Something to Chew On

A Guide to Eating Right and Living Well


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Green All Over!

20 Ways to Enjoy Something Green This St. Patty’s Day!

This St. Patrick’s Day try to add some healthy green into your diet!

Here are 20 ways to add something green on your plate and make a healthy choice.

1. Add spinach into a veggie omelet.

2. Scramble eggs and top with fresh salsa and diced avocado for a fiesta start to the day.

3. Throw some baby kale leaves into your favorite smoothie.

4. Swap sugar snap peas as a crunchy snack instead of chips.

imgres5. Order a side of steamed broccoli instead of fries with lunch.

6. Mix chopped green grapes and celery with grilled chicken, chopped almonds and some mayo for a fresh chicken salad.

7. Cut cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions and mix with 1 oz feta cheese and balsamic vinaigrette for a light side dish.

8. Grab a jar of basil pesto and spread on 3 chicken breasts. Cook at 375oF for 30-35 minutes.

9. Add spinach leaves instead of regular lettuce to your salads or on sandwiches.

10. Top a bison burger with guacamole instead of cheese.

11. Roast asparagus in the oven or out on the grill. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

12. Make veggie kabobs with zucchini slices, mushrooms, onions and green peppers. Marinade in Italian dressing over night before grilling.

13. Sauté fresh green beans with onions, shallots, garlic with fresh lemon juice and garnish with lemon zest.

14. Top salads with marinated artichokes, green peppers, dried cranberries and diced avocado.

15. Make turkey stuffed green peppers.

celery-peanutbut_rgb16. Spread some peanut butter on celery for a healthy snack.

17. Make a fruit salad with cut up kiwi, green grapes, strawberries and pineapple.

18. Freeze green grapes and consume for a cold, sweet snack.

19. Slice a green apple and dip in almond butter.

20. Sauté sugar snap peas with carrots, zucchini and mushrooms for some delicious stir-fry veggies.


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Start Making Healthy Changes Now

Woman Tying Measuring Tape Around Her WaistI am not an advocate for “quick fixes” like weight loss supplements, juice cleanses and the like. While quick fixes may result in fast weight loss, these results are only temporary and chances are, your depressed metabolism will cause you to rapidly gain the weight back…and then some. Seven-day or 21-day weight loss plans typically instruct you to drastically cut caloric intake and often severely limit the variation of food in your diet. Once these week-long or month-long fast diets are over with, most people resume their previous eating habits and unfortunately circle right back to square one with their weight loss efforts.

What’s unfortunate is these quick diet plans do not teach you how to eat for the long-run. You can’t drink a “body by Vi” shake forever; eventually you’re going to have to learn how to make real food for your meals. Research has shown that a multitude of different diets such as low-calorie/low-fat, high-fat/low-carb, Mediterranean diet, vegetarian diet, paleo dietetc., can all help individuals lose weight. Sometimes, losing weight is not the problem; it’s keeping the weight off. This fact stresses the importance of lifelong habits that one must take on, not quick diet fixes, in order to maintain their weight loss efforts. Here are some “quick” healthy changes that you can make today and turn into lifelong habits.

1. Start your day with protein. Breakfast is the most commonly missed meals reported by Americans of all ages. And when we think of breakfast, we typically think of a large bowl of sugary-sweetened cereal and a tall glass of orange juice. Breakfast meals high in these simple sugars can lead to a quick drop in energy come 9:00 a.m. Try to find ways to incorporate more protein with your breakfast meal. Add nuts into oatmeal, make a veggie omelet or pair fruit with high-protein Greek yogurt.

imgres2. Switch to water. Water is essential to one’s health and its benefits far surpass the simple purpose of hydration. Drinking more water is a habit I have been working on for quite some time now and it’s really sticking. As ashamed as I am to admit it, I previously was consuming about 4 diet sodas per day. To wean myself off of the diet soda, I would tell myself for every soda I consumed, I would have to drink a bottle of water. Now I keep a water bottle with me at all times so there are no excuses for not drinking enough water.

3. Stop serving multiple starches with meals. This is an easy fix that will help you naturally control your carbohydrate intake with your meals and make them more well-rounded. Our typical American western diet revolves around meat, potatoes, bread or some other starch like noodles and rice or corn and peas with most of our meals. Begin your meals by choosing a healthy lean protein, add one starch (preferably a healthy starchy vegetable like sweet potatoes or butternut squash) and fill the rest of your plate with non-starchy vegetables and fruit, if preferred.

4. Bring your own snacks to work. It seems almost every week, someone brings in a new “Pinterest-inspired” sweet treat to share with everyone at work. Sure, these decadent treats look great, but consuming these items regularly as snack choices can lead one to a spike in blood sugar followed by a drop in energy. Plan ahead and make sure you always have healthy, nutrient-dense snacks packed with you for your workday. If you feel bad about turning down your co-worker’s cheesecake bites, you can politely decline by saying you had already packed an apple with almond butter for your snack today. Or a simple, “No thanks, but thanks for asking,” always does the trick too!

exercise_02F026015. Exercise. Daily physical activity is one of the most important keys for a healthy metabolism and weight management. It’s time to put the “excuse book” away and start moving today.


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Not-So-Healthy “Health” Foods

January healthy eating habits are in full swing. Even grocery stores know that everyone is trying to eat healthier this time of year. Displays of protein powder, Special K products and high-fiber cereals are featured in the main walkways and aisle end-stands. While some of these products may look good on display, consider the entire picture before throwing these items into your shopping cart.

PB2 or Reduced Fat Peanut Butter. The alluring aspect of PB2 is that it supposedly provides the same flavor as peanut butter but without all the fat and calories. Anytime a food item has the word “reduced-fat” on it, most people generally assume that it is a healthier product. However, the fat found in nuts and seeds is the type of fat that we need in our diet. Studies support that mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, like those found in nuts, can help reduce the risk of heart disease and assist with weight management. peanut-butter-spoon

Fat-Free Salad Dressing. Oils found in salad dressings such as canola oil, soybean oil and olive oil are additional sources of healthy fats in the diet. In order to absorb the nutritious vitamins found in our salad vegetables (for example, Vitamin A in carrots or Vitamin K in spinach), one needs a source of fat to help the body properly absorb these essential nutrients. Fat-free salad dressings take out these healthy fats are replaced with “fillers” usually in the form of added sugars, sodium and other preservatives.

Whole Wheat Crackers. Crackers are many people’s favorite snack item and the words “made with whole grains” makes them that much more appealing to the health-conscious grocer shopper. Unfortunately, the phrase, “made with whole grains” does not make it a healthy whole grain food item. For example, Ritz Crackers Whole Wheat variety has unbleached enriched flour listed as its first ingredient. This is a fancy way of saying white flour is the main ingredient in the product. If 100% whole wheat or 100% whole grain is not listed as the first ingredient, then it is not a whole grain food item.

Frozen Yogurt. Yogurt is often synonymous with health food. While frozen yogurt may have a little less fat and a little more calcium when compared to regular ice cream, calorie for calorie, there is no large, winning margin with choosing frozen yogurt. Your serving size should still be ½ cup, but many individuals take much more than this with the assumption that frozen yogurt is healthier and has less calories than ice cream.

Multi-Grain Bread. Watch out for catchy health phrases like “multi-grain” or “9-grain” if buying bread products. Unless the first ingredient is 100% whole grain, you simply have a product that was just made with “a variety of different grains” but doesn’t count as a whole grain food.

Premade Smoothies. Juicing really made a rebound in our American diets the past few years. While I am an advocate for blending fresh ingredients like carrots, beets, spinach, pineapple and ground flaxseed to make an antioxidant-rich beverage, commercially made juices and smoothies often have a hidden ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, added sugars and other chemicals. Keep in mind that “juicing” will not automatically make someone lose weight, but if it is home-made and minimally processed, it can provide an extra opportunity to increase one’s intake of fruits and vegetables.

Frozen “Diet” Entrees. From time to time, it is fine to have a frozen entrée for a meal. The downfall of these items is that they are often high in sodium (look for varieties that are < 600 mg/meal) and heavily based on starches (most are pasta or rice-based entrees). If you’re being health-conscious and selecting brands like Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice, these meals are replacing opportunities to consume fresh fruits and vegetables and minimally processed proteins.

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Gluten Free Breads/Desserts. There is no need to buy gluten-free breads or cookies unless you have Celiac disease or a gluten-intolerance. Going “gluten-free” is a popular diet trend for weight loss, but keep in mind that these products are no healthier than their regular counter-parts and often contain more calories due to the nature of the gluten-free ingredients and grains needed in their recipes. Instead, incorporate more foods that are naturally gluten-free such as fruits, vegetables and fresh meats.

 Photos Courtesy of savingmoneyinmissiouri.com and tastespotting.com


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Living and Breathing What I Teach

Living healthy, active lifestyles is not only something that I encourage on all my patients, it’s something that I value in my own life. I strive to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle, not only to set a good example for my patients but more importantly to lead a long, healthy life for myself and my family. To show proof, here is how I spent my Friday.

5:15am:Alarm clock! Yes, I did snooze for 9 minutes then quickly got up, dressed, brushed my teeth and out the door we go to Crossfit.

6:00am: CrossFit WOD

Bench Press (close grip) 4-3-2-1
    (75 lbs, 85 lbs, 95 lbs, 100 lbs)

Thruster 8 min EMOM (every minute on the minute) 3-5 reps
(4 reps @ 83 lbs)

5 Minute AMRAP- 1 Turkish get up (each arm), 3 strict pull-ups, 10 wall balls (14 lbs)
3 rounds

7:15am:1 scoop of whey protein powder + 8 oz of almond milk.

9:30am:Breakfast (in between patients) of 5 eggs whites sautéed with mushrooms and spinach and ½ cup sweet potatoes + ½ avocado. I always make my breakfast and lunch meal the night before so I am stocked up and ready for the day.

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12:30pm:Lunch. Typically I have leftovers that consists of meat and veggies but since the leftovers are used up at the end of the week, I threw together a salad and plan on cooking tonight. Salad ingredients: mixed greens and baby spinach, artichokes, craisins, mushrooms, avocado, grilled chicken and walnuts with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.photo 4

2:30pm: Snack time. Gala apple with peanut butter.

photo 5

5:00pm:Pack up and head home but not before having a little fun after clinic-hours. Who doesn’t do a handstand after work to celebrate on Fridays? I also munched on some mixed nuts on my ride home and to the grocery store.

handstand

6:30pm:Dinner is fixed. Kept it simple tonight with my rosemary herbed chicken, garlic-roasted butternut squash and garlic mashed cauliflower. Can you tell my love for garlic??

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9:30pm:8 oz of chocolate almond milk–delish!

10:30pm:Lights out. Early morning Crossfit workout and lots to do on Saturday!

Eat clean, move more, spend time with family, value your sleep and make a point to have a little fun each day!


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Fat Talk Free Week October 21- 25

Fat woman stepping on scaleFat Talk Free Week is a 5-day body image and health awareness campaign created by the Tri Delta sorority. This campaign strives to bring attention to the “thin ideal” on women in our society. Media coverage on “self-hating, body-shaming statements” has brought to light this issue that plagues both men and women of all ages. Recently, a popular article  on body-shaming has been circulating the social media world. This personal story shares the powerful impact that women can have on one of our most precious values, our children. In fact, I learned the word “diet” when I was 7 years old. While I didn’t know its true definition, I did understand that it was something one did to lose weight and it meant you had to eat cottage cheese and beets every day for lunch.

One of the main problems with the issue of body-shaming is that it is accepted in most social circles. I know I have been a part of conversations where all of us gals talked about the parts of our bodies we hated or would like to change. It almost seems too natural to publicly announce our dissatisfactions with our bodies. In fact, here are some interesting facts listed on the Tri Delta’s Body Image 3D website:

• 54% of women would rather be hit by a truck than be fat.

• More than 90% of girls ages 15 to 17 want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance, with body weight ranking the highest.

• 81% of ten-year-olds are afraid of being fat.

• 1 out of 8 adolescent girls reported starving themselves to lose weight.

• 67% of women 15-64 withdraw from life-engaging activities like giving an opinion, going to school and going to the doctor because they feel badly about their looks.

• 40% of moms tell their adolescent daughters to diet. 45% of these are of average weight.

• 70 million people worldwide struggle with eating disorders.

• In the US, as many as 10 million are suffering from anorexia or bulimia. That’s more than are suffering from breast cancer.Portrait of a young woman

Last year, Tri Delta launched their Body Image 3-D program. This movement was established to create a multi-dimensional approach to body image awareness and education. Their mission is to help girls and women focus on all aspects of health, not just physical features when considering one’s body image. According to their website, this month’s challenge is to color your plate with an assortment of fruits and vegetables. The focus of this challenge is being healthy, not skinny. One thing I always try to communicate is that healthy and skinny should not be used synonymously. Just because someone is “skinny” does not mean that they have healthy lifestyle habits.

As a former self-hater, I couldn’t agree more with this campaign. I’ll admit I used to cut out pictures of Victoria’s Secret models and celebrities and paste them to the refrigerator hoping one day I would be perfectly tanned with a six-pack. Thanks to the additional efforts of the Dove campaign  we now know how unnatural and air-brushed those flawless magazine pictures and ads really are. We have a serious issue on our hands and the change needs to start within ourselves. With self-hating statements like “My thighs are too wide” or “I look so ugly today”, we end up becoming our own worst enemies.

I encourage you to join the movement and participate in Fat Talk Free Week. Inspire change in the way we think and feel about our bodies and remember, it starts with you.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” –Muhatma Gandhi


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Eating Healthy During Treatment

BreastHealthRibbon

A diagnosis of breast cancer can be one of the most frightening experiences a woman can have. No matter what the course of treatment, nutrition should be a vital component. The exact path that nutrition therapy takes may differ for each patient and their course of treatment, but the core focus on weight maintenance or weight loss remains the same.
Many breast cancer patients find themselves gaining weight throughout treatment. It’s not completely clear why this occurs, but possible explanations may be related to body composition changes. Muscle tissue is lost while fat matter is gained. This can be a result of treatment itself or in combination of reduced physical activity levels and poor dietary intake. Focusing on healthy eating patterns and nutrient-dense foods can help the body function optimally.
Quality nutrition can be found in plant-based proteins, high-fiber whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, plenty of fluids and heart-healthy fats. This can be accomplished by consuming ≥ 5 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables, 100% whole wheat/whole grain products, beans, water and healthy fats such as cold-water fish and walnuts.

Here are some quick reminders of healthful eating during treatment and survivorship :

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Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eating more produce might be the single best diet change you can make to improve your nutrient intake. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, low in calories and are packed with phytochemicals and antioxidants that help protect our cells and tissues. Think simple first. Try swapping an apple for crackers as a healthy snack. Slice up a banana or berries to put in oatmeal. Keep pre-cut raw vegetables readily available to add to salads or snack on by themselves. If you already consume at least five servings of produce per day, focus on including a variety of vibrantly colored items to maximize your phytochemical and antioxidant intake.
• Eat less red meat. A diet high in red meat has been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers. An easy way to cut back on eating red meat is to substitute fish or plant-based sources of protein for burgers, sausages, bacon and steaks. Plant proteins include beans, lentils, nuts and high-protein grains, such as quinoa. For a great plant-based protein meal, try this heart-healthy, black-bean burrito recipe http://bit.ly/16vUtYx
Limit sodium. Did you know that salting one’s food only contributes to about 5-10% of one’s total daily sodium intake? Most of the salt Americans consume comes directly from packaged and processed foods. While it’s important not to add extra salt to food, it’s also important to evaluate the sodium content of the foods you consume on a regular basis. Excessive consumption of salt and sodium-preserved foods is not only a cause of hypertension but it may also be linked to certain cancers. Try limiting the consumption of pre-packaged foods, dinners, canned soups and fast food. Look for “no salt added” canned foods and salt-free seasoning mixes such as Mrs. Dash products.
Limit alcoholic drinks. According to the National Cancer Institute, a large sum of studies show a positive link between increased alcohol consumption and the risk of breast cancer in women. If you choose to drink an alcoholic beverage, decrease your risk associated with alcohol consumption by limiting your intake to no more than two drinks per day for men, and one per day for women. These recommendations are similar to those put forth by the American Heart Association for protection against heart disease.

myplateFollow “The Plate Method.” If your diet needs improvement, incorporating all these ideas might seem intimidating. A great way to simplify these recommendations is to adopt what is called “The Plate Method.” To do this, divide your plate visually into fourths when serving foods at a meal. Fill one fourth with vegetables, one fourth with fruit, one fourth with lean protein foods, and one fourth with whole grains. Following this pattern will help ensure you are eating a well-balanced diet high in important nutrients and lower in fat and calories. To find more information and great tips, visit http://www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.
It’s important to remember that an improvement in diet can increase well-being, promote post-op healing, reduce the risk of co-morbidities during and after cancer and provide a sense of active participation in one’s healing process. One study showed that even in the absence of weight loss, consuming a diet high in plant foods in combination of 30 minutes of daily physical activity can provide a survival benefit. To help improve the quality of your diet and balance the right amount of nutrients for you, please contact Springfield Clinic Nutrition and Dietetics.


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Weekend Bingers

Parties, anniversaries, restaurants, ball games, weddings, movies…yep, it’s the weekend! Many of us define the weekend as a time to kick back, relax and indulge with menu items like burritos, burgers, pizza, fries, buttery popcorn and “adult” beverages. While “weekend binging” isn’t a medical diagnosis, it is a habit that can really affect your waistline. Over-indulging, staying up late and a lack of physical activity can make us feel overstuffed, bloated and sluggish by the time Monday morning’s alarm goes off.

A binge (noun) is defined as a period or bout, usually brief, of excessive indulgence, as in eating, drinking, etc.; a spree. To binge (verb) means to eat, drink, etc., too much in a short period of time. Binging may last a few hours or occur on and off all day. Often, it can occur when you’re not even hungry, which can lead to feelings of guilt and depression. How often do we find ourselves justifying our unhealthy indulgences by saying “I deserve it,” “I’ve had a hard week” or “I’ve been saving my calories”?

Consuming too few calories during the week and then over-consuming on the weekend is a major cause of weight gain for many individuals. If you deprive your body of nutrients and calories during the week, your body will adjust by reducing its metabolic rate. This means your body is burning fewer calories each day. This combination of depressed metabolism and overconsumption of poor food choices and calories on the weekend can lead to weight gain. A study published in the Journal of Obesity in 2008 found that individuals following the “weekend cheaters” diet gained an average of nine pounds per year.

thisorthatAnother remark I have heard many people make (even myself) is “I only indulge on special occasions.” My concern with this statement is the fact that “special occasions” can occur much more frequently than we actually think.  For example, it’s your birthday, it’s Aunt Mary’s birthday, it’s Bob from Accounting’s birthday, the Illini are playing, it’s Friday, it’s summertime, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, etc. Depending on the way you look at it, special occasions can occur almost every weekend and even throughout the week.  Of course, the occasional indulgence is quite appropriate and can fit into most individuals’ healthy lifestyles. Once per year, I enjoy a good slice (okay, maybe two) of deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s; but, most of the time, I choose the same delicious and nutritious foods on the weekends as I do during the week.

Here are some tips for having healthier weekends:

1) Squeeze in a longer workout since you have a little more free time than on a weekday. Remember, a one-hour workout is only four percent of your day!

2) Eat like it’s a weekday. That means consuming three nutritionally-dense meals and choosing healthy snacks.

3) Try to stick to your usual sleep schedule. Research regarding whether or not we can actually “catch up on our sleep” on the weekends is debatable.

4) Break the on-again, off-again diet mentality and make eating right a part of your everyday habits.

5) Limit alcoholic beverages. Remember, alcohol depresses our central nervous system which can inhibit our decision-making skills (especially when choosing food/menu items).

6) Order well when dining out. Just because you’re eating healthier is no reason to skip dinner with friends. Look for baked or grilled proteins with side vegetables on the menu.

7) Plan ahead. Typically, my Saturdays are spent running a ton of errands, but I always have a bag of almonds or pistachios with me so I’m not tempted by the candy bar at the checkout counter.

8) Remember to hydrate. Keep a water bottle with you at all times.hydration

 

Eat right and live well—your way, every day.


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Choose Your Snack Wisely

Snacktime isn’t just for kids. Snacking can be a part of a healthy diet for adults, too! Just like mealtimes, good, nutritious snacks take thought, preparation and planning. Poor planning can result in unhealthy, convenient snack choices, such as candy, chips, pastries, crackers and soda.

One snacking mentality that I try to help people break is that “snacks” = “desserts.” Unfortunately, for a lot of people, this snacking-dessert association developed during childhood.  This is why it is so important to teach your kids at an early age to make healthy snack choices.

A healthy snack for most people typically ranges from 100-300 calories, depending on time between meals and how physically active you are. Some people believe that skipping snacks helps you save calories during the day, but healthy snacks may actually help you from overeating at your next meal. Snacks are also a great opportunity to consume nutrients that we need every day.

The perfect snack is hard to come by but here are some options I enjoy!

The perfect snack is hard to come by but here are some options I enjoy!

Try these healthy snack options from EatWell

Try these healthy snack options from EatWell

Remember, the best time to have a snack is when you are physically hungry for one! There are many influences that can make having a snack “sound like a good idea” but the real reason to snack is to satisfy an internal cue of hunger. Good snackers are able to distinguish the difference between physical and emotional hunger cues.

Emotional cues can be triggered by stress, boredom, even your co-workers. Planning ahead by cutting vegetables, buying fresh fruit or throwing some nuts in a Ziploc can help you satisfy those physical hunger cues in a more nutritious way.

Be careful not to overeat when snacking. This often occurs when we are distracted while snacking (on the computer, watching TV, talking/socializing). Distractions can lead to “mindless eating” habits that occur when we lose touch with our internal cues of hunger/satiety because our focus is on something else. A simple way to help prevent overeating is to pre-portion your snack instead of eating directly from the box, bag, container, etc. That way you know exactly how big your serving size is (instead of guessing how many handfuls of pretzels you’ve taken).

Tired of snacking on the same boring apple every day? Here are two handouts that can help spice up your snack options.

Snacking Tips for Adults

Kid Friendly Fruits and Veggies

Eat right, live well, and remember: When hunger attacks, make sure you grab a healthy snack!

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