in red, white, tan, orange, green and even purple! Turning purple is a lot more fun and easier than holding your breath. That’s why I’m thrilled to be working with the folks at Welch’s to share the grape news about heart health.

Polyphenols are a group of plant nutrients that, according to the Produce for Better Health Foundation, may play a role in heart health by supporting healthy blood vessels. You’ll find polyphenols especially in purple variety foods such as grapes (think wine and 100% grape juice), cabbage, potatoes, eggplant and even non purple foods such as tea, onions and even nuts. In fact, berries (including grapes!) are a delicious way to get your daily dose of purple, and they deliver polyphenols (specifically anthocyanins) not found in many other colors of fruit.

Purple potatoes. This variety hails from South America and is rich in potassium, vitamin C in addition to polyphenols. By the way, leave the skin on. Like grapes, you’ll find polyphenols in the skins! Roast in a pan with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Yum!

Eggplant. Hard to believe that there was a time that this lovely vegetable was once thought to cause insanity and leprosy! Amazing! But the good news is you’ll find potassium, folate magnesium fiber and many other additional healthy nutrients in eggplant.

Purple Cabbage. Cabbage belongs to the family of veggies called Brassicas. This stinky but yummy veggie contains a healthy amount of fiber, vitamin C and anthocyanins. Glucosinolates, another group of plant nutrients found in cabbage, may help support a healthy immune system, too!

Wine. I see the debate brewing already. “Come on Dave … wine is not a food, it’s a beverage.” Well, hold onto your grapes of wrath! Red, purple, blue and black varieties of grapes are all used to make red wine. What distinguishes red versus white wine is that red varieties are allowed to have the skin and the seeds come in contact with the grape juice as it ferments. The health benefit may be due to a group of plant nutrients called polyphenols, which are abundant in red wine varieties. As with all alcoholic beverages, wine is beneficial for your health only in moderation.

Concord Grapes. And for those who are not wine lovers or choose not to drink alcoholic beverages, dark purple Concord grapes and 100% grape juice possess many of the same polyphenols as those found in red wine. Thanks to the Concord grape, 100% grape juice helps support a healthy heart. An 8 ounce glass of Welch’s 100% Grape Juice made with Concord grapes supplies 250 mg of polyphenols, provides an excellent source of vitamin C and counts as two servings of fruit.

Here’s a twist on the traditional tuna fish salad sandwich to include some tasty polyphenols and other healthy ingredients. Enjoy!

Grapes of Wrap
Servings: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
¾ cup Purple grapes, quartered
2 cans Tuna or chicken, drained
½ cup Celery, chopped coarse
1/3 cup Purple/red Onion, chopped coarse
1 teaspoon Dill, chopped fine
¼ cup Canola oil mayonnaise
½ teaspoon Black pepper
2 teaspoons Honey
1 teaspoon Fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Welch’s 100% Grape Juice concentrate (defrosted)
¼ teaspoon Toasted sesame oil (optional)
½ teaspoon Dry mustard powder
6 Whole-wheat tortillas

Directions:
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Spread some of the salad on a whole-wheat tortilla. Garnish with lettuce and tomato, hold together with a toothpick and serve.

Nutrition Highlights
Calories: 195; Total Fat: 4.5g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 20mg; Sodium: 460mg; Total Carbs: 27g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugars: 6g; Protein: 18g

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By David Grotto, RDN, LDN

After 20 long years, the FDA is now proposing revisions to the Nutrition Facts label, commonly found on the pack of food and beverage containers.

Why? Many experts agree that the information contained within the label is outdated or not clearly understood by the consumer. This may explain why less than half of adults currently read the nutrition label, with any regularity. Though encouraging news from a recent USDA study, which found that label reading has increased by 34% over the past two years, improvements are still needed to get the rest of us on board.

What information from the nutrition fact panel isn’t resonating with consumers?
Calories. Experts and consumers agree. This info is probably the most important thing on the label and should be easily seen. Bolded and larger font size for “calories” is being proposed.
Calories from fat. Science supports that total calorie intake is far more important than where calories come from. Though it is important to know if a product contains healthy fats or bad trans fats, we no longer have to be “total fat-phobic”. News Flash! Olive oil derives 100% of its calories from fat. See how “Calories from fat” doesn’t help much?
Grams. As much as our elementary teachers have tried, we (as Americans) have not warmed to the metric system. Most consumers have no idea what 30 grams of something looks like. Instead, use teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, handfuls or a shot glass (okay – I understand how much that is – maybe the kids won’t).
Sugars. Is it total sugars in a product or added sugars that is a real or perceived concern? Many are pushing for either including a line that says “added sugars” or replace sugars with the term “added sugars”. Again, maybe an icon that shows teaspoons of sugar versus grams might be more useful?
Grams of whole grains. Again with the grams thingy! Us old-school RDs have always taught our patients to look to the first ingredient in determining what is most in a product. We also said to look for statements like 100% whole grain on the label. People understand percent’s.
Be Up Front. In this day of transparency, the consumer assumes that someone is trying to pull the wool over their eyes (aka “hiding something”) when nutrition information is relegated to the back of the package. I agree. Expect to be seeing more “Nutrition Keys”, which are highlights of the nutrition facts panel, appearing on the front of the label.
Serving size. Time to get real here too, people. Expect to see not only more realistic serving sizes but perhaps visuals/language that does a better job explaining what a serving size is. “A serving is a Fred Flintstone-sized bowl of cereal” (cue Fred). Well – maybe that’s my serving size – but you get the idea, right?
More importantly, what do you think needs to change? What say you? Take the short survey below!

Thank you to my intern Liana Akkawi for her assistance with this post!

Photo courtesy of US News & World Report

Photo courtesy of US News & World Report


Of course, any style of eating is actually considered a diet. But what I’m talking about here is a ‘diet’ in the traditional sense – a style of eating that includes an element of deprivation attached to it. Well, my friends…I’ve got good news for you! Not surprisingly, the best overall diets for health seem to focus on achieving a reasonable lifestyle that doesn’t require becoming a gym rat or only eating raw plants; gnawing mainly on roast beast that you had to wrestle into your grocery cart (in the most paleo-thetic way possible) or foregoing anything that tastes amazing AND hailed from a package or burger joint.

The U.S. News & World Report just announced the reigning champ of all diets. Drum roll please. After analyzing 32 popular diets, their panel of experts, including notables such as Robert Kushner, MD, David Katz, MD, Joanne Slavin, RD, PhD and Penny Kris-Etherton, RD, PhD, proclaimed the DASH Diet as No.1 in Best Overall Diets followed by the TLC diet and the Mediterranean diet in 3rd place.

The DASH, TLC (National Institutes of Health’s Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet endorsed by the American Heart Association) and Mediterranean diets are well-researched diets and all share the common benefit of reducing the risk of heart disease. This is good news as heart disease still plagues Americans as the No. 1 killer of both men and women. All three diets are similar as they all espouse monitoring calories, limiting (but not eliminating) sodium, sugar and animal protein and filling up the plate abundantly with vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

Also not surprisingly, Weight Watchers, which has always focused on monitoring calories and including all types of food, holds on to the top spot for Best Weight-Loss Diets. Notably absent from top rankings of “Best” categories for overall health, weight-loss, diabetes, heart health and any other category was:

• Paleo diet (last place)
• Dukan diet (tied for last place)
• Wheat Belly
• Low carb
• Any celebrity-written diet
• Juicing, acid-alkaline or detox program

Another thing the “Best” diets seem to have in common is that they were very much in side step with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (MyPlate) albeit some slight tweaking. Though the “Best” overall diets didn’t make the top three ranking of “Best Weight-Loss Diets”, in my opinion, they certainly could easily be converted into a “Hannah Montana – best of both worlds” type diet by just adjusting the calorie level downward to suit your needs. The USDA has a Super Tracker that can help you figure out what that calorie level is and assign it to whatever type of diet you decide to follow. Might as well give heart disease a kick where it counts while dropping some poundage (if you need to) following the latest and bestest US News & World Report not-a-diet, diet! Good luck. Also, let me know if you’ve stumbled onto a dietary plan that you can stick to lifelong that was not mentioned here. Meanwhile, I wish you a healthy and delicious (non-diet) New Year!

Sorry about that! That was almost a “Shalloween” recommendation by its mere absence! Here’s the link for a most scary video. Be prepared!!!
https://blog.fitstudio.com/2013/10/daves-healthy-halloween-treats/

Are potatoes responsible for obesity or Miley twerking on the MTV music awards? Are spuds a nutritional dud? Check out what the experts have to say!

istockphoto

istockphoto


By David Grotto, RDN, LDN

Have you contemplated going on a vegetarian diet for health reasons? According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, all versions of vegetarianism can be healthy if well planned. But what version is right for you, if any? Before you test the waters out, lets review what a vegetarian diet is and isn’t and what may be the potential health benefits and pitfalls of following one might be.

What is a vegetarian diet? Simply put, a vegetarian diet, in its truest sense, is plant-based and does not include any meat, fish or poultry products. There are various levels of vegetarianism which fall into three classifications:
• Vegan (no animal products what-so-ever, including eggs and dairy)
• Lacto-ovo vegetarian (consumes eggs and dairy products)
• Lacto vegetarian (consumes dairy products).
There are those who eat a plant-based diet that includes fish, chicken or both or those who occasionally eat meat. People who follow this dietary approach often refer to themselves as “semi-vegetarian” or “flexitarian”. Purists might argue that these aren’t “true” vegetarians but more importantly, do you need to fall into the three aforementioned categories only to derive health benefits?

Why should you follow a vegetarian diet? Common reasons for choosing a vegetarian lifestyle include religious, cultural or concerns about animal welfare, the environment or health. An evidence-based review of the literature suggests that there may be health advantages to adopting a well-planned vegetarian diet when compared to non-vegetarians including:
• healthier body weight
• lower overall cancer rates
• lower risk of death from heart disease
• lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels
• lower blood pressure and lower rates of hypertension
• lower rates of type 2 diabetes and kidney disease
These observations were made mainly from association studies that provided little insight as to the overall quality of both diets. Meaning? “Vegetarian” does not automatically mean that healthy choices were made. The same holds true with non-vegetarian diets.

Weight management: Studies have shown that healthy vegetarian diets are often lower in calories and associated with reduced body weight because what is mainly eaten are low calorie dense foods. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk for multiple chronic diseases. However, even healthy plant based fats such as nuts, seeds, coconut, oils and avocados can contribute to weight gain if not consumed in moderation.

Heart health & Diabetes: A vegetarian diet that is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium has been associated with reduced cholesterol levels & blood pressure – which are risk factors for heart disease. Diets high in soluble fiber and phytosterols can help prevent cholesterol from being absorbed and may also benefit blood glucose management in diabetes. However, a review study found that low-carbohydrate, low-glycemic, Mediterranean, and high-protein diets have also demonstrated effectiveness in improving risk and management of cardiovascular risk and diabetes.

Kidney Disease: The National Kidney Foundation suggests that a reduction of animal protein intake and increased consumption of plant-based foods not only may reduce cardiovascular risk, mortality rate from heart disease and kidney disease but also by reducing animal protein intake, phosphate content of the diet would also be reduced benefiting those already diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.

Potential Pitfalls: While a plant-based diet can offer various health advantages, it should be planned carefully (preferably with a dietitian) to ensure adequate nutrition. Many vegans and even some vegetarians do not meet the proper nutrient needs in vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega 3′s, and iron. Some research suggests that homocysteine levels, platelet volume and stickiness of platelets can be a concern in those vegetarians who do not commune adequate levels of vitamin B12 and Omega 3 fats.

Vitamin B12: Since plant based foods do not contain significant amounts of vitamin B12, vegans must consume foods fortified with B12 and/or via a supplement. However lacto-ovo or lacto vegetarians can meet their B12 needs through the consumption of dairy products.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D levels can be affected by sun exposure, diet, supplement use, , and skin pigmentation. Low vitamin D status has been associated with reduced bone mass and other health challenges. Regular consumption of vitamin D fortified foods like milk, soy beverages, orange juice, and cereals, along with dietary supplementation, can help improve vitamin D status.

Omega-3′s: Vegetarian diets that don’t include fish are usually high in omega-6 fatty acids while lacking in omega-3 fats. There are 2 types of long chain omega-3 fatty acids that are essential to health: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These long chain omega-3′s are easily absorbed in the body and typically found in fatty fish and to a lesser extent in some shellfish. An alternative for vegans is to consume sea algae, which is rich in the DHA form of omega-3s. Aside from algae, all other plant sources contain the short chain omega-3 fat called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Even though ALA is beneficial to your health, it doesn’t convert as readily into the essential DHA or EPA form of omega-3 fatty acids. This means that vegetarians must consume more of the ALA-rich food to gain the same health benefits as one would from fatty fish.

Iron: Plant based foods contain non-heme iron which means that there are inhibitors that can impact the absorption of iron. However simple cooking preparation techniques can reduce inhibitors like phyates and enhance iron’s absorption. These techniques include soaking or sprouting beans, grains and seeds; leavening of breads and fermenting vegetables like cabbage to make sauerkraut or kimchee. Also, consuming foods that are rich in Vitamin C along with non-heme iron sources can enhance absorption.

Ultimately, it’s your choice! Due to the expanding popularity of plant-based foods, there are more and more options that are available for consumers, especially meat substitutes. To meet the increase in popularity, many restaurants have included vegetarian options to their menus. There has also been an increase of vegetarian products in supermarkets, which include products like soy products, meat substitutes, fortified vegetarians options, and vegetarian convenience foods. So trying vegetarian options in restaurants or cooking your own vegetarian meals at home has never been easier!

But what about those who want to continue to consume animal products and improve their health, too? Research also supports that well-planned plant-based (not “only”) diets that allow moderate intake of meat, fish poultry and dairy products have demonstrated significant improvements in health status as well. In fact, leading current dietary advice supports a total diet approach – which includes moderate animal protein consumption – such as the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet, MyPlate, Let’s Move, Nutrition Facts labels, Healthy People 2020, and the Dietary Reference Intakes.

If you do decide to embark on a vegetarian diet, consider chatting with a registered dietitian who can help guide you in choosing the right combination of foods and cooking methods for optimal health and nutrition. And if you are a seasoned vegetarian, please share your tips and health experiences in the comment section!

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By David Grotto, RDN, LDN, author of The Best Things You Can Eat
This post is sponsored by SILK brand soy milk.

Though I’m a father of three daughters and know how soy consumption at an early age may have breast cancer protective benefits, I’m here to say that soy is not for women only! In fact, soy offers complete protein and a variety of essential nutrients that contribute to men’s health.

Good for the heart and every other part! Soy is good for the heart because it is high in soy protein and fiber, contains heart-healthy fats, micronutrients and antioxidants called isoflavones, and is low in saturated fat and cholesterol free. Whole soybeans are packed with fiber and healthy fats, and are rich in zinc, magnesium, iron and bone-building calcium. According to the FDA, consuming 25 grams of soy protein per day, as part of a healthy diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Soy helps fight heart disease by research shows lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. You’ll also find that soy is one of the few plant sources of omega 3 fats, which have anti-inflammatory benefits throughout the body. Regular soybeans have soluble fiber that helps suck up cholesterol before it gets a chance to clog guys’ arteries. Fermented soy foods, like miso and tempeh, contain probiotics that have been found to be effective for lowering cholesterol, too!

Soy and testosterone. Andropause is a condition where men experience low levels of the male sex hormone, testosterone. Contrary to popular belief, not only does soy not lower soy protein, testosterone gets a boost from added protein in the diet. Ingesting high quality protein around the time of exercising has been shown to increase androgen binding sites (which attaches to testosterone) in muscle tissue. The volume of scientific studies also support that whole soyfood intake has no negative effect on erectile function, testosterone levels, reproductive hormones, sperm motility, or sperm quality. Scientific consensus supports soy as a part of a healthful lifestyle for both genders.

Diabetes: Adult diabetes is on the rise in both women and men. But the good news is that following a healthy lifestyle and calorie-controlled diet that includes whole soyfoods may help keep diabetes at bay. A research study found men who were given a dry roasted soybeans had significantly reduced fasting glucose and triglycerides in comparison with the control group. Also, the soybean supplement group showed enhanced antioxidant activity which may help protect against free radical damage in type 2 diabetes.

Other health benefits. A Chinese study found that soybeans added to the diets of healthy volunteers improved immune and brain function. Soy is an excellent source of the b-vitamin thiamine and is also a source of vitamin B-2 (riboflavin) folate. A large study found that those with higher levels of vitamin B-2 and folate in their blood had lower risk of colorectal cancer.
Some enjoyable and popular whole soyfoods include edamame; whole cooked soybeans; tofu, tempeh and soymilk. Here’s a popular smoothie that my guy patients really enjoy.

Soy Cherry Good!

Servings: 1
Ingredients:
1/2 cup lite vanilla SILK soymilk
2 tablespoons almond or peanut butter
1 cup frozen unsweetened cherries or strawberries
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 teaspoon freshly ground espresso beans
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 dash of nutmeg
1 dash of cinnamon
Directions:
Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth and sprinkle nutmeg and cinnamon on the top and serve.

References:

The Best Things You Can Eat‬: ‪For Everything from Aches to Zzzz, the Definitive Guide to the Nutrition-Packed Foods That Energize, Heal, and Help You Look Great‬. Da Capo/Life Long Books, January 2013. New York.

Yimit D, Hoxur P, Amat N, Uchikawa K, Yamaguchi N. Effects of soybean peptide on immune function, brain function, and neurochemistry in healthy volunteers.
Nutrition. 2012 Feb;28(2):154-9.

Eussen SJ et al. Plasma vitamins B2, B6, and B12, and related genetic variants as predictors of colorectal cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010
Oct;19(10):2549-61.

Hey tweet peeps! Join me and tonight from 7-8 p.m CST for an exciting Twitter Chat sponsored by MazolaImage where I’ll be joined by registered dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield, RD and food blogger Amanda Formaro. Did you know corn oil contains more heart-healthy plant sterols than any other cooking oil? We’ll be talking about the health benefits of corn oil, summer grilling (what’s left of it!) and answering your health, grilling and recipe questions. Please join us! Hey – we will be giving away prizes, too!  Users will be chosen for prizes based on use of the hashtag and participation throughout the chat. Prizes include:
• 3 $10 Visa Gift Cards
• 1 $50 Visa Gift Card
Check in tonight at Hashtag ‪#‎MazolaGrilling‬. Hope to see you there! 

How to boost Vitamin D | Video | abc7chicago.com.