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Archive for April, 2010

So recently, and actually, quite often, I am presented with this question from a patient: “Can you help me find the right fuel for my body?”  I love challenges, so I agree.  In order to find this right fuel, I must ask the client some questions and make an assessment.  This is similar to how it might proceed:

Assessment # 1: subject is human.  The subject is not alien, at least as far as I can tell, and I am hoping if they are, that I am not their fuel of choice.  So, if the subject is indeed human, then we can probably rule out gasoline, grass, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, yellow # 25 or red #5 being the desired fuel for their body.  So far, so good!

Assessment # 2: subject is sedentary.  This is important, not because being active would necessarily change the desired fuel, but it would increase the need for such fuel and timing might be important depending on level of activity.  But, in this subject, and in most that I see, the activity level that they are engaging in does not require additional fuel. 

Assessment # 3: subject is not pregnant or breast-feeding.  Again, this does not necessarily change the type of fuel required, just the amount.

Assessment # 4: subject has no known allergies to food. This may limit the variety of choices that the individual may have in selecting their fuel, but by no means does this change the fuel.  We are on a roll now!

Assessment # 5: subject has no chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease.  These conditions really wouldn’t change the fuel that is recommended, but depending on medications, timing may be important.  Moving right along!

At this point, I share with the subject that I am fairly certain that I have acquired all necessary information to make recommendations regarding the proper fuel for them.  And, then there comes the look of disbelief upon their face.  So, I ask them what they’re thinking.  They tell me they don’t understand how I could possibly know what fuel they require.  I didn’t even ask their blood type, their astrological sign, test the pH of their saliva, check their pulse, smell their urine, use tarot cards, or, and this is important, consult my crystal ball.  And, I reply, that no, I do not need any of these things as they are not important and I have the far greater power of intuition, as I chuckle to myself.  They are wide-eyed in anticipation as I deliver their recommendations:

  1. Eat real food.  Eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts/seeds, lean meats and fish, eggs and low-fat dairy.
  2. Avoid faux foods, this means no processed foods that come in bags, boxes, or Styrofoam containers.  Eliminate foods that contain ingredient lists longer than Rapunzel’s hair.
  3. Eat mindfully.  Pay attention to hunger and satiety, slow down with eating, eat at the dinner table, etc. 
  4. Drink mostly water. 

And, still the look of astonishment on their faces.  Hmmm….could it be because they have heard this before?  Because it is not as difficult as they thought it was?  Did they think that they were going to get something specifically for them?  It is usually all of these things.  So, they leave, in a huff, that this dietitian did not do her job.  It frustrates and amuses me at the same time that I would actually get far greater reviews if I told them that they should eat 15 100-calorie packs daily, 6 soft tacos daily, eat fruit by itself, 2 shakes and 1 sensible meal, or stay away from dairy because you are blood type O+, but I can’t do this because I don’t believe it.  I will continue to tell my clients what I know to be right.  That real food is the proper fuel for humans, not processed crap.  Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

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Happy Earth Day from Eve!  It just so happened that I was able to ride my bike in to work this most beautiful morning. Unfortunately, I can’t do this everyday and realize that in order to sustain our planet, we need to make an effort on more than just one day per year.  I am not here to argue if global warming is real or not, which, to me, the “label” doesn’t matter. I feel politicos and talking heads get too caught up in the details and definitions, what matters is that we use our common sense and conscience in making choices to maintain our planet.  And, I don’t think we have to be extreme in our actions, although that would certainly speed things up, but I know how change and people work together, so let’s start small.  I believe that small changes by a majority of people can make a significant impact on the place we call home, Earth.  The space program has been put on hold, so it’s not looking good that we could move to the moon if we continue to destroy this home, so we need to focus on the actions that can uphold this abode for future generations.

Now, since I am a dietitian and avid runner, I will focus on our food purchases and fitness.  Activity is much easier to address, so I’ll start there first.  Ride your bike to work like I did today, it was a beautiful way to get to work, definitely less stressful than driving and I was able to get in some activity. I know others that have skateboarded to work and maybe even some roller girls that have strapped on those skates to get form place to place.  Instead of driving from parking lot to parking lot, park centrally and walk to the usually very close stores.  Walking, biking, and skating to places accomplishes much more than just sparing the world from more carbon emissions; it is also kind to the pocket book, can reduce stress, and increase activity.  So, it’s a win, win, win, win!!!! 

On to the food…most would probably think that I would talk about organic here and focus on that aspect, which is certainly much more sustaining to our soil and doesn’t pollute our waters or food, which is a definite plus.  But, unfortunately, even with organic foods from South America, Hawaii, Florida, and California, they have to get to us through the use of fuel and they are usually packaged in lots of plastic and other goods that will likely not get recycled.  I am not saying that you should go to the extreme of a locavore, someone that only eats within a 100 miles radius of their home, but when you can, buy local.  It would be pretty difficult to be a locavore here in Indiana, I am sure some have done it, but I would certainly miss avocados, bananas, almonds, and mangoes…mmmm….well, I suppose I could move to Chile or Brazil.  Short of moving across the world, small changes like substituting some local foods into your diet can make a difference.  You are supporting your local economy and the small farmer, giving them income to continue doing what they’re doing. Also, by buying local, you are more than likely getting organic, getting fresher foods as they haven’t traveled days or weeks, reducing the use of fuels to get these foods to you, and eliminating the excessive packaging.  Most have the “all or nothing” mindset, but I do believe that small changes in your purchasing decisions can make a big impact! 

There are so many ways to get local foods here in Indiana.  I have links to the right with local farms that have a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for vegetables, chickens, and eggs, all of which I belong to.  The guy in the picture is Todd Jameson, he is the owner, along with his wife, of Balanced Harvest Farms, which is where my husband and I get our produce during the summer months.  I am pretty sure that Simpson Family Farm is still enlisting for the chicken CSA….these chickens eat grass and bugs, might be smaller, probably due to lack of steroids, but they are delicious!  If you can’t afford a CSA, some can be costly upfront, maybe recruit some friends or neighbors that might share the cost with you and the enjoyment of the delicious food to come.

Farmer’s Markets are another great way to get local produce and meats without the cost of the CSA.  I have also added a link to the farmer’s markets in Indianapolis in my local links.  Hope to see you there, without car, of course!  Happy Earth Eternity!

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So a few of the roller derby girls are doing a Paleo diet and they were talking about Paleo Brownies that they made.  We all agreed that if you are going to have brownies, just have the real thing….with real flour, sugar, oil, cocoa, etc….its not as if we eat brownies everyday.   Then I got to thinking, paleo brownies? Really?  Is this just a way for those to say they are on a strict “Paleo diet” and still have dessert?  For those of you unfamiliar with the Paleo diet, it is in accordance with how our ancestors used to eat in the Paleolithic era, also known as the Stone Age, which was in the age between 20,000 to 2.5 million years ago.  The diet consists of most of what I promote here: fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and natural meats.  It does not include processed foods, for obvious reasons, nor potatoes, beans, or dairy.  It is an extremely simplistic diet and one that I would promote, but I also think that other foods can be included for those of us that want a little more variety and as modern equiment has made other items available like dairy.   I am pretty sure that our Paleo ancestors did not make brownies, nor did the have the means to do so.  They for one, did not have ovens that heated to exactly 350 degrees, and probably did not have access to cocoa or spend their time grinding almonds and other nuts into flour.  Paleo brownies are the equivalent of someone saying that they are going to make a solid wood table and then it is some crappy particle wood….yes, its wood, but its certainly not the same.  I don’t have a problem with these brownies in particular, but they aren’t Paleo.   I am not sure if some that do this are searching for a way to have dessert, to make dessert healthier, or just trying to be elitist in their food options, which many people do, but it is definitely not the roller girls I know.  Brownies and other dessert, can be included in a healthy diet, but if you are eating them so much that you feel the need to make them “healthier,” then you may want to reconsider how often you have dessert.  Some people that have a gluten intolerance, certainly couldn’t have regular brownies, so these brownies that have no wheat flour, would be a good option.  Bottom line, if you want to eat a brownie or another dessert, eat it.  If you want to make it healthier, then do so by using almond flour and better ingredients, but don’t glamorize them into a Paleo diet….it just makes me roll my eyes.  Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.

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Cheers to Running!

As spring hits, my miles starts to amp up as does my love of running. The picture to the left is of last year’s Dances with Dirt relay….and, yes, we wore the tutus the entire race!  We were crossing the finish line, with beers in hand, after 60 miles out in the mud, bushes, ravines, hills, and tunnels.  I have NEVER been so sore in all my years of running or other sports, for that matter.  Our team, the eXXtreme dirty dancers, will ride again on May 15 in Gnaw Bone, IN.  

 

Then, after this, I start marathon training.  I will be embarking on my 6th full marathon this fall, training starts at the end of May.  My first marathon was Chicago in 2006 with a finish time of 3:38:40.  I was on my way to Boston, which was a fantastic experience, although I swore off running full marathons after the hilly and Nor’easter experience that was the 2007 Boston Marathon.   But, I had somehow blocked out the pain that fall as I began training for the New York City marathon.  NYC was my favorite, maybe it had something to do with my entourage, but it is awesome experience to run through Central Park as thousands of screaming spectators cheer you on for those last grueling miles towards an amazing finish. This picture is with a few of my entourage, Kimmy and Gordo!   Last year I revisited Chicago to get my personal best time of 3:29:30; my goal was 3:30:00.  The weather was absolutely perfect and my hard training paid off.  Immediately after the race, I started thinking about my next marathon.  Other runners understand this crazy obsession, but many stand open-jawed as I tell them that I am going to run, yet another, 26.2 mile marathon and put in about three 20+ mile runs during training.  For me, running provides some clarity to an otherwise busy and sometimes stressful day.  Nothing gives me more peace than hearing that repetitive foot strike on pavement.  Marathons give me something to work toward.  Training for 18 weeks provides me with the structure to reach those goals.  I like goals! And so, again, I embark on my next goal…The Berlin Marathon….and since finishing is just not enough for me, my time goal is 3:25:00.  My husband will be running his first marathon with Berlin, we’ll see if he catches the running bug.  You may ask how I finally convinced him to run…with beer, of course. Well, it was actually all his idea, although beer may have had something to do with it.  After the marathon, we are heading down to Oktoberfest in Munich.  Good German beer shall be our reward. Prost!

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I just heard that a consumer advocacy group is rallying to get Ronald McDonald banned because he has “hooked kids with unhealthy foods, spurring a deadly epidemic.”  WOW!  Who knew?  Next, we will ban Santa Claus because he is obese, the Easter bunny because he keeps delivering chocolate, and the tooth fairy, well, because I am sure he whispers in the kids’ ears to go buy all the junk food they can with the money they get from their teeth.   Now, I don’t like how McDonald’s, or most of the food industry, market their foods, but where is the personal responsibility?  Do we really think banning a scary-looking clown is going to bring down obesity rates in America?  People have gone off their rocker!!!    Don’t parents still have the final say in what their kids eat?  Are parents somehow mesmerized by Ronald McDonald?  Maybe he has some super-sized powers that I am not aware of??  Maybe he carries french fries in his pocket??  Because if it were me and Ronnie in a dark alley, I would run  and scream my bloody head off at just the sight of him.  I guess I don’t see the allure.  I don’t remember wanting to go to McDonald’s as a kid because of Ron.  McDonald’s was a treat.  Not to mention, the portions were not nearly as big as today.  Huh, maybe that could be the reason for rising obesity rates??  Large portion sizes??  People eating at fast food more??  Nah, its the fictional characters, duh!

Now, I am not stupid.  I know these companies use these characters to entice children to eat their foods.  However, I again state that parents need to be responsible for what kids eat.  I am not saying that McDonald’s should be banned from a kids diet.   I don’t have kids, but if I did, I would probably let them enjoy McDonald’s every once in awhile.  I am just saying that the parents are the adults in that relationship and should be making the choices of what is consumed in the household and what goes on their child’s plates.

Also, if we are going to ban Ronnie, then we need to look at the Cookie Monster, oh, that’s right, he’s being considered.  Well then, the Hamburgler should certainly be banned, right?  Well, he eats all the hamburgers he can steal, so he is promoting obesity and theft.  Very bad.  What about Tony the Tiger?  He makes us believe that if we eat Frosted Flakes, we will be very strong, uh, that’s not true?  Damn.  Maybe we should burn down the Keebler Elves’ house?  Just say’n, with all the cookies they’re making…seems reasonable.  Yep, I am pretty sure that if we destroy all fictional characters, obesity would also be destroyed. Down with Chef Boyardee.

I could go on and on making fun of this, but I will end my sarcasm here.  I could list the many great things that Ronald McDonald charities does for kids and families, but my real point today is that these advocacy groups and others are spending their money, probably some of our money, too, trying  to ban fictional characters and finding other ridiculous culprits for obesity.  Should we not be spending this money on educating parents and others on budgeting, meal planning, grocery shopping, and basic cooking skills?  Providing instruction on planting their own garden, seasonal foods, and canning foods for winter?  I am certainly not under the impression that all families will do this, but some will, and in doing so, they will have acquired new skills  in feeding their families, whether low or high income.

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