Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Kalette: The new veggie on the block

Hi readers! This post is written by Beth’s intern, Erin, who is studying to be a registered dietitian.

This just in… Kale is officially “out” and it’s new, cooler, trendier and tastier younger sister, Kalette is “in”. You can think of a Kalette as the Kylie Jenner to Kim Kardashian. Yes, Kim is definitely still “cool” in a married with kids kind of way, but Kylie is younger, more chic and a little weird in a way we all find intriguing (so we follow her on all social media accounts and wish our lives were that cool when we were 18.)

So here are the facts… A Kalette is basically the child of Kale and Brussels Sprouts. Some scientists over in England have been working on this hybrid vegetable for about 15 years and it just recently made its way across the pond to the US. For all you skeptics out there (me included) don’t fret! This is not some kind of freaky science experiment. Kalettes are naturally grown from seeds and right now, Kalettes are mostly being grown in southern California because of the warm coastal climate.
I know exactly what you’re thinking…. You need to go to the store to get this mysterious new vegetable RIGHT NOW so you can make an awesome dish and Instagram it so all your friends know how ahead of the times you are (just me? Idk..) But wait, where can you find these Kalettes you may wonder… Trader Joes and Whole Foods both claim to have Kalettes in all of their locations nationwide (although you may want to call and check before going. Other names for Kalettes may include Kale Sprouts, BrussleKale or Flower Sprouts)

So now you know where to go and what you’re getting but how do you pick the perfect Kalette? I’ll tell you how… The leaves should be nice and hydrated without any brown spots and the steam should look freshly cut and have a very pretty purple-y color. Check out this super exciting video explaining how to prepare your Kalettes for cooking:

Since I am studying nutrition and diet, I feel obligated to talk about the nutritional benefits of this innovative new veg…
For 1 ½ cups of Kalettes, you get 4g of protein (moderately high for a vegetable), 120% of your daily value for vitamin K (pretty typical for a leafy green but still a good thing!) and 40% of your daily value of vitamin C (just in time to start fighting off winter colds) all for just 45 calories!

And there you have it, folks! Now I’m off to go munch on some roasted Kalettes while I catch up on KUWTK.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Are red meat and processed meats really that bad?

Last week brought with it some pretty earth shattering news, and no I am not just talking about the news of Karla Kardashian…

I am referring to the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring that consuming red meats and processed meats increases cancer risk. Now, I know that most of you probably care more about the Kardashians than this, but for those of you who do, I am going to talk you through what this means. First, let’s start with the basics.

Who is WHO?
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that focuses on public health. It employs some of the world’s finest doctors, scientist, epidemiologist, etc., etc. To sum it up the WHO is…

What constitutes as red meat and processed meats?
According to WHO red meat is any of the following: beef, veal, lamb, mutton, goat and everybody’s favorite, horse. Processed meats is considered as any meat that has been transformed to improve its flavor or preserve it (think smoked or cured meats)—sausages, hot dogs, salami, jerky, deli meats, bologna, spam, anything smoked and the beloved bacon.

Not new news...
I am not sure why everyone is so shocked by this “news.” The American Cancer Society made this recommendation to limit red meat and processed back in 2002 citing potential linkages to cancer.

Not just cancer...
This report only focuses on the linkage between consumption of red meat and processed meat and cancer. What it doesn't mention is the high saturated fat and sodium content that both red meat and processed meats have. So on top of the whole cancer thing, red meat and processed meat are not good for your heart either.

How bad is it?
Well, it is not anywhere as bad as tobacco. To put it in perspective, smoking three cigarettes a day increases your cancer risk by 500%, while eating a couple slices of bologna a day increases it by 18% (source). The cancer that is most associated with eating red and processed meats is colon, prostate, and pancreatic.  

Why is this such a big deal if the effect is small?
So perhaps this has been a bit overhyped, but I think that this is something that Americans need to hear more of. Yes, eating red meat and processed meat does not have the same dangers and deadliness of tobacco, but I know a lot more people who eat red or processed meats on the regular than I do people who smoke.

What if I want to eat red or processed meats?
If you are thinking this right now…

…here are a couple of pointers to reduce your risk.
  • Cook red meat at low temperatures (read: do not grill, pan-fry, deep fry, etc.)-cooking them at higher temperatures produce the highest amounts of chemicals suspected of causing cancer.
  • Don’t eat it every day- I like pizza. I do not eat it every day because it is not very healthy to do so.
  • Moderation- Similarly to the above sentiment…I like pizza. I don’t eat it every day. When I do eat it, I only eat like two pieces, not an entire pizza.  

Breaking it down
It has been well known for a while that red meat and processed meat is not very good for your health. This research just confirms that there is a link between consuming red meat and processed meats and cancer. Is red meat and processed meats as harmful as cigarettes? No. Will occasionally eating these give you cancer? No, however if you have a family history of colon cancer you may want to consider not eating them every day. Eating red meat and processed meat is presents more of a threat to your heart than your risk of getting cancer from it. Basically what I am trying to say is eat more fruits, vegetables, poultry, seafood (heck maybe even try going vegetarian), and maybe not put bacon on everything. Well I am off to go cook some bacon for my all of my ex's. 
Keep it Fresh,
Keep it Green,


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Is your Instagram making you fat?

In lieu of an opening sentence, I am just going to put this here…

We have all been there, have friends that do it, see people do this, and maybe even do it yourself. Personally, I just go to fancy restaurants and take pictures of other people’s food that cost them an arm and a leg, and order a side salad for myself. Yes, it may be a little awkward to ask complete strangers to take pictures of their food, even more so when I make them wait 10 minutes while I get the perfect shot, but at least all my followers think I am living in the lap of luxury.

You may have a problem if you find yourself answering yes to the following questions:

  • Is it obligatory to take a picture of your food before you eat it? 
  • Do you feel bad when you had great looking food and you forgot to snap a picture to post on Instagram? 
If so, we may need to talk. You may be making people fat.

Girl you cray…
I am not even trying to pull a fast one on you…this time at least. According to recent research, that may just be the case. Luckily for me, most of my friends are not very good at taking food pictures J Anyways, this kind of makes sense. In a way all of these food pictures are like marketing. I am pretty sure we have all been there before-- it is late at night and you are all snuggled up on your coach with your diva of a dog watching the Kardashians when a commercial for pizza comes on. Now you had a filling dinner a couple of hours ago, but upon seeing a nice cheesy slice of pizza, you now NEED that pizza.

Is this bad?
On the other end of the spectrum, you could potentially use this phenomenon to make fruits and vegetables more appealing as well. This could very well just be me, but show me a picture of some well-cooked Brussels sprouts and I will then be craving them the rest of the day.  I mean…I know I probably fit the criteria for a health nut, but anybody else not want to eat these?

Breaking it down
Yes these food pictures on Instagram may make you want those foods or may make you a little hungry, but I don’t really see the need to go unfollow all of your “friends” that post food pictures. If you are like me, you will be too lazy to actually go and purchase said food. Basically what I am trying to say is eat your fruits and vegetables and practice will power/mindful eating. Oh and if you happen to be my friend and are reading this, thanks for being a lackluster food photographer. Well I am off to go take some selfies. Until next time!

P.S. This would definitely be me…

Keep it Fresh,
Keep it Green,


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Food Waste: Why You Should Care

It came upon the midnight clear. I was staked out in my house watching football (Go Bucks!) hiding from all the rain that hurricane Joaquin bestowed upon us when the hunger pains started to hit. I rummaged through my fridge to see what ingredients I had on hand to play Chopped. I opened my produce drawer and that’s when the stench hit both Alex Guarnaschelli and myself…

To my dismay, I had let my produce go for too long and it had rotted. My inner hippy was very disappointed in me. I try my best to not waste food because:
  • A-I am not rich...

  • B-it is a HUGE waste and is not good for the environment
  • C- Every time you waste food a kitten dies…

What is food waste?
Food waste is considered any food that is discarded or uneaten for whatever reason; this could be from the producer, manufacturer, or consumer side. This includes anything that is rotting in your fridge right now, food scraps left on your plate, etc.

Why should I care?
Here are a couple of reasons:
  • Food insecurity-This means that people do not know where or when there next meal is coming from due largely to financial struggles. Yes, your parents are right, there are people in Africa starving, but there are also people right here in the U.S. that are starving as well, somewhere in the ballpark of 48 million people.
  • Money- Riddle me this, would you go buy four steaks at the grocery store (or farmers market is an even better choice), walk out the door and then throw one of them directly in the trash? Despite me being an “adult,” my parents would probably smack me upside the head for that. Not only is this a waste of financial resources but also natural resources, which leads me to my next point…
  • Environmental impact-Instead of writing this out, I am going to just leave this here…Natural resources used to produce crops (loss of water, fossil fuel, land, etc.)àtransportation and packaging of foods (loss of energy and fossil fuel and addition of waste from packaging)àfood thrown awayàlandfillàrotting food emits methane gas (very potent greenhouse gas)àglobal warming 
How big of an issue is this?
It is estimated that 30-40% of the food supply is wasted in the US, with a large majority of that being wasted by the consumer. This equates to about 20 pounds of food per person per month. Food is one of the largest components in landfills in the U.S. Basically what I am trying to say is this is a HUGE issue. Aside from money we are wasting natural resources while the state of California and other parts of the country are in middle of a pretty bad drought…

Blah, blah, blah, Beth
For those of you who just cannot with words and reading today, John Oliver did a great segment on this topic so you do not have to read. NOTICE: In this clip he does use some profane words, watch at your own discretion. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8xwLWb0lLY

PSA: Sell by dates
I am going to step on my soapbox for just a second. Use by and sell by dates are useless. These dates have nothing to do with food safety; they are arbitrary guesses by the manufacturer as to when the food will be the freshest and of the best quality. The only food that the federal government requires to have an expiration date is baby formula. Yes, these dates may look all official, but so does this…

How can I reduce my food waste?
There are tons of ways you can do this, but here are some off of the top of my head:
  • Only buy what you will actually be able to eat-do you really need a 10 pound tub of butter for you and your seven cats? Didn’t think so.
  • Cook the right amount- Are you and your seven cats really going to eat an entire pan of lasagna? Unless your cat is Garfield, my guess would be no.
  • Use your freezer- Have some meat, bread, or produce that is about to go bad? Throw it in the freezer and voila! Crisis averted!
  • Embrace “ugly” fruit and vegetables-Let’s not get so caught up on looks, I mean you are going to be cooking/eating the food not dating it to take home to introduce to your parents---no need for all the anxiety.
  • Use smaller plates and serving utensils- By using smaller plates and serving utensils you will serve yourself less food and reduce the risk of over serving yourself. If you underserve yourself, don’t get your panties in a bunch, just go back up for more.
  • Store food properly- Obviously, you will want to keep foods that are suppose to be stored cold, cold. If you have produce on the counter that is starting to go, toss it in the fridge or freezer to stop the ripening process.
  • Take sell by and use by dates with a grain of salt (unless it is baby formula)-If you have cooked something, a good rule of thumb that I use is to consume it within seven days or if it starts to smell or mold.
  • Compost-There are times when it is a good idea to throw food away rather than consume it for food safety reasons. When this happens, you should entertain the idea of composting. Now, composting is not just for crazy hippies so hear me out.
For more tips/ideas check out this article.

Breaking it down
Food waste is a big issue for a multitude of reasons so STOP WASTING FOOD! Eat what you buy, don’t take more or cook more than you can/should eat, take sell by and use by dates with a grain of salt, etc., etc. Basically just go back and read through the section of how to reduce your food waste.  I for one do not make enough to buy watermellons just so I can play basketball with them and watch them smash on the ground…

...even though that does sound like a pretty good/entertaining idea to me. Now if you will excuse me, I am about to go make it rain Tom Haverford style…

Until next time!

Keep it Fresh,
Keep it Green,


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Food Trend Watch: Seltzer Water

I try my best to be cool and hip these days and stay on top of the next big trends. I mean I wore Crocs way before they were even "cool."    

In terms of food trends, one of the ones that I have been on to for a while has been seltzer water.  After having been spotted by my entourage of paparazzi with a can of one recently, its popularity has spread like wild fire! The scene was a little like this…

 Ok so I MAY have embellished a little…but only about the whole wild fire thing J Anyways, seltzer water has been trending recently according to this article, so I figured I would give you the 411 on them.

What is seltzer water?
Essentially seltzer water is carbonated water. It can also be referred to as sparkling water, club soda, soda water, or the ever so eloquently name, fizzy water.  Ok so maybe there are some minute differences between them, but for this blog I am just going to generalize them all under one umbrella. If you really want to get technical about it, just read this article ok? Most of the brands try to make themselves sound real fancy,exotic with names such as La Croix, Perrier, and San Pellegrino, but even Dasani has jumped in on this trend with Dasnai Sparkling. 

Nutrition of seltzer waters
Seltzer water offers the same health benefits as regular water. Most contain no calories, sodium, or artificial sweeteners.  Now, they do make some flavored seltzer waters, most of which do not contain any calories or artificial sweeteners, but be sure to check out the ingredient list.  Don’t ask me how they actually flavor the water without adding calories, I am not a magician and therefore do not know.

Do you ever get tired of drinking plain water (assuming that you are all drinking enough water and not sodas)? Are you trying to ween yourself from soda? Do you want to be cool or pretend to be fancy? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, seltzer water is for you!

Breaking it down
Basically drinking seltzer water is like drinking regular water. It is not just for fancy, pretentious people who wear top hats to bed just for giggles. However, I just want to caution you so that this doesn’t happen to you:

Well I am off to evade my paparazzi entourage…

Until next time!

Keep it Fresh,
Keep it Green,


Monday, September 21, 2015

Enough is Enough: Protein

Recently I sitting at my desk going through my inbox and counting down the hours till I could go home having a grand ole time while perusing one of my daily dietitian newsletters (yes that is a thing and yes I know how cool I am), I found an article that really just riled me up so much that I opened a blank email and just fervently started typing my sentiments for this blog post. My typing fervently kind of looked like this…

...but I wasn’t just typing my name over and over again…this time anyways. What was this aforementioned article about you ask?  Protein water.

Beth, why the hostility towards protein water?
I will be the first to admit that I do tend to follow a more holistic approach to nutrition i.e. no supplements, powders, etc. All of my nutrients come from actual, real food. That being said, here is my take on this. Water, and other beverages for that matter, is for hydration. Thirsty? Grab a some water.  Similarly, if you want protein, eat meat, dairy, legumes, eggs, nuts, or vegetables (yes, vegetables contain protein).

Why is everybody obsessed with protein?
One of the things that everybody seems to obsess over these days is protein. Just because a product has protein in it does not make it healthy. Case in point…

I mean you could probably just whip up a batch of cookies or brownies and dump some protein powder into the batter and it would basically be the same thing.

PSA: Just taking protein powder will not make you look like this…

Yes these people may take protein powder, but they also eat healthy AND work out a ton and by working out a ton I don’t just mean a 30 min jog or one yoga or spin class. Just saying…

Anyways, Americans get enough protein. The average person needs around 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. (To figure out how much protein you need, take your weight in pounds and divide by 2.2 and then multiply that number by 0.8 to get how many grams of protein that you need in a day---Oh and by the way, you are welcome I just laid out all the math for you J

Can you over do it on protein?
Yes. Protein has calories in it just like fat and carbohydrates so if you are dumping protein powder into everything, it can add up and cause weight gain. If you are really concerned about being healthy, losing weight or whatever health related goal that you might have, why don't you focus on cutting back on things such as processed foods, simple carbohydrates, fried/fatty foods, added sugars, etc. and eat more fruits and vegetables. Just a thought...I know...call me crazy!

Breaking it down
As for me, I will take my water on the rocks—no protein powder or added flavorings necessary. As for my protein, I would like it not in the form of a powder, rather something that I actually enjoy eating…

But if you really are just that busy and hate the taste of real food, just jump on the soylent train like the other people who are just too busy to bother to eat…

Unfortunately, I am not that cool. My question is if you are too busy to eat, what do you do when nature calls? Just some food for thought. Well I am off to enjoy a water on the rocks and anything and everything pumpkin spice flavored! Until next time!

Keep it Fresh,
Keep it Green,


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Nutrients vs Foods

Omega-3, vitamin C, vitamin B, fiber, iron, etc., etc. We always hear about all of these nutrients and how healthy they are, which they are. However, there is a common disconnect between these nutrients and the foods they naturally can be found in. There is no vitamin C tree that just grows vitamin C. Believe it or not all of these nutrients can be found naturally in food, not just food sprinkled with the powdered form of these nutrients, and definitely not just supplements.  

Beth where are you going with this?
Funny, I often ask myself this same question J Let me, “illustrate” my point for you. Let’s pretend that bae comes down with a case of the sniffles and is being a bit of a drama queen about it...

Attempting to be a caring significant other, you fight through your anti-commitment issues and general annoyance with princess over there and head to the store to pick up some vitamin C supplements or just anything touting vitamin C in the label because everybody knows that’s what you need when you are sick (which is futile once you are already sick by the way but I already covered that in a previous post).  My question for you though is outside of supplements, where can you find vitamin C? Believe it or not, vitamin C is found naturally in foods such as citrus fruits, strawberries, peppers, kale, broccoli, etc. Ok so you probably got the vitamin C and orange juice thing, but what I am getting at is two things.
  1. You do not need supplements to get vitamin C—you can eat foods that naturally contain vitamin C.
  2. Vitamin C is only effective in helping lessen colds when used preventively, not when you already are sick

The same thing could be said for all of the other “trendy” nutrients such as omega-3. Instead of taking some fish oil supplement that makes your burps taste like fish, why don’t you actually eat some salmon or if fish isn’t your thing, try some walnuts. Just a crazy thought I know.

Why does this matter Beth?
Well, there are two reasons; the first and biggest reason is that food sources of vitamins and minerals are better absorbed by your body than those from supplements. The other reason being that people tend to think that you can eat like crap and then take a multivitamin or something and think that they are doing good. I hate to break it to you, but that’s not how it works.

Breaking it down
Should you be concerned with certain vitamins and minerals? If you eat a well rounded diet (aka eating fruits and vegetables) no, unless you are advised by your doctor. Not that I am the healthiest eater that ever roamed the earth (probs close to it though J ), but I don’t take any supplements and I also don’t keep a check list on me as to how many oranges I need to eat a day to ensure that I get enough vitamin C. I just eat a variety of foods that I enjoy. No need to haggle over certain nutrients and eat foods that you simply just do not like. So instead of running to get some vitamin C supplement the next time bae gets a ferocious case of the sniffles, tell him he should eat some oranges, strawberries, peppers, etc. on the regular to prevent them. After all, they taste better than the supplements do.  Well I probably should just take the rest of the day off; I feel a case of the sniffles coming on.  I am going to send this to my boss...

There is no way he can tell me no…kittens always win and I am even a dog person. I don't care who you are, that kitten is pretty cute. Until next time!

Keep it Fresh,
Keep it Green,