A: Great question. Like most things we ingest, fish oil has an impact on every area in our body and each person may be affected differently based on their individual needs. Historically there has been a lot of research to support that fish oil can help to reduce triglycerides. Triglycerides are a measure of the fat that can build up and store in our blood vessels. High triglycerides are associated with an increased risk for a heart attack, therefore fish oil may reduce this risk. Recent research even shows fish oil to help improve brain function in those suffering from cognitive decline such as Alzheimer's. Aside from what research tells us, I have personally had many clients rave over how healthy and supple their skin feels when they add fish oil into their diet. In supplement form fish oil works therapeutically in the body, meaning it works like medicine so it should be treated as such. Never start a supplement without consulting your doctor first. Even with a substance that is so helpful such as fish oil, there are instances where it would not be recommended. If you are just looking to eat more fish each week then choose a sustainable-wild caught fatty fish such as salmon or sardines. Add these in once or twice a week and reap the benefits without the cautions of a supplement. For more information on how fish oil may be helpful for your individual health please reach out to Jessica and schedule a free 15 minute consult to discuss.
Q: Is pumpkin a fruit or a vegetable, and does a pumpkin spice latte count as a serving of either for the day?
A: Great Question, you might be surprised to learn that pumpkin is a fruit! And I would love to tell you that it counts towards your daily fruit and veggie goals but I’m sorry to say that the pumpkin spice lattes that we find at our favorite coffee shops do NOT actually have any pumpkin in them and therefore do not count. These concoctions usually only contain the pumpkin pie spices added to a normal latte with some whipped cream on top. Now here is the catch, it is possible for you to make your own pumpkin spice latte WITH real pumpkin at home. There are a number of recipes online, I have not tried any of them myself so did not feel comfortable includingor promoting any specific one, but if you do try any and find one thatyou like, please send it my way so I can share with others. Pumpkin is a very healthy food. This orange gourd contains vitamin A, C and E whichbenefit the eyes, skin and heart. There are also additional antioxidantsfound in this food that improve health in a number of different ways.Pumpkin is loaded with fiber, which is good for the heart and weightmanagement, as well as heart healthy phytosterols which help prevent high cholesterol. So save yourself a few dollars and do something goodfor yourself and next time you are craving that pumpkiny goodness, tryyour hand at a healthier version from home.
A: Once you have been diagnosed with diabetes, technically you always have diabetes. However this is a heavily debated topic as there are individuals who are able to bring their blood sugar numbers back to the normal range, this is done usually through diet, exercise and sometimes medication. Many health care providers prefer to say that for those who are able to do this it simply means that their diabetes is well managed, not reversed. Most experts do agree though that you CAN reverse PRE-diabetes. You may have heard this called “borderline” diabetes. Whatever you want to call it, it is when your blood sugar numbers are quite hit the diabetes stage. It is a crucial point to make lifestyle changes to prevent getting the disease itself. I encourage you not to wait for any diagnosis though, but rather start making changes today to prevent diabetes. Concerned that you may be at risk? Come into Core Health for a free consultation and risk screening.
Q: We are hosting a BBQ and have invited some friends who are Gluten-Free. What are some foods we can make to accommodate their diet needs?
A: Great question and one I have heard a lot recently. The first thing I tell my clients is: when in doubt, err on the safe side. Second it’s important to know what gluten is. Gluten is a protein found in wheat. So the main thing to avoid is any wheat containing products. That’s easy enough, steaks instead of hamburgers, or at least bun-less hamburgers. Coleslaw instead of pasta salad. A bowl of fresh fruit instead of fruit pie. Also avoid adding breading or breadcrumbs to anything. Think simple in your menu planning, this often leads to healthier choices as well. It is easy and simple enough to grill some veggies with olive oil and salt and pepper. A simple dish like this has no risk of hidden gluten. Speaking of hidden gluten, another thing to know is that gluten is often added to a variety of foods, this is especially true with sauces and condiments. So unless the label clearly says gluten free, it would be best to serve it on the side for guests to make their own choice. Something else to consider is cross contamination. You can’t be sure of how severe your guest’s gluten intolerance is, so it is best to prep all food for the meal in a space that has been thoroughly cleaned and is gluten free. Last but not least, don’t be afraid to reach out to your guests and discuss the menu, more often than not they are happy to give feedback on what foods work best for them. After all they want to enjoy their time spent with you. Any more gluten free questions feel free to contact me!
A: Great question! The short answer: it depends. As with all things in health and wellness, there is no one size fits all model, and what your body needs may be different than your friends. The long answer: Consider why you are thinking of a cleanse. Have you recently been exposed to a large amount of toxins or chemicals? Do you have a chronic condition you are battling? Are you trying to jump start healthy habits? Are you hoping to kick some cravings? How you answer these and other questions not only determines if a cleanse is appropriate, but also indicates what would work best for you. Overall, if you are committed to doing some sort of clean up, I would recommend starting slow by removing some of the unneeded chemicals in your life and added sugars in your food. This can be as simple as not using coffee creamer to as complex as switching out not only food choices but your health, beauty and cleaning products as well. Shift to choosing mostly whole foods. If you can't buy organic make sure to wash your produce. Above all though I would recommend that you work with a professional who has experience and knowledge in this area before starting any type of detox or cleanse regimen. For more information on how to "clean up" your diet this spring give me a call and schedule a free 15 minute consult to discuss your options.
Q: I realize most people are trying to lose weight when they come to see you, but what about those trying to gain weight?
A: Great question , and you are right, outside of a hospital facility it is not as common for a dietitian to help someone gain weight, but it is a health concern for some people and I’m glad you brought it up. My suggestions vary from person to person but overall the goal is to make the meals and snacks you do eat more calorie dense without adding bulk. This is best done using fat. Fat has more calories per gram than protein or carbohydrates and is a tasty and healthy way to increase the calorie content of food. I would start by throwing away all the low fat stuff you use. Use real mayo, real sour cream, real salad dressing, etc. Start adding butter to your meals. I really like to use an unsalted grass fed butter. Switch to whole milk and real cream, it works well to add these whole fat dairy options to oatmeal or to use them in coffee. Try making a smoothie with some coconut oil , hemp or flax seeds, and some fruit. Add in some whole milk yogurt or kefir for added calories and a dose of probiotics. Drizzle olive oil on your salads, even eat some olives for a snack. If you like cheese add this to your eggs in the morning, no need to settle for the partial skim milk cheese sticks anymore, go for that sharp cheddar you like next time you have crackers and cheese. If it’s a whole food, real fat, then it’s ok to add it. Avoid adding trans fats or using candy and sweets to gain weight. This may help pack on the pounds but it won’t help your health.
Again, this is not a typical issue in the American diet and is very individualized. If you are trying to gain weight I would encourage you to come see me or another dietitian to help set up a plan that works for you based on the foods you like, the foods you tolerate and your schedule.
A: That's a great question and the answer will vary slightly based on where you meal will take place. If you are hosting the meal then its an easy fix to create vegetable side dishes that are lower in carb. Skinnytaste.com has some great options. Or it can be as simple as including a veggie tray and/or a meat and cheese tray with your meal. Squash is an option as a lower carb vegetable so long as its free of added sugars. If you are going somewhere else see if you can find out what the meal will be, if there are no low carb options request to bring a side dish to share. Regardless of the location of the meal and whether or not you have control of the food choices, you definitely have control of your portions. So go ahead and try everything if you must, just be sure to reduce your portion size of the carb heavy items and load up on things like turkey and green veggies. And also be sure to take your medications. Don't lie to yourself about the carb count or neglect to test your blood sugar, its important on these days to be aware of whats going on so if you are on insulin you can dose accordingly. Last tip, get active. Go for a walk, play an active game with family, start decorating the house for Christmas. Just add some activity to help utilize all that extra energy you ate. And don't forget to enjoy the time with family and friends! Happy Thanksgiving!
Q: During the school year our mornings are hectic and often rushed, what are some healthy breakfast choices that will be quick and easy to prepare?
A: Great question, and I will say that this is an area
that I am constantly working on myself. It is very easy to
fall into the habit of grabbing a quick sugar filled breakfast
item, however with a little bit of planning and some creativity, breakfast can
be quick and healthy.
One of the easiest healthy choices for breakfast is an egg. You may be saying
to yourself that you don’t have enough time to make eggs, well no problem,
make a big batch of hardboiled eggs the weekend before. Your breakfast
could be as simple as a slice of toast and a hardboiled egg or you could
dress it up a bit and slice the hardboiled egg and put it on the toast with
some cheese. Maybe dress it up even more and add cold roasted red peppers,
avocado, onion, pickles...the sky is the limit, if you like it put it on there.
Second, you could find one of those great recipes for egg muffins. These
are made the weekend before and the recipes are extremely easy to follow.
Third, did you know you can make scrambled eggs in the microwave??
It’s easy, crack an egg or two in a cup and cook in the microwave for 30
seconds, stir and cook for another 30. When all else fails think outside the
box and make a ‘non-breakfast’ choice. Example: last night’s leftovers,
a ham sandwich, etc. There are no food rules that say breakfast must be
cereal or toast.
A: Absolutely. The health benefits of yoga reach far beyond simply being able to touch your toes, although for many people this is accomplishment enough.
Yoga has an impact on all systems of the body. It is beyond the space of this column to list the why behind it, but I can share a little of what is improved.
Most people don't realize that yoga helps to strengthen bone. It also increases muscle mass and improves strength. It also lubricates the joints and relieves every day aches and pains. In doing all this it also helps to teach the body how to maintain balance and avoid falls. Maybe better known is its connection to mental health. It is considered common knowledge that yoga helps with stress but not as many are aware that it is also known to help with depression and anxiety. In addition to these physical and mental benefits the breath work that is connected with the movement also impacts other our cardiovascular and respiratory health. Many chronic diseases are improved with the addition of yoga. The list could go on and on. In fact I encourage you to reach out to me to find out more about all the ways that yoga could help you!
A: March is National Nutrition Month and the theme this year is "Go Further With Food". This may mean a number of things to a number of people, but to me the message is complex and not necessarily what the academy had in mind. What I hear from this message is an invitation to consumers to go beyond the trends, to step past the standard food choices, to learn more about where their food is coming from, to understand how to prepare their food and how to season different foods, to learn how foods help and hurt their body rather than just looking at food as good or bad. The academy intended this years theme to be about planning and thinking ahead, which does fit, but to this dietitian this years slogan feels a bit deeper.
Whether you care about National Nutrition Month or not, I encourage you to find your own interpretation and then apply it to your life. I welcome you to "Go Further With Your Food."