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Valentine’s Day Heart Healthy Breakfast of Love: Oatmeal and Pomegranate Pancakes

February is National Heart Month!

Oatmeal Protein Pancakes

Start off your Valentine’s Day with love by adding shredded beets to your pancakes for a natural red food coloring and additional antioxidants and phytochemicals

Maintain a healthy heart by consuming oats for breakfast. Oats contain soluble fiber, which lowers cholesterol levels by removing plaque build up in the arteries making the heart pump more efficiently.

Oats can be made into oatmeal or added to yogurt, pancakes, and smoothies.

You just can’t find a more perfect food for the month of February (heart health month ablaze in the color red) than the ancient pomegranate seed.

They have been around for 4,000 years and have been a symbol of hope, prosperity and abundance. Small but mighty these little bubble-like (juice packed) seeds are considered a true “superfood” because of their high nutrient content.

For a mere 70 calories per half cup of seeds you get a nice amount of the minerals calcium, magnesium and potassium as well as a shot of vitamin C and a whopping 5 grams of dietary fiber.

Try sprinkling red pomegranate seeds on anything and everything from salads to pancakes!

Recipe: Oatmeal Protein Pancakes with Pomegranate seeds

Start off your Valentine’s Day with love by adding shredded beets to your pancakes for a natural red food coloring and additional antioxidants and phytochemicals.

Ingredients:

Yield: 2 pancakes (1/3 cup of mixture per pancake)

  • 2 fluid ounces of egg whites (or 2 eggs with the yolk removed)
  • 1/3 cup of rolled oats
  • ½ medium banana, mashed
  • 2 teaspoons of ground flax seed
  • 1 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoon of beets, shredded *

Topping: pomegranate seeds

Additional topping ideas: blueberries, blackberries, chocolate chips, unsweetened coconut, and unsweetened cocoa powder

 * if you don’t have beets on hand, you can substitute minced or pureed strawberries

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients into a small bowl to make the pancake batter.

Health Quotes

“Our bodies are our gardens – our wills are our gardeners.” ~ William Shakespeare

Spray a pan with olive oil or canola oil.

Place 1/3 cup of the pancake batter on the pan.

On medium heat, lightly brown each side of the pancake.

Serve immediately with optional toppings.

 

Nutrition Information Per Serving:

  • Calories: 210 calories,
  • Fat: 4g,
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg,
  • Sodium: 116 mg,
  • Carbohydrate: 35 g,
  • Dietary Fiber: 7 g,
  • Sugar: 10g,
  • Protein: 11 g

 

Holiday Mindset

Who says you can’t enjoy the scrumptious holiday goodies and still maintain some waist management?

All it takes is some ingenuity in the kitchen and a mindset of a little is good, a lot is not.

Try these holiday makeover recipes and you will be taking one small step to a healthier and lighter new year.

Don’t forget to get EXERCISE in this coming week to balance out the inevitable extra calorie consumption.

Happy Holidays to All!

Snow-Dusted Mini Linzer Tart Cookies

A holiday favorite, these remade linzer tarts are festive, light and nutritious!

You will need:

  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup unsifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup Splenda sugar blend for baking
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • ¼ cup egg substitute
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup raspberry jam
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

 

Procedure:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Coat a large baking sheet with nonstick spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk flours, king powder and salt together.  
  • Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat then pour into a separate mixing bowl.
  • Add Splenda and oil and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
  • Mix in egg and vanilla extract.
  • Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined.
  • Divide the dough in half and shape in two balls.
  • Working with one ball at a time, roll dough on lightly floured surface until dough is approximately 1/8th inch thick.
  • With a ~1 ½ inch round cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as you can, placing them on the baking sheet.
  • Repeat with second ball of dough.
  • Place a thumbprint in the center of each circle.
  • Bake both batches for 10-15 minutes and cool on a wire cake rack for 20 minutes.
  • Spoon a dab of jam into each thumbprint impression and sprinkle the tops with confectioner’s sugar before serving.

NOTE: Keep dough as cold as possible for easier handling.

Yield: 25 cookies

Nutrition information (per cookie):

  • Calories: 60
  • Fat: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 50mg
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Protein: 1g

SUPERFOOD FIND! CHIA SEEDS – The New Flaxseed

What’s hot in nutrition these days? Chia seeds, the same stuff that grows hair on those cute little “Chia Pet” pottery figurines, is the new edible super food. Native to Mexico and Guatemala, and revered by the Aztecs as an energy power food, this small seed is derived from the Salvia hispanica plant.
Chia seeds

Chia seeds, the same stuff that grows hair on those cute little “Chia Pet” pottery figurines, is the new edible super food.

 

What’s so hot about this seed?
It has a truly remarkable nutrient profile that rivals flaxseeds in terms of its omega-3 ALA and fiber content. The seeds are literally bursting with fiber and protein (a complete protein at that): two nutrients that are very helpful for weight management.

 

Here’s the breakdown of this nutritional wonder grain:
  • 1 ounce (28 g) of dried chia seeds contains:
  • 137 calories;
  • 9 grams fat (5 g ALA);
  • 0 chol;
  • 5 mg sodium;
  • 11 g dietary fiber;
  • 4 grams protein and
  • 18% of your DV for calcium.
Available in most health food stores and some supermarkets—sprinkle some on your morning bowl of oatmeal for a protein and fiber boost.

 

I urge all of you to embrace this ancient seed to enhance your daily nutrition and fitness!

 

WHOLE WHEAT CHIA PUMPKIN PANCAKES

 

Power up your breakfast with these seasonally delicious pumpkin pie pancakes. While normal pancakes may not pack much of a nutritional punch, these pancakes are made with whole grain flour, chia seeds, pumpkin and steel cut oats—filled with fiber, healthy fats and nutritional goodness!

 

Ingredients:

 

Makes 10 pancakes

 

  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. cooked steel cut oats
(1/4 cup dry cooked in water)
  • 1 c. light soy milk
  • ¼ cup egg substitute
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • ¼ cup pure canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsps. chia seeds
  • Syrup or other desired toppings

 

Directions:

 

* Spray griddle or pan with cooking spray and heat to a medium heat.
* Beat egg substitute with soy milk and oil.
* Add in pumpkin and stir.
* Add in cooked oatmeal and mix well.
* In a separate bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt.
* Slowing stir flour mixture into pumpkin/egg mixture.
* Add honey and stir until combined
.
* At the last minute, stir in chia seeds.
* Pour 1/4 c. portions of batter onto griddle and cook until edges of pancakes start to bubble and bottoms are light brown.
* Flip and cook until centers are completely done (about three to four minutes).
* Top with syrup, or additional desired toppings and enjoy.

 

Nutrition (per serving, 3 small pancakes):
  • Calories: 270
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 420 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 45 g
  • Fiber: 9 g
  • Sugars: 10 g
  • Protein: 10 g

Preventing Heart Disease

Heart Disease… The Leading Cause Of Death Of American Men And Women

 Easy Tabouli Salad

Eat whole grains for a healthy heart--most people know this to be true but did you know that bulgur wheat is a whole grain?

Considering that cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes heart disease and stroke, is far and away the leading cause of death and disability in American men and women (killing as many people each year as all forms of cancers, lung disease, diabetes and accidents combined), it would behoove all Americans, young and old, male and female, to live a heart-healthy lifestyle.

This involves fine-tuning both your diet and your exercise habits, which together favorably impact your LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol level.

Step 1: Identify the causes

The first step in preventing CVD is to sit down with your personal physician and assess your risk factors. LDL cholesterol is the most established risk factor for CVD. You and your doctor will come up with your personal LDL goal, as your LDL goal really depends on your risk status: the higher your risk, the lower your goal.

According to the American Heart Association, the “optimal” goal for LDL cholesterol—for the prevention of heart disease—is less than 100 mg/dL. An LDL of between 100 and 129 mg/dL is defined as “near or above optimal.”

Step 2: Lower cholesterol with diet and exercise

If your LDL is too high, what should you do?

As lifestyle changes (diet and exercise) remain the foundation for cardiovascular disease prevention and cholesterol control, the answer to your excellent question is to focus on both diet and exercise to lower your LDL cholesterol level.

In my book, Cholesterol DOWN, I provide a simple diet and exercise plan that includes nine “miracle foods” and 30 minutes of walking a day that can lower your LDL cholesterol by as much as 47% in just 4 weeks.

Eat whole grains for a healthy heart–most people know this to be true but did you know that bulgur wheat is a whole grain? Try this easy, light and delicious tabouli salad with heart-healthy whole grains!

Dr. Janet’s Easy Tabouli Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup bulgur wheat
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups diced plum tomatoes
  • ¾ cup diced red onion
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 cups fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Process:

  • Place bulgur wheat in a large stainless steel bowl and pour boiling water over it.
  • Let bulgur wheat soak for 30 minutes.
  • Drain bulgur wheat and set aside.
  • In a separate salad bowl, mix together cucumber, tomatoes and onion.
  • Mix together the dressing in another bowl—combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic salt and pepper.
  • Pour over vegetables and toss.
  • Add in bulgur and toss.
  • Add in parsley, stir and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving

Serves 6

Nutrition per 1 cup serving:

  • Calories: 180 kcal
  • Sodium:20 mg
  • Potassium: 412 mg
  • Magnesium: 56 mg
  • Calcium: 141 mg
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 26 g
  • Dietary fiber: 7 g
  • Sugars: 4 g
  • Protein: 5 g

 

Have you had your “Alligator Pear” today?

Vegetarian Mexican Bean Wrap Sandwich

Avocados are actually considered a fruit and as such are the ultimate health food packed with super-heart-healthy monounsaturated fat in addition to an array of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients not found in butter or mayo.

Who knew? Avocados are nicknamed alligator pears because (I bet you could have guessed this one) of their pear shape and alligator-like skin.

Avocados are actually considered a fruit and as such are the ultimate health food packed with super-heart-healthy monounsaturated fat in addition to an array of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients not found in butter or mayo.

So replace those artery-clogging fats with a spread of super buttery, creamy, and delightfully tasty ripe avocado and do your heart a favor!

Dr. Janet’s Vegetarian Mexican Bean Wrap Sandwich

  • 1 100% whole wheat tortilla
  • 2 tablespoons canned black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 2 tablespoons frozen corn (thawed)
  • 1 tablespoon fat-free shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup fat-free salsa
  • ¼ cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 slice avocado

Top tortilla with beans, corn and cheese. Microwave 30 seconds. Roll with salsa, spinach and avocado.

Serves 1

NUTRITION IN A BOX

Per serving (1 sandwich):

  • Calories: 228
  • Fat: 5 g (0 g EPA, 0 g DHA, 0 g ALA)
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 1 mg
  • Sodium: 465 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 36 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 5 g
  • Sugars: 4 g
  • Protein: 9 g

Recipe excerpt from the book Prevent a Second Heart Attack.

 

Summer Love! Rachel’s Tuna Cannellini Bean Salad

Tuna Cannellini Bean Salad

This salad is simply packed with nutrients: anti-inflammatory fish omega-3 fat, fiber-rich beans and added antioxidants from the EVOO, lemon and herbs

A classic light summer salad combination that is one of my daughter Rachel’s favorites.

This salad is simply packed with nutrients: anti-inflammatory fish omega-3 fat, fiber-rich beans and added antioxidants from the EVOO, lemon and herbs—this is one super-easy to make, super-delicious salad that should be a staple on your summer salad list.

  • One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 6-ounce can or pouch chunk-light tuna packed in water, drained and flaked
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil or sage
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl gently toss together the beans and tuna. Fold in the red onion, basil or sage, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.

Serves 4

NUTRITION IN A BOX

Per 1/2 cup serving:

  • Calories: 244
  • Fat: 12 g (0 g EPA, 0 g DHA, <1g ALA)
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Cholesterol: 17 mg
  • Sodium: 422 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 18 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 4 g
  • Sugars: <1 g
  • Protein: 17 g

Recipe excerpt from Prevent a Second Heart Attack

Summer Love… Great Hummus!

Hummus

Enjoy this Middle Eastern staple as a dip for a tray of fresh summer veggies or as a tasty filling or “binder” for a veggie-packed whole grain sandwich.

Delicious and satisfying, hummus whips up in minutes.

Enjoy this Middle Eastern staple as a dip for a tray of fresh summer veggies or as a tasty filling or “binder” for a veggie-packed whole grain sandwich. It simply doesn’t get much more nutritious than this.

Made from high fiber and protein legumes (chickpeas), this recipe also gives you an extra vitamin and antioxidant boost from the peppers, garlic, EVOO and lemon.

Hummus should be a staple in every health conscious person’s diet.

Dr. Janet’s Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

  • 1/2 cup roasted red pepper strips
  • One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 large basil leaves, chopped

In a blender or food processor mix the red pepper strips, chickpeas, water, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, oil, salt, pepper, and basil until smooth.

Serves 10

NUTRITION (Per 1/4 cup)

  • Calories: 141
  • Fat: 10 g (0 g EPA, 0 g DHA, < 1 g ALA)
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 243 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 11 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 3 g
  • Sugars: < 1 g
  • Protein: 4 g

Use either jarred, or Roasted Red Pepper Strips.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours for the best flavor.

Recipe excerpt from the book Prevent a Second Heart Attack(Three Rivers Press, 2011).

 

CALCIUM: What to do?

Calcium for healthy heart

At 400 mg calcium per serving, this eggplant dish is a delicious, light way to pump up your calcium intake.

We all want strong healthy, osteoporosis-proof bones, but we also want a healthy heart! With all the hoopla over calcium supplements potentially increasing the risk for heart attacks, what should one do?

Your best bet is to aim for getting in your bone-building calcium from FOOD FIRST, supplementing only when you fail to get in the recommended 1000 to 1200 mg of calcium per day.

Vitamin D should be included in your calcium regimen. Vitamin D is obtained from sun exposure as well as dietary intake.

As it is very hard to get enough Vitamin D from food alone—I suggest supplementing with 1,000 IU per day (under your doctor’s supervision).

Calcium-packed Eggplant Rollatini

At 400 mg calcium per serving, this eggplant dish is a delicious, light way to pump up your calcium intake.

  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced lengthwise into ~ ¼ inch slices
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp fresh chopped basil
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 8 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 egg whites
  • 4 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 °F.
Spray a large cookie sheet with olive oil spray.
Place eggplant on baking sheet in a single layer.
Spray eggplant lightly with olive oil spray.
Bake in oven for 15 minutes per side until lightly browned.
Remove eggplant and let cool.
Reduce oven heat to 400 °F.

For the Sauce:

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and cook until golden brown, stirring frequently.
Add the tomatoes, basil and sugar. Stir frequently as you bring to a simmer.
Reduce heat to simmer and continue to cook while you prepare the filling.

For the Filling:

Spray a large skillet with olive oil spray and place over medium-high heat.
Add the zucchini, onion and garlic clove and cook until onion is golden brown in color, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat.
In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta, parsley, egg whites and 3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese.
Add vegetable mixture and pepper and mix together.

For the Rollatini:

Spray a baking dish or aluminum tin with olive oil spray.
Spread 4 tablespoons sauce evenly over the bottom.
Take an eggplant slice, add a dollop of filling in the center and roll, placing seam side down in a single layer of the baking dish.
Spoon remaining sauce over eggplant rolls, sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese, add a touch of fresh basil leaves and bake uncovered for approximately 30 minutes.

Serves 4

Nutrition facts per serving:

  • Calories: 280,
  • Fat: 12 g,
  • Cholesterol: 25 mg,
  • Sodium: 490 mg,
  • Fiber: 9 g,
  • Sugars: 17 g,
  • Protein: 17 g.

Serve with an arugula and radicchio side salad dressed with extra virgin olive oil and a good aged balsamic vinegar.

Red, White And Blueberry!

Low Calorie Fiber-Filled Red And Blue Berries

Tap into Mother Nature’s antioxidant medicine chest — celebrate with festive and super low calorie fiber-filled red and blue berries

This July 4th, tap into Mother Nature’s antioxidant medicine chest — celebrate with festive and super low calorie fiber-filled red and blue berries (raspberries, strawberries and blueberries) with some nonfat Greek yogurt mixed in.

Or, for a light cake dessert staying with the theme — so perfect for your Independence Day barbeque — try a slice of angel food cake, topped with raspberry coulis, blueberries, strawberries and a dollop of fat-free whipped topping.

Angel food cake with raspberry coulis:

  • 2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 store bought 9” angel food cake

In a saucepan add in raspberries, sugar and lemon juice and cook over low heat, stirring gently until sugar is dissolved. When mixture just begins to simmer, remove from heat and pour into a food processor.

Process until smooth. Drizzle coulis over angel food cake, add tons of fresh red and blue berries, a dollop of fat-free Cool Whip and enjoy!

Nutritional Information per Serving

(1 piece of cake with 2 tablespoons raspberry coulis, assorted berries and a tablespoon fat-free whipped topping).

  • Calories: 170,
  • Fat: 0 g,
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg,
  • Sodium: 320 mg, 
  • Carbohydrate: 41 g,
  • Dietary Fiber: 1 g,
  • Sugars: 8 g,
  • Protein: 3 g

Kids And Type 2 Diabetes: A Mother’s Nightmare

Is it just me or do I live on another planet? Are there no other mothers out there that find the notion that American children are developing a life-threatening (and medically untreatable) disease at a rapid pace, a nightmare grounded in reality?

Type2 Diabetes In Children

It’s like the elephant in the room—childhood obesity is rampant, as is the twin epidemic of type 2 diabetes surfacing in our kids.

It’s like the elephant in the room—childhood obesity is rampant, as is the twin epidemic of type 2 diabetes surfacing in our kids. Yes, Michelle Obama has done a marvelous job of calling attention to the dilemma, and yet change is taking place at a snail’s pace. The recent backlash against Bloomberg’s ban on the sale of large soda containers is a perfect example. Thank you Mayor Bloomberg—well done! Unfortunately, the food industry’s power to overfeed our kids is not a problem that can be easily overcome.

Let’s take a quick look at the facts: Type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents is a sizable and growing problem among U.S. children and adolescents. Why are our kids coming down with this disease?

A “diabesity” sedentary, calorie-laden environment puts youth at great risk for developing this disease. Here are the primary risk factors:  Lower socioeconomic status, a nutrient-poor diet, excessive soda consumption and a sedentary lifestyle including excessive “screentime,” meaning television watching, computer usage and hand held electronics—all sedentary activities.

 

Once unknown in children, “adult onset” type of diabetes is now more and more commonly diagnosed in our youth. This is a highly worrisome phenomenon as type 2 diabetes is a far more aggressive disease in youth compared to middle-aged people. New research clarifies that medicines are not very effective.

A recent study has shown that the majority of youth with type 2 diabetes will require more than one prescription medication to control the disease and will most likely require insulin therapy within a few years of diagnosis. Metformin (known more commonly as Glucophage), the oral drug typically used to successfully control type 2 diabetes in adults, was ineffective in over half of the youth studied. Adding in a second drug, Avandia, decreased the failure rate to about 40 percent.

These alarming statistics illustrate the fact that this killer disease is not very treatable when diagnosed in our young, painting a bleak picture of our children’s’ future as medicine will have failed to stave off a shortened lifetime of suffering from a severe illness.

It is harder to treat, hence the ghastly life-threatening medical complications of this disease, as well as a poor quality of life will surface at a younger age.

The medical complications include: heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, amputations and a life-shortening effect estimated at approximately 13 years.

So that’s the problem, now what’s the solution? What action is required by mothers, fathers, and our entire society?

Here are my admittedly aggressive (but sorely needed) suggestions as both a mom and a health professional to both help treat the condition as well as PREVENT another generation of children from a lifetime of suffering:

  1. One hour of PE daily in schools.
  2. Healthy, calorie-controlled meals at schools and at home.
  3. No liquid calories in schools or at home other than fat free milk and single 6 oz. servings of 100 percent no-sugar-added orange juice.
  4. No calorie-laden sports drinks on the athletic fields, only water.
  5. Restricted “screen time,” no televisions in the bedrooms. (Maximum of one hour per day of any screen viewing.)
  6. No soda or junk food in the house.
  7. Increased active “play time” outside of school hours.
  8. Insist on societal public policy changes (such as Bloomberg’s banning of large soda containers in New York City) is what is required to stem the tide of diabesity in our youth.