June 3, 2015

Carolyn O’Neil: Summer Slimmers with Low-Calorie Sweeteners

Carolyn O'Neil Cookbook

In our previous post, we talked about registered dietitian Carolyn O’Neil’s awesome new cookbook and now she’s back with a new video and blog post. Summertime signals a change in the weather and wardrobe with more skin-bearing and body-revealing fashions that can take the heat.  Officially known as bathing suit season, summer is prime time for weight control diets and exercise efforts to help us get and stay slim-sational.  (more…)

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May 5, 2015

Review: Slim Down South Cookbook

Carolyn O'Neil Cookbook

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Carolyn O’Neil, who is the author of a new cookbook entitled, “Slim Down South.” Carolyn and I go waaaaayyyyy back…. I interned with her when she was the host and producer of CNN’s “On the Menu.”

At that time – many moons ago – I was attempting to make my way into the world of nutrition as a dietitian and Carolyn was (and still is) a true pioneer. She was one of the first registered dietitians to bridge the nutrition and communications gap. Before that, most of us served in more traditional roles such as working in hospitals, assisted living facilities, schools, etc. (more…)

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November 22, 2013

Cranberry Relish Without All the Calories

Low-Cal Cranberry RelishWhat ingredient on your holiday menu grows in sandy bogs and marshes, was once used as a medicine to draw the poison out of arrow wounds and helped sailors prevent scurvy on long sea voyages? If you’re serving cranberry sauce with your Thanksgiving turkey look no further for the answer. Whether you prefer jellied or whole berry sauce, there is little doubt some version of this bright red fruit was part of the very first Thanksgiving meal, and the tradition has continued ever since.

Native Americans had many uses for cranberries when the Pilgrims arrived (besides the poultice that removed arrow poison). They made dyes for their rugs and blankets from them and a type of “jerky” using mashed cranberries that preserved deer meat. In return, the Pilgrims were the first to sweeten the tart berries to make pies, puddings and the ever popular cranberry sauce!

If you’ve ever popped a fresh cranberry into your mouth without knowing its tart little secret, you’ll never forget it — cranberries make you pucker! That’s why they’re always combined with other fruits, juices and sweeteners in recipes to make them more palatable. The only problem is it takes a lot of sugar to reduce their pucker power, and that adds calories. Using a combination of fruit and a low calorie sweetener with cranberries provides a calorie-smart solution.

Since I don’t happen to like sweet condiments on my savory food, I never have cranberry sauce with my turkey or catsup on my burgers, but I love the Cranberry-Orange Relish we always serve at Thanksgiving. So I started using this low calorie cranberry relish recipe and eat it all year long on toasted baguettes smeared with soft goat cheese, mixed into my fat-free Greek yogurt, or stuffed into a baked apple.

I hope you’ll try it and discover ways you, too, can enjoy cranberries on many more occasions than the annual harvest meal!

robyn flipse, MS, MA, RDNRegistered dietitian and nutrition expert Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN has more than 30 years of experience counseling patients and teaching at the university level. She is also the author of two books on nutrition.  Follow her on Twitter @EverydayRD and check out her other posts here.

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November 20, 2013

The Dr. Oz Show Misinterprets the Science on Diet Soda…Again

Today’s segment of The Dr. Oz Show claimed diet soda and low calorie sweeteners cause weight gain and cravings. But that’s just not what the facts show. Dozens of studies have demonstrated that low-calorie sweeteners can be useful tools for lowering and/or maintaining body weight and the show chose to ignore the large body of robust scientific research that demonstrates the safety and benefits of low-calorie sweeteners and diet beverages.

I sat down with nutrition expert and Registered Dietitian Robyn Flipse who has over 30 years of clinical experience. She shared what the science really says about diet sodas and low-calorie sweeteners.

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November 15, 2013

Simmer Some Holiday Spices in Masala Chai (Recipe)

The biggest competition on Thanksgiving Day doesn’t happen on a football field for me. Instead it’s a battle between the spices taking over my kitchen. The heady bouquet of sage and thyme takes an early lead in the day, but the intoxicating aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg always wins when it’s over.

Now I’ve discovered a way to surround myself with that scent all year long by making Masala Chai!

“Chai” is Hindi word for tea and “masala” chai is simply spiced tea. Traditional recipes for this ancient Indian brew are made by a process called decoction. It involves gently simmering loose black tea, assorted whole spices and a sweetening agent in a mixture of milk and water, then straining it before serving.

Masala Chai drink with spices

Popular versions available today include pre-seasoned tea bags that can be steeped in hot water so you can add the milk and a sweetener of your choice. Chai can also be purchased as a dry instant mix or liquid concentrate to prepare as iced tea or a shake. And when you’re in your favorite coffee shop you can even find chai latte made with steamed milk.

If you’re ready to try making Masala Chia at home there are endless ways to create your own signature version. The type of tea and spices you use will deliver that inviting fragrance and zesty flavor (especially if using pepper and ginger), while your choice of sweetener and milk will enhance the flavor and control the calories.

TEA – loose or bagged: black, green, white, oolong or pu-erh tea from Camellia sinensis plant; flavored tea such as Earl Grey or jasmine; herbal infusion teas such as rooibos or chamomile

SPICES – whole or ground: allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, fennel, ginger (dried or fresh), peppercorns, star anise

MILK – whole, reduced-fat, low-fat or fat-free: fresh cow’s milk, powdered milk, canned evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk (replaces milk and sweetener), soymilk, almond milk

SWEETENERS – powdered, granulated or syrup: white or brown sugar, honey, molasses, date sugar, palm sugar, coconut sugar, agave syrup, no- and low-calorie sweeteners such as aspartame, stevia, sucralose

Masala Chai

Serving Size- 2 cups


1 cup water
1 cup fat-free milk
2 teaspoons loose tea leaves or 1 tea bag
1-2 teaspoons spices: ¼ tsp. cinnamon + ¼ tsp. clove + ¼ tsp. nutmeg + 2 black peppercorns + 1 thin slice fresh ginger
1 packet low calorie sweetener, equal to 2 teaspoons sugar


1. Combine water, milk, spices and sweetener in a pot and heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until just below a boil. Be careful not to boil the milk.
2. Turn off heat, cover and let simmer 2 minutes.
3. Pour through strainer into individual tea cups or teapot to serve.

TIPS: Stainless steel or nonstick pots work best for even heating. Keep heat at medium-high so milk doesn’t burn. A combination of fresh and dried spices can be used. Strain immediately for best flavor. Refrigerate unused portion.

Robyn-Flipse-2013-225x300Registered dietitian and nutrition expert Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN has more than 30 years of experience counseling patients and teaching at the university level. She is also the author of two books on nutrition. Follow her on Twitter @EverydayRD and check out her other posts here.

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