Posts Tagged ‘fiber’

Cauliflower: The Vegetable Hater’s Vegetable

By Alicia Kaluza, MS, RD, LN, Take Control Health Coach

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

For those of you who don’t like vegetables, consider giving cauliflower a chance. Cauliflower can take on the flavor of anything you pair it with, and it can be used in ways where you don’t even know it’s there. Cauliflower is a great source of nutrients, including vitamin C, K, thiamine, fiber, folate, and potassium. Besides the nutrition value, cauliflower adds volume to your meal, which helps you feel full longer. And, it is low in calories.

Cauliflower is trending popular right now, particularly with people who are trying to find ways to lower carbohydrates, increase vegetables, or find healthier alternatives to their favorite recipes. But if you haven’t tried cauliflower besides the usual steamed method, you might be in for a big surprise with what this versatile vegetable can do.

Below are some really great alternatives to preparing cauliflower that may be a great addition to your weekly menu.

  • Riced Cauliflower. This is probably one of my favorite ways to use cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower into small florets, and put it through your food processor. Different blades make different shapes. If you don’t have a food processor, you can also put the florets into a durable plastic bag and pound it with a mallet. Cook any way you normally cook rice: steam it, boil it, stir-fry it, etc. It takes less time to cook than real rice. Riced cauliflower has a similar texture to real rice, and honestly doesn’t feel like you are missing out. It works great for taco bowls, stir-fry, or fried rice! You can even add riced cauliflower to your oatmeal for added fiber, volume, and veggies with your meal.
  • Mashed Cauliflower. A great alternative to our typical heavy mashed potatoes. Steam the cauliflower with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and chicken broth. Once cooked, place in the food processor or blender to create a smooth consistency. Add roasted garlic if that’s how you love your mashed potatoes.
  • Roasted Cauliflower Florets or Cauliflower Steak. Roasting cauliflower creates a different flavor, because it caramelizes. It’s a big improvement from plain old steamed cauliflower. Check out All for a great recipe for roasted cauliflower steaks.
  • In a Smoothie or Soup. You may be thinking, a smoothie? Gross. But honestly, you don’t notice half the things you put in a smoothie when it is paired with sweet fruits and other ingredients like peanut butter. Plus, it adds extra fiber and veggies to your diet without a lot of work. Cook cauliflower the usual ways – steam, boil, microwave, and then add it to a food processor or blender to puree it. You can add pureed cauliflower to soup recipes – for example, add it to a potato soup recipe for thicker, heartier soup.

If you still aren’t convinced about eating cauliflower, then try half and half. Half regular rice and half cauliflower rice. Or half regular mashed potatoes and half mashed cauliflower next time. It makes for an easy compromise, while still adding great nutrients to your dish!

Do you have a favorite cauliflower recipe? Share it in the comments below.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Julie Walker, Take Control Staff

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, so take a moment to remind yourself of the risk factors, symptoms, and preventative measures.

Risk factors for breast cancer include:

  • Being a woman (all women are vulnerable)
  • A family history of breast cancer
  • Menstruation before age 12
  • Menopause after age of 55
  • First pregnancy after age 35
  • Being overweight
  • Being older in age

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • A new lump or mass
  • Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no lump is felt)
  • Skin irritation or dimpling
  • Breast or nipple pain
  • Nipple retraction (turning inward)
  • Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
  • Swelling of lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone

Preventative measures for breast cancer include:

  • Get to, and stay at, a healthy weight
  • Be physically active (moderate to vigorous exercise)
  • Limit or avoid alcohol
  • If you have a baby, breastfeed
  • Use non-hormonal options to treat menopause
  • If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, talk to your doctor about breast cancer risk reduction medications

Strong evidence supports the fact that eating high fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients can protect against some cancers. Examples of food that can reduce the risk of cancer includes:

  • Cruciferous and dark, leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, and kale
  • Fruits such as citrus, berries, and cherries
  • Whole-grains such as oats, barley, bulgur, whole-grain pastas, breads, cereals, and crackers
  • Legumes such as dried beans and peas, lentils, and soybeans


Sources: cancer.orgEat


Getting Ready for the Hunt

By Shannon Jones and Laura Del Guerra, Take Control Health Coaches


Hunting season is right around the corner, and preparing yourself and your equipment for hunting season increases your chance of success. Dietary indiscretions and inactivity can catch up with you quickly out in the field. Like any athlete, hunters usually have their own pre-season rituals, but here are a few tips to consider before heading out this season:

Get in Shape

  • Start getting physically active and increase activity gradually with walking, biking, swimming or hiking. Hiking with a light pack is the best exercise, as it mimics the hunting experience. Walk in public hunting areas, state parks, and state and national forests. Go off-trail, walk up and down steep banks, jump creeks, and push your way through brush.
  • Stretching after workouts can be helpful with improving your recovery and helping to prevent injuries.
  • If you are stuck inside, run or walk briskly up and down stairs, lift weights, and get the best workout that you can. You can use the local gym, or invest in a pair of dumbbells, stretch band or fitness ball. Find an online workout routine that combines both lower and upper body exercises. com has 10 Great Workout Routines for Western Hunting  and has Your 12 Week Plan to Get in Shape for Elk Hunting Season

Fuel Up

  • There is no better way to start the day then with a protein and fiber. Look for healthy simple ways to include these into your breakfast. If you need ideas, has a great article called Healthy Breakfast Ideas and Recipes
  • Hydration is especially important, and even when you do not feel thirsty; consume at least eight 8 oz. glasses of water. Consider a Camelback or other hydration device to meet your needs in the field.

Prepare Equipment:

  • Make sure your hunting equipment is in good condition. Get your gun sighted-in, and practice with it. If you are a bow hunter, this should be a year around activity to keep the muscles used strong and limber.
  • Take your binoculars and spotting scopes outside and make sure they are still clear and fog-free. If your eyes have changed over the past year, or you have a different vision prescription, it can drastically change the way things appear through a scope or through sights. Sharpen and oil knives and other metal tools that you will be using when deer hunting.
  • Check to make certain that your hunting clothes and boots still fit. Place your hunting boots into a tub of water to make sure they are still waterproof.
  • If you rely on an ATV, check or change the oil, check tire pressure, brakes, and make other recommended changes and adjustments.
  • Finally, make sure your hunting license is up to date, and all stamps are in proper order. Double check your hunting property for permissions, etc. You should have scouted before season and have these things lined up well ahead of time, but if not get it taken care of as soon as possible.


Do Detox Diets Work?

By Lindsay Watkins, RD, CLC, Take Control Health Coach


This time of year, I’m sure you’ve been hearing about friends or family who are doing a cleanse or detox diet. Here’s a run-down of a few of the most popular ones and a dietitian’s take on whether they are healthy or worth it.

 Isagenix 9 day Deep Cleansing and Fat Burning System

Claims – Accelerated weight loss and cleansing. Average weight loss of 7 lbs. in 9 days.  You may experience: greater energy, weight loss boost, improved muscle tone, balanced digestion, and reduced cravings.

What it entails – Two “Cleanse days” which consists of supplements and very few calories. This is followed by 5 “Shake Days” where you consume 2 protein shakes and 1, 400-600 calorie meal in addition to a variety of supplements. You finish the program with 2 more “Cleanse Days.” A 9-day supply is costs ~$200

Dietitian’s Take – You will probably lose weight on this cleanse. It is low calorie and low carb. Your body holds on to 3 grams of water for every 1 gram of carbohydrate you eat so as you eat less carbs your body will get rid of excess water. You may also lose a couple pounds from the calorie restriction.

Bottom Line – Save your money, you’ll probably gain the weight back as your return to your regular diet.


Juice Cleanse

Claims – Jump start your weight loss, increase energy, decrease your appetite, heal your gut, and detox your liver.

What it entails – Consuming only fruit and vegetable juice for anywhere from 3-5 days, sometimes longer.

Dietitian’s Take – You will probably lose some weight on a juice cleanse, and you may feel good and less bloated once you complete it. However, there is no protein or fat on a juice cleanse, and can therefore be dangerous – especially if done for longer than 3-5 days. You also may feel dizzy, have low energy, and have blood sugar spikes from the high sugar juices.

Bottom Line: Skip juice cleanses but feel free to incorporate fresh fruit and veggie juices into your healthy diet a few times a week if you enjoy them.


Whole 30

Claims – Eliminating certain foods from your diet will give you more energy, help you lose weight, and cure just about any ailment – digestive issues, aches and pains, fertility issues, and more.

What it entails – Avoiding processed foods, legumes, grains, sugar, and alcohol. You’ll eat fresh fruits and veggies, meats, seafood, healthy oils, potatoes, nuts, clarified butter, and vinegar.

Dietitian’s Take – The great thing about this plan is that it emphasizes real foods and avoids sugar and processed foods. It does eliminate complete food groups like dairy, whole grains, and legumes, but overall it’s a balanced clean plan with plenty of calories.

Bottom Line:  Most people lose weight during the 30 days and report feeling better, though I’m not convinced it will cure infertility or your bad back. Give it a try if you’re looking to eliminate sugar and processed foods from your diet.


How the Body Naturally Detoxifies

Your body doesn’t need a strict diet or a slew of supplements to remove toxins. Detoxification is a process that the body performs around the clock using nutrients from the diet. The liver, kidneys, intestines, and even the skin are involved in the detoxing process. While a juice cleanse or expensive cocktail of supplements won’t rid your body of all its toxins, there are things you can do to support your body’s natural detoxification process.

Ways to Support Your Body’s Natural Detoxification Process

  • Drink plenty of plain clean water.
  • Eat five to nine servings of fruit and vegetables per day.
  • Consume enough fiber each day from vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
  • Eat cruciferous vegetables, berries, artichokes, garlic, onions, leeks, turmeric and milk thistle, and drink green tea. These foods support detoxification pathways.
  • Consume adequate protein, which is critical to maintaining optimum levels of glutathione, the body’s master detoxification enzyme.
  • Eat naturally fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, kimchi and sauerkraut — or take a probiotic — to help the body manage toxins from microbes that live in the gut.
  • Maintain bowel regularity.



Triglycerides and Your Diet

A diet high in carbohydrates, especially in refined carbohydrates (like sweeteners, white flours, and other highly refined carbohydrates) can raise triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood. When you eat, your body converts any calories that it does not immediately need into triglycerides which are stored in fat cells. As such they can provide your body with energy when necessary.

What contributes to high triglyceride levels? High triglycerides can sometimes be a sign of poorly controlled diabetes. Other things that contribute to elevated triglyceride levels are obesity, an under-active thyroid, diabetes, kidney disease, and smoking. A low intake of omega-3 fatty acids may also raise triglycerides. Additionally, some medications may raise triglyceride levels.

Why is my triglyceride level important? We are not sure how exactly high triglycerides may contribute to the hardening of arteries or thickening of artery walls. What we do know is that this hardening and thickening of artery walls raises the risk for heart disease including both strokes and heart attacks. Dr Michael Miller (University of Maryland, Baltimore) states, “We’ve known that triglycerides are linked with LDL cholesterol in that high levels of both confer a greater risk than either one alone,”. “In fact, having a high triglyceride level, above 200 mg/dL, with elevated LDL cholesterol confers about a twofold risk of heart disease. The question is how you tease out triglycerides from other risk factors, because typically people who have high triglycerides often have insulin resistance, low HDL cholesterol, and high blood pressure.”

How do I lower my triglyceride level? Diet and exercise are the cornerstones of treatment for patients with elevated triglyceride levels, according to a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association. The American Heart Association (AHA) states that a triglyceride level of <100 is optimal and improves heart health. Additionally, in May 2011 the AHA released guidelines on the treatment for high triglycerides. For patients with borderline triglyceride levels, those ranging from 150 to 199 mg/dL, experts recommend losing 5% of current body weight and limiting carbohydrates to 50% to 60% of daily caloric intake. A 5% to 10% weight reduction may result in a 20% decrease in triglycerides, an approximate 15% reduction in LDL cholesterol, and an 8% to 10% increase in HDL cholesterol. The AHA further recommends limiting added sugars to less than 10% of daily caloric intake and provides new guidance on fructose consumption, recommending that borderline patients consume less than 100 grams per day from all sources. Among individuals with borderline, high, and very high triglyceride levels, weight loss of up to 10% of body weight is recommended.

Even if people have not been diagnosed with triglycerides outside the normal range, if they eat too many simple sugars (refined grains, added sugars and alcohol) their triglycerides will increase.

A well-balanced diet high in fiber, with whole grains and containing plenty of fruits and vegetables, along with fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, seafood, lean meats and poultry, beans, nuts and seeds will help to lower triglyceride levels. Additional tips to lower triglycerides levels include:

  • Lose weight. There is evidence that a 5-10 percent weight loss results in a 20 percent decrease in triglycerides – the amount of decrease in triglycerides are directly related to the amount of weight lost.
  • Decrease your calorie intake – this will help with weight loss and also decrease triglycerides.
  • Limit your alcohol intake to one drink daily for women and two drinks per day for men. Alcohol in high amounts increases triglyceride levels in some people. For people with very high triglycerides, abstinence from alcohol is recommended.
  • Avoid sugary and refined carbohydrates. The type of carbohydrates that you eat makes a difference – and foods that contain high amounts of simple sugars, especially fructose raise triglyceride levels.
  • Limit cholesterol intake from meat, dairy products, butter and margarine.
  • Choose healthier fats like monounsaturated fats and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Saturated and Trans fats raise triglycerides – Eliminate trans-fats in your diet, and decrease saturated fat intake to no more than 7 percent of total daily calories. That means, for example, if you need about 2,000 calories a day, no more than 140 of them should come from saturated fats. That’s about 16 grams of saturated fats a day.
  • Physical activity plays an important role in lowering triglycerides. Work to increase your physical activity to a minimum of 150 minutes per week.

Everyone – whether or not they have high triglycerides – should focus on fiber-rich complex carbohydrates, such as vegetables and whole grains, instead of simple sugars.


How Take Control Health Coaches Eat Close to the Ground

In our April newsletter, Health Coach Laura Del Guerra wrote about eating “close to the ground” – which basically means to eat foods you recognize. Food that you might grow in your garden. Foods that contain more of their original fiber and nutrients. Laura’s action plan included:

  1. Limit processed (packaged) food
  2. Increase fruits and vegetables
  3. Prepare homemade meals
  4. Choose products with no added sugar
  5. Choose products with less than 500 mg sodium per serving
  6. Choose grains with the word “whole” in the ingredient name
  7. Choose grains with the Whole Grains Council stamp

We asked each of our Health Coaches to add their advice on how they eat “close to the ground” – and here are their answers:

hazel_smallHazel:  I eat 2 pieces of fruit and/or vegetable servings at each meal. I prepare or pre-package snacks ahead in snack-sized bags for ease when snacking on the run (nuts/seeds/dried fruit, apples, berries, veggie sticks, popcorn with Mrs Dash spices).

Kat: I use the K.I.S.S. formula (Keep It Simple Sista!) when I think about eating simple and food without legs. I like foods with substance, taste, and simplicity. I found this website for homemade fruit bars. They hold off hunger, have plenty of protein, and stay fresh in the fridge for weeks. These bars are super simple to make, and everyone seems to love them.  My favorite is Cherry Pie: Leite’s Culinaria Homemade Larabars 

Kelly Sedgwick photo_web_small

Kelly: I make a deal with myself that I cannot have my favorite chai drink until I’ve had at least 2 fruits first – sometimes it takes me until 6pm at night to get it in but knowing I can relax at the end of the day with a chai gives me incentive. I start the day with 8oz. of water the minute I wake up – It’s right before my morning workout and 7-8 hours asleep at night is a long time for your body to go without water and I know I’ll need it for the workout!

shannon_sept_14_cropShannon: I try to eat and cook things in there most natural state whenever possible. On food labels I try to pick items with the shortest list of ingredients that I can pronounce, low in sugar, low in sodium and items with more fiber. I use my favorite kitchen tool, a spiral vegetable noodle maker, for substituting pasta in hot and cold dishes. More info: How Zoodles And Spirals Will Change The Way You Eat Veggies  And finally, I try to grow or buy local foods whenever possible.

Richel photo smallRichel: I try to avoid eating anything out of a box. I only make baked goods from scratch (My daughter has never had a Birthday cake from a box mix or grocery store.) I strive to cook everything fresh and use fresh spices whenever possible.

laura2Laura: I make my own pasta and pizza sauce from no salt added canned tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes in the summer) and then freeze to use later. When baking, I substitute whole wheat flour for part of the flour called for in a recipe, never add salt to my baked goods, and decrease slightly (by 1/4 tsp) the baking soda called for in recipes. And no, the baked foods do not taste ‘flat’ nor are they flat! There is plenty of taste and leavening agents left to make them wonderful.

How do you eat “close to the ground?” Let us know in the comments below.

To Statin or Not to Statin?

A Physician and Dietitian Provide Insight Into High Cholesterol and How to Treat It

By Laura Del Guerra, RD, CDE

What do I do about my cholesterol? It is one of the most common questions Take Control Health Coaches are asked. The internet contains a wealth of information, both accurate and just plain scary. New recommendations for the treatment of cholesterol were published just a little over a year ago, and the media buzz hyped that most of America would now be placed on a statin. However, a Missoula physician stated that more goes into the new recommendations than just your total cholesterol number. The recommendations stress that ‘A person’s risk index must be evaluated before any treatment is advised.’ We’ve compiled the interview with the physician, research, and a Registered Dietitian’s thoughts to provide you with information on how to tackle high cholesterol.

Question: Many people do not want to take a statin to control high cholesterol. Are there other choices?

The best answer to this question is: ‘Talk to your doctor.’ The new recommendations stress risk indexing, which assists in predicting the likelihood of a person having a heart attack or stroke. Having an honest conversation with your doctor, including a discussion about your cholesterol results, lifestyle, and family history, is most important for determining treatment options. It is a matter of benefit versus risk. There are many new generation statins on the market that have far less side effects than the original drugs. It is also important to remember that statins do not cause liver disease. They can, however, make existing liver disease worse. (For more on how risk scores are calculated visit:

Question: Why were statins chosen as the primary (medication) treatment option?

Statins seem to lower the risk for cardiovascular disease regardless of a person’s cholesterol level. That is, with a statin, there is a meaningful risk reduction rather than just a lowering of the cholesterol number.

Source: NYTimes Blog: 3 Things to Know About the New Cholesterol Guidelines

Treatment recommendations at a glance: Statins are recommended for these four (4) groups:

  • People with existing cardiovascular (heart) disease.
  • People with an LDL (bad) cholesterol above 190mg/dl.
  • People between the ages of 40 and 70 years old who have diabetes.
  • People with an estimated ten (10) year risk of cardiovascular disease of 7.5% or higher who are between the ages of 40 and 70.

Source: Understanding the New Prevention Guidelines

Question: My HDL (good) cholesterol is low. How can I raise it?

  • Smoking lowers HDL levels. Quitting will modestly raise your HDL levels and lower your risk of heart disease over time.
  • Weight loss: If your BMI is above the healthy range, every 6 pounds of weight lost can equate to a 1mg/dl increase in HDL.
  • Increase physical activity: Just 30 minutes of brisk walking 5 times a week can increase HDL cholesterol by 5% within 2 months.
  • Choose healthier fats: While 25-35% of our diet should consist of fat, it’s important to choose sources of fat wisely. For oils stick with olive, peanut, and canola. When eating nuts choose walnuts, almonds, and Brazil nuts. Finally, choosing foods like fish and others with Omega-3 Fatty acids will help increase your HDL levels.
  • Drink in moderation: This is nothing new, consuming alcohol in excess of what is recommended can decrease HDL levels.
  • Finally, drugs like Niaspan can increase HDL cholesterol (the prescription form is the best choice as it has less side effects).

Question: What about LDL (bad) cholesterol – how can I lower my LDL cholesterol?

  • Avoid saturated fats: Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and are found in cheese, milk (whole, 2%), meats, sausage, and butter. Don’t forget that saturated fats hide in foods like pizza and grain-based desserts (cookies, pies, cakes, etc).
  • Add more fiber to your diet by eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Consider adding Plant Sterols found in margarines like Promise Active and Benecol. They have been shown to help lower cholesterol levels.
  • Get moving: In addition to helping increase HDL levels, regular physical activity will help lower LDL levels as well.

Question: What are triglycerides and how can I lower them?

Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood and provide energy to the body. They are well stored by the body and can be elevated in people who are overweight, have poorly controlled diabetes, hypothyroidism, and kidney disease. Triglycerides may also be elevated in people who consume too many calories or excessive amounts of alcohol.

Ways to lower triglycerides:

  • Limit alcohol intake to no more than 1 drink per day if you are female or no more than 2 drinks per day if you are male. For some this might even be too much, and they may need to completely stay away from alcohol.
  • Exercise 5 or more days a week.
  • Weight loss of 5-10% can significantly lower triglycerides. Belly fat is associated with higher triglyceride levels.
  • Lowering the amount of saturated fat and trans fat in your diet, as well as eating less carbohydrates can help decrease triglycerides.
  • Adding more Omega-3 fatty acids can also help to lower triglycerides. Salmon and walnuts are good natural sources. Foods like eggs, milk, and juice can be fortified with omega-3 fatty acids.

For more information about how to best treat your high cholesterol, talk to your doctor. Your doctor can evaluate all of your risk factors and guide you to the best decisions for your individual situation.