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    Archive for the ‘protein’ Category

    Why The Media Needs a Vegan 101 Course… Stat!

    With vegan eating increasingly becoming more mainstream, I thought it was time to compile a list of recent articles to see how the media frames and discusses the issue. Despite some improvements, there is certainly room for more.

    Below, what the media continues to get wrong — and how it can avoid making the same mistakes.

    Continue Reading »

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    You Ask, I Answer: Protein Bakery Snacks

    I’m hoping you can help me decipher this.

    One of my co-workers is obsessed with these cookies and brownies made by The Protein Bakery.  He says they’re good for you because they are made with oats and because they’re high in protein and low in carbs.

    What do you think of them?

    – Rob (Last name withheld)
    Brooklyn, NY

    As regular readers of Small Bites know, few things make me as giddy as pulling back the curtains on Big Food and its desperate attempts to make run-of-the-mill treats seem like health food.

    That said, I am an equal-opportunity critic of nutrition nonsense, so when I see a company — whether it’s a corporate giant or an independent family-owned one –  with their hands in the proverbial “focus on one ingredient and call our sugar-laden product healthy” cookie jar, I feel a need to call them out.  Which brings me to The Protein Bakery.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Protein Powder Terminology

    ion_exchange_protein_wpi_3kg_powder_shop_new_zealand_co_nz_smI was looking at different protein powders the other day, and saw a lot of terms that went over my head.  Can you help me out and at least tell me if I should even bother paying attention to some of these?

    Here are ones I wrote down:  “ion-exchanged”, “microfiltered”, “hydrolized”.

    Thank you.  Not only for answering this question, but for your blog.  I have learned a lot just by visiting your site!

    – Richard (last name withheld)
    San Jose, CA

    As if the cereal and bread aisles weren’t bad enough, protein powder shopping also involves sorting through a variety of fancy-sounding claims.  Let’s break them down:

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    You Ask, I Answer: Protein Bar Guidelines

    zero impact barWhat things should I look for in a protein bar?  I use them when I’m on the go at times when I know I will need something, but don’t want to do fast food.

    – Tammy Edwards
    (Via Facebook)

    Wonderful questions.  When it comes to protein bars, I am “on the fence”.  Allow me to explain.

    On the one hand, I don’t think they are terrible and should be shunned.  Sure, there are some horrific protein bars out there (and, in a little bit, I will give you specific parameters to help you choose the better ones), but a smart choice can make for a great snack or meal replacement in a pinch.

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    You Ask, I Answer: “Greek-Style” Yogurt

    JF08_IO5aI’m a little afraid to ask you this, but here it goes.

    I have noticed that some Greek yogurts actually say “Greek style” on their packaging (with the word “style” in tiny letters).  I’ve been reading your blog for a while, so I have a feeling this is significant.

    Are these different from (or less healthy than) a “real” Greek yogurt like Fage?

    – Melissa Heaney
    Albany, NY

    Ah, the drawbacks of being a sharp-eyed nutrition sleuth at the grocery store.

    I recall several years ago, when I first started reading ingredient lists for common brands I used to buy, walking around supermarket aisles in a heavy-hearted daze.  It was almost as if I had just been told that my significant other had been cheating on me on a daily basis.  Except that, rather than stumbling across a hurriedly-scribbled name and number on a piece of paper, I was alerted to the presence of artificial dyes, partially hydrogenated oils, and high fructose corn syrup.  Heartbreak on aisle five!

    Onto your question — there is a difference between Greek-style yogurts and actual Greek yogurts.  If you’re curious about what makes Greek yogurt special, please read this post.

    Here is the ingredient list for Fage non-fat Greek yogurt:

    Grade A Pasteurized Skimmed Milk, Live Active Yogurt Cultures (L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus)

    Now, let’s take a peek at the ingredient list for a Greek-style yogurt.  For this example, I am using The Greek Gods brand:

    Pasteurized Grade A Nonfat Milk, Inulin, Pectin, Active Cultures (S. Thermophilius, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium, L. Casei)

    Whereas “true” Greek yogurt’s thick consistency is the result of straining out the watery whey, Greek-style yogurts add thickeners (ie: gum blends like pectin and inulin, milk solids, stabilizers).

    Each yogurt’s respective Nutrition Facts label also tells the tale.  Here is what 6 ounces of real Greek yogurt offer:

    • 90 calories
    • 0 grams fiber
    • 15 grams protein
    • 19% of the Adequate Intake of calcium

    That same amount of Greek-style yogurt contains:

    • 60 calories
    • 2 grams fiber
    • 6 grams protein
    • 25% of the Adequate Intake of calcium

    Let’s make sense of that.

    • The decrease in calories is due to the reduction in protein.  Remember, Greek yogurt’s higher protein levels are due to the absence of watery whey.  Greek-style yogurt retains the whey and adds on thickeners.
    • As you know, all dairy products are fiberless.  The 2 grams of fiber in Greek-style yogurt are due to the presence of thickening gums.  Depending on what other brands of Greek-style yogurt use, the fiber value may be zero.
    • The higher percentage of calcium is also attributed to the presence of whey.

    There is nothing troubling, disturbing, or unhealthy about pectin and inulin.  We aren’t talking about blue dyes or trans fats here.  Two FYIs, though:

    1. For optimal health benefits, fiber should come from foods that naturally contain it, rather than add-ons.
    2. If you’re looking for the higher protein benefits of Greek yogurt (mainly the ability to feel satiated for a little longer), reach for the authentic product.
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    Quick & Healthy Recipe: Quinoa Vegetable Ginger-Curry Burgers

    quinoa11And so we come to the last vegan burger recipe.

    This is by far the most time-intensive, as it requires you to use cooked quinoa, and then refrigerate the burgers for a few hours before cooking them. Actual prep time, though, is not long at all.

    Of course, you could very well plan ahead slightly and, next time you cook quinoa at home, make an extra batch to have handy for this recipe.

    YIELDS: 4 patties

    1 cup quinoa, cooked (about 1/2 cup uncooked)
    2 Tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 cup baby portabella mushrooms, chopped
    1/2 cup shredded carrots
    1/2 cup red peppers, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 cup baby spinach leaves, loosely packed
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    Pepper, to taste
    1/2 tsp curry powder
    1/8 tsp ground ginger
    3 Tablespoons scallions, chopped
    1 teaspoon tamari
    3/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil. Once hot, add the baby portabella mushrooms and shredded carrots. Cook, stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Add the red peppers and cook, stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until golden brown. Add the spinach leaves and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

    Allow vegetables to cool for five minutes.

    In a food processor, process the cooked vegetables and spices for 20 to 30 seconds.

    Empty the contents of the food processor into a large bowl. Add the quinoa, tamari, scallions and breadcrumbs; mix together with your hands until you achieve a dough-like solid mass.

    Refrigerate the “burger dough” for two hours.

    After the two hours have passed, take out burger dough from refrigerator.  Form “burger dough” into four individual patties and cook to your liking (either pan-fry for a few minutes on each side or bake on a lighty oiled baking sheet at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 7  minutes on each side).

    NUTRITION INFORMATION (per patty):

    248 calories
    1 gram saturated fat
    250 milligrams sodium
    3.5 grams fiber
    5 grams protein

    Excellent Source of: Folate, niacin, thiamin, monounsaturated fatty acids

    Good source of: Magnesium, manganese, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C

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    You Ask, I Answer: Nut Butters, Nut Milks, Protein, and Satiety

    04314l1395I understand that nuts are filling because, in part, of their protein. Do nut milks (e.g., almond milk) possess similar properties? Are they as “filling” or have as much protein?

    Also, what is a good protein replacement for nut butters? I like nut butters and love the idea of “bulking up” a piece of bread to make it more satisfying, but sometimes find it hard to digest nuts in large quantities. Is there something else I can put on my breads, muffins, etc. that will make me feel as full for as long as nut butters do?

    – Lizzie (Last Name Withheld)
    (Location Withheld)

    Nut milks offer different nutrient values than nut butters because they have have a much higher water content.

    If you make nut milk the traditional way (straining the liquid through a chinois and/or a nutmilk bag before consuming it), most of the “nut mush” (along with its fiber and protein) is caught and does not make it to your beverage.

    This helps explain why the average cup (1 serving) of commercial almond milk has 1 gram of protein, while 1 serving (2 tablespoons) of almond butter has 7 grams of protein.

    In terms of a good replacement for nut butters, you could always do a combination of nut butters with fruit.

    For example, if you normally put 2 tablespoons of nut butter on bread, try 1 tablespoon (or even 2 teaspoons) and then add some sliced bananas or mashed berries.  The fiber in the fruit will help you feel full, while the decrease in fat will make the total snack easier to digest.

    You could also put a small amount of nut butter on bread and add a sprinkling of hemp, chia, or flax seeds for easier digestion.

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    Quick & Healthy Recipe: “No Flour? No Problem!” Pancakes

    oats-280wThis recipe was created out of true laziness one morning when I craved pancakes and quickly realized I had no flour of any kind in my kitchen.

    Oh, yes, I could have walked all of three minutes to the store around the block to buy some, but… then you wouldn’t be reading this.  It was all part of the plan!

    Some quick FYIs before we get to the deets:

    1. While sturdy, these pancakes have a more delicate texture than conventional ones.

    2. Some of the ingredients (i.e.: xanthan gum, unsweetened shredded coconut) are only available at health food stores (or Whole Foods).  They are not expensive, though, and all you need is one short trip to buy them all.

    3. The inclusion of whey or hemp protein (as optional ingredients) is for individuals looking for a more substantial meal, as is the inclusion of extra nuts and seeds.  I like to have these pancakes for brunch, so I like making them in a way that keeps me satisfied for several hours.

    4. A large majority of the saturated fats in this recipe come from coconut products, which are significantly less damaging than other saturated fats.  You are welcome to use other plant oils if you would like, though coconut oil is my favorite for this recipe.

    5. For optimal flavors, these pancakes should be generously topped with blueberries, strawberries, and banana slices.

    Yields: 2 large pancakes

    INGREDIENTS:

    2 Tablespoons ground flax
    5 Tablespoons water OR milk of choice (ie: dairy, almond, soy, etc.)
    1 cup quick-cooking oats
    1.5 teaspoons double-acting baking powder (if aluminum-free, even better)
    1 teaspoon xanthan gum (can buy this at any health food store)
    1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    2 scoops protein powder of choice (optional; if including, I highly recommend unsweetened, but flavored, whey or hemp)
    1/4 cup chopped nuts of choice OR 1/4 cup seeds (i.e.: chia, hemp) (optional)
    2 Tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
    1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
    2 teaspoons coconut oil

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    In a small bowl combine the ground flax and liquid.  Allow to rest for five minutes.

    In large bowl, combine oats, baking powder, xanthan gum, vanilla, cinnamon, protein powder, nuts/seeds, and shredded coconut.

    Add applesauce and coconut oil to ground flax mixture.  Stir briefly.

    Add contents of small bowl to large bowl.  Fold wet ingredients into dry ones.

    On stovetop, heat griddle at medium heat until surface is hot.

    Add 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil or vegan butter or conventional butter.  Use paper towel or spatula to spread evenly on surface.

    Pour batter onto griddle and form two pancakes.

    Cook pancakes until top surface begins to bubble.  Flip, cook for another 2 or 3 minutes.

    Serve.

    NUTRITION INFORMATION (per pancake, made with whey protein, chopped pecans, and using water for flax mixture):

    512 calories
    7.5 grams saturated fat
    360 milligrams sodium
    8 grams fiber
    24 grams protein

    Excellent Source of: Alpha-Linolenic omega-3 fatty acids, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, thiamin

    Good Source of: Folate, vitamin B6, vitamin C, zinc

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    Quick & Healthy Recipe: Spiced Lentil & Quinoa Bowl with Avocado Dressing

    lentejas_-lensculirnarisI consider this a perfect year-round dish.

    In the cold winter months, the warm lentils and quinoa, along with the spices, make for a comforting dish.

    Once summer hits, I love this as a cold salad!

    This is also one of those meals that keeps you full for a very long time, as it combines heart-healthy fats, soluble fiber, and protein.

    Don’t be let the long steps fool you; this is a very simple recipe.  The lentils and dressing can both be prepared while the quinoa cooks.

    By the way, if you don’t have a food processor (or don’t feel like taking it out, using it, and cleaning it), you can always replace the dressing with some fresh avocado slices.  Even if you don’t have avocados handy, the lentil and quinoa combination in itself is delicious!

    YIELDS: 4 servings (1 cup quinoa + 1 cup lentils + 2 TBSP dressing)

    INGREDIENTS (Quinoa):

    2 cups quinoa
    4 cups water
    Pinch of salt

    INGREDIENTS (Spiced Lentils):

    2 TBSP olive oil
    1 cup onions, chopped
    1/2 cup carrots, shredded
    1/2 cup red pepper, diced
    1/4 cup green pepper, diced
    1 cup mushrooms, chopped
    2 T garlic, minced
    1/2 t cumin
    1/4 t cinnamon
    1/2 t curry powder
    1/3 t salt
    1/4 t paprika
    1/8 t black pepper
    1 cup dried lentils, rinsed (any color; if you can find sprouted dried lentils, even better!)
    3 cups water
    1 Tablespoon lemon juice

    INGREDIENTS (Avocado Dressing):

    1 large avocado, pitted
    2 t lime juice
    1 garlic clove
    2 t ginger
    1/4 t salt
    1/4 c water

    INSTRUCTIONS (Quinoa):

    In a small pot, combine quinoa, water, and a pinch of salt.

    Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer until all water evaporates.

    Fluff quinoa with fork.

    INSTRUCTIONS (Spiced Lentils):

    In a large pot, heat olive oil.  Once sufficiently hot, add onions, carrots, peppers, mushrooms, and garlic.

    Stir frequently over the course of 2 minutes over medium-high heat.

    Add spices.  Stir frequently for 2 more minutes.

    Add lentils and water, stir and bring to a boil.

    Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring two or three times.

    Turn off stovetop, uncover, add lemon juice, and stir one more time.

    INSTRUCTIONS (Avocado dressing):

    Combine all ingredients in food processor and process until evenly combined.

    NUTRITION INFORMATION (per serving):

    538 calories
    2.5 grams saturated fat
    450 milligrams sodium
    15 grams fiber
    18 grams protein

    Excellent Source of: Folate, manganese, monounsaturated fats, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K

    Good Source of: Iron, phosphorus, vitamin E, zinc

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    You Ask, I Answer: Greek Yogurt

    fage-greek-yogurtI know Greek yogurt is thicker and firmer than regular yogurt, but are there any nutritional differences between the two?

    – Julie Abdir
    Keene, NH

    Yes, slight ones.

    Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt (even in its fat-free version) because the watery whey is strained out.  This straining process also makes Greek yogurt higher in protein and lower in calcium than regular yogurt.

    Whereas a cup of regular yogurt delivers 13 grams of protein and 450 milligrams of calcium, that same amount of Greek yogurt adds up to 20 grams of protein and 150 milligrams of calcium.

    Another bonus?  Since Greek yogurt is highly concentrated, it delivers a higher amount of probiotics than regular yogurt.  Remember, though, you always want look for the “Live & Active Cultures” seal to make sure you are getting beneficial bacteria.

    Keep the same #1 yogurt guideline in mind when buying Greek varieties: buy the plain flavor and jazz it up yourself in healthy ways (i.e.: add dried or fresh fruit, nuts, ground flax, oat bran, etc.).

    If you’re not into traditional yogurt consumption, try using Greek yogurt (0% or 2% fat) as a substitute for sour cream in a savory dip.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Vegan “Butter” and “Cheese”

    tumblr_l024ebWGmt1qzq14lo1_400I’d love to know your thoughts on Earth Balance “butter” and Daiya “cheese.” They seem relatively non-evil, but I defer to the experts.

    – Jennifer DiSanto
    (Location Unknown)

    Earth Balance spreads are popular among vegans, mainly as a butter substitute.  Depending on which variety they use, they can be used in baking or to top freshly baked garlic bread.

    I am not as worried about them as I am of some overly-processed faux-meat products for a variety of reasons:

    • Whereas it is feasible to eat two mega-processed soy burgers in one meal, most people consume small amounts of these spreads (i.e.: 1 Tablespoon over two slices of toast) at a given time
    • Unlike other butter alternatives, Earth Balance spreads are free of partially hydrogenated oils
    • Earth Balance offers soy-free spreads (for those who are choose to avoid soybean oil)
    • Earth Balance spreads are mainly a combination of different plant oils; it’s not as “Frankenfoody” as other products
    • Most of their spreads offer a fair amount of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids

    Daiya “cheese” in increasingly gaining popularity in the vegan community.  Let’s take a look at the ingredient list:

    Purified water, tapioca and/or arrowroot flours, non-GMO expeller pressed canola and/or non-GMO expeller pressed safflower oil, coconut oil, pea protein, salt, inactive yeast, vegetable glycerin, natural flavors (derived from plants), xanthan gum, sunflower lecithin, vegan enzymes (no animal rennet or animal enzymes), vegan bacterial cultures, citric acid (for flavor), annatto.

    There is nothing about that ingredient list worth raving — or ranting — about.  I wouldn’t necessarily call this a nutritious product (it’s basically flours, oils, and thickeners), but it’s also not horrific.  I guess you could place this in the “meh” category for me.

    The only thing to keep in mind is that Daiya cheese offers a moderate amount of sodium per serving (250 milligrams per ounce, approximately fifty percent more than the same amount of cheddar cheese) and significantly less protein than dairy or soy-based cheeses (1 to 1.5 grams per ounce, as opposed to 7 grams).

    As far as vitamins and minerals go, Daiya offers vitamin B12 (a plus for those who are fully vegan!) but is not a good source of calcium (which, truly, isn’t a concern if one’s vegan diet is high in leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds, or is otherwise fortified).

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    Intern On A Mission!

    190154-1Over the past few months, University of Nebraska Lincoln freshman Laura Smith has been of tremendous help to me as the first-ever Small Bites intern.

    A few weeks ago, I asked her to visit one or two vitamin stores in her city, assume the role of a regular customer, and ask sales representatives at these stores what they would recommend for her now that “she is under doctor’s orders” to eat more fiber and improve her cholesterol levels (FYI: she isn’t really, I just concocted that).

    Here is what Laura was told at a store called Complete Nutrition (in her words):

    I was told to take a multivitamin, as this will help improve nutrients and my cholesterol level.  I was also told to take Tone, a product that “attacks stubborn fat by shrinking fat cells while maintaining existing lean muscle”.  According to the salesperson, Tone has been clinically tested to support fat loss while maintaining normal cholesterol levels and promoting healthy heart functions. The key ingredients are CLA, Omega 3 fatty acids, and GLA.  I was also told to make sure to take protein.

    Sigh.  Wow.  Deep sigh.  Okay.

    If someone were to ask my recommendations to follow these “doctor’s orders”, I would say:

    • Increase soluble fiber intake by consuming oatmeal/oat-based cereals/oat bran, beans (especially kidney beans), nuts, psyllium husks (adding one tablespoon to a smoothie), fruits, and vegetables.
    • Lower intake of full-fat dairy and red meat
    • Prioritize foods with healthier fats (ie: add 1 Tablespoon ground flax to cereal, soup, or smoothie; replace cheese in sandwich with avocado, etc.)

    Let’s analyze Complete Nutrition’s advice:

    1. “Take a multivitamin”: Completely irrelevant within the scope of cholesterol management.
    2. “Take Tone”: I love the notion of products attacking “stubborn fat”, as if there were some type of special fat that simply did not respond to food.  While the presence of omega-3s in this product is helpful, this customer would be better off eating food that offers omega-3 fatty acids and fiber simultaneously (i.e.: walnuts, ground flax).  They would save money, too!
    3. “Make sure you get protein”.  Also irrelevant from a cholesterol management standpoint.  As I have said many times on Small Bites, no one in the United States needs to worry about not consuming enough protein.  The average adult — without even trying — consumes approximately two and a half times their daily requirement.

    Here is what Laura was told at GNC:

    They told me to take fish oil, either a triple strength variety once a day, or a normal strength three times a day. They also told me to take a fiber supplement, either in a chewable or pill form.

    While not ideal (my rule is “food first, then supplements”) this at least focuses on the right nutrients — healthier fats and fiber.  I understand, though, that GNC has products to sell and can’t be expected to suggest skipping their products and heading to the grocery store instead.

    And, truth be told, I often recommend omega-3 supplementation to people who do not consume sufficient amounts of fish or sea vegetables each week to cover their needs.  In my book, omega-3 and vitamin D supplementation are two things almost everyone should be doing.

    It’s more the fiber supplement advice that I find comical.  Most fiber supplements add 4 to 6 grams of fiber to your day, the same amount you can get from an apple or a medium banana or a half cup of lentils.

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    Quick & Healthy Recipe: Baked Salmon Burgers

    Canned-SockeyeI eat seafood roughly once a month — mainly at sushi restaurants.  The biggest factor behind that frequency (or lack thereof) is the incongruous relationship between my kitchen and raw fish.

    I’m convinced supernatural powers have determined that no matter how beautiful and ecologically responsible a fillet I purchase, no matter how closely I follow a recipe, and no matter how wonderful my intentions, the finished product is in some way, shape, or form, a bit of a letdown.  Either that or I haven’t yet mastered the art of cooking fish.

    In any case, I was very pleased to find a super easy recipe for delicious baked salmon burgers over at my former New York University nutrition classmate Erica Neuman’s blog, Erica Miss America.

    Since Erica is gluten intolerant, her recipes utilize alternative grains creatively and are accessible to almost everyone!

    Added bonus about her baked salmon burgers?  They utilize canned salmon, which is usually wild (and, consequently, significantly  healthier and more nutritious).  If the wild salmon you purchase contains bones (which are soft and edible), it is also a great source of calcium.

    YIELDS: 6 – 8 patties

    INGREDIENTS:

    15 oz (2 cans) of salmon, drained
    2 egg whites (Andy’s note: 4 Tablespoons, if using liquid egg whites)
    1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
    1/2 cup ground oats (Andy’s notes: this refers to oats you grind up in a food processor.  You’ll need roughly 2/3 cup oats; if gluten intolerant, look for ones certified gluten-free)
    1/2 cup finely chopped celery
    1/4 cup chopped scallions, green & white parts included
    1 tbsp cilantro, chopped (Andy’s note: I used dill instead)

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    Preheat oven to 450 F.

    Lightly grease a large baking sheet.

    Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Divide the mixture into 6-8 patties.

    Baked for 15 minutes, then carefully turn the burgers over and bake for an additional 8 minutes.

    To prevent them from falling apart, let them rest for 10 minutes before serving.

    NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (for 2 patties):

    255 calories
    1.7 grams saturated fat
    457 milligrams sodium
    1.5 grams fiber
    34 grams protein

    Excellent Source of: Calcium, magnesium, manganese, niacin, omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin D

    Good Source of: Iron, riboflavin, thiamin

    PS: to increase fiber content, enjoy these burgers with a whole grain or sprouted whole grain bun, or accompany them with sauteed greens!

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    You Ask, I Answer: Kamut

    EFI_PASTA_KAMUT_SPIRALSPlease enlighten me.  For the past few months, I’ve seen kamut pasta at the grocery store.  I had never heard of it before.

    What is kamut?  Is it healthier than wheat?

    – Julie Wilkens
    St. Paul, MN

    Kamut, the “brand name” for khorasan, is a whole grain native to the Middle East.

    The name “Kamut” is of Egyptian origin, and refers to a popular legend (not urban, mind you, just a regular legend) that khorasan was a staple of Egyptian pharaos.

    Although it is a relative of wheat — and definitely not appropriate for anyone on a gluten-free diet — it has a nuttier taste and chewier texture, reminiscent of brown rice.

    You can buy kamut “as is” (it looks like extra large brown rice grains), in pasta form, or as an oatmeal-like hot cereal.

    You will often see an ® symbol after kamut.  No need for concern; it is not genetically modified or owned by Monsanto!

    As kamut producers explain it, the grain was patented in 1990 “to protect and preserve the exceptional qualities of a particular variety of the ancient wheat.”

    In order to receive the “kamut” trademark, manufacturers of these foods must sign a licensing agreement and abide by certain rules (i.e.: 100% organic farming practices, a certain amount of selenium per sample, and a specific protein range).

    A half cup of cooked kamut delivers:

    • 140 calories
    • 5 grams of fiber
    • 6 grams of protein

    Additionally, it is an excellent source of selenium, manganese, magnesium, and zinc.

    I see very little nutritional differences between it and 100 percent whole wheat pasta, though.

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    Who Knew Sunshine Tasted So Good?

    southwest“Veggie burgers” are often touted as the “healthier choice”, but many people aren’t aware that a large percentage of vegetarian burger products are made from highly processed soy, low in fiber, contain a significant amount of sodium, and, in some cases, artificial colors and dyes.

    One scrumptious exception?  Sunshine Burgers!

    Developed by a woman named Carol — after much encouragement from friends and family who loved her homemade vegetarian burgers — these patties offer a wonderfully simple ingredient list, significant nutrition, and excellent flavors.

    One Southwest flavored (my favorite!) Sunshine Burger delivers:

    • 240 calories
    • 1.5 grams saturated fat
    • 240 milligrams sodium
    • 9 grams fiber
    • 6 grams protein

    The ingredient list tugs at my nutritional heartstrings:

    Organic cooked brown rice, organic ground raw sunflower seeds, organic carrots, organic black beans, organic bell peppers, organic cilantro, organic garlic, organic jalapeño peppers, organic ground cumin seeds, organic onion and sea salt.

    Keep in mind that since the ingredients are whole foods, you get far beyond what the Nutrition Facts panel highlights — especially health-promoting phytonutrients, antioxidants, and flavonoids!

    Since Sunshine Burgers are precooked, no oil is needed when preparing them.

    I love to eat them on a sprouted whole grain bun topped with arugula, grape tomatoes, onions, and honey mustard.

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