Tag Archives: nutritioulicious

HCG Diet &The Spice of Life

In case you were wondering where my blog posts went at the end of the week, check out two guest posts I wrote. (You may have seen me link to them on Twitter or Facebook.)

HCG Diet

First up, I wrote all about the HCG Diet for The Scoop on Nutrition, my fellow dietitian Emma Stirling’s blog in Australia.

Variety balance moderationNext, in my monthly post on the Sweet Spot Blog, “Variety, Balance, and Moderation are the Spice of Life,” covers the three basic principles of a healthy lifestyle.

I hope you enjoy the posts and feel free to comment here about what you think about the HCG diet and/or how you follow the healthy lifestyle principles.

Have a great weekend!

Advertisements

Pad Thai Experiment

The other day I decided I was going to make peanut noodles with tofu for dinner, but my husband asked if we could have Pad Thai instead. We generally order in Pad Thai, so I was a little skeptical about how I was going to match the flavors of the traditional dish, but decided I would give it a try (the things we do to please the ones we love!).

Lucky for me I have a few friends in the Twitterverse, including Stacey Viera and Aviva Goldfarb, who shared their Pad Thai recipes to help me with this task. Since I had already gone to the supermarket, I didn’t have every ingredient on hand, so I improvised as best as I could (and made sure to look at other recipes for more inspiration).

As the dish neared completion I added the sauce and could tell immediately that it wasn’t thick enough (perhaps the lack of ketchup or tamarind was responsible). I knew that wouldn’t fly! What’s Pad Thai without the delicious sauce? So  out came the blender and the peanut butter to add some flavor fast! The end result was delicious, but I definitely need to work on it to make it restaurant quality!

Pad Thai
Serves 6

Ingredients: pad thai recipe

  • 8 ounces dried wide rice noodles
  • 14 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce (fish sauce is usually used, but I didn’t have any)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 bunch broccoli, florets only
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts cut into 1/2-inch pieces and separated
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • Chopped peanuts
  • Chopped cilantro

Directions:

  1. Soak rice noodles according to package directions. Drain them when they are soft and pliable.
  2. Place tofu on paper towels and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Cover with more paper towels to drain well.
  3. In a blender, combine the garlic, soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, lime juice, and water and blend until smooth. Add in the chili paste and stir.
  4. Heat the oil in a large skillet (or wok if you have one) over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and cook, flipping occasionally, until it is lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the broccoli and stir fry for another 3-5 minutes until it is bright green and more tender. Add the white part of the scallions and stir for another minute.
  6. Drizzle the beaten eggs over the tofu and vegetables and let them set for 10 seconds. Stir them until they are fully cooked.
  7. Add the drained noodles to the pan and toss with the tofu and vegetables. Drizzle the blended sauce over everything and toss.
  8. Blend the peanut butter with some hot water until it is creamy and slightly thinned. Add the peanut butter sauce to the pan and toss until combined well.
  9. Serve topped with scallion greens, chopped peanuts, and chopped cilantro.

Have you ever made Pad Thai at home? If so, please share your tips!

The Joys of Tempeh

By Megan Kian

A few months ago I decided to become a vegetarian. My recent reading of Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, which offered both moral and environmental reasons to go veg, inspired my foray into a meat-free diet. Since becoming a vegetarian I’ve discovered a whole new world of food! There are so many meat substitutes (and so many great vegetarian restaurants in NYC) that I don’t find myself really missing meat. One of my greatest discoveries since becoming a vegetarian has been tempeh.

vegetarian protein tempeh

For those of you who haven’t heard of the soy-based product before, tempeh is cooked and slightly fermented soybeans. Unlike some other soy based products, such as tofu, tempeh is more flavorful and can stand on it’s own. Tempeh can be described as having a nutty flavor and is usually formed into a patty that has a firm texture — think of a firm veggie burger. Tempeh is a great meat substitute because it is high in protein and low in fat. Another great thing about tempeh is that it contains an abundant amount of isoflavones. Isoflavones have been shown to strengthen bones and reduce the risk of some coronary diseases!

Tempeh can be found at most health food stores — I like to get mine at either Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. There are plenty of ways to use tempeh to create nutritioulicious dishes, such as in stir frys or added to salads.

Have you ever tried tempeh? Stay tuned for a delicious tempeh recipe!

Ladies, Enough “Fat Talk”

Yesterday Jennifer Huget wrote an article “Enough with the ‘fat talk’” in her health column of The Washington Post (Time Magazine also spoke up on the subject). What prompted the article was a new study from the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly, If You’re Fat, Then I’m Humongous! Frequency, Content, and Impact of Fat Talk Among College Women.” In the study, 93% of the women examined (all of whom were a normal weight) engaged in “fat talk” and the most common response of women to other women who engaged in fat talk was to convince the friend that she was not fat.

I don’t know about you, but I have been witness to many women (and some men) engaging in “fat talk” all too often. Sometimes I hear it at the dinner table when someone says “I shouldn’t have eaten all that bread, I’m going to regret it when I step on the scale in the morning” and sometimes I just overhear a group of girls talking about their workouts (or lack thereof) and that they need to go on diets. The example Huget gave in her column is one I hear often as well. Does this sound familiar to you?

Girl A: “I look so fat in these jeans”

Girl B: “No you don’t, you are so skinny. Look at me!”

Girl A: “You cannot complain – you’re a stick”

Girl C: “Both of you shut up, I’m the fat one here”

Personally, I’ve had enough of hearing groups of fit-looking women (and men) talk about their weight, what they should or shouldn’t be eating, and how much or little they exercise in a deprecating manner. The worst response to comments like these is to try to convince your friend that she’s wrong. Most people who make these comments are doing so to get positive reinforcement that they look great, and if they do in fact feel bad about the way they look or feel or if they aren’t as healthy as they could be, telling them they look great won’t help.

Instead of saying “don’t be silly” or “no you’re not” answer their comments by asking them what’s making them feel that way? Or what do they think they can do to improve how they feel? Turning the conversation into a dialogue instead of a game of ping-pong will do more good for you, your friends, and all women.

Do you engage in “fat talk?” What do you think when you hear people engaging in “fat talk?” If you don’t like all the “fat talk” become a fan of Fat Talk Free on Facebook!

Frozen Pomegranate Seeds

Today’s post is a link to a guest post I wrote for the fabulous dietitian Robyn Webb. She was recently visiting New Zealand and Australia (so jealous!) and asked many of her fellow dietitians to guest post on her Fabulous Food Finds blog. I was thrilled and honored when she added me to the list! And just in time for the end of National Nutrition Month with the theme “Eat Right with Color,” I had a fabulous food find: Frozen Pomegranate Seeds from Trader Joe’s.  These seeds are full of nutrients and antioxidants thanks to their deep red color.

Check out the post and tell me: Do you like pomegranate seeds? If so, how do you like to eat them?

Is MSG Safe?

The short answer is yes — MSG is included in the FDA’s Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) list, and research in Europe, the US, and Asia shows that MSG used in prepared foods or as a condiment is safe for people of all ages.

A few weeks ago I went to a luncheon about umami — the fifth taste. If you’re not familiar with umami, it is the “meaty” or “savory” rich taste that results from monosodium glutamate (MSG) in foods. Glutamate is the most prevalent amino acid found in dietary proteins and is found in many foods, including Parmesan cheese, ripe tomatoes, Chinese cabbage, seaweed, sardines, braised beef, mushrooms, and soy sauce. MSG is the sodium salt of glutamate, and when it’s added to food in small quantities, it enhances the umami flavor.

Now, you’re probably thinking, “but MSG is bad for me, isn’t it?” I also thought that until I learned more about it and umami. It turns out that MSG contains about 70% less sodium per teaspoon than table salt (640 mg vs 2,300 mg respectively). That’s pretty amazing, especially since we know that Americans need to watch their sodium intake. Using MSG in the cooking process can actually help lower dietary sodium intake. And, the amount of MSG you take in daily is trivial – it’s only up to 1/2 gram per day (as a reference, 1 teaspoon=4 grams).

At the luncheon, chef Danny Boome (of Rescue Chef on the Food Network) served three umami-rich courses, including:

  • Grilled Orange Polenta topped with Crabmeat Salad and Herb Oil — the polenta and crab are both umami
  • Coq Au Vin — bacon, mushrooms, and chicken stock give this dish it’s umami taste
  • Green Tea Ginger Sorbet with Pumpkin Green Tea Cheesecake — green tea and cheese are both evoke the umami taste

umami green tea cheese umami

Since I don’t eat shellfish or pork, I didn’t get to fully experience this meal (I received vegetarian substitutions that had some umami elements), but what I did enjoy was delicious and definitely opened my eyes to new ways to enhance the umami taste in my cooking.

Do you experience umami in the food you eat?

Note: I was not paid or asked to write about umami or MSG. All opinions are my own.

Homemade Quesadillas

Last week in the NY Times Recipes for Health column Martha Rose Shulman shared recipes for quesadillas, which she also referred to as “healthy fast food.” It happened that I was in the midst of coming up with my shopping list for my weekly dinner groceries when I read the article and saw all the quesadilla recipes. It was the perfect solution to vary my go-to quick and healthy mid-week dinners like tofu stir fry and pasta with beans and cheese.

I made my quesadillas using corn tortillas, roasted red peppers (from a jar), sauteed onions, black beans, and reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese. To start, I sauteed the onions and then added the roasted red peppers for a few minutes. Next, I removed the vegetables from the pan and heated one corn tortilla and topped it with some of the vegetables, black beans, and cheese.

recipes for health quesadillasI then added a second tortilla on top, pressing down with a spatula for a few minutes until the cheese started to melt.  Then came the tricky part – flipping the quesadilla without everything on the inside falling out! (The key is don’t overfill the quesadilla and use your second hand to help keep it together.) I cooked it a little longer before removing it from the pan to a plate. I served the quesadillas with salsa and nonfat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

recipes for health quesadillas This quick, easy, and healthy meal was so delicious I am sure it will become a staple mid-week dinner to add to my list.

And in case you’re wondering, corn tortillas are the healthier variety – they have half the fat and calories and one-fourth the sodium of a similar-sized flour tortilla. So unless you really dislike the taste of corn tortillas, stick with them to keep the meal lightened up.

What’s your favorite quesadilla filling?