Welcome whole grains

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wholegrain

I know, I know, you are going to tell me that you are trying the ketogenic diet, or paleo, Atkins, South Beach, or some other diet that “bans” carbs! I think each diet has merit to some degree or another, but I am actually going to tell you why you would want whole grains!

First of all, let me set things straight. I am NOT advocating refined carbs like crackers, cookies, white bread, flour tortillas or even white rice. I am suggesting you welcome whole grains—grains that contain the entire grain kernel—the bran, germ, and endosperm (for example, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, millet, and popcorn).

Whole grains are filled with fiber and almost every person I know (even healthy eaters) do not get enough fiber in your diet. Fiber helps keep things moving in your digestion system, keeps you fuller longer (so yes, it can help with weight loss), and it also lowers your risk of getting heart disease.

Whole grains also loaded with important B vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are amazing for reducing stress levels and giving you energy.

Speaking of energy—if you experience major dips in your energy throughout the day, whole grains can help prevent that! Why? They help regulate your blood-sugar levels. Lulls in your energy level often indicate that your blood sugar levels are not remaining steady throughout the day. Fix that with whole grains!

Are you unsure about how to try incorporating whole grains into your diet? Here are just a few tips:

  • Use whole wheat pasta when you would normally use regular pasta.
  • Swap white bread for whole grain bread.
  • Eat oatmeal for breakfast!
  • Look for whole grain crackers!
  • Instead of white rice, try cooking with brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, or millet.

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Weighing in on Weight-Loss: Healthy Fats

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Weight Loss

Weight Loss

I have a lot of clients who are on a weight-loss journey and so many of them have a “fat” phobia. They think if they eat fat, they will get fat, but that is not the case my friends when it comes to healthy fats. Let me clear up the conclusion.

Why You Need Fat:

Dietary fat provides you with energy, builds healthy cells, and regulates your hormones. Your brain needs fat in order to function properly—in fact, did you know that your brain is 60 percent fat? Studies have linked lack of dietary fat in one’s diet to depression as well as cognitive decline.

The Good Fats

Monounsaturated Fats: Known as MUFAs (Monounsaturated Fatty Acids), these fats actually help prevent belly fat. Even better, they help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol, and raise your HDL (good) cholesterol. Good monounsaturated fats include: olive oil, cashews almonds or peanuts (this includes almond butter and peanut butter). I would recommend a quarter cup of the nut choices, 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a dressing, or 2 Tablespoons of a nut butter on whole grain bread to get a nice daily serving of these good-for-you fats.

Polyunsaturated Fats: Like MUFAs, polyunsaturated fats(PUFAS) lower your LDL. And PUFAS are the specific fats that have shown amazing benefits to your brain from mood improvement to boosting brain function. In particular it is the Omega-3 form of polyunsaturated fats that your body needs most. Omega-3s are broken down into DHA, which is amazingly beneficial to your brain and EPA, which is known for its benefits you joint health and your skin. Both forms are excellent for heart health.

Omega-3s are found in fish like salmon, mackerel, and herring, as well as flaxseed and walnuts. The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings of fish a week. I would add that ground flaxseed in oatmeal is delicious (try it—a couple tablespoons a couple times a week). Like all nuts, a good serving of walnuts is one-quarter cup.

Omega-6s are also polyunsaturated fats that are found in oils like sesame oil, sunflower oil, grape seed oil, and safflower oil. Omega-6s benefits include the reduction of nerve pain, possibly helpful with ADHD, and they may ease Rheumatoid arthritis pain. However, too much Omega-6 compared to Omega-3 can cause inflammation and the Standard American Diet is inundated with Omega-6s because of the use of Omega-6 oils in processed food. If you reduce the amount of processed food that you consume, the safer you will be!

The Bad Fats

Saturated Fat: A high consumption of saturated fats will result in weight gain, not to mention that they raise your LDL cholesterol and can increase heart-disease risk. Saturated fat is found in most meat and in full-fat dairy like butter, milk, cream, cheese, etc. I recommend eating lean meat like chicken or turkey breast or leaner cuts of beef like sirloin. I also recommend eating low-fat cheese and drinking skim milk.

Trans Fat: Trans fat has gotten a lot of media attention the past decade ever since food companies were required to list the amount of trans fat in their foods starting in 2006. Trans fats are generally oils (partially hydrogenated soybean oil for example) that extend the shelf life of food. They raise your LDL, lower your HDL, and cause inflammation throughout the body, including weight gain.

The bottom line here is to read nutrition labels and look for 0 grams of trans fat and avoid fried food as much as possible because the majority of fried food has trans fat.

Now that you are clear on fat, make sure to include some good fats on your weight-loss journey.

 

 

Weighing in on Weight Loss: Inspiration

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Happy New Year! How have your first couple weeks of 2018 been besides cold?! Like many of you I’m sure, I have several clients who are working on weight-loss goals.

Here are some thoughts I’d like to share to help guide and maybe even inspire some of those on a weight-loss journey. These are mindset recommendations. I’ll go into specific food recommendations throughout

Go gradually.

If you are looking to lose weight, don’t drastically reduce your calories and limit your food choices overnight. You will drive yourself crazy. I always tell my clients, “baby steps.”

Be realistic.

A lot of people set the bar too high. Just because your friend wants to lose 50 pounds doesn’t mean you should. If you are 45 and want to achieve the weight you were when you were 24 (when you starved yourself and exercised two hours a day to fit into your wedding dress) is not realistic either. Consulting a professional like a dietitian from Kelly’s Choice can help you determine what a realistic goal for yours is.

Savor; don’t deprive.

Deprivation can lead to depression—nobody wants to experience that. So savor what you love. If you are a chocoaholic like me, allow yourself a couple of pieces of dark chocolate—it’s high in antioxidants. Take tiny bites and truly delve into the flavor!

Don’t beat yourself up.

If you slip on following your healthy habits, that’s okay! As cliché as it sounds, tomorrow is a new day. Nobody is perfect. I slip from time to time—everybody does. We are only human. Smile at yourself and ease back into those healthy habits.

Allow for occasional indulgences.

What are your favorite indulgences? A divine glass of wine and a delicious slice of pepperoni pizza are two of mine. And guess what, I have not abandoned them. I will allow myself to indulge occasionally. You should too! It’s the healthy thing to do. Remember what I said about deprivation above—it will not help you, it will depress you. So please celebrate YOU from time to time with your favorite indulgence!

Stay tuned for my next Weighing in on Weight Loss Blog—I will weigh in on healthy fats!

How the Great Outdoors Makes you Healthy

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My boyfriend Greg and I have been hiking in the Adirondacks quite a bit this summer. We love Lake Placid; the restaurants cater to health enthusiasts like us with hearty, delicious, and healthy food choices and there is something uplifting about the fresh air of the Adirondack Mountains.

What I truly love is that just by being outside I am taking awesome measures to take care of myself—yes, even as healthy as I am, I am improving my health. Here are

my favorite scientifically proven benefits of the outdoors.

  • Vitamin D Rocks!

The best source of Vitamin D is the sun. Soak in those rays for at least 20 minutes a day without sunscreen to reap the benefits. Vitamin D boosts your immune system, collaborates with calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K to protect your bones, and it can even help prevent diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and heart disease.

  • Super Slumber

Sweet sleep feels so amazing…and when you are outside often, you keep your circadian rhythm working the way it was meant to, helping you to sleep when it is dark and rise when it is light. Nature has been proven to help prevent insomnia as well-an awesome bonus. See, there are psychological and physiological reasons you sleep better just by spending time outside!

  • Bright Eyes

Most of us wear sunglasses in the summer and that’s important for protecting your eyes, but even with those shades on, do you being outside helps your eyes? Artificial light and constant staring at electronic devices inside literally kills your eyesight. Get outside often to rest those eyes!

  • Maintainin’ a Healthy Weight

Being outdoors generally forces you to move your body more…and that exercise is awesome for maintaining a healthy weight. You don’t need to hike mountains like me; even a nice walk around the block is literal steps in the right direction!

  • Helpin’ my Heart

A recent study in Australia found that just 30 minutes of exposure to nature each week can reduce the prevalence of high blood pressure by nine percent. Imagine if you spent 30 minutes outdoors a few times each week?!

  • Marvelous Mood

Exposure to nature has been proven to boost your serotonin (feel-good hormone) levels! Sometimes when you are feeling blah, a step int the Great Outdoors can spark the joy we all need!

Time to pull yourself away from the electronic device, step outside, take in a deep breath, and delve into all the benefits that nature offers us!

Celebrate Cherry Season

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Cherry season is upon us in Central New York and I love it! Cherries are the perfect snack and they are a nutrition-boosting compliment to every meal. Add them to your yogurt, smoothie, or oatmeal for breakfast. Toss them in a salad for lunch or dinner. The best news about cherries is their health benefits. In fact, they are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. Here are a few reasons why.

Cherries can help with weight-loss efforts.

Cherries are a high-fiber food, which is always good for weight-loss because fiber keeps us fuller longer. A lab study actually proved that cherries can in fact help prevent weight gain. In a study published in the Journal of Medical Food, rats that were given tart cherry powder mixed into a high-fat diet didn’t gain as much weight as rats consuming the same diet without cherries. The cherry powder intake was associated with lower lipid (fat) levels in the blood, percentage fat mass and abdominal fat weight as well.

Cherries can help you sleep better.

We could all use some good slumber, right? Well, cherries can help with this! Cherries are a great source of melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone. Very few foods contain melatonin. Our bodies can manufacture a little bit of it through the pineal gland in our brain—consuming cherries can give us some extra melatonin to make sure we sleep soundly.

Cherries can increase your energy levels.

Of course better sleep can help with better energy levels, but there’s something else about cherries that can help boost your energy. The natural sugar and water content of cherries along with a plethora of antioxidants will no-doubt help prevent any energy dips you might experience during the day.

Cherries can protect against Diabetes

A lot of people with diabetes deter from fruit because of the sugar content. Cherries have a low glycemic index though so they don’t sky-rocket your sugar levels. Cherries have a glycemic index (GI) of 22 compared to say grapes that have a GI of 46, strawberries that have a GI of 41 or apples that have a GI of 39.

Cherries can reduce muscle and joint pain.

Hold off on the ibuprofen please! Cherries can reduce muscle and joint pain! A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that cherries helped prevent post workout pain in runners. Another study conducted at the Osteoarthritis Research Center found that cherry consumption greatly reduced the pain experienced by patients with osteoarthritis.

Cherries can protect your heart.

High in antioxidants and fiber, it should come as no surprise that cherries can protect your heart. The potassium content of cherries is particularly healthy for the heart by helping to regulate blood pressure,

Get yourself to the market and get some cherries today. They’re in season right now in Central New York through the month of July! And for a special treat, dip them in dark chocolate, which is also high in antioxidants!

By Kelly Springer RD, MS, CDN

Weight-loss Tips for the New Year!

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Weight Loss

Hi everyone! Happy New Year! My next several blogs will relate to popular New Year’s Resolutions with tips I have to help you succeed.

The first NYR I will focus on is one of the most popular: to lose weight!  I wish I had a magic bullet for this one, but the truth of the matter is that to lose weight healthfully, a fad diet will not do the trick…you have to reconstruct the way you eat and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be depriving and you can even indulge a little. It takes dedication, but I promise you it’s not that hard once you get started!

Here are a few of my favorite tips to help you lose weight. These are not the typical tips you hear like stop eating fast food, eat more vegetables, stop snacking all the time, etc. Yes, those points are important to your weight-loss efforts, but these tips might make you think deeper or may even be something new for you.

Tip # 1: Go Slow and Steady!

Slow and steady wins the race. Aim to lose one to two pounds a week to ensure healthy weight loss. Losing weight too fast can take a toll on your mind and body, making you feel sluggish, drained, and sick.   When you drop a lot of weight quickly, you’re actually losing mostly water and muscle, rather than fat.

Tip #2: Combine your favorite treats with something healthy.

You can still enjoy your favorite high-calorie treat, whether it’s ice cream, chips, cake, or chocolate. The key is to eat a smaller serving along with a lower-calorie option. For example, add strawberries to your ice cream or munch on carrot and celery sticks along with your chips and dip. By piling on the low-cal option, you can eat a diet-friendly portion of your favorite treat without feeling deprived.

 Tip # 3: Drink a lot of water!

You have probably heard this one before, but I want you to really think about this. You can HUGELY reduce your daily calorie intake by replacing soda, alcohol, or coffee with water. Thirst can also be confused with hunger, so by drinking water, you may avoid consuming extra calories. Do you get bored by drinking water? Try infusing it with lemon, lime, strawberries, watermelon, or mint!

Tip # 4; Get good sleep!

Lack of sleep has been shown to have a direct link to hunger, overeating, and weight gain. A few hormones regulate normal feelings of hunger and fullness. These hormone levels are affected by levels of sleep.  When you’re short on sleep your appetite is stimulated so you want more food than normal, and you won’t feel as satisfied as you normally would and will want to keep eating. This can lead to overeating and, ultimately, weight gain. To keep your diet on track, try to get about eight hours of quality sleep a night.

I hope these four little tips truly help you with your weight-loss goals! Feel free to contact my team if you need a professional helping you and cheerfully rooting for you!

 

One More Reason to Drink More Water: Weight-Loss

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I know, I know, I’m always talking about how important it is to keep hydrated and how you should be drinking a lot of water every day. For instance, if you haven’t read it already, take a peek at my hydration blog I just wrote a couple weeks ago.

To review some of the reasons why water is absolutely essential for us to consume every day—it helps regulate circulation, body temperature, and digestion. It also detoxifies the liver and the kidneys and carries waste out of the body. Did you know that a two-percent drop in body water can cause small but critical shrinkage of the brain, which can impair neuromuscular coordination, decrease concentration, and cause slow thinking?

As if those aren’t enough reasons to drink water, a new research study just came out that links weight-loss to water consumption. Dr. Tammy Chang and colleagues at the University of Michigan School of Medicine used the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to look at the link between dehydration and weight in the sample of 9,500 adults. It turns out that about 33 percent of the people in the study were not adequately hydrated. And those that were not hydrated had higher BMIs than those that were.

Getting thirsty yet? Seriously, how much water should you drink? The general rule of thumb is to at least drink half your body weight in ounces. If you are very active, you will need much more!