Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Holiday Eating

Happy Tuesday y'all. I am getting over the WORST case of food poisoning I think I've ever had. On the bright side, I think I found the secret to quick weight loss… just eat contaminated food!

On another note, I'm happy to say that I have officially gone into business with a good friend and we are busy getting everything in line for the new year. More on that as things unfold. The good news is I'm now in a position where I can start taking on clients. So, if you're interested in digging a little deeper into your diet message me, email me, text me. I have a pricing list I can send you and would be more than happy to go over your options.

One more item of business then on to the post. Thank you so much for all of your feed back! I love all the questions and blog suggestions and post requests I've been getting. Now that we have covered the basics I plan on addressing a lot of the questions I have been receiving. I thought I would start with holiday eating since later this week is one of the biggest days of eating of the year. If you have a topic you want me to hit on just let me know.  Ladies, I'm planning on hitting on pregnancy later this week… or next week, after my food coma has subsided.

Okay, so…. holiday eating. I know there is a lot of info and tips and tricks out there when it comes to this subject. I figure I'll give you my take on it. I collaborated a little with my new partner Michelle… these are pretty typically the rules we stick to ourselves. So here's a list of our top 10 rules for holiday eating. I'll list them and then break them down.

Top 10 Rules of Holiday Eating

1. Limit your portion sizes by using a smaller plate

2. Don't go crazy on the appetizers

3. Limit your alcohol consumption

4. Wait 10-15 minutes before going back for seconds (or thirds!)

5. Don't keep junk in your house… there will be plenty of goodies at the office and parties you attend

6. Try revamping your favorite dishes using healthier ingredients

7. Don't starve yourself the day of a party or holiday meal

8. Bring a healthy option to the potluck or party, let everyone else bring the junk!

9. Don't beat yourself up if you over indulge in a meal, just make the next meal a lighter one

10. Don't wait for the new year… make time for working out now

Now for the break down. I'm human guys, I love indulging in some pumpkin pie and anything chocolate just as much as the next guy… but I promise it is possible to get through the holidays without packing on a bunch of extra pounds. Let's start with rule #1. We eat with our eyes. I don't know about you, but when there's still food on my plate I feel obligated to eat it. I was always president of the clean plate club. How do we solve this problem? A smaller plate! Yep, easy solution. It forces your portions to be smaller and your eyes see an empty plate which your brain relates to being full. Easy. Here's a good trick on what the food on your plate should look like. I know it's hard to stick to this when there's so many yummy options to choose from, but do your best.

Don't go crazy on the appetizers. It's so easy to pack on the calories with finger foods. They're so easy to eat that before you know it you've eaten your entire calorie allotment for the day before dinner is even served. Along with this… watch your alcohol consumption. Actually, just watch any liquid consumption that isn't water, in the end they all equal calories.

Wait before you go back for seconds or thirds. I learned this rule working with kids. Sometimes it takes a few minutes for our stomachs to communicate with our brains and tell us we're full. We've all been there… you know the "I'm so full you're gonna have to roll me out of this restaurant" feeling?! That happened because your stomach was full but you didn't give it enough time to tell your brain before you shoved more food in your mouth. So, wait 10-15 minutes before going back for more. If you're still hungry, eat. If not, don't eat.

Don't keep junk in your house! I think this one is pretty self explanatory. There will be enough to indulge in everywhere you go during the holidays. Don't make it harder on yourself by keeping things in your house that are just going to make the battle of the buldge harder on yourself. And on that note, be the person that brings something healthy to that potluck. Yeah, I know it's boring… but honestly you might be surprised how many people appreciate healthier dish when all there is to chose from is sugar, sugar, and more sugar. We can even tie rule six into this. There are so many ways to make recipes healthier without anyone even knowing you changed it up on them. Google it… you can use things like greek yogurt, avocado, and apple sauce as healthier baking alternatives. In my house we use Earth Balance… it's a plant based "butter" that tastes just as good as the real thing to me and is actually good for you.

I remember when I was little not wanting to eat breakfast the day of Thanksgiving in anticipation for the big meal. Big mistake. This is just going to cause you to overindulge more… and you'll probably even see a tummy ache in your future. Eat throughout the day. Even if it's something small. Same goes for before a party. Eat a snack, something light before you go. If nothing else, you can guarantee you won't be the weirdo drooling at the buffet line. You're welcome.

Working out. Don't kill me for this one guys. I know everyone has an excuse not to. But honestly, just do it. I look at it this way, if it means that I can have the extra piece of pumpkin pie then I'm in. My husband and I already have a date set with our trainer for Wednesday night. We are gonna get our booties kicked before we stuff ourselves with all kinds of yummy goodness.

Last, but not least. Be realistic. The holidays might not be the season to lose weight, you might even gain a couple of pounds. But guess what, that's okay. Don't beat yourself up. Take those couple of pounds and use them as motivation, they don't have to turn into a couple more pounds. If you overindulge, oh well. Try again at the next party. I hate seeing people (cough, cough ladies) beating themselves up over their weight. Stop it! Do your best to maintain, but be your biggest fan, not your biggest critic. Balance, remember?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Enjoy the time with your families this week. I don't know about you, but I have a LOT to be thankful for this year.



Thursday, November 21, 2013

I couldn't think of a clever name for this one, so we're just gonna call it protein.

I can't decide if this is the easiest or the hardest subject to talk about. I guess it depends on who's reading. Protein is one of those things that people can really go overboard on… or not have enough of it at all. At least in my humble opinion.

Protein differs from fat and carbs in that it contains nitrogen. They're composed of these little things called amino acids that are linked together by peptide bonds. BORING. Lets skip the structure stuff for now and talk about what proteins do. The main roles for protein in the body include structue, enzymes, hormones, transport and immunoproteins…. code for you need them. Just like carbs and fat… surprise! 

So, there's these things called essential amino acids. What that means is our bodies can't make these amino asicds in the right amounts so we have to get them from our diets. There happens to be nine of these… some that might be familar are luecine, isoleucine, phenylalanine… and tryptophan. That's right! That sleepy effect we get from eating too much turkey aka tryptophan is an essential amino acid. You learn something new every day, huh?! 

Ok, so we know that there's essential amino acids now, and you probably could have guessed that there's non-essential amino acids… but did you know that there's limiting amino acids too? (I promise there's a point to all this, a method to my madness if you will). This leads into the idea of complete and incomplete proteins. Without getting super technical, complete proteins contain ALL of these essential amino acids whereas incomplete proteins will be lacking in some. Make sense? Good. So what actual foods are considered incomplete and complete proteins?

Complete Proteins:

Red Meat
Chia seeds

Incomplete Proteins:

Now for some more good news… you can turn incomplete proteins into complete proteins with a little thing I like to call nutrition magic. First I have to mention that the incompletes have to be separated into two groups. Legumes, fruits, and veggies all have the same limiting amino acids (meaning they don't have enough of the same kind) and nuts, grains and seeds are missing the other essential amino acids. Here's where that magic comes in… Combine one food from each incomplete group and tah-dah!! you have yourself a complete protein. For example, combine almonds and a veggie and you have a complete protein. Impressive?! I think so, but I'm pretty easy to please. 

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret: Protein, specifically lean protein, is the key to getting lean. Yep, that's right kids. No magic cleanse, no special pills, just good old fashioned lean protein. It can help boost your metabolism and balance your blood sugar and even help you to stay feeling full. Pretty neat huh?! It takes your body more to digest them which is part of why they can help keep you trim. So, if this is the secret to getting lean then that means if I eat a crap ton of protein then I will have the body of my dreams, right?! Nope, not necessarily. Again, balance should become your best friend when it comes to what you eat. 

Lets talk really quickly about what happens when you eat too much protein. There's this thing called nitrogen balance. Remember how I said that protein is different from carbs and fat in that it has nitrogen?! Well, here's where that becomes important. Nitrogen and other toxins that build up from a very high protein diet can cause some really yucky problems for your kidneys. Maybe not right away, but even if its ten years down the road is it really worth the risk? I have a feeling I'm going to get some grief for this so let me be clear about two things: 1) I won't debate you or argue with you if you disagree with my protein views and 2) I'm not the boss of you so if you eat a ton of protein and love it and know deep in your heart that I don't know what I'm talking about… then guess what, you can eat protein to your hearts content and I can't and won't try to stop you. 

So what's the recommendation? Well for your average person it would be calculated out using 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. If you can figure out what that means for you, in my eyes you would get a gold star for the day. Truth is, it's not a hard equation… but I'm not gonna give step by step instructions and give away all my secrets. Basically if you weigh 140 pounds you would need about 51 grams of protein per day. Now if you're an athlete or work out a lot… and I'm talking like a lot… like ladies you don't wear make up to the gym a lot… then you could increase that to 1.2-2 grams of protein per kilograms of body weight. To put it in perspective, based on your personal goals and activity levels your protein intake should be 10-35% of your daily intake. 

This was a long post. I'm gonna stop while I'm ahead…. or at least while I think I'm ahead. Hopefully you're not completely confused. Remember just because something is a good thing doesn't mean that consuming a ton of it makes it an even better thing. And on the opposite end, lets make sure that we are eating enough of it. I'm telling you, once you unlock the glorious world of nutrition you will see changes in your body, mood, sleep, output, everything else, that you wouldn't have imagined. In case I haven't said it enough in the last few posts, I'll remind you one more time: BALANCE. On another note, I totally did two blog posts this week. If that's not an accomplishment, I don't know what is.

Until next time,


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

fatty mc faterson.

I remember when i was little snackwells was a huge thing. they were the no-fat or low-fat snack. it's funny, the different trends that surface and resurface in nutrition... back then, fat was the enemy. fast forward 15-20 years and i think peoples relationship with fat has come a long way, but there's definitely still some room to grow.

So probably by now you're used to me telling you how each of the things i've chosen to write about are things our bodies really, truly need. fat is no different. Dietary fat is essential for the digestion, absorption, and transport of the fat-soluble vitamins and phytochemicals such as carotenoids and lycopenes. It depresses gastric secretions, slows gastric emptying and facilitates digestion. basically all that boils down to… you need it. (Side Note: your fat-soluble vitamins are A, E, D and K)

Another topic related to fat that might have heard of are fatty acids. Again, the name refers to its chemical structure… which isn't really that important for you to know. what you do need to know is that they are important sources of fuel because when the body metabolizes them they yield large quantities of ATP (ATP=the energy your cells need to do anything). 

So lets talk about the different kinds of fat. the not so nice fats are your saturated and trans fats. saturated fats come mainly from animal food sources. this is your cheese, fat on a steak, full fat dairy products (think solid at room temperature). These fats can raise your LDL in your cholesterol, which is bad. There's also a potential that they can aid in developing type 2 diabetes. trans fats are mostly synthetically made through food processing. When looking at the ingredients list you'll see things like "partially hydrogenated palm oil". These fats can also increase your LDL (bad cholesterol) and decrease your HDL (good cholesterol). 

Now for the good stuff. monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs). Studies show that a diet rich in MUFAs and PUFAs can improve your blood cholesterol and fight against heart disease and may even aid in preventing type 2 diabetes. foods made up of these fats are liquid at room temperature, such as olive oil. you'll also find them in things like avocado, nuts, and even some fish and poultry. 

as you can see, there's some really good choices when it comes to putting fat in your diet. fat should be 20-35% of your diet every day. i'll say that again in case you didn't get it the first time… fat should be 20-35% of your diet every day. So while i'm all for egg white omelets and no dressing on salads, and all that good stuff… but maybe, just maybe, we are depriving ourselves of something our bodies really need in our strive to be healthy. 

I'm definitely not saying to go crazy in this category. but i am saying maybe it's okay to add a full egg to your omelet. maybe it's okay to make your own salad dressing with some olive oil, and it's definitely okay to add avocado to anything and everything. when it comes to dairy, stick to the low-fat options. You could go no fat too… i just think the low fat stuff tastes better. if you guys haven't figured it out yet i'm trying to teach you that it's all about balance. there's no tricks or gimmicks to being healthy. depriving yourself and not giving any wiggle room in your diet…. in my experience those are the types of things that cause us to give up on being healthy. i find that with my diet when i restrict something… it's the very thing i later end up binging on. And if you think your diet is really healthy and you workout all the time and don't see any results… maybe it's time to start digging a little deeper into what you eat. 

on the flip side, there are some of us that have no problem indulging in dietary fat… aka fast food, ice cream, etc. word of caution my friends… you could be setting yourself up for some serious health issues. do i love in-n-out? heck yes i do. Do i eat it every week?… sadly, no. i let myself indulge, but in my day-to-day diet i really try to be aware of what i'm putting in my body. and that's really the bottom line here… balance. hopefully i've given you some food for thought here. questions? you know the drill, email me, message me, text me, call me, we'll chat. 


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Carbs… dun, dun, dunnnnnnn.

Back from vacation and it's taken me a little bit to get back in the swing of things. Seriously, how do pregnant people work full time?! Finally arrived to my second trimester, feeling good and looking forward to the increased energy everyone keeps promising I'll get.

Anyways, to continue in my basics series I thought I'd address carbs. I had a professor that wouldn't let us call them carbs in her class because of the negative association that dirty little word had. We were instructed to call them by their full name, carbohydrates. I'm going to rebel this entire blog post and use carbs. So what's the big deal about these guys? Seems like these days everyone's avoiding them. Low carb this, no grain this… I kinda feel bad for the little guys.

So what are carbs? Get ready for the boring science part…. Carbs are manufactured by plants and are a major source of energy. In nutrition they're categorized as monosaccharides, disaccharides and oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides. So what does that mean? Well… a lot of it is structural chiral carbon stuff… which I don't even like thinking about because it just brings back nightmares from organic chemistry. Personally, I don't think this part is really important for your every day person just trying to eat a healthy diet… but it is important to know the terms and know that those things are carbs. Basically monosaccharides are single chains that are the building blocks for the other categories. The monosaccharides you're probably most familiar with are glucose, galactose, and fructose. When these guys combine in different ratios and patterns that's how you get your more complicated saccharides.

Sorry if that put you to sleep… I may have dozed off once or twice myself there. Back to the stuff that hopefully actually interests you. Why are carbs important?  There's a specific type of monosaccharide that has a long, scientificy (yeah, totally just made that word up) name… for the sake of making this easy we are gonna refer to it as it's street name, blood sugar. Our brains depend on a regular, predictable supply of blood sugar… in fact, it's the only thing that feeds our brain because it's the only thing that can get past this blood brain mechanism our bodies have. So basically what I'm saying is… if you don't eat carbs your brain won't get fed and will have problems functioning correctly. Now, our bodies do have mechanisms to oxidize fat and make these things called ketones that our brains can use when we are in a pinch… but it's not something you want to do to it on a regular basis. Trust me, just eat your steady supply of carbs.

So why don't people like carbs? Why are they avoided like the plague? Well… I think it's because people don't know how to use carbs the right way. There's two types: simple carbs, and complex carbs. Hopefully you're somewhat familiar with that. Your simple carbs are your refined sugars, white breads, white pastas, everything that tastes good pretty much. Complex carbs are your veggies, whole grains, etc.  Simple carbs take little digestion. They enter the blood stream quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike high and then drop. Complex carbs take a little more digestion and absorption. When they hit your blood stream they don't cause the rise and fall the the simple carbs cause. One of the keys to weight loss and maintaining healthy weight? Healthy blood sugar. You want that sweet spot, the not too much of a rise or fall with your blood sugar. This is part of why eating often is important. Your body and your brain will thank you and function better.

When a dietitian gives you a meal plan, chances are you'll see 40-50% carbs. That does NOT mean you get to go eat a whole bunch of simple carbs and live it up. You'll feel gross and probably see an increase in weight gain (which is why people really have an issue with carbs). However, if you make most of those carbs complex carbs like veggies and whole grains you will notice yourself being fuller longer, less cranky, and honestly probably pooping better (surprisingly pooping hasn't come up much in my blog yet… but it is a staple in my conversations. Healthy input means healthy pooping). All that can equal weight loss too, added bonus.

Lets talk about one thing real quick. Fruits. Okay, some people put these in the world of simple carbs and need to be avoided. Me? I think that's a little harsh. I mean fine, take away my cake and ice cream… but a banana? Get real. Fruit has natural sugars and a lot of other added bonuses like antioxidants. I don't think they need to be avoided… unless you're in some kind of super strict body building champion competition and know what you're doing. But for every day life, I'd say you can eat fruit with no worries. If you have Diabetes, it's a little different, we can chat about that outside of the blog. Other than that eat your fruit and your veggies and your carbs!

Send me your questions. I know this stuff is a little complicated and I know I didn't address everything I could have, but I don't want this thing to get too long and boring. I promise after this basics series we will move on to some more fun topics.

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, November 2, 2013

calorie - nutrition's naughty word

Hey y'all. I so appreciate all your feedback and ideas on topics. I decided that first I need to scale back and start with the basics. So I'm gonna do a little blog series on just that… calories, carbs, protein, and fat. I'm going to do my best to explain each and why they're important. I'm obviously going to skip a lot of the really technical science stuff so I don't put you to sleep and I'm sure I won't address everything so as always… if you think of questions… ask! This stuff will be pretty generic so, (get ready for the shameless plug) we can always make an appointment and talk about what you need specifically.

Calorie. It's almost a dirty four letter word. I noticed throughout my internship that there's a few words in the nutrition world that scare people… carbs and calories probably rank as the top two. Really, I think these guys just get a bad wrap, lets call them misunderstood.

We need calories for everything: breathing, moving, even sleeping. The amount of calories that each person needs depends on their gender, age, body size and composition (meaning body fat and muscle mass) and activity level. The amount of calories my body needs (notice that I said NEEDS) will vary from yours. Without these little guys we literally can't function, and I'm not talking the I'm hungry and can't think straight type of function, I mean literally your body will shut down.

So we all know what happens when we eat too many calories, hence the whole bad wrap thing, but have you ever thought about why it's important to eat ENOUGH calories? Here's the part where I ask you to forget about everything you know about calories. One of the biggest offenses I see (especially in women) is not eating enough. I'm pretty sure in our minds we all think eat more and gain weight, eat less and lose weight. Now that's true… but there's a lot more to the story. Calories are given in a range, that range is on purpose. the bottom half of the range is what your body NEEDS. Eating less than that sounds like weight loss… right? Ehhhh maybe.

I would say the goal of most people is less body fat, more muscle. I'm going to explain this is the simplest form possible… muscle is more calorically expensive than fat. What does that mean? It means it takes more calories to maintain muscle than it does fat. Think of it like shopping… fat is walmart, muscle is chanel. You need to eat more calories to maintain muscle. If your body doesn't have enough calories it will shed muscle and KEEP fat. Scary, huh?! Basically what I'm saying is if you don't eat enough your body is gonna freak out and think it's starving, therefore everything you put in your body it's going to store… as fat.

I had to learn this lesson the hard way. I spent hours in the gym, ate barely 1000 calories a day and couldn't understand why I was getting fatter. It wasn't muscle, it was pudge, and it wasn't cute. Long story short, when I finally figured out that I needed to eat enough calories to support my body I shed 20 easy pounds. I'm not guaranteeing miracle weight loss, I'm just trying to put it in perspective. Eat more, weigh less (within reason of course, think the top of your calorie range). No adult should be eating 1000 calories a day or less.

On that note, lets address the fact that not all calories are created equal. Lets say I hit my 1900 calorie goal (yeah ladies, you read that right… I eat almost 2000 calories a day) with junk. I won't look or feel the same as I would if I hit that goal with a healthier diet. The other part of this is eating often. This is just as important as eating enough. I try to shoot for eating something every three hours. Of course life doesn't always allow this, but I've learned the value in at least trying to pack snacks when I leave the house. It's all about setting yourself up for success.

Hopefully you're still with me. Ladies I think this is a lot harder of a concept for us than guys. They're really lucky in the calorie department. Just being a guy means they automatically burn more calories a day than us… not fair. I know this can be a weird concept, but I promise calories are your friends. So, with the power vested in me by the title RD, I give you permission to eat.