Representing Daiya at FNCE

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I can’t even begin to explain how exciting and energizing the past few days have been! I have been happily busy at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in Chicago. Every year, this is an opportunity for me to learn about everything cutting-edge when it comes to food and nutrition. And it’s my chance to connect with other awesome dietitians from all over the country! Basically, this is THE PLACE TO BE if you are a professional in the field of nutrition!

Saturday, I took a course on how genetics impacts nutritional recommendations revolved around mental health. Fascinating! The portion I really loved was about integrative and nutritional strategies for anxiety. This can be helpful to so many people I work with.

The most exhilarating part about my time at FNCE this year was working with Daiya. As a reminder, Daiya is the leading maker of delicious plant-based foods that are free of three of the top food allergens: dairy, gluten and soy . Click here to read why I am in love their products.

Being at the Daiya booth was so fun! Their unique booth was magnetic and word got around about how delicious the food samples were too!  The booth was nonstop busy as people dropped by to learn more. Everyone I spoke with was enthusiastic and so delighted to learn about the Daiya food line. Many were surprised by the variety of products that Daiya offers.

I was able to tell so many of my colleagues why I love Daiya so much and I was able to introduce them to new products, including the new Cutting Board Collection Shreds, IMG_3188that melt and stretch just like dairy-based cheese.

Gina said, “I absolutely love the flavor of the vanilla yogurt and the amazing protein content!”

 

Speaking of Daiya yogurt, I was able to attend Daiya’s Yogurt Parfait Bar this morning that featured their new Plain and Vanilla Greek Yogurts. They also offered a hopping mid-afternoon Happy Hour. While there I was able to help serve their new plant-based pumpkin cheesecake and Dairy-free Smoked Gouda and Jalapeno-Havarti blocks that my dietitian friends enjoyed with champagne.

Daiya will be hosting both of these events again tomorrow, the Yogurt Parfait  Bar from IMG_31879-10 a.m. and the Happy Hour from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. so be sure to stop by booth # 955 to say hi! Overall, my experience with Daiya made me fall in love with their products even more! And I’m so excited to have introduced these products to dozens of dietitians, who will be able to recommend a plant-based, dairy-free and allergen-free line of products to their clients whether they have specific diet preferences, are dealing with food allergies, or are simply interested in living a more plant-based lifestyle.

 

 

 

 

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Plant-based Finds at FNCE

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As a Registered Dietitian, there are times when I get REALLY excited about food. It’s so fun to learn about foods that are healthy and delicious. And when I learn, my favorite thing to do is to educate! One of my latest favorite food lines is Daiya Foods—their products are deliciously dairy and allergen free!

This is why I will be available to chat all things plant-basedat the Daiya Foods booth (#955) at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in Chicago Oct. 21-24. Daiya makes deliciously dairy-free foods and plant-based alternatives that are free of dairy, gluten and soy. And all of their products are free of the common allergens I mentioned above. So for those of you who are vegan, vegetarian, annoyed with food allergies, or are simply looking to eat more plant-based foods, I highly recommend Daiya.

While I am not a vegetarian or vegan, I am a big-time promoter of a plant-based diet. Hundreds of peer-reviewed, published studies have proven the incredible benefits of eating a plant-based diet from boosting your immune system to reducing your risk of heart disease and even preventing cancer.

Plant-based food is my go-to for energy and for protection from diseases. For example, when you eat more plant-based food, you are more likely to have a healthy blood-pressure and a healthier cholesterol level (your LDL and triglycerides will lower an your healthy HDL cholesterol will rise making your overall cholesterol ratio way better)! And a healthy blood pressure and remarkable cholesterol level reduces my risk of heart-disease, which is the number-one cause of death for women in the United States.

Also, did you know that plant-based food is so good for your gut? Meat-based protein takes forever to digest, but plant-based protein digests easier with the help of the fiber it contains! Also, too much meat can actually disrupt the healthy gut flora in your digestive system, which could lead to big problems down the road, including an increased risk of colon cancer. Dairy-free is actually great for your gut too because many people are sensitive to the lactose contained in dairy products.

I must also say that my skin glows from my plant-based diet. This has been true for many of my clients who have started their journey on more of a plant-based diet.  Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins such as A, C, E, and K. They also contain tons of antioxidants and phytochemicals that have been shown to be beneficial for skin health. And trust me, it shows!

If you’re attending the conference this weekend, two awesome offerings at this booth that you will NOT want to miss are their Yogurt Parfait Bar on Oct. 22 and Oct. 23 from 9-10 a.m. and their Happy Hour from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on Oct. 22 and Oct. 23. Daiya’s Yogurt Parfait Bar includes their smooth amazing coconut-based Greek Yogurt with fruit and granola and their Happy Hour includes champagne served with their Smoked Gouda and Jalapeno-Havarti blocks…AND  a heavenly  pumpkin spice cheesecake made with their dairy-free cream cheese.  Dairy Free never tasted so delicious!

So give Daiya a try—you’ll be so happy you did! If you aren’t attending FNCE this weekend you can still find their products are available more than 25,000 grocery stores across the US and Canada, including Whole Foods, Kroger, Safeway and Publix.

For more information about Daiya, please visit www.daiyafoods.com, become a fan on Facebook or follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

 

Almondmilk rocks beyond the glass

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I love almondmilk—it has a nutty sweetness that satisfies my palate and makes me happy because it is low in calories and high in calcium. It is one of my favorite nutritious, guilt-free indulgences!almondbreeze

Blue Diamond Almond Breeze is my go-to almondmilk brand—I use it in everything but have found that most people don’t know how many uses it has! To showcase the versatility of almondmilk, Blue Diamond Almond Breeze developed the Homegrown Goodness Tour, a multi-city tour which visits food events around the country and recreates famous local dishes using almondmilk. More than a dozen recipes were specifically created to encourage consumers to cook with almondmilk in unexpectedly delicious ways – from Key Lime Pie to Tomato Polenta Bites to Chicken Sliders – each having a unique Almond Breeze take on iconic dishes inspired by their respective hometowns.

This weekend Almond Breeze attended New York City’s Wine & Food Festival and demoed two New York inspired recipes, giving consumers a tasty balance of savory and sweet with Tomato Arancini and New York Cheesecake – both made with an Almond Breeze almondmilk twist.

Those who visited Almond Breeze’s beautiful almond orchard kitchen at the New York City Wine and Food Festival experienced a hands-on cooking demo with a phenomenal west coast food expert, Patty Mastracco, who shared the many ways you can easily integrate almondmilk into your everyday cooking.

For example, at breakfast, you can go far beyond smoothies and use Blue Diamond Almond Breeze to make fluffy, delicious waffles or chia seed pudding. For lunch, you can use almondmilk to thicken any dressing or sauce and for dinner, you can add Almond Breeze to your chili or tomato bisque soup for a hearty masterpiece to impress your family and guests!

For more information about the versatility of Almond Breeze, visit www.bluediamond.com.

 

The Difference between Animal Protein and Plant Protein

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Nine times out of ten, when I get a new client, they have either tried a high protein diet, are currently on a high protein diet or are curious to learn more about a high protein diet. While protein is essential for tissue growth and repair and helpful for your cognition, digestion and metabolism, it is important to spread your protein consumption throughout the day and to incorporate plant protein into you regimen as well.

Let me highlight a couple of differences between animal protein and plant protein and give you some ways to consume protein healthfully.

Animal proteins such as eggs, meat, chicken, poultry, as well as seafood and dairy products contain all the essential amino acids you need to build proteins within your body. With the exception of dairy foods, most animal-based proteins contain few if any carbs, giving you a high percentage of your total calories from protein. Many protein-rich, animal-based foods such as red meat, egg yolks and dark-meat poultry, are also rich in zinc and heme iron, which is more readily absorbed in your body than the iron in plant-based foods.

Getting your protein from plant-based foods such as soy, quinoa, other whole grains, legumes, as well as nuts and seeds, means less unhealthy (LDL) cholesterol and saturated fat! Proteins from soy and quinoa are classified as complete proteins because they contain all essential amino acids, much like the proteins from animal-based foods.  Although not all plant proteins are complete proteins, you can still obtain all the essential amino acids by eating a variety of plant proteins during your day.

The bottom line is that you do not have to choose between animal and plant protein to maintain good health. And you don’t need mounds and mounds of it to be healthy either. Your daily protein consumption need not be bigger than a deck of cards.

Here are some healthy protein-based snack choices I recommend:

  • nitrate free jerky
  • hardboiled egg
  • cottage cheese
  • black beans and rice
  • hummus and whole wheat pita
  • Greek yogurt
  • whole wheat bread with peanut butter

I hope you found this information helpful. Keep everything in balance. Don’t consume too much of any one thing and you’ll be on your way to a beautifully healthy lifestyle.

 

The Power of Five

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How good are you at assuring that you get the five powerful foods in your diet every single day? I’m talking about protein, dairy, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains? My guess is that you may have the protein part down (specifically if it is meat), but the other groups are more challenging.

Let’s go through each group and I will provide some suggestions about how you can incorporate these essential foods into your everyday-life.

I’ll start with whole grains. Too many people turn to refined grains and this is not smart because refined grains (pasta, white bread, cookies, crackers, etc.) are devoid of nutrients. Whole grains, on the other hand, have fiber, helping you to feel full longer, not to mention protecting your heart! You are supposed to aim for 6-8 servings of whole grains a day.

  • Make sure you sandwich bread is whole grain.
  • When you cook brown rice, wild rice, or quinoa, cook extra for another meal!
  • Oatmeal is a great choice for a whole-grain breakfast.
  • There are whole grain crackers too—look at the fiber content; if there is a decent amount of fiber, it’ s likely whole grain.

Dairy isn’t too hard to work into your daily regimen and dairy is a great source of calcium and protein. Always choose low-fat or skim (otherwise, you have to worry about bad cholesterol). Use cheese as a condiment on your salads or as a flavor enhancer to your meals. Try cottage cheese or yogurt for breakfast or a snack. Smoothies made with skim milk are delicious as well.

Protein is an easy group for people. Did you know you only need 6 ounces of protein a day? My suggestion is to turn to lean options like chicken breast, lean ground beef or turkey, and definitely fish! I also recommend eggs and plant protein (nuts, seeds, beans, etc.).

As for vegetables, aim to get 4-5 servings a day! Sometimes you just do not have the energy to cook a veggie at the end of the day so stock your freezer. Frozen veggies are as nutrient-rich as fresh and they last way longer! Keep salad greens on hand and veggies that last a while in the fridge like peppers and carrots.

Fruit is the dessert of food. You should try to consume 4-5 servings of fruit a day. Always have a fruit bowl near you—at work and home! Add fruit to your lunch or dinner salads and to your breakfast cereal.

The best way to assure you get the power of five in your day-to-day life is to go for combinations, like these in your meals:

  • Strawberry spinach salad
  • Tarragon chicken salad
  • 3-bean salad with kale
  • Fresh mozzarella and tomato salad
  • Healthier cobb salad
  • Blueberry overnight oats
  • Scrambled eggs with veggies
  • Hard- boiled egg
  • Berry and yogurt smoothie

And skip the candy bar or cookies for your snack! Look to the power of five. Here are more than a dozen options:

  • Mixed nuts
  • Trail mix
  • Edamame poppers
  • Hummus dippers
  • Greek yogurt and granola
  • Tuna and whole grain crackers
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Popcorn
  • String cheese
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Greek yogurt & berries
  • Dried fruit
  • Frozen watermelon kiwi or grapes
  • Melon kabobs
  • Cherry tomato & cheese kabobs
  • String cheese
  • Whole grain cereal dry

I hope these suggestions help you! The power of five is the best way to assure a balanced and healthy life!