Getting the Most Nutritious Veggies | Collab with Tom Mills

We all know how important it is to eat our vegetables, but not all veggies are created equal. So what can we do to make sure we're getting the most nutritious veggies possible? We all know how important it is to eat our vegetables, but not all veggies are created equal. So what can we do to make sure we're getting the most nutritious veggies possible? Hint: it has to do with where your food comes from and how it's grown. I'm sharing what you can do to get veggies that are full of nutrients and my friend Tom Mills is joining us to share some of his tips as well.[x_video_embed type="16:9"][/x_video_embed]

Three "Healthy" Foods This Dietitian Never Buys

Three Healthy Foods This Dietitian Never Buys  

  1. Egg substitute. If there's one thing to remember when it comes to food, it's that an imitation is never going to beat out the real thing. The cholesterol in eggs actually doesn't have much of an impact on blood cholesterol and whole eggs are chock full of nutrients. Egg substitutes, on the other hand, get rid of the yolk, which is nutrient rich, and then throw in additives and cheap vitamins in an effort to make up the difference. Instead, go for the real thing (my Feta Red Onion Frittata is a great place to start) and find a local supplier who raises their chickens on pasture.[gap size="50px"]
  2. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Believe it or not, chickens aren't boneless, nor are they skinless. :) Instead, buy whole pastured chickens from a local supplier and roast them, or cut them up into parts yourself. You'll be able to afford high quality meat (because whole chickens are cheaper than parts) and you'll get the benefit of the different nutrient profiles found in the various parts. Plus, when a chicken is raised properly on pasture, the fat composition is different, meaning you can eat the skin without any worries. As a bonus, you'll have the bones leftover too, which can be used to make a healthy and delicious homemade chicken stock.[gap size="50px"]
  3. Skim milk. Again, we've got to get off this anti fat train. Many nutrients can't even be absorbed by the body unless there is some fat in the mix. If you can tolerate dairy well, find milk that comes from cows raised on pasture (noticing a trend here?) and buy the whole stuff. For those of you who want some more info and explanation on why I love whole milk, I made a video all about it.

Did any of these items surprise you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Should You Try A Juice Cleanse?

Juice cleanses and juicing in general are all the rage right now. But are they really healthy? In this video, I break down the truths and myths that surround juicing and give my thoughts on whether or not we should all be running out to buy a juicer.

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Recipe: Healthy Strawberry Milkshake for Valentines Day

I have been on a huge smoothie kick here lately. Some of my experiments have turned out better than others, but this is a new favorite. A few simple ingredients and a wiz of the blender are all it takes. Dates provide  a subtle sweetness without any nasty backlash, like an upset tummy or a sugar crash. It also has a beautiful pink color (perfect for Valentines day) without any artificial colors or dyes. Plus, if it's this good with snow falling on the ground, imagine how great it will be once summer rolls around! healthy Strawberry Milkshake

Healthy Strawberry Milkshake

makes 1 serving


1 cup (140 grams) frozen starberries

3/4 cup milk

2 pitted dates

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Recipe: Seven Layer Taco Dip

With the Super Bowl right around the corner, I thought it was time I shared some party food! In my version of this classic dip I stuck with the basics, but made sure to add in lots of lettuce and grated my own cheese rather than using the pre-shredded stuff to avoid additives. I opted for whole black beans rather than refried beans because they're a little easier to make and also add a different texture. Pinto beans would be good too. I skipped the traditional black olives because we are not fans at my house, but feel free to add those if you like them. :) If I made this in the summer I'd also toss on some fresh tomatoes. We're eating ours with the Garden of Eatin' No Salt Added Blue Corn Tortilla Chips. Seven Layer Taco Dip

Seven Layer Taco Dip

Seven Layer Taco DipIngredients

2.5 cups guacamole (1 batch of the recipe linked)

2 cups sour cream

2 cups salsa

1.5 cups cooked black beans

1 tablespoon homemade taco seasoning

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce (about 1 medium head)

8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

1 bunch scallions (6-7 scallions), chopped

  1. Layer ingredients in a clear 9 x 13 baking dish in this order: guacamole, sour cream, salsa, black beans, taco seasoning, romaine lettuce, cheese, and scallions. Refrigerate until serving time. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

Delicious Guacamole Recipe for the Super Bowl!

Delicious guacamole recipe! A good guacamole recipe is a must have in my book. Not only is it easy to make, but it's delicious and versatile. Think beyond the usual chips and burritos and try it as a great addition to eggs, on a piece of toast for a snack, or as a spread on sandwiches and wraps. Plus, with the Super Bowl coming up, guacamole is a quick and easy dip that is always a crowd pleaser.


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makes approximately 2.5 cups


4 avocados, seeded and peeled

1/2 medium onion, diced

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

Juice of 1-2 limes

  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mash to desired consistency with a potato masher. If you prefer a smoother guacamole or want to skip on some of the chopping, you can alternatively mix all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor.

Should We All Be Going Paleo? Part 2

Note: This is Part 2 of my Should You Go Paleo series. If you missed  Should You Go Paleo? Part 1, be sure to read that too! Also, if you're more of a watcher than a reader, I've recorded videos for Part 1 and Part 2 as well.

Now that we've addressed what Paleo is and some of the incorrect info that's out there in Part 1, it's time to get into the nitty gritty: my thoughts on the diet itself.


All or nothing mentality.

You'll often hear Paleo people (and strict dieters in general) talk about their "cheat day." This refers to a day set aside where non-Paleo foods are permitted. It's not something that everyone does, but I think it's common enough to address it here. The term "cheat day" is a little extreme to me and pretty much misses the whole point when it comes to healthy living. There are no perfect diets and no perfect people. Sometimes we eat well and other times we don't. It's finding the balance that's key. I eat well at home and am conscious about bringing healthy food through my door, but that doesn't mean my hand didn't end up in the candy jar during our various holiday gatherings. It wasn't cheating, it was just life. Having "cheat days" sets up the idea that you're somehow being naughty and can also lead to binging. Plus, the "on the diet, off the diet" mentality means you're not really learning how to live a healthy lifestyle.

It assumes we're all the same.

It is true that the majority of the world's population does not have the ability to fully digest dairy. It's also true that many people out there have at least some sensitivity to grains (particularly the gluten-containing ones), if not a full on intolerance or allergy. However, this does not make it true for everyone. If you find that dairy or grains or even legumes give you trouble, don't eat them. But, if you find that you can tolerate them just fine, there's no reason to cut them out. We're all different and come from different genetic backgrounds that developed according to the foods that were available in a particular part of the world.

Is it even possible to eat like our Paleolithic ancestors?

If you look at a Paleo diet plan, you'll see familiar foods that you can pick up at your local grocery store. The problem is, theses aren't the foods that were available to our Paleolithic ancestors, they are the result of agriculture. Human nurturing and breeding have given us plants that have the qualities we favor, such as larger fruits or more palatable flavor profiles. How many Paleo followers are hunting and gathering all of their food? I'd venture to say, not many.

The Bottom Line.

When it comes down to it, I'm neither pro- nor anti-Paleo. I think it has a lot of great principles, such as limiting highly processed foods and emphasizing real, whole foods like veggies, fruits, and pastured meat. But, I just can't get down with the idea that every person on this planet is intolerant to grains, legumes, and dairy.  Plus, we can't really replicate what our Paleolithic ancestors ate because nearly all of the food available to us comes from agriculture. I think eating the way the Paleo diet recommends is ONE way to eat healthy, but it isn't the ONLY way to eat healthy. Stick to real, whole foods and find what works best for you.

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What are you thoughts on the Paleo diet? Have you ever tried it yourself? What was your experience? Share in the comments below!

Should You Go Paleo? Part 1

First, let me start off by saying that this post is way overdue. I have had a lot of thoughts about the Paleo diet for a while now, but it can frustrate me so much that it's hard for me to sit down and get it all out in writing. There are several issues concerning the Paleo diet that irritate me, and I bet it's not what you're thinking. In Part 1, I'll explain what the Paleo diet is and talk about some of the incorrect information that's floating around. Paleo

 Note: I made a video to accompany this post as well since I think it's an important enough topic to address both here and on YouTube. If you're the type who would rather watch than read, scroll down to the bottom of this post for the video.

What is Paleo?

The Paleo diet is based on the premise that the healthiest way for us to eat is the way our ancestors ate thousands of years ago, before the advent of modern agriculture. This means no to processed foods, sugar, grains, legumes (aka beans), or dairy and yes to wild and pastured meats, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits. This is all according to Robb Wolf, a leader in the Paleo community. I don't necessarily agree with everything he says, but I think he gives a good breakdown of Paleo from the perspective of the Paleo enthusiast.

Comments from the uneducated.

I am sick and tired of listening to and reading criticism from people who don't even know what the Paleo diet is! Maybe it's that fact that there are so many diets out there, nutrition and health professionals can't keep up with it. Or, maybe it's the fact that it's assumed that every dietitian is an expert on every nutrition topic or issue. Either way, there are tons of quotes out there from people who simply don't know what they're talking about. I read one just yesterday that said the Paleo diet included whole grains, which is just plain wrong!

The main criticism I see is that it's just too hard to follow and that this is reason enough to discount it. Difficulty is relative and should not be the sole reason to agree or not agree with a particular style of eating. A diet that doesn't include a McDonalds hamburger twice a day might be "too hard to follow" for some people out there, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't recommend that they break the habit.

Followers who don't understand it.

I see lots of people who are supposedly following the Paleo diet, but then their food choices show that they don't have all the details. For example, the meats eaten are supposed to be wild (like our ancestors would have had) or grass-fed. This is one point that many people seem to miss. Every time I see a picture of someone gorging on factory-farm, highly processed, nitrate laden bacon with #paleo in the caption, I cringe. Quality matters and you should choose meat that comes from properly raised animals and not from a CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation). Also, have your bacon, but have it in a reasonable portion. The pig is only partly bacon, and our ancestors would have eaten all of the other parts as well.

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Stay tuned for Part 2 for my thoughts on the diet itself and whether or not it's something we should all consider.

What have you heard about the Paleo diet? Do you think it's explained well in the media? Share in the comments below!

Putting Yourself First in 2014

If reading that title just gave you an icky feeling, this post is for you. So much of our lives is spent doing for others. Whether you are working yourself to death to please your boss or trying to make sure each child is bathed, fed, and clothed, it's common for us to put our own needs at the bottom of our list (if they even make the list). I'm here to remind you that taking care of yourself isn't a bad thing or selfish. It's a must! Now, I'm not suggesting we all bail on our responsibilities in favor of self-indulgence. If the baby needs to be fed, you gotta do it. Rather, I'm just asking that you do a few simple things each day to take care of yourself. After all, when your needs are taken care of, it allows you to be that much better at giving to those around you. This year, make it a habit to nurture yourself. Here are a few ideas to get you (and me) started.

  • Go for a walk
  • Get a massage
  • Paint your nails
  • Make time for prayer or meditation
  • Plan healthy meals for the week
  • Find a good book and actually READ it
  • Take your favorite class at the gym
  • Ask for help when you need it
  • Learn a new skill
  • Take a hot bath
  • Make time for sleep
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Stretch for a few minutes after you wake up (taking a tip from the kitties here)
  • Talk to a friend
  • Take a nap

Do you struggle with putting yourself first? Do you have any ideas to add to the list? Share in the comments below!

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Go On The "McDonalds Diet"

You've probably seen a story recently about a man who ate only from McDonalds for 90 days and lost weight. The Iowa teacher came up with the idea as a project for his students. They had the job of creating meal plans that came in at 2,000 calories per day and he took on the task of eating the food and walking for 45 minutes 4-5 days a week.  In the process he lost 37 lbs. He says it's a testament to how you can make healthy choices anywhere, but I think this is oversimplifying things a bit. He are my top reasons why you shouldn't go on the "McDonalds Diet."


  1. Weight loss does not equal healthy. With so much focus on rising levels of overweight and obesity, most have come to associate weight with health. Now, while weight is a component of health, it is not the whole story. Someone who exercises regularly and maintains a balanced, whole foods diet is far healthier than a sedentary junk-food addict who happens to be 15 pounds lighter. If you restrict your intake of ANY food you can lose weight. However, I think we can all agree that eating 1200 calories of doughnuts each day isn't  a smart weight loss strategy.
  2. It's not real food. The offerings at McDonalds are highly processed. Even the "healthier" options contain additives that you would never use at home. If you want a burger, make it yourself or get a one from a restaurant that offers a high quality grass-fed burger with no gross extras.
  3. It doesn't taste that great. Eating takes up a big part of our day and what you eat should be enjoyable. Any reformed fast-food frequenter will tell you that, if they ever find themselves going through the drive-thru, it never tastes as good as they remember. When you're eating real food, the flavors are far more complex and enjoyable. Any item on the McDonalds menu can be made at home and taste much better.
  4. Limited choices. While the menu at a fast food restaurant may look big at first, when you're eating there all the time, you can get tired of it pretty quickly. Add in trying to choose the "healthier" options and fitting it all into a calorie goal and things are going to get boring fast. Plus, eating a variety of foods is key to being satisfied and getting a variety of nutrients.
  5. It's expensive! While many think of fast-food as a cheap option, I would argue it's just the opposite. You can make a tastier and healthier meal for the same or cheaper any day of the week.

What do you think about the "McDonalds Diet?" Do you think this kind of thing appeals to people, or do most understand that quality matters just as much as quantity when it comes to food? Share in the comments below!

No More GMOs in Your Cheerios!

Cheerios Remove GMOsYou may have heard last week that General Mills announced that Cheerios will no longer contain GMO ingredients. With so much pro- and anti-GMO frenzy, it can be hard to tell what some of this stuff really means, so let me break it down.

What Changed?

Previously, Cheerios were made with corn starch and beet sugar. These two ingredients frequently come from sources that are genetically modified. This sort of thing is common in most prepared and convenience foods because corn, soy, and sugar beets, which are largely genetically modified, are used to make a multitude of food additives. To remove GMOs from Cheerios, General Mills has switched to cane sugar and is now sourcing non-GMO corn starch. It's important to note that all other types of Cheerios in the line are not included in this change and will continue to contain GMOs.

Does This Have A Nutritional Impact?

I've seen some coverage of this story that  says this change doesn't really matter at all because it doesn't impact the nutritional value of the product. Yes, it's true, this won't change things like calories, grams of sugar, or any other nutritional measure, but that's hardly the point. People who think numbers are the bottom line when it comes to nutrition are missing a big piece of the puzzle. The make-up of our food extends far beyond calories, carbs, fat, protein, vitamins an minerals. There is still so much we don't understand about all of the other components of food and their synergy in regards to the way they are presented in nature. Also, many incorrectly think that the GMO issue is solely about the safety of human consumption. While that is a concern, I think everyone can agree that if you eat a GMO you aren't going to drop dead immediately. If that was the case, we wouldn't be here. The GMO debate is equally, if not more, about the impact they have on environments and ecosystems which we need to survive.

Isn't This Just A Marketing Ploy?

I've also read some criticism of General Mills saying that this is all a marketing ploy. Pro-GMO groups also throw in something about being anti-science to appease crazy, uneducated customers and anti-GMO groups add in a line about how terrible General Mills is because they don't genuinely care about this cause and they are only doing this to make money. My response to this is, what's the problem? The basic premise of our economic system is that products and services are improved by meeting the needs and wants of customers. If a company wants to make money, they listen to what the customer is asking for. Yes, General Mills is doing this to make their customers happy (which in turn makes them money) and I don't see anything wrong with that. Marketing isn't a bad word, it's just a tool to create awareness about a product or idea. I think this development is great because it shows how the internet has re-connected companies with their consumers by giving them a more visible platform to express their thoughts and concerns.

Bottom Line

A lot of people eat Cheerios, so this could have a widespread impact. Also, this may encourage other brands to do the same. Changes that come about like this without legislation are a win in my book because it means we don't have to suffer the unintended consequences that can come with new laws. Despite all of these positives, I also challenge you to consider the idea of breakfast cereal in general. Even the organic varieties and still a processed food that most of us probably can't make at home. Plus, it's something many people eat every single day. Why not opt for whole food options like plain yogurt with fruit, oatmeal, homemade granola, or eggs? I don't buy cereal and I'm doing perfectly fine. :)

What do you think about General Mills taking GMOs out of Cheerios? Do you think we should be skipping out on processed cereals all together? Share in the comments below!

Recipe: Massaged Kale Salad with Apples and Carrots

Kale can be a scary vegetable for a lot of people. It's quite tough and bitter, which aren't exactly crowd-pleasing traits. However, as massaged kale salads have become trendy in the past couple years, many have realized that this little step of rubbing the kale down can make a big difference in both the texture and flavor departments. Now, kale is never going to be like a spring green, because it isn't! Rather, it's hearty and much more substantial, which is exactly what we need this time of year. As a bonus, this salad holds up well in the fridge, unlike more delicate greens. At our house, we've been doing a lot of kale salads, so I thought I would share a recent creation with you. Strangely enough, Lisa Leake over at 100 Days of Real Food recently put up a similar recipe , so, if you want a slight variation on the same idea, be sure to check out her recipe for Kale and Apple Salad as well. Kale Salad

Massaged Kale Salad with Apples and Carrots

makes approximately 4 servings


1 large bunch kale, ribs removes and torn

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 sweet apple, chopped

1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

  1. Add chopped or torn kale to a large bowl, along with the red wine vinegar and salt. Massage the kale until it is tender, about 5 minutes. You should see some liquid being released from the kale and it should also reduce in size.
  2. Add the oil, apple, carrot, pecans, and blue cheese to the kale and toss to combine.

Kale Salad

9 Tips For A Healthy Holiday

It's the time of year that everyone loves: the holidays! But with all of the fun also comes lots of yummy food that isn't always the healthiest. It's important to enjoy this time of year, but also to avoid the consequences of enjoying ourselves a little too much.  Fear not, I'm here to help with a few tips. You can use all of them or pick and choose the ones that work for you. I don't think we need to be too crazy about being restrictive on these special days. As long as we treat them like the special occassion they are and eat well most other days, it's fine. At the same time, I don't want you to have that sick, overstuffed feeling that no one likes.

Healthy Holiday

Note: Even though I'm posting this with the fall and winter holidays in mind, these tips can apply to any holiday or special event.

  1. If you're not hosting the event, offer to bring something to make things easier on your host. That way, you can make sure there is a healthy option available to fill up on.
  2. If you are the host, make sure you're making your dishes with real, whole foods rather than relying on processed, chemical nastiness. Even if you do eat a little too much, it will all be things that your body can work with. If you need inspiration, check my previous post on Thanksgiving recipe ideas.
  3. Be active! Whether it's a workout before the meal or a walk with the group after, find a way to get your body moving. Not only will this make you feel great and give you an energized glow, but it also discourages you from over-eating. That awesome feeling you get from exercise and being stuffed just don't go together.
  4. Make half your plate non-starchy vegetables (just like any other day). Filling up on these nutritious, lower-calorie options will ensure that you can still enjoy your favorite foods, but not eat too much.
  5. Stick to one plate rather than going back for seconds or thirds. Get a little bit of everything you want and enjoy it. The first few bites are always the best and, after that, it often just becomes mindless.
  6. Be a picky eater. Don't feel pressured to put every item offered on your plate. I love food and I am not about to give up precious tummy room for something I'm not crazy about. Only select the items that are your favorites and leave the other filler foods behind.
  7. Slow down and enjoy each bite as well as the company of those around you. This is one I especially struggle with because it is my natural tendency to shove my food down as fast as possible. Something I need to work on. :)
  8. One day isn't going to make or break you as far as your health goals are concerned. The important thing is not to let one day turn into a week or month of over indulgence.
  9. Remember what the holiday is about. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the logistics of a special get together or only think about the food, so focus instead on celebrating the true meaning of the holiday.




How do you stay healthy during the holidays? Share in the comments below!

Egg Comparison: Duck VS Chicken

Eggs are a hot commodity at my farmers market, especially now that the weather is getting cooler and the hens are slowing down in their egg production. I got there a little too late last week and there were no chicken eggs to be found. I was a little disappointed, but I also understand that we gotta work with what the chickies can do. However, just when I had accepted the fact that I wouldn't be able to get any eggs this week, my egg lady mentioned that she had a few duck eggs, if I was interested. I definitely was, so I bought those bad boys right away!


I've had duck eggs once before in college. A farmer there sells them, in addition to chicken eggs, and he finds that they are a big hit with those suffering from chicken egg allergies. Interestingly enough, some with chicken egg allergies find that they can eat duck eggs with no problems at all. Even if you aren't an allergy sufferer, duck eggs are a nice way to switch things up.

Ducks eggs are typically larger and have a thicker shell. They also have a higher proportion of yolk. These two factors together result in an egg that is higher in calories, fat, protein, and most vitamins and minerals.

Duck Egg and Chicken Egg Comparison

In the end though, I don't really care too much about that stuff. I figure everything works itself out in the end. Just know you'll probably need fewer ducks eggs to give you the same satiety as chicken eggs would. As far as flavor goes, duck eggs are a little richer due to their larger yolk, but they don't taste incredibly different. Jasen couldn't tell a difference when we had them for dinner the other night.

Duck Egg and Chicken Egg Comparison

As you can see in the picture above, the duck egg has a higher proportion of yolk and everything is much firmer/holds its shape better than in the chicken egg. I think they're a fun addition to our food routine!

Have you ever had duck eggs? If so, how do you like them compared to chicken eggs? Share in the comments below!

How To Build a Vegetarian Meal

While I myself am not vegetarian, I am picky about where my meat comes from and I eat vegetarian meals more often than not. With this said, as I see more people switch over to a meat-free lifestyle (whatever their reasons may be), many do not know how to build a meal on this new eating plan. Most often, I see people continue to plan meals that are centered around meat, even though that is exactly what they are giving up. For example, they may eat frozen "chicken" nuggets that are made from plant-based proteins or subsist solely on frozen veggie burgers. These foods are highly processed, often unappetizing, and expensive. I saw this very sort of thing promoted on a recent show on the Cooking Channel. The episode was all about cooking using the Morning Star veggie burgers and the hosts kept talking about getting healthy with a vegetarian diet. I think they were doing exactly the opposite. The key to being meat-free is to think of food in a new way, and get the focus off of meat. The first step is to think of all the foods you are eating, rather than the few that you aren't. Vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, dairy products, and eggs are all fair game for vegetarians and can be combined in many different ways to create a delicious meal. Make spiced black beans served over brown rice with grilled veggies and a fruit salsa on the side. Another option is to roast your favorite vegetables in the oven and make them the star. Then  serve with quinoa or over whole wheat pasta with a tomato sauce. Think outside of your normal confines and get a little creative. A good place to start is with a vegetarian cookbook. Make sure it's one based on whole real foods and not the franken-foods I mentioned above. Deborah Madison is a great cookbook author as well as Heidi Swanson. Start with their titles, and use them as a jumping off point for your own creativity.

Whether you are vegetarian or not, meatless meals can be a delicious and filling option. Learning to cook this way may take a little practice, but, once you drop the fake meat and embrace the yummy plant foods at your finger tips, you'll see that vegetarian does not have to mean cardboard.

How do you feel about vegetarian cuisine? Like it or hate it, I'm all ears!

Do you have a favorite vegetarian cookbook author?

Let me know in the comments below! : )

Nutella Lawsuit: What It Really Means

It seems like there has been a lot of food in the headlines here recently.  From mad cow disease in California to pizzas with a cheeseburger crust, the food industry has been showing itself (in more ways than one). One story that struck a nerve with me was this one from the Huffington Post about a $3 million class-action lawsuit settled against Ferrero, the maker of Nutella. The reason? A California mother claims that she was deceived by advertisements for the product, as well as the language on the label, to believe that Nutella was a healthy option to feed her child. To rectify this issue, Ferrero is paying out to consumers and will also have to change advertisements and other media messages (website, packaging, etc.) so they are no longer deceptive in this way. While some may be shouting for joy for a victory over the industry, I think a more important issue is at hand. While I agree that companies should not be making false claims or taking advantage of consumers, the answer goes far beyond policing suggestions or implications made by advertisements. The real problem at hand is the fact that consumers are vulnerable to such ploys because they are unable to analyze corporation claims and nutrition information to decide for themselves whether or not a product is healthy and appropriate for the needs of their families.

It seems to me, in this case, one of two things happened. This mother either read the nutrition information and ingredients and  could not interpret it or, more likely, simply trusted the message she received from advertisers as true, rather than investigating further. This is perfect example of how much education is truly needed, as Nutella is not by any means one of the more confusing products on the market.  After all, it has 8 ingredients (much fewer than many processed foods) and the first ingredient is sugar. The fact that a consumer cannot come to the conclusion that such a product is not a health food shows that there is a serious disconnect.

Have you ever felt deceived by a food advertisement or marketing scheme? What about nutrition do you find confusing?

NNMC Picking Protein: Lemon-Herb Roasted Chicken

Roasting a whole chicken is a delicious way to get dinner on the table that is also economical. Plus, you can use leftovers to make new dishes like soup or, in my case, quesadillas. Don't forget to save the carcass to make some homemade stock!

Lemon-Herb Roasted Chicken

serves 4-6


4 lb. organic chicken

1 lemon, quartered

6 sprigs each of fresh sage, thyme, and rosemary

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

Pepper to taste

Kitchen twine


1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. Pat the chicken dry and place on a cutting board used for meats. Remove any organ packets that may be in the cavity. Then, stuff the cavity with lemon wedges and half of the herb sprigs.

3. Mince the remaining herbs and combine in a small bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Rub some of this mixture under the chicken's skin into the breast, leg, and thigh meat.

4. Truss the chicken to maintain a compact shape for even cooking. This video from Alton Brown gives great instructions (it's how I learned). He's using a turkey, but you get the idea.

5. Now, spread the rest of the herb/oil mixture onto the skin of the chicken, rubbing it in and ensuring even coverage.

6. Place chicken in a roasting pan on a wire rack. Distribute you favorite veggies in the bottom of the pan for roasting or add a little water or stock to prevent any drippings from burning and setting off your smoke detector. Cook for 1-1.5 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

7. Allow the chicken to rest for 20 minutes and then slice for serving. Enjoy!

NNMC Picking Protein: You're Getting Enough

Because protein is so important to our health, there seems to be a lot of concern with getting enough. Well, I'm here to tell you that, if you have enough food to eat and you're getting the variety you should, this won't be a problem. Now, I'm not saying that getting adequate protein is not an issue for some people. Lots of people around the world are struggling with this right now because of lack of access to food or a lack of resources to purchase food. It is a real problem that I do not want to minimize. But, for those of us who have an adequate diet, getting enough protein is usually not a concern. So how much protein do we need? Well, we're gonna have to do a little math. For the average, healthy adult, the standard is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram body weight per day. For example, if someone weighs 150 lbs, you divide that by 2.2 to convert to kilograms. This comes out to 68.18 kg. Then, multiply this number by 0.8 to get 54.5 grams of protein per day. That's not a lot. What does that look like in real food? 4 oz lean meat has approximately 28 grams alone (and most meat-eaters eat a much larger portion). A cup of black beans has 15 grams and a cup of milk has 8g. Add in two slices of whole wheat bread (about 3 grams of protein each), and we're at 57 grams of protein total.

Now, I'm not suggesting that you should limit or track your protein intake. For some medical conditions, protein restrictions are necessary, but, if you are healthy, you don't need to worry about it. Also, it's important to note that it's not hard for those who follow a vegetarian diet to get enough protein either, as long as they are not living on chips and cookies. Eating foods like beans, whole grains, eggs, and dairy products makes meeting the protein requirements more than doable. So, while protein is essential to living a healthy life, try not to get wrapped up in all the hype. If you're eating a variety of whole foods and have enough food to eat overall, you will likely be just fine.