Wednesday, May 22, 2019


"Eat your fruits and vegetables!"  

We have been told to eat fruit and vegetables since we were toddlers sitting in our high chairs and have probably heard this a million more times since then.

And, we don't do what we are told because as adults, we want to make our own choices and fruits and vegetables are "boring" compared to pies, cakes, cookies and all the other "cooler" foods we walk past at the grocery store. 

Lets face it.

The billboards and advertisements of those juicy burgers, ice cream, Doritos, and Coco Puffs we see on television, magazines, or even posters look really good and taste good too!

I think we know by now that the pies, cakes, cookies, fast-foods, soda, and "junk foods" are not as healthy as fruits and vegetables. 

I think we have also gotten used to eating less fruits and vegetables over the years.

But, why?

Why have we become so dependent on the convenience foods in the grocery store, gas stations, restaurants, snack machines, and fast-food joints?  

Is it because we don't care anymore about eating fruits and vegetables? 


And it's okay.

It's OK to not care about eating fruits and vegetables anymore.  I am a Registered Dietitian and I will be the one to's okay.

However, for the people that do care and would like to learn more about fruits and vegetables, you have come to the right blog post.

As a Registered Dietitian for the last 13 years I will be the first to say that hearing, "Eat your fruits and vegetables" has not made anyone healthier.

But, why?

Because we aren't being taught meaningful reasons why we should eat fruits and vegetables, that's why.

Statistics of obesity don't seem to matter. 

Losing our loved ones from health complications such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke don't seem to matter.

Do you know what also doesn't seem to matter?  The USDA dietary guidelines.

The USDA dietary guidelines recommend an adult that consumes 2,000 calories per day should eat two-and-a-half cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit per day.

The USDA has done a lot of research to support the importance of consuming this amount of fruits and vegetables everyday.

So why are we are getting more obese and more unhealthy as a nation in the meantime?

Because, we aren't being taught meaningful reasons why we should eat fruits and vegetables, that's why.

However, before being taught on the reasons why we should eat more fruits and vegetables, let's talk about why we aren't eating the amount or even close to the amount of servings that are recommended by the USDA.

Let's talk business.

Business is money. Money makes the world go round. If we don't have money, then we can't get what we need to survive.

Let's talk about sales. Sales feed the marketing industry. If we don't have the marketing industry, then we can't get the information we (the consumers) use to purchase what we need to survive.

I already see a problem here.

One of the main reasons we are not eating the amount or even close to the amount of servings that are recommended by the USDA is because of the marketing industry.

Do we see fresh fruits and vegetables being advertised to us on television, billboards, magazines, and radio?  If a slice of a tomato in between 2 ground beef patties counts as a vegetable, then, yes there are vegetables being advertised and marketed to us everyday.  The problem is we can't see them because that is not the focus of the marketing industry. 

So, do we blame the marketing industry for making our nation more obese and more unhealthy as the years go by?


I will be the first Registered Dietitian to say it.

The answer is yes.

But we also have the ability to choose the foods we put into our mouths everyday because we aren't toddlers sitting in a high chair anymore.

So, why should we eat fruits and vegetables?

Because they provide the correct fuel that our bodies need to function properly everyday.

Would you put diesel fuel into your car?  Sure, however, your car is going to crash because it's the wrong fuel for your car's engine.

The same is true for our bodies.  We aren't putting the right fuel into our bodies. 

Think of the pies, cakes, cookies, junk foods, convenient/processed foods as "diesel fuel."

The other grades of fuel: regular (usually 87 octane), mid-grade (usually 89 octane) and premium (usually 92 or 93) are categories of foods our bodies need to function well such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, dairy, healthy fats.

Our bodies are "crashing" because we are consuming too much "diesel fuel."

So now what?

Well, I didn't become a Registered Dietitian for nothing. It's my job to educate on the importance of consuming the foods our bodies need to function properly.

The problem is I am not on the television, radio, billboards, or cover of magazines.

The other problem is I am not being marketed with a colorful package, ingredient label, and nutrition facts portion.

I am not fat-free, gluten-free, wholesome, made with no high fructose corn syrup, cage-free, low-fat, made from 100% real fruit juice, family-owned, original, low-sodium, and free of GMOs.

I am not the food.

I am not the package.

I am not the marketing industry.

I give you the facts about nutrition and the facts about the foods we are not eating enough of.

Let's talk fruits and vegetables, the boring foods that don't come in a package with tons of marketing terms attached to them.

We know they are naturally healthy.

It is my job to help people eat more of them even if it's just one serving a day.

If we all ate one serving of fruit or vegetable every day we would not only be giving our bodies more of the fuel it needs to function properly, we would also be telling the marketing industry to stop  selling us "diesel fuel" because it's making us sick.

Start supplementing your diet alternating between one whole fresh fruit or one whole fresh vegetable (starchy and non-starchy) everyday. 

Start thinking of fruits and vegetables as supplemental multivitamins because they are "premium fuel."   

The marketing industry has been very successful marketing "diesel fuel" as the fuel our bodies need to function properly. 

And we are buying it.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Are You Internally Healthy?

What we choose to feed our mind, body, and soul is unique to each and every one of us and there is no "one size fits all" approach to living a healthy lifestyle.

A person can look healthy on the outside to the rest of the world, and be struggling internally to find a healthy balance.

Society tends to create an image of what "healthy" should be and what "healthy" looks like. 

And we continue to feed upon this societal creation that changes by the decade. 

We use Facebook and Instagram and other sources of technology to create our own image of what we want people to see. 

We use photo filters to show less wrinkles, change the lighting, appear slimmer, change our skin color, and make our muscles appear more defined.

Are we trying to prove to others or to ourselves that we feel good and look good?

It's easy to use technology and share pictures that show others what we are doing, who we are with, and that we are having a good time.

What did people and families do before the internet? Where did they spend their time?

If people were not proving to others via technology they were living a good life, did they prove it to their neighbors, co-workers, friends, and families in person?  

Society defines a healthy lifestyle and living a happy life. And if we aren't feeling happy or living a healthy lifestyle, then society determines what is either acceptable or unacceptable to obtain a happy, healthy life. 

No matter the time period, living a happy and healthy lifestyle is a big goal. Technology just makes it easier to make it appear to others that we are truly living happy and healthy.

Are you living your truth? Are you living for what you believe is healthy for YOU? 

Because what society determines to be healthy and true living, may not be YOUR truth to living and being healthy. 

It takes strength to not let other people influence your truth. Part of living a healthy lifestyle is staying true to who you are and following the path that was meant for you. 

If we have the strength to refocus our energy and listen to ourselves instead of what others feel are best for us, then we have the strength to live the life that allows us to create our own health and happiness. 

Living a healthy lifestyle is not just about eating fruits and vegetables or limiting fried foods. It's also about feeding our minds and making choices that align with who we are and the path that is meant for us to follow. 

It's not easy, but then again nothing healthy in life is easy.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

It's Scary To Be A Small Fish

What if you were the small fish swimming in the ocean?  Would you be afraid? 

Think about being a small fish for a minute...

You have the whole open ocean to swim in.  Where do you go next?

Do you swim around?  Do you look for the bigger fish that may want to eat you for the next meal?

What is your purpose?  Would anyone even know if you were missing?

Now pretend you are the big fish.

Your are the big shark that every other fish in the ocean fears.  You prey on anything smaller than you. There is nothing to fear in the ocean because you are at the top...well until...

The fishermen lower a large cage into the water and trap you inside. Then you become property.

It's a world of hierarchy.

There will always be a big fish swimming in the water eating little fish for dinner.

Fish live to exist. Fish go on about their day swimming in the water.

They breathe.  They eat.  They sleep.

Every now and then, they may fight for their lives to avoid becoming a meal or trapped in a cage, but the majority of the time they exist swimming in the water.

When it comes to you and me, people with much more complexity due to evolution, culture, emotions, and social organization just to name a few, we are uniquely human.

We have the ability to choose if we want to exist or to live.

In other words, we can go on about our days breathing, drinking, eating, sleeping, searching...Existing.

Or, we can live life.

Live the life that was meant for us.  Live life with purpose.  Live life without fearing bigger fish.

We are no different than the fish swimming in the water when it comes to surviving. 

We are extremely different from fish swimming in the water when it comes to living.

Obviously we do not have to eat each other for dinner when we become hungry (that's what the fish are for).

We are social, intelligent creatures that have emotions to survive and also to live with purpose. This is what makes us uniquely human.

But, we might be viewed as small fish under a Higher Power. A Higher Power that is not to be feared, but trusted. It is there to guide us, but we need to listen.

The gift of intuition is built within every one of us. The problem is we get distracted from all the noise that goes on around us and we don't set enough quiet time aside to listen to our inner voice.

I spent a large portion of my life not knowing how to shut off the noise because I didn't know it could be turned off.

But someone helped me. She told me to close my eyes. She told me to slowly inhale and exhale as she counted from 1 to 5. Then, I had to imagine anywhere in the world I wanted to be but I had to use my five senses to describe everything around me.

My place is the beach. Just me. 

I can feel the warm sun shining on my body and face as I lay on the sand. I can hear ocean waves crashing to the shore. I can see palm trees in the breeze of fresh air. I can smell my piƱa colada and taste it too.

It's peace.  It feels good.

It's the place we can go to stop the noise that is always around us. The distracting noise that so easily diverts our attention away from where we were meant to be.

It's life.

Life is filled with constant distractions that can take us so far away from ourselves that we lose our purpose and just exist.

Don't just exist.

Exist to live trusting you are the smallest fish in the largest ocean.

Don't be afraid to swim from one end to the other.

Trust you will not get eaten.

If you never start swimming to the other side, then you will never find the fish right around the corner that have been waiting to swim with you along the way.

May you find comfort and peace knowing that you are not alone as you go forward with accomplishing your goals no matter how small or large they might be.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Strong Mind Strong Body

When I started this blog in 2014, I knew there had to be a connection to how we choose to nourish our bodies not only from food and drink, but also from our thoughts, emotions, and spiritual connection.

Over the past several months, I have been more observant to how the dots may be connected within the mind, body, and soul.

Throughout much of my life and even as a child my parents taught me the importance of being physically active and consuming a healthy diet and I am very thankful to continue to have this foundation in my life today.

My interest in nutrition and wellness guided me to become a Registered Dietitian and I continue to practice this important role on a daily basis helping others to find a nutritional balance.

With that said, over the past several years I have been thinking a lot about the health and wellness of our society. 

I have a degree in the field of dietetics and nutrition but there is actually a lot I still question regarding the best "diet" for individuals to follow.

I question a lot of things.  I have concerns. 

The world of nutrition is not black and white.  In fact, there is a lot of grey.

I have spent many years educating others on following a healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, minimal processed foods, and drinking plenty of water.

What I am starting to realize is that consuming a healthy diet seems to be about one-third of the bigger picture to true wellness.

I believe the other two-thirds of true wellness include feeding our mind and spirit.  Both, very big pieces included in the whole pie.

I know not everyone will agree with this theory because there are no scientific tools available to test how spiritually sound and emotionally balanced a person is, but that's my whole point.

We have ongoing medical and scientific research to conclude the most suitable practice available for the treatment of malnutrition, illness, and disease within the medical/health care community yet our nation continues to get sicker.

This doesn't make sense.

The reason this doesn't make sense is because in many cases I feel we are treating symptoms and not fixing the problems.

In fact, billions of dollars are spent every year in health care to treat symptoms but the medical community and scientific research does not put a lot of money into preventative medicine which can correct imbalances that lead to morbidity and mortality.

Is there scientific, evidence-based research available linking illness and disease to how we feed our mind and spirit?

Can you measure a person's level of stress?  Can you measure a person's spiritual connection with the universe? 


But, stress can certainly cause imbalance in the body leading to symptoms of illness and disease.

If the body is in a stressful state too long from any or all of the following:
  • Not getting the proper foods.
  • Not replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.
  • Not connecting spiritually and positively to your soul.
Then the equilibrium within the body is thrown off and it is not in the homeostatic state required to properly function.

In chemistry class years ago, I remember taking a chicken bone and placing it into a beaker of Coca Cola and comparing it to a chicken bone placed into a beaker of water.  Within days, the bone soaking in Coca Cola was weakened and breaking due to the exposure of phosphoric acid.

This is just one example of the effect an acidic environment can potentially have on our bodies.   

The pH spectrum of common foods and beverages can be found on many websites. 

Not surprisingly, foods and beverages that are more alkaline (pH value near 7, neutral) include fruits and vegetables, fish, eggs, grains, beans, and water.  Foods and beverages that are more acidic (pH value far below 7, acidic) include soda, energy drinks, cheese, beef, white bread, and sugar-processed foods.

It would certainly be difficult to only consume foods and beverages on the alkaline spectrum for the long haul, aka "The Alkaline Diet."  However,  I do believe there is validity in this information especially when considering nutrient dense foods such as fruits and vegetables to be on the alkaline side of the spectrum.

And, how are we feeding our mind and soul emotionally and spiritually?

Can our negative thoughts lead to negative emotions causing negative energy which then leads to illness and disease? 

Is it possible for negative thoughts and emotions to create weakened mechanisms within our bodies similar to the reaction of the chicken bone being exposed to the acidic content of Coca Cola

How are we feeding our mind? 

Stress, anxiety, depression, fear, negative voices in our heads, and negativity from others can certainly cause illness in the body.  In fact, this article explains the link between negative emotions and heart disease.

If we don't replace the negative thoughts and emotions by feeding our mind with positive thoughts and emotions, then our bodies will become weakened and breakable just like the chicken bone soaking in Coke. 

How do we replace negative thoughts and emotions with positive thoughts and emotions?

It is a part of life to have negative moments, but the more you fear them, fight them, or avoid them, the stronger they become.  By taking action and moving forward no matter how negative the moment may be, you can make the situation positive.

We have free will and freedom of choice to either feed our minds and surround ourselves with negativity or we can choose to take action to change our mental wiring to be positive which in turn can create positive surroundings.

Energy is all around us.  It is in the planets, it is in the trees, it is in the kettle of water boiling broccoli on the stove. 

Energy is not created or destroyed but it can be changed. 

Therefore, it is possible to change negative energy or situations that arise in life by taking positive action both physically and emotionally.

Our spiritual world cannot be proven by any scientific evidence or study, but I believe it exists.  God exists.  A higher power exists.

I believe we can connect to a spiritual source to connect to our soul.  By feeding our soul spiritually, we can replace illness with wellness.

It is my theory that the mind, body, and soul are all connected and if any pieces of the pie are off balance, then the rest of the pie can also be effected. 

The point is this...

Wellness is not just about eating healthy foods, or thinking positive thoughts, or going to church on Sunday. 

Wellness is feeding the mind, body, and soul the foods/beverages, thoughts, and spirituality that it craves in order to function without illness and disease.

We need to be intuitive and pay attention to the messages our bodies are giving to us via signs and symptoms.

Rather than avoiding unwanted symptoms or treating them with medicines which in some cases may cause more harm, we can prevent them from happening in the first place and take action by making changes in our lives.

As a rule the mind, residing in a body that has become weakened by pampering, is also weak, and where there is no strength of mind there can be no strength of soul.  ~Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, August 26, 2016

Are You Hungry?

Hunger and satiety, aka fullness, are part of the driving mechanism that controls our daily eating habits.  We all experience symptoms of hunger and we all experience symptoms of fullness.  I am choosing to write about hunger and satiety because the symptoms that accompany the two can be ignored.  A classic example is a gathering for a holiday or summer cookout where the desire to consume mouth-watering food and beverages even after our stomachs are full is high.

At the gathering, we may spoon a serving or two of the indulgent food onto our platters because it looks so delicious.  I can say for myself that 95% of the time there is a social or family gathering, my plate is filled. 

Although my plate is filled to the brim, I am tuned-in to my body.  I am mindfully aware to how hungry I am at the beginning of a meal as well as the moment that triggers physical fullness.  The concept of eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full sounds easy, but the reality is there are many variables that come into play when we decide if we are going to keep eating or not.  It is important to be mindfully aware of the physical and psychological  signs and symptoms that we are experiencing on the hunger and satiety scale. 

In Today's Dietitian, March 2013 Issue, author Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD shares an example of a hunger scale to assist individuals with being mindful of hunger and fullness levels.  

By analyzing where you fall on the scale with extreme hunger on one end (1) and "oh my goodness, I think my pants are about to bust" (10), we can learn to consume food in moderation and appreciate food as the nourishment our body needs to obtain a healthy lifestyle. 

“The Hunger-Satiety Rating Scale” listed below  is from Why Weight?  A Guide to Ending Compulsive Eating  by Geneen Roth and reposted by Erica Lesperance, RD, LD in an internet article via the Diet Channel: Diet Essentials: Learn To Recognize Your Hunger Cues.

Satiety 10 = Stuffed to the point of feeling sick
9 = Very uncomfortably full, need to loosen your belt
8 = Uncomfortably full, feel stuffed
7 = Very full, feel as if you have overeaten
6 = Comfortably full, satisfied
Neutral 5 = Comfortable, neither hungry nor full
4 = Beginning signals of hunger
3 = Hungry, ready to eat
2 = Very hungry, unable to concentrate
Hungry1 = Starving, dizzy, irritable

If we are mindful to where we fall on the hunger and satiety scale, we will be able to pay attention to our inner voice, the voice that tells us whether we are truly hungry or truly full. If we ignore the symptoms between 1-3 or 7-10 our bodies will not be in a neutral, balanced state and we will physically feel the effects.

The physical symptoms our body experiences in relation to hunger are internal cues to signal to our brain that it is time to eat.  Hunger symptoms include gurgling or growling in stomach, dizziness, headache, irritability, or nausea.  Our bodies are wired so that our internal physical symptoms of hunger can be communicated to our brain in an effort to motivate an external response for us to eat food.  This is a survival mechanism. 

It is our responsibility to pay attention, to be mindful of where we fall on this scale, and to be aware of our inner voice especially in a society that surrounds us with a plethora of food and beverage options.  We are surrounded by mouth-watering food on a daily basis.  It is important to recognize that our mental desire for the mouth-watering food can take over our physical symptoms of hunger and fullness.  By "mindfully eating" we can overcome our mental desire to consume too much indulgent food whether it is a holiday, social gathering, or an average American day. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Back To School Lunchbox

It's the time of year when the kids are off to school.  As a parent of two children I know how hectic the days may be.  I understand how tempting it is to want to give your child money for lunch to purchase cafeteria foods rather than sending your child with a midday brown bag meal.

I'll be honest.  Back in the day, I used to throw random leftovers and anything I thought my son would eat in his lunchbox.  I didn't give much thought about him having a balanced meal.

This may be surprising for some individuals to read considering I am a dietitian.  The truth is that I am also a parent and I understand how chaotic the days become during the school year.

I admit to the times I would grab anything in the refrigerator or freezer (corn dog, pizza, hot pocket) to feed my kids because they had to be fed "now."

But, now I realize the importance of taking time to plan weekly meals. 

In the past, I would put random food items into my son's lunchbox about 10 minutes before I had to  take him to preschool.

This year, I will be planning all meals for the week to ensure my son and daughter are fed healthy lunches.

I know how busy school mornings are and I hate feeling rushed.

School mornings in my household consist of two children complaining how tired they are and dragging their feet to head out the door because they know we are already late! (seriously walking like zombies out of the's a production for sure).

But with a little preparation, it's easy to fill the kids' lunchboxes with healthy foods and you can feel like one proud parent!

It is up to me to provide my kids with healthy food options. 

It may also be confusing to know which foods and beverages are considered "healthy" to pack into the lunchbox. 

Listed below are suggested healthy meal options.

  • Multi-grain bagels, whole-grain English muffins, tortillas and colorful wraps, whole- grain bread slices, crackers and pita pockets are all great options instead of white bread 
  • Light canned tuna fish, chicken, and egg salads mixed with a small amount of mayonnaise
  • Lean, low sodium lunch meats such as ham or turkey
  • Peanut butter or almond butter spread with slices of apples, bananas, raisins, or granola
  • Veggie or turkey burgers topped with a slice of cheese or guacamole
  • Whole-grain English muffin pizza (spaghetti/pizza sauce on each half, sprinkle with shredded cheese and favorite toppings, heat and eat!)
  • Sliced veggies such as carrot sticks, celery, broccoli, tomatoes, colorful peppers and don't forget to pack your child's favorite veggie dip on the side!
  • Sliced fruits including strawberries, grapes, pears, peaches
  • Whole fruits including bananas, blueberries, apples
  • Dried or freeze-dried fruits
  • Applesauce
  • Yogurt
  • Raisins
  • Cottage cheese
  • Baked chips
  • Veggie straws
  • Cheese stick
  • Trail mixes
  • Pita bread and hummus
  • Granola bars
  • Low-fat or fat-free milk
  • Water
  • 100% Fruit juices
  • Water with a splash of fruit juice for extra flavor
  • Avoid soda and high sugar beverages such as fruit punch
By packing a serving of food from the protein group, whole-grain/multi-grain group, fruit and vegetable group, and low-fat dairy group your child will be consuming the essential vitamins and nutrients he or she needs. 

The benefits of children consuming healthy foods is not only important for their long-term optimal health, but also their academic performance. 

Studies have shown that students with poorly rated diets perform lower on standardized tests.  In addition, experts have found that skipping meals or consuming unbalanced meals interferes with concentration at school.

The benefits of packing healthy foods and beverages into your child's lunchbox are endless.  If you haven't given much thought about your child's lunch in the past, start thinking today!   

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Healthy Living Addict

It's 6:00 a.m.  She wakes up for school, drinks some hot tea with no sugar, gets dressed and goes to class. 

Her stomach is growling for food by 10:00 a.m. but she ignores it and puts a mint in her mouth in an attempt to ease the hunger pains.

By 1:00 p.m she is home from school and tries to eat as little as possible before she is on her way to work by 3:00 p.m. 

At work she drinks diet sodas because she doesn't want to consume calories and the carbonation will hopefully curb her appetite.

On her work break she eats a bag of sliced apples and a Lean Cuisine frozen meal.

By 8:30 p.m. she is back home and begins studying for a college exam while snacking on baby carrots and Fat-Free Italian dressing.

It's now 11:00 p.m. and although her stomach is still slightly growling, she goes to bed because if she is sleeping she will not be reminded of how hungry she is.

The next morning she wakes up and her schedule repeats...

She continues to feel control over her world by controlling the amount of calories that she consumes.

She is refusing to give her body the amount of fuel it requires to function because she not only enjoys the feeling of being thin but she also feels a periodic "high" by withholding food while everyone around her is stuffing their faces. 

To some extent, she enjoys being different from everyone else.

This is the mind of a young woman with an eating disorder.  Her brain and body has learned to function on one-third of the calories it used to several years ago.  She has an addiction to not eating food because the feeling she gets from withholding food provides a sense of pleasure, comfort, and control. 

Unfortunately the "high" that results from withholding food is temporary.  It the meantime, her physical health is suffering because it is not receiving the nutrition it requires to function properly. 

She is not happy. Her weight is less than ideal.  Her stomach growls much of the day.

She uses withholding food as a form of escape.  She doesn't have to feel so much sadness or disappointment or hurt in her soul if she uses food (or lack thereof) as a coping mechanism.

It will take hard work and inner strength to overcome the condition of anorexia nervosa.

While the stressors of life continue through the college years, she starts to enjoy feeling "buzzed" after drinking a few beers with friends. 

When she has several drinks she realizes how hungry she is and eats without caring what the calories will do to her body.  She also does not care about withholding her body from men.

Her family and friends frequently comment on her ability to control her alcohol consumption, but she believes she is fine and does not have a problem.

She doesn't understand why everyone is so concerned about her drinking because everyone drinks in college.

But, overtime she gets sick (literally) of being hungover nearly every weekend and starts to enjoy smoking marijuana instead. 

Her stress and anxiety diminish every time she lights-up and she eats as much junk food as she wants.

Over a period of time she enjoys mouth-watering double bacon cheeseburgers, chips, and ice cream more than the feeling of smoking a joint.

She is now pushing 30 years old.  Her weight went from being significantly under ideal in her late teens from anorexia to being significantly over ideal at age 29 from binge eating.

It will take hard work and inner strength to overcome the addiction of binge eating.

In this woman's case, she went from addiction to addiction trying to cover-up unhappiness, stress, anxiety, fear, and/or responsibilities of life.

The pleasure she felt from withholding food, binge eating, binge drinking, or smoking weed became more important to her than taking care of her soul.

On her 40th birthday, she realizes how lucky she is to still be alive and decides to live the second half of her life much differently than the first.

She is fully aware of her addictive personality but wants to use it to her advantage versus destroying her health and possibly her life.  She becomes addicted to living a healthy lifestyle. 

She starts by planning three healthy meals and two small snacks a day. 

She starts taking walks around the block after work even though she is dog-tired and would do anything to lay on the couch.

She starts becoming thankful to God for her body even though it is far from society's standard of perfect. 

She realizes how lucky she is to have the ability to care for herself.

Because her attitude toward her life changed in a positive way, so did her health.

Living a healthy lifestyle was no longer an addiction to her.  Healthy living was a different way to live life.

Over time, she realized she did not have to cope with life's stressors and sadness by resorting to highly addictive foods or substances.  She realized how destructive food, drugs, and alcohol can be to her health and she wanted the opposite.

She realized that stress, sadness, and negativity exists in life, but she can choose to deal with negativity by taking part in activities that are not destructive to her health.

She is now 45 years old and feels stronger than ever physically and mentally because she took control of herself.  She doesn't let negativity destroy her and instead she destroys negativity.

I have met several people in my lifetime that have been or are currently addicted to food, drugs, or alcohol.  All three can be highly addictive and destructive to our health.

Living a healthy lifestyle involves more than eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy.

Living a healthy lifestyle is a choice. 

We choose whether or not we want to live healthy everyday.

How will you choose to live tomorrow?


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Change Health Rules 101

Can you imagine if we lived life without rules? 

We could drive through red lights, grab food from the store without paying, take a week off of work without telling anybody, and the list goes on and on.

If we didn't have rules to live by, then we would live based on how we feel from day-to-day.  In essence we would be driven by emotion rather than rules or commitments.

And if we continue to live life without rules or commitments, then chaos will result. 

Emotions change.  Rules guide.  People need guidance because emotions change.

You know what else doesn't change easily?  Our beliefs. 

Belief is power. Beliefs control actions in life.  Beliefs also stem from our attitudes.

If we change our attitude, then we change our behavior.

So what does all of this have to do with health? 

Our emotions, beliefs, attitudes, and actions regarding making food and beverage choices are routine and comfortable to us.

It is routine and comfortable to wake up in the morning and grab a coffee and doughnut.  It is routine to grab a burger and fries at lunch.  It is comfortable to stay home for dinner and call for pizza delivery.  And, hey, why not add a 2-liter soda and side of breadsticks for a couple more bucks!

I'm sure you have seen these healthy guidelines (aka healthy rules) listed below:
  • Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains.
  • Drink water. 
  • Limit fast food and convenience food items
  • Limit junk foods
  • Choose lean meats and low-fat dairy foods.
These guidelines have been developed because there are countless studies proving them to be beneficial to our health.

These rules, unfortunately are being ignored.  Over two-thirds of our nation is overweight or obese.

We have gotten used to ignoring foods that are good for us.  

For many of us, we have either grown up eating junk food and we don't know any different, or we have developed a positive attitude toward junk food and believe it is okay to eat on a day-to-day basis.

Contrary to the belief that non-nutritive foods are okay to eat and are acceptable in the American diet is the reality that illness and disease continues to rise. 

We are consuming an abundance of unhealthy foods and beverages and this should not be acceptable. 

We are ignoring the "healthy rules" listed above.

As a clinical dietitian, I see first-hand, the consequences that arise (diabetes, heart disease, obesity, death) when individuals do not follow healthy rules of eating.

It is also important to note the responsibility of big business and how it has contributed to our sense of comfort consuming non-nutritious foods. 

We are bombarded by images and commercials with greasy burgers, fries, ice cream, and candy daily. 

It's also not surprising why we associate these images and commercials with positive thoughts and attitudes as there are scantily clad models, smiley faces, and happy families consuming them. 

So, does the responsibility to provide healthy American food fall on big business or the consumer?

From a business standpoint, businesses supply consumers non-nutritive foods because they are demanded.  Businesses remain successful because they are supplying demanded products to consumers and pocketing billions of dollars. 

There is no reason for big business to change.

From a consumer standpoint, consumers buy convenience foods and beverages because we believe there is not enough time to prepare food ourselves.  The fast, convenient food tastes really good too!  We have created positive attitudes toward convenience foods and beverages because they are fast and taste good. 

Why should we change? 

If big business is happy producing unhealthy foods and beverages and we are comfortable with consuming them, then what's the big deal?

The answer to this question is up to you based on your beliefs, attitudes, and expectations.

However, one main reason our country continues to get bigger is because we are making excuses for not following healthy rules.

If we continue to make excuses for not living a healthy lifestyle, then, we will never succeed.

If we continue to excuse our unhealthy choices and allow the exceptions, then we will fail to reach our potential of successful healthy living. 

No matter the environment we grew up in, nor the positive attitudes we may have developed regarding plentiful consumption of non-nutritive foods, we must understand our society is now facing consequences of not following a healthy diet including illness, disease, and death.

If you do have hope for your health and you would like to get out of your comfort zone, as uncomfortable and awkward as it may feel, then you are ready to change your health.

You are responsible for changes in your life. 

Change is uncomfortable. 

It's time to get uncomfortable. 

But, don't worry, in due time, you will be comfortable living your new healthy lifestyle and you will never look back!

And if you don't believe me, go ask a Registered Dietitian ;) 


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Now Is The Future

Over the past several months, I have been thinking a lot about the things and people I have in my life. 

I think about my past.  I think about my life at home and at work.  I think about my future and my family's future.

Since I work in a hospital, I am constantly reminded of physical and mental health issues that arise if we don't take care of ourselves.

Some people may think we don't have control over anything in our lives, but I disagree.

We don't have any control over our past, because that happened yesterday.  We don't have control over our future, because we don't know what is going to happen tomorrow or 10 years from now.

The only time we have control over is Now.

The choices we make now, will guide our future.

When I think about the health of our future, it doesn't look good.  We are getting sicker and our children are getting sicker. 

Healthcare costs continue to rise, pharmaceutical use continues to rise, and mental illness rates continue to rise.

If we don't die instantly from say, a motor vehicle accident or blood clot, then it seems as if we are all being killed softly over time.

Not only are the "junk" foods slowly killing us, but the toxins in our environment are slowly killing us too. 

We are becoming a product of our environment.  The same toxic chemicals surrounding us on a day-to-day basis are showing up in blood and breastmilk when tested.

How is this happening?

Because our bodies are not only absorbing the chemicals from food we consume, but also chemicals we spray into the air, clean our clothes with, clean our homes with, and put onto our skin.

I can choose foods that have more nutritional value by reading food labels, but what about the containers used to package the food? 

In other words, if I choose a can of red kidney beans to make chili, will the chemicals used to produce the can (for example, BPA) leach into the beans as they sit on the shelf?  How many toxic chemicals will my body absorb from the bean container?

We don't breathe clean air because it is polluted.

We eat scientifically engineered food.

The household cleaners we use are toxic.

To overcome illness and disease, we put potentially harmful medication into our bodies.

So, what do we do?

Start simple. 

We use the information we have at the present moment and do what we can.

We can't control the future, but we can guide the future by making educated choices Now for our health and the health of our families. 

Start small. 

If you care about your nutrition, then don't buy foods that have little or no nutritional value.

If you care about your physical health, then make an effort to plan for an activity that will allow you to move your muscles more or increase your heart rate.

If you care about your mental health, then seek a mental health counselor to help you achieve optimal mental health.

If you want an environment that is less toxic, then do your research to learn how to live a green lifestyle.

Remember, the consumers drive business, not the suppliers. 

If we make an effort today to stop purchasing crappy foods, move more, achieve optimal mental health, and start taking control of our environment, then tomorrow may not seem so scary when we think about it.


Monday, September 28, 2015

I Can't Diet

It's a classic scenario. 

You go the doctor to get an annual physical.  You get your lab work checked.  Then a week or two later, you get the results. 

The doctor has informed you that your cholesterol is high, you are overweight, and you are at risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

A bad report card from the doc. 

You try to remember all of the foods and drinks consumed over the weeks, months, or years that led to weight gain, clogged arteries, and elevated blood sugar.

What's the next step?

Your doctor says to follow a low-fat diet, eat more fruits and vegetables, and exercise.

OK.  Sounds easy right? 

On the way home from the doctor's office you realize you are hungry. 

You think to yourself:  I am on a diet...again.  I can't have all the yummy good stuff.  No croissants, burgers, fries, chocolate, candy, pizza, fried chicken, soda, and beer.  This sucks!

The feeling of deprivation sets in.  The feeling of I can't is now consuming you because you can't have greasy, sugary, high-calorie foods.  Basically, you can't have the foods that taste really, really good.

Yes.  It's true. 

All of the greasy, sugary, high-calorie foods taste really good.  So good in fact we can easily become addicted to the flavor and mouthfeel of chips, burgers, fries, ice cream, soda, etc.

The brain can become addicted to the rush of sugar-filled foods and beverages.

Our taste-buds can acquire an increased tolerance for high-fat, high-calorie, salty, sugary foods and beverages.

But, unfortunately, our bodies are not adapting to the effects of consuming high amounts of these types of foods.

We are no longer hunters and gatherers. 

We now live in a society that has an abundance of food companies making food for us.

Food companies are making billions of dollars to make foods and beverages filled with chemicals, flavor-enhancements, and preservatives.

Unfortunately, our bodies are not responding well to the foods produced by major food companies. 

Our bodies are not getting the nutrition required to function properly. 

On a cellular level, our cells are starved and dying because we are not feeding them what they require to stay healthy and alive.

Disease, obesity, and death are on the rise because we are consuming high amounts of food produced from billion dollar food companies, and low amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables.

We have become addicted to the flavor enhancement and mouthfeel of lab-altered foods and beverages and continue to desire more of these types of foods.

It's hard to stop eating the MSG, preservative, convenience foods.

It's also important to understand brain and body chemistry can be altered from consuming these foods on the regular.

Is this any different from a smoker addicted to nicotine, a drug addict addicted to cocaine, or an alcoholic that can no longer function without a daily fix?

Our society has become addicted to food and beverages that are prematurely killing us. 

Two-thirds of the country are overweight or obese including children.

Is it possible to stop this unhealthy epidemic? 

Have we become addicted to consuming foods and beverages that provide high-fat, high-sugar, and high-calories?

I would say yes. 

But like any other addiction, it is possible to break the unhealthy eating epidemic and it's going to take work.

Instead of telling yourself you are on a diet and can't have fried, creamy, buttery, sweet foods laden with fat and calories, tell yourself that you can.

I CAN'T is often associated with the word DIET.

I CAN'T is often associated with a plethora of mind games, neuroses, and failure.

If you change your thought pattern to I CAN, then your world can change too.

Tell yourself that you can have fries, chips, sugar-filled sodas, and chemically altered foods and beverages, but you are making a choice not to do so.

If we fill our plates with more natural and fresh fruits and vegetables, hormone-free meats and dairy products, natural fats and oils, 100% whole grains, and drink water, we will no longer have room on our plates or in our bellies to be filled with non-nutritive junk.

Our bodies will thank us on a cellular level when we provide the vitamins and minerals it requires.

Our nation will no longer have an obesity epidemic.

And as a bonus, we might even be able to afford healthcare again. 

Food companies want you to eat more of their lab-altered products.  Why?  Because they make money.  Lots and lots of money. 

We get diseases, become overweight or obese, and our life expectancy is shorter as a result. 

And this is legal?

Think about the billions of dollars we spend trying to correct the damage done from consuming high-calorie, high-fat, high-sugar, unhealthy non-nutritive, preservative-filled foods.

It's as if we are feeding ourselves so we can then feed the healthcare system! 

Drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, and chemically altered food products produced by major food companies are here to stay. 

But, we can make a choice to not consume these products or to limit them at the very least.

You can start adding fruits and vegetables to your meals everyday.

You can drink more water.

You can purchase farm-raised meats and dairy products.

You can take a trip to Farmer's Markets or a local farm to get fresh fruits and vegetables.

You can start eating the foods that provide the nutrients your body requires to function every day.

I CAN'T will no longer be associated with DIET. 

Instead, let's start saying, "I can't diet." 

Diets don't work.  If they did, then our country would not have an obesity epidemic.

If we fill half of our plates with fruits and vegetables and the other half with lean meat, fish, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, then there will be very limited room for dessert!

How will you start adding more nutrition to your meals to eat less as a result?

You can do it and your body will thank you.