Posts from 2016-11

Detox Diets: What gives?

detox diet

 You have probably heard of or even tried a “detox diet”. It’s currently a popular trend in the world of nutrition. “Detoxing” describes a process that removes toxins from your body. Toxins is a pretty general term; it can mean byproducts of metabolism such as urea, the breakdown of medications, or you may even hear someone say they had a wild weekend and they need to “detox”.  The human body is fascinating because it has entire processes and organs dedicated to the removal of toxins. These organs and processes are at work all the time. Even so, your body can never remove 100% of all toxins in your body, but rather keeps them at a healthy and manageable level.

                In recent years, there has been an influx of diets and cleanses focusing on detoxing that has flooded the consumer market. These cleanses often focus on consuming nothing but juices for a certain period of time; this could be problematic for your body. These juices often contain no protein or fiber, and very little caloric content. Protein is necessary to perform a wide variety of metabolic processes and plays a large role in muscle health. Fiber helps maintain proper gastrointestinal health, lowering cholesterol, and managing blood sugar levels. And calories? We need quality calories to give us energy, and without enough calories it could lead to unhealthy weight loss.

 While juice cleanses aren’t the healthiest options, there are steps you can take to help your body along with its natural detoxing processes:

-          Stay well hydrated and aim for consuming between 5 and 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day

 -          Consume an adequate amount of fiber

 -          Eat a nice balance of cruciferous vegetables, berries, artichokes, garlic, onions, leeks, turmeric, and green tea. These foods have been suggested to support the body’s natural detoxification pathways

 -          Consume adequate protein to maintain optimum glutathione levels. This enzyme is critical to detoxification processes

 -          Consult your physician about taking a multivitamin. Certain vitamin and minerals enable metabolic processes that enhance detoxification

 -          Include some fermented foods in your well-balanced diet. Foods such as kefir, yogurt, kimchi, or sauerkraut help to manage toxins that flourish in gut bacteria 

For more information on detox and fad diets, please visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website: 

Tips to Stay Trim this Thanksgiving




Tips to Stay Trim this Thanksgiving

 The holiday season is almost in full swing as the arrival of Thanksgiving is this week.  For many, Thanksgiving begins the time of the three F’s: Family, Feasting and the beginning of not Fitting into our clothes.  Thanksgiving is a time to get together and be thankful for all the blessings that we have received in the past year.  It is tradition to celebrate this holiday with lots of good food including turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, pumpkin everything and lots of desserts. 

 For many individuals, Thanksgiving begins one of the biggest challenges of the year, which is controlling our portion sizes while maintaining our pant size.  Many give up their nutrition and fitness goals beginning in November due to time constraints and temptations; that’s not to say eating healthy and maintaining our weight can’t be accomplished during the holiday season.  Check out these tips below to help you stay trim:

 Baking and Cooking Tips

 -          Instead of butter, substitute equal parts of no-sugar-added applesauce

 -          Instead of whole or heavy cream, substitute low-fat or skim milk

 -          Use olive oil instead of butter when cooking dishes (even in your mashed potatoes)

 -          Use herbs and spices, like rosemary and cloves, to flavor dishes instead of salt and butter

 -          Instead of adding chocolate chips or candies, use dried fruit, like cranberries or cherries

 Lifestyle Tips

 -          Increase your physical activity over Thanksgiving and the holiday season to help defeat those extra calories

 -          Plan a walk or a friendly game of family football after or before each mealtime gathering

 -          Make sure to schedule some gym time for yourself daily during the holidays

 -          Try to keep stress to a minimum by planning ahead to help with time management

 -          Take time to relax with friends and family to decrease stress

 -          Get enough sleep during the holiday season (6-8 hours at least nightly)

 For other great tips on how to stay trim and eat heart healthy during the Thanksgiving holiday check out:

Sugar Hide and Seek

sugar cubes


The holidays can be a rough time if healthy eating and an active lifestyle are your goals. It’s getting colder out, and we just aren’t as inclined to get outside and get some exercise. Not to mention the two to three month stint of decadent meals and drinks that are at our fingertips as a means of celebration. Don’t get me wrong, I love this time of year. The cakes, the cookies, the pies…there’s nothing wrong with sampling a slice here and there, but if I am going to eat something sweet, I make a conscience effort to eat something sweet. But for a lot of folks, we eat things that have been sweetened with sugar and we aren’t even aware. Coffee and energy drinks, yogurt, frozen pizzas, even salad dressings can have a lot of sugar in them (personally, I would rather have a chocolate chip cookie to top off my meal versus a big spoonful of Ranch dressing as my dessert, how about you?).

 The trick here is to be discerning. Sugar goes by many different names in the food industry, such as agave, cane syrup, dextran, fruit juice concentrate, brown rice syrup, and the list goes on. There are about 57 different names for sugar that the manufacturer can list on the ingredients portion of a nutrition label.  And whatever the manufacturer chooses to call it, it’s still sugar. The World Health Organization recommends that an adult should only consume 25 grams of added sugars a day- this is about the equivalent of six teaspoons. If you drink one can of soda, you have already blown that 6 teaspoons recommendation out of the water.

 So how do we handle this? Reading the ingredient list on the products you are purchasing is a great start. Where’s the nutrition label located on a sweet potato, you ask? Good news, it doesn’t have one because it’s a whole food. When the World Health Organization is talking about 6 teaspoons of added sugar, they aren’t talking about the naturally occurring sugars in whole foods, only the sugars added in processed or packaged foods. And when we are reading those ingredient lists on those packaged or processed foods, the less ingredients the better. For example:

 Peanut Butter A                                                                                                      Peanut Butter B

                                                                                                                                 Ingredients: Peanuts and Salt.


The peanut butter on the left has sugar listed as the third ingredient, but what’s that listed in front of sugar? Corn Syrup Solids is also sugar, meaning that by volume sugar is the second and third ingredient…sneaky, huh?

Take home message? Don’t let your healthy efforts be waylaid by marketing tactics and wording that’s intended to sell food and not necessarily to keep you in good health. What are your solutions to avoid hidden sugars? Try this whole wheat flour banana bread recipe to satisfy that sweet tooth, courtesy of Cookie and Kate


Tips For Staying Healthy this Fall Continued

Fall Photo

Portion Control

             Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of fall! It is a time to visit with friends and family, the weather is just right, but most importantly you get to enjoy wonderful food! Thanksgiving begins the feasting season and if you’re not careful you may overeat on this day. Since this is a holiday, and it only comes once a year there is no need to deprive yourself. You just need to be conscious and go into the meal with a plan and stick to it. Below are some simple tips to help conquer portion control.

 1. Wait 15 minutes after finishing a meal and only return for seconds if you are still hungry

 2. Use plates with compartments so you don’t overfill your plate

 3.With dessert, either choose your absolute favorite dessert (I’m partial to red velvet cake) and get a small serving of that item or create a “sample plate” of small portions of different desserts

 4. Listen to your body and pause frequently during eating and when you feel full stop

 5. Drink water with your meals to save calories

 6. Finally, remember these following portion sizes tips

  •  3 ounces of lean meat = a deck of playing cards 
  • 1/2 cup of rice, pasta or potatoes = 1/2 a baseball 
  • 1 ounce of cheese = 1 domino
  • 1 teaspoon of butter = 1 dice 

Remember Your Mental Well Being:

 With the season change, it's also important to keep your mind healthy. Some people develop seasonal affective disorder, in which The Mayo Clinic describes as a “ type of depression that's related to changes in seasons.” This type of depression usually begins and ends about the same time of year for most people. This should be addressed with your physician if you feel like you may suffer from this condition. There are several treatment options; the first line of defense being light therapy in which a patient is exposed to light that mimics natural light, and this typically increases mood. If that proves ineffective your physician might consider various medications. There are also things that you can do to keep your mental well being healthy. For starters don’t stop doing the things you love whether it be reading, watching movies, hiking, drawing etc.. Another great way to increase your mood is to get outside and enjoy the beauty of the autumn season. So this fall stay warm, happy, and healthy.