Cheese

6 Tips for Grocery Shopping with PCOS

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Shopper

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) causes elevated insulin levels in the blood, resulting in difficulty maintaining a healthy weight due to the tendency of the body to store fat.  Did you know that if you lose 5-10% of your current body weight, you can help significantly reduce symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?  Don't start crash dieting to improve symptoms, but start shopping smarter!

Grocery shopping, in general, can be a big pain but if you are grocery shopping with PCOS, things can get a bit trickier. I am here with some tips to make things simpler.

  1. Fuel Up Before Shopping! This is a rule for everyone to live by: don’t shop when you are hungry. Those donut holes look a bit more tempting when you haven’t eaten lunch yet (public bulletin: there is nothing wrong with treating yourself to a donut hole).
  2. Fortify Your Cart with Calcium & Vitamin D!  Calcium is an important mineral for women with PCOS since it is known to promote egg development and menstrual cycles. Almost more important than calcium, Vitamin D is key for calcium absorption, egg maturation, and insulin resistance. Some foods high in calcium and/or Vitamin D include: milk, eggs, salmon, tuna, cheese, and fortified cereals.
  3. Find The Farmer's Market.  Produce & meats pack the most nutrition when purchased local because the food items do not lose nutrition in the transportation of the food items to the grocery stores and on the grocery store shelves.  Check out your local farmer's market and research local farms near your home that sale grass-fed, hormone free meats!  Since its winter, what are the best items to look for to help fight PCOS? Kale and Turnip Greens!!!  Kale is great for any diet, but can be extremely beneficial for women with PCOS. Turnip Greens are low in oxalic acid so there won’t be any calcium absorption inhibition. Other vegetables high in calcium: broccoli, collard greens, arugula, and okra. One key tip: take advantage of all these beneficial greens and make some beautiful salads.
  4. Fight Oxidative Stress!! Eat a Variety of Colored Vegetables To Fight Oxidative Stress. Brightly colored vegetables are a rich source of antioxidants which fights oxidative stress. Women with PCOS have been found to have a higher rate of oxidative stress which leads to physiological stress.
  5. Fire Up The Grill!! Purchase Organic, Grass-Fed Meats. Grass-fed meat tends to be leaner and contain less hormones than standard meat. The livestock is also protected from genetically modified grains and pesticides which can negatively affect hormone balance and PCOS.  Lean protein sources also help maintain steady energy levels and curb cravings.  Some protein foods, like wild-caught fish, can get a bit pricey but some cheaper options include: beans, turkey, pastured eggs, organic yogurt, and  nuts/seeds. When deciding on which proteins to choose- it is better to choose protein with little to no saturated fats (items listed above, with exception of egg yolks, are great options)
  6. Figure Out Plan Ahead of Time!  There are many websites that compile a shopping list that you can print out and bring to the store and check off items you need to purchase. This makes things much simpler and prevents impulse purchases. I made one myself and I am attaching it here: Grocery List. My grocery list is based on what I usually purchase, there are modifications and write-ins that can be made to your liking! Try to make a weekly meal plan and only purchase what it planned for that week. With the shopping list printable comes a budgeting section. Prepare ahead and decide what you want to spend and try not to exceed that limit. If you find some huge deals and have leftover money, save it for a rainy day and after the end of the month see how much you saved!

Therese Bridges

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

Need a quick weeknight dinner idea?

NutriFocusRD has got your answer!

This creamy, nutritious soup hits the spot!  It is a guaranteed family favorite!!

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Creamy Tomato & Tortellini Soup:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • ½ lb. Italian Sausage
  • 1 Diced White Onion
  • 24oz Organic Marinara Sauce
  • 8oz Reduced Fat Cream Cheese
  • 32oz Reduced Sodium Chicken or Vegetable Broth
  • 8oz Diced Bella Mushrooms
  • 4-5 cups Fresh Organic Baby Spinach
  • 16-20oz Frozen or Refrigerated Whole Wheat Cheese Tortellini
  • ½ cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • French Bread or Rosemary Olive Oil Bread (Costco)

Directions:

  1. In a stockpot, add EVOO, diced onion, and Italian sausage. Cook until sausage is brown.
  2. Add marinara sauce into the meat mixture and stir well.
  3. Using a whisk, stir in cream cheese until blended well. Once blended, add chicken broth and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms, baby spinach, and cheese tortellini to broth and combine well. Allow to simmer for 7-9 minutes.
  5. Serve soup warm, topped with 1-2 Tbsp shredded parmesan cheese, and with a warm, crusty French bread for dipping! Enjoy!!!
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Gambling on Meat? Grass-Fed or Grain-Fed?

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Confused by the hype of grass-fed versus grain-fed beef? Is grass-fed beef really worth the extra expense?

Today NutriFocus highlights 4 good reasons to consider choosing grass-fed beef....

  1. Grass-fed beef is much higher in nutrient levels. Grass-fed beef tends to be leaner, and have higher levels of vitamins, minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and beta carotene.  Grass-fed beef has shown to have 4x the levels of vitamin E and 6x the levels of Omega-3 (compared to grain fed beef) which helps reduce the risk of arthritis, obesity, insulin resistance, allergies and autoimmune diseases.  It is also a good source of CLA which is a healthy fat that protects against cancer.
  2. Grass-fed beef is better for the animals. Supports a natural and humane approach to sustainable farming BC the animals are allowed to roam free on the land.
  3. Supports local farming science. Raising livestock on pasture requires knowledge and skill -- it is a true science!!
  4. Grass-fed animals are healthy and drug-free. Cows fed grain can suffer digestive problems because grain is not their natural diet and is not digested properly. This can lead to the use of  antibiotics and other medications which ultimately pollutes our food supply and environment.

This NutriFocusRD original recipe won me major points with my husband so I could not resist sharing this easy, slow-cooker meal with my NutriFocus Family!!!  This chili is super easy, full of fiber, powered with protein, and packed full with vegetables!  It is perfect for a weeknight dinner or to serve at your next tailgating party!! Best news is... it is even better the next day!!!  Hope you guys enjoy!!

Organic Beef and 3-Bean Chili:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound organic, grass-fed ground beef
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  • 1 Red Onion, Diced
  • 3 Celery Stalks, Diced
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, Seeded and Diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1 (29oz) can Tomato Puree
  • 1 (15oz) can Red Kidney Beans, Drained
  • 1 (15oz) can Cannellini Beans, with Liquid
  • 1 (15oz) can Chickpeas, Drained
  • 2 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Cumin (optional)
  • ½ Tbsp Smoked Paprika (optional)
  • 2 tsp Dried Parsley
  • 1 tsp Garlic Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Basil
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha Sauce

Directions:

Place ground beef in a skillet over medium heat. Season with 1 Tbsp Chili Powder, 1 Tbsp Cumin, ½ Tbsp Smoked Paprika, 1 tsp Garlic Salt, and Ground Black Pepper. Cook until evenly brown. Drain remaining liquid.

Place the beef in your slow-cooker. Add in onion, celery, green bell pepper, garlic, tomato puree, drained kidney beans, drained chickpeas, and cannellini beans with liquid. Season mixture with 1 Tbsp chili powder, dried parsley, garlic salt, dried basil, oregano, black pepper and sriracha sauce. Stir mixture well. Cover and cook on low for 8-hours!

Garnish with shredded parmesan cheese and low-fat sour cream and serve alongside sweet cornbread muffins!

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To Locate Local Grass-Fed Farms, Check Out the Eat Wild Website for Farms Across the Southeast!

Salsa Verde Mexican Potato Hash

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Mexican Potato Hash:

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 2 Russet Potatoes, Grated or 1 Bag Refrigerated Potato Shreds
  • 1 Onion, Diced or sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin
  • ½ Tbsp Ground Red Pepper
  • Garlic Salt (to taste)
  • Ground Black Pepper (to Taste)
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 2-3 cups Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves
  • Salsa Verde Chicken or Shredded Rotisserie Chicken
  • ¼ cup Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese or 50% Reduced Fat Cabot Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese
  • Low-Fat Sour Cream
  • Sliced Jalapenos (optional)
  • Sriracha Sauce (optional)

Directions:

Heat coconut oil in large skillet. Mix grated potatoes, onion, cumin, ground red pepper, garlic salt, and ground black pepper together. Place in skillet in flat layer. All potatoes to cook around 7-9 minutes or until golden brown. Flip potatoes over which may need to be done in segments. Cook another 7-9 minutes. Meanwhile saute spinach in skillet until wilted. Re-heat Salsa Verde Chicken or shred rotisserie chicken to prepare for assembly.

Place 2/3 – 1 cup shredded potatoes on plate. Top with sautéed spinach, 2 Tbsp shredded cheese, salsa verde chicken, sriracha sauce, sliced jalapenos, and a dollop of low-fat sour cream. Recommend serving with a salad or roasted vegetable of choice!

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Recipe Recommendation for Meatless Meal

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If you liked what you saw on NutriFocusRD's Instagram on Monday then get excited... I'm sharing the recipe below!! Thanks Just a Taste for inspiring this delicious and nutritious meal!!! Life is short... Eat Good Food!!!

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ASPARAGUS & GOAT CHEESE TART: Recipe Inspired By: Just a Taste Ingredients 4 Large eggs 1 sheet (1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package) frozen puff pastry dough 2 Tablespoons olive oil 2 teaspoons minced garlic 3/4 pound asparagus spears, ends trimmed and spears cut into 1/2-inch pieces 10oz bag of Organic Frozen Peas Crumbled goat cheese 4-5 Green Onions, Diced

Directions: Allow the eggs and frozen puff pastry to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Blanch asparagus and frozen peas to keep a vibrant green color to the vegetables. Place vegetables in boiling water for 1-minute and immediately place in ice water. Dry off vegetables before sautéing.

Once the puff pastry has thawed, use a sharp knife, score a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Transfer the pastry to the baking sheet then prick it several times with a fork. Bake it for about 10 minutes, or until it's lightly golden brown. Remove it from the oven.

Add the olive oil to a large sauté pan set over medium heat. Add the garlic, asparagus and peas to the pan and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes until the garlic is golden brown. Season the mixture with salt and pepper then transfer it onto the baked puff pastry, spreading it evenly within the edges.

Break the eggs, one at a time, into a small dish then carefully pour each egg onto the tart, spacing them evenly apart. Sprinkle each egg with fresh black pepper then bake the tart for 12 to 14 minutes just until the egg whites are completely cooked and no longer translucent.

Remove the tart from the oven, sprinkle it with the crumbled goat cheese, chopped green onions. Slice and serve the tart immediately.

Recommend serving with organic arugula and sweet potato salad topped with shaved Parmesan and leftover asparagus and pea mixture!

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Cook Once, Eat for a Week

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If your week looks busy, I encourage you to PLAN AHEAD!!!! Declare this the week that TIME stops being your excuse and starts being your advantage in making nutrient-dense food choices!!!

Planning proceeds production. By simply taking time to plan ahead, you can prepare nutrient dense meals with half the effort!!! Start your week by preparing Salsa Verde Chicken in a slow-cooker and be ready to feed your family in a variety of ways for the rest of the week!!!!

SALSA VERDE CHICKEN

(Recipe From SkinnyTaste )

    • Organic Chicken Breast (4-8 Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breast Depending on Size)
    • 1 Jar of Your Favorite Salsa Verde or Tomato Salsa
    • Cook on High for 4-Hours

SALSA VERDE CHICKEN WEEKLY MENU:

    1. Salsa Verde Chicken Breast served over Mexican Rice and Roasted Asparagus
    2. Salsa Verde Chicken Taquitos with Sriracha Cream Dipping Sauce served with Guacamole Salad
    3. Salsa Verde Tacos served with Refried Beans and Guacamole Salad
    4. Salsa Verde Chicken Salad with Roasted Cumin Sweet Potatoes

SALSA VERDE CHICKEN TAQUITOS

(Recipe Inspired by Just a Taste )

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Diced Onion
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Fresh Black Pepper
  • 3 cups Salsa Verde Chicken or Rotisserie Chicken (Shredded)
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Mexican Blend or Colby Jack Cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups Chicken Broth 12 (6-inch) Corn Tortillas

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook until it's translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes until it's golden and fragrant.

Reduce the heat to low, and then add the lime juice, cumin, paprika, salt and black pepper to the pan, stirring to combine. Add the chicken, tossing to combine.

Transfer the chicken mixture to a large bowl and let it cool for 10 minutes, and then stir in the shredded cheese.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the chicken broth to a simmer. One at a time, dip each tortilla into the broth for 10 to 15 seconds, just until it's pliable enough to roll. Transfer the tortilla to your work surface and place about 3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture on the lower third of each tortilla. Tightly roll up the tortilla, and then place it seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the filling and rolling process with the remaining tortillas.

Bake the taquitos for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

Serve with Sriracha Cream Sauce for dipping (Sriracha Sauce mixed with Low-Fat Sour Cream and Fresh Ground Black Pepper and Minced Garlic) and Guacamole Salad.

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SALSA VERDE CHICKEN TACOS:

No recipe needed… it is simply an assembly night! Top a corn tortilla with fat free refried beans, salsa verde chicken, cheese, and leftover sriracha cream sauce or fresh guacamole! Serve with a simply guacamole salad. I recommend Wholly Guacamole if you wish to save time on making fresh guacamole!

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SALSA VERDE CHICKEN SALAD:

It is another assembly night!!! Toss your favorite organic greens in a low-fat dressing or high quality olive oil. Top with your favorite vegetables. For added texture and a nutrient dense starch, add Roasted Cumin Sweet Potatoes (Cube 2-3 Sweet Potatoes, Toss in Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, and 2 Tbsp Cumin and Roast in Oven at 400 for 30 minutes). Be creative with your salad toppings but do not forget the Salsa Verde Chicken!!!!

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Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.....

How are you celebrating National Nutrition Month?!! What new foods have you enjoyed?!

This weekend I practiced what I preached at 1892 East (www.1892east.com) located in Huntsville, AL!! This locally owned restaurant is located in the vibrant Five Points neighborhood and is committed to purchasing locally grown food to support local farmers!!! The farm fresh ingredients really set the stage to ENJOY our food!!!!

We started off by enjoying a delectable appetizer featuring cheddar cheese from Wrights Dairy Farm (www.wrightdairy.com) located in Alexandria, Alabama. The appetizer was white cheddar cheese lightly fried and served with horseradish mustard sauce.

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For an entree I enjoyed Wild Salmon served with Brown Rice Pilaf with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds and Brussels Sprouts.

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To complete the meal, I enjoyed a few bites of Double Chocolate Bread Pudding with Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

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Hats off to 1892 East for a fantastic meal with friendly service!!!

How have you been enjoying your food in honor of National Nutrition Month 2014?! #NNM >

Recipe Recommendation: Broccoli & Cheese Soup

When it is snowy outside, and a BCS national championship game is being televised, a quick, hearty, comforting meal is in order!  I normally do not do two recipe reviews in row, but I had more time than usual so I tried out another new recipe that I would like to pass along to my NutriFocus family!

Broccoli and Cheese soup is a favorite at most restaurants.  This recipe by “Cooking Light” keeps the flavor of the soup without the saturated fat and trans fats found in some restaurant soups!

Broccoli is high in vitamin C, A, and K.  Broccoli has a strong, positive impact on our body's detoxification system and can provide cholesterol-lowering benefits.  Broccoli contains a strong combination of vitamin K and vitamin A which interact to keep our vitamin D metabolism in balance which can help solve vitamin D deficiency.  Broccoli is also a rich source of kaempferol, flavonoids that have shown the ability to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances on our body.  And finally, broccoli contains an unique combination of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and pro-detoxification components in which make it a unique food in terms of cancer prevention.

While the potatoes were baking, I chopped one medium onion and 2 garlic cloves and placed in Dutch oven to begin the cooking process.

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Next, I placed 3 cups of chicken broth and 16oz broccoli florets into the Dutch oven and brought the mixture to a boil. Once the mixture was boiling,  I let it simmer for 10 minutes.

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While the broccoli was simmering, I cut up the cheese into cubes. The recipe called for 8oz cheese, but I ended up using around 12oz cheese to give it more of a cheesy flavor.

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And finally, I whisked together 2 1/2 cups 2% milk and 1/3 cup all-purpose flour and added to the broccoli mixture. I allowed that to cook until it thickened. Once thickened, I removed the soup from the heat, stirred in the cheese until melted, and served hot!

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I paired this soup with a hearty baked potato stuffed with cheese and sour cream.  This was the perfect combination for a cold, wintery night!  Mike and I both agreed, this was better than most restaurant soups we’ve tried in the past! This is a keeper!  

Broccoli and Cheese Soup

Cooking Light

Total: 33 minutes Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups)

  • Cooking spray
  • 1  cup  chopped onion
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 3  cups  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1  (16-ounce) package broccoli florets
  • 2 1/2  cups  2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1/3  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 8  ounces  light processed cheese, cubed (such as Velveeta Light)

Heat a large nonstick saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 3 minutes or until tender. Add broth and broccoli. Bring broccoli mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook 10 minutes.

Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add milk mixture to broccoli mixture. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Stir in pepper. Remove from heat; add cheese, stirring until cheese melts.

Place one-third of the soup in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Return pureed soup mixture to pan.