Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A late goodbye!

Thank you all! Defending Veggies has been a blast! Please continue to use this site as a resource for fun articles and recipes!

Happy 2012!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Most Outrageous

If I didn't hesitate before hitting the 'publish' button, I knew I didn't have a hit on my hands that day. Now, if I walked by my computer 3 times trying to talk myself out of going through with it, then I knew I had a good one. Of all my posts, these are the ones that I hesitated on the most.

Let's look at the most outrageous (in my opinion) posts of Defending Vegetables. Starting off the pack was a personal problem of mine...let's just say that my misery made for a pretty gut wrenching post.

Clogged up like a damn drain

Nothing quite competes with the first time I spilled my guts that I too am a health disaster.

Confessions of a Dietitian

Lastly, there's nothing like some gonja to wrap things up!

"Can you pass me my prenatal vitamins...oh, and that joint?"

Monday, December 19, 2011

Repeat Favorite: Sex is Back

Of all my posts, one of my favorites and most read was a little something called "Let's Talk About Sex."

Revamped for your pleasure, please enjoy this tasty tidbit of love and nutrition!

What you eat affects all areas of your life, and that includes your SEX LIFE. Aphrodisiacs have been around since the beginning of time, and there is a lot of truth to their effects. If you are having trouble in the bedroom one of the first places you might want to look is your dinner table, but let’s separate the rumors from the truth.

Oysters have been given the sexy reputation of helping couples all over the world improve their action between the sheets - but do they work? Yes, but maybe not for the reasons you think. The largest portion of their aphrodisiac effect comes from their resemblance to the female…you know. Think about it…yep! Also, the smooth texture doesn't hurt. The way a food looks, smells, tastes, and even the way it feels plays a crucial role in its romantic powers.

Unfortunately, many "aphrodisiacs" are simply playing off their placebo effect. Girl thinks: "I want to be in the mood. What can I do? Oh, I'll prepare oysters!" So, she eats oysters and BAM! She gets busy with her man. The oysters get the credit, but in actuality, she probably put herself in the mood.

Don't worry, on top of this placebo effect there is some actual science here. Oysters are rich in zinc which is essential to testosterone production, sperm maintenance, and in sustaining female lubrication. Seafood generally is high in zinc, but unfortunately not all seafood resembles the female anatomy so vividly.

Nuts (ha) are another food very high in zinc, but their aphrodisiac reputation comes from another nutrient. Nuts contain Omega-3's, a precursor for prostaglandin, a hormone-like substance that plays a key role in sexual health.

Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical irritant that increases heart rate, respiratory rate, sweating, and blood flow, mimicking the arousal response. Basically, you can use any hot spice to fake your way into feeling spicy!

Chocolate is the most researched aphrodisiac by far. Neurotransmitters serotonin and anandamide contribute to feelings of happiness and euphoria during sex - chocolate contains both. Thank you Hersey's!

For those of you who are more literal, just a good ole' fashioned reminder might help (foods that resemble the real thing). Bananas, peaches, melons…you get the picture!

If you are planning a romantic night that includes dinner and you want an after party, then stay away from high fat foods, especially red meat. Animal protein takes a loooooooonnnnnnngggggg time to digest and can leave you feeling sluggish and tired. That combo can lead to a pretty limp party.

Yes, food is highly related to sexual health, but honestly, the most effective way to increase your drive is to increase overall health. Being overweight decreases circulation, and if you have decreased blood flow, that means you aren't getting the needed blood flow for arousal. No stiff for your stiffy, if you catch my drift. Also, if you are over-stressed, on oral contraceptives, or habitually drinking alcohol, you could be depleting your stores of B vitamins, a component of sexual health. Increase your intake of whole grains, beans, and leafy vegetables to get your B vitamins back on track.

So, the perfect dinner? Start with a dark green salad topped with pine nuts and your favorite dressing. Pan sear chili pepper-seasoned salmon in olive oil, add a side of oysters, red wine to drink (but not too much), and dark chocolate for desert. After that, you and your partner will be down to get down!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The End is Near:(

As the end of 2011 approaches, so will the end of Defending Vegetables. I started this blog on April 30th, 2010 while sitting at my desk bored to death. (I worked for a government agency at the time. So, needless to say, I had some time on my hands). Over the last 21 months I have had more fun with this project than anything I've ever taken on!

Searching for new topics, asking friends and family for help, searching for pics and videos, and my favorite part, people bringing up my posts while out and about (so cool:). It was all awesome!
So, with that said, I am going to take the next 2 weeks to provide some closure to Defending Vegetables. I am going to work on getting things as organized as possible so that it can still be used as a resource and I'll be reflecting back on past posts!

Thank you to everyone for reading! I am so appreciative and feel so lucky to have such great friends and family! For everyone who commented, shared, forwarded, "liked" my posts, thank you! You made my day...every day.

I'm looking forward to the next couple weeks - stick it out with me and please provide some feedback if you have the time!

Thanks for reading,


Monday, December 5, 2011

Sports Fans Get W's and Diabetes.

Who would you say is the most famous person in Louisville? Well, just stop any Luvillian on the street and ask them a few questions...

1. Who's the Govener? Answer: "Uhh, oh, umm, who's that, oh, Butcher guy?"
2. Who's the Mayor? Answer: "Oh, JERRY! Haven't seen him in a while, though? Huh."
3. Who are Charlie Strong and Rick Pintino? Answer: gods.

When it comes to leaders in Louisville, it doesn't get any bigger than "Ricky 3 Stacks" and "Chucky Muscles." Now, seeing as these men are held to such a high caliber one would think that they would be choosy, classy even, when it came to their endorsements. When it comes to endorsing food items, seeing as Chuck's muscles seem to bust out of his shmedium shirts all day and Porchini Pitino looks like he's been surving on lettuce and water (not to mention the fact that he threatened certain staff members with their positions if they didn't get on the health train - GO KNIGHTS!!), you'd think that they would keep the idea of "health" in mind.

Dear Ricky Rick and the Chucky Bunch,
You are collegiate athletic coaches and tons of half ton kids hold you on pedistals. In fact, I'd like to see either of go near a 680 calorie Bacon Buford...I doubt you'd even go for Rally's diet burger. At only 570 calories, the Big Buford is is a kids meal compared to their new creations. That's right. RALLY'S!!! Walk up window, no inside seating, pooling grease in their fries, Ranch and cheese served as a side items, RALLY'S!! Quite the contrary to all of their kid fit camps that are promoted throughout the summer months.

"Come on, kids. Get active with our world class athletes, then we'll head to Rally's for some diabetes. GO CARDS!"


The irony being that Kentucky's Calipari is the one that looks like he's been indulging in a Rally Burger or two (using the extra grease to hold his hair back), but maybe thats just one too many Papa Johns pizzas. Thanks Kentucky leaders for helping us with the obesity crises. No, Kentucky's fat problem is not your responsibility, but as a public figure BY CHOICE, you could reap some financial benefits from...I don't know...somewhere that chooses not to serve garlic flavored love handles. Thaaaaannnnkkkkkssss!!!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Don't Hide the Grill in the Chill

Although our guest writer for today’s specialties historically include math, Google image searching, Friday emails, rocking suspenders, quoting The Simpsons, and eating Mexican, my brother has graced us today with his passion for grilling. This is Mark’s second article for Defending Veggies, and he’s written today to help motivate you to keep that grill cooking this winter!!

Thanks for the help today, Mark!
- Erin

Lots of people love to have cookouts. People come over, you fire up the grill, then burgers and brats for all! Then comes November, and with the cold, comes the grill cover. And other than maybe getting the mini-grill out at football games, we won’t see those coals again until May.

Well I don’t buy that at all.

Grilling can be an easy, inexpensive, time saving, and healthy… all year long. You can cook entire meals all at once! Last week I ran into the same old issue…I didn’t know what I was having for dinner. I didn’t have a ton of options. Let’s see…I had two potatoes, some chicken breasts, and asparagus. And all I thought was, “Yahoo! No dishes for me tonight!"

Chicken in BBQ sauce for 30, potatoes cut in half, wrapped in foil, asparagus with a little salt n pepper, and I was ready for the grill. (That took about 5 min by the way.) Cook time was 30 minutes for potatoes, 20 for the chicken, and about 7 for the asparagus. Done. Dinner served. Not a 5 star restaurant, but also cost about $4…and I had some leftovers. And seriously, not to pat myself on the back, but it was pretty freakin’ good.

The grill gets used year round for sure. First of all, it is easy and quick. But secondly, it’s also healthy. (Sorry, had to put that in or Erin wouldn’t have posted it.) Now you can choose to eat the brats and burgers, but (your welcome, Erin) lean cuts of steak, pork, and especially chicken, are your healthier choices. Another thing that puts grilling ahead in the health game is that you’re not using any butter or oil to cook with… maybe just some marinade.

Skinless chicken is really the way to go - find new marinades, and find different veggies to go with it. It is low in fat and high in protein. Another option, although not my favorite, is fish. People like to try new things every once in a while, so tilapia, salmon, and tuna steaks have all been grilled at my house. I’m not a master with the sea food, but it was easy enough to find how to cook whatever on the internet, or the thousands of cook books out there.

Note: The aroma of something like salmon about an hour into cooking is not the most appealing. Grill outside, and that stays outside.

Last but not least, the smoker; I received an electric smoker as a gift. I wasn’t really that excited about it, but hey, why not give it a try?! First, I tried ribs. I failed. I failed miserably. Although a great man once said, “See! You tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is: Never try,” I have given it a few more tries, and it has worked out great. I smoked a 3lb pork tenderloin that took about 5 hours…it was awesome! I named the pig, “lucky.” My company didn’t think that was funny, but they didn’t reject eating “Little Lucky” either. I had little lucky leftovers for about a week!

So, get out there and get grilling! Let Erin know how much I inspired you by sending her grilling recipes that she can post on here!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Food Flavoring Industry

60 Minutes delved into the world of food flavoring last night. They covered all the things you would think...the actual flavorists, large factories pumping out liquid chicken, a montage of Americans' fat know the drill.

To watch the video in full, just follow the link.

The last little blurb was about how "health and wellness" is the new rave, and how flavorists now have the challenge of creating healthy foods that taste good. That scares me. That scares me because the "health" foods that have already been introduced to the market are not necessarily healthy; however, Americans perceive that purchasing these items equals better health.

I'm pretty sure that the answer to healthier eating, or to obesity in general, is not going to be created in a lab. I understand that those working in this industry are just doing their job - I have no issues with that. They are just responding to the demand. Until the public becomes more intelligent than the industries (food, flavoring, marketing, media, etc) demanding whole, natural foods, they are just going to keep at it.

I eat foods that have been artificially flavored every single day. 99.9% of Americans do. One of the best things you can do is educate yourself. It will still be difficult to outsmart the geniuses that are creating delicious, short lasting flavors that keep us running back for more. You can't blame it on them have to be in charge of your own self control!

You obviously can't survive on lettuce and water, but everything in moderation. The piece warns you about any food that comes in a can, a box, or a jar...think of ways that you can enhance the nutritional value of each of your daily meals adding in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy. Its at least a step in the right direction for now!!

Happy Monday:) What are you having for lunch?!