September 2015

The Breakfast Special


Breakfast If you flunked a test, botched a project, forgot your keys, or can’t lose weight, the reason could be what you ate or didn’t eat for breakfast. One out of every four of us skips breakfast daily, and 50% of us eat breakfast only on occasion. We skip breakfast because we want to lose weight, aren’t hungry, or because we complain that we don’t have enough time. Big mistake, especially when it only takes five minutes to eat well in the morning.

Why is breakfast so important? You might feel fine at first, full of energy and raring to go for the first few hours after you wake up. That counterfeit burst of energy comes from a mind and body revved from a good night’s sleep. However, you’ll pay for the neglect later. In fact, by afternoon, even if you eat a relatively good lunch in an  effort to boost lagging energy levels, you never  regain the energy you would have had if you’d taken five minutes to eat breakfast.

People who eat breakfast think more clearly, remember more, are more creative, react quicker, make fewer mistakes, and have more energy than their breakfast-skipping friends. And, they are better nourished, healthier, and consume less fat and more fiber than do breakfast skippers.

If you’re not hungry, isn’t skipping breakfast an easy way to cut calories and lose weight? No. Skipping breakfast in an effort to cut calories and lose weight backfires. People eat more, not less when they skip breakfast. It’s called the night eating syndrome. Where once a person starts to eat mid-day, he or she eats more food and calories between noon and bedtime than did someone who took a few minutes to eat in the morning. A study from Vanderbilt University in Nashville found that people who ate breakfast lost more weight than did breakfast skippers, even though both groups consumed the same amount of calories.

You must choose correctly to get the maximum benefits from breakfast. I call the best guidelines: the 1,2,3 Breakfast:

1) a whole grain to provide needed high-quality carbs for the brain during the morning hours,

2) a little protein to keep you satiated and maintain even blood sugar levels throughout the morning, and

3) 1, and preferably 2, colorful fruits and vegetables.
Photo credit: Adam Freidin via Compfight

Just Do This Today

Choose one of the following 1,2,3 Breakfasts

Breakfast #1: The Gold Standard: Cereal, fruit, milk. Tip: Look for cereal that is made from 100% whole grains and is low in sugar. Aim for at least 5 grams of fiber and no more than 5 grams of sugar. Compliment it with fruit and a protein-rich food like milk or soy milk.

Breakfast #2: Oatmeal cooked in low-fat milk. Oatmeal is rich in heart-healthy fiber. Cook it in milk instead of water to pack in more calcium. Add some dried fruit and serve with OJ. Tip: I add 2 tbsp. of toasted wheat germ to the kid’s oatmeal, which gives them a hefty dose of vitamin E, trace minerals, and B vitamins. They don’t even know it’s there! Or, the night before, pour hot milk into a wide-necked thermos, add old fashioned oatmeal, and seal the lid. You will have “instant” oatmeal by morning.

Breakfast #3: Whole wheat waffles. Top them with peanut butter and berries for the kids or with fat-free sour cream and fresh blueberries for adults. Serve with milk or soymilk. This breakfast tastes sinfully delicious, but is actually low in fat and high in nutrients. Tip: Canned fruit, canned in it’s own juice is just about as good nutritionally as fresh fruit. So, use this in a pinch.

parfaitBreakfast #4: Fruit parfait. Layer yogurt, low-fat granola, and fruit in a parfait glass. Serve with OJ. This breakfast is different, looks pretty, and both kids and adults love it. Tip: Try calcium-fortified OJ to help meet your calcium needs when you don’t drink your 4 glasses of milk every day.

Breakfast #5: Egg sandwich of egg beaters, low-fat cheese, tomato slices on an English muffin. Serve with fruit. Tip: Watch out for coffee and tea with meals. Tannins in these beverages block iron absorption.

Breakfast #6: Smoothie. In a blender, add OJ concentrate, nonfat yogurt, a banana, berries, canned apricots, and a tbsp or two of toasted wheat germ.  Tip: OJ concentrate adds a big nutritional punch and lots of flavor, and you can drink this breakfast on the way to work!
Photo credit: Jamaila Brinkley via Compfight

Hot Off the Diet Press

1. America is Produce Phobic: Only about one in every ten Americans meets even minimum daily requirements for fruits and vegetables, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Data was gathered by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an ongoing state-by-state CDC-sponsored survey that tracks the healthy and unhealthy habits of Americans. Results showed that only 13% of Americans consume one and a half to two cups of fruit daily and less than 9% eat two to three cups of vegetables. On average, Americans eat fruit once a day and vegetables fewer than two times a day. The top two states for produce intake were California and Oregon, with 13% and 11% of the population meeting minimum standards for produce intake, respectively.
Moore L, Thompson F: Adults meeting fruit and vegetable intake recommendations: United States, 2013. MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2015;July 10th.

2. Once Fat, Always Fat: The news isn’t good when it comes to obesity, according to a study from the University College London. Between 2004 and 2014, researchers tracked medical records of more than 176,000 obese adults, none of which had undergone weight-loss surgery. Results showed that obese men and women had a very low probability of achieving a normal weight. In any given year, obese men had a 1-in 210 chance of dropping to a normal weight; women had a 1-in-124 chance. Grossly obese people’s chances were even worse, with a one in 1,290 chance of reaching a normal weight. Worse yet, more than three-quarters (78%) of the people who lost weight gained it back within five years.  By far a person’s best chance of health and a normal weight is to never gain the weight in the first place, or at least prevent further weight gain.
Fildes A, Charlton J, Rudisill C, et al: Probability of an obese person attaining normal body weight. American Journal of Public Health 2015; July 16th.

3. Processed Foods Fuel Obesity Worldwide: People are getting fat worldwide and it is directly linked to greater availability of processed foods, state researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. The global food supply was assessed from information obtained from 69 countries that ranged from high to low income. Information from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization database was compared with average adult body weight from various databases, including the World Health Organization. Results showed that between 1980 and 2013, the prevalence of overweight men increased from 29% to 37% and for women from 30% to 38%. Food energy supplies increased in 81% of those countries along with body weight. The increase in available calories was more than enough to explain the rising rates of obesity in 65% of the countries. “…oversupply of available calories is a likely driver of over consumption of those calories, and can readily explain the weight gain seen in most countries,” the researchers state. It is recommended that countries limit the marketing of processed foods to children, improve the nutritional quality of school lunches and foods available in public places, and increase nutrition information available on the front of packaging. The more the media talks about sweet or salty foods and the less they mention fruits and vegetables, the greater the likelihood that obesity rates in that country will go up in the future, state researchers at Cornell University.Vandevijvere S, Chow C, Hall K, et al: Increased food energy supply as a major driver of the obesity epidemic. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2015;93:446-456.Davis B, Wansink B: Fifty years of fat: News coverage of trends that predate obesity prevalence. BMC Public Health 2015; July 10th.

Mood-Boosting Recipe of the month-

cranberry season Cranberry-Orange Bread (From The Food & Mood Cookbook by Elizabeth Somer and Jeanette Williams)

While other fruit breads supply 160 to 200 calories a slice and up to 9 grams of fat, this tasty, festive bread is 30% lower in calories and contains a third the fat. It’s a great gift bread, addition to a buffet table, appetizer for a holiday party, or breakfast bread. Top with sugar-free marmalade or marmalade mixed with fat-free sour cream, and serve with a glass of milk or cup of hot chocolate.


cooking spray

1 3/4 cups unbleached white flour

1/3 cup toasted wheat germ

2/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon orange zest

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons dried cranberries

1 generous cup apple butter

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup liquid egg substitute (equivalent of 1 whole egg)

2 teaspoons vanilla


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat bread pan with cooking spray.

1) In a large bowl, blend flour, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and fruit zests with a wire whisk until      thoroughly mixed. Stir in cranberries and set aside.

2) In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend apple butter, oil, egg substitute, and vanilla.

3) Add apple butter mixture to flour mixture and blend only until dry ingredients are wet. Pour into bread pan. Bake       for 50 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

4) Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes, remove from pan, and continue to cool to room temperature. Slice and serve.             Makes 18 slices.

Nutrition Information per slice: 158 Calories, 20 %  fat (3.5 grams), < 0.5 grams saturated fat, 74% carbohydrate, 6% protein, 1 gram fiber.
Photo credit: looseends via Compfight

Answers to Do you know? from last issue:

1. Are whole flax seeds one of the best sources of omega-3 fats?

If all you are looking for is a food to lower inflammation, then flax seeds are one source of the omega-3 alpha linolenic acid or ALA. Granted, you won’t absorb all of the ALA in the tablespoon of flax seed, since the seeds are difficult for your body to absorb and many of the seeds will pass out unchanged. That’s why flax seeds are a good addition to a diet if you want to stay “regular.” Flax seed meal is better absorb because processing has made the seeds more digestible. Even then, you don’t get a big dose of omega-3s in such a small serving. However, if you want the full benefits from omega-3s, not only the anti-inflammatory effects, but a boost in mood, memory, and cognition, as well as possibly improvements in test scores and behavior in children, then you need the omega-3s found only in fatty fish, such as salmon, or DHA and EPA. There is no body of research to show that ALA has any effects on these health parameters.

outlier 2. Are brown eggs more nutritious than white eggs?

The simple answer is “no.” Color has nothing to do with quality, taste, or nutritional value. Brown eggs just come from a different bread of chicken, but are nutritionally the same as white eggs. The only main difference is they typically cost more.
Photo credit: Robert S Donovan via Compfight

Do You Know?

1. Does sugar cause diabetes?

2. Is brown sugar better than white sugar?

Check next week for the answers….

Food Finds/Food Fails:

Food Finds:

Sweet & Crunchy1. Fresh Express Sweet and Crunchy lettuce: This may be my favorite bagged lettuce. Like all colorful lettuce, you get a hefty dose of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The delicious taste and great texture of these greens entice you to eat more salad with less dressing.

2. Mann’s Snap Pea Sensations: “Healthy Cooking Made Easy!” says the label, and they are right. These yummy vegetable mixes come in Asian Sesame and Mediterranean Style. A 1 ½ cup serving has only 60 to 100 calories and up to 3 grams of fiber, along with 90% of your vitamin C, 20% of your vitamin A, and 10% of your folate requirements for the day. The peas are low in sodium and super easy to prepare. They make great side dishes or can take center stage as the main course if you add tofu, chicken, or fish.

Food Fails:

1. Armour Pepperoni Pizza w/ Crunch: Since it is back-to-school time, I thought it timely to remind you that any lunchable-like item at the grocery store is close to the worst thing a parent can feed their kids. This package of junk packs 2 teaspoon of fat, with half of that coming from saturated fat. It has no fiber, but 2 teaspoons of sugar and 440 milligrams of sodium. In short, almost 40% of the calories come from fat and sugar. There is absolutely no nutritional redeeming qualities. A peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat with apple slices and a tub of yogurt takes 5 minutes to prepare and is worlds above Armour’s product when it comes to body- and brain-building nutrition.

2. Hershey’s Chocolate Covered Strawberry pudding: There’s a delicious strawberry on the label dunked in chocolate. But, look closely at the ingredient list and you’ll find not a hint of fruit anywhere. The red goo at the bottom of the container must result from all the food coloring. The first ingredient is added sugar, followed by modified cornstarch, saturated fat from coconut and palm oil, cornstarch, salt, sodium steroyl , and a long list of additives I couldn’t pronounce. Homemade pudding has milk, sugar, eggs, salt, and maybe some cornstarch and vanilla. Not sure why the Hershey’s product has turned this simple treat into a science experiment, but I wouldn’t serve it to my kids and I hope you do the same.

The Daily Menu

Put know how into practice with this simple, nutritious meal plan. Eliminate the snacks  if you want to cut additional calories. And, with all the menus in my newsletter, feel free to tweak to your food preferences and choices.


Breakfast burrito: Scrambled egg substitute, ½ cup with 1 ounce grated low-fat cheese, 2 Tbsp. salsa, an 8″ flour tortilla

1 ½ cups Grapefruit juice


3 ounces Chicken breast with 1 tsp. jalapeno relish

Kiwi and mandarin orange salad: 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced, 1 cup canned mandarin oranges, 1 tsp. Sugared ginger

1 slice Cranberry Orange Bread with 1 tsp. butter

1 cup low-fat yogurt with fresh blueberries

Sparkling water with lemon


2 cups bean and vegetable soup

2 slices Sourdough french bread

Spinach salad: 2 cups spinach, 1/4 cup sliced red onion, 5 sliced mushrooms, 3 Tbsp. raspberries, and 2 Tbsp. Raspberry vinaigrette dressing



1 cup Sorbet

Diet non-cola soda

Nutritional information: 1,956 calories, 22%  fat (48 grams), 58% carbohydrates, 20%  protein.

What has Elizabeth has been up to?

August 13: Elizabeth was on Jane Wilkens Michael’s I-Heart radio show.

August 21 and 22nd: Elizabeth spoke at the California Dental Association’s annual meeting in San Francisco

August 27: Elizabeth was on AMNorthWest, KATU Channel 2 in Portland. Topic: The 1-Step Diet.

September 10th: Elizabeth was on San Diego Living, CW Channel 6 in San Diego.