Water salad

Water salad

Water Salad

Baby, it’s hot outside!  Staying hydrated this time of year (and any time of year), improves energy, metabolism and maintains blood pressure.  We consume about 80% of our fluid needs from water, juice, milk, coffee and tea and 20% from food.  Combine the foods high in water below to provide close to 2 cups of water!  Any type of lettuce can be used as most are at least 95% water.  Choose darker, leafy greens for more beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and potassium.


Yogurt (plain/traditional) is also high in water (approximately 85%).  Greek yogurt has been strained at least 3 times, so it yields less water, but a higher protein, lower sugar product.


2 cups butter (Bibb) lettuce or Romaine

1 chopped tomato

1 chopped bell pepper

1 chopped cucumber

1 cup chopped cauliflower

1 cup chopped radishes

1 cup chopped celery



½ cup plain/traditional yogurt (not Greek-style)

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/4 tsp. salt

Freshly ground pepper (optional)



Clean and spin lettuce in a salad spinner.  Add all other ingredients in a large salad bowl.

Whisk dressing ingredients together.  Toss salad with dressing prior to serving.


Makes 4 (2 cup) servings.  Per serving: 86 calories, 4.2 gm fat, 9.5 gm carbohydrate, 2.3 gms fiber, 3.4 gm protein, 2 mg cholesterol, 212 mg sodium

Elevated LFTs- Liver Function Tests

Elevated LFTs- Liver Function Tests

Don’t ask me why, but lately I’ve seen a rash of patients with elevated liver enzymes.  When enzyme levels are elevated, it’s an indication that an organ in the body may be under stress or inflamed.  In the case of your liver, it may also be related to being overweight or obese. Below are some reasons your liver enzymes may be high.


  1. Medications– Tyelenol/acetominophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Aleve, ibuprofen, etc) and some prescription medications (such as statins used to lower cholesterol or antibiotics) can increase LFTs if used in excess over time. NEVER take tyelenol after drinking alcohol and limit use of other medications when possible.


  1. Alcohol– Limit alcohol of any kind if your liver enzymes are elevated. Drink in moderation (1 drink/day for women, 2/day for men) if at all or quit if your doctor advises you to.


  1. Obesity or being overweight- can lead to NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or fat accumulation in the liver). Lose weight if you are overweight to prevent fatty liver disease. Left untreated, fatty liver disease may lead to cirrhosis- permanent scarring of the liver.


  1. Hepatitis can increase LFTs. This includes Hepatitis A, B or C.


  1. Hemochromatosis– a condition where the liver stores excessive amounts of iron, can cause LFTs to be high.


  1. Celiac disease- a digestive condition where a person cannot tolerate gluten from wheat, oats, barley and rye may raise LFTs.


  1. Pancreatitis or cholecystitis– inflammation of the pancreas or gallbladder inflammation may both increase LTFs.


  1. Use of herbal supplements such as kava kava, comfrey, pennyroyal, skullcap, or certain other herbal supplements may raise LFTs.  Supplements are not regulate by the FDA.


  1. Diabetes may increase LFTs as excess sugar in your blood may be related to insulin resistance and obesity.


  1. IV (intravenous nutrition) increases LFTs because bile is being backed up when it is not being used to digest fat in the gastrointestinal system.
Chicken with pesto, penne & broccoli

Chicken with pesto, penne & broccoli

I bet you have leftover chicken from Father’s Day grilling.  Here’s a simple recipe that your whole family will enjoy. I love the simplicity of jarred pesto, but feel free to make fresh if you’ve got the time and basil on hand.  Tofu or cooked turkey would also work well in this recipe.  Whole grain penne, ziti or spiral pasta boost fiber content and color.  Broccoli adds a hefty dose of vitamin C, folate and fiber to the dish.


2 cups cooked chicken, cut into chunks

4 oz. jarred pesto

2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

1 clove garlic, minced

1 lb fresh or frozen broccoli

1 lb whole wheat pasta (penne or other tubed pasta)

¼ cup Parmesan cheese



  1. Cook pasta according to directions and set aside.
  2. Steam broccoli for 4 minutes in microwave and set aside.
  3. Sautee garlic in 1 tsp. olive oil.
  4. Add chicken, pesto and broccoli and remaining olive oil and simmer for 2 minutes.
  5. Add pasta to chicken and pesto mixture and blend. Serve with 1 tsp. Parmesan cheese


Makes 8 servings.  Nutrition Facts per serving:  300 calories, 8 grams fat, 46.8 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams protein, 6.7 grams fiber, 8 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium.

Grab n go breakfast ideas

Grab n go breakfast ideas

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  But sadly, it’s the meal most often skipped!


One of THE most important things to remember is hydration.  While it’s easy to grab coffee or tea, don’t forget to hydrate in the morning.  Drink 2 cups of water as soon as you get up to prevent headaches and overeating later.  Keep a water bottle in your car, at your desk and at home if this helps you drink more water. To keep you fuller, longer, include start with high protein & high fiber foods at meals.


Below are some foods to keep on hand that you can grab and run when you’re crunched for time.


Protein sources                                                      High Fiber foods

Hard boiled eggs                                                     Whole wheat bread or English muffins

Peanut or almond butter                                       Oatmeal

Cottage cheese                                                        Shredded wheat or bran cereal

String cheese                                                           Whole wheat tortillas

Soy nuts                                                                    Whole grain crackers- Triscuits, All bran

Almonds or other nuts                                            Mini whole wheat bagels

Beef or turkey jerky                                                 Whole wheat pita bread

Black or other beans

Tuna or egg salad


Produce                                                        Veggies

Fresh fruit                                                      Carrots

Apples                                                            Celery sticks

Bananas                                                        Cherry tomatoes

Berries                                                           Cucumbers

Citrus fruit                                                      Mushrooms

Grape                                                             Pepper strips

Kiwi                                                                Snow pea pods or sugar snap peas





Quick ideas:

  • Peanut or almond butter sandwich on whole wheat with a piece of fruit
  • String cheese and whole grain crackers with a piece of fruit
  • Hard boiled egg, whole grain crackers, handful of veggies
  • Oatmeal with chopped nuts and dried fruit
  • Cottage cheese and fruit
  • Trail mix- shredded wheat, nuts, raisins
  • Bowl of low sugar cereal (< 5 grams) and fresh fruit
A Night at Findlay Kitchen

A Night at Findlay Kitchen

I wish I could say I was working in Findlay Kitchen because I’m starting a small cupcake or empanada business, but alas, I am not.  I was there a few weeks ago because I volunteered to help with a program called “Cooking for the Family”.


The program is sponsored by St. Francis Seraph Ministries and Findlay Kitchen and provided by FarmChef.  The premise of the program is for families to learn to cook affordable, nutritious meals in a 2 hr, 5-week series.  You cannot beat the price of $10.00 for a 2-hour cooking class with hands on experience and food samples.  The families also take home a goody bag with a cast iron skillet, chef’s knife and cookbook after completion of the program.


It was so much fun to be in this large, commercial kitchen.  It is bright and bustling with entrepreneurs and lay people like me that just enjoy food.  This is how the night goes:  I show up, wash my hands and put on a hair net and apron.  The chef instructs us to chop some veggies, get out mixing bowls, wooden spoons and ingredients.  We set up stations based on how many families are participating.


The families come in at 5:30 or so.  They wash their hands and get ready to cook.  Our chef LaKeisha Cook teaches them how to chop vegetables or cook quinoa, while a few volunteers oversee their progress.  How ironic that her last name is Cook!  When bowls and utensils start piling up, we grab a grey cart and load it for the dish room.


The dish room houses the fastest cleaning dishwasher I have ever seen.  There are a few stationary tubs for washing and sanitizing pots, but everything else goes through the dish machine.  Your load of dishes is done in 1-2 minutes tops.  The dish room is where you may run into some of the small business owners that are creating ravioli or specialty cakes.  Each business is in a “pod” (small room) working on their craft, or in a larger, more open space in the facility cooking.  I love the energy in this kitchen!


After we’ve prepared our recipes, we put all the tables together and everyone sits down to eat. Bowls of sauteed vegetables and steaming quinoa are passed among strangers that have worked elbow to elbow all night making jokes and talking about food.  It’s a lovely experience.


Cooking for the family has a few other locations that are always in need for volunteers.  Bush Rec Center in Walnut Hills also holds a class as well as Community Matters in Lower Price Hill.


If you’re interested in attending the class, volunteering or donating to the project, here are a few links:

Spread the word: http://bit.ly/2nNAGBI

Volunteer: http://thefarmchef.com/how-to-get-involved/

Fund for another person: http://www.sfsministries.org/donate/




Pin It on Pinterest