Archive for February, 2010

I’m really having fun with this new blog\website. One of the neat things I like is being able to post pictures, videos and podcasts right into the posts.

There were so many cool interviews I had the opportunity to conduct last year that I thought I’d dust a few of them off and share them with you again.

WYLL is a local station here in Chicago where I hosted a radio show that broadcasted many of these interviews and many of my followers told me that sometimes they couldn’t catch the show at the times it ran. So, the good news is that I made podcasts out of all the shows and my game plan is to archive all of them here on this site under “podcasts”.

The game plan is also to do all new podcasts and videos this year too as a result of some very exciting partnerships that are in the works – I’ll let you know more about them as soon as I can 😉

In the meantime, please enjoy my wonderful conversation with Mike Roizen, MD, creator of Real Age and YOU: The Owner’s Manual and Mollie Katzen, celebrated James Beard award-winning cookbook author, talking about the health and culinary benefits of walnuts.

The Health Benefits of Walnuts

I was inspired after my trip to Italy to dig out a great podcast interview from last year on the topic of Kale from my 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life radio program. I posted a recipe that uses “Black Cabbage” (aka Kale) in a traditional Tuscan dish called Ribollita last week – you may be inspired to make it after hearing my interview with Diana Dyer, RD, a kale lover and nutrition expert in the field of cancer care.

Diana Dyer is a wife, mom, long-time organic gardener and farmer, Registered Dietitian and author of the book A Dietitian’s Cancer Story. She is also a three-time cancer survivor and her website focuses on nutrition information for cancer survivors. She began a blog in June 2007 to share a wider scope of her thoughts about life as a cancer survivor, food and nutrition, gardening, recipes, our environment, and the urgent need for developing food systems that promote health not disease, ecological sustainability, and social justice.

In January 2009, she began the blog “365DaysOfKale” to write about her passion for one of her favorite (and mine) vegetable. The following is a podcast interview with Diana where we discuss the amazing health benefits of Kale. Enjoy!

All About Kale!

Ever wonder why you eat more than you should? Believe it or not, it can be something as simple as the size of the plate that you eat off of!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Brian Wansink, Ph.D author of Mindless Eatingwho is the director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. He is a Fulbright Senior Specialist in food marketing and nutrition, and in addition to writing Mindless Eating, he is author of the books Marketing Nutrition, Asking Questions, and Consumer Panels. His award-winning  research on food has been published in the world’s top marketing, medical, and nutrition journals. It has been presented, translated, reported, and featured in television documentaries on every continent but Antarctica.

His research findings have also contributed to the introduction of smaller “100 calorie” packages (to prevent overeating), the use of taller glasses in some bars (to prevent the overpouring of alcohol), and the use of elaborate names and mouth-watering descriptions on some chain restaurant menus (to improve enjoyment of the food).

Click here for more information and to take the “Mindless Eating Quiz” !

First, let me profess my love for Chobani greek style yogurt – YUM! It is certainly a fave around the Grotto house. My kids especially love the thick Greek yogurt texture and real fruit chunks in the Chobani line of yogurt.

I was excited to hear that Chobani launched a kids line of Greek yogurt late last year which they call Chobani Champions. They come in four flavors: Verryberry, Strawnana, Honeynana and Chocolate. All 40z cups contain 110 calories except for the chocolate variety which is 120 calories. Champions boast 5 active cultures for digestive wellness and all fruit varieties contain real fruit – very healthy, indeed!

My daughters (Madison (11), Katie (12),and Chloe (15)) taste-tested all flavors of the Chobani Champions except for the Honeynana and here are the results.

My wife Sharon and I also tried all flavors, enjoyed them, but thought they could be a tad sweeter for the kiddies. None-the-less, two of the daughters were not that impressed and asked us to keep the fridge stocked with the regular Chobani though Madison would like to see Veryberry Champions again, berry soon!

You may know her best as the creator of The “Flatbelly” Diet but Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD has also created a new tool to help you stay on your diet called The Ultimate Diet Log!
Check out my interview with Cynthia!

I’m back from my trip to Italy and am glad to be home. But I already miss some of the “old country” traditional Tuscan dishes that I fell in love with over the past few days – namely “Ribolitta” (means “boil twice”) – a rustic black cabbage bread soup.

Cavalo Ner0, translated “black cabbage” also known as Dinosaur kale,  Tuscan kale, Toscano kale and Lecano kale, is a prized rare variety only available in the winter. This variety possesses a mild cabbage flavor with a sweet overtone. It is rich in both vitamin A and C and the mineral potassium and is also a good source of calcium, iron and folate.

After you purchase\pick your black cabbage, you should keep it unwashed, in a plastic bag, and in your refrigerator’s crisper for up to one week. To prepare, wash well careful to remove all dirt and pat dry. Remove the center vein as this is often difficult to chew.

I came across this recipe for Ribolitta from and adapted it to be the closest version that I ate in Florence. Try it out and let me know what you think! (more…)

Eating My Way Through Florence

Posted: February 14, 2010 in Uncategorized

“Mangia, mangia!” Ohhh boy… these could be “troubled waters” for me but I’m managing to hold my own in a city that offers AMAZING food. But luckily for me, the company that I keep on this trip to the old company doesn’t turn a blind-eye to overeating. And as I listen to the challenges of the American diet at the conference I am attending, I am learning that we can all take a lesson from a traditional Tuscan eating-style which includes flavorable yet satiating foods served on smaller plates.

I’m pressed for time this morning as I’m off to hear from more great health experts and get to visit a local farm where “eating local” is a way of life.

I want to share a few pics with you of Florence and some of the amazing food I have been eating…so far I still fit in my pants! Thank goodness for LOTS of walking (mainly from getting lost!).

I promise to come back and let you know a little more about some of these amazing dishes and also share some insight from the conference along with some exclusive interviews with top food influencers that are joining me here in Florence. Enjoy!

Ciao and Chow! (more…)

I’m typing today’s post from my beautiful room at the Four Seasons hotel in Florence Italy. So glad we arrived safely after a hectic day of travel.

As I promised, here are some pictures of me eating my way through the trip with my fist meal being breakfast on my United flight followed by some amazing choices at Frankfurt airport! And also take a look at who I had the privilege to travel with.

Tomorrow I have a full day of sessions. I will be exploring the culinary trends and traditions of Florence, taking a peek into the forthcoming 2010 dietary guidelines and starting to think about what might change for revisions set for 2015, hearing about dietary supplements benefiting menopause and getting to hear Brian Wansink, PhD and Lisa Lillien talk about how one becomes “satisfied” with what they eat. Should be fun!

Stay tuned to tomorrow’s update and more great pictures!

Ciao and Chow,


Buon Giorno!

I will be heading out in a few hours to travel to Florence, Italy. I’m traveling there to attend (and speak at) a food conference and to also experience cuisine and markets of Italy. Besides that, I will be in the presence of some of the greatest food minds in the world. How cool is that?

My plan is to send back lots of food pictures and hopefully videos of marketplaces and restaurants as I eat my way through Florence. I’ve learned a little Italian…”Molta di Fame” means “I’m starving to death”. That should come in pretty handy…

And lastly, I hope to provide you with some cool interviews of “movers and shakers” in the nutrition world: Cynthia Sass ( Flatbelly Diet), Brian Wansink, PhD (Mindless Eating), Lisa Lillien (Hungry Girl), Dawn Jackson Blatner (Flexitarian Diet) and hopefully others who are truly having a positive influence on how we eat.

Have a question for me or any of my friends above? Just ask! If I post your question, cool prizes await you when I get back. Maybe I’ll pick up something especially for you from Italy!

Ciao and Chow