I recently had the pleasure of attending a lecture by orthopedic surgeon Vonda Wright. I was also proud to endorse her book Fitness After 40, and as a 41 year old was inspired and encouraged by what she had to say.

I’ve been a fitness buff (not an extreme one—but I have consistently done basic weight training and walking–and just a bit of running–for years. I’ve also loved being active and playing sports with my sons. But one day, at the ripe age of almost 41, I woke up with pain in my left wrist that would keep my left arm out of commission (and wreak havoc with my spirits!) for more than 8 months. At first, a hand surgeon told me that an MRI showed synovitis—that’s inflammation, and was likely the result of one too many push ups and supporting all my body weight on my wrists. After 7 long months that included 3 months of hand therapy, 2 cortisone shots, splinting, anti-inflammatory meds, 3 hand surgeons, and lots of head scratching, a second MRI revealed a small ganglion cyst. I decided that since conservative treatment was not working, I would have the cyst surgically removed. I started therapy earlier today to regain function. My next goal is to get my strength (and biceps!) back so that I can grow old gracefully and feel as young on the outside as I do on the inside.

Because I know that as we get older, our muscle mass naturally wants to diminish and our fat mass wants to increase, and because I have a longer way to go than most to regain the strength I’d been building up for years, I was especially interested to learn how to reduce the likelihood of that happening.  Fortunately, it is possible to preserve muscle and keep fat at bay according to Dr. Wright. Here’s my recent interview with her. I hope after you read it you’ll be encouraged to take the steps she recommends to make the most of and keep what you have for years to come.

Can You Prevent a Mid-life Muscle Crisis?

If you don’t use it, will you really lose it? Is it a given that as you age, you’ll gain fat and lose muscle? These aren’t wives’ tales. But does that mean we should throw in the towel (or save it to collect our tears!), and accept our fate (unless we start doing some heavy lifting right now)?

“It’s true that after age 40, you naturally lose muscle mass–up to eight percent per decade” says Vonda Wright, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon and author of Fitness After 40. (Full disclaimer: Vonda Wright is a spokesperson for Ensure.) “The good news is that although muscles can deteriorate with time, studies show muscle atrophy is reversible at any age” says Wright.

Wright thinks of muscles as celebrities that deserve special treatment. “Muscles help our bodies move, our hearts pump blood, and our organs work. The more they’re used, the better equipped they’ll be to support activity, keep your body strong, and slow–and possibly reverse–aging” she says.

The benefits don’t stop there. Wright says “Exercise also strengthens bones, and helps the body burn more calories.” Engaging in regular physical activity that includes aerobic, muscle- and bone-strengthening exercise may also help lower the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and some cancers (including colon and breast).

So can we really sidestep a mid-life muscle crisis?

F.A.C.E. Your Future: According to Wright, this means exercising smarter than we did when we were kids with a focus on Flexibility every day, Aerobic Exercise 3 to 5 times per week, Carrying a load (doing functional resistance training 2 to 3 times per week) and daily Equilibrium and balance training. She says “Start small by taking a brisk walk every day, or climbing stairs instead of using the elevator. These may sound trite, but simple, functional activities you do daily can dramatically rejuvenate your muscles” says Wright. She adds “Once these basics become habits, you can build from there.”

Raise the Bar. For regular exercisers, Wright recommends mixing it up. “Your body gets used to what you’re doing, so it’s important to tweak your routine and challenge your muscles in different ways” says Wright.  For example, if you usually walk, you can increase your pace or take a different path. Or you can try different modalities on a treadmill or instead, hop on a bike or elliptical machine.

Set Goals. Current Physical Activity Guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services (HHS) recommend that American adults aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity (such as brisk walking where you’re sweating but can still carry on a conversation) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (such as jogging or running). Muscle strengthening exercise that works all the major muscle groups is also recommended at least twice a week. Wright recommends seeing where you are, and setting small reasonable goals (for example, adding 5 minutes to a walk, or doing an additional set of bicep curls) until you meet your quota. She also believes those who are chained to a desk for more than 40 hours a week may need even more exercise.

Feed Your Muscles: Wright recommends a balanced diet that’s consistent with current Dietary Guidelines–one that’s loaded with protein-rich foods (including fish, skinless chicken, beef, and legumes), high fiber whole grains (such as whole wheat pasta, cereal, crackers, and brown rice), and colorful fiber-rich vegetables and fruits. This is a dietary pattern that provides fuel to support your brain and muscles. Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD, author of Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, recommends that active people should aim for about 0.5 to 0.75 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day (for a 150 pound person, that’s about 75 to 113 grams.)

Plan for Success: Wright sums it up well by saying “It’s an urban myth that life goes downhill when you get older. My 40s have been the best years of my life mentally, physically and professionally. These can be the best years of your life too. The key is to stop freaking out, and to plan for physical success just like we would for professional success.”

What do you do to stay fit and strong?

“Can You Prevent A Midlife Muscle Crisis” originally posted on caloriecount.com.

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Have you resolved to expand your culinary (and taste) horizons in 2011? If so, there’s a user-friendly app for that. Pairing her love of both food and travel, Registered dietitian and radio host Rebbeca Subbiah created the food blog chowandchatter.com; out of that grew the new Chow & Chatter app. It includes a small but growing collection of recipes from around the world designed to inspire us to think outside our neighborhood when cooking for ourselves, family, or friends. The app, which can be downloaded for only 0.99 cents onto your iphone, ipad, or itouch, allows us to search recipes by dish, ingredients, or cuisine (currently there are 19 cuisines ranging from ever-popular Italian and Chinese cuisines to more obscure ones like Fusion, Turkish, and Vietnamese.) The app provides simple cooking directives as well as photos of the finished products. When you find recipes you love and want to share them with others, you can email them directly from the app.  The app also let’s you go directly to Subbiah’s food blog to see other recipes and any new ones posted.

Subbiah plans to add more recipes over time to help novices and seasoned cooks alike bring some extra flavor and flair to their home cooked meals. While I would have liked to see more recipes for each cuisine as well as nutrition information and serving sizes, this app is definitely a real bargain and can certainly be a useful and tasty tool to use in the new year. The app can be purchased here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chow-and-chatter/id400685844?mt=8.

Have you tried the Chow & Chatter app? Please share your comments or thoughts, or a favorite recipe here…..

FULL DISCLOSURE: I learned about the app from the author and sprung for the cost myself; I received no compensation for this review and will not receive compensation for any purchases made for the app. Just wanted to share it since I thought you might enjoy it!

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By Camilla Saulsbury

You needn’t have a gluten intolerance or a wheat allergy to love gluten-free muffins.  A rapidly growing number of individuals eschew gluten, the protein in wheat, rye, and barley, because of an allergy or sensitivity, but others are avoiding gluten because they feel its absence promotes better health in general, and digestive health in particular. Still others are curious about experimenting with gluten-free flours because of the unique textures and flavors they impart to a range of baked goods. This is my favorite gluten-free muffin recipe: it’s so easy to prepare, and the flavors sing. It’s high in protein, too, making it an excellent, long-lasting breakfast on the go.

Makes 12 muffins

Preheat oven to 325°F
12-cup muffin tin, lined with paper liners

3 cups almond flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup honey
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted (or coconut oil to make casein-free)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup mashed ripe bananas
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
3/4 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped (or the dried fruit of your choice)

1.    In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
2.    In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk eggs. Whisk in honey, butter and vanilla until well blended. Stir in bananas.
3.    Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just blended. Gently fold in walnuts and cherries.
4.    Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups.
5.    Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer to the rack to cool.

For more information about Camilla, go to http://www.camillacooks.com.

If you make this recipe, send a photo (elisa@elisazied.com) and we’ll share it here!

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As one year ends and another begins, I’m taking this opportunity to say goodbye to my “From Me to Oprah” blog posts that began 12 months ago on The ZIED GUIDE. In all honesty, I have no idea if Oprah read all, or even one, of these posts. While they were addressed to Oprah herself, they were meant for anyone who, at one point or another, has struggled with–or continues to struggle with– weight, size, or body image. I do hope that those of you who have read any or all of the posts felt inspired and motivated to take action to change the way you eat, move, or live, or the way you think and feel about yourself. If you did–or if you even disagreed with anything I’ve said–I would love to hear your thoughts, so please post a comment below.

I truly loved writing these posts. You’ll find them scattered throughout The ZIED GUIDE, so please search “From Me to Oprah” on my Blog page if you want to check some or all of them out. Here’s a sampling of some topics I tackled in the posts:

Talking About the “O” Word

Tips for Managing Weight and Life

What’s Your Bikini?

Lost Weight? 5 Ways to Keep it Off for Good

Respect Yourself!

Beyond the Biggest Loser: Thoughts About Long Term Weight Management

While I will continue to patiently wait for Oprah to call, text, or email me, I truly look forward to a continued dialog with loyal ZIED GUIDE readers and new ones alike during the New Year. Please keep those comments and questions coming in 2011! And please don’t forget to sign up to receive my free e-newsletter, The ZIED GUIDE, on the home page (right side) of elisazied.com– a brand new one will be out on 1/3/11.

I hope you make 2011 a year to take better care of and nourish your body and mind, to not be so hard on yourself, and to pay it forward by being more positive when you refer to, interact or talk with, and treat others.

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Being very active on twitter and facebook, I’ve made many wonderful “friends” and have learned a lot. But I was blown away recently by having my three books–So What Can I Eat?!, Feed Your Family Right!, and the latest, Nutrition At Your Fingertips turned into a wellness calendar that hundreds of media outlets would receive. It was an unexpected gift and surprise to me from the food journalist and registered dietitian extrordinaire, Dr. Sandra Frank. She has always been a great supporter of the work we registered dietitians do, and this gesture that honored me was simply extraordinary.

I asked Dr. Frank how the calendar came to be, and this was her reply:

“The wellness calendar has a history that spans almost 20 years. When my son Jake was about two years old (20 years ago), he discovered the joys of celebrations and holidays. He associated these events with gifts, food, family, music and fun. Every day, Jake would ask me, “What are we celebrating today?” Initially, I would make up events, such as a new tooth, the sun is out, etc… Eventually I would research reference books and later the Internet to see if there were special functions occurring on a specific day.

To my surprise and delight, I found numerous events each day of the year, but there were too many and it was a bit overwhelming. I started to note those days that dealt only with Health, Nutrition, Food, Safety, Disability Rights and Environmental Issues.

I realized many of these events went unnoticed or unreported by Journalists, Educators and Health Professionals. In 2002, I started to send out about 50 calendars to local and national media representatives in the hope the topics would encourage awareness and inspire ideas for stories and/or projects. Each year the number of calendars we sent out would increase, as did the thank you notes from local, national and worldwide correspondents.

Then in 2006, Jake and his friends graduated high school. They were unable to find employment due to their disabilities (Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, MD). I asked them if they would be interested in working with me on the Wellness Calendar. They said, “Yes”.

I’ve never charged for the calendars, but I thought this would be a wonderful way to raise money to help them with their ADL, self esteem, independence, etc… Apparently, I lack the marketing and sales experience because we didn’t sell any calendars.

I didn’t have the heart to tell my staff. So through the years, I’ve paid them with my disability check. (In 2002, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and I had a double mastectomy. It eventually became difficult for me to work outside of the home; Jake’s father had passed away and I needed to be around to take care of Jake.)

The calendar was created to make sure every Journalist and Educator knew when certain events occurred, such as National Nutrition Month, World Diabetes Day, Earth Day, RD Day and many others. The goal was to provide a useful tool to impress their editors with some interesting time-sensitive stories.

Later on, the calendar served to provide employment to individuals who have a difficult time finding jobs due to their special abilities.”

So here’s my way of paying it forward. I’m going to randomly give away 4 of the Wellness calendars, each with a copy of one of my books (whichever one you choose) as a thank you for the wonderful work of Dr. Frank, her son and his friends and in an effort to have you, too, pay health and wellness forward in whatever way you choose. To enter to win, you can do one or more of the following:

1. Sign up for my ZIED GUIDE newsletter (and send me an email to let me know you did); go to elisazied.com and sign up by clicking on the right side of the page.

2. Comment on the post related to this Giveaway on my Facebook Fan Page: http://on.fb.me/dUTKqv

3. Share the post with others on Facebook;

4. Re-Tweet the post related to this Giveaway on Twitter;

5. Leave a comment below about how you’ll use the calendar.

Good luck! See below for more info about Dr. Frank and her wonderful work.

About Sandra Frank, Ed.D., RD, LDN:

Frank is a food journalist, web/blog designer, and researcher. Her Website, Dietitians On-line, is dedicated to acknowledging the contributions of the Dietitian on the Internet. She also has a blog (Dietitians Online) and can be found on Facebook at Dietitians Online or on Twitter at @DietitianOnline. But wait, there’s more! See below:

Website: Weighing Success
Encourages awareness & inspires ideas for Journalists, Educators, Consumers and Health Professionals
Blog: Wellness News
Facebook: Wellness News
Twitter: Wellness_News

Website: Wheelchair-Connection.
Become aware of the courage, strength and spirit of those we call “Special”. Discover and share
resources for assistance, equipment and changes in the law. Meet the heroes.

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We all get frazzled this time of year! But doing a few of these 5 minute fixes (many that involve food, fitness, and friends) a few times a day will help you feel better, and in some cases, burn calories or check off items on your to do list. So what are you waiting for?

  1. Go for a brisk walk outside.
  2. Sit in a quiet room, close your eyes, and take a few breaths.
  3. Walk up and down stairs.
  4. Eat an apple or pear.
  5. Do 50 crunches.
  6. Write a note to someone you love BY HAND.
  7. Disconnect. Turn off your phone, computer, and television.
  8. Use an elliptical machine.
  9. Listen or dance to one of your favorite songs.
  10. Skim your favorite magazine.
  11. Ride on a stationary bike.
  12. Do a crossword puzzle.
  13. Look at old photos.
  14. Do lunges and squats.
  15. Do 1-3 yoga poses.
  16. Just do it! (if you know what I mean)
  17. Pray.
  18. Walk on a treadmill.
  19. Brush teeth, rinse, and floss.
  20. Have a warm cup of tea or skim milk (with a splash of chocolate sauce or sprinkle of cinnamon).
  21. Wrap a gift carefully and beautifully.
  22. Hang up the holiday cards you receive.
  23. Call a friend (one that you usually text, email, or IM).
  24. Clean your desk.
  25. Sing!

What do you do to destress in 5 minutes or less?

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Trying to figure out social media is tricky! But if you’d like to LIKE me on my new facebook fan page, simply called Elisa Zied, I’d be thrilled! I promise to be on there much more in the coming weeks and months. I’ll share tips, resources, and ask/answer questions about all things diet, nutrition, food,and fitness to help you eat and live more healthfuy and enjoyably. I’ll also have some contests and giveaways, too, so please join in on the fun. What are you waiting for? Click on this link: http://on.fb.me/dUTKqv


I’m also very active on Twitter…you can find me at @elisazied. I LOVE twitter so much–a great way to communicate with friends, colleagues, and your favorite singers, bands, movie and tv stars too! Please check it out here if you haven’t already: http://twitter.com/elisazied



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The other day, I was called by a reporter from the New York Daily News to comment on why Bristol Palin appeared to have gained weight despite burning tons of calories during her stint on ABC’s popular show, Dancing With The Stars.

As a registered dietitian and past spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association who is not new to media interviews, I was, at first, taken aback and certainly didn’t want to say anything to perpetuate the idea that it’s ok to judge or criticize a teenage girl (famous or not) about her body weight. I expressed my frustration to the reporter and said something like “I really wish Palin’s body weight didn’t warrant a public discussion or newspaper article–but that’s the media!”

Of course I could have refused to answer the reporter’s questions about Palin’s supposed weight gain. But as a credentialed nutrition professional who is particularly sensitive to negative or harmful media messages about body weight that can impact girls and women alike, I decided to not comment specifically on Palin’s body weight and instead took this as an opportunity to pat Palin on the back for the all the obvious hard work and effort she put forth during her time on the show.

Famous or not, it’s hard enough for a young girl to learn how to deal with being in the spotlight whether she’s there due to circumstance (her mother ran for vice president AND she got pregnant and became a teen mom), or because she chose to be there (it’s likely Palin decided to participate on the show because she wanted to). No matter why Palin’s on the show, and why we even know her name, in my opinion a teen girl’s body weight should not make for water cooler conversation. Free speech aside, there’s no upside or benefit to the morale of girls and women everywhere to be judged by others based on how much they weigh.

Palin is by no means the first, nor will she be the last celebrity to be judged publicly about her body weight–beautiful women like Jennifer Love Hewitt and Tyra Banks (and not so long ago, the magnificent Kate Winslet) have been judged or critiqued about their weight. And what did Love Hewitt and Banks do after unflattering photos and a barrage of cruel weight-related comments surfaced? They lost weight, and got back to a weight that was supposedly “ideal” to the public. Even Oprah has been judged for getting too thin, being too fat, gaining weight, and reaching 200 pounds again last year.

Will the madness every stop–will girls and women be able to just be, without having to worry about everyone telling them how thin or how fat they are, or how much weight they’ve lost or gained? I know I’ll do my best to look for the good and withhold judgement about others, especially females–and teach my young sons, aged 12 and 8, to do the same with their friends and other females in their lives– because there’s little that’s more hurtful (and less forgettable) to a young girl than being called fat or otherwise being judged based on her body weight. Perhaps I feel this way because I know too well what it’s like to be called “thunder thighs” and to grow up being not so pleasantly plump. It’s not a good feeling, and I would never want to do that to someone else.

Your thoughts?

Source: http://bit.ly/gXpjwj

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With the holiday season here, I turned to Leah McGrath, RD, LDN, Corporate Dietitian for the last ten years for Ingles Supermarkets in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Here are McGrath’s responses in my first ever Holiday Supermarket Smackdown blog:

Best strategy BEFORE you set foot in the supermarket: First, gather your recipes and ideas and make a list. Plan to include some lean protein at every meal (for example seafood, pork loin, or even beans) and have more than just starchy vegetables as your sides; for example, try some colorful foods like dark green leafy vegetables (like kale or collards), Brussels sprouts, purple cabbage, bok choy, or broccoli.

9 must-have items to stock up on for the holidays:

1. Low sodium chicken/vegetable/beef broth. Great as a starter or base for making soups, stews and gravy.

2. Canned pumpkin. A great source of beta carotene, plus you can use it to make smoothies, pancakes, breads, and muffins–and of course, to make pie.

3. Whole grains such as whole wheat pasta and brown rice. These are great to have with leftover turkey or ham.

4. Canned beans. These can be used to make soups, stews, and casseroles with leftovers, or use them to make chili or have as an appetizer.

5. Good quality spaghetti sauce. You can only eat leftovers so many times, and you may really get a craving for a pasta dish one night.

6. Butter/Canola blend. This can be used as a spread instead of butter or margarine, and also works well in many recipes for baked items.

7. Eggs. You ALWAYS need eggs for baking or to make breakfast items.

8. Fresh herbs. There’s nothing quite like fresh herbs to add a flavor dimension to stuffing and sides…sage, basil, oregano…dried are fine if you can’t find or keep fresh ones.

9. Fage 0% plain Greek yogurt. Makes a great calcium-rich base for dips or smoothies, or to have as part of your breakfast or in-between meal snack.

Top money-saving tips to help you feed lots of hungry mouths:

Plan, plan, plan; use coupons; check for sale items; buy store brands whenever possible; and ask relatives or friends to make their favorite dish or bring a beverage when they’re coming over for a holiday meal. Having said that, be sure and keep your eyes open for fruits and vegetables that are in season and look especially fresh; these are great to incorporate daily into your meals and snacks.

4 shop-smart strategies:

1) Don’t go shopping when you’re stressed out or really short on time and try not to wait until the last minute. Also, don’t shop late at night; often stores are not continuously stocked after 6pm.

2) Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry– this can be fatal! Everything will look too good and it’ll be hard to resist when you’re hungry.

3) Bring reading glasses (if you need them) to check the unit price so you can make the best shopping decision.

4) Be sure to look on top and bottom shelves– sometimes you’ll find the best deals there.

5 rules for calorie- and health-conscious people:

1) Don’t be fooled by packaging, or led astray by numbers or stars– read the Nutrition Facts Panel.

2) Pay attention to portion sizes.

3) If you’re buying things in bigger quantities to save money, this may not be a wise thing to do if the foods tempt you. If that’s the case, buy smaller amounts so you’ll eat less of them!

4)  If you’re very tempted by certain foods like ice cream or chips, either don’t buy them, or buy them in flavors you don’t like so other family members or friends can enjoy them.

5) Try to buy packaged items that have the fewest ingredients– those that aren’t full of artificial flavors, colors or additives.

How kids can help mom or dad with grocery shopping:

Kids can help you create a holiday meal (and a list of items that go along with the meal). At the grocery store, they can weigh produce items, match coupons with products, find items on the grocery list, and keep a running tally of how much money you’re spending on a calculator/cell phone.

What helps you when you shop over the holidays?


Leah McGrath, RD, LDN is the Corporate Dietitian of Ingles Supermarkets.www.ingles-markets.com/ask_leah Find her on Twitter as @InglesDietitian or follow Ingles Supermarket on Facebook www.facebook.com/InglesMarkets. Leah also hosts a radio program that streams on www.wwnc.com on Saturday mornings at 8:05EST; you can listen to podcasts of her previous shows on the Ingles website. 

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Love lentils? Here’s a short piece I wrote about these lovely legumes for ADA Times Magazine (reprinted below with permission), followed by a terrific kale and lentil soup recipe (also reprinted with permission!) from the great book 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life. Enjoy!

For the Love of Lentils

Why give lentils a prominent place on your plate? Because one cup of these rich, nutty legumes provides 18 grams of protein, 15.6 grams of fiber, less than one gram of fat, no dietary cholesterol and only 230 calories. Lentils are also packed with vitamins and minerals including folate, manganese, thiamin, potassium and copper. Lentils are low in the essential amino acid methionine, so pairing them with whole grains can provide a source of high-quality protein for vegetarians and vegans.

Despite this impressive nutritional profile, evidence demonstrating the health benefits of legume consumption is limited—perhaps because dry beans, peas and lentils are not prominent in many Western diets. in fact, while the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend three cups of legumes each week, only 8 percent of American adults consume legumes on a given day.

Studies of legume consumption (not including soy) and body weight show mixed results: One meta-analysis associated eating legumes with decreased body weight, but a more recent review found insufficient evidence that legumes specifically have an effect on body weight. And according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report, there also is insufficient evidence of a relationship between legumes and type 2 diabetes.

However, their soluble fiber content gives legumes a unique ability to lower blood lipid levels. Regularly eating (non-soy) legumes may help lower serum cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels, and increase HDL cholesterol levels. Other studies show eating legumes at least four times per week may lower risks of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease, as well as lower levels of proinflammatory markers and improve lipid profiles and blood pressure levels.

Lentils contain raffinose and other oligosaccharides that may cause flatulence. This lessens with more regular legume consumption, but soaking then rinsing lentils before cooking may also help minimize gaseous effects.

Comforting Kale and Lentil Soup By Rosalie Gaziano

Makes 16 one-cup servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 24-ounce can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup dried lentils

1/3 pound whole grain macaroni of your choice

1 pound fresh kale chopped fine

3 quarts water

1 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated) to sprinkle on top.

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Boil macaroni, rinse and set to the side. Rinse lentils and add to a separate small saucepan with enough water to cover and cook until tender (about 20 minutes.) Meanwhile, peel and chop onion. Mince garlic cloves. Add olive oil to soup pot and heat. Add garlic and onions to pot and sauté until translucent being careful not to burn. Remove center vein from kale leaves and chop coarse. Add kale to onion and garlic mixture and sauté for 10 minutes.  Add 1 can chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper, and let simmer 10 minutes.  Add water to kale mixture, bring to a boil and let simmer 30 minutes. Add cooked lentils and macaroni to soup and let simmer together another 5 minutes. Serve hot with Parmesan cheese grated on top. Serve with crusty Italian or French bread.

Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 130; Total Fat: 4.5 g; Saturated Fat: 1.5 g; Cholesterol: 5 mg; Total Carbs: 16 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g; Sugars: 3 g; Protein: 6 g

Sources:

1. ADA Times Magazine, Fall 2010

2. 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life (Bantam, 2008) by David Grotto, RD, LDN.

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