Q&A + another new recipe

On this week’s Q&A session…

Lee of In My Tummy: My fiancé is trying to lose weight.  Let’s just say for arguments sake that he eats 1600 calories a day.  He will go his entire work shift without eating and the come home and eat a 1200 calorie dinner with a couple snacks several hours afterward.  He claims that he’s not hungry for breakfast and that he’s too busy at work.  Is this way of eating hindering his weight loss?  I say that even though he’s eating the correct amount of calories for weight loss, his body thinks it’s starving, so it’s holding onto the fat.  Is this actually true?  Does the time that you eat your meals matter? Thanks!

Prevention RD: A gold star for you! Going long periods of time without eating, or back-loading your day with calories (heavy dinner, skimping throughout the day) is not ideal for weight-loss. While weight loss is a mathematical equation, there are a lot of factors that can hinder weight-loss efforts. The importance of breakfast is no myth and there’s a lot of research in support of having a larger breakfast each day to support weight-loss efforts. Having breakfast meal revs up the body to be a fuel burning (calorie-burning) machine throughout the day. So many times I get, “But if I eat breakfast, I’m hungry before lunch.” Probably so – the metabolism is working efficiently for a change! When we condition our bodies to know what it’s getting before it even happens, we can stall out and see a weight-loss plateau. Eating intermittently throughout the day and varying intake from day-to-day is the best way to keep things moving on the scale. And just like you described, it sounds like your fiancé has put his body into “starvation mode” where it does not want to lose weight because it’s either 1) not getting adequate calories, and/or 2) the calories he intakes are not diverse, varying from day-to-day, or spread out appropriately throughout the day. We have to understand that we are engineered to hold on to fat – we never lose fat cells, they only shrink and grow in size as we gain and lose weight (this is why re-gaining weight is so easy!). So tell your fiancé to have 3 meals a day (and possibly snacks in between if he’s hungry!), and to not back-load his day with calories. He should also aim to include 5-9 fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and adequate protein and exercise to produce lasting and successful weight loss. Thanks for the great question, and good luck to your fiancé!

Holly: I’ve got a lot of recipes that I like, but I know all of that white flour and white sugar is not the best. So…1) What is whole wheat white flour? Is it a good substitute? How do I use it in baking? 2) I’ve read that whole wheat flour cannot be replaced for white flour because it can throws off the baking chemistry. Is there a general rule about half white, half whole wheat, etc? and 3) I’ve heard that sucanat is the best kind of sugar to use. I feel like it does not incorporate into ingredients as well when I bake… any suggestions?

Prevention RD: I’ll address this in sections just as you broke it down! 1) Whole wheat white flour is wheat flour milled from an albino wheat versus the standard whole wheat flour which is milled from red wheat. The albino wheat has a softer texture, is lighter in color, and is sweeter and milder in flavor, yet it is still a whole wheat with all its benefits. 2) Various flours have different amounts of protein and so there are some recipes that do better with complete substitutions than others. What’s generally always “safe” and produces a good product is a 50/50 blend of whole wheat (white) flour and all-purpose flour. If you do opt for a full whole-wheat substitute (woot!), there are a few steps you can take to ensure your results are favorable. First, sift whole wheat flour – it is heavier and denser than all-purpose. Further, you can add a bit more of each wet ingredient and/or reduce cooking time. Also, avoid over-mixing which causes dense glutens to form. 3) Sucanat (cane sugar) probably works well in some recipes (cookies) and not so well in others (cakes, pies, bread) due to the size of the sugar granules. What you could try is grinding the sugar a bit more into finer crystals which would probably help the batter to have more evenly distributed sugar throughout. Brown sugar and agave nectar are great options, too! Great questions – I hope this helps some! I am easing into baking, it’s not my forte!

Heather of Get Healthy with Heather: I eat a ton of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  I know for sure that I get over the recommended daily intake for fiber.  Are there any downsides, other than the ehem… toots 😉 from eating too much fiber?

Prevention RD: Hehe! Toots are harmless but loads of fiber can also cause constipation if fluid intake does not increase along with fiber consumption. Can you ever get TOO much fiber if it’s incorporated healthfully? Nah, but the benefits of fiber likely plateau off after the recommended daily intakes (25 grams a day for women and 38 grams a day for men) have been reached each day. Remember to get your fiber from whole grain sources, as well as legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Many products are adding fiber analogs (such as inulin – that found in Fiber One bars, for example) to increase the fiber content and their efficacy for use is not yet proven. Great question!

John of 2010: Time to Challenge Myself: Should I should toss the potassium out with the salt?

Prevention RD: Nope, not unless you have a kidney disease or diagnosed hyperkalemia (high potassium). The diet is rarely a cause for too little or too much potassium as many foods contain potassium. It’s an essential electrolyte in the body and serves no dangers like those of sodium. Great question! 🙂

Got a nutrition-related question you want an answer for? Send your question to me at [email protected]! 🙂

Sundays are our lazy day — I play ice-hockey and we take the dog to the dog park when it’s nice. Other than that, I try to prepare a special dinner on Sundays…maybe something a bit more labor-intensive than the week days allow for. This Sunday I made a new salmon dish and it did not disappoint (especially the marinade!) Yum!!

Salmon with Black Bean & Mango Salsa
Adapted from the Pickleypear.com

3 salmon filets

Salmon Marinade:

3 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
fine sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Marinate for 20 minutes (or longer, if desired)

Black Bean Salsa:

15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
1 soft mango, diced
a pinch of ground cumin
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
chopped cilantro, to taste
1 fresh limes, juiced
1 red onion, chopped
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
few grinds freshly ground pepper

Bake salmon at 350* for 25 minutes.  Top with salsa when plating.

Don’t forget to enter into the Larabar Giveaway! It ends tomorrow!

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Andrea is having a book Giveaway – The Body Fat Solution. Go here to enter!

(Selfish) Question-of-the-Day: If you were teaching a cooking class for 40 people, what would you prepare?


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33 Comments

  1. February 2, 2010 / 6:07 am

    As always great Q&A! I seriously love this about your blog!

  2. February 2, 2010 / 6:32 am

    A really easy cooking class is making sloppy joes with the morning star veggie crumbles and whole wheat buns.

    Its super easy.

    Have a great day Nicole 🙂

  3. February 2, 2010 / 6:47 am

    I love your Q & A posts…I always learn so much! Thanks for the information about fiber…I’ve often wondered this, because I know my fiber intake is pretty high!

  4. February 2, 2010 / 6:48 am

    Another great Q&A! That salsa looks delicious, too!

  5. February 2, 2010 / 7:02 am

    Great questions and response. And for the last one, if you cut back on salt and use a salt sub instead it is usually KCl not NaCl so you get the potassium really without even realizing it. Not all salt subs do this, but many use a potassium salt instead of a sodium salt. Some people don’t realize that salt doesn’t really mean sodium, but that we just use it this way. Yay for chem class!!!

    As for a cooking class for 40 people, good luck…I have no idea, but make sure it has lots of veggies. Maybe a vegetarian chili because this can also be a cheap and healthy meal.

  6. February 2, 2010 / 7:04 am

    MmmmM i think i want to make some of that black bean salsa it looks amazing! im always trying to create stuff like that…it just adds a little pizzazz to my taste buds hehe

  7. February 2, 2010 / 8:00 am

    Great Q&A! And your salmon dish looks fantastic.

  8. February 2, 2010 / 8:05 am

    Great Q&As. I definitely get a huge amount of fiber in my diet! Also, good to know about the first question. I know a lot of people who justify this as a way to lose weight.

  9. eaternotarunner
    February 2, 2010 / 8:13 am

    Love the Q&A, my boyfriend used to eat the same way as the first questioner, now that he eats more during the day he has lost some weight!

  10. February 2, 2010 / 8:26 am

    Is it in interactive class? People love customizable make your own things, like pizza!

  11. February 2, 2010 / 8:44 am

    Thanks for the great Q & A! The first answer would be great to share with a few people I know. Your salmon looks like heaven. Love the b sprouts and tatters with it too. Perfect meal 🙂

  12. February 2, 2010 / 9:19 am

    Great Q&A! I have a question about spinach, Nicole…I’ve heard that its nutrients are better absorbed if the spinach is heated first…is that true?

    I love fresh salsas with fish, and this salmon and salsa dish looks incredible! I’ll have to try it!

    If I were teaching a cooking class for 40 people I’d re-make a traditional recipe into a healthier version of itself. Maybe spaghetti and meatballs…I like to shred veggies and add them to the meat before making meatballs. And I’d show them how to make homemade tomato sauce — it only takes about 15-20 minutes! 🙂

  13. February 2, 2010 / 9:36 am

    That salsa looks amazing, too!! YUMMY!! I bet it is so good with the salmon. 🙂

  14. February 2, 2010 / 9:39 am

    I was just looking for a salmon recipe…thanks.

  15. February 2, 2010 / 11:27 am

    Thanks for answering that. I will show him what you said. Well, I’ll show him in a way that wouldn’t seem like I announced to the entire internet that he is having trouble losing weight!

  16. February 2, 2010 / 11:38 am

    Just a few suggestions about baking…many people can’t digest wheat very well (even whole wheat) so it’s worth experimenting with a gluten free flour. Also, brown sugar is just dyed white sugar, and agave is quite processed. I like to bake with Stevia or another natural sweetener like maple syrup.

    weight loss

  17. February 2, 2010 / 12:06 pm

    As always….LOVE your Q&A’s! I had a feeling that was right about question #1, but it’s interesting to see the reasoning behind it.

    I’m not the *best* cook, so I would probably stick with a quinoa or vegetarian dish that was harder to mess up!

  18. February 2, 2010 / 12:15 pm

    The black bean salsa looks great!
    I’m not much of a cook, but if I were teaching a cooking class, I would make sure it was something simple. If they can leave there and do it on their own, its a success. I would include some tasty veggies. I always hear patients say they don’t like veggies, but maybe they just needs way to prepare them.

  19. February 2, 2010 / 1:08 pm

    I’ve always wanted to make a fancy salsa like that on my own, but have never had a recipe to work from. Yours looks so good and I bet it goes great with salmon. I’ll have to try it this summer for sure!

  20. February 2, 2010 / 2:05 pm

    you just gave me some major inspiration to cook salmon! I love it, but I don’t think I’ve made it in several years. Somehow, cooking fish intimidates me. Great recipe!

  21. February 2, 2010 / 3:39 pm

    bahaha! I would never teach a cooking class! I make some good stuff, but the method is never….pretty.

  22. February 2, 2010 / 4:56 pm

    Your blog rocks!! Thank you for taking so much time to answer questions. I seriously had the exact same questions that you answered up in Q1 and Q2! Now you’ve answered them!! I’ll know exactly where to go when i do get questions!

  23. February 2, 2010 / 5:47 pm

    Great post, as always! Very informational!
    A class for 40 people… Well, that sounds challenging…. I guess I would do a healthy chili or lasagna or even pizza. I think it shows people they don’t have to give up their favorite foods but can adapt the recipes to make them healthier…

  24. intheskinny
    February 2, 2010 / 5:51 pm

    I really enjoy the Q & A’s – I feel like I learn so much from your blog!

  25. February 2, 2010 / 5:52 pm

    As always, great Q & A! And great salmon recipe.

    Cooking class for 40 people? Are they participating? Or just watching? I would say the fewer ingredients the better. I would pick a recipe people can recreate without having to look at the recipe. I’m really into soups at the moment, so I would probably pick a healthy, vegetable-based soup.

  26. February 2, 2010 / 6:22 pm

    Thanks a lot for answering my question Nicole. It’s good to know that when I do crave that “salt like” texture such as on my salads I can still have my “No Salt”(sodium free). It’s not the same but it’s better than nothing. Since I’m a guy I have no idea if I have those problems. Just kicking salt to the curb on my own.

    If I HAD to teach 40 people I’d make chili. It’s hard to screw up and when you do it’s still edible. This week I started to make it and realized I had no chili powder. So I upped my other spices and it ended up tasting pretty good with full tooting power 🙂

  27. Holly
    February 2, 2010 / 6:50 pm

    Thanks for answering my question. For a cooking class, I’d want to cook something that everybody loves, but make it healthy. A whole wheat pizza, low fat cupcakes, that kind of thing.

  28. February 2, 2010 / 8:40 pm

    Great answers Nicole. I especially liked the one about the fiber. Although I will add to it that TOO much fiber could cause one to absorb less calcium, and iron (because of the phytates). But I agree, getting it from whole grains and veggies is a much better idea than yogurt and juice, etc.!

    I love that you do this each week. It’s a great idea and I am recording the questions to use for an FAQ on our work website!

  29. February 2, 2010 / 10:25 pm

    I always get really excited when I read these Q & A’s. You share so much helpful info. I am pleased to say that I practice a lot of the good stuff you share. I stand firm on your response to the first question regarding mini meals and keeping the digestive fire stoked all day. I couldn’t imagine missing a mini meal. I love food way too much!

  30. February 2, 2010 / 10:51 pm

    The salmon sounds wonderful, very flavorful with the marinade and especially with the black bean mango salsa, yum!

  31. February 3, 2010 / 2:04 pm

    Wow that salmon looks amazing! U are always making something amazing! I need to come by everyday on here!! Have a great day girl!! xoxo

  32. February 4, 2010 / 10:00 am

    I am always interested in the difference between certain flours, but sometimes you have no choice but to use AP because it is much lighter for baking. I usually try to do a half/half mixture of AP and WW

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