Monday, November 19, 2012

Pulses, Plants, and Prostates

Perhaps you or the men in your life are sporting a 'stache for Movember.  It's great to see people supporting men's health issues such as prostate cancer and bringing these issues to the forefront so that people feel comfortable talking about them.

As a dietitian, my first instinct is to look for ways to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and other chronic conditions with food.  It is often impossible to pinpoint one particular cause and as new research comes out, we may find new strategies.  However, often times the recommendations for one disease state are applicable to others, so we can all start eating to prevent disease and/or reduce our risk.   

To make the most of your food choices:
  • increase your intake of fruits and vegetables (include a variety of colours)
  • reduce your fat intake (this is also beneficial for heart health and weight management)
  • increase your intake of plant foods (vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, chickpeas, lentils...) and reduce your intake of animal foods (dairy, meat...); it's still important to get adequate calcium and vitamin D, just don't overdo it
  • include fish to make sure you're getting omega-3 fatty acids
  • if consuming alcohol, do so in moderation
  • increase your intake of isoflavones (soybeans, tofu, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts)
  • maintain a healthy diet
  • include regular activity/exercise
Certain foods may offer extra protection against prostate cancer including lycopene (found in tomatoes, tomato sauces, watermelon, grapefruit...), selenium (Brazil nuts, fish, poultry, sunflower seeds...), and vitamin E (vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables...).  As always, include a variety of different foods as no one food can give us everything we need.

Only a few more weeks until the razors come out!

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gadgets to Gather or Go?

Last year for Christmas I was treated to a Kitchenaid mixer - a great gift from my man and something I likely wouldn't have purchased for myself. 

I work with food, I love cooking, and I enjoy eating food.  So with Christmas in mind I'm starting to think of little gadgets I could ask for to help me complete or round out my kitchen.  I received lots of different items at my bridal shower in January, so I'm struggling to think of what I might be missing.  I think we even made my sister-in-law guess what the gadgets were for at her bridal shower!

It's the fine line between having items you may only ever use once and discovering that one piece that makes prepping that much easier and you wonder how you ever got by without it. 

From garlic peelers, banana guards, ramekins, food scales, pepper mills, food processors, and coffee presses to ninjabread men, there are so many items that can end up in your cupboards or collecting dust.  For fun gifts, I like items from Fred & friends because they can be practical as well as unique (ie ice cube trays and toothpick holders). 

According to TLC's Top 10 Must-have Cooking Tools, I am set.  They list:
  • strainer
  • wooden spoons
  • thermometer
  • peeler
  • whisk
  • kitchen shears
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • mixing bowls
  • cast iron skillets and pans
  • knives
So today, since it's Q's Day, I am asking:

What tool/gadget is a must-have in your kitchen?

Feel free to comment on an item you don't even know the purpose of or an item you know you could live without.

We use knives, cutting boards, and wooden spoons on an almost daily basis, but I probably don't need the citrus peeler that sits in my drawer.

Happy cooking!

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Let's Get Comfortable

Whether you're dealing with a cold/flu, studying for mid-terms/finals or trying to stay warm, we often think of comfort foods.  Some comfort foods are reasonably healthy, but others may be high in Calories, sugar, fat, and/or salt.  Remembering to think 'big picture' we know that all foods can fit.  However, if you are home sick in bed or trying to cram all night, you still want to have energy and give your body the nutrients it needs to function at it's best. 

Think hearty chili or soup made with lean meat, beans, lentils, vegetables (potatoes, carrots, squash, peas, zucchini, tomatoes...) or amp up your mac and cheese with tuna and broccoli (for example).  Protein keeps us satisfied for longer and most of us aren't getting the recommended number of vegetable servings each day.  I will continue to say it, but yes "healthy food tastes great".  You may have to learn to use different herbs, spices, oils, and ingredients, but there are many ways to provide that warm, satisfied feeling without pulling out the ramen noodle soup, potato chips, or store bought cookies.

We have a sunny day today and our snow has almost melted, however we still know that winter is here.  With that in mind, today I'm asking:

What is your go-to comfort food?

I really enjoy soups this time of year.  This past Sunday I tried the recipe below - Beaker's Vegetable Barley Soup.  It used ingredients I already had in the house which I think counts as comfort food because then I didn't have to face winter layers and chilly winds.

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 cup uncooked barley
2 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with
1 zucchini, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans,
1 onion, chopped
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1. Pour the vegetable broth into a large pot. Add the barley, carrots, celery, tomatoes, zucchini, garbanzo beans, onion, and bay leaves. Season with garlic powder, sugar, salt, pepper, parsley, curry powder, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 90 minutes (I cooked it in the slow cooker on low for about 7-8 hours). The soup will be very thick. You may adjust by adding more broth or less barley if desired. Remove bay leaves before serving.