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Q&A & Vitalicious Winner!

Marla of Family Fresh Cooking: How in the world do you figure out calorie counts in recipes?  (I know that is a huge part of being an RD!)

Prevention RD: I either add up the totals for the ingredients in the recipe by looking at the label for calories, sodium, fiber, etc. or what I more commonly do is enter the entire recipe into www.dailyplate.com and divide by the number of servings. The Calorie Count website is also great, though they don’t have verified nutrition facts like Daily Plate. Both work well and is super easy to use! Great question! Calculating recipes can be a bit tedious, but I figure I only need to do it once for something I love and want to make in the future!

Paul of Mostly Grocery: Should replacement shakes be used if you’re trying to diet?

Prevention RD: I think there’s a time and a place for meal replacement shakes. Are they a ticket for weight-loss? Absolutely not. Meal replacements tend to be moderate in calories and protein, low in fiber, and contain various vitamins and minerals. Most people find that drinking a “meal” will not keep them satisfied for long. Typically, people purchasing meal replacement supplements are looking for a healthy to-go option and I think that with a little planning, it’s very possible to throw together something more nutritionally sound and filling, and certainly a bit cheaper. Great question! Supplements are a hot topic…always!

John of Challenges2010: What’s the price comparison between Kefir and Yogurt…$/serving?

Prevention RD: This is a hard question to compare, apples-to-apples. Are we comparing organic Kefir to standard yogurt? Organic yogurt? Organic Greek yogurt? Greek yogurt is currently the most expensive yogurt on the market. Organic yogurt is the next most expensive, and standard  yogurts are cheapest (generic brands coming in at the bottom of the range). Kefir is approximately $0.75-$0.99 per serving (8 ounces) which is comparable to Greek yogurt. Sale prices and location will alter this information, but this is estimated off my local prices here in Tulsa. Good question!!

Christina of Faith, Fitness, and Fun: What is the craziest thing you have ever done?

Prevention RD: My poor memory will probably fail me here, but ONE crazy thing my hockey team did was make a “Sexy” University of Illinois Women’s Ice Hockey calendar. You know, like the firemen do 😉 We put on our hockey equipment…thongs…bras…and other lingerie on top. We took “seductive” pictures on the Zamboni and all around the rink. It was a blast and a bit on the crazy side…right? 😉 I’m lame, I know! I know!

Christina of Faith, Fitness, and Fun: Do you have any regrets about things in your life? Or something you thought you would regret, but ended up being a great decision?

Prevention RD: I can honestly say I don’t have any real regrets in life. Yet, anyways! I did, however, think that I may regret living in Italy for a summer with my husband (fiancé at the time). The time I spent in Italy was the summer before going into grad school, and while my peers were earning money and gaining experience in the field, I was frolicking around Italy playing stay-at-home fiancé! I had to ship about 40 pounds of text books overseas and spend a substantial amount of time each day getting ready for grad school (you should’ve SEEN the pre-work we were assigned…holy moly!).

The other thing that comes to mind is accepting my current position. I was looking for my first job out of grad school during the recent economic turmoil. I finally received an offer…in the boonies and for much less money than I wanted to be making. But, I accepted. Four days after starting work, the RD’s got a 40% salary increase!! Talk about a blessing from above! Plus, it happened on my birthday! But, nope…no regrets thus far!

Christina of Faith, Fitness, and Fun: Is your blog different now than what you expected it to be when first starting out?

Prevention RD: When I started my blog, I had no expectations. I hadn’t ever read a single blog post until after I had started my own blog! What has become of my blog, I am very pleased with! I hope to continue writing, learning, teaching, and growing through blogging! I have always wanted to be a writer and I feel that blogging may lead me to writing opportunities at some point. Until then, I will be patient and keep doing what I love!

Rebecca from France: Is there anything good to be had in mushrooms?  I really like them and like to cook with them (real mushrooms, of course, not the canned leather variety) but my boyfriend 1) doesn’t like their texture and 2) thinks there are no substantial nutrients in them.  Who is right?

Prevention RD: Mushrooms have a lot of positive health benefits! They are high in dietary fiber (including a fiber associated with cholesterol-lowering effects – chitin) and heart health properties found in beta-glutans. Another interesting fact about mushrooms is that their protein content and carbohydrate content are just about the same, meaning mushrooms are approximately 50% carbohydrate and 50% protein. That’s very rare in a vegetable! Or, should I say fungi? 🙂 The texture of mushrooms is a result of the carbohydrate-protein-fiber content and unless the texture is manually altered (chopped, pureed, etc), there is not much you can do about the texture. But, alas, you are correct…mushrooms offer excellent nutritional benefits! Awesome question!

Lori: I have high blood pressure and have had it since I was 15 (35 now). I found out that I have hyperaldosteronism and am on Spirnolactone. I am also allergic to wheat. I eat a clean diet but am having a lot of trouble losing weight. I do eat low fat dairy and some meat (mostly chicken). Is it possible that I have an iodine deficiency that is causing thyroid problems and therefore hindering weight loss? PS I have had a goiter before the size of a baseball from over-consumption of soy, I was trying to go vegan, and not eat wheat…

Prevention RD: Firstly, I wanted to say that I’m very sorry you’ve had to make such drastic dietary changes, on top of battling your weight (just know you’re not alone on that front!). That’s a lot to take on and many would just throw up their arms in defeat. Second, I have to put in my disclaimer in that I am not a diagnostician and I am only responding based on what I know about you (above) and what I know about iodine, hyperaldosteronism, and diet. But, I want to take a stab at your question 🙂

My first thought may seem basic, but are you sure your goiter was not an adrenal tumor? Many hyperaldosteronism cases are due to benign tumors growing on the adrenal gland and treatment is removal of the tumor. Assuming a tumor is NOT the cause of your hyperaldosteronism, rest assured that your high blood pressure IS likely due to your condition and not your diet. Spironolactone is a drug used to treat hyperaldosteronism and is assisting in blood pressure regulation. Potassium should be limited in the diet and therefore multivitamins containing potassium, potassium supplements, and salt substitutes should be avoided. Potassium in the diet should also be limited. For a list of potassium content in foods, visit here. The reason for limiting potassium intake is to protect the kidneys.

Iodine deficiency is VERY rare given the US food supply. Iodine is found in salt, dairy, seafood, and plants grown in rich soil. It does play a vital role in metabolic processes such as the conversion of food to usable energy in the body; iodine deficiency can cause a slight increase in body weight. I would contact a primary care provider and ask for your thyroid to be checked (specifically, the TSH which could indicate an iodine deficiency). I wish you all the best in figuring out what’s going on. I hope all checks out!

John of Challenges 2010: I was wondering what the difference is between Arborio rice and white rice? I love Arborio because I can just cook all of my meal in one pot. But am wondering if I should be avoiding this too and having brown rice instead?

Prevention RD: Arborio rice is the short grain used to make risotto, for those who are not familiar with this grain. And, while it is delicious, it is significantly higher in calories. Compared to ½ cup (dry) white rice (160 calories) and brown rice (150 calories), Arborio rice contains 320 calories for the same size serving. Brown rice contains 2 grams of fiber while white rice and Arborio contain no fiber. That’s the skinny on the nutrition, but I’m with you…I want some good risotto ever now and then! Great question, John!

Tiffany: I’ve been researching superfoods to help and am a little confused. Some say there are 5, some say 20, some say 15, some say there are groups of foods. Also I know oats are a superfood but are there any others in this category to help me branch out and do you have any good recipes? (e.g bulgar or quinoa?)

Prevention RD: I have a confession: I hate the term “Superfood”. We coin and label our foods as “good” and “bad”. Before “Superfoods” emerged, did we NOT know that broccoli, oranges, oats, and omega-3 rich fish were good for us? A lot of foods have anti-cancer, heart-health, and mood-related benefits. So does exercise! I don’t put any emphasis on “Superfoods” as I am a firm believer in variety and very much so resist any classification of “good food” and “bad food” — or even “good food” and “best food”. If we eat blueberries, spinach, and oranges because they’re “Superfoods” — does that make apples inferior? Not to me! But it is true that foods such as oats and whole grains have cholesterol-lowering effects due to their fiber content. It’s no surprise to me that there’s so much inconsistent information on “Superfoods” — many foods could easily be considered “super” based on their nutritional make-up. I’m off my soap box, sorry! I blame Dr. Oz for the hoop-la surrounding Superfoods! It is a hot topic right now!

Another confession: I hate quinoa. I’ve tried it…several times, and I am yet to find a palatable dish. I do however recommend barley, millet, wheat germ, spelt, and whole wheat! I have recently used barley in a Cheesy Zucchini, Red Pepper, and Barley Bake, almond flour in Banana Blueberry Muffins, lentils in a Lentil and Tomato Soup, old-fashioned oats in a Blueberry-Coconut Baked Oatmeal, brown rice in Broccoli Almond Chicken, oats and muesli in Museli Granola Bars, and whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour are wonderful substitutions for any all-purpose flour needs! Whole wheat pasta is also a great way to fiber-up any pasta delight!

Thank you, as always, for all of your WONDERFUL questions! I really appreciate your inquisitive minds! Feel free to send over any questions for the next Q&A!! 😀

And, I didn’t forget…THE WINNER of the Vitalicious Super Sampler is….

Andrea of Celery In The City!!

Send me your address and Vitalicious will be sending out your Super Sampler soon! Congrats!!!

Questions: Do you like mushrooms? What are some vegetables you’re not a fan of? I admitted my distaste for quinoa — what is one food others love and you just don’t enjoy at all?

Share With Your Friends!


  1. February 18, 2010 / 5:41 am

    I love your Q&A! Thanks for sharing! I like mushrooms and had a great dinner last night where the main course was mushrooms. I don’t like cucumbers. Random, but true. I can’t stand the smell or the thought of them. =)

  2. February 18, 2010 / 6:16 am

    As usual, love the Q&A!
    I really like mushrooms and quinoa ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sometimes the texture of undercooked eggplant grosses me out and gives me the chills, which is sort of strange. I like it mooshy! Also not a huge fan of celery and carrots and I feel like those are the most common veggies in the US, such a shame because I don’t think they’re particularly good.

  3. February 18, 2010 / 8:49 am

    Thanks for your reply to my question!

    I love mushrooms. I eat at least 3 servings a week. My new favorite item is spagetti sauce with mushrooms and asparagus! On gluten-free pasta, for me….

    I have a recipe for Quinoa that might make you change your mind. I had a hard time getting used to it too at the beginning.

    Quinoa Risotto:
    3/4 cup of Quinoa
    1 cup of water or chicken stock
    1/4 cup milk (I use Rice milk)
    1/4 cup of parmasean cheese
    1 cup of peas

    Always rince quinoa very well or it will be bitter. I cook mine in a rice cooker to get the right consistency.
    Cook quinoa, add milk, parm and peas.
    Super easy, and works well as a side or a meal.

    PS I HATE olives. No matter how hard I try to like them I just can’t.

  4. February 18, 2010 / 9:35 am

    So sad you don’t like quinoa – I love it!

    Thanks for the info on mushrooms – I add them to my salad any day but had no idea of their nutritional value…now I’m glad I add them!

  5. February 18, 2010 / 10:42 am

    Thanks for that interesting bit on mushrooms! I was wondering their health benefit as well since I love portobellos ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. February 18, 2010 / 12:58 pm

    Lucky Andrea! I love mushrooms so much. Actually I was munching on a bunch with hummus as I read your great q&a! I’ll have to check out that different site for recipe calorie calculations since I’ve always used calorie count.

    Let’s see something I don’t like… Celery! I can kind of stand it with PB or diced small in a dish but no way plain. I love quinoa. Have you tried it in soups?

    • August 28, 2010 / 3:05 am

      Wow, this is great info. I had never heard of, or tried, quinoa but plan to now. Mushrooms are one of my favoritist foods, especially stuffed portabellos, yumm. I just started using a nutrition tracking tool, OnTarget Nutrition, and it has really helped me see how many vital nutrients I was missing in my diet. So I have been trying to find foods that have nutritional benefits and this site has nice info for that. Thanks.

  7. February 18, 2010 / 1:29 pm

    Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge- this was a very informative post! I have to say, I definitely would not have regretted spending the summer in Italy ๐Ÿ™‚ My one regret is not studying abroad in college.

  8. February 18, 2010 / 1:30 pm

    Great Q&A post today! I had no idea that arborio rice has twice the calories of regular rice.

    I love mushrooms. I love the taste and the texture and I eat all kinds any possible way I can.

  9. eaternotarunner
    February 18, 2010 / 1:38 pm

    I actually love quinoa and mushrooms….often together! I can’t stand green peppers though….yuck.

  10. February 18, 2010 / 1:48 pm

    Love mushrooms and only like cucumbers after they become pickles ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for answering both my questions. Forgot I had asked the yogurt one.

  11. February 18, 2010 / 1:49 pm

    Great answers. I didn’t know about the protein/carb ration in mushrooms. I’m glad they’re one of my faves!

  12. February 18, 2010 / 2:15 pm

    did you make sure to rinse the quinoa before cookingit? otherwise it comes out bitter! i had no idea that arborio rice has so many more calories, that is crazy! i like to calculate the nutritionf acts for my creations too but i hate when i can’t determine the serving size (like for hummus, how do i know how many tbsps are in it?) i guess i could put it in a measuuring cup and do the math, but ugh!

  13. February 18, 2010 / 3:20 pm

    I love, love, love mushrooms!

    Have you ever used sparkrecipes.com? They have a link where you can input all of the ingredients of a recipe, plus the number of servings, and they break down all the nutritional info. Pretty handy!

  14. February 18, 2010 / 5:58 pm

    I love your answer on the Superfoods. It seems like each year, there is some new wonder food. First it was pomegranate then acai berry and who knows what’s next. You’re totally right though, did we think these were bad for us before?

    I really wanted those vitamuffins. Argh!

  15. February 18, 2010 / 6:35 pm

    Great exertise! I like the Q&A, its helpful to all of us, regardless of what we think we already know ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve learned a ton from you in just a few posts!!

  16. February 18, 2010 / 7:58 pm

    I love Mushrooms… to be honest I don’t have a vegetable that I would say I don’t like..

  17. February 18, 2010 / 8:19 pm

    I don’t think the calendar thing is lame…I love that!

    Hmmm….mushrooms are okay – I don’t mind them, but don’t LOVE them like some do. I don’t like coconut or olives – I wish I did, though! Always feel like I’m missin’ out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. February 18, 2010 / 9:59 pm

    Nicole, thanks for providing that info and answering my question. I always love that you post the calorie counts and nutritional breakdown in your recipes.
    The other q & a’s were very informative as well. You know me and “Superfoods,” I do refer to them often. I guess I just love the word Super!! Agreed though, that too much hype is put on trendy “superfoods.” I think the true list is way to long to try to put into 15 or so food items.

  19. February 19, 2010 / 6:20 am

    I always love your Q+As. They remind me how likeminded we are, which makes me unendingly happy. I’ve always used calorie-count to calculate calories in my recipes but I’m going to have to try dailyplate. I didn’t realize that anything was unverified.

    I totally agree with your take on the superfoods (although I love quinoa). There are so many really good foods out there, how can you choose just 10 and label them as being the ULTIMATE superfoods. Crazy.

  20. February 19, 2010 / 7:00 am

    Great answers, and yes, “SuperFoods” are huge right now, but I don’t think that makes any other foods less nutritious, some are just better!

    So you don’t like quinoa? Well I don’t like oats in a jar, ha! People think I’m crazy but I just don’t like it, I would rather have my oats in a bowl.

    I LOVE mushrooms, but unfortunately I can’t eat them because of FODMAPS. It’s such a bummer, they cause me the worst cramping and gas, it’s not even worth eating them ๐Ÿ™

  21. February 19, 2010 / 7:28 am

    I have never ever tried quinoa–I guess I just haven’t had the desire to. A food everyone LOVES in the blog world that I don’t is oatmeal. I loveee oatmeal cookies, but to just eat a bowl of oatmeal doesn’t satisfy me and really isn’t something I crave.

  22. February 19, 2010 / 8:20 am

    As always, great Q & A! Thanks! I like your take on “superfoods.” I guess it’s a way to make people aware of certain foods, but I think it is quite dangerous as it could lead some people to eat a not very varied diet as it “leaves out” so many wonderful foods…

    I love mushrooms, and we eat them frequently. I have recently noticed “Good Source of Vitamin D” labels on mushrooms. Could you say something to how much they contain? Are they truly a good source? Does cooking vs. raw affect the Vitamin D?

    I love quinoa! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s really hard for me to think of a vegetable or grain I don’t like. When I was younger I didn’t like olives and beets, but now I love them.

    Happy Friday! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. February 19, 2010 / 11:53 am

    Congrats! I love mushrooms ๐Ÿ™‚ but I’m not a fan of onions ๐Ÿ™ speaking of words that I don’t like, detox makes me cringe lol Have a good weekend!! How’s your garden coming, I can’t wait to see it

  24. February 19, 2010 / 7:53 pm

    I stumbled onto your blog and read a few post. I like your style of writing.

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