Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Tips for Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is about tuning into your body’s hunger/fullness cues and cravings when eating. One uses mindfulness to acknowledge and honor any physical cues the body is feeling, and eating based off of those signals. So how is mindful eating different from dieting?

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Most diets require you to restrict certain foods, food groups, or even a whole macronutrient. They tend to cause a sense of guilt when you do indulge in a particular food that is deemed “off limits,” and often times cause you to binge on those very foods down the road. Mindful eating does not require any restriction. Instead, by listening to your body’s physical cues and cravings, you are allowed to eat what you want, when you want, and stop when fullness is achieved or the craving is satisfied. Many people find that they feel more satisfied, and may even lose weight, when eating mindfully because they are more aware of their body’s signals.

Tips for Mindful Eating:

  • Learn to differentiate between hunger and non-hunger cues. Are you hungry or bored?
  • Eat when you feel hungry, do so slowly, and put down the fork when you feel full.
  • Eat without distractions – turn off the TV, put down social media, and focus on your food.
  • Learn to avoid phrases like “guilt” and “guilt-free” when talking about food. Food is not tied to morality, and therefore should not make you feel guilty.
  • Appreciate your food – engage your senses by observing smells and flavors.
  • Eat to maintain overall well-being – what foods will make you feel good? Eating cake all day every day will taste great at first, but it will get old very fast. You may find that your body begins to crave vegetables or lean proteins instead, as they will make you feel good afterwards.

How are you choosing healthy when it comes to food choices?  Do you find yourself being mindful at meals?

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Topics: diet and nutrition mindful eating mindfulness

Nine Nutrition-Related New Year's Resolutions to Set (and Stick To!)

GettyImages-1313903358We are on the brink of a New Year and those looming resolutions start filling our head with what we should do or consider changing.  Keep a positive mindset to not allow resolutions to fall to the wayside in the New Year, allow them to become lifestyle changes.  Know that when you fall short, it's ok to give your self a restart.  Check out these nine nutrition-related New Year's resolutions to not only set, but stick to. 

  1. Maintain or achieve a healthy weight. While this is a common goal for the New
    Year, maintaining or achieving a healthy body weight is essential for reducing
    your risk of many health related complications, including heart disease,
    decreased immunity, diabetes, certain cancers, osteoporosis, and infertility. Learn
    how to assess your weight status here.
  2. Move more. Moving more often and participating in regular exercise can help
    you achieve and/or maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic
    conditions, and even improve your mental health. The CDC suggests working
    your way up to anywhere from 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise to 150
    minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.
  3. Increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Fruits and vegetables are low in
    calories, but high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them an excellent
    snack or side dish! Despite all of their benefits, only 20% of Americans meet their
    daily fruit intake recommendations, while just 10% eat enough vegetables!
    Adults should aim to consume around 1 ½ - 2 cups of fruit and 2 - 2 ½ cups of
    vegetables per day. Visit MyPlate.gov to determine what counts as “1 cup” of
    your favorite fruits and vegetables.
  4. Eat and drink fewer added sugars. Added sugars are sweeteners and syrups
    added to foods during preparation to increase their sweetness. Added sugars
    contribute calories, but offer no other essential nutrients. When consumed in
    excess, it can be difficult to achieve a healthy eating pattern without taking in
    excess calories, which can result in weight gain and obesity, heart disease,
    and/or type 2 diabetes. Added sugars include brown sugar, corn and maple
    syrups, honey, molasses, and raw sugar. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans
    suggest limiting added sugar intake to less than 10% of total daily calories, or
    about 50 grams of added sugars each day for someone consuming about 2,000
    calories per day.
  5. Cut back on your salt (sodium) consumption. Consistently high intakes of salt
    can lead to high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, two of
    the leading causes of death for adults in the US. Despite the American Heart
    Association’s recommendation to consume <2,300 mg of sodium daily, the
    average adult actually consumes closer to 3,400 mg of sodium each day, almost
    150% of what is recommended! Although it is a common misconception to
    believe that salt intake can be controlled by simply removing the salt shaker from
    your table, about 75% of salt intake actually comes from prepared and packaged
    foods, such as pasta sauce, soups, canned foods, and condiments.
  6. Consume less saturated fat. Like salt, excessive consumption of saturated fat
    can affect your LDL, or “bad”, cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart
    disease. Saturated fats are primarily found in animal products, including beef,
    pork, lamb, poultry (especially with skin), eggs, cheese, butter, and other full-fat
    dairy products. They are also found in tropical oils, such as coconut, palm and
    palm kernel oils, and many baked and fried foods. The American Heart
    Association suggests consuming <5-6% of total daily calories from saturated fat.
    For an adult who consumes around 2,000 calories per day, that is around 120
    calories, or about 13 grams of saturated fat each day (9 calories/gram fat).
  7. Cook at home more. In addition to helping you save money, cooking at home
    more often can help you reduce the total amount of calories, fat, and sodium
    consumed at that meal, making it easier to manage your weight and overall
    health.
  8. Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol is associated with various short- and long-term
    risks, such as accidental injury, violence, certain cancers, high blood pressure,
    and mental health issues. Alcohol is also a source of calories and does not offer
    any nutritional benefit. Most professional organizations agree that men should
    limit alcohol intake to <2 beverages per day and women should try to consume
    <1 alcoholic drink per day.
  9. Drink more water. Adequate water intake is essential for maintaining healthy
    digestion, removing wastes from the body, and preventing dehydration. The
    amount of water you should consume is based on many factors including your
    age, body size, and activity level, as well as the climate in which you live. The
    easiest way to determine if you are drinking enough water is to observe the color
    of your urine. If you are consuming enough, your urine should be a pale yellow,
    whereas if you are not, it will likely be a very bright or dark yellow. Speak to your
    physician or registered dietitian/nutritionist to determine your individual fluid
    needs.

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Topics: employee health and wellness diet and nutrition Dietitian Connection

Three Ways to Fight Belly Fat at Home

GettyImages-1124686829As a fitness manager, people frequently ask me how they can lose “this” as they aggressively squeeze their belly. In response with a smile, I ask them if they have a minute to talk about it. As common as this question is, it’s very hard to give an answer that satisfies. It’s a concern most of us have because we associate a trim belly with health. There’s no single magic pill, exercise, food, or ritual that will help bring back the desired abdominal aesthetic. Fortunately, there are several simple steps that can be taken to reach a healthier body composition. Here are three ways older adults can fight belly fat as they stay safe at home:

1. Substitute Whole Grains for Sweet Treats

Up until recently, I was never much for sweets. Brownies, cookies, and chocolate really had no appeal to me. Unfortunately, spending more time at home has made their siren song grow louder. Here are some healthy substitutes. Whole grains like quinoa, barley, and oats are naturally very filling. Filled with complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber, they are a little more challenging for our bodies to digest quickly. This is a good thing! Sugary treats are okay once in a while, but we should turn our attention to more complete alternatives when our bellies and brains are in the mood for a quick fix. This can be really challenging at first, but it does get easier for most people after a week or two. In the long run, your belly will thank you!

2. Substitute Water, Seltzer, or Diet Soda for Alcoholic Beverages

I might get some dirty looks for this one, but I’m okay with it! Alcoholic beverages are a delight for most of us, but drinking too much alcohol is a sure-fire way to gain some poundage. Fortunately, there are some tasty, although buzz-less, alternatives. Cold water can be surprisingly satisfying, and adding some bubbly, lightly flavored seltzer to the mix might just do the trick. Diet soda is not without its controversy, and I see it as a personal choice very much like alcohol consumption. From a purely belly fat fighting perspective, I think most people would be better off having a drink of diet soda compared to an alcoholic beverage. Whatever it may be, the takeaway is to consider substituting some of your alcohol intake with a lighter alternative.

3. Set a Fitness Goal

If you’re not interested in moving up in pant size, you may want to set a fitness goal that you can achieve while staying home. I’m keeping this vague because sometimes doing anything is better than doing nothing at all. The previous two ways to fight belly fat were focused on controlling the caloric energy you consume. This part is about controlling the caloric energy you put out. A great goal to work up to is getting at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity on most days of the week. Combine this with two or three strength training sessions per week, and you’re well on your way toward a trimmer waistline! If you’re ready for that goal, great! If not, work on creating a goal that’s right for your personality, experience level, and abilities. The important thing is that you set some kind of fitness goal that you can achieve. Remember, you’ll probably feel better reaching an easy goal than failing to reach a hard one.

I’ve said it before, staying home is challenging. In many ways, it is harder than ever to fight fat and weight gain at home. In a time of apparent helplessness, we can enjoy control over aspects of our health. If you’re like me and sweets are calling your name, consider replying with a hearty meal that includes whole grains and vegetables. If alcohol has been flowing with ease, think about replacing a drink or two with a lower calorie choice. If 2020 so far has left you feeling powerless, take the power back by achieving a simple fitness goal! These suggestions are meant to be encouraging, not restrictive.

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Topics: diet and nutrition goal setting

Fabulous Farmers’ Markets: Nutrition and Healthy Summer Fun

One of my favorite things to do during summer in Indiana is to visit the various farmers’ markets around town. As a dietitian I am a sucker for the fresh fruits and veggies, but I also love the homemade desserts, candles, pasta, kettle corn, fresh flowers, and other wonderful items you can find.

The Top 5 Reasons to Shop at Your Local Market

Hfarmers-market-1ere are my top 5 reasons why visiting your local farmer’s market is a must.

  1. Support the local community. Since the produce is grown and purchased locally, the money remains in the community and stimulates the local economy. Also, when you shop at the farmers’ market you are cutting out the middle man, and the product is generally less expensive than if you purchased it in the grocery store.
  2. Eat foods that are in season. Farmers’ market produce is picked ripe and sold soon after picking. Supermarket produce, on the other hand, can take up to two weeks to travel from the farm to the store, even when it is in season. The produce tastes richer and more flavorful and the nutrients are better retained. This handout for Indiana allows you to see which produce is in season so you can plan ahead for meals and shopping on your next outing. If you don’t live in Indiana, check with your local government websites to see if they have a similar calendar.
  3. It’s good for you. The average American eats 4.4 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. The current recommendations are 9 servings per day. Picking up multiple servings of fruits and veggies and incorporating them into recipes, meals, and snacks is a great way to get closer to the 9-serving-per-day-goal. This will guarantee you are meeting your recommended vitamin and mineral nutrition requirements, increasing your daily fiber intake, and acquiring cancer-fighting antioxidants. Locally grown produce is also lower in pesticides and chemicals.
  4. You can talk to the farmers who grew the food you are about to eat. You can meet the farmers who grew your food, ask when it was picked, how it was grown, and ways to prepare it. When else do you get the opportunity to learn so much about what you are putting in your mouth?
  5. There is certain to be one that fits your location and schedule. I love being able to go to the local farmers’ market close to work on my lunch break mid-week to grab items to get me through the rest of the week. Saturday mornings it’s off to the farmers’ market closer to my house to purchase goodies for the weekend and first part of the next week. To find out farmers’ markets close to you, check out the Farmers Market Directory on the USDA website.

An Inexpensive Place for Healthy Eating

Whether you are picking up items for tonight’s dinner or for the whole week, the local farmers’ market is an inexpensive, healthy alternative to the grocery store. Try to get there early to get the best variety and options. Not all vendors accept credit cards, so be sure to have cash on hand. Finally, bring along your own reusable grocery bag to put all of your goodies in so it is easier to carry home your fresh, delicious finds.

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Topics: nutrition diet and nutrition well-being nifs staff

Smart Snacking Makes for Healthy Eating

ThinkstockPhotos-513806816Some people think that snacking can sabotage your healthy eating plan. However, snacking keeps your energy levels up and prevents you from becoming overly hungry, which can lead to poor food choices. Eating every three to four hours can also help regulate your metabolism, which ensures that you burn calories throughout the day. Strive for at least two small snacks per day, but try to limit yourself to 100 to 150 calories or less per snack.
Also, be sure your snack is balanced—that it offers complex carbohydrates for energy, protein for muscle building and repair, and a small amount of fat for satiety. You can ensure nutritional balance and prevent snack boredom by varying your daily choices.
Best Snacks for Great Nutrition
Here are some great snack choices:
  • 6 oz Greek yogurt topped with ½ cup of berries
  • ¾ cup of whole-grain cereal, nut, and dried fruit trail mix
  • 1 apple and 1 oz. low-fat cheese
  • 1 cup yogurt smoothie made with real fruit
  • 1 oz. baked tortilla chips with ¼ cup bean dip
  • 2 oz. low-fat cheese on five whole-grain crackers
  • 1 whole-wheat tortilla with 1 oz. melted cheese and ¼ cup salsa
  • 1 cup raw vegetables and 2 Tbsp. low-fat dip or hummus
  • 1 Tbsp. nut butter on a banana
  • 1 cup berries topped with ¼ cup low-fat granola cereal
  • ¼ cup whole-grain cereal and ¼ cup raisins with ¼ cup skim milk
  • ¾ cup pasta salad made with raw veggies, cheese, and low-fat dressing
  • ½ pita pocket stuffed with raw vegetables and 1 slice low-fat cheese
  • 1 cup low-fat vegetable-bean sou
  • ½ turkey and cheese sandwich on whole-wheat bread
  • 1 handful almonds and ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup cottage cheese and ½ cup pineapple
  • ½ peanut butter/banana sandwich on whole-wheat bread
  • ½ whole-wheat English muffin toasted and topped with a slice of tomato and low-fat cheese
The Benefits of Snacks
You might feel guilty about snacking, but snacks aren’t necessarily bad. In fact, mini meals several times a day can be beneficial. Here’s how:
 
Binge control. If eating several low-fat, whole-grain crackers, a few pretzels, a piece of fruit, or some raw vegetables keeps you from taking second or third helpings at your next meal, you may actually consume fewer total calories for the day.
 
Extra energy and nutrients. Traditional, made-at-home meals often lose out to busy schedules. A grab-and-go snack can be the difference between some nourishment and none at all.
 
Satisfaction for small appetites. Young children’s tiny stomachs can hold only small portions of food at a time. Older adults who are less active and who burn fewer calories also may feel comfortable eating smaller meals more frequently.
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Topics: diet and nutrition mindfulness fruits and vegetables

Whole Grains as Part of a Balanced Diet

NIFS | Whole Grains Whole grains have been advertised as being part of balanced diet for as long as I can remember. Specifically, bread and cereal companies are careful to emphasize their importance as a quality source for whole grains in their marketing messages. So, why are they so special and why are they essential for a balanced diet? I will get to that in a second, but first, let’s start with what is considered a “whole grain.”

The processing that a grain goes through is what determines whether or not it can be considered whole. When a grain is processed it is stripped of most of its outer shell and other nutrient dense components, leaving just the starchy inner layer that does not have  significant nutritional value other than acting as a carbohydrate.

The anatomy of a whole grain has three important components to it, which include the bran, the endosperm, and the germ. All of these different parts have unique health benefits to them and they all need to be present for the grain to be considered whole. The outer layer of the grain is the called the bran and it is chewy and fibrous. It contains a large amount of fiber and other nutrients such as antioxidants, iron, zinc, and B vitamins. The next part of the grain is the germ, which is the base for growth for each whole grain kernel. Antioxidants, healthy fats, and B vitamins can all be found inside the germ. The last part of the grain is the endosperm. The endosperm is the soft and chewy middle part of the grain that is left over after the germ and bran have been stripped away through the refining process. This only has a small amount of minerals and B vitamins and mainly acts as a source of carbohydrates.

Grains that have all three components (bran, germ, and endosperm) can be considered a whole grain. If it’s missing one or more components, then it is considered a refined grain. An easy example would be brown rice and white rice. Brown rice is a whole grain because it is still covered by the bran and has the germ intact, making it more fibrous and tougher to chew. White rice is a refined grain because it has had the bran and germ removed leaving just endosperm which is soft and easy to chew. 

Now that you know more about whole grains and how they are classified, let’s look at some of the health benefits of grains and why they are an essential part of a balanced diet. One of the major benefits of whole grains is their ability to reduce your chances of developing cardiovascular disease. The fiber in whole grains is essential for preventing cardiovascular disease, because fiber has been shown to lower triglycerides, cholesterol; it can also help regulate insulin levels. All of these different effects help to lower the chance of developing cardiovascular disease.

Whole grains can also be protective against type 2 diabetes; because whole grains are low on the Glycemic Index they do not cause your body to release a surge of insulin when eaten, rather they cause a steady release of insulin. The nutrients and fiber in the whole grains also help with insulin sensitivity which greatly help to reduce blood sugar spikes. 

Health Bonus: Whole grains can also help with digestive health. All of the fiber and other nutrients in grains can help with healthy bowel movements and reduce the chances of constipation.

With all of these health benefits and disease fighting properties, whole grains should become a staple in your diet. Start to reduce your intake of refined grains and start looking for grains that labeled as being whole, such as: whole wheat bread, brown rice, and quinoa. Your body will thank you!

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Topics: nutrition diet and nutrition whole grains balanced diet

Healthy Party Food for Football Fans

Attention football fans: its playoff time, and with the playoffs comes squeezing into man caves, yelling at the television, eating pizza and wings, and drinking beer. But what if we could change how we hosted football parties to make them healthier for you and for friends and family? I’d like to offer some healthy alternative recipes to make your football events a blast for your friends without expanding your waistline.

First things first, always buy your own food from your local grocery store instead of going to the local pizza joint or fast food restaurant. Cooking at home with fresh ingredients gives you a lot more control over how food is prepared so that you might avoid extra calories or less-than-desirable ingredients that can come in fast food items. Also, always have a veggie/fruit plate handy! We all love to graze so be prepared for healthy grazing items for your fans. Now for some fun, and healthy recipes!

Ginger Garlic Shrimp

Nutrition Facts: Serving Size 1 Cup, Calories 110, Fat 1.5 Grams, Cholesterol 85mg, Sodium 234.5mg, Potassium 110mg, Protein 10.6g.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped basil
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined

Cooking Instructions: 

  1. In a large bowl, mix the vegetable oil with the parsley, garlic, basil, ginger, lemon juice, salt and crushed red pepper. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours.    
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable oil. Stir in the ginger, garlic and lemongrass and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Season with salt. Transfer the sauce to ramekins.
  3. Light a grill. Loosely thread the shrimp onto 10 skewers. Grill over moderately high heat, turning once, until lightly charred and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to plates and serve with tomato sauce.

Teriyaki Sesame Chicken Skewers

Nutrition Facts: Serving Size 2 Skewers, 110 calories, Total Fat 2g, Saturated Fat 2g, Carbohydrates 2g.GettyImages-637145496.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 15 ounces teriyaki sauce (no more than 2g sugar per serving)
  • 6 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Cooking Instructions: 

  1. Special equipment: 30 (8-inch) bamboo skewers
  2. Soak bamboo skewers in water for 1 hour to keep from burning later.
  3. Mix all marinade ingredients together in a non-reactive container large enough to hold all of the chicken. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch strips and submerge them in the marinade, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. Thread 1 chicken strip on each skewer towards end of the stick, and line up on a sheet pan. Place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until fully cooked through. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Sweet Potato Skins

Nutrition Facts: Serving Size 1 Ounce, Calories 140, Total Fat 7g, Saturated Fat 2g, Cholesterol 5mg, Sodium 140mg, Carbohydrates 15g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Protein 4g, Sugar 3g.

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 3 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
  • 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup salsa Verde
  • 1/2 avocado, pitted and cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup black bean chips, crushed

Cooking Instructions: 

  1. Position an oven rack in the top of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F. Put the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until fork-tender, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely. (The potatoes can be baked, cooled and refrigerated a day ahead.) Split each in half lengthwise, and scoop out most of the flesh, leaving about a 1/4-inch border all around. (Save the scooped-out flesh for making mashed sweet potatoes later.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put a rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the potato skins skin-side up on the rack, and brush with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Bake until the skins are slightly browned, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely, then cut each in half crosswise.
  3. Arrange the pieces skin-side down on the rack, and sprinkle each with mozzarella, Parmesan and scallions. Bake until the mozzarella melts, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the potato skins from the oven, and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Top each with some salsa Verde and avocado. Sprinkle with crushed chips.

Notice how these dishes are very similar to regular party cuisine? Just tweaking a couple of ingredients can make a big difference to the quality of the recipe. If you compare the chicken skewers to buffalo chicken dip, the average amount of calories per serving size is around 1000 calories compared to 110 for 2 chicken skewers. These recipes are not only good for you nutritionally, but these recipes are a unique way to stand out from your other friends while rooting on your favorite team. Now get out there and give these recipes a try or try transforming YOUR favorites!

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Topics: nutrition diet and nutrition healthy food choices healthy eating healthy party food

Weight Loss Secrets: You’re Dieting Wrong

I’ve tried everything. Why doesn’t my diet work?

When you open your newsfeed, you see advertisements and personal testimonies from friends and family with weight-loss and dieting successes. That alone can be the motivation needed to give something new a try, but not everything works for everyone. Various weight-loss systems have time-sensitive supplements, complex counting systems, and other essential guidelines that you must follow strictly to be successful.

“Diets” Raise Questions and Lead to Failure

ThinkstockPhotos-503894126.jpgThe next fad diet may work, but what happens afterward? Do you continue that system forever? Should you follow a program designed for weight loss if you’re no longer trying to lose weight? Diets seem to always pose more questions than answers, and the “I’m going on a diet” phrase will inevitably lead to failure.

Most people will transition “off the diet” when they reach their target weight, eventually returning to the previous eating habits that initially caused the weight gain. This up and down continues the yo-yo weight-loss cycle. This is why “dieting” doesn’t work.

Some people can see results by making a few healthy choices or decreasing calories. Eventually everyone will hit a plateau, but the answer isn’t to further restrict nutrient intake. Long-term dieting can have a prolonged negative effect on metabolism, making it much more difficult for the body to use nutrients.

Most people prefer restrictive diets in which they decrease total calories or put a limitation on types of foods consumed. These include but are not limited to fat-free, sugar-free, no carbohydrates, gluten-free, or protein-free. Others try overindulgent diets in which they eat nothing but one type of food. These diets are like the cabbage soup diet, protein-only diets, or having nothing but juices or meal-replacement shakes. However, both restrictive and overindulgent diets contribute to inadequate essential nutrients.

Make a Healthy Lifestyle Change

Let’s be clear. A diet isn’t a restriction or an overconsumption of any foods. A diet consists of your daily intake of nutrients. To be successful this year, you need to ask yourself why you want to diet. Are you looking to temporarily lose weight, or are you looking for a long-term solution? If you’re looking for short-term weight loss, continue to check Facebook for inspiration. If you are ready to stop the yo-yo “dieting,” you are ready to make a healthy lifestyle change.

Rethink your daily diet to include foods that will satisfy your hunger and foods you’ll enjoy. Say goodbye to the old diet foods that you used to endure and say hello to flavorful, real, whole foods. Instead of depriving your body of the energy and fuel it desperately needs to function, feel free to eat a meal that consists of at least 300 calories. Just keep in mind that dieting alone never works for long. Take that as a sign to progress to the next step and gradually add activity and exercise into your daily routine.

Nutrition Help from NIFS

For more nutritional advice, a NIFS Registered Dietitian can help give you direction and focus your energy in a positive way. The My Nutrition Coach mobile app allows members to interact daily with a Registered Dietitian at NIFS. You will receive feedback, suggestions, and information on ways to improve your nutrition and help you achieve results.

To get started with My Nutrition Coach, contact NIFS Registered Dietitian Angie Scheetz at ascheetz@nifs.org or by phone at 317-274-3432 ext. 239. 

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Topics: nutrition weight loss NIFS apps diet and nutrition diet and exercise

NIFS Nutrition News: Beware of AdvoCare®, a message from Laura

In 2014, Laura Zavadil, one of our registered dietitians wrote a blog about her work with a corporate fitness client who had a bad experience with AdvoCare® products.  This blog has generated a lot of feedback, conversation, and comments. We want the readers to hear where she was coming from in sharing her opinion on the blog. We appreciate all the feedback and want to encourage positive dialog and sharing of opinions. Thank you for reading.
Check out this blog in regard to what's in your diet.  
Topics: diet and nutrition supplements nifs nutrition news

NIFS Nutrition News: Is It Possible to Do a “Safe” Juice Cleanse?

man using a juicerJuicing is the process of extracting juice from the flesh or the pulp of a fruit or vegetable. This technique has been used for hundreds of years as a way to maximize nutrient intake by drinking only the juice of various vegetables and fruits. I wanted to get the New Year off to a healthy start and reset my digestive system, so I researched how to complete a “safe” juice cleanse.

The idea of a juice cleanse is pretty simple: all meals and snacks are replaced with juices made from (preferably organic) fruits and vegetables for three to ten days. The main health advantage of a juice cleanse is based on the theory that our bodies are more efficient at metabolizing and excreting toxins when our digestive system is freed from the burden of digesting solid food.

Additional Benefits of Juicing

Here are some additional benefits of juicing:

  • It is an easy way to get your recommended daily servings of fruits and veggies.
  • Since your digestive system does not have to break down the pulp or flesh of the fruit or vegetables, your body rapidly absorbs the vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, enzymes, carbohydrates, chlorophyll, and phytonutrients. This is thought to boost your immune system and prevent disease.
  • Juicing experts believe these nutrients are better absorbed when separated from fiber (most juicers remove the pulp, aka fiber).  

Trying a Three-Day Juice Cleanse

After much research, I decided to try a three-day juice cleanse. It wasn’t the best three days of my life, but here are some of my observations:

  • There are many different juicing recipes to try, and most of them are pretty tasty!* (I discovered that lemon helps reduce the bitterness of dark, leafy greens like kale.)
  • After day two, my cravings for carbs/sweets were greatly reduced. (This was a nice surprise!)
  • Cleaning the produce and the juicer took a lot of work and time. (This got old very quickly as I am the mother of two small children and spend enough time preparing food and cleaning!)
  • My energy did increase, but the first day was rough…I was pretty hungry and grouchy.
  • After three days, I missed food, so I slowly added it back into my diet by eating meals that included whole fruits and veggies, lean protein, and some whole grains. My stomach would ache if I ate processed foods.
  • Even though weight loss was not my goal, I did lose several pounds of water weight. This was expected since our bodies require water to properly digest whole food; if you take away the whole food, your body doesn’t require as much water to complete the digestion process. This can translate to a drop on the scale. However, once you start eating whole food again, the water weight will come right back. (This is a major reason why weight loss should not be a main goal of a juice cleanse.
  • As a Registered Dietitian in corporate wellness, I would only recommend a juice cleanse for a maximum of three days as way to “jump start” habits of eating more whole foods and less processed items.

Disadvantages of Juice Cleanse

There are, however, disadvantages of juice cleanses. For example:

  • Juice cleanses that last longer than three days can cause extreme moodiness, irritability, depression, fatigue, constipation, constant/obsessive thoughts of food, and rebound overeating.
  • Individuals who take medication to regulate their blood sugar or blood pressure should be cautious and consult with their physician before beginning a juice cleanse. Blood sugar levels can quickly rise and fall when drinking juice, and a lack of solid food can cause low blood pressure, dizziness, or fainting.
  • Cleanses are strictly off limits to children or to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

If your goal is to eat healthy, you don't need to juice as a way to cleanse or detox your body. Juicing can be an easy way to get in your greens (for instance, without having to eat fistfuls of kale), but juices should be used to complement a balanced diet that includes minimally processed foods, good-quality lean protein, and plenty of whole fruits and vegetables—which, ironically, are the real cleansers. The fiber found in whole fruits and vegetables act like a scrub brush for your digestive tract.

Juice Cleanses: Not a Long-Term Solution

Bottom line, although a juice cleanse could feel like a psychological jump-start to healthy eating, it is not a solution for long-term wellness. Simply put, being healthy is a lifestyle event, not a three- or ten-day adventure.

*Recipes were found on Reboot with Joe or in The Big Book of Juices by Natalie Savona.

Topics: nutrition weight loss antioxidants diet and nutrition energy level healthy diet juicing