More Matters

Well here we are, March 31st. The last day of National Nutrition Month 😦 It’s been real fun. The last topic we must cover today is the most important of all. Last the best of all the game right?

FRUITS & VEGETABLES

The message here is really getting more. There is no limit to how many fruits and vegetables we can have each day. Having too much of a good thing… does not apply here. So eat up!

The message here is short and sweet. As much as we want to eat more fruits and veggies each day, it doesn’t always happen. So the best thing I can do is provide fun recipes. Check under recipes for some awesome ideas for getting more vegetables each day (compliments of USU Viva Vegetables Recipes) . Some tips for purchasing and consuming fruits & veggies:

  • Luckily it’s spring time which means a good 6 months of fresh harvest is here! During the summer and early fall shop Farmer’s Markets for local, farm fresh, fruits and veggies for a great price! I love this market!
  • During the produce “off” season don’t be afraid to buy frozen or even canned veggies and fruits. You will save yourself some good money. And the good news is the produce found in your frozen selection was picked at the peak ripeness and frozen so all the nutrients are retained. Frozen produce doesn’t usually have added sugars or preservatives, so it’s as close as you can get to the fresh stuff, so no excuses people! When buying canned veggies and fruits look for brands with low- sodium or that aren’t packed in syrups.
  • Try to make half your daily selection dark green leafys. Kale, spinach, romaine, chard, collard greens, etc. Sorry iceberg doesn’t count. It takes work to eat these guys sometimes, so consider a green smoothie! I can’t push these enough. Trust me, it feels great to have all your daily greens down in one swig!
  • When you buy produce like carrots, snap peas, celery, broccoli, tomatoes, or other veggies you like to snack on raw, come straight home and wash, cut, and portion into snack bags to have on hand so it is easy to grab them when you get the munchies!
  • When it comes to shopping organic, check out the Environmental Workers Group’s dirty dozen. This is a list of the 12 “dirtiest” (aka most heavily coated in pesticides) produce items. These are foods I would recommend getting organically. I would recommend checking out that webpage more. There’s great info and things to think about…
  • Last tip, check out some recipes! Happy eating!
Advertisements

Ima Babe!

Today I have more of a personal thing to share. Something that has been bothering me lately. And that is body image.

It is rough to be a girl sometimes, and not to say that guys don’t worry about their bodies too, but I think it’s extra hard for us ladies. It breaks my heart a little bit when I hear my friends, sisters, or randoms at the park complaining about how they wish their stomachs were flatter, their butts firmer, or their jeans a size or two smaller.

It’s the time of year I guess when the days get longer, allergies start buggin, and the only thing that gets passed around quicker than mini Cadburry Eggs is the phrase “swim suit ready,” which is a little ironic. It is great to get into shape and have good realistic goals, but please people let’s not obsess and let the littlest flaws overtake us.

Maybe I am so paranoid because eating disorders are too common and too real for me. I don’t want to take the time to get into the dangers of extreme under-eating now, but there have been two things that have helped avoid that tragic trap that I would like to share. This book right here. It’s awesome. It’s (very) slightly on the crude side and has a different sort of humor, BUT it is fantastic about getting real about being a girl. Kaz Cook address eating disorders and the rough world we live in trying to live up to celebrities and models who’s “perfect” image we can’t seem to avoid. But also she talks anything from hair styles to feminine hygiene products. I know this will be my go-to book for my future daughters. I recommend it to everyone I know who struggles with loving themselves and embracing the joy of being a woman. Girl Power!

The second thing is learn to love yourself, even if you have to “fake it before you make it” or whatever that phrase is. At the risk of seeming hypocritical, I will gladly admit that I have moments where I get down on my body or image, but I have learned to combat it and over all appreciate all the great things my body can do for me. When I was completing my first semester of college I started looking at myself in the  mirror every morning and telling myself loudly “IMA BABE!” It was mostly a confidence booster that I needed to help me get through my chemistry class, I kind of copied the Cool Runnings idea… but it stuck. And the concept passed around room 208 and through the years and soon we had a bunch of arrogant shewolves… just kidding. Inside joke. But anyway, I love to always tell people to try it. Seriously. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you’re a babe, or you are beautiful, or you are sexy, or you are lovely, or whatever phrase will do it for ya.

Sorry this is so personal and so cheesy. But I felt inclined to share. YOU’RE A BABE!

If it’s brown…

True or false: If a grain is brown it is whole grain?

False!

To get our plates into shape, we need to have a little chat about whole grains. The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends getting half your grains as whole grains. This would mean whole grain rice, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread, whole grain cereals, etc. I think it’s safe to say we are all pretty much aware of the benefits of whole grains, but in case you aren’t let me give you a quick run down…

Whole grains and fiber can support healthy cholesterol levels, maintain an appropriate blood pressure range, contribute to healthy blood sugars, and may help with weight loss.

Hurray!

So now that you are all convinced you want to make the switch to whole grains lets do some some shopping! So let me run over to the store to pick up my Granny Sycamores wheat bread. I’m set right?

Wrong!

Here we must learn a lesson about reading labels. If you read the label of Granny Sycamore bread the first ingredient is wheat flour. Does this mean it’s whole grain? Not exactly. The tricky thing is when bread is processed certain parts of the grain are removed and may or may not be added back.

This picture gives you a good idea of what a whole grain looks like and what nutrients we get where. During processing of refined grain products (poptarts and white bread) everything is removed but the flour. But if you notice it is the bran that gives us the fiber that contributes to all those amazing benefits of eating whole grain!

So what you would like to see when shopping is a label that looks more like this:

You can see there the second ingredient specifically says 100% whole grain. So moral of the story: read labels and look for that 100% part.

So are multi-grain, 7 seed, or stone ground breads whole grain? I don’t know? You read the label and you tell me! Every brand can vary so don’t assume just because it is brown or looks healthy that it is really the best choice.

Final tip for getting our plates into shape is pay attention to fiber content in foods. If you are a white flour lover and the thought of eating whole grain makes you cry, make a gradual switch and pick your battles.

  • Brown rice vs white rice: There is only a 1 gram difference in fiber content and cooking the two rices are different so don’t try combining the two or plan some extra time to cook your brown rice.
  • Whole wheat pasta vs regular: Depending on the brand, the fiber difference can be up to 5 grams! This is a switch I would highly recommend making. Cooking whole wheat pasta is exactly the same so if you have stubborn eaters, cook half and half. Good health requires compromise sometimes!
  • Whole wheat bread vs white bread: Fiber content can vary 2-4 grams. Check labels and try to buy loaves with at least 3 grams of fiber. 4-5 would be ideal though!
  • Whole wheat cereal vs. regular cereals: This is another one where the fiber difference can be up to 5 grams. However the switch is great with Chex or other grain cereals, just because Trix and Lucky Charms are now made with “whole grain” doesn’t mean they are good for you!

The Power of Protein

Getting our plates into shape protein style!

Protein Frequent Flier

What Men think of protein
What Women think of protein
What personal trainers think of protein
What Nutritionist think of protein What society thinks of protein
What protein actually isI’m so clever!

Protein, chemically speaking, is made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and a nitrogenous group. These compounds make amino acids, which you are probably more familiar with right? There are about 20 amino acids that make up practically everything in your body. Amino acids are what help your body code your DNA, which acts as a blue print to replicate every cell and tissue that amounts to your existence! So these powerful amines are to be taken seriously!

As far as the proteins we consume, it’s important to know the difference between a complete protein and an incomplete protein. Let me give you a little background first…

There are nine amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine- incase you were wondering) that your body absolutely cannot make itself-whereas the rest of the amino acids can be created through the break down of other aminos. That makes these amino acids essential aka you have to eat these from food sources. A complete protein is a food source that has all these essential amino acids in it. High quality food sources would be:

eggs, poultry, beef, pork, fish, veal, duck, and all sorts of meats, milk, cheese, yogurt, and sources of dairy, quinoa and soy

But wait? What about legumes, nuts, and peanut butter?! These foods do contain a good amount of protein, but one or more essential amino acid is missing and must therefore be coupled with a complimentary food that would have that missing amino. A perfect example is rice and beans. Beans are missing the amino acid acid methionine and rice is missing the amino acid lysine. Combined they equal each other out and give you a total amino acid profile! Neat!

It’s really important we include protein in all our meals and snacks to help our blood sugars and rebuild our muscles. You might think that only body builders and teenage boys need protein to rebuild their muscles, but actually our bodies are constantly turning over our protein stores, meaning breaking down and rebuilding. So it is important we consistently and regularly eat protein.

Some tips to shape up your plate:

  • Eat a variety of protein sources. Try having a day or two that are “meat-free” and try some quinoa, lentils or legumes (coupled with grains of course!), or soy.
  • Choose lean varieties or chicken and beef. Chicken breast and tenderloins are the leanest cuts.
  • Try to have fish twice a week.
  • And remember to limit portions. I still laugh when I think of my husband at a steak restaurant a few weeks ago disappointed because the largest cut of steak was only 12 oz. ONLY! Um, an actually portion size of meat is 5 oz…. or think of the size of a deck or cards or the size of your palm.
  • Add seeds, nuts, cheese, or nut butters to your snacks for an extra protein kick!

90:10

On my first day of Nutrition 1010 I learned about the 90:10 rule. Have you heard of it?

This rule says that 90% of the time we should eat healthy, meet our daily vitamin recommendations, and get all our servings of fruits and vegetables, etc. But then 10% of the time we can slack a little. Ya know, have a piece of cake or a whole bag of potato chips (although I hope it wouldn’t be the whole bag…) I love this rule because food is delicious and social and to be enjoyed, and sometimes that means indulging ourselves a little. We shouldn’t have to feel guilty for this or punish ourselves with hours on the treadmill the next day. Bleh.

Yesterday, I will admit, I had a “10” day. I was in a bit of a mood and the only thing to console me was a chocolate doughnut. Oh and some Cadburry eggs. Oh and a Popsicle. You can judge me all you want, but it felt so good this morning to wake up and start fresh. I went for a run and had a green smoothie, and I’ve just been consumed with these thoughts that it’s so great that what we eat is a choice we make every meal and we have the power alone to choose to be healthy or not.

So the point of my little personal story today is that normal and healthy eating means moderation, variety, and occasional spoils. I think the best advice I could give someone as a nutritionist is to eat what makes you feel good. I get excited about eating healthy because I feel better and can cope with my days more easily. It’s nice to have choices and agency. And a magic bullet.

What’s the Deal with Dairy?

The first way I am going to get my plate into shape is to include more dairy. The dairy would be the little circle or cute bottle pictured to the side of “the perfect plate”. This is strategically placed to elude that we should have a cup of milk with every meal we have…which actually would be a really nice convenient way to get your dairy in and not to mention 3 cups of milk equals nearly an entire days worth of recommended calcium. But does it always have to be milk? I think we should try to think a little outside the box, or carton! (HA! I’m so fuuunny!)

Other dairy sources would be yogurt, cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese, kefir, frozen yogurt, chocolatemilkeandicecream. I said that really quick so maybe you wouldn’t notice…

I want to really highlight yogurt today, because I cannot get enough of the stuff lately. The protein-calcium combination in your yogurt not only helps you focus, but it can also keep you strong by maintaining muscle mass. More nutrient packed than milk, yogurt has higher concentrations of protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Also are you aware of the Yo-plait studies? I am sure you have seen the commercials, but there is evidence that diary as yogurt can support weight loss. Who doesn’t love that? And finally, the good bacterias we get from yogurts. We can kick up our immune systems and support our bowels lickity-split!

Some tips when choosing a yogurt: Choose plain flavors and sweeten it yourself with honey, agave, cocoa powder, peanut butter, or fresh fruit. Have you ever compared the sugar content labels on a plain yogurt compared to a flavored one? Sometimes the difference can be as great as 30 grams! Greek yogurt is all the rage right now and that’s because it is richer (aka more satiating), more nutrient dense, and depending on the brand can double the protein content! (I like Chobani or the Kroger brand). If you want to have a little bit of yogurt other than breakfast time, mix with sliced cucumbers, chopped mint, and a dash of lemon for a delicious veggie dip! AND not to mention skipping the chocolatemilkdandicecream and having some fresh berries over yogurt for dessert. Seriously, it’s just as delicious and will satisfy your sweet tooth!

One final note on including more dairy into your plate. It’s a little unfair we use the term dairy, when so many people are lactose intolerant. So if that’s you, think of including more calcium. Soy and almond milk actually have higher calcium contents than milk. Salmon, sardines, and greens also can fulfill your needs. So don’t skimp out and aim for 1000 mg/day.

Get those plates in shape!

Happy National Nutrition Month!

Here it is folks, an entire month dedicated to nutrition! Did you even know March is National Nutrition month? I’m waiting for Martha Stewart to come up with crafts, meals, and decorations for this holiday, because it’s epic!

This years theme is “Get Your Plate in Shape!” Remember this? The FDA came up with the new plate method just last year, so this March to celebrate, the theme is based around adapting the plate method into every meal. Let’s get our plates together people! (I said that in a very Tina Fey from 30 Rock style).

Check out what the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has to say about this month: National Nutrition Month Press Release

And some tips to help you get your plate in shape: Simple tips from Registered Dietitians

For those of you who hate following links (it’s ok, I am one of them), I will give you a run down. There are 4 areas of emphasis when it comes to your plate.

  1. Making half your plate fruits and veggies
  2. Incorporating more whole grains (1/2 of your choices ideally)
  3. Including a variety of lean proteins
  4. Adding more low-fat diary foods to your diet

I thought I would dedicate a blog each week to one of these categories, followed by a personal goal I am working on to shape up my plate. So you better stay tuned ya’ll!