Nutrition Blog


Each month, I.L. Creations' registered dietitians create our Wellness Newsletter discussing a different nutrition or wellness topic. You may subscribe to this at the registered dietitian's table during your cafe's monthly wellness visit or by clicking the link below to our Home page.  Here on the blog, we continue the conversation by posting relevant, entertaining, and useful food and nutrition information. 


Please look through our previous posts below to see what topics you may have missed. If you would like to see a topic in the future, let us know!

Check out the Home page to subscribe for free to our monthly Wellness Newsletter.
Check out the Recipes page to see recipes from previous newsletters, registered dietitian cafe visits, and our registered dietitian's family favorites.


4 Essential Exercise for a Healthier You

posted May 4, 2018, 2:38 PM by Evangelina DiSpirito   [ updated May 6, 2018, 10:20 AM ]

By: Evangelina DiSpirito, RDN, E-RYT

Daily physical activity is good for the mind and body.  In fact, studies show that just getting 30 minutes a day of physical activity, working your way up to 150 minutes a week, can reduce your chances of getting diabetes and promote overall excellent health.  To help you get active, here are the 4 types of exercise to include in your workout routine:

1)      Cardiovascular:  At least 30 minutes a day of aerobic activity will condition your heart, lower blood pressure and promote well-being.  Aerobic activity also helps increase your good cholesterol "HDL” levels.  Cardiovascular activities include:

  • Walking  (stairs at work, parking further away)
  • Running   
  • Swimming 
  • Dancing  
  • Vigorous Yard Work
  • Playing in recreational sports
  • Cycling  (ride bike to work)

 

2)      Strength training:  Inactive adults experience 3% to 8% loss of muscle mass per decade.  Less muscle mass equals slower metabolism and increased fat stores in the body.  Doing weight-bearing exercise can help boost your metabolism by increasing muscle mass.  Weight-resistance training helps promote healthy blood sugar levels, by making the body more insulin sensitive.   Studies have also shown a 1% to 3% increase in bone mineral density with consistent bi-weekly weight training.  Examples of weight training, click here:

 

    

 

3)      Yoga Stretch:   As we advance in years, we tend to lose flexibility and balance.  Restorative and Hatha yoga are two main yoga practices, that incorporate stretching while holding gentle poses and focus on breathing throughout the class.  Regular practice of Hatha yoga also helps improve balance, flexibility, and strength.  Both practices have been shown to lower cortisol, a hormone that is increased in the body during times of stress, which can lead to weight gain and inflammation in the body.   The emphasis on being still and present while using our breath as a guide cultivates mindfulness.  Living a more mindful way can also help us change the habits that are not balancing for our well-being.   For specific yoga poses you can do at work, click here:

 

4)      Meditation/Mindfulness:  Meditation is a calm and relaxing practice that has many health benefits.   Those who practice meditation daily, report improved focus in their day.  Studies have found that meditation may promote healthy blood pressure, improve anxiety and depression symptoms, and help promote sleep.  Meditation can take on many forms, such as sitting completely still and focusing your breath or listening to a guided meditation.   Try taking a 60-second Mindful Break at work every hour.  Focus on your breath or listen to quick guided meditation.  There are many “meditation apps” available to help guide you into to mindfulness, click here to explores the to 2018 Mindful Apps

 

Make yourself a priority and commit to doing one of the top 4 exercises every day for health and well-being.  Always check with your doctor before taking on any exercises.  For more questions on exercise or nutrition, please look for the next "Dietitian Visit" at your IL Creations' Cafe.  

 

The Lowdown on Probiotics and Prebiotics

posted Apr 17, 2018, 1:01 PM by Tracy Ducker, MS, RDN

Our gastrointestinal tract contains more than 400 types of microorganisms. Some of these microorganisms are healthy and others are unhealthy. The healthy bacteria in your gut help to digest food, and synthesize some vitamins and essential fatty acids. Probiotics are live microbes that help to improve the balance of our gut flora.  There are also prebiotics, which are different, but just as important. Prebiotics are nondigestible substances (like fiber) that feed the probiotics, helping them to thrive in the gastrointestinal tract. Not all probiotics consumed will survive; it is important to consume prebiotics with probiotics. 

Probiotics:

As stated above, probiotics are living microorganisms that are beneficial for gut health which research has shown can affect overall health. There are many different species of probiotic bacteria and within these species are different strains that have different effects in our bodies. Some probiotics work well alone and others work better in combinations. Scientists are still studying all the of health benefits probiotics. So, you may ask yourself, if there are already "good bacteria" in the gut why do I need more? The reason is that our gut flora is constantly changing, from the foods we eat, to medications we take (like antibiotics), to illness. Consuming more foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics can help keep the "good" bacteria at high levels. Probiotics are found in fermented foods naturally and are also added to some foods and beverages. There are three main groups that have been studied the most, Lactobacillus and Bidifobacterium and Streptococcus and one yeast variety, Saccharomyces boulardii.

Probiotics have been shown to boost the immune system, alleviate diarrhea from infections and from antibiotics, reduce anxiety and depression, decrease allergic reactions in children, decrease inflammation, and even be used as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis. It is important to speak with a registered dietitian or health care provider to decide on the appropriate amount and combination of probiotics to determine what will work best for you.

             Probiotic                                                                            Food Sources

 Lactobacillus acidophilus Dairy and  non-dairy yogurt, lassie, kefir, miso, tempeh
 Lactobacillus  helveticus Dairy and non-dairy yogurt, kefir, Italian and Swiss cheese
 Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus Dairy and non-dairy yogurt, kefir
 Lactobacillus reuteri Fermented vegetables, dairy foods
 Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG Dairy and non-dairy yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sparkling probiotic drinks
 Lactobacillus casei Kvass, Dairy and non-dairy yogurt, lassi, probiotic dairy drink, kefir
 Streptococcus thermophiles Dairy and non-dairy yogurt, kefir,  lassi, cow’s milk  probiotic beverage
 Bifidobacterium longum Dairy yogurt, kefir
 Bifidobacterium bifidum Dairy and non-dairy yogurt, kefir
 Bifidobacterium  infantis Yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, miso, tempeh, pickles, kimchi, cured meats, some wines/vinegars, sauerkraut, sourdough bread
 Saccharomyces boulardii kombucha

Chart from: Ellis, E.L. the Potential of Probiotics. Food and Nutrition. March/April 2018:19-20


Prebiotics:

Prebiotics release short-chain fatty acids, which decrease the pH of the colon and, thereby, enhance mineral absorption, particularly calcium, iron, and magnesium, possibly decreasing the risk of osteoporosis development. This decrease in pH also leads to the decreased survival of some of the "bad" bacteria. Prebiotics may decrease cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of colon cancer, as well. Some forms of prebiotics aid in the relief of constipation. Different strains of prebiotics provide different health benefits.  

Foods containing prebiotics 

  •  Chicory root    
  •  Jerusalem artichoke
  •  Wheat
  •  Barley
  •  Rye
  •  Flax
  •  Oatmeal
  •  Onion
  •  Garlic
  •  Leeks
  •  Legumes
  •  Asparagus
  •  Leafy greens
  •  Berries
  •  Bananas
  •  Honey


While there are many supplements available it is best to try to consume as many foods as possible containing prebiotics and probiotics.

Probiotics as Supplements

Probiotics can also be found as supplements. However, supplements are not FDA regulated and therefore it is important to read the labels and research the manufacturer. Here are some tips if you decide to purchase probiotic supplements:

· Read the label to find the probiotic group, species, strain and the number microorganisms or colony forming units (CFU).
· Buy only from reputable companies that have been around. They are more likely to have studied and tested their product more.
· Be cautious of the internet. Be sure you are familiar with company, there are many people who will sell fake products, or take your money and run.


Increasing Probiotics and Prebiotics in your diet  

Probiotics and prebiotics are found in many foods you probably already eat. Be sure to eat a variety of these foods daily and if you decide along with your health care provider to include a probiotic supplement make sure they contain live cultures. Look for "contains live active cultures" on the label. Be sure you are taking or consuming the right type of probiotic for the benefit you want to achieve.


Note: Probiotics and prebiotics are generally safe, however they are NOT recommended if you have a severly compromised immune system or acute pancreatitis. Check with your health care provider first.

For more information check out MedicineNet.com at  https://www.medicinenet.com/probiotics/article.htm#what_are_the_different_types_of_probiotics_part_3

Shining a Light on Alzheimer’s Prevention

posted Apr 8, 2018, 1:49 PM by Evangelina DiSpirito   [ updated Apr 29, 2018, 6:08 AM by Tracy Ducker, MS, RDN ]

By: Evangelina DiSpirito, RDN, E-RYT, Experienced Diabetes Educator and Mindful Weight-Management RD Nutritionist

 

Every so often, when you switch on the TV, you will see an advertisement for diabetes medication or memory supplements.  Following the advertisement is the disclaimer with a fast-talking background voice spouting off the long list of horrible side effects.  All the while, images of smiling people grace the screen.   For those who have diabetes, prediabetes or who are concerned about memory loss, these commercials can be enticing, but confusing at the same time.  I.L. Creations’ nutrition theme for April is “Nutrition Trends for 2018,” and the trend right now is the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Diabetes is a big money maker, with the latest 2017 CDC report estimating $322 billion dollars being spent in the U.S. on diabetes treatment.    Likewise, the cost to treat Alzheimer’s in the U.S. was estimated at $259 billion dollars.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 1 in 11 Americans have diabetes, and 1 in 10 Americans over age 65 have Alzheimer’s.  Historically, it has been reported that Alzheimer’s is a disease that cannot be cured, prevented or slowed.   However, research in measuring insulin activity in brain cells (neurons) provides hope for prevention, pointing to nutrition and lifestyle as key players.  This research links diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

To better understand the connection, let’s take a closer look at diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.    We will look at the key nutrition and lifestyle actions that you can take to decrease your chances of developing Alzheimer’s.

What is Diabetes?   Diabetes is a genetically-linked condition where the body cannot produce insulin or use its own insulin effectively (insulin resistance).  Our bodies make blood sugar from foods we eat that contain carbohydrates, as well as release sugar stored in muscles and the liver when we skip meals.  Blood sugar is the fuel our body cells need to survive and maintain healthy organs and physical functions.  Insulin is the hormone that transports the blood sugar to our cells for energy. If insulin is not available or is not used effectively, blood sugar levels rise in the blood stream.

In a healthy person without diabetes, the body is able to naturally bring blood sugars to healthy levels following a meal.  However, in a person with diabetes, the body is unable to bring blood sugar to healthy levels following a meal, and blood sugar levels remain high, causing damage to many organs, including cells in the brain.

Having diabetes and pre-diabetes puts individuals at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, including stroke.   However, individuals with diabetes can achieve healthy blood sugar levels through adjustment of the portion size, the quality of food and beverages they consume, and/or through medication and physical activity.   

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, genetically-linked brain disease which causes a decline in a person's cognitive abilities, memory, mood, and behavior.   Persons may initially experience symptoms such as forgetfulness, which is called mild cognitive impairment (MCI), years before Alzheimer’s develops.  As time goes on, the brain cells (neurons) diminish and die, and can cause more episodes of memory loss and confusion.  Alzheimer’s disease is commonly diagnosed when symptoms interfere with a person’s normal part of daily living. 

Insulin Resistance: The Connection with Diabetes and Alzheimer’s

Researchers have previously identified insulin resistance activity in brain cells of persons with Alzheimer’s disease, similar to those with diabetes.  These researchers thus coined the term “Type 3 diabetes” for Alzheimer’s disease.   Insulin resistance can lead to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, which increases your risk of stroke and decline in brain function.   Recognition of this connection provides an opportunity for Alzheimer’s prevention through the adoption of healthy nutrition and lifestyle habits, which make the body more insulin-sensitive.  

Alzheimer’s and diabetes share a common history.  Like Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s historically has been viewed as a normal part of aging, especially in those individuals who have family members with the disease.  Today, we now know that Type 2 diabetes can be prevented through healthy nutrition and lifestyle.  Similarly, Alzheimer’s is also a genetically-linked disease that may be prevented through healthy nutrition and lifestyle.   The identification of insulin resistance in the brain provides a new tool in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. 

Nutrition and Lifestyle Steps to Prevent Alzheimer’s

The nutrition and lifestyle actions we provide to those with diabetes will be similar to the advice we prescribe to those who have a family history of Alzheimer’s.  The following are the steps you can take to prevent Alzheimer’s.

1)      Stay on top of your health checkups

·       Get screened for diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol.  This allows you to take proactive steps to improve your nutrition and lifestyle habits.

·       If you have prediabetes or diabetes, work with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and your doctor, who is experienced in diabetes education to help you achieve normal blood sugar levels.

 

2)       Eat more brain power foods.  Start with making half your plate fruits and vegetables.

·        Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries provide an abundance of antioxidants to combat inflammation.  

·       Leafy green vegetables provide a good source of folate, which can reduce inflammation in the body.  Avocados are a good source of omega-3’s, potassium, and antioxidants which are all protective of brain health. 

Recipe Tip: Brainpower smoothie: ¾ berries (blueberries or raspberries), 1/2  avocado, ½ banana and 1 c. of coconut milk.  Blend well and enjoy.   

 

3)      Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day

·       Walking, yoga, strength-training.    Previous studies have shown that exercise improves memory and coordination.

  

4)      De-Stress:   Stress can make your blood sugars rise and cause inflammation in the body.

·       Take mental breaks throughout your workday. Simply focusing on your breathing, and taking mindful breaths, can relax the mind and body.

 

5)      Sleep.  Getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night can promote healthy blood sugar levels and thus brain health.

 

6)     Exercise your brain by learning something new.  Studies show learning a new skill can foster the growth of the synapses, which are responsible for communication between neurons (brain cells) and help with memory and cognitive function.

For more answers regarding ways to prevent Alzheimer’s, look for the “Ask the Dietitian” station at your I.L. Creations Café.

Why Shopping Locally is Good

posted Mar 10, 2018, 3:41 PM by Tracy Ducker, MS, RDN

“Go Further with Food” is this year’s National Nutrition Month® theme that focuses on food sustainability. There are many ways we can all “Go Further” and reduce food waste, support local farmers by shopping locally, and eat healthier. This week we’ll discuss how shopping locally at farmers markets benefits our health, the economy and the environment.

Shopping locally is better for our health. Fresher foods contain more nutrients and taste better. Once produce is picked/harvested is begins to lose nutritional value due to enzymes that are released which break down the nutrients. Also, the longer fruits and vegetables are allowed to ripen on the vine the more nutrients are retained. Non-local produce is picked before it is ripe so that it won’t spoil by the time it reaches the grocery store, decreasing the nutritional value.

When you shop locally you save money. Many of the foods at farmers markets are cheaper than at the grocery store because the food transportation fees are low. Local food isn’t stored for long periods or being transported long distances and is therefore fresher and lasts longer decreasing the amount of food waste due to spoilage. Also, the money spent locally stays local helping to build and maintain the local economy.

Shopping locally is good for the environment. A study done at Michigan State University found that food in the US travels almost 1500 miles. This adds to the carbon footprint of not only your house but also your community.  You can greatly cut your own carbon footprint by buying locally. You also support the local farmers helping them to continue farming and preserving green space.

Spring is just around the corner and farmer’s markets will be opening soon. Click on the links below for farmer’s markets in your area (note: the opening dates and times may change).

Montgomery County

District of Columbia

Fairfax County

Arlington County

We can all make some small changes to be more sustainable and eat healthier.

National Nutrition Month: "Go Further with Food”

posted Mar 2, 2018, 9:03 AM by Evangelina DiSpirito   [ updated Mar 3, 2018, 12:43 PM ]

By: Evangelina DiSpirito, RDN, LDN, E-RYT

It’s National Nutrition Month, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has set a “Go Further with Food” campaign, which encourages you to take your eating and lifestyle habits to a healthier and socially-responsible level.  IL Creations’ Registered Dietitians will be out during the month of March to ask a key question, “How much food do you throw away each week”?    This question is an important one that we all need to ask ourselves, as a family and as a community.    If we are tossing out food each week, especially fruits and vegetables, there is a chance we are not getting the essential nutrients we need.  It also contributes to food waste.  According to the USDA’s economic research center, between 30-40 percent of the United States food supply is wasted.  In 2014, USDA and EPA partnered for the U.S. Food Waste Challenge to help reduce food waste.  The goal set by USDA and EPA is to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030.  To learn more about the USDA and EPA joint Food Waste Challenge click on this link Reduce, Recycle, RecoverLet’s take a look at some key areas where you can help to positively impact health and environment today.

1)          Start with a clean slate each week.  Audit your refrigerator and pantry and think of the meals you can make with existing food inventory.  Then generate a grocery list and commit to only purchase what is on the list.

2)          Challenge yourself not to let the “Crisper become the Rotter” in your refrigerator.  Purchase frozen vegetables and tub-mixed salads to prevent spoilage from underuse.  Accessible fruits and vegetables make it easy for us to use in recipes. 

3)          Get creative with leftovers.  If you make a meal with a side dish like rice, potatoes or quinoa, then think of another meal to pair those same items with. For example, you make stuffed portabella mushrooms with quinoa.  The extra quinoa can be used to make a mixed-grain and bean salad the following day.  See our “mixed grain and bean salad recipe” as well as much more recipes on our website by clicking this link, RECIPES.  

4)          Make less food at each meal to prevent food waste.  It’s not about finishing your plate; it’s about being mindful of not making more food than your body needs. 

5)          Take part in the IL Creations (ILC) café daily “Happy Hour”.  ILC strives to be creative and resourceful in reducing food loss.  ILC offers a daily Happy Hour at each unit at the end of the day. This  Happy Hour not only gives customers a great opportunity to save money but ensures that we sell out as best as possible with no "left-over food".   

For more creative ways on how you can extend your food in your home, contact our registered dietitians at Nutrition@ilcreations.com.  ILC Registered dietitians are available to present on this topic and more.  

Top 5 Habits of Heart Healthy People

posted Feb 21, 2018, 9:42 AM by Evangelina DiSpirito   [ updated Feb 23, 2018, 1:38 PM ]

By: Evangelina Dispirito, RDN, E-RYT

February is National Heart Health awareness month which gives us an opportunity to take stock of our own heart healthy eating and lifestyle habits.   On one of our previous blogs, we wrote about the benefits of a Mediterranean-based diet, which is based on eating more vegetables, beans, whole grains, healthy fats such as olive oil, walnuts, avocados and using meats more as garnishes.  Incorporating features of the Mediterranean diet into our own meals can be the approach we can take to protect our hearts.  Below are the ILC dietitian’s top 5 habits of Heart Healthy People.

 

1)      Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.  Fruits and vegetables are rich with nutrients that help prevent inflammation in the body.  Folate and it’s naturally occurring folic acid which is found in leafy green vegetables helps lower homocysteine levels in the body.  Homocysteine levels are elevated in heart disease. Beets contain naturally occurring nitrates which can help lower blood pressure to help promote optimal heart health.   Bananas are rich with potassium to help lower blood pressure as well.   Berries are found to reduce inflammation in the body.  Finally, both fruits and vegetables are a good source of fiber which can promote lower cholesterol and healthy gut.


Nutrition Tip:  Try having a salad with roasted beets, walnuts, raspberries and goat cheese with a drizzle of olive oil.

 

2)      Eat more plant-beans.  Beans are rich in iron, magnesium, folate and potassium, all which are linked to heart health by lowering levels of homocysteine and blood pressure.   Replacing meat entrees with beans will provide you with a heart-healthy protein.   

 

Nutrition Tip:  Try soaking beans overnight then rinse and cook for an hour.  The slow cooking method is better for retention of folate as well as reducing “gas-forming” properties of beans.

 

3)      Limit the added sugars in your meals and beverages.  Sugar increases your blood sugar and can cause the pancreas to release a surge of insulin into the blood stream.  Consistent consumption of foods high in sugar can lead to diabetes and cause insulin resistant, a condition where the body is unable to use its own blood sugar for fuel. 

 

Nutrition Tip:   Try lowering your sweet tooth by eating fresh fruits and instead of a candy bar for a snack.  Of if you are a coffee drinker, try cutting out the sugar in coffee for a week.

 

4)      Drink more water.   Severe dehydration can increase chances of a heart attack.  Athletes or individuals taking on exercise or hot yoga classes could have increase water loss from sweat.  If you are not consistently eating water-based foods such as fruits and vegetables at most meals, chances are you are chronically dehydrated.   High protein, low-carbohydrate diets can cause dehydration.   Aim to have more water with your meals.  Drink 4 to 6 ounces of water before eating, and you may find you consume less calories.  Often times we mistaken thirst for hunger.  Please note that with various health conditions such as kidney or congestive heart failure  the water recommendations will be lower.  Consult your physician.

 

Nutrition Tip:  Carry a refillable water each day.  Squeeze lemon juice or other place frozen berries for natural flavoring.

 

5)      Get moving:  Getting at least 150 minutes a week can reduce chances of getting Diabetes according to the results of the 16- week Diabetes Prevention Program.  Diabetes puts one at greater chances of getting heart disease. Physical activity each day is good for the mind and body.  It helps relieve depression but also helps our bodies utilized the fuel from the food we eat more efficiently.  Cardiovascular exercise such as walking, running, cycling, and swimming help condition the heart to pump blood more efficiently.  Strength training helps build muscle to help boost our metabolism.  Yoga stretch and mindfulness exercises help reduce stress and can lower cortisol levels within the body.  Elevated cortisol levels are linked with inflammation, increase blood sugar and inability to sleep.  All which can negatively affect heart health.


                     Exercise Tip:  Aim to get 30 minutes each day by adding extra activity in your day.    

Exercise and Your Heart

posted Feb 12, 2018, 11:46 AM by Tracy Ducker, MS, RDN

It is well known that exercise is good for the heart. But how does it really help, much is enough, and what types are best? We will answer these questions so you can keep your heart healthy.  The effects of exercise on the heart and cardiovascular system have been studied for over 60 years.  And while the recommendations have changed over the years (mostly to make it more achievable for everyone) the fact remains that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the U.S. The good news is that CVD is largely preventable and one of the biggest factors in preventing heart disease is being physically active.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the following are some of the cardiovascular risk reduction benefits of exercising regularly:

  • ·                     Increase in exercise tolerance
  • ·                     Reduced blood pressure
  • ·                     Reduction in bad (LDL and total) cholesterol
  • ·                     Increase in good (HDL) cholesterol
  • ·                     Increase in insulin sensitivity
  • -             Weight loss
  •  
So, how does exercise actually help your heart? When you exercise, your heart rate increases (at least it should) so you are pumping more blood and oxygen through your arteries, which makes your heart more efficient and keeps blood pressure under control. Within about 4 weeks of regular consistent exercise, you will see and feel changes like a decrease in resting heart rate and the ability to exercise longer and harder. Many people will feel more energetic, less stressed, and have improved sleep after just one workout. These can all have a positive impact on your heart disease risk.

As we get older, our arteries become more rigid, making it easier for plaque to build up inside. If too much plaque builds up, the artery becomes blocked which causes a heart attack or stroke. Exercise helps keep the blood vessels more flexible, allowing blood to flow more freely.

Diabetes is another risk factor for heart disease. Exercise helps the body use insulin to better control glucose levels in the blood.

The recommended type and amount of exercise according to both the AHA and NIH are to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate- intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week. This can be done in short 10 minute increments.  For example, taking a 10-15 minute walk during your lunch break, walking the dog, or taking the stairs all count towards your 150 minutes. You can also do a combination of moderate and vigorous intensity activities.

Examples of moderate-intensity activities are walking briskly (3 mph), water aerobics, general gardening, doubles tennis, bicycling slower than 10 mph.                                                   Examples of vigorous-intensity activities are running, jogging, or race walking, bicycling faster than 10 mph, aerobic dancing, heavy gardening, swimming laps, jumping                         rope,  or uphill hiking.

It is also important to include some resistance or weight training activities at least twice per week. These include yoga, push-ups, lifting weights (be sure to include the major muscle groups-legs, hips, chest, back, arms, and core or abdomen).

Remember, some exercise is better than none. See what fits best into your schedule and lifestyle. For more information on exercise and your heart click here.                                 



10 Nutrition and Fitness Apps to Help You Reach Your Goals

posted Jan 29, 2018, 9:23 AM by Tracy Ducker, MS, RDN

As January comes to an end, don’t let your health and nutrition resolutions and goals end too. If you find yourself slipping, try a new app or website to keep things fresh. Here is a list of some dietitian approved nutrition apps and websites:

Foodacate-(free for Android, iOS) by scanning a food label the app will alert you if it is a healthy choice.

Ingredient1 (free for Android) - this app can help you identify food products that meet your dietary needs. For example, if you avoid dairy it will show you foods in nearby stores that are dairy free.

Carbs Control ($2.99 for Android and iOS) - great if you have diabetes or are monitoring carb intake. It allows you to track carb intake and compare meals even has data from 300 restaurants. Not a huge database and only gives details on carbs, but will give you daily protein and fat percentages.

MyPlate calories tracker (free for Android and iOS but need subscription for full capabilities) – free version is basic but has a large database. You can sync up google fitness to track calories burned. There are graphs that display your progress towards reaching your goals.

Myfitness Pal (free for Android and iOS but need subscription for full capabilities) – you can create daily goals and customize carbohydrate, fat and protein goals. Has a massive database of 5 million foods including restaurant foods. Very basic capabilities without the paid upgrade.

UA Record (free for Android and iOS) – track your fitness workouts and connect to Myfitness pal for calorie intake and calorie expenditure. You can also connect to various fitness trackers.

Simple Feast (free for Android and iOS) – recipes using simple wholesome ingredients by chefs and nutritionists. There are various categories to choose from, like vegetarian, brunch, and seafood. The premium version has a Nutrition coach that will help you tailor the recipes to meet your own personal goals. 

Giox ($25/month for Android and iOS) - This is a great app if you don't like the gym or travel a lot. You can take classes anywhere from a live coach. The coaches do have access to your name, location, email and phone number.

Supertracker.usda.gov – a website where you can track calories and exercise, you can set weight loss goals, and monitor nutrient consumption. There are nice graphs to see your progress and get tips and support.

Nutrition.ilcreations.com – find recipes and nutrition information for many of our cafeteria foods so you can plan healthy lunches.

These apps and websites are only meant to help you reach your goals, these are only a sample of hundreds of apps out there. So, use this list as a starting point and hopefully one will fit your needs. If not,we are here to help you, stop by our table during our wellness visit or send us an email.

Plant-Based Diets: Best for 2018

posted Jan 19, 2018, 2:18 PM by Evangelina DiSpirito   [ updated Jan 21, 2018, 6:52 AM ]

By : Evangelina DiSpirito, RDN, E-RYT

If achieving a healthy weight is one of your New Year’s resolutions, then you might want to take a look at US News’ “best diets for 2018”.  Based on the consensus of a panel made up of health experts, including registered dietitians (nutritionists) and researchers, plant-based diets are the champions of health and weight-loss.   According to US News, the panel based their ranking on criteria such as long-term weight loss, ease of compliance, safety, and nutrition, to name a few.   On the top of the list were the “plant-based” diets and on the bottom was the high-fat and high-protein weight-loss plans.   As a registered, dietitian/nutritionist, I find that more often than not, clients who achieve their health and weight-loss goals add more fruits and vegetables to their daily meals.

In fact, many physicians are supporting the plant-based approach to treat their patients.  This past July, I attended a Physician Committee’s Nutrition in Medicine Conference in D.C., whose theme was “Nutrition over Pills”.   The conference attracted many healthcare attendees, including dietitians, nurses, physicians; all were collectively exploring the science of plant-based nutrition to heal the body.  The conference guest speakers were physicians and specialists from around the world,  advocating for the use of plant-based nutrition instead of prescribing medication to treat many conditions, including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity and mood disorders.   This conference’s "nutrition as medicine" message aligns with the nutrition therapy that many Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists have consistently provided to individuals to help manage, prevent, or reverse a variety of chronic health conditions.

To view the detailed listing of the diets that US News reviewed and ranked, click on the above “best diets”.  The top winners were DASH and Mediterranean, both of which are primarily plant-based.  The fact that the DASH and Mediterranean diets are reported to help individuals achieve healthy weight and wellbeing proves that you don't have to go completely vegan or vegetarian. By eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans at each meal, you will have the protective properties to prevent many chronic health conditions as well as achieve a healthy weight. To help you get started with mostly plant-based eating, we came up with 3 main steps.

How to get Started on Mostly Plant-Based Eating:

1) Stock up on fruits and vegetables:  Fresh or frozen are equally as healthy.  For quick accessible home-cooked meals, buy frozen vegetables, tubs with pre-washed leafy greens, and plenty of fruit.  For best prices, purchase locally-grown fruits and vegetables at peak season by clicking Maryland Fruit and Vegetables:

2) Bulk Up Meals with Vegetables:  Make it a habit to add your favorite vegetables to your regular dishes.

  • Broccoli, tri-color bell peppers, peas, or any type of vegetable will add flavor and color to pasta and rice dishes. 
  • Add frozen vegetables to ready-made soups or store bought soups.


3) Dining out:  IL Creations' Cafés offers a variety of plant-based foods.  Check out our online menus and you will find a variety of vegetable-based dishes.  Make it your goal to fill your plate with plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains (brown rice).   Use lean meats, poultry, and fish as garnishes.  

4) Plant-based proteins:  Replace meat, fish, or poultry with beans at least once or twice a week.  Beans are high in protein and fiber which promote lean muscle mass, as well as satiety,  leading to a healthy weight.


To find out more on this topic or have one of our IL Creations' Registered Dietitians present to your group, please email us at Evangelina.DiSpirito@ilcreations.com  or Tracy.Ducker@ilcreations.   

 

Setting and Keeping Goals in 2018

posted Jan 15, 2018, 3:02 PM by Tracy Ducker, MS, RDN   [ updated Jan 28, 2018, 3:27 PM ]


In our last blog we discussed CLEAN Cuisines in 2018. Focusing on Clean eating, Lean meals, Exercise, Ask the dietitian, No excuses. This week we’ll discuss how to make resolutions or goals. A popular acronym many professionals use is SMART to help clients set and reach their goals.  So, if we think about living CLEAN this year, we can use the SMART way of setting goals:

S – Specific:  the more specific a goal is the more likely you are to achieve it. Exercise more- walk in the morning before work

M – Measurable:  this is the “how’s” how much, or how many, or how often. I will aim for 30 minutes, 5 times a week

A – Attainable: the steps you will take to reach your goal. First, I will start walking 3 days/week for 1 month, then increase to 4x/wk for 1 month, then 5x/week.   

R – Relevant: Is the time right? My husband is willing to help get the kids ready for school so I have time in the morning. If the weather is bad I will walk during lunch at the office gym.

T – Time: Set a specific time that you will achieve your goal. I will achieve this in 3 months.

Our handout this month has the step by step process of setting SMART goals or come visit us during our dietitian visit at your cafeteria for a copy and let us help you reach your goals.

Happy New Year!




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