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Nutrition

Nutrition Research

Bone Broth – The New Coconut Oil?

October 31, 2016

Last week I was flipping through gram and there it was….a blogger (not a dietitian, not a physician, not a nurse, not a nurse practitioner, nor a physician’s assistant) posted a picture of herself sipping a cup of hot bone broth. This lifestyle blogger told her following of 32,500 that bone broth was going to prevent you from getting a cold and or flu this winter. 106 likes and 6 comments. It took great restraint NOT to comment.  Y’all, she has been so misinformed.

So here is the 411 on bone broth.   Let’s back up for a hot sec.  Broth is made from vegetables, meat and bones (sometimes roasted before), water, herbs, spices (salt, pepper, etc) and is simmered on low heat for  1-2 hours. The solids are removed and the liquid is strained and all that remains is the broth.  Stock is water simmered with vegetables and bones and is cooked for 4-6 hours.  Bone broth is roasted bones (with sometimes meat and vegetables) cooked for 24 hours then strained and seasoned.  Nutrient breakdown varies from homemade and packaged broths.

There are many benefits to bone broths. It can warm you up when you are cold. It can help you replace your sodium loss if you were exercising in the cold. (Check out the next cold weather NFL game…you will see some players sipping broth!) But, after warming you up and replacing any sodium that was lost, that is about all of the health benefits.  There are no peer reviewed, respected studies to date that bone broth provides any significant health benefits.

So sorry, sweet Paleo devotees.  Bone broth is just another trend.

Follow science, not trends.

Cheers,

Caroline

 

Nutrition Research

Whole Grains for the WIN

October 26, 2016

If you know me at all, you know I LOVE GLUTEN.  Nothing frosts my gluten filled cookies more than seeing girls on gram in their workout gear posting pics of their gluten free meal making you feel guilty for enjoying your bread.  There’s nothing wrong with that bread sister!  (Great time to check out my gluten and lower BMI post….just sayin’.)  Gluten is found in whole grains.  And whole grain are so hot right now.

Listen, if you are the 1% of Americans diagnosed with Celiac Disease, you go on with your gluten free self!  This post is for the peeps thinking they are being healthier by consuming gluten free products (which, fun fact, are 9 times out of 10 higher in calories and fat).

Gluten lovers, rejoice.  Last week, ANOTHER study came out letting us know that gluten is “a ok”.  Gluten is a protein found in wheat and whole grains, and whole grains are a thing of beauty.  Whole grains are fabulous for you.  Folks at the Cleveland Clinic found that incorporating whole grains into your diet improved diastolic blood pressure.  (Elevated diastolic number is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.)  In fact, in this particular study, incorporating whole grains reduced risk of a heart attack by 1/3 and risk of death by stroke by 2/5.  Can I get an amen?

To recap:  whole grains contribute to a multitude of health benefits including lowering your risk for stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and colorectal cancer.   So why, my dear, are you not eating your whole grains?  Leave those zoodles and lettuce wraps for the birds and enjoy some gluten.  Please note, I am totes referring to whole grains and not white, refined garbage.  White bread, buns, pasta, rice might taste divine but they are no bueno in the health department.  The average American consumes 16 grams of whole grains a day.  The current recommendation for whole grains is 50 grams per day….so we have a lil work to do.

What to look for: 100% whole wheat.  Whole wheat is whole grain.  Proceed with caution on “wheat” or “multigrain”.

Cheers my dears!

Nutrition

The Final Countdown – Thanksgiving Countdown!

October 11, 2016

Turkey Countdown

T minus 6 weeks till Turkey

Don’t bust out those stretchy pants and go into hibernation yet! Did you know that now, for most of us, is the lowest weight we will be all year?!  Sigh.  According to research out of Cornell, just before the end of October is our lowest weight. But don’t get too excited. Hello Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas…by the time New Year’s rolls around, we are peaking weight wise. According to research, what we gain over the next 10 weeks takes about 5 MONTHS to lose.  I know.  Double womp.

Now is the time to set those healthy habits to help get you through the holiday season!

  • 5 to 9 a day
    • You have no excuse not to be eating your fruits and veggies right now.   Fruits and veggies are naturally low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients!
    • This is so doable. 6 fruit and veggies servings:
      • Grab a piece of fruit in the morning before you head out the door in the morning and you are already two servings in! (With fruit so large these days, 1 whole banana, 1 apple, 1 orange all = 2 servings)
      • Add lettuce/spinach and tomato to your sandwich and BOOM! There is another serving!
      • Slice up bell peppers and cucumbers for a nice side with your sandwich. (1 cup raw veggies = 1 serving) Need some encouragement? Look for low calorie dressings to dip or even try hummus!
      • Have a small salad before your evening meal
      • ½ cup cooked veggies with your dinner and you are there!
  • Grill, bake or broil
    • No need to indulge on fried bites! Cook those lean proteins on the grill or in the oven to save on fat and calories.
    • Lean proteins help keep you fuller longer; satiety is such a beautiful thing during the holidays!
    • Lean protein also helps stabilize your blood sugar. Pair lean protein with complex carbohydrates (like fresh fruit or whole grains) at each meal and snack.
    • Don’t forget about nuts!  1/4 cup is a great non animal source option.
  • Keep your gut happy with probiotics
    • Bacteria in your intestines help digest your food, fight harmful bacteria and support your immune system. Probiotics help keep these good for your bacteria happy!
    • You don’t need a fancy supplement to keep your gut hormones in good spirits. All yogurt sold in the US of A has live, active cultures in it. Besides yogurt you can try kefir, fermented veggies like kimchi or sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, kombucha and don’t forget to fill up on whole grains! Whole grains are high in fiber, which is the best way to positively impact those good for your gut bacteria!
  • Lay off the booze
    • I know, “Debbie Downer”, but booze is full of empty calories! Empty calories are calories that offer NO nutrition value.
      • Light beer: 90-110 calories
      • Wine (5 ounces): 125 calories
      • Champagne (4.2 ounces): 80 calories
      • Liquor (1.5 ounces): 95 calories
  • Pass on those high calorie traps
    • For the next few weeks, lay off high calorie foods like burgers, fries, pizza and sweets. You have a lot of awesome food about to be on your plate! Stick with those healthy choices and your body (and your GI tract) will thank you!

Enter this year’s holiday season happy and healthy!  Cheers!

Nutrition

Why I Don’t Eat Smoothie Bowls

October 6, 2016

Hey party peeps.  Look I am all for the “All Foods Fit” and “Healthy at Every Size” movements. But I am also for common sense.  As a seasoned RD, smoothie bowls are not the best idea for breakfast everyday for most folks. Yes, I know, you see all the darling, young, millennial dietitians on social media posting pictures of their beautiful smoothie bowls. Oh to be young again! You can consume all the sugar you want (naturally occurring sugar or otherwise!). I miss my 20s….can you tell?

In my 12+ years as a registered dietitian, I have seen a multitude of clients sabotage their weight loss goals with juices and smoothies. People perceive them as healthy, and drink the crap out of them. Most smoothies contain milk or milk alternative (I don’t like calling them milk substitutes as I don’t think they are. Milk and milk alternatives are two totally different beverages. As a nutrition professional, I cannot call almond milk a “milk substitute” as its nutrient profile is NOTHING like milk. Another topic for another time. For the record I love dairy and non-dairy.) I digress. Most smoothies call for ¾-1 cup milk or milk alternative, 1 cup frozen fruit, ½ cup fresh fruit (usually ½ a banana or sliced strawberries) and ice. Right now you are flirting between 200-250 calories. That’s before you add the trendy nut butter or trendy oil or seeds (I’m looking at you chia and hemp). And just like that we are now between 300-400 calories.

Here’s the 411 on smoothie bowls
Smoothie bowls are smoothies with toppings. Because why wouldn’t you add more sugar to sugar? You have just finished blending your smoothie and now it’s time for toppings! Popular toppings:
• Sliced bananas
• Coconut shreds
• Granola
Berries
• Honey
You guys. You are easily consuming well over 500 calories. If you add multiple toppings and eat the whole damn thing, you are now at 600+. Oh, and, it’s ALL sugar. Yes, naturally occurring sugar, but sugar nonetheless. So now you have high amounts of sugar in your blood stream, you are tired and you will be hungry in 2 hours. You see why I have a problem here.

I’d much rather you consume 1 apple (80 calories) with 2 Tbsp of peanut butter (200 ish calories). You will be so much fuller longer thanks to the fat and protein in that peanut butter and thanks to the fiber in the skin of your apple. And, all that chewing! We have lots of science that shows satiety when we chew our food (instead of drinking it).

Smoothie bowls are ok on occasion (remember, I like “All Foods Fit). Yes, smoothie bowls are quick, offer variety and are way to sneak fruits and veggies into your kiddo’s diets, but please be mindful of those calories and grams of sugar. And I definitely recommend sharing them with a friend. But if you are struggling to lose weight, take a look at those liquid calories like juices and smoothies. It’s amazing how quickly they can add up.  #followscience #nottrends

Nutrition

School Lunch: New Ideas

September 26, 2016

So, technically all my children have paws. But, shocker, I have an opinion about school lunch! School lunch is an easy way parents can sneak some nutrition into their child’s day.

Whether you are young or young at heart, we all eat with our eyes first! When packing lunch, the more shapes and colors, the more likely your child is to eat it. Remember, it can take up to 12 introductions of a new food before children accept it. Don’t give up! One recent study found that children who were offered fruit, but didn’t take any, consumed more fruit as an adult. And remember, kids love finger foods. Bento boxes are a great way to pack up your kids meals (or your own lunch) to take to school.

Check out 5 healthy lunch box ideas below:

Lunch 1: Mini Veggie Sandwiches (see below), fresh grapes, sugar snap peas, 1 ounce dark chocolate

  • Whole wheat bread (sliced in rectangles or rounds using cookie cutter)
  • Red peppers (sliced same as you did the bread)
  • Cheddar cheese (sliced same as you did the bread)
  • Cucumber
  • Hummus, mustard or avocado as a spread
  • Put together with toothpicks

Lunch 2: Homemade lunchable (see below), sliced bell peppers, applesauce

  • Nitrate/nitrite free deli meat of your choice
  • Cheese slices
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Mustard for building

Lunch 3: A La Carte Meal

  • 1 mini Wholly guacamole
  • Corn tortilla chips
  • Hardboiled egg
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Blueberries

Lunch 4: Throwback Meal

  • Whole wheat bread with nut butter and fruit spread
  • Clementine orange
  • Cheese stick
  • Sliced strawberries
  • Mini cucumbers

Lunch 5: Turkey Roll Ups with yogurt (+ topping), and fruit medley

  • Greek yogurt
  • Cereal of choice to put on yogurt (I like homemade granola or if short on time, Cheerios)
  • Baby carrots
  • Sliced apples
  • Nitrate/nitrite free turkey rolled with colby jack cheese

Don’t forget to make it personal! Whether it is a hand written note on a napkin, printable joke or a note marked into a banana peel or skin of clementine, remind your lil one that they are loved!

Encourage healthful eating in your home by making healthy snacks visible and convenient to eat!

  • Keep fresh fruit on the counter in sight
  • Prep veggies ahead of time.
  • Use clear containers or plastic bags so kids can see what is inside
  • Keep healthy food within reach (keep your lower shelves stocked with health choices)
  • Opt for single serve containers (like raisins, almonds, yogurts and baby carrots)

No time to make lunch, no problem! You can contact your school for the school’s menu in advance. Your school or district’s food service director can provide you nutrition information regarding the menu. Take time to sit down with your kiddo to review healthy food choices. Encourage your child to play at recess or gym class! Take an active role in your child’s health education. Kids who form healthy habits young tend to be healthier adults!

In the Media Nutrition

If It Fits Your Macros- Marketing 101

September 21, 2016

Macros….if you are a dietitian (or diabetes educator), this trend is called carb counting.

“If it fits your macros!” Have you heard this at the gym?  Or at the coffee shop?  This is marketing 101. Counting your macros is the grandchild of counting your carbs, which has been around for 20 years. I need to hire this marketing person….I mean she/he is simply rebranding a concept to make it cool and trendy. GENIUS!

Macros is short for macronutrients. There are 3 macronutrients: fat, protein and carbohydrates. All 3 are essential for life. You don’t want to eliminate any of them. The recommendation for macronutrients is usually 50-65% carbohydrate, 15%-30% protein and 20% fat. The recommendation is based on multiple factors like age, height, weight, gender, activity level, etc. If you want a personal breakdown, contact a registered dietitian!

The “if it fits your macros” is basically macronutrient counting/flexible dieting plan. As long as the food fits your plan, go nuts. But, not so fast! All calories are not created equally. My beloved chips and queso from my favorite tex mex place might be the same calories as my dinner of baked chicken, roasted veggies and a baked potato. Which do you think I want you to eat? Nutrition trumps calories every time. I am a huge advocate for eating REAL, whole food over junk food and or smoothies/juices. REAL, whole food has vitamins, minerals, fiber and other essential nutrients while juices and smoothies (depending on how they are made) are full of sugar and calories. Yes, a pop tart is the same macros as oatmeal…..which one would I swat out of your hand?   Should be a no brainer here, right?!

IIFYM pros: great for people who love counting things, measuring serving sizes

IIFYM cons: can technically fill up on junk food if you abuse the system

What does this dietitian think? If you like counting your macros, super! But at the end of the day, this is a trendy form of carb counting from the 90s. (Yes, I know I just dated myself there!)

Nutrition

What does “clean eating” even mean?!

September 12, 2016

Type “Clean Eating” into Google and a million sites pop up  with most being weight loss related. What is “clean eating”?  Well, it depends who you ask! According to some folks, clean eating is going vegan or vegetarian. Others say it means avoiding all processed foods. Some say it’s eating only organic and GMO free. Of all the definitions, I think I like Michelle Dudash, RDN’s the best, “”The foundation of clean eating is choosing foods in their whole-food state or as close as possible to how they’re found in nature.” Michelle gets it.  Shout out to you, girl!

With that being said, I also kind of feel like “clean eating” is totes misleading and frankly, kind of BS. In fact, it just makes me think of the 20 somethings posting pics of themselves in their trendy work out gear, abs on full display, sipping or promoting some drink (usually green juice or an unnecessary protein shake). Girl, enjoy your 20s.  You’re still in the  “I can eat whatever I want” chapter of life. Just wait….

But in reality, eating clean doesn’t mean a thing. Now, before you get all fired up, hear me out. I am all for avoiding foods that are crazy high in sugar, sodium and or fat. And if you read any of my posts before, you know I hate juicing (particularly juice cleanses). I think you should definitely eat whole fruits and vegetables opposed to juicing them or blending them all up in a drink. We have TONS of science that shows chewing a food versus drinking it offers WAY more health benefits.  But, moving on, let’s talk about processed foods.

I was recently sipping wine at my friend’s house as she was making dinner for her kiddos. “Caroline, we only eat clean in this house. None of that processed stuff”. She said this as she sliced a few apples then, boiled some whole wheat pasta and heated up some sauce. I took a deep breath, topped off my glass of cab (priorities) and dropped some knowledge. Did you know slicing a fruit is processing it? By boiling pasta, you are technically processing the pasta. So avoided all “processed” foods is not only crazy, it’s very difficult to do.  Look, I am all for staying on the perimeter of the grocery store and avoiding extra junk. However, I have a strong passion to stopping those fear mongers (I’m looking at you Food Babe) and setting the record straight with all those trends in pop science.  Don’t even get me started on the “fewer ingredients means it’s healthier stupidity”.  The number of ingredients has NOTHING to do with a product’s nutritional value.  Marie, says it best.  (Marie, I adore you.)

Remember, nutrition is a SCIENCE, not an opinion. I have a dear friend who is also a RDN. She is gluten free due to her health issues. But, she educates her clients about whole grains and their benefits all day long. As a RDN, it is our job to educate and share science….not our opinions. So here is the science: the term clean eating isn’t defined. Eat your fruits and veggies. Drink your water and go workout.

 

 

 

Nutrition

Nuts for Nuts

September 7, 2016

“But they are so high in calories!!” this coming from my friend on her 3rd glass of chardonnay. Didn’t you hear? Fat is back! Nuts are totes the jam. High in protein, fiber and vitamins, nuts are lil nutrition powerhouses that are totally having a moment.

And, there is proof in the pudding too. The MIND Diet from the folks at Rush University in Chicago found that an ounce of nuts daily is associated with preventing early onset of dementia. In another study, researchers found that nut consumers can live 2-3 years more than non-nut consumers.

Ok, but back to this calorie situation. Yes, they are “nutrient dense” which is a nice way of saying you get a big bang for your buck.  Nuts are high in calories for their small serving size, in fact, nuts are 80% fat. But they contain good for you unsaturated fat. These fatty acids have heart protective benefits.   We know nut consumers have lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels in addition to reducing risk for blood clots. Heart healthy features:

  • Unsaturated fat
  • Omega 3s (heart protective fatty acid found in fish and IN NUTS!)
  • Fiber (this helps keep you full, keeps your GI tract moving and lowers your cholesterol levels)
  • Vitamin E (stops the build up of plaque)
  • Plant sterols (plant compound that lowers cholesterol levels)

But, before you go crazy on the salted mixed nuts at the bar, here are few things to remember.

  • Portion size matters! The serving size is ¼ cup. That is not a typo.
  • Avoid salted nuts.  This means additional sodium.
  • Avoid sugar coated nuts or candy coated nuts. This can lead to too many calories.
  • Stick to raw.

Almonds and walnuts, right? While almonds and walnuts are in center stage most of the time, any nut will do! Hazelnut, brazil nuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts are all fabulous choices.

The take home message for nuts: plant based protein that is full of good fat and will fill you up! Go nuts!

Nutrition

Detox Teas: add to cart or no?

August 25, 2016

So after my juice post, I got a message from a friend about detox teas.  (I also received messages about my language.  I promise to work on that.)  “Caroline, do detox teas work?” I didn’t know whether this was a joke or not.  I feel it’s noteworthy to say that this friend is super educated (lots of letters behind her name). It was not a joke.  This fool spent almost $100 on various detox teas that were undoubtedly promoted by idiot celebs (I’m look at you Kardashian clan) or fitness models who faces and hot bods are just on the ad.  (Sorry….having a flashback moment from when she asked about waist trainers.)

Are you sitting down? Ok, good. Detox teas, like juice cleanses, are bs.

Detox teas will not:

  • make you lose weight
  • increase your metabolism
  • decrease food cravings
  • cleanse your body

Detox teas will:

  • make you go to the bathroom more (lovely)
  • increase in cramps, gas, and nausea
  • empty your wallet
  • question your integrity for following diet advice from someone who became famous from a sex tape and her derrière

There is ZERO evidence to back up any claims with these teas.  And as mentioned before, your kidneys and liver already remove toxins from your body.  So, you are actually kind of set in that department.

What is in that tea?  An herbal laxative.  Have fun with that.

Want to “detox” and “clean up” your diet?  Try eating fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and lean protein.  Put down the wine bottle and pick up water.  You are smarter than this you guys!  If you like tea, try black, green, oolong, something with proven health benefits.  The only way to lose weight is watch what foods you are consuming and be active.  Plain and simple.

 

 

Nutrition

Why Juicing is SUCH bullshit

August 22, 2016

Juicing. The word makes me cringe. I can’t even. Like literally, can’t even. I see skinny, pretty bloggers posting pics of them sipping on their juice in their sports bra and yoga pants with a “link in profile” use discount code “Samantha”.

Y’all, unless your blogger friend Sammy is a registered dietitian nutritionist, pump the breaks. No, I am not tooting my own horn. But, seriously, would you ask your plumber for advice cardiac surgery? Hell no! You’d ask your cardiologist! Why on earth are you taking nutrition advice from someone is not properly educated on the subject?

Dietitians have their bachelors degree in clinical dietetics for accredited universities (none of this online mumbo jumbo). They complete a 1000-hour internship and pass national boards. Look for the credentialing to know you are working with THE nutrition expert. Not some “nutritionist’ who took an online course. Come on. You know better.

Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox. Back to juicing. Here’s why it is such crap:

  1. You have 2 organs whose primary job is to filter waste out: liver and kidneys. Literally, they remove toxins/waste 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no literature that supports you need an outside source to assist in waste removal.
  2. Juice cleanses are full of sugar. They are low in protein and other essential nutrients. Think about it: would you ever in one sitting eat pineapple, spinach, oranges, kale and celery? It’s too much food. Why would you drink it all at once? Research shows drinking you calories leads to less fullness.
  3. 1 green juice can have more calories and sugar than a candy bar. Why even?
  4. You are way better off actually consuming the fruit and or veggie whole. You get all the benefits of the fiber and there is more bioavailability of the vitamins and minerals.
  5. There is NO data that a “juice cleanse” can boost your metabolism. Not one peer reviewed, respected study is out there.

Is 1 green juice going to hurt you? No. What would be better? Eating the actual fruit and vegetable the way they come naturally. Don’t follow trends. Follow science. Trust the nutrition expert, a registered dietitian.