Tips for guilt- and stress-free holidays: My conversation with Kim Castle

by Monica Reinagel, MS, LDN on November 15, 2014


2 slices of pizza = 45 minutes jumping rope. Or does it?

As you know, I often advocate for the benefits of eating more protein. Yet some experts claim that Americans are already eating twice as much protein as they “should.”  Are we really hurting ourselves with too much protein or might the protein-bashers have another agenda? My thoughts here.

Meanwhile, CNN says we need to jump rope for 45 minutes every time we have pizza. But is it really necessary to “burn off” off the calories you eat? No: and here’s why.

As if I need another excuse to eat avocados, new research suggests that they aid in the conversion of beta-carotene into vitamin A. Read more.

And here’s some advice on what (not) to drink before bed if you suffer from reflux, plus a surprising remedy.


Click Here Red ButtonLists are king on the Internet! Although I rarely succumb to these things (preferring to labor in obscurity), I had fun putting together this (extremely click-worthy) list of 10 Easy Ways to Upgrade your Nutrition. What happened next made my jaw drop… ;-)

The tenth upgrade was actually a bait-and-switch: Instead of a tip from me, I asked readers to submit their best nutrition upgrades (yet another traffic-generating stratagem…what has gotten into me??). Here are the best of the Nutrition Diva community’s tips for upgrading your nutrition.

In honor of National Vegetarian Awareness Month, I dedicated this episode to vegan cooking tips for non-vegans, which led to this interview with the charming Kara Rota of the Clever Cookstr.

My recent show on artificial sweeteners and their effects on gut bacteria triggered a good question on the effect of sugar alcohols on gut flora.

And finally, if you read German, you might enjoy this recent interview with Thorsten Schröder of Die Zeit Magazine, who wonders, Is Soylent the End of Eating? 

Guten Appetit!


Monica Reinagel's Roasted Squash RecipeAs I mentioned in a recent podcast, I eat a lot fewer grain-based than I used to, which prompted one listener to ask what I eat instead?  If you are cutting back on grains, here are some ideas on what to replace them with. And here’s the recipe for the Roasted Butternut Squash that I mention in that episode.

I also got lots of requests to comment on the recent study showing that artificial sweeteners impair blood sugar tolerance. Could this finding reveal a hidden link between artificial sweeteners and weight gain? More will be revealed.

A lot of nondairy milks are fortified with calcium in order to make them more comparable to cow’s milk in that regard. But how well do you absorb calcium from fortified foods? Some label reading may be required.

And finally,  few seasonal topics from the archives:

How to Make Great Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Should You Give Out Sugar-Free Candy on Halloween?

Halloween Survival Guide



Celebrating 300 episodes

by Monica Reinagel, MS, LDN on September 29, 2014

300th EpisodeRecently, my wonderful team at Quick and Dirty Tips and I celebrated a milestone: the 300th episode of the Nutrition Diva podcast! Over the past 6 years, the podcast has been downloaded over 18 million times, and I’ve had the opportunity to correspond and become friends with hundreds of listeners, readers, and colleagues. My cup runneth over! (And, thanks to my generous and festive friends at QDT, with a very nice Pinot Noir.)

To mark the occasion, I usedthe 300th podcast to reflect on ways that my own diet has changed over the past six years, in response to things I’ve learned or tried  while researching the podcast. Here, as well, are five things of the most important things I’ve learned about diet and nutrition over the past six years.

For the the 301st episode, I turned the tables and took a look at how America’s eating habits have changed over the past decade.  Also, as a quick follow up to a recent question on liquid smoke, here’s a Q&A on smoked fish: is it a healthy choice?.

I also had an opportunity to drop in on my friends at WOSU Radio in Columbus, Ohio, last week! I’ve been a regular guest on All Sides with Ann Fisher for a while now, talking about nutrition news and trends. Usually, however, I am speaking with Ann on the phone from my home in Baltimore. So it was a real treat to join Ann in the studio for a live segment. touching on the latest research on artificial sweeteners, snacking, fast food trends, and more. You can listen to the podcast of our conversation (or watch the video stream) on their website.

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My guest on last week’s show was psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendricksen, who gave us 9 signs of disordered eating and four tips for those who suspect that their relationship to food is not as healthy as it could be.  Great stuff, as always from the Savvy Psychologist!

For those who are curious about the 80/10/10 diet that seems to be making the rounds, here’s a look at the pros and cons of this new diet fad. (I’m not entirely sure it doesn’t satisfy one or two of the signs of disordered eating…)

A reader wonders whether there’s anything to the folk wisdom about eating black cherries to alleviate gout or arthritis.  And another wrote to ask whether liquid smoke flavoring is safe to use.

Finally, here’s a little something I’ve been working on: a fun little mobile app that calculates your “nutritional grade point average.” Still needs a little work but what do you think so far? View it in iTunes.




This week, beer nutrition, back to school tips, life-hacking, and more

by Monica Reinagel, MS, LDN on August 30, 2014

MP900314313[1]You can easily look up the nutrient content of foods these days. But how much of that potassium, or iron, or whatever are you actually absorbing? In this week’s show, I talk about all the many (!) things that affect nutrient absorption and what you should being doing about it.

It’s a little harder to look up the nutrient content of your favorite micro (or home) brew but here are some surprising nutrition facts about beer.

Kara Rota of the Clever Cookstr podcast was my guest on last week’s show. Listen in on Kara’s conversation with Chef Scott Liebfried about blending culinary art and nutrition science.

And of course the kids are heading back to school. Here’s some new research on how physical activity can help boost academic performance.  You’ll find lots more Back to School tips–everything from packing healthy lunches to making friends to tackling homework at QDT’s Back to School Portal.

Come Spark with Me!

I am so excited to be taking part in Spark Weekend DC next month. It’s a two-day “life-hacking” camp designed to spark positive, lasting changes in your life. In the mornings, you’ll learn techniques for improving your health, productivity and well-being from experts (including me!). In the afternoons, we’ll get to work integrating these changes into your life. If you’re successful with your goals after 30 days, you get cash back!

Join me on September 13 and 14 in Washington DC be a part of an incredible community, eat delicious organic food, and check out the latest technology for change. As a Nutrition Diva listener, you can save 20% on your registration. Just go to and use the discount code “DIVA”.


Sushi RollsThis week I have a pair of episodes on the trending Low Histamine Diet. In the first, I explain who might benefit from reducing their dietary histamine load–and why.  Spoiler alert: Although it’s shaping up as the next diet fad, a low histamine diet is not a panacea for quick weight loss, clearer skin, or boundless energy.

But maybe, after listening to the first show, you’re thinking that histamine intolerance could be be an issue for you. In that case, you might want to experiment with some dietary modifications. In the second show, I try to make sense of a lot of conflicting advice about the histamine content of foods.

Speaking of conflicting advice, a listener recovering from diverticulitis is understandably confused by the information he’s gotten on fiber.  Should he be loading up or laying off? My recommendation here.

If you’ve been enjoying my series of Nutrition Cheat Sheets, here’s another one to bookmark:  Sodium in sushi.

Our ReViVer restaurant team was delighted by this write up in the Wall Street Journal and this profile on Fox News. If you’re in New York City, I hope you’ll stop by for a healthy lunch!

Perhaps because he couldn’t make it to New York, Matt Purdy, our intrepid Senior Producer at Maryland Morning (WYPR FM), recently attempted to live for a week on Soylent instead of food. Host Tom Hall and I sample the Soylent and debrief Matt on his experiment.

And finally, one last reminder about the Can It Forward live webcast from the Brooklyn Boroughs Hall Farmer’s Market with Hugh Acheson. Tune in Saturday August 16 at 10am Eastern for canning demos, tips, and to post your questions to the experts.