Fresh topics and new ideas are a blogger’s best friend. Nutritiously Happy just turned one year old, which has caused me to ponder how to keep the content interesting and my articles short and sweet (a blog reader’s best friend). What I ended up with was a new venture called Dishin’ Dietitian.
People ask nutrition-related questions, I answer them. This system works for two reasons. First, I’m asked nutrition questions all the time from patients, friends, family and colleagues. While I may not always know the answer, I’m curious to explore and learn more about my chosen profession. The second reason this works is because my education in food science and experience in clinical dietetics has made me something of a ‘no nonsense dietitian.’ Like most registered dietitians, I focus on research and facts and ignore unsubstantiated claims. I’m also lucky to have access to informational resources, research journals and culinary professionals to help with the tough questions!
I will no longer be updating this blog. Please join me at Dishin Dietitian for a fun, easy to read nutrition blog, my new venture. So readers, after you…
One of the keys to staying healthy is limiting the amount of fast food and dining out in your diet. Fast food and restaurant meals tend to be high in fat and sodium and low in many important vitamins, minerals and fiber. Plus, aren’t home-cooked meals simply good for the soul?
Still, so many homemade foods can be unhealthy. Luckily, making meals at home provides the freedom to change recipes and substitute ingredients. Use these healthy recipe substitutions to keep your home-cooked meals (and home-baked desserts!) good for the body and soul.
A new study on exercise recovery highlights the importance of filling the ‘recovery window’ after exercise with carbohydrate and protein-containing supplement drinks. Prolonged bouts of strenuous activity triggers muscle breakdown, which causes soreness, discomfort and reduced performance in subsequent exercise sessions. Previous research has established that drinking certain beverages immediately and then again within a two hour window after exercise helps to minimize muscle damage and restore glucose to muscle cells.
This most recent study, from the Exercise Physiology and Metabolism Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin, had subjects cycle for 1.5 hours, then complete rapid interval training to deplete muscle glycogen stores. They were given one of three beverages – water, carbohydrate-only sports drink (such as Gatorade and Powerade) and commercially available chocolate milk – immediately after exercise and two hours after exercise.
Snacks are so important during the day to keep you energized and reduce temptation to overeat at meals. I strongly recommend eating something every 3-4 hours. For the majority of us who work during the day, this requires some creativity. My criteria for a good ‘office snack’ is:
contains protein (to keep you feeling full)
small and portable
safe at room temperature (unless you have an employee fridge on hand, in which case your options expand exponentially!)
Here are my top 10 favorite snacks that meet this criteria:
I recently visited Cleveland for the first time and fell in love with the West Side Market. The Market, which began in 1840, was overwhelming and glorious all at once. The produce section was my favorite – the colors and arrangements made for some awesome pictures.
Not pictured: the giant beef tongues and stuffed pigs for sale.
Also not pictured: the delicious chocolate-y/peanut butter-y/fruit crepes that we had for breakfast.
Out with the food pyramid, in with the food plate!
Check it out at choosemyplate.gov. It’s very similar to the Plate Method, which I described before.
P.S. Quick shout-out to the bf, the healthiest-eating guy I know. He made me dinner last week that was delicious, healthy, and followed the plate method! Apologies for the poor photo quality (right).
I love teaching classes and seminars on nutrition. The Q&A portion at the end is the most interesting part of a seminar for me, because I get to hear what messages are being sent to, and internalized by, the public. I think it’s important to know what messages are out there so dietitians can confirm and/or dispel these myths.
Photo courtesy of Chiot's Run (Flickr)
I was recently asked to talk about coconut oil, as the audience member had noticed a large increase in virgin coconut oils at her health food store. Coconut oil is apparently following in the footsteps of the coconut water fad (click here for an excellent review of coconut water by super-RD Janet Helm).
Effective nutrition communications can be crucial to the success of a brand. One shining example is the emerging darling of the dairy industry – Chobani Greek Yogurt. Chobani has branded itself as the country’s leading healthy, all-natural yogurt brand. Their slogan, “Nothing but good,” refers to both the taste and nutritional information of the products. Chobani has used nutrition-savvy marketing and social media to make it one of the top yogurt brands, and biggest selling Greek yogurt brand, in the country.
I get contacted by a lot of people asking to promote their products or services. By and large, I like to keep this blog unbiased and endorsement-free.
One recent email got my attention, though. It was for a new website called Two Foods. It is an apples-to-oranges comparison of any two foods that you can think of (included in their database). It is useful, especially for people who like visuals and side-by-side comparisons. Keep in mind, though – the nutrient information is based on 100 grams of each food. When I typed in walnuts, it listed 654 calories! Of course, 100 grams of walnuts is not an appropriate serving size. Something to keep in mind.
Antioxidants in berries may help protect against cancer
We know that healthy lifestyles play a role in cancer prevention. However, we hear considerably less about the role of nutrition in individuals after the cancer diagnosis. Maintaining good nutritional status and strength is critical during treatment. And for the growing number of cancer survivors, making healthy lifestyle changes may prevent other secondary conditions, such as cardiovascular disease.
When a patient is diagnosed with cancer and begins treatment, they may experience difficulty eating, enjoying food or maintaining a healthy body weight. Certain types of cancer may make individuals be more prone to nutrition complications. For example, individuals with head and neck cancer may develop swallowing difficulties, while those with stomach, esophageal, intestinal or pancreatic cancer may exhibit a disinterest in food, cachexia and decreased taste sensation. Method of treatment also may affect nutritional status by impairing food intake or reducing the pleasure of eating.
Good article. Wish I had written it myself! The author talks about the times that we tend to overeat, and offers some excellent solutions for healthier choices.
1. Steal ideas from others. Get tips, advice and encouragement from those that have been successful with permanent lifestyle changes. Read as much information from credible sources (books, magazines and the internet) as possible. Be sure to avoid anything that promises quick and easy results or sounds like a fad diet. You want something that will be successful in 6 months and 6 years from now.
2. Be selfish. Everyone has different challenges and ways to overcome them. Be honest with yourself about your own triggers, your past struggles and your hopes for the future. Put aside judgment and focus solely on yourself and your well-being. Part of healthy lifestyle change is learning to put you first. Make a nice dinner for yourself, even if nobody else is home. Ask your husband to watch the kids while you go for a walk. Plan an extra 30 minutes at the grocery store, unhurried, to read food labels and become familiar with your foods.
3. Break the rules. Traditional diet rules tell you to avoid sweets and treats. Forget it! A well-rounded diet allows for all foods in portion-controlled amounts. You shouldn’t have to give up your favorite items or feel deprived. Break those age-old diet rules and allow yourself to enjoy all foods in a balanced, portion-conscious way.
Stealing tips and ideas, occasionally being selfish and breaking traditional diet rules can be the key to good health!