Caffeine Pants or My Plate (of food)?

2 new ways to lose weight… wear a pair of pants vs. changing the way you eat. Which would you choose? Of course if putting on pants was all that it took to lose weight then I’d be the first in line. If you’re confused and wondering what I’m talking about, check out this video! Really?

Hmm... what is this world coming to...

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What do you think? I think, “seriously…? people are funny.” This is what makes my job so much fun.

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In other news, the USDA revealed their new icon to replace the food pyramid. You know, the food pyramid with all the colors and the the little guy walking up the side. Have you ever actually used that as a weight loss tool? Probably not. I would use it to teach elementary students about the food groups and to show that we need a variety of foods in our diet. That’s about it. This new plate is exactly what I use many times when counseling clients.

My Plate

Yes.

Half of the plate = fruits and vegetables.

1/4 of the plate = grains (preferable whole) (could be: sweet or regular potato, brown rice, quinoa, etc.)

1/4 of the plate = protein (preferably lean!)

1 serving of dairy = could be: added (1.5 oz.) cheese, a glass (8 oz) of milk, (8 oz) yogurt, (1/2 c) cottage cheese

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This is how you go about making your diet predominantly plant-based. This is how you start eating more like the Mediterranean way (which is the part of the world with the lowest rates or heart disease, diabetes, etc.). By making half of your plate vegetables with some fruit you inevitably decrease the amount of calories you’re eating because fruits and vegetables are lower in calories than grains and meat. Remember that added butter and some other condiments could still add calories so watch those! Also, the size of the plate matters! You can’t use a 12 inch plate and think that you can fill it all the way up for weight loss. An 8 inch plate would be more like it…

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What did your plate look like for dinner tonight? How many fruits and vegetables (non-starchy! remember corn and peas count as grains!) did you have on your plate? What size was your plate?

Try this as a first step toward weight loss! Restructure your meals, and plan according to the new USDA icon. Thanks, USDA, this was a great choice!

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Crazy for Coconut Water

Fat-free, cholesterol-free, low calorie, potassium- packed, all-natural super water!!! Those are the claims of the oh-so-popular COCONUT water. Vita Coco and ZICO are among the top selling brands.

Vita Coco

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Have you heard of this beverage yet? Have you seen gym-goers chugging it?As a runner, I hear often of the latest trends for athletes. Each seems to tout its benefits which are usually better than the last trend and are undoubtedly the greatest “super food” around. While loving to eat/drink food that is in its most natural state, I still have to be skeptical about people claiming that these “natural” foods (alone) provide everything that I need. Without even doing research, I can logically deduct that one food can not possibly meet all of my needs. Let’s analyze.

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In 8-11 oz serving…

Calories: anywhere from 50-80 calories depending on the brand

Sugar:8-20 grams (yes, natural, but still sugar; some of the brands blend coconut water with juice which adds extra sugar too)

Sodium: typically from 20mg – 60mg (ZICO has about 120mg)

Potassium: 400-700mg (for reference, 1 medium banana contains just over 400mg)

green (young) coconuts ready for pickin'

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This seems pretty good. Low-calorie as it claims and high in potassium. However, for an endurance athlete, the amount of sodium is not near enough to replenish the amount lost in sweat. While endurance athletes need to replace all electrolytes, sodium is most crucial. Additionally, high amounts of potassium at one time can cause GI distress (like diarrhea… not a favorite for runners).The ratio for electrolyte replacement in sports drinks (like Gatorade, etc) is more like 1:3, potassium:sodium. This is like 100-200mg of sodium and 30-60mg of potassium.

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Bottom-line: Coconut water makes a fine beverage to replace other sweetened beverages like soda. As long as you have to calories to spare, go ahead and try it out… potassium is a great thing to increase in the diet. Coconut water will not hurt you. Will it help you? There are no reliable scientific studies to back up the claimed benefits like it being a super sports drink. For workouts less than 60 minutes long, I don’t have an issue. But for exercise lasting longer than that, when sodium replacement is VITAL, formulated sports drinks are actually a better choice… One option, however, is to drink the coconut water while being sure to get sodium from another source at the same time.

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What’s your experience with coconut water? 🙂

Detox Disaster…

Alright, fasten your seat belt… we are tackling the ever-popular DETOX DIETS today! I’ve never been so excited… not.

These things just don’t go away. They come in a variety of forms: raw food, lemonade ( Master Cleanse), fruit juice, Cooler Cleanse, Hallelujah diet… the list goes on…

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What’s the appeal?

Well, celebrities are the first to brag about about their weight loss. The claims also include flatter bellies, better skin, a clearer mind, and that your body needs this to be healthy. The well known philosophy behind detox diets is to rid your body of toxins, some hormones, by-products of foods previously consumed, and even saturated fat!

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Warning: side effects may include:

nausea, bloating, dizziness, increased weight gain after discontinued use, fatigue, loss of interest and concentration, dehydration, crankines and irritability, vitamin deficiency, weakened immune system, decreased metabolism, hair loss, and in extreme cases, brain damage…

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The GOOD NEWS: Most people don’t stay on these diets long enough to experience the more dangerous symptoms! Ha. These diets are extremely low in calories and don’t provide enough calories for normal function. (rule of thumb: never consume less than 1200 calories). When we get less calories than that minimum, our bodies go into “starvation” mode. Seriously. The triggered mechanisms in the body hold onto fat, allowing protein stores to first be used for energy. Our metabolisms decrease because the body doesn’t want to need more calories. Then when you stop the detox and go back to your normal calorie level, people tend to gain more weight because the body has adjusted to a new, lower calorie level.

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The NITTY GRITTY:  Guess what? Your body already knows how to “detox” itself without putting it through that pain. Did you know that sweating is a form of detox?  Step-by-step… Sweating is the body’s response to cool itself down. The body needs to cool down when its core temperature goes up. When does your temperature go up? When you exercise!!! So exercise not only helps your body detox, BUT you can also promote weight loss by burning those calories!!!!!

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Other ways your body cleanses itself (or safe ways you can help):

1. Going to the bathroom.

– Eat FIBER-rich foods! Fruits, veggies and whole grains…

2. Beneficial bacteria in the intestines.

– Yes. No need for those procedures… “natural” bacteria living in your gut helps remove toxins! Pre- and Probiotics (as in yogurt) promote the growth of good bacteria and keep digestion functioning normally.  And again, fiber “cleans” you out too.

4. The kidneys and the liver.

– Guess what? These organs’ jobs are to filter out toxins!

3. Drink water.

– Instead of making whatever concoction the newest diet says is the cure-all, drink plain old water. Eliminate those sweetened beverages and guzzle that H20. Water helps moves waste through your system ready to be excreted at the end.

4. Focus on non-processed foods.

– Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, leans meats and poultry. All of these things are provided to us by our Maker and are approved for consumption 🙂 When you eliminate or reduce processed foods you will likely be on the right track toward those weight loss goals. Plus, your skin will improve, and you will feel better!

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Now that sounds like a cleanse to me… eating REAL food, exercising… and reaping even greater benefits.

2 posts in one day…!

This is a short and sweet one…

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In honor of National Nutrition Month, you may ask this Dietitian ANY question you want!!!

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What is that one (or 2 or 3) question that you are dying to know? Maybe it’s a fact vs. fiction, fad diet, supplement, or exercise question… Whatever it is… I’m here to REPRESENT my profession in this glorious month dedicated to nutrient-rich eating 🙂 Take advantage!

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And… bonus… it’s gorgeous outside (in Cbus, Ohio)! Take today, the 1st of the month to start that goal I just posted about. What are you waiting for???

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