GI Issues?

Struggling with digestion discomfort

When beginning therapy, one of the most common questions, concerns, and often barriers to overcome eating disorders is gastric discomfort. GI issues may not seem out of the ordinary. Every one experiences them from time to time right? While this is true. Individuals struggling to overcome eating disorders often can experience sever stomach pain or other GI complications.

From the outside looking in this seems like no brainer scenario. Your stomach hurts because your not eating, just eat and you will be fixed. Right? Unfortunately, it is not always that simple. Many of the complications associated with eating disorder GI distress may need specialized treatment to fix. Pain full digestion in addition to stress and anxiety surrounding food can be devastating to those experiencing it.

Common Eating disorder GI issues:

  • Heartburn/ reflux

  • gas

  • early fullness

  • bloating

  • gastroparesis (delayed gastric emptying)

  • constipation

  • severe diarrhea

  • abdominal distention

Why are so many of these GI issues associated with those struggling with eating disorders? There are several reasons, and it is dependent on the type of eating disorder someone is struggling with. One of the most common reason is due to malnutrition. When our bodies are not receiving the the nutrition they need it begins adapting to “starvation” for survival. Other common complications are associated with stretching or frequent vomiting.

While there will likely be some discomfort associated with treatment and regulating eating behaviors. Working with a dietitian and GI specialists can help individuals struggling with pain and discomfort.

For more information regarding GI issues. Please fee free to contact me, or set up and appointment.

Fabulous Fall

Yes, It is that time of year again. Summer is winding down and fall harvest is ramping up! As sad as it is to see summer fun go. There is joy and excitement that come with the cool, crisp air of fall. So how to you make it a healthy eating fall? Full of delicious fresh produce. I have some tips for you!

1. Know what produce is in season.  To name few:

  • Apple
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Beets
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cranberries
  • persimmons
  • Pomegranates
  • Pumpkins
  • Squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Rutabagas
  • Turnips.

Some of these become ready to eat early fall while others not until almost winter. For a more complete list of fall harvest fruits ad vegetables check out the spruce eats website or the USDA More Matters fruit and vegetable database

2. Know how to cook with delicious fresh produce. Eating healthy doesn't need to be hard and it most definitely can be delicious. Having a helping hand, giving you ideas of how to best use this fresh produce makes incorporating these food easy and YUMMY. Check out our recipe blog as well as the USDA website called More Matters. More Matters is dedicated to helping everyone eat more produce. Yes, Recipes are included. 

3. Eat a variety, and store the rest for a later date.  Fall can be overwhelming with the quantities of fresh produce. It is easy to fall into a trap where you feel that you have to consume all of it now because it is only fresh for a short time.  The answer is be mindful. Eat and incorporate all the produce you love. Maybe stretch yourself a little and try something new or something you thought you didn't like, and cooked a different way. Then freeze, can, or dry the rest to enjoy during other parts of the year. 

Happy Healthy Hydration

Warm weather is upon us and that means it time to look at hydration. While hydrate is important all year round to maintain a healthy and happy body. As temperatures rise it become easier to get dehydrated especially for the young and those more laden with years.

So why is hydration so important?

Water make up approx. 60-70% of our bodies.  Our cells and numerous bodies metabolic reactions rely on water. When we become dehydrated the bodies struggles to maintain equilibrium in its functions. Dehydration can cause: heat related injuries, headache, nausea, confusion, seizures, kidney and urinary issues as well as hypovolemic shock.  Effects of dehydration can be seen with as little as 1-2 % of body weight loss from fluid. That is only a couple of pounds for most people.

Signs of dehydration:

  •      sleepiness
  •      dry mouth
  •     increased thirst
  •     decreased urination
  •     less tear production
  •     dry skin
  •     constipation
  •     dizziness
  •     light headedness
  •     headache

Hydration Recommendations:

It is important to drink to thirst as well has make sure your urine is a light yellow to clear color. The recommendations for adequate water intake by the Institute of Medicine for men are 3 liters (approximately 13 cups) and for women 2.2 liters (or approximately 9.5 cups) daily.

Hydration tips:

1.       Drink water. Find what works for you. Carry around a water bottle. Have a water jug in your fridge. Drink water often.

2.       Eat fruits. Many fruits are high in water. Consume recommended fruit intake each day and this will help you stay hydrated.

3.       Hydrate before workouts or being out in the heat not just during.

4.       Drink 100% fruit juices and milk beverages that are high in water.

5.       If you are exercising longer than 1 hour you need to replace electrolytes as well as water. You can use a sports drink or eat salty pretzels with water, Chocolate milk ECT…

Good hydration won’t only help you from becoming ill from heat exhaustion or hypovolemic shock. It affects your energy level as well as hunger and fullness cues. Enjoy the summer heat and fun and remember to hydrate.

Meal Planning, Made easy

Meal planning is one of the most feared and most requested thing people ask me to help them with. Meal planning for many can be overwhelming, however, when broken down it can be simple. Instead of building a meal plan for my clients I believe it is better to teach them how to build meal plans themselves. This allows them to be successful long term. The following are some steps and tips to find success.

1.       Set a Time Frame: How long you will be meal planning for? personally I prefer to do month at a time, but you can do it bi-weekly or weekly as well.

2.       Be Flexible: Make your meal plan work for your life style. This means being flexible. Instead of going with the traditional calendar view of meal planning I prefer to make it a list. I count the days we will be home for dinner (i.e. eliminate holidays, vacations, or special occasions that you won’t be eating at home) and then begin making a list. This method works best for me because I can plan a variety of meal types. Including quick meals in addition to more labor-intensive meals can help you make dinner successful. Then each day I choose an item from the list the fits our needs for the day. Tips for breakfast and lunches below. (* This type of meal planning may not be appropriate for all. Those struggling with Eating disorders or other health complications may need to initially follow a more comprehensive meal plan to find success.)

3.       Starting the List: Start with a family favorites list. Each month choose a several items from this list.  This way everyone still get to have what they love.  Depending on how healthy you are already eating will determine how much your need to alter this list of family favorites.  This is great time to look for some new recipes or re-work some previous ones to make a little healthier for your family (bake or grill instead of fry, use evaporated milk in place of cream, cut the salt in ½, Etc.)  EatingWell and More Matters websites are great resources for healthy recipes. Balance your recipes with lots of nutrient dense fruits and vegetables. This is another area that is fun to find new recipes. Keep your fruits and veggies exciting by preparing them many ways.  Any food can be incorporated into a healthy meal plan if you seek to make it part of overall healthy diet. Remember, eating together as a family is one of the best things you can do for you and your families health.

4.        Breakfast and Lunch: Again, these meals are variant depending on the individual circumstances. I list out approx. 5-7 breakfast and lunch options. This gives me ideas of what to buy at the store as well as providing me with enough variety so I don’t get bored with the foods I’m eating. Breakfast examples: power oatmeal, yogurt, granola and fruit, boiled egg, toast and fruit, smoothie with toast and string cheese, and HM blueberry muffins, scrambled eggs and fruit. I eat them in no rhyme or reason, just try to listen to my body in which sounds the best for the day. I do the same with lunch items, however, I also like to allow room to utilize delicious left overs from the previous night.

5.       Evaluate: At the end of your designated time frame evaluate how it went. What worked what didn’t and how to adjust for next time and repeat.

Meal planning doesn’t have to be horrible. Make it fun, enjoyable and perfect for your life style. This will leave you feeling satisfied that you are nourishing yours and your family’s bodies.  As always if you have questions I’d love to help.

 

March Madness

March madness is not only about basketball, but also the food we eat while watching our favorite teams. It can be pretty easy to get caught up in a little unconscious eating. The feeling of fingers scrapping against the bottom of a bag or bowl soon leads to looking down to find that you have just finished off a whole bag of chips or your favorite snack. So the question remains, how does one find the balance between gorging on the sofa and simply cutting out all you favorite snacks. The answer is healthy eating. With a few tips and tricks you can still find enjoyment with you favorite game time snacks with friends.

I am not a fan of telling people it is okay to eat in front of the TV. It can most definitely be a recipe for disaster, however like any good rule there are some exceptions.  The following are some tips to make this exception work for you.

1.       Do not sit down to watch the game when you are overly hungry. As mentioned in previous posts, a well-fed body is a happy body.  Allowing ourselves to become overly hungry leads to over eating and in some cases, bingeing.  Continuing to eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day will help with these feelings.

2.       Choose a variety of foods. Often we lean toward our favorite chips or candy that is high in calories and low in nutrition and fiber.  While it is completely acceptable and recommended to include these in your game day snacks, also choose foods that are going to work for you. In other words, choose foods that will fill you up, that have fiber, or protein and some nutrition in them. Examples would be veggies and hummus, apple slices with cheese, bananas with peanut butter, or a peanut butter ball (see recipe in recipe section).  These foods help fill us up, and leave us feeling satisfied longer. They are often more nutrient-dense than calorie-dense as well.

3.       Pre portion! To prevent our hands from scraping the bottom of a newly opened bag chips, pre portion and then put away. Portion the amount of snack foods out in a bowl or plate and then put the rest away. Studies indicate that we are less likely to go back and get more if it is already tucked away in the kitchen.  This also prevents over doing it. If you do happen to fall into some unconscious eating you lose out on the food satisfaction factor but have consumed a much smaller portion.

4.       Pay attention to your food. This is the reason I do not like eating in front of the TV. It is really hard to do this especially if you are watching a big game or a favorite movie. Utilize commercials or down times to focus on the foods you are eating. When the action begins again, put the food down until you can pay attention to it again. Check in with yourself periodically every 20-30 minutes to see where your fullness is at. If you have reached full, then put the food away. Remember, there will be more opportunities this month to enjoy these foods. It doesn’t need to be an all or nothing situation.

Follow these tips and you will have an enjoyable March madness that does not leave you mad at yourself.

Consistent February

Tip for February. It is simple and straight forward. I am a big proponent of keeping things simple. Often in life we over complicate in search of quick fixes that just are not meant to be.  The tip for February is to eat regularly. More often than not, individuals I see struggling with trying to lose weight come to me perplexed. They are only eating once or maybe twice as day.  Infrequent meals often lead to over eating or binging at meals due to excessive hunger and perpetuate one’s preoccupation with food.

So how often should you be eating? I recommend every 4-6 hours with optimal being closer to 4 hours.  If incorporating several snacks within your day you may want to aim for eating every 2-3 yours.  The following is a couple of various eating schedules that may work for you.

7:30am Breakfast

12:30pm Lunch

3:00pm Snack

6:00pm Dinner

 

7:30am Breakfast

10:00am Snack

12:30pm Lunch

3:00pm Snack

5:30pm Dinner

8:00pm Snack

 

8:00 Breakfast

12:00pm Lunch

5:00pm Dinner

8:00pm Snack

May February be full of delicious breakfast and regular meal times that help you find success in healthier eating habits.  

New Year! New Way, to Look at Your Nutrition

Each year as the New Year rolls around it is often looked at as a fresh start and an opportunity to change. While it is no secret that most New Year’s resolutions fail, they are still set by people around the world.  Many hope to better themselves and their lives throughout the year. Eating healthier or weight loss is a common goal for many. I would like to provide you with some tips and tricks to make your goal of eating better last the whole year long, not just January through maybe March.

The following assignments are designed to be progressive in nature. Each month I will introduce to you a new goal/assignment for the month that will build upon the skills you learned the previous month and help make your eating healthy goals a reality.

January:

Eat breakfast

 Though it is known and the most important meal of the day approximately only 44% of people consume breakfast on regular basis. The reasons why breakfast is the most important meal of the day is not secret. It jump starts our metabolism, provides valuable nutrients and energy that improve health and focus at work and school, as well has helping us make better food choices throughout the day. There are several reasons why people skip breakfast. Some of the most common reasons I hear are; not enough time, not hungry in the morning and eating breakfast makes me feel hungrier. While these can be obstacles for some, they can be overcome. So how do you make breakfast work for you?

 1.       Carve out some time.

 This may require you waking up 15 minutes earlier or preparing for the meal the night before. This can be done by pulling out bowls or plates, and non perishable foods and placing them on the counter or table so to be ready for you in the morning. Thus eliminating time spent in the morning.

Quick breakfast ideas:

1.       Yogurt and granola

2.       Cottage cheese, Toast and fruit

3.       Hard boiled eggs (prepped night or day before) , toast and fruit

4.       Microwavable oatmeal. Not the sugar filled packet kind but rolled oats. Once cooked add a TBSP of peanut butter and a tsp of brown sugar to it and enjoy.

5.       Smoothie (make the night before and refrigerate)

6.       Cold cereal.  Cold cereal is not my favorite breakfast for several reasons; however it can be done well. First choose a cereal that doesn’t have a lot of added sugar to it and then pair with a protein. Cereal can often leave you feeling famished one hour after eating it due to it high carbohydrate load. Consuming it with some bacon, ham, or string cheese can help keep you full longer.

7.       Breakfast bar, nuts, fruit, and string cheese.

(* I am a big advocator for dairy. It provides many of essential nutrients. I recommend pairing each of the breakfast above with a glass of milk or high quality dairy substitute)

2. “I don’t feel hungry in the morning.” 

As mentioned, this is common place for many. The good news is you don’t have to eat immediately after you get up. It okay to wait and hour or so before you eat. Secondly, breakfast does not have to be a large, Las Vegas buffet-style meal. If all you can get down is a yogurt or a breakfast shake, that is just fine. Remember that if you choose a small breakfast you will need a snack few hours later to keep you going until lunch.

3.  “Eating breakfast make me feel hungrier.”

This frequent feeling is actually false according to studies. Individuals who skip breakfast tend to overeat throughout the day more frequently than those who consume a good breakfast. It is true that you may feel your hunger signals more. This is actually a good thing. Our bodies are really good at letting us know when we are hunger or full, however it is easy to override these feelings. By eating breakfast, our metabolism is stimulated and this may make you notice your hunger. This is not an invitation to graze, but could be an indicator that a well-timed snack is needed.

 

I hope this month you find success in meeting you nutrition goal of eating breakfast. Read more about the next step toward healthy eating in February.  Enjoy!

Too Much Protein?

Protein over the past years has gained an elevated status. Companies are marketing it to the individual for weight loss, muscle building and appetite suppressant and much more. While there is know doubt that protein is essential. How much is too much and are there consequences for consuming too much protein. The New York Times has put out a good article on this called "Can You Get Too Much Protein?". Read the article and see where your diet stack up on protein quantity and quality.  

Self Love

Self love; it is a topic a topic I think about a lot. Especially, as I have several clients and friends who struggle with body image that can lead to the self loathing feeling. In our culture today it is easy to get caught up with all of the things that we think that we fall sort on.  Often it can even be looked down upon if you do have positive or loving feelings toward yourself. Many believe that self love is selfish, arrogant, or prideful in nature. This is not the type of self love I am referring to. The one I am referring to is as follows from dictionary.com:

self-love

noun

1.    regard for one's own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic

I find that to achieve healing from eating disorders or be free of weight cycling, and diet seeking behaviors one has to find the self love mentioned above. 

A quote I believe magnifies this well come from the book Embody by Elizabeth Scott and Connie Sobczak. 

“When I learned to love my body, I learned to love all that my body is capable of doing and enduring. I learned that this body will change and grow and age with me.  It is mine to enjoy, adorn, love, protect and present to the world. It is a gift inherited from my family, and it is my responsibility to love and cherish it.”

 – Jessica Diaz, The Body Positive board member- taken from the Book Embody 

This takes courage and a lot of practice.  As you begin this journey be patient and kind with yourself. Look and find those gifts, talents and abilities your body can do and develop them to the best of your abilities. Talk back and stand up to the voices that may say you are not good enough or would be better at a certain size. Begin loving your body by taking care of it through mindful nutrition, exercise and adequate rest, and care.  Women Health UK put it this way about exercise “Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do. Not a punishment for what you ate.”

Seek out those things like this that make you feel good, from nutrition to exercise and beyond. It doesn’t have to be a chore. Once you figure it out for yourself seek to help others find it for themselves as well. How different the world would be today if we all carried this type of self love for ourselves and others.  

Nutrition for Athletes

With all of the fad diets and food trends roaming around many people feel confused on how to best optimize their athletic performance while maintaining their health. A few years back I attended a conference where some dietitians for the London Olympic team spoke. After that I ran into this document and really find it helpful. The section on carbohydrates is especially good. Currently low carb diets are king it seems. I enjoy their perspective on this topic and advice on how to use carbs before, during, and after exercise. This is just the tip of what this document offers. It can be really useful for the beginner or seasoned athlete. 

For more information click on the link below

Olympic Athlete Nutrition