Archive for March, 2010


Just got back from Anderson’s Book Shop in Naperville, Illinois where I co-presented with the awesome, Nicki Anderson. Nicki is a personal trainer and was most recently on the Dr. Oz show. She has helped thousands achieve their health and fitness goals with her realistic and consistent approach. Nicki and I share the same “101” approach  – with her newest book Single Step Weight Loss Solution with 101 tips and my 101 Optimal Life Foods – we made a great team telling the audience at Anderson’s that you don’t have to go to extremes to meet your health and fitness goals.

 I love Nicki’s shirt “Dieting Sucks“. And so does wearing a size large when you are an extra large! Ha. But my wife will look forward t wearing as a workout shirt.

You can see on the table that I brought some brownies to the event and yes, they were the famous “Beanie Greenie” brownies fron my recipe contributor, Deb Schiff of Altered Plates. They were a big hit!


And one of the neatest things was I got to meet Sean Wilson of Learn Fitness.  Sean has lost over 150 pounds by adopting simular philosophies as found in the 101 Foods approach and by being tenacious about exercising. Sean picked up on a Tweet I sent out about the event and luckily, lived near by. Congrats to Sean on his wonderful accomplishements and also for being a supporter of my work. In fact, Sean picked up two books for himself and two books to be given away on his blog. You can follow Sean on Twitter @learnfitness.

Thanks, Anderson’s! Had a great time!!!

David Grotto

Posted: March 23, 2010 in Ask The Guyatitian

David Grotto, originally uploaded by carriedphotography.

Keynote address at Fitbloggin’10 in Baltimore.

Hi All:

Very excited to be in Baltimore for the first Fitbloggin event spearheaded by Roni Noone of  GreenLiteBites. And I ‘m even more honored to be presenting with my friends at IFIC today and also wrapping up the event with a keynote address. Check out this all-star food and fitness blogger lineup!

Saturday March 20, 2010

6:30 – 7:30 New Balance Run/Walk – Click here for Info!
Meet in Harborside Ballroom Salon C
8:00 – 9:00 Registration & Breakfast
Be sure to stop by and have Breakfast with the Dietitian!
in Harborside Ballroom Salon C
9:00 – 9:30 Welcome
A Boxing Blogger Success Story
in Harborside Ballroom Salon C
9:30- 10:30 Blogs, Accessibility and SEO: Dispelling the Myths.
Presented by Scott Stawarz
in Harborside Ballroom Salon A
Don’t write about junk science: How to critically evaluate research.
Presented by IFIC
in Harborside Ballroom Salon B
10:30 – 10:50 Break
Mizfit’s Muscle in Minutes!
in Harborside Ballroom Salon C
10:50 – 12:10 Getting Noticed: How to Pitch to Traditional Media with 

in Harborside Ballroom Salon A

WordPress from .com to Self Hosted: An in Depth look into one of the Most popular Blogging Software out there.
Presented by Jim Doran
in Harborside Ballroom Salon B
12:10 – 1:10 Lunch
in Harborside Ballroom Salon C
1:10 – 1:25 POM Presentation
in Harborside Ballroom Salon C
1:25 – 2:40 Beyond the Blog: Getting Published with 

in Harborside Ballroom Salon A

Body Image and Blogging: What are we teaching our kids? with 

in Harborside Ballroom Salon B

2:40 – 3:00 Mizfit’s Muscle in Minutes!
Pure2Raw Snack Table
in Harborside Ballroom Salon C
3:00 – 4:15 Using Social Media to Reach Goals: The Power of an Online Community 

in Harborside Ballroom Salon A

Making Money From Your Blog: Should You? Could You? How?

in Harborside Ballroom Salon B

4:15 – 5:30 EA SPORTS Active
Weight Watchers
Closing Keynote brought to you by Quaker – Dave Grotto
in Harborside Ballroom Salon C
5:30 – 7:00 Post Conference Reception Brought to you by

Book Signings
in Harborside Ballroom Salon B


Cool, eh? Lots of folks are twittering inquiries about Fitbloggin’11 registration – this is the event to attend for next year, for sure!

I will post again on Sunday with cool pictures and a recap with what I experienced while I was here.

Ciao and Chow!

I had mixed reactions when I received a press release today from Cici’s, a pizza chain based in Texas. They are celebrating their 25th anniversary by offering an all-you-can-eat buffet for $3.99. One side of me thinks this is a great value for families who are trying their best to put a decent meal on the table during tough economic times. And Cici’s does offer a salad bar and some healthier choices of pizza, according to the authors of Eat This, Not That. But I also know that those same authors aren’t giving their “thumbs-up” to never-ending amounts of those healthy versions. Here in lies the rub.

Buffets lead to overeating…and overeating, regardless of how healthy the offerings, is still overeating.

So what’s the solution? I’d love to get your feedback on this. Should there be a plate limit or a pay-by-the-ounce requirement to limit overeating? I can only imagine that this will be next intervention in New York city in their “endless” war against obesity. What say you???

Irony or ironies…I have been absent from blogging to get ready for my keynote address at Fitbloggin’10 which is being held in Baltimore in a few short days. Ridiculous excuse, I know. Sorry for being away so long!

Back to business. I present to you, another rousing rendition of “Ask the Guyatitian”!

Dear Guyatitian:

I’ve been doing a pretty good job of losing weight but I’ve got about 10-20 pounds around my belly that I’d like to shed. I’m concerned because I hear that belly fat is  a problem health-wise. But I heard that eating avocados might help. This makes no sense. I thought avocados were high in fat? What’s the skinny on this fatty?

Gary from Tampa

Dear Gary:

You have a right to be concerned. Carrying around a good chunk of fat around your belly is  a risk factor for high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome , reduced lung function, headaches, dementia, type 2 diabetes, depression, heart disease and possibly a slew of other health challenges such as erectile dysfunction and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). By the way Gary, no worries for you on the PCOS thingy – pass that info on to women that you may know who are having a hard time getting pregnant, managing their weight or controlling their cholesterol.

According to the National Institutes of Health, if you are a guy with a waist measurement of over 40 inches or a gal with a waist over 35 inches, you are at risk for the biggies I just mentioned. 

Now that you are uber motivated to shed the love handles, let’s give you the nutrition smack-down on Avocados… Oh yeah, Hass avocado variety, specifically…

Avocados are one of the best food sources of a type of fat that may benefit your belly called “MUFAs” (monounsaturated fatty acids). A 2007 study featured in the journal Diabetes Care found that a MUFA-rich diet prevented belly fat from accumulating when compared to a high carbohydrate and high saturated fat diet  – both diets delivered the same number of calories. A Harvard study and a Australian study found similar results.

Avocados, though high in fat, only contain 50 calories per serving (1/5 of an avocado or 1 ounce). Of course, a guy-sized portion is 1/2 of an avocado but still can work nicely in a weight reduction plan as that translates to only 125 calories. Besides, avocado makes a tasty spread and is a great swap out for less nutritious mayo, butter and margarine spreads!

Here’s a little eductational yet delicious video I did on avocados for your viewing pleasure. Pull up a chair and pass the guac!

PS: Love the screen grab on YouTube – looks like I lost my dentures – ha!

PSS: Just heard that there is a woman who wants to be the first woman to achieve a weight of 1000 pounds. She is eating over 12,000 calories a day. Gary, are you still there? Stay away from this woman!

PSS: In the interest of full disclosure, I have worked with the Chilean Avocado Importers Association as a spokesperson.

Happy Registered Dietitian day! I wanted to thank all of my colleagues who tirelessly get out the good news, everyday, about the benefits of eating healthy foods. And I thought I would celebrate this special day with the one food that dietitians have to defend the most – potatoes!

Please join honorary dietitian, Barbie, as she sets Ken straight on the health benefits of potatoes…with a little help from “Tot”. Enjoy!

Athlete’s Honey Milk

Mooove over yucky tasting protein shakes and make way for the goodness of milk… Athlete’s Honey Milk, that is.

Athlete’s Honey Milk (AHM) is a designer milk product from the Good Cow corporation. Good Cow specializes in designer milk formulations where reverse osmosis and ultra-filtration technologies concentrate milk proteins and minerals while eliminating lactose and fat leaving behind higher calcium and protein milk products. Honey is added for flavor and sweetness and as a source of available carbohydrate.


Nutrition Smackdown

This is some SERIOUS milk! Besides what it doens’t have, being lactose and not a lot of fat (only 3.5 g per 11 ounce serving), AHM is loaded with:

  • Calcium – a whopping 60% of your daily value (DV)!
  • Vitamin D – 25% of the DV
  • Protein – 26 grams!

The carbohydrate source is honey in place of lactose. This is most welcome news for those with lactose intolerance and does provide athletes, from serious triathletes to the weekend warrior, with both glucose and fructose to meet immediate and endurance energy needs. Calories clock in at 240 per 11 ounces – not bad as a replacement drink with so much nutrition in it. But I think it would be great if they came out with a lower calorie version, too. In fact, I spoke with Anders Porter, spokesperson for Athlete’s Honey Milk who said

“We recognize the need for a lower calorie and carb version and I am thrilled to announce that we wil be offering two new flavors that are lower in calories: chocolate and coffee. They will be available in May of this year. Both flavors contain 150 calories and just 11 grams of carbs while supplying an amazing 20 grams of protein.”

And though this is not intended to be a meal replacement or a therapeutic nutritional beverage, it could easily be one with a few nutritional tweaks. Hmmm…food for thought, AHM!

Cost and packaging

AHM is sold in a case of 12 direct from the company. You can also find it at some sporting goods, specialty stores and gyms. The company does plan on increasing its presence in retail stores around the country. If you purchase it online, it costs $25.00 for a case of 12 which breaks down to $2.08 per unit. Add on shipping and tax and you may be looking at around $3.00 a unit. In comparison, AHM is less expensive than its nearest competitor Muscle Milk. AHM is running a special – buy 1 get 1 case free. [Correction – their new deal, I was just told, is order a free case and just pay for shipping.] The coupon will be sent to you in an email when you order online. 

Presently, AHM comes in an aseptic container without an attached straw. Adding a straw would be nice.  Mr. Porter also added that they are looking into different packaging that may resolve that issue. Stay tuned!


Sharon and I LOVED it! We were pleasantly surprised that it didn’t have that overly-sweet-chaulky-protein taste. Instead it had a nice clean taste like milk that had some honey added to it. In essence, that is what AHM is, except with more nutrition bang. And of course, a Shelvic Exam wouldn’t be the same unless the three Grotto girls weighed in with their ranking. They were unanimous on this one!

For your listening pleasure, I dusted off an interview with Dr. Ornish on his book The Spectrum that I featured last year. Enjoy!

Dean Ornish, MD

My Cooking Classes at Dorothy Lane Market School of Cooking in Dayton, Ohio    

I recently was interviewed by a journalist who asked me, “Do you have any regrets about the two books you wrote?” My response was “Yes! Not having pictures of the recipes!” So I thought I’d share a few with you today.    

What has been so cool about writing these two books of mine are the fantastic recipes that are featured in them. In fact, they are soooooooooo good that I double-dare the most worldly foodie to find tastier, healthy recipes that can make taste buds jump for joy like these recipes can!

Participants who attended my cooking demo this past Tuesday and Wednesday night at the Dorothy Lane Market School of Cooking agreed – the recipes are über delicious. And let me clarify, it wasn’t really my cooking demo. In fact, I didn’t cook a darn thing. It was these two wonderful chefs (Chef Elizabeth Wiley from the Meadowlark Restaurant and Chef Carrie Walters from the Dorothy Lane Market School of Cooking pictured below) and their able assistants who made my latest book, 101 Optimal Life Foods come alive on all the plates that evening. 

 Why were the following dishes so special? I literally gave each of these chefs a list of ingredients to use for their recipes in the book and said to them “Make something that tastes amazing”.  And everyone agreed that evening that great taste and good health lived as one in those recipes. Here’s a sampling of the dishes we featured and the corresponding page numbers in the book.





 Gazpacho with garlic croutons, creme fraiche, local veggies and a hint of Tabasco! (page 276)    

Boy… this soup is so easy to make, fun to eat, and so refreshing. One bowl is only a 130 calories and meets most of your veggie requirements for the day! 



 Asparagus-Sesame Stir Fry (page 362)    Such a wonderful dish. The key is to not overcook the asparagus – leave it fairly crispy. This is a fave recommendation to my patients who have digestive complaints. Asparagus contains inulin which promotes friendly bacteria in the gut. Perfect for IBS sufferers. 



Chicken Thighs with Red Wine, Prunes and Garlic (page 323) Only 3 grams of saturated fat per serving!    

See that white stuff that looks like whipped potatoes on the top left of the plate? Yes, the stuff that is sopping up that delish wine-prune-garlic gravy. That’s not whipped taters at all – it’s creamy mashed cauliflower. It was a recipe by Chef Walters that was dreamt up the first day of the class. Let me tell you, it was EXCELLENT and a huge hit with the class. It is not featured in my book. But it is your lucky day – Chef Walters just sent me the recipe – here it is! 




“Optimal” Cauliflower  

by Chef Elizabeth Wiley and Chef Carrie Walters  


1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets  

2 T olive oil  

2 garlic cloves, minced  

¼ C chicken or vegetable Stock  

4 T Greek yogurt  

2 t balsamic vinegar  

Salt and pepper to taste  


In a large pot of boiling water, cook florets until tender about 8 minutes. Drain well and return to pot. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a small sauté pan and briefly sauté the garlic until fragrant but not brown and remove from heat. Mash or process the cauliflower with the olive oil, chicken stock and yogurt until desired consistency is reached. We like it with some texture. Add the balsamic vinegar and season to taste with the salt and pepper. Enjoy!  


Beanie Greenie Brownie (page 309)    

This was a dessert that was submitted by Deb Schiff of Altered Plates. This is one of the best brownies I have ever had and contains carob NOT cocoa. Nothing wrong with cocoa  – it’s in my book – but this recipe is perfect for those who may have a sensitivity\allergy to cocoa. Besides, carob is wonderful for the digestive tract. And if you don’t want to use carob, swap it out for cocoa powder and chocolate chips.  

Lastly, we ended our exhausting two-day cooking demo and lecture at Dorothy Lane Market School of Cooking with our own song “Pans on the Ground”. Enjoy!  




Ask the Guyatitian     

David, for about 10 years, all different friends of mine have been swearing by these drinks. Genesis, Noni, Goji, Xango, Limu, and MonaVie, Z Radical Health Juices. *My nail guy swears by Monavie, others Limu, and Xango. Just inquiring what you think about these drinks? I look forward to hearing from you. Do any of your patients ever talk about using these drinks? I would like your feedback.     



Coming from a guy who wrote about 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life, not one of them, in my opinion, were so fantastic that they were $30+ bucks a pop! Unfortunately, many of these superfood drinks don’t contain enough of the good stuff to warrant the often outrageous price tag that goes with them.     

That said, some of my patients swear by them. There may be positive research on some of the featured ingredients (notice I did NOT say MAIN ingredients), rare is it that the actual formula is featured in the actual research. Bottom line. Save your money and eat the real deal. Can’t find some of the more exotic superfruit at your local grocery store, then turn to the ol’ standby superfruits such as Strawberries, Cherries, Blueberries, etc, which have substantially more research behind them than the bottled stuff does. And heck, its cheaper and tastes better. Hope that helps!!     

The Guyatitian     





I had a wonderful weekend and hope you did, too! By the way, happy National Nutrition Month! For great information on good nutrition, be sure to visit the American Dietetic Association website.


I will be presenting at the Dorothy Lane School of Cooking in Dayton, Ohio, tomorrow and Wednesday. My co-presenters and recipe contributors, Chef Carrie Walters, who is the corporate chef at Dorothy Lane Markets, and Chef Elizabeth Wiley, who is the chef\owner of The Meadowlark restaurant in Dayton, will be cooking up a storm with me!

On Saturday, I presented at Serene Teaz in Elmhurst, Illinois and also signed books. It was so cool to hear how my first book was helping so many people. Many in attendance were looking forward to reading my new book, 101 Optimal Life Foods, because they were dealing with many of the same health challenges that most of my patients contend with daily: fatigue, digestive disorders, poor circulation and lots of chronic pain. The good news is that adding in the right foods while also keeping an eye on limiting “offending” foods can certainly help. My ninety-year old (almost) father was in attendance, too!



Arthritis Story:

Many in attendance loved the story about my father who called me in the middle of the night to take him to the hospital a few years back. Long story short, turns out that dad had a considerable amount of arthritis in his spine at the time. He wasn’t overly thrilled about treating it with more medications than what he was already on. So he said to me, “Son, is there anything I can do diet-wise that might help?” I told him that my patients seemed to do well by adding in  foods like tart cherries, which are rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients like ellagic acid, which has been shown to reduce arthritis pain. He remembered this as something I recommended for him years ago when he was plagued with gout (a form of arthritis). He loved cherries so this was an easy “fix” for him.

Though I’m all about the “add-in, NOT take away” approach, I also suggested that he might want to try avoiding nightshade vegetables which include tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and eggplant. He looked at me like I was a madman. “Did you forget that we are Italian?” I knew this wasn’t going to go over well. I told him that some of my patients responded well to avoiding nightshades. Nightshade vegetables belong to a family of plants that thrive during the night\shade called Solanaceae. But truth be told, the scientific literature to date has not made a firm connection between nightshades and arthritis pain aggravation. And in my clinical experience, it was hit and miss results, at best.

My father tried adding in tart cherry juice and avoiding the nightshade vegetables. In less than a week, it was virtually pain-free! He was an obvious responder to my recommendations. He was thrilled!

Fast forward about a month later, I noticed that he was wincing in pain when he moved certain ways. I asked him if he was still on the “program”. He replied rather sheepishly, “Uh…no…”. I asked him why he wasn’t sticking to my program when he was having such good results. He did tell me that he was faithful with his tart cherry juice consumption and did feel better because of it but also stated that I had “cut him to the quick” with the avoidance of nightshades. To him, life was more “optimal” when they included his fave vegetables…the pain was worth it.