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“You failed…big time,” shared the nurse to me on the phone after my prenatal glucose screening test.

I was crushed. Disappointed. Frustrated. And fearful of what might be at risk for me - and more importantly, for my baby.

I had just completed the 1-hour glucose screening test for gestational diabetes, which involved drinking 50 grams of glucose (a sugar) within 5 minutes, waiting patiently for an hour, and receiving a one-time blood draw to test how much sugar was still circulating in my blood instead of being transported into my cells, as it should. It’s a test that is routinely recommended to pregnant women sometime between their 24th and 28th week of pregnancy.

Ideally, shared the nurse, my blood glucose number should be in the 130s. Mine was 190. I realized then that not only did I fail, I failed by what I considered to be a large margin. I was shocked.

Throughout the prior 25 weeks of my pregnancy, I strived to achieve balance in my food choices. Despite multiple food aversions in my first trimester, I found nutritious alternatives. I enjoyed fresh fruit, drank smoothies with vegetables, ate whole grains, incorporated nuts and seeds, and ate beans, yogurt, and eggs. I occasionally included sweet treats, of course, but more importantly, I listened in to my own hunger and fullness cues - eating when I was hungry and stopping when I was satisfied. I knew that when it came to calories, I really didn’t need to be “eating for two” and when it came to nutrition, I needed to choose the foods to support my health and that of my baby’s. I was doing my best.

But when I heard the news that I failed my screening test, I thought that I had done something wrong. I just didn't know what. I felt embarrassed - thinking, I am a dietitian after all, how could this happen to me?! - and confused.

“You’ll have to go into the hospital for a 3-hour oral glucose tolerance test with 100-grams of glucose to see if you have gestational diabetes and we encourage you to do it within the next 5 days,” the nurse instructed.

As a total Type-A new mom, I scoured the internet for answers. I searched PubMed and Google Scholar for peer-reviewed research. I reread sections of my nutrition textbooks from grad school and intently looked at position statements from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I even went to the pharmacy to purchase a blood glucose meter and test my blood sugar on my own. I read message boards written by other mommas who were in my same position. I realized that, in failing my 1-hour glucose screening test, I wasn’t alone.

Coupled with the stress of the unknown, in the days before I took my 3-hour oral glucose tolerance test (which would involve twice the sugar and four more blood draws!), I had so many questions. So, after I failed my 1-hour glucose screening test, I searched for answers.

Here’s what I found out:

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a condition that happens when a pregnant woman - not formerly diagnosed with diabetes - develops high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Normally, insulin, a hormone, is secreted by the pancreas to help get blood sugar inside your cells to be used as energy. However, during pregnancy, rising hormone levels that serve to help grow baby also impair the action of insulin, which means that blood sugar rises too.

Why is gestational diabetes a concern during pregnancy?

Gestational diabetes carries a number of risks for both mother and baby. For mom, there is an increased risk for preeclampsia and cesarean section. For baby, macrosomia (large birth weight), shoulder dystocia and birth injury, and low blood sugar shortly after birth may result. Babies born to moms with gestational diabetes are at a greater risk for childhood obesity, and the mother is at a greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.(4)

Despite this, moms with gestational diabetes and their babies can indeed go on to lead healthy, active, and vibrant lives. So fellow mommas, if you’re reading this and have or are concerned about gestational diabetes, please know that the future is still bright :)

What is the prevalence of gestational diabetes in the US?

Gestational diabetes is a fairly common pregnancy concern in the United States, estimated to affect between 4.6% and 9.2% of pregnancies. (2)

What can I do to avoid gestational diabetes?

There are some factors that increase a woman’s risk for developing gestational diabetes, including an age > 30 years, body mass index (BMI) > 25, having a first-degree relative with diabetes, and being a woman of Hispanic, African American, Native American, South or East Asian, or Pacific Island descent - and, clearly, not many of these factors can be adjusted! (4)

However, no matter a woman’s size or presence of other risk factors, eating well and exercising often prior to and during pregnancy can help a woman achieve better health during pregnancy.

Between the 1-hour glucose test (that I failed!) and my upcoming 3-hour test, I had to remind myself that even though I was doing the best that I could, pregnancy could change my body in ways that I and others may not yet understand. Perhaps my blood sugar regulating hormones just couldn’t keep up, perhaps my body was an overachiever at pumping out other hormones that impaired insulin’s action, or perhaps there was a metabolic framework or genetic code that I couldn’t control, even with a healthy, balanced eating pattern! As challenging as it was, I had to give myself grace that I and some of my former choices - like the ice cream I had on my birthday and the candy I ate on a family vacation - were not to blame or acknowledge in shame. So, I breathed. And I researched more…

Is the 1-hour glucose screening test for gestational diabetes accurate?

Turns out, the 1-hour glucose screening test is able to detect, with a 80-90% specificity, those who have gestational diabetes. (1)

But, keep in mind that the 1-hour screening test is simply that: a screening test. It is rarely used as a diagnostic test alone (especially if results are <200mg/dL). If results come back outside of normal limits, the 1-hour test is routinely coupled with a more extensive 3-hour glucose tolerance test.

In fact, one study published in 2017 demonstrated that of pregnant moms who test between 135-143 mg/dL on their 1-hour test, the risk (or positive predictive value) for gestational diabetes is just 20%. And, of those who test between 174-199 mg/dL on their 1-hour test, their risk (or positive predictive value) for gestational diabetes is 61%. (3)

For me, it seemed as though I had a 6 in 10 chance of being diagnosed with gestational diabetes and a 4 in 10 chance of not. Though my 1-hour glucose test came back high and a gestational diabetes diagnosis could indeed result, that test alone was not indicative of gestational diabetes.

What blood glucose values are considered abnormal during the 3-hour oral glucose tolerance test?

Gestational diabetes is diagnosed when there are 2 or more abnormal values demonstrated during the 3-hour oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT):

  • Fasting ≥95 mg/dL

  • 1-hour ≥180 mg/dL

  • 2-hour ≥155 mg/dL

  • 3-hr ≥140 mg/dL (1)

What can you do about a gestational diabetes diagnosis during pregnancy?

If a mom-to-be is diagnosed with gestational diabetes, a medical nutrition therapy and physical activity is considered the first-line of treatment! (4) Mom can and should work with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) to put a plan in place to help achieve better blood sugar balance, to gain a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy, and to make sure mom and baby get a steady supply of essential nutrients during pregnancy. Mom should also monitor her blood sugar daily to better understand if normal blood sugar is maintained or if further treatment - like insulin therapy - is needed.

The great news about all this is that research demonstrates that women with gestational diabetes who receive individualized medical nutrition therapy from a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) works! Working with an RDN can improve control of mom’s blood sugar, and lead to reductions in the incidence of macrosomia (large birth weight babies), hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, NICU admissions, and more.(4)

what can i eat if i have gestational diabetes?

Your eating pattern may change a lot (or just a little bit!) if you have gestational diabetes. In your appointments with your RDN, you’ll be asked about all things related to food and nutrition including the foods you eat, any recent changes in appetite, where/how you eat, your access to food, how you prepare food, and your readiness to change. Your RDN will then work with you to put a plan in place for you moving forward - which will include eating a balanced amount of carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, and fiber. Yep, you read that right…gestational diabetes does not mean that you have to give up all carbs! In fact, many carbs deliver important components to growing a healthy baby. Your RDN will work with you to help optimize all aspects of your eating plan - including carbohydrates.

So, was I diagnosed with gestational diabetes?

Despite failing my 1-hour blood glucose screening, I passed all 4-tests included in the 3-hour blood glucose tolerance test and was not diagnosed with gestational diabetes. And, results from my at-home blood glucose monitor continue to show blood glucose numbers in normal ranges after I’ve fasted and after I’ve eaten meals. I am thankful - yet I leave the gestational diabetes screening journey changed.

I understand that a failed medical test is not just a failed medical test and a diagnosis of gestational diabetes is not just a diagnosis - it can all be scary and overwhelming. Yet, it can also be an opportunity - an opportunity learn more about the condition itself, yes, but also to learn more about ourselves and about others.

As I sat in the waiting room of the hospital the day of my 3-hour test, nervous for my results, I saw three moms leaving the hospital with their newborns in their lap and I understood this: this test was not about me…it was not a measure of my effectiveness as a dietitian, my value as a person, or an assessment of how I’ll be as a mom. It was there to help us - me, my husband, my doctor, and my medical team - know what to do to continue to nourish and care for a healthy baby…and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters to me anyway.

References:

1. Metzger BE, Coustan DR. Summary and Recommendations of the Fourth International Workshop-Conference on Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetes Care. 1998 Aug;21(Suppl 2):B161–7. 

2. DeSisto CL, Kim SY, Sharma AJ. Prevalence estimates of gestational diabetes mellitus in the United States, Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), 2007-2010. Prev Chronic Dis. 2014;11:E104.

3. Tita ATN, Landon MB, Lai Y, et al. Predictive Characteristics of Elevated 1-Hour Glucose Challenge Test Results for Gestational Diabetes. American Journal of Perinatology. 2017;34(14):1464-1469. doi:10.1055/s-0037-1604243.

4. Duarte-Gardea MO, Gonzales-Pacheco DM, Reader DM et al. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Gestational Diabetes Evidence-Based Nutrition Practice Guideline. 2018 September;11(9):1719-1742.




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Stumble upon any food blog or cooking magazine, and you’re bound to find a recipe for cauliflower rice, cauliflower pizza crust, or cauliflower mashed “potatoes.” Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable that even TIME Magazine dubbed cauliflower “the new ‘IT’ vegetable” and the New York Times recently wrote about the vegetable’s “ascension.”

As more people look to adopt plant-based, gluten-free, low-carb, or veggie-friendly ways of eating, cauliflower is a nutrient-packed choice! It’s full of good-for-you vitamins and minerals, including potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin K, folate and dietary fiber. In fact, each cup of cauliflower delivers nearly all of the vitamin C most adults require in one day!

You (like me!) may already enjoy cauliflower in multiple ways - like as roasted cauliflower, in stir-fry or as part of a salad, or raw with a delicious dip like hummus or guacamole. You may have also experimented with new cauliflower recipes like cauliflower rice, cauliflower mash, or cauliflower pizza crust. The ways you can prepare cauliflower truly seem limitless!

That’s why I’ve partnered with my friends at Foxy Produce to share with you 3 MORE nutritious ways to say “YES!” to enjoying cauliflower more often. Cauliflower can be used to amp up the nutrition in your smoothies, to make a cauliflower “steak,” and to create cauliflower taco crumbles. Watch how easy it is!

3 Healthy Cauliflower Recipes: Cauliflower Smoothie, Cauliflower Steak & Cauliflower Taco Crumbles - YouTube
3 Healthy, Delicious & Unique Ways to say “YES!” to Cauliflower Add Cauliflower to Smoothies.

Adding frozen cauliflower to smoothies is sweet, literally! Frozen cauliflower ingredients are nearly flavorless in a smoothie, which means that your other flavorful ingredients can stand out. I’ll add around a 1/2 cup of frozen cauliflower to my smoothies for extra nutrition. Watch how I make my Strawberry Cauliflower Smoothie here! The recipe is simple. Just combine 1 cup of strawberries, 1/2 cup of frozen cauliflower florets, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 2 tablespoons of almond butter, and ice.

Make Cauliflower Steak.

Cutting and roasting your cauliflower in 1/2-inch thick slices makes for a hearty vegetable “steak.” You can use your favorite seasonings, spices, or spreads on your steaks - like buffalo sauce, stir-fry sauce, or a savory salad dressing. Then, roast the cauliflower steaks in an oven at 375 degrees F for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through. Get the recipe for Cauliflower Steak with Pesto & Hemp Seeds here!

Enjoy Cauliflower Taco Crumbles.

I think this unique cauliflower recipe is one you’ll want on repeat every Taco Tuesday! Simply preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Finely chop cauliflower into two cups of tiny cubes and add them to a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon each of cayenne pepper, garlic powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, paprika and oregano, and add 1/8 teaspoon of salt (optional) to your cauliflower crumbles. This recipe is spicy, so use less spices (or more cauliflower!) if you’d like it more mild. Add the crumbles to a sheet pan and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Then, add cauliflower taco crumbles by the spoonful to your hard or soft tortilla shell and layer over your other favorite taco ingredients, like corn, black beans, salsa, and avocado.

What’s your favorite way to use cauliflower? Are you a fan of cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower mashed potatoes or cauliflower rice? Will you try adding cauliflower to your smoothies, as a cauliflower steak, or will you make cauliflower taco crumbles? As always, I love hearing from you! Leave a comment below and share your cauliflower creations with me on Instagram @ToriSchmittRDN.

Thank you to Foxy Produce for sponsoring this video! Partners like Foxy Produce allow YES! Nutrition to continue to share healthy tips, recipe ideas, and nutritious solutions with all of you! Thank you for your support!

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What is collagen? Are collagen peptides good for you? What are the benefits of eating collagen and how much, if any, should you have per day? How do you use collagen peptides in food? There are a lot of questions that I get about this popular new protein source, so I thought I'd give you the facts and my thoughts in today's blog post and video. 

What is COLLAGEN? + Tropical Green Smoothie RECIPE with Collagen - YouTube
What is collagen? 

Collagen is a type of protein found in the skin, hair, nails, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bones and other tissues in animals that helps support those structures. In fact, it is the most abundant protein found within the body. 

Where does collagen come from? What is collagen made of?

When collagen is hydrolyzed (i.e. "broken down"), it forms simpler protein units called peptides. Now, collagen peptides (sometimes called "collagen hydrolysate") are available in dietary supplements including powders, capsules, and tablets.  Collagen available on the market today comes from both land and marine animals, primarily from cattle and fish. It is also sourced from chicken, pigs, and eggshell membranes. Because collagen is sourced from animal(s), collagen peptides are not considered a fit in a vegan eating pattern. 

What are the benefits of eating collagen? Do collagen supplements work?
  • Collagen may support skin health by improving skin elasticity. In an 8-week double-blind, placebo-controlled study of women between 35 and 55 years of age, those who consumed 2.5 to 5.0 grams of collagen hydrolysate once daily were found to have a statistically significant improvement in skin elasticity, per objective measurements. That being said, no statistically significant difference was seen in skin moisture or in water loss through the skin. (Source)
  • Collagen may support skin health by reducing the volume of wrinkles around the eyes. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in Skin Pharmacology & Physiology in 2014, 114 women between the ages of 45-65 years were randomized to receive either 2.5 grams of a specific collagen peptide product or a placebo for 2 weeks. After both 4 and 8 weeks of consuming collagen, a statistically significant reduction in eye wrinkle volume was demonstrated in the collagen-consumers vs. those who consumed the placebo. (Source)
  • Collagen may support joint health by improving joint pain. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of male and female athletes at Penn State University randomized athletes into two groups: the experimental group to consume a liquid formulation with 10 grams of collagen hydrolysate and the control group to consume a placebo. Measuring change through visual analogue scales, at the end of the 24-week study, those who consumed the collagen (compared with those who had the placebo) demonstrated statistically significant changes in joint pain at rest (as assessed by a physician), as well as joint pain at rest, when walking, when standing, when carrying objects, and when lifting (as assessed by the study participant). And, when a subgroup of those with knee pain in particular were assessed, even more pronounced changed were noticed among those who consumed the collagen. (Source)
  • Collagen may support joint health by improving measures of pain and function in those with osteoarthritis. A review published in 2006 in the journal Current Medical Research and Opinion shares that "collagen hydrolysate [appears] to be safe and to provide improvement in some measures of pain and function in some men and women with OA or other arthritic conditions." Yet, the authors point out their hopes for future research to clarify specifically how collagen exerts its clinical effects. (Source)
How much collagen per day should you have?

There are no standard recommendations for the amount of collagen a person should consume each day. As a general guideline, women need around 46 grams of protein per day and men need around 56 grams of protein per day, or about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This can and ideally should come from a variety of food sources of protein, which may (or may not) include collagen peptides.  

My bottom line clinical thoughts on collagen:

While collagen appears to be safe to consume, at the end of the day, more research is needed to elucidate how collagen consumption may provide specific clinical benefits related to skin and joint health.

It's exciting that the studies available showed statistically significant improvement in some factors of skin and joint health, but I don't think collagen alone is the miracle cure to heal arthritis and joint pain, nor is it a guaranteed sure solution for supple skin. There are a number of dietary factors that support both! 

However, consuming collagen peptides may be an effective, easy, and alternative way to get additional protein and a variety of amino acids (particularly glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline) into your meals and snacks.

If you want to include collagen, go for it! Many collagen peptide powders are tasteless, odorless, and dissolve easily in water, so they can be included in smoothies and soups. In fact, I used collagen to make my tasty Tropical Green Smoothie. Check out the recipe below!

Tropical Green Smoothie with CollagenIngredients:
  • 1 cup of frozen pineapple
  • 1 cup of kale, loosely packed
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 scoop of collagen peptides (containing ~10 grams collagen protein)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
Instructions:
  1. Add the ingredients to a high speed blender and blend until thoroughly combined and smooth. 

Will you say "YES" this Tropical Green Smoothie? Have you tried collagen before, and if so, how did you use it? I'd love to hear what you have to say, so drop a comment below!

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Want easy meal prep, on-the-go, healthy lunch recipes? Look no further than this ULTIMATE Salad In a Jar! If prepping healthy lunches is a challenge for you, salad in a jar will make your meal prep MUCH easier! 

In this video, I've partnered with my friends at Foxy Produce to help you learn how to make salad in a jar with your own favorite ingredients PLUS I'm sharing the recipe for the ULTIMATE Salad in a Jar Recipe with strawberries, garbanzo beans, and cauliflower. It's so YUM! 

How to Make Salad In A Jar | RECIPE | Mason Jar Salads with Foxy Produce - YouTube
How to Make Salad In a Jar

First, grab your clean, glass jar. Quart-sized glass jars* work well for making entree salads and pint-sized jars* work well for side salads, fruit salads, or any smaller combination of a mason jar meal. I like using wide mouth jars since they are easier to stuff and easier to pour! 

Start with your wet ingredients on the bottom, like dressing. Then, layer in your heaviest and non-absorbent ingredients first, like firm vegetables (raw cauliflower, broccoli, etc.), pulses (beans, lentils, chickpeas). Then, continue to layer with more least-absorbent ingredients (like berries and tomatoes) all the way to the softer ingredients at the top (or just those ones that are more prone to get soggy, like cheese).  Special note: if you're planning on storing your salads for more than one day and wanting to use softer proteins on your salad (like hardboiled eggs, tuna, chicken, or fruits subject to browning like avocados) I'd suggest waiting to add these until you're ready to eat the salad. Finally, finish layering by adding your favorite leafy green vegetable and screw on your jar's lid.

Store in the refrigerator until you're ready to eat, making sure to keep the jar upright! Simply unscrew the lid when ready to eat and shake into a bowl. You may need to use a fork to help you get out all the delicious goodness! Then, eat! 

The Benefits of Homemade Salad In A Jar

Is salad in a jar good for you? You bet! Here's why I think it's a good idea to make salad in a jar:

  1. EASY: They're easy to make! Once you have all the ingredients washed, chopped and ready-to-go, layering your salads into the jars can happen in a snap! In fact, it's SO easy even your children can help! 
  2. READY WHEN YOU ARE: You can store mason jar salads in your fridge until you're ready to eat them. That means that if you'd like to prep a batch of 4 or 5 salads on Sunday night to grab throughout the whole week for lunch at work, you can!
  3. PACKED WITH NUTRITION: You can combine your favorite ingredients together. I happen to love the combo of beans, berries and greens, which is why my classic YES! Nutrition salad (featured below) offers all three!  You can also strategically think about which nutrients you want to maximize in your salad and add them in accordingly. For example, for healthy carbohydrates in your salad in a jar, add in fruit, whole grains (like quinoa or wheat berries), beans, or corn. For protein in your salad, consider adding beans (yep, these feature both fiber-rich carbs AND plant-based proteins), nuts, seeds, hardboiled eggs, and/or cheeses. And, for healthy fats, consider adding in an olive oil/vinegar dressing, olives, nuts/seeds, or pair your salad with guacamole or avocado on the side. Of course, you can add in all of the vegetables you can fit into your jar, too! Your options are SO limitless!
  4. GRAB-AND-GO: Heading out to work?  Simply grab a bowl, a fork, and your prepped salad in a jar from the fridge and out the door you go! Or, for the true salad-in-a-jar pros: keep your bowl and fork at work, so you only have to take your jar with you as you leave. 
Creative Ideas For Making Salad In A Jar

Want to make preparing salads in a jar even easier? Here are some fun ideas for you to enjoy making salad in a jar with your friends or family:

  1. HOST A SALAD IN A JAR PARTY: Ask your friends to bring ONE ingredient (one person brings the beans, one person brings the greens, one person brings the dressing, etc.) and ask everyone to bring their own jars. When together, simply set out all of the ingredients on the table and go around the table filling your jars. 
  2. SWAP WITH A FRIEND: Find a friend who also wants to prepare salad in a jar for busy weeks. Then, separately, each prepare 4 salads. Meet up and swap two of the jars with each other. You'll only prep one version, but you'll get another unique salad combo in return! Yay for variety! 
  3. COWORKER SALAD SHARE: With a group of co-workers, assign each person to prepare salads for the whole group for a certain day of the week. In other words, you may prepare a salad for each member of group on Monday, but your other coworkers cover the other days. You make lunch once a week (for everyone), then they pay back the favor! Simple!
Salad In A Jar Recipe Combinations

So many delicious combinations can be made with your favorite produce items to create a healthy and totally delicious salad in a jar. Here are some of my favorite salad in a jar recipes. Just remember, layer these ingredients from the bottom of your jar to the top of your jar to keep all your ingredients as firm as you can until you're ready to eat and enjoy!  

  • Strawberry Spinach Salad: 2 tablespoons Raspberry Vinaigrette, 1/4 cup broccoli, 1/2 cup strawberries, 1/4 cup gorgonzola crumbles, 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, 2 cups spinach. 
  • Blueberry Chickpea Salad: 2 tablespoons of your favorite dressing, 1/3 cup of chickpeas, 1/4 cup of cauliflower florets, 1/4 cup of blueberries, 2 tablespoons of feta cheese, 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds, 2 cups of greens.
  • Southwest Salad: 1-2 tablespoons lime juice, 1/3 cup black beans, 1/4 cup corn, 2 tablespoons chopped green pepper, 2 tablespoons pico de gallo, 2 cups of romaine lettuce. Carry a single-serve pack of guacamole on the side to add to the salad when ready.
  • Asian Chop Salad: 2 tablespoons shiitake sesame dressing, 2 tablespoons chopped red pepper, 2 tablespoons chopped yellow pepper, 1/3 cup shelled edamame, 2 tablespoons shredded carrots, 1/2 cup red cabbage, 3/4 cup green cabbage, 2 tablespoons hemp seeds.
The ULTIMATE Salad In A Jar RecipeIngredients
  • 2 tablespoons of Green Goddess dressing (like this one!*)
  • 1/2 cup of chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup of cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon of feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds
  • 2 cups (or more) of your favorite leafy green vegetable, like spinach (kale, romaine, chard, BroccoLeaf, etc. all work here!)
Instructions
  1. In a quart sized jar, add the dressing. 
  2. Then, layer in the chickpeas, cauliflower, and strawberries.
  3. Next, layer on top the feta cheese and the hemp seeds. 
  4. Fill the jar to the top with your favorite leafy green vegetable.
  5. Screw the jar's lid on top and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. 
  6. Once ready, unscrew the lid and shake the salad into a bowl. You may need to use a fork to help you get all the salad out of the jar! 

Have you ever made Salad in a Jar?  What ingredients did you use?  Share your favorite salad in a jar ingredient combos with me below.  And, if you try the ULTIMATE Salad In a Jar recipe shared above, let me know that, too!

 

Thank you, Foxy Produce, for sponsoring this food video! Sponsors allow YES! Nutrition to continue to share healthy tips, recipe ideas, and nutritious solutions with all of you. Thank you for your support!

*This post includes Amazon Affiliate Links. 

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If you're looking for what turmeric is, the health benefits of turmeric, how to use turmeric and reasons why to include turmeric in your foods, I have plenty of nutrition tips for you! Today, I'm sharing information on turmeric including turmeric benefits, turmeric uses and turmeric nutrition information. Let's get to it! 

How To Use Turmeric + Health Benefits - YouTube
What Is Turmeric?

Turmeric is a spice that comes from the root of the turmeric plant.  Traditionally used in Indian and Asian foods, turmeric - and more specifically its bioactive component, curcumin - delivers a warm flavor and a vibrant yellow color to foods.  

Turmeric Health Benefits

Turmeric and its active constituent, curcumin, demonstrates potential anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties.  It has been studied for its role in managing inflammation, reducing symptoms of arthritis, lowering LDL cholesterol, promoting better skin health, and even in managing the symptoms of gingivitis! 

Turmeric may help improve blood lipid levels and reduce LDL cholesterol (that's the "bad" cholesterol).  Among 120 participants in the overweight BMI category with hyperlipidemia, in a double-blind randomized controlled trial, those who consumed turmeric extract at 1.4 grams/day for 3 months reduced their total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, VLDL cholesterol and triglycerides compared to those who did not take turmeric. (1) 

Turmeric may also help reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis, including pain reduction and improved joint function. (2, 3) It may help reduce symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis, as well. (4)

Even more research demonstrates turmeric's role in supporting healthy skin and gums, too. Animal studies have demonstrated the impact of curcumin in improving wound healing and in preventing sunlight-induced skin damage (specifically, UVB-induced skin damage). (5, 6) And, preliminary evidence suggests that using a turmeric mouthwash may be effective for reducing the severity of gingivitis and oral bacteria levels! (7) 

While there's still more to be learned about what turmeric is good for, using it on foods in amounts commonly consumed seems to be a nutritionally smart strategy!

How To Use Turmeric

Here are 3 unique, creative ways to use turmeric on the foods you already love!

  1. Coat Fresh Grapes with Turmeric: It's simple!  Add fresh grapes to a bowl, sprinkle ground turmeric overtop and swirl. 
  2. Add Turmeric to Popcorn: Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric the next time you enjoy air-popped popcorn. The turmeric will add just a subtle flavor and deliver those anti-inflammatory curcuminoids. Just bring a napkin with you if you take this healthy snack to the couch -- that vibrant yellow color may get on your hands! ;) 
  3. Add Turmeric to a Smoothie: Simply add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric to your favorite smoothie recipe. It's such a simple way to get more of this beneficial spice!

Of course, you can use turmeric in traditional Indian cuisine, like curry. You can also use turmeric in eggs, rice, quinoa, leafy green sautés, roasted vegetables, soup and in golden milk. You could even use turmeric to make roasted chickpeas!

Purchase turmeric at your grocery store, spice shops or from trusted brands online. I appreciate these turmeric products: Ground TurmericFermented Turmeric Booster Powder, Turmeric Powder, and Golden Milk Blend.*

Fun Facts on Turmeric

While curcumin is widely studied, curcumin is not the only beneficial component of turmeric. In fact, important health benefits are seen with other components of turmeric, including elemene, turmerin and turmerone. (8)

So, while taking a supplement that delivers curcumin as a standalone product may provide exciting health benefits, if you're not enjoying the spice in its whole food form, you'll likely be missing out on some of the other beneficial attributes of turmeric. Whole foods -- and whole spices -- for the win!

And another fun fact on turmeric? To enhance the bioavailability of turmeric (i.e. boost its ability to enter circulation), it's often recommended to enjoy turmeric with piperine, the active constituent in black pepper. (9)

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Well, there you have it! What turmeric is, the health benefits of turmeric and how to use turmeric. I hope this helps! What's your favorite way to enjoy turmeric? Leave me a COMMENT to share your FAVORITE way to include turmeric into your eating pattern more often.

And please know that I'm here to help you say "YES!" to enjoying nutritious foods more often! Subscribe here so you never miss a video! 

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*This post includes Amazon Affiliate links.

References: 

  1. Pashine, Lekhani, J V Singh, A K Vaish, S K Ojha, & A A Mahdi. " EFFECT OF TURMERIC (CURCUMA LONGA) ON OVERWEIGHT HYPERLIPIDEMIC SUBJECTS: DOUBLE BLIND STUDY." Indian Journal of Community Health[Online], 24.2 (2012): 113-117. Web. 17 Apr. 2018
  2. Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Dugall M, et al. Efficacy and safety of Meriva, a curcumin-phosphatidylcholine complex, during extended administration in osteoarthritis patients. Alt Med Rev 2010:15:337-4.
  3. Belcaro, G., Cesarone, M. R., Dugall, M., Pellegrini, L., Ledda, A., Grossi, M. G., Togni, S., and Appendino, G. Product-evaluation registry of Meriva(R), a curcumin-phosphatidylcholine complex, for the complementary management of osteoarthritis. Panminerva Med 2010;52(2 Suppl 1):55-62.
  4. Chandran B, Goel A. A randomized pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. Phytother Res. 2012 Nov;26(11):1719-25. 
  5. Panchatcharam, M., Miriyala, S., Gayathri, V. S., and Suguna, L. Curcumin improves wound healing by modulating collagen and decreasing reactive oxygen species. Mol.Cell Biochem. 2006;290(1-2):87-96.
  6. Sumiyoshi, M. and Kimura, Y. Effects of a turmeric extract (Curcuma longa) on chronic ultraviolet B irradiation-induced skin damage in melanin-possessing hairless mice. Phytomedicine. 2009;16(12):1137-1143.
  7. Waghmare, P. F., Chaudhari, A. U., Karhadkar, V. M., and Jamkhande, A. S. Comparative evaluation of turmeric and chlorhexidine gluconate mouthwash in prevention of plaque formation and gingivitis: a clinical and microbiological study. J Contemp.Dent Pract. 2011;12(4):221-224.
  8. Aggarwal, B. B., Yuan, W. , Li, S. and Gupta, S. C. (2013), Curcumin‐free turmeric exhibits anti‐inflammatory and anticancer activities: Identification of novel components of turmeric. Mol. Nutr. Food Res., 57: 1529-1542. 
  9. Shoba, G., Joy, D., Joseph, T., Majeed, M., Rajendran, R., and Srinivas, P. S. Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med 1998;64(4):353-356.
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