RD Opinions


Tired of making the same meals over and over? Tired of not knowing what to cook? Tired of wasting money on groceries you don't use and eating out for lack of planning?  Tired of wondering if what you are cooking is healthy? Let me do the work for you. You will be ensured that your meals are well balanced, healthy, packed full of antioxidant rich veggies and easy to prepare. In fact, there are typically a handful of slow cooker meals each week. Following is a sample week. If you are interested please email or call me. This service is $32 a month-just $8 each week (less than the cost of taking your family to fast food only one time!)  

Week 1
  1. Marinated Pork Chops, Roasted Asparagus and
    Roasted Red Potatoes
  2. Asian Pasta Salad
  3. Mexican Beef Shredded Tacos w/ Sauteed Cabbage
  4. Parmesan Chicken, Sauteed Kale and Brown Rice
  5. Gemelli Pasta w/ Tomatoes, Olive and Ricotta and Salad
  6. OUT
  7. Shrimp Pasta w/ Broccoli
1 1/2 cups fresh snow peas, 1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, 1 1/2 heads green cabbage, 1 bunch asparagus, lettuce or pre-mixed salad greens, 2 lemons, 1 garlic bulb, 1 bunch Italian parsley, grape tomatoes, fresh basil (or dried), red potatoes, 6 Roma tomatoes, 4 shallots, 1 jalapeno, 1 zucchini, 1+ head broccoli, 1 bunch kale (YES, you CAN eat it:))
eggs, Parmesan cheese (the REAL stuff), unsalted butter, low fat ricotta cheese 
1-3 pound chuck roast, chicken breasts, 8 pork chops
Whole wheat spaghetti, corn tortillas, short grain brown rice, whole wheat bread OR seasoned bread crumbs, whole wheat gemelli pasta, whole wheat angel hair pasta
Corn (optional), pre-cooked shrimp
Yoshida's Gourmet Sauce, low sodium soy sauce, 1 can mandarin oranges, 1 small can pineapple tidbits, sesame seeds, slivered almonds, 1 can black beans, prepared salsa (runny is best), cumin, 1 package fajita mix, whole wheat flour, olive oil, salad dressing of choice, sun dried tomatoes, red wine vinegar, capers, kalamata olives, canola oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic salt
Marinated Baked Pork Chops
1.5 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons canola oil
1.5 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1.5 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons ketchup
8 pork chops, trimmed
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a small bowl, thoroughly blend soy sauce, vegetable oil, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, and ketchup.
3. Place pork chops in a medium baking dish, and spread with 1/2 the sauce.
4. Bake pork chops 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Turn, and spread with remaining sauce. Continue baking 30 minutes, or until internal temperature of the chops has reached 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).
Roasted Asparagus
2 lbs asparagus
Olive oil
Garlic salt to taste (~ 7 shakes)
2 Tbls lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Break off the tough ends of the asparagus and, if they’re thick, peel them. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, then toss to coat the asparagus evenly. Spread the asparagus in a single layer and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
3. Roast the asparagus for 15-20 minutes, until tender but crisp
Roasted Red Potatoes
3 lbs red potatoes
¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbls minced garlic (6 cloves)
2 Tbls minced fresh parsley
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic; toss until the potatoes are well coated.
3. Dump the potatoes on a baking sheet and spread out into one layer; roast in the oven for at least 1 hour, or until browned and crisp.
4. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking to ensure even browning.
5. Remove the potatoes from the oven, toss with the minced parsley, season to taste, and serve.
Asian Pasta Salad
1 pound Whole wheat pasta
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 chicken breasts
Yoshida’s Gourmet Sauce (in the Asian section)
Bunch of fresh cilantro
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 can Mandarin oranges, drained
1 small can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 ½ cups fresh snow peas
1 cup shredded cabbage
2 Tbls. sesame seeds
½ cup slivered almonds
For dressing:
Newman's Own Lighten Up Sesame Ginger Dressing
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and mix with sou sauce and cool in fridge.
2. Sauté chicken breasts in a fry pan with Yoshida sauce.. Once cooked (no longer pink inside), shred chicken with two forks and toss with pasta.
3. Add everything to the pasta, except the seeds and the almonds (they get soggy if added before serving).
4. Pour dressing sparingly over salad and add sesame seeds and almonds.
6. Flavor with salt and pepper.
Mexican Shredded Beef Tacos
2-3 lb roast
2 cups black beans
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
½ cup runny salsa
½ tsp. cumin
2 packages Fajita mix
Corn tortillas
Shredded green cabbage
1. Mix all together and cook in cock pot for 8-10 hours on low.
2. Serve as taco filling with corn tortillas. STUFF with onions, lettuce, tomatoes, etc.
Sautéed cabbage
2 small head cabbage
4 Tbls butter
1 Tbls kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1. Cut the cabbages in half and, with the cut-side down, slice it as thinly as possible around the core, as though you were making coleslaw.
2. Discard the core.
3. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage, kosher salt, and pepper and sauté for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender and begins to brown. Finish with another sprinkling of salt if desired. Serve hot.
Parmesan Chicken
6 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup whole wheat flour (or mix ½ white and ½ whole wheat)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cup seasoned dry bread crumbs (or you can make your own by putting whole wheat bread in your food processor until crumbly)
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
unsalted butter
olive oil
6-12 cups salad greens
Lemon Dressing:
1.4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
½ cup olive oil
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp pepper
1. Pound the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper until they are ¼ inch thick.
2. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate.
3. On a second plate, beat the eggs with one Tbls water.
4. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and ½ cup parmesan cheese. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread crumb mixture, pressing lightly.
5. Heat 1 Tbls butter and 1 Tbls oil in a large sauté pan and cook 2-3 chicken breasts on a medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes on each side, until cooked through.  Add more butter and oil and cook the remaining chicken breasts.
6. Toss the salad green with the lemon dressing (lightly). Place salad on serving plate and chicken breast on top.
Brown rice (short grain)
See package instructions.
Sauteed Kale
1 bunch kale
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbls olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
1. Heat oil in medium saucepan. Cook onion until softened, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
2. Meanwhile, clean and prepare kale. Pull leaves off of stalk and discard thick ribbing. Slice kale in thin strips.
3. Add kale to pan. Cook, stirring frequently until kale has wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
Gemelli w/ Tomatoes, Olives and Ricotta
Coarse salt
8 ounces gemelli (or fusilli or penne)
¼ to ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
10 sun-dried tomatoes, dried
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
2 teaspoons salt-packed capers, rinsed
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/3 cup fresh basil, torn
Fresh ricotta cheese, for serving
1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet, and refrigerate 10 minutes.
2. Pulse sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, capers, and garlic in a food processor. With machine running, add oil in a slow, steady stream, and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Toss together pasta, sun-dried-tomato vinaigrette, grape tomatoes, olives, basil, and salt. Transfer to serving plates. Top with a scoop of ricotta, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with pepper.
Shrimp Pasta
1 bag pre-cooked frozen shrimp (pre-cooked costco shrimp.)
6 Roma Tomatoes, seeded and cut into diamonds
6 cloves of garlic
4-6 shallots finely diced
2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
2 Zucchini, diced
Olive Oil
½ cup Flat Leaf Parsley
¾ cup Parmesan cheese
2 pounds pasta, angle hair or linguini
1. Cook pasta according to the package directions. While the pasta is cooking do the following:
2. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and add shallots, garlic and jalapenos. Sauté for 1-2 minutes and then add zucchini. Continue to sauté until the vegetables are softened.
3. Add your frozen shrimp and toss to coat. As the shrimp cooks (or thaws as they are already pre-cooked), they will release a lot of liquid. Continue tossing until the shrimp are hot all the way through. Add sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
4. Once your pasta is done, drain and return to the pan you cooked it in. Pour all of your shrimp/shallots/tomatoes/garlic/zucchini over the top, add the rest of the tomatoes, and toss in the chopped parsley.
5. Toss everything to coat the pasta in the pan juices and to distribute all the ingredients. Plate the pasta in nice tall mounds in the center of a warm dinner plate, adorned with parmesan cheese.
Sautéed Broccoli
2 lb. fresh broccoli
6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cut the broccoli into individual florets. Cut stems into pieces roughly the same size as the florets.
2. Place broccoli in large pot, and bring to boil in salted water to cover. Reduce heat and simmer 3-4 minutes until broccoli is just crisp-tender.
3. Drain thoroughly.
4. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook garlic for 1 minute. Add the drained broccoli and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until broccoli is glazed and tender. Sprinkle with lemon juice, salt, and pepper and serve.

Easter Candy Hangover

Are any of you suffering from the gorge of Easter candy yesterday? Or are you still enjoying and waiting to deal with the "aftermath" later? If you don't have the willpower to just throw it in the trash, try the following...before you can eat a piece, bite, etc. of candy, drink 32 ounces of water. You will either be going to the bathroom A LOT (which has its own benefits) and/or you will curb some of your candy eating desire and save yourself a lot of work later (aka- exercise). Try it, it works.

The Tortilla Debate

Corn or flour? White versus whole wheat? I get a lot of questions about this. Here's the deal. Corn is a whole grain. If you read the label on a corn tortilla package, the main (and usually only) ingredient is corn. The corn is harvested and ground, period. When it comes to flour tortillas, common sense dictates that whole wheat is MUCH better for you than white flour. HOWEVER, you will be hard pressed to find a whole wheat flour tortilla that does not contain a hydrogenated oil of some sort. If this term is new to you, just know that the ingredient does horrific things in your body. You don't want to ingest it in any form if avoidable (check out your graham cracker label, favorite cracker, some breads, etc. for extra shock value.) There are whole wheat flour tortillas that DO NOT contain hydrogenated fats, but they are few and far between. Thus, your best bet is a white or yellow corn tortilla. Added benefits beyond eating a whole grain, include lower calories and carbohydrates...you can eat 3 corn tortillas (although you only NEED 2 at MAXIMUM) for the same damage as 1 flour tortilla-enough said. And...if you are a true connoisseur of tacos, let's just be honest, corn tastes better (in my humble opinion!). If you are inexperienced at using corn tortillas and they just crack down the middle when you use them, try the following techniques until you find one that works for you.
1. Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat and spray with a non-stick cooking spray. Place tortilla in pan and heat, flipping to the other side when the tortilla is warm and pliable.
2. Wrap them in foil and heat them in the oven at 350 degrees.
3. Warm them over an open flame of a gas range, one at a time. When they are done, quickly place them in a pre-prepared foil packet to maintain warmth.
4. Wrap them in a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds on high (although quick, not the best option as far as maintaining quality.)
5. Place 6 tortillas at a time on a baking sheet and pop them under the broiler, a few inches away from the heat. Turn at about 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from heat and keep them wrapped up in foil until ready to use.

In Defense of Fruit

Your kids love them (and you may too), they beg for them, you deny that you buy them, you limit them to only one a day, etc. etc. I've heard (and seen) it all. I've even heard (on SEVERAL occasions) that "they are made with 100% fruit juice" which apparently makes them okay? If you haven't figured out what devilish food I am writing about it is the ever popular proverbial fruit snack, also known as fruit roll-ups, fruit by the foot, etc. You know, the ones that come in all shapes and sizes, characters, flavors, organic and not, etc.? Would any of you knowingly feed your child a Tablespoon of sugar? Even it was "organic?" Several times a day? Probably not, yet somehow, we figure it's okay to throw one or several bags of fruit snacks at our children on a daily basis. Sheesh!

The top 3 ingredients in these attractively colored buggers are sugar, sugar and sugar..."Ingredients: CORN SYRUPSUGARWHITE GRAPE JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE"Organic or not, 100% fruit juice or not (by the way, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 4 oz --1/2 cup--of juice daily and notes one study that found a link between juice intake in excess of 12 oz/d --only 1 1/2 cups--and obesity. Yikes!) a fruit snack is a fruit snack and not the best choice for your tot. Try a REAL -WHOLE- YUMMY piece of fruit instead, or a 100% fruit leather in a pinch.

So, here is my challenge to you. Have a fruit snack eviction. Right NOW. It's not like your child will never have the opportunity to indulge again-you know his friends have them and they will probably still have several packs a week, just not from your pantry. If you want to create a healthy lifestyle and habits for your family, start now, do this. If you don't, what's to stop your future adolescent and adult child from sipping back 44 oz of soda every day and munching on candy bars between meetings? Food habits, just like all the rest of 'em, start now.


When I first explain to people that it is NOT normal to feel bloated, fatigued, etc. on a regular basis they are shocked (which always shocks me in turn:)) So, for those of you who do feel any of the above on a regular basis - GOOD news - YOU have complete control to change it. What a relief right? The first place to focus is on fluid. Fluid comes, unfortunately, in many forms these days (soda, energy drinks, juice, gatorade, fancy coffee drinks, just to name a few.) Many, okay ALL, of these options are calorie dense (NOT GOOD) and largely nutrient deficient (NOT GOOD EITHER.) For inquiring minds, even Gatorade, the "drink me after you've worked out really hard" and "I'll buy this for my son's soccer team" drink contains high fructose corn syrup. Yikes! So, you may ask, what exactly should I be drinking? Water (and 2-3 cups milk/day.) I know, it's simple and unexciting, but it is basic, and if you are ever in question of what to eat or not, stick to the basics. More often than not, you will guess correctly. I recommend you aim for 80+ ounces of water a day for the average woman and 100+ if you are the average man. There is no study that I am aware of that touts the benefits of drinking "x" glasses of water a day. There are however, lots of equations and guesses as to how much is appropriate. I've come up with my number based on lots of experience. It works for me and for those that listen to me.:) The great thing about water is that it fills space in your stomach, it keeps you hydrated (so that you don't confuse dehydration with hunger) and it also makes your workout more efficient (did you know that if you are as little as 2% dehydrated you are 10% less efficient in your workout?!) When you are drinking water consistently you are more than likely also adopting other healthy behaviors, such as drinking less of the "other fluids", moving more, sitting less, eating a healthier breakfast, etc. Healthy habits go hand in hand.

I learned how to be an efficient water drinker early on. For as long as I can remember, every morning my mom has filled up a quart jar by the kitchen sink and drinks it before she leaves breakfast. She then continues to fill it up 1-2 more times during the day. Other ideas to fill up include drinking a 32 ounce bottle on the way to work, one during work and one on the way home (96 ounces) OR lining up 5 regular water bottles on your kitchen counter or desk at night and drinking them throughout the next day, making sure to restock the next night. For me, many days it just comes down to making myself do it, just like flossing or changing the oil. Some things just need to be done whether we like it or not.

If you have felt motivated to change in the past, or do now but are not sure where to start (a VERY common feeling), start with this. If you are a 1 cup a day type of person, make your goal 2 cups (that's a 100% increase!), if you drink 4 cans of coke a day, make your goal to drink only 2 cans a day, etc. etc. Make small changes...they really do add up.

Antioxidant PowerHouse

Today at the gym, I was stopped by a friend who likes to pick my brain. He is a fanatic runner…has run too many marathons to count, runs LOTS of miles every week, etc. This was our conversation:
Him: “So, I’ve recently been eating a lot of fruit and vegetables like you told me to.”
Me: “And...”(I could tell there was more coming)
Him: “I ran 50 miles last weekend. I ran the Salt Lake City marathon twice.” (told you he was crazy)
Me: “That’s amazing. And… (I could still tell there was more coming)
Him: “I’m not sore at all. I had a massage yesterday and my massage therapist told me there was no way I had run 50 miles as I had no knots, etc.”
Me: “That, my dear friend (okay, I didn’t really say that partJ) is the beauty of antioxidants.”

Antioxidants are responsible for making you feel good at a cellular level. They are the powerful proponents of cellular repair (GOOD) and free radical death (also GOOD.) Oxidation and therefore free radical development (BAD) happens from lots of things…smoking, pollution, exercise, sun exposure, etc. Oxidation leads to free radical production which leads to cellular damage which is linked to all kinds of disease.

Okay, so enough of the science. If you are interested in practical application-do/eat the following as OFTEN as possible (as they are known for their high antioxidant potential.)

1. Kale (you can slice it into salads, mix into a smoothie, sauté in olive oil and garlic, add to soups, etc.) 
2. Broccoli3. Cabbage, any color or variety
4. Red bell peppers5. Beets (if you think you don’t like these, try them fresh and/or roasted)
6. Pomegranate (seeds or 100% juice)
7. Prunes
8. Blueberries
9. BlackberriesStrawberriesRaspberries10. All other fruits and vegetables

Cracker Shmacker

I had a request for a 'crackers for kids post'-here goes. However...keep in mind that anything that is good for you is great for your kids and vice versa. So, more than a 'crackers for your kids post', this is a 'crackers for you' post. The ingredients that you need to keep an eye out for when perusing crackers labels include enriched wheat flour, wheat flour, unbleached or bleached flour, the word "hydrogenated" in any form, and high fructose corn syrup.

A+ Crackers = All Bran Crackers, Kashi TLC Crackers and Kashi TLC Party Crackers (actually, anything "Kashi" gets an A+ in my book except for the Nutrigrain bar knockoffs which don't appeal to me), Mary's Gone Crackers, and Multi Grain Crackers (rice crackers currently selling at Costco).

B Crackers = Special K Crackers (whole wheat flour is #1 ingredient, but enriched flour is#2), Blue Diamond Nut Thins (YUM!)

B- Crackers = "Organic" Animal Crackers (from Costco)-just because I know you love them as much as I do...organic (which can be overrated) sources of flour and sugar and NO hydrogenated fats as in graham crackers.

Gluten free crackers are generally a good option for a "healthier" choice as they are wheat free and therefore "enriched flour" free and usually rely on lesser known or lesser eaten flavors. Don't be scared of fat in a cracker if its source is a healthy one (i.e. whole grains, seeds, nuts, etc.)
Unfortunately, these healthier options will cost you a little more. BUT remember...you are paying now for prevention of diabetes, obesity, Alzheimers, autoimmune diseases, etc.

There are obviously other A+ and B crackers that are not listed here. The above is just a list of the ones I have seen, use and typically recommend.

I'll Admit It

I really enjoy watching Dr. Oz.  I find many of his topics and theories interesting, although not always factual.  But, when I happen to be at the gym at 10am, I find myself more often than not, choosing a long cardio session (one hour to be exact) in front of the bank of televisions instead of another form of exercise that might be more efficient.  Even reading the closed captions doesn't bother me.  And that's saying something.  A recent guest spoke about different foods to boost immunity, one of them being kale.  My heart swooned when I read "kale" over the captions.  My already almost favorite vegetable, I call it the "God of vegetables" to my clients, jumped up a notch higher on my list.  The guest said she eats kale every day (wow! I have  new goal) and enjoys it in a kale, apple and avocado salad.  So, tonight, I made my own version.  This was made better by the fact that my Costco recently started carrying organic baby kale.  Much more palatable than the brittle variety you find at most grocery stores.

67 g kale (about 3 loose cups)
1/4 pink lady apple, diced
1/2 avocado, diced
1/3 cup kidney beans (needed to hit my fiber goal today)
3 Tbls homemade balsamic vinegar dressing (~1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, ~1/2-3/4 cup olive oil, 1/2-1 garlic clove, ~2 tsp dijon mustard and salt/pepper to taste - blend in magic bullet or blender.  Add more oil/vinegar to taste and/or if the dressing is a thick goop)

I STRONGLY suggest you try it.  You'll thank me.  After consumption, you can feel great about yourself, knowing that you made a high antioxidant, fiber and anti-inflammatory choice.  What more could you ask for?

Non New Years Resolution

It is only a dew days until many of our friends and family (including us) will choose and make a commitment to themselves, their partners, their family, their God, their earth, etc. to be better and improve themselves and the world around them. It is only a few weeks (or months for the ultra committed) before these well sought-out promises are forgotten or embarrassingly hidden or pushed aside. This phenomenon is all too common in today's world. Since the majority of these commitments, or I'll just way it, "New Year Resolutions" will be health related, I feel obligated to share the following with you. I recently read this Manifesto, and it said most everything I have to say, but in a much more eloquent and concise way. "Being healthy is a revolutionary act", or so you read at revolutionaryact.com. I couldn't agree more. Here are the ten ways or statements about our current society and ways to "thrive in a mixed-up world" (the quick version, but you REALLY should read the entire article).

1. The Way We Are Living is Crazy
2. There are Powerful Social, Economic and Political Forces Undermining our Health
3. The Time for Complicity is Over
4. The Resistance is Alive and Well
5. Being Healthy is a Revolutionary Act
6. This is Not About Six-Pack Abs and Skinny Jeans
7. Inaction is Not an Option
8. The Best Defense is a Good Offense
9. Forget About Quick Fixes
10. Solutions in the Mirror May Be Closer Than They Appear

If I haven't convinced you to read the Manifesto yet, maybe this will...

"Experts predict that in less than two decades, more than 85 percent of our population will be considered overweight or obese, with one in every six healthcare dollars spent on costs directly related to that epidemic."


"One out of two men, and one out of three women, will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes."


"In terms of overall well-being and life satisfaction, recent psychological research by Barbara Fredrickson, PhD, et al., shows only about 20 percent are thriving. The remaining 80 percent appear to be just getting by, or “living lives of quiet despair.”

So, stand up and be counted. Join the Revolution for YOUR health.  Take it slow or fast, do a lot or do a little, but DO SOMETHING. Good luck!

Don't Like It

This week as I waited for new tires to be installed on my old truck (sigh), I strolled through the aisles of Costco, determined not to purchase anything. I was successful, but that is beside the point. As I was wasting an hour of time, I was walking down the drink aisle. I passed a young dad pushing a cart with a one year old sitting quietly in the seat of the cart. At first, I thought he was speaking a different  language (than the one I speak) and teaching his son the names of the different soda beverages. Interesting, I thought. Typical, I thought. BUT, I was pleasantly surprised. As I moved closer to the dad in question, I heard him repeating the following statement. "Don't like it, don't like it, don't like it" as he moved from one type of soda to the next. Every once in a while he would change the statement to, "Like it, but don't drink it" and so-on. It was classic. I had to comment, which I did. I was so proud of this man I didn't know. Take note parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, guardians, etc.

The Power of Example

This fruit platter may be spotted on a certain pod on a certain surgical floor at a certain Salt Lake valley hospital on any given day of the week, weekday or weekend. It is provided courtesy of a special group of nurses. This group of nurses have kept their eyes open. They have noticed that one of their favorite and well respected surgeons has been making some lifestyle changes. They have noticed that he no longer moves from post surgical patient to patient wtih diet coke and donut in hand, but that he sports a bottle of water and a piece of fruit or carrot sticks. They have noticed his increased energy and slimmer waistline. They have not heard him preaching his new lifestyle or commenting on his new appearance and lease on life. They have only observed. His example has been powerful. Not only are they now obliging him with healthy "treats", but they are providing a healthier working environment for themselves and their co-workers. They are making small positive healthy changes in their own lives because of another. This example is one of my clients....makes a dietitian so proud.
Never underestimate the power that you have to influence others - for good or for bad.


For the last several years, essential fatty acids have been all the rage, and deservingly so. It may seem that at every turn, it is being recommend to you to eat fish 2-3 times/week, take fish oil supplements, etc. Well, there is a reason and if you are unsure of exactly what it is, here is my watered-down explanation.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are those that are required by our bodies (read "essential"), but that our bodies do not produce. We must get them from an outside source. You typically hear them referred to as omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9. Many, many years ago, attaining them from our diet was a non-issue as our paleolithic counterparts had a diet that was nutrient rich. In fact, I think it's safe to assume that everything they consumed was nutrient dense. There were no fruit snacks, ice cream cones, processed sugars, soda, etc. etc. Skip forward a few hundred thousand years and what do we have? All of the above. And what do we consume? All of the above.

The typical American diet is very rich in omega-6's and omega-9's, but not so rich in omega-3's. Omega-3's are the EFAs that are considered to be ANTI-inflammatory. "Anti" meaning against and inflammation, well you know what that means...really deleterious effects in your body. Omega-3's have a slew of positive effects in the human body, including...

1. improved cardiovascular health and reduced risk factor for heart disease
2. improved asthma control
3. management of cholesterol and triglycerides
4. decreased joint tenderness, morning stiffness and pain index in those with Rheumatoid Arthritis
5. relieves symptoms associated with Crohn's disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
6. reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia

They MAY provide the following effects...
7. reduce the risk or severity of depression
8. enhance mood and brain speed in healthy people
9. slow the progression of osteoarthritis
10. help prevent some of the adverse effects of diabetes from oxidation, inflammation and hypertension to kidney, nerve and blood-vessel damage

Sounds good right? Are you on board by now? So, essentially, omega-3's are your friend and you want to be well stocked.

Omega-6's on the other hand, while still considered to be "essential" and needed in some quantity, are considered to be PRO-inflammatory. So, in a nutshell, they promote inflammation, which by the way, is at the root of every chronic disease.

In paleolithic times, the typical diet was 1:1. One part omega-6 to one part omega-3 or one part pro-inflammatory to one part anti-inflammatory. Well, todays ratio has changed quite a bit. The typical U.S. diet is 16:1, or 16 parts pro-inflammatory to 1 part anti-inflammatory. Aghhhh!!! So, basically, unless you eat VERY clean and eat cold-water fish 3-4 times each week, you don't stand a chance of having enough omega-3 in your system unless you supplement. Also, trans fats (anything "hydrogenated"), which the American diet is rich in, decrease the amount of omega-3 available for human metabolism.

Flax and fish oil are both sources of omega-3, HOWEVER, (stay with me) when you consume flax oil, you are consuming an omega-3 in alpha-linoleic form. There is nothing wrong with this, except that it needs to go through a long conversion process internally until it reaches the usable form of an omega-3, DHA. Fish oil (from fish or supplement) is in the form of DHA right when you consume it. The other issue with relying on flax as your sole source of omega-3 is that the long conversion process it goes through, requires certain enzymes to complete the progression. Well, those same enzymes are used by omega-6's. And, if you recall, our diet is FULL of omega-6's. So, if there's a competition between weakly omega-3's and overpowering omega-6's, who do you think is going to win power of the enzymes? That's right, the overpowering, pro-inflammatory omega-6's. So while I won't tell you to not consume flax in your diet (good nutrient dense food), I will tell you to make sure you are also doing the fish oil thing.

And...as a side note, make sure you don't heat flax. Heating flax oil or flaxseeds or flaxmeal deteriorates it beneficial properties. So, stick with using the oil in salad dressings and add flaxmeal to oatmeal, etc. AFTER it's been cooked.

So, what is my recommendation??? Below are the recommendations from the American Heart Association. Again, even if you are a "patient without documented CHD" and you are not following the recommendation to EAT your fish, please supplement instead. Also, note that EPA and DHA are both forms of omega-3. Your bottle will have a breakdown of each on the back. Several people have valid concerns about mercury, etc. in supplemental fish oil. As of 2005, there had been roughly over 11,000 studies performed with the use of fish oil. This is not your typical supplement that is not well researched or fact-driven. Because of the large interest in this particular supplement, most companies do a pretty good job of regulation (and I wouldn't personally be worried) AND the oils used typically come from small fish, sardines, etc. These are at the bottom of the food chain, therefore mercury levels in these fish are low compared to tile-fish, tuna, etc. If you are still worried, choose a brand from really pure waters, like Nordic Naturals or nordicnaturals.com. I currently take the DHA supplement that comes with my prenatal, my husband is finishing off our stock of omega-3's from LifeTime Fitness and my son takes the kids Nordic Natural version. It is liquid and strawberry flavored. A lot of kids I work with like the Coromega brand as well (a flavored gel-like consistency)-they will send you a free sample from their website.
Summary of Recommendations for Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake
Patients without documented coronary heart disease (CHD)
Eat a variety of (preferably fatty) fish at least twice a week. Include oils and foods rich in alpha-linolenic acid (flaxseed, canola and soybean oils; flaxseed and walnuts).
Patients with documented CHD
Consume about 1 g of EPA+DHA per day, preferably from fatty fish. EPA+DHA in capsule form could be considered in consultation with the physician.
Patients who need to lower triglycerides
2 to 4 grams of EPA+DHA per day provided as capsules under a physician’s care.
Patients taking more than 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids from capsules should do so only under a physician’s care. High intakes could cause excessive bleeding in some people.

The Dirty Dozen

No, I am not talking about socks or donuts....but about fruits and veggies. Plenty of people question my opinion on "organic" food. This is a tough question as the term "organic" is not well regulated and therefore, sometimes you can shell out beaucoup bucks for a product that is not worth it. Buying organic is generally best, BUT, who can really afford it for every product? Okay, maybe you can, but I can't. So, I have a personal hierarchy of buying organic, steroid and hormone free, etc. Here it is.
#1: Organic milk, or milk from steroid and hormone free cows (I use Winder.)
#2: Buy your own beef. Literally, select a steer for purchase, usually raised by independent local farms, and or by local 4H programs. It is a deal...I think my cow works out to an average of $1.97-2.21 per pound. This is for steaks, roasts and ground beef. Cheaper than Costco. Deep intake of breath, I know. You can also rest assured that it is free range (meaning exactly what it sounds like) and grass fed - just like they are intended to be (in my opinion.) No hormones, steroids, antibiotics, etc.
#3: Eggs. Make sure that they carry the "USDA" symbol. It's a tiny circle that is white and green. There are LOTS of claims with eggs-cage free, omega-3 enriched, vegetarian fed, etc. Again, to ensure truth in labeling for any or all of these claims, look for the symbol.
#4: Produce. The U.S Department of Agriculture found that even after washing, some fruits and
vegetables consistently carry much higher levels of pesticide residue than others. Based on an analysis of more than 100,000 U.S. government pesticide test results, researchers at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a research and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., have developed the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables, above, that they say you should always buy organic, if possible, because their conventionally grown counterparts tend to be laden with pesticides. They cost about 50 percent more — but are well worth the money.
  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Grapes, imported (Chili)
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
No need to go organic with these foods (based on the above info/analysis.) They don't generally contain pesticide residue.
  • Bananas
  • Kiwi
  • Mangos
  • Papaya
  • Pineapples
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn
  • Onions
  • Peas

Please Say You Haven't

It is Saturday, September 26th. The candy holiday is officially thirty-five days away. Please say you haven't already indulged in the smartly packaged "snack-size" candy bars that are littering the aisles at the grocery store. You have? Really?  Okay, all is not lost. Do as I tell you. Throw is out...now...if you have to pull a Miranda from Sex and the City, open each tiny package of sugar and pour dish-washing detergent over it. Do what you have to, but get it out. Okay...do you feel better now? Believe me, you will on November 1st when you step on the scale. Halloween is one day, not a month. And, so I challenge you to purchase your neighborhood treats on Saturday morning...the one that is 35 days away.

Vitamin D for Kids

In the recently published edition of "PEDIATRICS" (Vol. 124 No. 3 September 2009, pp. e362-e370 (doi:10.1542/peds.2009-0051), there is an interesting article about Vitamin D deficiency in US children. I'd like to pass it on, so that many of you can get on the stick. :)
OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) deficiency and associations between 25(OH)D deficiency and cardiovascular risk factors in children and adolescents.

METHODS: From a nationally representative sample of children aged 1 to 21 years, Vitamin D was measured to determine deficiency and insufficiency and associated cardiovascular risk factors.

RESULTS: Overall, 9% of the pediatric population, representing 7.6 million US children and adolescents, were 25(OH)D deficient and 61%, representing 50.8 million US children and adolescents, were 25(OH)D insufficient. Only 4% had taken 400 IU of vitamin D per day for the past 30 days (this is the current American Academy of Pediatric recommendation.)

After multivariable adjustment,
 those who were older girlsnon-Hispanic blackor Mexican-American compared with non-Hispanic white, obese, and those who drank milk less than once a week  or used >4 hours of television, video, or computers per day were more likely to be Vitamin D deficient. Those who used vitamin D supplementation were less likely to be Vitamin D deficient. Also, after multivariable adjustment, Vitamin D deficiency was associated with elevated parathyroid hormone levels (bad), higher systolic blood pressure (bad), and lower serum calcium and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (bad) levels compared with those with normal Vitamin D levels.CONCLUSIONS: Vitamin D deficiency is common in the general US pediatric population and is associated with adverse cardiovascular risks.

So make sure that your child is drinking milk, moving her body instead of sitting and taking 400 IU (international units) of Vitamin D a day. FYI: This is the normal amount in a children's multi-vitamin.


Human chorionic gonadotropin, more commonly referred to as HCG seems to be all the rage these days for weight loss. Much like each of the following diets was in its short moment in the spotlight.
  • 1930’s - The Hollywood Diet (soon to be better known as the Grapefruit Diet) is introduced.
  • Seaweeds such as kelp and bladderwrack are promoted as the food of choice to end weight problems.
  • 'Diet Guru' Victor Lindlahr, regularly broadcasts on the nations’ radios to spread news of `reverse calorie foods.’ This is a catabolic system of weight loss he has discovered where some foods use up more calories to be digested, than they give out to the body; like celery and apples.
  • Diet pills are introduced that are based on Amphetamine derivatives. It is soon realized that they are dangerous.
  • 1960’s - A woman named Jean Nidetch and friends hold a meeting in her apartment to share support and advice on dieting. It is the beginning of Weight Watchers.
  • Dr. Atkins releases his plan for weight loss, the high protein, high fat and low carbohydrate diet causes a storm of controversy that still rages today as multiple health fears are voiced by critics.
  • The Pritikin Diet Program with low fat and high fiber is introduced for those with heart complaints, but quickly is taken up by others for weight loss.
  • A new diet drug called fenfluramine is introduced which makes the brain think the stomach is full.
  • Dr. Robert Linn invents a protein drink called Prolinn, which is made up of slaughterhouse byproducts like crushed horns and hooves and hides, which are treated with artificial flavorings and enzymes. He urges for all looking to lose weight, to completely omit food and break the fast only by the use of his product in The Last Chance Diet. Somewhere around 3 million weight worriers give it a go.
  • The book entitled Fit for Life is written by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond. In it are claims that the human body has changing physiological needs for certain foodstuffs depending on the time of the day.
  • 1980’s - The Beverly Hills Diet becomes the latest dieting craze. It holds that only fruit should be eaten for the first ten days of the plan.
  • An anti-diabetes system called The Glycemic Index is developed by Dr. David Jenkins and a team of scientists at the University of Toronto. To help simplify the problems suffered by diabetics, this index charts how quickly a range of diverse foodstuffs affects blood sugar levels. It is embraced by most diabetes organizations around the world, to help them better assess the sugary and starchy carbohydrates. However, this research is also often misappropriated by authors of fad diets to back up their weight loss claims.
  • TV personality Oprah Winfrey loses almost 70 pounds on a liquid diet.
  • The diet pills containing fenfluramine and the related dexfenfluramine are withdrawn by their manufacturers as the FDA reports on them being a cause of heart valve disease.

Much like each of the above diets, and the ones that will follow (because believe me, there will be many), HCG will eventually lose its clout, vinyl signs advertising "We Sell HCG Here!" will be removed from roadways, dieters will add it to their list of tried and failed diets, and they will continue to look for the next big fix. HCG is no different in its bottom line, just in its approach.

So, to answer Kari's question - "My in-laws have been raving about the HCG pills that they have been hearing about. They are considering them for themselves within the next few months. The more I hear about them, the more it doesn't sit right with me. I don't have any information to back me up, but it just doesn't seem like a good idea to put hormones in your body that aren't yours. Everyone is all about not eating meats or dairy that have growth hormones in them, but yet everyone is all about putting pregnancy hormones into their bodies instead. It just doesn't make sense to me. Is there any information that I could read to back me up when I am discussing it with my in-laws?"Here is the bottom line on HCG.
During a normal pregnancy, HCG secreted by the placenta maintains the corpus luteum after LH secretion decreases, supporting continued secretion of estrogen and progesterone, and preventing menstruation. Basically, it’s what keep a pregnant women pregnant.
HCG treatment for weight loss became popular in 1957, when Harper's Bazaar printed a diet -- "Slimming: A Roman Doctor's Treatment" -- that consisted of 500 calories a day for up to forty days, plus daily hormone injections. Let me stop here. What might any remotely inteligent person suspect from the above statement? Hopefully all of your brilliant readers are thinking, "Well of course if makes sense that eating only 500 calories a day will produce a massive amount of weight loss." In the article, the physician, British endocrinologist A.T.W. Simeons, claimed his patients weren't hungry as long as they took shots of HCG, which is produced by the placenta and derived from the urine of pregnant women (variations on this treatment used the urine of pregnant rabbits and mares). It's the very hormone, in fact, that turns the stick blue on a home pregnancy test.
The 500 calorie diet portion consists of the following:
Breakfast: Tea or coffee in any quantity without sugar (sounds appetizing.) Only one tablespoon of milk allowed in 24 hours (real great for bone health.) Saccharin (awesome choice! Are you sensing the sarcasm?) or Stevia may be used.
Lunch: 1. 100 g of veal, beef, chicken breast, fresh white fish, lobster, crab or shrimp. All visible fat must be carefully removed before cooking, and the meat must be weighed raw. It must be boiled or grilled without additional fat. Salmon (since this is one of the best possible                             foods in the world to eat, why don’t you eliminate it?), eel, tuna, herring, dried or pickled fish are not allowed. The chicken breast must be removed from the bird.
2. One type of vegetable only to be chosen from the following: spinach, chard, chicory, beet greens, green salad, tomatoes, celery, fennel, onions, red radishes, cucumbers, asparagus,cabbage.
3. One breadstick (grissino brand-because if you eat another brand of breadstick it won’t work) or one Melba toast.
4. An apple, orange or handful of strawberries or one-half of a grapefruit.
Dinner: The same four choices as lunch.
Human chorionic gonadotropin was historically legitimately used at the time to treat a hormonal imbalance that affects young boys, disturbing their sexual development, appetite, and sleep. Simeons reasoned that if the drug worked with a rare genetic disorder, then it ought to do the same thing on normal, healthy women. His diet book included gems of pseudo-medical advice, warning readers to eat no breakfast whatsoever, except for coffee, and to abstain from using any cosmetics or lotion on the body because it will be absorbed and added to the existing fat deposits in the body.

In 1962, the Journal of the American Medical Association warned against the Simeons diet, saying "continued adherence to such a drastic regimen is potentially more hazardous to the patient's health than continued obesity." In 1974, the Food and Drug Adminstration required producers of HCG to label the drug with a warning against using it for weight loss or fat redistribution. In Canada, the Task Force on the Treatment of Obesity warned that the use of the hormone "touches on possible malpractice." Nevertheless, a few diet doctors continued with the treatment, and still do.

It now comes in injection and pill form.
HCG is INTENDED to be used for
1. Prepubertal cryptorchidism not due to anatomic obstruction.
2. Selected cases of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism in males.
3. Induction of ovulation and pregnancy in the anovulatory, infertile woman in whom the cause of anovulation is secondary and not due to primary ovarian failure, and who has been appropriately pretreated with human menotropins.
It has NOT been demonstrated (read: evidence based-proven) to be an effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity. There is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction (read: 500 calories/day), that is causes a more attractive or “normal” distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.
Documented adverse reactions include:
1. Since androgens may cause fluid retention, HCG should be used with caution in patients with cardiac or renal disease, epilepsy, migraine, or asthma.
2. Headache, irritability, restlessness, depression, fatigue, edema, precocious puberty, gynecomastia (increase in male mammary glands in males, read “MOOBS”), pain at the site of injection. Hypersensitivity reactions both localized and systemic in nature, including erythema, urticaria, rash, angioedema, dyspnea and shortness of breath, have been reported.
Some of my favorite statements from hcgdietinfo.com are listed now.

“Patient’s tolerance to the treatment has been excellent and many of them have chosen to continue with second and third rounds of oral hCG therapy to reach their weight loss goals successfully.” READ: It doesn’t work because there is no behavior modification and so hopeful dieters keep going back for more and more.
“The Oral Hcg program includes patients' follow-up, helping patients with their behavior modification program.” What behavior modification program? Are their dietitians taking you to the grocery store to teach you how to navigate the shelves beyond vegetables and grissino breadsticks? Are you learning how to incorporate your new 500 calorie regime into family life? Do you know what correct portions are? Are you learning how to correctly phrase your regime to your 7 year old diet when she asks why you aren’t eating anything?

”Results are not surpassed by any other form of obesity therapy.”
 Then why shell out LOTS of money and be miserable for 40+ days when you can change your lifestyle in a way that WILL LAST?
“Before beginning the oral hCG diet, it is recommended that you consult your physician to be certain you are healthy and ready for this weight loss plan.” READ: If your MEDICAL DOCTOR, not chiropractor, Naturopath, etc. recommends this approach, look in the yellow pages for a new MD.
Okay, I know this was a long post and I am sure that I didn’t cover everything I could have or should have. Congrats to those of you who made it the entire way through!

I Crave Sweets

I'll admit it. I LOVE desserts, sweets, treats, etc. etc. My favorites include cake (ANY kind), good brownies, lemon-poppy seed cookies and chocolate flavored cold treats. Oh, and I love chocolates that melt in my mouth, and English Toffee. You get the idea. I acknowledge that we are all geared a bit different and that some people favor salty over sweet, savory over salty, etc. However, I do not buy it when people tell me that they just don't crave - or a better, much more appropriate word, WANT - sweet treats. Really? Come on. :)

This post is dedicated to Heidi B. who wrote, "Since I had my baby, almost every evening after dinner, I crave a little something sweet. So I nibble on something little and call it good. Is this going to do me in?" Well, that depends. First, how have you eaten throughout the rest of the day? Are you proud of your control and self-discipline to eat well in order to appropriately nourish your little one and aim to shed pregnancy pounds? If so, then a nightly nibble is absolutely not going to do you in. Second, if your aim is to shed pregnancy pounds at a reasonable or quick rate and you are not seeing the rapidity of loss as you had imagined, then a nibble can do you in. A "nibble" can range from 50-300 calories, so be careful of the kind and amount of nibble you are indulging in to achieve your desired goal. Third, every time you eat any carbohydrate containing food (read: nibble) food, your blood sugar rises and your pancreas as a result releases insulin in an effort to bring your blood sugar back down to a reasonable level. As a general rule, we don't eat low carb at dinner (we have rice, pasta, bread, corn, peas, etc.) and then don't choose celery sticks for our post dinner nibbles - and instead consume more high carb foods (read: nibble) as our snacks. The end result is our blood sugar skyrocketing and therefore our insulin levels doing the same. This in a nutshell is not a good combination. It lends to oversatiation (yes, a made up word) and an increase in the number on the scale.

There is some thought among nutritional professionals (and I tend to lean this way) that the reason we "crave" certain foods, usually those low in nutrition, is because of our everyday diets. Let's face it, most American's eat out several times each week, cook from boxes, cans or the freezer and snack on low nutrient - high calorie choices. The culmination of this pattern over and over again is literally a re-wiring of ones hardware. It's not surprising that we don't look to the produce drawer in our fridge when we crave something sweet, as our predecesors did.

Remember though, there is a distinct difference between craving and wanting. And, consistently controllling your wants keeps you out of the above stated problem. Oh, that eating was simple and I could respond with an easy quick answer! I'll keep trying.

You are Being Watched

Today I had a conversation with a friend about this and that nutrition "stuff." Mostly about the current popular way to lose weight (HCG shots.)  Without boring all of you as to the many reasons I advise AGAINST it, allow me tell you one of the MOST important reasons why to avoid this or ANY OTHER quick weight loss scheme. People are watching you. Most importantly, little people are watching you.

In my opinion (which if you don't want to hear, stop reading now:)) if you are a parent, involved grandparent, aunt, uncle or other caretaker of children, the little ones in your watch keep close tabs on what you do and don't do. You've all seen this in one way or another. Maybe your two-year old has started to use a word you frequent, but you don't want to hear come out of his little mouth - or your seven year old sees your exercise and move your body in a healthy way, and so, wants to do likewise, versus his couch potato friend. Or, unfortunately, maybe your six + year old daughter has seen or heard you (I PROMISE they see and hear even if you don't think they do) complain about the way your jeans fit or how you can't seem to squeeze into last summers shorts or watch you pinch your extra skin here or there AND so, they start replicating your phrases and actions in regard to their precious young bodies. And, this my dear friends, if why eating disorders are popping up in five year old girls AND BOYS all the time. It is a sad sad thing and we as caretakers are largely to blame.

So, when you are deciding to undergo a new "regime", because you are convinced that eating a little less and moving a little more (or asking a real professional for help- ahem!) will just not work for you, make sure you consider EVERYONE your decision is affecting. What kind of message does 800 calories a day, or two + hour workouts, or cutting out whole grains, fruit and vegetables, or injecting yourself with a pregnancy hormone communicate to your little ones? On the reverse side, what kind of message does portion control, or cooking from scratch (or as near to it as possible), or eating whole foods, or focusing on drinking water versus soda or juice, or going for family walks communicate to your little ones? Use those brilliant minds of yours ladies and gents - and think before you act. Like all aspects of life, we do not just live for ourselves. Each choice we make affects another life - whether for good or bad. Okay, I'm off my high horse.

Thwart a Sweet Tooth

#1 Cut Back Gradually
If going cold turkey on sweets only makes you want them more, try cutting out one or two each day over time.
#2 Stay Active
Take a walk, put on an exercise video, or take a spin on the bike when your sweet tooth strikes. By the time you finish, the craving, is usually gone and you've burned calories instead of eaten them.

#3 Load Up on Water
Drink a big glass of water when a craving hits, or have a cup of fruit-flavored herbal tea.
#4 Get Rid of Temptation
If you can't resist temptation, don't keep sweets in your cupboard at home or in your drawer at work.
#5 Substitute Sweets
If you must have a sweet, pick a small one. Have a Tootsie Pop instead of a candy bar, for example.
#6 Keep a Journal
You'll be less likely to reach for those empty calories when you see in writing how fast they add up.
*Courtesy of HealthyLiving Utah, February 2009

Case and Point  

True story.
A year or so ago, I counseled a couple in a group weight loss class I taught. Their children had purchased the service in hopes that their parents would be motivated to change their habits and as a side effect lose weight. The first problem was that they didn't choose to change and sign up for my class, they were coerced into it - never a good base for change. They came sporadically to class for the next 8 weeks, had a difficult time letting go of preconceived ideas about diet (based on their comments) and unsurprisingly, didn't see a whole lot of success on the scale.

A few weeks ago, I was in a social setting, where I overheard this husband talking to a group of people.  His dialogue went something like this - "...what she does is takes these shots (I deduced he was talking about the ever popular HcG shots-bad deal) every day and then only eats 1200 calories." There were oohs and aahs from the audience. A very thin woman in his audience appealed to the husband to share more details about the diet portion, to which he replied, "I'll email you the information on the diet."

I walked away, unsurprised, saddened that they hadn't learned a thing in my class about fad dieting (maybe that was a week they were absent), stupified that people are so, well, stupid, and angry at the multi-billion dollar dieting business (NONE of which works.)

One day later...Monday night, my little family headed down to our favorite ice cream spot. We routinely order 2 regular sized ice cream cones for the 3 of us. Which really means that my son polishes of 1 of them and my husband and I split the other. After we finished the yumminess, I sat in the car directly in front of the shop as my husband and son went wandering. I was again, NOT surprised to see the two said individuals walk past my car and into the ice cream shop. My first thought was to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she is committed (to something that WILL eventually NOT work) and will order frozen yogurt. But, I was not disappointed when the two exited the storefront, each with a large waffle cone and large ice cream in hand. It looked like she had chosen the lemon custard. I estimate she consumed 979 calories worth of yumminess.

Now, maybe she had only consumed 221 calories that day in real food (979 + 221 = 1200), but I highly doubt it.

Bottom line: GIVE up on the schemes. They don't work for numerous reasons, most of which is because they are IMPOSSIBLE to maintain and there is NO behavior modification for long term success.

Supplement(s): To Take or Not To Take  

sup·ple·ment  (spl-mnt)n.
1. Something added to complete a thing, make up for a deficiency, or extend or strengthen the whole.

People take supplements for lots of different reasons...a few that I've encountered include to enhance performance, to maximize nutrition potential, to make up for a poor diet, etc. etc. I've seen people over do and under do supplements. And, it's an easy thing to do, seeing as how there is LOTS of information, good and bad (just like everything else) available.

One issue with supplements is that they are not regulated by the FDA. Therefore, a certain company may claim whatever they want about a product and what it contains (unless, a complaint is filed by a customer and the FDA investigates) and its studies are generally performed by the company's own lab, not a third-party. So, of course their "science" is going to back up what the company wants a certain product to "provide."

It is in our nature to succumb to creative advertising and the ploy (and hope) that there really is a magic pill out there that cures, fixes, solves, etc. The bottom line (this is the one my clients pay me for after spending LOTS of $$$ on scams) is that there is not a magic pill or bullet, just hard work, dedication, commitment and resolve to change.

It is hard to see this,
and not believe that you will look like that too if you take the same supplements she does. Believe me, I want to believe it too.

But, reality is, that she eats very clean, exercises 2 hours every day and never cheats or indulges (boring!), has a good skin care regime, spends lots of $ on physical "enhancements", oh, and she was blessed with GREAT genetics.

Sure, the supplements she pedals may give her an advantage at some level, but they are only one piece of the equation more heavily weighted by the above components.

There are lots of supplements that are touted as the highest grade this or that, answer to mood disorders, female hormonal imbalances, performance edge, etc. Most of these are bunk. HOWEVER, I am a firm believer in the power of the individual and the placebo affect, so if in fact, you feel you have more energy when you take mega doses or B vitamins, or you notice a desired bulk increase when you are taking creatine, by all means continue (as long as there are not documented harmful affects.) But know that just like the advertisements for EVERY supplement and weight loss scheme state at the bottom of the page, *results are not typical. Also, evaluate, is this supplement something I will take for the rest of my life or just when I am in this "phase?"

I think of a supplement as just that, something to fill in the gaps of my diet. It's like an insurance policy of sorts. Now, I'm talking about a multivitamin here, not all the crazy other things out there. In my opinion, if you answer YES to any of the below nine questions and/or NO to the last one, you should take a multivitamin.

1. Are you over the age of 30? (or under for that matter when you consider the typical adolescent diet)
2. Are you a woman of child bearing age?
3. Are you post-menopausal?
4. Are you a vegetarian?
5. Are you on a low calorie diet?
6. Do you have a family history of heart disease?
7. Do you eat away from home >3 meals/week?
8. Are you heavily stressed?
9. Are you 1 of the 97& of us who have a poor diet?
10. Do you have a perfect diet?

I frequently hear the statements or questions about the overall benefit of a multivitamin.
"Am I just losing it in my urine?" (that was the politically correct way to rephrase it:)) Maybe you are, maybe you aren't. That is why you SHOULDN'T be relying on a multivitamin to meet your basic nutrition needs. It should just supplement them. Science has yet to imitate nature and supplements are always second best to what is naturally available for you to eat.

Supplements that I believe in or take myself include:
Multivitamin and mineral, fish oil (more on that later), calcium, and a probiotic.
Note that everyone's need for these above supplements will be dependent on a host of factors not limited to age, dietary intake, medical condition, etc.


Q & A 

Q: "My son is 16 months old now and I really try to cook for him at home (which is something I've never done, but the more I cook, the more I love to do it.) He is not really a fan of any meat, and hardly any vegetables. So, I often end up feeding him pasta, pbj sandwiches, cheese crisps, been burritos, etc. I would really like to try to add meat and veggies (especially) to his diet. Do you have any hints or ideas of what i could do to maybe puree veggies and put them with certain foods? Or any recipes that I could do that with? I'm not experienced enough in my cooking skills to look at a recipe and figure out where to add purees, so any suggestions, ideas would help!"

A: "My son has always gone in phases of what he will and won't eat. The best guideline to follow is this...it is your job to provide the best food possible (well, as frequent as possible at least) and it is your child's job to choose, from the foods that you have provided, what he will or will not eat. If you only offer him pasta, pbj sandwiches, cheese crisp, been burritos, etc., then that is what he will eat. If you only offer meat, veggies, fruits, etc. occasionally, he will not develop the taste buds, nor the discipline for them. This is how it goes in the Hamilton home.
I provide relatively healthy meals...check here. It is my son's job to choose whether he will eat or not. If he doesn't...he goes hungry until his next "eating opportunity". He usually has breakfast, lunch, snack after nap and dinner. It only takes so many refusals and a tough upper lip on my part, (this is the hard part, saying no) until your little one learns that when you put food in front of him, that's it. Period. There are no second options. To be honest, my husband and I always joke about our son's "token bite" at dinner. He maybe has one bite of dinner (unless I make pizza) each night. I never worry about it. He is growing well, is active, is developmentally appropriate, and had eaten well previously in the day, etc. etc., so he is getting all the food he needs. And because he rarely eats dinner, he is always really hungry in the morning, and pretty much will eat anything. One, because, I've always offered him lots of variety and two, because he is so hungry it doesn't matter what I offer him. So, when you make dinner, lunch, etc. give him what you are eating, within reason, of course. He doesn't need a special second entree or in other words, you to be a short-order cook. That is what restaurants are for. As far as adding veggies, I am a fan of not disguising them (i.e. purees), because is he going to have someone pureeing them for him his entire life? No. I don't have a problem adding purees for extra nutritive value, but make sure you are serving fruits and veggies in their original form as well. I have the cook book, Deceptively Delicious, and I think there are a handful of others that focus on purees. You can use them as a guide. But, the bottom line, is to serve fruit and veggies and meats in their original form as well. It may take some time, like weeks to months, before he will put them in his mouth and eat them, but if you don't consistently try, and he is not consistently exposed to them, it will absolutely NEVER happen."

Attitude Adjustment 

I often struggle with the most important and/or first thing to focus on with my clients. Calories, meal plan, behavior modification, attitude, etc? Most first timers just want to know what to eat to achieve their desired weight loss. They don't care how it tastes, what it looks like, why, etc. Oh, how I wish it were so ea sy (really I do.) My job would be easier, everyone would be thin (notice I wrote "thin" not "healthy"-because there IS a difference) they would all be happy (at least they think they would because they think thin=happy it does not.) But, alas, as you all know, change, weight loss, etc. is NOT that easy.
A subject that is definitely on the top of my list is ATTITUDE. I came across this quotation a few years ago and recall it often.
“Man is what he believes”
Anton Chekhov)

I have seen its worth time and time again. If you believe and tell yourself you make bad food choices, guess what, you got it. If you believe and tell yourself that you can run a marathon, guess what, bring on the 26.2. If you believe and tell yourself that drinking water is just too hard, guess what, it will be. My client once told me she was fat and always would be. My response? "You are absolutely right." This was followed by, "unless, you change your attitude and stop telling yourself that." If your brain is constantly flooded with negativity toward yourself and others, no matter the source (but let's face it-our biggest source of negativity comes from within), positive change is IMPOSSIBLE. So, make up your mind.He believed his body was capable of this.
She believed she could push her body to run..and run...and run.He believed he could be happy.
He believed that age wouldn't slow him down.

These men believed it was just too hard.
What do you believe?

The Devil in Disguise

I'm stealing the following info from here. It's shocking and too good to not share. Who knew? Well, I did, but...

Devil in Disguise 

Ten Super Foods For Better Health! 
1. Artery Crust
Pepperidge Pot PieJudging by the label, Pepperidge Farm Roasted White Meat Chicken Premium Pot Pie has 510 calories and 9 grams of saturated fat. But look again. Those numbers are for half a pie. Eat the entire pie, as most people probably do, and you're talking more than 1,000 calories and 18 grams of sat fat.

1. Sweet Potatoes 
sweet potatoes
A nutritional All-Star — one of the best vegetables you can eat. They're loaded with carotenoids, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Bake and then mix in some unsweetened applesauce or crushed pineapple for extra moisture and sweetness.
2. Angioplasta
Chicken SelectsRomano's Macaroni Grill Spaghetti with meat sauce is just your average 1,100-calorie platter of white flour, fatty meat, and salt-laden sauce that delivers 35 grams of saturated fat. But Romano's Macaroni Grill Spaghetti and Meatbealls with Meat Sauce is in a class of its own. It's not often you find a 2,430-calorie dish loaded with close to 3-days' worth of saturated fat (57 grams) and more than 2 teaspoons of salt (5,290 mg of sodium). It's got more calories and sat fat than two Macaroni Grill Tuscan Rib-Eye steak dinners!

2. Grape Tomatoes 
grape tomatoes
They're sweeter and firmer than other tomatoes, and their bite-size shape makes them perfect for snacking, dipping, or salads. They're packed with vitamin C and vitamin A, and you also get some fiber, some phytochemicals, and (finally) some flavor.

3. Salt's On!
Cheesecake FactoryProgresso Traditional, Vegetable Classics, and Rich & Hearty soups are brimming with salt: Half a can averages more than half of a person's daily quota of salt. Instead try Progresso's Health Favorites reduced-sodium soups. All the flavor, but up to 50 percent less salt.

3. Fat-Free or 1 % Milk............(Skim) .............(but not 2%)

An excellent source of calcium, vitamins, and protein with little or no artery-clogging fat and cholesterol. Likewise for low-fat yogurt. Soy milk can be just as nutritious — if the company fortifies it..
4. Everlasting Dove
Dove Ice CreamDove squeezes some 300 calories and an average of 11 grams of saturated fat (half a day's worth) into a half a cup of its Dove Ice Cream. That puts it in the same ballpark as Ben & Jerry's and Häagen-Dazs. With names like "Unconditional Chocolate," Dove is trying to link chocolate with romance. A scoop of its ice cream will fill your heart all right … but not with love.

4. Broccoli 
It has lots of vitamin C, carotenoids, and folic acid. Steam it briefly and add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a sprinkle of lemon juice.
5. Factory RejectCheesecakeThe Cheesecake Factory Chris' Outrageous Chocolate Cake has "layers of moist chocolate cake, chewy brownie, toasted coconut pecan filling, and creamy chocolate chip coconut cheesecake." Each five-inch-high slice weighs three-quarters o fa pound and has 1,380 calories and 32 teaspoons of sugar. By the time you hit the exit, your arteries have 33 grams of saturated fat and 5 grams of trans fat circulating in them that they didn't have when you walked in. It's a though you had ordered two McDonald's Quarter Pounders plus a large fries for dessert.

5. Wild Salmon
salmonThe omega-3 fats in fatty fish like salmon can help reduce the risk of sudden-death heart attacks. And salmon that is caught wild has less PCB contaminants than farmed salmon.

6. Smooth Operatos 
Smoothie“Say hello to a better beach body," says the Smoothie King web site. Many people assume that all smoothies are good for the body, whether it's on the beach or in the office. But Grape Expectations II, one of Smoothie King's "Snack Rights," contains 550 calories in a 20-ounce size. That's bad enough. But what about those who order the 40-ouncer? There's nothing right about a 1,100 calorie snack!

6. Crispbreads
CrispbreadsWhole-grain rye crackers, like Wasa, Ry Krisp, and Ryvita — usually called crispbreads — are loaded with fiber and often fat-free.
7. Top Secret
Pop Secret
Popcorn alone is a good-for-you whole-grain snack...but not when Pop Secret gets hold of it. Pop Secret Movie Theater Butter Popcorn Snack Size Bags has 11 grams of bad fat, 7 of which are trans, in just one snack-size bag (6 cups popped). Instead, try Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop or Smart Balance Smart 'N Healthy, both of which are made with no partially hydrogenated oils.

7. Microwaveable or "10-minute"
....Brown Rice 

Quick-cooking or regular brown rice is more nutritious than enriched white rice. When the grain is refined, you lose the fiber, magnesium, vitamins E and B-6, copper, zinc, and phytochemicals that are in the whole grain.
8. Starbucks on Steroids
StarbucksThe Starbucks Venti (20 oz.) Caffè Mocha with whole milk and whipped cream is more than a mere cup of coffee. Think of it as a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in a cup. Few people have room in their diets for 450 calories and 13 grams of bad fat that this hefty beverage supplies. But you can lose all the bad fat and all but 170 calories if you order a tall (12 oz.) with nonfat milk and no whipped cream.

8. Citrus Fruit
citrusGreat-tasting and rich in vitamin C, folic acid, and fiber. Perfect for a snack or dessert. Try different varieties: juicy Minneola oranges, snacksize Clementines, or tart grapefruit.
9. Tortilla TerrorChiptole BurritoInterested in a Chipotle Chicken Burrito (tortilla, rice, pinto beans, cheese, chicken, sour cream, and salsa)? Think of its 1,040 calories and 16½ grams of saturated fat as three Subway Steak and Cheese 6-inch Subs. Plus, the burrito is loaded with 2,500 mg of sodium! Getting the burrito with no cheese or sour cream cuts the saturated fat to 3½ grams, but you still end up with 810 calories and 2,300 mg of sodium. Yikes!

9. Diced Butternut Squash
Diced Squash
A growing number of grocery stores sell peeled, diced butternut squash that's ready to go into the oven, a stirfry, or a soup. Every half-cup has 5 grams of fiber and payloads of vitamins A and C.
10. Stone Cold
Cold Stone CreameryInto the chocolate-dipped waffle bowl of a Cold Stone Creamery Gotta Have It Founder's Favorite goes, not just a 12-ounce, softball-sized mound of ice cream, but pecans, brownie pieces, fudge, and caramel. The tab: a startling 1,600 calories and 42 grams of saturated fat. That's roughly what you'd get if you polished off five single-scoop ice cream cones.     

10. Spinach or Kale
Ready Pac Greens
These standout leafy greens are jampacked with vitamins A, C, and K, folate, potassium, magnesium, iron, lutein, and phytochemicals.


Last week as I sat in the dentist chair having my teeth cleaned (no cavities:)), I remembered my yearly trips to my dentist in my youth and the "prize drawer" that awaited me at the end of my visit. There were all kinds of goodies to choose from-plastic rings, stickers, pencils, etc. What a treat! This thought thread led me to review a recent (and current) ridiculous food advertisment that plays on the concept of "rewarding" oneself. I'm thinking of the Arctic Circle (I think??) ad that says something to the effect of "did you make your bed this morning?, did you brush your teeth? If so, you DESERVE a quarter pounder black angus burger with cheese"...Seriously? And some people wonder why Americans are overweight? Another favorite is the Taco Bell "FourthMeal" the meal between dinner and breakfast. Because we all really need an extra 500 calories resting on us all night? Right. Or, how about the recent ad I watched at the gym...targeting the health conscious demographic? It was a beautifully done t.v. ad for "I Cant' Believe It's Not Butter." Each slide featured a bolded statement about the product such as "LOW FAT," "LOWER CALORIES THAN BUTTER," etc. The last slide said, "NO TRANS FAT per serving." For the average person, this seems like a good healthful product to purchase on his next shopping trip as it is trans fat free. BUT...you now know better. "No trans fat per serving" means, there is trans fat in the product, but the amount in the serving size the food manufacturer suggests is less than 1/2 g, therefore "trans fat free" according to USDA regulations. If you read the ingredient label, the word "hydrogenated" is there, plain as day.

To help you visualize the difference between what you think your fast food will look like from the television ads, magazine pictures or billboards you see and what is actually delivered to your plate, napkin or lap, click here. Please click here EVERY time you are heading to fast food to remind yourself what you are really getting yourself into and to help DETER you!
The analysis by Cancer Council NSW of 315 children's websites found that ads for soft drink, ice-cream, fast food and confectionery outnumbered those for healthy foods by two to one. This is NOT surprising when you consider the rate of overweight/obesity in America's chidren. Check out the following stats.

Data gathered from 1988-1994 indicated that 11 % of youth (ages 6-19) were overweight.
From 1999-2002, that number jumped to 16 %. In 2003-2004, the number of 12-19 year olds jumped to 17%19% of 6-11 year olds in 2003-2004 were overweight. 25% of all white "children" (no specific ages were documented) were overweight 2001. I know all of these stats aren't 100% comparable because of age differences, but hopefully you grasp the concept.

I expect that you've gained a little insight into the world of advertising and some of its effect on your waistline. Think things through-don't believe everything you hear, see, or read and take responsibility for your choices. While creative and compelling advertising does not help elicit good food behavior, it is ALWAYS your choice to put a certain item in your mouth. I know, don't you wish you could blame it on someone else? I do.