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Not a Fan of Clean Eating? How to Make Healthy Foods Taste Better

Not a Fan of Clean Eating? How to Make Healthy Foods Taste Better
Do you find yourself cringing while taking a bite of a kale? Or are you forcing yourself to eat certain foods, even though you hate the way they taste?

No wonder it's so easy to over-indulge on pizza, cheeseburgers and French fries...they taste SO good!

But, even though these foods are the answer to your hangry pains and cravings, too much of them can cause a handful of health issues down the line.

Browsing the grocery store aisles can feel like torture, especially if you've made a commitment to give up junk food.

This may happen, especially if you're not used to how certain foods taste. But, just because you're eating healthy, your food doesn't have to taste awful.

Abbie Gellman, MS, RD, shares personal tips on how you can make your healthy food taste great.
Featured Speaker:
Abbie Gellman, MS, RD
Abbie GellmanAbbie Gellman, MS, RD, is a professionally-trained chef and Registered Dietitian. Abbie has over 10 years of hospitality and food and beverage consulting experience and nearly 10 years of nutrition-related experience.

She received a Master of Science degree in Nutrition from Teachers College, Columbia University and completed a dietetic internship at New York – Presbyterian Hospital in NYC. Abbie holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration and earned her Culinary Degree from Peter Kump's New York Cooking School (now known as ICE).

In addition to working with a wide variety of food service operators, Abbie also counsels and educates patients and groups in a private practice setting and cooks privately for individual clients.

RadioMD Presents:HER Radio | Original Air Date: March 19, 2015
Host: Michelle King Robson & Pam Peeke, MD

Dr. Pam Peeke, founder of the Peeke Performance Center, and renowned nutrition and fitness expert, and Michelle King Robson, founder of and leading women's advocate cut through the confusion and share the naked, bottom line truth about all things woman. It's HER Radio.

PAM: I'm just laughing, Michelle, because every time I look at what you eat...Put that cookie dough down.

MICHELLE: Stop that.

PAM: And I say, "You know, we've got to do a little more healthy eating." I know what you have. You have a vision of being buried in arugula.

MICHELLE: Not so much.

PAM: Going, "Ew!"

MICHELLE: Pam. Pam, once I...I have to tell you. Now, wait a second, Pam.

PAM: What?

MICHELLE: Once you wrote The Hunger Fix and I actually came clean about my eating cookie dough, I quit doing it and I started to eat cleaner foods. You know what? I feel so much better.

PAM: Yay!

MICHELLE: So, this is going to be such a great segment today. It's because of you!

PAM: It's all about me. Well, there are so many people out there who are having their own little epipho"me" about their eating. Since we're talking about eating, of course, we have Chef Abbie Gellman here with us because she's "our" chef to help us understand. "Okay. You've been eating trash forever," right, Chef Abbie?


MICHELLE: Cookie dough.

PAM: And, "Gosh, everyone tells me I've got to eat healthy. Ew! It's nothing but tasteless, steamed vegetables. Just shoot me now."

MICHELLE: Green leaves.

PAM: Oh, yes. I know. You might as well just go out there and eat grass shavings. So, how can we begin to approach this? Someone is being awfully cautious. So, Chef Abbie, help us.

CHEF ABBIE: So, first. Don't try to overwhelm yourself. Everything's baby steps first, right? So maybe add some things in before taking them away. So, maybe do a homemade smoothie with your breakfast and throw some greens in there and just taste it. See how it goes. Maybe put in a little honey in there for sweetness. You've already made things healthier just by adding a little bit of fruit and yogurt and greens to your morning routine. Or, if there's something like kale. Everybody says, "You have to eat kale.

You have to eat kale," but you don't like the flavor of it. You can find a substitution or you could find a way to make it jazzier and so it tastes good. It doesn't have to be steamed and bland and tasteless. You know, we're going to try to cook and add spices and herbs and make things interesting.

MICHELLE: The whole kale thing. Where did that come from? I mean, I'm still scratching my head saying, "Wasn't that like a poor man's food or vegetable?" and now, it's like the big thing. More importantly than us talking about kale, what does someone do like me who's on the road all the time and is on the go, how do we have healthy options? How do we trust ourselves in looking at take-out menus, for example?

CHEF ABBIE: Well, educating yourself is the first step. So, knowing what words to stay away from. I think that "creamy" and "fried" and "battered" are probably the biggest ones to stay away from. Look for "grilled", "roasted" "baked". Then, a lot of airports now have raw fruit salads and yogurt and you can kind of mix and match things, dried fruit and nuts, and make your own little ensemble of better things for you. You don't have to walk in and get that bacon sandwich that was thrown on the grill.

MICHELLE: Darn. Right.

PAM: Alright. Now, I'm going to flip it back into the kitchen, right?


PAM: And, you're looking at all these great foods. Maybe you just went out there and just went crazy in the product section and got all of this great stuff, but you're saying to yourself, "Hmm. How do I make this stuff taste better?" Now, someone threw in here, an example of beets. How do you make them taste sweeter?

MICHELLE: I think they're sweet.

PAM: Love beets.

MICHELLE: Me, too.

PAM: I think they're sweet already. What's up with that?


MICHELLE: What about kale? Let's talk about kale?

PAM: Would you stop with the kale, already?

MICHELLE: That's all you see.

PAM: Oh, my gosh. It's just getting totally bashed here. No, but, I mean, seriously, I think that people need a real lesson on how to be able to put together spices and how to be able to take condiments and really make things taste better.


PAM: So, give us a couple of examples of how we can do that.

CHEF ABBIE: Well, roasting vegetables naturally sweetens them. Any kind of vegetable. So, that's a very good cooking technique to have down. You can take any kind of vegetable, it's still kind of winter now, so, let's say carrots, parsnips, brussel sprouts, beets, anything like that. You roast them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, they will naturally sweeten in an oven. As far as flavor profiles, if you take something like citrus and then just put some lemon juice on something, it should naturally brighten most things with maybe a little bit of salt. That also helps different flavors come through.

PAM: What about herbs? How about herbs?

CHEF ABBIE: Sure. You know, there are a couple different things you can do with herbs. One really nice thing is to take a bunch of different herbs that you like and then just chop them up.

MICHELLE: Chop them up. Yes.

CHEF ABBIE: Add a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and you put that on top of grilled chicken or fish or anything like that.

MICHELLE: Anything. Yes.

CHEF ABBIE: And, you add a whole new dimension to something that may have tasted bland to you before.

PAM: I love cilantro.


PAM: Do you like that, Michelle? I love cilantro.

MICHELLE: I do like cilantro. I like all of those things. So, Abbie, tell me something. I'm asking for myself here, but also for women who are like me, who suffer from a bowel disorder and who can't eat a lot of raw vegetables.


MICHELLE: What do you suggest that we do? Because I have to puree all my foods.


MICHELLE: So, you know, carrots or whatever. I need some nutrients and how do I get those?

CHEF ABBIE: Well, the roasting vegetables, if you need stuff cooked. I really enjoy that way as well. You can also do things like take broccoli, if you steam it first and then sauté it with a little garlic and ginger. The steaming first allows the vegetable to really take in those additional flavors, whereas if you just sauté it straight, you won't necessarily get as much garlic and ginger. But, if you take aromatic spices like onions, garlic, ginger, all of that stuff, and if you steam vegetables and sauté quickly with those things, it really infuses that flavor into whatever you're cooking. It's delightful.

MICHELLE: Can I do a shake, too? Or, something like that? Then, there's this whole thing about chia seeds. I have diverticulitis so I'm not sure I can even have seeds. Right? There's this pro and con. I can eat it. I can't eat it. You know? It's so confusing.


MICHELLE: So, what can I do to...Like, I'm having surgery tomorrow. That's why I'm asking the question.

MICHELLE: I'm having a resectioning of my colon, so I'm going to have to be drinking more liquids, not eating a lot of vegetables.

CHEF ABBIE: Right. Well, with chia seeds specifically, they go best in something like a smoothie. They add a lot of Omega 3s from a plant-based source and you don't necessarily notice that they're even in there. Some people also put them in drinks or make some pudding out of them, but then, that's a texture thing and it depends on how you or someone does with kind of like a Jell-O type of texture.

PAM: You know, one of the things with Michelle, given her diverticulitis, I would not recommend seeds to you, Michelle, because there's just too much of a problem there. I think there are so many other things we can do. Wonderful soups. Great smoothies. We can also do some juicing for a lot of the greens you can't really break down on the overall. I think that that's where a lot of this is coming from and I just know that we're going to be able to keep you going here in your recovery, Michelle, with Abbie's wonderful advice and guidance.

I want to make sure everyone knows we're talking to our "go to" culinary nutritionist. That means she's a registered dietician as well as a certified chef, Chef Abbie Gellman. Her website is and she's been helping us understand, "Hey, if you're going to eat clean," which means, healthy and wonderful and tasty, you can eat foods that taste fabulous. Herb it up, spice it up.

MICHELLE: Lemon it up.

PAM: There are plenty of great things you can do. Lemon it up. Citrus it up. Ginger it up. Make it work one way or the other. Chef Abbie, thank you so much for helping us and guiding us because, yes, I want to have that tasty meal. I want to to be healthy, too. I'm Dr. Pam Peeke with Michelle King Robson.

MICHELLE: I can't wait to try some of the recipes Chef Abbie. Thank you.

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