Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Organic Food - To Buy or Not To Buy?

Organic food...to buy or not to buy?
This can be a very confusing questions and everyone seems to have an opinion. So what's a consumer to do?
Today I am going to share my Sara B opinion, but I will let you decide what's best for you and your family.

Why did I even start caring? Was it for the environment, health....? I think it may have been my girlfriend and fellow dietitian, Leigh, who first tweaked my interest. She conducted research on if organic blood oranges had higher nutrient levels than conventional grown blood oranges....can you guess the results? Organic blood oranges came out on top.
This is only the beginning of the benefits to organic...

What does “organic” mean?
Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.

How do you know if something is organic?
USDA had identified 3 label categories:
100% organic - made with 100% organic ingredients
Organic - made with 95% organic ingredients
Made with organic ingredients - made with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients with strict restrictions on the remaining 30% including no GMOs
Why do I care what goes in my body and now....Baby S's :)
Our bodies were not designed to be constantly bombarded with chemicals and biologically altered products on a long-term basis. Do we really know what the cause and effect is for generations to come? One topic in the news recently is the potential link between human consumption of antibiotics and hormones in meat and the early onset of puberty and obesity in young girls. How can you avoid this...choose to purchase hormone free/antibiotic free meat...particularly natural and grass fed!

Here's a thought:
You know how you always read certain nutrients in fruits and veggies help prevent cancer, why do you think they do? Those nutrients are talking to our bodies...aiding, protecting and healing our bodies for the better. So what are the pesticides and fertilizers pasted on their flesh doing for our bodies? Are they talking to are bodies? Are they altering our bodies, triggering a cancer, mutating a cell, causing a disease? These are clearly my thoughts, but certainly make you wonder.
The good news...the organic industry is growing and you don't have to revamp your whole grocery list!
When buying organic I personally focus on the "dirty dozen" produce and hormone/antibiotic free meats .

This guide should help you at the grocery store:
The Dirty Dozen
-although there are 13, the name is just not as catchy with 13
(these foods are found with the highest amounts of pesticides so buy these organic)
1. Celery
2. Peaches
3. Strawberries
4. Apples
5. Blueberries
6. Nectarines
7. Bell Peppers
8. Spinach
9. Cherries
10. Kale/Collard
11. Greens
12. Potatoes
13. Grapes (Imported)

The Clean Fifteen
(these foods are found with the least amount of pesticides, so don't worry about buying these organic...you;ll notice most are produce with outer coverings)
1. Onions
2. Avocado
3. Sweet Corn
4. Pineapple
5. Mangos
6. Sweet Peas
7. Asparagus
8. Kiwi
9. Cabbage
10. Eggplant
11. Cantaloupe
12. Watermelon
13. Grapefruit
14. Sweet Potato
15. Honey
for a handy dandy wallet guide go HERE

For those who say organic is too expensive...I say
PAY NOW (in money) OR PAY LATER (in health and environment)
The more we all pitch in and show a consumer demand, the greater availability will be and prices will lower. Start with one food item and commit....make it apples or peaches. Then add in another.

If your not convinced, here are some other compelling reasons to reconsider.
Top 10 Reasons to Support Organic in the 21st Century
Source: Alan Greene, MD (Organic Trade Association), Bob Scowcroft (Organic Farming Research Foundation), Sylvia Tawse (Fresh Ideas Group)

1. Reduce The Toxic Load: Keep Chemicals Out of the Air, Water, Soil and our Bodies
Buying organic food promotes a less toxic environment for all living things. With only 0.5 percent of crop and pasture land in organic, according to USDA that leaves 99.5 percent of farm acres in the U.S. at risk of exposure to noxious agricultural chemicals.

Our bodies are the environment so supporting organic agriculture doesn’t just benefit your family, it helps all families live less toxically.

2. Reduce if Not Eliminate Off Farm Pollution
Industrial agriculture doesn’t singularly pollute farmland and farm workers; it also wreaks havoc on the environment downstream. Pesticide drift affects non-farm communities with odorless and invisible poisons. Synthetic fertilizer drifting downstream is the main culprit for dead zones in delicate ocean environments, such as the Gulf of Mexico, where its dead zone is now larger than 22,000 square kilometers, an area larger than New Jersey, according to Science magazine, August, 2002.

3. Protect Future Generations
Before a mother first nurses her newborn, the toxic risk from pesticides has already begun. Studies show that infants are exposed to hundreds of harmful chemicals in utero. In fact, our nation is now reaping the results of four generations of exposure to agricultural and industrial chemicals, whose safety was deemed on adult tolerance levels, not on children’s. According to the National Academy of Science, “neurologic and behavioral effects may result from low-level exposure to pesticides.” Numerous studies show that pesticides can adversely affect the nervous system, increase the risk of cancer, and decrease fertility.

4. Build Healthy Soil
Mono-cropping and chemical fertilizer dependency has taken a toll with a loss of top soil estimated at a cost of $40 billion per year in the U.S., according to David Pimental of Cornell University. Add to this an equally disturbing loss of micro nutrients and minerals in fruits and vegetables. Feeding the soil with organic matter instead of ammonia and other synthetic fertilizers has proven to increase nutrients in produce, with higher levels of vitamins and minerals found in organic food, according to the 2005 study, “Elevating Antioxidant levels in food through organic farming and food processing,” Organic Center State of Science Review (1.05)

5. Taste Better and Truer Flavor
Scientists now know what we eaters have known all along: organic food often tastes better. It makes sense that strawberries taste yummier when raised in harmony with nature, but researchers at Washington State University just proved this as fact in lab taste trials where the organic berries were consistently judged as sweeter. Plus, new research verifies that some organic produce is often lower in nitrates and higher in antioxidants than conventional food. Let the organic feasting begin!

6. Assist Family Farmers of all Sizes
According to Organic Farming Research Foundation, as of 2006 there are approximately 10,000 certified organic producers in the U.S. compared to 2500 to 3,000 tracked in 1994. Measured against the two million farms estimated in the U.S. today, organic is still tiny. Family farms that are certified organic farms have a double economic benefit: they are profitable and they farm in harmony with their surrounding environment. Whether the farm is a 4-acre orchard or a 4,000-acre wheat farm, organic is a beneficial practice that is genuinely family-friendly.

7. Avoid Hasty and Poor Science in Your Food
Cloned food. GMOs and rBGH. Oh my! Interesting how swiftly these food technologies were rushed to market, when organic fought for 13 years to become federal law. Eleven years ago, genetically modified food was not part of our food supply; today an astounding 30 percent of our cropland is planted in GMOs. Organic is the only de facto seal of reassurance against these and other modern, lab-produced additions to our food supply, and the only food term with built in inspections and federal regulatory teeth.

8. Eating with a Sense of Place
Whether it is local fruit, imported coffee or artisan cheese, organic can demonstrate a reverence for the land and its people. No matter the zip code, organic has proven to use less energy (on average, about 30 percent less), is beneficial to soil, water and local habitat, and is safer for the people who harvest our food. Eat more seasonably by supporting your local farmers market while also supporting a global organic economy year round. It will make your taste buds happy.

9. Promote Biodiversity
Visit an organic farm and you’ll notice something: a buzz of animal, bird and insect activity. These organic oases are thriving, diverse habitats. Native plants, birds and hawks return usually after the first season of organic practices; beneficial insects allow for a greater balance, and indigenous animals find these farms a safe haven. As best said by Aldo Leopold, “A good farm must be one where the native flora and fauna have lost acreage without losing their existence.” An organic farm is the equivalent of reforestation. Industrial farms are the equivalent of clear cutting of native habitat with a focus on high farm yields.

10. Celebrate the Culture of Agriculture
Food is a ‘language’ spoken in every culture. Making this language organic allows for an important cultural revolution whereby diversity and biodiversity are embraced and chemical toxins and environmental harm are radically reduced, if not eliminated. The simple act of saving one heirloom seed from extinction, for example, is an act of biological and cultural conservation. Organic is not necessarily the most efficient farming system in the short run. It is slower, harder, more complex and more labor-intensive. But for the sake of culture everywhere, from permaculture to human culture, organic should be celebrated at every table.

ok....I'll step down now off my soap box.

Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Fall Snacks - Dehydrated Apples & Turkey Jerky

As you may figure, I am a little particular about the "snacks" that are present in J and I's home. Because we choose to not buy a lot of packaged and processed goods which tend to be the common "snack" foods, you may be thinking...well what in the world do you grab on-the-go or in between meals? Easy...here are two of my favorite dehydrated "clean" snacks.

Dehydrated Cinnamon Apples
You wont find blood-sugar-raising high fructose corn syrup or artery-clogging partially hydrogenated oils in these wholesome treats.

This apple peeler/slicer was a wonderful invention to help your life simpler. You can purchase at Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Once peeled and spiral sliced, slice apples in halve . Soak in water with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice.
Lay on dehydrated sheets and sprinkle with cinnamon. Follow dehydrator directions for time and temp.

Turkey Jerky
from fabulousefoods.com
about 3 pounds of ground turkey breast meat
2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2-3 teaspoons liquid smoke
Optional seasoning:
2-3 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
2-3 teaspoons crushed red peppers
2-3 teaspoons sesame seeds
2-3 teaspoons brown sugar
The recipe above is enough for about 3 pounds of meat, which will dehydrate down to about 16-18 ounces.
Mix all ingredients together. Add to meat and mix well so flavor is evenly distributed.
Sandwich some of the seasoned ground meat between two sheets of waxed paper/plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin to press the meat into 1/2"-1" wide, flat, thin strips. Carefully remove the strips from the waxed paper place directly on dehydrator racks.
Jerky Tips:
•It's easier to slice the meat thinly if it is slightly frozen. So you can roll out, place in freezer for a but and then slice.
•Generally speaking, the leaner the meat, the better for jerky.
•For peppery jerky, sprinkle with pepper right after placing on the drying rack. This pepper will "stick" to the jerky.

Drying times vary due to meat size. Perfect jerky is firm and dry and not at all spongy. However, if your jerky is so dry it breaks in two easily, it's probably over-dried.

I'm munching on some now!
It's a good thing we have all these quick grab to go snacks around as J and I have lots of fall fun activities to attend such as cyclocross races.
I hate being caught with no food as I get grumpy when hungry :)
Bobber's CycloCross Race
Go J!
up the rocky cliff
through the winding forest
over the challenging barriers
Brrrr.....trying to keep warm!
Happy 60th B-Day to my dad, Lee!
So proud of his continuous health and happiness. Hope you have a wonderful day Dad!
Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Monday, September 27, 2010


Check out the new marketing campaign for baby carrots:
baby carrots vs. salty junk food....bring it on!

Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pineapple Upside-Down Pancakes

Recently, on one of J and I's frequent trips to Des Moines we stayed at my parents. This always gives me a chance to see what recipes my mom has in the works. On the counter she had layed out this yummy looking pancake recipe. Since J and I are suckers for pancakes I insisted we make them for breakfast the next morning.
Although my pancakes weren't perfectly circle, they were perfectly tasty!

Pineapple Upside-Down Pancakes
2 Cups cereal, crushed (Kashi GoLean, Kashi Crunch, Wheaties, or any other whole grain cereal you have on hand)
1 Cup whole wheat flour
1/2 quick cooking oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 Cups low fat buttermilk
2 T REAL maple syrup
2 T canola oil
1-8 oz crushed pineapple (no sugar added), drain juice and reserve for later
2 large eggs
1/4 Cup pineapple juice, saved from crushed pineapple
In large mixing bowl, add the first 5 ingredients together. In separate mixing bowl, whisk together the next 5 wet ingredients. Set crushed pineapple aside.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Refrigerate one hour or overnight.
Coat griddle with non-stick spray and heat to medium temp.
Scoop about 1/4 cup pancake batter onto griddle. Drop a heaping tablespoon of crushed pineapple in middle of pancake. Spread the pineapple around with the back of spoon. This will also help thin the pancake out. Cook on one side till pancake begins to bubble and the edges begin to firm.
Carefully turn pancakes over and cook for an additional minute or two.
Serve with maple syrup, nonfat vanilla yogurt, applesauce or your favorite pancake topping.

Nutrition facts for 2 pancakes using Kashi Go Lean: 150 calories, 4.5g fat, 23g carbs, 4g fiber, 7g sugar, 6g protein

Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Monday, September 20, 2010

Green Goddess Dip

Here is a perfect recipe to help keep the food selections healthy at the tailgates this weekend.
Green Goddess Dip
w/ Homemade Pita Chips
from Rachel Ray's magazine Everday Living

Ingredients for dip:
2 cups, chopped avocado (about 2)
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt, plain, or homemade
slightly less than 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2/3 chopped fresh chives, divided
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Ingredients for pita chips:
3 -6 inch whole wheat pitas
2 tsp canola oil
chili powder
sea salt

Instructions for dip:
Place avocado, yogurt, lemon juice, vinegar, 1/3 cup chives, parsley, and salt to taste in small food processor or blender and puree until creamy. Stir in most of the remaining chive, use the rest for garnish.

Instructions for pitas:
Preheat oven to 350F. Cut each pita in 8 wedges. Brush with oil and sprinkle with ground cumin, chili powder, and salt. Bake for 8 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Turn off oven and let chips stand for 15 minutes or until crispy.

To serve:
Spoon dip into small bowl and surround with veggies and pita chips on a platter.

Nutrition (makes 20 servings, each serving is 2 T dip, 1/3 cup veggies, and 1 chip):
77 calories, 3g fat, 11g carbs, 3g protein, 3g fiber

Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Wild Rice w/ Apples & Butternut Squash

You'll Fall in love with this delicious recipe...ha, I crack myself up. Did you know Wednesday is the first official day of Fall!?
Bring it on...just not the snow.

Wild Rice w/ Apples & Butternut Squash

1 1/2 Cups wild rice cook (or a blend of wild rice and other varieties)
1/2 Cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 Cups 1/2inch cubed butternut squashed
2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored, cut into 1/4-1/2 inch cubes (best to buy organic when purchasing apples)
1 T dried thyme
1 Cup chicken broth (Watkins is the best)
1/2 Cup walnut pieces
Heat oil in large skillet and saute onion over medium high heat until translucent. Add squash, apples, and thyme, and saute 5 minutes. Stir in broth. Combine cooked rice, parsley, and sauteed mixture into an oils 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle walnuts over top (these turn out to be sooo tasty and rich so be generous). Bake 425F for 20-25 minutes. Serves 10.
Of course, J likes his with Robert's 1% cottage cheese mixed in so it gets ooey and gooey!

The Ultimate Lifestyle Package from Sara B Consulting
Reach and maintain a healthy body weight with your customized lifestyle plan, make peace with food through intuitive eating (no numbers) approach, respect your body and honor your health. Package includes:
~ Initial consultation
~ Detailed food log review
~ Initial caloric calculation
~ Pantry makeover (in your kitchen)
~ Grocery store tour
~ Additional nutritional education as needed

Week 1: Initial consultation
Week 3 and 7: One-on-One follow-ups (45 min each)
Weekly: Q&A through phone or email & goal tracking

Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Essential Nutrients for the Endurance Athlete

Here is a link to my article in the September issue of Iowa Momentum Magazine

Essential Nutrients for the Endurance Athlete
and a recipe that's got it all
Happy Birthday to my sister Kelli and pals Leigh and Jo!
Go Cyclones!
Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Apple Squash Soup

Get ready for fall infused foods....
Once the leaves start turning and the air gets a little bite to it my cravings for squash, apples, pumpkin, and soup goes through the roof. Luckily, all these foods offer amazing health benefits including vitamin A to help ward of the looming cold and flu season.

This recipe is wonderfully simple and incredibly comforting. Garnish with apples and a couple slices of whole wheat baguette.
find the recipe here: Apple Squash Soup
or here:
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp diced sage
2 T Land o' Lakes butter
14 oz chicken broth about 1 can (I use Watkins powdered form)
3/4 c water
2 medium granny smith apples, peeled and finely chopped
12 oz cooked squash (about 2-3 cups)
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 c fat free evaporated milk
Saute onions and sage with butter in saucepan, about 3 minutes or until tender.
Add broth, water, and apples. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 12 minutes. Add squash, ginger, and salt; return to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool until lukewarm. Process batches in blender or food processor until smooth. (I filled the blender about 1/4 full each time).
Return to pan and add evaporated milk. Enjoy!

Want to enjoy the comforts of learning to cook a delicious and nutritious meal from your home? Invite me over for an hour of cooking with the gals (or guys). Group or individuals sessions are welcomed! The only thing you supply is the house to make a mess in :)

Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Monday, September 13, 2010

An Iowa City filled weekend...

This past weekend was the big ISU vs Iowa football game. Although, the game might not have been a hit, the weekend was!
Lots of good times and good food with friends and family.

Friday J and I had Aunt Barb and Uncle Tom and Kelli and Mike over for dinner.

The Menu:
Appetizer: Bruschetta (recipe from crossfitter Katie)

Here’s the bruschetta recipe (makes 12 pieces):
• 1/2 loaf whole-grain French, ciabatta or other thin loaf bread
• 3 Tbsp / 45 ml extra virgin olive oil, divided
• 1 cup / 240 ml fresh tomatoes, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, passed through a garlic press
• 1 tsp / 5 ml sea salt
• 1 tsp / 5 ml freshly ground black pepper
• 1 handful fresh arugula leaves, finely chopped
• 1 handful fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
• 2 Tbsp / 30 ml best quality balsamic vinegar
• 2 fresh avocados
• Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
1.Preheat oven to 375º F / 190 ºC. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2.Slice bread into thin, 1/2-inch slices on the diagonal. Arrange slices on baking sheet. Don’t overlap. Use another baking sheet if necessary.
3.Use a baking brush to lightly coat each piece of bread with olive oil. Bake for several minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove from oven. Set aside.
4.In a medium-sized oven-safe mixing bowl combine tomato, remaining olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Place in hot oven and bake for 10 minutes or until tomatoes are soft. Remove from heat.
5.Transfer cooked tomatoes to new mixing bowl. Add chopped arugula, basil and balsamic vinegar. Mix gently to combine. Set aside.
6.Peel avocados. Cut in half and remove pits. Dice avocado and toss with lemon juice.
7.Top each piece of bread with tomato mixture. Top with avocado. Serve.
***Katie mentioned she couldn't’t find arugula by itself, so instead found a salad mix that had spinach and arugula together and used that. You could use spinach by itself, too.

Entree: Swiss and sauteed mushroom burgers (mushrooms were sauteed in olive oil)
and Uncle Jim's home grown squash

Dessert: Birthday cake for Kelli!

it's suppose to be red frosting and not pink...obviously I do not have a career as a cake decorator

and of course, Aunt Barb's scotcheroos

Saturday morning we woke up ready to cheer on our Cyclones!

I prepared a meat and veggie egg dish and homemade banana bread for breakfast.

then it was off to tailgate

Sunday started with a trip to my favorite Iowa City breakfast spot...
the sign says it all

The banana bread french toast is AMAZING!
J couldn't even wait for me to take a picture before digging in :)

Then it was off to Wilson's Apple Orchard to pick us some Honey Crisp Apples!
over the river and through the woods...
Mike had his technique for crossing the raging river
and J had his

We had to pull out all the apple picking techniques to get the best apples
What a great weekend!

Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Summertime Orzo Salad

It's a rice, it's a grain....no it's ORZO :) I know....so korny, but seriously what is orzo?
Orzo is actually a rice shaped pasta, that is very fun to eat and makes beautiful salads.
This salad knocked my socks off after fellow crossfitter, Tricia, made it at the last Crossfit Des Moines party.

Summertime Orzo Salad
thanks Tricia!
1 pound dry orzo pasta
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups fresh spinach, torn
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup dried cranberries
8 fresh basil leaves, torn
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 & 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 carton cherry tomatoes, halved
Cook orzo in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain pasta and spread on a large baking sheet to cool. Transfer cooled orzo to a large serving bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine. Serve chilled.


Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Thursday, September 9, 2010

In the media...

Along with my article entitled "Essential Nutrients for the Endurance Athlete" in Iowa's Momentum Magazine this month, I also got the opportunity to contributed to any article in Juice this week called "Four tasty, guilt free meals." To read click on link below.

Read article here

Hope you enjoy both!

Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

First visit to the Apple Orachard this season & Homemade applesauce

The other week J and I made our first trip of the season to Wilson's Apple Orchard just outside of Iowa City.
One of my favorite things about fall, besides football, is the FOOD, duh. Apples, squash, pumpkin, and everything that is made from these scrumptious ingredients.

Here I am, ready to go!

We had to travel on the unbeaten path to get the best apples

Good think I wore my high waters

J has spotted a good one!

Out varieties this time included: Ginger Gold, Summer Treat, and Burgundy.

With full buckets we were ready to head home.

I just wanted to share a picture of the fun apple I picked up at New Pioneer Coop the other day....it was pink inside!

Homemade Applesauce
4 apples that have been peeled, cored, and chopped into pieces
1/4 tsp lemon zest
juice of 1/2 lemon
ground cinnamon to taste (start with a couple teaspoons)
sweetner to taste (start with 1/4 C) - I used evaporated cane juice (you can purchase in HyVee health market), you can also opt to use brown sugar, Stevia, honey, agave nectar, etc.
about 1/2 C water


Place all ingredients in large pot over medium-high heat. Cover and cook ingredients for 10-20 minutes or until apples are soft. Allow to cool and then mash with potato masher or fork.

My pal Abby just made homemade applesauce as well (great minds think alike)...visit her site here.

Enjoy! and GO CYCLONES!

Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good