Tag: recipes

Omega 3 FA’s, Sleep and Mindfulness for the Heart

Omega 3 FA’s, Sleep and Mindfulness for the Heart

Take Care of your Heart this Valentine’s Day

By Lisa Mikus, RD, CNSC, CDN


The first two weeks of February are inundated with ads selling diamonds, chocolate, and luxury vacations. Yet, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about the material items.  Instead look to self-care, specifically at your efforts around heart health in honor of Valentines and American Heart Month as determined by the American Heart Association. Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. Taking care of your heart through food, mindfulness and sleep is the best gift to give yourself.

Here are a few ways to practice heart health focused self-care this February.

Assess Your Heart Health

If you haven’t visited your PCP within the last year, consider making an appointment to gain information regarding your cardiovascular wellness. Discuss your family history and lifestyle with your PCP.  Specific lab values to discuss include blood pressure, Total cholesterol to HDL ratio, LDL, and triglycerides.2.

Consult a RD

If you are curious about how to improve your cardiovascular health, consult with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD/RDN). RDNs use medical nutrition therapy to help improve the health and wellness of their clients. RDs provide education and support implementation of behavior change. A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist will help you make small, realistic lifestyle changes with the goal of sustainable and lasting improvement.

Your dietitian may suggest incorporating “heart healthy” foods into your intake. Keep in mind we like to identify these foods as anti inflammatory which include dark leafy greens (spinach and kale), whole grains (millet, buckwheat, whole wheat pasta), and fats high in omega-3 fatty acids. Our bodies cannot produce these fatty acids so we must obtain them from foods. Two essential fatty acids are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Another omega-3 is called Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which can be converted into DHA and EPA. Eating foods high in omega-3s is an important component of cardiovascular health. If your labs indicate high triglyceride levels, fish oil supplementation has been shown to decrease circulating triglycerides in the blood. Foods high in omega-3s include fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts.

Scroll down for two heart healthy recipes fromEveryday Diabetes Meals – Cooking for One or Two by Laura Cipullo, RD and Lisa Mikus, RD.

Manage Your Stress & Sleep

We know that stress can affect one’s overall health. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has been studied in association with improved health outcomes, including cardiovascular health. MBSR is a program developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. MBSR teaches participants to practice mindfulness meditation, described as a non-judgmental awareness that lowers reactivity to stress. Mindfulness has been associated with improved outcomes related to many diseases including diabetes and heart disease. According to a randomized control study published in 2013, an outpatient MBSR program successfully reduced participants’ symptoms including anxiety, depression, blood pressure, and perceived stress in those with Coronary Heart Disease.

Sleep hygiene is an important piece of one’s overall wellness that often gets overlooked. Yet, sleep has been thoroughly researched in association with health outcomes as the amount of sleep you get every night impacts your stress level and hormonal balance. According to the American Heart Association, sleep disorders and short duration of sleep has been associated with a number of cardiovascular related issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Furthermore, insomnia has been associated with increased risk of stroke. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends at least 7 hours of sleep every night.



Heart-Healthy Recipes from Everyday Diabetes Meals – Cooking for One or Two 

by Laura Cipullo, RD & Lisa Mikus, RD

Herb-Roasted Salmon

Makes 2 Servings

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F


Lemon Dill Marinade

3 tbsp chopped fresh dill

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Pinch salt

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tsp olive oil

2 tsp Dijon mustard


1 tsp olive oil

2 pieces (each 4 oz/125 g) skin-on salmon fillet


  1. Lemon Dill Marinade: Whisk together dill, pepper, salt, lemon juice, oil and mustard.
  2. Place salmon in a sealable plastic bag and pour marinade over top. Seal bag and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or for up to 12 hours.
  3. In ovenproof skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Increase heat to high and transfer salmon to the skillet flesh-side down (reserving marinade). Sear for 1 minute.
  4. Pour reserved marinade over salmon., flip salmon over and transfer skillet to preheated oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until fish is opaque and flakes easily when tested with a fork.


Peanut Butter Energy Balls

Makes 8 balls (4 balls per serving)


1 tbsp chia seeds

¼ cup creamy natural peanut butter

1 tbsp water

2 pitted dates, diced

¼ cup large-flake (old-fashioned) rolled oats

2 tbsp slivered almonds

1 tbsp ground cinnamon


  1. In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, microwave chia seeds, peanut butter, and water on High for about 30 seconds or until melted. Add dates, oats, almonds, and cinnamon. Stir to combine.
  2. Using your hands, shape the mixture into 8 balls and arrange in prepared shallow container. Freeze overnight.















Rosenzweig, S., Reibel, D. K., Greeson, J. M., Edman, J. S., McMearty, K. D., et al. (2007). “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is Associated with Improved Glycemic Control in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Pilot Study.” Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 13: 36–38.

Klatt, M., Norre, C., Reader, B., Yodice, L., & White, S. (2017). Mindfulness in motion: a mindfulness-based intervention to reduce stress and enhance quality of sleep in Scandinavian employees. Mindfulness, 8(2), pp. 481-488.




Favorite Summer Meals to Eat Before Summer is Over

Favorite Summer Meals to Eat Before Summer is Over

Favorite Summer Meals to Eat Before Summer is Over

By Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Summer is not over yet! Give some of a my favorite summer recipes a try!

California Grilled Chicken

(Recipe hint: Serve over Zoodles!)

Grilled Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa

(Recipe Hint: Serve with Guac!)

Easy and Yum: Steak Burrito Bowl Recipe

Trendy bowls dinners: Quinoa Chicken Bowls with a Mango Salsa

Powerhouse delivered in a bowl: High Protein Onion, Apple, Quinoa, and Kale Salad

Should you go Paleo?

All Foods Fit Even If You Have Diabetes

All Foods Fit Even If You Have Diabetes

Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE with the help of Lisa Mikus, RD has published her fourth book!

Make all foods fit by counting carbs. Here are two of Laura’s favorite recipes!!


Crave No More Cupcakes

Everyday Diabetes Meals for 1 or 2

By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE and Lisa Mikus, RD, CDN


When eating consistent carbohydrates throughout the day, dessert is actually part of your meal plan. Black bean brownie cupcakes are perfect for managing your blood sugar while fulfilling any chocolate cravings.


Makes 2 servings (2-3 cupcakes per serving)


Preheat oven to 350°F

Muffin pan, lined with 4-6 cupcake liners

Food processor


1                      egg

2 tsp               canola oil

1 tbsp             maple syrup

3 oz                 black beans, cooked or canned, drained


1/8 cup          almond flour

1/3 cup          cocoa, fair trade

2 tsp               baking powder

1/8 cup          mini dark chocolate chips


  1. In food processor, blend egg, canola oil, and maple syrup, and black beans. Slowly add dry almond flour, cocoa, baking powder, and dark chocolate chips with mixing spoon. Mix thoroughly and pour into muffin tins.
  2. Bake for about 18 -20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center of the cupcake clean.


Nutrients per Serving

Carbohydrates 38 g

Lemon Ginger Cupcakes


Diabetes friendly cupcakes are tonight’s snack! Bake and then serve with a dollop of lemon or ginger yogurt for a bite of bitter sweetness.


Makes 2 servings (2 cupcakes per serving)


Preheat oven to 350F

Muffin pan, lined with 4 cupcake liners

Add water to unlined cupcake tins


1/2 cup                      almond flour

1/4 cup                      whole wheat flour

1 tbsp                         wheat germ

1/4 tsp                       baking soda

1/2 tsp                       ginger

1 tsp                           lemon rind

1                                  egg

1/2 cup                      unsweetened plant milk*


  1. In one small medium mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients.
  2. Next, add in the wet ingredients until smooth. Scoop into the cupcake tray spaces with liners.
  3. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center of the cupcake clean.



*Unsweetened almond milk was used in this recipe

*Lemon Greek yogurt or goat’s milk ginger yogurt would make a fabulous optional topping.


Nutrients per Serving

Carbohydrates 19 g


New-Trition: These 10 healthy trends—and four recipes—will inspire you to mix it up!

New-Trition: These 10 healthy trends—and four recipes—will inspire you to mix it up!

New-Trition: These 10 healthy trends will inspire you to mix it up!

Check out Lisa’s contribution to the January/February issue of Women’s Running Magazine!

Read rest of the article here: New-Trition .

Throwback Tuesday: Grilled, Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Throwback Tuesday: Grilled, Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Throwback Tuesday: Grilled, Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms


Image via Becky Luigart-Stayner; Jan Gautro at Cooking Light

by Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD and Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Memorial Day is coming this Monday and if you’re a foodie you know what that means, BBQ! And there’s no reason you can’t enjoy Memorial Day as a vegetarian or vegan. A nice substitute for meat is the mushroom. When prepared right, it has tons of flavor and a somewhat “meaty” taste. The health benefits of mushrooms are many — from anti-cancer to antiviral. There are also many different types of mushrooms to experiment with until you find one that suits your taste. One that I like a lot is the portabello. Portabello’s large shape means it also can be made to look like a burger as well.

This recipe gets its flavor from a mix of part-skim mozzarella, plum tomato, rosemary, pepper, lemon and soy. Enjoy!

Check out other types of mushrooms and more of mushroom’s health benefits right here.


  • 2/3 cup chopped plum tomato
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh or 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 4 (5-inch) portobello mushroom caps
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley



  1. Prepare grill.
  2. Combine the tomato, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon oil, rosemary, pepper, and garlic in a small bowl.
  3. Remove brown gills from the undersides of mushroom caps using a spoon, and discard gills. Remove stems; discard. Combine 1/2 teaspoon oil, juice, and soy sauce in a small bowl; brush over both sides of mushroom caps. Place the mushroom caps, stem sides down, on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill for 5 minutes on each side or until soft.
  4. Spoon 1/4 cup tomato mixture into each mushroom cap. Cover and grill 3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with parsley.
  5. Notes: Since the garlic isn’t really cooked, the mushrooms have a strong garlic flavor. Grill the mushrooms stem sides down first, so that when they’re turned they’ll be in the right position to be filled. If you want to plan ahead, remove the gills and stems from the mushrooms and combine the filling, then cover and chill until ready to grill.
 The recipe and photograph in this post were provided by Cooking Light. To see the originals please click here.
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