Diane May Nutrition Blog

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How To Have A Healthy Summer

July 9th, 2018

Summer time can be a challenge for people, as routines seem to fade away and we shift into perpetual vacation mode. So what are some things we can do to make summer fun but maintain a healthy balance?

  • Eat more plants! Summer is one of the best seasons for produce (especially on the East Coast), so take advantage and load up on those 8-11 servings of fruits and vegetables we all need for vitamins, minerals and fiber.  It will help to stabilize weight as well. Go to your local farmers markets and pick things you have never tried. Experiment and make it fun.
  • Pay attention to alcohol consumption.  BBQ’s and socializing lead to greater alcohol consumption. Try and limit how much you consume and have seltzer or club soda in between alcoholic beverages to slow down consumption of those empty calories. Men should never have more than two alcoholic beverages in a day and women should consume no more than one alcoholic beverages in a day.  In the summer, people tend to let lose and drink more-the sun and alcohol do not mix, so be careful and be mindful.
  • Bring your own food. If attending a party and not sure what is on the menu, offer to bring a salad, a fruit plate or grilled vegetables. Having safe foods available and being prepared will help you stay on track.
  • If you are taking a road trip or have plans to travel, pack food. Bring snack packs of nuts, healthy bars for on the go and fruit. The more healthy options you have available, the less tempted you will be with junk fare along the way to your destination. 
  • Get out into nature. A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencefound that walking for 90 minutes, specifically in nature can actually help reduce the symptoms of depression. Now is the time to take advantage of this beautiful weather and take a walk outside! it can also help reach those exercise goals as an added benefit.
  • Use sunscreen! The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using an SPF of at least 30 that has broad spectrum protection. That means that it should protect against UVB and UVA rays. Re apply every 1-2 hours and use a generous amount (approximately shot glass for your body). Make sure you cover all areas, including ears, neck and feet-most forgotten areas. Everyone needs to use sunscreen.
  • Stay well hydrated. Make sure you are drinking enough water. We sweat more in the summer so try and reach that goal of 64 ounces of water a day. Don’t drink juices, even if fresh. They are loaded with empty calories.

Summer is a great time to try new activities, get outside and enjoy friends and family. Just be mindful and stay safe!

Summer Vegetable Tian

From: EatingWell Magazine, July/August 2018

This pretty vegan layered casserole is so simple to make. Its only seasonings are salt and garlic-infused olive oil, which you make by sizzling a clove of garlic in olive oil for about a minute. This dish is lovely warm or room temperature. Serve with crusty bread as a vegetarian entree or alongside roasted meats as a side dish

Ingredient 6servings

  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 4 medium tomatoes 
  • 3 small onions
  • 1 medium summer squash
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Prep

  • Ready In

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Heat oil and garlic in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until the garlic begins to sizzle, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Slice tomatoes, onions, squash and zucchini into ⅛-inch-thick slices. Standing them up on their sides, alternate the tomato, onion, squash and zucchini slices in a circular pattern around the edge of a 9-inch deep-dish glass pie pan or similar-size round casserole dish. Make a second alternating circle in the center. Pack the vegetables tightly: they will shrink while baking.
  4. Discard the garlic, if desired, and drizzle the vegetables with the oil. Sprinkle with salt. Bake until the vegetables are tender and starting to brown, about 1 hour. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
 Nutrition information
  • Serving size: 1 cup
  • Per serving: 152 calories; 13 g fat(2 g sat); 2 g fiber; 9 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 2 mcg folate; 0 mg cholesterol; 5 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 821 IU vitamin A; 26 mg vitamin C; 27 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 376 mg sodium; 425 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (43% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: ½
  • Exchanges: 1½ vegetable, 2½ fat

Alkaline Diets

June 4th, 2018

Alkaline diets are based on the theory that certain foods can impact the pH balance of out bodies. The pH of our blood is 7.4 and perfect neutral balance is 7.  The alkalinity of food is determined by PRAL. PRAL stands for the Potential Renal Acid Load, which can calculate the acidifying effects of foods based on the amount of Magnesium, Phosphorus, Protein, Calcium, and Potassium in the urine. Vegetables, fruits, beans, soy and nuts are recommended on an alkaline diet and animal proteins, processed foods, added sugar, alcohol, whole grains and dairy are restricted.  There is limited scientific research to support the benefit of an alkaline diet.  The Journal of  Environmental and Public Health  did show benefits associated with alkaline diets, most particularly benefiting cardiovascular health, cognition, bone health and improved muscle.  This in part, was due to just increasing plants and reducing animal proteins and processed foods-which is beneficial, but doesn’t necessarily impact pH balance. This could be accomplished by following a DASH diet-which encourages vegetables, fruits, whole grains , low fat dairy and lean proteins and limits sodium and processed foods.

The body, our lungs and kidneys in particular work very hard to keep our bodies as close to neutral as possible.  If we were not alkaline enough, we would know it, because we would be very sick. If you are going to attempt an Alkaline diet, make sure you pay attention to your protein intake-make sure you are getting adequate intake. Diets that are as highly restrictive as an Alkaline diet plan also reduce consumption of important nutrients found in whole grains and dairy, which can lead to malnutrition. 

Can this diet make us more alkaline? No, but I agree that a more plant based diet that reduces processed foods, sodium and added sugar isn’t a bad thing! Alkaline diets increase magnesium and potassium through higher plant intake, very similar to the DASH diet, which is a good thing.  But it is important to note that we cannot influence our pH balance significantly through diet alone.  Our lungs and kidneys take their job very seriously and do the hard lifting in the case of pH balance. Many of the claims an Alkaline diet makes are false. Although it may be refreshing, drinking lemon water does very little to impact the pH of our body! Eat whole, eat clean, eat plants-don’t be overly restrictive and reap the benefits.

Braised Green Beans & Summer Vegetables

From: EatingWell Magazine, May/June 2009

“When green beans, summer squash and cherry tomatoes are plentiful in backyard gardens and farmers’ markets, try this quick braise. We like the salty, nutty flavor of Parmesan, but you can use any flavorful cheese.”


    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 small onion, halved and sliced
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano , or 1 teaspoon dried
    • ½ cup white wine , or reduced-sodium chicken broth
    • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
    • 1 medium summer squash , or zucchini, halved and cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes , or grape tomatoes
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • ¼ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese


  • 1Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and oregano and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add wine (or broth) and bring to a boil. Add green beans, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add summer squash (or zucchini) and tomatoes and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan.



Nutrition information


  • Serving size: about 1 cup
  • Per serving: 92 calories; 4 g fat(1 g sat); 3 g fiber; 10 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 40 mcg folate; 2 mg cholesterol; 3 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 834 IU vitamin A; 17 mg vitamin C; 90 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 158 mg sodium; 291 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (28% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: ½
  • Exchanges: 2 vegetables, ½ fat