Sunday, August 22, 2010

battle of the milks

[sorry if this post appeared 2x..I love technology].
My sister is visiting this weekend! So far we’ve hit the beach, picked pails of blueberries, run the flat and gorgeous MI territory, roasted marshmallows over our fire pit, and day tripped to St. Joseph.
Allison recently commented: I'm so glad you brought up Almond Milk! Can you tell me, as a dietitian, why almond milk is a better choice than soy milk? Is it a good alternative to cow’s milk or soy milk for children?
almond vssilk_soy_milk_vanilla_190vs    ist2_3931123-stock-photo-of-milk-carton
Here’s a nutritional breakdown:
Almond Milk (Almond Breeze, vanilla); 1 cup Soy Milk (Silk, vanilla); 1 cup Cow’s Milk; (1% milk fat) 1 cup
Calories 90 calories 100 calories 102 calories
Fat 2.5 grams 3.5 grams 2.4 grams
Sodium 150 mg 95 mg 107 mg
Sugars 15 grams 8 grams 12.7 grams
Protein 1 gram 6 grams 8.2 grams
Vitamin A 10% 10% 10%
Calcium 20% 30% 29%
Iron 2% 6% 0%
Vitamin D 25% 30% 32%
For adults:
  • If you have a milk protein or soy allergy and need to find an alternative, almond milk is a delicious substitute.
  • Note that almond milk is very protein poor (1 g) compared to soy milk (6 g) and cow’s milk (8.2 g).
  • Almond milk does not contain phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) like soy milk does, but I have yet to see research that concludes drinking soy milk is harmful.
  • Caution is warranted for those who have a history of breast cancer or thyroid disorders-eat a moderate amount of dietary soy (25 grams/day of soy protein may reduce the risk of heart disease; Harvard School of Public Health advises limiting consumption to 2-4 servings/wk of dietary soy).
For infants/children*:
  • The World Health Organization, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Dietetic Association recommend exclusive breast feeding for the first six months of life and support breastfeeding for at least 12 months (AAP, ADA) or up to 2 + yrs (WHO) with appropriate supplementation of complementary foods (iron fortified after 6 months).
  • Soy milk or almond milk should never be used as alternatives to breastmilk or formula.
  • Once old enough to drink cow’s milk, remember that 25-60% of those with milk protein allergy will also react to soy.
  • Keep in mind that almond milk has less protein, fat, calcium, and vitamin D than cow’s milk or soy milk when considering your child’s nutritional needs.
* information from WHO, AAP, ADA, and lectures from Karen Steitz’s Pediatric Nutrition class, 2010
While I do believe that some people may best achieve optimal health by consuming a vegan diet, I can’t conclude that this diet is beneficial for all people in all situations. When making the choice to go vegan, you must determine if consuming dairy or animal products adversely affects your personal health. I’m continually researching this subject and will keep you posted as I learn more.
Happy {last day of the} weekend!
This is your last chance to vote for Donate Life America! Almond Breeze is dividing 25k between the charity organizations listed on the widget to the right of my blog (refresh the page if you can’t see the widget or click here to vote). Voting ends today-Sunday at 11:59 pm ET!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

the truth about those annoying commercials

This morning started with a non-typical breakfast. It’s been hot, and I just couldn’t take normal oatmeal for one more day. Enter this muesli mix of yogurt, peaches, oatmeal, walnuts, and cinnamon.


The only thing I’d change is to use non-dairy yogurt. I really want to try to make yogurt using Almond Breeze. Has anyone tried and had success with making non-dairy yogurt? If so, I’d love to hear from you.

One of the advantages (?) of being unemployed is that I actually have time to watch tv. However,the number of commercials for unhealthy, quick fixes drives me insane; no wonder people are so confused about nutrition.

Here are some of the commercials I’ve seen lately and their flaws:



  • [Disclaimer: I LOVE Nutella, but their latest commercial makes me cringe].
  • Nutella’s commercial claims that combining the rich hazelnut butter with whole grain toast is a balanced breakfast. Their website adds this qualifier: when used in moderation with complementary foods. I doubt many people visit the website to see this little statement.
  • How does Nutella stack up against peanut butter?
  • Jif natural 2 T Nutella 2 T
    calories 190 calories 200 calories
    fat 16 grams (3 g saturated) 11 grams (3.5 g saturated)
    sodium 75 mg 15 mg
    fiber 2 grams 1 gram
    sugar 3 grams 21 grams
    protein 7 grams 3 grams
    calcium 2% 4%
    iron 4% 4%
  • Nutella has more calories, saturated fat, and 7x the sugar as Jif Natural peanut butter, but it does have less sodium and more calcium.
  • Because of the sugar content, Nutella should not be standard breakfast fare. It definitely fits more appropriately into the dessert category!

Kashi GoLean Cereal

  • I really do like Kashi’s products, so I’m not bashing the company in any way. However, I do think that their latest commercial is misleading.
  • The commercial states that Kashi Go-Lean Crunch contains “as much protein as an egg.” What they don’t mention is that egg protein and cereal protein are not equal. Egg protein is high biological value protein (HBV) and contains more essential amino acids than cereal protein.
  • Animal products typically contain HBV protein, while plants, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds and vegetables contain low biological value protein.
  • Note: this doesn’t mean that vegetarians are protein deficient, it just means that they need to focus on eating a varied and balanced diet in order to receive an adequate combo of amino acids.

Motts’ Medleys Juices


  • Supposedly, this juice contains two fruit and veggie servings magically hidden in every 8 oz glass
  • whole apple (med) Motts’ Medleys Juice (8 oz)
    calories ~95 calories 140 calories
    sugar ~19 grams 22-30 grams
    fiber ~ 4 grams 0 grams
  • While this may sound fantastic, I don’t buy it. This juice doesn’t contain any fiber and is loaded with calories…it’s not a great substitute for a whole apple or fresh veggies.
  • It may take 10-15 tries before a child will accept a food. It may take even longer for some of us adults, whose taste buds have been ruined by eating high fat, sugar, and sodium diets. Work on developing a healthy palate before you resort to drinking juice.

Has anyone else seen similar commercials (or these commercials) lately? So many Americans watch tv, and I really wish that the government would put money into nutrition education via positive media messages…can’t remember when I last saw a commercial encouraging kids to eat their veggies!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

spontaneity & sandwiches

Sometimes you just want to make peanut butter cookies at 11:30 pm after an exciting episode of hgtv design star {anyone else hooked?!}…even though you are a dietitian. Hey, I used whole wheat and spelt flour…that counts for something, right?!


I’ve always promoted moderation, and I think that an almost-midnight batch of cookies is worth it.

I think the same rule of spontaneity applies when you return to a mysterious bag of basil on your front porch. I guess it’s pesto night.


Did you know you can also make pesto from fresh asparagus?

I went running in the humid 80 degree weather and almost died. Everyone I ran by was biking, which was probably a much smarter idea. I’m so jealous of those people who actually run better in the heat and humidity. Maybe I should take up bikram yoga?

:: building a better sandwich ::

To everyone who claims that a sandwich just doesn’t do the job at lunch…maybe you need to reassess your building skills? A few tips to help your sandwich tide you through more than a couple hours:

Make sure to include a protein source. Protein takes longer to digest and will provide longer lasting energy. This sandwich is protein packed with tofu and eggs + cukes and pickles. Try hummus or beans for other vegetarian source of protein.

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Use whole wheat bread or wraps. Extra fiber = more complete satiation. Try this combo: hummus, sprouts, lettuce, cukes, and tomato.


Add veggies for crunch and fiber. Eating more slowly leads to better digestion [check out Kim Snyder’s post on digestion here]. Try starchy vegetables like sweet potato or some of my faves: cukes, zukes, and sprouts.


What are your winning sandwich combos? I find that eating fresh vegetables at lunch translates into feeling better and more energized throughout the rest of the day.

Job interviewing in Kath’s neighborhood this week!


Sunday, August 1, 2010

berry heaven

My mom and I picked a mountain of blueberries this week…so far, we’ve frozen 7 pints! We’re lucky to have some friends who have more blueberries than they can pick and do not sell their produce; this means free blueberries for us.


nutritional benefits of blueberries

  • contain anthocynanins [colored pigment], which serve as antioxidants; may assist in brain health
  • contain ellagic acid, which is cancer preventative
  • contain pectin, a form of soluble fiber
  • contain tannins, which may reduce inflammation
  • 1 cup contains about 81 calories and is considered a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, and dietary fiber and a good source of vitamin E

We bought these blackberries at the farmers’ market, but they were really sour. Once rinsed, they tasted a little bit better but still not fantastic.


Naturally, the only thing to do was to make blackberry sauce. Just add a little water and sweetener of your choice and cook down [you can even do this in the microwave].


Blackberry sauce tastes pretty great on top of oatmeal waffles. I like to use whole wheat flour and brush coconut oil on my waffle iron before cooking each waffle. I actually made 2 separate batches today, one for my parents and me and one for my brother, who stopped home from camp {he’s working as a counselor this summer} this afternoon.

I’ve noticed quite a few berry recipes popping up in the blog world lately. Check these out for more ideas [photos courtesy of the blogs below]:

Any other berry fanatics out there?