Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’
 
July 23rd, 2015 |

Don’t Fear the Tempeh! Vegan or Not, Put Plant-Based Proteins on Your Radar

Protein. We need it. It’s builds cells and helps repair muscle tissue. Our bones, blood, organs, muscles and skin all need protein to function properly. It’s the building block of neurotransmitters, the messaging cells in our bodies that allow all of our systems to communicate with each other. It’s pretty important stuff.

A google-image search of ‘protein’ brings up glossy images of steak, seafood, eggs and designer whey protein powders. Only a few images include beans and nuts. It’s pretty clear. In the world of protein, many people think of animal sources or supplements.

I recommend plant-based protein sources to both herbivores and omnivores alike. No matter how you classify yourself on the eating spectrum, it’s becoming clear that eating more plant-based foods is a good idea for all of us. From hardcore vegan to hardcore meat lover, plant-based proteins can be beneficial to include daily as they are naturally cholesterol-free, low in saturated fats and also contain healthful antioxidants and fiber. (more…)

 
February 3rd, 2015 |

Less Lazy

Let’s start with a definition.

Laziness (also called indolence) is a disinclination to activity or exertion despite having the ability to do so. It is often used as a pejorative; related terms for a person seen to be lazy include couch potato, slacker, and bludger.

Why do I care about laziness? Well, it’s because I hear about it all the time. People know what to do when it comes to nutrition and exercise but laziness gets in the way of taking sustainable action. They would change a behavior if they weren’t so lazy.

Laziness might truly exist but to me it’s just a word, a label and a convenient excuse that’s getting in the way. It’s time to move on. Laziness reminds me of stress. Sure it exists and it may not ever go away, but it’s all in how you handle it. It’s time to get a little less lazy. (more…)

CATEGORIES: Exercise, Motivation
 
October 6th, 2014 |

Butter Me Up?

I keep getting asked about saturated fat after several flashy media reports about sat fat not being the cause of heart disease. The answer isn’t so simple. To me, it begs for a heavy dose of simple common sense.

Here’s an email response to a friend about this topic over the summer. It summarizes my thoughts without getting into the nitty gritty of nutrition epidemiology. I thought it would be worth sharing. Here it is:

Hey, I’m in the Adirondacks with spotty cell service. I’m in Lake Placid right now doing a few errands & just peeking at this so I wanted to write back my quick thoughts.

(more…)

 
October 29th, 2013 |

Meet New Guest Blogger Stephanie Snell

My name is Stephanie Snell and I am a new guest blogger for The Plate Coach. I am currently a Master’s Candidate studying Nutrition Communication at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. In addition, I am finishing the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) certificate at Simmons College; the DPD is an academic requirement to become a Registered Dietitian. My previous degree from The George Washington University is a Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise Science, which focused on exercise and its relationship to nutrition.

I recently moved to Boston for these two academic tracks, but I am also enjoying other opportunities within the city. Outside of school, I like to exercise, dance, explore Boston, and learn to cook new dishes. It is important for me to always be active and eat a healthful diet (with some room for indulgence). (more…)

 
October 29th, 2013 |

Playoff Eating

Playoff baseball is in full swing here in Boston. The Red Sox are filling the city with hope, fear, excitement, sleepless nights and thankfully, a few deep exhales. Our beloved team is one big hard fought win away from winning a World Series title.

The stress of being a playoff fan can take a toll on the body and mind but in this case, the good outweighs the bad. Normal life is right around the corner. Enjoy the chaos while it lasts!

I decided to take an informal poll of my friends, family and co-workers about the influence of playoff baseball on their eating habits.

Here are the various types of playoff eaters. Can you relate? Feel free to add yours to the list.

Comfort food only: The game isn’t delivering fast enough relief. Bring on the chips, nuts, mac & cheese, nachos and beer. Your instant gratification comes in the form of food and drink.

Cereal for dinner: There’s no time to make a proper dinner and get in game-ready position on the couch. Your dinner preparation goes out the window. Cereal is foolproof.

Stress overeater: Your food-filled hand reaches your mouth over and over and the eyes stay firmly on the TV.

Steady stream of caffeine: You’re double-fisting Dunkin’ Donuts. All. Day. Long.

Too stressed-out to eat: Food, what food? The energy of the game provides you with ample nourishment.

Baseball food cravings: Your food choice is limited to hotdogs, popcorn, Cracker Jacks, pretzels, ice cream, beer and other highly nutritious food items found at ballparks.

Dial a dinner: Everything you eat is prepared and delivered by somebody else. Pizza is on speed dial.

Superstitious eater: The heck with variety. Stick with the food that you ate the night of the very first playoff win and DO NOT vary it. You might just be the reason why the team is winning. Oh, and your special socks. And your special chair. You’re clearly a big part of the reason for the winning season.

Status quo: You don’t do anything different from your normal routine. You’re asking how long this baseball stuff will go on. You could care less about sports and pretty much live under a rock to not understand what’s going on in Boston right now.

Go ahead; eat what you want and when you want. This is playoff baseball and it doesn’t happen all the time.

One more win. LET’S DO THIS!

 
September 22nd, 2013 |

To cleanse or not to cleanse

Hyped as a means to remove harmful pollutants from the body and lose weight, cleanse and detox diets are all the rage. But despite their popularity, research has revealed that cleansing – especially via restricting intake and fasting – brings about unwanted side effects and weight re-gain after restoring a normal diet. These cleanses can be relatively healthy if approached cautiously, such as simply incorporating more fruits and vegetables into the diet. On the other hand, they can be darn right dangerous. Always bear in mind that most cleanses are dreamed up by individuals lacking nutrition credentials – and therefore should be reviewed carefully before trying.

Here are a few things to think about with cleansing:

  • Excess energy intake – juice is a high caloric drink often incorporating much more fruit and vegetables than one could consume in whole form.
  • Liquid meals cause lazy guts. Our gastrointestinal tract needs solid foods including those with fiber and protein to stay healthy and maintain integrity.
  • Decreased satiety, liquid meals take longer for you to feel full causing cravings earlier, not to mention irritability from blood sugar spikes and falls.
  • Our bodies remove toxins; it’s how we’ve survived for thousands of years. So there’s really not much of an incentive to detox via dieting.

The bottom line: There is no evidence that any of these “cleanse” diets enhance the bodies own detox mechanisms. Concentrate on fueling your body right, hydrating appropriately with low-sugar drinks, getting good sleep, and staying active. Take a moment to appreciate the remarkable way the body protects and cleanses itself safely and naturally, without any help from the outside.

By Liz Schneider, guest blogger and nutritionist

 
August 23rd, 2013 |

Would you eat a lab-grown hamburger?

I would. As a clean-eater I enjoy the occasional grass-fed beef dish, but inevitably I find myself at a barbecue or restaurant that serves factory-farmed beef. And as to not be a pain in the butt, I eat it. One day in the future we may have they choice of ordering a hamburger made from either conventional beef or lab-grown beef, I’d choose the latter hands down every time and here’s why.

Benefits and possibilities of lab-grown beef:

  • Hormone free and antibiotic free
  • No pesticides, tranquilizers, or de-wormers needed
  • Cruelty free
  • Decreased factory farms = less environmental impact
  • Competition with conventional beef may make room for more sustainable livestock farms
  • and more land for sustainable fruit and vegetable farms!
  • Safer in terms of food borne illness
  • Less water used…
  • less energy required…
  • and more ethical compared to conventional beef production
  • Healthier in terms of fats

So how does this cultured meat grow? It’s actually quite simple really. Using stem cell technology, a muscle cell originating from a real cow is programmed to divide over and over again in vitro ultimately producing a meat patty. This cutting edge technology has the opportunity not only to succeed but also to transform the way we feed the world. Did you know what ~70% of antibiotics used in the US are for cattle? How about ~20% of greenhouse gasses coming from cattle farms? It’s time to quit ignoring these issues and start solving the environmental and societal problem of factory farming – lab-grown beef could do just that.

Until cultured beef becomes mainstream – which could take decades – it’s important to weight the potential benefits. There’s a lot of people to feed on this earth and the population is only getting larger.

By Liz Schneider, guest blogger

 
August 15th, 2013 |

Eating for beauty

The best compliment I’ve received is that I have great skin. I was actually taken a back given that I have freckles and a long clash with acne. But I’ll take what I can get. After years of trying every cream, lotion, pill on the market I stopped focusing on the things I put on top of my skin and instead focused on what I was putting into my body. Maybe I just grew out of the acne, but I’m eating healthier than ever before and my skin has never looked better. My tip is to try and eat antioxidant and anti-inflammatory rich foods every day, simply put: eat your fruits and veggies.

Antioxidant rich foods are those that contain:

  • Vitamin A aka beta-carotene, the orange/red pigment that gives carrots and squash their color, can also give your skin a healthy glow as the pigments accumulate under the skin’s surface.
  • Vitamin C and E are often paired together as they help protect against cellular damage in our bodies including skin. In fact a vitamin c deficiency usually manifests with dry, scaly skin and bleeding gums – a testament of vitamin c’s influence of tissue health.
  • Selenium is a mineral found in the earth, and thus many foods contain it including seafood, meat, and plants. Depending on soil conditions, the same food grown in different soils can contain varying amounts of selenium. One Brazil nut is usually all you need for a days worth of this antioxidant.
  • Zinc – although not really considered an antioxidant, zinc is essential for the proper functioning of the antioxidant pathways in the body.

Anti-inflammatory rich foods are those that contain:

  • Healthy fats like those found in ground flax and fatty fish. A soft fluid-like membrane (made up of the fat you eat) protects all of your trillion cells, so you can imagine they are extremely important for skin structure. In the omega-6-fat laden society we live in, it is hard to obtain omega-3 fats, which research has shown to decrease inflammation in the body. A great goal is to incorporate fish into your meals twice a week.

Tips for eating clean

  • Go slow. Especially if you are not use to regularly eating whole foods. Try adding one fruit or veggie at a time. Pay close attention to your body. There is such a thing as too much fiber!
  • Drink more water. Fiber requires lots of hydration to pass through your gut comfortably and efficiently. Extra water is good for your skin too. Everyone’s hydration needs vary, but generally 6-12 glasses per day will do the trick.

I hope this inspired you to eat your fruits and veggies if not for anything else, for a glowing complexion!

Did you know? Acne is a disease of western civilization. It does not exist in certain countries like Paraguay and New Guinea. As expected, these cultures eat very clean diets excluding processed and refined foods…

Need help finding healthy foods containing antioxidants? Check out this website at www.WHFoods.org

PS – you don’t need to take supplements for great skin. Eat the food, the whole food, and nothing but the food! It’s how nature intending us to get our vitamins and minerals.

By: Liz Schneider, guest blogger

 
July 24th, 2013 |

Stressful times call for healthful eating

In this crazy westernized world we live in, stress abounds us at every corner. Some handle it better than others. Some handle it by using food as a way to cope. If those foods are unhealthy, our bodies end up taking the grunt. Eventually stress catches up on us, many times in the form of chronic disease brought about from years of slow accumulation of damage. As I write this post I am faced with an impending stressful situation myself – cramming for an upcoming exam, the single exam that cumulates my entire education. No pressure, right?

I’m learning to deal with the life’s pressures by focusing my energy towards health and wellness. I try to fuel my body and mind with the best foods possible. While studying, I directly feel the power of a wholesome meal in terms of longer attention span and focused concentration. I love food and cooking, so it is natural for me to use it to deal with stress. For example, instead of gobbling down packaged snacks (which adds guilt-stress) I choose to prepare a fresh meal, taking time and letting my mind wonder as I chop, stir, and mix up the ingredients. I use everyday cooking as therapy to release and reflect.

Because everyone is different, here are some other ways to reduce the stress in your life:

  • exercise
  • journaling
  • meditation
  • praying
  • deep breathing
  • healthy cooking
  • music
  • art

Foods to soothe the mind, packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals!

  • whole grains
  • fresh fruit like oranges or berries
  • dark leafy greens
  • fatty fish like salmon
  • nuts and seeds
  • chamomile tea
  • spices like turmeric
  • dark chocolate

So the next time you feel out of control, take a deep breath and grab a wholesome snack.

By Liz Schneider, guest blogger.

 
July 17th, 2013 |

The power of taking a stand.

This post is comes to light from recent political events that involve food and nutrition: the passing of the farm bill by the House of Representatives – a version that purposely neglects the SNAP or “food stamps” section. Real-life hunger games anyone? Obviously the president will never sign such a bill; it’s simply the result of political drama. And for those who rely on food stamps, while they may be frustrated – it’s good to know that the program will run as usual regardless of this bill being passed. The bad news is that it weakens the program, making it more vulnerable to budget cuts in the future.

Leaving out the food stamp section is a blow to the face to millions of Americans including farmers. For me this whole ordeal is maddening. The farm bill is supposed to be the authority on food policy; it’s a blueprint of how we feed ourselves. How can we improve our food system if we waste all this time and energy in a political battle?

This is where public policy comes into play. One of the most important things I’ve learned in nutrition is the power of speaking up and advocating for what is right. Whether it be voicing your opinion in a lecture hall or climbing the stairs of the state house – being heard and taking a stand in something you believe in is powerful.  And it feels pretty awesome too!

As a nutrition student, it was easy to find opportunities to advocate. I could watch and learn from others how to make a strong case on a particular issue. But for many health and nutrition professionals, day-to-day life makes it difficult to (a) gain knowledge of the issues and (b) take that extra step to advocate. For all of you who have thought about getting involved in public policy in the past, now is the time to take the plunge.

Tips and resources needed to take a stand on food and nutrition related issues:

  • Food Politics by Marion Nestle – a great blog and resource written by Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. Marion provides real information in an easy-to-understand kind of way.
  • Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) is the leading national nonprofit organization working to improve public policies and public-private partnerships to eradicate hunger and malnutrition in the United States.
  • Action for Healthy Kids – a non-profit organization dedicated to improving children’s nutrition and physical activity by collaborating with stakeholders to advocate and promote school health initiatives. Check out the website to volunteer and inquire about legislative breakfasts at your state’s capitol!
  • Eat Drink Politics – Michele Simon a public policy lawyer and author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back. Michele writes about policy solutions to food industry and political dilemmas with the goal of improving public health.
  • Center for Science in the Public Interest – CSPI’s goal is to educate the public and advocate government policies that are consistent with scientific. Make sure you sign up for their “nutrition action” newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest nutrition and policy news.
  • Public Policy Workshop – run by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics this workshop is for all you dietitians and dietetic interns out there. A 3-day intensive learning experience that culminates with “hill visits” to speak your mind and share your experiences with US legislators.

Empower yourself by learning about nutrition and food policy, then go out there and speak your mind!

By Liz Schneider