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The Lovely – and Potentially Lethal – Lupini Bean

17 Dec

The Lovely – and Potentially Lethal – Lupini Bean

If you’re looking for a legume to enlighten your life – check out Lupini Beans.

Lupini beans – also called lupin – were prolific in the ancient Roman diets and in the countries of the Mediterranean region. Today, because of the labor intense process required to soak and detoxify the bitter beans, lupini beans are commonly – and conveniently – sold brined and in a jar.

Like all legumes, lupini beans are a good source of dietary fiber and protein. One cup of cooked lupini beans provides 200 calories, 5 grams of fiber and a whopping 26 grams of protein.

While most people prefer to pop the beans out of their skin before eating, it is possible to eat the skin along with the meat. Lupini beans have been used as a nontraditional treatment for arthritis pain – and in one instance have been shown to be the cause of a phytobezoar.

Although lupin is not required to be listed as a potentially allergenic agent in the US, some individuals who are allergic to peanuts may also be allergic to lupin.

Lupin flour is increasingly being added to other flours to enhance nutritional quality, but it poses an allergenic threat for some, and requires special handling to reduce toxic side effects for all. To learn more about the proper preparation of lupini beans, click here.

12 Fabulous Fiber Finds

12 Dec

12 Fabulous Fiber Finds

Today is 12/12/12 – and in honor of the last time we will ever encounter the same month, date, year in our lifetime, here are 12 fiber finds to check out before your end of days:

1 – Pears – most fruits have 2-4 grams of fiber per serving, but a large pear clocks in at 7 grams. How to know when your pear is ready? “Check the neck” says USA Pears.

2 – Lentils – these powerful legumes are packed with fiber. A one-half cup cooked serving has 8 grams of fiber. Use in soups, casseroles or cut your ground meat in half and replace with lentils for less fat, more filling.

3 – Avocado – this versatile fruit is chock-full of good fats, and a great fiber find. One-fifth of a California Avocado has 50 calories and 2 grams of fiber, takes you throughout the day – from scrambled eggs to salads.

4 – Oatmeal – eat more soluble fiber or eat more insoluble fiber? Why split hairs? Just eat more fiber! Most foods – like oatmeal – contain soluble and insoluble fiber, in the case of oatmeal, 2 grams of each in a 1/2 cup dry serving.

5 – Raspberries – one cup of raw raspberries gets you 8 grams of fiber for just 100 calories; a sweet addition to any meal or snack.

6 – Edamame – also known as Japanese soybeans, one cup boiled has 8 grams of fiber and 110 calories, proving a pre-sushi snack can be as healthy as it is satisfying.

7 – Artichoke – one medium artichoke clocks in at 10 grams of fiber and 100 calories, try Parmesan cheese to flavor – and stay away from the dipping butter!

8 – Whole wheat pasta – whole wheat pasta generally has at least twice as much fiber per serving – and occasionally more protein than it’s more refined white pasta counterparts. Smother in a healthy sauce, and you won’t even know the difference.

9 – Sunflower seeds – these nutritious seeds come packed with 3 grams of fiber in a 200-calorie 1/4-cup serving. They have the highest Whole Foods’ ANDI score for aggregate nutrient density in the nuts and seeds category.

10 – Sweet potatoes – not to mention their vitamin A content, these babies are a powerful source of many nutrients, including 3 grams of fiber in a 100 calorie medium-sized baked sweet potato with skin.

11 – Apples – an apple a day, sends 4 grams of fiber your way. With a great combo of 2 grams soluble and 2 grams insoluble, when the afternoon hunger pains strike, turn to apples as a great go-to snack.

12 – Brown rice – it might not sound like much, but switching from white to brown rice bumps your fiber up from 0.6 to 3.5 grams per 200 calorie cooked serving – a great swap wherever rice is served.


Chick Peas in a Chip

20 Nov

Chick Peas in a Chip

Chip week rolls on! Today’s chip clip is on Regenie’s Falafel Thins, Bare Naked flavor.

According to the packaging, these chips contain a, “natural blend of corn, fava beans and chick peas”. The manufacturers to on to tout the product’s “fiber – protein – great taste”. Well, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad….

For 140 calories you get 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 140 mg sodium, 3 grams fiber and 4 grams protein. So yes, there is certainly fiber and protein in these chips – but the taste leaves more than a little to be desired, and it certainly isn’t great. Think stale potato starch texture with an off-putting scent of past-its-prime Indian food.

Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to like them – the unappealing aroma of these chips overwhelmed their respectable fiber and protein content. They were dry with a vaguely nauseating marjoram and cumin aftertaste.

Despite the valiant effort Regine’s, it appears the world is perhaps not yet ready for a ground fava bean and ground chick pea with added wheat gluten and oat fiber chip. Your nutrition profile is respectable, but the flavor and texture components need would benefit from that last magical wish from the genie in the bottle.

Do Inmates Eat Better Than You?

9 Nov

Do Inmates Eat Better Than You?

As the consultant dietitian for the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, I was honored to speak at this week’s Essentials of Correctional Medicine conference in Salt Lake City. The conference organizer, Dr. Jeff Keller – of the fabulous Jail Medicine blog – has a special place in his heart, and his practice, for the nutritional status of the incarcerated.

My talk – which was a focus on the positive changes my colleagues and I are making in improving diet and nutrition in correctional facilities – looked at the current state of nutrition in jails across the country.

In researching for the presentation, I found that a few trends are prevailing in correctional nutrition:

  • Calorie counts are trending down – a good thing in light of the high rates of obesity in prisons and jails
  • High sodium menu items are being phased out – most counties are aiming for no more than 2,500 mg per day
  • Fiber is on the rise – many operations are now averaging 30 grams per day

And by the way, 30 grams of fiber per day is nothing to shake your billy stick at! The average American only eats 14 grams – about half of what they need – per day.

How do inmates meet their fiber needs? It’s a combination of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and beans. A lot of beans. Our menu features an average of three 1/2-cup servings of dried peas or beans per week. They’re an affordable, low-fat way to fill up on dietary fiber.

So take a look at your diet – are you getting 30 grams of fiber a day? If not, consider eating more like the Prison Diet. Who knows…it could be the next, big, trending fad diet!

Specialty Produce: A San Diego Gem

17 Oct

Specialty Produce: A San Diego Gem

Living in California is a blessing when it comes to the year-round availability of produce. But living in San Diego is especially special – because of Specialty Produce.

Specialty Produce is a San Diego-based distributor of fresh, local produce. They source from farms in Southern California, with an emphasis on organic, seasonal produce.

This week, I had the opportunity to host Dana Chaldekas of Specialty Produce as a speaker in my “Foods for Healthy Lifestyles” class at San Diego Mesa College. Dana came to talk to the class about the benefits of eating fresh, local produce – and she certainly expanded our students’ knowledge of locally available fruit and vegetable offerings!

For those of you who may not live in San Diego, you can still reap the benefits of Specialty Produce via the web. One of the company’s most advantageous offerings is its robust website that houses a wealth of knowledge about all sorts of fresh food offerings.

Culinary students, nutrition students, and those who are just plain interested in fruits and vegetables can certainly learn a thing or two from the Specialty Produce website and app for smartphones, available at:

Click on one of the hundreds of fruits and vegetables listed on the site to learn about its seasonality, nutrition profile and recipe ideas that feature the produce.

Our class was grateful for the bounty that Dana brought: fresh garbanzo beans, purple hericot verts and pea shoots to name a few. I used the Specialty Produce website to learn more about Fresh Garbanzo Beans – and to find and prepare a delicious Fresh Garbanzo Bean Salad recipe.

Thank you Specialty Produce for the important role you play in the Southern California food environment!