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Technically speaking, I'm a dietitian, but I see myself as a listener, a motivator, coach and teacher of nutrition. I prefer to end a busy day with a glass of red wine while chopping vegetables. Lover of almost anything pickled and fresh baked scones just not at the same time. I'm happiest when I'm cooking for people I love. Why am I so into food? Because I KNOW how much eating well can change your life. What you eat every day is going to impact your body and your mind. It's a confusing world out there - full of diet and food advice that always leaves you feeling like it's that one next diet that's going to be the weight loss answer. Stop waiting for that magic diet, and begin to take one step at a time in the right direction. I'm here to help you on your life-long journey, there's no better time to start!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Apricot Banana Pancakes

Its so nice to have a holiday Monday, where I can make breakfast for my fiance Johnny while he sleeps in. I had a large apricot from the farmers market, a frozen banana, and Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Pancake mix. You can find Bob's Red Mill products in the baking aisle of your neighborhood grocery store. They make a wide variety of whole grain mixes, baking flours, soup mixes and much more. Check out everything they offer on their website BobsRedMill.com.

Here's what I came up with: 

Ingredients:

2 Cups Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Pancake Mix
2 Large Eggs
1 Cup 1% milk
2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
2 small or 1 large apricot, skin removed and chopped
1/2 a large banana, thinly sliced
Cinnamon 1 1/2 teaspoons
Butter or coconut oil

In a large mixing bowl, mix together all ingredients with a whisk until combined. You can adjust the consistency of the batter to fit your liking, and you can use water instead of milk if you're not a dairy person. Feel free to add in other fruit options, such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or mango. 

Melt a teaspoon or two of butter or coconut oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Scoop a half cup of batter into the skillet and cook approximately 3-4 minutes on each side. 

Enjoy with maple syrup, lemon and butter with powdered sugar or fresh berry preserves.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Damage and the Stigma of Being Fat

I came across this refreshing article on Twitter today which was posted by a fellow Tweeter @VoiceInRecovery.  Every time I read credible information, evincing how you don't have to be thin to be healthy, I am reassured that my professional work to help people learn about Intuitive Eating, Health At Every Size, and respecting your body is the right approach. We've heard it before, about how the pressure from society to be thin has created unrealistic body ideals for women, men and even children. We know this, yet we don't seem to be adapting our ideals or our goals to meet more realistic body sizes. Everywhere I look, from the lap band billboards to the flat belly diet plans - America is still obsessed with thinness. From what I see and hear daily from beautiful, healthy people asking me "how do I get skinny?" or "my life will be so much better if I can just lose this weight" I think we have a long journey ahead of us to really come to terms with what healthy actually looks like. Here's a quote from Dr. Thomas's findings:

Dr Thomas found that obese people believed the constant attention to their bodies was making things worse. They felt anxious and isolated. This generated feelings of low self-esteem and encouraged them to go down more extreme pathways of trying to lose weight “which we know do not work in the long run”.  Read the full article Chewing the Fat Over The Reality of Obesity

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Voices For Action in Los Angeles

How aware are you that there are families, communities and entire sections of your city where moms and dads can't put food on the table every night?  And have you recognized that for some of these families fresh fruits and vegetables are the hardest foods to come by?  We all know fresh food from the ground is important for health, and we all know we should eat more of it, but do we do enough to make sure that everyone has equal access to it?  Voices for Action, a non-profit organization in Los Angeles, is hard at work to reduce health inequities in vulnerable communities. 
 
Porsche Johnson, the organization's Founding Director, is committed to making a change. One of the current projects underway, is the mini-farmer's market project. I was lucky to be a part of the most recent event, held in a church parking lot in Compton.  What I saw happening there brought goose-bumps to my arms and I was so proud to see a group of strangers I was just meeting for the first time, so willing and committed to what they do. 

The idea for the Mini Farmers Markets, is to offer full grocery bags of organic, fresh, seasonal and local produce at very discounted prices to members of the community, where otherwise access is incredibly limited. The produce was beautiful - colorful, crisp, and inviting. Bags were sold for $5 - $7 per bag. 


Offering access to fresh food is great, but even better is helping people learn healthy ways to prepare it! Voices for Action provided participants with free recipe notebooks in Spanish and English and we did a food demonstration with samples of an easy black bean and corn pita. 



As community members strolled by on this cold, gray morning, they came in curious and left smiling; energized from free Zumba lessons, and happy to have a heavy bag of delicious healthy food to eat. Within less than two hours, all the bags were gone! We hope they come back. Check out these smiles, they are the same smiles you see when you share a good meal with people around your table. Now that's the power of giving and Voices for Action is sure doing a lot of it. 

The VFA website will introduce you to the all the ongoing initiatives they're working on. This work is meaningful, absolutely necessary, and making a difference in many lives. Support is needed, so if you have a minute and want to find a way to donate please reach out. You can contact Porsche through the website or contact me

Want to help this weekend? Attend my nutrition event "Feeding You and Your Family Today: Small Steps for Big Nutritional Benefits" on Saturday, April 2nd in Manhattan Beach. All proceeds will go directly to VFA!  Details.



Friday, March 18, 2011

Promoting weight loss or weight-focused programs fail to be effective and may cause more harm than good

I wanted to share with you this very interesting post from Phsychology Today . What do you think about weight-focused interventions? Even in your own personal journey, is it really a number you're reaching for... or a feeling, quality of life, or experience that you want? Reading this certainly forced me to take a second, and a third look about the conversations I have with clients in my office. I encourage all dietitians and health care providers to do the same.

Study showing that weight loss interventions are ineffective and harmful published - January 24, 2011
The online scholarly publication, Nutrition Journal published an article "Weight Science: Evaluating the Evidence for a Paradigm Shift" by Linda Bacon of University of California, Davis and Lucy Aphramor of  the Applied Research Centre in Health and Lifestyle Interventions at Coventry University in the United Kingdom.
This meta-study reviewed major studies on dieting, weight loss, and Health at Every SizeSM and examined the basic assumptions behind weight-centered interventions for both prevention and care. Similar to the lap band decision, this data review examines the implications of what to do if diets do not work. The implications drawn by the authors, however, are far different from the FDA decision.
Bacon and Aphramor make a compelling case that promoting weight loss or weight-focused programs fail to be effective and may cause more harm than good. In other words, a weight-centered paradigm is unethical.

Weight loss as a focus may violate a basic tenant of health care.
Beyond the questions of efficacy and unintended harm, there are questions of social justice, in that weight-focused programs promote inequality and undermine efforts to fight for equality. Finally, they make the case that a weight-centered paradigm is costly, with nearly 31% of the population being misdiagnosed when BMI was used as a screening parameter.

Perhaps, like all studies, their case needs to be scrutinized with skepticism, but what interests me most as a sociologist is two things.
First, no national discussion has broken out regarding this study. This is radical stuff. It is saying that a 57.8 billion dollar a year industry is unethical. The use of the word "paradigm" is accurate. This is a major shift from current accepted practices and wisdom. In a meritorious world, this should have been front-page news.
Press releases have been sent and, for a short period of time, the article had a "most viewed" status on Nutrition. But, except for some small stories or articles here or there, the media didn't pay much attention. I googled the title of the article and saw a little over 30,000 hits. The first few pages were hits for Linda Bacon's website and other HAES-friendly websites. I googled the title in just a news search and received no results.  I googled "FDA expands indications Lap Band" and got 180,000 hits with a news search showing 535 articles. The FDA announcement was constantly addressed on the 24 hour news channels for 2 or 3 days after the announcement, as well as all four network morning shows having some sort of story.
Second, while an obvious profit motive and conflict of interest existed, the FDA used data generated from Allergan to make its decision with little marking of that motive or conflict. In fact, the press release from the FDA announcing the expansion referred to "a recent US study" without disclosing that Allergan was one of the financial sponsors of that study. (source Women's News online). Bacon and Aphramor disclosed that they indeed make money from promoting HAES, usually through speeches and books. But this "profit" is small, probably not more than 4 or 5 figures annually and usually goes into more research and covers costs for attending conferences and sharing their research work. Allergan predicts NET sales in 9 figures ($220 to 240 million in 2011) and this will most likely keep growing. Yet they were not required and the FDA did not announce their conflict of interest and profits from this decision.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

AOX Salsa!

Tonight I'm headed to celebrate the housewarming of my good friends Jay and Gabrielle in Santa Monica. I'm bringing Blood Orange & Avocado Salsa with Pomegranate Seeds, a recipe I found from Oprah.com. Served with some baked tortilla chips, it ends up being a healthy appetizer full of Antioxidants from the Vitamin C rich blood oranges, pomegranates, and avocado. Let's call it AOX Salsa (AOX is short for antioxidants). I have a thing about adding in my own personal touch to recipes - so for this one I'm adding chopped fresh mint. You watch me here at the unbelievably beautiful farmers market here in Redondo Beach buying fresh ingredients for the salsa!  





Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • 1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 blood oranges
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 large Hass avocado , halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1 jalapeno chili , seeds and ribs removed, minced
  • 2 green onions , including green tops, cut on the diagonal into thin slices
  • 2 Tbsp  chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4 Tbsp fresh chopped mint leaves
Directions
Active time: 35 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 35 minutes


In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, salt, and pepper until salt dissolves.

Remove all skin, white pith, and seeds from the oranges, reserving any juice that's squeezed out in the process. Drain juice into a measuring cup and set aside. Cut orange segments into 1/2-inch pieces and add to bowl containing lime juice.

To extract the seeds from the pomegranate, cut the fruit into quarters. Submerge the quarters in a large bowl of cold water and place it in the kitchen sink to contain any squirting pomegranate juice. Using your fingers, gently detach the seeds from the membrane and rind. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Discard any pith, drain the water, blot the seeds lightly with paper towels, and add to the bowl with the orange segments.

Add the avocado, red onion, jalapeƱo, green onion, mint and cilantro to the bowl. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the ingredients together, being careful to not mash the avocados. Add reserved orange juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until salsa is moist but not soupy. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover, and set aside for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to meld. Serve at room temperature with tortilla chips.

Per 1/4 cup serving: 46 calories, 1.6 grams fat, 1 gram protein, 2 grams fiber

Note: This can be prepared up to 8 hours in advance.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Wild Blueberry Breakfast Muffins

Hello Not on a Diet followers! My name is Kaitie and I’ve been interning with Sumner for the past couple of months. My time with Sumner at Not On A Diet, has been such an eye opening and helpful experience. I have learned so much, not only about nutrition, but also about living a healthy lifestyle. Sumner has helped me to learn more about my obsession with delicious food and focus on my passion for health!

So, the other day Sumner and I decided to use some ingredients that we found in her kitchen to try to make some delicious but also healthy muffins! I was a little nervous because baking is not my specialty and normally I would try to follow a strict recipe so that I don’t make something inedible. But, these muffins were SO delicious and I was truly shocked at how amazing they turned out!  Here's what we found in the cupboards to work with (we didn't end up using the oats, but everything else went in!)


These muffins would be a great quick breakfast choice or even an on-the-go snack. So, for all of you out there that never have time to make breakfast or like me, think you have time but then look at the clock and see you only have 5 minutes before you need to leave - this recipe is for you! You could always make these ahead of time and freeze some for later use. You can spread some peanut butter on the top or maybe add some light cream cheese. The recipe was SO easy and surprisingly only took us about 45 minutes to make!

So, many of you may be wondering why we were so proud of this muffin recipe? Well, set aside from the fact that these muffins are delicious they are also nutritious! Each muffin has 3g of fiber, healthy fats from the almond meal, Omega-3s, very little sugar, and are only 140 calories per muffin!  Compare that to a Starbucks “Blueberry Streusel Muffin”, which has more than double the amount of calories (360 calories), 11g of fat - 7g of which are saturated fat- and a whopping 33g of sugar, you will want to have these muffins on hand all the time!

So here is the simple and delicious recipe that could change your mornings:
 
Wild Blueberry Breakfast Muffins


Ingredients: makes 15 muffins. Double the recipe to freeze for later!
1 cup frozen, wild blueberries (wild blueberries are smaller than others, but any will work)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup almond meal *
1/4 cup ground flax (flax seed meal)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce*
1 mashed medium ripe banana*
2  large Omega-3 enriched eggs
1/2 cup plain non-fat European style yogurt (We get it at Trader Joe’s)
1 1/2 Tbsp melted Coconut Oil* (Coconut oil is a solid at room temperature so to melt put the coconut oil in a small microwavable bowl and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the coconut oil becomes a liquid)
2 tsp Bourbon Vanilla Extract (Substitute Vanilla Extract if you don’t have the fancy stuff we used)
3 Tbsp brown sugar (2 Tbsp for the mix, 1 Tbsp to sprinkle on the tops of the muffins)
Cooking spray for greasing the muffin tins

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and grease muffin tins by spraying cooking spray evenly.
  2. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients: whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, almond meal, ground flax, cinnamon and salt. Then whisk to blend the ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients: apple sauce, yogurt, melted Coconut Oil, mashed banana, vanilla extract, and the eggs. Mix with a whisk so that all the ingredients combine.
  4. Then add 2 Tbsp brown sugar to the wet ingredients and whisk to dissolve sugar.
  5. Make a well in the dry ingredients and mix the wet into the dry with a rubber spatula just until moistened. Like this! 
  6. Using the spatula fold in the frozen blueberries.
  7. Use a spoon to put the mixture into the muffin tins - making sure that each one is just over half way filled (should make about 15 muffins).
  8. Finally sprinkle a pinch of the 1 Tbsp of brown sugar evenly on top of each muffin for a little crunch and extra sweetness!
  9. Bake for 15 - 17 minutes at 400°F. Test with a toothpick, they're done when it come out clean.


Here are some of the secrets as to why these muffins are healthy yet still delicious!


*Almond meal is, as you may have guessed, ground up almonds with the skins left on. It can be used as a substitute for flour and is high in protein, healthy monounsaturated fat, low in carbohydrates, and is also gluten-free.
*Ground Flax is ground up flax seeds, they are high in fiber and rich with Omega-3 fatty acids.
*Unsweetened apple sauce adds moisture without using oil or butter to reduce saturated fat content
*Banana was used to add moisture and sweetness to the muffin without using refined sugar.
*Coconut Oil, as I learned from Sumner today, can replace butter as a healthier type of fat and adds a nice flavor

Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size = 1 Muffin (standard muffin tin size)
Calories: 140 calories
Fat: 7g
   Saturated Fat: 2g
Carbohydrate: 15g
   Fiber: 3g
   Sugar: 5g
Protein: 4.5 g
Cholesterol: 29 mg


Kaitie showcasing the recipe success!
We made "mini" and regular-sized muffins to have some bite-sized options too. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Latest and Greatest of Cooking Blogs

If you're even the least bit interested in cooking, recipes, or vegetarian eating, you've got to take a tour of a unique and stunning blog I came across this morning, 101 Cookbooks. Heidi Swanson, of San Francisco, writes and archives about recipes that "intersect her life, travels and interests."  She also offers a recipe sampler from her upcoming book due out in April 2011 titled Super Natural Every Day. Beautiful pictures and even more amazing recipes. I can't wait to try Ravioli Salad with black olives and pepitas shown here: 


Thanks, Heidi, for providing such culinary inspiration!