Archive for October, 2011

Poor Mr. Bean. He gets blamed for all the rumblings down below! Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. Besides,  what beans do for your health might well be worth striking up the band for. Sorry – couldn’t resist. Here’s my latest blog post featured on WebMD!

By David Grotto, RD, LDN aka “The Guyatitian”

When interviewed by other food and health journalists, I’m often asked what the one food I would demand if I had to be stuck on an island alone. My reply is usually, “Beans! And it might be best if I were alone on that island.” LOL! All kidding aside, bean consumption has been on the downturn for quite some time now and it may be because so many fear falling out of social graces from the resulting rumblings down below. But I think it may also have to do with the fact that so many younger adults simply don’t know what to do with them. So, I consider it my personal mission to set the record straight about beans and offer some really great information on why beans are so worth your while to include in your diet and give you some of my tasty tips on how to use them.

Lean on the Bean (for great health and nutrition)

With over 1000 varietals to choose from, beans are the highest protein and richest fiber source of any of the vegetables. That’s right – vegetable, NOT fruit! Bean consumption has also been associated with longevity, looser waist bands and healthier hearts. Boasting to be one of the richest sources of soluble fiber, beans have been shown to help lower the more harmful LDL cholesterol which high levels are a risk factor for heart disease. Beans are also a good source of potassium which helps in controlling blood pressure. Recent research has shown that a special type of carbohydrate called resistant starch may be helpful in fighting diabetes and controlling blood glucose (sugar).

Bean there, done that.

Maybe the health and nutrition benefits of beans aren’t enough of a convincer for you? Maybe you tried beans before and they just didn’t tickle your fancy? Perhaps you have texture issues? Okay then – well try these simple tips and stop being such a
bean-o-phobe! Go stealth!

  • Mix cooked beans and broth in a food processor until smooth. Pour into an ice cube tray and freeze. Add a frozen bean cube to hot soup or pasta sauce.
  • Add black beans to your favorite brownie mix – see recipe below.

Simple and tasty.

  • Add cooked/canned beans on top of any salad. Take canned salad beans and mix with green and wax beans. Add sweet vinaigrette dressing, coarse ground pepper and a bit of salt to taste. Voila! You’ve got three-bean salad.
  • Whip cooked beans into a pate and season with garlic, onion, pepper and a dash of salt for a great spread on crackers or serving with vegetable crudités.

Did someone step on a duck?

Hey – gas happens –perfectly natural. But if you want to keep the production of air caused by beans to a minimum, try these simple tips:

  • Eat more slowly. Swallowing air because you eat too fast is one of the main causes of gas.
  • Cook dry beans with a strip of kombu (seaweed). Kombu helps break down rafinose, the indigestible carbohydrate often associated with gas.
  • Rinse canned beans well before serving. You’ll also reduce the sodium content up to 40%!
  • Start small. Try eating 1 tablespoon of beans everyday and work your way up to the recommended three cups per week. The slow introduction of beans allows
    your digestive tract to produce friendly bacteria that offsets gas production.

View the rest of the article for a great bean brownie recipe…

And for your viewing pleasure, here’s an oldie but goodie of Barbie, Ken and Tot setting the record straight on the health benefits of beans. Enjoy!

So here’s the deal at my house. Two out of three daughters are lacto-ovo vegetarians while the rest of use are card-carrying omnivores. Read how we deal with this scenario in my weekly WebMD post.

By David Grotto, RD, LDN aka “The Guyatitian”

When she was eight years old, my oldest daughter Chloe went on a trip to Lisbon, Portugal with my wife Sharon and myself. She traveled well and was our adventurous eater until we stopped at the first restaurant outside of Lisbon. On the menu and in plain English, read “We serve filet of Kid”. Her jaw dropped, and she looked at us in a state of fright. “Do they really serve children here?” After we assured her that it was illegal to offer any part of a child or adult’s body as a menu item, she proceeded to ask, “Then what is kid?” Explaining that kid was just another name for a young goat, she then paused for just a moment and officially informed us that she was now a vegetarian. She decided from then on, eating animals wasn’t the way she was going to roll.

Now enter Madison (my youngest). Her favorite stuffed animal growing up was “Mr. Pig”. She took him everywhere…even to the dinner table. One day, while she was eating one of her favorite breakfast foods, bacon, she asked where bacon came from. My wife and I looked at each other. Fearing she’d be in therapy for the rest of her life if we lied to her, we decided to tell her the truth. She was not happy…not happy at all. She put 2 and 2 together and also swore off of any pork products from that day forward. But she also decided that eating any animal was ‘disgusting’ so joined the ranks of her sister. See where this is going?

First do no harm! Some of you may be asking, “Why didn’t you put your foot down and insist that your daughters continue to eat meat? Besides, isn’t that healthier for them?” Don’t forget…I wear two hats here: not only am I a concerned father, but I’m also a nutritionist. Like other dads, I only want the best for my ‘kids’. As a dietitian, I already knew what the science had to say about kids and a vegetarian diet:

“Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.” American Dietetic Association Position Paper on Vegetarian Diets.

My vegetarian daughters were on solid ground, as far as the science went. But I also knew that my daughters had no clue what a “healthy” vegetarian consisted of. Though I have supported their decision to avoid meat, I have also watched over their
menu-planning, educating them about different vegetarian offerings to assure adequate nutrition. Admittedly, I have also prayed that they make better choices when on their own.

View rest of article…


Here’s my second post to WebMD’s Real Life Nutrition blog. Enjoy!

By David Grotto, RD, LDN aka “The Guyatitian”

I love potatoes. My family loves potatoes. My patients love potatoes. But none of us have needed to enroll in a twelve-step program to free ourselves from a terrible potato addiction. So why am I professing my love for spuds? Well, the lowly potato is once again being demonized for its supposed contribution to the obesity epidemic that is facing our nation’s children. So as it stands right now, the USDA has proposed to drastically limit the serving size of potatoes and other starchy vegetables which also includes corn, lima beans and peas in the national school lunch program. Yes, I’ve got my undies in a bundle over this one, folks.

Show me the money. I can honestly say, after being an RD for nearly two decades and after seeing hundreds if not thousands of patients (including many children), I have yet met anyone who has become obese from eating “too many” potatoes, alone. We sure like to hang our hat on one single food as the cause of our obesity problem in this country but the truth is, obesity is a complex issue.

Click on WebMD to see the rest of the article…

And for your viewing pleasure, Barbie continues to set the record straight when it comes to the health value of potatoes!

Well, I’ve taken the easy way out. If you haven’t heard yet, I’m now a food and nutrition blogger for WebMD – yay! The easy way out? I have to write a weekly post to their new blog called, “Real Life Nutrition: A Fresh Take on “Good for You”.”  So, as soon as the post is up, I will feature the beginning of the article with a link to the blog site for the remainder of the article. I hope you like it – my posts are all from the “guyatitian’s” perspective. Hit me up in the comments – I’d really like to know what you think. Enjoy!

Why do I refer to myself as the Guyatitian? For starters, I’m a male in the predominately female profession of dietetics who’s also outflanked at home by estrogen from my wife, three daughters, two female cats and two female dogs. But when it comes to eating, I’m just a regular guy. I enjoy all sorts of foods but don’t always make choices based on whether a food is “good” for me or not. Admittedly, for me, taste and satisfaction trumps nutrition.

Over the years, I’ve found that my food philosophy is not that different from other guys. So when it comes to approaching guys about changing their eating habits for health’s sake, not surprisingly, they are the most challenging.

Guys aren’t always driven to make lifestyle changes simply based on a diagnosis or a set of bad lab tests. Unless there is compromised physical, mental or sexual performance at stake, most guys won’t budge on their daily routine. If there is the slightest hint of deprivation or feeling that they’re being sentenced to lifelong dietary boredom, any hopes of adopting healthy habits will come crashing down like a house of cards.

Salient advice for the caretakers of men. Taste and satisfaction must come first.

Don’t come out of the gate with “Honey, try this…it’s good for you!” That’s certain death for any hope of change. I find the easiest thing to do is to start with dishes guys like and make simple and delicious, yet meaningful, modifications.

  • Swap out/reduce saturated fats like butter for healthier fats such as olive, canola, or soy oil, avocado and nut butters
  • Swap out fatty meats for lean cuts of beef, turkey, chicken or vegetarian meat substitutes, beans or mushrooms.
  • Overload his plate with lots of salad, veggies, and fruit and make traditional center-of-the-plate items side dishes. For a visual of his, check out the MyPlate icon at .

To see the rest of this article, click on this link –