Recipe Spotlight: Roasted Squash with Sea Salt & Local Honey

Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN

Honey has been used as a natural sweetener for years. Today, local honey is still used to improve food and drinks, and many people also use it as a way to maintain good health. Raw, local honey contains many enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that your body needs — and it may even help prevent seasonal allergies. Plus, using local honey supports your neighborhood bee farmers. Just a couple tablespoons of honey are all that’s needed to sweeten this yummy roasted winter squash recipe.

Organic Baked Butternut Squash with Herbs and Spices


  • 4 to 5 pounds winter squash (use at least 2 varieties, such as acorn and butternut), seeded (but not peeled) and cut into 1-inch-thick slices or wedges
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey (use local honey, if possible)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as sage, rosemary, thyme, and oregano
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey (use local honey, if possible)


  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two large shallow baking pans with foil; set aside. Place squash in a very large bowl; drizzle with oil and the 2 tablespoons honey. Using your fingertips, rub the oil and honey into the squash pieces to coat evenly. Sprinkle with the ¼ teaspoon sea salt and the pepper. Arrange the squash pieces in a single layer in the prepared baking pans.
  • Roast 30 to 45 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork or a small, sharp knife, turning the pieces once or twice during roasting.
  • Transfer squash to a serving platter. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and the ⅛ teaspoon sea salt. Drizzle with the 1 teaspoon honey. Serve warm with some lean protein and a salad for a complete holiday meal. 

Julie Fortenberry is a registered dietitian at Touro Infirmary. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Southern Mississippi. Julie believes that lifestyle changes and wholesome nutrition are obtainable, and brings real-life understanding to wellness and nutritional counseling.

Tips on Eating Green for the Environment

Daniel Pourshalimi, M.D.

Have you considered how your diet affects the environment?  Every day, huge amounts of food are produced, processed, transported, consumed and thrown away. This puts a serious strain on the Earth’s natural resources.

The good news is that research points toward dietary changes that we can all make to reduce food’s impact on the planet. Less is more when it comes to eating your way toward a healthier Earth. Here are some simple things you can do to lessen your impact on the environment.

Plan meals each week and buy only what you need for that time period.

In the U.S. alone, 40 percent of food is wasted annually on= average at a cost of at least $589 per family. Food waste largely contributes to the depletion of the Earth’s resources, since production requires water, land and energy—even for the food that ends up in
landfills. Reducing food waste saves you money because you buy less.

Go meatless one or more days a week.

Meat production hits Earth’s resources harder than any other food group, followed by dairy. Reducing beef consumption and eating more plant-based protein sources—such as beans, nuts and grains—could decrease greenhouse gas emissions from food production by up to 35 percent.

Reduce your calorie intake from non-nutritious foods.

When it comes to changing your diet in an effort to help the planet, one of the simplest approaches is to cut back on eating non-nutritious foods. Swapping refined carbs and saturated and trans fats with more fruit, vegetables and dietary fiber can help you lose
weight and improve your overall health. That would reduce overall health care costs and resources, and hopefully lead to less waste and a need for less food.

Click here for healthy plant-based recipes.

Daniel PourshalimiDr. Daniel Pourshalimi is a board certified Internal Medicine MD. He works at Crescent City Physicians, Inc., a subsidiary of Touro Infirmary. After earning his medical degree from the University of California in Los Angeles, Dr. Pourshalimi completed residency at Los Angeles County + University of Southern California Medical Center. With over 6 years of experience, Dr. Pourshalimi believes that the human body has a remarkable ability to heal itself given the chance to do so with a whole food plant based diet. Many chronic medical conditions, that are thought to be irreversible under conventional medical wisdom, can be reversed with science-based nutrition. Dr. Pourshalimi has seen this happen time and again in his own practice. His purpose and drive comes from helping others and seeing his patients becoming healthier and happier. One of his greatest motivations is inspiring lifestyle changes and in many instances being able to take patients off of medications when appropriate.

Healthy Swap: Mashed Cauliflower

Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN

Weight gain is a common problem during the holiday season, but it can be avoided if you have a plan and a bit of self-discipline. Holiday meals are typically heavy in carbohydrates, so try reducing your carb consumption for the day by replacing mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower.


  • 1-2 head of fresh cauliflower or 1-2 bags of frozen
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 2 T sour cream
  • 2 T or more Parmesan cheese
  • Salt, pepper, garlic, and other spices to taste


  1. Bring a couple quarts of water to a boil in a large pan and add cauliflower.
  2. Cook until tender- usually about 8-10 minutes.
  3. When tender, put into large bowl and add other ingredients.
  4. Use immersion blender or hand mixer to blend until smooth and creamy.

Sprinkle with extra cheese if desired and serve warm.

Julie Fortenberry is a registered dietitian at Touro Infirmary. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Southern Mississippi. Julie believes that lifestyle changes and wholesome nutrition are obtainable, and brings real-life understanding to wellness and nutritional counseling.

Juicing Vs. Blending: Which is Better?

Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN

Juicing and blending have become very popular over the last few years. However, some of you may still be confused about their differences and benefits. Each method has its own unique perks, but both provide ways to incorporate nutrition-packed produce into your diet. I like to refer to both methods as a “supplement” to a balanced diet- almost as you would think of taking a vitamin. Neither method is meant to replace a meal.


Juicing is the process of extracting juice from fruits or vegetables. The juice can be extracted using any one of a growing number of juicing machines, which range from hand juicers to high tech juicers.
Pros of juicing

  1. Although fresh juice contains the same nutrients as the original fruit and vegetables, the juicing process removes fibers making the juice more concentrated, and the nutrients easier to digest and absorb into the bloodstream.
  2. A variety of fruits or vegetables can be juiced, allowing you to get in a heap of nutrients and vitamins in a short amount of time.
  3. Juicing also allows to be adventurous with what produce you consume.

Cons of juicing

  1. Not everyone can process this high amount of nutrients in one sitting.
  2. Timing is key! The nutrient-rich liquid needs to be consumed immediately after juicing to maximize the health benefits.
  3. Juicing is not intended for weight loss. In fact, it may cause weight gain if not balanced properly.
  4. Juicing machines tend to be bulky, expensive and time consuming to clean.


Blending is defined as liquefying whole fruits and vegetables by chopping them very finely with blades and spinning at very high speed. The result is a pulpy puree-like drink, which is a smoothie.

Pros of blending

  1. You get fiber included in your drink. To your body, this is like eating your fruits/vegetables.
  2. A fibrous drink means a lessened or slower sugar spike after consumption.
  3. Any produce can be blended- including the small items that a juicer could not handle.

Cons of blending

  1. Since the fiber is included, it takes more effort for nutrient absorption and less nutrients are absorbed.
  2. During blending, air gets trapped in the drink, making it “fluffy”. The air, together with the pulp may cause gas or bloating in some people.
  3. You feel fuller faster which means a possibility of consuming fewer nutrients.

Join us for Farmers Market Tours on June 3 and 10!

Join Touro Dietitian Julie Fortenberry, RD, for a hands-on Farmer’s Market tour on both Saturday, June 3 at 750 Carondelet St. and Tuesday, June 6 at 200 Broadway St. Learn the concept of “farm to table”, how you can shop local, eat healthy and incorporate fresh ingredients into your daily meals without breaking the bank. Go to to register!

Fortenberry, JulieJulie Fortenberry is a registered dietitian at Touro Infirmary. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Southern Mississippi. Julie believes that lifestyle changes and wholesome nutrition are obtainable, and brings real-life understanding to wellness and nutritional counseling. 

Tips for Weight Loss Success

Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN

Was your New Year’s resolution to lose weight in 2017? Research shows that most resolutions go down the drain within the first month or two after January 1st. Staying on track is tough, but it’s not impossible. To reach your goal, you have to actively set yourself up for success. Here are a few tips to lose weight in 2017:

Slow progress is better than no progress

Set Realistic Goals

Remember it did not take you two weeks to gain those extra 35 pounds and it will definitely not take you two weeks to lose it! You gradually gained this weight over several months or even years. Remember that weight loss and maintaining healthy weight is a commitment for the long haul. It takes time to create new, healthy habits, which will eventually turn your “diet” into a healthy lifestyle! Keep in mind, healthy fat loss is 1-2 pounds per week.

Set Mini-Goals

Make small changes every week, and they will add up over time. Commit to making weekly changes that will help you down the road. Here are some examples of weekly changes you can incorporate into mini-goals:

  • Week One: Drink 8 glasses of water per day.
  • Week Two: Walk 30 minutes twice this week.
  • Week Three: Replace one processed food with one fresh item (swap chips for fruit).
  • Week Four: Eliminate fried foods

Be Consistent

One bad meal won’t torch your efforts but habitual poor choices will. The best way to look at food is as a “sometimes food” and not a “never food”. Choose healthy options the majority of the time with a few indulgences here and there and it’s more sustainable than an “all or nothing” mentality.

Friends enjoying lunch

Don’t Cut Out Entire Food Groups

Another way to sabotage your weight loss efforts is by cutting out an entire food group. Many times when people are trying to lose weight, they cut too much out that they can’t sustain for any length of time. The point of making a resolution is to implement healthier habits that will stick in the long term. Remember to consume everything in moderation for healthier and more sustainable results.

Document Everything

Keep a detailed record of your weight loss, dietary intake and how you are feeling. By keeping a wellness journal, you will be able to see what you’re consuming, where your problem areas are, and how your emotional state is. Paying attention to this will help you maintain your weight this year.

Planning new day.

Decide what is best for YOU and YOUR body

It is tempting to fall into the trap of doing what is popular. Your best friends may eliminate gluten, sugar, dairy or processed foods in order to reach their goals. However, these may not be problem areas for you and eliminating these foods may not be your magic solution. Your best bet is to determine what will work for you now and continue five years down the road. By doing so, you will find the “magic” that works best for you.

Click here for a library of healthy recipes.

Fortenberry, JulieJulie Fortenberry is a registered dietitian at Touro Infirmary. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Southern Mississippi. Julie believes that lifestyle changes and wholesome nutrition are obtainable, and brings real-life understanding to wellness and nutritional counseling. 

New Ways to Eat Fall’s 5 Healthiest Foods

From Halloween to Thanksgiving, autumn arrives with many opportunities to overdo it. Fortunately, fall also brings a harvest of delicious fruits and veggies. Hit the produce aisle and farmers market stat to pick up these seasonal options.


Bob for these beauties and you’ll come up with a heaping helping of fiber. You’ll feel fuller on fewer calories, helping you control your weight. Plus, fiber fights cholesterol and lowers your heart-disease risk.

Try this: Add sliced apples to salads or tortilla wraps; dice them into a homemade turkey meatloaf; stuff a whole apple with raisins, cinnamon, and oats and bake for a breakfast or dessert treat.


Brussels Sprouts

Low in calories and high in vitamin C, fiber, and folate, Brussels sprouts also contain antioxidants that protect your cells.

Try this: Roast at a high heat; steam with lemons, mustard, and walnut oil.



Each spoonful serves up plenty of vitamins, minerals, and plant-based compounds called phytochemicals, which help keep arteries clear.

Try this: Steam, then puree with plain Greek yogurt, garlic, and a bit of Parmesan; roast with olive oil and garlic; eat raw with your favorite low-fat dressing.



These fruits and their juices may contain the very same antioxidants that give red wine its heart-healthy benefits.

Try this: Roast and combine with thyme, mustard, and cooking wine as a sauce for lean meats.


Sweet Potatoes

Rich in fiber, these bright tubers count as a great source of vitamin A (great for skin, eyes and your immune system) and potassium (great for a normal blood pressure).

Try this: Dice and stir into hearty soups, stews, and chili.



Healthy Holiday Cooking

Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN

With all of the family gatherings and tasty food that surrounds the holidays, we all know that managing your calorie intake can be challenging.

The holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends. Unfortunately, for many of us, it also becomes a time for over-eating and weight gain. The average American gains 5- 10 pounds during the holiday season! But the holidays don’t have to mean weight gain. Many holiday foods can easily be replaced with more nutritious alternatives without sacrificing festive smells and flavors. Making healthy food substitutions can allow you to eat, drink, and be healthy.

Here are a few easy modifications for your holiday meals:


Traditional Dressing/Stuffing:

  • Use a little less bread and add more onions, garlic, celery, and vegetables.
  • Add fruits such as cranberries or apples.
  • Moisten or flavor with low fat low sodium chicken or vegetable broth and applesauce.


  • Enjoy delicious, roasted turkey breast without the skin and save 11 grams of saturated fat per 3 oz serving.

Mashed Potatoes:

  • Use skim milk, chicken broth, garlic or garlic powder
  • Use Parmesan cheese instead of whole milk and butter.

Quick Holiday Nog:

  • Four bananas, 1-1/2 cups skim milk or soy milk,
  • 1-1/2 cups plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon rum extract
  • Ground nutmeg

Blend all ingredients except nutmeg.   Puree until smooth. Top with nutmeg.


Desserts: For any desserts you can make simple substitutions to make your cake or pie a little healthier.

Here’s a few to try:

  • Make a crustless pie.
  • Substitute two egg whites for each whole egg in baked recipes.
  • Replace heavy cream with evaporated skim milk in cheesecakes and cream pies
  • Top cakes with fresh fruit, fruit sauce, or a sprinkle of powdered sugar instead of fattening frosting.

Fortenberry, JulieJulie Fortenberry is a registered dietitian at Touro Infirmary. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Southern Mississippi. Julie believes that lifestyle changes and wholesome nutrition are obtainable, and brings real-life understanding to wellness and nutritional counseling. 

Is Sugar the New Fat?

Charlotte Lemoine, RD

During the low- fat era of the 80s, we believed that we should reduce the amount of fat in our diets in order to be healthy. The food industry worked its way around this by replacing fat with added sugar in order to save the taste. People began obsessing over fat and started eliminating all good fats from their diet by eating more refined carbs and “empty calories.” This shift could be the reason why there was an increase in sugar consumption by 39% in the past few decades, according to The increase in sugar consumption also correlates with an increase in the rate of obesity.

As you may know, being obese can raise your triglyceride and bad cholesterol levels, lower your good cholesterol levels, and increase your blood pressure, chances of diabetes, respiratory problems and osteoarthritis. These health conditions lead to further problems such as heart attacks or strokes, cancer, kidney problems and gallstones.

Previously, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended only reducing the amount of added sugars and limiting cholesterol intake to no more than 300 mg per day. Due to the recent studies showing the relationship between sugar and negative health outcomes, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines recommends (after meeting calorie needs with the 5 food groups) consuming no more than 10% of calories from sugar in added sugar foods. Also, there is no specific limit on the amount of cholesterol we should consume.

various types of sugar

These studies show strong evidence that lowering the intake of foods with added sugars is associated with a decreased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. There is moderate evidence showing a reduced risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers in adults with reduced intake of foods with added sugars.

The American Heart Association recommends to further restrict sugar intake for all calorie ranges to no more than 100 calories a day (6 teaspoons or 25 grams) for women and 150 calories a day for men (9 teaspoons or 37 gms.)

It is important to remember that foods with naturally occurring sugars such as milk and fruit are not considered foods with added sugars. Foods with added sugars only contribute empty calories and have no or very little vitamins and minerals. These foods come packaged with many deceiving names such as evaporated cane juice, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, crystal solids, maple syrup, and brown rice syrup. The largest sources of added sugars are sugar sweetened beverages, baked goods, condiments and refined carbs.

I guess one could say that sugars is the new fat but if we focus on eating a diet rich in nutrient dense foods, we can easily avoid these added sugars.

Living Well Series: Is Sugar the New Fat?

Join Touro to learn how sugar affects your cholesterol, weight, and diabetes risk factors or management. Also, learn the difference between natural sugar and artificial sweeteners, as well as how to break your sugar habit.

Thursday, November 10
Noon – 1 p.m.
Touro Infirmary
Foucher Room, 2nd Floor

Click here to register or call 504-897-8500.

nutrition-lemoineCharlotte Lemoine, RD,  received her B.S in Nutrition from Louisiana State University. She has interned at Our Lady of the Lake, Children’s Hospital and  Earl K. Long. She has been a clinical dietitian at Touro since 2010.

Back to School Recipes

Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN

Crockpots are a cold-weather essential, but if you’re accustomed to putting your slow cooker away from April to September, you may want to reconsider. This time of year can be a challenge for busy parents feeding little mouths during the chaos of back to school routines. These easy recipes guarantee to get your family through the second half of Summer and off to a heathy start this school year.

Quick Family Friendly Recipes

Simple Crockpot Italian Chicken

6-8 boneless chicken breasts
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, mashed
1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 (15oz) carton diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil

Place chicken breasts in the crockpot and pour the chicken broth in the bottom of the slow cooker (it should come to just the top of the rack).  Add garlic cloves to the chicken broth.  Drizzle chicken with olive oil and season with Italian seasoning, sea salt and pepper.  Pour drained, diced tomatoes on top and then sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Cook on low for 4-5 hours.  Serve over top spaghetti squash or your family’s favorite pasta. Top with fresh torn basil.

Two Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken
All you need are 2 simple ingredients to make this slow cooker shredded chicken — great salsa and chicken!


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs total)
2 cups your favorite salsa
salt and pepper
(optional: fresh lime wedges and avocado for serving)

Place chicken breasts in a slow cooker and cover with salsa. Toss until the chicken is covered. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours (or low for 6-8 hours), or until the chicken shreds easily with a fork. Shred the chicken in the slow cooker and toss with the remaining salsa and juices until well-mixed. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. (This chicken also freezes well.) Use on top a Mexican style salad, wrap in large lettuce wraps or use your family’s favorite wrap. Top with fresh squeezed limes and avocado.

Back to School Grocery Store Tour

Join Touro Nutritionist Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN, for a FREE Back to School Grocery Store Tour at Robért Fresh Market in Lakeview on Thursday, September 8 from 5:30pm to 6:30pm. Learn how to plan delicious and healthy meals for you and your family. Learn how to make better food choices, read food labels, learn about ingredients, and ask questions along the way. Also, learn ideas for fast and healthy weeknight meals. Let us help you make good food choices for you and your family!

To register, go to or call (504) 897-8500.

Fortenberry, JulieJulie Fortenberry is a registered dietitian at Touro Infirmary. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Southern Mississippi. Julie believes that lifestyle changes and wholesome nutrition are obtainable, and brings real-life understanding to wellness and nutritional counseling. 

Nutrition and Osteoporosis

What is Osteoporosis?

Liz Cabrera, RD, CSO, LDN, CNSC

Modern senior couple spending time in the kitchen

Osteoporosis is a bone disease where you lose too much bone and your body cannot create a new bone fast enough. This leads to weak bones that may break easily. As you age and your bones become less dense, they are then weaker and more likely to break. Osteoporosis is considered a silent disease and can sneak up on you.

The food you eat has a huge impact on your bone health. Nutrition and osteoporosis are closely linked. If you are not getting the right nutrients, you are putting yourself at risk of developing osteoporosis. But how do you get your nutrients?

Vitamin D and Calcium

Calcium and Vitamin D both work together to help your bones absorb calcium. For example, if you are getting plenty of calcium but no Vitamin D, your bones will not be able to absorb the calcium. Studies show that a daily dose of 1,000 mg of calcium carbonate combined with 400 IUs of vitamin D3 helps to improve hip bone density and reduce hip fractures. A vitamin D deficiency has also shown that individuals are more likely to fall. Therefore, vitamin D aids in fall prevention.

A primary source for vitamin D is sunlight. Large amounts of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) are made in your skin when you are exposed to sunlight. It happens very fast and it takes about 15 minutes of early afternoon sun to get your daily recommended vitamin D. However, it is important to protect your skin when out in the sun to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. Instead, you can find Vitamin D in food, such as milk, salmon and orange juice.

Calcium is found in plenty of food and it’s not just limited to dairy. Calcium is found in dark, leafy green vegetables, such as kale and spinach. It is also found is seafood, such as oysters and shrimp. It’s recommended to read food labels and select those that contain 10% or more of the Daily Value for calcium. Remember you need both Calcium and Vitamin D for ultimate bone health.

Senior with painful arm

Age and Osteoporosis

As you age, you begin to lose more bone than you make. Bone loss increases in women after menopause when estrogen levels decrease. In fact, women can lose 20% of their bone density during the first 5-7 years after menopause. Menopause is the time to take action against osteoporosis. If you have experienced menopause, ask your physician about your risk for osteoporosis.

Touro offers bone density scanning, also called DXA, a form of x-ray that measures bone loss. This test can evaluate your risk for developing bone fractures. Your risk for fracture is affected by age, body weight, previous history of fracture, family history of osteoporosis, and lifestyle such as smoking and excessive alcohol use. Bone density scans can help you and your physician determine:

  • If you have weak bones before you break a bone
    • Your risk for breaking a bone
    • If your bone density is improving, worsening, or staying the same
    • How well your osteoporosis medication is working
    • If you have osteoporosis after you break a bone

If you are looking for a physician, Touro physicians are conveniently located throughout New Orleans. We have offices located on Prytania and Napoleon. Visit to find a doctor.

Living Well Seminar: Nutrition and Osteoporosis

Join Touro Clinical Dietitian Liz Cabrera, RD, LDN, on Thursday, August 25th from 12 to 1pm in the Coliseum Room to learn how osteoporosis can be managed and prevented with proper nutrition and exercise. Learn which foods are rich in calcium, Vitamin D and other nutrients that are important to your bone health. Lunch will be provided. 

This event is FREE, but registration is required. 

Click here to register.

Cabrera, LizLiz Cabrera, RD, CSO, LDN, CNSC, is the Lead Clinical Dietician for Touro Infirmary with over 25 years experience. Liz has advanced education and extensive experience in nutrition for a broad range of health conditions for which she provides nutrition support. Liz provides comprehensive nutrition care for inpatient and outpatient departments at Touro. In addition, Liz leads monthly healthy lifestyles community seminars and a nutrition after cancer cooking class.