Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Crepes are very popular in many European countries.  It is a different take on pancakes that is higher in protein due to the higher liquid content of milk and eggs.  Crepes can also be used for more savory dishes by taking the place of tortillas or even pasta.  
For breakfast I choose to stuff my crepes with yogurt and strawberries for a sweet alternative to the high calorie syrup.

I have tried several crepe recipes in the past, so far this one is my favorite.  

2 eggs
¾ cup milk or milk substitute
½ cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour (you can use whole wheat for a whole grain option)
3 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp honey

In a bowl mix all ingredients together with a whisk until smooth.  In a non-stick sauté pan spray with cooking spray and heat on medium high heat.  Once warm pour a small amount of batter into pan.  Swirl batter around to make a thin circle.  Cook until edges are cooked and bubble, thin flip the crepe over to cook on the other side.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Vegetable Tomato Sauce

If you are like most parents, you probably have kids that are not willing to try new vegetables.  It sometimes seems impossible to get children to eat their vegetables.  I have the same problem with my husband.  He hates most vegetables, so making sure he gets an adequate amount can be a daunting task.  One great way is to hide the vegetables in your food.  Pasta sauce is one of the most popular ways to hide vegetables.  Many people hid spinach, bell peppers,or mushrooms.  I have decided to take this further and my sauce has egg plant, zucchini, squash, carrots, and onions.  Try my recipe bellow to help you add more vegetables to your sauce.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 sm medium yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 small eggplant, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 squash, diced
1 carrot, peeled, diced
1 tsp thyme
¾ tsp salt
28 oz diced tomatoes, may add extra tomato sauce depending on how much you want.
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil

Heat oil in pan.  Add onion and garlic, cook until translucent.  Add squash, zucchini, eggplant, and carrot to food processor, one vegetable at a time.  Transfer the vegetable to the pan.  Add the tomatoes and spices.  Simmer for about 15 minutes.  Take a hand blender and blend the sauce until desire consistency.  If you do no own a hand blender, scoop the sauce about a cup at a time into a regular blender.  Hold lid tightly and blend until desire consistency.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Raspberry Protein Muffins

Protein muffins are my absolute favorite.  I love baked goods but many of them do not have enough protein to be counted as a full meal.  By adding protein powder you increase the amount of protein in the muffins.  These muffins are a delicious treat with yummy raspberries and white chocolate.  I ate these muffins for breakfast.  It is also a great way for a grab and go breakfast.  Make the muffins on Sunday and you will have breakfast for a few days.

Most individuals do not eat enough protein in the morning.  Many people pull a bowl of cereal or skip breakfast all together.  Protein at breakfast has shown many benefits including increased satiety so you do not splurge on extra calories later on in the day.  Individuals who ate protein during breakfast has shown to have a reduced waist circumference, blood pressure, and insulin compared to those who ate a high carb breakfast.  Aim to have 1/4-1/3 of your meal be from protein.  Some options include this great protein muffin or you can try eggs or smoothies.

Raspberry Protein Muffins
1 egg
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 cup of skim milk or milk substitute (I used almond milk, may need additional milk)
2 cup flour ( can use whole wheat or flour alternative)
1/2 cup sugar or Splenda
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup of white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup of raspberries
few scoops of protein powder (varies on brand, I used 6 scoops, see description below)

Preheat oven to 400
Prepare muffin pans by placing cupcake papers in muffin pan and spray with cooking spray.
In a bowl mix eggs, butter, and milk.
In a separate bowl mix flour, baking powder, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix.
Begin adding protein powder a scoop at a time.  The batter will thicken.  You can add some more milk to thin it out if you want to add additional protein powder.
Fold in raspberries and white chocolate chips.
Pour batter into the cups.
Bake for 15 min.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Baked Onion Rings

Let's be real.  Sometimes we want some fried food from restaurants.  One of my favorite sides are onion rings.  But fried onion rings are full of trans and saturated fats that are bad for you.  Trans fats are fats you do not want in your body, and the US actually made laws to remove it from our food supply.  So what can you do instead is make it at home in the oven.

Baked Onion Rings
1 yellow onion
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs or cornmeal
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450.
Spray pan with cooking spray.
Slice onion in rings, try not to separate all the rings,  The onion rings come out better if there are a few attached to each other.
Mix the eggs with the salt and pepper.
Dip onions in egg and then coat with bread crumbs.
Transfer to pan.  
Bake 10 minutes

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Diet and Fertility: A look at the effects of diet on OI (PCOS)

Studies have shown a link between diet and lifestyle with a females fertility.  There are certain dietary behaviors that can improve a woman's ability to conceive and is most beneficial for individuals with Ovulatory Infertility (OI).  Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a form of OI, and is the most common cause for woman's infertility.    

Many women with PCOS already know that they are at risk of developing diabetes due to the fact that they are less sensitive to insulin, causing their blood sugars to be higher than normal.  This lack of insulin sensitivity means the insulin cannot attach the cells.  In a healthy individual insulin attaches to the cell and allows sugar to enter the cells for nourishment.  When you have insulin insensitivity the cells cannot get the nutrients they need and starve, and the insulin ends up building up in the blood stream due to it not being used.  The increase in insulin causes the liver to reduce the amount of sex hormones it produces.  This causes an off balance of hormones.  The female will now have more testosterone than normal which will in turn prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary). 

Insulin insensitivity can be improved through diet.  By including fiber rich carbohydrates, you will slow the the rate in which the carbohydrates enter the blood stream.  High fiber carbohydrates include vegetables, fruit, legumes, and some whole grains.  Also pairing carbohydrates with protein will slow the rate in which carbohydrates enter the blood even more.  Individuals should have 25-30 g of protein at every meal,  including breakfast.  The protein will help you feel full and prevent you from over eating.  Breakfast tends to be the meal that most people forget to add protein.  Instead of eating cereal, pastries, and bagels in the morning, eat an omelet or yogurt.  

Trans fats can cause infertility and increase insulin insensitivity and inflammation.    It interferes with ovulation, conception, and embryonic development.  Unfortunately, many individuals are not aware that they are consuming trans fats.  Trans fats are found in man made solid fats such as margarine, and fried foods such as french fries and dough nuts.  Instead individuals should consume monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are found in avocados, olive oil, almonds, and eggs.  Polyunsaturated fats are found in foods with Omega-3s such as salmon and walnuts.

Weight also is essential for fertility.  Individuals who are overweight or underweight can have irregular menstruation and ovulation cycles. Excess weight increases the risk of vitro fertilization, miscarriage, preeclampsia, diabetes, and Cesarian section.  If you are overweight, if you loose just 5-10% of your weight you increase your fertility significantly.

Proper vitamins is also essential for all women who may become pregnant.  Prenatal vitamins provide sufficient amounts of folic acid and iron to help support fetal growth.   700 mcg of folic acid and 40-80g of iron are needed to improve ovulation and conception.

Donkersloot M.  Optimizing female fertility through diet.  Nutrition Close-up. Fall 2013.

Hankinson S, Manson J, Speizer F, Colditz G. Healthy Women, Healthy Lives: A Guide to Preventing Disease, from the Landmark Nurses' Healthy Study (Harvard Medical School Book). n/a: Free Press, 2002.

Chavarro , Willett W, Skerrett P. the Fertility Diet: Groundbreaking Research Reveals Natural Ways to Boost Ovulation and Improve Your Chances of Getting Pregnant.  McGraw-Hill, 2009.

Layman DK.  Dietary guidelines should refelct new understandings about adult protein needs.  Nutri Metab. London.  2009, 6:12.

Chavarro JE, Rich-Edwards JW, Rosner B, et al. A prospective study of dairy foods intake and anovulatory infertility.  Human Reproduction. 2007; 22: 1340-1347.

JJenness R.  Composition of milk. Fundamentals of dairy Chemistry.  New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co.  1988: 19.

Friday, July 10, 2015

What is up with low carb training

We hear about the Paleo diet and Zone diet being good for athletes.  But why?  Many individuals believe that cutting carbs will mean that they will lose weight.  But there is more to it than that. Individuals will have a low glycogen store in order to enhance fat metabolism.  The athletes lower their carbohydrate intake and increase their fat intake.  It is believed the reason why this works is because  the body adapts to having a low glycogen store and begins to utilize fatty acids instead.  

A low carbohydrate diet, known as the ketogenic diet, has already been used to treat seizures.  Research is currently being done to see its efficacy on ultra-endurance athletes, among those who do not process carbohydrates well, those who need to reduce body weight, or have gastrointestinal problems.  

What we do know is that athletes who do utilize the low carb diet may not be able to perform at a high intensity.  Also there is a possibility of altered metabolism issues.

So what should you do?  Listen to your body.  Some people will do well with a low carbohydrate diet while others may not.  Everyone's body is different and the way our body reacts may differ from person to person.  

As for me, I eat a moderately low carbohydrate diet.  I don't completely eliminate carbs because I learned that I am not at my peak performance and get light headed when I don't have some sort of carbs in my system.  But I also don't eat as many carbs as the typical American.  Below is an example of what I may eat in the day to get my carbohydrates.  I  typically have more carbohydrates in the morning and in the evening.

Breakfast-  two mini egg burritos with 2 6-inch flour tortillas
Lunch-  salad with field greens, nuts, fruit, and salad dressing
Snack-  Think Thin Protein Bar
Dinner- Seasoned chicken with red beans and rice and a 
                           large side of steamed cabbage