Fat is NOT a Bad Word

For many years now FAT has been considered a bad word and an enemy to the human body. We have frantically avoided fats and purposefully chemically altered foods to have less fat. A walk down the grocery aisle will confirm our obsession with low-fat foods. We’re bombarded with supposedly guilt-free options: baked potato chips, fat-free ice cream, low-fat candies, cookies, and cakes. But while our low-fat options have exploded, so have obesity rates. Clearly, low-fat foods and diets haven’t delivered on their trim, healthy promises.

We were told that fats clog arteries, adds to body weight, and are responsible for an entire battalion of heart and health issues. Now we’re making a full circle and discovering that the real causes of many health issues today are the consumption of trans fats, sugar, and processed foods, and not consuming enough nutrient dense foods.

In the beginning….there was fat and no trans fats. Let me explain. Genesis 1:29 says, And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.” This verse from Genesis shows that Adam and Eve’s initial foods included a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. God knew our bodies needed fats to survive. After The Fall, God gave Adam and Eve animals for food too, but I won’t be elaborating on that topic today.

Some of the good/high quality fats in the Garden of Eden were: walnuts, avocados, flaxseeds, olives, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, grape seeds, almonds, coconuts, pistachios, cashews, etc.

Now nuts and seeds used to have a “bad rap” because they are high in fat. However, it is now known that the type of fat in them is actually beneficial. They contain mainly monounsaturated fat, some polyunsaturated fats, but very little saturated fat. Those that do have saturated fats, contain MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) that are quickly used for energy and not easily stored as fat. In addition, nuts, seed and some legumes are a good source of protein, omega fatty acids, vitamins (especially vitamin E), minerals such magnesium, phosphorus, and iron, along with fiber.

Eating the right kind of fat is the trick here. Our bodies need good quality fats so that it can carry out various functions. What you don’t need is the trans fat found in processed, packaged and refined foods. Look for ‘partially hydrogenated’ or ‘hydrogenated’ in the label and if these words show up, avoid those products like the plague. Trans fats are used in everything from cookies, so called healthy, multigrain biscuits, to doughnuts, French fries, cakes, etc. If a high fat product says “fat free” or “low in fat”, it likely contains trans fat or something that has been chemically modified. To make the product taste good, something has to be added when the fat is removed.

Good fats in your diet do several things.

Fat supports brain function. Our brains need fat for fuel. Ever felt tired and brain-fogged in the middle of the day? Your low fat diet could be to blame.

Fat is essential for building up your immunity. Fat helps the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).

For athletes, fat helps to reduce exercise induced inflammation. Yes, too much of any form of exercise creates free radicals that can cause havoc within your system.

Fat also helps your liver function properly, and can help improve blood cholesterol levels.

So remember, God designed our bodies to consume fat. 20 to 35% of your daily calories should come from fat. The answer isn’t cutting out the fat—it’s learning to make healthy choices and to replace bad fats with good ones that promote health and well-being.

Has Food and Weight Loss Become Your Idol?

Gluttony, overeating or drinking to excess, is mentioned in the Bible as being something to avoid (Proverbs 23:20-21). Gluttony can lead to health risks and become a drain on our finances, and the love of food and drink can all too easily become an idol in our lives. Anything that takes the place of God or becomes our number-one focus is, by definition, an idol and thus a sin against God (Exodus 20:3-6). Proverbs 23:2 exhorts us to “put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony,” an admonition to restrain our appetites.

So what does that say about our society today? How many of the things that occupy our time, money, thoughts and attention have taken the place where God is supposed to be?

The answer to this questions may be found by analyzing Google’s search data. Each month, there are an estimated 88 billion Google searches, of which millions relate specifically to losing weight. By understanding how Americans seek out information about fitness, we can glean insights into how Americans approach their health and well-being.

For the keyword “How To Lose Weight”, the first chart attached shows the U.S. search volume for the top 10 related keywords:

Do you notice anything unusual? More than 50% of the keywords (6 out of 10) refer to losing weight “fast” or “quick”. On a positive note, 110K searches for “how to lose weight healthy” indicates many Americans are not searching for that quick fix, but a more sustainable, healthier weight loss method. For the keyword “weight loss”, the next chart attached shows the U.S. search volume for the top 10 related keywords:

Like in the previous chart, more than 50% of the keywords (6 out of 10) use the word “fast” or “quick”, or relate to losing weight quickly.

While “fast” or “quick” results may be desirable in the short term, in the long term, sustainable diet and exercise modification leads to lasting weight loss and improved health.

In the New Testament, Paul tells followers of Jesus Christ that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and as such we are to take care of our bodies and keep them as healthy as we can. Since being obese leads to multiple health risks, we need to realize that as much as it is up to us in our choice and amount of food, drink, and exercise, we should strive to avoid becoming overweight.

A down side of this subject of obesity and weight loss is when we take it to the opposite extreme and become obsessed with our body image. Again, when something becomes the major focus of life and it isn’t God, it is sin. So to constantly obsess about exercise, diet, and weight loss means we’ve allowed our bodies to become the center of our lives. While the effects can be better for our health than being gluttonous and overweight, the result is still the same—our bodies have become an idol in our lives. An obsession with weight loss can easily tip over into anorexia or bulimia which also has a negative impact on our health.

The bottom line is that the Lord wants His children to take excellent care of their bodies since they are the residence of the Holy Spirit. A strong, healthy body helps us stay in shape so we can better serve God each day and thus bring glory and honor to Him, our principal reason for living. Eating and being healthy is not a quick fix but an overall lifestyle change. The Lord wants us to keep our focus on Him and not fall into obsessing about weight gain, weight loss, or food and drink, any of which can become an idol in our lives.

Eat Real Food

God created a tremendous variety of food so we would not get bored and to accommodate our taste preferences. But the most important reason for the variety is to help us to get all of the different nutrients that our bodies need. Today we continue to hear just eat “real” food, but many are wondering what is and is not “real” food.

Food was never intended to be complicated, and we have allowed science to complicate food to shape it into something God never intended it to become. Avoiding unhealthful foods in today’s “modern” Western cultures is more challenging and complicated than it was for most of mankind’s history.

Since the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, food “refining” processes and the use of synthetic chemicals have become popular for various reasons, including appealing appearance or taste. But the main driving force has been money. When food spoilage is prevented or delayed, food can be shipped farther and sit on shelves much longer. “Refining” and adding preservatives brought food costs down for producers and consumers. But consumers have paid a high price in their health because these processes usually have diminished the healthful value of the food.

Let’s define a couple things.

food [food] n 1. something that nourishes, sustains, or supplies

real [ree-uhl, reel] adj 1. true and actual; not artificial

I consider real food something that is wholesome and nourishing. It is simple and unprocessed. It is food that is as close to its natural original state without any alteration of any kind.

There are thousands of studies that have made the correlation that poor nutrition is linked to inflammation, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, hyperlipidemia, osteopenia/osteoporosis, and many other chronic conditions and diseases and yet, after knowing this valuable information, there are still millions of people suffering and/or dying from these conditions and diseases.

The quality of food we eat has a huge impact on our wellbeing as a whole. The U.S. is predominantly sick, and we are getting sicker and sicker. The least you spend on food…. the more you will spend on healthcare is becoming a true statement. Here are some statistics.

Chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S.

7 out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases. Heart disease, cancer and stroke account for more than 50% of all deaths each year.

Obesity has become a major health concern. 1 in every 3 adults is obese and almost 1 in 5 youth between the ages of 6 and 19 is obese.

A total of 27% of the US population are obese, one quarter of the population!

About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.

Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing more than 385,000 people annually.

Every year about 935,000 Americans have a heart attack.

Coronary heart disease alone costs the United States $108.9 billion each year.

Diabetes continues to be the leading cause of kidney failure, non traumatic lower-extremity amputations, and blindness among adults, aged 20-74.

The good news is that people are starting to catch up and demand better quality products. Slowly but surely we are seeing more organic and natural products out there. Understanding that eating healthy should become a priority and not falling in the sick care trap is key.

What Can You Eat

Whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, and some preferably organic, dairy, also preferably organic, whole grains, wild caught fish (which are free of harmful chemicals), organic or grass feed meat (which are free of hormones and antibiotics), organic poultry, legumes, nuts, seeds, unrefined sweeteners (like raw honey and maple syrup), whole grains (like brown rice, 100% whole wheat bread and whole wheat pasta). Real food is whole foods which is unrefined and unprocessed and does not contain added ingredients.

With a rich real food diet you will obtain an array of needed nutrients that will contain a high concentration of antioxidant phenolics, fibers and numerous other phytochemicals that may be protective against chronic diseases. Eating real food it simply a win win situation.

There is still a lot of controversy in whether or not certain products should be purchased organic. At this point, in my professional and personal opinion, there is no question that organic is best when it comes to certain products like dairy, meat and poultry and certain fruits and veggies. Maybe back in the day when there was non GMO products existent in the market, different strains of fertilizers, and a different array of chemicals lingering in our food supply, I would probably wouldn’t care to buy organic items. Today, it is a different story. The FDA each year introduces a large amount of chemicals in our food supply, and yet hardly any are tested for their damaging risk to the human body.

Out of season foods are now available year round flown and trucked from miles away where harmful chemicals are used to keep these foods intact. There are hormones, antibiotics and many other chemical substances utilized to grow cattle really fast. Did you know that it takes about 2 1/2 years to grow a grass feed cow versus 14 months a corn feed one? In addition a corn feed cow will lack any omega 3’s, which is present in grass feed cows, and have a much higher percentage of saturated fat.

I think, today, organic is best!

There are different things you can do and strategize to decrease your grocery bill if budget is an issue and you want to still get organic items.

A lot of these items can be purchased in bulk or when in season.

Becoming a member of a CSA farmers program can ensure that you are getting local, fresh produce for a fraction of the price.

Buying items at your local grocery store when on sale.

What Not To Eat

Processed food that is fake and junk that have little to zero nutritional value, are high in calories, highly processed, ready to eat and with little preparation. These foods are normally high in fat, sugar, and salt which makes you overweight and sick!!

Some examples are:

Packaged high-calorie snack foods, like chips and cheese snacks

Convenience foods like frozen dinners and pizza

Boxed meal mixes, loaded with sodium and fat

White pasta, white bread and white rice

Canned foods with lots of sodium

Sugary breakfast cereals

Pies and cake mixes

Soft drinks

How Can You Eliminate Eating Processed Food?

Cook your meals from scratch using whole ingredients. This can be a daunting task for someone not used to cooking but you can start by cooking once or twice a week and increasing the number as you get comfortable in the kitchen.

Plan out your meals to avoid several trips to the store, this will ensure you will have the ingredients you need to cook your meal for the week and help you avoid purchasing package processed food. Plan well balanced meals that include plenty of whole grains, organic veggies and fruits as well as lean and organic or grass feed poultry and meat.

Shop for fruits and vegetables that are in-season and local since they will be freshest and cheapest. Look for local farmers markets, or ask your grocer what produce items are in season.

Stay away from the middle isles which normally contain the bulk of the processed foods. If you must buy items like tomato sauce buy them organic and in glass containers. If you buy pasta, rice, bread, couscous, flour etc make sure you get the whole grain kinds.

Make sure you read ingredient labels and don’t purchase anything you wouldn’t be able to pronounce.

Try cooking one item you would have purchased in a processed, packaged form. When you make it yourself, you know exactly what is in it being able to decrease the sugar, salt, and fat content as well as increasing the quality of ingredients. For example, if you like certain cookies you can try making them yourself by adding less sugar and of the unrefined kind, better fat alternative as well as using whole wheat flour in place of the processed kind and perhaps even making it grain free.

Remember eating real food isn’t a fad diet. It’s a permanent, healthy way of eating that, with a little practice, can (and should) become a way of life. Eating real food is eating for the sake of nourishing your body with food as close to its natural state as possible. There is no math, no point system, no insane calorie restrictions. When you begin to replace the processed, fried and unhealthy foods from your diet with whole grains, fruits, veggies and lean protein, your body will automatically become leaner, healthier, and more efficient in many ways.

Mail Meals

What’s for dinner? is a never ending saga for many of us. Despite the fact that dinner occurs EVERY day, we all have those days when dinner is not on our radar until the last moment. Whether you are single, married, in school, working, stay at home, etc., life is busy and many of us have limited time to plan, shop, and cook a gourmet (or for that matter any kind of edible, half way appealing to the eyes, and tasting good) meal for ourselves and/or family.

Today many companies are available to help with meal planning, shopping, and cooking by bringing all the ingredients you need for delicious meals straight to your doorstep. Let’s take a closer look at a few of these “Mail Meal” companies. I will be reviewing Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Home Cuisine, and Katered To You. I will be discussing their services offered, menu/food allergies, cost, location/delivery options, and food wholesalers.

Hello Fresh (https://www.hellofresh.com) is a weekly subscription service. I decided to give them a try since there was an offer on Louisville Groupon. I purchased “2 weeks of meals for two” for $59 (valued at $138). That’s 6 Classic Meals feeding 2 people. Hence, each serving cost $4.92. That’s not a bad deal!

Services Offered: Hello Fresh creates the recipes and does the shopping for you. Then they deliver all the ingredients to your doorstep in a recyclable cardboard box that includes ice packs to keep your food from spoiling before you arrive. At your convenience, you prepare the meals in your own home. The recipes I tried were amazing, but the downside is that they were a little time consuming. I definitely spent more than 45 minutes in the kitchen preparing them. But if you love to cook, and just don’t have time to plan and shop, you will enjoy Hello Fresh.

Menu/Food Allergies: Hello Fresh works closely on recipe development with a team of in-house chefs who’ve graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education and other esteemed Culinary Schools. There are two “boxes” to choose from. You must choose either the Classic or Veggie Box. If you sign up for the Classic Box subscription, you can choose 3 out of 5 recipes offered each week. Unfortunately, this option is not yet available for the Vegetarian subscription. But Hello Fresh stated they are working on it! If you have a food allergy or sensitivity things can get a bit complicated. Besides being able to choose 3 out of the 5 recipes offered for the Classic Box, you will be happy to hear all the ingredients come individually packaged. So you can omit an ingredient from the recipe easily. However, if you have a severe allergy, this company probably isn’t the best for you due to the risk of cross contamination.

Cost: The Classic Box cost $69 for 3 meals feeding 2 people or $120 for 3 meals feeding 4 people. The Veggie Box cost $59 for 3 meals feeding 2 people or $109 for 3 meals feeding 4 people. Delivery is free. As mentioned earlier, you can also take advantage of the Groupon if you would like to try this company at a great price. I “deactivated” my Hello Fresh account after initiating my Groupon without any issues. A word to the wise, all orders, changes, or cancellations for the following week must be in by Wednesday at 11:59pm.

Location/Delivery Options: Hello Fresh delivers to the continental U.S. They deliver Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for all customers, as well as, Mondays and Tuesdays in specific areas. Deliveries typically arrive between 8am-8pm.

Food Wholesalers: Hello Fresh claims to use local supplies. They don’t state to use organic, but one of the supplies on their website, Murray’s Chicken, did state that their chickens are raised without the use of antibiotics, growth drugs or hormones, and have plenty of room to stretch their wings and access to fresh air and sunlight. Although we can’t assume all the products are organic, I was happy to hear that Hello Fresh is taking appropriate steps in providing healthy foods.

Blue Apron (https://www.blueapron.com) is also a weekly subscription service, similar to Hello Fresh.

Services Offered: Blue Apron’s services are also similar to Hello Fresh. They too deliver all the ingredients to your doorstep in a recyclable cardboard box that includes ice packs to keep your food from spoiling before you arrive. And at your convenience, you prepare the meals in your own home. Their website states “Meals are 500-700 calories per serving and take 35 minutes to prepare.”

Menu/Food Allergies: There are two meal plans, a 2 Person Plan or the Family Plan. With the 2 Person Plan, you will receive three delicious recipes and the corresponding ingredients pre-portioned for two. The Family Plan is perfect for feeding a family of four. The culinary team states to create four new Family Plan recipes each week designed to appeal to both parents’ and kids’ palates.

In regards to allergies… my understand is that you don’t actually get to pick your recipes. However, you can customize your menu based on your dietary preferences (which you can change or update at any time). Furthermore, as of now, Blue Apron doesn’t allow any meal choices beyond meat and fish or vegetarian, so it’s important to check each week’s menu for any food allergies or preferences before ordering.

Cost: There are three options. The 2 Person Plan cost $59.94 which includes 3 meals per week at $9.99 per person. The Family Plan (feeds 4 people) includes either 2 or 4 meals per week. The 2 meal plan cost $69.92 and the 4 meal plan cost $139.84. Both Family Meal options cost $8.74 per person. You also get 2 meals free on your first order. There is no membership fee or commitment. In order not to be charged for an order, Blue Apron requires a 6 days advance notice for skipping weeks or canceling an account depending on the delivery day you selected.

Location/Delivery Options: Blue Apron also delivers nationwide. Typical deliveries are made Tuesday through Friday in most locations, and select locations are eligible for Monday and Saturday deliveries. Delivery is included in the price of your subscription.

Food Wholesalers: Some of the wholesalers are listed on their website. I couldn’t get a hold of anyone at Blue Apron to answer my questions about whether or not their ingredients were organic, but a friend of mine who tried their service showed me their meat was labeled hormone and antibiotic free.

Home Cuisine (http://homecuisineonline.com) For almost 30 years, Chef Sandy Pike has been feeding the city of Louisville. She’s owned and founded some of the city’s most beloved food establishments: Jack Fry’s, Café Society, Queen of Tarts. But when a family member had a health scare and needed to change her eating habits, Sandy started cooking simple, healthy meals and dropping them off – and Home Cuisine was born.

Services Offered: As a Home Cuisine client, you can receive 1 or 3 meals a day; 3, 5, or 7 days a week. Home Cuisine recipes never use white flour, sugar, canned ingredients or bad trans fats. Instead, the recipes contain fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables, whole grains and organic when possible. Each meal is individually packaged with complete instructions on the small amount of preparation required to put the food on your table (which is usually just a quick ‘warm up’.)

Menu/Food Allergies: There are three meal plans to choose from: Calorie Controlled, Paleo, or Vegetarian.

For people who don’t know where to start when it comes to a calorie controlled meal plan, Home Cuisine has taken the guess work out of healthy eating by offering the Calorie Controlled meal plan that will get you going in the right direction. Just choose how many calories you need per day; 1200 or 2000. Each day will include lean protein, complex carbs and tons of the freshest vegetables and fruits. All meals are prepared according to the American Diabetic Association, as well as the American Heart Association’s healthy guideline.

Home Cuisine has also embarked on a line of Paleo meals at the insistence of several Louisville doctors who were placing their patients on the plan to identify food allergies and for others to lose weight. If you aren’t familiar with the Paleo Diet, it eliminates processed foods, gluten, legumes, sugar, dairy, and starchy carbohydrates replacing them with grain fed meat and poultry, wild caught seafood, organic vegetables and fruits. This meal plan also gives you the option to choose from either 1,300 or 2,200 calories per day.

Lastly, as for the Vegetarian meal plan, the sample menu includes eggs and yogurt, so if you are truly interested in a Vegan meal plan, I would acquire about this before ordering. Like the other meal plans, you get the option to choose from a 1,200 or 2,000 calorie plan.

On all the meal plans, there is an option for a Family Meal. The Family Meal Plan feeds 2 adults and 2-3 children. This option is only for one meal per day but is available for 3 or 5 days a week.

They state to cater to food allergies and sensitivities, but I don’t have all the details in this area. So, I would recommend contacting the owners before ordering if this is a real concern for you or a family member.

Cost: The cost varies depending on multiple factors including: the meal plan and caloric value you choose, whether you want 3 meals or just 1 meal (dinner only), and how many days a week (3, 5, or 7) you want the service.

Let’s start with the Calorie Controlled Meal Plan. Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner under the 1,200 calorie plan will cost: $105 (3 days a week), $125 (5 days a weeks), or $150 (7 days a week). The 2,000 calorie plan cost: $120 (3 days a week), $140 (5 days a week), or $165 (7 days a week). Dinner Only for the lower calorie plan cost: $60, $75, or $95 (3, 5 or 7 days a week). The higher calorie plan meal cost: $65, $90, or $105. The Family Meal cost: $140 (3 days a week) or $180 (5 days a week).

Moving on to the Paleo Meal Plan. Depending on if you choose 3, 5 or 7 days a week, the cost is $105, $140, or $175 under the 1,300 calorie option. Then the price jumps up to $120, $155, and $185 on the 2,200 calorie option. For Dinner Only on the lower calorie plan, the price is $65, $90, or $105, and $75, $100, or $115 for the higher calorie plan. The Family Meal option $160 for 3 days a week or $210 for 5 days a week.

Lastly, the Vegetarian meal plan cost: $105, $125, or $150 under the 1,200 calorie plan. The 2,000 calorie plan cost goes up to $120, $140, or $165. The Dinner only plan is $60, $75, or $95 on the lesser calorie plan, and $65, $90, or $105 on the higher calorie plan. The Family Meal option is $140 or $180 depending on if you want the meals for 3 or 5 days a week.

Location/Delivery Options: Home Cuisine is located at 309 R Wallace Avenue, Louisville, KY 40207. You can pick up your Home Cuisine meals at any Rainbow Blossom Natural Food Market. Just let them know which of their 5 stores is most convenient for you, and they will make sure it’s waiting for you there. If you’d rather have your meals delivered direct to your door, they can do that, too! Local delivery in the Louisville metro are starts at $10 per week, and may vary according to total distance traveled. Their website states they deliver twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday after 3pm. However, I don’t know if that means they offer two different days for delivery, or if you receive half your meals one day and the rest another day.

Food Wholesalers: They purchase the bulk of their supplies through Rainbow Blossom. Because of the volumn they order, they are able to take advantage of much lower pricing on whole and organic foods. Their fish is bought from Blue Fin Seafood, and the meats come from several farms located in Oldham County.

They do make their own sausage and ground products. Sadly, they can’t supply only organic because of the cost restraints, but on a whole they strive for the cleanest, healthiest meals possible.

Katered To You (http://www.kateredtoyoullc.com) came into existence when the owner, Katie, turned her love for cooking into a mission to help others live a healthier and happier lifestyle. At an early age she learned the ins and outs of food service while working in her father’s restaurant. You can read more about her biography on her website. She is one talented lady!

Services Offered: Katered To You provides already prepared or as Katie calls them, “Heat And Eat” meals. All meals come in a microwavable safe container. In case you didn’t catch this… THERE IS NO COOKING INVOVLED!! That’s music to my ears!! And if you read Katie’s biography you will discover that she is highly gifted in the musical area. As for me… I am not! I am neither blessed with musical talent or with the love for cooking. God makes us all different for sure.

Menu/Food Allergies: You can order by the day, week, or month. If you are ordering for the day, orders must be placed by 2pm the previous business day for early pickup. For same-day pickup, orders will be ready by 5pm. For weekly or monthly orders, orders are due by 2pm on Friday. The menu is huge. It includes everything from breakfast to dessert. You won’t get tired of sampling the variety here. In addition, if you have a food allergy or sensitivity; if possible, Katie will make the necessary substitutions to any menu item to best meet your needs.

Cost: There are three options for purchasing. 1) A single meal for one is $10. 2) The 12 meals per month (based off a 4 week period) + 2 meals for free is $120 ($8.57 per meal). 3) Or the 20 meals per month + 2 for free is $200 ($9.09 per meal).

Location/Delivery Options: Katered To You is located at 37 Bank Street, Suite 9, New Albany, IN 47150. Delivery is offered on Sunday and Monday for an additional $10 anywhere in the Kentuckiana (Southern Indiana, Louisville, Prospect, Crestwood, and other nearby cities) area. Pickup at the store is free and offered from 2-5pm on Sunday and 9am-6pm on weekdays.

Food Wholesalers: Katie does a lot of shopping from local farmers and Farmer Markets. I too tried this company’s food to see how the food compared to Hello Fresh. I requested that my meals be made with gluten free and organic ingredients. Katie was happy to meet my needs, and I was very satisfied with the customer service, quantity, flavor, and presentation of my meals.

So there you have it! Four different companies with similar goals in mind, and one of the main goals is centered around making it easier for you and your family to consume healthy foods; even when you are busy. These companies take away the stress surrounding meal planning, shopping for groceries, and some even omit the hassle of cooking and cleaning up afterwards. Cooking and eating fresh ingredients helps you and your family stay healthy and beats any type of convenience food, frozen food or fast food. So if you are struggling to get healthy meals to the dinner table on time, one of these companies might be just right for you.

Nutrition on the Bench

Thanks to a nagging injury, my workout shoes were grounded for an extended period of time. Although I am an immense advocate for regular physical activity and all the benefits associated with it, I also realize that life sometimes throws you a curve ball and you find yourself benched on the sidelines for a period of time. Whether the cause is an injury, illness, work and/or parenthood responsibilities, or something that is just a prominent priority, this is the time when your nutrition intake becomes 100% responsible for weight management.

If you are currently benched and not happy about it… first let me say, I know it’s not easy. The truth is life was never meant to always be easy. But there is a God that cares about your pain, your struggles, your fears, and He is good. You can trust Him in the storms and struggles of this life. He can bring good from the hard times, and I promise you will be stronger and wiser in the end. In a nutshell Jeremiah 29:13 says… If you seek Him wholeheartedly, you will find Him. That is one of His great promises to you. He is just waiting on you to run to Him.

Before you were benched, it was easy to say… I will run an extra mile tonight or spend an extra 20 minutes in the pool to burn off that extra portion of food I consumed at lunch. But now that’s not an option. So how do you maintain a healthy weight when you’re unable to do physical activity?

Let’s look at some facts… We all need calories and adequate nutrition to survive. The number of calories we need to consume daily depends on a lot of factors. Feel free to make an appointment with me for a full, personal nutrition assessment. You can also calculate your basal metabolic rate, or BMR — the number of calories you burn just lying in bed all day — using an online calculator. Men usually need more calories than women. Larger people need more calories than those who are smaller, and younger people usually need more calories than older individuals.

For example, a 5-foot, 4-inch tall, 30-year-old woman who weighs 140 pounds has a BMR of about 1,415 calories per day, and a 5-foot, 10-inch tall, 40-year-old man who weighs 190 pounds has a BMR of about 1,992 calories per day.

Once you know your BMR, you can monitor your caloric intake yourself and add, maintain, or subtract calories to gain, maintain, or lose weight depending on your own personal weight goal. I am also available to help in this area if warranted.

Attached is a table that lists the calories burned by doing specific activities for 30 minutes for people with three different weights. Activities are listed from least to most calories burned.

As you can see, if you do any of these activities for 30 minutes or more, you will burn calories. Consequently, if you stop doing these activities, then you will no longer be burning calories and will have to adjust your caloric intake to prevent weight gain.

For example: If you weigh 125 pounds and like swimming laps vigorously for 30-60 minutes, you will burn 300-600 calories. If you stop swimming, you will also have to stop consuming those extra calories if you want to maintain your current weight.

Subtracting calories sounds easy, but it can be harder than it sounds. For instance, cutting out 300-600 calories can be an entire meal worth of calories for some people. Here are some healthy tips to keep your weight in check and prevent you from having to skip meals.

Schedule Eating

Believe it or not, the best way to stay satisfied and consume adequate nutrients is to eat with a routine. Try to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at about the same time each day, and work in healthy snacks in between. Never skip meals, as this may promote hunger and lead to poor food choices and overeating.

Balance the Food Groups

A variety of foods are important to a healthy diet. Make sure to include dairy or other calcium-rich foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein foods in your everyday eating and at each meal. Load up half your plate with fruits and veggies and you’ll naturally downgrade the calorie impact. Remember, a balanced diet not only offers up necessary nutrition, it may also help you feel more satisfied.

Trim Away the Fat

Fried foods such as french fries and potato chips carry a lot of calories because they are high in fat. Instead, choose a baked potato and you’ll cut unneeded calories from your diet.

Tackle the Treats

Foods such as soda, candy and other desserts with added sugars carry lots of calories but few nutrients. And, if you’re trying to lose extra pounds, cutting back on treats will help you get the job done.

Eat Smart Snacks

Foods that contain carbohydrates and protein are good bets for keeping your body fueled. If you are snacking more than once or twice a day, you may be getting too many calories from snacks. Be smart with snacks — let them top off your energy tank, offer important nutrition and, above all, don’t let them take over your diet. Try these healthy snack options: an apple and peanut butter; Greek yogurt; whole grain cereal and low-fat milk; a protein bar; or raw vegetables and cheese.

Watch Food Serving Sizes

When you’re hungry, it’s easy to overeat. Test yourself and your portions by checking the serving size on food packages. Eating appropriate portions will help you stay on track with your overall calorie intake.




Is Your Guy Leaky?

When most people hear the words “leaky gut”, they often think of an ostomy. Consequently, I frequently hear people say, “Oh, my mom or friend or grandparent or so and so’s gut leaks into a bag outside of his/her body.” But did you know your gut can leak inside your body too?

The leaky gut story begins in a very important organ: your small intestine. The small intestine is so important because most of the vitamins and minerals in the foods you eat are absorbed there. In order for the vitamins and minerals to be absorbed, the small intestine contains microscopic pores so the nutrients can be transferred into the bloodstream. Once transferred, the nutrients are then shuttled and deposited all around the body by the blood.

The wall of the intestine is considered semipermeable. This means the pores only allow certain things to enter the bloodstream and block other things from entering the bloodstream. For instance, specific molecules and nutrients are allowed to pass through but toxins and large undigested food particles are blocked.

The problem with leaky gut is it causes the pores in your intestine to widen. When this happens, the undigested food particles and toxins that are supposed to be blocked are allowed to make their way into the bloodstream. Because these items are not supposed to be in the blood, they cause the immune system to go into attack mode, which can often lead to allergies.

To give you an example, imagine you have leaky gut and eat an apple. When it makes its way into your small intestine, bits of undigested apple that should stay in the small intestine will slip through the large pores directly into your blood. Because these particles are not supposed to be in your bloodstream, the immune system identifies them as dangerous invaders.

Basically, the immune system says, “Hey, this particle shouldn’t be here, so we need to attack it with an immune response and build up antibodies to protect ourselves from it.” The problem is the immune system doesn’t just build up antibodies to the food particles; it attacks your healthy cells, too. This is one of the ways food allergies and autoimmune disorders develop.

So now that we have the general essentially meaningless definition out of the way, let’s find out more about what’s going on… Let’s discuss 1) What Causes Leaky Gut 2) The Signs and Symptoms and 3) How to Fix the Issue

What Causes Leaky Gut?

There are four main causes of leaky gut which include:

• Poor Diet

• Chronic Stress

• Toxin Overload

• Bacterial Imbalance

Poor Diet: Consuming high amounts of refined sugars, processed foods, preservatives, refined flours, and flavorings introduces massive amounts of chemicals into the body that are seen as toxic. If your body has a hard time keeping up, the toxins start to build up and cause inflammation.

Chronic Stress: It weakens your immune system over time, which cripples your ability to fight off foreign invaders like bad bacteria and viruses, leading to inflammation and leaky gut. To reduce stress, I recommend getting more sleep, schedule fun into your week, rest one day a week, meditate on scripture, and hang out with positive, uplifting people.

Toxins: We come into contact with over 80,000 chemicals and toxins every single year, but the worst offenders for causing leaky gut include: antibiotics, pesticides, and tap water.

Bacteria Imbalance: Finally, one of the leading causes of leaky gut is an imbalance between beneficial and harmful species of bacteria in your gut. For many, this imbalance can begin at birth because of a C-section or because the mother didn’t have a healthy gut herself. The overuse of prescription antibiotic drugs, drinking tap water, and the lack of probiotic-rich foods contribute to this imbalance of good and bad bacteria.

The Signs and Symptoms

Many of the conditions and symptoms listed below could be a sign that you have a leaky gut.

Food Sensitivities, especially gluten and dairy

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Autoimmune Disease

Thyroid Problems


Inflammatory Skin Conditions, especially acne, eczema, and psoriasis

Digestive Disorders


Joint Pain

Recurrent Sinusitis

Syndrome X


How do I fix my leaky gut?

The good news is there’s a solution to healing leaky gut. There is a four-step process that includes:

1 REMOVE foods and factors that damage the gut

2 REPLACE with healing foods

3 REPAIR with specific supplements

4 REBALANCE with probiotics

The top foods to REMOVE that cause leaky gut are sugar, grains, conventional meat,conventional dairy and GMO foods. The top toxic exposures to eliminate are tap water, pesticides, and antibiotics. You might have unknown food sensitivities. Find a doctor that can test for mild, moderate, and sever sensitivities to better determine which foods you

should avoid and how often.

The next step is to REPLACE the old foods with healing foods. These foods support healing because they are easy to digest and can help repair the lining of the intestines.

Bone broth – Bone broth (made from scratch) provides important amino acids and minerals including proline, glycine and potassium that can help heal leaky gut and improve mineral deficiencies.

Raw cultured dairy – Probiotic Rich Foods like kefir and yogurt can help heal the gut by destroying bad bacteria like candida.

Fermented vegetables – Try to add fermented foods such as coconut kefir, kvass, sauerkraut or kimchi. These fermented foods contain probiotics essential in helping repair a leaky gut that work by balancing the pH in the stomach and small intestines.

Steamed vegetables – Non-starchy vegetables that are cooked or steamed are easy to digest and are an essential part of the leaky gut diet.

Healthy fats – Consuming healthy fats in moderation like egg yolks, salmon, avocados, ghee and coconut oil are easy on the gut and promote healing.

Fruit – Consuming 1-2 servings of fruit daily is good on a leaky gut diet. You can steam apples and pears to make homemade apple sauce or fruit sauce. Blueberries are also a great choice. Not only are they high in antioxidants, but being a natural source of soluble and insoluble fiber, blueberries can help regulate your gastrointestinal track by just eating a couple handfuls a day.

There are many supplements that REPAIR and REBALANCE your digestive health, but I believe the most beneficial leaky gut supplements are probiotics, L-glutamine, collagen protein, digestive enzymes, omega 3 fatty acids, and a whole food based multivitamin that has adequate zinc, B12, and magnesium.

Probiotics are the most important supplement to take because it helps replenish good bacteria and crowds out bad bacteria. Take at least 20 billion units of probiotics per day.

L-Glutamine is critical for any program designed to heal leaky gut. Glutamine powder is an essential amino acid supplement that is anti-inflammatory and necessary for the growth and repair of your intestinal lining. L-glutamine benefits include acting as a protector: coating your cell walls and acting as a repellent to irritants. Take 2–5 grams twice daily.

Collagen Protein is fantastic for gut repair and function. It also improves inflammation and is great for your skin. I recommend taking 2 tablespoons of Dr. Axe Naturals Collagen Protein daily.

Digestive Enzymes (one or two capsules at the beginning of each meal) ensure that foods are fully digested, decreasing the chance that partially digested foods particles and proteins are damaging your gut wall.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids If you want to heal from any chronic health condition, you’ve got to reduce inflammation in your body, and the best way to do that is to get more omega-3 fats. For fish oil, 1,000 milligrams a day is your key to balancing out those omega-3 levels.

Whole Food Based Multivitamin Today we live in a toxic world, with contaminated air and heavily depleted soil. Because of environmental toxicity and soil depletion, crops grown just decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than are the varieties most of us get today. Even with an abundance of greens and other power foods in your diet, it’s nearly impossible to get everything your body needs to thrive from diet alone. That’s why, for most people, a multivitamin is the answer to COMPLEMENT the foods you eat. And although it is NEVER meant to replace a healthy diet filled with organic, unprocessed foods, it’s the best way to be sure that your body is getting the proper amount of the vitamins and minerals you need.

The bottom line is… Leaky gut often goes undiagnosed because of the variety of symptoms. If you’re having food sensitivities and other symptoms possibly related to leaky gut syndrome, WellnessMD can help you identify your food allergies, possible vitamin and mineral malabsorption, and help you overcome leaky gut syndrome. Contact us for more information and start feeling your best!

Juicing Recipes

If you found my Juicing 101 blog interesting, you might also enjoy trying some of these recipes.
Ginger Beet Juice
4-5 beets
1 apple
1 lemon
1/2 inch giner root
Green Kale Juice
1 bunch of kale
1-2 cucumbers
1-2 green apples
1 lime
Go to Green Juice
1 cucumber
1 green apple
1 lime
3 celery ribs
Spiced Carrot Juice
4 celery ribs
1 apple
3 inch ginger root
3 carrots
Carrot Berry Juice
1 green apple
1 lime
1 pound carrots
1 cup cranberries

Juicing 101

juicecleanseIf you are unfamiliar with juicing, you may be tempted to think that juicing is just another health and fitness trend, or some kind of fad diet. In reality, however, it is a method through which you can easily increase your daily intake of essential nutrients while also cleansing your body and boosting your weight-loss efforts.

What is Juicing?
Simply put, juicing is the process of extracting juice from fruits and vegetables. Juicing can be done by hand or it can be done using an electric household appliance called a juicer, which I prefer.

Juicing Versus Eating Raw Fruits and Vegetables
During juicing the juice (aka the resulting liquid) contains most of the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients found in the whole fruit. However, a significant portion of the insoluble fiber content of fruits and vegetables is lost during the juicing process. This type of fiber can also be found in whole grains so it’s unlikely you will miss out on insoluble fiber if you eat a well balanced diet.

Benefits of Juicing

Gets You Consuming More Fruits & Vegetables
If you make juicing a part of your everyday life, you’ll consume far more fruits and vegetables than you would if you had to eat them in whole form. If you had to chew up a few stalks of celery and eat them with pile of kale and then eat an apple, it would be quite daunting. But a green smoothie made from juicing those same ingredients can be drunk in a few minutes.

Easier to Digest
When you juice you’re getting the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables, but you’re getting them in liquid form. This makes it much easier to digest them, and absorb the nutrients they contain.

Provides Energy
You’ll naturally have more energy from juicing because you’ll be juicing foods that are full of vitamins and minerals that give you real energy.

Detoxifies the Body
Juicing provides essential nutrients that the body needs to help effectively get rid of toxins in the liver, colon, and other organs.

Strengths Immunity and Prevents Illnesses
By drinking your fruits and vegetables, you’re giving your body all the amazing vitamins and minerals it needs to boost your immune system and prevent future illnesses.

Helps you Stay Hydrated
A lot of fruits and vegetables naturally contain a good amount of water. Juicing them releases the water they contain, and therefore you’re getting plenty of hydration along with the vitamins and minerals contained in the fruits and vegetables.

May Aid with Weight Loss
Juicing is also a way to help with weight loss. I recommend substituting one meal per day with a 16oz glass of juice to aid with meeting your caloric, nutrient, and weight loss goals. If you find that you need more calories, then you can always consume three meals per day and have your juice as a snack.

Oxidation occurs the moment you start juicing. This is why it is important to drink the juice right after making it. If you have to store it, just remember that the longer it sits around the less benefits you are getting from it. Use glass or stainless steel containers to store your juice in a refrigerator for 24-48 hours.

I am not a juicer expert by any means. But my mom had a juicer in the 1980s, and I can testify that juicers have come a long way. I have a Breville Juicer and I have found it easy to use, put together and take apart, and to clean. In addition, it’s not super large or heavy. My mom’s juicer was gigantic, heavy, and a pain to clean.

There is still a debate whether or not juicing or eating whole fruits and vegetables are better for you, but I challenge you to just try juicing. Even if eating the whole fruits and vegetables are just as beneficial, I find it easier to consume more fruits and vegetables when juicing. Hence, my body gets more vital nutrients and minerals, works more efficiently, and gets sick less often.

Vegetable juices are the “builders” of the body, while fruit juices are the “cleansers”. – Dr. Norman W. Walker



Adolescents have a lot of pressure on them in today’s world. Things like school, family stuff, friends, church, and sports can be very overwhelming. And let’s not forget we are living in a society where incredible emphasis is placed on beauty, thinness, and general physical appearance. Adolescence is a time of tremendous change in physical appearance, and many teens report dissatisfaction with their body shape and size during this time. Plumpness is no longer viewed as a symbol of success and robust health in American society, but rather as a sign of inadequate self-discipline or insufficient willpower. As a result of such beliefs, today’s larger teens are routine victims of teasing, bullying, and size discrimination. In a society that often blames, shames, and ridicules the victim rather than addressing the environmental conditions that contribute to obesity, those who practice size discrimination are not rebuked because of the high cultural value placed on thinness.

TV shows and magazines are flooding our eyes, ears, and minds with pictures of impossibly thin and muscular models!! The media and our culture tells us how to define beauty. If you don’t believe me, just google some of the advertisements from the 1950s. Being skinny was not viewed as attractive a few decades ago. One ad I found marketing a supplement for women read something like this… “Skinny? And heading to the beach soon? Here’s how thousands gained naturally alluring curves!” And I think we can all agree… most females today aren’t trying to gain weight before heading to the beach! Instead, women are constantly barraged with unrealistically skinny images that often stir up feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and depression. Furthermore, it can lead to the development of eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. My challenge to you, is to not let the media define whether or not you are beautiful. God says you are fearfully and wonderfully made. So who are you going to believe. The God Almighty or the media??

Also worth mentioning (in cause you don’t believe beauty is highly defined by the media) is how people in other parts of the world view beauty. For instance long, graceful necks are considered as symbols of beauty and elegance in a tribe in Burma. Women belonging to this ancient culture wear multiple brass rings coiled around the neck from a very young age and the number of rings increase as the woman grows older. In addition, a tribe in New Zealand considers women with traditional lip and chin tattoos as most beautiful. I don’t know about you, but my husband is definitely not begging me to wear rings around my neck or to get a chin tattoo.

So…..Here’s the deal. During adolescents the biggest and most important growth spurt occurs. This is the most critical time for a person to learn to eat right and treat their body with the respect (and the nutrition!) it deserves. If you don’t you might stunt your growth or develop health problems.

Boys and girls grow at different rates and in different body parts. Throughout infancy and early middle childhood, boys are usually taller and heavier than girls, but during early or preadolescence, the reverse is true. Girls experience their peak growth spurt between ages 9.5 and 14.5, and during this period are actually larger than boys of the same age. Boys grow rapidly when they are about 14.5 years old, on average, and soon regain their advantage in size over girls.

Before we talk about what to eat….let’s talk about what not to eat. If you do eat processed food, please don’t do it daily. Processed food has little to zero nutritional value, and is high in calories, fat, sugar, and salt which can often make you overweight and sick. Processed food should only be consumed in moderation. My family is not perfect when it comes to our diet. We love a good party that includes cake, chips, candy, etc, but I don’t let them live off this type of food. Remember Satan is the ruler of this world, a murderer, a destroyer and attempts to deceive everyone. I believe a lot of the unhealthy conditions and influences around us are the result of his attempt to destroy us physically as well as spiritually.

God created a tremendous variety of food so we would not get bored and to accommodate our taste preferences. But the most important reason for the variety is to help us get an abundance of nutrients that our bodies need. In 1 Corinthians, Paul tells followers of Jesus Christ that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and we are to take care of our bodies and keep them as healthy as we can. Since eating unhealthy can lead to multiple health risks and diseases, we need to realize that our food consumption and exercise habits all play a part in our overall health status.

Teenage boys on average need 1,800 to 2,600 calories a day if they’re 11 to 13 years, and 2,200 to 3,200 calories a day if they’re 14 to 18 years of age. Teenage girls need 1,800 to 2,200 calories a day if they’re ages 11 to 13, and 1,800 to 2,400 calories a day if they’re age 14 to 18. Those involved in strenuous physical activity such as soccer, basketball, football or other sports may need 3,500 calories (more or less) daily.

Adolescents and young adults need a ready, steady supply of carbohydrate foods. The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for carbohydrate is at least 130 gm of total carbohydrate daily for adults and children. This recommendation is based on the minimum amount of carbohydrate needed to provide glucose for brain function. Unfortunately, carbohydrates are often unfairly maligned by the popular media. Carbohydrates are portrayed as villains and are blamed for everything from obesity to mental illness by various fad diets. Unless you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or another reason to cut back, you don’t want to miss out on the health benefits of whole grains. Whole grains provide fiber, a healthy plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals, and a variety of phytochemicals that can improve your health.

Some helpful tips include… Choose whole- grain foods, such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, and low fat popcorn, more often.

Total protein intake is usually adequate in the diet of most adolescents and young adults in America, but a few groups, such as new vegetarians and chronic dieters, are at risk for deficiency. Protein needs for adolescents and young adults are approximately 0.8 gm per kg of body weight and can range from 45 to 59 gm per day according to the Dietary Reference Intakes. These needs can be higher for larger individuals and those with increased needs due to athletic training. One to 1.5 gm protein per kg of body weight may be needed to meet the needs of active young people. Eat lean or low fat meat, chicken, turkey, and fish.

Fish is high in protein, low in saturated fat, and high in omega 3 fats. Omega 3 fats are actually good fats that reduce inflammation and decrease the risk of heart disease. I recommend eating fish twice a week. To avoid contaminants, I would choose wild caught fish over farm raised fish.

Nuts and Seeds are one of my favorite sources of protein. They are a great energy-boosting snack. They are crunchy, flavorful and satisfying. They are great additions to cooked dishes, and they are also nutritional powerhouses, rich in protein, fiber, calcium, and other nutrients, as well as a healthy dose of mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Nuts and Seeds are my typical Go-To Snack. The protein helps keep me full, and they won’t cause a sugar crash like many of the other non-nutritious already prepackaged snack foods.

Eggs have gotten a bad rap in the past for being high in cholesterol. But new studies are showing that even though eggs are high in cholesterol, the effect of egg consumption on blood cholesterol is minimal when compared with the effect of trans and saturated fats. Most healthy people can eat up to 7 eggs a week. Eggs contain a powerhouse of disease fighting carotenoids and complex B vitamins.

The Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) for fat is 25 to 35 percent of total calories for children age four to 18 and 20 to 35 percent of total calories for adults over age 18 (National Academies Press, 2002). Most adolescents these days exceed the recommended intake, and they aren’t consuming healthy fats like nuts, seeds, and the oils listed below.

Olive oil contains antioxidants that can decrease oxidative stress and fight free radicals. Coconut oil contains both mono and polyunsaturated fats that can lower cholesterol and fight inflammation. Just keep in mind, a little oil goes a long way.

Overall a good goal of you daily caloric consumption is 50% carbs, 30% protein, and 20% fat.

Fruit and vegetable intake is low in the adolescent and young adult population. Increased intake of fruits and vegetables can lower overall fat intake by replacing fat. Fruits and vegetables also contain nutrients and phytochemicals that are protective against heart disease and cancer. You need 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. You can put them in a smoothie, eat them raw, steam or roast them. God created a wide variety of fruits and vegetables for you to try and enjoy.

The need for calcium during adolescence and early adulthood is high. Nine to 18-year-olds need 1300 mg of calcium daily while 19- to 24-year-olds need 1000 mg daily.

Dairy foods provide calcium, potassium, protein and phosphorus, and is very helpful for bone health. If you’re not consuming dairy products daily for any specific reason, I would highly recommend supplementing with a good source calcium. Kefir is my favorite dairy product. It’s similar to yogurt, but it is fermented and one of the most probiotic rich foods on the planet. If you’re having any gastrointestinal issues, I highly recommend drinking 8oz of Kefir daily.

If you are wondering if you are consuming nutritious foods, the best way to figure it out….is to track your food with a food diary. This isn’t something you have to do forever. It’s simply a helpful method for you to evaluate and actually see what foods you are putting in your body. Most people don’t realize how much junk and how little healthy foods they are putting in their bodies until it is right in front of them.

If you are electronic savvy, there are a few apps out there that make keeping a food diary easy. In addition, these apps make it easy to see what percentage of carbs, protein, and fats you are consuming every day. MyFitnessPal and Lose It! are two apps worth considering.

Ok… so I know some days are just crazy and there isn’t time to pack food to go. But all fast food doesn’t have to be unhealthy. So when you are ordering your food…. Take a moment to ask yourself… Are you making food choices that will harm or benefit your body? Here are some goals to consider. Aim to eat a meal under 500 calories. Avoid fry foods. Hold the mayo, cheese and sour cream. You can easily save 100s of calories a day by avoiding an excess of these items. Ask for salad dressing on the side so you can monitor how much you actually consume. Order an extra serving of vegetables so you fill up on nutrient dense foods. Drink water or milk instead of sugar drinks with little nutrient value. Don’t Super Size anything. Split a meal with a friend. Lots of restaurants serve an abundance of food, so we tend to eat everything on our plate when our bodies don’t need that much food. Skip the appetizer, bread, and chips. Again, often times these foods don’t have a lot of nutritional value but do add up the calories fast.

Let’s look at a few common fast food restaurants and the better food choices you can choose when eating there. First up is Subway. Subway is one of my family’s favorite. It’s our most frequent visited fast food place. Subway has lots of 6 inch sub options that are well under 500 calories. Keep in mind, if you add mayo and cheese, you will add at least 200 more calories. In addition, chips and a drink will quickly add up the calories too. My favorite is the oven roasted chicken breast and I top it with a ton of veggies.

We can’t leave out McDonalds. McDonalds is very popular but it’s my least favorite place honestly. However, McDonalds still has quite a few menu items that are below the 500 calorie goal. You won’t go wrong with a smoothie or yogurt parfait. They also have oatmeal offered all day and an egg white McMuffin that won’t destroy your weight loss goal on the first meal of the day.

In my house everyone loves Dairy Queen’s treats, but sweets can destroy your weight loss goal in just a few bites. I am a solid believer in everything in moderation, but you still have to be smart when you are splurging if you don’t want to have to run 10 miles the next day. I was impressed that Dairy Queen had quite a few treats under 300 calories. A fudge bar only has 50 calories. The Cherry StarKiss Bar has 80 calories. A DQ ice cream sandwich has 190 calories. And a small banana split blizzard only has 290 calories. In comparison to a small Reese’s peanut butter cup blizzard that has 580 calories, a banana split blizzard isn’t that bad. Just so you know a large Reese’s peanut butter blizzard has over 1,000 calories and 43 grams of fat. So don’t Go Large!

In summary, Total nutrient needs are higher during adolescence than any other time in the lifecycle. Optimal nutrition is vital for achieving full growth potential. Failure to consume adequate nutrition at this time can result in delayed sexual maturation and can arrest or slow linear growth.9A0A8F04-6543-41DA-A7EB-D7FD02408775

Food Diary 101

Weight Loss 101: Why You Should Keep a Food Diary
Many nutritional experts agree that keeping a food diary is critical to weight loss success. A food diary creates a conscious awareness of food intake and eating patterns. The most important factor in keeping an effective food diary is to make it an honest one. Why go to the trouble of keeping a food diary if you aren’t going to be honest with yourself? Remember, no one has to see it but you, so do yourself a favor and stay truthful. Since the main purpose of the food diary is to think twice before consuming a food item, I suggest documenting the food items before consumption.

What to Track in Your Food Diary
In the beginning, I suggest that you document the times you eat, the foods and drinks you consume, portion sizes, total calories, and make notes about what you were doing or feeling at the time. After you get used to documenting the above categories, I suggest you also start tracking macronutrients (grams of carbohydrates, protein, and fat) to ensure you aren’t eating too much or too less of a specific macronutrient. Additionally, some people might benefit from also tracking their sugar and sodium intake. A registered dietitian, nutritionist, or nutrition coach can teach you how to track these categories if you are having trouble. Furthermore, your nutrition expert can help you determine your daily caloric allowance to help you meet your nutritional goals/needs and if warranted help you find a mobile app or computer website that can aid with your tracking.

Awareness is the Key
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before eating. Will this food item put me over my daily caloric allowance? Is it beneficial or harmful to my body/immune system? Am I hungry, bored, emotional, stressed, in a rush, etc? How will I feel after I eat it…satisfied, healthy, ashamed, guilty, etc? Do I need to alter the portion size?

You may find it helpful to record when you tend to overeat so you can plan to arrange other activities in the future that will take your mind off of food.

Get to the Heart of It
For us Americans, food is far from scarce. Hence, we often use food to meet our emotional needs as much as our physical needs. If you tend to binge due to stress, or you regularly give in to emotional eating, your food diary can bring all this into the light. When you catch yourself eating when you’re not hungry or giving into a binge, spend some time with God in reflection so together you can figure out why it happened. I often find myself telling my clients, this isn’t really a nutrition problem…..it’s a heart problem. Don’t make the mistake of filling up on food when you really need to be filling up on God, His word, His truths, His strength, His Spirit, and His power. 

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:26–28, ESV).

The valleys in life are dark places and many of us turn to food when we need to be turning to God. Have life’s difficulties caught you off guard? Do you wonder if God is good? Are you puzzled over how a frustrating, hurtful, or shocking event could possibly contribute to anything good? Though you may not see the good yet (or ever in this life), keep your eyes on God. If He weren’t going to use that situation for your good, it wouldn’t have happened. He has to sign off on every single thing that touches your life. That’s not to say He wanted it—God is not the cause of evil, but He is the solution. large