Category Archives: Resources

10 Ways to Maintain Good Oral Health through Proper Nutrition and Lifestyle

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM).  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cavities remain the most common chronic disease faced by school-aged children and adolescents. In addition to brushing 💡 at least twice a day and flossing daily, here are 10 ways to maintain good oral health through proper nutrition and lifestyle.

  1. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables
    • Choose more leafy greens, cucumber, celery, baby carrots, watermelon, pear, berries
    • Limit dried fruits, juices
  2. Maximize your sunshine vitamin D
    • 10-15 minutes of daily sun exposure during the summer
    • Up your vitamin-D rich foods (mushrooms, fortified unsweetened almond milk, oysters, egg yolks). (See Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Recipe 🙄 )
  3. Eat Calcium-rich foods
    • Fortified unsweetened plant milks, leafy greens, broccoli, sesame seeds, plain greek yogurt, bok choy, calcium-set tofu, pumpkin seeds
  4. Eat Magnesium-rich foods
    • Leafy greens, sprouted nuts, seeds, avocados, plain greek yogurt
  5. Eat Phosphorus-rich foods * ?
    • Eggs, plain greek yogurt, beans, lentils, sprouted nuts and seeds
  6. Choose healthy carbs
    • Sweet potato, pumpkin, quinoa, sprouted grain bread
  7. Drink tap water
    • Avoid soda, juices, sweetened ice tea
  8. Avoid processed sugar
    • Such as jelly beans, cough drops, caramels, mints, sugary flavored yogurt, sugary cereals, snack bars/pasta sauce/ketchup/salad dressing with added sugar
  9. Avoid frequent snacking
  10. Visit your dentist every 6 months

💡 Make your Homemade Toothpaste by combining:

  • 3 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons of Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon of Peppermint Oil

*? If you have chronic kidney disease (CKD), you may be advised to limit your phosphorus intake. Reach out to me to tailor your diet to meet your specific needs.

7 Diseases the Amazing Beet Can Help You Fight Off and 7 Ways to Enjoy Beet

Beet is well known as a liver and blood cleanser. Due to its high-antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties, it has been linked to the prevention of lung, liver, colon cancer and many diseases.

Simple ways to incorporate beet into your diet include:

  1. Make an immune-boosting smoothie with beet, lemon, ginger, and raspberries
  2. Make a healthy side dish with roasted beet
  3. Add grated beetroot into your big salad
  4. Add fresh beet leaves into your big salad
  5. Steam beet, broccoli, cauliflower, tofu together and serve over brown rice or quinoa
  6. Make a beet and carrot soup
  7. Make a Beet Latte with beet juice, almond milk, ginger, and honey/maple syrup

6 Winter Superfoods to Eat Post-Workout

During the cold months, not many brave souls who can choke down a 20 ounces cold smoothie or frosty green juice after a workout. The basic components of recovery meal include a complex carb, lean protein, healthy fat, and veggies. My winter post-workout meal consist of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants to help decrease inflammation and aid in muscle recovery. The ingredients can be mixed and matched according to your taste. Read about the benefits of these 6 superfoods and YOU can prepare your next post-workout meal in less than 15 minutes.

  1. Green Tea with Mint, Lemon, and a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar
    • Replenish fluid lost in exercise
    • Support weight management
    • Reduce muscle soreness
  2. Sweet Potatoes
    • Restore glycogen level
    • Sustain energy
    • Support weight management
  3. *Miso Soup with Mushrooms, Celery, and Organic TofuPlus (by @nasoya)
    • Restore electrolytes
    • Boost energy
    • Boost immune system
    • Promote gut-health
  4. Chia Seeds
    • Reduce inflammation
    • Boost energy
    • Support bone and joint health
  5. Avocados
    • Prevent muscle cramps
    • Maintain electrolyte balance
  6. Raw Cacao Nibs
    • Boost energy
    • Speed up recovery time
    • Maintain muscle function
    • Support weight management
    • Support muscle growth

*Miso soup is a vital, versatile item at my house. You can add any vegetables and lean protein you have on-hand. Get this 10-minute Green Tea Noodle Bowl Recipe by me.

Know these 5 things about Eggs

1. Eat Eggs occasionally, but not Egg Beaters
2. Pastured Eggs are ideal (Buy at Fairway Market)
3. Second choice: Organic or Free-Range Eggs
4. Top 5 nutrients in Eggs:
?Sulfur – boost Skin and Joint Health
?Vitamin B12- boost Energy and fight Depression
?Choline- boost Energy and Brain Health
?Vitamin D- boost Immunity and Bone Heath
?Lutein- boost Vision Health
5. Egg yolk contains most of these vitamins and minerals

Understand Egg Label

Photo by The Humane Society of The United States

Read more about eggs and choline in my Eat Eggs blog post.

Should I eat chocolate?

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Why do so many of us have chocolate cravings? My patients are wondering if it is due to a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Overall, chocolate is a good source of magnesium and iron. I tried to provide other (magnesium and iron) alternatives such as nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, lentils & beans, and did not find any reduced cravings of chocolate in my patients. Perhaps it is due to the mood-calming compound in chocolate that release your body’s “feel good” chemical- Dopamine and Serotonin, or just the complex, rich flavor and smell of chocolate ??.

Chocolate craving is not a nutritional concern as long as you are sticking with the less processed forms. In fact, the flavonoids in dark chocolate is beneficial to your skin and heart health. This powerful anti-aging antioxidant can help to reduce blood pressure, the bad cholesterol “LDL”, and keep your skin soft & moist.

I like the bitterness, woody taste and smooth texture in a piece of dark-chocolate (85% cocoa), a warm cup of unsweetened almond milk with a tablespoon of pure cocoa powder, or a few bits of cacao nibs in my homemade smoothie or oatmeal.

I do not recommend white chocolate, milk chocolate, peanut butter/caramel chocolate candy bars, or chocolate with more than 10g of sugar per 40g serving.

Last year, I posted a recipe of Homemade Protein Chew on my Instagram. I was exploring a caffeine-free version and have created this Vegan, Less Fat, Sugar-Free formula. I replaced the cocoa and honey in the original recipe with Chatfield’s All Natural Carob Powder* (naturally sweet, low in fat).

 

Photo Credit: Chatfield's
Photo Credit: Chatfield’s

* While Carob powder is a good substitute of cocoa powder for those who are very sensitive to caffeine or watching their weights, please note that it doesn’t contain the phytochemical flavonoids. However, this product is delicious in warm, almond milk and baked goods.

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Recipe:

Raw Vegan Protein Chew
Ingredients:
1 Tbsp of Epic vanilla protein *
3 Tbsp raw shelled #hempseeds (@harvesthemp)
6 Tbsp Chatfield’s All Natural Carob Powder
1 Tbsp #coconutoil
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup of Almond Milk

Directions:
1. Mix the first 5 ingredients in a bowl.                                                                                                                                                                     2. Add almond milk gradually while mixing the batter.
3. Knead and roll batter into #proteinballs.
4. Place on wax paper and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Enjoy ?
* Reviews of Epic Protein Supplement

KIND Bars: A boost of Nutrients and Flavor

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Savor the Flavor of Eating right with :

  • a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables at every meal;
  • oats, quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, sweet potato for fuel;
  • healthy nuts & seeds for snacks;
  • more plant-based protein

One of the nutrition questions I get from many of my patients is regarding the high fat content of nuts. It is true that many nutrient-dense plant foods such as Avocados, Nuts & Seeds, Dark Chocolate, Coconut, Tofu, Edamame are high in fat. They naturally contain unsaturated as well as saturated fat.  Here are some things you should know: The presence of saturated fat in a plant-source, whole food doesn’t label a food into the unhealthy category if it is loaded with more essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, the healthy fats, which make up the majority of the fat content in the above high-fat plant foods help reduce LDL cholesterol and lower the risk of coronary heart disease.

Here are some things you should know: The presence of saturated fat in a plant-source, whole food doesn’t put a food into the “unhealthy” category. You have to look at the complete nutrition profile.

My new favorite Kind Bar- The Cashew & Ginger Spice Bar contains 200 Kcal, 14g Total Fat, 2g Saturated Fat, 4g Sugar, and 6g Protein. It tastes incredible and it’s way healthier than candied ginger!

Photo Source: kindsnacks.com
Photo Source: kindsnacks.com

Epidemiological studies suggest that regular nut consumption is unlikely to contribute to obesity and may even help in weight loss and lower the risk of hypertension. Raw nuts and seeds consumption, (especially walnuts, flaxseed, chia seed) have been associated with cancer risk reduction. Go Nuts with 5 oz serving weekly to maximize the benefits of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. According to the INC and USDA National Nutrient, the following equal one ounce of nuts:

Photo Source: INC and USDA National Nutrient 150-157 Data Base for Standard Reference, Release 19, 2006.
Photo Source: INC and USDA National Nutrient 150-157
Data Base for Standard Reference, Release 19,
2006.

If you are looking for the perfect sweet & salty granola-like bar, I would recommend KIND Bar’s Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt. Each Bar contains 150 Kcal, 5 g Total Fat, 1 g Saturated Fat, 6 g Sugar, 3 g Protein. It contains all the healthy grains I like: Oats, brown rice, millet, oat flour, buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa + a subtle maple flavor blend with the nuttiness of pumpkin & sunflower seeds. It makes a great chewy snack packed with amazing nutrients. Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, magnesium, and Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which are great for your immune system, bone and heart health.

source: kindsnacks.com
source: kindsnacks.com

Bottom line: Fear not the fats in nuts & seeds. You can read more about the latest nutrition research about nuts here.

 

What's on my office bookshelf?
What’s on my office bookshelf?

Eat Egg, It’s the Most Nutrient Dense Food: Part 1

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In celebrating National Nutrition Month, may I suggest all you beautiful people to incorporate more pastured eggs in your diet, to help get your mind and body in shape for professional and personal success?

My mom used to tell me “Eat Fish, It’s a brain food. Eat Egg, it’s the most nutrient dense food”. My typical childhood breakfast was composed of 2 hard-boiled eggs, a papaya smoothie, and sometimes a small bowl of fish congee. It was at a time when I saw chickens roaming in the backyards, eating bugs and worms.

Then, people thought eggs were bad. I learned about all the fancy labels of eggs that I didn’t know about. Some eggs are Conventional, Cage-Free, Vegetarian-Fed, etc…AKA, eggs from over-crowded chicken factory. Later, I heard about the Egg Beaters, a processed product that is fortified and supposed to “make a healthy lifestyle easier”.

Not all eggs are created equal. Let’s look at the ingredients:

Real eggs

  • Ingredients: Eggs
  • Pros: nutrition-packed
  • Cons: Bad reputation due to cholesterol content

Egg Beaters:

  • Ingredients:  Egg White, (99%). Less Than 1% Natural Flavor, Color (Includes Betacarotene), Spices, Salt, Onion Powder, Vegetable Gum, (Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum), Maltodextrin. Vitamins And Minerals, Calcium Sulfate,Iron (Ferric Phosphate), Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E),Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, (Vitamin B12), Riboflavin, (Vitamin B2), Thiamin Mononitrate, (Vitamin B1), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin D3.
  • Debunked:
    • Natural Flavor- faux flavor, possible MSG, and GMO source
    • Maltodextrin- processed sugar
  • Pros: Less calories, fat, cholesterol
  • Cons: Highly Processed. Missing key nutrient: Choline

What is Choline? 

Dietary intake of choline has been shown to be associated with lower plasma homocysteine levels (tHcy), which may reduce chronic inflammation (leading to cardiovascular disease, dementia, and osteoporosis). Recent studies support a protective role of choline against the development of some types of cancer. Choline deficiency may increase risk of muscle damage and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (Fatty liver is linked to obesity and insulin resistance).

Choline is an essential nutrient for prenatal and breastfeeding women. Similar to folate, choline plays a critical role in the healthy development of the fetus’s brain and nervous system. Deficiency in pregnancy may increase incidence of neural tube defects and impair cognitive function.

Although some choline is made within the liver, we require dietary source to maintain good health.

According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the adequate intake (AI) for choline to prevent liver damage is 550 mg daily for men and lactating women, 425 mg daily for women, and 450 mg daily for pregnant women. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for adults is 3500 mg/day.

Good Sources of Choline:
?Egg yolk- 147 mg per yolk
?Wheat germ- 202 mg per cup
?Beef- 97 mg per 3oz trimmed, cooked
?Scallop- 94 mg per 3oz steamed
?Salmon- 56 mg per 3oz cooked
?Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, bok choy)- 65 mg per cup cooked
?*Please note that prenatal vitamins don’t usually contain Choline, it’s important to nourish your body through whole foods.

Peppery Arugula Omelette with Sweet Fruits
Peppery Arugula Omelette with Sweet Fruits

If you are worried about the high cholesterol level in egg yolk, read my related post on Instagram here Dietary Cholesterol. You can learn more about cholesterol with Professor Fred Kummerow’s latest book at 99 years of age Cholesterol is not the Culprit. Kummerow was the scientist who pushed the FDA to ban Trans Fat and he eats an egg daily. The 100 years old Nutrition Scientist.

Not all fish are created equal

The American Heart Association recommends to consume at least two servings (~8oz) of fish per week for heart health. You are studying the restaurant menu at length, couldn’t decide between the Tilapia or Sea Bass? Use the following nutrition tips to cut through the confusion and enjoy your seafood meal. If you would like to expand your ethnic culinary repertoire, check out my recipe for Chinese-Style Steamed Strip bass

Nutrition Tips:

  1. Choose a variety of fatty fish and focus on wild-caught species (ex. Pacific sockeye salmon) instead of farm-raised species if possible.
  2. Choose steamed/baked seafood over fried/smoked seafood.
  3. Choose seafood with a high omega-3 FA to omega-6 FA ratio, such as Pollock, Sea Bass, Cod, Caviar (roe), and King Crab.
  4. Limit seafood with a high omega-6 FA to omega-3 FA ratio, such as Tilapia and Catfish.

Omega-6 fatty acids to Omega-3 fatty acids ratio?

Increasing omega-3s through fish or shellfish intake is preferable. The most beneficial omega-3s are EPA and DHA. Read more about the anti-inflammatory benefits of EPA and DHA on my Instagram post here The box of dreams .

Unlike omega-3s, consuming too much omega-6s can lead to inflammation, which increase risk of rheumatoid arthritis, blood clots, cancer, and Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It’s essential to maintain proper ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in our diet.  Studies found that a ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 of 4:1 to 1:1 is considered healthy. Unfortunately, most of us are consuming a ration of >20:1 in modern diet.

Omega-6 fatty acids are loaded in vegetable oil  (sunflower, safflower, corn, grape seed), peanut oil, salad dressing,  margarine, fried food, and chips.

Not all fish are created equal. Farm-raised tilapia and catfish has a high ration of omega-6 to omega-3 (11:1) compared to the Wild-caught trout and salmon (1:1). Choose cold water fish such as Wild-caught trout, salmon, tuna, sardines for the benefits of EPA and DHA.

Avoid/limit imported fish/seafood as they may be contaminated or loaded with antibiotics that are banned in the US.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, a high quality, purified fish oil would be the safest source of EPA and DHA.

Healthy Cooking on Vacation- Cabin Cooking



While I love to experience local foods and new restaurants, cooking at a Rustic Mountain Cabin Kitchen can be fun and easy. Keep dinner simple with a sautéed vegetarian entree, a few simple salads/fruits and root vegetables grilled over charcoal.  If you don’t have access to a local garden/farm close to your cabin, simply buy fresh ingredients ahead of time and pack the perishables in an insulated cooler with extra ice packs.

Here are some of the dishes I made at my recent mountain cabin retreat.

High Protein Teriyaki Tofu Stir-Fry

Mixed Green Salad with Grilled Corn and Roasted Root Veggies

Strawberry Blue Cheese Salad with Homemade Croutons

Sesame Shrimp and Asparagus Stir-Fry

 

 

Spring Clean Your Health

isabel first post

Spring clean your health with in-season veggies and an active lifestyle. Look for antioxidant-rich, fiber-rich fresh produce such as asparagus, sugar snap peas, artichokes, bitter melon, and watercress. To incorporate more vegetables in your diet, simply broil/steam a bunch of asparagus with poached eggs for breakfast, toss some garlic-sautéed sugar snap peas over your salad for lunch, and blend a watercress soup with pine nuts for dinner. (Check out Spring Asparagus with Green Onion)

I enjoy both raw and steamed vegetables as they retain the most flavor and nutritional value. I like to steam my veggies with a sprig of chopped scallion or a few slices of fresh ginger. In-season fresh veggies are rich in flavor, there’s no need to cook them in butter or heavy sauce. After steaming, sprinkle with some freshly ground black/red peppers and a dash of balsamic vinegar for extra zing.

Isabel first post 3rd photo