Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Blah Winter Meals: Join a Coop & Add Local Spark!

Try your local coop this February by going to  Many have a free trial period so you have nothing to lose. What’s to be gained? Coops help you stay connected to your farmers all year long, yes even in the winter wonderland states! The fee to join is typically ¼ of a warehouse membership plus you get improved food quality, nutritionally dense, flavorful product that was grown in your backyard. Consider that the average meal travels 1500 miles to make it from field-to-plate. Joining a coop, adds green to your diet, green to your wallet and green back into your local farmlands! A few terms to consider are grass fed, free range, organic, pesticide free, and antibiotic free. Don’t let the lingo deter you, the website and volunteers can help you decipher products and make the best purchasing decisions for your wallet and family. If you want to add some fun and education to your experience, put your grocery cart together on line with your children. It’s guaranteed to be a teachable moment and they may be more apt to try new foods. The key to creating a sustainable food system is your participation.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink

Every once in awhile I read a really great book about improving one’s health and think “This is the kind of stuff that made me want to become a dietitian!” I relayed this thought to my 9 year old son who immediately responded “Did you highlight a lot of the pages mom?” to which I chuckled with a “definitely”.

Mindless Eating is a great read for anyone interested in health and wellness topics. For the 2/3rd’s of American’s struggling with weight issues, it provides many “aha” moments and memorable tools that instill confidence in finally being able to successful manage eating habits. It’s not the traditional diet book that pushes foods allowed, foods to avoid, and how many minutes of daily exercise you need to lose weight. Rather it exposes the hidden psychological triggers behind why we eat what we do and the invisible cues that lead to scale creep. The guy obviously likes to make people laugh because his studies while thoroughly fascinating are relayed in such a humorous way that you’ll feel like you’re watching an Ashton Kutcher episode of “You’ve Just Been Punk’d”. The book tackles a lot of not so obvious topics including your kitchen environment, movie theater popcorn, clothing choices, restaurant traps, socializing in the midst of food and alcohol, m&m and jelly bean colors, and warehouse clubs. For a taste of the book go to and take the quiz. The book’s grand finale chapter provides specific tactics to overcome an individual's mindless eating danger traps: The Meal Stuffer; The Snack Grazer; The Party Binger; The Restaurant Indulger; and The Desktop or Dashboard Diner. After reading this book you should definitely feel in control over environmental influences that cause you to eat when you’re not hungry and overeat beyond the point of no return.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It Might Be a Fad Diet If...

What day is it today?  Tuesday, January 19, 2010 is officially "Rid the World of Fad Diets & Gimmicks" Day, seriously!  Here are the top 10 indications that a diet isn't kosher.  It might be a fad diet if...

10. You can buy it on the television shopping network, in the back of a magazine or is advertised by a buff looking dude by the name of "Abs".
9. You have to exclude an entire food group or certain foods are "forbidden" due to their illustrious past.
8. The pads you put on your feet to remove toxins from your body work double duty and remove excess weight loss too!
7. The FDA pulled it from the shelves, only to have it reappear 3 months later as new and improved.
6. It requires you drink copious amounts of foreign liquids, only to expel copious amounts of unmentionables in the restroom all day long.
5. One little pill, liquid, cookie, bar, or supplement "does it all"! No change in eating or exercise required.
4. You can save 25% off by ordering NOW!
3. The celebrity promoting the product, appears on the cover of a magazine in the grocery store check out aisle 2 months later, bigger than ever.
2. It was manufactured in a lab by skinny, vegan scientists.
1. It is just plain and simple, TGTBT (Too Good To Be True)

For this years "Slim Chance" Awards go to:,0,7853792.story

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Happy “Healthy Weight Week” January 17-23

A healthy weight has been clearly defined by the medical, insurance and research industry. A healthy weight is one that falls within the “normal” weight range based on your Basal Metabolic Index (BMI). Click here to calculate your BMI .

   BMI Categories:
• Underweight = <18.5
• Normal weight = 18.5-24.9
• Overweight = 25-29.9
• Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

32.7% of Americans adults are overweight, 34% are obese and 6% are extremely obese.  32% of American children are overweight, 16% are obese and 11% are extremely obese.  Looking at these statistics, it is easy to believe that a child has a 65-75% chance of following in their overweight parent’s footsteps.

You can do the math, but its safe to assume that very few people are in the normal weight range. Why should you care about being in the norm? According to the Center for Disease Control, as weight increases to the overweight and obesity range, the risks for the following conditions are elevated:

• Coronary heart disease
• Type 2 diabetes
• Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
• Stroke
• Liver and Gallbladder disease
• Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
• Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
• Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)

Yet achieving a healthy weight is not just about reaching a set number of pounds that categorizes you as normal. It includes a collection of positive lifestyle behaviors that include a healthy diet, regular physical activity, adequate rest, not smoking, alcohol in moderation and effective ways of coping with everyday stress. Follow my favorites (yellow stars) on Twitter for 52 weeks of health tips that can help your family move their BMI score towards normal in 2010! If you or a family member would benefit from individual healthy lifestyle coaching, source a Registered Dietitian in your state by going to

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Do Runners Burn More Calories in Winter or Summer?

There should be some benefit beyond heart, lungs, and the “feel good” to running outside on a frosty, winter  day! Unfortunately, calorie burn is not one of them. The metabolism of fat or burning fat for energy, actually slows down when the temperature gets colder. This is a nice preservation feature if you’re a bear hibernating in a den, or stranded in a blizzard, yet it’s not the pat on the back you might be looking for if you’re trying to lose weight. While you might breathe heavier when initially heading out, respiration returns to normal fairly quickly. Heart rate is often lower, but not always during cold weather exercise. So no, running outside is not an effective strategy for accelerating calorie burn in the winter months. Despite all this I’ll continue to run outside on cold winter days and hope you do too. Conquering the elements is what we Northern runners do, neither wind, nor rain, nor sleet, nor snow…not quite super hero stuff but still empowering!

Monday, January 11, 2010

When the Power to Cut Out Exceeds Work Out

In the New Year, just in time for vacation or bathing suit season, people choose severe low calorie diets, pills and beverages to help promote weight loss. The will power to cut out calories comes easier to some, than factoring in 30-60 minutes of daily exercise. While restrictive eating can result in significant weight loss, the long term success rate is poor at less than10% and it’s far from a healthy solution. Let’s compare the health differences between moderate exercise and restrictive eating.

       (For better viewing click on chart)

The best approach to weight loss is one that combines regular moderate activity with a healthy balanced diet. To learn more about healthy diets see a Registered Dietitian in your area by going to They will be able to co-design with you, a healthy eating plan that fuels your activity at the right time, based on your health conditions, weight goals and lifestyle.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Coconut Water

Why are they always handing this stuff out at the pre race events and why would I want to drink it as an athlete? Zico, O.N.E. and Nature Factor are examples of brand names. The Zico brand contains only 60 calories/11 oz serving, 0 grams of fat and 0 grams of cholesterol. The big benefit is that it’s loaded with potassium at 670 mg as compared to 422 mg in a medium banana and 36 mg in 1 cup of Gatorade. Coconut water contains 60 mg sodium, 1 gram protein and 15 grams of carbohydrate which would be too light on sodium and too much fluid in order to meet your carbohydrate needs during a race. Post race coconut water would still be too light on sodium unless you added some salty pretzels, too light on protein for muscle recovery and inadequate in carbohydrates for glycogen replacement. The athletic benefits in a nut shell: it may reduce the risk of muscle cramps, help regulate blood pressure and if you like the taste you may hydrate more regularly.