Sunday, August 18, 2013

Beet It: Science Behind More Ugly Super Foods

Beets are skimming the surface of potentially becoming a trendy super food, like kale, they're not exactly a seductive addition to your shopping cart but like the rough exterior of the characters on Duck Dynasty, these red rubies are sweet below that rough exterior.

Beets are an epic source of folate and betaine.  Betaine is made in the body and works with the functioning of the liver's cell production.  It also aids in the formation of carnitine.  Back in the 90's homocysteine was all the rage due to it's negative effects on the heart and the betaine from beets can help counteract the homocysteine.

Folate helps with cancer prevention and cardiovascular health as well, when you combine the two in beets, homocysteine and other inflammatory biological hockey goons are carted off into the penalty box for cardiovascular misconduct.

On the cancer end, the betacyanins which give beets that deep red wine color are being studied and have properties as potential cancer fighters in laboratory animals.

University of Maryland Medical Center: 

Men's Health: 

Gina Lesako RD, LD is the SCAN blog coordinator (those interested in writing for SCAN can email her directly at, resolve to increase your online exposure).  
She can also be found blogging at  

Find her on SCAN:

Monday, August 12, 2013

Nutrition Summer Reading

Summer is a laid back stress free season.  Even if you're not going back to school you might want to keep up to date on the nutrition world or just on the food scene.  Here are a few to pick up for your end of summer beach reads or al fresco lunch.

Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites
Author: Kate Christensen

Review from the Christian Science Monitor:
"Chronicling her American girlhood from the early 1960s (at the end of the Baby Boom), to her present life as a writer and blogger in Maine, the book is an honest portrayal of the forces that have shaped her: love and loss; joy and pain; trust and despondency. In those 50 years, the author turned to food – to nourish away gloom, to celebrate, to reconnect with lost years. The book includes a smattering of recipes: Anadama bread, Yorkshire pudding, rabbit stew, among others.
Originally written as blog posts, the book’s brief chapters read like complete stories in themselves. Christensen, author of seven novels including "The Great Man," winner of the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award, writes wonderfully. Her clean prose is sprinkled with witty phrases and wry observations."  
Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health
Author: Jo Robinson.

From,  Approximately 10,000 years ago our ancestors began to domesticate animals for food and choose plants to grow in their gardens. The choices we have been making ever since then about what to feed those animals and what plants to grow have had a huge impact on our diets. In Pasture Perfect Jo explained the benefits of eating meats, eggs, and dairy products from animals raised on pasture—their native diets. In Eating on the Wild Side, Jo points out the dramatic nutritional difference between the wild plants in ouroriginal diet and the fruits and vegetables we eat today. Some wild potatoes, for example, have twenty times more health-enhancing nutrients (antioxidants) than our modern russet potatoes. Wild tomatoes have up to 30 times more cancer-fighting lycopene than most supermarket tomatoes. 

Drawing on the cutting edge research that technology has made possible just within the past two decades, Jo takes us on an enthralling journey to learn more about our original plants and when and how we stripped away their nutrients. Fortunately, she doesn't just leave us there. She also provides information about which present-day varieties come closest to approximating the nutritional values of our wild plants, and teaches us how to forage in the grocery store for nutritional bargains. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

RD Bloggers Part III: Guard Your Heart--Nutrition for the Spirit, Soul, and Body

Ashley Evans from Guard Your Heart is an RD blogger based in Florida.  Ashley started out with a degree in broadcasting and became interested in nutrition.  After much soul searching she realized she loved nutrition and wanted to become an RD.  You can follow her at, on instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook

Why did you decide to become a blogger? 

I decided to start my own blog in January 2010, long before my journey of becoming a dietitian began. In fact, it was actually through my blog that I found my true passion for nutrition. I originally started my blog when my husband and I were living eight hours away from family and friends as a way to keep in touch and continue to share my life with them. Over time I found that I was writing more and more about nutrition, food and recipes than anything else. I wanted to separate myself from the crowd and not be just another nutrition writer on the internet, therefore, I decided to return to school in order to become a registered dietitian.

How has this helped your career? 

As the wife of a man that spends nearly everyday traveling for his job, working a traditional job would force me to see him very seldom. After graduating from the Mayo Clinic this past March, while studying for the RD Exam, I spent nearly everyday brainstorming, researching, praying, listening, and networking trying to figure out what my career would look like. Did I want to take a traditional job, see my husband bimonthly and live my life all for my job? Or did I want to carve my own path, spending time with him, traveling, writing, growing and reaching a different kind of audience?

I still had my blog and would write daily, but I didn't really think about using it as the base of my career. "That's not a job," I would tell myself over and over. But after much thought, I finally decided that my career path doesn't have to be traditional despite what society tells me (I even wrote a post about who defines traditional  here), and who says that work and pleasure can't mix? I love to write (my first degree was in Communication Arts (Broadcasting/Journalism)), I continue to learn and grow from my writing, research and readers and over time, I can turn it into a "job." So I decided to do that. Blogging has now become my career. Blogging has allowed me to do the things I love, being right where I need to be. I actually recently started my own business, The Gypsy Dietitian, LLC and am in the process of converting my blog into a professional website with online services, meal plans, e-books, etc. So you can see that blogging has not only helped my career, it has become the base of my career. 

What advice do you give to someone starting out in blogging?

I actually give myself this piece of advice everyday: just keep going. Success doesn't happen over night but with hard work and consistency, it will come. Keep looking forward and never look back. Continue to learn, grow and just keep showing up. Your readers will know you are there and they will come back to you.

What is your favorite post or topic?

The great thing about blogging is that it is your platform, you decide what goes. While I keep the main topic of my blog nutrition based, somedays other topics are on my heart and I can share them  with my readers too. I wrote a post a few weeks ago the importance of surrounding ourselves with positive people and received a lot of great feedback from my readers. Rereading it, it has become my favorite post and a topic that I am able to remind myself of everyday. I think it is very important to be real with your readers and to let them see a glimpse into your life, letting them know there is more to your life than just (for me) nutrition.