Monday, February 13, 2012

What is the deal with Fiber?

A recent reader asked the question, "how much fiber do I need to consume in a day. I am 54 and I am not taking a supplement. I am getting all of my fiber from my diet. I started at the first of the year to get more fiber. Several sources said I need about 20 grams per day. I have been trying to do that, but I am having some issues with gas and stomach gurgling (can be embarrassing at a board meeting). Any suggestions?"

  • The first part of this question is simple, there is no true formula as to how much fiber you actually need, but you want to aim to intake between 25-35 gm/day. The average American only takes in about 15 gm/day, so by actually making a conscious effort to increase your fiber, you will definitely be improving your intake.

  • The second part of this question can be considered "unstated", but the reader is looking for sources that are fiber rich. 

    • A great place to start your day is with a high fiber cereal. Cereals like Kashi and Fiber One can start you off with between 12 and 14 grams of fiber. That is about half your daily needs just in breakfast. If you team that up with a banana (3-4 grams of fiber) and almond milk (1 gram fiber) you are already of to 18 grams of fiber to start your day.

    • You may be eating "whole wheat" products, thinking they will increase your fiber intake, but you need to actually READ THROUGH THE INGREDIENT LIST.

Below are two kinds of "wheat bread".
Stroehmann Dutch Country Honey Wheat Bread

pRfarm100NatPepperidge Farm 100% Natural 100% Whole Wheat
Ingredients: Whole Wheat Flour, Water, Crushed Wheat, Wheat Gluten, Sugar, Raisin Juice Concentrate, Soybean Oil, Yeast, Contains 2 percent or less of: Wheat Bran, Whole Wheat Flakes, Unsulphured Molasses, Salt, Honey, Vinegar, Enzyme Modified Soy Lecithin, Cultured Whey (Milk) and Enzymes.                                   
If you read the ingredients list carefully, you will notice that one bread has whole wheat flour, while the other has "enriched wheat flour". If the bread does not have the entire kernel of grain, its not worth eating the "wheat" bread for dietary benefits, unless you like the taste.

A sandwich with two slice of whole wheat bread will have another 8 grams of that brings you up to 26 grams. Have you been keeping up with the math?

    • Now, there are lots of fruits and veggies which are also high in fiber, especially Apples, Avocado, Bananas, Leafy Greens, Potatoes with Skin, Nuts, and Legumes. You can mix these into whatever meals you like. Other sources of fiber include oatmeal and other oat products. Try to stick with whole oats though, because your basic minute oatmeal is stripped of most of its nutrients.

  • Finally, there is the third part to conundrum. Gassy bloat from fiber rich foods. When intaking a high fiber diet, your body breaks down soluble fiber in the large intestine. There are tons of chemical reactions taking place in the large intestine, and this is why you will usually end up with gas.

To help with this, you can try to increase your insoluble fiber (brown rices, whole wheats, grapes, raisins, leafy veggies, ect). Also, think about adding Activia to your diet. Yogurts with probiotics help increase the good bacteria in your stomach to break down hard to digest foods. You may also want to think about cooking some of these products, as food loses some of its nutrients when cooked. You can always use the broth you cook your veggies in, as part of your meal or with something else to reabsorb some that you lose.  Happy Eating!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


With Old Man Winter nipping at your heels, the term antioxidant seems to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue. But, do you really know what an antioxidant is?

According to the American Dietary Association, “Antioxidants are dietary substances that can prevent damage to your body cells or repair damage that has been done.” As the name implies, “antioxidants” work against damage done by exposure to oxygen or the oxidative. For example, if you peel a potato and leave it exposed to the elements, it will brown as a result of oxidation. However, if you soak it in lemon water, the Vitamin C in the lemon will protect the potato from browning.

Similarly, different foods containing antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Melatonin, Vitamin E, Beta-Carotene, and Selenium can help prevent illnesses and diseases, and also help the healing process.

Increasing you intake of antioxidants has been proven to lower the chances of diabetes, influenza, colds, Parkinson’s, many types of cancer, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
So now you may be asking, what kinds of foods have antioxidants? Fresh fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of Vitamin C, especially the brightly colored ones like peppers, oranges and grapefruit. On a side note, always check with your doctor or pharmacist if it is safe to eat or drink grapefruit with your medications, as it acts as a catalyst and can affect the rate of absorption of your medications. Vitamin E can be found in sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, and different types of oils. Sources of melatonin are walnuts, mustard seed, celery seed, and tart cherries; melatonin is also a proven natural sleep aid and can be taken in a supplement form as well.

Finally, there is everybody’s favorite type of antioxidant, Polyphenolic Antioxidants! During invitro research studies, polyphenolic antioxidants have been shown to have antiviral, anticarcinogen, and antimicrobial affects. Although the effects of polyphenolic antioxidants are still being researched, these seem to be the antioxidants everyone is talking about. Polyphenolic antioxidants can be found in red wine, dark chocolate, olive oil, cinnamon, blueberries and green tea.

So why not add an extra padding of protection this winter season and stock up on some foods containing antioxidants? Besides the aforementioned benefits, all of these foods are good for you and delicious!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene-Prep

map_tropprjpath09_ltst_5nhato_enus_600x405.jpg                                                                                                                 So by now I'm sure you are all in the midst of prepping for this hurricane that EVERYONE is talking about. Maybe she will just be a gust and some rain drops, or maybe she will knock out your power for a few days. Only time will tell.
In the meantime, you should probably have some food on deck that doesn't need to be cooked and may or may not need refrigeration.

Lets start with some food safety tips.

Meat, poultry, fish, and eggs should be refridgerated at below 40°F and frozen food should be kept at or below 0°F. In case the power goes out, KEEP THE REFRIDGERATOR AND FREEZER DOOR CLOSED AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. I know this might be hard when you are dealing with the boredom of loosing your electricity, but if need be stock your pantry and pretend its the fridge that we all feel the need to open and look inside, close the door, and repeat.

If you keep your refridgerator shut, it should keep food at a safe temperature for about 4 hours.

The freezer should last about 48 hours.

If the power is going to be out for an extended period of time, hook yourself up with some dry ice. For more information on where to get dry ice, scroll down to the bottom of this blog.

So now, onto the good stuff. What to stock up on or prepare in advance!

Everyone rushes to get milk, bread, eggs, and water. It makes no sense, because if you don't have this stuff before the emergency, chances are you don't use it regularly.

3844669693.jpgBuy what you like. Think about foods that don't need to be refrigerated or heated.

Fruit is an awesome option. Its healthy, bold, and has very little prep.
Bread and crackers will go great with some of that canned tuna or chicken that requires practically no prep either. Or get yourself something different like Pita, Nann, Sticky Buns, Pancakes, Waffles. Seriously...get what you like.

Get some snacks. Chances are if you really need the "emergency staples" you are going to be stuck in the house for a few days. Most snacks don't need to be heated or cooled.

Make some turkey bacon and make yourself a blt later on.

Pizza is always a great food and you can eat it hot or cold. 

PB and J...Nutella...Fluff...Honey...Banana....Be Creative!

Veggies that don't need refrigeration:  Peppers, Tomatoes, Onions, Squash, Eggplant, Carrots, and Potatoes to name a few.

Smart Water.JPG.jpg

Grab some nuts! They are a great source of protein and fiber.

Cereal and almond milk, soy milk, or powder milk.

Stock up on some pickled and smoked items like pickles and fishes.

If you have a gas stove, you can pretty much cook what ever you need by lighting the pilot with a match. You can make soups, sauces, rice, mashed potatoes, you name it with some boiled water and packaged foods.

You can also make use of your grill (if you don't mind getting wet). You can also heat your food with a fondue pot, candle warmer, or chafing dishes. Drastic times call for drastic measures.

Make sure that you have ready made formula for babies and ready to eat pet food for your pets.Definitely make sure that you are stocked up on water, juices, and drinks. (Alcohol can always be used to sterilize as a last resort and it might keep you warm.)---The beer you might just want to drink before it gets skunky.

So tell me, what will you be eating while you are cooped up?

Dry Ice can be found in the following locations:

South Jersey

Icesolv Inc
Riverside, NJ
(856) 461-6939

Mack the Ice Man Inc
502 East Clements Bridge Road
Runnemede, NJ
(856) 939-6225

RBC Inc.
1 S. Industrial Blvd.
Bridgeton, NJ
(856) 453-7972

Vineland Ice & Storage
544 E. Pear St.
Vineland, NJ
(856) 692-3990


Dry Ice Corp. - Frm Phily Offramp
200 Rapauno St.
Gibbsown, NJ

Jim's Enterprises, Inc.
2235 Hartranft Street
Philadelphia, PA
 (215) 462-4000

Bethlehem Ice Service
623 Hanover Avenue
Allentown, PA
(610) 776-6994

Great Valley Car Wash
Malin Road And Route # 30
Malvern, PA
(610) 644-3243

North Jersey:
Dry Ice Corp.
39 McClellan Street
Newark, NJ

Artic Ice Manufacturing Co.
158 Semel Avenue
Garfield, NJ
(973) 772-7000; Dry Ice, Ice Cubes / 24 hour Emergency Service

Continental Carbonic Products
901 Penhorn Avenue Unit 3
Secaucus, NJ
(201) 866-6665

Action Ice & Dry Ice
109 Baldwin Avenue
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ
(201) 288-0466

For more information visit

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Wonders of....Broccoli Slaw

Broccoli Slaw.
No, not cole slaw.

Broccoli Slaw.

Broccoli Slaw is a variation of the normal cabbage and carrot mix, with a huge emphasis guessed it broccoli. Made from the stems of broccoli, this twist on the original classic salad mix is filled with Vitamin C, Folic Acid (for all you pregos), and Fiber!

It is super versatile and can essentially be thrown into ANYTHING for a crunchy and nutritional bonus.

Seriously, you can eat an entire 12 oz bag for 125 calories.

Now I am sure you are wondering, "how can I use broccoli slaw?

Here are some fresh and healthy ideas!

Obviously, Broccoli Slaw Salad

Hungry Girl-Bacon Ranch Broccoli Slaw
2/3 c fat free sour cream
1.5 T Dry Ranch Seasoning Mix
12 oz Broccoli Slaw
1/4 c Precooked Bacon Crumbles

Mix the sour cream and dressing mix together in a large mixing bowl, stirring thoroughly. Add the slaw and toss to coat. Mix in the bacon bits. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Serves 4.

Stolen from

basic-stir-fry-prep.jpgQuick and Easy Stir Fry
1 Onion
1/2 T Minced Garlic
12 oz Broccoli Slaw
16 Large Shrimp
2 T Soy Sauce
1 1/2 t Sesame Oil
1T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat your oil in a large skillet. Sauté onion until brown and translucent. Add garlic. Season peeled shrimp with salt and pepper and add to pan searing on both sides for about a minute. Throw in your broccoli slaw. Add soy sauce and finish with sesame oil. Toss until heated through.

Rainbow Risotto
1 red onion
1 tsp garlic
1/4 c EVO
2/3 C Arborio (found in the rice aisle)
3 C Chicken Broth
1/4 C Skim Plus
1 T Parmesan
2 C Broccoli Slaw

Heat oil in a large skillet. Saute onion and garlic until translucent. Add Arborio and coat until golden brown (rice should start to pop and click together). Slowly stir in 1 C of Chicken Broth at a time. Consistently stirring to give rice the creamy texture. After each cup is absorbed, add the next cup (one at a time). Make sure you continue to stir every few minutes. Add milk and Parmesan and broccoli slaw. Cover for 5 minutes on low heat. Remove cover and stir on low-medium heat until all liquid is absorbed. Finish with salt and pepper.

IMG_5346i12.jpgFish Tacos with Broccoli Slaw
1 pound tilapia, red snapper, or other white fish fillets 
1/4 cup lime juice 
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 
1/4 cup canola oil 
1/2 cup salsa verde (found in Latino section of my grocery store)
1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
2 cups broccoli slaw (see below)
2 small avocados, sliced
8 whole wheat tortillas 

For the tacos: Combine lime juice, cilantro, oil and fish in large Ziploc bag; marinate in refrigerator for 20 minutes. Remove fish from marinade, season with salt, and cook on grill or broiler. For grill, cook 6 minutes on each side. For broiler, cook 4-5 minutes on each side. Let rest for a few minutes, then flake with fork. Meanwhile, prepare your sauce: mix equal parts salsa verde and Greek yogurt until well blended--with a fork or spoon is fine. (The salsa verde & yogurt sauce definitely makes this meal-- it's delicious, and very low calorie-wise--about 100 calories for the whole batch). Toast tortillas for one minute on each side if desired, then bend into taco shape. Divide fish evenly among tacos, along with 2 slices avocado, 1/4 c. broccoli slaw and a few spoonfuls of sauce. 

For the broccoli slaw: Broccoli slaw is found packaged in the produce section of the grocery store. You can pile it onto the tacos right out of the bag, or you can mix it up my faaave way to eat broccoli slaw. Or, best of both worlds: pile the slaw onto your tacos, then mix the leftovers up this way to serve alongside.

courtesy of:

Other uses:

You can add it to tuna and chicken salad to extend your recipe and calories.
Mix Greek yogurt and salsa and serve on a whole-wheat low-carb wrap with some avocado for a fulfilling lunch.
Use as a regular salad with balsamic vinaigrette and strawberries.
Substitute for pasta.
Mix into omelets.

Really the possibilities are endless.

FYI Broccoli Slaw is available at most grocery sections next to the salad bags and cole slaws. It is only like $2.00 a bag.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Easy Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

excercise-balance-ball-chair.jpgExercise is one of those things that you either love, hate, or force yourself to do. It seems like the more some people exercise, the more they tend to love it. There are some quick and easy ways to break yourself into moving, and I would love to share them with you.
First, as with all goal setting, determine how motivated you are to change. Really think it over...are you ready for some subtle changes, drastic changes, or no change? If you are super motivated, drastic change can be a wonderful thing. However, in my experience, I am usually super motivated for about two weeks, and then I slowly find myself back to point A.

P90X and The Insanity work out are the latest craze exercise programs around. I have seen some of my friends get very fit, very quickly, but the results of toning don't always last forever, they require maintenance.

A great way to start motivating yourself is to take baby steps each day to a healthy lifestyle.

  • Avoid elevators, take the stairs everywhere.
  • Park as far away from your final destination as possible. If you are going shopping, all you are going to do is walk around the store anyway, so why not?
  • Dance. Dance in your car, dance in your house, dance at your desk. Dancing is an easy and fun way to keep your body moving, without even trying.
  • Get rid of your chair at work. Replace it with a balance ball. This will help tone you as well as improve your posture.
  • Go for a walk on your lunch break. By taking a break from the office and walking around, your energy levels will increase during that mid-day lull, you won't have to spend more money at lunch, and it will give you an easy opportunity to knock out some exercise during your very busy day.
  • Get into habits and routines. Train yourself into the habit of going for a nightly after dinner stroll or job. As your body gets used to this routine, your endurance will increase. 
  • Join a class. Group exercise and boot camps are a great social activity geared toward getting you into shape. The instructors tend to keep you motivated and can be another support system to help you obtain your goals.
  • Buddy-Up. It is always easier to start a regimen when you have a support system. (Plus Oprah says that if you can still have a conversation while exercising, your heart rate is in the right zone for cardio.)
  • Find a 5k. There are tons of resources out there to find walk/runs. And they are usually for a good cause. Click here to find a race!
Everybody moves and exercises differently. Find what works for you, and run with it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Benefits of Breakfast

I know you have heard it a million times, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Americans tend to have backwards notions on food, and if you think of your meals as a direct source of energy, everything will come full circle.

Too often people think that they are too busy to eat breakfast or don’t have a morning appetite. Ironically though, the thought of skipping dinner is hardly ever up for discussion. Breakfast sets up the frame work for your entire day. People use most of their energy throughout the day; while in the evening things are slowing down as is your metabolic rate. If you start your day with an energy rich breakfast and end it with a light dinner, you will notice that you have more energy and brain power throughout the day, and you will most likely sleep better. Additionally, eating something in the morning will jump start your metabolism, assisting with weight loss or maintaining a healthy body weight.

Did you know?

A bagel with a "serving of cream cheese" from Dunkin Donuts can end up being over 500 calories?

Remember when Lender's Bagels used to make a normal size Bagel? That is a thing of the past. The average bagel is between 4 and 6 servings of bread! Its crazy.

If you really need the bagel in the morning, try substituting it with a Flagel-A flat bagel! All the tastes of a bagel, without  all the middle bread to get lost in. English Muffins or Mini-Bagels are a good stand in too. 

For the same 500 Calories you can have:

An english muffin             160 Cals
Nufchatel 1 oz                    75 Cals
Cup of Strawberries           49 Cals
Hard Boil Egg                   70 Cals
Low Fat Yogurt                100 Cals
1 Piece of Dark Chocolate 45 Cals

That's a pretty big breakfast.

Also be weary of the "multi-grain bagel" from Dunkin Donuts. {}

Mutli Grain Bagel         390 Cals     8g/fat          9g/fiber    65g/carb    14g/protein
Wheat Bagel                 320 Cals    3.5 g/ fat       5g/fiber    61g/carb     12g/protein

Although there is more fiber in a multi-grain bagel, there is much healthier way to increase your fiber for the day without increasing your  fat and carb intake.

If you are not an early morning eater, bring your breakfast to work with you. Try starting your day with nutrient rich foods like eggs, high fiber cereals and breads, yogurt, fruits or veggies, and nuts. Breakfast for dinner was always a treat in my house, but there is nothing that says you can’t have dinner for breakfast. Switch it up! Be creative! And do what works best for you! I can promise you though, you will definitely have more energy, focus, and increased productivity if you start your day with a healthy breakfast.

Blogging Virginity


So this is my first blog...I really never thought about blogging before, but I have been trying to figure out a way to break into the Health Industry part-time, and this seems like a first step.

I got the idea today after writing an article for my company's quarterly newsletter, and I thought this might be a great way to utilize that education I keep paying Ms. Sallie Mae for.

I would love your input and questions are always welcome. I want to cater this blog to my reading audience as much as possible.

Keep an eye out for me, and please spread the word.


Chef Steph