Dietician vs. Nutritionist

Dietician vs Nutritionist: Is there any Difference?

Specialized/Layman terms and Definitions

english is weirdAt the risk of sounding like the utterly bizarre “left & right” Twix commercial campaign, both the words Dietician and Nutritionist seem to mean the same thing. It is easy for any layman to confuse specialized and mundane definitions for similar words. For instance, until my sister went to college, I did not know the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist. And I was chewed out for that one until I got it correct.

A psychologist focuses on tackling the environmental factors of a patient’s life in order to heal their shattered mind. A psychiatrist focuses on using medicinal treatment to heal that same person’s mind.

The difference is slight to anyone who is using either term in a conversation, but it means everything to the patient who is getting treatment and the doctors who studied their practice for years.  A pill isn’t going to cure an alcoholic father, and all the counseling in the world can’t change someone’s dopamine intake.

That is why it is important to know what you are looking for when you are trying to treat your dietary habits and meet your nutritional needs.  Do you know who you need to treat your specific problems?  The only way to look it up and find out.

 

What is a Nutritionist?

To kickstart this dietician vs. nutritionist debate I am going to first look at the definition of the words, then look at the requirements.dietician vs. nutritionist

According to learn.org, “A nutritionist is an expert in the relationship between food and health. These professionals work with patients to apply principles of nutrition for disease prevention and to promote healthy lifestyles.”

That makes sense.  What are the requirements for a person to become a nutritionist?

After a bit of research, I have found that there is a consensus across most states is that the minimum education required for a nutritionist is a Bachelor’s Degree. The level of regulation is determined on a state by state basis, so there are some nutritionists that are allowed to practice without further certification.

 

What is a Dietician?

dieticianA dietician, according to the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute,”is the only qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems at an individual and wider public health level.”

Already, we can see a few key differences. Dieticians can diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems on a medical capacity, not unlike a doctor. They also can research and tackle the nutritional needs and issues of populations, not just one person.  They can also diagnose eating disorders, and manage food-based illnesses on top of watching over a patient’s dietary and exercise habits.

To become a dietician, a person must receive a bachelor’s degree from a nutritional program at an accredited college or university. That is a given since at least nutritionists do this. But the list of requirements expands beyond that. There is also at least a supervised internship of 6 months to a year at a medical facility, additional study, and the passing of a national exam.

The definition and title of a dietician are much more rigid than that of a nutritionist.

 

 Dietician vs. Nutritionist Conclusion

In the simplest terms, a dietician is a medical expert in nutrition, while nutritionist is more like a personal trainer that can only interfere so far medically.  A Dietician can give you a recommended diet and exercise program like a nutritionist, but a nutritionist cannot diagnose an eating disorder or determine a food allergy.

However, there is an added factor that I had no room to mention until now.  Nutritionists can work their way towards a certification that can allow them to expand their practice toward a medical field.  In fact, it is required in some states, including Alabama, for practicing nutritionist to at least have a Registered Nutritionist (RD) License to perform specific nutritional counseling.  So, you are bound to find nutritionists more qualified in Alabama, than you would in the state of West Virginia, where nutritionists can provide counseling without a license, but with some insurance restrictions.

The best way to look at it comes from what sort of needs that need to be met.  If you are looking for a way to lose a few extra pounds after winter, go to a nutritionist. If you are suffering from a severe food-related condition like Celiac’s disease, go to a dietician.

Are Spicy Foods Good for you? Part 2

Life with Spice

spicy foods, capsaicin

As someone who detests spicy foods and is surrounded by friends and family members who adore them, an inquisitive part of me wonders why people eat spicy foods in the first place. Last week we covered what made food spicy in the first place and what sort of scales are being used to determine how spicy a pepper is.  These are a good starting point, but it still leaves two more questions unanswered. “Is spicy food good for you?” and “Can spicy foods be dangerous?” Let’s dive in and figure it out.

 

Is there a Benefit to Spicy Foods?

While a rush of endorphins come after the feeling of pain, most people don’t go out of their way to seek it out, simulated or otherwise. So, does this mean that spicy foods benefit people in other ways? Is there a reason people try to endure the hottest sauces known to man outside of thrill-seeking? Are spicy foods integral to a balanced diet? The short answer is yes. Spicy foods, specifically the capsaicin does have benefits to your health. These benefits include but are not limited to:

 

  • Weight Loss –  

“Research suggests that when you eat hot peppers, it increases your body heat, which boosts metabolism up to five percent, and increases fat burning up to 16 percent,” says nutritionist Pamela Peeke, M.D., author of The Hunger Fix: The Three-Stage Detox and Recovery Plan for Overeating and Food Addiction. When your body temperature goes higher, your autonomous processes go faster, such as your circulatory system or your digestive tract. When your autonomous processes start running faster, it needs more energy to burn, hence, you lose a little bit of weight when adding spicy foods to your regular diet.

  • Heart Disease Prevention –

Peppers and Tumeric are both greatly beneficial when it comes to lowering your bad cholesterol and increasing your good cholesterol. Hot peppers also contain antioxidants which are great for people who are worried about aging.  According to Dr. Miller, a professor of cardiovascular medicine, “it can help to reverse damage to blood vessels, and research by my colleagues at the University of Maryland shows that it may help lower cholesterol and prevent bad cholesterol from building up.”

  • Chronic Pain Relief –

Chronic pain is no laughing matter. Whether you have arthritis, or shingles constant pain from autoimmune issues can be problematic for your daily life. However, capsaicin in concentrated amounts have been proven and utilized for pain relief. If you are in a pinch, you could rub any area where you are hurting with a hot pepper. However, over the counter pain creams tend to have a more concentrated amount of capsaicin in them, so doctors recommend them instead.

  • Cancer Prevention – 

Various medical institutions have been conducting various studies to see what sort of elements can possibly prevent the growth of cancer cells. According to one of their contributors the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 80 percent of prostate cancer cells were killed in mice after they were dosed with concentrated amounts of capsaicin. The normal cells were not disturbed. There has also been evidence of concentrated amounts of capsaicin have been able to kill breast cancer, cervical cancer, and stomach cancer cells.

 

too spicy, hot
Copyright Fox and Matt Groening

Can You Have Too Much Spice?

Alas, no one can have a perfectly balanced diet with one food group alone, and that includes spice.  Too many hot peppers can at best give you a loss of appetite and at the worst, destroy your gut. Acid reflux is also a consequence of too many peppers. Your small intestine would also have a rough time with gastritis.  Symptoms of gastritis involve vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, fever, and blood in your stool.  While too many peppers could cause death, according to Dr. Bosland, the scenario would most likely not play out. Your body would get sick first before it got fatal. If you want the benefits of spice without too much risk, it is recommended to eat peppers or other spicy foods from 2-3 times a week.

Are Spicy Foods Good for you? Part 1

Life with Spice

I must confess, dear readers, I am not a fan of spicy foods. Compared to the rest of the population, I am, in fact, a wimp. Black pepper is too much for me at times. My father and sister, on the other hand, love to eat spicy foods in moderate amounts. My brother in law, who hails from Jamaica, lives breathes and dies by spice. So, it is no wonder that the rest of the US is divided on the issue of spice. However, it does have me thinking, is there a benefit to eating spicy food in your regular diet, or is it dangerous? The only way to find out is to research as much as I possibly can on the subject matter. So, let’s dive in on the wonderful world of spicy food.

 

What Makes Spicy Food Hot?

 

spicy foodsIn order to find out what makes food spicy, we first have to look into two key elements. The first is the chemical composition behind the plants that we call spicy.  The thing that causes heat in peppers and other plants is called Capsaicin (pronounced cap-say-a-sin). It is an organic compound produced by the seeds in these plants and is the active ingredient that gives spicy food its heat.   There are botanists that hypothesize that peppers produce capsaicin to ward off intruders that try to eat it.

The second thing that we need to figure out is why our tongues can pick up things like heat in the first place. This is thanks to a class of pain receptors called vanilloid (VR1). They bind to the capsaicin that naturally grows in the seeds of the spicy plants which creates a sensation of pain. The same kind of pain that comes when you hover an open hand over a hot stove. The kind of signal that tells us that there is damage being done to the body.  However, when these capsaicin molecules are bound via oils from the peppers to the VR1 receptors, no damage is actually being done to the body.  In other words, spice is just a false alarm that triggers pain.

But why would people put themselves through physical pain if it is an unpleasant sensation?

The answer to that is what happens after the initial feeling of pain, dopamine.

As our bodies feel pain, our brains do their best to compensate by pumping endorphins and dopamine. Both of them block pain and create a sensation of pleasure.  People who have felt the pain from eating something spicy also felt the reward of pleasure through dopamine, and try to seek out that feeling again.

 

The Measurement of Spice

 

Now that we know what makes food spicy and why people eat spicy food in the first place, it leaves me and possibly you wondering, is there a reason why some foods are spicier than others? Is scoville heat scale, spicy food, pepperthere even a way we could tell which pepper is hotter than others? How do you know if something is too spicy or not spicy enough? Well, there is a way to measure how hot a pepper is against another, and we call it the Scoville scale.

According to Wikipedia, peppers are processed and measured in the Scoville scale by determining the exact weight of a dried pepper is dissolved in alcohol to extract the heat components (capsaicinoids), then diluted in a solution of sugar water. Decreasing concentrations of the extracted capsaicinoids are given to a panel of five trained tasters until a majority (at least three) can no longer detect the heat in a dilution. The heat level is based on this dilution, rated in multiples of 100 SHU. 

However, it has been pointed out that there is a level of subjectivity at play when it comes to taste. And after time, people just get used to tasting the same thing over and over again. This criticism has been acknowledged and a new scale is coming out of the woodwork thanks to Dr. Paul W. Bosland, from the University of New Mexico.  He and other scientists are devising a new scale by determining how many parts per million of heat-causing alkaloids are present in a pepper.  Here’s hoping that we will get more accurate over time.

Next week, we will find out if there are nutritional values to be found in spicy foods like peppers.

Summertime Fruits and Vegetables – Okra

Summertime is on the way, a season that offers hot days, cool swimming pools, and refreshing lemonade. There are also plenty of fruits and vegetables to enjoy at this time of the season. So let’s take a quick look at some of the best that summer fruits and veggies have to offer. We will take a quick look at what nutritional value these fruits and vegetables have to offer, as well as their origins and a couple of refreshing recipes for the summer season.

Okra

 

 

If you live in the South, Carribean,  Africa, or India, then you may be more familiar with this vegetable. Okra or “Ladyfingers” grows best in warm climates and are at their best for eating when they are immature, at about a week after they first sprout. According to several sources, The geographical origin of the plant is disputed, with supporters of South Asian, Ethiopian and West African origins. There is written documentation about the spread of Okra from Ethiopia to Egypt between the 12th and 13th century. From there, it was spread from Africa to the Southern United States and the Carribean from the African slave trade.

 

Okra Nutrition

Okra is already a nutritious vegetable from just its structure. Its pods have natural fibers, and its seeds produce both pectin and fibers, which is great for weight management.  Other nutritious benefits that the Okra has to offer include:

  • Vitamin A

Vitamin A has antioxidant properties and exists to destroy any free radicals that may invade the bloodstream. Antioxidants are great for repairing both inner and outer cell damage in both your eyes and your skin.

  • Lectin

Lectin is a type of protein found in vegetables like this one, beans, peanuts, and grains. Studies were conducted in 2016 with the attempt to determine if lectin played a role in the prevention and reversal of breast cancer.  While there still needs to be some verification with further studies, there is a chance that the lectin in okra may play a role in the reduction of certain types of cancers.

  • Vitamin K

Foods that are high in vitamin K, such as okra, are good for bone health. Vitamin K, which can be found in okra and other leafy plants like arugula, helps your bones absorb calcium and prevent fractures.

 

 Sauteed Okra Recipe

If you want to try the vegetable, but aren’t sure about the slimy texture of the seeds inside, then there is good news for you. Baking or frying okra can bypass the gummy seeds that you can get when okra is stewed.  This simple recipe is healthy, provides clear instructions on how to slice and prepare the vegetable, and is quick and easy to make! Of course, if you want to try it yourself, you can click on the photo below for the recipe.

 

okra

 

 

Sources:

http://naturalsociety.com/okra-history-health/

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/health-benefits-of-okra.html

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311977.php

https://extension.illinois.edu/veggies/okra.cfm

Summertime Fruits and Vegetables

Summertime is on the way, a season that offers hot days, cool swimming pools, and refreshing lemonade. There are also plenty of fruits and vegetables to enjoy at this time of the season. So let’s take a quick look at some of the best that summer fruits and veggies have to offer. We will take a quick look at what nutritional value these fruits and vegetables have to offer, as well as their origins and a couple of refreshing recipes for the summer season.

breadfruit

 

Breadfruit

The history of the breadfruit is interesting, to say the least. It is widely believed that New Guinea was the original place that the breadfruit tree had come from. Tribes from New Guinea and other Micronesian islands eventually immigrated to the Polynesian islands, bringing seeds with them. From there, the fruit traveled to Hawaii in the 12th century. It became popular with Europeans in the mid 18th century during the transatlantic slave trade, as a way of finding new ways to feed their slaves in Jamaica during a famine. From there, the fruit spread from Jamaica to Tahiti and even to the Florida Keys.

According to a tourist site in Maui, where the fruit is grown and popularized over time, “Breadfruit trees are one of the highest yielding food plants known. A single tree can produce between 50 to 150 fruits per year (yield varies between wet and dry areas) and their round, oval or oblong fruits can weigh as much as 12 pounds.”

 

Breadfruit Nutrition

 

  • Fiber –  There is a lot of fiber in this fruit, which is great for managing blood sugar and helps with the prevention of diabetes. Fiber also helps with satiety.
  • Protein –  It has a surprising amount of protein in comparison to most fruits and vegetables which is great for people who need to build muscle mass and keep their immune system strong.
  • Vitamin C –  Speaking of the immune system, it will get an extra boost from all of the vitamin C. It also helps with the production of collagen, a protein that helps wounds heal faster.

 

 Recipe

If you have wanted to try a new vegan recipe but still want the comfort of pancakes and butter, then this recipe will be right up your alley. These breadfruit pancakes are easy to make and will leave you feeling guilt-free. Click on the photo below for the recipe, which was brought to you by Happy and Raw.

 

Breadfruit Pancakes and Butterless Butter

breadfruit pancakes

 

Sources:

https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/breadfruit.html

https://draxe.com/breadfruit/

“https://www.tourmaui.com/breadfruit/

 

Summertime Fruits and Vegetables – Avocados

Summertime is on the way, a season that offers hot days, cool swimming pools, and refreshing lemonade. There are also plenty of fruits and vegetables to enjoy at this time of the season. So let’s take a quick look at some of the best that summer fruits and veggies have to offer. We will take a quick look at what nutritional value these fruits and vegetables have to offer, as well as their origins and a couple of refreshing recipes for the summer season.

avocado

Avocados

The avocado tree is part of the laurel tree family and has been around for nearly 10,000 years. There are at least three cultivated strains of the avocado plant that range from Guatemala, West India, and Mexico.  Earliest traces of the plant were found in present-day Peru and were dated from 8,000 to 15,000 years ago, during the Mesolithic period.  The earliest evidence for cultivation of the plant was 5,000 years ago by local tribes that were inhabiting central Mexico.

The earliest written account of the avocado, outside of its origins, was penned by Spanish explorer, Martín Fernández de Enciso.  He had mentioned them in a book he wrote in 1519 and eventually, the Spanish started importing the fruit to Spain and England. Over time, avocados became commercialized in places like Jamaica, Barbados, and the United States.

 

Avocado Nutrition

 

  • Vitamins:  Avocados are rich in vitamins C, E, K, and B-6. They are also are rich in minerals such as riboflavin, niacin, folate, magnesium, and potassium.

 

  • Heart Healthy: According to Medical News Today, “Avocados contain 25 milligrams per ounce of a natural plant sterol called beta-sitosterol. Regular consumption of beta-sitosterol and other plant sterols has been seen to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.” They are also high in monosaturated fat, a good fat that helps lower bad cholesterol.

 

  • Detoxification: Avocados are fiberous, which means that they help your body detox through regular bowel movements. This fiber can also help regulate the immune system and help with inflammation.

 

Easy Homemade Guacamole Recipe

If you want to know one of the best ways to eat and prepare avocado, then click on the picture below.  This guacamole is easy to make, fresh tasting, and perfect for a hot summer day.

 

avocado, guacamole

Sources:

https://www.avoseedo.com/a-brief-history-of-the-avocado/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avocado

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270406.php

https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/all-about-avocados

All about Japanese Shrooms

What’s the Deal with Mushrooms?

Some of them get you as high as a kite, and others can kill you, but all of these little fungi are fascinating. They help with the decomposition of dead trees and animals. And they are a symbol of the most internationally iconic video game, the Super Mario Brothers. A whopping 45,000 species of mushroom exist all over the world. Also, after much trial and error by our ancestors, we of the human race learned that some of them are even a great enough nutritional benefit to use for medicinal purposes. What makes them so good for us?  Is there a reason that a lot of vegetarians use them in broths and salads, or why they make a good garnish? We will examine several types of mushrooms over the course of the next few weeks, worldwide, to find out.

 

Japanese Mushrooms

Stemming from the Chinese philosophy of food being medicine for the body, the traditional Japanese diet is considered one of the more nutritious diets worldwide.  Hell, just one region of Japan, Okinawa, boasts one of the highest lifespans all over the world, thanks to their diet and lifestyle. In fact, before the introduction of western style food, obesity wasn’t considered a problem in Japan.

The typical Japanese diet consists mostly of vegetables like roots and seaweed, all sorts of saltwater fish, rice, and you guessed it mushrooms. They have all kinds of mushrooms, some of which are eaten daily, and others that are outright delicacies.  So, let’s take a look at some of these exotic mushrooms and look at what sort of nutritional benefits they have.

 

Shitake (She-tah-kay)

This is most likely one of the more well known edible fungi from Japan thanks to it sounding closer to a curse word than an actual food item. However, there is more than meets the eye to this humorous sounding mushroom. It’s called ‘shi’ ‘take’ because the word “shi” in Japanese means tree and the word “take” means mushroom. Put those words together and they are literally called “Mushrooms that Grow on Trees”.

This mushroom has a cap that is large, porous, and cracked with a stem that is long and white. It can be eaten raw, cooked, or steamed and can grow easily on trees that are cut down into logs. In fact, one popular shitake farming technique involves the cutting down of logs and standing them up in large groups to encourage growth.

 

Shitake Nutrition

The nutritional value of the shitake mushroom can’t be overstated. For starters, these little guys are high in Vitamin B & D. These are good for both easing general anxiety and depression, as well as recreating blood cells and DNA.  Phosphorous is good for reducing bone damage, helps your body detox by urinating and is even needed for cognitive functions. I guess shitake mushrooms are brain food!

 

Namekotake (Nah- Meh-Ko)

 

Now, we are going to be looking at the Nameko, a tiny mushroom that has a slime covered orange cap. They grow on the logs of dead beach trees and

nameko japanese mushroomhas a name that literally translates to “slimy mushroom”. The good news is that once cooked, the mushroom slime has no taste, so its good to eat. They are best served either as part of a stir-fry or a stew, thanks to their small size and the slime acting as a natural thickener. Now that we know what makes them edible and easily found, we need to learn makes them good for you.

Namekotake Nutrition

The micronutrients naturally found in this little guy include Vitamin B, Copper, Potassium, and Calcium. These vitamins and minerals work hard to strengthen your immune system, lowers bad cholesterol, increases the likelihood of resisting cancer and tumors and promotes resistance to infections like staph and MRCA.  That last one is particularly important since staph infection and MRCA can wreak havoc on your immune system and can make your body resist life-saving antibiotics.

 

Enokitake ( En-oh-key)

japanese, mushrooms, enokiThese are small white mushrooms that grow in small white clusters on fruit trees such as mulberry and persimmon. They mainly grow on Chinese Hackberry trees and are even named after that particular species of tree. These little guys are mostly found in soups and stews because of their long thin stems and take on a noodly texture once they have been boiled all the way through. They are also mostly used as a garnish for side dishes and salads since their flavor isn’t particularly strong.

 

Enokitake Nutrition-

These small mushrooms may look unassuming, but they do more for you than you think. For instance, they are the only mushrooms listed in this article to have both protein and fiber.  They also pack vitamin B & D and copper on just like the other ones. What makes them so incredible is that one cup of these things is enough to help regulate your blood sugar and prevent constipation on top of all the other benefits mentioned by the other mushrooms. Who knew something so amazing came from something so small? Feel free to give them a try when you are at the store sometime.

Like this article? Check out more at Beksbites.com!

 

Sources:

https://guide.michelin.com/us/san-francisco/features/japanese-mushroom-guide-shiitake-shimeji-enoki/news

https://www.tofugu.com/japan/japanese-mushrooms/

https://livejapan.com/en/article-a0001381/

http://japaninsides.com/7-types-japanese-mushrooms-health-benefits/

All About them South American Shrooms

What’s the Deal with Mushrooms?

Some of them get you as high as a kite, and others can kill you, but all of these little fungi are fascinating. They help with the decomposition of dead trees and animals. And they are a symbol of the most internationally iconic video game, the Super Mario Brothers. A whopping 45,000 species of mushroom exist all over the world. Also, after much trial and error by our ancestors, we of the human race learned that some of them are even a great enough nutritional benefit to use for medicinal purposes.What makes them so good for us?  Is there a reason that a lot of vegetarians use them in broths and salads, or why they make a good garnish? We will examine several types of mushrooms over the course of the next few weeks, worldwide, to find out.

 

South American Edible Mushrooms

From Spring to Fall, mushrooms grow both on farms and in the wild in Southern Chile. Chile is one of the 4th largest exporter of mushrooms worldwide. And they play a massive role in the local Chilean diet, as well earned their place as exotic ingredients in high-end restaurants. We will dive into Chilean mushrooms both common and rare, and figure out just what makes them so unique. Because there was little I could find on the nutritional benefits of these mushrooms, I am going to take the low road on this one and offer a corresponding recipe with the mushrooms I found. 

 

Dihueñes 

Dihuenes, mushroomsThese mushrooms have an interesting texture to look at and have unique properties that make this a special import in places like Japan and France. The dihueñe or digüeñe is one of the first few that bloom during mushroom harvest season, and are normally found growing on the trunks of oak trees.

Their texture is chewy and their flavor is subtly sweet. So much so, that one person who tried preparing it while on a trip to Chile warned prospective diners to  “go lightly” with any flavoring that they plan to soak the mushroom in. The most popular way to eat this kind of mushroom is with scrambled eggs, on salads, and tortillas.

Another noteworthy mention of this species of mushroom was that Charles Darwin indexed it while on his travels through  Tierra del Fuego in June of 1834.

 

Dihueñes Recipe

Thanks to Conchaytoro, I have found the best traditional Chilean recipe for people to try at home if they somehow get access to this mushroom as a delicacy.  They make a great ingredient for the spicy sauce that often accompanies a typical Chilean dinner, pebre.  Click on the photo below for the recipe.

 

pebre, mushrooms, recipe

 

Dark and Light Pine Mushroom-

These are the largest and most common mushroom export for Chile. These mushrooms are found blooming commonly at the base of pine trees fromdark pine, mushrooms late fall to early spring.  Harvesters of the fruit both dry, then mix the two species of mushroom into bags of CallampasCallampas makeup about 90% of Chile’s mushroom exports and are used the most often in pasta sauce, stews, soups, or with meat dishes.

 

Pine Mushroom Recipe

Food and Home provided this recipe that takes mushrooms back to their roots in Italian cuisine, Mushroom risotto with prawn.  This dish is great for the days when you want to put things together in your kitchen in a simple fashion, but want something more nutritionally sound than hot dogs and macaroni and cheese.  Click on the photo below for the recipe.

 

Coral Fungi

mushroomThis edible fungus is more common worldwide, but they are a staple of the local diet in places like  Brazil,  and Mexico. The mushrooms are fragile and are picked whole by locals who prepare them in a variety of ways. Eating too much of them will cause a laxative effect, (which is the case with most mushrooms in large quantities anyway) and it is important that if you do go shopping for them, that the ones that are safe to eat are either white, beige, or yellow. Any other color means that they are either rotting or poisonous.

 

 

 

Coral Fungi Recipe

Did you know that you could pickle mushrooms? I have never heard of it until today! Sure enough, the recipe for pickling these delicate fungi are written by Racheal Benson, a chef that has an entire article about the prep and storage of these mushrooms.

 

 

Like this article? Check out more at Beksbites.com!

 

Sources:

http://eatingchile.blogspot.com/2009/10/eating-chilean-wild-mushrooms-hongos.html

https://www.conchaytoro.com/wine-blog/wild-mushrooms-from-the-south-of-chile/

https://www.conchaytoro.com/wine-blog/champinones-silvestres-del-sur-de-chile/

http://www.chileflora.com/Florachilena/FloraEnglish/HighResPages/EH0556.htm

http://foragerchef.com/thoughts-on-ramarias-coral-mushrooms/

All About them Mushrooms

What’s the Deal with Mushrooms?

Some of them get you as high as a kite, and others can kill you, but all of these little fungi are fascinating. They help with the decomposition of dead trees and animals. And they are a symbol of the most internationally iconic video game, the Super Mario Brothers. A whopping 45,000 species of mushroom exist all over the world. Also, after much trial and error by our ancestors, we of the human race learned that some of them are even a great enough nutritional benefit to use for medicinal purposes.What makes them so good for us?  Is there a reason that a lot of vegetarians use them in broths and salads, or why they make a good garnish? We will examine several types of mushrooms over the course of the next few weeks, worldwide, to find out.

 

North American Edible Mushrooms

Bek’s Bites is based in North Alabama, a state located in the southeastern region of North America. So, we are going to tackle the mushrooms that are common and rare that are found on the North American continent. We find all sorts of mushrooms that come from the US, and some of them are considered a delectable local treat.

 

The White Button Mushroom

button mushroomTo start, we are going to talk about the White Button mushroom. This mushroom is the most popular mushroom in the United States, accounting for 90% of consumption.  They are found commonly around the United States and you can get them at any supermarket. But what makes them nutritionally beneficial?

 

  • Heart Health

One of the leading causes of death in the U.S. is Heart Attack. This is caused by the plaque that builds up in your arteries over time, usually from the mass death of white blood cells. According to an experiment conducted by the University of Arizona cited by Livestrong .org, the study showed that “button mushrooms reduce inflammation in arterial cells and prevent white blood cells from sticking to arterial walls.”  That means that white mushrooms incorporated into your daily diet might reduce the risk of heart inflammation.

 

  • Immune System Boost

We all have antibodies that work 24/7 to protect our bodies from the intrusion of foreign entities like certain types of viruses and bacteria. Mushrooms naturally boost the immune system, which means that eating them can help with the production of white blood cells.  The scientists responsible for the study of these fungi suspect that the natural polysaccharide content of the mushrooms is responsible.

 

Crimini

baby bella mushroom

Similar to the White Button, these “Baby Bellas” are small and are found in stores. However, they have a more earthy taste to them and are best served with red meat, wild game, and cooked vegetables. They can be found year round and 50% of the US production occur in Pennsylvania.  What do they have to offer?

 

Yes, you read that right.  We need a little bit of copper in our diet in order to live happy and healthy lives. A small amount of copper in our bodies can help build strong tissue, maintain blood volume, and produce energy in your cells. And this mushroom has enough copper to meet your daily value quota.

This mineral is mostly found in all forms of fish, white meat like turkey, and beef, and we require a small amount of it in our diet because it helps us with building important proteins that are responsible for our overall health called “Selenoproteins”. If you find yourself in a situation when you can’t eat meat or won’t eat meat out of principle, this mushroom is a great substitute for getting that nutrient.

 

Cauliflower Mushroom

Finally, we are covering a rarer type of mushroom that grows alone on trees in the Pacific Northwest, the Cauliflower Mushroom.  Naturally, they look cauliflower mushroomdifferent than their shorter counterparts. They are easy to spot, if you know what you are looking for, however.  They look like Italian noodles and are found during the autumn months.  People who have found and dined on this delicacy will tell you that they are best when they are boiled in a broth. However, what do they have to offer, nutritionally?

What is it, and how important is it?  Little is known about the chemical, but what we do know is that Sparrassol is a natural antibiotic.  It also, ironically, has antifungal benefits and can be found in things like foot cream.

 

There is more knowledge about this mineral than Sparassol, thank goodness. Not only do they boost the immune system, they also are used for fighting diabetes, cancer, high cholesterol, and HIV & AIDS. That is not all that this powerful compound can do! They are also given to patients that come out of surgery to prevent infection. Most important of all is that they are even known to reverse the growth of skin tumors! That is the most impressive mushroom I ever heard of!

 

Sources:

https://www.livestrong.com/article/496384-the-adverse-effects-of-shiitake-mushrooms/

https://www.mushroomcouncil.com/varieties/crimini/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=97

http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Cauliflower_Mushrooms_730.php

Ah Nuts!- Hazelnuts

Let’s Talk Nuts and Legumes

So, I have covered fruits and vegetables quite a lot on this blog over the last two years. And it has been fun. But people often have a love-hate relationship with legumes. So, for a couple of weeks, we are going to be covering the origins, benefits, and pitfalls of legumes all over the world. Who knows? Maybe, there will be a recipe linked in there that is relevant to your interests? Get ready to get your nutrition on, because we are going to be talking about…

 

Hazelnuts

 

One would think that I would cap this series off with peanuts, but I find it to be somewhat of a “low hanging fruit” out of all the nuts that I could talk about.  So I am ending this series on one of my favorite nuts that are well known in both flavors of coffee and in Nutella, the hazelnut. This nut existed as far back as the middle part of the stone ages in a colony back in Scotland.  To put that in perspective, that was 10,000 years ago, when humans were hunters and gatherers, making this nut older than most of today’s cultivated vegetables. It’s a hardy tree that can last through many cold climates and is cultivated today mostly for the confectionary industry.

 

The Benefits of Hazelnuts

 

  • Healthy Fats-  There are both good kinds of fat and bad kinds of fat in the human body. According to livestrong.com, “Hazelnuts contain heart-healthy fats that can protect heart health. Specifically, they are high in healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and low in unhealthier unsaturated fats. Hazelnuts are a good source of oleic acid. Oleic acid can help to lower levels of bad cholesterol, LDL, and can raise levels of good cholesterol, HDL, in the body.”
  • Phytochemicals- Hazelnuts contain flavonoids, phytochemicals that are responsible for brain health, help with immunities to allergies, and improve circulation.
  • These heart-healthy nuts also have quite a few vitamins and minerals. Such as, Vitamins E (which is great for skin and nails), Vitamin B, and folate.

 

 

Hazelnut Recipes

Click on the photos below if you find anything that you like! These recipes are mouthwatering and are more than just desserts.

Sausage and Sage Stuffing

For those who want to be a little bit inventive with their Thanksgiving stuffing recipe, or if you just want something to do with hazelnuts that are not sweet, here is the perfect recipe for your taste buds. You have the tang from cranberries, the light spice of the sausage, the herby taste from the sage, and a nice nutty crunch to add to the quality of the blend.

 

 

hazelnuts, legumes ,nuts

 

 

 Candied Hazelnuts

If you do want your hazelnuts on the sweet side of things, then look no further than the most traditional way of incorporating them into a dessert, Candied Hazelnuts.

 

hazelnuts

 

Fettuccine with Mushrooms and Hazelnuts

Did you know that hazelnuts went with Italian food? I sure didn’t. These little guys add a crunch that is missing from your traditional fettuccine recipe and is a great way to add subtle flavoring to the dish.

hazelnuts

 

Want some more good tips? Check out this recipe here! If you want to book an appointment, head here and click on the pop-up!