Simple Questions About What We Eat

I spoke briefly with another local HyVee dietitian, Kym Wroble, asking her simple questions we may all be wondering about what we eat. She also gives some suggestions on which brands of meat to buy!


How to Prepare a Bottom Round Roast

As I was home for Easter, my mother and I decided to cook a bottom round roast together. A bottom round roast is the outside muscle of the upper leg of a cow.

Some people prefer this to be cooked in a crock pot because the meat tends to be more tender and juicy, but this is a tutorial on how to cook it in the oven. At a low temperature and longer time the meat still comes out extremely tender and flavorful.

The ingredients you will need are:

  • A Round Bottom Roast
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Yellow Onions
  • Potatoes
  • 1 can of Beefy Mushroom Soup
  • Fresh Cloves of Garlic
  • Flour
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper

**A lot of the measurements are just preference of what vegetables you want more of, and what flavors you want to stick out more.**

The first thing to do is preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Then, you should heat the pan you will be cooking the meat in on the stove, and add some butter.

While the butter is heating, mix some flour, pepper, and salt in a large container and then cover the entire outside of the meat with the mixture.

Once the butter is melted, you will need to sear the meat, which means to brown all of the edges. This helps to keep some of the flavor inside of the meat while is slowly cooks in the oven.

While the meat is searing, you can clean your potatoes. We bought the miniature potatoes so we didn’t have to cut bigger ones. You can choose whatever; the trick is to cut all the veggies the same size so they all cook evenly.

Next, cut the onions and celery and have them ready to add to the cooking pan.

Take the meat out of the pan and add your onions, about a handful of fresh garlic cloves, and celery. You should sauté these and then add your can of beefy mushroom soup. After you have done this, place the roast back into the pan, and pour about three cups of water overtop.

Place the lid on top of your pan and then put it into the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes and then add your carrots and potatoes.

You will know your roast is done once the meat is browned through, and the gravy is bubbling.

After the roast is done cooking for about an hour per pound (we had a three pound roast so ours cooked for about three hours), you let it sit for about 10 minutes with the lid on to let the juices seep in and let the meat rest.

After it’s done resting, it’s easier to place the meat onto a plate to slice.

After you have sliced your roast you can place some carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, and even some garlic to a plate, and then a couple slices of your roast and you’re good to enjoy!

The roast itself is not that difficult to prepare, it’s more of the cooking time that takes the most, but other than that it’s a pretty easy recipe that you can make for your friends or if you have family coming to visit.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial on how to cook a bottom round roast!

An Interview on Meat with Midori Gingerich- HyVee Dietitian

Brianna Sudrla:

In recent years there has been a sparked debate about the industrialized meat market and whether or not the new methods are causing negative affects on the health of it’s consumers.

Today I am speaking with Midori Gingerich about this issue.  Midori is a registered dietitian at the Coralville, Iowa, Hy-Vee.

Well thank you for talking with me today about this Midori.

Midori Gingerich:



Just to jump right into it, my first question was do you believe that food additives affect our hormones and our health?


A long time ago we didn’t even have to worry about that because people grew their own food and made their own product, and we weren’t as concerned with the hormones and additives and things that were added into food. And, as we become more industrialized in this country, that has become more of an issue. It may affect our health. There definitely needs to be more research done on the topic.


Does meat like chicken’s with added steroids to make them grow faster and larger have an affect on our bodies?


They have done some studies where they kind of linked that the steroids in the chickens is leading to early puberty in girls, but there’s been semi links. It has not been concrete I guess I would say. So, they definitely need more research in that area is what I was picking up on. And also, what else is different in their environment than say 10 20 50 years ago as well? So is it just the hormones or is it other things we’re doing in our environment as well? But, “A” more studies need to be done, and “B” finding out what are the other causes or other things that may be causing that as well too.

You know being aware of those kinds of things, and trying to choose the lean cuts of beef as far as for our health more whole foods, staying away from the fattier cuts of beef as well.


Do you think there are certain types of meats we should sort of steer clear from?


As far as health, we want to be choosing the leaner cuts of beef like a loin or a round cut is going to be our more lean cuts. It’s not that I can’t have that porterhouse steak, but definitely monitoring how often I’m having it and what’s my serving size. But, just making sure we’re getting a variety too. I mean you can eat lean beef everyday and that’s great lean beef can actually be very good for the heart, but also making sure we’re getting in the omega-3’s from the salmon, and getting some variety in with the pork, the chicken, and the turkey as well.


Okay, would you say meat is still essential to our diet though?


Um, yeah! Meat is definitely still essential as a part of a well-balanced plate and a well-balanced meal. I mean obviously meat fits in as part of the protein portion of our diet. And, there’s other things besides meat that we can use for well-balanced protein source, but meat does offer a lot of vitamins and minerals. I mean there are people who are vegans and vegetarians for different personal reasons and that’s not a bad thing. It’s definitely about them getting a balance in their diet. But, if someone was going strictly vegan or vegetarian strictly because they think it’s healthier, you can still have a very healthy diet incorporating meat. Beef for instance, since I’m talking about that one, has a lot of iron, has B vitamins, B6 and B12, it has phosphorus, and zinc. It has a lot of essential nutrients that we wouldn’t find in our beans and starchy vegetables and things like that.


When purchasing meat is there things we should look out for?


We used to think that it was the big thing was looking at the cholesterol in the meat and food in particular for it’s effects on our heart health. We’re finding more and more cholesterol, it is important we want to monitor how much cholesterol we are taking in through dietary means, but one thing that is even more of a factor is saturated fat. So checking out for the saturated fat content in the different cuts of meat, looking for more of those lean cuts, watching for the portion sizes, or remembering the size of the palm of my hand, or the size of a deck of cards that’s one portion size. Typically your fresh meat coming out of the case, it’s again less processed than the frozen or the canned ones.


So which meat do you buy and eat?


All of the above to be honest. I’ll do the lean beef, but I do chicken, turkey, salmon and fish, here in the Midwest we don’t eat enough of that. Just trying to get the lean cuts of beef, get the plain cuts, and then I season it up when I go home too. I can marinate it myself at home, and then I know exactly what’s going on my food too.


What lunchmeat would you recommend to college students who makes sandwiches three times a week?


Yeah, yeah! And lunchmeat is a great source of protein. It tends to be, well depends what kind you buy, but there’s like the roast beef, there’s the chicken and turkey, they’re leaner cuts of meat, which is great. So I would say sticking to more of the sliced lunchmeats.


Well thank you for taking time out of your day to talk to me, I really appreciate it.


Yeah I’m glad it worked out!

**For more information on Midori Gingerich, please visit her profile on the HyVee webpage**

**Below you can find the full unedited interview**

Gestation Stalls: Where Our Pigs Live

I can’t force any opinion on anyone else, and that is not my intention with this blog. I want to provide you with some tips and recipes to choose the best meat you feel appropriate, and I want to also provide you with some resources to better understand what you are consuming.

To understand what exactly you are eating, we have to know where the meat comes from and how it is raised.

I was referred to a blog titled “Mom at the Meat Counter” by a my mom. One specific post caught my attention. Pig Housing: Gestation Stalls. It compares gestation stalls (where most pigs we consume live) to a child’s car seat (hmm…makes you think).

The truth is, I am one of those people who doesn’t know much about pig farming. But, it’s something I will take the time to learn different opinions about.

The mother behind this blog sort of wraps that idea that pigs are dangerous creatures around the reader’s head, and that is why they have to be kept in the gestation stalls- to keep people safe. They grow large, and sometimes become aggressive. My question is why do they have to be in such a small cell that they can’t even roll over? And yes, you may keep a child in a car seat for safety while the car is in motion, but these pigs are stable in one place, and locking them up until they are ready to deliver seems a bit much. Don’t some people own pigs as pets? I have heard they are smarter than dogs…

I think the solution would be this:

“Research shows that there are advantages and disadvantages of using gestation stalls. One study gave pigs the choice of remaining in a group pen or in a gestation stall and found that the pigs preferred to stay in the stalls most of the time. In a video of a farm in Indiana, the farmer has European-style gestation crates, where the pigs can choose to go in or out of the stalls. He says they stay in their stall over 90% of the time.”

I am in my bedroom about 90% of the time, because I need time alone, but at least I have the freedom to come and go as I please, and wouldn’t pigs want/deserve that same freedom to come and go as they place? These European-style gestation crates sound like a great idea to me!

From There to Here – What happens to my meat before I swallow it?

Since the year 1906, when Upton Sinclair’s novel “The Jungle” exposed the disturbing conditions within America’s meat packing plants, there has been constant transformation in the nation’s meat industry.

Whether or not the changes have always been for the better is a very ethical question that is swayed by opinion of what is right and what is wrong.

I invite you to watch a recent graphic video uncovering the real conditions in meat packing plants around America. I came across the video on when doing some research, and even though they encourage you to become vegetarian, it is a useful tool to understand why some meat is bad. Please watch at least the first eight minutes of “If slaughterhouses had glass walls we would all be vegetarian” because it might change your opinion forever.

Your stomach might be a little sour now, but it’s important to remember there is hope in the meat industry, and eating meat is not the problem. The problem is how the animals are treated during their lifetime, and the moments leading up to their death. There are actions you can take to still eat meat, but eat “happy” meat, and to support the farmers who truly raise their animals.

An article by Lynne Curry explains her research behind her novel “Pure Beef.” She makes the point that anyone who loves ice cream, or cheese, or any other dairy product participates in beef production. It’s inevitable. But, she also goes on to explain that we shouldn’t condemn the meat itself, but the production.

This brings me to Rita Pray. A Des Moines native who hadn’t really made a change with her eating habits until her daughter turned vegetarian. Rita is a member of the Iowa Food Cooperative and a food blogger herself.

Growing up Rita lived in a family that had meat with every dinner. Her uncle was a cattle farmer, so there was always a lot of beef in the freezer. Her husband loves beef and sausage, and Rita said she eats more chicken and turkey in greater amounts because of a family history of heart disease.

“When my older daughter became essentially vegetarian, I looked for new ways other than meat to incorporate protein into our dinners,” Pray explained.  “I also found that she would eat high quality meat in small portions, such as organic or naturally raised.  So that guided my move toward purchasing more locally raised, small farm meat and poultry.”

Pray also emphasized an important barrier – cost.

“It is considerably more expensive than supermarket, mass-produced meat.  But there are hidden costs to buying any mass-produced, highly processed foods, such as the eventual health tolls from hidden chemicals, and the environmental impact of excessive packaging and shipping,” explained Pray. “I think it’s important for consumers, when possible, to seek out the highest quality food they can afford and not complain about food costs.  You really do get what you pay for.”

Growing up in Sioux City, Iowa, I am in the middle of the cattle and hog industry – whether that is dairy farms or farms for mass production of animal meat.

Myself at the Sioux City Museum in the meat packing plant area.

Myself at the Sioux City Museum in the meat packing plant area.

Just 20 miles south is Dakota City, Nebraska, which hosts one of the biggest meatpacking plants in the United States, Iowa Beef Processors (IBP). Who, in 1988, was fined for than $3.1 million by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for exposing it’s workers to cumulative trauma disorders resulting from highly repetitive meat cutting tasks.

It’s all about mass production of animals to feed the consumers. These are animals we are talking about here, not cars. These statistics I found might be a little bit striking for you too.

Wouldn’t you like to know where your food is coming from, who raised it, how it was handled from start to finish?

In closing, Michael Ruhlman, a food blogger, expressed, “This I believe: to eat humanely raised and slaughtered animals is not only ethical,” Ruhlman stated, “it’s important to our humanity.”