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Entries in FitMamaEats (160)

Thursday
Jun262014

Sautéed Purple Swiss Chard with Sweet Potatoes and Dried Fruit

Introducing Alexa, my new recipe contributor!I can't say how thrilled I am that my niece Alexa is cooking up a storm. She already contributed a simple delicious recipe last year Chocolate Banana Ice Cream that I have made endless times and been encouraging all of my patients to make! I had to share this new one that she said she'd whipped up for lunch one day. Is it normal to drool over vegetables?? I've been doing that a lot lately and this recipe is no exception. I signed up for a CSA this summer and received my first batch yesterday with a bunch of beautiful purple Swiss chard. Swiss chard is a nutrition superstar, ranking 3rd in a recent study of "41 powerhouse fruits and vegetables" featured in The Washington Post. Can't wait to put these greens to good use with Alexa's recipe! Feel free to substitute other greens and your favorite dried fruits...they'll all work wonderfully here. You can also add nuts or seeds to boost the protein and nutrient content.

Sautéed Purple Swiss Chard with Baked Sweet Potatoes and Raisins

Ingredients

2 bunches Swiss chard, washed thoroughly, dried, and chopped (4-5 heaping cups after chopped)

1 medium onion, diced

1/2 cup raisins

1 T olive oil

2 medium sized sweet potatoes

Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake sweet potatoes for 45 min to 1 hour, depending on size, until tender (or use a knife to create a few slits in potatoes and microwave for 6-7 minutes on high). Cool potatoes, remove the skin, and chop into small chunks.
  2. In a pan on medium heat, add oil. Add the diced onion and cook until translucent.
  3. Add raisins and chopped Swiss chard to the onions. Saute one minute and then turn heat to low as the leaves will wilt very quickly.
  4. Toss in sweet potatoes and serve! 

Sunday
May182014

A Nutrition Shake for Expecting Moms

I don't usually review supplements on this blog as I try to promote whole foods as much as possible. However I considered the new Mommi 3-in-1 shake very carefully as a useful alternative to taking prenatal vitamins. If you're expecting, your OB/GYN will advise you to take a prenatal vitamin every day to supply additional nutrients for the growing fetus. 

When I was pregnant I was scared to death of becoming nauseous, so I chose to forego that single large prenatal vitamin and take the necessary nutrients (iron, calcium, vitamin D, folic acid) separately throughout the day (as approved by my doctor). Prenatals also have higher amounts of B vitamins and certain minerals that can promote nausea; add those to all of the other nutrients jammed into one pill. I personally feel that this megavitamin hitting your stomach can cause immediate stomach upset, especially when your hormones are constantly fluctuating and possibly creating a sensitive gut. Thankfully I didn't experience any nausea throughout my whole pregnancy, which may or may not have been helped by my self-prescribed vitamin regimen.

Mommi 3-in-1 shakes were created by CEO Erin Schurtz who, prior to her pregnancy, had always drank a protein shake daily and wanted to continue using them but could not find one deemed safe for pregnancy. She created these shake mixes to contain the recommended nutrients for a healthy pregnancy, as well as 15 grams of whey protein and 200 mg DHA (300 mg daily is recommended during pregnancy). DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that has been shown to support the development of the nervous system and vision of the fetus, as well as lower the risk of pre-term labor and delivery, pre-eclampsia and postpartum depression. The shake ingredients are GMO and gluten-free.

I blended up the shake mix with one cup of skim milk for a taste-test, and enjoyed the mild flavor. It was frothy and not too rich nor too sweet (and no fishy smell!), perfect for an expecting mom with a sensitive stomach. I did not experience any stomach upset or nausea after ingesting the high dosage of vitamins. Another plus is that one shake made with 10-12 ounces of 1% milk provides the 300 extra calories recommended during pregnancy; many women overeat calories believing the baby needs this—a common myth that causes excessive weight gain and increased risk of gestational diabetes. This shake is portion-controlled and provides just enough calories. Keep in mind that if you're having the opposite problem of not eating enough calories because of nausea, these quick-digesting shakes are useful to maintain your calorie/nutrient intake. The website has several shake recipes that provide more calories if needed.

Erin took the time to answer my additional questions about Mommi 3-in-1:

Q: What inspired you to create Mommi 3-in-1, and in shake form?

A: When I was pregnant I couldn't swallow or stomach large prenatal vitamins and fishy-tasting DHA. In addition, all the protein powders I bought had warning labels for pregnant or nursing women. I knew there had to be something on the market that combined all three in a tasty shake but there wasn't! So I created it with the help of a wonderful team of nutritional scientists and Dr. Yvonne Bohn, a well-known OB/GYN.

Q: Does one serving of this replace a daily prenatal vitamin?  

A: Yes, one serving of Mommi 3-in-1 has a full prenatal vitamin, 200 mg of DHA and 15 grams of protein; it replaces your prenatal pill and is taken every day with a healthy diet while pregnant.

Q: What is special about your product that someone should purchase it over drinking a shake made with regular whey protein and taking a prenatal vitamin?  

A: The benefit of taking Mommi 3-in-1 over a whey protein and separate prenatal vitamin is that it also includes DHA, which doctors recommend women take every day while pregnant. It is vital for fetal brain development. It is also beneficial over a prenatal vitamin because in Mommi 3-in-1 the vitamins are coated so instead of sitting in your stomach as a large prenatal and slowly disseminating into the blood stream, the vitamins are easily digestible, preventing nausea or gagging. Our protein has also undergone intensive testing over the last year to ensure it passes every regulation for safety during pregnancy. Not all protein powders are safe for a developing baby.

Q: Can a pregnant woman use this as a meal replacement or should she take it in addition to her usual meals?  

A: While pregnant, a woman should take Mommi 3-in-1 as a supplement to her regular healthy diet. Mommi 3-in-1 was designed to contain the approximate amount of extra calories pregnant women need to consume daily. When mixed with milk or milk substitute it adds the extra 200-300 calories (depending on the recipe used) pregnant women should be adding to their daily diet.

Q: Did you continue to drink the shake after giving birth as a snack or meal replacement to help with losing the baby weight? Or should it only be used during pregnancy?  

A: Right after I gave birth I tried replacing breakfast with Mommi 3-in-1 to lose the baby weight until I learned that you actually need even more calories than while you are pregnant, for a healthy milk supply when nursing. So I continued to use it as a supplement and it helped curb my appetite for less healthy snacks. Once I am done nursing I will drink it as a meal replacement.

Mommi 3-in-1 is available for purchase on their website. FitMamaEats readers may use the coupon code 3icecream1 at check-out to receive a 20% discount, valid through July 31, 2014. Check it out!

Disclosure: I received shake samples for my honest review of the product.

Sunday
Apr062014

Dukkah-Encrusted Tofu

Dried tofu. Photo credit: Vegan Good EatsI grew up eating tofu since I come from an Asian family but it was never served to me plain and white, like you see in the supermarket. Some of my clients who aren't familiar with tofu don't realize that you're not supposed to eat fresh tofu straight out of the carton! It is meant to be seasoned and cooked. My favorite ways to eat it are pan-fried or dried (you can find this in Asian grocery stores near the fresh tofu), which are more flavorful. I don't prefer to fry foods because of the mess afterwards, so I usually enjoy this type of tofu from a Chinese restaurant (or at my parent's house, if they'll cook it for me!). For my meals, I add plain, diced extra firm tofu to salads and soups, where it picks up the flavor of the salad dressing or broth. This week I noticed a jar of dukkah, given to me by a friend, sitting in my cabinet and thought why not try it on tofu? Dukkah, originally from Egypt but now becoming popular here, is a spice blend incorporating toasted nuts, seeds, herbs and a little salt. You can sprinkle it on meats, fish, pasta, and even salads.

I used Nasoya's Extra Firm Tofu Plus that is high in protein, calcium, vitamin D and B vitamins. I pressed the tofu to drain out extra water and make it even firmer (place the whole block of tofu between two paper towels on a plate and rest a heavy book or pan on top for about 10 minutes), and then cut the tofu into triangles and squares. I brushed all sides of the tofu with a sauce mixture of 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce, 2 tablespoons honey and 1 tablespoon sesame oil. I sprinkled the dukkah over the top and baked in a 350 F oven for 35 minutes.

The result was a flavorful tofu with a nice crunch from the dukkah's almonds and various seeds. It went well on top of a salad, though I equally enjoyed the leftover tofu the next day warmed with brown rice and vegetables. Actually I preferred the flavor of the tofu after it had been refrigerated and reheated, as the seeds had softened and the sauce had soaked deeper into the tofu.

 It's an easy recipe and a great way to get more whole soy into your diet!