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."
A: Great question as November is National
Diabetes Month. There are two types of risk categories for diabetes. One category we can’t modify and one we can.
The risk factors we can’t change include: family history, weight at birth, age, race, history of gestational diabetes and genetic pre-disposition. Even though we can’t do anything about this area it is important to know these and have that awareness. The risk factors that we can change can have a big impact on our health in more areas than just diabetes prevention. The modifiable risk factors for diabetes are: weight, lack of activity, blood pressure, blood cholesterol levels, some health conditions like PCOS and gestational diabetes, food intake, and other unhealthy lifestyle choices. Whether you are at risk or not, or whether you are unsure of your risk level , the most important thing to remember is that diabetes can be prevented. For more information visit diabetes.org , or come in for a customizable plan that works for you. Whatever you decide to do, get started doing something.
A: Great question. To start, stop adding sugar to your food. For coffee use heavy cream and cinnamon to flavor rather than sweetened syrups and sugar packets. Have peanut butter on your toast and forgo the jelly. Choose cheese sticks and raw nuts or seeds for snacks instead of sugar heavy granola bars. Try having plain yogurt but add fruit for sweetness.
Next, stop buying high sugar foods or foods with lots of added sugar. Some of these high sugar items might be yours or your children's favorite breakfast foods. Take a few minutes to compare labels for a better choice. Look for packages that say 'No-added sugar'.
The ultimate step though is to reduce the amount of processed food you eat altogether. Most of the added sugars we consume come in the form of pre-packaged, pre-processed, boxed, canned and frozen foods. Eating real whole foods makes it easy to avoid these add ins.
For more tips and strategies call for an appointment today. It's time to get started on your own individualized reduced sugar plan.
Q: I have recently had bariatric surgery and have noticed that I am losing some hair, is this normal?
A: First of all good for you for making such an important and difficult decision for your health. Second there are a number of reasons you could be losing some hair and although I wouldn’t say it’s “normal” I would say that it’s not uncommon. My first suggestion would be to talk with your surgeon or a dietitian to make sure that there are no nutrients you may be deficient in. Something to consider and be ready to share is the duration of the hair loss along with how long it’s been since you had surgery. This is important to distinguish as this may indicate two entirely different reasons. Nutritional reasons are more common for hair loss log after surgery as well as for an extended period of time where as hair loss close to surgery could simply be from the stress your body was under during surgery and in the healing process. For more help with weight loss surgery questions please contact me to schedule a free 15 minute consultation.
A: Great question. High sugar coffee drinks are quite popular right now and sometimes we are fooled into thinking a drink is healthier than it is... think "skinny latte made with skim milk". There are still carbs in that milk, therefore there is still sugar added to that drink, the calories may be lower but the sugar content is still there. To avoid that extra sugar try flavoring your coffee with cinnamon, nutmeg or even plain vanilla. Or use heavy cream. There are still calories in cream but they come from fat not from sugar. You could also try using unsweetened almond milk as a creamer. At the coffee shop avoid adding syrups and ask them to instead add plain cream (not milk) and if you ask for almond milk confirm its the unsweetened kind.
Another thing to consider is could you drink it black? I usually try getting my patients to consider transitioning to black coffee by slowly lessening the amount of sweetener they add until they can stop using it all together.
For more ideas come in for a free consult and we can evaluate your beverage intake and devise a plan that works for you.
Q: My family tries to eat healthy year round, but fresh produce can be so expensive in the winter time, is it ok to use canned or frozen?
A: Yes and Yes. It is true that produce can get expensive when it is out of season which can make it seem impossible to eat healthy. It might surprise you to know that aside from picking produce straight from your garden and eating it instantly, the healthiest way to eat produce is frozen! The minute fresh produce is picked, it begins to deteriorate which means a loss in nutritive value and phytochemicals (all big words to mean the “good stuff”). When produce is going to be frozen it is picked right at the peak of its ripeness, meaning its nutritional value is the highest it will ever be. It is then instantly frozen, which stops the natural deterioration process, so all that goodness is maintained in the food until it is ready to be eaten. Canned foods are a little different. There are some downfalls such as excess sodium and possible chemicals from the lining of the can, buying organic, BPA-free, low-sodium canned produce will help to reduce those risks. Otherwise my next suggestion would be to rinse the food well before cooking. Most of the sodium and some of the chemicals can be rinsed off therefore making the food a little healthier. The good thing is that you are eating your vegetables, so do what you can each season, follow the ads, save a buck here and there if you can. But keep eating those veggies, in whatever capacity you can afford.
Here’s some food for thought: Next year consider growing a garden or investing in a CSA. Then you would be able to can and freeze your own produce for those long winter months. That way you control what goes in there, and can save some money over the long run.
Q: Is there anything I can do with my diet to help my skin handle the next few months of dry, cold air?
A: Great question and Yes, there are many diet changes that can help combat skin dryness. First and foremost increase water intake. Water not only helps our internal body systems run efficiently, it is also especially important for skin health. Keeping yourself hydrated on the inside is a great way to keep your skin supple on the outside.
Another consideration is healthy fats. Omega 3s are a good example, they help the skin retain moisture. A few great sources for these are fish oil, flax seed, and walnuts. Another healthy skin fat is avocado. Not only is this good for you to eat, but many people use this fruit to make masks and moisturizers for topical use.
Celery and cucumbers are also beneficial for skin health as they contain an ingredient called silica which helps boost the skins moisture and elasticity.
Most importantly remember that our skin is a reflection of what we eat. If we eat junk, chances are our skin will show that. So make healthy choices not only for your health and your weight, but also for nice supple skin!
For more information on what foods to eat for your skin contact Jessica at Core Health & Nutrition for details regarding an upcoming skin care event!
A: Good Question! This is the time of year where we all take stock of how things went the past 12 months and how we would like them to go the next dozen. This thought process leads most of us to make resolutions or goals to help prioritize what is important for the upcoming year. Whether you write it down, talk it out, or paint it on a canvas, any goals you set for yourself should be SMART. SMART is an acronym to help increase the success rate for the goals and resolutions you create this year. Here are the details to get your started.
If you need any assistance focusing your goals this year please give my office a call and I will get you set up with a coaching session to get things moving in the right direction as soon as possible.