Thoughts of a Dietitian

What The Health? 

What The Health? is a documentary now available on Netflix, which I just so happened to watch earlier this week. The video follows filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the leading causes of death in America (cancer, heart disease, and diabetes) and looks at what leading Health Organizations (American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association) have to say about diet and these diseases. But be warned, if you’re looking for an easy viewing, don’t pick this movie.

About half way through the film, the information takes a turn for the worse and starts promoting strict veganism as the only healthy diet. As a registered dietitian I can tell you that’s total non-sense. There’s many ways to achieve a healthy diet and life style, and it disappointed me the movie didn’t recognize that. 

The gist of the documentary is that many leading health organizations accept money from companies selling clearly unhealthy foods, yet these health organizations now promote these unhealthy foods because of finanacial ties. The documentary only targeted the unhealthy meat products, and in fact said sugar is healthy to eat! 

(I hope that last sentence made you cringe as much as it did me.) 

I think aiming for 1-2 meatless meals is a good goal for the general public. It’s not necessary that someone follow a strict vegan diet just because this movie said so. Of course, I will always be a firm believer that everyone needs to increase their fresh fruit and vegetable consumption, but that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of all meat in your diet. I would say it’s a good idea to leave the bacon and sausage in the grocery store, but other things like fish, chicken, and even lean beef can be part of a healthy diet. 

Has anyone else seen this movie? Also does anyone know who funded What The Health? — that’s something I’ve been meaning to look into. Stay tuned for my next blog post where I’ll feature a recipe for vegetarian chili which you can use for your next meatless meal! 

Link to the Official Website of What The Health? 

Hints & Tips, Thoughts of a Dietitian

True Confessions of a Dietitian 

I just got home from Publix on my lovely day off and decided for today’s blog post I wanted to show you what I buy on a regular basis at the grocery store. So here’s what was in my cart for this week’s meals. 

It’s difficulty walking past so many temptations in the grocery store, even as someone who knows all about the harmful effects of certain foods, I still find it hard to resist sometimes.

But for the most part, I really do try to shop the perimeter of the grocery store, which is one way to incorporate more fresh foods into your meals. Some things you might pick out are my meat for the week (chicken and pork), lots of fruit and veggies (even some frozen veggies) and some dairy products (couldn’t forget my Greek yogurt!) 

You’ll notice I have 1 box of pasta in there, I really like the White Fiber pasta by Barilla. Also I bought graham crackers and peanut butter because that’s almost always my go to breakfast. And finally, you probably picked out the bag of chips and spinach dip which was definitely my impulse buy of the day! 

Ice Cream was on a BOGO sale, but I resisted the temptation because I knew once I had it in the house it would be a dangerous situation. It’s so much easier to eat healthy when that’s all that’s in your house. 

My two biggest tips I can give you to have a successful and healthy shopping trip are plan ahead (and make sure to stick to your list!) and start with the perimeter of the store (produce, meat, and dairy). Make those items (specifically vegetables) the base of most meals, and then fill in with your pantry products (and unfortunatey often highly processed foods) as needed.

Happy Shopping! 


Giving Sorghum A Try

Sorghum is a grain that originated more than 5,000 years ago in parts of Africa and Australia. Today you might have also heard of sorghum flour, which is a gluten free alternative to regular flour. Last night, I gave sorghum grain a try for the first time.

I was excited to try it because sorghum is very high in protein (5 grams) and fiber (5 grams) per serving. It’s a good source of antioxidants, and it’s slowly digested which can help balance your blood sugar. 

It cooks very similar to rice, but it takes awhile to cook. We had to boil it on the stove top for over 1 hour, so don’t try to make this for a quick meal. (But you can make ahead and freeze portions in the freezer and surprisingly it doesn’t become soggy!) 

It’s super versatile, but we created mock Chipotle Bowls with ours. Topped with left over taco meat, black beans, guacamole, cheese, and sour cream it was so delicious. I also can’t begin to tell you how filling it was, even my boy friend was surprised by how satiated he stayed with this meal! 

If you ever give sorghum a try, or if you’re already a fan, please send me your recipes so I can explore some more with this wonderful grain! 

Thoughts of a Dietitian

Yoga and Nutrition

This past weekend I attended a 2 day seminar in Fort Lauderdale, FL. I was really impressed with all the presenters and presentation topics, but probably the most unique session I attended was about integrating yoga into a nutrition practice.

I never realized how easy it was to do yoga in a CHAIR!! Not only is this great for everyone who’s feeling a bit lazy at times, but its also an easy recommendation for our older population or adults who work desk jobs. I even thought of my mom’s second graders who would likely benefit from some routine stretches during their school day.

So whether your stuck at your desk, looking for a lazy workout, or just ready to try something new, I suggest you give chair yoga a chance today! There’s so many YouTube videos out there to get you started, but there’s also nothing wrong with making it up as you go. Just spend a few mindful minutes at your desk each day, and explore what feels good, and focus on where your body feels tight. Here’s a quick guide to get started, which I found on Pinterest. Original Link 



Reduce Your Sweet Tooth

Everyone knows that as a nation our consumption of sugar is out of control. It’s not a secret that diets high in sugar are linked to a variety of negative health effects. Not to mention, no one is immune from the dangers of sugar and it’s sadly effect kids, adults, and our elderly population alike.

I came across an article today that said the best way to cut your ‘sweet tooth’ is by doing so gradually. I thought the article suggested a great idea which is to gradually reduce ‘sweets’ but replace them with fruit so your body is still tasting the sweet, but the fruit provides your body with much more vitamins and minerals. According to this article, using artificial sweeteners doesn’t reduce your sweet tooth by any means. And the final thing I found interesting was that exercise, aside from being healthy, also helps to reduce sugar cravings. So when you work out, it’s a double win for your health!

Check out the full article here. What are your tips for reducing sugar in your diet? 


Don’t Be a “Waster”

I read on twitter this morning that American’s throw away 19% of vegetables and 14% of fruits we buy at the grocery store– talk about wasted money!

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics had something to say about that. Check out this inforgraphic below for a breakdown on how to store your produce. Are there any that you disagree with or were a surprise? I was surprised that tomatoes are best stored on the counter, I always keep mine chilled, but now I have something new to try this week.


Let me know if you tried any of these suggestions and if you found them helpful? Also, has anyone tried this app?

Hints & Tips, Thoughts of a Dietitian

The Seasoning Conundrum 

One big problem I often face is the desire to want to use conventional seasonings while cooking, but not wanting to load my food with a ton of chemicals. Sure, jarred seasonings and marinades from the grocery store are an easy promise to a lot of flavor, but often looking at the nutrition label reveals there’s a lot more than just herbs and spices in that bottle.

MSG, or monosodium glutamate, has over 40 names alone. While research hasn’t provided a definitive answer to the MSG debate, it’s something I personally try to avoid because I choose to eat as chemically free as possible. (Please note, the FDA does list MSG as ‘generally recognized as safe’ item, so don’t fret if you’ve never thought to check for MSG before.) 

My safest bet for seasoning is to make my own spice rubs and marinades. I use whole herbs and spices, plus oil, vinegar, and citrus for marinades so that I’m controlling what goes into my food. This is also a great tip for reducing your sodium intake, because jars of marinades are almost always going to be so high in sodium/salt. 

One jar of seasoning I do often use is the Everything But the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s. No added or secret ingredients in this jar, but the best part is you can add it to just about anything. Breakfast, veggies, meat, and salads have never tasted better once you give this a try!

Recipes, Thoughts of a Dietitian

Happy 4th of July! 

Check out these adorable red, white, and blue chocolate dipped strawberries! 

Let me tell you they are so yummy and so easy to make. We melted white chocolate in the microwave, added a bit of coconut oil to help think the chocolate and finally dipped in blue sprinkles. I highly recommend you give this recipe a try any time you’re feeling patriotic.

Enjoy great food, great music, and great company during today’s holiday. Enjoy whatever holiday food comes your way, and instead of feeling guilty for enjoying it, try to sneak some physical activity into your day, either by going for a swim, a walk, or maybe a game of volleyball or badminton if you’re at a party! 

Hints & Tips

Eating Healthy while Working Out

Eating Healthy while Working Out is a blog post which is part of a 3 part series, make sure to scroll down to read the previous 2 blog posts as well. 

Who has ever gone to the gym and had a great workout, only to come home and stuff your face full of food. Well first, let me remind you there is NO SUCH THING as a bad workout. Exercising isn’t just about creating a calorie deficit, it’s also about getting your heart pumping and improving your cardiovascular health in the process. But, with that said, if you’re looking for a little more guidance to help nutritiously fuel your workouts, keep on reading for some of my best tips! 

  1. I have so much trouble working out first thing in the morning, and one of the main reasons I have that problem is due to dehydration. I feel so sluggish and stiff if I haven’t had anything to drink yet. Water recommendations are hard to give because they are very individualistic. Often, the general range we give is 8-10 cups per day, but see what feels best to you. If you’re having trouble recovering post workout, you may need to increase your hydration. But remember, there is such thing as drinking too much water, if your urine is colorless then you know for sure you are overhydrated. Check out my favorite reusable water bottle below– it keeps my water icey cold. 
  2. What’s the deal with protein and do you need a protein supplement? Well, there’s no straight forward answer to this one either, but let me tell you what I do know. Most healthy individuals require 0.8-1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. So your 150lb person, weighs 68kg, and requires between 54grams and 68 grams of protein per day. A 3 ounce portion of meal has around 21 grams of protein (most people eat more than 3 ounces in a single serving.) So if you’re a regular meat eater, you’re going to have no problem meeting your goal. Even if you’re a vegetarian, you won’t have any trouble meeting your goal through eggs, soy, cheese, and whole grains. Protein shakes aren’t bad, but they aren’t necessary. Excess protein will either turn into fat, or be excreted via urine. If you’re someone who prefers a shake because it’s easier, quicker, or tastier- that’s fine, just check your serving and see how it fits into your overall protein distribution. But if you’re not currently using a protein supplement, there is probably no reason to start. 
  3. After Workout snacks and meals are so important to helping your body and its ability to recover. A great after workout snack is going to contain both protein and carbohydrate to properly fuel your hungry muscles. Yogurt + nuts,  cheese + whole grain crackers, or fruit + peanut butter all provide a nice variety of nutrients. Check out one of my favorite after workout (or anytime) snacks below- PB+ whole grain graham cracker + apple slices. 

Get moving this week and test out my three tips! Do you have any nutritious tips you follow when you’re exercising? Please share your favorites! 

If you liked these quick tip series, let me know so I can do more. What other situations do you need tips for creating healthy meals?