Pulse Foods


photo_gallery_calcium_rich_foods_08_full-250x250By: Nikki Nies

When you hear of the word pulse, I’m sure your head goes instantly to heart rate and good health. Mine does too.  However,recently, the world “pulse” has been paired with foods and has started to have a good, yet different meaning–“dried seed.” Pulse foods are known for good health, but are specifically known as chickpeas/garbanzo beans, beans, legumes and lentils. Pulses are a type of food that are grown in a pod, packed with protein, fiber and phytochemicals, which are known to have anticarcinogenic effects!  On top of that, since they are nitrogen-fixing crops, they improve the environmental sustainability of annual cropping systems!

Additionally, pulses can be counted as a vegetable and protein. Like other plant based foods, pulses are cholesterol free, limited sodium and fat and full of iron, folate, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc.

Check out the nutrient content of certain pulses in comparison with a reference:

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The concept of pulses isn’t new, as these dry products have been used in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Indian cuisines for centuries.  Yet, pulses are finally getting the nutrient recognition they deserve and with their versatility, you’re guaranteed to not get bored with these foods.

 If you’re interested in adding more pulses into your meals, why not:

  • Add lentils, chickpeas or beans to chili, curries, taco meat, meatloaf, (minestrone)soup,stir frys, tostados,  salads or spaghetti sauce

The best part? Pulse foods can be incorporated into any meal, dish or snack! For my diabetic, vegetarian and gluten free friends, you can join in the fun too! What’s your favorite way to incorporate pulses into your meals? Have any recipes you have to share?

Photo Credit:India Mart

Sources:http://www.pulsecanada.com/food-health

http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn1508.pdf

http://www.pulsecanada.com/food-health/what-is-a-pulse

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/pulse

http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/landing-pages/food-and-nutrition/pulse-foods-in-your-diet-fn-1714

High Fiber Musts


By: Nikki Nies

High fiber diets are always tooted as a lifestyle must! What does high fiber mean, you ask? It means consuming a diet of at least 21-25 g of fiber for women and 30-38 grams of fiber for men.  If meal planning isn’t part of your daily routine, it’s easy to let the days go by and not fulfill the daily fiber recommendations.  Gradually increase your fiber intake as a quick surge in fiber can lead to bloating and gas.

The best way to consume a high fiber diet is to eat more foods that have a higher fiber content! Can you guess what tops the list of the highest fibrous foods per serving?

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  1. Corn bran, raw: 1 oz.=22 g of fiber
  2. Navy beans or white beans: 1 cup=19 g of fiber
  3. Yellow beans, cooked: 1 cup=18 g of fiber
  4. Adzuki, French, or black turtle soup beans: 1 cup=17 g of fiber
  5. Split peas, cooked: 1 cup=16.3 g of fiber
  6. Kidney or cranberry beans: 1 cup=16.0 g of fiber 
  7. Mung or pinto beans: 1 cup=15 g of fiber high-fiber-diet
  8. Lentils, cooked: 1 cup=15.6 g of fiber
  9. Black beans: 1 cup=15.0 g of fiber
  10. Oat or wheat bran, raw: 1 oz.=12.0 g of fiber
  11. Lima beans: 1 cup=13.2 g of fiber
  12. Baked beans, vegetarian, canned, cooked:1 cup=10.4 g of fiber
  13. Artichoke, cooked: medium=10.3 g of fiber
  14. Green peas, cooked: 1 cup=8.8 g of fiber
  15. Raspberries: 1 cup=8 g of fiber

A high fiber diet + adequate fluid intake is the right combination for smoother digestion, lower one’s risk of obesity, heart disease and/or cancer.  Furthermore, since fiber isn’t digested, it moves through the body quickly, helping to aid in constipation.

Have you added more fiber into your daily diet?  What changes have you seen accompany these fibrous additions?

Sources:http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/high-fiber-foods/art-20050948

http://thehealthyapron.com/2010/08/20/a-fiber-fortified-world/

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/063008p28.shtml

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000193.htm

Legume Land


intro-legumes-photo2By: Nikki Nies

Often times, it’s recommended to get your fair share of beans and legumes.  Every one knows what beans are: black, kidney, lima, pinto and garbanzo.  Yet, how quickly can you roll of your tongue legumes? I sure have to think about it for a second.

Legumes deserve the acclaim they receive next to beans.  Beans are part of the legume family, yet there are more to the legumes than beans.  Make sense?

They’re low in fat, high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium and contain no cholesterol!  Additionally, they’re a great filler upper instead of meat,which can be high in fat and cholesterol.

Yes, legumes are often associated with soups and stews, they do play a great part, but tossing some edamame (yes it’s a legume) on your salad is always a plus.

Common Legumes: edamame, peas, peanuts, lentils, beans,

Legumes are great for salads, casseroles, snacks, stews, soups and rice dishes.Legumes are often canned or dried, which are great to have on hand at all times for last minute additions to your meals. Now that you’re well versed in legumes, why not try your hand at Lentil Soup with Spicy Italian Sausage.  Let me know what you think!

Sources: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/legumes/art-20044278

http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/foods/legumes/

http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/legumes.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11718588

FODMAPS


By: Nikki Nies

With the bombardment of the latest nutrition tips, FODMAPS has entered the forefront of the cause of some people’s issues tolerance of foods.  Researchers are hinting that those that declare they must be on a gluten free diet would be better off becoming familiar with the FODMAPS diet.

diagram-fodmapI’m not here to attest to such claims, as further research needs to be done. Yet, it’s still important to be aware and knowledgeable of what FODMAPS consist of and why they’re being considered responsible for abdominal pain, bloating, wind and altered bowel habit through fermentation and osmotic effects.

The FODMAPS diet is traditionally prescribed for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is a functional gastrointestinal disorder (FGID).  FODMAPS can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine.  It’s thought that restricting the types of carbohydrates one consumes can provide relief and diminish symptoms.

Since this type of restriction is very intense, it’s recommended to seek guidance from a Registered Dietitian (RD).  The process of removal and reintroduction of foods is usually over a six week period.After cutting out , wheat, rye, onions,legumes,soft cheese, yogurt, milk, honey, apples, pears, sorbitol, etc. for the recommended time, one may start using a teaspoon of honey in their tea or adding a cup of milk to cereal.

From then on, one will test the reaction of foods and listen to gut.  Pun intended.

Check out the comprehensive list of foods that are limited in the beginning stages of FODMAPS and then slowly reintroduced:

The-Fodmaps-Diet4-1024x577

 Again, adopting this diet without discussing with your primary care physician and/or a Registered Dietitian (RD) can lead to unwanted outcomes.  The number priority is maintaining one’s safe and health!

Sources: http://stanfordhospital.org/digestivehealth/nutrition/DH-Low-FODMAP-Diet-Handout.pdf

http://www.ibsdiets.org/fodmap-diet/fodmap-food-list/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3388522/

http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24076059

http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/mal-absorption.html

The FODMAPs Diet

Common Misperceptions of Salads


Original Image by Ines Hegedus-Garcia via Flckr
Original Image by Ines Hegedus-Garcia via Flckr

By: Nikki Nies

I’m currently in my community rotation in my dietetic internship.  I recently gave a presentation to Avalon corporation’s employees.  The premise for the presentation was to debunk some weight loss myths.

As an introduction, I asked the employees what they eat for lunch.  Whether they were bringing lunch from home or eating out, 9/10 they stated they ate salads for lunch.  I got a kick out of it, as yes, salads CAN be healthy.  Yet, there’s such a spectrum of variety of others foods that are screaming to receive attention as well.

A 2005 study on the Big Four fast food chains–Burger King, McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut, found that 5/8 of the salads used as “evidence” of their healthy contents were actually higher than normal for salt and fat content.    For example, a classic cobb salad with chopped bacon, egg, blue cheese, avocado, and creamy dressing, or a standard restaurant chef’s salad loaded with Swiss cheese, roast beef, eggs, and dressing  can add up to over 1000 calories and 80 g of fat!

Unfortunately, the toppings and/or salad dressings that people use on their salads can be the culprit to extra calories and fat, which backfires the plan to eat healthier.

Tips for healthier salads:

  • Fill up your salad with veggies: at 25 calories or less per 1/2 cup serving, it’s a great bang for your buck for nutrients!
  • Choose a variety of colors for your salad–red and yellow bell peppers, red onions, broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas, cucumbers and hard boiled eggs
  • Stick with raw or lightly steamed vegetables instead of fried or those drenched in marinades
  • Opt for lean protein to stay fuller longer: i.e. 1/2 cup tofu; 3/4 cup of chickpeas, lentils or kidney beans; 3 oz. skinless chicken; water packed chunk light tuna, wild salmon, wild sirloin steak, 4 egg whites
  • Avoid fatty meats, such as bacon or or salami
  • Choose one extra goodie: aiming for between 40-70 calories; i.e. 2 T of cheddar, feta, goat cheese, Parmesan or Swiss; 1 T of chopped walnuts, pecans or sliced almonds; 1 T of sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds; 1 oz. avocado; 10 small olives; 1/4 cup croutons; 2 T dried cranberries or raisins
  • Lightly dress salad! Unfortunately a healthy salad can quickly become unhealthy when drenched with a fatty dressing; when ordering, ask for the dressing on the side, limiting use to 1 to 1 1/2 T
  • When available, opt for fat free, light or low fat salad dressings
  • Make your own vinaigrette: using one part oil to 3 parts vinegar with mustard, lemon or added spices of your choice

I applaud the employees for wanting to healthier, but I wanted to encourage them to eat more variety, to get more nutrients and to have more fun with their meals!

Sources:http://www.womenshealthmag.com/nutrition/best-salads-for-your-diet

http://listverse.com/2009/03/18/top-10-food-myths-debunked/

http://www.joybauer.com/photo-gallery/tips-for-building-a-healthier-salad.aspx

http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2011/08/18/top-10-nutrition-mistakes/

Meatless Proteins


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By: Nikki Nies

With healthy eating constantly on the brain, it’s constant job to ensure balanced meals are consumed.  Meatless proteins aren’t for vegetarians and vegans any more, with more and more opting for meatless proteins.  Meatless proteins are often low fat, low calorie, with the added protein punch!

Meatless Protein Description Protein Amount per ½ cup How to Eat Tips
Quinoa Packed with fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and folate, low cholesterol; contains all essential amino acids 7 g Stir Fried Vegetables and Quinoa, Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Basil Lemon Dressing; Toasted Quinoa with Chiles and Corn Drain in a fine mesh strainer after cooking; add to soups, hot breakfast cereal or tossed with vegetables
Edamame Have as much fiber as 4 slices of wheat bread; great as an appetizer or within an entrée 8 g (shelled) Edamame with sesame, scallions and almonds; Roasted Edamame Steam instead of boil, which will preserve nutrients; can be served hot or cold
Chia seeds Great source of brain boosting omega 3 and fiber rich; contains great source of iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc; plump up and take on gelatinous texture when soaked in a  liquid 9.4 g in 2 tablespoons Mango Coconut Chia Pudding; Clementine Chia Pudding Use in jams, smoothies, oatmeal, salads, soups, etc.
Lentils Packed with B vitamins, folate, fiber, protein and are heart healthy 9 g Italian Lentil and Broccoli Stew Limit salting or using acidic items to lentils until cooked
Greek Yogurt Low in calories, protein packed; great substitution for sour cream or mayo; less sweet than some regular varieties 14.5 g Grilled Tropical Fruit with Greek Yogurt; Greek Yogurt with warm black and blueberry sauce Be wary of flavored containers that are packed with added sugar
Tempeh Soy bean based ingredient has great texture; firmer than traditional tofu 15.5 g Tempeh Burger; Miso glazed tofu On it’s own, tends to be quite bland, but is great with a marinade
Seitan Made from wheat gluten; has familiar texture of a piece of chicken or beef; brings out any flavors paired with it; looks like duck meat 21 g Mock Peking Duck; Seitan Stir Fry with Black Bean Garlic Sauce No need to add salt as many packaged varieties can have nearly 13% of daily intake
Peanut Butter Contains 2 g of fiber and heart healthy monounsaturated fats per serving 32.5 g Peanut Butter Banana Raisin Sandwich; Peanut Butter Caramel Corn Opt for reduced fat or natural peanut butter and “no stir” to limit messes
Chickpeas Aka garbanzo beans; fiber rich; can help cut LDL levels; low calorie 7 g Chickpea Stew with Eggplants, Tomatoes and Peppers; Cumin Spiced Chickpeas Look for chickpea flower, which is a great alternative to those that can’t eat gluten
Eggs When in moderation, can be great protein source; low in calories; may improve HDL levels 7 g/egg Baked Eggs with Cheese and Zucchini, omelettes, quiches, hard boiled, scrambled, sunny side up Choose cage free variety since they’re nutritionally superior and more humaneFound to have 2.5 times more omega 3 and twice amount of vitamin E in eggs of pasture raised hens
Cottage Cheese Affordable, can be eaten with reduced fat, calcium rich for bones, 13 g Combine with fresh veggies or with fruit and cinnamon Can be used as a replacement for ricotta cheese or sour cream in certain dishes
Pumpkin Seeds Great grab and go snack 7 g/1 oz. Pepita Corn Bread In fall, roast fresh seeds; be mindful of serving as seeds can be high in calories
Dried Black  Beans Low fat, fiber filled protein 6 g Cuban Black Bean Soup Opting for dry beans allows one to control sodium and additive intake; soak in large bowl overnight in water and rinse clean afterward, simmer on low heat and enjoy; make with cumin, garlic, red pepper, etc.
Soy Milk Convenient and versatile; often fortified with calcium and 4 g Espresso Soy Milk Shake Vanilla’s great in cereal and coffee; chocolate flavor’s great as a regular treat
Almonds Contains monounsaturated fats which are considered heart healthy 6 g/1 oz. Chili Spiced Almonds Sliced almonds are great over a salad

Sources:http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/10-best-meatless-protein-sources?s=5&?cm_mmc=Facebook-_-Prevention-_-food-healthyeatingtips-_-10meatlessproteinsources

http://neolovesoulchild.com/tag/protein

http://www.cookinglight.com/food/vegetarian/protein-for-vegetarians-00412000078915/

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20718479,00.html

Beans, please!


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By: Nikki Nies

You don’t have to wait until you have your next bowl of chili to enjoy beans.  In fact, this undervalued protein, fiber rich food can and should be used on a regular basis.

Benefits of increased consumption of beans:

  • Can stave off hunger with the fiber rich content
  • By swapping out meat for beans, can decrease consumption of saturated fat
  • Strengthens one’s body
  • Prevents diseases
  • Heart healer
  • Lowers the risk of type II diabetes: help stabilize blood sugar
  • International Journal of Cancer states women who eat lentils have a decreased risk of developing breast cancer; can decrease prostate and/or colorectal cancer
  • Kidney beans are antioxidant, thiamine and omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acid rich; may stave off Alzheimer’s disease
  • Can boost the brain
  • Versatile use–add to burritos, tacos,soups, salads and/or on their own

It’s not fair to clump all types of beans together as each type provide different benefits and have varying properties.  However, it’s clear that beans should have a place in your daily eating habits.  If you’re interested in incorporating more beans in to your daily meals, a quick look in your local grocery store can give you an idea of the many varieties offered.  Start eating!

Sources: http://www.rodalenews.com/are-beans-healthy?cm_mmc=Facebook-_-Prevention-_-rodale-_-Eatmorebeans

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/beans-protein-rich-superfoods