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Lunch Review: Subway Turkey Breast Salad

We suppose Panera’s awesome chicken salad might have made us a bit biased when it comes to other restaurant options. Okay, really biased. That’s probably all it is. Right?

Or is Subway hiding behind their cleverly executed marketing, which has convinced us all they’re the healthiest fast food option?

Today’s lunch review is not a happy one. As Tina searches through Subway’s online menu, seeking the perfect healthy option to review for you, dear reader, in an effort to make your lunch-on-the-go selections healthier, she finally lands on their Turkey Breast Salad. She nods approvingly. “I would rather have the Double Chicken Chopped Salad,” she says, “but we should try something new.”

Stephanie meets plenty of friendly service and even friendlier smells at the local Subway, and walks away happy with the experience. But when Tina takes a bite, she knows right away something is wrong.

First off, where’s the turkey? It was almost a hopeless task, Tina digging through her salad to find any shreds of meat she could to weigh. (Yes, we weighed it. Don’t you want a thorough review?)

Voilà! Here it is. After minutes and minutes of agonized sifting: an ounce and a half of turkey. It’s precisely the amount they promised, but not exactly the delicious juicy turkey breast we dreamed of. Tina tosses it back into her salad and starts in on her lunch. “I don’t know if it’s the most delicious salad I’ve had, but it’s an okay option,” she decides.

This picture is after Tina found the turkey hidden beneath the lettuce and veggies.

It looks as though we’re facing a mundane C+ sort of review for this salad. But things get exciting when Tina comes across Subway’s page of Product Ingredients. This is different from nutrition facts; here we see more into the details of each ingredient and food item they offer.

Suffice it to say Tina’s salad went untouched after she read this page.

Tina’s discovery at Subway has encouraged her to pen a more thorough, coherent article than we can offer now about what preservatives and additives can do to the body, and why we should all avoid them. For now, we can only mention the horror at realizing Subway injects their hot peppers with Yellow Dye #5 (why?! Fresh peppers?!), and their meats have way too many ingredients that are not meat. Sodium, fats, carbs, sugar and the like should be considered when selecting a restaurant meal, but additives like the ones Subway uses rather liberally should be avoided all together. Soy protein concentrate, another leading player in Subway’s “meats”, for example, can create hormone imbalance, among other issues. Some of their additives may not exactly be deadly, but why would you consume protein with so many fillers if you can help it?

For now, realize that you don’t have to limit yourself to free range, organic, hand-fed and well-loved meat. You do want, however, to see only a few ingredients in your proteins: ideally meat, and as little after that as possible. High-quality protein is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight, having higher energy and generally fueling your body. Don’t settle for sodium injections, corn syrup solids or soy protein concentrate.

We give Subway’s options overall a resounding F. Sorry, Subway. Your food is tasty and we appreciate the gift card, but absolutely cannot recommend it to anyone.

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Pumpkin Coconut Soup with Toasted Pears

Good morning, good and faithful readers! And happy Thanksgiving!

We know cooking is underway at your house. If hoards of loved ones haven’t arrived yet, they’re on their way. Or maybe you’re getting ready to pack up your contributions to today’s feast and are looking forward to a day with friends or family. Either way, Thanksgiving is a time to focus on what we’re grateful for, to enjoy the conversation and company of those around us. Amidst the craziness and joy today, find time to pause and take in the moment. In a way life is short, and times like these are worth cherishing.

Whether you’re cooking today or mom’s doing it again this year, we would like to offer a suggestion: Tina’s Pumpkin Coconut Soup with Toasted Pears. It’s an unconventional choice, but undeniably festive with its myriad fall flavors. The pumpkin is sweet, the coconut adds a light and surprising flavor, and the holiday season is represented by its hint of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. You know us, though; it’s healthy to boot. We wouldn’t recommend anything that wasn’t packed with nutrients, fiber and antioxidants, and this soup is no exception.

Try this sweet and rich soup throughout this holiday season. It’s sure to keep you in a cozy mood and please your taste buds all the while.


Ingredients
:
1 medium pumpkin baked for 45 minutes or until soft (about 4 cups of pumpkin)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (I used so delicious)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (I toasted the seeds in some coconut oil)
2 bosc pears sliced thin

Directions:
Put cooked pumpkin into a food processor or a blender. Add the coconut milk and blend until smooth and creamy. Add the maple syrup, coconut sugar, and spices and continue to blend.

Spread sliced pears on parchment paper and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil. Sprinkle pears with coconut sugar. Bake at 350 degrees until soft and toasted.

Add soup to a bowl and top with pumpkin seeds and toasted sliced pears.

Enjoy!

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Nutritious Lunch at Sticks Kebob Shop

We had an absolutely overwhelming response from our clients on that last post about Panera. Making food at home is always the best option, but everyone needs a break now and then. Our clients do a wonderful job of staying disciplined and keeping their eyes on the prize, and we know they deserve a reward. How long can one shy away from the office deciding to order out together? or avoid going to dinner with friends for fear of breaking the rules?

Well, next time you have a say in where to go, we recommend Sticks Kebob Shop. For you Richmonders, there’s one right in Willow Lawn. Feast your eyes on this scrumptious delight:

Oh boy. Is your mouth watering yet? As if their Mixed Garden Vegetables with Basil Oil kebob wasn’t delightful enough, they also offer an amazing Chicken Breast with Fresh Herbs kebob.

These are the two Tina would highlight at Sticks. They are delicious and even more delicious together. Sticks makes a tasty little side of cucumbers, tomatoes and other delights, and we think that rounds out the meal pretty well.

kebob 4

Grilled veggies and meats seem the obvious choice for healthy options, but the savvy restaurant-goer has to be careful. We were surprised, once we really started researching, at how many dishes are wayyyy too high in carbohydrates, overall calories and sodium (good grief, so much sodium). With this combo, though, Tina found she could get the protein she needed at lunch time as well as our old friend low glycemic index carbs through the veggies. The extra fiber doesn’t hurt, either. What Tina really enjoys here, though, is the healthy fat that is included without the heavy cost of loads and loads of sodium. Total sodium for these two together is 175 mg. Sticks has a shrimp platter which looks awful tempting (Stephanie was this close to ordering that), but with 1,270 mg of sodium it’s not quite worth it at half of your sodium need for the day.

Tina’s only complaint is that the fiber could be a little higher. 3 grams isn’t so bad, but she will have to make sure to include 22 grams more during the day so meet the daily recommendation of 25.

If you’re in Richmond, Charlottesville or Williamsburg, check this place out. At Willow Lawn the staff is exceedingly friendly, willing to offer suggestions about their favorite items and preparing meals quickly. Before you go, take a glance at their nutrition information, and try to make sure your selection matches those of these two kebobs in protein, carbs, and sodium. They also offer a little side salad to enjoy with your kebob choices, which Tina gives a thumbs-up.

The Mixed Garden Vegetables with Basil Oil kebob and the Chicken Breast with Fresh Herbs kebob get an A-. They may be no Power Chicken Hummus Bowl, but as far as we’re concerned, still a great option. Enjoy!

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A Nice Surprise at Panera

Today Tina caught wind of a deliciously amazing option at Panera: their Super Top Secret Must-Know-The-Password-To-Order Menu. Okay, it’s not that secret, but somehow it had slipped under our radar. How could Panera, right around the corner from our office, have such a divine bunch of lunch options that we haven’t even heard of?! You can check this menu out in its entirety here, but we’re most excited about their Power Chicken Hummus Bowl.

Seriously, this salad is amazing. It’s about the farthest thing it could be from a wimpy salad for a wimpy meal plan. The nice folks at our Panera location whipped this salad up in a flash and sent us on our way with the perfect lunch. It’s convenient and tasty, but what really caught Tina’s eye were the nutrition facts.

Waiting to be devoured.

Here it is in all its well-balanced and nutritious glory. The Registered Dietitian Stamp of Approval is owed to the fact that this salad has a very near perfect balance of nutritional elements for lunch. The ratio here is 18 grams carbs : 4 grams fiber : 25 grams protein. When grabbing lunch out on the run, it’s very important to check that your meal comes as close to this equation as possible. Most restaurant meals, Tina says, push an overload of carbs, throwing your meal our of proportion. Sticking to the figures above will ensure stabilization of blood sugar, allowing for energy levels to remain constant and for focus to increase after your meal; not to mention, keeping you sustained for a good three to four hours. You won’t be snoozing at your desk after this salad. The chicken is antibiotic-free and plentiful, accounting for the generous amount of protein. Hummus is a cleverly added low glycemic index carb, while the flavor and consistency of it (AMAZING) eases one’s desire for creamy dressing. Plenty of veggies and spinach contribute fiber and antioxidant nutrients.

Panera’s Power Chicken Hummus Bowl gets an A++ rating on Tina’s list. It’s the best choice we’ve seen in a long, long time from a restaurant.

Way to go, Panera. Way to go.

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Apple Pie Gluten Free Cooked Grains

About ten years ago Tina started a detox with a colleague who practices Chinese Medicine. Combining his expertise with Tina’s in Functional Medicine, the program was referred to as an “East Meets West” sort of philosophy. Chinese medicine teaches that warmer foods are better to have in the morning in order to avoid shocking the system with something like cold cereal or yogurt; Functional Medicine celebrates the health benefits of gluten free oats, millet, buckwheat and amaranth, which are full of fiber, nutrients and protein, all with a lower glycemic index. So here we are with a perfect East-meets-West breakfast that satisfies both philosophies, and will start your day right on a chilly fall morning.

Tina’s tip: top this oatmeal with walnuts for a boost of good fat and protein… not to mention a satisfying crunch.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup amaranth seed
1/4 cup millet
1/4 cup quinoa flakes
1/4 cup gluten free oats
1/4 cup coconut flakes unsweetened
1 cinnamon stick
4 dates chopped
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. allspice
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 apples cubed

Directions:

Add all ingredients to the crockpot the night before. Turn on low and it’s ready the next morning.

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Green Coconut Smoothie

Today Tina has for you, dear reader, a tasty way to sneak some veggies into your day. We all love smoothies. Not all of us love vegetables. It can certainly seem daunting to eat the recommended amount of servings of something you don’t particularly enjoy. Here’s what Tina writes about this challenge:

“As a Registered Dietitian I see plenty of people who really have a difficult time eating vegetables. I also see people who love smoothies and will add kale or spinach to their drink to increase the phytonutrient value. I’m a big believer in making sure that a person eats at least 4 cups of raw or 2 cups of cooked vegetables a day. The antioxidant nutrients that are available in the vegetables as well as the vitamins and minerals will help not only your energy cycle run more smoothly, but also help with detoxification of toxins in your body. In this smoothie I have added GreensFirst greens, which is a fantastic product that is loaded with spinach, kale, kelp, broccoli sprouts and many more vegetables and fruits and super foods.”

So drink up these veggies and enjoy this cold refreshing recipe!

Ingredients:
3/4 cup coconut water
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut/almond milk
2 scoops Xymogen Whey Protein or Vegan Fit Food vanilla
1 scoop supergreens powder (I use GreensFirst)
3 frozen strawberries or cherries
2 cubes of frozen pineapple
1/4 cup frozen mango
Ice as needed

Directions:
Put into Vitamix or blender and blend until smooth.

Enjoy!

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Tuna Avocado Salad

One of the hardest things about eating healthy is meal-planning. It’s not always easy to grab something quick after a busy day that fits into the categories of nourishing, nutritious and delicious. It’s also not easy to vary the ingredients you enjoy enough to make multiple meals. It seems to us that one of the tricks to overcoming these obstacles is to have on hand certain staples that are versatile and quick, easy to add to anything. Allow us to introduce you to the tuna-avocado combination!

Tuna is a simple healthy option that already fits into multiple recipes. Mixing in avocado allows tuna to take on a more creamy texture, and the combination is absolutely delicious. This week’s recipe features our tuna-avocado combo in salad form, but keeping a container of it in your fridge will allow you to add it to wraps, sandwiches, or as a side to dinner.

Ingredients:
2 cans of Wild Planet albacore tuna ( I use one with olive oil and one with water)
1 avocado
3 chopped scallions
Szechuan seasoning (Penzey’s)
chopped chives

Directions:
Mix together tuna and avocado, mashing avocado into tuna. Add chopped scallions and chives. Season with Szechuan seasoning and pepper. Place onto a bed of lettuce and surround with vegetables of choice.

Enjoy!

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Antioxidant Salad with Poached Wild Salmon

Great things are happening as the city of Richmond turns green and the temperatures start to rise! People are emerging from their long winter hibernation into a beautiful spring. We’re busier than ever with clients who want to feel their best and enjoy the glorious weather.

Atlee Chiropractic is getting in the spring spirit and also celebrating their 10th anniversary, and as part of their celebration have invited Tina to talk on a very important topic: eating for energy and focus. We can all use a little of those things, so if you’re in the area, make sure to stop by the Atlee Library on Monday, April 21st at 6:30pm for the talk.

As a teaser, we’re sharing a great recipe to promote focus: a wild salmon salad. Omega 3-fatty acid, which includes EPA/DHA and ALA, is the primary ingredient for a focused mind. This dish is loaded with omega 3-fatty acids which are found in the wild salmon, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and greens. Omega 3-fatty acids are known to help with inflammation, depression, better cellular communication and increased brain power. You’ll feel more and more productive with each bite.

Poached Salmon:
8 oz. of wild salmon
Pan for the salmon
water

Place water in the pan and place on medium high heat. Place salmon with skin side down in the pan and cover. Allow salmon to cook until poached. If you cut through the salmon it should be completely cooked through.

Allow to cool and then place on the antioxidant salad.

Salad Ingredients:
Power Greens (include baby spinach, chard, kale and mizuna)
1 small carrot chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
2 broccoli florets chopped
1/4 cup cauliflower chopped
Red Pepper chopped
1 radish chopped
2 tablespoons walnuts chopped
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds

Mix salad ingredients into a bowl. Top with poached salmon (recipe to follow) and Tahini Lemon dressing (recipe to follow)

Lemon-Tahini Dressing:
1/4 cup tahini ( I used Sesame King Lightly Roasted tahini)
Juice from 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons coconut milk
pinch of coconut sugar

Mix together and serve. Enjoy!

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Kale Nicoise Salad

We hear a lot about the newest food fads in our line of work. Our clients and friends raise questions about sugar, certain diets, how a Google search told them this new superfruit does….whatever. There’s plenty of mixed information and conflicting opinions out there, but one thing is for sure: you just can’t go wrong with a good old-fashioned salad.

We love kale. We put kale in everything we possibly can. It’s tasty in a saute, tasty in a salad, tasty anywhere. This leafy green is starting to get the attention it deserves for its high iron and calcium content, and today we’d like to celebrate the basic-most aspect of its versatility in salad form. Along with our superfood green, we have peppers, carrots, celery, tuna, egg and roasted almonds to contribute some protein, fiber, vitamins A and C, and omega-3 fatty acid. You can also enjoy our homemade dressing guilt-free, as usual.

Enjoy this hearty twist on a classic health food staple that won’t leave you hungry!


Ingredients
:
4 leaves of curly red kale chopped
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 cup chopped yellow pepper
1 can Wild Planet white albacore tuna
1/4 carrot chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
1 boiled egg
5 roasted almonds chopped

Dressing:
2 cloves garlic chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
pepper – 1/4 tsp.
Directions:
Mix it up and make a delicious salad!

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Sweet Potato and Blueberry Maple Sausage Frittata

Who doesn’t love frittatas? We do, especially with such a unique mix of flavors and so much nutritional value. This recipe is packed full of high-quality protein as well as fiber, and obtains a low glycemic index by substituting sweet potato for bread. Sweet potatoes are also high in antioxidant nutrients that help keep the immune system healthy. Adding brussels sprouts and roasted mini peppers make for a great lunch, and provide vitamins A and C as an added bonus. Reheatable, bite-sized and delicious, this dish will life your spirits as springtime nears.

Serves 8-10

Ingredients:
10 eggs
2 sweet potatoes peeled
3 links of Blueberry Maple Sausage (from Whole Foods Market)
1/2 cup shredded Kerrygold cheese or 2% mozzarella cheese
1/4 tsp. of cinnamon
Pepper to taste
Truffle salt

Directions:
In a mixing bowl whisk eggs. Add cheese and cinnamon. Set aside. In a 8X10 glass baking pan that has been coated with oil on bottom of pan add cubed sweet potato. On top of the sweet potato add the blueberry Maple sausage that has been cooked. Pour egg mixture over the sweet potato/sausage combination. Put in refrigerator for overnight.

In the morning turn oven to 350 degrees. Bake casserole in oven for about 40-45 minutes or until it is completely cooked through when you test with a knife.

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