Potassium : the underdog nutrient

There are many, but for the sake of this article I'm focusing on its role in preventing cardivascular disease. I am sure you have heard often that too much sodium (salt) will contribute to high blood pressure. This is because sodium constricts the blood vessels of the heart which in turn elevates the total pressure of the blood against the heart walls. High blood pressure is dangerous because it is a stepping stone for heart disease, which includes heart attacks and strokes. Potassium performs the exact opposite - it is a "vasodilator", which means it RELAXES the blood vessels of the heart

Pumpkin Banana Oat Smoothie

This is a simple, nutritious smoothie you can whip up ahead of time for breakfast in the morning or for a snack. I generally prefer to eat my meals rather than drink them, but sometimes a smoothie hits the spot and this one is actually pretty filling. Provides a decent amount of protein & fiber for sustenance, and while it does contain sugar, none of it is added and it all comes from the milk and banana. You can add more liquid if it's too thick for your taste...

The Paleo Diet

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What is the Paleo diet?

It consists of anything that can be hunted, fished or gathered. This also means exclusion of the following : grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, salt. It is based on the premise that if we eat the way our ancestors eat, we will avoid the chronic diseases of our current generation such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, etc, and will overall be healthier.

Generally, when a diet requires you to omit entire food groups, it is a huge red flag. There are plenty of proven health benefits to be found in both dairy AND whole grains. Low fat dairy has been suggested to aid weight loss benefits in addition to providing Vitamin D and Calcium. Whole grains have been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and provide a great source of fiber. Exclusion of entire food groups (ones that have proven to provide more benefits than they do harm, for that matter!) also tends to make the meal plan hard to stick with. read more

Diet myth series #3: High fructose corn syrup is more harmful than sugar

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photo: health.com

Before I begin, I want to say I completely understand why the average consumer would believe that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is somehow more “dangerous” than regular sugar. Any google search on the subject will bring up multiple results enforcing this belief. Many of these page results come from the media and from non-scientific sources. One of the beautiful things about being a dietitian is you learn to only trust evidence based claims, and you become very careful about what you believe when it comes to new research. It is very hard to sift through all of the information as an average consumer. This is a very hot topic in the media right now, so I thought it was perfect for my next diet myths post. read more

Myth series #2: Red wine is good for your heart

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You’ve seen it in magazines, on the news, and on the web. Red wine is good for your heart. Drink it and you will “slash” your risk of heart disease dramatically…Right?

Sort of.

It all started with the French – we observed over the years their consumption of red wine and also observed their rate of heart disease still remained well below that of America, and we started to correlate the two with each other. There have been multiple studies and loads of research on the topic. So is there at least some truth in red wine’s ability to lower our chance of heart disease? Yes, but it’s benefits are HIGHLY exaggerated and are not enough to warrant starting a new drinking habit. read more

The ins & outs of juicing

I love juicing.

I don’t do the whole “detox” thing (people, that’s why we were blessed with a liver and kidneys…) or buy into much of the hype that’s circulating in the media right now, but even as a dietitian it’s hard for me to get the recommended daily servings of fruits & veggies (USDA is recommending ~9 servings of fruits\veggies daily, which translates to about 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of veggies a day).

So, its those times that I’m finding eating healthy to be the most difficult that I do the most juicing. read more

Diet myths series – #1 Eating cholesterol raises your cholesterol

Yup, I said it.

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Every 5 years the USDA releases new dietary guidelines for Americans.
Limiting cholesterol has always been a key part of these guidelines, that is, until 2015 (potentially).

The 2010 guidelines recommended a daily consumption of 300mg cholesterol or less per day: that’s equal to about less than 1 and 1\2 eggs! as a meat loving girl, that’s not a whole lot, i agree.

To be fair, the 2015 guidelines have actually not yet been released.

However, they did release the preliminary scientific report which now specifies that: “cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for over-consumption”, and also, that “no available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol, consistent with the conclusions of the AHA/ACC report”. read more

5 yummy ways to use Chia Seeds

I love these little guys. They’re versatile (meaning they can be incorporated into numerous recipes and snacks) and nutrient dense. 1 TBS = 60 calories, about 3g of heart healthy fats, 4g fiber, and gives you calcium, iron, and 3g protein (nutrient content varies slightly by brand). They’re toted as the latest “superfood”, but I believe I’ll be using these long after the fad ends….

Check out these 5 yummy ways to use Chia Seeds! #1 is my favorite.

1.) Overnight Chocolate PB No-Cook Oatmeal chocolatepbchiaoats read more

Shopkick!

I’m obsessed with this app!!!

I read about it on a Pinterest post and I thought hmmm, let me try this. Free to download and didn’t seem to take up much time. Basically, it rewards you for just walking into a store. It becomes super addicting hearing that little “ping” and seeing your points rack up!

For example, I went to Walmart this past week. I opened up my Shopkick app and walked into the entrance. I got 30 points. I scrolled through the items on the app that were listed as “points” that would be redeemed when scanned. I scanned an 8 pack of gum, a Nutri-bullet, cleaning spray, and about 10 other easy to find items and got about 200 points total just from that trip! read more

The Gluten Free Debate

While at work, I was inspired for my next post with this conversation:

–“I eat a bowl of Chex every morning. It’s gluten free, it says it on the box”.
Me: Is there a particular reason you choose this?
–“Well, isn’t gluten free good for you?”

Hmmm…..

What is Gluten , exactly?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It essentially acts as a binding agent to keep the food’s structure intact and gives dough that nice chewy texture in baking. Gluten is found in some obvious items like bread, and some not so obvious such as beer and food coloring. read more