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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

New Dietary Recommendations

Earlier this year new dietary recommendations were submitted to the US Department of Health in preparation for the new "2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans". 

Some of the recommendations shouldn't surprise anyone: eat more fruits and vegetables, eat less red meat.  But other recommendations are finally catching up to the science that RD's have been preaching for some time, including that idea that "egg yolks are OK!"

Last week I visited BayNews9 in Tampa to chat about the new recommendations. Click here to view.
Besides the news that egg yolks won't directly raise your blood cholesterol, other newsworthy recommendations included being more sustainable, avoiding red and processed meat, and a higher upper limit for caffeine.  If you're interested in more info here's some of the Q & A from the station.
According to the panel, the global production of food accounts for 80% of deforestation and 70% of fresh water use. The government has to focus on sustainable diets if it wants to ensure an adequate food supply will be available for future generations, it said. What is eating to promote sustainability?
-       Most foods you find in the grocery store are made in an unsustainable food system, meaning that as time goes on our current methods of food production and transportation won’t last with an increasing population and limited resources.
-       Eating sustainability is making choices that have a lower impact on the environment, for example local foods that haven’t had to travel across the country or buying produce at a local farmer’s market.  It’s also about whole foods that are grown in a way that doesn’t harm the environment or the workers who produce them.  Think back to how people ate hundreds of years ago and that was a more sustainable system.
-       This also goes back to a plant based diet as 18% of global emissions come from livestock, so by eating a more local plant based diet we’re boosting sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint.
-       Another great way to boost your sustainability is to try to grow produce and herbs yourself.
-       This is not saying that everyone needs to be a vegetarian, but a conscious reduction in red meat consumption would benefit overall health and the environment.  Think about the difference of eating beans transported from Asia vs eating local Florida beef.
-       Buy fair trade – making sure farmers are properly compensated for their work and harvest

Current dietary guidelines suggest Americans limit their cholesterol to 300 milligrams a day. That’s less than what’s found in a couple of eggs. This time around, the advisory panel said it’s ditching that recommendation because it can’t find evidence of an “appreciable relationship” between dietary cholesterol and cholesterol in the blood. The American Heart Association has also said that limiting dietary cholesterol will not lower the artery-clogging LDL (bad) cholesterol. Does this surprise you and should people not worry at all about their cholesterol intake, or should they still be conscious of how much they are putting into their bodies?
-       No this doesn’t surprise me at all and this is something that I and many other dietitians out there have been saying for some years.  When we’re talking about dietary cholesterol, biologically our bodies simply don’t absorb say that cholesterol in an egg yolk and deposit them in the arteries.
-       Plus specifically with eggs so many of the wonderful, beneficial nutrients from the egg are in the yolk like fat-soluble vitamin and essential fatty acids.
-       If you’re someone concerned about cholesterol then I think it’s better to look to reduce your saturated fats like butter, bacon, and the fatty, processed meats we talked about before.
-       Also if you’re concerned about your LDL cholesterol try adding in foods that can lower it naturally and boost your fiber intake and look for plant stanols in your cooking oils.

What did the panel recommend for coffee and alcohol?
-       Coffee and alcohol both have some benefits in moderation.
-       The panel is saying that up to 400mg of caffeine a day is ok in adults.
-       It’s important to note that’s equivalent to about 3-5 cups of coffee, which is not a giant cup but an 8oz cup.
-       Some research supports that coffee could reduce your risk to Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

What about beef and the difference between lean beef?
-       Some critics have said these recommendations vilify beef and while that’s not the intention it can appear that way.
-       When talking about sustainability, beef is a large animal and production of beef products can lead to a very large carbon footprint.
-       Also depending on what type of beef you eat, you could be consuming something that isn’t ideal for your health. I would stress portion size if you do consume beef, looking for a portion the size of your palm and I’d also focus on grass fed beef products and eat locally when you can
-       Specifically lean beef should be less than 10 grams of fat per 3 oz serving with no more than 4.5 grams of saturated fat
o   For a 2,000 calorie diet you should aim to have less than 16 grams of saturated fat daily
o   Leanest cuts are beef eye of round, top round, sirloin steak, flank steak.

What are the recommendations and differences between farm raised seafood and wild seafood?These are the recommendations for changes to the 2015 dietary guidelines
-       You know I think this could be one of the most confusing to consumers and controversial parts of these recommendations.  When we’re talking about farm raised vs wild seafood there are lots of components that can go into this discussion that are both environmental and health related.
-       Strictly speaking to these recommendations, they are saying that certain varieties of farm raised seafood such as: bass, cod, salmon, and trout are OK because of their increased amounts of omega 3’s.
-       So when we look at the overall health issue we see that the benefits of eating farm raised fish, even if there is some mercury and some environmental effects, is far more beneficial than NOT eating them.
-       Also the environmental effect of say farm raised fish vs conventional meat like beef, the meat is still the much larger environmental offender.

-       The goal would be to eat both farm raised AND wild seafood to get those heart healthy benefits.
What new recommendation is interesting to you?
What food trend are you seeing in your area?

Love and running my RD mouth,
Carissa & Kyle

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cranberry Lime Quinoa

Cranberry lime quinoa is a bright versatile side filled with 3 of my "must have" kitchen staples.  In honor of National Nutrition Month, I'm highlighting the health benefits of the cranberry in this recipe featured on Emotional Mojo. 

As a dietitian, when I’m preparing food I like to think about foods that not only taste good, but are good for me.  Cranberries are really an all-star. If you’re not eating cranberries year-round, you should be!  They’re versatile, tasty and research shows unique health benefits. 

Did you know that bioactive compounds cranberries help reduce the incidence of certain infections and improve heart health by improving blood cholesterol levels and reducing blood pressure?

They really are powerful produce.  Research studies in the International Journal Advances in Nutrition show that the benefits are in flavonoids in cranberries called PAC’s and they do a lot more than prevent UTI’s. They prevent bacteria, like E. Coli, from sticking to cell walls and temper inflammation.

You can get the benefits from dried, fresh, frozen cranberries or 100% cranberry juice.  You can also cook with them like in this perfect for spring recipe. 

Recipe courtesy of the Cranberry Institute:
CRANBERRY & CILANTRO QUINOA SALAD
Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients
2 cups water
Pinch of salt
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup dried cranberries
½ cup minced carrots
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
½ cup chopped yellow bell pepper
3 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
3 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
¼ tsp. salt
Pinch ground red pepper

Directions
1.       In a small sauce pan, bring water and pinch of salt to a boil over high heat; stir in quinoa, reduce heat and bring to a low simmer. Cover pot and cook until all liquid is absorbed (about 13 minutes).
2.       Remove from heat and transfer to a medium bowl. Cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
3.       To the bowl of quinoa, stir in cranberries, carrots, red and yellow peppers, red onion and cilantro until mixed.
4.       In a small bowl, mix together lime juice, oil, salt and ground red pepper and pour over quinoa-cranberry mixture; toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Does not have to be served cold.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 150, Calories from Fat 30, Saturated Fat 0g, Trans Fat 0g, Total Fat 3.5g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 115mg, Total Carbohydrate 29g, Sugars 11g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Protein 3g, Vitamin A 40%, Vitamin C 45%, Calcium 2%, Iron 6%
Two of my other favorite foods that are in the recipe are quinoa and red peppers.  We all know quinoa as the protein packed grain, but it’s also a great source of fiber, folate, iron, potassium, and B vitamins.  I like to make a big batch using my rice cooker on Sundays and it’s a simple side to have on hand all week. 

Red peppers I love because they have Vitamin A, antioxidants and even more vitamin C than an orange and that’s because they’ve spent such a long time on the vine boosting that red color.

Name 3 foods that are always in your kitchen.

Love and PACs,
Carissa & Kyle

The TV segment was sponsored by The Cranberry Institute, however I was not compensated to write this post.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Too Fit For Pregnancy

A pregnant model with abs sparked controversy, but is she too fit for pregnancy?

What is too fit for pregnancy?  As a medical professional I know there are the recommended weight gain ranges, but can you tell and judge that from a photo?  Seems like people have been with model Sarah Stage and her Instagram photos.  
As a fellow "mommy to be", I visited with Good Day Orlando on Fox 35 this week to share my thoughts. 
Click on the link to view the entire interview.
FOX 35 News Orlando

My main concern is not THIS woman.  She looks great and if her doctors are on board with her weight gain, then medically I'm fine with her.  I think most professionals would agree that how Stage looks is not "typical" for a pregnant woman.  Notice I didn't say it was "wrong"...just simply not the norm.  I'm the exact same height as Stage and while my belly is clearly larger than hers, I often have people tell me how small I look.  I don't mind being told that, but I know that my weight gain and caloric intake are where they need to be for my 27 week growing baby.  It's also my first child, so if there's a #BabyB #2 you can bet that I'll be popping much sooner.
Here is my concern...what about other people who look at these photos and think that's something to aspire to in pregnancy?  

Pregnancy is NOT a time to lose weight or consume a restrictive diet to avoid excess weight gain.  Social media images can be so powerful, especially when they're linked to self image and I don't want someone who is pregnant and larger than Stage to feel down about themselves or that they need to stop eating so they can be tinier.  Pregnancy is a beautiful time where amazing things happen.  Whether your bump shines out at 5 months or your booty pops out more, don't be ashamed or compare yourself to anyone else.  Keep focused on YOUR nutrition, exercising at the level right for YOU, and YOUR baby.  Then call me in 6 weeks after your baby is born...we can get on the ab train together then!
What's your opinion of Stage's body?
Is she too skinny?
Why has this story gotten so much attention?

Love and positive body image,
Carissa & Kyle

Sunday, March 8, 2015

27 Week Pregnancy Update

One week until the 3rd trimester.  I'm not sure if that excites or scares me?  Either way it means one step closer to meeting #BabyB and our world changing forever.  And I mean that in the most thrilling and not overly dramatic manner! :)
Not a ton has changed besides me getting larger since our 20 week update, but I wanted to share some of what's been going on as we prepare for her arrival.

Weight Gained:  Yup, still getting bigger and I think the belly is finally evident.  There's no denying that there's a bun in the oven.  I won't have an appointment again until 28 weeks, but I estimate I'm up to 17 pounds.
At 26 weeks
Workouts:  I am still sticking to the schedule from my "Working Out When Pregnant" post and that typically includes 2 days of weights, 2 days of cardio, and 1 prenatal yoga session. For cardio I try to do most of my 30 minutes on the stair stepper since it's so much more effective than the elliptical, but I will finish the workout there to keep myself from getting too fatigued and keep my heart rate stready.
Pregnancy Clothes: Yup, that's a big affirmative.  It got warm here quick in Orlando and the leggings that I was living in are not friendly when it's pushing 90 degrees. I tried on some actual maternity clothes and they didn't fit quite right, so I bought several maxi skirts and my fave Target tank tops in a bigger size.  That should get me through for a while.  I also bought a super snazzy pair of maternity shorts from Ross for $12.

Symptoms:  Sciatica, insomnia, restless legs at night.  The sciatica thankfully isn't every day, but some nights around 5pm it starts on my lower left side and just aches.  I try to stretch, do some yoga poses, and take a bath to help.  The insomnia and restless legs are new this week and I find myself awake for 30-60 minutes usually around 1:30am.  Depending on how bad my legs are cramping I either try to find a new position or go to the living room to foam roll.  I got a giant pregnancy pillow for Christmas and that helps.  I'm also trying to wear compression sleeves before bed, take epsom salt baths, and drink some tonic water as we recommended by the doctor.

Food Aversions: Nothing specific, but sometimes I'm hungry but I don't want to eat.  This has been a pretty stressful week work wise, so that always messes up my appetite.  I'm making sure, however, that #BabyB is getting her calories and nutrients in.

Food Cravings:  Pretty much the same. Citrus, berries, and every now and then I crave a soda.  My sweet tooth has gone down, but somehow I still find myself with chocolate after dinner.  We call that a habit folks.

Movement: She is still a little Dancing Bear as we call it.  I love feeling her move and then I go through moments where I'm like "She's not moving. Where is she?" to "Omg is she moving too much?"  Ironically when I'm sitting at the computer I don't feel much movement.  It's more when I sit on the couch or lay down.

Stretch Marks:  Nothing new.  My doctor said if they aren't there yet on my stomach then they aren't coming.  Let's hope he's right.  I'm still using my Palmer's though even though I know it's probably just a myth that it helps.

Miss Anything: Running, racing, booze. Although giving it all up is worth it for the baby...still miss it.

New Baby Items:  Thanks to Kyle's parents, our nursery got a big upgrade.  We have her crib, glider, and dresser.  I also have some artwork for the walls, but I want to wait until we have everything put together and in place before I hang them.
Getting Ready:  My pre-baby reading is going okay.  I'm into month 1 of "What To Expect When Expecting" and I've been highlighting and making notes along the way.  Kyle took his "Daddy Boot Camp" class in which (and I am NOT making this up) a live baby was dropped.  So I don't know how much he learned there except that he feels pretty strongly that he's in the Top 10% of smart dads.  I also took a pre-natal breastfeeding class at Winnie Palmer Hospital that was very informative.  As a dietitian, I am well aware of the many, many, MANY benefits of breastfeeding, so I wanted to prepare myself as much as possible for hopefully successful breastfeeding.
At class with my friend Vanessa and DUFFY!
Baby B and I also passed our glucose test, which other than me going to the wrong testing lab and being REALLY hungry wasn't that bad.  Tasted just like the Hawaiian Punch that I used to call "lunch" in high school along with a side of pretzels.
Getting Excited For: My BABY SHOWER!  So excited! My BFF who lives in Boston is coming (and planning the shin-dig) and I am very, very excited to see what she and my other friends who are helping have in store.  We also have a 4D ultrasound this month, so those are always exciting.  I haven't had an ultrasound since week 20 and I am getting antsy to see this baby!
Pic from my sister-in-law's 2nd baby shower.  I'm 25 weeks here.
There's also a Prego Expo happening the day after my shower.  I'm going to be modeling in the fashion show, so that will be fun!

Moms - What did you love about your shower? What do you wish you would have done differently?
What's the #1 must have new baby item?
How did you feel entering the 3rd trimester?

Love and burp cloths,
Carissa & Kyle

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Celebrating National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month and to kick things off I wanted to share one of my favorite places to visit in the store for convenience and great nutrition all year long - the freezer aisle!

As a dietitian I am constantly dispelling food myths. It's one of the parts of my career that I enjoy, because we are flooded with so many mixed messages from the media.  Fad diets, new studies, etc... When I'm counseling clients we typically talk about how they should be utilizing the frozen food aisle more, because it really can be a place to pick up healthy foods that are easy to prepare.  Yes you'll find pizza and ice cream in the frozen food aisle, but you'll also discover that's it's just real food that's been frozen for your convenience.
My freezer always has:
  • Dole frozen fruit for smoothies
  • Frozen chopped spinach to add to pasta dishes
  • Green Giant frozen vegetables for fast sides
  • Frozen lunches like Evol with at least 10g of protein and 5g of fiber
  • Frozen Udi's bread for peanut butter toast in the morning
  • Frozen Jimmy Dean Delights sandwiches for Kyle's Breakfast #2
Earlier this week I made an appearance on Emotional Mojo on behalf of the NFRA to talk about the convenience and variety of frozen foods.

This month for National Nutrition Month, I want you to take a closer look at what you buy and see if a small change there could lead to a healthier bite for you.  Can you make a quick morning smoothie instead of skipping breakfast? Or how about using an ethnic frozen dinner with a side of veggies over take out?
If you have misconceptions about the frozen food aisle then it's time to "let it go" and get some great eats there!  Come on y'all..how can I say frozen like 900 times and NOT go there?

What frozen foods are in your freezer?

Love and Olaf,
Carissa & Kyle