Self-Study on Nutrition

As I have stated, nutrition is the area in which I have no formal training. However, I do have a hobby of reading text books. Since I have been looking for something to entertain my mind, I decided to do some reading on nutrition.

At Half Price Books, in the clearance section, they often have some good books for $1-$3. I picked up a number of text books on nutrition. The thing I like about text books is that they are generally used in classes at colleges and universities, which helps limit the chance of bias. I want information on nutrition, not information from people trying to promote the newest fad diet.

Even the method of reading text books is not flawless, but with the bunch of them, and the reviews on them, I will be able to find the information that agrees and look deeper into the areas in which it does not. The books also have slightly different themes, so I can see where things may vary. After this I should have a very basis of knowledge when it comes to nutrition.

Here are the books I have…

Since I work in food service, I am starting with Nutrition for Foodservice and Culinary Professionals.


The book appears to have good reviews and is controversy free.

Next is Visualizing Nutrition: Everyday Choices 2e


A few reviews on this book claim bias (a note on this at the end) but the authors are very qualified when it comes to nutrition.

Next, Nutrition for Health, Fitness, & Sports.


The book seems to have good reviews, but it is not clear if the author has credentials on nutrition. His credentials seem to be more on the sports and exercise science side of things.

Nutrition Concepts and Controversies


This book appears to have some controversy in the reviews. I will address this at the end.

Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition


In issues in the reviews for this one either.

On Bias

This one can be tricky because bias does not always mean something is incorrect. One of the reviews said a book was biased because it uses the same guidelines as the American Heart Association. Another review pointed out a bias towards government organizations in another book and cited things like Monsanto. Okay, so I guess that means everything by the USDA and the FDA is worthless then too, right?

On top of that, who are the reviewers? Who is criticizing the reviewers? A couple people criticizing the critical review claimed to be a RD and another a nutrition professor. Are they really? Was the reviewer just someone that took one nutrition course?

In school I studied the Evolution-Creationism controversy and creationists would say biologists were biased. Actually the only people qualified to talk about evolution are biologists, so maybe their bias is justified.

The key thing to remember when it comes to bias is that it is something to pay attention to and maybe research more. We cannot just dismiss something because it appears bias. If three books say one thing and the fourth says something else, now we have a reason to dig deeper. Hopefully reading all of these books will clear up some of these claimed issues.

Science and research is hard, and even when we do get reliable data, not all scientists agree. I think nutrition in general is just one of those topics in which there is a lot of solid evidence for a large number of things.

I will keep everyone updated on my progress.







General Blog Update

Hello to all of my readers. I just wanted to let everyone know that I have been very busy with work and kids, so I haven’t had time to update this blog. On top of that, the death of my favorite singer, Christina Grimmie, had me really down in the dumps.

I will be doing some posts over the next couple of days. I have a couple food things, some fitness and diet updates, and some more exciting news! Hope everyone has been well!


Chicken Pesto Wrap

Here is another simple goody that will make you look like a genius at a family get together. This one is simple and never gets old. It does require two ingredients to be already prepped, the chicken, and the pesto mayo. At my house we actually always have the pesto mayo made because it goes good with so many things and I like to keep cooked chicken breasts around for wraps and salads. Anyways, I will just get to telling you how to make it.

Chicken Pesto Wrap


Pesto Mayo (explained below)

Diced Chicken Breasts

Wraps (the larger the better)

Chopped Romaine Lettuce

Sliced Tomato

Sliced Provolone Cheese


Pesto Mayo

The pesto mayo is super simple. Pesto is one of those things you can make at home, and it freezes great, but if you don’t have any around, there are a number of pre-made ones you can buy…


It comes is small amounts, but that is okay because it goes a long way. Once you have your pesto, simply mix it with your mayo. The ratio is up to you. I recommend starting with a 1 to 4 ratio or 1 to 2 ratio of pesto to mayo. For example 1/4 cup of pesto to 1 cup of mayo. I have seen similar recipes that are a 1 to 1 ratio, but in my opinion the pesto is far to overpowering with that ratio. I would do the 1 to 4 and then taste it, because it is simple enough to add more. If you want more of the pesto flavor, simply add more. I usually do a 1/2 cup of pesto to 1 cup of mayo.

Once your pesto mayo is made, put your chicken in a bowl, add some pesto mayo and toss it. You don’t want to drown it, but we will not be adding any more dressing.


Now it is time to put the wrap together. I personally think the order of the ingredients matter, so I will give you the order.

  1. Lay out your wraps (the larger they are the better.)
  2. Lay down two slices of cheese.
  3. Put a handful of lettuce on top of the cheese (the amount of lettuce depends on the size of the wrap, if there is too much, you won’t be able to wrap it!)
  4. Spread your pesto chicken out evenly over the top.
  5. Place two slices of tomatoes (or two half slices depending on the size of the wrap) on top of the chicken.
  6. Roll your wrap up! Sorry, I can’t really explain how to do that, it just takes practice.


Isn’t it pretty?! Enjoy!

Homemade Juice

This is one of those things that not everyone can do at home, nor do you need to. Juicing is one of those new fads, but is it as great as they make it sound? Before I get into my recipe, I will address a few pros, cons, and questions about juicing. I actually decided to make this two blogs, the Pros and Cons of Juicing, and this recipe.

This is a basic juice I make for us at home. My kids are pretty good with apples and carrots, but not so good with things like beets and sweet potatoes. I made a juice to help them get a more well-rounded diet. They love this one because it is nice and sweet. I do try and limit them to 6 or 7 oz a day though because of the high sugar content.

Homemade Apple-Carrot Juice (Yield: about 3 quarts)


3 lbs Red Apples

2 Green Apples

5 lbs Carrots

1 large Beet (peeled)

1 Sweet Potato (peeled)

1/2 Cucumber

The base of this juice is apples and carrots because they are both sweet. I don’t peel the apples, carrots, or cucumber, just remember to wash them, especially the carrots, as they may have dirt on them.

My “nutrient part” of  the juice is the beet and sweet potato, plus the beet gives it that pretty pink color.

I first do the apples, carrots, beet and sweet potato because they should all be juiced on the high setting. Last, I juice the cucumber on the low setting. The cucumber adds freshness to the juice.

This ends up making about 3 quarts of a pretty pick juice that the kids love. With that amount of juice I typically end up freezing it in 4 oz cups. In the past I have added chia seeds. The kids actually got into those in the freezer and now I do those as a summer time snack, juice and chia ice pops!


Pros and Cons of Juicing

This is one of those things that not everyone can do at home, nor do you need to. Juicing is one of those new fads, but is it as great as they make it sound? Before I get into my recipe, I will address a few pros, cons, and questions about juicing. I actually decided to make this two blogs, the Pros and Cons of Juicing, and this recipe.

Does the type of juicer matter?

The answer to this one is, yes. Juicers are not exactly cheap and this is one of those cases where you want to spend the money getting a higher quality one. You can do your own Google searches on them, but I will say that you want one with at least two speeds. If a speed is too low, you may not get much juice, but with some things, if the speed is too high, it will actually destroy the vitamins and nutrients in the food.

Can I juice anything?

Technically, you can, but effectiveness is the key. Juicing leafy things is more trouble than it is worth. Something like spinach and kale offer very little juice, taste bad, and are very effective at clogging up the juicer. Also, when it comes to things like lemons and oranges, you typically just want the flavor from the juice, so using a hand juicer specifically made for them is better. You can just add it to your mixture.


It is easy to make a batch and grab when in a hurry. We froze some of ours. It is good for those that have a hard time eating all of their fruits veggies, and is good for those picky kids that don’t want to eat their veggies.

It is also good to get nutrients from something you don’t normally like to eat, such as Beets. You can combine things together to virtually eliminate the taste of certain things.


Depending on what you juice, it can get kind of spendy. If you are into berries, making smoothies with frozen ones is much more cost effective. Using apples and carrots isn’t bad.

More trouble than it is worth. You can just juice a couple of things to make a single drink, but in my opinion, it is not worth the clean-up. I can eat a few pieces of fruit quicker than I can clean up the mess and the juicer, especially if I need to peel something.

VERY HIGH IN CALORIES. I saw an article which criticized (unfairly, in my opinion) Naked Juice for having as much sugar as a soda. I don’t think this is a fair comparison, but they aren’t wrong, as far as the amount of sugar. One of the reasons I think this is an unfair comparison is that they are taking nutritional value into consideration. Juice is nutrient dense, where as soda is empty calories. Also, I think it is mostly common sense. If you look at the contents and figure out the calories based on that, you would expect a high sugar content. Here one of the Naked Juices (But I think the bigger issue is the truthfulness of their labeling…)




  • 2 3/4 Apples

  • 1/2 Banana

  • 1/3 Kiwi

  • 1/3 Mango

  • a hint of Pineapple

Here is a breakdown of those calories…

2 and 3/4 Apples-95 per apple

1/2 Banana-about 50

1/3 Kiwi-about 15

1/3 Mango-67

Just on those fruits we would expect around 346 calories in their claimed 15.2 oz. The drink is 25.2 oz, so the rest of the “juice” in there must be coming from the veggies we did not include above.

They also state this…

Quick Stats







  • Information based on 8 oz. serving size.


They are either lying or mistaken. Either they are lying about the amount of fruit, or the number of calories, because I just added up the calories in the claimed fruit.

This wasn’t intended to be a jab at Naked Juice (though I guess that’s what the numbers ended up being,) but to point out the amount of sugar and calories in juice.

But don’t we need fruit in our diet?

Yes. But with juicing you are removing most of the fiber, which slows down the rate at which the body absorbs the sugar. Simply put, it is healthier to just eat the fruits and veggies just based on fiber alone.

I wouldn’t recommend juicing for people that already eat a normal, healthy, amount of fruits and veggies and a well balanced diet. If you do juice, limit the amount of juice you do have. For the wife and I, I put our juice in 4 oz containers and we have one a day. I allow the kids to have one 6-7 oz cup a day.

Hopefully you find this information useful!

Chicken and Vegetable Crostini

Here is another easy treat for company or the kids. It is also a good Vegetarian treat if you simply leave the chicken off.

Chicken and Vegetable Crostini (Yield: 12) (Prep Time: 10-15 minutes) (Cook Time: 15 minutes)


Chicken Breast (1 large or 2 small. They need to be cooked so this will take another 20 minutes if they are raw. You can also buy pre-diced chicken)

Choice of Bread (we used the Rosemary and Olive Oil loaf again)

1 Onion

1 Red Pepper

1 Yellow Pepper

1 Orange Pepper

1 Green Pepper

1 Tomato

1/2 stick of Butter

Shredded Cheese (I used finely shredded Parmesan and Mozzarella)

Salt and Pepper

Garlic Powder (optional)



Most of the time is simply chopping stuff up. Knowing I was going to make these, I cooked up the chicken a day in advance so that I had my cooked and cooled chicken breasts.

For the Chicken: Always season your food at every step. I used salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-40 minutes depending on the size of the breast. Cook to a temperature of 165 degrees. Do not overcook because it will be going in the oven again.

If your chicken was not precooked, you can dice the rest of your ingredients while it cooks. Dice all of your veggies and put them in a bowl. If you chicken was already cooked, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Once all of your veggie are diced and in a bowl, add salt, pepper, and garlic powder (optional) (minced garlic would probably be a nice touch also, but I didn’t want my kids to get a big bite of that so I left it out,) and mix together.

Slice your bread and lay out on the pan. (I made about 1/2 inch thick slices)

Hopefully at this point you have cooked chicken that you can dice.

Top your bread with the veggies and chicken, and drizzle a little butter over each one.

Finally, sprinkle some of your shredded cheese on top and stick them in the oven.

Cook them for about 15 minutes so that the veggies can get soft and your bread is crispy.

Take out of the oven and enjoy!

Fitness and Wellness Journal Update Four: Upper Body Cardio

I actually started using this treasure a couple of weeks ago, but wanted to give it its own post. My wife came home with this POS bike from a garage sale. I sat on it and hated the way it felt. It felt like I was almost peddling backwards. I thought “what a waste of $20.” But it actually turned out to be one of the best pieces of cardio equipment I have used!

Here is the key…NO LEGS! If I just put my feet up and only use the handles. It has quite a bit of resistance and gives a better upper body workout than a rowing machine. Not only does this make my body more well-rounded when it comes to endurance, it also helps me do cardio twice as long. The last time I notice my face thin out was a couple of days after starting with this machine. I did 40 minutes on the elliptical, jumped on this for 20, and then back on the elliptical for another 10. At this point breaking it up helps me more focus than give me a needed break.

It also allows me to get some cardio in with my sore legs. I mentioned I planned on doing some leg stuff in the weight room. I knew it was going to be sad, but my God, do I have a long way to go.

Last time I mentioned the recumbent bike while I read. Well, the last two times I have upped my HR to 110 BPM and 120 BPM, respectively, so I am getting an even better workout.

The last few days I have been reading on the bike, and today I did a total of an hour of cardio on the elliptical and my upper body bike. I am hoping this added cardio will help me see another jump in my progress!

I got to say, my body is looking…not embarrassing lol. Maybe for my next update I will post some progress pics so you can actually see the progress I am making.