Cholesterol Awareness Month

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September is Cholesterol Awareness Month so it’s a good time to talk about cooking for heart health and the cholesterol blocking plant sterols in Mazola corn oil.

A study in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology found that corn oil like Mazola can help lower cholesterol more than extra virgin olive oil.  Mazola Corn Oil has more cholesterol-blocking plant sterols than other cooking oils – four times more than olive oil and one and a half times more than canola oil. Clinical studies indicate that when consumed as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, plant sterols can help reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the gut. Need more reason to pick corn oil for heart health? The American Heart Association recently issued a new presidential advisory on dietary fats and cardiovascular disease (CVD) that strongly advised replacing saturated flat, like that found in coconut oil, with polyunsaturated fat, like corn oil, to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 30 percent.

All of this is in line with the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans that no longer emphasize a “low-fat” diet, but rather choosing quality, “good” fats. This includes replacing saturated fats that are known to contribute to heart disease with unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, like those in Mazola Corn Oil.

With a high smoke point and neutral taste, Mazola Corn Oil performs well in a variety of cooking applications, including stir-frying, sautéing, grilling and even baking. Find a variety of delicious recipes at


Fiesta Black Beans, Corn and Pepper Salad






How much water????

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The amount of water that your child or teen needs each day is a question I get frequently.   Keep in mind that the recommendations in the chart below are for total water, which includes water from all sources: drinking water, other non caffeinated beverages and food. Remember that fruits and vegetables have a higher water content than other foods. This high water content helps keep the calorie level of fruits and vegetables low while their nutrient level remains high.  A great reason for kids and adults to eat more from these food groups.

So how do you apply total water recommendations to your kid’s day? As a rule of thumb, your child or teen should drink at least six to eight cups of water a day and eat the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Also, pay special attention to your child’s or teen’s water consumption when they are physically active. The goal is to drink a half cup to two cups of water every 15 to 20 minutes while exercising. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children aged 9-12 drink 3 to 8oz of fluid and electrolytes every 20 minutes during activity. Adolescents should drink 34-50 oz per hour.

During sporting event I like to give my kids the option of drinking BODYARMOR for recovery. BODYARMOR is great for young athletes because it has potassium-packed electrolytes, coconut water and vitamins. Parents will like that it has no artificial flavors or sweeteners.

For parents they just launched BODYARMOR LYTE . It has all the same nutrients and natural ingredients – but only 20/cal per serving. And it’s naturally sweetened! BODYARMOR LYTE was created for those people who are looking for proper hydration with less calories – but don’t want all of the artificial ingredients found in lower calorie drinks. And it tastes amazing!

BODYARMOR AND BODYARMOR LYTE available at Schnuck’s, Dierberg’s, Sam’s where you can get their new sport 15 pack. I also always want to tell you when there’s a good deal out there and they are 10 for $10 at Schnucks 8/30 to 9/5.

Kids Total Daily Beverage and Drinking Water Requirements

Age Range                        Gender                        Total Water (Cups/Day)
4 to 8 years                 Girls and Boys                                      5
9 to 13 years                       Girls                                               7

Boys                                               8
14 to 18 years                    Girls                                                8
Boys                                               11
Data are from Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) Tables. Recommended Daily Allowance and Adequate Intake Values: Total Water and Macronutrient


Crazy for Coconuts!

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The world has gone coconut crazy. This is not all bad news, since coconut is rich in fiber, has many vitamins (including C, E, and B vitamins), and several minerals. However, whenever a food becomes suddenly popular, there will undoubtedly someone trying to profit.

If you type in coconut to pinterest or google a list of benefits pop up:

  •             Helps with Weight Loss
  •             Reduces heart disease
  •             Cures Alzheimers

Coconut oil is a saturated fat. The debate comes to whether or not it is a medium chain fatty acid (MCFA) or a long chain fatty acid (LCFA). MCFA are more more easily absorbed in the body than LCFA. When scientists study MCFA they are using a product called MCT (medium chain triglycerides) oil. MCT oil has 8 0r 10 carbons. Coconut oil is only 60% MCT. Those extra carbons can lead to it being processed like a LCFA in the body. So they studies touting the effects of MCFA may not relate to coconut oil.

Weight Loss

1 Tbsp of coconut oil contains 117 calories and 14 grams of fat so using a lot of is this oil is not a good way to cut calories. The few human studies looking at weight loss have utilized MCT oil and it was only modestly helpful. So at this time there is no solid evidence to link coconut oil to weight loss.

Reducing Heart Disease Risk

Societies in which coconut products make up a large part of the traditional diet have been observed to have less cardiovascular disease, but these diets are typically also  higher in heart healthy foods like veggies and fish and low in processed foods. It is unlikely  that adding coconut oil to the typical Western Diet would decrease cardiovascular disease.

On the brighter side coconut, coconut cream and coconut oil have been shown to increase HDL cholesterol. Unfortunately it may also raise LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides.It is ok to use coconut oil in place of butter occasionally, but no one should be lapping this oil up to try to improve their health.

Drugs that raise HDL haven’t prevented heart attacks as expected. So coconut oil , which raises both LDL and HDL may not be as healthy for the heart as an oil like canola or or soy that lowers LDL.

Alzheimer’s Disease

There is some research looking at whether ketones may be helpful in the treatment of neurological disorders. In Alzheimers, brain cells can lose their ability to use glucose for fuel.  Ketones are byproducts of the breakdown of MCT. At this time the Alzheimer’s Association states that there is no clinical testing or scientific evidence to suggest that coconut oil or MCTs can help this disease.

Products that can beneficial:

Coconut Flour
The major benefit of using coconut flour is its impressive fiber content—six grams in only two tablespoons. it also contains one gram of protein in each tablespoon. Unlike many other coconut-based foods, coconut flour is not overly high in fat or saturated fat. When coconut flour is used in baked goods, it decreases the glycemic index of the food. You can use coconut flour to replace 20% of the all-purpose flour called for in your favorite recipes. Some people use coconut flour to replace the all-purpose flour called for in the recipe, but add an egg for every ounce of flour used.

Coconut nectar: 

This low-glycemic sweetener is made from the sap of coconut trees, but does not have the flavor of coconut, so it can be used as a substitute for agave syrup or simple syrup.

Coconut Oil:

This is a great make-up remover!!!!!!

Bottom Line:

Although the science is not showing us yet that coconut is a miracle food, there is still a place for it in our diet.  Coconut adds great flavor to certain recipes.

Remember that coconut oil is not made for high heat cooking. When coconut oil is heated past its smoke point it creates free radicals which can damage cell walls and cause inflammation. Inflammation can  be factor in heart disease and damaged cell walls can lead to cancer.

The smoke point of coconut oil is 50 degrees lower than that of olive oil.

We Need A Little Bacteria In Our Lives

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The gut is made up of millions of microbes. The “good” bacteria play a role in synthesizing vitamins, digesting food, destroying the bad bacteria and enhancing the immune system. That said it is very important to make sure that you have enough good bacteria in your gut.

Fermented foods produce the good bacteria in foods that will populate your gut.

The following are popular fermented foods.


This fermented tea is characterized by a gelatinous “mushroom” of bacteria. It is made by fermenting a mixture of yeast, bacteria, sugar, and tea.


Compared to a “liquid yogurt,” kefir was originally made from camel’s milk, but today it usually is made from fermented cow’s milk. It contains about 2.5% alcohol.


This is a fiery, pungent condiment made from fermented vegetables, such as cabbage or turnips. Kimchi is served at almost every Korean meal, and is made by pickling the vegetables and burying them in tightly sealed pots.

Black garlic

Black garlic is a South Korean delicacy prepared by fermenting raw garlic for 1 month. It is described as tasting sweet and syrupy with a licorice flavor.


Mead is a beverage made by fermenting honey, water, and yeast with flavorings such as herbs, spices, or flowers. It dates back to Biblical times.


Miso is a fermented soybean paste, which is an important part of Japanese cuisine. Cooked soybeans are injected with a mold cultivated from a barley, rice, or soybean base. It is aged from 6 months to 3 years. Miso is used in sauces, soups, marinades, dips, main dishes, salad dressings, and as a table condiment. More than 200 types of miso are available.


Natto is steamed, fermented, and mashed soybeans that has a strong cheeselike flavor. Natto is very popular in Japan, and often is mixed with mustard, soy sauce, and/or chives.


Tempeh is a fermented soybean cake, similar in texture to tofu, with a yeasty flavor.

Common fermented foods

Some of the more commonly known fermented foods are:

  • Buttermilk
  • Cheese
  • Greek olives
  • Yogurt
  • Sour cream
  • Bread
  • Wine
  • Beer
  • Cider
  • Vinegar
  • Ginger ale
  • Pickled fruits and vegetables
  • Soy sauce

Note: Many mass-produced varieties of these foods are pasteurized during processing and do not carry the health benefits associated with fermented foods.

The benefits

It is true that consuming fermented foods may improve digestive and immune health via the probiotics that these products contain. Further, it is thought that fermented foods contain higher levels of vitamins and minerals, and that these nutrients are easier to digest because they already are broken down to some degree by the fermentation process. Many of these foods are potent sources of antioxidants.

The proposed benefits of probiotics include:

  • Improved digestive health
  • Improved urinary and genital health
  • Improved immune function
  • Improved nutrient bioavailability
  • Improved management of atopic allergies
  • Improved synthesis of vitamins (niacin, folic acid, biotin, and vitamin B6)
  • Decreased lactose intolerance
  • Decreased blood cholesterol

Regulating these foods is becoming a tricky undertaking as the lines blur between food and supplement. It also is important to note that many of the herbs and raw products used in these foods can interact with medications. Many experts warn that pregnant women, people diagnosed with yeast or bacterial overgrowth, the elderly, children, and people with compromised immune function should not consume homemade fermented foods.

Convenience Keeps Me Happy & Sane!

As of January 2017,  I get clothes shipped to me in a box every month. I have food delivered weekly to my house, in a box. My daughter and I subscribe to a fitness box that we get quarterly. My youngest gets a craft delivered monthly, in a box. And as of yesterday,  I started a subscription service through Target that ships those pesky household items that I am forever running out of to my house, in a box!

I have to say that I don’t feel bad about my box habit but actually more deliberate and organized with all of these shipments. Each of these items in some way makes our lives a little less crazy, slightly more manageable and way more fun.

I specifically love the meal delivery service. I started using Plated in May of 2016. This was life altering 🙂 I dreaded going to the grocery store. My family is not helpful when it comes to dinner ideas. So every week I would find myself wandering through the grocery store trying to decide on dinner. We seemed to eat the same things over and over. Also my crew does not do well with left overs so I found myself throwing away a lot of food.  I stumbled upon Plated and fell in love. Plated is one of many meal delivery services on the market.  I no longer have to grocery shop for meals!!!!! Plated sends me everything (literally everything) I need to make a meal. Since May we have not eaten the same meal twice. We have gotten to try lots of new foods and everything tastes fantastic.

With two kids in sports, our evenings can be very busy. Knowing that I have all the ingredients in the fridge for meals makes dinner so much simpler.

Pre-portioned meal service has made me enjoy cooking again. I personally didn’t dread the cooking, I disliked the prep that went into having all of the ingredients in my house! These services also encourage families to use fresh produce that they may have been skipping. The portions are reasonable and the calories appropriate.

I encourage you to give a meal delivery service a try! Check out this segment on KDSK



National Breakfast Month

September is National Breakfast Month. Breakfast affects our waistlines more than you may think. Eating breakfast has been shown to reduce the number of calories that we consume each day !

One food that I encourage you to add to breakfast is the avocado. I love using Hass Avocados in my breakfasts because they’re a nutrient-dense, plant based food full of good fats, fiber, and folate.  Avocados contain naturally good monounsaturated fat and are cholesterol free. Naturally good fats are an important part of a balanced diet.  The good fats also help promote satiety.

Avocados are great for everyone but they’re especially important for babies and pregnant moms as they contain so many critical nutrients.  In fact a Paper published by Nutrients Journal names avocados as an optimal first food for babies due to nutrient density, texture/consistency and their neutral flavor profile.

Here are some great recipes using this nutrition powerhouse:



Baked Egg in Avocado Nest


Caprese Avocado Toast

Rock The Lunch Box


School is back and one of the biggest struggles in my house is the school lunch!!! Forget about homework and crazy schedules, lunch is our tipping point. Yes, the struggle is real.I have joined forces with a campaign called  Rock The Lunch Box. It is an online resource for parents…Yeah!

The folks at Annie’s, Applegate, Honest Kids and Rudi’s Organic Bakery created Rock the Lunch Box to provide lunch packing inspiration and make building a better lunchbox easier. I will take any help that I can get.

Rock the Lunch Box is an online resource where parents can sign up to receive coupons from the brands they trust and search for rocking lunch ideas their kids will look forward to eating.

Have a picky eater? In need of nut free, gluten free, or vegetarian ideas? Visit their website at and search by category!

 From now until September 30th, Rock the Lunch Box is holding a sweepstakes where winners will receive a “Month of Lunches” prize pack that includes lunch-packing supplies and products from Annie’s, Applegate, Rudi’s Organic Bakery, and Honest Kids!

  • To enter the “Month of Lunches” Sweepstakes and for official sweepstakes rules, visit!

Here are some of the products that I used in my lunch creations:

Annie’s Homegrown Snacks

  • Organic Granola Bars
  • Cheddar Bunnies

 Applegate Natural Deli Meats

  • Natural Roasted Turkey Breast- 12g of protein per serving; Free of antibiotics and chemical nitrites
  • Natural Black Forest Ham

 Honest Kids Juice Drinks

  • Berry Berry Good Lemonade- Certified Organic and Non-GMO
  • Super Fruit Punch

Rudi’s Organic Bakery

  • Kid’s Soft Wheat- New! 9g of whole grains per serving
  • Kid’s Soft White
  • Multigrain Wrap


Master The Grill


Simple Steps for Safer Grilling

Cooking meat at a high temperature – like grilling – create a substance called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These substances are carcinogens, with the potential to cause changes in DNA that may lead to cancer. There is not yet enough evidence to know for certain that grilling meat specifically increases risk for cancers. But that shouldn’t preclude backyard chefs from taking a few simple precautions.

1. Marinate: Studies have suggested that marinating your meat before grilling can decrease the formation of HCAs by 96%. Scientists theorize that the antioxidants in these marinades block HCAs from forming.

  1. A marinade usually contains acidic ingredients, like lemon juice or vinegar that break down proteins and work as liquid tenderizers. They also add flavor to meat and help keep everything moist. They’re especially good on dry pieces of meat, like chicken breast.
    1. Here is a great chicken marinade

2. Lower Temps: Grilling at a slightly lower temperatures is enough to reduce HCA formation. Trimming the fat off your meat can also reduce flare-ups and charring.

3. Cut it up: Cutting meat into smaller portions and mixing in veggies can help shorten cooking time.AICR recommends limiting red meat to 18 ounces of cooked meat per week and saving hot dogs or other processed meats (bacon, sausages, etc.) for special occasions.

4. Go Green: Grilling vegetables and fruits produces no HCAs — and diets high in plant foods are associated with lower cancer risk.

Creative Summertime Grilling!



Grilling is a summer time staple, but this season I want you to get creative at the grill and try something new.

Georgia Peaches:

  • Georgia peaches are the quintessential summertime fruit, they are available now through August only! Locally you can find them at Schnucks. Peaches are very versatile; they can be used in a pie or prepared on the grilled.
  • When grilling peaches you want to cut them in half, remove the pit and place directly on the grates. The natural occurring sugar helps caramelize the bring out all of the flavor.
  • Grilled Fish Tacos with Fresh Peach Salsa

Grilled Vegetables

  • A great way to keep the house cool this summer is to grill your vegetables.
  • A Vegetable Basket is a great Father’s Day Gift
    • slice veggies in a uniform size
    • Coat vegetables in oil
    • Season with salt or pepper or your favorite seasoning mix


  • Make sure you use extra firm tofu.
  • Dry it well
  • Use a thicker sauce, like your favorite BBQ sauce
  • Oil your grill
  • Place tofu on indirect heat

Games, Practices & Summer Exploration

Sports Mom Essentials


Here are some tips to keep in mind to help your young athlete’s body reach its full potential:

1. When we’re talking physical activity we can’t overlook the importance of carbohydrates. They literally equal energy and a great convenient source of carbohydrates are both enriched and whole grain wheat foods.
2. Wheat foods do more than just provide energy for glycogen depleted muscles. They also provide B-vitamins to keep your metabolism going, and iron which is used to transfer oxygen to hard working muscles.

3. These foods will help your kids recover between games and practices, Plus, they are always “good-to-go” and make a great portable pre or post game snack or meal. These snacks do not have to be complicated!! If you are looking for some great snack ideas check out The Wheat Foods Council for recipes!

2. Apple, Nut Butter and Granola
3. Grilled Cheese Roll-Ups
4. Yogurt Parfaits
5. Cheese and Crackers
6. Bagel & Nut Butter

There is a new product on the market that I am excited about called BodyArmour. Finally there is a natural sports drink that does not contain artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners!!! BodyArmour is packed with potassium, coconut water and vitamins. It comes in 8 flavors and can be found everywhere including QT and Schnucks.

This is a drink that can be given to kids and adults during and after physical activity to help recover and rehydrate.