Blog | Rachel Begun, MS, RD | Page 2

Applegate Organic Herb Turkey Breast

Organic Herb Turkey Breast

As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I am asked all the time if I am a vegetarian.

My answer: No, I am not a vegetarian. HOWEVER, I do eat a mostly plant-based diet, meaning meat, poultry, fish and dairy make up a small percentage of my diet.

And when I do choose animal meat, I make sure it is of the highest quality and nutrition.  I choose meats from animals raised without hormones and antibiotics, and in which they were fed a natural diet.

It’s not easy to find these options, particularly in convenience foods like deli meats.  When I do find them, I take note and share it with you!

Enter Applegate Organic Herb Turkey Breast.  I love this product for many reasons:

  • it is slow roasted with herbs and spices for a delicious flavor and texture
  • it is organic turkey meat, which means the turkeys were raised without hormones and antibiotics, and fed an organic, GMO-free diet
  • there is no added sugar.  I know that sounds odd, but many deli meats are seasoned with refined sugars
  • it contains no artificial ingredients
  • no nitrates or nitrites are added
  • it is gluten-free and casein-free

While Applegate’s Organic Herb Turkey Breast makes for a great turkey sandwich, here are some other ideas to keep things fresh and exciting…

If you need something even simpler than a recipe, try these quick snacking ideas:

  • lay a slice of turkey flat, add a stick of cheddar cheese and apple in the middle, roll up and pin with a toothpick; serve with your favorite dip/spread
  • layer turkey slices with sliced hard boiled eggs, sliced cucumbers and dill on gluten-free crackers
  • make a turkey melt by adding a slice of turkey with and your favorite cheese to a piece of gluten-free bread, melt the cheese in a toaster, and add sliced avocados and tomatoes on top


How do you like to eat sliced turkey?  Please share your ideas!


Sweet and Savory Grain-Free Granola


As you know I’m in culinary school to become a natural chef.  That’s why I haven’t been able to post as often as I normally do.  However, I promise lots of great recipes are on their way once I’m finished and have time to share the wonderful creations I’ve been able to concoct while in school, as well as the many more that will come with my new skills.

I just completed the first part of my culinary school finals, which was a presentation about a health topic and two recipe demos that support this topic.

I choose to focus on celiac disease, as it is near and dear to my heart.  More specifically, I focused on celiac disease and weight management, as we now know that not everyone is thin at the time of diagnosis.  In fact, many are overweight.

To add insult to injury, the prolific amount of not-so-healthy gluten-free foods on the market is making overweight even more common in people with celiac disease.

The point I was trying to make in my presentation is that with just very basic cooking skills, people with celiac disease can take their health into their own hands (literally) and cook healthier versions of gluten-free convenience foods that are available on the market.  Doing so allows us to enjoy delicious food without being at the whim of a lot the gluten-free junk food that does not serve our health.

The first recipe I demonstrated was this Sweet and Savory Grain-Free Granola (yes, that’s me in my chef whites!)


I love this recipe for both therapeutic and practical reasons:

  • no matter how unfamiliar you are with the kitchen, anyone can make this recipe
  • it can be made in large batches to supplement any snack or meal for which we may find ourselves without a healthy, gluten-free option
  • it is grain-free for those who may not be tolerating grains well due to a damaged gut
  • the foundation of nuts and seeds are rich in protein and minerals, which help to heal the intestinal lining. They are also rich in healthy fats, which we need to help digest other nutrients.  In particular, the walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to fight the inflammation associated with celiac disease
  • the nuts are soaked and dried, so they are better digested and the nutrients are more accessible
  • it is relatively low in sugar compared to store-bought granolas and the only sweetener is pure maple syrup.  A banana is blended into the binder/sweetener to minimize the amount of sweetener needed. Plus, people with damaged guts can have a hard time digesting too much sugar.

Lastly, I developed this recipe while in culinary school.  It was adapted from The Urban Poser at the suggestion of one of my instructors.

Sweet and Savory Grain-Free Granola

Yield: Serves 10 (serving size: 1/2 cup)

1 cup raw walnuts, soaked and dried*
1 cup raw cashews, soaked and dried*
1 cup raw pecans, soaked and dried*
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raisins, soaked overnight, rinsed and patted dry
1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted over low heat
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 medium ripe banana
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Salt, to taste.
1 Tbsp. chopped thyme


  1. Preheat oven to 275F.
  2. Coarsely chop walnuts, cashews and pecans and add to a bowl. Add pumpkin seeds and raisins. Add coconut oil, maple syrup, banana, vanilla extract and cinnamon to a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt, to taste.
  3. Pour liquid mixture over nut mixture and toss to thoroughly coat. Mix in thyme.
  4. Spread mixture in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in oven until granola is set and slightly browned, approximately one hour. Do not cook until completely done as cooking will continue after it is removed from the oven. Remove from oven and let cool until granola becomes crisp and crunchy.
  5. Break into chunks and serve.

*Note: to soak and dry nuts, put nuts into a bowl, cover with water and let sit overnight.  Drain, pat dry completely, and either put in a dehydrator at 110F or an oven at 150F until all the moisture is gone.

Recipe #2 from my final presentation is coming soon…Kale, Avocado and Hemp Seed Salad with Pickled Onions!

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