Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Now I know TBT usually refers to throwback Thursday but I am going to bend the rules a little bit because it is Tuesday. For this week's blog, I wanted to throw it back to a pervious blog that I did on eggs. I mean with easter approaching, it just makes sense to refresh everyone's memory on eggs. Without further ado, I give you Beth's Egg Manifesto!

With this past weekend being Easter, the question of, “which is better for me egg whites or eggs,” emerged just as I was entering my happy place enjoying the delightful goodness that is Reese’s peanut butter eggs. I know what you are thinking, “GASP! You are a dietitian and you eat candy!” Yes, I eat candy, preferably dark chocolate, but I make sure its in the shape of fruits and veggies to make myself feel better about it. Anyways, back to the question at hand. Obviously, the answer here is false, Reese’s peanut butter eggs are better for you. 

I suppose there is no time like the present to talk about eggs. Now eggs tend to get a bad rap mainly because of their fat and cholesterol content. Case in point...

Headlines like this just make me roll my eyes. I mean come on! Eggs are almost as bad as smoking?!? Well, then I should just light up then, right? Then there is this guy...

You know what is bad for you? Steroids. Despite these "credible" sources, many leading health agencies can vouch for me on this one; eggs can be part of a healthy diet.

Types of Eggs
While Easter may have us thinking of Reese’s eggs, Snickers eggs, Cadbury eggs, and any other candy filled chocolate egg you can imagine, that’s not what I am going to write about today. While there are actually quite a few different types of animal eggs that you can eat, such as chicken, duck, quail, ostrich, and fish, for all purposes pertaining to this blog we are going to talk about chicken eggs.

Anatomy of an Egg
Since this is not a science class, I am going to simplify the anatomy of an egg for you to focus on what is pertinent for this topic. The three parts I am going to cover are…
Shell: I would hope that you could identify what part of the egg that the shell is.
White: The clear-ish liquid that surrounds the yolk, comprised mostly of protein and water.
Yolk: The yolk is the yellow part of the egg where all of the fat and cholesterol is, half of the protein is, and where other important vitamins and minerals are.

Egg Whites v. Whole Eggs
The ever so incredible edible egg is a great source of protein and various vitamins and minerals, but what happens when we separate the whites from the yolk, thus giving you egg whites? Below I have a chart for you that outlines the main differences between the two for you. (Info based on a large egg)

Whole Egg
Egg White

Other things that I noticed while looking this up but did not put on the chart to spare you having to look at any more of that number jibberish include: (All of these are higher in whole eggs)
• Calcium: helps your bones and muscles
• Choline: helps support the nervous system and important for pregnant women
• Fe: helps with fatigue
• Folate: important for pregnant women
• Vit A: helps your eyes
• Vit D: helps with bone health and mood
• Zinc: helps your immune system and wound healing
So you may have noticed that egg whites are a lot lower in fat and cholesterol. Does that mean we should all switch to egg whites since fat and cholesterol are "bad" for our heart? No. Eating foods with cholesterol does not raise your blood cholesterol. Additionally, research is starting to suggest that fat not only makes food taste good, but also helps with satiety.

What about Egg Beaters?
Egg Beaters and egg whites are essentially the same thing. The only difference is that Egg Beaters have a ton of things added to them such as coloring, thickeners, and some vitamins and minerals. 

“What about the color of eggs”
The color of the egg has no effect on the nutritional value of the egg or on the taste of the egg. Dorky fact of the day #1: You can tell what color of egg a chicken will produce by the color of its ear lobe. Dorky fact of the day #2: Chickens have ear lobes. For example, a chicken with a blue ear lobe will produce blue eggs. Dorky fact of the day #3: Yes, blue chicken eggs do exist. So next time you are at the store, don’t be duped into paying $1 more or whatever more they charge for the “healthier” brown eggs.

“What about the USDA Grading?”
The USDA grades eggs by the interior quality of an egg and the appearance and condition of the eggshell. The higher the letter (AA, A, and B) the better quality egg you are getting. Does this have any relevant bearing on nutrition? Nope. The size of the egg (Jumbo, Extra Large, Large, Medium, Small, and Peewee) does have some impact on the nutrition, but have you ever seen a weight loss tip telling you to select a smaller egg size? My guess would be no since there is not a huge difference in calories, protein, fat, etc.

Egg Buzz Words
Cage Free: This just means that the hen has not been confined to a cage for its whole life. They are able to walk around and stretch out, but this does not mean that they necessarily are outside chatting it up with Wilbur.

Free Range: This takes cage free a step further, by providing them access to the outdoors. To be labeled as free range, the USDA stipulates that the hens must be given continuous access to the outdoors. Yes, the hens can eat bugs and grass like they would in they would in the wild, but this does not mean that they are not fed grain. 
Omega-3: Usually this just means that the hens were fed grains/feed with omega-3s in them. Does this mean the resulting egg is magically super high in omega-3s? Does anybody love Kanye more than Kanye? No.

Organic: This just means that the hens were fed an organic feed, were not given antibiotics or growth hormones, lived in cage free environment, and had access to the outdoors. 

Bottom Line
Are you pregnant or breastfeeding? If you answered yes, then you should probably go for whole eggs. If you are unsure if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should probably figure that out before worrying about eggs. Breakfast wise, eggs are better than that pop tart, muffin, and sugar cereal you are eating. In the battle of whole eggs versus egg whites my thoughts are this.

1. Eggs contain fat and cholesterol just like every other animal product, so I am not so sure why eggs are being stigmatized to the extent that they are. Ounce for ounce, chicken contains more calories and fat than eggs.
2. Everybody needs fat in their diet, would you rather it come from a doughnut or eggs?
3. Eggs are not what caused the obesity epidemic.
4. Does anyone actually like the taste of egg whites over a whole egg?

If you are concerned with animal cruelty then go for free range and/or organic eggs, but be advised that does not ensure the hens have not faced some form of animal cruelty. If you are really concerned about animal cruelty, go to your local farmers market, get fresh eggs, and shake the hand of the person who raised the hens themselves. Now if you will excuse me, I have some Reese’s peanut butter eggs to tend to. Until next time!

Keep it Fresh,
Keep it Green,


Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Without fail every time I meet someone new and disclose that I am a Registered Dietitian, I am always prompted for my thoughts on various nutrition topics, which I don’t mind; I just find it entertaining. The most recent topic that was brought up to me was organic, so I thought I would take this opportunity to enlighten you all. For the sake of this blog, I am only going to focus on organic fruits and vegetables.

Should you be buying organic? Are they more nutritious? Do you need to always shop at Whole Foods? Before we jump into those questions, let’s first take a look at what organic means.

What is organic?
Well, according to Jim Gaffigan,

Funny, yet true. Anyways, jokes aside, here is the USDA’s definition: “Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.” Yeah…all of that doesn't really mean anything to you does it? Didn’t think so. The USDA has a huge guide if you are really interested in all of the details, but basically for fruits and vegetables it means...
  • Land must have had none of the prohibited substances applied to it within the last 3 years
  • Crops were never exposed to irradiation, sewage sludge, synthetic fertilizers, prohibited pesticides, and genetically modified organisms were not used
  • Crop pests, weeds, and diseases will be controlled primarily through physical, mechanical, and biological controls. When these practices are not sufficient, a biological, botanical, or synthetic substance approved for use on the National List may be used.

I know, I know, blah blah blah. Basically what I want you to take away from this section is that the term organic does not mean that no sprays were used.

Why do we use pesticides?
I am not trying to trick you on this one; pesticides are used to keep pests away to stop them from killing all of the plants. Case in point, last summer I found this little gem on one of my tomato plants…

…and proceeded to scream like a little girl until I could collect myself to hit it off the plant with a stick, which didn't work very well. Luckily for me, my roommate came home to save both me and my tomato plant. Imagine if you had a whole field of tomatoes and had an infestation of these little guys, it wouldn't be pretty.

Should I buy all organic?
Well, I am not sure about you, but I don’t make enough money to only buy organic fruits and vegetables. If you are trying to be a bit more budget conscious but still want to try to go the organic route, there are some fruits and vegetables that make more sense to buy organically than others. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts out a yearly list of fruits and vegetables based on the amount of pesticides used in growing said crop.  EWG puts out two lists, one being the Clean Fifteen and the Dirty Dozen.

If you are ballin' on a budget...

but still want to go the organic route, you can spend your money more wisely by only purchasing the fruits and vegetables off of the Dirty Dozen list, that way you aren't paying extra for organic bananas that have such a thick peel (that you more than likely are not eating) and isn't really worth it in the long run.

Organic vs Local
To start with, organic and local are not mutually exclusive, meaning you could find some fruits and veggies that are both local and organic, but more often than not, that is not the case. So I am going to step on my soapbox for a hot second. Just because something it not labeled organic doesn’t necessarily mean that it is not. For example, if you visit a farmers market you may see some signage indicating that no sprays/herbicides/pesticides were used.  There is a good chance that this produce is organic, however becoming a certified organic farm is a very long and expensive process that small farmers may not be financially realistic. In this case, the best way to know is to ask them.
Another entire blog post could be about how you define local because there is not standard definition in terms of miles from where you live and what food products you count as local. For example,   we have a Coca-Cola bottling plant here in Charlotte, which uses local water in addition to whatever other flavorings and colorings they add to their beverages. Is that local? (Steps off soapbox)

Breaking it down
Do you HAVE to buy organic fruits and vegetables? Nope. Should you? It definitely won’t hurt you physically (maybe a little bit financially).  Are organic fruits and vegetables more nutritious? Nope. Coming from the perspective of a Registered Dietitian, I just care that you are actually eating fruits and vegetables. You may want to look all cool and all by buying only organic food, but what good is it doing you if it just sits in your fridge until you throw it out anyways? From the perspective of the pseudo hippy that I am, buying organic and/or local is better for the environment as well. Well, I am off to go tie dye some shirts while listening to Bob Dylan. Until next time!

Keep it Fresh,
Keep it Green,


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Plant Waters

Now that the weather is taking a turn for the better, you may find yourself a little parched while you are “studying” outside…

Let’s be honest…I have been there and played that game too. You are all really just on Facebook, Twitter, or watching Netflix. Anyways, back to being parched. As you vigorously study away you become thirsty, but ponder, “What should I drink?” Now, you want to be a little healthy so sodas are out, but what about this new line of plant waters? Better yet, what about this diet water? No wonder why you couldn’t lose those last five pounds; for the last 20 some years of your life you have just been drinking plain water!  Silly you!

Luckily you have me to help sort out if you should or shouldn't be buying these fancy new waters.

What are plant waters?
Well, that they are not really water, but more like juice. Some of the more known types of plant waters include coconut water and aloe water. (Un

(Un)Luckily for us,  we have newer ones that have popped up on the scene that include artichoke water, cactus water, and maple water. As hip and trendy as I like to think of myself as being, I had never really heard much about any of these new waters until I stumbled upon this video… (Warning: it is a tad dry and the host has a British accent)

Should I be drinking these?
Well none of these drinks actually have any research or science behind them. Do they contain some vitamins and minerals? Sure. Are they going to miraculously help with weight or whatever else they are purporting? Unlikely.  Do they taste good? Does it really sound like they would taste good? Whatever happened to just plain old water? If you want the benefits of plant waters, add your own sliced up vegetables and throw them in your water. If you really want the health benefits touted by these drinks, why don’t you just eat said plant?!? For example, instead of being a fancy Nancy and paying $5 for artichoke water, you could either... 
A-buy artichokes and put them in your water or 
B-eat an actual artichoke.  
Now I know that being a Dietitian, everybody wants to know what I do. Do I drink artichoke water or maple syrup water? No. Do I infuse my water with fruits, vegetables, or herbs? No, but only because I am too lazy. I drink good old plain water (out of a filter).

Also of note is that typically products like these have other stuff added to them. For example, one of these plant waters proudly claimed that it contains organic blue agave…which is still sugar. Which brings me to my next topic…

Nutrition Mumbo Jumbo
I have written a little bit about this nutrition mumbo jumbo before, but upon a little perusing of some plant water websites I found even more gems that I couldn't resist sharing. I knew I had found gold when I saw the following statement…

 “Targeted for daily hydration…X Plant Water is vegan, low-glycemic, lactose-free, gluten-free and cholesterol-free. No added colorant, flavoring agent, or caffeine is contained in X Plant Water. Just the good stuff!

Hmm…it’s almost like its regular water! Another good one I found on one of the websites were some “celebrity” endorsements. I use the quotation marks because these “celebrities” are people I have never heard of. Just for fun let's pretend I were a marketer for just plain old water. If I wanted to use some celebrity endorsements my list would include:  George Washington, Albert Einstein, Beyonce, and Nemo. I am somewhat surprised that these plant water companies have not started using this for advertising…

Anyways, for more information on proper hydration check out this blog I did a while back. Well I am off to go take some selfies…

Until next time! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Baby Carrots: Eat Em Like Junk Food

In between watching The Bachelor, Chris Soules, squirm while deciding who his “true” love is,

advertisers were smart enough to play off of the emotional roller coaster that women everywhere were on. I mean, The Bachelor season finale my as well be the Super Bowl for women. Anyways, there were commercials for all things women…including every woman’s favorite, chocolate.  Being the dork that I am, all of these advertisements made me think of an article I read recently about trying to get more people to eat fruits and vegetables by using similar tactics that junk food company’s use. A company did a small pilot of this back in 2010 and actually had quite a bit success. For those of us that watched The Bachelor last night, here is a commercial for baby carrots tailored to that audience…

Now does this make me want to jump off the couch and go get some baby carrots? Oddly enough, yes. I mean I am a dietitian and only eat kale, apples, carrots, and sometimes celery as a treat :) Ok so maybe I am a bit odd, but would the average person? That remains to be seen, but the research seems to show some positive results.

The power of advertisements and marketing
Advertisements and marketing have a HUGE impact on us whether we acknowledge it or not. I mean if it didn't, would companies spend millions of dollars a year on it? They are all vying for their brand and product to be sexy and desirable enough to get people to actually go out and purchase it, which can be a challenge due to competition and humans just being lazy. Think of it this way, how often do you see commercials for a delicious looking pizza and think, “Man I don’t just want that, I NEED that?” How many of you actually have enough ambition to actually pick up the phone and order that pizza? If you are like me, that pretty much never happens. However, the idea of that pizza sticks around and the next time I am legitimately hungry (and not just annoyed at Chris for settling) and having a splurge day I might just treat myself.

Where are you going with this Beth?
Should we have cool advertisements and marketing for fruits and vegetables? YES!  Will this type of marketing make you jump off the couch, run to the fridge, and chow down on baby carrots? Probably not, however so much of marketing is subliminal. After watching this commercial, and if it were up to me, being exposed to several similar advertisements, the next time you were hungry you might just consciously or unconsciously think, “Man I could really go for some baby carrots.”   
Not only would this help Americans eat more fruits and vegetables, but it would also help out those fruit and vegetable farmers, who often do not receive federal subsidies (but that’s another story). If companies started using their extremely creative minds to market and make fruits and vegetables sexy it would be a game changer; just like having two Bachelorettes…

Yikes! Well I am off to chow down on baby carrots. Until next time!

Keep it Fresh,
Keep it Green,


Monday, March 2, 2015

Being Healthy Doesn't ALWAYS Mean Being Healthy

I hope you all are enjoying your spring break…and I am not saying that just to say it. I sincerely mean for you to enjoy it because when you become a “grown up” like myself, there is no such thing as spring break.

Yay for being a “grown up” right?!?  This is how I will be “celebrating” my spring break…

Anyways, instead of giving myself the week off from blogging, I remain resolute in bringing you credible nutrition information! Ok well,  maybe I am just going to defer you to a blog post of one of my colleagues, but I still put some effort in the opening to this blog. Back to my colleague's blog post, I found it to be pretty legit and insightful. What is the topic you ask?!? Well in this blog post, she talks about how being healthy doesn’t always mean being healthy (aka its ok to eat cake and pizza occasionally and in moderation without having to beat yourself up over it). It is pretty insightful; I mean we are human after also why beat yourself up if you have a little slip up and accidentally indulge in some pizza?!? Without further ado…Being healthy doesn’t ALWAYS mean being healthy by Fannetastic Food.

 My advice, don't be afraid to treat yo self every now and then.

Oh and don't grow up...

Until next time! 

Keep it Fresh,
Keep it Green,