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Choline Breakfast in Mom’s Kitchen 07/29/2012

Posted by thetickthatbitme in Choline Diet, Whole Person.
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I’m excited to be visiting my parents this week, especially because their kitchen is always filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. I missed the Central Coast’s superior tomatoes!

Tomato and egg sandwich on toasted sourdough.

Tomato and egg sandwich on toasted sourdough.

Choline count: 2 eggs (250 mg) + 1 tomato (12 mg) + sourdough bread (15 mg) = 277 mg of choline

Happy Sunday everybody!

The Choline Diet: Herbivore Style 07/01/2012

Posted by thetickthatbitme in Choline Diet, Tick-Lit, Whole Person.
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In the past, my choline diet posts have been mostly geared towards omnivores, as eating eggs and meat is an easy way to get one’s daily dose of choline. If you’re new to this blog–or just forgetful–I’ve been on a choline-rich diet since I started getting treated for Borrelia hermsii and Anaplasmosis last year. My doctor recommended this because I had some neurological involvement with my illness–brain fog, chronic fatigue, arthralgias–and there’s research that suggests that eating choline helps our bodies produce more of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Choline has also been linked to lower levels of inflammation. In addition, choline is particularly important for pregnant women, as higher choline intake during pregnancy is associated with a lower risk of neural tube defects in infants.

choline dude

Image via doubleeaglefitness.wordpress.com

So that’s why I’m always telling my readers to eat their eggs and meat and green veggies. However, since a study led by Scott Commins at the University of Virginia linking lone star tick bites to red meat allergies gained national media attention (ABC, CNN) a few weeks ago, I’ve been thinking about how to make my choline recipe recommendations more herbivore-friendly.

After my last choline-related post, I stumbled upon the USDA Database for the Choline Content of Common Foods, which is a fairly good resource (and handy since it comes in a searchable PDF), although it doesn’t include everything I like to eat. (For example, the desserts section is severely lacking.) The other issue with it is that the choline values are reported in mg per 100 grams of food, and the average person may not eat 100 grams of some of those food items in one sitting–particularly the spices. (100 grams of chili powder, anyone?) So keep in mind that the choline numbers below are based on that ratio, and don’t think you’re getting 120 mg of choline in a pinch of mustard seed. This week, I decided to go through the database and find the foods with the most choline. For my herbivore/vegetarian readers out there, whatever your reason for avoiding meat (moral, dietary, tick-bite-induced allergy…), here are the top choline sources from several non-meat categories:

Top 10 Veggies:

  1. edamame—56 mg*
  2. broccoli (boiled) —40 mg
  3. cauliflower (boiled) —39 mg
  4. tomato paste—39 mg
  5. artichokes (boiled)—34 mg
  6. peas (boiled)—28 mg
  7. spinach (cooked) —28 mg
  8. asparagus (boiled) —28 mg
  9. sweet corn (boiled) —22 mg
  10. red potatoes (baked) —19 mg

Top 10 Fruits:

  1. dried figs—16 mg
  2. clementines—14 mg
  3. avocados—14 mg
  4. dried apricots—14 mg
  5. raspberries—12 mg
  6. raisins—11 mg
  7. prunes—10 mg
  8. mandarin oranges—10 mg
  9. medjool dates—9.9 mg
  10. bananas—9.8 mg

Top 10 Nuts and Seeds:

  1. flaxseed—79 mg
  2. dry roasted pistachios—71 mg
  3. roasted pumpkin seed kernels—63 mg
  4. roasted cashews—61 mg
  5. dried pine nuts—56 mg
  6. sunflower seed kernels—55 mg
  7. almonds—52 mg
  8. hazelnuts—46 mg
  9. dry roasted macadamia nuts—45 mg
  10. pecans—41 mg

Top 5 Legumes:

  1. creamy peanutbutter—66 mg
  2. boiled navy beans—45 mg
  3. baked beans—28 mg
  4. firm tofu—28 mg
  5. soft tofu—27 mg

Top 10 Spices:

  1. mustard seed—120 mg
  2. dried parsley—97 mg
  3. garlic powder—68 mg
  4. chili powder—67 mg
  5. curry powder—64 mg
  6. dried basil—55 mg
  7. paprika—52 mg
  8. ground turmeric—49 mg
  9. ground ginger—41 mg
  10. onion powder—39 mg

*All measurements are given in mg/100 g of food

I hope these lists get you on your way to a diet more rich in choline, whether it includes meat or not.

This concludes the herbivore section of this post. If you don’t want to be tempted with any meat, try clicking over to some of my other posts.

***

If you’re here in search of choline diet inspiration of the omnivore variety, I haven’t completely forgotten you. Here’s a glimpse of what I had for lunch.

steak sandwich tomato avocado

Steak sandwich on pumpernickel with avocado and tomato.

Happy Sunday, everybody! And watch out for ticks!

06/10/2012

Posted by thetickthatbitme in Choline Diet, Reblogs.
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Great post about the importance of choline intake during pregnacy.

Valerie's Voice: For the Health of It

Choline (a nutrient found in  beef liver, chicken liver, eggs, bacon and pork) status in pregnant moms has been found to affect cortisol levels in newborns. According to a study published by Jiang X, Yan et al., http://lib.bioinfo.pl/paper:22418088, these pregnant women were given either 930 or 480 mg/day of choline in their third trimester for 12 weeks. The more choline consumed the more was found in moms blood the lower the levels of stress hormone cortisol was found in baby. As you can see from the chart below, current recommendations need to be updated and increased to help promote healthy gene expression and reduce the risk of unwanted health issues.

The Linus Pauling Institute, http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/othernuts/choline/ posted the chart on the Adequate Intake level for choline, however this is not based on the methylation information we now have.

Adequate Intake (AI)               for Choline

Life stage Age Males (mg/day) Females (mg/day)
Infants 0-6…

View original post 426 more words

Eating out {in the name of choline} 05/13/2012

Posted by thetickthatbitme in Choline Diet, Whole Person.
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One of my dear friends is a new mommy who’s been going a little stir-crazy for the past two months waiting for her son to get his first shots and be allowed to leave the house more regularly. Yesterday, she got a few baby-free hours, which presented a perfect opportunity for some fine dining (or at least what we frugal ladies consider fine dining), and that’s how we found ourselves at a little place called Cafe Mundial in Monrovia.

Now, I must confess, I wasn’t thinking about my choline diet at all as I was scanning drooling over the menu, but it turned out that both my friend and I did fairly well on the choline count without really trying. Here’s what we had:

To Start

This restaurant serves their complimentary bread with a side of hummus (which is really not to be confused with humus). Much to my delight, when I looked up hummus today, I discovered it has 4 mg per tablespoon. (Side note: if you look up “humus,” which is how WordPress spellcheck thinks “hummus” should be spelled, you’ll find it has no choline. So if anyone ever commands you to “Eat dirt!” tell them, “I can’t. I’m on a choline diet.”) We also each ordered the soup du jour, which was tomato basil. (I have no picture of this, and couldn’t find one from Cafe Mundial.) Not much choline in the soup, but it was delicious!

cafe mundial hummus

Yummy hummus with bread for dipping. (Image via Yelp)

The Main Course

I had the duck conflit, which was accompanied by a small scoop of mashed potatoes and generous helpings of carrots and zucchini. You can see it pictured below with beans instead. Choline count for roast duck: 43 mg for half a pound. Cooked carrots and zucchini add 7 mg and 8.5 mg choline, respectively, for half a cup each.

Duck Conflit

Duck Conflit with veggies. (Image via Yelp)

The Finale

Though I admire the philosophy of “Life is short; eat dessert first,” this isn’t really possible with soufflé, owing to the long prep time. It was more like, “Life is short; order dessert first, or else it won’t be ready.” This one was accompanied by fresh strawberry slices and a vanilla bean sauce. We were a few bites into it when I said, “Hold on, I should take a picture of this.”  It was just as delicious as it looks. I couldn’t find any nutritional data for chocolate soufflé, but boring old grocery-store-bakery chocolate cake has about 20 mg per slice. With all the eggs and chocolate in soufflé, I’m guessing this little treat comes it at around 30 mg.

chocolate soufflé

Chocolate soufflé, a.k.a. Heaven.

So how well did I fare in the choline department? According to my (rough) estimate, I had about 100 mg of choline. My friend, who ordered the filet mignon (77 mg choline in 3 oz), out-cholined me by about 40 mg.

Snacking in the name of choline 05/06/2012

Posted by thetickthatbitme in Choline Diet, Humor.
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Since I spend a lot of time working from home, it’s difficult to resist a lot of snacking. Now I believe that eating small meals throughout the day is healthy; however, when you factor in my mighty sweet tooth and the fact that my better half keeps visiting the Entemann’s bakery outlet on his way home from work (he can’t resist the deals), well…you see the predicament. So I decided this week that if I’m going to be ‘bad’ and indulge in a few fattening or sugary or salty snacks, I had better make sure I was getting my choline. Here are some of the choline-rich snacks that my research turned up.

Savory Choline Snacks

Peanut Butter (21 mg in 2 tbsp) and Carrots (6 mg in 1 large carrot)

This is an established favorite for both me and my dad. I used to feel guilty about putting peanut butter on something that is otherwise pretty healthy, but with about 10 mg of choline per tablespoon, I don’t feel that bad. I do, by the way, buy the reduced fat peanut butter. If you prefer almond butter, it has about 8 mg of choline per tablespoon.

carrot peanut butter

Carrot ♥ Jif in my kitchen.

Pistachios (20 mg in 1 oz)

I’m a girl who likes to play with her food, so these are one of my favorite snacks. Sometimes I like to eat them with a few chocolate chips and some dried cranberries. If you’re wondering how many dry roasted pistachios are in an ounce, it’s about 49.

pistachios

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Edamame (56 mg in 100 g—about 2/3 cup)

I usually order edamame (boiled soybean pods) as an appetizer when I go out for sushi with friends. Some grocery stores also have it in the freezer section.

(Image via Wikimedia Commons. Credit: habitatgirl)

Sweet Choline Snacks

Peanut Butter (21 mg in 2 tbsp) and Banana (11 mg)

Yes, you can see I have a propensity to put peanut butter on a lot of things. This is a third-generation snack in my family that originated with my grandma. I find a glass of chocolate milk goes well with it. (One cup of chocolate milk also adds 42 mg of choline!)

banana peanut butter

Banana and Jif hanging out on my counter. If Carrot finds out, you are sooo busted, Jif!

Baked Sweet Potato (23 mg for a large one)

Sweet potatoes are so underrated. I try to substitute them for boring old russet potatoes whenever I can, including when I make home-made french fries. The easiest (and laziest) way to prepare a sweet potato, though, it to stab it with a fork a few times and then pop it in the microwave. I like mine with a little butter and brown sugar, but season salt or garlic powder is also good.

sweet potato

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Ready for the finale? My most exciting discovery in my choline research is that chocolate is a great source of choline. (Which means, all those times when I was craving chocolate, it wasn’t just me, it was also my neurotransmitters.) I could list about 100 chocolatey snacks here, but I’m going to have some self-restraint and just do one.

Chocolate éclair (79 mg)

This one takes me way back to when I was too short to even see over a bakery counter. (Thanks, Mom, for getting me addicted to these at such a young age.) When I discovered this dessert, I considered changing my name to Claire, just so I could be “Chocolatey Claire.” Is an éclair the same as a doughnut? Of course not, silly! It’s far, far better. I recommend a tall glass of milk with this one.

chocolate eclairs

(Image via Wikimedia Commons. Credit: georgie_grd)

If you want to try making some éclairs from scratch, here’s a yummy recipe over at Moo’s Pantry.

That’s all I’ve got for today. What high-choline treats would you add to this list?

Omelet you in on these yummy high-choline recipes 04/29/2012

Posted by thetickthatbitme in Choline Diet, Whole Person.
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In my family, omelets are somewhat of a sacred tradition. My dad was the omelet-master when I was growing up, and whenever we had weekend company, he’d make each guest and family member his or her own made-to-order omelet. By the time I was in high school, I’d picked up his technique and was making omelets for all my friends after school. Little did I know back then what a great source of the B vitamin choline omelets can be! (For more on choline, see the Choline Diet page.)The best thing about omelets besides the choline factor is the infinite possibilities–there are no rules about what cannot go in an omelet. Here are some of my favorites.

Smoked Salmon, Spinach, and Avocado Omelet

salmon omelet avocado

Image via cuisineaustralia.com.

I love smoked salmon, and I’m always looking for new ways to cook with it (aside from just eating it on a bagel with cream cheese–yum). Check out this salmon omelet recipe from cuisineaustralia.com.

Choline Count: eggs (2) 200 mg + salmon (3 oz) 80 mg + spinach (2 oz) 11 mg + avocado (1) 19 mg = 300 mg of choline!

Mushroom, Spinach, and Feta Omelet

mushroom spinach feta omelet

Image via closetcooking.com

What do I like almost as much as smoked salmon? Crumbly cheeses! Feta and spinach are always delicious together, why not put them in an omelet? Add shiitake mushrooms for a bonus 66 mg of choline! Check out this recipe on closetcooking.com.

http://www.closetcooking.com/2008/03/mushroom-spinach-and-feta-omelet.html

Choline count: eggs (3) 300 mg + shiitake mushrooms (4 oz) 66 mg + spinach (2 oz) 11 mg + feta cheese (1 oz) 4 mg = 381 mg choline!

Leftover Stir-fry Omelet

This was my go-to omelet when I was a college student and rarely went grocery shopping or planned meals. I always seemed to have leftover Chinese food in my fridge, so I devised this omelet to make leftovers into breakfast. I usually use two eggs per person with a little milk. If you’ve got the jumbo eggs, you can get away with using one and use a little more milk (1 oz of skim milk has 5 mg of choline!). I whisk up the eggs and the milk in a bowl, then pour them into my omelet pan (yes, they make a size of frying pan that’s just for omelets). Meanwhile, I heat up the leftover stir-fry in a separate pan. Once that’s heated through and the egg mixture has set in the pan, I spoon some stir-fry onto one side. After a few minutes, the other side will be ready to fold over.

orang ginger beef stir fry

Image via mccormick.com

If you want to make a healthy stir-fry at home to use for your leftovers, you can try this recipe for Orange Ginger Beef Stir-fry from mccormick.com.

Choline count: eggs (2) 200 mg + beef sirloin (1/4 lb) 96 mg + broccoli (1/2 cup) 31 mg = 327 mg choline!

Hope you enjoyed this week’s high-choline recipes. Eggspect (sorry, I promise I’ll try to stop) to see more next Sunday!

Have a high-choline recipe (and mouth-watering photos) you’d like to showcase on this blog? E-mail thetickthatbitme AT gmail DOT com.

Eat Your Eggs, Benedict! 04/22/2012

Posted by thetickthatbitme in Choline Diet, Whole Person.
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If you know my story, you know that when I was diagnosed with B. hermsii and Anaplasmosis, my doctor put me on a high-choline diet. Why choline, you ask? Choline is a B vitamin that aids in the transmission of nerve impulses from the brain through the central nervous system–this process is essential to functions like memory and muscle control. Since Borrelia like to attack the central nervous system, choline is especially important for people with (past and present) B. hermsii and B. burgdorferi infections. People who eat diets high in choline have also been shown to have lower levels of inflammation (like inflammation of the joints in Arthritis) than people who don’t. You can read more about choline here.

Enter the Benedict. It is by far my favorite egg-based dish, and I enjoy making it at home just as much as I do eating it for brunch in a fancy restaurant.

"Eggs" Benedict Talley (Mehcad Brooks) from HBO's True Blood. Photo via hbo.com.

One large poached egg has 100 mg of choline, so if you eat two, you get about half of your recommended daily amount (425 mg for women, 550 mg for men). Add to that other high-choline foods like smoked salmon (129 mg), Canadian bacon (39 mg), portabella mushrooms (39 mg), spinach (35 mg), asparagus (23 mg), avocado (21 mg), and tomato (6 mg) to get your choline fix!

Here are my top five Benedicts:

1. Old Fashioned but Fried

for those mornings (or afternoons, or evenings!) when I’m feeling traditional, yet lazy

I learned this simple recipe from my mother, and it

Benedict Asparagus

Image via firsttimerscookbook.com

brings back all kinds of fond childhood memories. A toasted whole-wheat English muffin, topped with pan-fried Canadian bacon and over-easy eggs (make sure they’re still a little runny, because that’s the best part). The hollandaise sauce I usually make with one of those sauce packets you can find in the grocery store (next to the gravy packets). It’s easy–you only need to add milk and butter–and, in my opinion, it tastes better than the from-scratch hollandaise recipes I’ve tried. Because of the butter and bacon, this is a slightly fattening meal, so I balance it with a side of boiled asparagus, which tastes delicious with the hollandaise sauce and adds 23 mg of choline to this meal!

Choline count: eggs 200 mg + Canadian bacon 39 mg + asparagus 23 mg = 262 mg of choline

2. Crab Benedict

for when I’m feeling crabby or rooting for the Terps

I’ve never made this one at home, but I’ve had it at Toasties Cafe, and it is delicious!

Toasties Crab Benedict

Image via Yelp.com.

Choline count: eggs 200 mg

3. Portabello Mushroom Benedict

for the fungus-lovers amongus

If you’re looking for a meatless meal or just craving these yummy mushrooms, this is the Benedict for you. Check out Jackie Dodd’s recipe at TastyKitchen.com, which also includes spinach, tomatoes, and Sriracha for a kick!

Portobello Mushroom Benedict

Image via TastyKitchen.com

Choline count: eggs 200 mg + portabello mushrooms 39 mg + spinach 35 mg = 274 mg of choline

4. Tomato Avocado Benedict

because I’m a California girl

My mouth was watering as I scrolled through SoupBelly.com’s deliciously illustrated recipe for this west-coast Benedict. If you want to make it even more California, use sourdough English muffins.

Avocado Tomato Benedict

Image via soupbelly.com.

Choline count: eggs 200 mg + avocado 21 mg + tomato 6 mg = 227 mg of choline

5. Eggs Hemingway

for when I’m feeling literary

This one may seem a bit fishy, but I assure you it’s delicious and packed with choline. It’s also called Norwegian Benedict. Here’s a recipe at food.com that includes not only salmon but spinach, too!

Salmon Benedict

Image via Wikipedia.

Choline count: eggs 200 mg + smoked salmon 129 mg + spinach 35 mg = 364 mg of choline

Now that I’ve made myself really hungry, I’m going to go make my own Benedict. Hope you enjoy these eggcellent (sorry, I couldn’t resist) high-choline meals!

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