Diane May Nutrition Blog

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How To Best Handle Corona Virus

March 14th, 2020

You cannot turn on the news, listen to the radio or talk to a friend without Corona virus being discussed.  I am not going to get into statistics or the global impact that this virus is having, the CDC and the Department of Health are wonderful resources for that, but I do want to discuss the basics of how to stay as healthy as possible and things that you can do. For those who feel this is nothing to be concerned about or that it does not affect them, think not just about yourself, but those that are at greatest risk. This is NOT just another flu.  Now is a time to think not just about yourself, but others as well. What are the most important basics we can do?-P.S.-we should ALWAYS do these things!

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds. Turn on the water, put your hands under running water to get them wet, then turn off the water and apply soap. Lather with soap and rub together vigorously-front, back and nails. Scrub for at least 20 seconds. Rinse and dry your hands thoroughly.
  • Do not touch your face-seriously, its harder than you think! Don’t shake hands.
  • If you have a fever or cough, STAY HOME.
  • Social distancing-Staying within 6 feet of others, do not put yourself in large groups right now. This does not mean to ignore those you love. Have common sense. Keep distance from those at greatest risk-those that are elderly or who have immunodeficiency. Check in on those in need. See if they need groceries delivered, call/skype/facetime to let people know you care. Help when and where you can.

Do not use Google as a resource for how to take care of yourself. There is way too much misinformation floating around on the internet. Look for well known, respected sites for information.  We cannot mega dose vitamins or take oregano oil for example to wish away Corona virus, but we can strengthen our immune system to help keep us as healthy as possible. Beyond food, getting good quality sleep for 7-9 hours, keeping a healthy weight, quit smoking, only consume alcohol in moderation, reduce stress (hard right about now!) and exercising help with immune function. Some healthy food choices-by no means all food available, to incorporate into your diet include:

  • Sweet potato: Have a high Beta Carotene content, an antioxidant that helps protect the body from free radicals.
  • Blueberries: Contain flavinoids, Vitamin C, A, potassium and manganese.
  • Beans: A great plant based source of protein, beans play an important role in building cells.
  • Oily Fish: Fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna are high in EPA and DHA-important Omega 3’s.
  • Dark leafy greens: Loaded with fiber, iron, calcium, Vitamins C and K and folate.
  • Probiotic rich foods: Foods such as yogurt, keffir, sauerkraut and kimchi can help boost gut function.
  • Almonds: Contain Vitamin E, manganese, fiber and magnesium.
  • Green Tea: Polyphenols-another antioxidant are found in green tea-more specifically, the polyphenol called catechins.

Avoid fast food, refined, highly processed foods, high sodium meals, artificial sweeteners and greasy, high fat foods.

Now is a time of high stress and anxiety. Take this time to create new, healthy habits. Add more vegetables and fruits into your diet-the more color, the better, try meditation or watch a new show to reduce stress, start that exercise routine you vowed to start in January, reflect on how you can make positive change,  reach out to those most affected and offer help where you can. Be considerate of those around you. This too shall pass, but until it does, please follow these guidelines.  If you do feel ill, call your healthcare provider before you go into the office. Many facilities  are putting protocols into place to make sure we all stay as safe as possible. Do not strain the resources that health professionals need-do not wear masks unless you feel ill, and do not take medical stock-gloves, masks, gowns out of medical facilities, which are limited as it is. Listen to only reputable sources and stay safe.

Southwestern Three-Bean & Barley Soup

Serve this zesty bean and barley soup garnished with chopped fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime, if desired. Source: EatingWell Soups Special Issue April 2016


Recipe Summary

Total: 2 hrs 15 mins

Servings: 6


Ingredient Checklist

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large stalk celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 9 cups water
  • 4 cups (32-ounce carton) reduced-sodium chicken broth, “no-chicken” broth or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup pearl barley
  • ⅓ cup dried black beans
  • ⅓ cup dried great northern beans
  • ⅓ cup dried kidney beans
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon salt


Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add water, broth, barley, black beans, great northern beans, kidney beans, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Bring to a lively simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, 1¾ to 2½ hours (adding more water, ½ cup at a time, if necessary or desired). Season with salt.


Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: About 1 1/3 Cups

Per Serving:

205 calories; 3.2 g total fat; 0.5 g saturated fat; 455 mg sodium. 466 mg potassium; 36.4 g carbohydrates; 10.6 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 8.8 g protein; 2463 IU vitamin a iu; 4 mg vitamin c; 110 mcg folate; 83 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 65 mg magnesium;


2 Starch, 1 Vegetable, 1 Lean Meat, 1/2 Fat



The Best Foods For Heart Health

February 6th, 2020

Tomorrow you may see many people wearing red.  That is because February is National Heart Health Month.  Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. According to the CDC, about 647,000 Americans die from heart disease every year. That equates to 1 in every 4 deaths. Good heart  health starts with what foods we put in our body.  A study published in JAMA three days ago suggested that those who consumed a high intake of processed meat, unprocessed red meat, or poultry, but not fish, was significantly associated with a small increased risk of incident CVD, whereas higher intake of processed meat or unprocessed red meat, but not poultry or fish, was significantly associated with a small increased risk of all-cause mortality. What does this mean? We need to further investigate the implications of the animal proteins we consume and most likely consume more fish and less processed meat, meat and poultry. There are other foods we should always rotate in our diet for good heart health. A heart healthy diet will always include lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fish.  It is important to limit saturated fat, eliminate trans fat and reduce sodium and refined sugars. so what are some of the top foods to include in your diet?

  • Oats: a great source of soluble fiber as well as Omega-3 fatty acid, ALA. Other great sources of soluble fiber include berries, beans, apples and citrus. Oats naturally pull cholesterol out of the body. Great for breakfast or a snack. Just avoid the added sweeteners and sugars and opt to add cinnamon and berries for natural sweetness.
  • Salmon: A lean and healthy protein with the added benefit of the Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. The American Heart Association recommends at least 2 servings a week of fatty fish. Other fatty fishes include, tuna, arctic char, sardines, cod, herring, mackerel and anchovies. A serving is 3 ounces.
  • Dark leafy Greens: Dark leafy greens such as kale, collards and spinach are a source of Vitamin K, which promotes blood clotting. Make sure you always talk to your doctor or RD if you are on blood thinners before increasing dark leafy greens. Dark leafy’s are also a natural source of nitrates, which can lower blood pressure (beet juice can do this as well). 
  • Flax: Flax (it is important that it is ground), is a source of soluble and insoluble fiber as well as Omega-3’s. Add to your morning yogurt or smoothie for added nutrition.
  • Almonds: Studies have found that the consumption of almonds can reduce the risk of heart disease. High in healthy fat, and Vitamin E as well as protein. They do have calories so be mindful. 11 almonds are 100 calories. Look for dry roasted and unsalted.
  • Brown rice: High in selenium, B complex vitamins, fiber and magnesium. It has been shown that a layer of tissue surrounding the grains of brown rice may work against angiotensin II, which is an endocrine protein that negatively impacts blood pressure and atherosclerosis.
  • Beans: A good source of fiber, protein and potassium. A diet that include beans and legumes has been shown to lower the risk for CHD (coronary heart disease). You can soak dry beans to reconstitute.  It is fine to use them out of the can but make sure to rinse them thoroughly multiple times to rinse off the sodium. It is a great idea to incorporate beans a few times a week as your protein instead of animal protein.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Packed with antioxidants, this monounsaturated fat can reduce inflammation and oxidation. A stable in the Mediterranean diet, olive oil has been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Blueberries: Loaded with anthocyanins, studies have shown that 1/2 cup serving a day can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease as well as reduce blood pressure. 

These are just a handful of the foods we should have in our diet. A heart healthy diet should include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables-eat the rainbow. The more colors we consume, the better. We should strive to consume at least 5 servings a day of vegetables and fruits. One serving of vegetables is 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw. A serving of fruit is a 1/2 cup cut or 1 small hand fruit (such as an apple). We should incorporate monounsaturated fats, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains and fish. Eating less processed foods and more whole, plant based foods is a great start. Your heart will thank you! I liked this recipe so much, doing it again!

Arctic Char on a Bed of Kale

Arctic char, related to salmon and trout, is sustainably farmed, making it a “best choice” for the environment. It has a mild flavor and cooks up quickly. We like the taste and texture of lacinato (aka dinosaur) kale in this dish. Serve with mashed potatoes. Source: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2009

Total:  30 minutes 

Servings: 4


Ingredient Checklist

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1-1 1/2 pounds kale, tough stems removed, coarsely chopped (14-16 cups)
  • 1 pound skinned arctic char or salmon fillet, cut into 4 portions
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 4 lemon wedges for garnish


Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook shallot, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add broth, water and half the kale; cook, stirring, until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Add the remaining kale and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.

  • Step 2

Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper and place on the kale. Cover and cook until the fish is just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.

  • Step 3

Meanwhile, combine sour cream, horseradish and dill in a bowl. Serve the fish and kale with the sauce and lemon wedges.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving:

334 calories; 16 g total fat; 3.4 g saturated fat; 90 mg cholesterol; 428 mg sodium. 1186 mg potassium; 12.4 g carbohydrates; 4.3 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 36.5 g protein; 11557 IU vitamin a iu; 138 mg vitamin c; 185 mcg folate; 254 mg calcium; 4 mg iron; 90 mg magnesium; 1 mg thiamin;


2 Vegetable, 4 Lean Meat, 1 Fat