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Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Charity of the Month for February 2012 – National MS Society

EatSmart fans will select each Charity of the Month in 2012. Fans will submit short stories about the charity’s mission and why it’s meaningful to them. We began our Charity of the Month donations in 2011.

For February 2012, loyal EatSmart Fan, Elizabeth selected the National MS Society. We will be donating 50 cents for every new Google+ Follow during the month of February. (So spread the word!)

Read why Elizabeth picked the National MS Society:
I have a pretty little vision of what my life should be.  I have the distinct privilege of staying home with my kids all day!  I have a great husband, three kids, a dog, a house…everything should be perfect.  Things don’t tend to go according to plan—at least not MY plan!

What began as a blip on my radar two years ago became a turning point in my life this past August.  You see, one morning in July I had woken up with a blind spot in my left eye.  A blind spot that wouldn’t go away.  A blind spot that wasn’t just annoying eye crud, it was a problem.  It wasn’t the first time I’d had an ocular issue, either.  Almost 2 years prior I’d had a 4-month span of constant double vision.  In August I visited my ophthalmologist, who gave me exactly the news I was expecting but dreading.  She referred me to my neurologist, who confirmed the same–I have Multiple Sclerosis.  It’s chronic, it’s debilitating, it’s scary, and there is no cure.

No cure.  No reason.  No explanation.  No rhyme or reason.  MS picks and chooses it’s victims at random.  Me?  I’m a (relatively) healthy 30-something.  I’m mom to three kids, ages 6, 4, and almost 2.  I’m busy.  I don’t have time for something like this!  I wonder, some days, why MS picked me!

When you see me on the street, in the store, at Zumba class, you won’t know there’s anything “wrong” with me.  Even if you see me regularly and know my story, you probably “forget” most of the time that there’s an issue.  I wish I could forget.  I can walk.  I can talk.  I am in control of my own body.  I look “normal.”  I AM normal.  I’m a normal person that takes ibuprofen every night before bed to reduce her legs ache so that she can sleep.  I’m a normal person that wakes up every morning and wonders if today will be the day she has a relapse.  I’m a normal person that forgets things.  I’m a normal person that says her words out of order sometimes (much to the amusement of her children) and sometimes says them with a slur.  I’m a normal person who can’t always see very well and pretends otherwise.  I’m a normal person that wakes up almost as tired as she goes to bed every day. 

Someday I may have trouble doing simple daily tasks.  For now, though, I am doing what I can to take care of myself, to make myself as healthy as possible, so that hopefully I can hold off any progression a few more years.  Perhaps, if I try hard enough, I can hold off progression until there IS a cure!  I eat a healthy, mostly a whole foods diet now, and I LOVE it!  I monitor how much I’m eating as well, and that’s much easier thanks to the EatSmart Precision Retro Kitchen Scale!  Not only do I feel healthier, but I’ve lost almost 50 pounds!  I exercise almost daily now.  I didn’t before.  Some days I don’t want to, but I remind myself that I have a family that needs a healthy mama! 

The National MS Society is working toward a cure.  They’re working to find the cause and figure out a way to stop Multiple Sclerosis…for me.  For you.  For your best friend, your neighbor, your babysitter.  For the people you pass every day, the people that look “normal,” but who woke up this morning, as I did, wondering if today would be “the day.”  In the meantime, the National MS Society is providing support and help to the thousands of affected MS patients and their families! 

EatSmart Products  has decided that, for the month of February, they will donate 50 cents to the National MS Society for EVERY new EatSmart Google+ follower!  Simply by following EatSmart, you could be helping to fund a cure for MS!

Some of you have MS yourselves.  Some of you know someone who does.  Some of you are very giving.  Whatever the reason, some of you will want to know how you can help find a cure!  One way you can help is by supporting WalkMS 2012!  This event raises funds for the National MS Society’s research efforts!  If you know someone walking, support them, either through walking alongside them or donating to their team!  If you don’t know anyone walking, please consider making a one-time donation to my team, MS. Understood, through this link!

This month, by supporting EatSmart, you’re supporting the National MS Society.  You’re supporting people like me, who hope one day to be able to say, “I had MS.”    You’re supporting the future!  Thank you!
Elizabeth

Elizabeth can be found blogging at My This N That Life  and on Twitter @mythisnthatlife.

If interested in submitting a charity for consideration, please email karen@eatsmartproducts.com. The donation amount will be capped at 500 followers.   

Healthy Dessert Recipe: Gluten Free Chocolate Banana Protein Brownies

After last week’s Bourbon Butter Brownies, we wanted to post a healthy brownie alternative.

Guest Post by Erin Elberson Lyon, physical therapist and celiac who writes the blog, Gluten Free Fitness.

Ingredients:

  • 1 very ripe banana mashed
  • 1/4 cacao or cocoa powder
  • 2 TBSP almond flour
  • 35 g or 1/2 c gluten free oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup gluten free oat bran
  • 1/2 c. sugar or stevia equivalent
  • 3 scoops of protein powder (mine had 23 g of protein per scoop)
  • 2 3.5 oz containers of prune and apple baby food (or 7 ounces of pumpkin puree or applesauce)
  • 3 TBSP almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp semisweet chocolate chips

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 F and spray 8×8 pan with nonstick stuff.
In a perfect world you combine all dry ingredients, all wet ingredients, then add wet to dry. Usually I get excited and forget to do this dumping everything in together and it comes out just fine. So don’t stress!
Cook for 23-30 minutes (my convection oven was 23 minutes to perfection)

Nutrition Breakdown: (Yours may be slightly different depending on your protein powder, what sweetener you use, and the fruit puree.  I used stevia.)
Per 1/8 of recipe: 146 calories | 4 grams  fat | 15 grams carbohydrates(3.5 are fiber) | 11.5 grams  protein

These make great packable snacks. It can easily be made dairy free by using a rice, hemp, or pea protein powder. Don’t be afraid to taste your batter and adjust the amount of sweetener, or add some vanilla extract or extra cocoa powder. The exact taste will vary along with the ingredients you choose, so make a taste you like!

About the Author: Erin Elberson Lyon is a physical therapist and celiac who writes the blog Gluten Free Fitness. Check out Gluten Free and Fit 101 for tips on getting started!

Celebration Giveaway!

To celebrate breaking 4k Twitter followers, one lucky fan will win a new EatSmart Bathroom Scale of their choice! 

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Entering to win the scale is extremely easy, and can be done through the form below.  Here is how you can win:

  • Fill in your name and email. (1 Entry)
  • Comment below and let us know kind of product you’d like to see EatSmart make next. (1 Entry)
  • Like this blog post. (1 Entry)
  • Follow the EatSmart blog. (1 Entry)

Giveaway ends on February 1, 12:01am EST.  The lucky winner will selected at random and notified by email. They will have 48 hours to reply back before a new winner is selected. (Sorry, but it’s limited to US residents only!)

Dessert Recipe: Bourbon Butter Brownies

When I studied abroad in Stockholm, I experienced a huge culture shock adjusting to the metric system.  My lack of familiarity with metric affected my favorite pastime – baking. Once, even though there was a complete lack of equipment in my student apartment, I decided to make a cake for my new friends. Following a recipe from a British food blog, I remember eyeing the bag of flour, assessing the number of grams in the bag versus the number of grams in the recipe, and estimating what fraction of the bag I would have to pour into the bowl. Despite the fact that I’d never made a recipe that required measuring ingredients in grams, along with a lack of tools that measure ingredients by volume, the cake came out surprisingly well. But for the rest of my time abroad, I settled for box-mix cake.

Since then, I’ve been considering getting a food scale. I thought it would be nice to actually make some international recipes. The recipe I chose to test out my new EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale is from one of my favorite food bloggers, Raspberri Cupcake, who writes from Australia. Her recipes use grams as the unit of measurement (sometimes with an approximate conversion to Imperial), and I have been eager to have the right equipment to make them. I made these Bourbon & Brown Butter Brownies (full recipe available here).  Even though I can’t say they are “eating smart,” they were delicious.  If you aren’t a fan of dark chocolate I would suggest using semi-sweet chocolate to make them a little sweeter.

I gathered everything together and assessed what needed to be measured out. The scale has a ‘tare’ function, which allowed me to calibrate the scale to 0 after putting a bowl on it. Instead of scooping flour out with a 1-cup measure and leveling it off with a knife, scattering flour all over the counter, I neatly scooped flour out with a tablespoon until I had the right amount. Measuring out the butter was different. I weighed the stick first, and then estimated a conservative amount to take away. I got exactly 100g on the first try!

This was a completely different way of baking. The scale was sensitive to the gram, so I was confident that I had exactly the right amount of each ingredient. The brownies came together quickly after I had everything measured out and I am very excited about the number of recipes I can easily try with my new kitchen scale.

Bourbon & Brown Butter Brownies Recipe from Rapsberri Cupcakes (makes 16 brownies)
250g good quality bittersweet chocolate (if you want them to be less gooey/fudgy then only use 175g)
100g butter
120ml (about 1/2 cup) bourbon
2 eggs
3 tbsp dutch process cocoa powder, sifted
75g (about 1/2 cup) plain flour
190g (about 3/4 cup) sugar

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Grease very well and line the bottom and two long sides of a 20x30cm slice/brownie tin (can be substituted with a 20cm square cake tin but you may have to bake it slightly longer as it will be thicker). Let the baking paper hang over the long edges, it will make it easier to lift brownie out later. Prepare the brown butter; place butter in a small saucepan on low heat until it melts, continue to stir over low heat but keep a close eye on it, as it begins to bubble and the milk solids separate and settle at the bottom of the pan. Stir it frequently at this point, so that the milk solids do not settle at the bottom of the pan for too long and burn. Continue until the mixture turns brown and smells nutty but take care not to leave it for too long or it will taste burnt. Remove from the heat.

About the Author: Theresa Zappala is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology, College of Architecture who enjoys baking in her spare time.

EatSmart Interviews Registered Dietitian, Alex Caspero

We recently sat down with Registered Dietician, Alex Caspero, of Delicious Knowledge, to dive into some interesting facts about nutrition and the benefits of using an EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale.

Alex, please tell us about yourself and your background. I am a registered dietitian who loves to cook! I have been the Campus Nutritionist for University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA for the past 3 years and enjoy teaching college students the joy of cooking, nutrition, and eating. I also run a nutrition and vegetarian cooking blog, www.delicious-knowledge.com. On the side, I am a Certified LEAP Therapist and work with clients on food intolerances, sensitivities, sports nutrition and weight management.

When did your passion for health and nutrition begin? I began teaching group fitness classes as a senior in high school and fell in love with promoting healthy lifestyles. From there, I decided that I wanted have a career combingmy passion for nutrition and exercise. I went on to become a RD and have a masters degree in Exercise Physiology. I am also a yoga instructor, certified personal trainer, and group exercise instructor. 

You’ve been using our EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale for months now.  What are some of the benefits of using this particular food scale? I love the precision! I have had other food scales (for similar prices) that only measure to the nearest 5g which is almost impossible for baking, where the Precision Pro measure to the 1gram. This scale is also very affordable, at $25 with free shipping on Amazon. You will be hard pressed to find another model at this price that has all the benefits of the Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale. I have found it to be very accurate and appreciate the ability to switch between metric and English weights.

Would you consider the EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale a “must have tool” for someone who is trying to lose weight? Absolutely.  I think the food scale is so important in understanding portion sizes and how many calories foods actually contain. I work with a lot of weight management clients who are eating the “right” types of foods but way too much of them. Having a kitchen scale allows you to portion out 40g of cereal, which may be more/less than the 1 cup serving size on the label. I also find it helpful for selecting snack foods. Most chip labels say “about 10 chips” which is very vague. A food scale allows you to enjoy these foods in your diet by knowing how much you are actually consuming.

Who would else benefit from using this scale? I recommend the Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale for cooks and bakers. I use it all the time for making cakes and bread. It is so easy to get the exact weight of flour, sugar, and know that I will have perfect results. I also use it for measuring weighing envelopes and calculating postage. 

Is the scale easy to use? Did you find any unique features? This scale is very easy to use and consumer friendly. This is a basic scale in design but has lots of features. I don’t have to spend lots of time weighing out my ingredients and my food. I just simply hit the button and I am ready to go. I also love that it takes regular batteries. I have had a few food scales that take more expensive batteries, not the AAA like this one.  I also love that you don’t have to tare the scale before you put it on; you can place a bowl onto the scale, zero out the weight of the bowl and then weigh the contents.

In your opinion, what are some of the most important eating tips that are most commonly overlooked? I try to teach clients about the enjoyment of food. No one wants to feel like they are on a diet so I try to steer away from packaged “fat free” foods. Instead, I teach about eating the foods you love and watching portions. Most of us eat more food than our bodies need, especially food that doesn’t fill us up or leave us satisfied. By switching to wholesome, delicious food you can easily eat smaller portions without feeling deprived. I really like the “volumetric” style of eating: filling up on nutrient dense foods and enjoying smaller portions of calorie dense foods.

And last, but not least, Alex,  how do you yourself ‘eat smart’?   I eat a mostly plant-based diet and exercise daily. I am very portion conscious but enjoy a wide variety of foods, as I don’t believe in good foods vs bad foods.  I believe that a healthy relationship with food is the first step in any weight management lifestyle! I use exercise to keep me sane and to power my body, not to punish it. I encourage clients to do the same- find activities that you love doing and exercise will never seem like a chore.

How can a Kitchen Scale help you reach your health goals?

Story by: Karen Welby, Marketing Director of EatSmart Products

Vegetarian Recipe:Blood Orange, Pecan and Cranberry Salad

Guest Post by Patricia Chuey MSc, RD who runs patriciachuey.com, and is an author of the 80-20 Cookbook. The following recipe is from the 80-20 Cookbook.

Blood Orange, Pecan and Cranberry Salad (Makes 8 servings)
Try to find sun-dried cranberries without added sugar for a tart twist to this colourful salad. Delicious as a starter for any dinner!

Salad Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp orange juice from cooking cranberries(above) (60 ml)
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (30 ml)
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (60 ml)
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard (30ml)
  • 2 Tbsp honey (30 ml)

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 large head Romaine lettuce or 10 cups organic baby greens (2500 ml)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (125 ml)
  • 6 Tbsp orange juice (90 ml)
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans (125ml)
  • 4 blood oranges or regular oranges

Preparation:
1. Cook dried cranberries in orange juice on medium high heat for 5 minutes (until cranberries are plump) and strain (reserve orange juice).
2. Toast pecans in oven 10 minutes at 300 F (stirring occasionally to toast both sides)
3. Cut orange wedges and cut orange away from peel leaving white and rind behind.
4. Blend and heat all ingredients for dressing, cool.
5. Toss lettuce, oranges, pecans and cranberries with cooled dressing and serve.

Per serving: 215 Calories; Carbohydrate 25 g; Protein 3 g; Fat 13 g.

Tip: The vitamin C in the oranges will improve iron absorption from the pecans.

About the Author: Patricia Chuey, MSc, RD is a Foodtritionist, cookbook author and award winner for excellence in consumer communications. Find her @patriciachuey on Twitter.

Pack Smart and Leave the Powerbars at Home

In the summer of 2008, a friend and I spontaneously decided to go on a three week backpacking trip of London (3 days) and Egypt (18 days). When packing the night before we left, I had to constantly remind myself that we were going backpacking, which I had never done before, so I made up my own interpretation of what to expect: no hotels, no laundry, and sometimes no showering.  I also realized that I had to pack three weeks worth of stuff, which I would then be responsible to carry myself.

After joking to my friend that all I would bring were powerbars to barter for goods and supplies,  I successfully shoved three weeks worth of clothing and gear into a single camping pack. I had no idea how much the thing weighed and figured I would just get it checked at the airport.
The following story, though funny at my expense, could have been avoided if I had planned better and had the EatSmart Voyager Luggage Scale amongst my travel gadgets.

At check in, I knew that I would need to check in my bag because it was too big due to all the stuff I had in it. What I didn’t realize was that it was slightly over the 50lbs limit due to a 2lbs box of powerbars.  I immediately moved the powerbars  into my day pack and my bag was checked without incurring extra fees.  Only my pride was slightly bruised when I had to unpack and repack my bag in front of people waiting to check in.

On arrival at London Heathrow, I couldn’t find my pack at luggage claim. As I cleared customs, I met up with my friend,  who looked  perplexed as to where the rest of my stuff was? . I calmly replied, “Well, remember how I told you all I was going to bring was powerbars? That’s exactly what I have in my daypack and nothing else.” My friend didn’t seem to appreciate my sense of humor at the time. I later found out that my bag had misconnected in Rome and was to be re-routed to London in the next day or two.

Fortunately, I was reunited with my bag the day before I left for Egypt. I arrived in Cairo with all of my belongings and had quite arguably,  the best trip of my life thus far. Since hindsight is 20/20, I concluded the following, “ So if I had purchased the EatSmart Voyager Luggage Scale and packed half the amount of stuff, I would have theoretically had a 25lbs bag, which would have been acceptable to carry on the plane.  I would have saved myself the aggravation of a misconnected bag, would have avoided lugging around a 50lbs pack everywhere I went, and would have been able to bring back more souvenirs.”

I know this sounds pretty ridiculous, but I chalked it up to a learning experience. The lessons I learned were: know the airline rules for luggage weight and dimensions, and know where your luggage measures up against their regulations. I recently received the EatSmart Voyager Luggage Scale as a present and have both domestic and international trips planned in the upcoming weeks. Thanks to my new travel gadget, I’m already confident that I won’t have another episode of an overweight bag.

Would a Luggage Scale have come in handy during your past travels? 

Story By: David Wu is an Operations Management Consultant for a Fortune 500 company. He is an avid traveler and flies weekly for business and pleasure to both domestic and international locations.

Gluten Free Recipe: Grilled Swordfish and Mango Salsa

Guest Post by Jenny Manseau, Culinary Arts/Culinary Nutrition student and author of the blog Creative Cooking Gluten Free.

Grilled Swordfish

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 – 1 Pound of Swordfish Fillet – cut in half (enough for two people)
  • Juice of 1/2 Lime
  • Salt and Pepper – to taste
  • Olive Oil

Directions: Lightly brush the swordfish fillet with olive oil and squeeze the lime juice over it and season with salt and pepper – flip and repeat on the other side.

Pre-heat your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat (be sure to use a little olive oil on the grill pan). Add the swordfish and cook for about 4-5 minutes per side. Top with Mango Salsa (see below)

Onion-Free Mango Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 2 Large Ripe Mango – Diced(about 1 1/2 – 2 cups)
  • 1 Medium Red Bell Pepper – Diced (about 1/2 – 3/4 cup)
  • Juice of 1/2 a Lime (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/8 cup Finely Chopped Cilantro (You can add more depending on your taste)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 Cup black beans (rinsed and drained) – Optional.

Directions: Add diced mango, red pepper, olive oil, lime juice, black beans (optional) and season with salt and pepper – taste. Add cilantro last and mix to combine well. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Serve Swordfish and salsa alongside rice or mixed steamed vegetables.

About the Author: Jenny Manseau is a Culinary Arts/Culinary Nutrition student and author of the blog Creative Cooking Gluten Free. Jenny created her website after being diagnosed in 2008 with Celiac Disease and takes many “regular” every day recipes and alters them to the gluten-free diet.

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