Watering down Winter

Are you getting enough water during the winter?  Runners and other athletes are at increased risk of winter dehydration due to increased sweat losses without feeling thirsty.  In cold weather it can be harder to stay mindful of your fluid intake.  And with adequate intake set as 9c for women and 13c for men, this can be difficult to achieve.  So, beyond plain water what counts that can increase your fluid intake?    Soup and broth.  After an outdoor mid to long distance run, I heat a mug of water with a teaspoon of instant chicken stock/bouillon.  Along with this nice warm up, add hot chocolate, hot herbal tea, and even a little decaf coffee.   To keep up on fluids, try to drink a glass of water before each meal and while you cook.


A Mindful Thanksgiving

As the Thanksgiving Holiday is fast upon us…. How are you framing your day? What is your thought process? Are you going into the day ready to FEAST? Or are you worried about OVEREATING? What if this wasn’t the case at all???

As I spent most of my week addressing the holiday meal with clients, I think it is important for all of us to BE MINDFUL. Mindful of everything that is Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving did not begin as a day of gluttony kicking off the holiday eating season, nor was it always followed (or paired with) overspending, crowds, and mall madness. The first Thanksgiving (1621) was a simple gathering focused on bringing people together and reflecting on what we are thankful to have.

So as you gather for the Thanksgiving Meal, I encourage you to be mindful of why you are gathering, appreciate the company of others, and honor what your needs are with regard to eating. I cannot prescribe your eating pattern for the day, but if you honor your hunger and fullness, and strive to not deprive yourself, the Thanksgiving Meal can be an opportunity to nourish yourself and cultivate the relationships you value.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! I am thankful for each and every one of you.

More on Functional Foods

Photo compliments of thebittenword.com

     Functional Foods or Superfoods exert health benefits beyond basic nutrition.  One such benefit is the antioxidants and phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables which can prevent cancer.

    Superfoods include fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.  These properties can also be added to other foods with are referred to as “fortified”.  Some dietary supplements may also contain functional food properties however evidence-based research supports the “whole food” approach over supplements.

     You do not need to look far and wide for these Functional characteristics.  Don’t be surprised if you are actually already eating these foods now and don’t need to purchase some exotic plant at a specialty store.  Many traditional foods are being discovered/studied for their functional capacity.  The key is to increase your intake of these foods for superfood benefits while limiting your intake of foods which can harm your health like those containing trans fats that harm your cardiac health.
By knowing which foods can provide specific health benefits, you can make food and beverage choices that allow you to take greater control of your health.  Below is a link to information on Functional Foods.


This entry was posted on October 27, 2012. 1 Comment

My posting to The View regarding Dr. Lindsey Duncan

    Wow I am alarmed by your feature on Super Foods.  This is not what a Registered Dietitian (the leading expert/authority on nutrition) would typically consider super foods as.  Super Foods (AKA Functional Foods or Nutriceuticals) provide a health benefit beyond basic nutrition. They can be naturally occurring in a food like oatmeal which contains beta glucan to reduce cholesterol.  Another example the many phytochemicals in fruits/vegetables which have been shown to prevent cancer by neutralizing free radicals.  A functional food can be created by enriching or fortifying a different food with the substance that provides health benefits.

      The “Doctor” you featured mentioned that there are no are no side effects, just like there are no side effects to garlic.  Well sorry to say, this is untrue.  For example, garlic would be contraindicated on someone on Coumadin as it can further thin the blood!  Also, some of the products Dr. Duncan discussed may not be considered a food, but rather as a “supplement” which does not go through the same FDA review for safety/health.  Green coffee bean contains caffeine which does in fact include side effects!  Current research on green coffee bean is limited as well.  Caffeine in general can cause insomnia, restlessness, stomach upset, nausea and vomiting, increased heart rate, increased respiration.  In our society, there is a common trend that if a certain amount is good than more must be better!  So, consuming large amounts of caffeine through this supplement may result in headaches, anxiety, agitation, ringing in the ears, and irregular heartbeats.    Taking in excess caffeine leaches the bones of calcium which is needed to prevent osteoporosis.  Those with cardiac health problems or on certain medications may be instructed to only have decaf coffee, therefore this supplement may also be unsafe.  In 2010, the FDA issued a “warning letter” to Xenedrine for including a label claim that the green coffee bean extract reduced the amount of carbohydrate absorbed.  The FDA concluded that research in humans did not substantiate this claim.  I would not recommend products containing green coffee bean extract as there is limited research on its effectiveness in general, in addition to not going through stringent FDA trials/analysis due to marketing as a supplement.  Raspberry Ketones are another supplement in this category!  Let’s be clear these are not foods and are not well studied for effectiveness as well as safety.  To further illustrate my point, do you remember ephedra which was in many weight loss drugs?  It wasn’t until serious health effects (heart attack, death) occurred that regulations were made banning the use.

     The first step in evaluating a product should include assessing the reliability of the source.  If they are funded or receive financial gain as a result of promoting the product, one should question the credibility of the information.  If I were selling a supplement and published a study on it or promoted its sale, this would be an alert that I may not provide an unbiased view.  Lindsey Duncan sells supplements including the green coffee bean extract that he promotes.  I would be cautious with how well he will present an accurate portrayal of the product since it impacts his financial gain.  In addition, if only the positives are presented, it raises the question as to whether the person is a credible source of information.  Then it is important to evaluate the credentials of the person for credibility.  Do they have the expertise in the area?  I would like to know more about Lindsey Duncan’s credentials and education to determine this.  His background seems vague.  I could not determine what education he has gone through to become a Naturopathic Doctor (ND).  Only 16 states in the US recognize the credential of ND.  ND training includes basic medical diagnostic tests and procedures such as medical imaging and blood tests, as well as vitalism and pseudoscientific modalities such as homeopathy. Some states do view the ND as similar to a primary care physician.  The scope of practice which determines what a particular health professional is able to do varies widely based on location, and naturopaths in some unregulated jurisdictions may use the Naturopathic Doctor designation or other titles regardless of level of education.  Critics of the ND indicate that “evidence based practice/medicine” is not included in this profession.  Meaning that as other professions are moving towards basing recommendations on scientific evidence, naturopathy is not.  Now moving on to the letters “CN”.  A CN is not a registered dietitian.  In some cases it is a “certified nutritionist” whose education include 6 distance learning courses followed by a test.  This is not a qualified nutrition professional.   Unless a state has licensure over the term “nutritionist” the title can be used without professional expertise.  For example, I am a LDN (Licensed Dietitian and Nutritionist) because the state of Pennsylvania has established licensure for the term “nutritionist” which prevents unqualified individuals from calling themselves nutritionists.  A Registered Dietitian is the professional that can be considered a Nutritionist in Pennsylvania.  However, in New Jersey (where I was raised) licensure for the term “nutritionist” has not been passed yet.  Technically, a plumber in NJ could hang a sign outside calling himself a “Nutritionist”, so an RD (Registered Dietitian) is the credential to look for when seeking nutrition advice.  In Lindsey Duncan’s web introduction, it became evident that he may be using the term “CN” to abbreviate “celebrity nutritionist”.  To me, this is highly deceiving.

Going forward, I would strongly urge The View to consult Registered Dietitians with regard to segments on nutrition, weight loss, supplements, etc.  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (www.eatright.org) can provide you with RDs who are available for such segments as well as a plethora of nutrition information that is evidence based.  Some of us are just as congenial as people who are typically featured to sensationalize nutrition.

This entry was posted on October 26, 2012. 31 Comments

How do we measure success: Quality vs. Quantity?

Quality= how good you do something

Quantity= how much you are able to do

Well it is the end of my week and as I looked back at my “work” (private practice dietitian), I was initially disappointed because the number of clients I saw was not what I expected for the week, nor where I’d like to be.  But upon further thought, I reflected on each of my sessions, and thought about the great progress my clients are making because of our “quality work”.  I really enjoyed all my clients this week.  There was a large focus on mindful eating and awareness of conducive eating environments.

So it is my challenge to myself to go beyond the numbers (client volume) when measuring my success as a private practice dietitian.  The clients I see right now are making positive changes to fit their lifestyle through my “work” and many have expressed to me that I have made a difference in how they approach food/eating.  I cannot wait for my practice to grow so I can help more people live a healthier lifestyle while maintaining my focus on quality!

Measuring Up To Overall Health

Your overall health and risk of diseases like diabetes and heart disease are highly influenced by your body fat. Weighing in on the scale is not enough! So, what’s the best measurement?

Body Mass Index (BMI) is an equation for weight to height ratio however is not specific enough to differentiate muscle from fat mass. Someone could have a normal BMI, yet excess fat mass.  Conversely, athletes tend to have elevated BMIs and lower body fat percents.

Body fat percentage is measured in an outpatient setting using skin fold calipers or bioelectrical impedance. So if you have been working out consistently and have hit a plateau, it is a good time to have your body fat measured. Perhaps you are increasing muscle mass while decreasing fat mass. Body fat percent is a range so an assessment will show how much fat mass you can safely lose. It is most important to know if your percent body fat poses health risks.

Waist circumference and waist to hip ratio is another assessment, mainly to gauge the central tendency to deposit abdominal fat.  This increases risk for heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.

With all these measures it can become difficult to understand which one is superior.  And what if one measure is normal but another is abnormal.  I like to view these measures collectively.  So, I assess them all.  Then I take the average of the person’s anthropometrics along with the nutrition focused physical assessment and review of their current food intake to determine associate health effects and criteria for overweight and obesity.

Remember, in order to maintain a healthy weight and avoid chronic disease it is important to make good food choices like including a variety of fruits and vegetables and engaging in moderate physical activity outside your daily tasks most days!

This entry was posted on September 3, 2012. 1 Comment