Monthly Archives: February 2018

Slow-Cooker Beef and Mushroom Stew

The episode of This Is Us where Jack dies because of a fire caused by a slow cooker has not scared me off this handy appliance, especially because I use it to make Slow-Cooker Beef and Mushroom Stew, one of 60 recipes included in Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, and After Pregnancy.

I love knowing this stew is ready to eat for dinner on a chilly evening, and for lunch the next day.

Whole grain cornbread is delicious with the stew. 

You don’t need to give up meat to eat a plant-based diet, and this recipe proves it, as one portion supplies a full serving of vegetables, along with protein, iron, and about 25% of your daily requirement for choline, a nutrient every cell in your body requires, and is especially necessary for developing brains during pregnancy and early life.

This burger recipe is a beef and mushroom blend

The stew is rich in mushrooms, which take the place of some of the beef. Mushrooms are the only product in the fruit and vegetable section with vitamin D, and they have many other beneficial properties, too.

Mushrooms provide umami, a taste sensation that brings a savory flavor to dishes.

Vary this recipe with a mixture of mushrooms, such as white button and shiitake, if you like.

Slow Cooker Beef and Mushroom Stew

Makes 6 servings.

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cups baby carrots

16 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms

1 can (15-ounce) no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

11/2 cups reduced-sodium beef broth

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

1 pound stew meat, such as chuck, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

Freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)

Place all the ingredients except the beef, peas, and pepper in a slow cooker. Combine well. Add the beef. Cover and cook on the low setting for 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours. Just before serving, add the peas and season with pepper, if desired. Stir well. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes.

Per serving: 

Calories: 238

Protein: 27 grams

Total fat: 5 grams

Saturated fat: 2 grams

Cholesterol: 54 milligrams

Sodium: 470 milligrams

Carbohydrate: 22 grams

Dietary fiber: 4 grams

Calcium: 39 milligrams

Iron: 3 milligrams

Choline: 111 milligrams

No-Bake Vegan Bean and Peanut Butter Treats

I don’t know about you, but for me, Valentine’s Day is all about the candy. As a dietitian, and lover of sweets, these no-bake vegan bean and peanut butter treats check all the boxes for me. And, there is no cooking required!

No-bake vegan Valentine’s day treats

The best thing about vegan recipes is that your family and all of your friends can enjoy them!

No-Bake Bean and Peanut Butter Treats are perfect for everyone because they’re delicious, energizing, and heart-healthy.  And, if made with certified gluten-free oats, these treats are gluten-free, too.

Get kids involved in the kitchen. Children can help form the dough into hearts. Or, if it’s easier, form dough into balls.

Check out this flourless recipe for Easy Black Bean Brownies! 

 

No-Bake Vegan Bean and Peanut Butter Treats

Peanut butter, white beans, and oatmeal combine to make a delicious sweet vegan treat that can be gluten-free, too. 
Prep Time30 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beans, glutenfree, peanutbutter, ValentinesDay, vegan
Servings: 18
Calories: 124kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oatmeal, uncooked
  • 1 15-oz. can white beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (vegan and gluten-free, if desired)
  • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped peanuts

Instructions

  • Place all the ingredients except the chocolate chips and peanuts in a food processor.  Blend until the mixture is well-combined, about 3 minutes, pausing to scrape down the sides of the processor.  Leave the dough in the food processor and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
    Place the dough on a large cutting board and press into a 9-inch square that’s about 1/2-inch thick. Use a medium heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut the dough into hearts.*  
    Combine the remaining dough and press into a 1/2-inch thick piece. Cut dough into hearts until you have 18, and place hearts on a wire cooling rack on top of a cutting board.
    To decorate, melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler and  drizzle on the hearts. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and allow the chocolate to harden before eating. Refrigerate leftovers.

Nutrition Information: Per serving: 124 calories; 5 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat); 0 cholesterol; 82 milligrams sodium; 16 grams carbohydrate; 3 grams fiber; 4 grams protein.

    Notes

    *Note: You can also shape the dough into 18 balls. Dip half of each ball into the melted chocolate and coat with peanuts. Place on wax paper to harden.
    Melted dark chocolate provides just enough to satisfy a chocolate craving without excessive sugar.
    www.betteristhenewperfect.com

    How to Eat to Beat Digestive Problems

    Today’s topic: gut health. I know, I know, kind of gross, and not something you bring up in polite conversation. Well, maybe it should be. If you’re among the millions of Americans who suffer with uncomfortable gastrointestinal (GI) tract symptoms on a regular basis, you’ll want to know how to eat to beat digestive problems. See what Kate Scarlata, RDN, LDN, the co-author of The Low-FODMAP Diet Step by Step, A Personalized Plan to Relieve the Symptoms of IBS and Other Digestive Disorders, has to say about getting relief.

    Irritable bowel syndrome and the low FODMAP diet

    One in four of us have tummy trouble on a regular basis, and an estimated 25 to 45 million Americans suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).  

    IBS causes gas, bloating, cramping, pain and altered bowel function.

    The low-FODMAP way of eating is based on an approach created by researchers at Monash University in Australia. According to Scarlata, research shows that up to 75% of people with IBS can get relief from their symptoms by following a low-FODMAP diet.

    A low-FODMAP eating plan may also benefit those with other GI conditions, such as celiac disease (along with a gluten-free eating plan.)

    One in four Americans suffer from tummy trouble.

    The authors know about digestion problems

    When it comes to digestive woes, the authors know what they are talking about. In addition to providing the latest research about personalizing a FODMAP plan and 130 delicious recipes, Kate and her co-author and recipe developer Dede Wilson, discuss their own experiences in the book. Kate had a major intestinal resection nearly 23 years ago that resulted in debilitating digestive symptoms.  Dede was diagnosed with IBS in 1990.  Both have successfully used the low-FODMAP diet to manage their issues.

    Here’s more from my interview with Kate.

    What are FODMAPS?

    FODMAPs are a group of certain carbohydrates (sugars and fibers) found in higher levels in many everyday foods, such as apples, garlic, traditional yogurt (not Greek), and products made with wheat. Because some people can’t properly digest them, FODMAPS can pull water into the small intestine, and they are rapidly consumed by gut microbes (the bacteria present in the gut), which results in excessive gas production. If you have a sensitive gut, water and gas can contribute to symptoms of bloating, alteration in bowel habits, and pain.  Additionally, the microbes that feed on FODMAPs create compounds that may also play a role in the symptoms of digestive distress.

    Peanuts and walnuts are on the low-FODMAP food list.

    Why did you write this book? 

    I co-wrote the The Low-FODMAP Diet Step by Step because I wanted IBS patients to have an easy-to-understand approach to following the low FODMAP diet.  I have created ways to make the approach less daunting and realistic through my work with thousands of patients to implement the low-FODMAP diet.

    What do you want people to know about a low FODMAP way of eating?

    The most important point about the low-FODMAP approach is that is it a three-part nutritional intervention. The first part is a two to six-week elimination phase where high-FODMAP foods are taken out of the diet.  The second part is the challenge, or reintroduction, phase. During this phase, FODMAPs are systematically added back to the diet to help you identify which FODMAP sources trigger symptoms, and which FODMAPs do not. The third phase is the integration phase, when tolerated FODMAP foods are slowly added back to the diet.

    The goal of the low-FODMAP approach is to eat the most varied and enjoyable diet as possible while maintaining good symptom control. However, balance is important. Cutting out too many foods on the low-FODMAP diet may also reduce some healthy microbes in the gut.  We encourage the challenge and integration phases of the low-FODMAP diet so that you can follow an eating plan with as much variety as possible to maintain symptom relief and keep your gut healthy.

    Yes, Chocolate Chunk Cookies are on the low-FODMAP diet menu! You’ll find the recipe in book.

    You mention in the book that digestive disorders are on the rise. What are your thoughts on why this is happening?

    In my opinion, we are seeing an increase in digestive issues due to a a variety of reasons including the use of antibiotics and antimicrobial soaps, high fructose corn syrup (a concentrated source of FODMAPs) and food additives. For example, emulsifiers in highly processed foods such as ice cream, salad dressing, and mayonnaise, cause gut inflammation and altered gut microbes in animal studies.

    Pollution, stress, and other factors also alter and disturb the balance of microbes that inhabit our gut and support health.

    What your gut bacteria say about your health

    Do you think it’s difficult for people to be properly diagnosed with IBS and other digestive disorders? 

    In America, talking about gut health is often viewed as taboo. Although our views on talking about it is slowly changing for the better, many patients would rather suffer in silence than address their symptoms. A recent study found that primary care doctors fail to ask about GI symptoms quite often as well during physical exams, which further compounds the problem.

    How to talk to your doctor about digestive issues

    On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best), how exciting is the evidence about the effects of what you eat on digestive health and overall wellbeing? 

    I would say we are at about a 10+ in this area! The evidence continues to mount daily that the gut is the window to health.

    What we eat impacts the trillions of microbes that live in our intestine. We know these microbes affect our chances for chronic diseases including diabetes, obesity, non alcoholic liver disease, and depression.

    It’s a very exciting time to be a dietitian interested in gut health. I truly believe all dietitians should be watching the research closely so that they can best communicate findings to patients and other consumers.

    How else can we eat to beat digestive problems? What’s on the horizon?

    There are so many new studies looking at how FODMAPs may affect health. A 2017 study showed that when breastfeeding moms of infants with colic decreased their FODMAP intake, the infants’ colic symptoms decreased.

    While more research is needed about the effect of mom’s diet on colic, the study offers hope to parents. Another interesting study looked at how the low-FODMAP diet may help reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation can give rise to chronic conditions including heart disease and cancer.

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