STYROFOAM (yucky for the environment) but good for displaying jewelry

My BFF Kara, gave me this lovely LEOPARD print jewelry box during one of my many luxuriously restful visits.

LEOPARD Jewelry Box

LEOPARD Jewelry Box

Since I live AT the BEACH, I prefer to spend my “vacation” visiting friends & family back east. 

Kara’s guest room, in the quaint, historic town of Frederick, Maryland, houses THE BEST, most comfy BED, bar none. It RIVALS that found in any 5 Star HOTEL.
  (Image courtesy of the Downtown Frederick website)

While visiting Kara, aside from getting plenty of restful sleep, I also get in some splendiferous shopping, often accumulating unique pieces of jewelry.

(One of our favorite shops The Muse

So, appropriately for the occasion, Kara presented me with this lovely LEOPARD print jewelry box (featured above), knowing my affection for ALL THINGS LEOPARD. 

(Even my cell phone case, from which I’m writing this entry, is covered in much loved, and weathered, LEOPARD print.)

The only downfall of my lovely LEOPARD jewelry case is that the drawers would not hold my jewels SECURELY, since there were none of the usual jewelry-holding-type inserts.

I mostly wanted to use it for big rings, because my jewelry collection could not even begin to fit into just one box. 


I thought about the “foamy” ring inserts I’ve seen in other jewelry cases. Then I thought about all of the things I’ve bought to furnish my apartment, and I remembered throwing away tons of foam & styrofoam packing material. Much to my chagrin.

I actually put these “foamy” products in the recycle bin in my building’s garbage area. According to the La Sanitation website, styrofoam falls under “plastics” & IS recyclable, YAY!!! Thank GOD! And then I thought, “How perfect some of those pieces would be right now.”

But since I haven’t bought or ordered anything lately, which would come with that wasteful, but now useful, styrofoam, I decided to take a peak in the first floor garbage/recycle area. Yep, I’m not ashamed to pick through recycled boxes in search of “foamy” stuff.  


I didn’t do any measuring, but I had an idea of the dimensions of pieces I would need to fit in my LEOPARD jewelry box. I found some pieces that were probably wide enough but too thick for the space.  


So I took my cheap, but sharp knife, (the one I do not use for food) and I cut the pieces to make them thinner. I fit them into the drawers of the box. Then I cut slits, spaced evenly apart, and inserted most of my bigger, more glitzy, rings into the slits.


Some of my smaller rings are housed in my LEOPARD shoe-shaped ring holders. 


Did I mention that I LOVE LEOPARD print??

Aside from my LEOPARD cell phone case, I have tons of leopard blankets, pillows, shoes, belts, & I even covered a piece of wood with LEOPARD duct tape to use as a shelf in my bathtub. This LEOPARD piece goes across my tub & supports my corner bathroom caddy. 


When all was said & done, my rings now fit securely in my LEOPARD jewelry box. The box sits on two metal slats which have been attached to one of my very large jewelry display cases. 


Living in a small, yet cozy, studio apartment, and being just the opposite of a “minimalist,” I am forever making creative use of my space while also using whatever I find lying around, as purposeful pieces to my projects.

These metal things, of which I don’t yet have a name, are leftover from when I used to build stacked closets from particle board units I’d bought at Home Depot. I no longer use these heavy units as they are not “moving friendly.” Instead I’ve switched to wire metal clothing racks.

I’ll share some of my other creative space ideas in future posts.

For now, here’s one use for that “yucky,” un-environmentally-friendly STYROFOAM.


And if you take on this type of project, beware that you’ll be cleaning up little, staticky, styrofoam pieces once you’re done cutting. 


A vacuum cleaner works well for easy clean-up. Use the hose attachment. 

Water & a cloth also work, but don’t rinse the “foamy” pieces down the drain. We don’t need to add to water pollution. 


As I’m wrapping up this piece, and thinking about the association between internal health & the cleanliness & organization of your refrigerator, because I’ve covered that in the linked article, I thought there may be an association between being “organized” & being “healthy,” but the only relationship I could find was related to “business health” and “organizational management.” In reality, being TOO organized might be a form of OCD. Yes, I have a little of that, but I can leave my clothes in a pile with the best of ’em. 

It’s fun to organize AND relax AND get outside for some fresh air & Vitamin D (click link)

 So I’m done. I’m OUT! Going to get my “D” on for the day!!

Thanks for your un”D”vided attention. 🙂

SHOES + Whole Foods = Perfect Together!

imageThe two things I Love: Shoes & Whole Foods.

These are honestly the two things on which I love to spent my money; haute couture foot ware & haute cuisine. But in either case, I RARELY pay RETAIL. I find the most amazing deals on foot ware on eBay, especially through an eBay store called APPARELSAVE. And I buy only WHOLE FOOD ingredients at Whole Foods, rarely anything processed. So although I love high end items, I don’t pay premium prices.

Something I dislike about consumerism overall though, is waste. After some recent APPARELSAVE purchases, I was left with empty shoe boxes, many of which I use in my storage cubicles, some I use for storing extra toiletries & now I found the best use of all.

If you choose the right sized shoebox, you can use it as a sturdy base for your reuseable bags to secure your food purchase, OR better yet, you can use the shoebox as a base for your LUNCH BAG. Reuseable bags are perfect for holding my stainless steel water bottles, smoothies & protein rich salads; items I generally take for my daily sustenance. So, in a nutshell, buy shoes from APPARELSAVE & PREMIUM ingredients from WHOLE FOODS & use everything!image

If you find you have shoes you never wear, resell on eBay at Linda’s Stuff. You get 62% of the selling cost, plus they pay your shipping to them. It’s totally WIN-WIN. I ❤️Linda’s Stuff

Aphrodisiacs by Elizabeth Brown, MS, RD

One seductive salad

(originally published in the Santa Monica Daily Press Newspaper 2008)

Aphrodisiacs & zinc

The Kiss. It is my favorite painting. It is my favorite experience. The most important one is that first kiss. It can make or break a relationship. You either feel it or you don’t. Kissing is one way to “feel it” while still behaving like a lady or a gentleman.

I’ve always been a hopeless romantic, preferring to wait for the perfect person rather than jump into a relationship simply to avoid being alone. I am so taken in by Hollywood’s portrayal of love and romance. In my favorite movie, Never Been Kissed, Drew Barrymore’s character recites a monologue about experiencing that first kiss with the right person. If you’re a romantic, please rent this one. I won’t give away the story except to say that she’s a writer and a hopeless romantic, just like me.

Because I am The Kitchen Vixen, people don’t automatically think “soft and sweet” but instead expect leather and lace and recipes for attracting sex. I often get asked for advice about the best “Aphrodisiacs”. An Aphrodisiac is anything that is believed to increase sexual desire. It could be an object, beverage, or food.

Oysters are one of the best known aphrodisiacs. Their popularity grew out of their shape. Look at an oyster and you’ll see what I mean.

Oysters also happen to be the richest source of zinc from any one food source. Zinc is a primary ingredient, so-to-speak, in the production of sperm. Perhaps that is the reason men claim to be affected by oysters.

Aphrodisiacs initially gained recognition during ancient times when food was scarce, nutrition was poor, and libidos were low. Associations were drawn between certain foods and increased sex drive and voila – magic potions for love.

While working as a Diabetes Educator, a national news company interviewed me about aphrodisiac claims. I remember telling the interviewer that I often saw married male patients only when they were not able to fulfill all of their husbandly duties. When Diabetes affects that aspect of life, it has gone uncontrolled for far too long. On the plus side, at least something was motivating them to change.

I became a Diabetes Educator because I felt that the way I would teach Diabetes sufferers to eat is the way I would teach everyone to eat. The misconception about Diabetes is that eating too much sugar, or processed carbs, causes the disease. In reality, Diabetes is genetic. It presents itself, more or less, when someone is inactive. The muscle cells become lazy and do not use sugar the way they should. Yes, reducing processed carbs and sugars will definitely help, but activity is the best medicine of all.

Aside from being active, and this goes for everyone, eat a diet loaded with colorful antioxidant rich fruits, vegetables, and heart healthy fats. These are the foods that might protect us all from chronic diseases and the ever thwarting signs of aging.

Try this aphrodisiac salad with all of those coveted nutrients including zinc from pine nuts (a source less obvious that oysters) and arugula, which has been known throughout ancient times as Rocket! And don’t forget the dark chocolate. Women know of its powers. Men, you will have to give some to your lady and judge for yourself.

Whether your meal is meant to win a heart, steal a smooch, or solicit a night of unbridled passion, just remember, it’s all about the K.I.S.S.Keep It Simple Sweetie. This recipe is so simple, light, yet satisfying, you’ll have plenty of energy for whatever transpires.

Aphrodisiac Salad
(Double is making for two)

2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
2 cups arugula
(arugula’s peppery flavor complements the sweetness of the berries, much like the perfect couple—sweet and spicy!)
1/2 cup black berries
1/2 cup raspberries
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp pine nuts
1/4 ounce dark chocolate


  1. In a large salad bowl, combine the first three ingredients. Mix with a fork
  2. Add the arugula and toss to coat with dressing.
  3. Add the berries (a.k.a. fruit nipples)
  4. Squeeze some lemon juice over the salad (the lemon juice helps to pull flavors together much like salt, but without the unwanted water retention that follows and may hinder the evening’s romance)
  5. Sprinkle with pine nuts
  6. Use a small, microplane type grater, to shave chocolate atop the salad

Per serving:
290 calories, 16g heart healthy fats, 36g carbs, 9g fiber, 5g protein


ALS Prevention Diet featuring Iggy Azalea -Fancy (I’m so healthy) Rap REMIX

ALS rap thumbnail

ALS Prevention Diet

I’m Elizabeth Brown, The Kitchen Vixen, a Registered Dietitian & Certified Holistic Chef. In 1988 I began my career path to become a Dietitian with the intent to one day host a healthy cooking show. As The Kitchen Vixen, I want to save the world by teaching people how to make life-saving recipes using health-promoting ingredients and preparation techniques which make the best use of someone’s time, energy, and financial resources. My adventures have taken me to many places in the US where I have had the opportunity to educate both personal clients as well as television viewers.

One of the most difficult years during my journey was in 2006 while living in Las Vegas. Initially I moved there to host a “LIVE” and internet based cooking show, but things went terribly wrong when I became involved with a very horrible individual.

However, for as much as I was having a difficult time living in Las Vegas, my trials where nothing compared to my friend June’s. Around the time I met June, while working in a physical therapy rehab hospital, June learned that her new husband Les was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). I was heartbroken when I learned of Les’s diagnoses and the fateful experiences he would be facing. Les was the pharmacist at our facility. The fact that I worked with both of them just made it even harder to imagine that one day they would no longer be together.

At the end of 2006 I moved to Santa Monica. Les and June would sometimes visit me while Les was involved in clinical trials at UCLA. Thanks to Les’s pharmacist background, he had the foresight to do as much as possible to extend his time on earth with June. He fought ALS for seven years. I still get tears in my eyes when I think about what they both went through. I know that none of us know how long we have on this planet, but I hope we can at least try to live as much of a quality life as possible. Whether we define “quality” as spending time with loved ones, or achieving our dreams, I would love it if everyone also had optimal health as an on-going goal; because our health affects EVERYTHING!

With the recent awareness of ALS, I decided to do some research to learn more about ALS and what foods might help prevent the disease. ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. As these nerve cells die, they stop sending signals to body parts that allow someone to move about. Some symptoms of ALS onset include muscle weakness, noted muscle atrophy of arms or legs, difficulty with speech, swallowing or breathing.

While doing my research, I did learn that in 10% of those who get ALS, there is a family inherited genetic defect in one of the body’s own antioxidant defense systems called Copper-Zinc Superoxide Dismutase or SOD1. This type of ALS is called familial ALS or FALS. SOD1 is one of three SOD antioxidant defense systems in the body. SOD1, in particular, protects the cytoplasm, or the interior of our cells, from free-radical invaders.

Aside from FALS, the other 90% who are diagnosed with ALS, do not have an obvious genetic component. This type of ALS is termed sporadic or SALS. In all cases of ALS, it does appear that repeated oxidative damage, which occurs over time as we age, is in part, responsible for the development and progression of the disease. So, conceivably, we can prevent, or halt, or at least slow the progression of ALS by reducing or preventing oxidative damage, perhaps thwarting the efforts of oxidative invaders BY STRENGTHENING our very own antioxidant defense system. Since SOD1 a.k.a. Copper-Zinc Superoxide Dismutase, is dependent on Copper and Zinc, two essential minerals, maybe if we ensure adequate intake of these minerals through our diets, then we can help strengthen our defenses against ALS.

Upon further research, I learned of some dietary habits associated with a lower incidence of ALS. There was a study in the January 2013 issue of Annals of Neurology, which looked at the dietary habits of more than 1 million participants. Researchers found that those who ate more foods rich in colorful carotenoids, particularly from beta-carotene and lutein, had a reduced risk of developing ALS. Beta-carotene rich foods include: carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash and dark leafy green vegetables. Lutein rich foods include dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach and Swiss chard, as well as collards, mustard and dandelion greens, and even green herbs such as parsley, cilantro and basil.

Another study also found that vitamin E intake was associated with reduced risk of ALS. Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin, which means it requires FAT to be absorbed by the body. Vitamin E is FOUND in high-fat foods: sunflower seeds are the BEST source of vitamin E, followed by almonds, hazelnuts, mixed nuts and even animal sources such as fatty fish and egg yolks. Vitamin E is often added to oils to “protect” the oil from oxidation or “breaking down.”

Because ALS has been associated with a “breakdown” in the body’s own Copper/Zinc Superoxide Dismutase antioxidant defense system (Cu/Zn SOD1), getting enough antioxidants in the diet, particularly from foods rich in beta-carotene, lutein and vitamin E, as well as copper and zinc, is especially important in the prevention of ALS.

Luckily, this recipe, like most of my recipes, happens to be rich in all of these nutrients. Although this recipe is designed with ALS prevention in mind, don’t be surprised if it also helps fight off cancer, deters the signs of aging and even reduces that menacing mid-section we see expanding with age, because a diet rich in VEGETABLES may aid weight loss.

While you’re preparing your own ALS Prevention Diet/ Recipe, please feel free to sing the following. As you sing you can ensure yourself, that you are doing this FOR YOURSELF!!!…written to Iggy Azalea’s “I’m So Fancy”

ALS Prevention Diet – Iggy Azalea -Fancy “I’m So Healthy” Rap

First things first I’m the healthiest. Eat this and let your whole body feel it.
‘Cause we prevent disease with the things we eat.
And I could teach you how to eat like I’m saving your life.

If you wanna be healthy like this.
Drop that soda pop and pick up a salad like this.
A quarter cup of oil, quarter cup balsamic, add water too.
A Tabelspoon Dijon, 2 cloves chopped garlic and little black pepper.
Now put it in your blender and use to top salad greens,
With a lil shredded carrot plus garbanzo beans,
Sunflower seeds and mixed nuts.

And we do it all so we can say…

I’m so Healthy, you don’t even know-o
I put greens in my…smoothies, slaws, and eggs oh, oh
I’m so healthy, can’t you see my Glow-o
I feel so vibrant and my diet makes it so-o-o-o

Eat your Veggies, they’re the things that will fight disease
Eat your veggies, and when somebody offers you greens say, “PLEASE!!”

What’s that? What’s that?

What’s that? What’s that?

What’s that? What’s that?

I’m so healthy
And my diet makes it so-o-o-o…
And I gotta go-o-o-o-o

Eat more of these FOODS!!!

Beta-carotene: Sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin, winter squash, kale, spinach

Lutein: kale, spinach, swiss chard, collards, mustard and dandelion greens

Vitamin E: sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, mixed nuts

Basic Balsamic Dijon Dressing

1/4 cup balsamic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

ALS Prevention Salad

1 cup kale
1 cup spinach
1 shredded carrot
1/4 cup parsley
1/2 cup garbanzo beans
1 Tbsp sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp mixed nuts
Top with 2 Tbsp dressing

Cost per serving: $1.73
Nutrients per serving (10 oz-wt/ 3 1/2 cups / 296g): Calories: 360, Total Fat: 15 g, Total Carbohydrates: 42 g, Dietary Fiber: 12 g, Protein: 15 g, Sodium: 203 mg
Omega-3 Fats: 280 mg, Omega-6 fats: 5,280 mg

% Daily Value
243% vitamin A
192% vitamin C
104% manganese
68% folate
42% copper
38% vitamin E
36% phosphorus
35% iron
33% magnesium
31% potassium
28% B-6
28% niacin
22% calcium
19% thiamine
19% zinc
17% riboflavin B-2
17% selenium
0% vitamin D
0% B12

REAEARCH to accompany article:

Essays Biochem. 2014 Aug 18;56(1):149-65. doi: 10.1042/bse0560149.
Many roads lead to Rome? Multiple modes of Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase destabilization, misfolding and aggregation in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Broom HR, Rumfeldt JA, Meiering EM.
Author information
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a fatal neurodegenerative syndrome characterized by progressive paralysis and motor neuron death. Although the pathological mechanisms that cause ALS remain unclear, accumulating evidence supports that ALS is a protein misfolding disorder. Mutations in Cu,Zn-SOD1 (copper/zinc superoxide dismutase 1) are a common cause of familial ALS. They have complex effects on different forms of SOD1, but generally destabilize the protein and enhance various modes of misfolding and aggregation. In addition, there is some evidence that destabilized covalently modified wild-type SOD1 may be involved in disease. Among the multitude of misfolded/aggregated species observed for SOD1, multiple species may impair various cellular components at different disease stages. Newly developed antibodies that recognize different structural features of SOD1 represent a powerful tool for further unravelling the roles of different SOD1 structures in disease. Evidence for similar cellular targets of misfolded/aggregated proteins, loss of cellular proteostasis and cell-cell transmission of aggregates point to common pathological mechanisms between ALS and other misfolding diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and prion diseases, as well as serpinopathies. The recent progress in understanding the molecular basis for these devastating diseases provides numerous avenues for developing urgently needed therapeutics.

Redox Biol. 2014 Mar 26;2:632-9. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2014.03.005. eCollection 2014.
SOD1 oxidation and formation of soluble aggregates in yeast: relevance to sporadic ALS development.
Martins D, English AM.
Author information
Misfolding and aggregation of copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (Sod1) are observed in neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Mutations in Sod1 lead to familial ALS (FALS), which is a late-onset disease. Since oxidative damage to proteins increases with age, it had been proposed that oxidation of Sod1 mutants may trigger their misfolding and aggregation in FALS. However, over 90% of ALS cases are sporadic (SALS) with no obvious genetic component. We hypothesized that oxidation could also trigger the misfolding and aggregation of wild-type Sod1 and sought to confirm this in a cellular environment. Using quiescent, stationary-phase yeast cells as a model for non-dividing motor neurons, we probed for post-translational modification (PTM) and aggregation of wild-type Sod1 extracted from these cells. By size-exclusion chromatography (SEC), we isolated two populations of Sod1 from yeast: a low-molecular weight (LMW) fraction that is catalytically active and a catalytically inactive, high-molecular weight (HMW) fraction. High-resolution mass spectrometric analysis revealed that LMW Sod1 displays no PTMs but HMW Sod1 is oxidized at Cys146 and His71, two critical residues for the stability and folding of the enzyme. HMW Sod1 is also oxidized at His120, a copper ligand, which will promote loss of this catalytic metal cofactor essential for SOD activity. Monitoring the fluorescence of a Sod1-green-fluorescent-protein fusion (Sod1-GFP) extracted
Contact: Dawn Peters

Eating bright-colored fruits and vegetables may prevent or delay ALS
New research suggests that increased consumption of foods containing colorful carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene and lutein, may prevent or delay the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The study, published by Wiley in Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society, found that diets high in lycopene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and vitamin C did not reduce ALS risk.
Carotenoids give fruits and vegetables their bright orange, red, or yellow colors, and are a source of dietary vitamin A. Prior studies report that oxidative stress plays a role in the development of ALS. Further studies have shown that individuals with high intake of antioxidants, such as vitamin E, have a reduced ALS risk. Because vitamin C or carotenoids are also antioxidants, researchers examined their relation to ALS risk.
According to the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) roughly 20,000 to 30,000 Americans have ALS—also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease—and another 5,000 patients are diagnosed annually with the disease. ALS is a progressive neurological disease that attacks nerve cells (neurons) in the brain and spinal cord, which control voluntary muscles. As the upper and lower motor neurons degenerate, the muscles they control gradually weaken and waste away, leading to paralysis.
“ALS is a devastating degenerative disease that generally develops between the ages of 40 and 70, and affects more men than women,” said senior author Dr. Alberto Ascherio, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass. “Understanding the impact of food consumption on ALS development is important. Our study is one of the largest to date to examine the role of dietary antioxidants in preventing ALS.”
Using data from five prospective groups: the National Institutes of Health (NIH)–AARP Diet and Health Study, the Cancer Prevention Study II-Nutrition Cohort, the Multiethnic Cohort, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, and the Nurses’ Health Study, researchers investigated more than one million participants for the present study. A total of 1093 ALS cases were identified after excluding subjects with unlikely food consumption.
The team found that a greater total carotenoid intake was linked to reduced risk of ALS. Individuals who consumed more carotenoids in their diets were more likely to exercise, have an advanced degree, have higher vitamin C consumption, and take vitamin C and E supplements. Furthermore, subjects with diets high in beta-carotene and lutein—found in dark green vegetables—had a lower risk ALS risk. Researchers did not find that lycopene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and vitamin C reduced the risk of ALS. Long-term vitamin C supplement intake was also not associated with lower ALS risk.
Dr. Ascherio concludes, “Our findings suggest that consuming carotenoid-rich foods may help prevent or delay the onset of ALS. Further food-based analyses are needed to examine the impact of dietary nutrients on ALS.”
This study is published in Annals of Neurology. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact
Full citation: “Intakes of Vitamin C and Carotenoids and Risk of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.” Kathryn C Fitzgerald, Eilis J O’Reilly, Elinor Fondell, Guido J Falcone, Marjorie L McCullough, Yikyung Park, Laurence N Kolonel and Alberto Ascherio. Annals of Neurology; Published Online: January 29, 2013 (DOI:10.1002/ana.23820).
Author Contact: To arrange an interview with Dr. Ascherio, please contact Todd Datz with the Harvard School of Public Health at
About the Journal
Annals of Neurology, the official journal of the American Neurological Association and the Child Neurology Society, publishes articles of broad interest with potential for high impact in understanding the mechanisms and treatment of diseases of the human nervous system. All areas of clinical and basic neuroscience, including new technologies, cellular and molecular neurobiology, population sciences, and studies of behavior, addiction, and psychiatric diseases are of interest to the journal. The journal is published by Wiley on behalf of the American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society. For more information, please visit

Metabolism. 2000 Feb;49(2 Suppl 1):3-8.
What is oxidative stress?
Betteridge DJ.
Author information
Oxidative stress, defined as a disturbance in the balance between the production of reactive oxygen species (free radicals) and antioxidant defenses, is discussed in relation to its possible role in the production of tissue damage in diabetes mellitus. Important free radicals are described and biological sources of origin discussed, together with the major antioxidant defense mechanisms. Examples of the possible consequences of free radical damage are provided with special emphasis on lipid peroxidation. Finally, the question of whether oxidative stress is increased in diabetes mellitus is discussed.


Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jul;68(7):778-85. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2014.39. Epub 2014 Mar 26.

Weight loss effects from vegetable intake: a 12-month randomised controlled trial.



Direct evidence for the effects of vegetable intake on weight loss is qualified. The study aimed to assess the effect of higher vegetable consumption on weight loss.


A single blind parallel controlled trial was conducted with 120 overweight adults (mean body mass index=29.98 kg/m(2)) randomised to two energy deficit healthy diet advice groups differing only by doubling the serving (portion) sizes of vegetables in the comparator group. Data were analysed as intention-to-treat using a linear mixed model. Spearmans rho bivariate was used to explore relationships between percentage energy from vegetables and weight loss.


After 12 months, the study sample lost 6.5±5.2 kg (P<0.001 time) with no difference between groups (P>0.05 interaction). Both groups increased vegetable intake and lost weight in the first 3 months, and the change in weight was significantly correlated with higher proportions of energy consumed as vegetables (rho=-0.217, P=0.024). Fasting glucose, insulin and triglyceride levels decreased (P<0.001 time) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels increased (P<0.001 time), with no difference between groups. Weight loss was sustained for 12 months by both groups, but the comparator group reported greater hunger satisfaction (P=0.005).


Advice to consume a healthy low-energy diet leads to sustained weight loss, with reductions in cardiovascular disease risk factors regardless of an emphasis on more vegetables. In the short term, consuming a higher proportion of the dietary energy as vegetables may support a greater weight loss and the dietary pattern appears sustainable.

What does your refrigerator say about you? by Elizabeth Brown, MS, RD

Thought for Food

We all know the saying about “Food for Thought” which means anything that provides mental stimulus. But how many of us really think about our food? Not only that, but how many of us think about how our food is reflective of our personalities, our successes and failures or better yet, our blockages to success?I read a post by another dietitian who examined “The Metaphysics of Your Refrigerator” or what your refrigerator says about you. She visited two friends on two separate occasions. Each friend had a cluttered refrigerator and each friend was a bit cluttered physically.Although these women had abundantly full fridges, there was a sense of stagnation or lack of flow through their ice chests.While reading this dietitian’s observation, where she paralleled the overweight state of her friends to their overstuffed refrigerators, I thought about the contents of my own icebox. What does my refrigerator say about me?

I know the contents of my cold-storage unit like the back of my hand. Hey, what’s that dark spot on my hand? Just kidding! I really do know what’s in there in my Frigidaire.

I label and date everything I make. I rotate my perishables using the FIFO rule (First In, First Out.) I am on top of food safety and sanitation in my domain.

But my fridge is also pretty full. So is that good or bad? How do we know when our life is full of the right kind of abundance versus the wrong kind of clutter?

My fridge is full because I took the time to fill it and to make the most of what I am so lucky to have. Before I buy groceries, I take stock of what I have and then build my purchases around my current items.

For example, this week I had some zucchini and yellow squash left over from last week’s produce purchases. I also had brown rice and lentils. I bought some leafy greens, a big bag of carrots, plus garlic and onions.

Most of my meals are vegetarian. Although it is not imperative to eat complimentary proteins at each meal, I do it to help ensure that my essential amino acids are met throughout the day. Grains and beans or lentils compliment each other by providing the essential amino acid that the other is lacking.

Similar to my quinoa cakes from the summer, I created a brown rice and lentil cake with shredded zucchini, yellow squash, shredded carrots, minced onion and garlic plus cumin, curry, sea salt and black pepper. I use brown rice flour, ground flax seed and a little water as a binder. Form into small patties and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes on each side. Parchment paper on the baking sheet prevents sticking. Serve on a bed of greens. These brown rice vegetable cakes are nutritious, serve as a complete protein source and are delicious hot or cold.

I make the most of my food and waste nothing. Throughout the week, as I wash, peel and chop veggies for various dishes, I save the peels and tops in a container in the fridge. At the end of the week I put everything in a stock pot with water and herbs and simmer for an hour in order to extract every last nutrient. I end up with a very flavorful broth that I use to make vegetable soup over the weekend.

I am always so happy with myself for using everything that nature provided and for making soup from scratch and from scraps.

After chopping the leaves of fresh herbs for a recipe, I throw the stems in my juicer along with a carrot and an apple and make a fresh vegetable juice.

I have always been this way, frugal to a fault, but it’s out of respect and appreciation for life and especially for the life of the plant that provides the nutrients I need which help me maintain my strength to move through life. Nothing should ever be wasted. Everything has value.

Yet I know the laws of attraction and abundance. Part of me thinks that perhaps by being so frugal, I am saying to the universe, “Thank you, but I have everything I need.” This is true though. All of my needs ARE being met.

Does my refrigerator full of fresh produce and brown rice say that I am able to thrive on very little or that I make the most of what I have?

I want to make sure that my fridge is not sending the wrong signals.

I believe it’s not just about how much you have but about how much you appreciate what you have. Are you grateful for your bounty or do you take it all for granted? What does your refrigerator say about you?