Filed under: Dairy, food politics, Fruits, Sweets, weight loss | Tags: added sugars, FDA, nutrition facts, nutrition labels
Good news–over the next two years, the nutrition facts labels will change on our packaged foods. Most significantly, serving sizes will become more realistic, calorie counts will be larger and bolded, and added sugars will get their own category. You’ll now be able to see how much sugar in your yogurt, for instance, occurs naturally in the yogurt itself or the fruit added to it, and how much is added sweetener. Given that added sugars are a very large part of why our nation is suffering from an obesity crisis, this is a really positive change. You can read all about the new labels and see a graphic of what one will look like here.
Filed under: Chronic Disease, Eggs, food politics, Food/Health Blogs, Sweets | Tags: Eggs, fat, heart attack, Mark Hyman, sugar, sugary cereal
|I totally love the work done by Dr. Mark Hyman. He’s a firm believer in fixing the causes of our health problems, not just the symptoms. The latest newsletter from him said the following:
“It’s over. The debate is settled.
It’s sugar, not fat, that causes heart attacks.
Fifty years of doctors’ advice and government eating guidelines have been wrong. We’ve been told to swap eggs for Cheerios. But that recommendation is dead wrong. In fact, it’s very likely that this bad advice has killed millions of Americans.
A rigorously done new study shows that those with the highest sugar intake had a four-fold increase in their risk of heart attacks compared to those with the lowest intakes. That’s 400%!”
Eye-opening, right? But depressing that we’ve been led down a bad path by some specious government recommendations.
When in doubt, choose the whole, natural foods that humans have been eating for generations (like eggs). And question the “wisdom” that we’d be better off eating a food made in a factory.
Filed under: Chronic Disease, Healthy Lifestyle | Tags: multivitamin, vitamin pills, vitamins
In the U.S., we love our pills. We often lean on pills as a crutch—if you don’t feel you can (or want to) improve your diet to lower cholesterol, you’re given a prescription for a statin drug. If you don’t exercise, manage stress, or lower your salt intake, you’re simply given some pills to bring down your blood pressure. Anxious? Here’s a pill. Can’t sleep? Don’t bother looking to see if your late-night eating or alcohol consumption are affecting your sleep, just take a pill.
In this spirit, we often turn to vitamin pills—why bother eating healthier food when you can just take the vitamins you need in pill form? But some new studies have shown that not only can vitamins be ineffective, they can also be downright harmful.
When you eat tomatoes, there are certain nutrients you can count on getting: vitamins A, B6, C, E, K, thiamin, niacin, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, potassium, and manganese. But the tomato also contains lots of fiber and micronutrients, many of which researchers acknowledge are not even yet identified. Our body efficiently absorbs the nutrients from a natural source like a tomato. One of the issues with vitamin pills is that the nutrients are isolated, removed from their natural delivery system that includes the fiber and micronutrients. And scientists are starting to find that we don’t absorb and use the vitamins from pills in the same way or as effectively as we would from real food containing those nutrients.
Despite their popularity, there is no evidence that multivitamins enhance health or prevent illness. Both the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and a National Institutes of Health State-of-the-Science Conference concluded that multivitamins do not offer protection against heart disease or cancer. On the other hand, studies have shown a strong link between vegetable consumption and the prevention of cancer.
Even more surprising was a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine that showed that women who took multivitamins were 6 percent more likely to die than those not taking them! I had always been neutral about vitamins in the past; I felt that they weren’t necessary for the most part if you were eating a good diet, but that there was no real harm in taking them if you wanted to. But this kind of study really gives me pause.
So if you’re looking to up your intake of essential nutrients, eat more vegetables and fruits. Eat more beans. Eat more whole grains. Eat more eggs. And question all those vitamin bottles in your medicine cabinet.
Filed under: Exercise, Healthy Lifestyle, weight loss | Tags: diet, new year's resolutions, weight loss
Each January you may find yourself making resolutions to lose weight, eat better, exercise more, or generally get your life in greater balance. You really want these things, and get excited as you visualize a thinner or healthier you.
But all too often, a few months pass, nothing changes, and we get down on ourselves. Why does this happen again and again?
First off, know that you’re not alone. Making big changes like these can feel very tough, and many people struggle. But you can do it—it all comes down to having a plan.
Saying to yourself, “I’m going to eat healthier” or “I’m going to eat less” tends to not help you reach your goals—these statements are too vague and leave you adrift at each meal. What is healthier, after all? Does that mean you should skip the butter? Not eat pasta? Have spinach salad all the time? And is it okay to enjoy a big indulgent dinner once in a while? Not knowing the answers to these questions can leave you feeling confused, frustrated, and unable to do anything differently than you’ve been doing for years. The uncertainty leads to inaction. You’re left wishing, but not doing.
Here are a few tips to get you on the path to reaching your goals:
Take small actions every day. What will you do today to help yourself reach your goal? Perhaps you will go for a brisk walk. Or have a large serving of veggies with your lunch instead of fries. Or forgo buying chips and cookies at the supermarket. These are things we all know can improve our health and weight, so do at least one of them every day. Remember that your daily choices need to be different than they used to be or your body won’t change.
Make a schedule. We’re all busy. But if you take the time to sit down and schedule in when you’ll shop, cook, and exercise each week, you’ll see that it is possible to do these things. Waiting to “find time” in between your other obligations will likely lead to inaction.
Rethink a comfortable yet unhealthy habit. Do you take it for granted that every night after dinner, you will sit down in front of the TV with a bowl of ice cream? Maybe you’ve stopped asking yourself if you even want this ice cream on any given night—you simply go on autopilot and grab it no matter what. Start to notice these habits, question them, and decide if you’d like to do something else instead.
Seek out support. Perhaps a friend or family member is willing to take this journey with you and can provide you with moral support, or maybe you feel you need help from a professional. Either way, know that help is out there, and that this can make a big difference in whether or not you’re successful. If you would like personal guidance from me, you can always schedule a free one-hour consultation with me to get the process rolling. You can sign up here. http://www.jenniferschonborn.com/contact-jennifer-schonborn-aadp
Here’s to a happy, healthy 2014!
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: family drama, forgiveness, holidays, overeating
Have you ever downed an entire package of chips, crackers, or cookies? Ate mashed potatoes or cake until you felt sick? Drank more eggnog or wine than your body wanted?
Do you remember how you were feeling at the time?
I ask because sometimes we overeat to distract ourselves from difficult emotions we may be experiencing. Think about it–have you noticed that sometimes when you overeat you’re not hungry at all? What you are is lonely, or angry at your mother, or sad, or resentful, or frustrated, or something else.
It’s way more effective to address your uncomfortable feelings directly rather than trying to cover them up with food, food that you’ll likely wish you hadn’t eaten very soon after eating it. One of the ways to deal with these feelings is to forgive—yourself as well as others.
Forgiving is not easy, even for the most enlightened among us. If you’ve been allowing yourself to be controlled by past or present hurts, think about forgiving. These steps can help:
- Talk to sympathetic friends and family. Chatting with others is tremendously comforting.
- Write a letter to the person you’d like to forgive. You can decide whether or not you send it.
- See the situation from the other person’s perspective–your own perspective may change.
- Don’t forget to forgive yourself. Sometimes we can be harshest with ourselves. Don’t beat yourself up about overeating at a holiday party—it won’t help you with your weight or health goals; it will just make you unhappy.
- Understand that you are responsible for your own attitude. Don’t let holding a grudge hold you back in life.
Forgive and watch how much better your relationship with food becomes.
Happy holidays to you!
Filed under: Chronic Disease, Mushrooms | Tags: cordyceps, enoki, maitake, Mushrooms, shiitake
The more we study mushrooms, the more amazing they become. Mycologists are now finding that such humble varieties as oyster mushrooms and garden giant mushrooms are capable of everything from cleaning up oil spills to filtering wastewater to possibly even decontaminating the area surrounding Fukushima. And they can do wonders for our health, too.
Mushrooms contain a host of proven disease-fighting chemicals, like polysaccharides, glycoproteins, ergosterols, and triterpenoids, in addition to antimicrobial and antiviral compounds. Some of the best mushrooms with strong medicinal qualities are shiitake, maitake, enoki, and cordyceps. Shiitakes encourage body tissues to absorb cholesterol and lower the amount circulating in the blood, and are also seen as helping to prevent cancer. Maitakes are also anticancer, have immune-boosting effects, and may help control both high blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Enoki are generally great for the immune system. And Cordyceps, often sold dried or in tea form, are believed to be a general tonic for good health.
Mushrooms also have the ability to make vitamin D if you let them sit out in the sun for a few hours before consuming them. Given how few foods contain this essential vitamin, this is great news.
So slice up some shiitakes as part of a side dish. Throw maitake or enoki mushrooms into a stir-fry. Or cook up a mushroom barley soup. It doesn’t matter how you make them—just eat more mushrooms!
Filed under: Chronic Disease, Grains, Healthy Lifestyle, weight loss | Tags: celiac, gluten, gluten intolerance, gluten-free diet, lose weight
Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, seems to be our current food devil—the thing that’s allegedly causing all our weight and health problems. Avoid bread! Avoid pasta! Avoid beer! You’ve probably heard or read all of these exhortations somewhere.
For some people, gluten is indeed a very real problem. Sufferers of celiac disease will see serious damage to their small intestines if they consume any food containing gluten. And many other people who may not have full-blown celiac disease are truly gluten-intolerant—if they eat gluten regularly they may find themselves with chronic digestive problems, joint pain, brain fog, debilitating fatigue, or thyroid issues. Cutting gluten out of the diet for these people can be life-changing. I’ve seen it happen with many of my clients.
But if you’re healthy and not experiencing any of the symptoms of gluten intolerance, there is really no reason to cut gluten from your diet. I would argue that some people who cut gluten lose weight not because of the absence of gluten, but because they are avoiding junky food made primarily of white flour. If you stop eating calorie bombs like bagels, donuts, muffins, and the Olive Garden’s never-ending pasta bowls, then you’ll likely lose weight. It’s not the removal of gluten that made the difference, it was the reduction of calories and poor-quality foods that led to your weight loss.
So if you want to lose weight, it’s really better to think of white flour as the problem. Whole wheat and other whole grains containing gluten (especially if they are high-quality organic grains) can be a very healthy part of our diets, and shunning them in favor of white rice, for instance, won’t necessarily help you reach your weight and health goals.