All posts by balancedrd

Blog Survey

Hi there!  I recently saw this survey on Carrots n’ Cake blog and thought it would be fun to share my answers.

  1. Who are you named after?  My first name is not after anyone specific.  But, my middle name (Raylene) is after my Grandpa and Uncle (Ray).
  2. Last time you cried?  I cried last weekend because my dog knocked over a bottle of pumped breastmilk and spilled 4 ounces.  If you have pumped before, you know how tragic this seems!  haha!
  3. Do you like your handwriting?  I like my print writing better than my cursive.  I tend to mix the two together when writing.
  4. What is your favorite lunch meat?  Definitely turkey!
  5. Do you still have your tonsils?  I sure do!
  6. Would you bungee jump?  NO!!  I’m way too big of a chicken for that!
  7. What is your favorite kind of cereal?  I eat oatmeal the most often, but I really like Rice Krispies or Rice Chex.  I used to love Lucky Charms when I was a kid–I may need to try those again one day soon!
  8. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?  Not unless I have to.  I wish I could wear slip on shoes (sandals) every day of my life!
  9. Do you think you are strong?  I need to work on my physical strength since having a baby a couple of months ago.  My lower body is definitely stronger than my upper body.
  10. Favorite ice cream? Cookie dough or chocolate chip.
  11. What is the first thing you notice about someone?  Their eyes.
  12. Football or baseball?  Football, but I love going to baseball games too.
  13. What color pants are you wearing?  Black
  14. Last thing you ate?  Oatmeal with peanut butter and honey.
  15. What are you listening to?  The outdoorsy sound that our Rock n’ Play makes.  My 2 month old is currently napping.
  16. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?  Pink.
  17. Favorite smell?  Coffee, rain, fresh laundry
  18. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?  My husband.
  19. Married?  Yes, since August 2014!
  20. Hair color?  Brown.
  21. Eye color?  Blue.
  22. Favorite food to eat?  Tie between pizza and ice cream.
  23. Scary movies or happy endings?  Happy endings, I am a sucker for a good romantic comedy!
  24. Last movie you watched?  Bridget Jones’ Baby
  25. What color shirt are you wearing? White
  26. Favorite holiday?  Christmas!
  27. Beer or Wine?  Beer
  28. Night owl or morning person?  Depends on the day!  I like to go to bed early, but I’m also not a great morning person 🙂
  29. Favorite day of the week?  Saturday

Phew!  That was a long survey!  If you have any unique answers, share them in the comments.  I am hoping this fun, little survey eases me back into blogging after another hiatus.  Although, this blog will still be primarily nutrition focused, I plan to share some of my experiences with pregnancy, breastfeeding and maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a newborn.  Stay tuned!

Is BMI The Best Marker of Health

I consistently have patients tell me that they need to lose weight because their BMI is too high.  When I hear this, I want to know a lot more about the individual before I determine their individual nutrition needs!

BMI is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters.  Sounds pretty simple right 🙂 This number is then used to categorize the individual into one of many categories including underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese.  Medical professionals and insurance companies often use this number to determine if an individual is at increased risk for certain health conditions and chronic diseases.  According to the CDC, BMI can be used as a screening tool to assesss health but several other assessments need to be performed to determine actual health status.

bmi-for-men-and-women
Source: World News Today

 

As a registered dietitian, BMI is only a very small portion of what I look at when assessing a patient or client.  The reason I do not put a lot of value on this ONE number is that it does not take into account muscle mass or bone mass.  Someone with a lot of muscle will naturaly weigh more than someone with very little muscle and therefore have a higher BMI.  It also does not consider important lifestyle factors that drastically affect someone’s health.  For example, someone can have a BMI in the healthy range, smoke three packs of cigarettes per day, not get any physical activity and skip several meals throughout the week.  When only looking at BMI, this person would be considered more “healthy” than someone with a BMI slightly in the “overweight” category that does not smoke, eats healthy meals and snacks and gets regular physical activity that increases muscle mass.  See how this doesn’t really add up??

So, it is important to remember that weight and BMI are not the only things to consider when evaluating your health.  In my opinion, BMI is one of the last things to look at when evaluating health status (if you look at it at all!!).  Think about your lifestyle choices and how you feel overall.  Also get routine labs done to ensure that things in your body are working properly.  If you have concerns about your weight and/or health it is important to talk to a dietitian or medical provider to determine ways that you can improve your health.

 

 

Is Coffee Good for You??

Coffee is a staple in many people’s daily routine.  It might be the first thing you think of when you open your eyes in the morning.  Some people have their coffee machines programmed to start brewing before they wake up so that it is ready for immediate consumption!  I was a barista at a coffee shop all through college and definitely have a love for all things coffee!  Since coffee is something that so many of us consume daily, a lot of people probably wonder if it is “good” for us.

 

 

Benefits:

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, coffee is one of the largest sources of antioxidants in the American diet. Antioxidants help us fight off illnesses and keep our immune system strong.  Coffee also contains smaller amount of other nutrients including niacin, potassium, vitamin E and magnesium.  These nutrients have many jobs in the body including helping the body use insulin.

Coffee is often times drank with milk, which provides calcium to our bodies.  Calcium is a mineral that many people do not consume enough of on a daily basis.  Your body needs calcium to build and maintain strong bones.  Calcium is also important for heart, nerve and muscle function.  Choosing milk over non-dairy creamers will help to make sure you are getting extra bang for your buck with your daily cup of joe.

There are several research studies that have shown other health benefits of coffee.  One study found that coffee drinkers were 50% less likely to get liver cancer than non-drinkers.  Other studies show that heavy coffee drinkers may be half as likely to get diabetes as light drinkers or non-drinkers.

Possible Concerns:

It seems that the majority of concerns with coffee consumption have been proved to be inaccurate by current research.  But, there are still some things to think about.

The first concern is about the amount of caffeine being consumed.  Consuming too much caffeine can have negative effects on health.  It may increase anxiety, insomnia and poor sleep.  It can also increase blood pressure.  There is still mixed messages about how much is too much.  There are also some health conditions where coffee/caffeine intake may not be appropriate.  Your healthcare provider will be able to tell you if coffee consumption contraindicated with coffee and your personal health condition.

Another concern may be how you are drinking your coffee.  Is your daily drink filled with flavors, whipped cream and sprinkles?  You may be consuming too much sugar and calories in your drink.  These “specialty” coffee drinks may be something to save for every once in a while, not daily.  One great way to have your coffee is with a splash of milk and cinnamon.  Cinnamon also has great health benefits.

Source: Authority nutrition.com

Bottom Line:

So, this is all to say that current science and research indicates that your daily coffee habit likely has health benefits and is not doing you harm unless you have certain medication conditions.  Also, make sure you are drinking coffee in moderation.

Sources:

http://www.health.harvard.edu

http://www.eatright.org

http://www.mayoclinic.com

Nutrition Hot Topic Series

Hi there!  Sorry for the blogging hiatus again.  Life sure gets in the way of any plans for consistent blogging.  But, I’m back again and ready to talk about some popular nutrition topics.  I am going to start writing about one topic each week (at least that’s my goal :).  I plan to choose topics that are “hot” in the nutrition world right now.  If you have any topics that you are interested in learning more about, send me an email or comment on one of the blog posts.  I hope this series helps make nutrition recommendations less confusing!

Health and nutrition topics have become very confusing!  If you google “coffee healthy”, you get 183,000,000 websites to read.  The internet and varying opinions make it impossible to decide what is actually good for us.  It is even confusing for health professionals.  As a dietitian, I read through several research articles to formulate an answer to any nutrition questions I have.

We all want to do what is best for our health!  But, finding out exactly what that is can be nearly impossible.  This series of topics will help to give you some answers to basic nutrition questions that have become very confusing!  Stay tuned for the first topic later this week.  Make sure to comment with any topic suggestions!

hottopics

 

 

 

 

Fine Fall Foods

Fall is my favorite season!  Cooler weather, colorful leaves, sweaters, scarves and delicious seasonal food items are some of the reasons why I love fall.  Several fall items offer amazing nutrition benefits.  Here are a few foods that you should be sure to enjoy this season:

Pumpkin:

Pumpkins

In addition to being great for fall décor, pumpkin is a great source of nutrition.  Pumpkin is delicious when added to soups, smoothies and cookies.

  • Great source of beta-carotene.  Beta carotene is an important antioxidant that is converted into vitamin A.
  • Contains beneficial dietary fiber. It can be very difficult to consume adequate dietary fiber every day. Pumpkin contains approximately 7 grams of fiber per cup!
  • Also provides vitamin E and iron.  Vitamin E keeps your immune system working efficiently and protects your cells from damage.  Iron also supports a healthy immune system.
Apples:
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”!  Apples not only taste great but are also a great source of nutrition.  Try making homemade applesauce in the crockpot 🙂
  • One medium apple provides approximately 4 grams of dietary fiber.
  • Apples contain vitamin C, which helps boost our immune system.

Sweet Potato:

NCI5_POTATO

Sweet potatoes can be prepared in so many different ways…mashed, baked, fried or roasted.  Remember to limit the sugar and marshmallows you add to this nutritious food!

  • A medium sweet potato provides 400% of your daily vitamin A needs.
  • Also a great source of fiber and potassium.
These are just a few of the many nutritious fall foods that I love.  Try to incorporate these foods into your meal planning.  The more color you can add to your plate, the better!!

Benefits of Breakfast

Hello there!  I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing weekend! 

Let’s talk a little bit about breakfast.  Most of us start our days off in a rush to get to work or other commitments on time.  The crazy rush of mornings can make it difficult to routinely eat a healthy breakfast.  Unfortunately, skipping breakfast is not a good habit for your health. 

While we sleep, our bodies continue to use energy for basic needs such as breathing.  When we wake up, our bodies have been fasted for several hours and it is important to break the fast and give our bodies fuel.  Typically, we need to eat something every few hours during waking hours to keep our bodies fueled.  When we sleep, we fast for 8+ hours (in an ideal world where everyone is getting enough sleep).  This is long time for the body to go without fuel! 

Research shows that eating breakfast can have several positive effects on our overall health.  One benefit is weight management.  Our metabolism slows down while we sleep, so jump starting the metabolism first thing in the morning can help people achieve weight loss or weight maintenance.  In my experience as a RD, when patients start eating breakfast, they have increased weight loss. 

Another huge benefit of eating breakfast is improved concentration throughout the day. Research shows that eating breakfast can boost our brain power for the day. It can improve concentrIon and memory.  One likely explanation for this is blood sugar control.  After fasting for 8+ hours, our blood sugar is lower in the morning.  Symptoms of low blood sugar can include inability to concentrate, low energy levels and grogginess. Eating a balanced breakfast can improve these symptoms. 

Now that we know breakfast is important…what are some good examples of balanced breakfast meals?!? 

Share your favorite breakfast meal in the comments!  And, in my next post I’ll share some of my favorite balanced breakfast meals 🙂 

Focus on Activity: Weekend Hike

Hi there! I hope everyone had a great weekend! Today I am going to talk a little bit about fitting in physical activity. The idea for this post was triggered from my hiking experience this weekend!

Okay, so everyone knows that regular physical activity is good for us! But, I think a lot of people still have the misconception that physical activity has to be one certain thing such as running on the treadmill in a gym. I have friends, coworkers, patients and family members tell me how much they hate exercising all the time. My response is always “why don’t you pick an activity that you enjoy doing instead of whatever it is you hate??!”. The more we participate in activities that we truly enjoy, the more we will truly enjoy exercising. And, one very important benefit of exercise is the positive effect it can have on mood and mental health. 🙂

(Source: comfortshoos.com)
(Source: comfortshoos.com)

This weekend my husband and I went on a hike. The weather was perfect, and the scenery was beautiful. Our hike ended up being about 2.5 hours long. I was definitely feeling the burn in my legs by the end of it. My husband hikes all the time, but I am not an avid hiker. So, hiking isn’t at the top of my list of ways to fit in regular activity. But, I really enjoyed it! And, I definitely want to start doing it more often. It felt good to get outside and be active without really thinking of it as “exercise”.

IMG_1731

IMG_1725

IMG_1724

I am a very routine driven person. One part of my weekly routine is to attend a group fitness class on Saturday mornings (which I love)! But, I am so glad that I took the opportunity to enjoy a different type of activity this weekend.

This week, try to challenge yourself to get out and try a new activity. If you are not currently enjoying the activities you are participating in, find something totally different. It’s a bonus if you can do it while spending time with friends and family!

Here are a few ideas:
1. Hiking (bet you didn’t see that coming)
2. Dance classes
3. Walks with friends
4. Tennis
5. Group fitness classes
6. Swimming

Let me know what activities you have tried! Have a great week!

Ask the Dietitian

Hi there!  Today, I am going to share some of the most common questions I get asked by my patients.  As a registered dietitian, I see patients for a wide variety of reasons.  Diabetes, pre-diabetes, weight loss, renal disease, unintentional weight loss and food allergies are some of the many visit types I encounter on a day to day basis.  I have found that some questions come up more often than others.  Here are some of the common questions with a brief response for each.  



Source: http://www.cookinglight.com


1.  “What is the best diet for weight loss/weight management??”

This is a tough one!  I wish I had a magic answer because I would be the most successful/popular dietitian around!  Unfortunately, there is no magic trick for weight loss.  Each person is different.  I always recommend a balanced diet focused on including the different food groups using the MyPlate method.  This method also focuses on portion control, which is important for weight management.  Another important aspect of weight loss and weight management is regular physical activity.  Mindful eating is another important part of obtaining or maintaining a healthy weight.  Listening to your body is key.  



2.  “Do I have to exercise?  I hate exercising!”

This is something I hear almost everyday! The key to staying on track with an exercise plan is to find something you like to do.  I think people tend to think of exercise as a chore rather than something fun.  The more enjoyable you make exercising, the more beneficial it will be for you!  If you hate to run, don’t run!  Choose something else.  Personally, I love group fitness classes.  I try to include group fitness classes every week because I enjoy them.  I have some patients that absolutely hate working out with other people, so I would never suggest that they start taking group fitness classes.  

Physical activity has many benefits beyond helping with weight loss.  It can reduce your chance of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease, strengthen muscles and bones, reduce stress and improve overall mental health.  Pick something you enjoy and think of the positive impact the activity has on your health! 

3.  “What time of day is the best time to exercise?”

My answer to this question is, WHENEVER WORKS BEST FOR YOU!!  There is a lot of research about what time of day is the best for engaging in physical activity.  Some studies show that you will burn more calories first thing in the morning.  However, the most important thing is that you fit in exercise regularly.  You will get the most benefit from exercise at whatever time best fits with your schedule.  Some people love to get up at 4:00am to workout and others cannot imagine doing anything besides sleeping at that hour of the day.  This goes back to my previous answer about exercise.  The more enjoyable you can make it, the better!  This includes picking the time of day when you find the most enjoyment in your workout of choice.  



4.  “I can’t afford fresh fruits and vegetables, are canned or frozen okay?”

Yes!!  Most canned/frozen fruits and veggies are processed within hours of being picked, so their nutritive value is preserved.  Canned and frozen produce last longer which can be beneficial for people that waste a lot of fresh produce by letting it go bad.  When choosing canned or frozen produce, look for products that do not have anything else added to them.  Some canned fruit products will have syrup on the label, avoid these and look for fruit that is canned in its own juice.  Some frozen veggies will have added cheese or something else added, look for products that are 100% vegetable with nothing added.  Also, choose a wide variety of fruits and veggies.  The more variety you eat, the more nutrients you are getting! 

If anyone has any additional questions, feel free to comment below! Or, if you are a health professional, I would love to hear what questions you commonly hear from your patients. 

Have a good week!

After The Holidays

Hi there! I hope everyone had a great Christmas! We had a great time celebrating with family and friends. Here are a few pics to recap my Christmas week!

IMG_0154.JPG</a
>
IMG_0155.JPG

IMG_0156.JPG

IMG_0153.JPG
My niece’s first trip skiing, opening gifts, cross country ski trip, ugly sweater party! It was a fun, busy week!

Today I felt refreshed and ready to start a new week! Sometimes the chaos of the holidays can leave you craving a routine. I woke up early to get prepared for my PiYo class. We had a great class…I already feel it in my legs! Then, I was able to get a massage which was much needed. The knots in my shoulders are temporarily gone!

I go back to work tomorrow! But then have Thursday off for New Years! So it’s still not a full work week!

I will be back this week with a nutrition related post! Happy Monday!

Exploring the Career of a Registered Dietitian

I have met a lot of people that do not have any idea what a dietitian does. After being a dietitian for over two years, I still have some friends/family members that think I help prepare food in the hospital kitchen. Other people think of dietitians as “the food police” that tell people what to eat. I think this misconception has a lot to do with the fact that there are so many areas that a dietitian can choose to work. I thought it would be interesting to talk about what it means to be a dietitian (RD) here on my blog.

(eatright.org)
(eatright.org)

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a dietitian is a food and nutrition expert. In order to become a registered dietitian, you have to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and complete an accredited dietetic internship which usually lasts about one year. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I completed a combined Master’s program and internship, which is also an option. Immediately after your internship, you are eligible to take the RD exam. If you pass this exam, you are officially a registered dietitian!

intern

graduation

Now let’s talk a little bit about the different areas that a dietitian can work. There are many paths that a registered dietitian can take after passing the RD exam. Some dietitians work in the clinical field of dietetics. This includes hospitals, nursing homes and doctor’s offices. I am currently a clinical dietitian. In this field, a dietitian provides medical nutrition therapy to individuals with certain medical conditions. RDs in this field are usually responsible for determining tube feeding formulas and rates and assisting with determining the needs of individuals receiving nutrition through an IV. The RD is also responsible for ensuring that residents or patients are fed a nutritionally appropriate diet at every meal. In this area, a dietitian will likely work with both patients that are hospitalized or in the nursing home and outpatients that are referred to you by medical providers. RDs may also teach group classes that help prevent diabetes, encourage weight loss or teach people the basics of nutrition.

Another area that a dietitian can work is in community nutrition. Dietitians working in this area typically develop programs and teach people in different communities about food and nutrition. This field is very broad and includes many different areas. Working with mothers and children through WIC is one example of what a dietitian might do in this area.

Food service management is another choice for dietitians. If you work in food service management, you could work at several different locations such as school districts, hospitals, prisons, nursing homes or restaurant chains. In this field, the dietitian may be responsible for buying food, creating a budget, designing appropriate menus and ensuring that the kitchen staff adheres to food safety practices. The dietitian may also be responsible for managing kitchen staff or other dietitians. At the hospital where I currently work, one of the dietitians works as a clinical dietitian and is also responsible for overseeing the kitchens at the nursing home and hospital.

These are just a few of the many areas that dietitians work. Other areas include private practice, corporate wellness, military, research, academia, and marketing. One of the perks of being a dietitian is having so many different options for your career path. My favorite part about being a dietitian is being able to help people improve their health through food and nutrition! I think that it is possible for dietitians to help people achieve better health in all of the different career paths they choose.

I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about what the career path of a dietitian! I plan on doing more posts about the ins and outs of being a dietitian, so if you have any questions, feel free to comment or email me 🙂

This link will take you to a video that shows some of the different career paths of dietitians:

If you are a dietitian, I would love to hear what area you are currently working in??

Does anyone have any questions about registered dietitians?

Have a good week 🙂