cranberry sauce.jpgFor a list of some of my favorite holiday recipes, check out this page:

Below is my current favorite cranberry sauce recipe. I hope you like it!

Cancer Fighting Cranberries:

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, Cranberries have the following beneficial phytochemicals:

  • Flavonoids, including anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins and flavonols
  • Ursolic acid
  • Benzoic acid and hydroxycinnamic acid

In addition, they're a great source of fiber and vitamin C. All of these nutrients work together to support your bodies immune system. And they're yummy!!

Julie's Cranberry Sauce Recipe

In celebration of cranberries (and the fact that I bought a huge bag at costco), I've started making them weekly. Here's my favorite version so far!


  • 12 oz. bag of cranberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4-6 pieces of trader joe's candied ginger pieces (asian grocery stores sell this as well, or worst case, get the crystalized ginger, but it can be expensive!!)
  • 1 tangerine
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 cup of water


  1. Mince the candied ginger pieces (I would guess it comes to about 1/4 cup of minced ginger)
  2. Peel the tangerine and mince the peel. I even squeezed the tangerine into the pot and tossed it in too.
  3. Put the cranberries, water, sugar, allspice, minced ginger and tangerine peel in a pot and bring to a boil.
  4. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Enjoy hot or refrigerate and eat cold.

Yum!! We loved having it warm as a dip for carrot apple muffins I made.

potpourri.jpgHomemade Potpourri Recipe:


  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • allspice
  • 3 tangerine peels
  • cranberries
  • water


  1. Place all ingredients in a pot.
  2. Allow water to simmer on low to release the aroma and humidify your home!

Easy Peasy!

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving. Remember... as I pointed out in my 2012 Holiday Tips ... I hope you overeat. Cause that's what you're supposed to do on Thanksgiving!

- Julie

Maybe you've wondered about recipes calling for molasses. Is it healthy? Could you add it to recipes or replace sugar with it? Here's a quick Q&A about molasses, put together by my current dietetic intern, Alexis!

What is Molasses?molasses.jpg

Molasses is a byproduct of the process of boiling down either the sugar cane plant or beet sugar plant. Molasses is syrup that has been "squeezed" from the plant and then centrifuged to release the sugar crystals. The molasses produced from cane sugar is used for human consumption while the molasses from beet sugar is more for animal feed.

Molasses vs. Black Strap Molasses

Blackstrap molasses is the name given to the byproduct from the third reduction of the crystallized sugar. Blackstrap is bitterer than molasses because more sugar has been taken from it.

Nutrition Benefits of Molasses:
According to the USDA, Both molasses and blackstrap molasses are healthy in that they offer a good amount of the following:

  • iron,
  • calcium,
  • magnesium,
  • potassium.
In fact, in just 1 tablespoon molasses has:
  • 41mg of calcium,
  • 48mg of magnesium,
  • 293mg of potassium,
  • 1mg iron.

Is Molasses Healthy?
Keep in mind that molasses is still sugar so consuming in moderation is the key. Let's compare Sugar and Honey to Molasses. Sugar has no calcium, magnesium, potassium, or iron. Honey has: 1 mg of calcium, 11mg of potassium and no iron or magnesium

What can I use Molasses in?
Molasses can substitute sugar in most dishes. When substituting molasses for sugar use 11/3 cup for 1 cup of sugar, reduce liquid by 5 tbs, and add ½ tsp of baking soda.

Julie really likes to use molasses in her granola. You can substitute it for 1/2 of the honey in this quick and easy granola recipe. She also has a delicious recipe for molasses coconut cookies.

Some examples of things you can use molasses in are:

  • Oatmeal
  • Cookies
  • Baked Beans
  • Muffins
  • Yogurt
  • Gingersnap cookies

What's your favorite recipe with molasses??

- Alexis

PS - Did you know there was a "Great Molasses Flood of 1919"?? According to the MadeHow website "the Great Boston Molasses Flood of January 1919 when a molasses storage tank owned by the Purity Distilling Company burst, sending a two-story-high wave of molasses through the streets of the North End of Boston." WOAH! Read more:

References and additional reading:

I promised I would get you the Bob's Red Mill tour!! Jessica, my intern from May, had the privileged of visiting the mill this past summer. Read on to learn about it and try out her favorite recipe! - Julie

Bob's Red Mill
by Jessica Beardsley, MS, RDN

IMG_4651.jpgMy family and I recently visited Bob's Red Mill near Portland, Oregon. Prior to this experience, my only exposure to Bob's Red Mill was buying their flax meal and seeing their fancy flour at the health food store. After the tour I was inspired to cook and experiment with their rich variety of grains and flours. In addition, I learned that they are an excellent company with passionate employees and high standards for quality in every grain that you can imagine.

Facts about the mill:

  • The working mill is separate from the bakery and store, which is one mile down the road.
  • Bob Moore opened the mill in the 1960's and has gradually acquired stone mills from all over the world.
  • About five years ago Bob generously gave his employees ownership of the company, and continues to work there even today.
  • The employees' passion and attention to quality is evident in all the interactions we had during our visit.
IMG_4645.jpgBob's Red Mill Products:

The variety of grains that the Mill offers includes:
  • wheat flours
  • oats
  • millet
  • grits
  • pastry flour
  • rye flour
  • graham flour.
Their gluten-free selection was just as extensive:
  • almond flour
  • arrowroot starch
  • black bean flour
  • brown rice flour
  • fava bean flour
  • garbanzo bean flour
  • masa harina
  • IMG_4655.jpgcorn flour
  • oat flour
  • pea flour
  • hazelnut flour
  • millet flour
  • potato flour
  • sorghum flour
  • amaranth
  • teff
  • flaxseed
  • buckwheat
  • quinoa. 
Ever wonder where to buy texturized vegetable protein (TVP) or xanthum gum? Yep, Bob has that too!

Making The Products:

IMG_4642.jpgOur tour guide showed the children how the threshing of wheat removes the chaff leaving the edible wheat kernel. Just a light breeze cleared the chaff away and the children took the berries and put them into a small tabletop mill.  Each child turned the hand crank, which milled the wheat berries into flour. The entire process was a great reminder of how simple and minimally processed our flour can be. 

After we returned home I used Bob's whole-wheat pastry flour to make peach cobbler for our family. Their whole-wheat pastry flour is milled from soft white wheat. It is low-protein soft spring wheat, compared to regular whole-wheat flour that is milled from hard red wheat. The lower protein content is more desirable for pastries, cakes, cookies, and muffins. So the flour was ideal for my peach cobbler (see recipe below).

The natural fats in your flour will go oxidize and go rancid at room temperature. To extend the shelf-life, store your whole wheat flour in the refrigerator or freezer in a plastic bag or airtight container.

Peach Cobbler with Bob's Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk or soy milk
  • 4 cups fresh peach slices (about 6 peaches, I peeled mine)
  • Ground cinnamon

  1. Melt butter in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
  2. Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt; add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter (do not stir).
  3. Bring remaining 3/4 cup sugar and peach slices to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly; pour over batter (do not stir). Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  4. Bake at 375° for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve cobbler warm with vanilla ice cream or yogurt.


I know I said that Bob's Red Mill would be my next post, but this quick topic came up and I felt like clearing the air!

I was reading a publication from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and ran into an advertisement about Canola Oil. I have vetted the information they shared to make sure it was accurate, because we all know that believing someone who is selling you something is not in your best interests! [Let that be a life lesson to you! ha!]

How did Canola Oil get it's name?

At first, I assumed that there was some kind of canola nut, or something that they got the oil out of. Then several years ago I read that it came from rapeseed, but I couldn't figure out why there would be rapeseed oil and canola oil, if that was the case. I obviously didn't spend much time looking into it, but now I know!

Canola oil was developed in Canada through plant breeding to remove two components found in rapeseed (erucic acid and glucosinolates). Hence, the new plant was named Canola - a combination of "Canadian" and "ola" (meaning oil).

FYI - they wanted to cut back on the erucic acid because large amounts of it can be toxic. Canola must have less than 2 percent erucic acid. They wanted to cut back on glucosinolates because it has a bitter taste. Canola must have less than 30 micromoles of glucosinolates.

Is Canola Oil good for me?

Interesting is that the canola plant is actually a member of the Brassica family that includes broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. This family is one of the most studied groups of foods for it's cancer fighting benefits. Check out more info on that here: Anti Cancer Diet Essentials: Cruciferous Vegetables.

Canola oil also has a favorable fat profile. It has the most plant based omega-3's and the least saturated fat of all the plant based oils. It's transfat free and also has very little flavor, which is a bonus if you have family members picky about the stronger taste of olive oil.

How do I use Canola Oil for cooking?

The great thing about canola oil is you can use it in pretty much any capacity you would need oil. It can heat to a high temperature without burning, so it's good for stir frying, searing, baking and roasting. It works in baking because of the neutral flavor. It's also great for vinaigrettes, if you don't want the olive oil flavor.

Want to know more? Here's a few articles I found helpful when fact checking:

From the Mayo Clinic: I've read that canola oil contains toxins. Is this true?
From Eating Well: How Healthy Is Canola Oil Really?
From the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: All About Oils: Canola Oil

Bob's Red Mill is up next! FYI - I made their Teff Porridge this morning for breakfast and it was delicious!!
- Julie
Happy Blogiversary to all my readers!! It wameandjeff.jpgs 7 years ago, on Nov 12, 2007, that I wrote my first post.

I miss my fri
end, Jeff - the inspiration to get it started. (See our picture on the right, at a triathlon we did together in Oct 2007). Seriously if it weren't for his encouragement and ideas, I would not have taken my career in this direction. Not to mention many other aspects of life that I learned the few years we were friends. (The list would include growing food, composting, not following the rules, finding the silver lining while being honest, loving your family and community, going with the flow, overcoming challenges... just to name a few.)

I'm also very grateful for all of you who read my posts, participate in the conversations on facebook and especially you survivors who teach me things daily. Here's to another 7 years, yah!

I had my Carbs webinar a little over a week ago. Thanks to all who attended! For those who missed it, here's the link to the recording.


Last post, I ventured into the heated topic of GMO foods: GMO Foods: Why You Should NOT Freak Out!

Here's part of my issue with the GMO discussion. For many, it's not a level headed, respectful discussion. It's like an angry moral debate. I don't think food should be argued about. And your choice on what to eat does not imply that you are a good or bad person. I do think we need to be reminded about that regularly!

I recently read a blog post linked by a fellow RD. I felt like the article illustrated exactly what goes through my head! Here's an excerpt:

"some people can be a little, shall we say, touchy about food. ... They don't believe that sugar, for example, is a food. Or beef. Or brown rice. Or bananas. Or whatever Mercola is fear-mongering about this week. They won't eat white rice because of arsenic, chicken because of antibiotics, yogurt because of saccharin, olive oil because of adulteration, sugar because of obesity, soy because of man-boobs, beef because of BSE, broth because of lead, kale because of goitrogens, beets because of GMOs, bread because of autoimmune disease, quinoa because of Bolivians. If there's anything that characterizes the modern sensibility about food, it's fear."

From "what I think you should eat," posted on I would highly recommend you read the whole thing! I think you'll find it liberating. :)

Actually, it doesn't take me much time at all working with people facing cancer to be reminded that life is too short to obsess about food!

GMO's Part 2

Back to the GMO's. Here are a few interesting articles I've read over the last week or so regarding GMO foods.

  • Something interesting happened with GMO's last week. Apparently Colorado and Oregon voters reject GMO labeling laws. It's the latest of several state-based GMO labeling ballot measures to fail. Read more here.
  • From Medline Plus: "Genetically engineered foods are generally regarded as safe. There has been no adequate testing, however, to ensure complete safety. There are no reports of illness or injury due to genetically engineered foods. Each new genetically engineered food will have to be judged individually." Read more here.
  • From the University of Utah: "It has been estimated that 70% of all processed foods in the United States contain at least one genetically modified ingredient--usually a product of soy plants." Read more here.
Potential Benefits:

Here is a short list of some of the potential benefits of GMO crops. It's not exhaustive, but gives you a bit of understanding for why we would want to consider using them. Much of the information came from a Harvard article you can find here.

  • If growing GM crops results in the reduced use of toxic chemicals, or a switch to chemicals of lower toxicity, that would be beneficial, given the potential role of some pesticides in causing human disease, especially among infants and children.
  • If significantly greater yields were achieved by using GM technologies, particularly in the developing world, where risk for crop failures because of extreme weather events secondary to climate change will be ever more likely in the coming century, the public health benefits would be enormous.
  • If the nutritional quality of foods could be improved, for example as has already been done with rice to relieve vitamin A deficiency (a condition that afflicts some 400 million people worldwide), great strides in relieving human suffering would be made. 
Potential Risks:

Of course, there are some risks. These need to be calculated and we also need to keep informed on whether the potential risks actual present in real harm. Here are a few things to think about.

From the University of Utah article I linked above:
  • Cross-breeding with wild populations. "For all of these examples, a primary concern is preventing genetically modified versions from mixing with the naturally existing populations of plants from which they're derived."
  • Toxicity or allergic reactions. "Many people suffer from allergies to various food items, including nuts, wheat, eggs, or dairy products. There is concern that the protein products of introduced genes may be toxic or allergenic to certain individuals."

From the Harvard Article I linked above:

  • "For one, there are the risks that could come from pharmaceutical production in food crop species. The so-called "pharma crops" are grown according to stringent protocols designed to prevent contamination of the food supply. ... corn that has been genetically engineered to produce drugs such as lactoferrin (an antimicrobial, iron-binding protein, present in high concentrations in human colostrum--the first breast milk secretions) is required by the USDA to be grown at least one mile away from other cornfields. After harvest, such "pharma" corn must be labeled and carefully tracked to avoid mixing it with corn destined for consumption by either humans or livestock. However, scores of recent examples of human error in dealing with GM crops suggest that contamination of food with "pharma crops" is a likely occurrence."
  • "There is also the possibility that one of the chemicals widely used in GM crops, glyphosate, and perhaps to an even greater extent, its commercial preparation Round-up, may act as an endocrine disruptor."

The Bottom Line:

As you can see, it's not a cut and dry issue, as much as many would want you to believe. You probably won't hear me talking a lot about this issue, at least until we have more conclusive information. That's because of this: I think there are more important choices that you can make that have a FAR BIGGER impact on your health. GMO vs. non-GMO foods is a small issue.

My bottom line is that we know for sure that eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and other plant foods helps to decrease risk for cancer and other diseases and promotes general well-being. That is what's most important. You don't need to stress out on a lot of the other issues. Yes - educated yourself if you want, but don't obsess. It's not helpful. And certainly don't make others feel badly about their choices!

Next time, we get to discover a lighter topic. My intern, now Registered Dietitian, Jessica took a visit to Bob's Red Mill Factory in Oregon over the summer. You'll get to see some photos and learn about their product along with Jessica's favorite products!

- Julie
Webinar Thursday Night!
Sorry for the late notice! I will be hosting a webinar on Thursday evening 10/30 at 7:30pm.
Topic: The Truth About Carbohydrates: Healthy or Not?
Register Here:

Back to GMO's!

Wow - I think I've done a stellar job avoiding this topic. Ha! It's been a "hot topic" for several years now and I receive many questions about it when I do seminars, etc. and also via the Cancer Dietitian Facebook Page. Basically, I've avoided it because no matter what I say... someone is going to get heated and mad at me. I just know it. People go nuts over it!

However, I think it's time that we have a frank, open and honest discussion about GMO foods. For those of you who aren't aware, GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. There are certain crops grown in the US that have been modified genetically.

Basically, there are a lot of people who fear GMO foods. People have their own reasons, but I think many people are afraid of them because they don't understand the process. Making decisions based on fear is not usually what I recommend. Rather, I would encourage you to make a decision based on facts, information and your own preferences. 

Educate Yourself!

Remember that to educate yourself, you need to go to a reliable source. There are plenty of really LOUD and POPULAR people on TV, internet, radio, etc. but they are not necessarily experts. Read my post here about knowing if someone is a nutrition expert: Are They A Quack? Nutrition Information: Who to Trust. Bottom Line - you can't trust what Food Babe says about GMO's.

Here is a great pamphlet from The Center for Scince in the Public Interest called "Straight Talk on Genetically Engineered Foods: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions." It is well worth your read if you want to be informed on the current information regarding GMO foods. It was written in 2012 so the information is pretty current.

Here are some key excerpts that I thought were interesting. FYI - GE (genetically engineered) and GMO are used interchangeably:

  • "Although most soybeans and field corn are genetically engineered, the harvest from those crops goes primarily to feeding animals. Some GE corn and soybeans, however, do get used for human food products. Most field corn is used to produce high-fructose corn syrup and corn oil."
  • "Although Americans consume thousands of foods with ingredients derived from genetically engineered crops daily, our diets actually expose us to very little of the engineered gene or their protein products."
  • "There is no evidence at all that the current GE foods pose any risk to humans."
  • "The FDA does not have clear legal authority to formally approve GE crops before they are commercialized. The FDA regulates GE food and feed crops through a voluntary notification process rather than a mandatory pre-market approval process."
  • "To date, there is no evidence that anyone eating food made from a GE crop grown in the United States has had an allergic reaction."

Should I Be Concerned?

Stay tuned for my next post on what aspects of GMO Foods you will want to keep an eye on and when you might prefer to choose 'organic', which is the only way to be sure a product does not have GMO's in them.

Until then... know that you do NOT need to freak out about eating GMO foods!!

- Julie

There was a great turnout for the Cancer Nutrition Truths webinar last Thursday. Thanks to everyone who attended! I appreciated the questions and chance to share what we know about nutrition and cancer. Or, as I like to say, how to get the biggest bang for your mental energy.

You only have so much mental energy, so why waste it on the myths or unknowns about cancer? Let's start with the proven truths and move on from there.

For anyone who missed it, here is a link to the recording:

In fact, if you missed the Cancer Nutrition Myths webinar, you can check that out here:

And for those of you who can't stand the thought of listening to me ramble on about cancer and nutrition for an entire hour... :-)

I present to you the cliff's notes!

15 Cancer Nutrition Myths Debunked:  15 Cancer Nutrition Myths Debunked.pdf
10 Cancer Nutrition Truths: Cancer Nutrition Truths Fact Sheet.pdf

Julie's Favorite Resources:

Here are my go-to sources for updated evidence based and just plain interesting information!

And in case you missed my rant about nutrition and health quacks, you need to check out this post: Are They A Quack? Nutrition Information: Who To Trust?

NO! Dr. Oz and Dr. Mercola are not reliable sources of truth. And Food Babe is an amazing example of what PR can do for you. She is not spreading truth. She is a fear mongering bully (if you ask me)! :-)

More Printable Fact Sheets

And while I'm at it, I'll go ahead and link some of my favorite fact sheets to use when I'm giving presentations.

My next webinar will likely be on Carbohydrates. I taught a class last month and everyone seemed to have the lightbulb go on and understand more about carbs, gluten and why they can be good for us (or the large marjority of us anyway).

If you have a suggested time of day for a webinar, let me know! So far I have done 7:30pm and 4:30pm (Eastern time). Both were well attended but if you weren't able to make it because of the timing, let me know.

- Julie

Don't Miss It! Cancer Nutrition Truths Webinar: Thursday, September 18th at 4:30pm Eastern Time. No Fee!
Register at this

My regular readers might remember my intern, Anne and her Cinnamon Coconut Granola recipe. It's so great and simple! The nuts give you protein, so for breakfast you can add it to greek yogurt with berries and you have a delicious meal.

I also have used the recipe to do "granola in a mason jar" gifts. Put the dry ingredients in one jar and the wet in another. Then your gift receiver just has to mix the two together and bake. Ta da!! If you want the label to go with the jars, click here:  MasonJarGranolaLabel.pdf.

Anyway... back to her quiche!

Introductions from Anne

Hello! My name is Anne Smith and I am the newest RD on the block. I just passed my registered dietitian exam mid summer and I couldn't be more excited! I have, in part, Julie to thank for it! After a 2 week community rotation with her and Cancer Services, I felt more confident and ecstatic to start my career as a dietitian! I currently work as a clinical RD in Raleigh and I am loving every minute of it!

With that said, when I tell people about my newest accomplishment of becoming a registered dietitian, you wouldn't believe how fast the questions start coming!

  • "Is gluten bad for you?"
  • "What about a low carb diet?"
  • "Is avocado really good for you?"
  • "What do you eat?"
  • The worst thing I hear is "I don't have time for breakfast".
As many dietitians will agree, breakfast is a very important part of your day! Check out Julie's last few articles, in case you missed them:

What is an Optimal Breakfast?

Coffee: Cancer Fighting or Breakfast Don't??

How to Build a Breakfast That Lasts!

Breakfast not only provides you with essential nutrients and energy to end your overnight sleep-fast (as I like to call it), it can set the mood for the whole day! The trouble is having time in your busy mooring to make a healthy breakfast rather than grabbing a calorie-dense doughnut or cream-cheese smeared bagel from the local coffee shop.

So, with the input of my sister, I created this delicious Crust-Less Quiche recipe that you can make ahead of time and just warm up a piece in the morning. To aid in the eating process, you can wrap your piece in a whole wheat tortilla and have a little Quiche wrap during your morning commute.

This recipe is packed with protein to help you feel satisfied longer. Feel free to change the cheese or veggies or add more of your favorites!

Anne's Crust-Less Quiche Recipe

Thumbnail image for crustless quiche.jpg

For a printable version, click here: AnnesCrustlessQuichePrintout.pdf
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook time:
45 minutes
Serving size:
1 slice (1/4 cup)
Calories per serving:
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 6 asparagus stalks, chopped
  • 1 c raw spinach
  • 1 c LF shredded cheese
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray an 8-inch round casserole dish, pie pan, or oven safe skillet with non-stick spray to avoid sticking.
  3. Combine eggs, tomato, asparagus, spinach, 3/4 cup of the cheese, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  4. Pour into your sprayed dish and bake for 40 minutes or until center is no longer loose.
  5. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese on top.
  6. Return to oven and bake for 5 more minutes or until the cheese is completely melted.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow the quiche to cool for 5 minutes. Slice into 8 1/4 cup slices and serve.
 Options for additional PROTEIN:
                                                                        Protein         Calories
2 oz thin sliced LF roasted turkey breast         10                       60
1 slice LF turkey sausage or bacon                 2                         35
1 slice soy bacon                                             2                         60

Happy baking!
- Anne

First off, I feel that it's important for me to say ...


Of course, there's always qualifiers... but the point is that you really should not skip breakfast.


There are lots of reasons, but here are a few of the things that we have evidence for, regarding the benefits of breakfast:

  • From this 2009 review article in the Cambridge Journals: "The evidence indicates that breakfast consumption is more beneficial than skipping breakfast, but this effect is more apparent in children whose nutritional status is compromised." [1]
  • This study, from Nutrition Journal, compared two different breakfast meals consumed by adolescent girls. I find two of the conclusions interesting. 1. both types of breakfast reduced after meal (post prandial) cravings. 2. The higher protein breakfast (35g) tended to decrease cravings more than the control breakfast (13g). Other than protein, the meals were matched for calories, fat content, dietary fiber, and sugar content. [2]
  • A similar study, by the same authors but published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was also done in adolescents (must be where all the research money is!!!), concluded that "breakfast led to beneficial alterations in the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals that control food intake regulation."[3]
  • The Journal of Epidemiology published a study showing that eating breakfast can prevent weight gain. [4]
  • This Tufts report states in can help with cognitive function (never bad for anyone battling "CancerBrain" or "ChemoBrain"!). Granted, the study was funded by Quaker Oats Company, but I don't think that skewed too much! [5] 
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, this study, from way back in (gasp!) 1999, shows that with breakfast and coffee, we are HAPPIER people! [6] (NOTE: if you missed my last article, it's a brief Q&A about why coffee can be a cancer fighting food.)
For a less scientific look at breakfast, you can always read about: What Nutritionists Eat For Breakfast! Great ideas there, and also you can see a theme of what nutrition experts agree on! HINT: it does not involve eliminating entire food groups (ahem... Paleo...). :-P

[Side note: for my eval of the paleo diet, check out my post from Jan 2013. If you want a second opinion (always a good idea to seek!!), check out this interesting article: The Paleo Problem]

What's in the Bowl?

Ok, so since we've established that breaking the fast of your overnight rest is important, now it's time to focus on how to build the best breakfast that you can, given your circumstances.

Two posts ago, I discussed the basics on building a breakfast.

The goal is to have:
  1. a fruit or vegetable (1 cup is ideal)
  2. a carbohydrate source to help replenish the stores that were used up overnight while you slept (Fruit can fill this role if you want. Also, remember that dairy foods have some healthy carbs too. For you counters... I would aim for 30 - 45g of carbs).
  3. a protein source to help fill you up and get the day started. See discussion below on goals!
In addition, if you have some kind of fat mixed in with breakfast, it will help the meal last a bit longer.

Last year about this time, I shared about a discussion regarding how much protein to have at breakfast. You can read that post here: How much protein should you have at breakfast? Essentially, it talked about aiming for 30g of protein at breakfast, and spreading protein out throughout the day.

This thinking is evidenced through this study, published January 2014, in The Journal of Nutrition. [7] Their conclusion was "the consumption of a moderate amount of protein at each meal stimulated 24-h muscle protein synthesis more effectively than skewing protein intake toward the evening meal." They compared diets of people who consumed 10g at breakfast (15g at lunch and 65g at dinner) to people who consumed 30g at each meal.

I can attest that reaching 30g at breakfast can be a challenge, but I would say 20 would be a realistic goal.

You Don't Need to Count!!

In case you don't know, I'm not one to suggest that you obsessively count calories, protein, carbs, salt, fat, or anything else about your food, unless it's medically necessary. I find that some people can cross into disordered eating behavior if they obsess too much about the numbers.

However, when you're trying to take an objective look at something, or considering a change to make, it can be helpful to "evaluate the data." When it comes to your breakfast, I would suggest you do a bit of evaluating. Do you have at least 15g of protein, 1 cup of fruit (or vegetable) and some kind of fat to fill you up?

If you need some ideas, you can check out this practical article from Business Insider. I like the point they make about eggs:
"Before you toss the yolk, remember that the yellowish center is where most of the nutrients are found."

And for a list of how much protein is in various food items, check this article out:

Take pictures of your best breakfasts and tag me so I can share them! I'm on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter!
- Julie

  1. Alexa Hoyland, Louise Dye and Clare L. Lawton (2009). A systematic review of the effect of breakfast on the cognitive performance of children and adolescents. Nutrition Research Reviews, 22, pp 220-243. doi:10.1017/S0954422409990175.
  2. Heather A Hoertel, Matthew J Will and Heather J Leidy (2014). A randomized crossover, pilot study examining the effects of a normal protein vs. high protein breakfast on food cravings and reward signals in overweight/obese "breakfast skipping", late-adolescent girls. Nutrition Journal 2014, 13:80  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-80.
  3. Heather J Leidy, Laura C Ortinau, Steve M Douglas, and Heather A Hoertel (2013). Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, "breakfast-skipping," late-adolescent girls. Am J Clin Nutr April 2013 vol. 97 no. 4 677-688.
  4. Yunsheng Ma1, Elizabeth R. Bertone2, Edward J. Stanek III2, George W. Reed1, James R. Hebert3, Nancy L. Cohen4, Philip A. Merriam1 and Ira S. Ockene. Association between Eating Patterns and Obesity in a Free-living US Adult Population. Am. J. Epidemiol. (2003) 158 (1): 85-92. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwg117.
  5. Caroline R. Mahoney, Holly A. Taylor, Robin B. Kanarek, Priscilla Samuel (2005). Effect of breakfast composition on cognitive processes in elementary school children. Physiology & Behavior 85 (2005) 635 - 645.
  6. Andrew P Smitha, Rachel Clarka, John Gallaghera. Breakfast Cereal and Caffeinated Coffee: Effects on Working Memory, Attention, Mood, and Cardiovascular Function. Physiology & Behavior: Volume 67, Issue 1, 1 August 1999, Pages 9-17. DOI: 10.1016/S0031-9384(99)00025-6.
  7. Madonna M. Mamerow4, Joni A. Mettler4, Kirk L. English4, Shanon L. Casperson6, Emily Arentson-Lantz4, Melinda Sheffield-Moore6, Donald K. Layman7, and Douglas Paddon-Jones. Dietary Protein Distribution Positively Influences 24-h Muscle Protein Synthesis in Healthy Adults. J. Nutr. June 1, 2014 vol. 144 no. 6 876-880.
I promise to cover more details and evidence regarding breakfast. I realize that I was going to do it with the next post, but I wanted to add a spontaneous short topic update that was spurred on by a Facebook follower.

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Q: What are your thoughts on cancer patients drinking coffee? Can it reactivate cancer cells??


Nope. Coffee (in moderation, like 18 ounces or less a day) is perfectly fine. Caffeine helps stimulate brain cells which might help with some of those cancer brain side effects! They have also shown the phytochemicals in coffee to be helpful to our bodies. Want to read the report? Check out AICR's highlight on coffee!

The caveat is not to overdo it. Drinking coffee all day long to make up for not enough sleep, or loading it down with high fat cream and a bunch of sweeteners or syrups are not health promoting activities! And if you still want to stay away from it, you can always do green tea. I usually alternate 1/2 of the mornings with tea and 1/2 with coffee. It's rare that I go a day without one or the other!

Let this be your good news for the day!

And if you want to know more TRUTHS about nutrition and cancer, I have scheduled my next webinar:

Cancer Nutrition Truths: What the Data Shows.
Thursday, September 18th from 4:30 - 5:30pm Eastern Time.

This topic was inspired after the last webinar about cancer nutrition myths. Attendees wanted to know what the truths are about nutrition and cancer. Yah!! Focusing on the positive ways you can optimize your nutrition and reduce cancer risk is one of my very favorite topics.

This webinar will cover just that - what does current evidence show regarding the most effective way to get your nutrients and which nutrients we need to maximize our immune system.

Registration link:

Join me!
- Julie

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