Top 5 healthy eating challenges

by: Ali B, RD

After discussing weight loss and eating patterns with hundreds of clients and patients over the past few years, I have found that there are many common obstacles to success. It is easier to plan ways to be successful with dieting if you can identify challenges you may run into.

 

Parties/special occasions. Unfortunately, many social gatherings revolve around food and drink. Whether you are at a restaurant for happy hour or a friend’s BBQ, you are likely to run into some food challenges. What can you do to prevent a total disaster? Plan ahead, of course! Here are some of my favorite tips/tricks:

  • Eat before you leave for the event. If you arrive on an empty stomach you’re more likely to eat whatever is convenient and sounds good which, let’s be honest, is never the best choice. If you eat before you leave you are more likely to make wiser decisions when it comes to food.
  • If it’s appropriate, bring an appetizer or side dish. This way, you will have at least one healthy option you can depend on for the evening.
  • Monitor your alcohol intake. It’s no secret that alcohol is full of calories and bad decisions :). Think about it, the more you drink the more likely you are to eat greasy food or go back for seconds.
  • Exercise before heading out the door. Having a healthy relationship with food means realizing you aren’t going to eat “perfectly” all the time. If you are trying to lose weight and know there will be healthy eating challenges in the future, burn some of those expected calories at the gym before you get to the event.

 

Accountability. This is probably the #1 reason people make appointments with me. They know what to do and how to do it, but they have no one to keep them accountable so their good intentions fall through the cracks. I find that people are more successful when they create a weekly goal and check in with someone every three days to report on their progress towards that goal. So find a buddy, have regular appointments with a dietitian, or use social media to help keep you on track.

 

Stress and lack of sleep. For most of us, stress is hard to avoid. Unfortunately, stress can lead to weight retention (or gain) due to the hormones it causes our bodies to release. In addition, when we are stressed we tend to choose unhealthy convenience foods. A side effect of being stressed out is skimping on the amount of sleep we get each night. Not getting enough sleep causes a decrease in metabolism (AKA fewer calories burnt during the day). Here are a few tips for managing stress and improving your sleep habits.

  • Find something that relaxes you. For some people, it’s meditating and yoga, for others it’s journaling. When I’m stressed, a 15-minute walk and well-crafted to-do list takes all my worries away.
  • Perfect the art of meal prep. When you have healthy food prepared in your refrigerator/freezer, you are more likely to choose good options when you are tired and stressed out. Don’t have time to make your own food? Look for a meal delivery company like Feed Your Vitality to prepare healthy food and deliver it to your home.
  • Cortisol is one of the hormones our bodies release when we are stressed. Read here for 7 ways to reduce cortisol and get your weight loss moving in the right direction.
  • Establish a routine. If you are able to predict what your day is going to look like you will be less stressed about what is coming, and may even create a normal bed time. Start out by writing down what you think each day will look like, and then live it out!

 

Slow results. A lot of people lose motivation when the pounds are coming off more slowly than expected. I always like to remind people that the number on the scale is not important. Do your pants fit better? Is it less challenging to walk up the stairs to your office? Is it easier to get out of bed in the morning? There are many more ways to measure your quality of life and overall health than your weight. Pay attention to some other parameters and keep up the good work! Your weight will follow suit.

 

Lack of time. If you are a parent, work too many hours, have a busy social life, or all of the above you may find it difficult to eat healthy and/or exercise. I always like to remind people of their priorities. If your health begins to suffer you may not be able to keep up with all of these demands.

  • Put meal prep and workouts on your calendar, and stick to them like any other meeting. I personally like to plan all my workouts and cooking times at the beginning of the week and fill in the rest of my schedule around it.
  • Utilize some of your spare time. If you only have 30 minutes one evening to cook, use that time to chop vegetables and prepare marinades. Use 45 minutes the next evening to get food in the oven. Put meals together if you have 20 minutes before work.
  • Use your time with loved ones to cook delicious meals. My girlfriends and I have recently gotten into the habit of cooking dinner before going out for the weekend. I always throw in some extra veggies and protein so I can put them in containers and have some food for the beginning of the following week. When you can get your kids involved in mixing sauces and seasoning foods, they not only have a blast but enjoy eating the final product a bit more (win-win).
  • Check out this blog post for other ways I stay healthy when I’m crazy busy.

 

Learning to identify your “problem” areas and creating a plan in advance can help you on your road to success. Are there any other obstacles that get in the way of your healthy eating?

Advertisements

Let’s Talk About Salt

by: Ali Brown, RD, LD

Salt is a substance made of 40% sodium and 60% chloride. It has been around for thousands of years and and has been used for much more than flavoring food.

At one time, salt was so valuable that Ancient Greeks used it as a form of currency. In fact, the word salary comes from the Latin phrase salarium argentum, meaning “salt money”.

Salt was used for preserving food before canning, freezing, and refrigeration became common practice.

Salt has received a bad reputation over the past decade, due to its correlation with high blood pressure. However, sodium plays an important role in our bodies and we simply can’t live without it. The mineral is used to maintain proper fluid balance, regulate blood pressure, and make muscles (including the heart) relax.

 

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Americans advise individuals to eat no more than 2300 mg of sodium, or approximately 1 tsp of salt, each day. People who are at risk for heart disease and hypertension have further restrictions and are recommended to eat less than 1500 mg per day. Unfortunately, the average intake is about 3400 mg (almost 50% more than the recommendation).

So where is all this sodium coming from? Only 5-10% of sodium comes out of your salt shaker at home. Approximately 10% is found naturally in food. The rest is added to food during processing. Sodium can be found in foods that aren’t as obvious as pretzels and popcorn. You can find it in bread, pasta, canned foods, lunch meat, and sauces. For example, 1 teaspoon of hot sauce has 190 mg of sodium. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, consider this. Using 1/2 cup of the same hot sauce contributes 4560 mg of sodium to your diet – almost double the daily recommendation! An easy solution for this is to make your own dips and sauces. See my favorite hot sauce recipe below.

DIY Hot Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 18 fresh cayenne or jalapeno peppers
  • 1-1/2 cups vinegar
  • 2 tsp minced garlic

Directions:

  1. Remove the ends and seeds of the peppers
  2. Put all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. Move the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until smooth.
  4. Add back to the saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes.

 

Tips for reducing intake

  • Eat more fresh foods and less processed foods. Processed foods have salt added to them to extend their shelf life.
  • Drain and rinse canned foods whenever possible. This can reduce the sodium content of foods by more than 40%.
  • Stay away from low-fat products. When food manufacturers take fat out of a food, they look for other ways to make it taste good. This usually means adding salt or sugar.
  • Taste your food BEFORE using the salt shaker. A lot of people put salt on their food before knowing whether it needs it or not. Often times, food tastes just fine without the added sodium.
  • Read food labels! Products can have a wide variety of sodium levels in them. For example, crackers can have anywhere from 25 to 270 mg of sodium per serving. Find products with less sodium to keep on hand.
  • Use herbs and spices to season your food. I cannot talk enough about this! You can grow your own herbs at home, which are pretty to look at, freshen up your food, and make cooking a little more fun. Fill your spice rack with a variety of spices – and use them! Not only can you make food taste great without adding salt, but you can completely change the flavors of a dish that may have been getting boring. See below for my favorite spice blend and marinade.

Savory Spice Blend

  • 2-1/2 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 Tbsp thyme

Lemon Pepper Marinade

  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Nutrition Coaching

If you have ever had a conversation with Feed Your Vitality owner, Ashley Nanney, you likely know that our priority is to assist individuals in their journey to better health. We like to do that in any way possible, the most common being meal preparation and delivery. We have seen many successes from our customers including, but not limited to, weight loss, disease management, and improved energy.

partial-individual-meal

cover-jpgWe strive to support people even when they choose to do their own cooking (more power to you!). For years we have offered cooking demonstrations, tips and tricks classes, and cookbooks to help you be successful at home. Another option for customers is one-on-one nutrition coaching services. Nutrition coaching is one of our most recent services and is perfect for people looking for guidance and support in reaching their goals. Our registered dietitian, Ali, sits down with each client and gets to know them through a behavior analysis, nutrition assessment, and food record. After learning more about the person, she identifies barriers to their success and creates an individualized plan to reach health goals. Follow-up visits are all about assessing progress, identifying challenges, adjusting goals, and diving deeper into the health journey.

64b8709e0ba1c2bcc06e34ea1eb0edb1Ali is currently finishing her master’s degree in nutrition and exercise science at Southeast Missouri State University. Her specialties include weight loss, food allergies, and eating disorders. Some of Ali’s major successes include a 25-pound weight loss, elimination of diabetes medication, and decreased social anxiety when it comes to eating in public.

If you think nutrition coaching could be right for you, feel free to reach out to us using the information below!

Website: http://www.feedyourvitality.com/nutrition-coaching.html
Phone: 314-910-3324
Email: ali@feedyourvitality.com

How to choose a nutrition supplement

by: Ali B, RD

It seems like everyone I talk to these days is taking a supplement of some type, whether it be a multivitamin, protein supplement, or omega-3. Talking about it with people can make you second guess whether you too need the supplement or if you are fine without it. Here are some general guidelines that can assist in choosing the right supplement for you.

 

Decide if you need it. I always laugh when I talk to athletes who want to start taking a protein supplement. A 170-pound athlete needs approximately 90 grams of protein per day (more or less depending on their sport). This amount of protein is high for the average person and can be met by consuming 6 ounces of chicken, 3 eggs, 1 cup of milk, and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. It is not unrealistic for someone to eat this much protein a day, eliminating the need for supplementation.

A general rule of thumb: if you can get nutrients through food, do it! If you are having trouble with that, consider supplementing.

 

Determine the supplement safety. Supplements are strange products because they are not regulated by the FDA like food is. Because of this, supplement manufacturers are not held accountable for the ingredients and safety of supplements (yikes!). To learn more about that, watch this John Oliver video that explains some flaws of the supplement industry. I like to look up supplements at nsf.org, the Public Health & Safety Organization’s website. They analyze supplements to ensure the claims on the bottles are true and that all ingredients inside the container are listed on the label. If these requirements are met, the product will receive an NSF safety certification. Their website is easy to use – you can search for a supplement (e.g. “probiotic”), and the website will list their certified products.

 

Talk to your doctor. This is especially important if you have a medical condition or prescription. Some supplements may have side effects that can worsen your condition, while others may alter the effectiveness of certain medications. If you have an upcoming surgery or dental procedure, make sure to disclose that you are taking a supplement when you schedule the appointment –you may be asked to stop taking the product for 1-3 weeks prior to prevent side effects like excessive bleeding.

 

Is there a maximum dose? While rare, some nutrients can cause negative side effects when used in excess. For example, large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids are linked to colon cancer, vitamin A deficiency (think poor eye health), and vitamin D deficiency (weakened calcium absorption). Unless recommended by your doctor, never take more than the manufacturer’s recommended dose.

Get on the kale train, baby

by: Angelique Hicks

 

Kale, kale everywhere!  Only a few short years ago I didn’t even know what kale was, and quite frankly, I didn’t want to know.  Now this crunchy little guy is all over the place!  Dare I say that I even saw a kale salad on the McDonalds menu???  That is progress!

When my health coach first introduced me to the idea of eating kale,  I was like, awwwwe man…ick.  I was gonna have to force this one down.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a very adventurous eater and usually  I am one to try anything once, but this wasn’t a one time shot she was asking for.  It was a suggestion to add kale into my diet everyday or at least every week.  Seriously??  Why, in all that is good and delicious, would I want to do that?!  Well, let me tell ya….

I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of hearing about people, especially those close to me, coming down with cancer.   Two words: Over. It.  The good news? Kale contains numerous cancer-fighting substances and is loaded with compounds that are believed to have PROTECTIVE effects against cancer.  That’s right, cancer protection in a leaf.  Pretty cool, huh?  I think so.

Kale is THE most nutrient dense food on the planet.  Why is that important?  Most of us are nutrient deficient.  Meaning, we are in the red when it comes to giving our body the proper nutrients to function optimally.  If we aren’t giving our body the necessary items to do it’s thing, the likely hood of disease is higher.  If you want to get into the black, nutritionally speaking, eating kale is a great way to dramatically increase the nutrient content of your diet.

If cancer prevention isn’t enough, kale also aids in weight loss!  Kale is very low in calories, but still provides significant bulk that helps you feel full.  And despite the fact that kale is low in cals, it contains protein and fiber, both considered important nutrients when it comes to losing weight.  A cancer fighter AND a weight loss aid? Kale has it goin on!

But Angelique, how in the heck do I use kale in recipes?  Isn’t it tough and tasteless?  Why, no dear reader, it’s actually neither of those things if prepared properly.  To help you transition into your love of kale, here is a link to my favorite massaged kale caesar salad: http://www.annies-eats.com/2013/04/29/massaged-kale-caesar-salad/.  This is a great recipe that is super easy and amazingly delicious!   This is only a jumping off point though. The possibilities are endless.  You can put kale in your smoothies, soups, salads, stews, eggs, and wraps.  It is versatile and holds up really well in most dishes.

So hop on the kale train and take it for a ride!  You may find that it actually becomes your new favorite vegetable.  I know it did for me!  Toot toot!!

Dive (or Cannonball!) into Easy Family Dinners

photo(1)A new year means new resolutions, and I don’t know about you, but to me the start of the school year feels as much like a new beginning as January! My kids go back to school, we settle back into routines, and it’s time to renew good habits and move past the temptations and unhealthy treats that so often accompany summer vacation.   My “resolution” is to make a commitment to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle for myself because I now know that I genuinely feel better when eating healthy… I also like the idea of my family eating healthy dinners to ensure that they get at least one “good” meal in the course of the day. And while the schedules and routines that come with a new school year can be positive in many ways, it can also make it difficult to actually prepare these healthy meals when trying to get home from work, pick up from soccer practice, help with homework, run to the grocery store – and on and on! Feed Your Vitality can empathize with this challenge and so we are excited to offer Family Style packaging. Each Family Style meal is designed to feed four people for $42.99   We sincerely hope this will help busy families – let us come up with delicious ways to get dinner on the table (loaded with vegetables and protein!) My kids are always asking me to bring home meals from work – a definite perk to working here at Feed Your Vitality, to be sure! It is hugely satisfying for me to hear them say “I love that Indian Chicken Curry – when can we have that again?”

We would love to hear your feedback, and especially would love to hear about your kids and their favorite Feed Your Vitality dishes!  (The picture here is of my son Danny from a family outing this summer – and by the way, his personal favorites are the Pineapple Jerk Chicken and the Asian Seasoned Turkey with Green Beans and Riced Cauliflower!)

What’s Cooking at Feed Your Vitality?

While my kids are just finishing school for the year, Feed Your Vitality is delighted to tell you we are just getting warmed up with some awesome cooking classes for the summer months! To sign up for these classes, just go to our website, click on the Classes tab, and check out our calendar. All of these classes will be held at Feed Your Vitality, 1821 Cherokee Street, 63118. If you haven’t seen our beautiful new space, check it out here 

And here is where you can register for any of our classes!  FYV Class Registration

Our classes are taught by either Ashley Nanney, CEO of Feed Your Vitality OR our new instructor Angelique Hicks! Angelique is an IIN Holistic Health Coach, and has a passion for helping busy women lose weight and feel great without sacrificing the fun in life! She attained her education from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition where she was privileged to learn from many leaders in nutrition and eating behavior, including Dr. Mark Hyman, Geneen Roth, David Wolfe, and Andrew Weil. It is Angelique’s mission to help those who have struggled with their weight, as well as clear up the confusion of what to eat among the countless diets out there. She encourages balance, in all areas, when striving for a life you love.

Are you interested in expanding your healthy dinner options? Our first Paleo/Anti-Inflammatory class is 5 Quick and Easy Make Ahead Freezable Meals. Why prepare 5 different meals on 5 different days? This class is designed to teach you how to shop, prep, prepare and store 5 delicious meals, all at the same time! This class will be held on Wednesday, May 27th. Can’t make it that evening? It’s offered again on Wednesday, June 24th!

Are you looking for new ways to jazz up your salads? Then you may want to attend our Paleo/Anti-Inflammatory Sassy Summer Salads on Thursday, May 28th. Tired of bringing the same old thing to your pot luck or family dinners?  Join us in creating new and refreshing, healthy salads for your next BBQ or gathering.  Enjoy generous samples and learn creative ways to turn your boring veggies into delicious dishes that will have even the pickiest eaters wanting more!  Recipes include Massaged Kale Caesar Salad, Thai Crunch Salad and Bacon Lime Sweet Potato Salad.

If you’re up for a fun and tasty Friday evening out, join us on June 19th for our Must.Have.Chocolate… Oh, and Wine! This Paleo/Anti-Inflammatory class provides the opportunity to enjoy samples of three different types of chocolate desserts paired with a hand-picked wine for each recipe.  Who says a healthy lifestyle can’t include chocolate?  All recipes are dairy-free, refined sugar-free, grain-free, corn and soy free!  Recipes include Cashew Butter Cups, Raw Chocolate Pudding, and Fudgy Brownies. This class costs $45.

Are you interested in making Paleo Dips and Sauces? Learn new techniques for your old favorites.  Using all Paleo ingredients, these recipes are so delicious, that going back to your old ways would be unthinkable!  Recipes include Paleo Hummus, Cashew cream and BBQ sauce. This class costs $35 and is held on Wednesday, July 22nd.

While most of our classes are Paleo/Anti-Inflammatory, we are excited that on Wednesday, June 17th we will be hosting Simple Recipes for Phase 1 class – this was designed to help you connect with others on the journey to wellness and teach the basics of oil free, low calorie, simple recipes that are perfect for the most restrictive phase of a variety of detox and weight loss anti-inflammatory plans including SHAPE ReClaimed, VLCD, hCG and others. Can’t make it June 17th? You are in luck! We will have this same class on July 15th as well! Doors open at 6:30 pm and it costs $35.

In addition, we can offer the following classes to suit your schedule – for groups of 10 or more. If you have a group and would like to set up a time, we would be happy to schedule a class!

  • SHAPE – Deserts and Treats for Phase 1, SHAPE Transitioning to Phase 2 Recipes for Success
  • Paleo/Anti-Inflammatory – Making Vegetables Fabulous
  • Anti-Inflammatory Baking Classes – Gluten, corn, soy, dairy, refined sugar and grain free recipes – Living Apple Pie, Chocolate Lovers Only, Grain Free Bread Basics, Cookies 3 Ways

Please email suzy@feedyourvitality.com if you would like more information!

Thinking Outside the FYV Box

WP_20150421_09_26_29_RichAre you sometimes sad when you finish your delicious Feed Your Vitality Paleo or SHAPE meal and have just an empty dish in front of you? Do not be down because you still have one of our awesome and versatile containers that you can use over and over again in countless ways! First, they are freezer and microwave friendly and 100% BPA free. Did you know that they are also dishwasher friendly? If you find you have more containers than you need, please feel free to return them clean and empty to FYV; we then donate them to a local organization, Meals Do Matter. Just last weekend this group was able to use some of the donated containers for soups and chili that they made and froze and now have readily available. Meals Do Matter delivers meals (in their words) “to brighten someone’s day and lighten their load during a temporary struggle, i.e. sympathy, surgery, recovery, rehab, new baby, hospice, broken bone or broken heart, new job, loss of job, new house, relocation, financial crisis, chemotherapy, college or chaos!” To find out more about this organization, check out their website http://www.mealsdomatter.org.

However, if you do choose to keep some of the containers for yourself or your friends, here are some of the ways that we use them around my house!

Reheat meals

Jewelry organizer

Office or School supplies

Snacks

Pack a lunch

Small first aid kit

Crayons

Hold nails, screws, etc. in our tool bench

Wrapping small gifts

Dog food & biscuits (also a great portable water bowl to bring with on the road!)

My daughter’s hair bows and headbands

Hobby materials

And many more!

So how about you? Do you have any ways that you like to re-use your Feed Your Vitality containers?

SHAPE ReClaimed Lessons on Artificial Sweeteners

Slide-1-treeI recently wrote a blog about natural sweeteners; it was in the context of how a paleo/anti-inflammatory diet does not include sugar BUT suggested some natural sweeteners we can use instead (honey, dates, molasses, maple syrup and Sweetleaf Stevia.)

I did not mention the flip side of these natural sweeteners that are allowed, in moderation, in a paleo/anti-inflammatory diet…that would be the artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) so common in today’s food and beverage industry. Recently I read two articles (“Sugar Sham” and “Evaluating Sweeteners”) by Linda A. Frisch, one of the founders of SHAPE ReClaimed. I can’t tell you how impactful reading these articles was to me.   Linda graciously allowed me to talk about her articles in this blog, and I am truly grateful to her.

The articles focus on three artificial sweeteners (saccharin, aspartame and sucralose) and HFCS, and their contribution to our nation’s declining health. It was eye-opening to learn how much sweeter these manufactured sweeteners are compared to sugar (sucrose) (aspartame 200x sweeter, sucralose 600x sweeter) and the science behind these chemicals. And it was disturbing to learn that bottom line, the human body can’t process them all. HFCS is another sugar alternative used by the food industry and its inexpensive cost means that it is being used more and more (sometimes combined with artificial sweeteners) and is often linked to the growing obesity problem in this country. Another fact I hadn’t considered was that while product packaging may say “sugar free”, it may still contain artificial sweeteners – once again, a great reason for reading those nutritional labels! I strongly urge everyone to read both of these informative articles; they are a very compelling argument for avoiding these three artificial sweeteners!   Sugar Sham +

And just a reminder, you can hear the founders of the SHAPE ReClaimed program, Dr. Todd and Linda A. Frisch at the upcoming SHAPE Warriors event here at Feed Your Vitality on Saturday, May 2nd! It is an amazing opportunity to hear them speak in person and also have the opportunity to engage in questions and answers. It will be a full day packed with great information, a delicious SHAPE approved lunch prepared by Feed Your Vitality chefs, and interaction with other SHAPE Warriors. The cost is $50, and you can register by calling 636-207-6600 and ask for Natalie!

shape logo