Nutritious and Delicious Macaroni and Cheese

By Dietitian and Wellness Educator, Elizabeth Kahn

Try this recipe I adapted from the “Homemade Mac and Cheese” recipe from All Recipes.com. This recipe has less fat and calories and more protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals than the original, and is delicious!

Healthy Homemade Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

8 ounces uncooked whole-wheat, rice or quinoa elbow macaroni

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

3 cups unsweetened plant milk

1/4 cup all natural plant-based margarine

2 1/2 tablespoons whole-wheat or alternative grain flour

2 tablespoons all natural plant-based margarine

1/2 cup whole wheat or panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon Paprika (see note*)

Directions: 1. Cook macaroni according to the package directions. Drain. 2. In a saucepan, melt margarine over medium heat. Stir in enough flour to make a roux. Add milk to roux slowly, stirring constantly. Stir in cheeses, and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick.* Put macaroni in large casserole dish, and pour sauce over macaroni. Stir well. 3. Melt margarine in a skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and brown. Spread over the macaroni and cheese to cover. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon paprika. 4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Serve. Makes 4 servings.

*You can add rest of paprika at this point (see step 2) for a more golden, yellow color.

Adapted from: Homemade Mac and Cheese. All Recipes. Retrieved 4/20/2012 from, http://allrecipes.com/Recipe-Tools/Print/Recipe.aspx?RecipeID=11679&origin=detail&&Servings=4.

 

Healthy Cookies

By Dietitian and Wellness Educator, Elizabeth Kahn

Last night I had a sweet tooth and since I did not have anything sweet in the house, I baked cookies. I pulled out my classic Better Homes cookbook and, as I often do in cooking and baking, made ingredient substitutions. I substituted plant-based margarine for butter and shortening, and whole wheat or alternative grain flour for white flour. My adapted version has more fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals and less cholesterol and saturated fat than the original. While it still has sugar, it is a much healthier recipe, and you could even substitute honey for sugar. A banana could be substituted for the egg to make it even healthier, and spices like cinnamon could be added to spice it up and increase the health benefits. Not only were these cookies delicious, but I felt more nourished than if I eaten store bought cookies or cookies made from the standard recipe. Tasty and healthy substituting is one of the best kept secrets about nutrition. If you try these cookies or plan to, please like this post on Facebook or comment on the blog and let us know! Feel free to share your own creations with us too.

Better Homes and Garden’s Adapted Basic Drop Cookie Recipe

1- 1/4 cups whole wheat or other grain flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup plant-based margarine

1/2 cup sugar or honey

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg (or 1 banana and another 1/2 teaspoon baking soda)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet with natural cooking spray or plant-based margarine (or use a non-stick cookie sheet). In a medium bowl combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix together and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat margarine with electric mixer for 30 seconds until smooth. Add sugars and beat until fluffy. Add egg (or banana) and vanilla. Beat well. Add flour mixture to margarine mixture and beat well. Drop from a teaspoon 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 30-36. Enjoy!

Resource:

Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (1981). Bantam Books: New York.

 

One-Day Diet for Acidosis

By Dietitian and Wellness Educator, Elizabeth Kahn

Avoid taking pills for high levels of body acid, instead try the following diet. This diet can restore acid balance without the need for over-the-counter pills or prescription medications. Powerful pills can often cause other problems and nutrient deficiencies. Since the original problem was most likely caused by a diet high in acidic foods, the ideal solution is to eat more alkalizing foods and balance body chemistry naturally.

Breakfast:

Green tea, with soy milk optional (intended to replace coffee for coffee drinkers but if you are not, skip)

Peach soy yogurt

4 ounces apple juice mixed with 4 ounces pure aloe vera juice

Snack:

Almonds

Lunch:

Salad (lettuce, onion, avocado, raisins optional) with lemon and sea salt or seasoned canola oil dressing (no vinegar)

Lima bean soup (try Allrecipes.com:  http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Luscious-Lima-Bean-Soup-II/Detail.aspx?src=rss, but substitute a natural, vegetable, margarine-like spread like Earth Balance for butter and leave out bacon, butter beans and pepper)

Alkalizing tea (i.e. Body Rescue)

Snack:

Corn chips with guacamole (avocados, sea salt, onion and lime juice)

Dinner:

Baked chicken, with canola oil and herbs (optional: Portobello mushroom sandwich on millet bread, which is ideal instead of meat)

Baked potato with natural margarine-like spread

Steamed broccoli

Millet bread toasted, with natural margarine-like spread (with chicken option)

Water

Optional: 4 ounces aloe vera juice mixed with 2-4 ounces apple juice

Tips:

You may add water and many fruits and vegetables to the above diet, but avoid tomatoes, tomato-based products and asparagus, as well as white flour, butter, eggs, coffee and alcohol as much as possible.

For a list of more foods to eat and avoid see my more in-depth article about the topic at: http://anutritionrevolution.com/health-tips/351/. Follow a diet like this or with other basic foods until symptoms disappear. If this is not sufficient try contacting a naturopathic doctor for more detailed analysis and treatment for your condition. You can find a naturopath on sites like www.Wellness.com.

Sources:

  1. Balch, P.A. (2006). Prescription for nutritional healing (4th ed.). New York: Avery Publishing.
  2. Bowers, A. (2011, June 14). How to get rid of too much acid in the body. Retrieved February 5, 2012, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/267260-how-to-get-rid-of-too-much-acid-in-the-body/.
  3. Kahn, E. (2011, October 21). Got GERD? Learn to balance body pH naturally. Retrieved February 5, 2012 from, http://anutritionrevolution.com/health-tips/351/.
  4. Luscious Lime Bean Soup II. Retrieved February 5, 2012 from, http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Luscious-Lima-Bean-Soup-II/Detail.aspx?src=rss.

Book Signing – Round Hill Country Club, Alamo, CA

My New Brochure

Happy holidays! Here is a link to my new brochure.

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BxlOHGHh6ZOwMDQyNDY0OGQtZmU1YS00MmU3LWEyZDctNDQwZjNmYjRkZTFl

Peace and natural healing,

Elizabeth

How to Get Nutrition Consulting Paid for by Insurance

Nutrition therapy can be a helpful component in medical therapy, but often it is not covered by insurance. It cannot only improve an individual’s health, but it also can save money on health-care costs. According to a report by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM), getting nutritional therapy is cost effective. Dietitians can help people manage conditions such as high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney and heart problems and diabetes. A study by the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Long Beach, Calif., showed that more than half the people who saw a dietitian only a few times lowered their cholesterol so much that they no longer needed cholesterol medication. Nutrition therapy saved the health-care system about $60,000 per year in prescription drug costs. According to the IOM report, nutrition therapy can mean a savings of millions of dollars. For example, if Medicare beneficiaries with high-blood pressure received nutrition therapy, health-care costs over a five-year period could be cut by an estimated $52 million dollars. These cost savings could be increased for every disease nutrition therapy was applied to. The IOM report’s authors concluded that Medicare should cover nutrition counseling. Unfortunately, most insurance companies do not cover nutrition counseling but, fortunately, more and more insurance carriers are now seeing the advantages of seeing a nutritionist (http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=50695&pf=3&page=1).

Difficulty:
Moderately Easy

Instructions

Things You’ll Need

  • Phone
  • Computer
  • Insurance company information
  • Doctor’s contact information
  1. How to Get Insurance Coverage for Nutrition Counseling

    • 1

      Insurance may be more likely to cover nutrition therapy for certain medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, coronary artery disease or high-blood pressure for which diet therapy and modification is recognized as one aspect of treatment (Dr.Weil.com, http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400314/nutritional-consultations).

    • 2

      First call or see your doctor to see if you can get a referral for a dietitian. This will increase the likelihood nutrition therapy will be covered by insurance.

    • 3

      Call, go online to the insurance companies website or email your insurance provider to find out what coverage they offer for nutrition counseling. Some insurance companies might cover it entirely and some might offer a 10 to 20 percent discount.

    • 4

      A good bet for getting nutrition visits covered by insurance is to see a registered dietitian. You can contact the American Dietetic Association’s Nutrition Network Referral Service at (800) 366-1655 (weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Central Standard Time) for contact information for dietitians in your area ( http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=50695&pf=3&page=1).

    • 5

      Even if your insurer says your policy doesn’t cover dietary counseling, send in the paperwork anyway and see what happens. If you have a doctor’s written referral to a dietitian, include a copy. Also include a letter, signed by both your dietitian and your doctor, detailing the medical need for your treatment.
      In correspondence refer to dietitian visits as “medical nutrition therapy” or nutrition “management” or “treatment.” Try to avoid the term counseling as it does not imply a medical necessity.

    • 6

      Instead of speaking with an adjuster, ask your dietitian to talk to the medical director of the health plan to consider covering nutritional counseling, says Michele Mathieu, Director of Health Care Financing at the American Dietetic Association.

    • 7

      Emphasize the dollar savings. Have your dietitian, doctor or both detail the progress you have been  making and how much money is being saved as a result. For instance, if you have lost weight or been able to reduce medication, explain this to them. Add up the actual dollars that have been saved. Many insurance companies are demanding to see actual results from dietitian visits before they will begin to cover them. They might start authorizing them if they see progress is being made.

    • 8

      Be persistent. Even if your claims are rejected, continue to submit them after every visit, especially if you are getting better. If you are persistent you are more likely than not to get it. Even if you do not receive insurance coverage, you will be making the insurance company aware of the effectiveness of nutrition, and with each claim filed, you will have cast a vote for insurance coverage for nutrition therapy.

 

Resources

 

Book Signing at Ofelia’s Kitchen in Livermore, CA

 

Vegan Baking for the Layperson

Allrecipes.comVegan for the Holidays

By Elizabeth Kahn, Dietitian and Wellness Educator

It is possible to survive off of – and even bake with – plant food alone. People who do not consume any animal products are called “vegan” or someone who eats a plant-based diet (the term vegan also refers to someone who lives strictly without any animal products). I have known a few incredible “vegan” cooks and have tasted, and now make myself, some of their delectable dishes. Vegan desserts can be especially delicious.

Why have a vegan diet or plant based diet? The majority of Americans consume too many animal products and not enough plant foods, and therefore, most people in this country should probably become more “vegan”.

Plant foods are extremely healthy. Plant foods have more vitamins and minerals and less saturated fat and cholesterol than animal products. Plant foods also have far fewer calories than animal products do, overall.

Eating a carnivorous diet may be purely due to habit and limited knowledge about vegan cooking. It may then help to know a few tricks of this healthier cooking trade.

Vegan Baking

In baking, one medium banana and a teaspoon of baking soda, or soy yogurt can be used to replace one egg. This can add moisture and improve taste. Plant milk (coconut, rice, almond, hemp) can be used in place of cow’s milk in recipes, and vegetable margarine can be used instead of butter.

Like most any skill, vegan cooking can be learned. Try these and other recipe substitutions and not only will you be eating more plant foods, which most of us need to do anyway, but you will also reduce your total caloric intake, have more energy and will look and feel healthier. Cheers to a happy holiday season and to good health! Happy baking.

The Power of Thought Over Health

Practicing Positivity with “The Four Agreements”

By Dietitian and Wellness Educator, Elizabeth Kahn

There are many studies that show the mind has a powerful effect on the body. We all know that we can control our thoughts, but how many of us actively do? Since our thoughts, like diet and exercise, determine body function, we should also practice healthy thinking.

The Power of Thought Over Disease

Many research studies show that positive thinking is an effective tool in the fight against cancer and other diseases.

Stress is a leading cause of disease. Stress can be reduced with modified thinking as stress levels are based on an individual’s interpretation of how stressful something is. Basically, if we believe an event is stressful, our bodies will respond accordingly. The reverse is also true. So, how do we control our thoughts in order to remain disease and stress free?

Recently, I benefitted from reading The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz. This book is a great tool to learn how to move our thoughts, and our behaviors, into a healthy direction. This book dramatically changed my thoughts and life, and so in honor of the holidays and your health, I will summarize the four agreements.

The first agreement: Be impeccable with your word. Your word is your power to create and is how your intent manifests. The word is a force, the power you have to express, communicate, think and create the events in your life. The word is like a double edged sword. It can create a beautiful reality or cause destruction around you. Your word can be pure magic, but, to misuse the word is what the author calls black magic. Too often words are used that injure or create fear. Impeccable means “without sin”, so to use your word impeccably means to speak without sin, or with good intent. In other words, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.

The second agreement: Don’t take anything personally. This one is a bit more self-explanatory however, for most people it is easier said than done. If someone sees you on the street and says, “Hey, you are stupid.” it is not about you it is about them. If you take it personally, perhaps you believe you are stupid. How would this person know if you are stupid or not? Is he psychic?  Ruiz points out that this second agreement is based on the first as if we are all impeccable with our word, we will not shout comments at others like “you are stupid” nor will we speak that way to, or believe these negative things about, ourselves.

The third agreement: Don’t make assumptions. The first thought that comes to my mind is the wife or girlfriend who pouts without saying a word hoping the husband or boyfriend will figure out what is wrong (I of course have never done this!). Most men are not psychic and he is therefore probably not going to figure it out, unless she tells him. This is the idea behind the third agreement. Don’t assume people know your wants, needs or expectations; communicate them instead to avoid hurt feelings and arguments.

The fourth agreement: Always do your best. This agreement allows the other three to become deeply ingrained habits. Doing your best can mean doing better one day than another, as your best will vary depending on whether you are tired or well rested, unwell or healthy, but always do your best—no more and no less.

There is a reason this powerful little book was on the New York Times Bestseller List for over seven years. I highly recommend it to adjust your thoughts, improve your health and change your life.

This book will also make a great gift. Giving a positive gift like this may also boost your health as there are studies that show acts of kindness improve the mood and health of those who perform, receive and witness them.

There are many of us who can benefit from improving our thoughts and therefore our health. Additionally, when I see television commercials with wives criticizing their husband’s laundry folding abilities and those that condone lies and humiliation, as well as programs like “I Hate My Teenage Daughter” and those with characters that regularly insult each other, it only enforces my already held belief that our society can benefit in many ways from practicing The Four Agreements.

May peace, love, positivity and kindness always be with you. Happy holidays!

Resources:

Ruiz, M. A. (1997). The Four Agreements. Amber-Allen Publishing; San Rafael, CA.

 

 

Why Eat Whole Grains?

By Dietitian and Wellness Educator, Elizabeth Kahn

You hear a lot these days about eating whole grains. But that is just more useless advice that you can ignore, right? Wrong. But, let me explain why you want to eat whole grains and maybe you will be more inclined to do so. Let’s take whole wheat for example. Whole wheat has many more nutrients than white flour. Let’s start with amino acids, the building blocks of protein.

The whole wheat grain has three main parts: the bran, germ and endosperm.

The parts of the whole-wheat grain with the most amino acids are the bran and germ — the parts removed when making white flour. All that is left in white flour is the endosperm, which not only has fewer amino acids, but is full of gluten. Food manufacturers love gluten because it is extremely pliable and tasty. Many people are developing gluten allergies as a result of the overconsumption of white flour.

Protein quality depends on all the essential amino acids being present in the right amounts, and in complete proteins they are. According to a measurement by the Institute of Medicine, a complete protein has a score of 100. Letter grades — based on numeric
scores — for the individual parts of the wheat grain are:

Germ: A

Bran: C

Endosperm: F

For nutrients like amino acids to do their jobs effectively in the body they must be balanced, and in whole grains they are. Here is how many amino acids are lost during processing white flour.

Amino acid  Units  Whole-Wheat Flour  White Flour
Tryptophan

G

0.254

0.159

Threonine

G

0.474

0.351

Isoleucine

G

0.610

0.446

Leucine

G

1.111

0.887

Lysine

G

0.454

0.285

Methionine

G

0.254

0.229

Cystine

G

0.380

0.274

Phenylalanine

G

0.775

0.650

Tyrosine

G

0.480

0.390

Valine

G

0.742

0.519

Arginine

G

0.770

0.521

Histidine

G

0.380

0.287

Alanine

G

0.584

0.415

Aspartic acid

G

0.844

0.544

Glutamic acid

G

5.190

4.349

Glycine

G

0.662

0.464

Proline

G

1.706

1.498

Serine

G

0.775

0.645

Whole wheat has more of every amino acid than white flour.

There are many other nutrients that are affected in processing whole wheat into white flour.

Nutrient

Units

Whole-Wheat
Flour

White
Flour 

Macronutrient
Energy

kCal

407

455

Protein

G

16.44

12.91

Carbohydrate

G

87.08

95.39

Fiber

G

14.6

3.4

Minerals
Calcium

Mg

41

19

Iron

Mg

4.66

1.46

Magnesium

Mg

166

28

Phosphorus

Mg

415

135

Potassium

Mg

486

134

Sodium

Mg

6

2

Zinc

Mg

3.52

0.88

Copper

Mg

0.458

0.180

Manganese

Mg

4.559

0.853

Selenium

Mcg

84.8

42.4

Vitamins
Thiamin

Mg

0.536

0.150

Riboflavin

Mg

0.258

0.050

Niacin

Mg

7.638

1.562

Pantothenic acid

Mg

1.210

0.547

Vitamin B-6

Mg

0.409

0.055

Folate

Mcg

53

32

Choline

Mg

37.4

13.0

Betaine

Mg

87.4

0.0

Carotene, beta

Mcg

6

0

Vitamin A, IU

IU

11

0

Lutein + zeaxanthin

Mcg

264

22

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)

Mg

0.98

0.07

Vitamin K (phylloquinone)

Mcg

2.3

0.4

Fats
Fatty acids, saturated

G

0.386

0.194

Fatty acids, monounsaturated

G

0.278

0.109

Fatty acids, polyunsaturated

G

0.935

0.516

Whole wheat has four times the amount of fiber white flour does. Whole wheat also has fewer calories, carbohydrates and more protein than its less healthy counterpart. There is about fifty percent less calcium, about one-third the amount of iron, and one-sixth the amount of magnesium in white flour. The list goes on and on but you can see it for yourself.

These are a few of the reasons to eat more whole grains. Whole grains have a lot more of the nutrients we need to function, learn, maintain sufficient energy levels for our busy lifestyles and thrive.

Sources:

  1. Self Nutrition Data. (n.d.). Know what you eat. Retrieved April 4, 2011, from http://nutritiondata.self.com.
  2. United States Department of Agriculture. (2009). National nutrient database for standard reference, release 22. Retrieved December 30, 2009, from http://www.nal.United States Department of Agriculture.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/.