Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summertime Bucket List 2013

Last year, I created a Summertime Bucket List because:

1.      I’m completely in love with this time of year.
2.      I completely love making lists.

This summer is packed with plans and I couldn’t be any more excited for the all that’s in store over the next few months.

Here are some of the fun things I’m dreaming up for Summer 2013.

1.      Attend an outdoor concert.
2.      Go camping along the coast for a weekend.
3.      Attend the Artisan Markets at Williams Sonoma in Pasadena & Santa Monica.

4.      Host LUNA’s Feed Your Strength at Work nutrition consultations with Lisa.
5.      Hike to the Punch Bowls in Santa Paula (and avoid getting lost for hours this time).
6.      Take full advantage of my membership at Descanso Gardens.
7.      Make these for Sunday brunch.
8.      Cook with a vegetable I’ve never tried before.
9.      Go white water rafting – and stay in my raft!

10.  Pack a picnic for a Dodger’s Game.
11.  Celebrate my beautiful best friend, Lisa and the man of her dreams on their wedding day – and attempt to say my speech with bawling my eyes out.

What do you have in store for your summer months? We’d love to hear your summertime bucket list.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Top 5 Nutrition Myths

The following diet myth-busters are based on LUNA’s Debunking the Diet video series.  It you haven’t seen it, you should check it out here   

Full disclaimer:  We work with LUNA.  But, we loved them even before they hired us to be a part of their nutrition team.

Myth #1:         Eating fat makes you fat.

The Truth:      Your body needs fat!  Fats are necessary to help our bodies absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), and are building-blocks for every cell in our body, even helping us have glowing skin and healthy hair.  Fat is also satiating!  When we eat fat, it sends a signal to our brain that says, “I’m full.  I’m satisfied.”  Eating a little fat with our meals can actually help us eat less, overall.  And even better, fat tastes good!  Some fats are better than others, like avocados, extra virgin olive oil, and nuts and seeds.  But, it’s all about balance.  So, don’t be afraid of buttering your toast.  When you’re eating foods higher in fat, just choose smaller portion sizes. 

Myth #2:         Eating carbs makes you fat.

The Truth:      Your body needs carbs!  In the body, carbohydrates are converted directly to glucose, which is the best form of fuel for your body and the only fuel used by your brain.  Your brain alone needs about 500 - 600 calories of glucose daily to function.  Anytime we give up a whole food group, we’re likely to crave it and overeat in the long run.  Balance is key.  Most of the time, choose whole, intact carbohydrates, like whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables.  These are high in fiber, filled with phytonutrients, and satisfying!

Myth #3:         Snacking makes you fat.

The Truth:      Smart snacking is good for us!  Eating regularly throughout the day ensures you don’t get too hungry, tired, or cranky before your next meal.  Snacking actually helps prevent us from overeating later in the day.  Just think of them as many meals, with the same combination of protein, fat, carbohydrates and fiber.  Also, take the time to enjoy your snacks!  Give yourself a few minutes to sit and savor what you’re eating.  Your body—and your soul—will think you!

Myth #4:         Fasting is the best way to lose weight.

The Truth:      Dieting—especially fasting, or skipping meals—is stressful and tends to raise cortisol levels contributing to higher rate of weight regain, depression, and upper body obesity.  Instead of fasting, eat small portions of healthy foods regularly throughout the day.  The best eating plan is to eat frequent small meals and snacks with a little protein, fat, carbohydrate and fiber, to give you energy and keep you satisfied from morning ‘til night!   

Myth #4:         Eating after 8 p.m. makes you gain weight.

The Truth:      Your body doesn’t care what time it is.  If you’re really listening to your body, and learning to understand when you’re really hungry—or when you’re just bored, tired, angry, happy, or some other emotions—then when to eat will take care of itself.  What’s important is the total number of calories that we take in over the course of the day.  Our bodies don’t care if we eat at 6 pm or 10 pm, as long as the total calories we take in doesn’t exceed our needs.  So, calories count, the clock doesn’t.  So, really what we should be focusing on is practicing moderation, not deprivation.  If you have a late dinner, that’s totally fine.  And if you need a snack before bed, that’s fine, too.  Stop watching the clock, and eat when you’re hungry.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Dietitian Is In! Tea Seed Oil

When we meet someone for the first time and share what we do, it often seems to open the gateway to a game of 20 questions. “What do you think about the Paleo diet?” “It’s a good thing to give up gluten, right?” “Is a banana bad for me?” “So, do you always eat healthy?” When we’re asked these kinds of questions, we’re happy to answer them. We feel grateful that people feel comfortable enough to ask. Here's a recent question we were asked...and here's the answer!

Question: I saw tea seed oil in a natural food store; is it a healthy fat?

Answer: Tea seed oil is an edible, cold-pressed oil derived from the seeds of the Camellia oleifera, a shrub native to China. The oil is used extensively in China for cooking, as its high smoke point of 485ºF and stability make it ideal for cooking seafood, poultry, meat or vegetables. Tea seed oil is also a popular base for marinades, dips, dressings and sauces. Tea seed oil is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fat—52 percent and 23 percent, respectively. In the Western world, this oil is gaining more attention for its speculated antioxidant properties. Preliminary studies indeed indicate that the compounds in tea seed oil exhibit activity that may help protect against diseases caused by free radicals and oxidative damage, such as cancer and heart disease. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to incorporate a little tea seed oil into your diet, especially if a recipe calls for high temp cooking. But keep in mind that tea seed oil is not as readily available on this side of the globe. You might be better off using extra virgin olive oil as your first choice of oils. As with any oil, tea seed oil calories—at 120 per tablespoon—can add up quickly.

This Q &A was written by McKenzie for the "Ask the Expert" section in the March 2013 issue of Environmental Nutrition.