Wednesday, June 11, 2014

{Recipe} fresh edamame, chickpea, & herb salad

This recipe is a hit every time I make it for guests--it seems that neither hardcore meat lovers nor veteran vegetarians (or anyone somewhere in between) can deny the fresh, tangy, and slightly sweet dressing that coats this simple mix of legumes, red onion, herbs, and tomatoes. This is an excellent salad to take to your next summer picnic, serve alongside whatever you've got grilling tonight, or pack in lunches for work. 


Yield: makes about 11 (1/2-cup) servings

2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) shelled edamame
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

2 T sugar
1/2 tsp garlic or onion powder
Juice from 1 lemon
2 T white wine vinegar
1/2 -3/4 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Toss edamame, chickpeas, thinly sliced red onion, cherry tomatoes, and herbs together in a large bowl.

To make the dressing: In a small bowl or jar with lid, combine sugar and garlic or onion powder. Mix in lemon juice and white wine vinegar and stir until sugar and powder are dissolved. Add salt, pepper, and olive oil and whisk vigorously or shake (if using jar with secure lid) to combine oil/vinegar mixture.   

Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine well. 

Each of the veggies, legumes, and herbs in this salad imparts a unique flavor, texture, and color experience, while providing an ample amount of fiber and antioxidants. Additionally, the edamame and chickpeas contain a nice bit of protein, adding to this dish's satiety component.  

Each 1/2-cup serving contains ~150 calories.

Pro Tips
Tastes great the next day, too, after the flavors have melded. ;)

Check out other delicious recipes from The Healthy Hausfrau:

Grown-up tuna salad

Best turkey burger 

Relishing summer salad 

Hearty banana bread 

Sausage and eggs with spinach, provolone, & basil 

Homemade granola 

Indian-spiced pumpkin soup with bacon 

Spinach, mushrooms, walnuts, & Swiss with poached egg 

African peanut stew 

Easy slow-cooker white bean and sausage stew with spinach

Barley, sausage, & spinach with mushrooms and basil

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Healthy Gone Wrong: Orthorexia

For an article I wrote for on eating disorders in men--specifically, orthorexia--I interviewed a true expert on the topic, Dr. Jillian Lampert of The Emily Program. I wanted to share her full interview here because she provides fantastic information on this growing problem, as well as insightful advice.  

Healthy Hausfrau: What is orthorexia nervosa?

Dr. Lampert: 
Orthorexia is thought of as an obsession with eating healthy food. While not a clinically defined eating disorder nor an official diagnosis-it is a term coined to describe an emerging issue of over-concern with food. The obessionality with which some people approach their eating can be highly problematic. People described as struggling with orthorexia strive to eat only ‘clean’ or ‘pure’ food, shunning many foods and sometimes entire food groups. This type of ‘food perfectionism’ can lead to nutritional deficiencies, difficulties in relationships, and unnecessary or excessive weight loss.

HH: Statistics pertaining to the prevalence of orthorexia seem to be scarce. Can you give me any idea of how common this problem is? 

Dr. Lampert:
It is hard to assess since it is not an official diagnosis. Over concern with food is seen in many people struggling with eating disorders and disordered eating, problems that impact at least 14% of women and 8% of men.

HH: How common is orthorexia in Emily Program patients?

Dr. Lampert:
Clients with eating disorders often have preoccupations regarding the types of food they will eat. In that sense, it is exceptionally common, given that preoccupations and obsessions with food are hallmarks of eating disorder behaviors. We describe the obsessional quality people have with food as ‘food perfectionism’. This can be seen when people refuse to eat certain foods because they aren't exactly right. At The Emily Program we help people to make peace with food; to let go of needing to achieve perfectionism and find peace in a variety of food, eating situations, and settings.

HH: In your tenure, have you seen an increase, decrease, or no change in patients presenting with orthorexia behaviors?

Dr. Lampert:
As our societal focus on eating ‘fresh’, ‘healthier’ food has intensified, clients presenting with eating disorders increasingly are describing these concepts as part of what led them to change the way the eat in the first place, e.g., decreasing fats, eating only ‘whole’ foods, eating raw foods only, etc. Eating disorder behaviors often reflect the societal nutritional fads. In the days of the low-fat craze, many clients struggled having fat in their diets and sought to severely limit their fat intake. In the days of the high-protein, low carb craze, carbohydrate foods became increasingly difficult for people to consume and they had to be the ‘perfect’ carbohydrate. Since eating disorder behaviors are often the extremes of normal human behavior, any dieting or food craze that impacts the general public is likely to show up exaggerated in clients with eating disorders. Over the past 20 years, I’ve seen this kind of obsession with food follow the tide of the latest diet craze; the craze changes but the obsession and over-concern with food, eating, and weight continues. We’ve seen the numbers of people with eating disorders increase over the same time period. Fortunately, recognition is changing somewhat and more people are accessing help when they need it.

HH: In your experience, how does a person usually progress into orthorexia? 

Dr. Lampert:
It starts with a diet or an effort to change the way one eats. This change typically prompts more changes, which spiral into food obsession and limited intake of a variety of foods.

HH: What are the key differences between orthorexia and someone who just tries to eat a very healthy diet?

Dr. Lampert:
Someone who would be described as struggling with orthorexia, or overly obsessional about eating healthy food would likely have this obsession impact their relationships and their ability to interact socially with friends and family, particularly around food. As with many eating disorders, this difficulty with relationships and social and/or food related activities leads to isolation for the sufferer.

HH: Do you feel our health-obsessed society contributes to orthorexia? 

Dr. Lampert: 
Absolutely our health obsessed society contributes to the eating behaviors of the members of that society. Those that become most obsessed with ‘doing it right’ in terms of eating and health are likely to become swept away by a tide of over-concern about food, health, weight, and shape.

HH: Do you think that fad diets, "pop science" books demonizing foods and entire food groups (ie Wheat Belly, Grain Brain, The Sugar Detox), and sensationalistic media-driven messages such as "sugar is the new tobacco" fuel orthorexia?

Dr. Lampert:
They do seem to fuel an obsession with ‘getting it just right’ and finding the magic bullet to our nutritional woes. Packaged in slick-sounding solutions to complex solutions, these kinds of books fuel the idea that there is one solution to an overly simplified problem.

HH: If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from orthorexia, what are warning signs or questions to ask?

Dr. Lampert:
Does my eating impact my ability to be with family and friends? 
Does my eating keep me limited to a small array of foods such that I can’t enjoy myself in the presence of a typical meal? 
Does my concern about eating lead me to less interaction with people and limit my functioning? 
How do others view my eating? 
Can I take their feedback objectively or do I get defensive when someone attempts to ask me about my eating from a place of concern?

HH: What does recovery from orthorexia look like and how does one get there?

Dr. Lampert:
Recovery is individualized for any kind of eating disorder behavior. Peace with food is the ultimate goal. Eating when hungry, stopping when full, eating what appeals to you, in a way that is nourishing and balanced emotionally and physically. Typically recovery involved taking risks to express emotion, asking for help, learning new skills, and practicing without perfection.

HH: What is your advice for people who are very health/diet/fitness-conscious but don't want to overdo it?

Dr. Lampert:
Be moderate. Have fun. Don’t forget to enjoy a balanced array of foods and enjoy your food-not just for the nutrients, but for the taste, texture, socialization, and connection it brings.

About Dr. Lampert

Jillian G. Lampert, PhD, RD, LD, MPH, FAED is the Senior Director, Business and Community Development for The Emily Program, a comprehensive eating disorder treatment program with multiple Minnesota and Washington locations. Additionally, Dr. Lampert is President of the Residential Eating Disorders Consortium (REDC), an organization whose main goal is to ensure access to residential care for individuals by working collaboratively to address issues that impact the residential eating disorder treatment community. She is a current Board Member of The Emily Program Foundation and a member of the Eating Disorder Research Society (EDRS). She holds an adjunct graduate faculty position in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota. One of her major goals in life is to have her 9 year old daughter grow up loving her body and herself.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

{Recipe} easy slow-cooker white bean & sausage stew with spinach

I can't get enough of hot, hearty soups and stews when the cold weather sets in. I've been making variations of this recipe for years and recently tried a version without the usual onions and garlic and the end result was still fantastic. Since I omitted the only chopping you would have had to do for this recipe and since it practically cooks itself, I call this "easy!" ;)


Yield: makes about 9 (1 cup) servings

1 pound (about 2 1/2 cups) dried white or Great Northern beans, soaked overnight
1 T extra virgin olive oil
9 ounces cooked chicken sausage, sliced
2 T tomato paste
4 cups chicken stock
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 T apple cider vinegar
1-1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp coarse black pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 bay leaves
6-10 ounce bag organic baby spinach

Place dried beans in a large bowl and cover with water. Let soak overnight.

Discard soaking water. Combine beans and next 10 ingredients (through bay leaves) in slow cooker.

Cook on LOW for 8 hours. Remove bay leaves. Stir in spinach and cook an additional 30 minutes.

Since I'm from the Midwest, I'm not shy using the terms "chock full" and yes, this stew is chock full of goodness! Legumes such as white beans abound with fiber, antioxidants, folic acid, and thiamin, to name just a few beneficial nutrients. And all that before you even factor in the spinach or tomatoes. 

Each serving contains ~245 calories.

Pro Tips
You can vary the salt that you add to your taste preference. Additionally, feel free to try other greens besides spinach: I've used fresh chopped kale or mustard greens and both work nicely, but remember that these less-tender greens need to be added at the start of cooking.   

Dig in! ;)

Check out other delicious recipes from The Healthy Hausfrau:

Grown-up tuna salad

Best turkey burger 

Relishing summer salad 

Hearty banana bread 

Sausage and eggs with spinach, provolone, & basil 

Homemade granola 

Indian-spiced pumpkin soup with bacon 

Spinach, mushrooms, walnuts, & Swiss with poached egg 

African peanut stew 

Barley, sausage, & spinach with mushrooms and basil

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Eat Late, Gain Weight?

You may have been warned at some time in your life not to eat at night or after [insert Magical Hour After Which All Food Consumed Turns To Fat here] or else you will gain weight. While I can only surmise about the origin of this assumption, I might venture to guess that a food intake cut-off time came about as the result of somebody's diet protocol, a technique of which was likely put in place to reduce overall caloric consumption--agreeably, not a bad strategy to help moderate intake. Unfortunately, the idea must have gotten twisted over time into the lore it has since become: eat at night and you're doomed for weight gain, no matter what! But like numerous other urban legends of nutrition, the science behind the eat-at-night-and-get-fat warning just is not there. Let's take a closer look.  

First, it is key to understand that the total number of calories you consume and the amount of physical activity you partake in over the course of weeks and months is largely what affects your weight trend: if you take in more calories than you burn over time, the excess energy will be stored as fat. As long as you remain in energy balance over time, it won't make much difference whether you stop eating at 7 pm each day or consume all your daily calories late into the night.

Next, your body doesn't process food less efficiently at night, nor does it somehow simply and preferentially store all night calories as fat (although if it did it would most likely be to punish you for eating so late, you bad person--take that!). Additionally, keep in mind that while you may stop moving, your body does not stop when you are asleep. Your heart continues to beat, blood circulates, lungs function, digestion proceeds, and your brain keeps working. This all takes energy — meaning you are still burning some calories. 

In a 2006 paper published in Obesity Research, primate researchers observed how much, what, and when 16 monkeys ate over one year, as well as tracked weight changes, and found that the monkeys who consumed most of their food at night were no more likely to gain weight than monkeys who didn't eat at night, suggesting that there is no inherent correlation between time of day and weight gain. Even though humans aren't monkeys, the researchers believe that their study still helps dispel the notion that eating at night inevitably causes weight gain.

While the hours at which you eat throughout the course of a day do not independently and affirmatively cause weight gain in people who are not exceeding their energy needs, it does appear that when you choose to eat throughout the day (your eating pattern) may be a predictor of overall caloric intake and, subsequently, weight statusResearchers at the University of Texas-El Paso studying how time of day influenced self-reported food intake in 867 free-living individuals found that those who ate more earlier in the day ate less overall, while those who ate more at night consumed more calories overall. Researchers speculated that the individuals consuming a greater proportion of daily calories in the morning were provided a beneficial level of satiety which helped moderate the amount of food ingested over the rest of the day. If you are overweight and tend to eat a large proportion of your daily calories at night, it might be wise to think about shifting your eating pattern.  

So, while eating at night is not, as a stand alone, going to make you fat, there are some important points to consider when it comes to eating late and the potential for weight gain:

1. If you stay up late and don't get enough sleep, you may be more susceptible to weight gain. In a recent in-laboratory study with 225 healthy, non-obese individuals, researchers observed a significant weight gain in subjects who spent only 4 hours in bed (from 4 am to 8 am) compared to those who were in bed for 10 hours each night (from 10 pm to 8 am). Caloric intake increased in the sleep restriction group due to increased food consumption during the hours of additional wakefulness. 

Indeed, sleep deprivation seems to be increasingly linked to obesity. Other research has indicated that lack of sleep may cause alterations in glucose metabolism, contributing to insulin resistance, and potentially leading to increases in appetite.  

2. Emotional or mindless eating at night can be a big contributor to an excess calorie intakeIt's rare that I see an overweight or obese client who doesn't report struggling with this.  Emotional or mindless eaters typically eat out of habit or because they are stressed, tired, bored, or are using food to fill an emotional void. Foods usually eaten during these times are high in calories, nutrient-poor, and very easy to over-consume (highly palatable) such as chips, cookies, chocolate, ice cream, fast food, and highly-processed convenience foods. This kind of night eating CAN cause weight gain, as it usually results in a daily caloric surplus.

3. If you don’t have a consistent and regular eating schedule during the day, you may end up overly-hungry at night. Being famished can hinder your judgement--leaving you more likely to make suboptimal eating choices and/or consume larger-than-necessary portions. If this behavior becomes a regular pattern, it can eventually lead to undesirable numbers on the scale.

What else can you do to avoid falling into detrimental eating habits that can contribute to weight gain?

·      Restrict late-night meals and snacks but not because your body automatically converts nighttime calories to unwanted pounds. Rather, not eating after a certain hour of the day can help to minimize or eliminate the possibility of munching on extra food, which may otherwise send your daily calorie input beyond its limit.

·      If you don't have a regular daily eating pattern, try eating 5-6 smaller meals and snacks spread evenly throughout the day and see if it curbs an excessive hunger in the evening.

·      Make sure you include adequate protein, fiber, and healthy fats for dinner. Incorporating all of these nutrients can help you feel more full and eliminate late-night hunger.

·      Don't eat while sitting at the computer or watching TV. Instead, tune into your meals by making it a rule to eat in the dining room or at the kitchen table.

·      Get help with emotional eating. This is a very difficult issue for many people. Your registered dietitian can assist you in breaking through this problem and/or point you to additional professionals who can help. 

In summary, keeping the causes of weight gain and the basic formula for weight loss shrouded in mystery is a very good tactic for the diet and fitness industry, but these enigmas are often just illusions. As usual, the keys to weight control boil down to how much you eat coupled with your overall dietary choices--your weight doesn't give a damn what time it is.


Andrea M, Spaeth DF, Dinges NG. Effects of experimental sleep restriction on weight gain, caloric intake, and meal timing in healthy adults. SLEEP. 2013;36:981-990

Castro JM. The time of day of food intake influences overall intake in humans. J Nutr. 2004;134:104-111

Sullivan EL, Daniels AJ, Koegler FH, Cameron JL. Evidence in female rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatto) that nighttime caloric intake is not associated with weight gain. Obesity Res. 2005;13:2072-2080

Sunday, November 24, 2013

How To Have A Happy And Remorseless Thanksgiving

What’s the worst thing that can happen on Thanksgiving?

You get seated next to your uncle with bad breath?

The turkey baster, your dog and your 3-year old all go missing at the same time?

The gravy is lumpy?

Your mom recites passages all throughout the meal from that revolutionary new diet book she's reading about how wheat is destroying our brains?

No doubt, all valid horrors. But if you have been taking steps to improve your eating habits and lose excess weight, your worst fear on Thanksgiving might be that you’ll eat the “wrong” things, ingest way too much, or just feel out of control and not enjoy yourself in such a food-filled feasting environment.

Handling holidays and social situations when working towards better health can be tricky and is something I spend a lot of time on with clients. But with a little forethought, a sense of humor, and the following tips, you can better equip yourself for a non-gluttonous and thoroughly enjoyable Thanksgiving.

14 tips to make your day go as smooth as gravy:

1. Help plan the menu or bring a healthier dish to share
Dietitians love this tip (unless you’re coming to our houses!) because many of us are menu control freaks (just me? Ok, never mind). So while you don’t have to exert the menu vice grip, the goal here is to help create a healthier balance at the meal—one idea is to tip the balance of menu items to include more deliciously healthy vegetable dishes (recipes featuring sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, carrots, squash, beans, and parsnips to name a few are all great for this season) and lean protein items, with fewer calorically-dense and nutrient-poor dishes (ie those that are excessively sugary, overly fatty, or devoid of vegetables).

2. Do a Turkey Trot, Drumstick Dash, Wattle Waddle or any other fun Thanksgiving day-themed event that gets you up and moving that morning
Is there really any better way to start the day than running with a bunch of other hungry Pilgrims? This has been a newer tradition in my family for the past three years and we love it. The events are fun, easy (you can usually walk or run), and everybody’s generally in a good mood (except for that guy who decided to wear shorts despite a race-time temp of 3 degrees). One caution here: don’t use your 3-mile walk as an excuse to eat like you just climbed Mt. Everest for the rest of the day. Find a Thanksgiving Day walk/run event near you!

3. Throw the turkey neck away. 
No good will come of it. Just. Throw. It. Away.

4. Keep your normal eating schedule throughout the day
There’s nothing pious about “saving yourself” for the Big Meal. Arriving at the table overly hungry will likely leave you looking and feeling like a ravenous hyena (but I guarantee YOU won’t be laughing once the gorging is done).

5. Map out your plate prior to the meal
Do a quick inventory of what is being served: figure out which meal items you absolutely can’t miss, and then leave those items that aren’t really your favorites. Doing this will help weed out unnecessary extra calories. I don’t recommend getting too caught up trying to craft the perfect nutrient-proportioned plate for Thanksgiving. It’s one meal. You'll live. 

6. Gluttony is not mandatory on Thanksgiving
You don’t have to fill your plate until things are dripping off the edges. I say, if you can still see what color the plate is once you've dished your food, you’re off to a good start.

7. Imagine how you want to feel after the meal. 
If you actually want to feel like a beached whale, disregard these tips. If you’d rather feel nicely satisfied, just full enough, and even deserving of a little more pie later, make choices conducive to this goal.

8. Handle food pressures from family and friends with style
If your nosy great-aunt makes condescending comments on how “healthy” you seem to be eating this year compared to Thanksgivings past in which you got busted for pocketing dinner rolls, simply get up from the table, bend over, and start twerking. Subject. Changed. You’re welcome.

9. Set a timeframe and drink limit for alcohol consumption
This is one tip that seems to work well for clients who fear “overdoing it” in the midst of merriment and boozey relatives. My uncles swear by one beer every 30 minutes for 5 or 6 steady hours but I’m fairly certain this strategy has no proven health benefits. Instead, figure out the number of drinks and timing that will work best for your specific situation and stick to your plan.

10. Expect and accept that you will likely eat more this day
Realistic expectations are very important so you don’t needlessly beat yourself up for eating a bit more than usual.

11. Don’t let your cat sit at the table
I’ve tried this one for you already. Even your family members think it's kinda weird.

12. Take a nap
There is life after the meal, and it’s waiting for you on the couch. Not only is sleep good for you, but escaping to the nearest sofa in a feigned, yawny stupor post-dinner is a winning strategy to get out of doing dishes.

13. Don’t forget to be thankful
Truly savor the food, the family, traditions, and togetherness. I’m guessing that, like mine, your life’s cornucopia is probably a little more than half-full of tiny pumpkins and gourds so cherish this time and make it count.

14. Keep a sense of humor about it all and an eye on the big picture of your eating. Tomorrow is another day, after all. Unless you ate that wheat roll. Then it’s all over. Sorry.

Check out what Healthy Hausfrau is cooking up this year below. Feel free to share what your family is making in the comments section!

Healthy Hausfrau Thanksgiving Menu

Roasted turkey

Stuffing –my mother’s recipe

Assortment of fresh veggies and olives

Mark Bittman

Cooking Light

Bon Appetit

Food And Wine

Cooking Light

Eating Well

Happy Thanksgiving from The Healthy Hausfrau! ;)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

"Say no to moderation?" I quit.

Should we just "say no to moderation" as one health blogger recently advised? Is eating in moderation contributing to our obesity problem? Do we really need to stop using that naughty "M" word?

You don't want to miss the latest in diet dogma delusion!

Check out the Guest Post I wrote for here.

Then feel free to let me know what you think about eating in moderation.

Friday, November 8, 2013

{Recipe} barley, sausage, and spinach with mushrooms & basil

I've been making this dish for years. I love it because 1) it's super yummy and 2) it's an easy primer for anyone who isn't too familiar cooking with whole grains. It's also a complete meal in one! ;) 


Yield: makes about 4 servings

2 cups free-range chicken broth
1 cup quick-cook barley
~12 oz Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, sliced or chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, chopped, or 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4-1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
2 T sherry
5 oz organic baby spinach
Coarsely ground salt to taste
1/4 tsp coarse black pepper

Place broth in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add barley to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 10 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage to pan; heat until cooked through, stirring to crumble. Transfer cooked sausage to a bowl.

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, peppers, and mushrooms; saute until soft and liquid evaporates. Add garlic and basil and saute 1 minute. Return sausage to pan. Stir in sherry; cook about 2 minutes.

Stir in spinach until wilted. Add cooked barley; cook 1 minute or until heated through. Add salt and pepper.

This dish makes good use of fiber-rich foods: all the veggies and the whole-grain barley. Fiber has many benefits, including helping to increase satiety (make you feel more "full" on fewer calories), promote good digestion, and lower blood cholesterol.

Each serving contains ~365 calories.

Pro Tips
Pre-washed, bagged spinach is one of my favorite things to cook with. Healthy ingredients don't get any easier than this, folks. Fresh spinach can be added to soups, skillet dishes, sauces--just about anything--and ups the nutritional profile of any meal immensely! I use organic spinach whenever I can since spinach is on the "dirty dozen" list, which means it is one of the produce items most likely to be contaminated with pesticide residue.    

Enjoy ;)