Debra Wein Pic
Friday, January 11, 2013
This Week's Topics
Black Bean Fudge Cakes
Worthwhile Links
Lonely? Try Meditation
Skip the HFCS
Measure YOUR Metabolism!

Black Bean Fudge Cakes

Serves: 8



Olive oil cooking spray

1 oz dark organic chocolate (70% cocoa or greater)

1 1/2 cups soft-cooked black beans, rinsed and drained

2 eggs

1 egg white

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 heaped cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup raw organic honey

1/4 to 1/2 cup unsalted walnuts, chopped



Preheat oven to 350F. Mist 8 individual ramekins or 1 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

Melt dark chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat with 1 tbsp water mixed in.

Combine melted chocolate, beans, eggs, egg white, oil, cocoa powder, baking powder, vanilla, applesauce and honey in a food processor; process until smooth. Stir in walnuts and pour mixture into prepared ramekins or baking dish.

Bake in preheated oven until the tops are dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides, about 20 minutes for ramekins and 30 minutes for baking dish. Garnish each piece with a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt, if desired.


Nutrition Analysis

Per serving: Calories: 230, Total Fat: 12 g, Sat. Fat: 2 g, Carbs: 28 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugars: 19 g, Protein: 5 g, Sodium: 120 mg, Cholesterol: 45 mg



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Last week an article in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that those who are carrying a few extra pounds do not have a greater risk of dying than those of normal weight. The article also stated that being overweight was associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality.


The study sparked a slew of social media debate including this article on in which the author indicates that the fact that this study surprises many, shows the full "measure of the intensity and pervasiveness of weight prejudice in our society and in our sciences."


What do you think? Are we living in a society where those who are overweight are judged negatively despite having no indication of disease?


Let us know on our facebook page.



Lonely? Try Meditation

Loneliness is not a topic we hear a lot about. Loneliness is more than just being by oneself. It can be very unhealthy and take a toll on our mental well-being, as well as our physical health. Feeling lonely has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, depression and even premature death.


Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) wanted to find a simple way to reduce loneliness for the elderly, who often face the last few years of their lives alone. It turns out the solution may be simple: meditation.


Researchers from the Norman Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA found that a two-month program of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), which teaches the mind to simply be attentive to the present and not dwell in the past or project into the future, successfully reduced the feelings of loneliness. In the study, 40 adults between the ages of 55 and 85 were randomly assigned to either a mindfulness meditation group or a control group that did not meditate. All of the participants were assessed at the beginning and the end of the study using an established loneliness scale.


Those in the meditation group attended weekly two-hour meetings in which they learned the techniques of mindfulness, including awareness and breathing techniques. They also practiced mindfulness meditation for 30 minutes each day at home and attended a single, day-long retreat. The control group had no such meditation training. At the end of the study, loneliness was re-tested. It was found that eight weeks of mindfulness meditation training decreased the participants' loneliness.


Bottom Line: Mindfulness takes work. It's not something we can just turn on; our brains need to be trained. As one of the authors of the study put it, "It's important to train your mind like you train your biceps in the gym." Start small with deep breathing and look for support from someone trained in leading meditation.  



Skip the HFCS

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a laboratory-derived sugar that is used to cheaply sweeten, and thus add calories to, a myriad of foods from bread to candy. While HFCS is implicated in the increase in obesity and associated diseases, there has been speculation that there is something about its chemical structure that makes it even more harmful than table sugar, and more data is coming out to support this idea.


In a recent study by Yale University School of Medicine, participants who drank HFCS showed changes to the parts of their brain that affect satiety and hunger. In this study, 20 adults were given drinks containing high concentrations of either glucose (the form of sugar our body uses for energy) or fructose, and had an MRI before and after drinking.


The MRIs showed that ingestion of glucose reduced cerebral blood flow and activity in brain regions that regulate appetite, but fructose did not. Ingestion of glucose also produced increased feelings of satisfaction and fullness, but fructose did not. While this is a small, preliminary study, the researchers speculate that fructose affects the brain differently than glucose, failing to signal fullness and in turn potentially contributing to overeating.


Bottom Line: We should reduce (or remove) refined sugars in our diet. Even plain white sugar is not good for us. Taking these foods out of your diet may make you feel deprived at first, but once you're over the hump and start really enjoying the many natural flavors real foods have to offer, you'll (hopefully!) never go back!



About Sensible Nutrition 

How is YOUR metabolism? 

Ever wonder if your metabolism is keeping you from reaching your weight goals? Let a Sensible Nutrition RD measure YOUR metabolism and tell you the truth! Call 781-741-5483 or send an email to to schedule your appointment.  


About Sensible Nutrition

Sensible Nutrition is a consulting firm established in 1994 that provides nutrition and fitness services to individuals, universities, corporate wellness programs and nonprofit groups. SN's client list includes the United States Coast Guard, Blue Cross Blue Shield, EMC, Putnam Investments, Corcoran Jennison, Harvard Business School, the Boston Ballet and Children's Hospital. For more information about our corporate wellness services, please check us out at


SN services: One-to-one counseling, fitness counseling and training, group lectures, metabolism measures and more! Let the Sensible Nutrition staff develop a nutrition program to help you finally reach your health and weight goals! Gift certificates are available!


Debra Wein, MS, RD, LDN,  President and Co-Founder writes a regular nutrition column for the National Strength and Conditioning Association's  Performance Training Journal, has been quoted in Family Circle, Muscle & Fitness, Shape, Self, Men's Health, Allure and Prevention and has appeared on Fox 25, Channel 56, Channel 5, New England Cable News and several radio stations.


Contact us at or 781-741-5483.

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