Benefits of Collagen

Benefits of Collagen

Article written by Sandra Gentleman, RD

Benefits of Collagen

In recent years, collagen has taken the health and wellness world by storm, captivating the attention of consumers seeking to enhance their skin, hair, nail, gut and joint, and overall health. While collagen supplements have gained popularity for their potential benefits, a lesser-known source of collagen lies within protein powder formulations. In this article, we’ll delve into the nutritional angle of collagen in protein powder, exploring its health benefits and practical solutions for incorporating it into your daily routine.

Understanding Collagen in Protein Powder

Collagen is a vital protein that serves as the building block for connective tissues in the body, including skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. It provides structural support, strength, and elasticity to these tissues, playing a crucial role in maintaining their integrity and function. As we age, collagen production naturally declines, leading to changes in skin elasticity, joint health, and overall mobility.

In recent years, studies have shown a positive impact of collagen in joint health, specifically for people living with the most common types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis, which is related to aging and wear and tear of the body, and rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune condition that can have a hereditary component or may develop with age.

Collagen peptides, which are hydrolyzed forms of collagen, have gained attention for their bioavailability and potential health benefits. When collagen is hydrolyzed, it is broken down into smaller peptides, making it easier for the body to digest, absorb and utilize. This bioavailability makes collagen peptides an attractive addition to protein powder formulations.

Nutritional Angle of Collagen in Protein Powder:

Collagen is often included in protein powder blends to enhance their nutritional profile and provide additional benefits beyond traditional protein sources. Collagen peptides are rich in specific amino acids, including glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline, which are essential for collagen synthesis, cartilage, joint, connective tissue health, plus emerging evidence for gut integrity. These amino acids play a crucial role in supporting skin elasticity, joint mobility, and bone strength.

In addition to its amino acid profile, collagen in protein powder may offer various health benefits, including:

Skin Health:

Collagen peptides have been shown to improve skin hydration, elasticity, and overall appearance. Regular consumption of collagen in protein powder may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and age-related skin changes. This is why the cosmetic industry has been promoting collagen products for years.

Joint Support:

Collagen supplementation has been linked to improvements in joint pain, stiffness, and mobility, particularly in individuals with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other joint-related conditions. Collagen in protein powder formulations may help support joint health and reduce the risk of injury.

Bone Strength:

Collagen is a key component of bone tissue, providing structural support and strength. Consuming collagen in protein powder may contribute to bone health and density, reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.

Muscle Recovery:

Protein powder blends containing collagen peptides may aid in muscle recovery and repair, particularly after exercise or physical activity. Collagen supports muscle tissue repair and growth, helping to optimize recovery time and performance.

Gut Health:

There’s emerging evidence that is pointing to the fact that collagen may also help with gut integrity and the overall gut biome. This may help prevent gut dysbiosis and possibly leaky gut.

Practical Solutions for Incorporating Collagen in Protein Powder:

Incorporating collagen into your daily routine through protein powder blends is simple and convenient. Here are some practical solutions to consider:

Choose Collagen-Enriched Protein Powders:

Look for protein powder blends that specifically include collagen peptides in their formulation. These blends offer a convenient way to reap the benefits of collagen alongside traditional protein sources.

Add Collagen to Smoothies or Shakes:

Mix collagen-enriched protein powder into your favorite smoothie or shake recipes for a nourishing and satisfying boost. Blend with fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious ingredients for a delicious and nutrient-dense beverage.

Enhance Baked Goods and Other Recipes:

Incorporating collagen-enriched protein powder into baked goods, pancakes, oatmeal, or yogurt will offer an added protein and collagen boost. Experiment with different recipes to find creative and delicious ways to incorporate collagen into your diet.

Combine with Other Supplements:

Pair collagen-enriched protein powder with other supplements, such as vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants, to create personalized wellness blends tailored to your specific health goals.

Food Sources of Collagen

Whereas, supplementing with protein powder or collagen supplementation, mother nature has always offered humans all of the ingredients for good health through nature and our food supply.

There are some key food sources for people looking to optimize their diet to incorporate collagen-rich food sources through dietary intake.

Bone Broth

By simmering the bones and connective tissues of the animal’s skin, cartilage and bones, chicken, beef or fish bone broth offers a good foundation for many dishes, including soups, stews, stir fries and baking that provides one of the best sources of natural collagen in the food supply for people.


Used in dishes to offer a gelling and thickening agent, gelatin is found in jello pudding and other jelly dishes, such as pates, meatloaf, yogurts, jams, mousse, soups and sauces.

Bone-In Meat

The connective tissue present in bones and skins, such as on chicken thighs and pork ribs will help offer small amounts of natural food source collagen in the diet.

Skin-On Fish

Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel with the skin-on will also offer an excellent food source of collagen in a fish eater’s nutritional intake.

Vitamin C -rich foods

Citrus fruits, like oranges, lemon/lime, tangerines, grapefruit and mandarins are all excellent sources of vitamin C, along with strawberries, kiwis, bell peppers, potatoes, broccoli and brussel sprouts to help provide the matrix of nutrients for excellent skin and elastin health

Proline and Glycine-rich foods

Soy, nuts, seeds, beans/lentils and other legumes, plus whole grains are all ways to include proline and glycine-rich food sources in the daily diet to help with natural ways to boost collagen.

Copper Rich foods

The mineral copper, found in nuts, seeds, shellfish, organic meats and whole grains also provide an essential component of skin and joint health for collagen synthesis.

Sulphur-containing foods

Promoted through time to help in overall health, garlic, onions are two bulbs that provide an excellent source of sulfur compounds, along with cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and collard greens and animal based, eggs also have the sulfur containing elements essential for collagen synthesis.

Collagen in protein powder offers a nutritional powerhouse packed with amino acids and health benefits to support skin, joint, and overall health. By incorporating collagen-enriched protein powder into your daily routine through practical solutions, you can optimize your nutritional intake and promote vitality from within. Embrace the power of collagen in protein powder and unlock a world of wellness possibilities.

My Wife the Dietitian
Longevity Foods

Longevity Foods

Article written by Liz Weiss, MS, RDN (podcast guest)
Edited by Sandra Gentleman, RD

How to Eat like a Centenarian: Longevity Foods for a Longer, Healthier Life

When it comes to nutrition for longevity, I like to take a page from the Blue Zones.

The Blue Zones are five longevity hotspots

The Blue Zones are five longevity hotspots around the world where people are thriving into their 100s. In these communities, including Okinawa, Japan; Icaria, Greece; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California, researchers have found that people live longer and better.

What’s their secret? Well, part of their lifestyle success has been linked to diet. Here are 4 tips for eating like a centenarian.

1. Eat a Plant-Slant Diet:

A diet rich in colorful vegetables and fruits, pulses (beans, lentils, dry peas, chickpeas), nuts, and whole grains provide plant protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that fight chronic disease and promote overall wellness. Meat and dairy, if consumed, are eaten in moderation. In some Blue Zones, seafood is also consumed. Research shows that seafood (especially fatty fish like salmon, rich in omega-3 fats) plays a role in heart, brain, and eye health.

2. Eat Beans Daily:

In the Blue Zones, people eat at least ½ cup beans every day. Beans provide protein, fiber (about 7 grams per ½ cup!), potassium, folate, and magnesium (important for muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, blood pressure regulation, and bone health) among other nutrients. Beans are versatile, convenient (use canned for the ultimate in ease), and they can make their way into everything from tacos and salads to soups (you have to try my Macaroni Minestrone with cannellini beans!) and hearty chili.

3. Honor the 80% Rule:

In some Blue Zone communities, they practice eating until they are 80% full. That mindful approach to portion control is good for digestion and helps maintain a healthy body weight, thus reducing the risk of obesity-related diseases.

4. Eat Meals Together:

The act of sharing meals with loved ones is a cornerstone of the Blue Zones lifestyle. Gathering with family and friends provides emotional and physical nourishment and strengthens a sense of community. People who eat together, for example, consume more fruits and vegetables. September is National Family Meals Month, but regardless of the month, it’s always a good time to commit to eating together more often.

Another “longevity” diet to consider is the MIND Diet. It’s good for both brain health and heart health.

Lentil & Veggie – Salad Serves 8

This salad is a crowd pleaser! (It easily serves 8 as a main dish and more as a side.) It’s made with asparagus and peas; crunchy celery; zesty marinated artichoke hearts; hearty lentils and rice; fragrant herbs; and a simple homemade vinaigrette. It comes together quickly, but to save even more time, look for cooked lentils at the market (canned or in a microwavable pouch) or swap the lentils for a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas. If you don’t have time to make the vinaigrette from scratch, use store bought.


  • 1 cup uncooked green or brown lentils, rinsed well and picked over for any debris, or 2½ cups cooked lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 12 oz asparagus, woody ends removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups cooked white or brown rice, cooled
  • 3 celery stalks, trimmed and cut into thin slices
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen peas, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 (12-oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
  • 2 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, optional
  • ¼ to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 2 T
  • lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • Drizzle honey or maple syrup, plus more to taste Kosher salt and ground black pepper


  1. In large saucepan, combine lentils and water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer, uncovered, until tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes, or according to package directions.
  2. When lentils are done, use a strainer or colander to drain. Rinse with cold water and drain well. Transfer to large bowl and set aside.
  3. While lentils cool, fill empty saucepan with 1 inch water. Place steamer basket inside pot. Arrange asparagus in steamer basket, bring water to a boil, cover, and steam until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully transfer asparagus to strainer, and rinse under cold water to cool. Drain well and use paper towel to blot away excess moisture.
  4. Place asparagus in bowl with lentils. Add rice, celery, peas, artichoke hearts, green onion, parsley, mint, and feta as desired. Mix well to combine.
  5. To make dressing, place oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, honey, and salt and pepper to taste in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until ingredients are well combined. Add more honey to taste.
  6. Drizzle dressing over salad and stir well to combine. Taste salad and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Eat Well Feel Better

Eat Well Feel Better

Written by Mindy Yoder, RDN, CDN (podcast guest)
Edited and updated by Sandra Gentleman, RD

Many people have a goal to lose weight….

Many people have a goal to lose weight…. and after deeper exploration and reflection to find what’s driving their reasons for wanting to lose weight, it’s actually that they just want to feel better in their own body, improve their energy, help their digestion to decrease bloating and feel better overall.

By considering factors of metabolism

By considering factors of metabolism, as well as some key nutrients that our bodies need for optimal energy, healthy immune function, mental clarity and good digestion,the goals can be clarified and altered for more specific actionable tips that can help move an individual to better behaviours that can have ripple effects on health.

How does your nutrition align with your schedule and lifestyle?

How does your nutrition (meals and snacks) align with your schedule and lifestyle? This can be determined by looking at your online or paper calendar. Where are there available time slots to eat, prepare, shop? You can insert meal and snack ideas based on your schedule rather than trying to follow a cookie-cutter plan that doesn’t come close to the chaos that might ensue in a day or week.

Knowing how much time you have until you eat again can be helpful in determining what to choose. Eating a lighter breakfast of yogurt topped with granola? Then it would be a good idea to plan a mid-morning snack to help maintain blood sugars, energy levels, and satiety. That snack might be apple slices with peanut butter.

Do you know

Do you know that you have a late morning meeting with a client that will most likely go for a few hours and you will potentially miss lunch? Plan for a complex breakfast that will tie you over for a good four to six hours. This might include Greek yogurt topped with granola, nuts, and fruit with some turkey or chicken breakfast sausage on the side.

Dinner time can be a challenging time to navigate. There are late work nights, driving kids to sports and activities, caring for aging parents, or just a fun night out with the girls. If you are looking for quick-fix or grab and go items, consider these ideas:

  • Rotisserie chicken with a salad kit and grain crackers on the side
  • Wrap (you can make at home or grab at a store) with lean protein such as beans, chicken, or tuna and vegetables and cheese. Have some tortilla chips and/or fresh veggies on the side.
  • Leftovers from last night. Know you have a busy week ahead? Double a recipe or cook extra on a night you have more time so you have leftovers available. Or make two wraps at a time so you have extra for lunch or dinner tomorrow.

Ideas to consider

Ideas to consider would fit into real-life and are categorized as Easy Prep, Grab and Go, and Restaurant Choices. Individuals realize there are practical solutions to meal planning , even in a busy, full schedule that can still be healthy.

Considerations such as work schedules, travel, family responsibilities, and many other daily and weekly tasks and details will affect the time that is available to plan, prepare and to eat. Many women have “aha moments”’ when reviewing their calendar from an objective lens and realize that it’s not always possible or realistic to do a full grocery shop haul or make favorite recipes every week.

It is common that women want to take care of everyone and everything

It is common that women want to take care of everyone and everything, including shopping and meal prep. It is in our nature to try to do it all but now that women are working and caring for the household it means new ways of meal planning and preparation need to be learned. Once women can discover and accept that there are different approaches to meal and snack time it reduces anxiety and guilt.

There are many meal delivery services available now.

By reviewing the nutrition information prior to committing to a subscription, it can help set up for success.

Many services that claim to be fresh or nutritious

Many services that claim to be fresh or nutritious are actually quite high in sodium. You can be prepared for travel by planning ahead. It does seem tedious and like you don’t have time to fit it in, but it’s important to consider how you want to feel. It’s easy to skip the planning ahead and then grab what you can find on the road. The result is usually dehydration and feeling full and bloated due to grabbing convenience foods and snacking. If you pack a granola bar, nuts, and dried fruit it can help energize and satiate you for an extra hour or two until you can find a rest stop or restaurant that serves healthier options like lean meats that are grilled, salads, or wraps.

Packing snacks in your carry on for a flight can also help you through delays and flight transfers when you have limited time. Take an empty water bottle through security at the airport and fill the bottle so you can stay hydrated and save some money.


Remembering how to fuel your body to feel better is an intentional way to reflect on the week ahead.

Everyone has a different goal and dream in life. With some objective review, contemplation and intention, meal planning and being prepared for the week can help living well and eating to feel better.

Check out Mindy’s services for more information.

Mindy is located in Buffalo, New York and is available for in-person consults and workplace wellness or professional organization presentations. There are also a variety of online programs and services available on her website.
Facebook: Mindy Yoder RDN, CDN  Instagram: @mindyyoderrd  Website:  Email:

Listen in to Episode

Eat Well to Feel Better with Mindy Yoder, RD  #113 Eat Better to Feel Better with Mindy Yoder, RD

Podcast – Sandra Gentleman, or on YouTube.

My Wife the Dietitian
What is a Poke Bowl

What is a Poke Bowl

Written by Aly Bouzek, MS, RDN
Edited and updated by Sandra Gentleman, RD

What is a Poke Bowl: A Dive Into Hawaii’s Trendy Dish

Pertaining to food trends and growing popularity, the poke bowl is making a name for itself. You may have seen poke bowls pop up on social media, or maybe they’re a new menu item at your favorite restaurant.

But, what is a poke bowl? At its core, a poke bowl is a traditional Hawaiian dish consisting of raw fish placed on top of a base (such as rice) and topped with various vegetables, sauces, and seasonings.

Aptly named poke (pronounced “poh-kay” and rhymes with OK), which means “chunk” or “to cut into pieces” in Hawaiian, this dish offers a mix of textures and flavors that are easily customizable.

Follow along to learn more about this versatile and nutritious dish.

Poke Bowl: Hawaiian Origins

The poke bowl originates from Hawaii – though the exact origin story is unclear. For early and resourceful fishermen, the day’s leftover fish scraps provided an easy source of sustenance.

The dish originated among the native Polynesians who migrated to the Hawaiian Islands sometime between 300 AD and 700 AD. Hawaiians would catch and dice fresh fish and prepare it with simple ingredients they had on hand (usually, sea salt, seaweed, and crushed kukui nuts).

Over time, the dish has evolved and become more complex.

Starting around the late 19th century, poke absorbed influences from various cultures – notably Japan. The immigration of Japanese workers introduced new preparation and seasoning methods to poke. For example, instead of seaweed and sea salt, Japanese immigrants used sesame oil and soy sauce.

When westerners later arrived in Hawaii, they also added their twist to poke by introducing chili peppers, onions, and additional spices.

Today, there are countless variations of poke, each with its own unique blend of ingredients and flavors.

Growing Global Popularity

In recent years, poke has gained immense popularity outside of Hawaii. However, no one can pinpoint the exact reason why poke’s popularity growth was so sudden and quick.

Today, you can find poke in many major cities around the world including Los Angeles, London, and Tokyo. Poke bowls are even more easily accessible as they appear in many restaurants, food trucks, and even in grocery stores.

Poke bowls are typically made with fresh, raw ingredients such as fish, vegetables, and fruits, making them a nutritious meal option. Additionally, consumers can choose their own ingredients and toppings to create a personalized bowl that suits their tastes and dietary preferences.

Poke bowls not only cater to the palate but also offer a nutritious meal, packing lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats into one bowl.

Poke Bowl Ingredients and Variations

There are four main components that make up poke bowls: the base, marinated raw fish, toppings, and sauces. Let’s learn more about each component below.

Base Ingredients

The base of a poke bowl is usually white rice or brown rice. Some poke bowls may use different grains, such as quinoa, or opt for salad greens instead. The rice or grain is typically seasoned with vinegar and sugar to add balance and flavor to the dish.

Protein Options

Raw fish (such as ahi tuna, salmon, or octopus) is cut into pieces to serve as the signature portion of the dish. The seafood can then be marinated with sesame oil and soy sauce.

Common adaptations to raw fish include cooked seafood such as crab or shrimp, or even tofu. These can be great choices for those hesitant to consume raw fish.


Toppings can vary greatly depending on personal preference and food sensitivities. Popular toppings include:

  • avocado
  • cucumber
  • fresh seaweed
  • mango
  • edamame
  • green onions
  • sesame seeds

Additional toppings you may see included are masago (capelin fish eggs), furikake (Japanese rice seasoning), or even crispy onions for added texture, taste, and visual appeal.


Think of a poke bowl’s sauce as the ribbon on top of a present. It’s the final ingredient that really ties the whole dish together.

Traditional sauces include soy-based sauces like tamari or oyster sauce, with variations including spicy mayo, sriracha, ponzu sauce (Japanese dipping sauce), umami-rich sauces, or sesame oil.

Remember, when choosing your sauce/s you’ll want to take your poke bowl ingredients into consideration. Creating a balanced and flavorful dish is the ultimate goal!

Regional Variations

As we’ve learned, the poke bowl has diverse variations worldwide. Here are a few examples of unique regional poke bowls:

  • Japanese-inspired: variations may include nori (seaweed), wasabi, and ponzu sauce
  • Korean-inspired: variations may include kimchi and gochujang sauce
  • Mexican-inspired: variations may include cilantro and jalapeños
  • Latin-inspired: variations may include avocado and mango
  • Mediterranean-inspired: variations may include olives and feta
  • Thai-inspired: variations may include chili peppers, lime, and Thai basil
  • United States Mainland-inspired: variations may include quinoa and kale

Buddha Bowls & Grain Bowls: Same as Poke Bowls?

Technically, no. Buddha bowls and grain bowls are not the same as poke bowls. Poke bowls, with their emphasis on fresh fish like sushi-grade ahi tuna and salmon, set themselves apart from other “bowls” with a focus on fresh, marinated seafood.

Buddha Bowl

A Buddha bowl usually encompasses a well-rounded meal with a grain base, lots of vegetables, a protein source, and a flavorful dressing. This kind of bowl is more of a concept, it’s not a traditional dish from a specific region.

Additionally, all ingredients are mixed together in the bowl. This differs from a poke bowl, where the ingredients are kept separated.

Different ingredients are also used including: beans, lentils, chickpeas, chicken, beef, tempeh, and sometimes peanut-based sauces.

While the Buddha bowl is similar to the poke bowl in that some ingredients are cooked and some are raw, this bowl is typically more of a salad + stir fry-esque dish.

Grain Bowl

On the other hand, a grain bowl focuses more heavily on the grain element, such as quinoa, couscous, or farro, and less on the protein. This often results in a vegetarian or vegan dish.

While grain bowls can be made vegan or vegetarian, they can also include

animal-based protein sources such as eggs, chicken, beef, or steak. Nuts and seeds are also common grain bowl ingredients.

As you can see, the above bowls are similar but not quite the same. Based on protein sources alone, Buddha bowls and grain bowls are most similar. Poke bowls differ here due to their use of marinated raw fish and seafood.

Poke Bowl Nutrition and Health Benefits

When it comes to nutrition, poke bowls are a great option for those looking for a healthy and balanced meal. From the base to the toppings, poke bowl ingredients can offer many health benefits.

Health Benefits

Poke bowls are typically made with a base of rice or mixed greens, which provide complex carbohydrates for energy and fiber for digestive health. The addition of fresh vegetables, such as cucumber, avocado, and seaweed, provide multiple vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium.

Additionally, including raw fish, such as tuna or salmon, provides a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients have been shown to have numerous health benefits, including reducing inflammation, and improving cognitive function and heart health.

Poke bowls can also be a good option for those following a vegetarian diet if opting for tofu or other plant-based proteins instead of fish. Many poke bowl ingredients are nutrient-dense and low in saturated fats, making them a heart-friendly choice.

Dietary Considerations

While poke bowls can be a healthy option, it is important to be mindful of the ingredients and toppings that are added. Some toppings, such as fried wontons or tempura flakes, can add a lot of calories and unhealthy saturated fats. Additionally, some sauces, such as sriracha mayo or eel sauce, can be high in sugar and sodium.

If you are watching your calorie or sodium intake, try using less sauce or try asking for your sauce on the side when ordering at restaurants. You can also forgo fried toppings and instead choose toppings like edamame or pickled ginger. These toppings can add flavor and nutrition without the extra calories.

Overall, poke bowls can be a healthy and delicious meal option. By choosing fresh, whole food ingredients (instead of processed toppings and dressings) and being mindful of portion sizes, you can enjoy a nutritious and satisfying meal that is packed with both nutrition and flavor.

Making Your Own Poke Bowl

Creating your own poke bowl is a great way to personalize your meal to your taste and flavor preferences. Remember that the main components of the poke bowl – marinade and toppings – are what enhance the flavor profile.

Fresh Ingredients

Keep reading for some tips on selecting the freshest and best ingredients.

  • Rice: choose brown rice when able. Brown rice (a whole grain) offers more fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, than white rice. Brown rice is also a complex carbohydrate and takes longer to digest – reducing blood sugar spikes.
  • Fish: choose high-quality, sushi-grade fish like ahi tuna or salmon. Make sure the fish is bright in color and has only a mild smell – smelly or graying fish should be avoided.
  • Vegetables: choose fresh vegetables – in-season veggies tend to be cheaper and easier to find. Popular choices include avocado, cucumber, and seaweed.
  • Sauces: don’t be afraid to mix-and-match, or make your own sauce! Popular choices include soy-based sauces like tamari, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Going for spicy? Try some wasabi.

Poke Bowl Assembly

Once you have all of your ingredients gathered, you’re ready to make your poke bowl. Here are the steps:

  1. Cook rice according to package instructions. Set aside to cool.
  2. Cut fish into bite-sized pieces and marinate in your chosen sauce for at least 10–15 minutes.
  3. Wash, dry, and cut vegetables into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Assemble the poke bowl by placing rice on the bottom, followed by fish and vegetables.
  5. Drizzle your sauce over the bowl.
  6. Garnish with your choice of sesame seeds, green onions, or other toppings as desired.

Congrats! You’ve created a customized poke bowl from the comfort of your home.

Poke Bowls, But Make Them Vegetarian

If your mouth has been watering reading about poke bowls, but you’re following a vegetarian diet, don’t stress!

Making a poke bowl vegetarian is as simple as swapping out the marinated raw fish for marinated tempeh or marinated tofu. Tofu comes in different textures, from silken (the softest type) to super firm. Experiment with the different textures, paired with your favorite ingredients, to find the perfect fit for your poke bowl.

Benefits of Homemade Poke Bowls

By making a poke bowl at home, you can cut down on food waste. How? By using extra ingredients from other dishes. Small portions of these ingredients can go straight into your poke bowl.

Sliced some veggies for a grilled chicken salad? Toss the extra veggies in your poke bowl. Made extra rice for the week? You’ve got it – spoon some into your poke bowl.

Using extra ingredients helps to make poke bowls convenient and quick to make. With just a little bit of food prep and separating out larger portions of food, you’ll have your own poke bowl made in no time.

Wrap-Up: What is a Poke Bowl?

In learning all about the poke bowl, we’ve seen its versatility and appeal. As a customizable dish, it provides a healthy balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Originating from Hawaiian cuisine, poke bowls are comprised of marinated raw fish, with a base of rice or greens, and many different toppings such as avocado, cucumber, and seaweed.

The traditional recipe centers around raw fish, but the poke bowl is easy to adapt to fit any dietary preference with alternatives like tofu or cooked seafood. Additionally, customizable sauces allow the poke bowl to suit any palate desired.

We hope you are inspired to create your own version of the poke bowl!

My Wife the Dietitian

Food Addiction Symptoms

Food Addiction Symptoms

Article written by Dr. Vera Tarman (podcast guest)
Edited by Sandra Gentleman, RD

Food Addiction: Yes, it is a real thing

Food addiction is a controversial yet increasingly recognized condition. Although not yet included as a diagnosis in the DSM-5, a growing body of research shows that for some people, certain foods can trigger brain responses similar to substance addictions.

WebMD Food Addiction article

What Happens in the Brain

Studies show that hyperpalatable foods – those high in sugar, fat, and salt – activate the brain’s reward circuitry in ways comparable to drugs like cocaine. Over time, this can override signals of fullness and lead to compulsive, uncontrolled eating despite negative consequences – the definition of food addiction

What to Know About Food Addiction

Key Signs and Symptoms

Common signs of food addiction include

  • Strong cravings and obsession over food
  • Continued overeating past the point of feeling full
  • Using foods to deal with distressing emotions
  • Failed attempts to cut back on trigger foods
  • Needing more of particular foods to get the same effect
  • Inability to stop eating (or thinking about food) despite physical, emotional, and social harm

The Importance of Abstinence: Most important Recovery Tip

For those struggling with food addiction, abstaining from trigger foods provides the best chance for recovery. Curbing trigger foods (esp junk foods) only works for a short time.

This allows brain pathways to reset and takes away the addictive temptation

Eating Disorder Hope – Food Addiction: Causes, Symptoms, Signs & Treatment Help

Total abstinence from products with added sugars and refined flours is often recommended for long term food sobriety and food serenity.

Seeking Help – Ask for Support

If you see signs of food addiction in yourself or a loved one, seeking help is crucial.

What is the Evidence for Food Addiction – A Systemic Review

Useful treatment options include

  • Get support: 12-step food based programs: These provide social support and sponsor relationships to promote abstinence.
  • Finding a food addiction coach or counsellor
  • Check out the Facebook group: I’m Sweet Enough: Sugar Free for  Life for free ongoing support.
  • Read books: Food Junkies: Recovery from Food Addiction, podcast: Food Junkies – is only a start.

Dr. Vera Tarman, MD, FCFP, ABAM MSc. is the Medical Director of Renascent and a senior staff physician at Salvation Army. Dr Tarman has a special interest in the clinical syndrome of food addiction and has presented at numerous public forums to educate and advocate on this subject. She is author of Food Junkies: Recovery from Food Addiction, and is cohost of the popular Food Junkies Podcast. She is also the founder of the free Facebook group, called “I’m Sweet Enough: Sugar-Free for Life”. Please check out her utube channel: veratarmanmd.

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My Wife the Dietitian
Arthritis Best Foods

Arthritis Best Foods

Edited and Updated by Sandra Gentleman, RD
Written by Samantha Holmgren, RD (guest on podcast and blog contributor)

Arthritis Best Foods

A question that often gets asked is, “What are the best foods for arthritis?” These foods can help you balance the inflammation in your body, reduce health risks, and, best of all, help you feel better.

However, there is one caveat.

There is no food so wonderful that it will permanently grant health and there is no food so terrible that it will permanently ruin your health — unless you have an anaphylactic reaction or get the worst food poisoning ever. That sort of black-and-white thinking gets in the way of making real changes that can help you feel better.
Focus on making small changes that shift you towards a more balanced lifestyle that feeds your wellness. One place to start is to include the following foods in your diet.

1. Fatty Fish for those omega-3 fats

Diets that include fatty fish, like salmon, trout or herring, have been associated with positive health outcomes. In addition to reducing risk and helping manage heart disease, cholesterol, diabetes and other metabolic conditions, diets that include fatty fish can also help with arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis.

Omega-3 supplements can also help people with arthritis feel better and have less pain. In one review, people who took omega-3 supplements were able to reduce the amount of NSAIDs (medications such as Advil or Aleve).

Omega-3 fats help by balancing the inflammation in our body. While inflammation is a necessary part of our immune system, chronic inflammation is detrimental. Omega-3 fats are used to make compounds that help to balance and calm the inflammatory processes.

When we talk about omega-3s fats, we also need to talk about omega-6 fats. Some amount is necessary; just like inflammation is necessary. However, most of us are eating far more omega-6 fats than omega-3 fats, creating an imbalance in our body. Therefore, while you are increasing your intake of fish and seeds like flax or chia, try to reduce fat intake from soybean, sunflower, safflower, and hydrogenated (or processed) fats.

Another type of healthy fat is…

2. Olive oil

This is a popular ‘healthy fat’ and for good reason. One study was a meta-analysis that looked at the effects of olive oil on inflammatory markers. This study was particularly concerned with the heart health impacts of inflammation; however, that is also relevant to arthritis because, particularly with inflammatory arthritis, you have a higher risk of heart disease due to the inflammation. Six of the studies included in that meta-analysis compared olive oil and omega-3s. They had a very similar anti-inflammatory effect, with olive oil actually having a slight edge. In real life, you don’t have to choose between them, but it goes to show just how powerful olive oil is.

Replacing some of those sources of omega-6 oils with olive oil will help your body get into a better balance, as well as providing antioxidant and antinflammatory benefits directly.

You may also find it interesting to know that the same compounds in olive oil that are anti-inflammatory in our bodies are also a great food source for the bacteria in our intestines. So olive oil is also a prebiotic and therefore good for our gut.

3. Colourful Fruits & Veggies

The same compounds that give fruits and vegetables their color are also antioxidants. In popular media, antioxidants tend to be associated with anti-aging, but they are also relevant when it comes to inflammation. Oxidative stress happens when your body has an imbalance of pro-oxidants and antioxidants and oxidative stress triggers inflammation, so having a diet filled with antioxidants from colourful fruits and veggies, as well as olive oil offers your health a huge benefit.

However, I don’t recommend going out and taking a supplement purely because it is an ‘antioxidant.’ If you include too many antioxidants, it is still an imbalance and therefore causes oxidative stress. However, that’s not an issue when it comes to eating food. So focus on adding colourful fruits and veggies to your plate.

4. Less processed food

Processing exists on a spectrum, and some processing is super helpful and healthy. Think of frozen vegetables: Depending on where you live and the time of year, the frozen vegetables are often less expensive and therefore more accessible and it can actually be fresher than the “fresh” vegetables. Frozen food stays stable and doesn’t mold or wilt.

Pulling a carrot out of the ground and knocking the dirt off gives you an unprocessed food. Nothing has been done to it.

Chopping that carrot up and cooking it is a form of processing.

Grinding wheat down into a flour is a form of processing.

Combining ingredients to make a homemade soup is a form of processing.
The far end of the spectrum includes highly processed foods created in a factory from ingredients that are extracted from food but that aren’t food on their own. Again, this can be a net positive in some cases. Vitamin and mineral supplementation or enrichment is a significant form of processing but it can have significant health impacts, such as when we started adding iodine to table salt or folic acid to wheat flour, these both improved public health, and were only possible due to processing.

However… processed food also frequently strips out fibre, vitamins, and minerals. It adds ingredients that some people are sensitive to or that may disrupt the intestinal microflora. Science Vs actually did a great podcast episode on processed food that also digs into this.

But it’s a significant grey area. The old adage about ‘everything in moderation’ line is applicable here. Including some processed foods is perfectly fine, but a lot isn’t good for you nor does it feel good.

Bottom line on processing is:

  • Eat fewer foods that are highly processed
  • Eat foods that are less processed more often (i.e. more on the pluck a veggie out of the garden end of the spectrum)

5. The Mediterranean Diet

The go-to anti-inflammatory diet is the Mediterranean Diet. It combines everything I mentioned above: the fruits and vegetables, olive oil, fish. It also emphasizes cooking at home (less processed foods). And it has been heavily studied in many different contexts so there is a lot of evidence to support following this diet. Even if it doesn’t have a major impact on your day-to-day arthritis pain, it is still helping you.

People with inflammatory health conditions, including most types of arthritis, are at an increased risk of heart disease because of the inflammation. So eating in alignment with the Mediterranean Diet can help counter that risk and improve your overall health.

The Mediterranean Diet tidily answers the question of “what.” However, the other part of the equation is the “how” of eating.

6. Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is a key part of the equation. I have been a dietitian for over decade now, and I’ve seen over and over again how powerful mindful eating can be for people. It helps to break through a lot of the mental barriers we can put up around food, the disordered eating habits that we absorb living in the diet and weight obsessed culture we live in.

It also helps you reconnect with your body signals. It is so tempting to try to ignore your body when you have chronic pain and fatigue. And there are times when you just have to push through the pain and do the thing anyway because if you waited until you felt good you’d never do anything because you have chronic pain. However, those body signals are giving you information. Being able to take that information into account in your planning and how you move through the world can help you feel better in the long run.

Samantha is a registered dietitian who lives with psoriatic arthritis. She focuses on moving towards balance and wellness while living with chronic pain and fatigue. At the heart of her work is a focus on mindfulness and making small changes that have outsized impacts — the Bare Minimum Health Plan.

Samantha is passionate about helping people reconnect to their body through experiencing the pleasure and joy of eating. She loves seeing people move towards balance and wellness intuitively as they reconnect with their body wisdom.

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#99 on My Wife the Dietitian – Arthritis Best Foods, Samantha

Podcast – Sandra Gentleman, or on YouTube.

My Wife the Dietitian