Pumpkin Spice Granola

Who else is still on a pumpkin kick? You know I am!

Y’all know I love me some granola, and if you haven’t checked out my other granola recipes, you can find them linked below:

Maple-Almond Granola

Almond Joy Granola

BUT since it’s pumpkin season, I made my version of pumpkin spice granola and honestly–it’s my favorite homemade granola recipe yet! I hope y’all love it as much as I do! Make sure you tag me in all of your creations: @livebetterwithkatdetter

Fun Pumpkin Facts: 
Did you know that pumpkin can be used to replace butter or oil in baked goods? You heard me right!
Subbing pumpkin for butter in a recipe: For 1 cup of butter, use 3/4 cup of PURE pumpkin puree
Subbing pumpkin for oil in a recipe: For 1 cup of oil, use 1 cup of PURE pumpkin puree (1:1 ratio)

Pumpkin is also high in fiber which many Americans do not consume enough of daily. Fiber aids in digestion, promotes heart health, and controls blood sugars. Make your “treats” more nourishing by using pumpkin!

Other ways to incorporate pumpkin:
Add pumpkin puree to Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey
Make pumpkin muffins or scones
Mix 1-2 Tablespoons into coffee with 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
Make a savory sauce with pumpkin + light cream + Parmesan cheese
Combine pumpkin + ricotta cheese + herbs + spices and use as a filling for lasagna
Make a pumpkin smoothie

Okay, now onto the granola!

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Pumpkin Spice Granola

  • Servings: 6 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

2 cups old fashioned oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1 T chia seeds or ground flax
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/8-1/4 cup maple syrup (depending on how sweet ya like it!)
1/2 can PURE pumpkin 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Mix oats, spices and chia/flax together. In a saucepan, heat coconut oil, maple syrup and pumpkin until melted and combined together.
  3. Mix pumpkin mixture into oats.
  4. Once well incorporated, add to a parchment paper lined baking dish.
  5. For granola clusters, spread granola evenly and firmly pack oat mixture onto baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Allow granola mixture to cool for an hour, then break into chunks.
    **NOTE: If granola is too moist, bake for an additional 10-20 minutes at 200 F to take out excess moisture.
  7. Enjoy on a top of yogurt, in a smoothie bowl, or plain!
  8. Additional/optional add ons once granola is cooled:
    Dark chocolate chips/chunks
    Pumpkin seeds
    Raisins
    Dried cranberries
    Freeze dried fruit

 

What other fall recipes would you like me to try? Let me know in the comments here or on my social media accounts!

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian
Follow me on social media!
@livebetterwithkatdetter

Black Bean Brownies

Black beans in brownies?? YES!

This trend has been around for a few years now. The first time I made black bean brownies was in 2015…I was getting ready to pack up my car and move to California to attend Loma Linda University to become a registered dietitian.  Before I left for school, I made my family a special treat…and I didn’t tell them what was in it…

Now, I am going to give you a little background on my childhood…when I was a little girl, maybe 6 or 7, I LOVED “playing” in my mom’s kitchen experimenting with foods…that could be why I decided to become a dietitian and do recipe development professionally!

I can remember making a jello dessert and putting what I thought was orange zest in it for a little extra flavor…turns out I was zesting too much and ended up putting the orange peeling in it instead…and my brothers never let me forget it! They’re always kind of afraid to try new foods I make despite the fact that I’ve gotten wayyyyy better at recipe development.

Back to before I moved away, I made a special dessert for my last night in North Carolina…I made black bean brownies. After everyone took a bite and decided they tasted good, I had them guess what they thought was in it…no one knew!

“Black beans!” Course, we grew up eating beans so my brothers weren’t too put off…but my sister-in-law was like “Ew, gross” and decided they were not fit to eat. However, everyone else LOVED them, and you will to!

 

I’ve adapted my recipe over the years. Today I am using black beans and sweet potato in this recipe and I guarantee you will love it! Fudgey, smooth, and perfect for a warm, brownie sundae!

Black Bean Brownies

  • Servings: 16 squares
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

1 can black beans

1/2 c almond flour

1/2 c sweet potato

1/2 c unsweetened apple sauce

1/4+ 2 tbs maple syrup

2 T cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 T vanilla

1/2 c dark chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Drain and rinse black beans very well.
  3. Add to high powered blender or food processor.
  4. Add almond flour, sweet potato, unsweetened applesauce, maple syrup, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and vanilla to blender/food processor.
  5. Blend until smooth.
  6. Add to mixing bowl and fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Pour mixture into greased baking dish.
  8. Sprinkle more chocolate chips on top.
  9. Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes.
  10. If brownies are still goopy, bake for additional 5-10 minutes and let cool. The batter will thicken as it cools.
  11. Enjoy!!!

Have you ever tried black bean brownies ??

Until next time,

Happy Chewing!

Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian

Follow me one social media!

@livebetterwithkatdetter

 

 

Garlicky Spinach Dip

Who loves spinach dip?? 🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️

What if I told you I’ve got a healthy spinach dip recipe?? Using tons of fresh spinach and garlic and instead of mayo or sour cream (like traditional spinach dip), I use nonfat Greek yogurt.

Greek yogurt is packed with protein which makes this appetizer more nutrient dense than traditional spinach dip.

For even more creaminess, I use Neufchâtel cheese. Essentially, it’s low fat cream cheese…I choose to use low fat animal products because they are lower in saturated fat. While our body needs fat, saturated fat (found in animal products) may increase total body cholesterol.

See full printable recipe details below, and be sure to tag @livebetterwithkatdetter in your creations!

Healthy Spinach Dip

  • Servings: 8 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1-8 ounce block of Neufchâtel cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Additional add ins: fresh broccoli and artichokes work well in the recipe too!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add spinach, garlic, Greek yogurt, Neufchâtel cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, onion powder, garlic salt, and Italian seasoning.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Add to baking dish and top with more cheese.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for one hour or until bubbly. Let dip “rest” to thicken up.
  6. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips and fresh veggies!
  7. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite type of dip?

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!

Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Connect with me on social media!

FB & Pinterest: Live Better with Kat Detter

IG: @livebetterwithkatdetter

Kale Shakshuka

You guys, I’ve been wanting to try this “shakshuka” thing for a while…

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Shakshuka is a traditional African dish of poached eggs in a simmering tomato sauce…however, thanks to Molly Yeh, I was inspired to try the kale shakshuka version.

 

See Molly Yeh’s original recipe here– my recipe is adapted from hers.

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Kale Shakshuka

  • Servings: 2 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves fresh Garlic
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cups fresh Kale, washed & chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • Feta Cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a cast iron skillet, add oil and saute garlic. Add kale.
  3. Allow kale to cook down. Once slightly wilted, add vegetable broth.
  4. Salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Once cooked down, make 2 wells in kale mixture and crack eggs into wells.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-20 minutes (depending on how you like the yolk)
  7. Serve with crusty bread, roasted potatoes, or any other favorite breakfast side dish.

 

Enjoy!

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian

Follow me on social media!
Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube: Live Better with Kat Detter

Instagram: @betterwithkatdetter_rd

What’s a Dietitian?

graduate

It has been just over a year since I became a Registered Dietitian! That was one of the happiest moments of my life (aside from my wedding, of courseJ). Throughout my education, people asked me, “What’s your major?” When I told them “Nutrition and Dietetics, I am going to be a Registered Dietitian”, many people looked at me weirdly…”what do they do? Oh, you’re the food police! You’re going to hate that because nobody will listen to you. Good luck finding a job. People already know what they should be eating …”

And yet…people aren’t.

The dietitian field is growing more today than ever before, and I truly believe it is because there is a definite need! With heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other medical conditions on the rise, dietitians are used to help treat individuals (and sometimes groups) with something everybody has in common: food.

Depending on the interest in this blog, I may share different areas of dietetics and my experiences with all of them, so stay tuned! Today, I am going to elaborate on what dietitians are and how to become one along with my education experience.

To begin the discussion, I am not a nutritionist.  I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. What’s the difference?  Though there are many nutritionists, dietitians are not only required to have a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics but also have to complete a 1200+ hour supervised practice (or internship for didactic programs) and pass National Boards through the Commission of Dietetics Registration (CDR)…and boy let me tell you—that test was not easy. So there are definitely some extra steps one has to take in order to become a dietitian. Dietitians can go on to work in hospitals, public health departments, outpatient programs, school systems, fitness facilities and many more nontraditional areas. In addition to that, RD/RDNs must complete 75 hours of continuing professional education courses every 5 years.  Registered dietitians have many more job opportunities due to being credentialed.

For my schooling, I attended Loma Linda University in a coordinated program. My supervised practice hours were incorporated into my 2 year education plan, so after I received my BS in Nutrition and Dietetics, I already had all my hours completed and was eligible to take boards.

In college, I took numerous classes from basic nutrition to biochemistry. Dietitians are nutrition scientists. We take anatomy and physiology 1 & 2, general chemistry 1 & 2, basic microbiology, basic nutrition, general psychology, and sociology all before getting into nutrition school. In nutrition school, we take those classes to a deeper level by taking biochemistry (several biochemistry classes each building on each other), organic chemistry, medical nutrition therapy, advanced medical nutrition therapy, nutrition counseling, statistics, finance, food service courses, and clinical nutrition managing courses. As you can see from that extensive list, we have a variety of courses to take in order to become a RD/RDN.

All those classes may sound a bit overwhelming and boring to many of you, but they were so informative and fun! One of my fondest memories from my education actually involves one of my least favorite classes!  In one of my food service operations courses, we were required to participate in “The Brown Bag Project” where my instructor gave us 3 ingredients: 1 starch, 1 vegetable, and 1 seasoning to create an entree in under 3 hours…kind of similar to one of those competition cooking shows on Food Network. We were able to use additional ingredients to create this meal. I was given hominy, artichokes, and coriander. Initially, my first reaction was “What the heck am I supposed to do with hominy!?” After thinking it over, I came up with an idea. My lab partner and I created a chile rellano stuffed with pureed hominy, fresh artichoke hearts, and black beans sprinkled with coriander and cheese. It turned out pretty good, and the judges gave outstanding reviews! It was in this class that I my love for experimental cooking sparked and thus my recipe development began.

kitchen dance

Through my excellent education experience, I went on and completed my supervised practice hours, graduated with honors, passed the RD exam, and now am a clinical dietitian. When looking into a school no matter what the profession may be, make sure your program has a lot to offer you. Loma Linda University had so many opportunities for me to grow professionally, personally, and spiritually.

What memories do you have from your professional program? I would love to hear them!

Would any of you be interested in reading about the areas of dietetics? Let me know!

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

 

6 Tips to Choose Health Promoting Goals with Your Spouse

bobkat

Have you ever wanted to make a really colorful, nourishing recipe you found on Pinterest for you and your significant other, and then as soon as you put it on the table your spouse has a hard time choking it down? Yeah, I have been there, too. My husband and I have been married for about 2.5 years now, and we share similar health promoting behaviors, but he definitely turns his nose up to quinoa, tofu, chickpeas, avocado, and beets.

Today I am going to share some ideas on how to get your spouse involved in developing health promoting goals with you.

  1. Shop Together

Weeks get busy really fast, but if you take some time during your weekend to go grocery shopping together, it can really make a difference in what healthful meals you can both agree on. Try to make a list beforehand and while you are shopping together, ask for your significant others opinion on produce, whole grains, and proteins. Don’t buy a bag of avocados if your spouse hates them! Lesson learned: it is hard to eat a whole bag of avocados by yourself before they go rot.

  1. Purchase Plants They Like

This is one thing I do all year round! My husband is very selective when it comes to fruit and literally will not eat it unless I sit it in front of him. Fruit is one thing I like to have on hand for snacks for a mid-day energy boost. The fiber keeps me full & regular, making my body physically feel its best. For instance, Bobby likes strawberries, watermelon, and bananas. Even if they are not in season, I still buy them so he has access to fibrous foods he actually enjoys.

Luckily, it is summer time so I can get his favorite (watermelon) frequently!

  1. Cook Together

What a fun way to spend date night! It is known that if a person helps in the cooking process of a meal that they will be more likely to enjoy it. Experiment with flavors, food, and spend some quality time together in the kitchen. Put your spouse to use in washing and chopping up fresh veggies for a stir fry, or cracking eggs for a breakfast veggie omelet. Getting involved in the cooking process can also help you make sure you are cooking things you both can enjoy – a foundational part of mindful & intuitive eating!

  1. Incorporate Plants into Your Dishes

This is something we do a lot in my kitchen because sometimes you are just not in the mood for plain veggies on the side. There are many different opportunities to add plants to your meals. For example, when we make rice, I add 1 cup of riced cauliflower to 1 cup of cooked rice providing extra fiber and nutrients to the dish–and Bobby loves it! Let’s say your spouse only likes iceberg lettuce in salads. One option is to mix in some freshly chopped spinach to the iceberg to give more texture, flavor and micro-nutrients to the salad.

  1. Presentation is Key

It is so easy to get in the habit of using paper plates-it is a faster cleanup! However, food looks way better on a pretty plate! Once the food is cooked, plate the entree and sides on your fine china and garnish with your favorite herb. It will be appealing to the eye and increase meal satisfaction. To add some more pizzazz during your mealtime, light a candle and dim the lights. The ambiance with make your at-home dining experience more enjoyable.

  1. Move Together

You know that one couple in the gym that are so stinking cute that it is almost nauseating? THAT COULD BE YOU! Working out together in the gym, at the park, or even in the home can help you both physically feel your best. Do something you both can enjoy. Bobby and I go biking, hiking, and play tennis together a few times per week. Think about it: you are bonded by law to have a lifelong accountability partner. Embrace that bondage by getting sweaty together.

Challenge for the week: Choose at least one of these tips with your spouse to help one another live your best life.

Download my FREE 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here.

Until Next Time,


Happy Chewing!
xoxo
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Follow me on social media!

5 New Ideas for Summer Crops

watermelon

It is officially summer, if you couldn’t tell by the sweltering heat and humidity (if you are on the east coast), which means our gardens will be spitting out fresh produce for us once again. I have to be honest, I get excited about summer produce initially, but by the end of the season, I am sick of corn and zucchini! Have no fear! I have chosen 5 popular summer crops to research the history, nutrition, and cooking ideas to beat the boredom this season.


…Summer Squash


Fun fact: Did you know that all squash in general are native crops of North America? The Wampanoag Indians cultivated winter and summer varieties in the early stages of America. Summer squash such as yellow squash and zucchini are relatives of winter squash such as butternut, acorn, and pumpkin.


Nutritionally, summer squash are rich in Vitamin C, an antioxidant which aids in collagen production, wound healing and iron absorption. In just one ½ cup serving, squash contains 15% of the daily recommendation for vitamin C. In addition to that, summer squash contains 1 gram of fiber per ½ cup serving.  Fiber aids in digestion and helps you have a healthy colon. 


Make no mistake, I love some squash, but I get tired of eating it sautéed for 2 months straight. You can grate squash and add to your baked goods or salads for some extra nutrition and flavor. Or, you can boil, microwave, sauté, roast, and of course-fry this delectable veggie. Most recently, my favorite way is grilled, thanks to my husband.


Directions: First, prep your veggies. Wash the squash and cut the ends off. DO NOT PEEL! Most of the nutrition is in the skin. Chop your squash in whatever form you like best. I prefer circles. Second, grab some aluminum foil and make a “foil packet” as shown above. Add another sheet of aluminum foil to the top forming a pouch to enclose the veggies. Add in your chopped veggies with a little drizzle of canola, grape-seed, or avocado oil. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the top. If you want to get a little creative, add herb of choice: rosemary, oregano or basil would be good options for a burst of flavor. Third, place foil pack on your grill for about 20 minutes or until tender. You will be AMAZED with how delicious this is. I could eat a mountain of grilled summer squash!

…Basil


An herb used in many Italian and Thai dishes, basil is another fun summer plant.  The origination is debatable as the plant has been cultivated in many different areas for many years, but it is thought to originate in India6. Oddly enough, in ancient Egypt times, basil was used as an embalming agent and has been found in tombs and mummies since then.
With virtually no calories, basil is a great addition to foods to achieve flavor without extra sodium.  Adding fresh basil to soups, pastas, curries, and even fruit can add a burst of flavor. Below is my take on basil pesto.

green leaf plant on brown wooden surface
Photo by monicore on Pexels.com

Directions: Gather your fresh, clean basil (1 cup) and add to food processor or blender. Add: ¼ cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons of walnuts or pine nuts, a dash of parmesan cheese, and 2 fresh garlic cloves. Pulse mixture together until smooth. Serve over pasta, spread on toast or sandwiches, or use as a dip for veggies. Make a double batch to have on hand for whenever you want it!


…Watermelon

“How do you put water in a watermelon?”

“You plant it in the spring!”

(go ahead, laugh at my corny joke.)

It’s a hot summer’s day, you are chilling at the pool and want a refreshing snack.  What better way to enjoy a nice chunk of watermelon! Watermelon is the definition of summer, and quite possibly my favorite summer crop.

eat watermelon


Cultivated in South Africa, watermelon quickly made its way to Egypt, to Europe, to the Mediterranean, then to India and finally to China. Interestingly enough, China is the world’s largest producer of watermelons5. Watermelon later made its way to America through the slave trade.


Watermelon is a very nutritious fruit made mostly of water (91%) with 6% sugar. This fruit is loaded with vitamin C while low in fat and sodium. Another fun nutrition bit on watermelon is that it is full of fiber! Yes, fiber which we know aids in digestion. One cup of watermelon contains about 50 calories and 1 gram of fiber.


Recipe time! One thing I think pairs well with watermelon is feta cheese-you get a little bit of salty/sweet action. Below is my recipe for Watermelon-Feta Salad.

Directions: First, prep your watermelon by cutting it in half and using a melon baller to form melon-balls. You will want to spoon out about 3-4 cups of watermelon. To the watermelon, add ¼ cup of feta cheese crumbles. Mix together.  If you want to get a little spunky, add some freshly chopped basil. This fruit salad is a great dessert option for a patriotic holiday cookout.


…Beets


Did you have that one vegetable growing up that you absolutely loathed and begged your parents not to make you eat? Yeah, beets were that vegetable for me, and of course my father made me eat at least one each time it was on the menu. They say your taste buds change every seven years-must be true because I love them now!


Originally from the Mediterranean, the actual beetroot was generally used medicinally.  That’s right, people generally ate the greens from beets before discovering the fleshy, earthy part many of us enjoy today7. Due to their strong staining effect, beets were used to dye clothing in the olden days.
Beets are highly nutritious for the fact they are good sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants are generally in substances containing vitamin C and remove potentially harmful oxidizing agents in a living organism, which potentially can decrease the amount of cancer cells8. Per 1 cup of beets, there are about 60 calories, 13 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of fiber. Beets are rich in vitamin C and potassium, which help maintain our natural acid-base balance in the body.


Beets are mostly canned or pickled, but my favorite way to cook beets is by roasting in the oven.

sliced red beets
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Directions: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel and wash your beets. Chop beets into bite sized pieces. Drizzle oil of choice-I choose one with a high smoke point like canola or grapeseed oil. Add: ½ tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, and 1 teaspoon of garlic salt. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until tender. Add to a nice spinach salad with your favorite goat cheese for some extra flavor. Roasted butternut squash or carrots would be a nice addition to that salad, as well.


…Corn


When I think back to my childhood and helping my dad in his garden, corn was always something we had an abundance of, and to be honest it was my least favorite summer crop (and still is). However, the history behind it is very neat!


Corn was actually nonexistent in the wild until it was cultivated in Central Mexico many, many years ago. Eventually when the Mexican culture migrated to America, they cultivated this crop in the Americas. Later when the Europeans came over, it was the Native Americans job to teach them how to cultivate many grains-especially corn. There are many varieties and colors of corn out there-blue corn, yellow corn, sweet corn, popcorn…which is your favorite? Corn can then be processed into many things we eat today from chips to grits (if you are a Southerner like me) or polenta.

corn kernel
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Though is does contain calories and carbs our bodies need, corn is actually one of the least nutritious grains. It contains poor quality protein (mainly because it is incomplete, as most grains are) and there is no niacin in this grain. Niacin is the precursor to tryptophan, an essential amino acid in our body. Essential amino acids are those that are not naturally made by our bodies. We have to eat foods that contain essential amino acids to make proteins in our body. Without niacin, our bodies will not make tryptophan. Corn does have some benefits though as it contains numerous vitamins and minerals to aid in processes in our bodies.

Wanna fight the boredom with this starchy grain? You can do many things with it-saute, boil on the Cobb, creamed…the recipe I am sharing with you is corn salsa. If I have to eat it, I prefer it with the Mexican flavors.


Directions: First, obviously, get to shuckin’! Once you have gotten all the silk off the corn, wash thoroughly. Next, cut corn off the Cobb and add to a bowl. Add: 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed), ½ cup of diced tomatoes (I like using Roma or grape), a bundle of finely chopped cilantro, lime juice, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Then just mix it all up!  Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to integrate. Serve with your favorite tortilla chip or top a salad with it for some extra flavor.


What’s your favorite summer crop?

Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!

Until Next Time,
Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Follow me on social media!

References:
1.    Horttech.ashspublications.org. (2018). [online] Available at: http://horttech.ashspublications.org/content/6/1/6.full.pdf [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
2.    National Museum of American History. (2018). From the Victory Garden: American history told through squash. [online] Available at: http://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/2011/11/from-the-victory-garden-american-history-told-through-squash.html [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
3.    Whatscooking.fns.usda.gov. (2018). [online] Available at: https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/factsheets/HHFS_SUMMERSQUASH_900151Dec2012.pdf [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
4.     Encyclopedia Britannica. (2018). Corn | History, Cultivation, Uses, & Description. [online] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/plant/corn-plant [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
5.    Vegetablefacts.net. (2018). History of Watermelon – Origin of Different Types of Watermelons. [online] Available at: http://www.vegetablefacts.net/vegetable-history/history-of-watermelon/ [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
6.    The Spruce Eats. (2018). The History of Basil From Food to Medicine to Religion. [online] Available at: https://www.thespruceeats.com/the-history-of-basil-1807566 [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
7.    The Spruce Eats. (2018). With Their Earthy Flavor, Beets Fan a Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em Debate. [online] Available at: https://www.thespruceeats.com/the-history-of-beets-1807568 [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
8.    Nutritionfacts.org. (2018). beets | Health Topics | NutritionFacts.org. [online] Available at: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/beets/ [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].

“DIET”…It’s a bad word

woman measuring her waist
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

How many of you have gone on a diet?  To be honest, who hasn’t?  In the past, I have definitely tried different fad diets. When I was a young teenager, I told myself I would only eat fruit to lose weight. As I got older, I thought restricting my calorie intake through skipping meals, only eating almonds and carrot sticks for lunch, and exercising all the time would make me lose weight.   Do you want to know what the outcome of all these “diets” were?  I lost weight! But, as soon as I lost the weight and started eating real foods again, I gained it all back. You see, the problem was not that I was eating ‘bad foods’–it was that I did not know how to eat.  I did not understand how the body works and why it needs energy.

Let’s look at some popular diets and see what they all have in common.  In general, when people “diet” they are on a special food plan and usually restrict certain food items solely to lose weight.  Diets like Atkins, NutriSystem, and Jenny Craig are specific, planned out meals that are sent to the consumer ready to eat (with minimal preparation involved).  These programs are carefully thought out by their inventors generally based on calories—calories in, calories out.  These programs for sure can help you lose weight, but when we stop purchasing these products, we don’t know how to eat for ourselves. People get in the routine of the prepackaged meal that when it comes down to a free-range way of eating, we don’t know where to begin.

Weight Watchers is one of those diets where you kind of have free range in what you eat as long as you keep up with the points system. This diet does give you ‘free range’ to choose what you want – but what happens when you’re out of points for the day and you’re hungry? You restrict until morning. We can get so preoccupied on that point system to where we become obsessed with food but not in a healthy way. It is a constant battle of “oh this has 10 points, and I am only allotted 23 in one day” or “fruits are free! I can eat as much as I want to”.

Another somewhat recent diet immersion is the keto diet. I scroll through Facebook and Pinterest and see keto recipes and products that made me wonder…are people really putting their bodies in ketosis to lose weight?

Ketosis is a metabolic state characterized by raised levels of ketone bodies in body tissues.  This is usually the result of a diet that is very, very low in carbohydrates.

In my profession, the keto diet is primarily used in children who are diagnosed with epilepsy. The thought behind the keto diet for epilepsy and some other nervous system diseases is to utilize ketone bodies (made from fat) instead of glucose (from carbohydrates) to help reduce seizures. Typically, our bodies utilize glucose to make energy,  but when we restrict glucose (and I mean truly restrict carbohydrate intake), our bodies go into a mode of starvation-ketosis. Scientists are still researching exactly how it can help seizures, but statistics show that the keto diet truly only benefits about 1/3 of people who have epilepsy.

Below is a diagram of what a true keto diet for epilepsy consists of.

photo found at https://medium.com/@beepucsd/sports-performance-altered-by-ketogenic-diet-4d04898b3afe

This diet is majorly fat, little bit of protein, and even less carbohydrates. Though this may benefit someone with a nervous system disease, for the average American, this diet may not be the answer.

Many people on a true keto diet may struggle with constipation because the diet is heavily fats and extremely low in carbohydrates, meaning fiber is difficult to get unless supplemented.

Sources of fiber: fruits, grains, vegetables which brings me to my next point.

10-Important-Tips-for-Digestive-Health
photo found at https://www.medicalindiatourism.com/blog/tips-digestive-health.html

Many of us know what foods contain carbs. Grains and fruits contain about 15 grams of carbohydrate per serving.  In the keto diet, 1 serving of carbs is about all you would be eating daily. However, people generally do not think about vegetables containing carbs. Vegetables contain about 5 grams of carbs per serving.  One half a cup of cooked broccoli contains 5 grams of carbs, but let’s be real…who only eats 1 serving of cooked broccoli?  I know I eat at least 1 full cup which would contain 10 grams of carbs…but that is okay. There are so many other vital nutrients in vegetables (and fruits) that our body truly needs!  Fiber, vitamins, minerals, CARBOHYDRATES.

Carbs are the body’s main source of energy, and when you restrict carbs to lose weight, it can hinder the metabolic process. Take it from me. I have restricted, and I have lost weight, but it was not until I found mindful & intuitive eating that I was finally able to find my body’s natural ‘happy weight’- or set point weight. You see, the more a person restricts, the harder it gets for the body’s metabolism to work the way God intended it to.  The older we get, the slower our metabolism is, especially if we have spent our lifetime restricting vital nutrients.

A GREAT BOOST FOR YOUR METABOLISM
photo found at https://thecalorieninja.com/tag/weight-loss

Many of you may be thinking, “how do I make this lifestyle change when we live in a world that promotes dieting?”

 You see, the reason I hate the word “diet” is because I constantly hear people say “oh, I am starting my diet tomorrow” or “I’m trying to lose weight…I should go on a diet”, but we really shouldn’t be.  One of the most enjoyable parts of life is enjoying what we eat. I hear all the time “eating healthy just isn’t as good as the real stuff”, but the beauty of food is that we can be creative and make it taste good!  Making a lifestyle change instead of going on a fad diet can do a multitude of things for us. This will help our bodies stabilize at the weight it function best and help us develop a healthy relationship with food.

My challenge for you is to not promote any diet but to promote mindful & intuitive eating. By doing so, you’ll say “buh bye” to diet culture, food rules, and weight stigma and finally be at peace with your body, mind and food choices.

Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Follow me on social media!

References:
  1. Ketogenic Diet. Epilepsy Society. https://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/ketogenic-diet. Published March 1, 2018. Accessed June 13, 2018.
  2. Precision Nutrition (2018). The Ketogenic Diet: Does it live up to the hype? The pros, cons, and the facts about the no-so-new diet craze. [online] Available at https://www.precisionnutrition.com/ketogenic-diet. Accessed June 13, 2018.
  3. Popsci.com. (2018): Consent Form | Popular Science. [online] Available at: https://www.popsci.com/not-in-ketosis. Accessed June 13, 2018.

Healthy Living 101

This post may seem super basic to some of you, but it never hurts to have a refresher of what our bodies need to feel its best.  Before I go into the basics for the average person, remember that every body is different and has different needs.  What works for me may not work for my best friend, but these reminders are the absolute basics.

  1. Eat fruits and vegetables.

This one seems so simple yet many of Americans are not getting enough of them!  Fruits and veggies are packed with tons of vitamins, minerals, water, and fiber.  We need all these nutrients for the metabolic processes in our bodies, and the fiber helps our digestion.  Fiber keeps us “regular”, if ya know  what I mean.  This is very important as it can help prevent diverticular disease.  Interesting fact: Diverticular disease generally begins with diverticulosis, which is essentially pouches in your intestines. It then can become inflamed from non-fibrous foods getting stuck in the pouches leading to diverticulitis.  Untreated diverticulitis can lead to a number of things, including colon cancer, which is the #3 cancer found in both men and women.  Eating fiber can help push your food though the intestines quickly so minimal residue gets stuck in those pouches.

food salad healthy summer
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Have a hard time eating fruits and veggies and want a tip?  Eat the ones you like! It is as simple as that.  If you can only tolerate broccoli with cheese sauce, then add cheese to your dish! Only like carrot sticks with ranch dressing?  Go ahead and use it. Try to get at least 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

  1. Include 100% Whole Grains

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that half of your daily whole grain intake be 100% whole grain.  How do we know if we are eating 100% whole grain?  Read the nutrition label.  The thing to keep an eye out for should be “100% whole grain” as the first ingredient.

close up of wheat
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Whole grains are important because they contain a lot of B vitamins, which are essential for many metabolic pathways in the body.  They also contain fiber, which I mentioned before being great for digestion.  I challenge you to try and make half of you grain servings whole grain today.  The dietary  guidelines recommend women get 3-6 servings of whole grains daily.  For  men, it is recommended to consume 4-8 servings of whole grain.

  1. Add in some healthy fats.

But wait, fat makes you fat!  WRONG!! This could not be more far from the truth.  Our bodies need fat for producing hormones, transporting fat-soluble vitamins, and helping the brain function—just to name a few.  The body needs 2 essential fatty acids: linoleic acid and linolenic acid.

Linoleic acid is more commonly known as omega-6 fats which is found in vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds.  Linolenic acid is omega-3 fats and is found in fish, walnuts, flaxseed, canola oil, and soybean oils.  These are polyunsaturated fats.

avocado blur close up focus
Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

Monounsaturated fats are great for the body too.  These fats are found in olive oil, avocados, and nuts.  Try to incorporate these into your meals and snacks in moderation.  Fatty foods are high in calories so we do not need to eat as many of them because they provide satiety.

  1. Exercise.

Ah, yes.  This is one of my favorite things to emphasize!  I believe diet is just as important, especially since I am a registered dietitian and spent many years studying nutrition.  However, you cannot do one without the other!  Americans are known for living sedentary lifestyles and developing heart disease and diabetes.  Guess what?  These diseases can be prevented by diet and exercise.

How can we make it a part of our lifestyle?  The biggest tip I can give you is do something you enjoy and can stick with it.  It can become hard in the craziness of life, but it can be done.  Scheduling time for exercise is the best way to meet your goals.  It takes 21 days to build a habit, so try it and see how it works!  Check out my blog on “Being Active with a Busy Schedule” for more tips.

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  1. Drink Water.

After all, our bodies are at least 60% water.  It is important that we replenish our bodies with water because we lose a lot of it when we use the bathroom, sweat, and breathe.  Drinking 64 ounces every day can help ensure we are getting enough water.

If you are a coffee drinker, make sure you bump up your water intake.  Coffee acts as a dehydrator for our body, so drink extra water if you do choose coffee.

clean clear cold drink
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Having said all of this, I am also an avid believer in enjoying life, and one of those pleasures is food.  Enjoy FUN foods–it is ok!  Your body can handle it.  Just make sure that you incorporate nutrient dense options on the regular.

I hope my take on “Healthy Living 101” helps some of you as you begin your mindful eating journey.

Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Follow me on social media!

5 Tips on Staying Active with a Busy Schedule

hike

What is your view on exercise?

I’ve been exercising regularly for nearly a decade, but my relationship with movement wasn’t always the best.

I thought if I wanted to be “healthy” that I needed to workout every single day, only do cardio (you know, because it burns the most calories), sweat profusely, and be in physical pain. I thought a workout needed to push me to exhaustion…and if I couldn’t sit on the toilet the next day without being in pain, then I didn’t work out hard enough.

After finding a life of food freedom using mindful & intuitive eating, I am so happy to say that I have found joyful movement – moving my body in a way that physically feels good. I’m not working out 2+ hours a day anymore, leaving my body exhausted. But, I am realistic in that joyful movement makes my days better. I get that endorphin release that sets a tone for my day. So, I make it my goal every morning to get my workout in – to physically feel good.

Here are tips I use to find time in my busy life for joyful movement.

Tip 1: Build time in your schedule.

The great thing about having a busy schedule is that you are in control of it!  Find time in your day that works well for you. It can be as simple as getting out your calendar and penciling in your workout regimen. 

Tip 2:  Pick an exercise plan that you will love.

Personally, I love all types of exercise, but I have grown to appreciate them.  I used to hate lifting weights, but now I love it and do it at least 3 times per week.  The point is that you will be more likely to stick to your exercise plan if you choose something you enjoy doing.  Of course, I am a promoter of dance style workouts (my personal gateway to fitness), but that is because I am a dance instructor, and I love it!  I have a story with dance fitness, but it is not for everybody.  I really do not like biking, so guess what?  I do not bike…not now anyway.  Find what you enjoy doing, and set goals for yourself. When you do something you love, it will not seem like “exercise” at all, and you will be looking forward to it.  This will be a great tool for you so you can move your body in an enjoyable way.

Tip 3:  Get an accountability partner.

In other words, get a workout buddy!  This is someone who can encourage you to keep it up.  Find time a few times a week to exercise with this person. This person can help motivate you to make time for exercising with them. I have had several accountability partners for many different things.  For instance, the picture below shows my cousin and I completing a half marathon.  She helped me through my first half, and encouraged me when I did my second.

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Tip 4:  Take recovery days.

This is so important.  Give your muscles a break.  When I first began my exercise journey, I was obsessed with getting fit-fast that I never let my muscles rest.  Because of that, I put some permanent damage on my knee and had physical therapy help me strengthen it back.  Taking a recovery day is vital to your muscles as they repair from your workouts.  You can still be lightly active on these days (think walking, swimming, etc), but be careful to allow enough time for healing.

Tip 5: Stay hydrated and fueled.

Of course, I had to give my dietitian tip.  In order to be privileged to move your body, ya gotta eat and drink…there is just now way out of it.  Without food and water, you will be sluggish and tired and not motivated to workout, which hinders that “endorphin release” (aka, happy hormone) to make your body feel good.  Trust me.  I have been there.  Drink a few bottles of water before and after your workout that way you will be nice and energized for your workout. Drink your water.  Eat your nutrient dense, whole grains, fruits, and veggies throughout the day, and if you are lifting heavy loads in the gym, you may want to look into adding a little more protein to your diet.

cold cool drink field
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There you have it–five simple, yet easy ways to add exercise into your busy schedule.  Make it a part of your life, not just an accessory you try on from time to time.  You can pick one tip to try, or go the extra mile and do all five.  Let me know if any of these helped you!

Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!

Until Next Time,
Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Follow me on social media!