Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving Carb Control

I received the following question from FOODPICKER.ORG:

"My husband was diagnosed with diabetes as few months ago and has been working hard to lose weight and control his blood sugar. Each year we have a family gathering for thanksgiving that includes lots of food (large turkey dinner with all the trimmings and assorted pies & cakes for dessert). What are your suggestions to ensure my husband doesn't overeat but also does not feel deprived this thanksgiving?" -Martha T.

The most important part of holiday blood sugar control is a commitment to plan ahead, so sit back and relax! The rest is all in the details.

Blood sugar control strategies vary depending whether or not your husband is on insulin.

If your husband is on insulin to control his blood glucose levels:
Insulin doses are prescribed based on a pre-determined estimation of carbohydrate servings. These recommendations vary amongst individuals. He should review the amount of carbohydrate servings covered by his insulin injections, and try to match his Thanksgiving meal to his insulin dosage. If he is unsure of recommended carbohydrate servings per meal, he should consult his doctor or a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE).

If your husband is not on insulin:
Controlling carbohydrates is still a healthy strategy to prevent high blood sugar. The recommendation for males with Type II Diabetes is 4 to 5 carbohydrate servings per meal. For a detailed list of common carb servings, click here. Avoiding high-fat foods also becomes especially important for people with Diabetes, as these people are at greater risk of developing heart disease than people without Diabetes.

Common Thanksgiving carbohydrates include:
  • Bread
  • Potatoes
  • Yams
  • Stuffing
  • Corn
  • Cranberries (most contain huge amounts of sugar)
  • Desserts
High-fat foods to avoid may include:
  • Gravy
  • Butter
  • Baked goods
  • Fried foods (including fried turkeys)

The good news is that Thanksgiving offers plenty of healthier options for your husband to indulge! To feel satisfied, encourage him to load up on fiber and lean protein- hit up that veggie tray and grab some turkey!

Remember, carbohydrates do not have to be eliminated, just controlled. By choosing his favorite traditional foods to count into his daily servings, he should be able to enjoy his holiday in a healthy way!

Hope this helps, Martha. Happy Thanksgiving!

Peace, Love, and Veggies,

Monday, November 8, 2010

Less Legs for Lower Cholesterol

Don't get me wrong- when it comes to showing a lil' leg, I'm in. Sometimes my only motivation to get my booty to hot yoga is knowing that I will be able to do the entire thing sans pants, letting my gams run wild in the hot, sweaty room amidst a sea of other exposed thighs and calves...

Ahem. Anyways.

What the title is referring to is the legs on our food. When it comes to choosing foods with lower cholesterol content, the trick is to look for foods that are a little less leggy.

This trick applies to just about every animal out there:
  • Shrimp, Crab, Lobster: Multi-legged (is it bad I don't know how many?) Highest cholesterol
  • Beef, Pork, Dog (?): 4 legs. Higher cholesterol
  • Chicken, Turkey: 2 legs. Lower cholesterol
  • Fish: no legs. Lowest animal source of cholesterol!
  • Vegetarian, non-animal foods: no legs! Eat em' up!

Moral of the story: Evidently there is such thing as "Too much leg." But never in hot yoga.

Peace, Love, and Veggies,

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Avoiding the Afternoon Head-Bob

Jim from writes:

"I have diabetes and work long hours. I usually eat lunch at my desk while working. I'm struggling with what I can have for lunch. Could you give me some tips on what to pack for lunch at work?"

I hear you, brother. The typical sack lunch (sandwich, chips, juice) is almost totally carbs. Beyond spiking your blood sugar, this will result in only temporary energy. Ten dollars says your head will be doing the "I'm Just Resting My Eyes Bob" by 2:00 pm.

A good lunch needs to have necessary nutrients to keep you going all day. The important fuel components to look for are fiber and protein.

Good fiber sources include fruits, veggies, nuts, or seeds.

Protein sources include dairy, grains such as quinoa, beans, eggs, meat, or nuts/ nut butters.

Three of my go-to quick lunches include wraps, soups, and salads:

  • Wraps- See more about my favorite quick and easy wraps here.
  • Soups- Canned soups can work well- just look for the lower sodium versions. When evaluating which soup to choose, look for one that contains lots of veggies, lean protein, and minimal carbs. These can be found by comparing the nutrition facts on the back label. My favorites are Veggie Chili, Black Bean, and Lentil Vegetable.
  • Salads- I'm not talking "bird food," I'm talking a good, hearty salad! Start with a base of lettuce or spinach, add a protein like chicken or an egg, and then get crazy with the veggie toppers. The sky is the limit. Also try experimenting with beans or 1/2 c brown rice tossed in to your salad for extra staying power.
Pair a wrap or soup with a salad, or the salad with a fruit, and you have yourself the perfect lunch to give you the cutting edge at work.

If you have been instructed to self-monitor blood glucose by your doctor, you will still want to do so before and after eating. If blood sugar is low, keep a yogurt, fruit cup, or string cheese on hand for an added single-carb serving "boost."

Warning: try to not make fun of "Head-Bobbing Bob." were there once.

Peace, Love, and Veggies,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Why your Vitamin Water may be a waste of money

I’ve been on a little blogging hiatus, tackling a research review monster instead. The culmination of this monster is a 1-hour presentation of my findings at a conference for MD's and RD's from Illinois and Indiana. Which lying.

The Topic: Innovative Research on Antioxidant Supplementation and Implications for Overall Health and Mortality

If I play my cards right, this topic should be featured on Cosmopolitan’s “Conversation Starters” page any time now.

Hopefully you'll find this as interesting as I have!

A LONG TIME ago, back in 1959, a scientist by the name of Harman conducted some research resulting in what he called
Harman’s Theory. Basically, he said human cells produce oxidants leading to cell damage, disease…and eventually mortality. (Wamppp wamp).

The way to combat these oxidants, then, is with antioxidants produced by the body and obtained through foods. According to this theory, antioxidants should directly decrease disease and mortality.

Fifty one years later, this is the reason behind a slew of supplements and food products on the market today advertising increased antioxidants. The market for antioxidant supplementation is huge, and not only in food. Women's beauty products are also formulated around the antioxidant theory. Use of antioxidants to prevent aging is an idea so ingrained in us, it seems like a fundamental truth-
antioxidants help us live longer. Right?


The problem with this idea lies in the fact that in study after study, antioxidant supplementation does not reduce disease, and does not decrease mortality. I’m talking HUGE amounts of studies, conducted for over 50 years now. It’s just not happenin’.

In fact, in people who smoke, antioxidant supplementation actually has shown an increase in cancer, cardiovascular disease deaths, and all-around mortality.

What does this mean?

It means that oxidants may not be the bad guys. If oxidants aren’t the bad guys, maybe antioxidants aren’t really the heroes of the show, either.

Yes, fruits and veggies make us healthier. That is proven and not changing. Girlscout’s honor.

However, nobody has ever proven that the antioxidants taken out of the produce, isolated, and eaten gives us the same good effects as the fruits and veggies themselves.

Current research is actually looking to completely dispel Harman’s theory, instead implying that oxidation is helpful in cells, and increased oxidation actually leads to a longer life and better health.

All a fancy way of saying:
Hardship makes us stronger. Something the scientist Kanye West published in his dissertation years ago.

This alternative theory would explain why:
  • Exercise (which increases oxidation) leads to a longer life
  • Periodic fasting (which increases oxidation) leads to a longer life
  • Antioxidant supplementation (which gets rid of oxidants) does NOT lead to a longer life, and, in some, increases mortality

More and more, it is looking like the secret to longer life may lie in eating less, rather than supplementing with more.

Upside: Your meathead neighbor investing in $100/month antioxidant drink deliveries is probably just paying for very, very expensive pee. Joke's on him :)

I would like to hear from you!
What’s your best Cosmopolitan Conversation-Starter?
Dispelling antioxidant theory honestly isn’t my only one. Another of my favorites for a crowded room includes: If you could/absolutely had to make out with one person you can see right now, who would it be? If the answer is not “you,” then no use continuing conversation... on to the next!

Peace, Love, and Veggies,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Raise Your Cholesterol! (Er...HDL)

Cholesterol can be baffling. Aren't there two types? Isn't some cholesterol good?

Yes indeedy, Cholesterol can be divided into two types:
  1. HDL (high-density lipoprotein)
  2. LDL (low-density lipoprotein)
Since protein is more dense than fat, the density of the cholesterol depends on the ratio of protein to fat in the cholesterol molecule. Cholesterol with a higher ratio of protein is higher in density (HDL), while cholesterol with a higher ratio of fat has a lower density (LDL).

LDL Cholesterol is the cateogry that has been linked with heart disease, earning its reputation as the bad cholesterol.

HDL, on the other hand, is known to help protect against heart disease. There are also some studies suggesting it may lower cancer incidence. i.e...good cholesterol

While many cholesterol articles focus on lowering your LDL, a focus on raising HDL levels is just as important. That being said, today I want to discuss two ways to RAISE YOUR CHOLESTEROL! (HDL, that is)

The first, I think you will like:
Moderate alcohol intake has actually been shown to raise HDL cholesterol levels, decreasing risk of heart disease. Moderate means no more than 1 glass/day for women, or 2/day for men. Wine is an especially good choice here, since it also contains antioxidants. Pour 'er up and sip er' down, my friend :)

The second:
Results from a study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that an increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with reduced LDL levels. Omega 3's are found in fish, as well as flaxseed, walnuts, soy foods, and green leafies.

Another way to increase HDL is to improve your blood triglyceride levels...a fancy pants way of saying eat less hydrogenated and saturated fats. Dark chocolate, green tea, and vitamin D (good ol' sunshine) have also been linked with higher HDL levels.

Eat chocolate covered walnuts over a glass of wine, and chase with a walk in the sun. Now that kinda healthy livin' is right. up. my. alley. :)

Peace, Love, and Veggies,

Monday, October 18, 2010

"The Talk:" Serving Sizes

In life, there are a few conversations we dread. For instance...

"I don't think we should date anymore."
"I might have very accidentally used your toothbrush."
and the oft-dodged... "Why are the doggies giving each other piggy back rides?"

Right up there on the list....THE SERVING SIZE TALK.

I know how this topic feels. It feels all, "They say eat healthy, I'll eat healthy. But THEN they want me to eat healthy PLUS measure my peanut butter and it's STICKING TO THE SPOON and I'm HUNGRY and RAAAARRRRR!"

At least, this is how it sometimes can feel to me. If it does not feel like this to you, please forget you read the previous statement.

I've learned to preface this talk with a promise:
Yes, large portions of even "healthy" foods can undo your health goals.
Yes, there are some foods that you can eat and eat...measuring cups be damned!

For the foods that require a little more portion attention, I have a few standard visuals I use:
  • 1, 3 0z serving meat= about the thickness and size of a deck of cards
  • 1 serving cheese = 1 oz, or about four dice stacked
  • 1 serving ice cream, pasta/rice = 1/2 c. Think tennis ball.
  • 1 serving potatoes = 1/2 c, or about the size of your computer mouse (okay, so that one is stretching)
  • 1 serving margarine= 1 tsp= 1 dice
  • 1 serving peanut butter= 2 Tbsp= ping pong ball

Meat, dairy, carbohydrates, and fats/oils are really the food groups requiring attention to portion size. Beyond that, I've always lived by the theory that nothing bad ever came from filling up on greens and veggies. Produce packs fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, yet is low in calories. When it comes to these, the more we eat, the better!

This theory can be especially helpful when applied to eating our favorite meals that may be high in carbohydrates (spaghetti!). Don't ditch that meal! Portion yourself a reasonable amount of spaghetti. The trick is...stick with your original judgment on portion size. Resist the urge to go back for more. If you're not quite satisfied, eat, eat! Fill up on a fresh salad, or a big ol' side of steamed/lemon peppered veggies. Follow with a fruit for dessert!

Alright. We did it. We had "The Talk." This calls for a glass of wine, lickety-split.

I'm curious to hear about your portion size habits. Do you pay attention to portion size? Are there certain foods you avoid because your portions tend to get massive? Peanut butter is my big one (couldn't have guessed, right?!). I've found that it's better for me to avoid altogether. Instead, I buy the peanut flour from Trader Joe's, and reconstitute with a little water and salt (a trick I learned from Emily). Delicious, good source of protein, and lower in fat/calories. Because there are a few monsters that just can't be tamed...


Peace, Love, and Veggies,

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Q & A: Healthy Meals on the Go

Stacy B writes:

"If you have any quick and easy meal ideas for the family, please share them with me. I am stuck for what to have for lunch and dinners. We are always on the go, so simple is best."

This one goes out to all the mommas out there- you're superwomen! You're busy! You're HUNGRY!

Putting kids in sports and activities is great, but we need to be able to feed the lil monsters, too.

I debated on what to write for this post. I had a long list of meal ideas: slow cooker recipes, soup recipes, stir fries, and salads. The thing is... we all already know that. Every googler out there can search "fast healthy slow cooker recipe" to get hundreds of scrumptious results. No, I am not going to google today.

Instead, I'm going to focus on my favorite, often underestimated meal option for busy days:
The Wrap.

Wraps are a fantastic way to combine cooked and raw foods in the same meal. They can be fancy enough to satisfy the aristocrats of us, but are also kid-friendly.

Wraps can be hot, cold, sweet, savory, cut into pinwheels for an appetizer, or noshed behind the wheel while wizzing down the interstate. (Relax. Texting is illegal; noshing is still deemed perfectly acceptable. Thank goodness.)

The best wrap has four components:
  1. The Wrap
  2. The Meat
  3. The Stuff
  4. The Smack (previously known as "The Sauce")
Here are some ideas for each category to spark your creative interest.

The Wrap:
  • Chinese Rice Paper (GF)
  • Corn Tortilla (GF)
  • Whole Grain Tortilla
  • Flat Out Wrap
  • Large Lettuce Leaf (not recommended for behind the wheel noshing)
  • Sprouted Grain Tortilla, like Ezekiels
The Meat:
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Pulled Pork
  • Seasoned Beans
  • Tofu, marinated and baked
  • Fish (season with some lemon pepper and bake)
  • Ground turkey with taco seasoning
  • Seasoned Chickpeas
  • Veggie Burger
The Stuff:
  • Fresh spinach
  • Fresh veggies
  • Marinated, roasted veggies
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Rice noodles
  • Hummus
  • Olive Tapenade
  • Guacamole
  • Viniagrette
  • Salsa
  • Terriaki/Soy Sace (Tamari for GF)
**Remember, wraps can be hot (folded and heated "quesadilla style") or cold!

Here are a few of my favorites:

The Elvis (great for breakfast):
Almond or peanut butter, cinnamon, and a banana or apple slices, wrapped up in a flour or corn tortilla

Spring Wraps:
Fresh, julienne-cut veggies (carrots, cucumber, avocado, cabbage, red pepper), brown rice, tofu (or chicken), and brown rice, rolled up in rice paper and dipped in sauce made with peanut butter thinned with tamari and water

Roasted Veggie Wrap:
Large whole wheat or spinach wrap, rolled around roasted veggies and hummus. Would be great with grilled chicken!

Pulled Pork Tacos with a twist:
Season some pulled pork jamaican jerk style, adding a can of chopped pineapple. Construct tacos as usual, using plenty of fresh veggies to garnish!

Chickpea Tacos (click for recipe):
For heftier dinner appetites, make it a "chickpea burrito" by adding some Mexi-Brown Rice: Just mix brown rice with a small can of chopped tomatoes and taco seasoning to taste.

So many options...the list is endless. Get Crazy.

What is your favorite quick and easy meal?

Do you often eat on the go, or do you like some time out for chewing?

Peace, Love, and Veggies,
Bee Louise

Have a nutrition-related question? Leave a comment or send your thoughts to Bee Louise's Bites at

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Q & A: Healthy Mexican Food Choices

This week, I received the following question from FOODPICKER.ORG:

“I have type 2 diabetes and love Mexican food. Could you give me some tips on what to order at my favorite Mexican restaurant?”

-Alan V.

The irony of this question, Alan, is that I am chomping on a homemade “burrito bowl” as we speak. Let me tell you, it is delicious. Let's talk Mexican!

Mexican food actually can be quite healthy. The traditional dishes are based on a trifecta of mouth-watering meats, vibrant veggies, and buxom beans. Top all that off with a spritzle of spice and you’ve got yourself a Mexican feast that would make any tastebud sing.

Since the goal of Type II Diabetes is weight management, the trick is to know how to do some savvy menu navigation.

Healthy Mexican food is available, and you will find that it is often among the most flavorful choices! When ordering, try these tips:

• Order menu items
“a la carte.” By avoiding the beans and rice, you will save many unnecessary calories and fat
• If ordering a side of beans, ask for the whole beans, rather than refried. Refried beans are often prepared in lard.
• Instead of ground beef, try the chicken, pork, or vegetarian entrees.
• Avoid the taco salad. This seemingly healthy entrĂ©e is usually loaded with beef, sour cream, and cheese, and is served in a deep, fried shell. Calorie overload.
• If eating at a sit-down restaurant, ask for no chips to be brought to your table. (From personal experience: I have yet to sit at a table with tortilla chips and not house those babies)
• As a condiment, try ordering extra salsa, and skipping the sour cream.
• Don’t be afraid to ask for your meal with extra veggies! (Fajitas with extra peppers/onions, tacos with extra lettuce/tomato, etc) This will fill you up and give you a healthy dose of vitamins and antioxidants.
• Although avocado provides healthy fat, the portions provided are often massive. Ask for your guacamole on the side, so you can control how much you’d like.
• In general, avoid menu words such as “crispy, fried, refried, cheesy.”
• Instead, choose menu items that are baked, grilled, or use a soft tortilla.
• I have yet to meet a healthy chimichanga. My advice is to avoid.
• Mexican food portions can often be quite large. As soon as your food gets to the table, box up half to go. Out of sight, out of mind.

Hope these tips help, Alan! Hasta Manana!

Peace, Love, and Veggies,

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gluten Free Grains, and the Day I Invented a New Word (re: FREEBIE)

Today some little fairy dropped an article from this month's Today's Dietitian into my work mailbox.

I'm the only gluten freebie (new word) out of our internship class, so our director does a nice job of taking care of me :) She's wonderful!

Anyway, I thought the article did a great job of focusing not only on what gluten free people can eat, but how they should be eating to maximize nutrition. Predictably...I want to share!

Gluten freebies are either illergic to or cannot tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye products. Eating a gluten free diet is harder than one might anticipate, since gluten can be hidden in so many foods: broths, malts, bases, seasonings, beer, food thickeners, dressings, etc).

You Freebies know what I'm talking about. Quite the pain.

To our elate, many new "gluten free" products have arrived on the market. Buying these clearly marked "gluten free" foods can seem like a breath of fresh air compared to scrutinizing food labels.

However, this article did a great job of emphasizing that
many Freebies are low in carbs and important minerals usually fortified into the gluten-containing products.

Don't panic, Freebies. We can still be just as healthy...maybe healthier. It just requires a lil' time and a whole lotta love. (Okay...mostly just a lil' time. But whole lotta love never hurt anybody)

Even though special, white-breadish gluten free products make great special-occasion snacks, we need to remember to focus on our unprocessed, whole food choices for staple foods. These can include grains such as corn, quinoa (see recipe from 2 days ago), millet, amaranth, teff, or buckwheat.

Confession: Honestly, I don't know what half of those grains off that list are. Corn and quinoa are about the extent of my cooking comfort.

So, here's to expanding my gluten free grain horizons. It should be easy enough, as cooking instructions are usually printed right on the packages. I will if you will.

Freebie Power.

Peace, Love, and Veggies,
Bee Louise

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Legislation Labels Calories on Fast Food Items

You know what today is?!

...not Monday! :) :) :) I love Tuesday- mainly because of Biggest Loser. Jillian Michaels is my homegirl.

The topic of the day is a touchy one: politics. (Oh, yes she did)

In March, the House of Representatives passed a health reform bill requiring all large restaurant chains to display calorie values next to items on their menus, both in-store and on drive-thru displays. The law also applies to vending machines (I can't imagine the fits this caused some people. Cough FritoLay cough)

Beyond calorie labeling, restaurants will also be required to offer additional nutrition information on request.

Display of nutritional information will still be voluntary for smaller businesses or daily specials.

Restaurants are required to be in accordance with this bill by 2014.

My first reaction is to be all about this guy. However, there are two sides to every issue, and I want to present both, because they definitely have merit.

  • Growth in dietitian jobs (dietitians gotta eat!)
  • Easier food allergen identification
  • Incentive for food manufacturers to produce healthier items
  • Enhanced information for glycemic control in people with diabetes
  • A hope that people will make a healthier choice by choosing lower calorie foods

  • Foods are not always standardized. Differences in preparation or accidental cross-contamination may lead to mislabeling
  • Consumers may not care. We are still not sure whether knowledge of calorie content will actually influence consumer choice.
  • Even if they do care, consumers may want to eat food and enjoy it without being confronted with the nutrition implications of their meal
  • Many food manufacturers argue that this legislation promotes the "good food/bad food" frame of mind, rather than a "everything in moderation" frame of mind.

While I do understand both sides, I'm leaning in favor, but I want to hear your opinion.

Do you agree with mandatory menu labeling for large restaurants?

If yes, do you think it should be required for small businesses as well?

If not, why not?

Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday, everyone, and please let me know what you think!

Peace, Love, and Veggies,

Monday, October 11, 2010

Recipe: Quinoa Pie


I had plenty to talk about today. Then I ate dinner, and it left me...


So, instead of whatever I was going to say, I am going to pass on to you this gem of a recipe from Martha Stuart Recipes, veganized by moi. (As always, gluten free friendly)

Quinoa Pie with Butternut Squash
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, havled crosswise, and seeded
  • 18 fresh sage leaves, plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped sage
  • 1/2 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup quinoa (I used TJ's red pretty against the orange squash!)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush baking sheet with 1 t oil. Cut 5, 1/4 in. thick rings from the squash; cut remainder into 1/4 in. dice. Place squash on sheets. Toss with 1 t oil. Sprinkle with 12 sage leaves. Bake about 15-20 mins, until tender. Let cool, and keep oven on.

Heat remaining t oil in md saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until onions are translucent. Add quinoa and stock; bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat. Simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 15 mins. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 2 minutes.

Stir together quinoa, diced squash, chopped sage, salt, and pepper.

Coat a 9-in glass pie pan with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange 6 sage leaves facedown in plate; top with squash rings. Press quinoa mixture on top.

Bake 20 mins. Let cool 5 mins, then invert onto serving platter. Serve wedges warm or at room temperature.

It comes out almost like a savory, upside down cake! Very easy, but super impressive looking.

Most importantly? Delicious.

Way to go, Martha

Peace, Love, and Veggies,

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Q&A: Whole Wheat Vs. Rye or Sourdough

This week, I received the following question from FOODPICKER.ORG:
"My husband has diabetes and we always eat whole wheat bread but wanted something different for a change. Is rye bread or sourdough bread as good of an option as whole wheat?"
-Sheila T.
Whole wheat bread is the "golden standard" of healthy breads for one reason: it contains more fiber.

Fiber in foods delays gastric emptying and speeds up intestinal transit time (translation: keeps you fuller longer and helps keep you "going" regularly).

Fiber is found in the bran of the grain. Processing often removes this bran (i.e, removing fiber). This is the reason the words "whole grain" usually denote a healthier choice.

In general, sourdough bread is lower in fiber than whole wheat bread, while rye bread is often the same or higher in fiber.

When in doubt, check the Nutrition Facts label.

Keep in mind that despite the fiber content, carbohydrate content across breads will be similar. For a person with diabetes, 15 g carbohydrate is usually equivalent to 1 carbohydrate serving and approximately 1 slice of bread.

Go do a few label comparisons and enjoy those sandwiches, Sheila.

Peace, Love, and Veggies,

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Recipe: Veggieversary Chickpea Tacos (GF)

This weekend, my best friend is celebrating her VEGGIEVERSARY!!!!!

Since we share clothes, she came over for a lunch date/to find some saweet outfits for the weekend. I got right to work strapping on my pretty apron and making something phenomenal for lunch.


If you try nothing else on this blog...please. Try these. (Vegetarianism not required.)

Chickpea Tacos w/Homemade Guac:
  • 8, 6-in. corn tortillas
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • 1, 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • taco seasoning (I used this recipe for GF-I always use McCormick's spices)
  • tamari sauce
  • lemon juice
  • favorite salsa (I used tomatillo salsa)
  • homemade guac (recipe follows)
  • fresh cilantro
Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare homemade taco seasoning (GF), or use a package (not GF). Combine chickpeas, seasoning, tamari, and lemon juice. Spread evenly over cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes- until chickpeas are crunchy on the outside, but have a slight "give" on the inside.

Guac that Rocks (Ha...):
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 T fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 lg clove garlic, minced
  • salt/pepper
  • lime juice (~1 T)
Prepare guac by smashing all ingredients together. Warm corn tortillas by microwaving for about 20 seconds between 2 moist paper towells. Assemble tacos using chickpeas, lettuce, tomato, salsa, guac, and a sprinkle o'cilantro.

*Makes 2, 4-taco servings (Yes...4 tacos. The girls can eat!)


Do you have a recipe that you think is absolutely, blow your socks off phenomenal? Share with me please!!!

Peace, Love, and Veggies,
Bee Louise

Friday, October 8, 2010

Eat Yer Breakfast!

Today’s post was written from my desk at work. The time is 6:20 am.

Yep. 6:20 am.

Which is fitting, because I wanted to talk about
my favorite meal of the day…


Everybody has heard about the studies proving we should not skip the first meal of the day. I know, you know, your mom knows, my grandma knows…don’t worry. I’m not going to quote you another one of these studies.
Although there are plenty to go around…

Instead, I’m going to tackle the subject of why breakfast is a great time to eat, and what foods are best in the morning.

Research from the University of Kansas and Purdue University has strongly supported theories that “the kinds of foods eaten at breakfast can influence feelings of fullness and satiety, and thus help influence calorie intake throughout the day.” (Leidy HJ,
Nutrition Close Up, Spring 2009).

This is the theory that says a donut for breakfast may be a lesser option compared to, say, toast with peanut butter. Also known as
“The Party Pooper Theory.”

The same study indicated above focused on the link between protein and satiety.
It found that eating a high-protein meal kept participants more full and reduced total calorie intake. However, this only held true for breakfast. Participants eating normal-protein diets the rest of the day (0.8 g protein/kg body weight) felt just as full as those eating high-protein all day long.

I know what you're thinking, and I hear ya'.
I hate studies. Does this mean anything?

It means two things:

Eat yer breakfast!

Put some protein in it! (on it?)

Breakfast protein items might include:
Protein powder/Shake
Peanut butter/ Almond Butter
Eggs (omelet, scrambled, frog-bellied…)
Low Fat Cheese
Turkey Sausage
Handful O’Nuts

Rightyo…time to go get mine!

Peace, Love, and Veggies,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Eat Like You Give a Damn

Warning: this post is going to contain the word damn.

Hello everyone! Today's post is dedicated to two of my favorite healthy feasting mantras.

The first: "Eat like you give a damn."

I first heard this from a fellow weight loss coach back in the day, and thought it was fantastic. I don't believe in being pushy with personal food choices (vegetarian vs. carnivore, dairy vs. almond/soy, etc.), but I do believe that each person has the power to eat the foods that make them feel GOOD!

That being said, this shirt from Moos Shoes is on my christmas list. (Hint...hint)

So sassy. So great.

The second phrase of the day: "You are what you eat."

I know this phrase is anything but original. We've heard it a million times...our desperate mothers trying to convince us we would BECOME a pickle if we stuffed one more baby dill into our mouths.

However, it's pretty powerful to stop and think about how true this statement is. The food that we eat gets broken down into the cells that literally become our body. If we eat healthy, vibrant foods, we are literally transforming that positive energy into our own bodies.

What's even more great about this is that our cells are constantly turning over! Thirty years from now, we will consist of entirely new cells than those that make up our bodies right now. This means that it is never too late. No matter what your history with nutrition is, you can start building yourself up right now, cell by cell!

Sometimes if I am eating an especially bright piece of fruit, I can't help but to think of what part of myself is going to receive all that radiance! Maybe the red from that honeycrisp apple is going to show up on my cheeks, or maybe all that healthy fat in my avocado is going to make my hair glisten. Of course, it's not all as simple as that, but then again...

it kind of is.

Peace, Love, and Veggies,

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Singing the Blues? You may need Vitamin B. Or Chili (Recipe)

Happy Humpday Eve!

The inspiration from today's post came from the sun himself. You might have noticed...he's not hanging around as much here lately.
What a flake.

The shorter days can sometimes lead to a feeling of being...sluggish. Fatigued. Cranky. (No I am
not talking about myself)

Okay, I might be talking about myself. But just


I wanted to share with you some research that is out about a link between depression and Vitamin B.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition supports evidence for a link between depression and Vitamin B6 and B12 deficiencies. The study included about 3500 seniors, and found that as vitamins B6 and B12 were increased in the diet or through a supplement, depression rates decreased. The most success was noted in the group using supplements rather than getting their B vitamins solely from food sources.

This study supports the idea that a Vitamin B deficiency may be the culprit behind many symptoms of depression.

How much Vitamin B should you aim for?
  • Vitamin B6- 1.3-1.7 mg/day*. Avoid a dose much higher than this, as excess Vitamin B6 can also be detrimental for your health.
  • Vitamin B12- 2.4* micrograms per day
*The Institute of Medicine, Reported by Harvard School of Public Health

What foods contain these vitamins?
  • B6- beans, poultry, fish, and veggies and fruits (especially dark, green leafies, papayas, oranges, and cantaloupe)
  • B12- animal products, fortified breakfast cereals, enriched soy, almond, or rice milk

Because B12 is predominantly in animal products, it is a good idea for vegans to talk to their doctors about choosing a daily B12 supplement.

NOW, enough of that fancy business.
I'm going to share with you my numero uno way for chasing the fall weather chills:


I based mine on a recipe from, but tweaked a couple things to match my style: saucy and gluten free :)

Black Bean Vegetarian Chili (gluten free!)


  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (GF-check the label)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder (GF- McCormick's)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (GF- McCormick's)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • salt, to taste


Sautee onions and garlic in olive oil for a minute or two, then add sweet potatoes, carrots and bell pepper until onions are soft, about 5-6 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium low, and add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine well.

Simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes, until flavors have mingled and vegetables are cooked.

Makes 5 servings of homemade black bean chili.

Makes a great, come-home-from-work-and-warm-your-tummy kinda meal. Enjoy, and have a cozy night!

Peace, Love, and Veggies,
Bee Louise

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Recipe: Pumpkin Smoothie, and Perfect Day*

Morning blogsters!

My apologies for the lack of post yesterday: I was just busy having the
most perfect day ever.

I was inspired by a recent post,
"What's your perfect day?" from Betsy's Beauty Blog that got me to thinking about what my perfect day would be.

Fall day. Sunny, smelling like leaves. Good, sweaty outdoor workout. After, I'd grab my favorite friend and go to a couple shops (I like my shopping in tad bits here and there...not a mall kinda person). After, we'd get something steamy from Starbucks and head to Trader Joe's to see what kind of crazy snacks we could find. Throw in a night full of trashy TV and catching up, and you've got yourself a perfect day.

I got my wish

My day went exactly as planned, except with a
few surprises:
  • Since the country road I run on was so windy, I turned in to run around a field. I noticed a couple of signs halfway down one of the straights, and discovered that the outside of the field was marked like a running track! There was one wooden sign that said "2 laps=1 mile," and another that said "Keep going, you can do it!" Keep in mind that I literally live in the middle of nowhere. SO COOL
  • Barnes and Noble, and Food Revolution by John Robbins! New books make me happy enough. Reading new books in my NEW GLASSES makes me positively skippy
  • Ann Taylor Loft was having a humongo sale. Damage was done.
  • Starbucks's Pumpkin Spice Latte is out! Not gluten free, so I rolled with my ush, but my friend got it and let me borrow some of the amazing smells it was packin'
  • Starbucks has invented COFFEE SWEATERS. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted to drop that ten bucks. I did not.
  • I practiced impeccable self control at TJ's, where the nice checkout man proceeded to offer ten-ish wrong facts about the benefits of peanut butter vs. almond butter to my friend. Times like this, I'm tempted to whip out the "Nuh uh!" card, but...I smiled, said "really," and earned my gold star for the day.
  • Said gold star was revoked for posting above bullet point.
  • Vegetarian bowl from Chipotle for dinner, at which I was not charged extra for guac. Nobody could have seen that awesomeness coming.

I woke up this morning pining after something pumpkiney (word? negative.) I've been wanting to try pumpkin in a smoothie, so I whipped one up:

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie: (gluten free)
pumpkin puree
almond milk
1 banana
cinnamon, nutmeg
ice cubes

Threw in a handful of almonds for protein and called it a breakfast. It was pretty delish. If you're a "texture person," this might not be for you. The pumpkin puree definitely added an..."earthy" texture to the smoothie. For us pumpkin lovers, though, it hit the spot.

So there you have it...Perfect Day :)
When was the last time you had a perfect day? What did you do?

*Note: If you noticed this post lacks intellect, you're right. I've been avoiding active brain activity this weekend. Intellectual Bee will return tomorrow.

Peace, Love, and Veggies,

Friday, October 1, 2010

Q & A: Protein Needs in a Person with Diabetes

This week, I received the following question from Robert S. at FOODPICKER.ORG:

"Since I've been diagnosed with diabetes, a lot of people have given me advice about how much carbohydrate and fat to eat. I'm wondering about protein. How much protein should I get in my diet and from what foods besides meat?" -Robert S.

Protein, fat, and carbohydrate all play an equally important role in contributing to the body's energy stores. Kudos to you, Robert, for focusing on all three of these groups, rather than just carbohydrates, which is often the (misinformed) tendency of many people with diabetes.

Protein plays an important role in lean tissue maintenance (muscle, babay!) and satiety (tummy-growl suppression). Requirements can vary amongst individuals.

Since the name of the game in diabetes management is consuming a balanced diet, protein recommendations are the same as for a person without diabetes.

Most individuals require about
0.8 g protein per kilogram of body weight.
Example: A 130 lb. individual weighs ~59 kg
59 x 0.8 = 47.2 g protein/day

It is important to remember that varying conditions may increase or decrease protein recommendations. Compromised renal function (kidney disease) may mean eating less protein is best. However, athletes, people healing from a wound or surgery, or those with certain diseases may have increased protein needs. Since diabetes and renal dysfunction are often related, it is a good idea to discuss your needs with your doctor.

Now- the subject of protein sources, Robert, is a hot topic. If you are secretly working with PETA, just know that my beautiful specimen of black Michael Kors leather handbag literally jumped into my cart.

I didn't mean to and I'll never do it again.


The best protein sources can be summed up by one word:
LEAN. Lean proteins can come from either plants or animals.

Healthy Animal-Based Protein Sources:
  • poultry
  • fish
  • pork
  • eggs
  • low-fat dairy

Healthy Plant-Based Protein Sources:
  • quinoa
  • beans
  • nuts and seeds
  • nut butters
  • soybeans
  • lentils

The jury is still out as to which sources are better: plant-based, or animal-based.

Vegetarians argue that a diet rich in plant-based proteins minimizes cholesterol and heart disease.
Many studies strongly support these claims.

Carnivores argue that animal proteins are more biologically available, a fancy term meaning basically that they "do more for you."
A few studies have supported these claims.

I digress.

The best answer, for now, is to
eat lean protein from a variety of both plant and animal sources.

Hope this helps, Robert!
Peace, Love, and Veggies,

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Carbohydrates: a friend to you and me

I find carbohydrates frustrating.

First, carbs made us healthy. ("Eat your whole grains all day every day, and avoid fat!").Then 1 in 3 Americans became obese.

Simple carbs made us diabetic ("Too much sugar will raise your blood sugar levels!") In three years, the number of Americans with diabetes tripled.

Finally, all carbs made us fat ("Eat frittatas and you will live long and prosper!") Then people realized that their breath SMELLED and their energy levels were awful. Recent studies have even found increased risk of Type II Diabetes in people following a low carb diet, possibly due to increased red meat intake.

I'm going to set the record straight in a way that may not be shocking or newsworthy, but is the honest-to-goodness, final word truth:

Non-refined carbohydrates are part of a healthy diet. Non-refined means: has not been altered. Exists in its natural, as-grown state.

The best carbohydrate sources include:
  • Fruits- they are packed full of fiber and antioxidants, as well as natural sugar to help give you an energy boost
  • Whole Grains- In addition to being full o'fiber, whole grains like brown rice, barley, oats, and quinoa provide minerals we need to stay healthy
  • Sweet Potatoes- These guys are basically amazeballs. They pack fiber, antioxidants, and enough carbohydrate energy to get your through it (whatever "it" may be)
  • Corn- corn gets a bad rap from some nutritionists, but I feel that if it comes out of the ground, it's allowed in. (As to my mouth)
  • Unprocessed sugars- in place of refined sugar, try using natural sugars such as honey, pure maple syrup, or agave nectar.

How much should you eat?

Dietitians use the Plate Method to counsel patients on how to "eyeball plan" their portions.

To achieve a healthy balance in your meals:
Mentally divide your plate into fourths. Dedicate one fourth to a lean protein source, and another fourth to a healthy carb! Leave the remaining half to fill with veggies.

There you have it...the great, carby truth!

(Honestly...did you ever think a fresh, glowing honeycrisp apple the size of your head could really be evil?)

Me either :)

Peace, Love, and Veggies,