Tropical Pineapple Habanero Oats

Tropical Pineapple Habanero Oats

Mid to late September makes me a little wistful as summer ends, but ‘eggcited’ that fall is right around the corner. I love the end of the year produce, including tomatoes, melon and squash, but look forward to apples, pears and more leafy greens. I’m also OK with using pantry staples to create simple meals.

Oatmeal is one of my favorite foods. I like overnight oats, but really prefer the taste, texture and warmth of hot oatmeal. Oatmeal is an excellent grain to include in your diet. In addition to being a good source of soluble fiber (which helps lower bad cholesterol) and manage blood sugar), rolled oats have been found to help reduce appetite. They’re also a source of B vitamins, and inexpensive and versatile to use.

If you’re thinking that “old fashioned oats” take too long to cook, think again. You can whip up rolled oats in the microwave in 2 minutes. If you can spare one minute on instant oats, you can certainly spend 2 minutes on rolled oats. While they may have roughly the same fiber and calorie content, rolled oats are less processed, have zero sodium and no added sugar. Those little packs of instant oats pack 3 teaspoons of sugar and up to 200 mg of sodium per pack. Hard pass!

I made the recipe below with 3 ingredients including a little something spicy. My gal pal Barbie Hahn created this overnight sensation she dubs, “That dam jam”. Like me, Barbie is a foodie and enjoys simple, delicious ingredients. Her jam is no exception. She will tell you, “It’s nothing special”, but it really is! Barbie is the quintessential host. She creates beautiful trays of goodies and charcuterie and serves her delicious pineapple jam with cream cheese as a sweet and savory spread.

Her “sweet with a little heat” jam became so popular as a holiday and housewarming gift, her friends and family urged her to launch it commercially. It’s a really versatile jam that can be used in appetizers, main dishes with meat or hey- why not breakfast?

I combined rolled oats, unsweetened coconut and “That Dam Jam” for breakfast this morning. So. Dam. Easy! I hope you enjoy it as the weather changes from summer to fall in the next few days. Feel free to adjust the recipe to make more for a crowd.

You can find That Dam Jam at several markets around Cincinnati and Kentucky: SHOP LOCAL | That Dam Jam

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 cup water

1 teaspoon unsweetened coconut flakes

1 Tablespoon That Dam Jam (pineapple habanero)


  1. Place the rolled oats, water and unsweetened coconut in a microwave safe bowl. Stir to combine.
  2. Cover the bowl with a microwave safe lid and cook the oats for 2 minutes.
  3. Remove the oats from the microwave and stir in That Dam Jam.
  4. Allow to cool for a minute, then enjoy with gusto!

Makes 1 serving. Nutrition facts per serving: 211 calories, 37 grams carbs, 4.8 grams fiber, 4.1 grams fat, 5.6 grams protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 2.4 mg sodium 

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The Battle of the Bread- Aunt Millie’s Versus Doh Joy

The Battle of the Bread- Aunt Millie’s Versus Doh Joy

Nutrigirl is no stranger to carb consciousness. In addition to being a dietitian who counsels clients with diabetes, pre-diabetes, and weight management, I also have to deal with a familial condition of pre-diabetes myself. My father had diabetes from the time he was 40 and my mother developed it later in life. I was not surprised to find out my glucose was elevated 5 years ago.

To be clear, carbs are not the “enemy”. Our diet needs carbs for adequate energy, fiber, and B vitamins. Carbohydrates (AKA carbs) are found naturally in all grains, fruit, starchy vegetables, beans, lentils, and dairy products.

Added sugars in soda, sports drinks, desserts, and candy are less healthy carbs we should limit in our diet. Excess intake is linked with higher rates of chronic disease including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Unless a protein is breaded, most meat, fish, pork, and poultry products have zero carbs.

Whether carbs come from natural sources or are added to foods as sweeteners, both will raise blood sugar. Carbs break down into glucose, which our bodies either use for energy, store as glycogen or change to fat if too much is consumed. Reducing carbs of all types has some health benefits.

Curbing Carbs

Cutting back on carbs is an effective way to manage and control blood sugar. Recent research shows that compared to traditional calorie-controlled diets, limiting carbs may aid in diabetes prevention and reversal. Reducing carbs in your diet is also associated with weight loss and potentially longevity.

Often, one of the first things a person with diabetes (or prediabetes) does is cut out bread. This is one of the saddest things to hear as a food lover! Yes, bread has carbs, but there are a handful on the market that have been formulated with less. Let’s take a look at a few new ones.

Aunt Millie’s

Aunt Millie’s out of Ft. Wayne, Indiana is no stranger in the bread aisle. Their company has been around for 120 years and features everything from bread to buns to rolls. Their latest line “Live Carb Smart” includes three varieties of breads as well as hamburger and hot dog buns. For the purpose of this review, I’ll focus on their white bread.

For starters, the loaf looks like regular bread. The slices are uniform in size with the heel of the bread being slightly smaller. Each slice contains 45 calories and just .5 grams of fat. The sodium content is low at just 115 mg per slice. The bread is fortified with vitamin D and contains 10% of the Daily Value, which is considered a “good” source of the nutrient.

The carb count is 12 grams per slice of which 6 are net carbs. The slices contain 6 grams of dietary fiber, which is subtracted out of the total carb count to yield the net carbs. Like other low-carb bread, it has no added sugar. The texture is soft and it tastes like regular bread! The bread toasted up nicely.

Doh Joy

Doh Joy is a new Cincinnati-based company. Its white bread is dubbed “keto-friendly” and would be appropriate for individuals with diabetes or others limiting the carbs in their diet. Like Aunt Millie’s, it has no added suga.and its base is made from modified wheat starch and wheat protein isolate.

The protein content is 5 grams per 40-calorie slice. Doh Joy boasts 30% more fiber than Aunt Millie’s: 9 grams per slice versus 6 grams. Their net carb count is also lower, 1 gram per slice instead of 6 with Aunt Millie’s. Doh Joy contained less potassium than Aunt Millie’s, making it a good choice for individuals on a low potassium diet, such as renal patients (kidney disease).

The taste and texture of Doh Joy are similar to Aunt Millie’s, but a little chewier. Both of the breads toasted up well and had a mild, “white bread” taste. Doh Joy contains 1.5 grams of fat per slice, compared to Aunt Millie’s .5 grams per serving. Doh Joy does not contain vitamin D.

The Bottom Slice

If you’re looking to reduce carbs in your diet, please don’t completely cut out bread. What fun is that? You certainly can’t make a sandwich or French toast without bread! If carbs are your concern, Doh Joy is lower than Aunt Millie’s with most of the other ingredients being close in comparison. It certainly gives Aunt Millie’s a run for the money.

I received samples of both breads for this comparison but was not paid for the review. To find either of the breads online, visit: Baking Memories From Our Family to Yours – Aunt Millie’s (auntmillies.com)

DohJoy Under 1 Net Carb Keto Friendly White Bread

Superior Salmon with Peach Salsa

Superior Salmon with Peach Salsa

Farm-raised fish often gets a bad rap. Visions of polluted, contaminated water overflowing with crowded fish may be what you’re thinking of. It’s time to think again!

Not all fish farms are the same. I was fortunate to receive samples of seriously tasty salmon from Superior Fresh in Wisconsin. Superior Fresh is no ordinary fish farm. They use regenerative agriculture to provide the most delicious food while sparing the planet.

Superior Fresh uses soil regeneration and habitat preservation by recycling nearly 100% of the water used to grow 30 times more food per acre than traditional farms. In addition, they grown 5 pounds of salmon and an extra 25 pounds of organic vegetables for every 5 pounds of fish food. That’s a lot of food!

Their aquaponic ecosystem works in harmony. Atlantic salmon lives in water that fuel their leafy greens, which in turn purify the water and send it back to the fish. Their fish are fed an organic diet, which are non-GMO, pesticide free, hormone free, antibiotic free and delicious! On top of that, their Atlantic salmon has twice as much omega-3-fatty acids as traditional salmon.

Why Omega-3s?

I’ve been paying attention to my omega-3-fatty acid intake for a reason. Omega-3 fats are PUFAS (polyunsaturated fatty acids) that are linked with the reduction of risk of heart disease, dementia, and also depression. Sadly, no pun intended, all of these conditions run in my family. My father had diabetes which led to heart disease. My mother has dementia and suffered with depression throughout her life. Prevention is key to all of these chronic conditions.

Omega-3-fatty acids are found in fatty fish, including salmon as well as ground flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, soybean and canola oil. Most of us don’t consume enough in our diets. Fish oil supplements also provide these healthy fats- ask your doctor or dietitian if they’re right for you. While my diet may not be perfect (whose is?), I really want to keep my heart healthy and brain sharp as I age.

Superior Salmon with Peach Salsa

There are SO many tasty ways to make salmon that I got overwhelmed looking at recipes. Samon can be baked, broiled, air fried, pan fried or grilled. Summer in Cincinnati means grilling, so I opted for a simple marinade. Summer also means peach season. I was happy to have all the ingredients I needed on hand. Well, most of them.

Most fish marinades use lemon or lime juice, which makes sense. Both add refreshing flavor and help to tenderize the fish. I was out of both but did have a few mandarin oranges on hand. Problem solved. The fish can also be baked at 375 for 13 to 15 minutes.


1 Tbsp. avocado, olive or canola oil

Juice of 1 mandarin orange

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. salt

2 skin-on fillets of Superior Fresh salmon

Peach salsa

2 ripe peaches

1/2 jalapeno pepper, diced

1 Tbsp. diced red onion

1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Juice of 1/2 of a mandarin orange

pinch of salt


  1. Combine the avocado oil, mandarin juice, cumin, paprika and salt. Place 2 pieces of salmon in a Ziplock bag then pour the marinade over the fish. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the peaches, jalapeno peppers, red onions, and cilantro. Drizzle mandarin juice over the mixture and toss to coat. Add a pinch of salt to taste.
  3. Pre-heat the grill for 10 to 15 minutes. Grill each side for 4 to 5 minutes until desired doneness.
  4. Serve the salmon with a few tablespoons of peach salsa.

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Spinach Blueberry Salad with Ginger Lemon Vinaigrette

Spinach Blueberry Salad with Ginger Lemon Vinaigrette

June is not only Men’s Health Month, it’s also Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Some of the most common chronic conditions that impact men include prostate and colon cancer as well as heart disease. Men are also susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease, especially if they’re dealing with diabetes or high blood pressure.

It’s important to limit calorie-dense, nutritionally empty foods like processed meats, chips, pastries, ice cream and other treats while focusing on nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables to prevent chronic diseases. According to the CDC, 9 out of 10 US adults don’t meet the recommended intake for fruits and vegetables. We can do better! Research supports 5 or more servings of fruits and veggies daily to prevent cancer and other chronic diseases.

This crisp, summer salad is not only delicious. It’s perfect for heart, brain health AND cancer prevention.  Blueberry and spinach boast 55% of the Daily Value for vitamin C and 32% of the Daily Value for vitamin A and provide other antioxidants to support brain and heart health as well as prevent cancer.  Walnuts add anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and give the salad some crunch.

If you’re out of spinach, arugula, mixed greens, kale or butter lettuce would work well. A portion of grilled salmon or other fish would make this a great dinner salad. You can make the salad vegan by omitting the feta cheese.

I was flattered to join Cincy Lifestyle http://cincylifestyle.com/ earlier today to feature this salad. What fun to be in person again after 2+ years of Covid. Enjoy!



1 bag baby spinach leaves

1-pint fresh blueberries- rinsed

1 cucumber- sliced and quartered

2 green onions, chopped

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles


1/4 cup canola oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. ginger paste

1 tsp. honey


Wash & dry spinach leaves and place in a large bowl. Add blueberries, chopped cucumbers, green onions, walnuts, and feta cheese.

Whisk the canola oil, lemon juice, sesame oil, ginger paste, and honey together for dressing.  Drizzle dressing over salad and toss right before serving.

Makes 6 servings. 

June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

While we all experience stressful times in our lives when we can’t find our keys or walk into a room and forget why we’re there, dementia is a little different. June is dedicated to Alzheimer’s awareness and prevention. Keep reading to learn more.

Dementia occurs when neurons in the brain lose their functionality and are no longer able to communicate with other brain cells and eventually die. In addition to memory loss, individuals may have loss of reasoning skills, language and ability to focus.

Personality changes as well as trouble controlling emotions may also develop. As the disease progresses, individuals may forget to eat, have difficulty swallowing or have trouble recognizing family and friends.

Unfortunately, there is no current cure for dementia, so prevention is key. It’s estimated that up to 40% of cases of dementia could be prevented.

Incidence of dementia

The CDC predicts that by 2060, nearly 14 million adults will be diagnosed with dementia. Despite what people believe, dementia is not a normal part of aging. Alzheimer’s dementia is the most common type, but individuals may develop vascular dementia related to previous strokes or other causes that limit blood flow to the brain, such as high blood pressure. 1

Reducing blood pressure was associated with a reduction in dementia and cognitive impairment according to a recent meta-analysis of studies in over 96,150 patients. The duration of the study was over 4 years and included subjects whose blood pressure was controlled through medication.

Diet and dementia

Controlling blood pressure through diet is also beneficial in reducing risk for dementia. Combining DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) with a Mediterranean diet is known appropriately as the MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay). 2

The diet was developed through a study done by the National Institutes of Aging in 2015 by a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center. The diet reduced risk of Alzheimer’s by 35% in those following it moderately and strict followers had a 53% reduced risk. 2

The diet is heavily plant-based, advising up to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Green leafy vegetables, berries, nuts and seeds and sources of omeg-3-fatty acids have all been found to play a part in reducing the risk for dementia.

Here’s what to include:

Leafy greens– contain antioxidants that protect brain cells from damage. A researcher at Tuft’s found that eating a cup and a half of greens daily reduced the risk of developing memory deficits associated with dementia. Brussels sprouts, collard greens, kale and spinach fall into this category. 3

Blueberries- contain anthocyanin, a natural anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant that gives blueberries their beautiful hue. They’re believed to reduce inflammation and protect cells of the brain from damage that leads to dementia. Experts suggest a minimum of ½ cup of berries at least once per week. Blackberries, raspberries and strawberries may also protect brain health. 3

Nuts and seeds- are a source of polyunsaturated fat as well as magnesium and phytochemicals, which help regular blood pressure. Diets containing regular intake of various nuts and seeds (a few handfuls per week) have been shown to reduce the risk of dementia. 3

Fatty fish- such as salmon or mackerel in addition to plant-based foods like walnuts and flaxseeds, are a source of omega-3-fatty acids. These fats help reduce inflammation, which may damage brain tissue. A recent research study showed that brain scans of healthy, older adults were less likely to indicate signs of vascular disease (a risk factor for dementia) when the subjects consumed at least two servings of fish per week. 4

Beans and lentils- known as “pulses” in the nutritional world, are plant-based sources of protein that are beneficial for brain health. A source of soluble fiber, beans and lentils help regulate high blood sugar, which has been linked with the risk of vascular dementia. Enjoy them two to three times per week in place of high fat meats. 5

Dementia does not have to be your destiny. Healthy aging is in your hands!


  1. The Truth About Aging and Dementia (cdc.gov)
  2. What is the MIND Diet? A Detailed Beginner’s Guide | U.S. News Best Diets (usnews.com)
  3. Miranda A, Gómez-Gaete C, Mennickent S. Dieta mediterránea y sus efectos benéficos en la prevención de la enfermedad de Alzheimer [Role of Mediterranean diet on the prevention of Alzheimer disease]. Rev Med Chil. 2017 Apr;145(4):501-507.
  4. Aline Thomas, PhD student, Inserm U1219, Bordeaux Population Health Research Center, Bordeaux University, France; Lona Sandon, PhD, RDN, LD, program director and associate professor, department of clinical nutrition, school of health professions, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; Neurology, Nov. 3, 2021
  5. Ramdath D, Renwick S, Duncan AM. The Role of Pulses in the Dietary Management of Diabetes. Can J Diabetes. 2016 Aug;40(4):355-63






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