Lean Plate Club

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Sally Squires
Washington Post Health and Nutrition Writer
Tuesday, September 18, 2007; 1:00 PM

Confused about nutrition? Wondering how to fit in more physical activity? Welcome to the Lean Plate Club. Ask Sally Squires, nationally syndicated Lean Plate Club columnist for the Washington Post, about eating smart and moving more every Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET. Sally draws upon her master's degree in nutrition from Columbia University to preside over the lively Lean Plate Club web chat. Whether you're trying to reach a healthier weight or simply maintain it, you'll find plenty of tips and strategies.

Share your own food finds, creative workouts and secrets for healthy, great tasting meals. We'll cheer your successes and help with your setbacks. (None of this, of course, is a substitute for medical advice.) E-mail Sally, author of the newly published Secrets of the Lean Plate Club (St. Martin's Press) at leanplateclub@washpost.com.

Or just sign up for the free Lean Plate Club e-mail newsletter. The Lean Plate Club column appears Tuesdays in the Washington Post Health section and is nationally syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group. Find other Lean Plate Club members at www.frappr.com/leanplateclub.

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Discussion Transcripts

A transcript follows.

Sally Squires: Welcome to the Lean Plate Club.

In today's Lean Plate Club e-mail newsletter--which should be hitting your electronic in-boxes right about now--you will find a sneak peek at two new recipes from Harumi, a food star in Japan. Also, you'll find information about a contest where you could win $75,000 for helping kids to be more active.

If you don't yet subscribe to this free, weekly service, you can sign up very easily by going to our homepage. Just look for the e-mail newsletter button and you'll be walked through the steps.

Speaking of steps, today is leave your car at home day in the District. Mayor Adrian Fenty is setting a great example by taking public transportation to all his events. Pretty impressive.

Prizes today are:

Crunch DVD Belly Butt and Thighs Boot Camp

Better Homes and Garden Anyone Can Cook: A Step by Step Guide Just for You

Foods to Fight Cancer by Richard Beliveau and Denis Gingras

Unplugged Play: No Batteries, No Plugs, Pure Fun (for kids of all ages)by Bobbi Conner

Here's the deal. Assist someone on this chat. Tell us about your own personal journey of healthful habit changes. Share a healthful food find, a great recipe, you get the idea. Winners are announced at the end of each chat.

Now on to it!

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Lansing, Mich.: How I get my vitamin D. I took 800 mg of a vitamin D3 supplement in the summer, increased to 1000 as summer wanes. That, with the D3 in my calcium supplement and the D in my vitamins, brings me to approx. 1500 mg of D a day. I am also out in the sun for parts of the day as I am a walker. Hopefully, next winter my vitamin D level won't be as woefully low as it was last winter. Hope to get to Florida this winter also, which will be helpful. I didn't realize that those over 65 make much less D from the sun. Now that I am 65, those supplements should be helpful. I am only now realizing how important vitamin D is.

Sally Squires: You and many others, including leading scientists. Sounds like you've really been ahead of the curve on this one Lansing. Congratulations!

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Moving More: I will be a meeting during the chat, but you asked, "How are you moving more these days?". I started small and purchased a pedometer and began recording the steps each day on my calendar. Just seeing the steps in print caused me to compete with myself to add more steps each day. Finding ways to walk more during my normal work day has helped me to add an additional 2-4,000 steps per day. Writing it down made me more accountable to myself.

Sally Squires: You've just given us a great example of how one small change can add up big time. Pedometers won't do the walking for you, but as you demonstrate so well, they sure can make a big difference in your awareness of how active--or inactive--you might be. And adding those steps slowly but steadily is a great idea.

If others are interested in more on pedometers, you might check out America on the Move, a free site (although registration is required) where you can lot of addition information. And I'm thinking of getting an accelerometer to see how much fidgeting I do daily. That counts towards activity too!

Thanks.

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Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: Just commenting on the value of having your vitamin d level checked...I live in Florida and assumed because it is the "Sunshine" state that I certainly was receiving enough vitamin D...Upon encouragement of my daughter who has a practice in San Diego healing with acupuncture and Chinese medicine, I had the vitamin D tested and my levels were extremely low.....I now am taking 2000mg daily and will be retested after a few months...

Sally Squires: So many people wear sunscreen--an important habit particularly in Florida--but one that can interfere with the skin's ability to make vitamin D. Also, with age, the skin's ability to manufacture vitamin D decreases significantly. People 65 and older only make about 25 percent of the vitamin D of those in their twenties.

So it sounds like you're doing a smart thing. It will be interesting to see if you notice fewer colds during the winter as your vitamin D levels rise.

Thanks for chiming in.

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Philadelphia: I want to put in a plug for the Couch to 5K (coolrunning.com) running program. I'm on week 5 now, and I've lost a few pounds, but more importantly, I'm feeling GREAT.

I like this program because it's so approachable - it's easy to talk myself into a half-hour workout, even when I'm tired, and it's just three days a week. The detailed instructions make it easy to stick to the plan. When I started, I didn't think that 30 minutes, three days a week would make much of a difference, but it really has!

Sally Squires: Sounds like a gradual plan that really helps people get hooked on activity. Thanks very much for the tip, Philly.

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Edamame: Dear Sally,

I recently saw frozen edamame at Trader Joe's and would like to give it a try, but I'm afraid I know nothing about it. Is it eaten raw? Do you have any preparation tips you could pass on?

Thanks!

Sally Squires: Some people do eat it raw, but it delicious steamed, stir-fried or boiled. Think of it kind of like you might think of Snow peas or sugar snap peas. You can use them to dip, to include in casseroles, as a side dish at dinner, in salads, you get the idea.

And anyone out there have a great way of cooking edamame? We'd love to hear about it.

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Chevy Chase, Md.: Dunkin Doughnuts dropping the trans fat! I can't wait to sample a taste to see if it is comparable to the original. I love donuts but rarely indulge in large part due to the trans fat. Wonderful!

Sally Squires: Yep. They won't be lower in calories of course--and I don't mean to burst your bubble--but it sure does take away any concerns about unhealthful trans fat.

By the way, this reminds of me NYC's Health Department which has banned trans fat and also had a proposal to require restaurants to label their menus with nutrition info. Did you see that latter proposal was thrown out by a judge last week?

What do you think?

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Losing Weight: Sally,

35 pounds so far and still going. How? Replaced my liquid intake with green tea (decaf). Nothing else has changed, my diet was already clean and healthy. I'm even able to enjoy beer during this period.

Go figure !!!!

Sally Squires: Go figure indeed! Congratulations. Plus, you get lots of great antioxidants in that green tea, which seem to be helpful against cancer and heart disease. Way to go! Thanks much.

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Woodbridge, VA: How can I get more vitamin D in my diet?

Sally Squires: You can eat more salmon and mackerel. You can drink more skim milk (it's fortified with vitamins A and D.) You can choose a breakfast cereal that is fortified with vitamin D. (Total is one option.)

You can also take a vitamin D supplement.(Find more info in today's Lean Plate Club column.) Or simply get about 10 minutes a day of sunlight. Hope that helps Woodbridge.

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Washington, DC: I'm trying to clean out my freezer in preparation of upcoming fall. I have green beans from last winter, and not sure what to do with them after a summer of great fresh veggies. Any thoughts? I would love a tomato based recipe please.

Sally Squires: Hmm. You might open that package and make sure that those green beans aren't somewhat shriveled since you're approaching the outside window of keeping them. But if they seem fine, my favorite thing to do with frozen green beans is to thaw slightly (either under running water or by briefly placing in the microwave). Then take a little olive oil, a little garlic and some slivered almonds. Saute the almonds and garlic until golden. Add the green beans. Simmer until tender (but not overcooked), season and serve. You can even put a little grated parmesan on top. (A teaspoon or two goes a very long way.) Yum.

Now who's got a way to cook those green beans with tomatoes?

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Shanghai,China: I'm not quite sure about the situation in the US. KFC, McDonnalds' and BurgerKing, the most well-known fast food restaurants, have lost ground gradually here in China. A ban may sounds too radical, as people are becoming much more aware of the deadly effect of frequent meals, served with fast food. KFC has done a little to decorate its diet list, adding some so-called healthier and vegetal ingredients. However, rhetoric will change nothing. The market itself will make a sensible judgment.

Sally Squires: All good points, Shanghai. And thanks very much for weighing in from so very far away. It's great to have a snapshot of some of the things happening in China.

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Washington, DC: I am Russian and I thought I'd suggest a common Eastern European grain as a nutritious (150 calories, 4g of fiber and 5g of protein per 1/4cup serving), delicious (I just add salt and a little bit of olive oil to the water I boil it in; you can also add a little butter once it's cooked but for me olive oil is enough) side dish that goes great with meat. It's called toasted (you want them roasted as it removes the natural bitterness) buckwheat groats, a broken up buckwheat kernel stripped of its outer coating and roasted to bring out the sweeter, nuttier flavor. I just boil one cup of buckwheat (also called kasha in its roasted state) in about one cup of water. It's usually cooked by the time that water has evaporated and ready to eat. You may want to watch it to make sure the water doesn't boil out before kasha is cooked and keep adding a little bit of water to prevent it from burning. It usually takes about 10 minutes to cook. Enjoy!

Sally Squires: Buckwheat is very much overlooked in the U.S. and it's a wonderful whole grain. Flavorful, hearty and could be just a great addition to most people's food choices. Thanks for expanding our culinary horizons, DC (by way of Russia.)

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Silver Spring, MD: Sally - regarding Vitamin D.

I believe there is some research that suggests that Vitamin D is not beneficial to people with lymphoma - a cancer of the lymph system.

I think they would do well to consult with their oncologist before taking this supplement.

Sally Squires: For those who already have health problems or are under treatment for chronic diseases, it's absolutely key to ask your doctor about taking anything additional, from vitamins and over the counter medications to prescription drugs. So yes, definitely ask your doctor before taking vitamin D or anything else.

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sugar: Hi Sally, is it true that "natural" sugars found in fruits are not better for you than other sugar? I read recently that your body metabolizes all sugars (natural or not) the same way.

Sally Squires: Fructose is the main sugar found in most fruit. Various sugars are eventually broken down to glucose. So yes, in that sense, they're nearly all the same. But there is a caveat: when you get your sugar in fruit, you're getting a lot of other nutrients with that package, including vitamins and fiber--ingredients that you won't likely find either in the sugar bowl, in candy or in other foods with added sugar.

So in this case, packaging does count.

Hope that helps.

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Washington, DC: So is it better to go without sunblock in order to catch a few Ds?

Sally Squires: Ah, here's where it gets really tricky. Dermatologists almost uniformly say no. Don't skip the sunblock. As one who can sunburn just looking at a sunny day from indoors, I understand their concern. And skin cancer rates have been rising.

But a number of experts think that brief exposures--10 to 20 minutes of incidental exposure that may occur as you run errands or walk from your office or home--doesn't really contribute to skin cancer risk and could be a big help in boosting vitamin D levels. So for now, you'll have to balance what works best for you.

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New England: You can make edamame mashed potatoes. You put the cooked beans in the food processor to chop them up and then add to a normal potato mashing process. I made them once because they sounded great, but they do not blend completely with the potatoes and you end up with green flecks/chunks of beans. Still, they didn't taste bad and they are good for you.

Otherwise, 5 minutes on the boil and sparingly salted with my new favorite find - alderwood smoked salt.

Sally Squires: Thanks!

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Frederick, Md.: I love edamame!

I substitute frozen edamame for lima beans in many recipes,

including stovetop paella, and use it in a sushi-inspired

cooked salad where I mix, shortgrain brown rice, snap peas,

carrots, avocado, nori, and edamame, and dress it with

mixed lemon juice, rice vinegar, and a small amount of

toasted sesame oil (a little goes along way!).

Sally Squires: Sounds like another winner for edamame. Thanks Frederick!

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Beans & Tomatoes: Roast 'em! Heat the oven to quite hot (425-450 F), toss beans in a small amount of oil (depending on how many beans you have), salt, and roast on a sheet pan. It will take about 15 minutes and the beans will brown and shrivel a bit when they are done. I'd add in the tomatoes (maybe cherry tomatoes?) in the last 5 minutes of cooking. I love to top mine with toasted sesame seeds...

Sally Squires: This sounds great. And roasting veggies is such a flavorful way of serving them. Also, you remind me that I've had great success using a variety of tomatoes--a mixture not only of red, yellow and orange, but also of cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes and beefsteak as well as dried. Gives dishes great flavor and a variety of texture. Plus, it's fun to experiment. Thanks!

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Washington, D.C.: I thought that the brown packets of Raw sugar, found at Starbucks was in natural form. But I've recently been told that it's just regular sugar with some food coloring. What gives?

Sally Squires: I believe that you are talking about Sugar in the Raw. We'll post a link in a minute. This is sugar that is less processed and so it gets its slightly brown hue from molasses--not from food coloring. It is a regular sugar, however, but if you're only using one or two packets equal to one to teaspoons of sugar--it shouldn't be a big deal calorie wise. Just adds up to about 32 calories. Hope that clears things up. Thanks.

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Gaithersburg, Md.: I think there is a typo in the recipe. After assembling everything, should one put on a tsp. or salmon roe - not another teaspoon of sesame seeds - otherwise, I can't see where you use the roe.

Sally Squires: Hmm. Thanks Gaithersburg. I'll find out. That recipe was cut and pasted from the original source.

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Edamame: Steam or boil them. I find that a lot of people who claim they don't like edamame actually like them with a sprinkle of lemon juice.

Sally Squires: That also sounds delicious. Thanks much.

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washingtonpost.com: Sugar In The Raw

washingtonpost.com: Sugar In The Raw

Sally Squires: As promised...

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Vitamin D in colder climes: Hi Sally - What do people who live in extreme areas of the world do about vitamin D (I am thinking of places like parts of North America , or upper regions of Europe, where sunlight is extremely limited, or it might be dark for 6 months)? Is their source mainly diet?

Sally Squires: The Eskimos traditionally got vitamin D from fish and from whale and seal blubber. Norwegians and other Scandinavians eat a lot of fish, so I wager that they get their vitamin D from those sources in the dark days of winter. Also, in the UK, margarine is apparently more fortified than ours with vitamin D.

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Bethesda: Hi Sally!

I bought a pound of ground turkey this weekend and plan on making meatballs tonight! Any recommendations for making them as healthy as possible? Can I substitute two egg whites for one egg? Need the parmesan or will just breadcrumbs still taste yum?

Sally Squires: You certainly can substitute two egg whites--which are fat free and very rich in protein--for those egg yolks. I also have made "bread" crumbs from whole grain crackers, most recently from pesto crackers from Ryvita. They were pretty darn good. But you can use whole grain bread to do this too and even whole grain (unsweetened cereals), or wild or brown rice.

Happy cooking--and eating!

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Brockton, Mass.: I'm a 71-year-old woman whose recent blood test showed that my vitamin D level was low, and the doctor prescribed a 50,000 unit vitamin D capsule to be taken once a week for 12 weeks. Is that approaching toxic level?

Sally Squires: Toxic levels of vitamin D have been reported beginning at 10,000 IU per day, which would mean about 70,000 per week. (You're taking 50,000 IU.) And remember your levels were already low, which is why you're taking that tablet. But when in doubt, discuss this with your doctor. That's the very best source to know what works for you and any other medical conditions that you may have.

Hope you'll let us know how it goes. Thanks.

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fruit eater in Rockville: Also when you eat fresh fruit, you're getting fiber, so that's really good for you (better than fruit juice). When we crave sweets, our bodies are actually craving simple sugars, so eating three servings of fruit a day can help one avoid craving sweets. (At least it has helped me).

Sally Squires: Thanks for weighing in Rockville.

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Baltimore: Dear Sally,

I have been having a lot of muscle and joint pain related to what I thought was too much computer work and job stress. Blood tests did show a low Vitamin D level. (I don't know the numbers off the top of my head) but was given a prescription supplement to take 2 times a week for 8 weeks. I honestly have been putting off taking it for fear of it causing nausea and I just didn't want to feel worse then I already do. Two questions: do you think this prescription containing the Vitamin D will cause nausea? And #2 do you think my low levels could actually be causing some of this joint and muscle pain?

Thank you!

Sally Squires: I have taken vitamin D and never found it to produce nausea. But it's always a good idea to take vitamins on a full stomach.

As for the joint pain, there are a number of conditions--I don't have space to go into all of them here--that can be linked to levels of vitamin D. So it's possible that you could feel better from taking the vitamin. But the most important thing is to discuss your concerns with your doctor. Hope you'll let us know how it goes.

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Alexandria, Va.:

Just wanted to share two healthy tips and then ask a question.

While it seems a tad bit obvious, my husband and I have been planning out our dinners at the beginning of the week now to eat healthier. This keeps us from being tempted to eat out when we're working or out late in the evenings, so it's usually cheaper and healthier. Trader Joe's offers quite a few healthy 15 minutes options, such as stir fries, etc. that can be made in a hurry, and are much better for you than any restaurant.

Also, I'm always tempted to snack while making dinner, and so I also started putting fat free salad dressing in a Tupperware bowl in the fridge. While it seems silly, I'm more likely to dip some veggies (particularly carrots) when it's already in a bowl so that I don't go for the higher calorie snacks. This avoids having to clean a dish every time (every step helps!!)

As for my question -- I've been hearing a lot about this new "weight loss" drug Alli. I was wondering if anyone has any experience with it, if it's harmful, or if it actually works. I've avoided weight loss drugs but since it's FDA approved I've been curious.

Sally Squires: Planning ahead is a wonderful idea--and as you've already seen a great way to really gain control of what you eat and how much. And that idea to have a healthful dip available is very smart. As for the Alli, I'll post a link to more info in just a minute. Thanks.

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washingtonpost.com: Lowdown on OTC Weight-Loss Drug (Post, Feb. 20)

Sally Squires: As promised...Thanks to our producer Paul Williams.

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Washington, DC: Hi Sally,

I just noticed some new varieties of produce at the grocery store. For example, I am seeing yellow baby carrots though they look more pale than yellow. I always thought color was important, and for carrots, orange means lots of beta carotene. Are yellow carrots deficient in beta carotene compared to their orange cousins? Perhaps they have more nutritional value in other areas? Also am noticing more yellow tomatoes recently and white asparagus for a few years.

Is there a trend amongst producers to create new varieties? What is the purpose of making fruits and veggies a different color? Thank you!

Sally Squires: As a matter of fact, I have some slightly tangerine carrots in my lunch today. (I bought a package of multicolored carrots at Trader Joe's and have been using them in a variety of ways.)

I haven't seen any precise nutritional breakdowns on these "new" carrots (some of which are nearly white), but have noticed a slightly different flavor (or perceived flavor) in some of them. So there may be slight nutritional variations, but my bet is that there won't be many differences.

I'll see what else I can find through more reporting after the chat.

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Virginia: Some of us were talking about the WW meals you can get at Applebee's. There was a question about whether these were really 7 points (or whatever). If someone cooked something particularly greasy or oily near it, our dinner would probably be more than 7 points. And, some of us have gotten dinners that looked very generous as opposed to the photo. Long story short, even if NY restaurants posted calories, there's no way to standardize each meal or even know if it's accurate.

Sally Squires: Yes, you're probably right: it will take a bit to get this stuff standardized. It's probably much easier to do at fast food restaurants that have more uniform portions.

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Omaha, Neb.: I've developed a fairly user friendly food journal - it's just a small spiral notebook (the kind pre-digital reporters used to use) that I keep on my desk next to me at work, open to that day's page. Having it right there all day helps me to remember to record my cup of coffee or bottle of water as well as the sandwich and brownie I ate for lunch. I also have room to jot any exercise I managed to get ("spin class", "20 min. walk") and any gastro-intestinal reactions I might have (I'm hoping I'll be able to identify foods to avoid in the future). Really, it works for me because it's out and I see it all the time, instead of having to pull it out of my purse or record everything at the end of the day.

Sally Squires: And you've just hit the nail on the head: it works! More importantly, you designed it for yourself. That's a win-win. And none of this has to be high-tech. Sometimes simple is best. The point is for each of us to find what works best for us. Thanks for weighing in Omaha.

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Nashville, TN: Getting enough vegetables has many health benefits like, weight loss, protection from diabetes and protection from certain kinds of cancer. New government guidelines now recommend seven to twelve cups of vegetables at day!

Here are some quick and easy vegetable side dishes that you can put on your dinner table tonight:

Green Beans and Almonds

All you need is green beans (fresh or frozen), about a tablespoon slivered or sliced almonds, a little olive oil and some soy sauce. In a skillet, heat the oil and stir fry the green beans until warm. Toss in the almonds and soy sauce to taste. Season to taste.

Garlic Spinach

Olive oil, garlic and a bag of fresh spinach is all that is needed for this easy side. Heat a little olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, cook for about one to two minutes, add spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted. You can also add chopped mushrooms while the garlic is cooking. Season to taste.

Zucchini and Tomatoes

Slice two small zucchini. Heat a skillet on medium high with a small amount of olive oil. Add zucchini and a little garlic and stir fry for about four to six minutes. Add a half a can of chopped tomatoes with the juices. Cook for a few minutes, letting some liquid evaporate. Season to taste.

Sweet Baby Carrots

Steam a small bag of baby carrots. Transfer to a serving dish and add a little honey and butter, some chopped walnuts, and a little cinnamon or nutmeg.

Sally Squires: Those extra veggies are important, but your numbers are a little off, Nashville. Recommendations are to get 2 cups daily of fruit, 2.5 cups daily of veggies. (That's for an average adult.) Amounts can vary slightly up or down. For more, see My Pyramid or My Pyramid Tracker, both available on-line with a .gov URL.

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Louisville, Ky.: I've been trying to cook at home a lot more lately. As a somewhat new vegetarian, I'm always trying to find good recipes. I find so many with ground beef and usually just pass over them. I've recently started using the BOCA Burger "crumbles." They are very good. I used them last night to make homemade Sloppy Joes. Also good because the recipe uses peppers, celery, onion, I also added some shredded carrots. Good way to sneak in some veggies for myself.

Sally -- what about the Boca Chicken Patties/Nuggets? They are tasty, but have a coating that makes them look fried. Are they not that healthy because of that coating?

Thanks!

Sally Squires: I don't believe that those nuggets are fried. But we'll post a link to the nutrition facts label in a minute. Also, for those who have gluten allergies, Ian's makes a gluten free meatless chicken nugget. In any case, neither of these products has much fat--about six grams per serving. So hope that helps.

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washingtonpost.com: Boca Chik'n

washingtonpost.com: Boca Chik'n

BOCA MEATLESS CHIK'N PATTIES ORIGINAL

Sally Squires: As promised...

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Brookline, Mass.: How much vitamin D do women over 65 need daily?

Sally Squires: The current recommended intake for vitamin D for a 65 year old woman (or man) is 400 IU daily. Here are the others:
700 IU for those 71 and older
400 IU for those 51- 70 years
200 IU for those 19-50 years.

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washingtonpost.com: IAN'S NATURAL FOODS, Chicken Nuggets, Allergen Free

washingtonpost.com: IAN'S NATURAL FOODS, Chicken Nuggets, Allergen Free

Sally Squires: Here's the link for the gluten free "chicken" nuggets from Ian's.

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Washington, D.C.: My weight used to be 300 lbs, then I went on a program, including weight loss drugs, strict diet, walking to/from work and the gym with a personal trainer, and I lost 70 lbs. I'm now a stay-at-home mom with a 2 year old and I've regained those 70 lbs. I'm at a complete, pathetic, frustrated, and overwhelming loss of where to begin again. I don't have the time, energy, or means to do what I had done to lose the weight before I was married. I walk every day, but nothing super cardio crazy. I eat relatively healthy, except for the chocolate, but my portions are too big. I just don't know where to begin, and I find going cold turkey and not eating anything bad just too much to bear.

Sally Squires: We're nearly out of time, so I'll have to be brief here, DC. But I hope you'll contact me after the chat at leanplateclub@washpost.com. You can also call me at the Post. 202-334-6000 and ask the operator to put you through.

What do you do in the meantime? Exactly what you're starting to do...think about how you can get back on track. And here's something that I hope will help encourage you: you did this once and that's already a fantastic accomplishment. You CAN do this again. You know this too. Call me and I'll try to offer other words of inspiration.

We're all here to cheer you on. Hang in there!

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washingtonpost.com: MyPyramid.gov

washingtonpost.com: MyPyramid.gov

MyPyramid Tracker

Sally Squires: As promised...Thanks again to Paul Williams for getting these links for us.

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Sally Squires: We're out of time folks, so before they get the hook, today's winners are:

Philly (for couch to 5K), New England; Frederick, Omaha, Losing Weight and DC (who has regained 70 pounds.) Please send your name, address (and please put winner in the subject line) to leanplateclub@washpost.com.

Thanks to all from Shanghai to New England for a wonderful and wide-ranging chat.

Until next week, eat smart--and of course, move more!--with the Lean Plate Club.

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Charlottesville, Va.: No question; just thanks for your advice a couple of weeks ago. I'm the person who has lost about 70 pounds in the past 18 months and 40 two years before that. I fell and tore my knee up but still lost weight. I then spent the last month or two gaining and losing the same 4 pounds. I was getting frustrated with trying to lose more (I have about another 30) and you advised me to just try for maintenance. I did this and also wrote down what I was eating and really used the WW points system. I went over, believe me, but I was accountable. I'm almost back to my original lowest weight so far (knock wood). Thanks!

Sally Squires: Just saw this one in the queue and thought it might help inspire DC:

Congrats Charlottesville!

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