Tag: healthy

Are You Healthy? (Part 2)

Previously, I discussed changes to our model of health due to randomized control trials and the pharmaceutical industry, as discussed in Joseph Dumit’s Drugs for Life. Here are the three primary models of health as discussed by Donald A. Barr in his book Health Disparities in the United States: Social Class, Race, Ethnicity, & Health. 

The first model is the medical model or physical health model that focuses on the absence of symptoms or other signs of disease or illness. However, Barr mentions several issues with this model of health, noting “that this approach to defining health tells us what the concept of health is not. . .It does not tell us what health is” (2014, pp. 15). He expands on this later:

“What are we to make of a condition that has no abnormal symptoms? An important example of this is high blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension; persons with hypertension develop symptoms only after a number of years. Should we consider a person with somewhat elevated blood pressure to be unhealthy based on our knowledge that his blood pressure will eventually lead to further problems? What might be the consequences of labeling such a person as ‘unhealthy,’ even if he feels fine?” (Barr, 2014, p. 16)

These are the questions that Joe Dumit attempts to answer, looking beyond hypertension to guidelines about pre-hypertension and the prescriptions of statins with no understanding of when patients can stop taking them.

The second model is the sociocultural model or the model of health as functioning at a normal level. Barr looks at it in contrast to the medical model, which looks at absence, because the sociocultural model looks at the presence of an ability to function at a level that has been deemed normal (2014, p. 17). The ability to functional normally is defined in regards to one’s ability to completed five “activities of daily living (ADLs),” which are roughly, (1) eating, (2) bathing, (3) dressing, (4) using the bathroom, and (5) moving on one’s own (2014, p. 17). Of course, the entire premise of “normal functioning” is subjectively predicated on societal ideas of self-sufficiency that might vary from culture to culture or community to community.

The third model is the psychological model or the model of health as a feeling of well-being. In this model, individuals are able to assess themselves and their own health with the help of several developed measures (Barr, 2014, p. 18). However, Barr notes that these tests are often “time-specific” (Barr, 2014, p. 18). I would argue that health is always time specific and temporal. I may be healthy today, but I can quickly develop a health problem or injure myself, perhaps even resulting in a temporary or life-long disability, reaffirming the temporality of both health and disability.

According to Barr, these models can be combined to create a multidimensional model of health that presents a better picture of the health of an individual.

Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Parmesan, and Fresh Herbs

Use as a side dish or cook up some of your favorite rice and/or veggies to make a nutritious dinner bowl.

Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Parmesan, and Fresh Herbs
Serves 2
Total time: 10 minutes


1 15-to 15 1/2-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, pressed
1/3 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Coarse kosher salt


Combine rinsed and drained chickpeas, chopped fresh basil, chopped Italian parsley, fresh lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and pressed garlic clove in medium bowl. Add grated Parmesan cheese and toss gently to blend all ingredients thoroughly. Season chickpea salad to taste with coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. DO AHEAD: Chickpea salad can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Serve salad chilled or at room temperature.
Original recipe can be found at http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chickpea-salad-with-lemon-parmesan-and-fresh-herbs-364611.

Black Bean Burgers

Satisfy your cravings for a burger with this health alternative.

Black Bean Burgers
Serves 4
Time: 20 minutes


15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
⅓ cup instant oats


Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside. In a mixing bowl, mash black beans with a fork until mostly pureed but still some half beans and bean parts are left. Stir in condiments and spices until well combined. Then mix in oats. Divide into 4 equal portions and shape into thin patties. Bake for 7 minutes, carefully flip over and bake for another 7 minutes, or until crusty on the outside. Slap into a bun with extra condiments and eat!

Original recipe can be found at https://happyherbivore.com/2011/08/easy-black-bean-burger/.

The ‘battle’ of fast-food vs. fast-casual

By: Courtney Luecking MPH, MS, RD Doctoral candidate: Nutrition

Taco Bell vs. Chipotle. Subway vs. Panera. Grabbing food on the fly is inevitable. But how do you decide where to go or what to eat? What might make you choose fast-food (think McDonald’s) or fast-casual (think Five Guys)? People often perceive that fast-casual restaurants are healthier than fast-food, but are they? [Note: the true answer to that question depends on how you define ‘healthier’.]

Today we’ll look at a recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that focused on the caloric content of lunch and dinner entrees at fast-food and fast-casual restaurants to see if there was in fact a difference.

To some people’s surprise, and perhaps disappointment, fast-casual entrees used in this sample were found to contain more calories than the fast-food entrees.

So what?

Calories are not the end-all-be-all to healthy, but they are an important part of the energy balance equation. And with a growing number of people dining out more often, it’s important to recognize that our choices over time add up.

Be wary of those health food halos. Buzzwords, claims, or pictures can make a food appear healthier than it really is.


Instead – ask questions or look up information. Thanks to legislation in 2010, chain restaurants are required to make their nutrition information available.

If your go-to meal isn’t as healthy or low-calorie as you thought, here are some suggestions of healthier alternatives from 10 of the most popular chains.



Schoffman DE, Davidson CR, Hales SB, Crimarco AE, Dahl AA, Turner-McGrievy GM. The fast-casual conundrum: fast-casual restaurant eentrees are higher in calories than fast food. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016 Oct; 116(101):1606-12.

Easy Quinoa Pizza Bowl

This recipe is very easy to customize with your favorite pizza toppings. Don’t be afraid to pack on the veggies and enjoy!

Serves: 6
Prep Time: 15 mins.
Cook Time: 20 mins.
Total Time: 35 mins.


1 cup (dry) quinoa
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 (14-ounce) jars pizza sauce
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Mozzarella cheese
2-3 cups of your favorite pizza toppings (I used pepperonis, diced green peppers, diced button mushrooms, and thinly-sliced red onions, but see other ideas below*)
optional toppings: grated Parmesan cheese, crushed red peppers


Preheat oven to 425°F.
Cook quinoa in the chicken or vegetable stock according to package instructions. (Or you can use this tutorial for how to cook quinoa.)
When the quinoa has finished cooking, fluff the quinoa with a fork. Then stir about 1/2 cup pizza sauce into the quinoa until evenly combined. Set aside.
Lightly spray 6 large (10-ounce) oven-safe ramekins with cooking spray. Place the ramekins on a large baking tray.
Spread about 2 Tablespoons of pizza sauce evenly over the bottom of each ramekin.
Layer each with about 1/4 cup of quinoa, and spread with a spoon to flatten.
Layer each evenly with pinch of shredded Mozzarella.
Layer each with a single layer of pizza toppings.
Repeat by layering each with another layer of sauce, quinoa, Mozzarella, pizza toppings, followed by a final layer of Mozzarella. The ramekins should be full but not overflowing.
Transfer the baking sheet full of ramekins to the oven, and bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the ingredients are heated through. At this point, you can either remove the pizza bowls from the oven. Or if you’d like to get the cheese extra golden on top, you can turn the oven to “broil”. Then — keeping a close eye on the cheese so that it does not burn — broil the pizza bowls until the cheese is golden on top.
Remove and sprinkle each pizza bowl with a pinch of Parmesan cheese and crushed red peppers, if desired. Serve immediately.
*Feel free to swap in your favorite pizza toppings here. As goes with traditional pizza, just be sure that they are chopped or cooked (if needed, such as for sausage, etc.) if needed before adding them to the pizza bowls.

Original Recipe can be found at http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/easy-quinoa-pizza-bowls/.

Chicken Parmesan Quinoa Bake

Author: Lee Hersh
Serves: 6
Prep Time: 10 mins.
Cook Time: 60 mins.
Total Time: 1 hr. 10 mins.


1 cup quinoa
1 green pepper, diced
1.5 cup mushrooms, diced
½ cup yellow onion, finely diced
2 cups Marinara Sauce
(any kind of spaghetti sauce will work!)
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 egg
2 tablespoons flour (I used white whole wheat, but white or gluten-free will work, too!)
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons garlic powder
4 large chicken breasts (or 6 medium chicken breasts)
salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 375ºF and spray a casserole dish with coconut oil cooking spray.
Prep veggies by dicing a whole green pepper and 1.5 cups of mushrooms. Finely dice ½ a yellow onion (~1/2 cup).
Place 1 cup of uncooked quinoa on the bottom of your casserole dish and then layer on veggies.
Add 2 cups of marinara sauce, 1 cup of chicken broth, and a table of minced garlic to the casserole dish and mix everything together. Set aside.
In a medium-size bowl, mix together flour, shredded parmesan, and garlic powder. Then, crack an egg into a small bowl and whisk.
Prep chicken breast by dipping into the egg and then into the parmesan mixture making sure everything is generously coated. Place chicken breast on top of quinoa mixture
Finally, sprinkle on the leftover parmesan mixture and even more cheese if you desire. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Bake at 375º, uncovered for 20 minutes. Then, cover with tin foil and bake for an additional 40 minutes or until the quinoa is fully cooked.

Nutrition Information/Serving
Calories: 353
Fat: 9
Carbohydrates: 32
Sugar: 9
Fiber: 3
Protein: 31

Original Recipe can be found at http://fitfoodiefinds.com/2015/12/healthy-chicken-parmesan-quinoa-bake/.