Friday, December 7, 2012

Importance of Fatty Acids


What are fatty acids? Here we are basically talking about fats! We have monounsaturated, saturated,trans-fatty acids, omega 3 fatty acid, and omega 6 fatty acids found in foods. So what is healthy for you? Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats(omega 3 and omega 6) are considered healthy and trans-saturated fats are unhealthy. Trans fats are included in pastries, cakes, donuts, packaged desserts, and all things that we consider yummy!  They may be yummy tasting, but they do not provide any positive effects on health.

 In our diet we must concentrate on incorporating good fats as some fatty acids are essential meaning they can only come from the diet. I am sure most of you have heard of omega 3's and omega 6 fatty acids. Maintaining the balance of these two fatty acids is key to being healthy. However, in order to get these into the diet we must consume foods that are rich in them as our body can produce the essential fatty acid precursors for the important omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. 

In the population today we have a high intake of Linoleic acid (LA) which comes from vegetable oils and we have a low intake of fish which is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential as they decrease inflammation, reduce risk of Alzheimers, heart disease, and obesity. We must increase our intake of Alpha-linoleic acid which are rich in fish and flaxseed oils to increase our omega 3's.   High intake of some omega 6 fatty acids can have the opposite effect of healthy omega 3's by increasing inflammation. High intake of omega 6 fatty acid increases levels of arachandonic acid which can increase inflammation since it is a precursor to the inflammatory pathway.  So in order to avoid detrimental effects to the body we should balance the two important fatty acids.  The ratio should be omega 3 to omega 6: 2/1 or 4/1.

So here is where you can find these healthy fatty acids:

Omega 3's: 
Fish like Salmon, Halibut, and Tuna
Fish oils
Flax seeds

Omega 6's
Vegetable oils: sunflower, soybean, corn, sesame, cottonseed, grapeseed and walnut
Nuts : walnuts, brazils, almonds and cashews 
Seeds: sunflower, pine nuts, hemp

How do you add these into your diet?? Always consult with your doctor before beginning any diet regimen. You can slowly introduce these foods in your diet and you can also take a fish oil supplement to increase omega 3's. Flax seeds are great to sprinkle on cereal or yogurt. Walnuts can be a great addition to salads!

Add these healthy foods to get those omega 3's up and I guarantee your body will thank you!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Autism and Nutrition

Recently I wrote a post on Autism and Nutrition for a dietitian's website.
Follow the bottom link and learn how Nutrition can effect autism.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kid's portion sizes and food choices at restraunts

I am astounded at the portion sized given at restaurants for kids! I recently visited Cheesecake Factory with my family. I ordered Alfredo pasta (i know not such a healthy choice) for both of my kids. When it came I was shocked! It looked like a portion size for an adult! My sisters had ordered the lunch portion pasta and the bowl was the same size! Here is a picture of the kids portion of pasta and the kids menu!

  I wish there were better choices for kids at restaurants. This restaurant in particular is known for its over sized portions. Well if the over sized portions do not stop we will a lot of over sized people! They do make up for by offering a "skinnylicious" menu, but who would want to even open that menu after seeing how delicious the "real" entrees are. Why don't they just modify the real entrees. Or maybe make them smaller???? Just a thought!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dieting: In the summer!

Your kids are home now from school and all they want to do is eat all day.  Problem is so do you!!!!  How can we stop any weight gain during the summer? Eat sensibly!!!!
Here a couple steps you can incorporate for yourself and your kids:
  • Try to keep sweets for special occasions or weekends only. 
  • Soda is very tempting during summertime: but avoid as much as you can. You do not need the extra sugar. Also, the caffeine from soda will make you feel dehydrated.
  • You have to compromise at your meals: If you are going to have a burger opt for a salad instead of fries.
  • Stay hydrated with water and not juice! (juice is not worth the extra calories)
  • Keep junk food out of the house. 
  • Try to keep your cheats for vacation or when you go out to eat
  • Try to burn some extra calories on vacation by doing something fun. (doesn't necessarily have to be in a gym)
  • Take the kids out to play so they are not stuck at home all day. 

It is very important to stay active and make your kids stay active during the summer. We do not want any future couch potatoes!!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Asics: Great Running Shoes

Ever since I started working out I have always incorporated running into my routine. Whether it be 10 minutes or 30 minutes I always add a run into my cardiovascular routine. I feel running helps me feel more energized throughout the day and not to mention burn a ton of calories!!!
The shoes that I have been using for almost 5-7 years now is the Asics brand. I love this shoe. I used to use new balance, but they did not give me as much support and I used to get blisters on my ankles. Asics, knock on wood, as provided me support throughout my running and other workout routines.

These are the Asics brands I have used:
Asics Gel Nimbus 14

Asics Gel Nimbus 12

Asics Gel Keyano 18

If you are a runner definitely try these shoes out! The Gel Keyano 18 is the new one and it is expensive, but it is worth it. Depending how much you run the shoes will actually last 6-9 months. I would recommend getting an insert that matches your cushioning needs. It helps the shoe fit better and actually last longer. When you get an insert sometimes you can just replace the insert and the shoe itself will last you another 3-6 months.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Feeding Tube Diet: SERIOUSLY?!?!

 Everybody is looking for an easy weight loss solution. It seems like a lot of people would rather want quick weight loss solutions rather than putting the effort to drop those excess pounds the right way. I have heard of many ways that people are using to lose weight. And sometimes it shocks me and other times it does not. This was one time my mouth actually dropped. The weight loss solution: The Feeding Tube Diet. I read about it in an article in the New York Times. 
So what does this diet entail? The following are the details of this obnoxious unhealthy diet:
  •  A feeding tube insterted in your nose that goes to your stomach providing your body 800kcal
  • Food allowance during the day: NONE! ZERO! NADA!
  • Only allowed: water, unsweetened tea, or coffee
  • 10 day treatment
  • Results: lose 1% of body weight in 10 days. 
  • Cost: $1500
OK SERIOUSLY??? 1500 bucks for you to put a tube in nose and then starve all day. WOW this sounds like fun!!!! NOT! What are people thinking? In the article that I read about this diet it was mainly brides doing this to lose those stubborn 15-20 pounds before their wedding. WHY??? You are getting married obviously your significant other does not mind those extra 15-20 pounds so why do you? 
Skinny is not beautiful.
"Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical."

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Body's Response within 1 hour of drinking coke!

Do any of you know how your body responds after drinking coke? I was not sure either until my professor in my class pointed it out!
  • Within the first 10 minutes, 10 teaspoons of
  • sugar hit your system.
  • The reason you don’t vomit as a result of the overwhelming sweetness is because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor.
  • Within 20 minutes, your blood sugar spikes, and your liver responds to the resulting insulin burst by turning massive amounts of sugar into fat.
  • Within 40 minutes, caffeine absorption is complete; your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, and your livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream.
  • Around 45 minutes, your body increases dopamine production, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain – a physically identical response to that of heroin.
  • After 60 minutes, you’ll start to have a sugar crash.
Now read this carefully:  "identical response to that of heroin"  "liver turns massive amounts of sugar into fat" I mean who would want to drink coke after reading that!!!!

By reading this I understood how drinking soda contributes to weight gain.  Now you are probably thinking I am fine because I drink diet coke. Do not think drinking diet coke will help you stay skinny. Diet coke also has massive amounts of sodium which contributes to water retention which can lead to unnecessary water weight.

Also, do not forget the effects of aspartame which will be discussed in my next blog post!

Nutrition Research Center October 24, 2007

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential water soluble vitamin. What does water soluble mean? Water soluble means that the body will absorb them, but they will not retain in the body for long periods of time. They will eventually be excreted when there is a maximum of this vitamin in our bloodstream. So why is vitamin C so essential?
Here are some functions of Vitamin C:

  • important antioxidant
  • collagen synthesis-(collagen is a protein found in skin, bones, tendons, and cartilage)
  • building immunity against colds
  • cancer prevention
  • cataracts prevention
  • decreasing risk of heart disease
  • enhances iron absorption
An important note to those who are anemic: if you take iron with some source of vitamin C it will enhance the iron's absorption in the blood. 

Some dietary sources of vitamin C:
  • papaya
  • orange juice
  • cantaloupe
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • green peppers
  • grapefruit juice
  • strawberries
If you think you are not getting enough vitamin C from your foods it is ok to take a supplement. However, always consult your doctor before beginning any vitamin supplement.  The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C for women is 75mg and for men it is 90mg.  Vitamin C intake of more than 2g daily can result in toxic issues. so you do not want to go over this amount.  Try to acquire vitamin C from your food sources before relying on a supplement. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tips for eating out

It has been one long week and you do not feel like cooking. Believe me I do not blame you!!!! By the end of the week I do not even want to step in the kitchen to cook ANYTHING. I love going out to eat. You do not have to worry about doing dishes, setting table, cleaning up, and most of all you do not have to cook. But eating out can be a real challenge if you are on a diet or just trying to eat healthy. There are many things that are just not healthy. Now you are probably thinking: Why should I worry about that when I am eating out? Why can't I treat myself this weekend? Ask for the nutrition menu at the restaurant you are eating at and you will get your answer! One entree at a restaurant can have as much calories and fat that you should be taking in the whole day. So you are going to eat a meal that is equivalent to what you should have eaten at 3 meals plus snacks!!!!! Do you really want to ruin all your hard work of dieting and exercise that you have endured during the week?
 Recently  I went to a restaurant where I usually get a burger on a whole wheat bun(I was thinking that was healthy) and have a salad from the salad bar. When I saw the nutrition content that burger contained:

  • 55g fat
  • 877 calories
  • 57 carbohydrates
  • 976g of sodium
This shocked me! I could not believe this nutritional content!!!!! Outrageous! And this was a plain burger not even with any cheese. 

So I decided to have the grilled salmon with spaghetti squash and grilled zucchini which was pretty tasty.
The nutritional content for this was:

  • 21g fat
  • 291 calories
  • 163g of sodium
Now look at the difference!!!! The sodium content is drastically low. WHICH IS A GOOD THING!!! High sodium diets lead to water retention which is not good when dieting. Also, you will not get that bloated feeling. 
"You are what you eat." This is so true!!!  So watch what you do to your body. If you really feel like having a burger maybe compromise by having half of it and taking the other half home. Opt for no fries and a grilled vegetable instead. This is if you really feel like splurging and if you have enough self control to eat just half the burger. I did not think I would so I just did not order it!!! Save the real splurging for special occasion not just a weekend out like your birthday or an anniversary. 
Because if you splurge every weekend it could lead to weight gain over the course of the month or the year!!!
So follow these steps when you are eating out:

  1. Ask for the nutritional menu guide.
  2. Choose something grilled and that has at least less than 25g of fat.
  3. If you opt for the "higher" calorie meal eat only half and take the other half home.
  4. Order a salad with fat free or light dressing on the side instead of a high calorie appetizer or eating bread.
  5. Do not order soda. Try ice water with lemon. 
  6. For dessert: find the low calorie dessert. Usually they have some kind of fruit with whip cream or parfait. All the restaurants will offer a healthier dessert on the menu. Do not get enticed by the cakes, ice cream, and brownie pictures on the dessert menu. (As I said before save it for a birthday or anniversary not every weekend)
  7. If you are at a pasta place go with whole wheat pasta instead of white. 
  8. Choose healthier sides like: grilled vegetables or brown rice pilaf. 
  9. Try to limit alcohol to one drink. You do not need the empty calories!
  10. Enjoy spending time with your family, friends, or whoever you are out with!!  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My thoughts on Gluten Free diets

Another thing I find incomprehensible is why would somebody chooses a gluten free diet if you do not have to? Most peopel do it so they can lose weight or they think they are eating healthier.

Those individuals who suffer from Celiac disease have to be on a gluten free diet because their body's immune system overreacts to the protein gluten which is found in most breads.  If they consume any gluten foods they can have symptoms of abdominal pain and diarrhea. They have to avoid gluten for their own health because eventually their intestines will be so disrupted that they will not be able to absorb nutrients form the food they eat.
Please anyone who is doing this gluten-free diet without having any medical issues should seriously reconsider.
This diet can put an individual at risk of several vitamin deficiencies:

  • iron
  • folic acid
  • b vitamins
  • calcium 
  • fiber
On a gluten free diet you have to avoid: 
    Barley (malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley)
    Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
These following items contain wheat and they should be avoided as well:
Durum flour
Graham flour
Now it is hard to find all products that do not have wheat. SO why do it if you do not have to.  It is true there are plenty of gluten free products out there, but they are expensive. Why waste your money on something when you do not need to go through this diet??? Most people who follow this diet will eventually not eat bread just to avoid the wheat. This is not healthy either. Your body needs complex carbohydrates for energy so please do not avoid them completely. 

We need to follow a healthy diet of:
  • fresh fruits and vegetables (buy organic if you can afford it and only those that have high pesticide risk)
  • lean meats
  • healthy fats: olive oil, nuts, non-fat dairy, avocados
  • avoid saturated and transaturated fats (butter, cakes, brownies, donuts...all things unhealthy)
  • eat every 2 hours
It is ideal to follow a healthy diet and not go on a gluten free diet unless absolutely necessary. 

Why are some women obsessed with being skinny??

I have noticed lately that the trend is to be as skinny as a stick and looking anorexic is being considered beautiful. Why is that? As a nutritionist I believe it is so important to eat the right foods to be at your ideal weight. You should never ever be underweight. Never workout so much that all you see is skin and bones.

Some problems that can arise from being underweight are:  heart failure, malnutrition, GI issues, and malnutrition. There can be numerous vitamin deficiencies due to lack of nutritional intake.  When you consume less calories than you burn also there can be an issue. I do not think a look of being completely emaciated is beautiful. What I don't understand is why do people put themselves through that.

There should not be extremes. You have some populations that will overeat because of depression and you have some that will deprive themselves of food because of depression. In my opinion if the media did not portray these models in magazines as skinny as they are or airbrush their photos to hide their "flaws" we would not have so many eating disorders in our society today.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Healthy Chicken Enchilandas

I love Mexican food so this is my recipe for Healthy Chicken Enchiladas!

1 pound ground chicken
1 small onion
1 green pepper
1 packet taco seasoning
1/4 cup Mexican cheese
1/4 cup taco sauce
salsa (optional)
1 tablespoon reduced fat sour cream

Cook ground chicken in a pan without oil. After it has cooked drain excess water. Then add onion, green pepper, and taco seasoning. Cook that for about 10 minutes or until you notice the green pepper has softened.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Then take whole wheat tortilla and put in the meat you just cooked with a couple strands of the cheese. Fold this over and put in a glass dish. Do the same for about however many you can fit into the pan. If it is a 9 by 9 pan you can fit about 3 in there.  A bigger lasagna type dish can fit more.  Add the taco sauce on top of the filled tortillas. Then on top of that add the cheese.   Since I was just making it for myself I made two.

Bake this for about 15-20 min or whenever you see the cheese is melted. You do not want to heat it for too long or the tortillas will dry up.

I always add a salad with my meals. So this is a picture of the dinner I had tonight!!!!
Try this recipe and ENJOY!!!!!!

Gained some pounds? How to get right back on track!

I think it is very hard to maintain your weight once you have hit your ideal weight.  Maintaining your weight requires you to change your whole lifestyle. You must focus on healthy eating and keep up with your exercise routine.

I have two kids and the most challenging part for me is trying to avoid the cookies, brownies cakes, cupcakes, etc etc. You get my point!!!  Both of my kids love chocolate and are dessert addicts. So I can say that I have definitely strayed away from healthy eating for the past 2-3 months. The result: weight gain of about 5 pounds!!!!!!!! This is so not good!!!! Now I know I am making it seem like 5 pounds is a lot, but I just had to control it now before it became 20,30, or 40!  It is so easy to gain weight, but hard to lose weight! Especially as you get older and your metabolism slows down. SO I needed to get right back on track.

So what am I doing to get myself right back on track???? I am adapting my MAD diet lifestyle once again.  I have eliminated all additional sweets and replaced them with fruit!!! Might not be as tasty, but "you gotta do what you gotta do!" My brother's wedding is coming up and I need to look fabulous!!! LOL. No I am just kidding. I would like to look nice and I would definitely like my clothes to fit!!!
I am back to healthy lifestyle and allowing myself dessert only on the weekends. I cannot deprive myself completely!!!!!!! Especially if I want to continue being healthy during the week.

Another important thing when maintaining your weight is that if you exercise do not be redundant. Remember to change up your exercise routine now and then. Your body needs to be shaken up a little bit so your workout can be effective. If you have had the same routine for a while try something different. Try to work muscles you have not worked before. Go on a machine you have not dared to try.  This will improve your moods as well because your mind will be refreshed because it had to work harder to adapt to the new routine. I have started doing different things into my workout that I was too scared to try before. I started doing pull ups, and using the bar as a weight when I do squats. For cardiovascular exercise I use the elliptical because I love it! But I have started to work on one level for 5 min then increase it to another level for 3 min then back down to the other level 5 min so on so forth for the time that I am on the machine. I have noticed this has made my legs stronger and my run on the treadmill has become so much easier.

 Another important thing to remember is to keep moving throughout the day.  Do not use the excuse "I had a really hard workout today and I am allowed to rest." Yes it is true your body needs rest, but save it for the evening! The past 2-3 weeks I have been vegging on the couch with the kids and not been moving around. It made me feel lazy and unproductive.  So I started being more productive during the day and I have a great sleep at night!!!!

These are the important points to consider when getting your diet back on track:
  • Replace all desserts/sweets with fruits
  • Change up your workout
  • Stay active!
  • Eat plenty of whole foods
  • Cut out all the processed foods
Hope this helps you guys and I hope it helps me!!!!!!!!!
will keep you updated if those pounds are finally gone!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Protein and why it is important

A balance of protein, carbohydrates, and good fat is essential in a healthy diet. In this post I am going to go over the importance of protein and how to calculate your required amount of protein/day.  This is how to calculate the amount of protein required for you daily:

.8grams X kilogram of body weight/day
How to convert pounds into kilograms:  #pounds/2.2 = kg
For example someone who weighs say 110 would be 50kg. So we take 50kg and multilpy that by .8gm and they should be getting about 40 grams of protein a day. Low protein diets can result in weak bones, muscle wasting, and decrease in time for wounds to heal. Protein is essential in the diet and having enough is very important especially if you are exercising. When you are working with weights and building muscle  adequate protein intake is essential in building those muscles.

If you are taking a protein supplement in powder try to find one that does not have any added saturated or transaturated fats. There are some protein supplements out there that are made for gaining weight so they will have additional calories and fats in them. So make sure you read the label and everything says 0 except the protein.

This brand is an excellent choice and very safe :

Just remember to read label and consult with your doctor if it is safe for you to take a protein supplement. 

The following foods are excellent sources of protein:
  • beef
  • chicken 
  • fish
  • cottage cheese
  • eggs 
  • tofu
  • nuts and seeds
  • soy beans
  • lentils
  • Greek yogurt
Make sure at every meal you have a protein, a healthy carbohydrate(whole wheat or whole grain), and good fat. (monounsaturated fats)  Keep your meals and snacks balanced so you can stay full and not feel hungry throughout the day.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My opinion on "Weight Watchers" and "Jenny Craig"

As a nutritionist I have never been very fond of the Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig programs. In fact I find them very confusing and as a dieter I would get frustrated with counting points all the time.  I think the food and the snacks provided by these programs can easily be made at home by yourself. Why waste your money on something you can try yourself?

I recently watched an episode about how Jennifer Hudson lost tons amount of weight on Weight Watchers diet and I think its great. I mean it worked for her and she looks amazing! But as a nutritionist I feel that we can just train ourselves to eat a balanced diet and we would be fine I think many people probably cannot afford the high "prices" that comes with the weight watchers and Jenny Craig diets. My number one rule is cut out the WHITE PROCESSED foods that is the number 1 way to go. That is the basis of the Mad Diet and it has worked for me. I feel more empowered and proud of myself because I did this on my own. I did not count points or calories. I basically cut out the biggest culprit in the American diet today-WHITE PROCESSED foods.

So as this new year begins switch to a healthier you by:
  • Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Incorporate those whole grains and whole wheat items into your diet
  • Cut out the soda!!!!
  • Decrease fried foods and concentrate more on the grilled ones
  • Try to have fish about twice a week
  • Treat yourself once in a while so you do not fall off the "wagon"
  • Exercise! Exercise! Exercise!
  • Build those muscles!!! Building muscle helps to increase metabolism and burn fat!
  • Incorporate a protein and a carbohydrate at each meal it will sustain your hunger!
  • Make sure you snack every 2-3 hours on something healthy. This will hold you help you feel satisfied until your next meal. Never let your blood sugar drop too low because this will just lead to binge eating and over consumption of calories at your next meal.
So before you think about joining Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig try to change your diet yourself and see the results. Your waist will be thinner, but your wallet will not!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Year's Resolutions: "To lose weight"

 First off I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year!!!!

On this post I want to discuss the famous new year's resoloution people have which is "To lose weight." It is a very good resolution and a very challenging one. I would prefer something like "To get healthy."  A couple steps you can follow as the new year begins to a healthier you:
  • Revamp your pantry: remove all sugary snacks, white processed foods, chips, any junk you can find!
  • Add some moderate exercise to your daily routine/30 minutes a day is a great start!
  • Stock your fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season
  • Switch to 100% whole wheat breads or pastas
  • Add some brown rice, quinoa, or couscous to your diet in place of white rice
  • Get more fiber in your diet!
  • Take a multivitamin!
These are a couple of recommendations on how to get started on your new year's resolution to a much healthier you. I have one tip which is very important when starting a diet/exercise routine: DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED. Losing weight is a process and the slower the weight comes off the better in the long run.  Secondly, try not to fall for quick weight loss strategies, such as; detox diets, carb-free diets, and juice cleanses.  All these fad diets will help you lose weight fast, but will not help you keep that weight off. Once you get back to your normal routine of eating you will put the weight back on. Not only that, but these diets deprive your body of essential vitamins and nutrients that your body needs to function.   

Please feel free to comment on this post if you would like any advice on how to commit yourself to a healthy diet and exercise routine!!!!