The Nutrition Blog

Kirsten Gram, a registered dietician, has worked for Cascade Health Solutions’ Center for Healthy Living for over 20 years. She loves sharing her professional wisdom and healthy living tips as part of her blog.



Written by Guest Nutrition Blogger Beth Naylor

Beth Naylor is a registered dietitian and teacher at Lane Community College, where she has taught nutrition classes for more than 30 years. Beth relishes the exploration of food – its history, culture and science, as well as cooking and nutrition – and she savors every opportunity to share her knowledge with others.

When my friend, Jeanne Armstrong, told me she planned to make Market of Choice’s recipe for Moroccan Carrot Salad for a group dinner, it got me thinking about olives, which are featured in the recipe. Olives have long been an important part of Mediterranean life, and more and more we’re seeing different varieties of olives available here, like those available at the Market of Choice olive bar.

The Cook’s Thesaurus has the best descriptions I’ve found for types of olives and the many ways they are processed for consumption.

blog_olivebar

The processing of olives usually requires adding salt, which many Americans avoid. But it’s important to consider how a particular salty ingredient contributes to the flavor and pleasure of the whole dish, enhancing the intake of nutrients, such as the wide variety of vitamins and minerals in the carrots that get a flavor boost by their presence.

Excess sodium may not even be the culprit some believe it to be when it comes to blood pressure, but rather, insufficient amounts of nutrients like potassium, which carrots have in large amounts.

As I’ve learned more about olives, I’ve begun to feel more connected to their history, from the farmers in the Mediterranean countries who have grown them for thousands of years to those in southern California who started in the late 18th century.

I have blog_moroccancarrotsaladno doubt that these feelings of connection benefit my health and well-being, so I’m always trying to find ways to connect the dots.

Consider “olive” what’s on that plate. And click here if you’d like to see more photos and details about Jeanne’s experience making and serving the Moroccan Carrot Salad.

Enjoy!

Written by Guest Nutrition Blogger Beth Naylor

Beth Naylor is a registered dietitian and teacher at Lane Community College, where she has taught nutrition classes for more than 30 years. Beth relishes the exploration of food – its history, culture and science, as well as cooking and nutrition – and she savors every opportunity to share her knowledge with others.

I’ve enjoyed hearing about the plans for the 5th Annual National Soup Swap Day coming up on January 22, so I asked around if anyone did “soup swaps.” No one I knew did, but my fellow dietitians, Amber Yui and Heather Weir do a meal swap with other families. Amber made Market of Choice’s Pork Pozole (with a little less pork than the recipe calls for) to participate in her swap with other families last month.

potonstove

Both are working moms and these swaps help them get a good meal on the table at the end of a busy day. They know that eating dinner together as a family is associated with healthful eating patterns, including eating more fruits and vegetables, less fried food and soda, more fiber and more micronutrients. For Amber’s recipe, she used many nutritious vegetables.

onions

The shared nature of meals together can also be a opportunity to model and build skills, such as moderation, planning, cooperation, conversation, tolerance and generosity. The stumbling block is that four-letter word T-I-M-E. A food-swap group helps maximize your time and pays huge dividends. Here’s how it works:

Each person prepares a large quantity of one recipe and divides it into the number of families participating. The time investment in preparing a large amount to swap pays off when you can pull your choice of three to four meals out of the freezer to reheat or bake at a moment’s notice.

Each 2nd Sunday of the month, they meet at Heather’s house at 4 p.m. and swap meals. It usually takes only a few minutes to swap, but it’s also a chance for participants to socialize, while their kids play together. Heather started the meal swap in Eugene after being part of one in Portland, because she simply missed it.

group

Click here if you’d like to see more photos of their meal swap, as well as examples of meals they’ve shared.

Written by Guest Nutrition Blogger Beth Naylor

Beth Naylor is a registered dietitian and teacher at Lane Community College, where she has taught nutrition classes for more than 30 years. Beth relishes the exploration of food – its history, culture and science, as well as cooking and nutrition – and she savors every opportunity to share her knowledge with others.

I often add apple slices to my lunch, so I was interested to read in Michael Pollan’s 2001 book The Botany of Desire (my favorite Pollan book) that up until Prohibition (1920 to 1933), an apple was not likely to be eaten whole and instead was allowed to ferment into hard cider. The marketing slogan “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” was conceived in the early 1900s when growers were concerned that temperance would cut sales.

appleadaysign

Although apples are not a good source of any individual vitamin or mineral, they do have a good amount of fiber – both the soluble and the insoluble types. Mayo Clinic’s website says dietary fiber is essential for a healthy diet and lists many benefits of a high-fiber diet, such as healthy bowels and weight. The soluble fiber found in apples may also help with heart health and diabetes.

Apples are also a rich source of flavonoids, a family of antioxidant phytochemiicals. Higher intakes of flavonoid-rich foods have been associated with reductions in heart disease risk in some studies, but it is not yet known whether flavonoids themselves are responsible.

To me, a valued health benefit of apples is how satisfying they are. Their delightful sweetness, crunch and convenience keep me from reaching for something else that might be easy but carries nutritional hazards.
bakedappleOn this chilly and gray morning, as part of breakfast, we baked an apple in the microwave because I was craving that wonderful aroma and warmth. It just required coring the apple and adding a little butter, cinnamon, cloves, honey and apple juice. We used a Granny Smith apple but others would work well, too. Read more about apple varieties here.

Written by Guest Nutrition Blogger Beth Naylor

Beth Naylor is a registered dietitian and teacher at Lane Community College, where she has taught nutrition classes for more than 30 years. Beth relishes the exploration of food – its history, culture and science, as well as cooking and nutrition – and she savors every opportunity to share her knowledge with others.

I’m in Washington D.C. right now, and the day after we arrived, a friend suggested that we go over to the USDA employee cafeteria for the last day of the exhibit “When Beans Were Bullets: War-Era Food Posters.”

As a potato-lover (full disclosure…. I was raised in Idaho), I was pleased to see this poster, created about 1917. It reminded Americans that it was patriotic to eat more potatoes, so that more wheat would be made available to send to our troops overseas fighting in WWI.

patriotic

Potatoes are getting some bad press these days because of their poor glycemic index, a measure of change in blood sugar (blood glucose) score. But the practical relevance of that score is controversial.

The glycemic index can vary widely depending on:
• the body size and metabolic rate of the person eating the potatoes;
• the plant variety (ie: Yukon gold vs. Russett potatoes);
• food ripeness and preparation;
• and other foods that might be eaten alongside them (such as cereal and milk or peanut butter and bread).

The bottom line is that creating a diet based on the glycemic index alone is complex and can result in an eating plan that excludes some nutrient-rich foods, and may make eating less pleasurable.

Potatoes are just such a food. They serve as excellent sources of the carbohydrates: fiber and starch. They also offer minerals: potassium, magnesium and iron. And vitamins: C, B6, niacin and folate.

potatofries

A lack of just one of these nutrients can result in deficiencies.

A lack of folate, for example, can lead to fatigue and shortness of breath, according to OSU's Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center’s website.

Because my friend, Jeanne Armstrong, also likes potatoes, she made Market of Choice’s recipe for Cracked Peppercorn Oven Fries.

Click here if you’d like to read a little more about how she makes them.

Written by Guest Nutrition Blogger Beth Naylor

Beth Naylor is a registered dietitian and teacher at Lane Community College, where she has taught nutrition classes for more than 30 years. Beth relishes the exploration of food – its history, culture and science, as well as cooking and nutrition – and she savors every opportunity to share her knowledge with others.

turkeyloafmealsm

Since we’ll be spending the next few weeks in Washington D.C. visiting family, our friend, Pip, cooked us an early Thanksgiving dinner, which included Pip's delicious turkey loaf.

Pip is an artist by occupation and lucky for us, she’s also an artist in the kitchen. She makes roasted vegetables look and taste wonderful!

Throughout our lives, the health benefits of eating more vegetables have been fed to us, in one form or another. Roasting is a great way to make eating more of them a really pleasurable experience, thanks to a little chemistry called the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction is a sequence of many chemical reactions triggered by heating foods at high temperatures (at least 310°; steaming only reaches 212°). The best foods to roast naturally contain a combination of protein and a little sugar. Vegetables are not often considered a high-protein food (or high sugar for that matter) but they do contain both, in varying amounts.

The sequence of Maillard reactions produce compounds that can hold onto smaller flavor molecules that are then slowly released into the air. It’s part of what makes bread so delightful to smell when you’re making toast. The Maillard reaction also gives vegetables a beautiful brown color and a full, rich flavor.

roastedvegetabesmofcsm

Pip’s meal inspired me to make roasted vegetables to accompany our salmon burgers. I really enjoyed the aroma of the vegetables roasting, especially the garlic.

This holiday season, be sure to try this recipe for Roasted Vegetables.Your guests will thank you.

Enjoy!

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