Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gestational Diabetes

Just read a study on gestational diabetes (GDM) and the risk for children who's moms had GDM to develop diabetes at a younger ages.  Children were tested at age 11 for the risk factors that identify pre-diabetes (obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL and blood sugar in the high-normal range).  Children who's moms did have GDM, but the infants were of average birth weight had similar rates of the risk factors as children who's moms didn't have diabetes - about 20% had at least one risk factor.  If, however, the mom had GDM and the baby was 9 pounds or more at birth, 50% of those children had at least 1 risk factor and 15% had 3 factors for diabetes (which is how pre-diabetes also known as metabolic syndrome is determined) at age 11. 

Getting the word out about postpartum screening for diabetes and making family lifestyle changes for healthy eating, exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight sure sounds like a great way to stop the obesity and diabetes epidemic.

Metabolic Syndrome in Childhood:  Association with Birth Weight, Maternal Obesity, and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus.  Booney et al.  Pediatrics 2005; 115;e290

Monday, July 25, 2011

Great Quote

A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something Brussels sprouts never do.
– P. J. O'Rourke

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Success with Veg!

The variety challenge is over, and I was able to use most (but not all) of the produce from the shopping spree. 

I really like roasted roots, but I wasn't about to turn the oven on and roast something for 40 minutes when it's 90 degrees outside. The parsnip, turnip and rutabega, I diced and steamed in the microwave  until they were tender (about 10 min).  Then I threw them in a pan with a little olive oil & garlic to brown them up.  A pinch of salt, pepper and rosemary for flavor.

The beets I cooked whole in the microwave also, about 8 minutes.  I diced them and some bartlet pears and made a vinegrette with a mix of balsamic and rice wine vinegar.  The beet juice turned the pears hot pink!  What's NOT to love about a food that's both of my favorite colors (lime & fuchsia). Then it was topped with a sprinkle of blue cheese.  Yum! 

I made a tomatillo sauce from the leek (slowly cooked in a little olive oil until they started to carmelize), then the tomatillos were added along with a jalapeno, sorrano, anaheim and poblano pepper (I removed the seeds to reduce the heat) and simmered until everything was soft.  That whole mess was tossed in the blender. 

My taste testers decided at that point that it was salsa.  So we added some salt and lime and ate a good bit of it with tortilla chips.

I also mixed some with some pre-cooked salad shrimp, diced tomatoes, avocado and blueberries and served them in boats made from the endive.

The butternut and acorn squash were also cooked in the microwave about 15 minutes.  The flesh was then mashed (potato masher) and some real maple syrup added.  This was a HUGE hit with my family who won't eat squash any other way. 

I'm still picking away at the cool fruit that I bought.  And the radichio and purple kale are still languishing in the fridge.  The challenge participants have until noon to send me thier lists.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Too much????

It’s all together possible that I got a little carried away at the grocery store in my attempt to catch up with Angela.  I wonder how many I really can eat in the next 4 meals.


The variety challenge at work has really ignited interest for some of my co-workers.  But why worry about variety in fruits and veggies anyway? 

It's easy to forget that each fruit or vegetable has it's own combination of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that help to prevent chronic diseases and keep us healthy.  

Here's a chart that compares 4 types of salad greens and the nutrients that we generally consider as being reasons to eat these foods.  By eating a variety of salad greens, you're sure to get the best of all the nutrients.

Monday, July 11, 2011


We've all heard that we should drink 8 glasses of water per day, but is that true?  There's actually  no scientific data to back up that particular number.  Water is important to health, but how much you actually need depends upon many things. A good rule of thumb is that you need 1/2 cup (4oz, 118ml) for every 100 kilocalories that you eat.  I need about 2000 kcals per day, so my total fluid requirement is about 10 cups.

But that doesn't mean 10 cups of water.  Milk, juice, tea and coffee are nearly completely water.  Yes, I know you've been told that caffeinated drinks don't "count".  Recent research shows that you may have to pee sooner, but you don't actually pee more than if there's not caffeine.  Also fruits and vegetables are 90% water.  With this Fruit & Veggie Challenge at work, I've been eating 3-4 cups a day.  That's easily 3 cups of my 10. 

You may need more fluid intake than average if:
  • you exercise vigerously (losses in sweat and breathing)
  • you live in a dry climate (evaporation)
  • you eat a high protein / low carb diet (foods naturally low in water and need extra water for metabolism)
  • the weather is hot (sweating)
  • you drink alcohol (extra water needed for metabolism)
You've probably also read claims that drinking water will help you to lose weight.  It won't rev up your metabolism (as frequently claimed) but may help for the following reasons:
  • Drinking water instead of sugared drinks reduces your kcals by about 200 per glass.
  • The volume of the water may make you feel fuller and thus you may eat less.
  • Many people mistake the way they feel when they are thirsty and think they are hungry...feeding the thirst cue adds unneccessary kcals.
  • Drinking lots of water requires lots of walks to the loo.  When it comes to exercise...every step counts.

Water Calculation Source:  Whitney & Rolfe's "Understanding Nutrition"

Friday, July 8, 2011

Chicken Veggie Salad

Here's one of my "proportion" recipes that makes it easy for singles and cooks of large families to easily adjust.  I served this on Chibatta Rolls for lunch.  This evening it was made into a tortilla wrap by one of the girl's friends, and considered a dip with crackers by my older daughter. 

Chicken Salad
For each portion:
1/2 cooked chicken breast, diced or shredded
1 rib celery, diced
1 carrot, shredded
10 cherries, pitted and sliced/chopped
1/4 apple, diced
1 mini sweet pepper or 1/4 bell pepper
1 green onion (white & green parts)
Ranch dressing - to taste.

My Friday fruit & veggie variety count included: celery, carrot, cherries, apple, peppers, scallions, hominy, black eyed peas, pintos, kidney beans, great northern beans, green beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, Spanish onion, red leaf lettuce, pea pods.  My volume was less impressive, only 6 servings...unless I get to count wine as grapes.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Grilled Asparagus & Fruit and Veggie Challenge

After a long, cold spring, it's finally summer in Boise (temps in the 90's after months and months of 70's).  Tonight I'll make what will surely be the last of this seasons' asparagus.  Maybe I'll try grilling it like in this video.

I've just issued a challenge to my co-workers.  I'm giving a prize to the person who eats the most different types of fruits and veggies from Thurs July 7 through Wed July 13.   You can play the on-line version too.  Leave a comment after the daily Nutrition Blog post or on my Nutrition Facebook listing what you ate.  For example, on Wed July 6th I ate: cherries, cantaloupe, asparagus, onions, mushrooms, bell pepper, red leaf lettuce, cherry tomatoes and avocado.  Prizes TBA.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sneaky Treats

Looking for a way to sneak more fruits and vegetables into your diet?  Try fruit or veggie purees in baked goods.  The first time I made this, I was using up some canned carrots that I had purchased for a camping trip and never used.  Canned pumpkin, sweet potatoes or peaches would work well, as would any kind of left-over cooked winter squash.  This is perfect for a pot-luck or staff meeting where people want "just a bite" of something new.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


One thing that I love about summer is the fruit.  I'm fortunate enough to have a sweet cherry tree in my back yard.  With our cold, late spring I wasn't sure we were actually going to have any cherries this year.  I was delighted to discover on July 4th, that not only were the cherries ready to pick...but the birds had actually left some for us!  I don't mind sharing with the birds, but it does annoy me that they take just one bite from each cherry instead of eating the whole thing.   Every few years we get a bumper crop and this appears to be one of those years.  I was able to fill two 1/2 bushel baskets without even pulling out the ladder. 

Now to figure out what to do with the bounty. 

I used 1 gallon of fresh cherries as a bribe to get people to stop after the Central District Health Department Cholesterol Screening so I could tell them about the resources we've added to our website for managing the Medicare medication gap, and also the new YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program. The Medicare links are for people who are on Medicare to find out if they will hit the dreaded "doughnut hole" of coverage for the cost of medications (where individuals have to pay $1700 out of pocket for meds before coverage resumes.) Please share with any of your friends or relatives in the US over the age of 65.  The YMCA diabetes prevention program is available at 42 locations in 22 states.  There's more info at the provided links.

I shared 1/2 gallon with my WIC co-workers so we can win the July Fruit & Vegetable challenge.  We're having a contest with another department to see which of us has a higher rate of employees eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and 30 minutes of exercise 3 days per week.  I'll be posting frequently about produce and exercise this month so my team can win!!!

Tonight, I need to pick more cherries and do something with all of them.  I asked my Facebook friends what they would do with the bounty.  I think I'll follow all the advice: cherry crisp, just eat them, and soak them in booze.

Vote on the latest poll to the right.  What's your favorite summer fruit?