Posts in Health
Intermittent Fasting: The Myth of Six Small Meals

Almost daily I have a conversation with a client who is attempting to eat three small meals plus three small snacks per day. This person is often struggling to lose weight and also happens to never really be hungry. The only reason this individual is eating so frequently is because someone told her to.

In stark contrast to the six-small-meals-diet is an increasing popular eating pattern called Intermittent Fasting. So what exactly is the science behind not eating?

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One Diet to Rule them All

It's no secret that diets are hard to follow. If you've ever felt the effects of "yo-yo dieting" and the cycle of weight loss/weight regain I don't have to tell you that. And it's no secret there isn't wide agreement on what the best "diet" is; it takes one quick Google search for "best diet" to return over 53 million hits. The only clear thing is nutrition research is really confusing (read previous post about why that is).

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Does this Gluten Make my Butt Look Big?

I don't know if you've heard, but going gluten-free is all the rage these days. Usually when a patient is trying to impress me with how healthy her diet is, this phrase will slip in:

"I try to eat gluten-free as much as I can - because, you know, gluten is so bad for you..."

Wait, what?

Bread has been around since some of the earliest civilizations of man. From Bavarian pretzels to Italian pasta to New York sourdough, flour is a staple of so many cultures and cuisines. So what exactly is the deal with gluten?

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10 Tasty Road Trip Snacks that Won't Clog your Arteries

I've been on the road a lot this summer: to the farm, to the mountains, to conferences. In trains, planes, and automobiles (but not that many trains).

I want you to guess how healthy my eating habits have been on the road. Spoiler alert: less than healthy. And my gut knows it.

Nonetheless, I've been working hard on my healthy strategies this summer since I've had so many opportunities, and I'm very happy to share a few of the knowledge nuggets I've gained.

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Coffee is my Love Language

I am a self-proclaimed coffee snob. I mean, I'll drink any coffee in a pinch, but I really love a freshly ground cup of high-quality French press coffee.

Lucky for me, more and more nutrition research is pointing to the health benefits of this sweet nectar of life. So if you're a fan of coffee, here is your daily dose of good news...

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Breakfast is the Best... But is it the Most Important?

I have upsetting news: there is controversy as to the importance of breakfast.

I know, I know. Everybody "knows" that breakfast is the most important meal of the day - but recent articles and research studies have begun to cast doubt on this old adage.

Because I love breakfast so very much, this question tugs at my heartstrings. And because I believe in evidence-based nutrition, I've been pouring over the research in the last couple of weeks (I feel like I'm writing a second thesis, ya'll) to see if there is data to support the role of breakfast in weight, metabolism, and other health markers.

Here's what I came up with...

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How to Make Breakfast the BEST Meal of the Day

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Haven't you heard? It's definitely my favorite. Almost every day I wake up Hungry (with a capital "H").

However, for most people I know this isn't the case. Breakfast is an after thought.

If you want to step into the "in" club (yeah, breakfast is cool, ya'll), here are three easy tips to make breakfast YOUR fave meal, too:

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Dietitian Eats

Every day I talk with people about food. How to balance healthy eating vs. living in the real world. And it's hard.

Believe me, I know - I also live in a world obsessed with both junk food and weight. I don't always want to cook dinner when I get home at 7:00pm after a long day at work. I, too, have many excuses for not exercising.

Sometimes I think it's hard for people to imagine balancing life with the healthy lifestyle choices they know they should be pursuing. So, today I'm sharing with you a glimpse into my own life to give you an example of how one person tries to balance all of these things.

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5 Steps for Identifying Credible Nutrition Information

Quick, unofficial poll: how many times have you “Googled” something this week? Heck, how many times have you “Googled” something today?

I’ll be honest - I use this search engine all. the. time. Just today I’ve searched for the quickest route to the grocery store on my way home, the price of my mom’s Christmas gift, how much snow is predicted tonight, and what the bus schedule is for the Fort Collins Collins area.

I love Google. Unfortunately, though, its algorithm is not designed to filter between “true” and “untrue” information – that’s left up to the reader. When it comes to nutrition, there is so much of each true/untrue stuff out there, it’s really hard to determine which is which.

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Survival Mode

I don't know about you, but lately I feel like I've been racing from one event to the next. Work, rehearsal, cooking class, exercise, sleep (?), dinner with friends, hike in the mountains, fly to Kansas City, sleep, work, repeat.

Whew. I'm exhausted. And it's all great stuff - I really have no room to complain. It's just busy, you know? Hats off to all of those teachers out there who are really feeling the busy-ness of the season (looking at you, Meredith!).

In all of the chaos, eating healthy is still really important to me. As such, I've developed some strategies to stay on track even when life is a blur.

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Wine Camp

Good food, good drink, and good people.

Three of my favorite things in the world collided last weekend at my very first year of participating in Wine Camp, an annual tradition which I was invited to by my dear Leanna and her mother, Lanette. We spent last Saturday hopping between local wineries sampling the local fare.

Every year, Lanette helps to organize a group of friends to take a trip to Grand Junction and Palisade, Colorado, where some of the most interesting and tasty wines are fermented. Many years ago this trip was dubbed Wine Camp, as this was where the parents spent the weekend while their high-schoolers went to Band Camp. It seems like a logical thing to me.

As you've probably noticed, I'm a really big fan of both fueling my body and fueling my soul. I absolutely love it when these two things intersect. As it happens, wine is one of these delightful aliments.

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The Wild World of Supplements

Of all things nutrition, one of the most obscure and confusing topics seems to be nutritional supplements.

Nutritional supplements come in many forms: herbs, vitamins, diet pills, and mineral compounds. They're recommended by everybody from your favorite chiropractor to your second cousin's personal trainer. They come with a multitude of health claims - burn more fat! Have more energy! Grow bigger muscles!

In 2014, Americans spent approximately $36.7 billion on dietary supplements. That's billion with a B. 

I often encounter people who have spent lots of money on these items. Occasionally I'm asked my opinion. So, what's the bottom line, after all?

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All You Need to Know About Cleanse Diets

'Tis the season... for cleanses. That's right; now that the holidays are over and everybody is repenting from all of the treats in which they've indulged, "cleansing" has again become immensely popular.

Have you heard of cleanses? The basic idea behind a "cleanse" is that our bodies have been exposed to many toxins (either environmental or in what we eat) and so we need to cleanse our organs or our colons. I see these fad diets in the news, on social media, and sometimes I'm even asked about them.

Cleanse diets run the gamut of crazy-and-dangerous to healthy-and-worth-your-time. It's (clearly) important to distinguish one from the other.

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The Great Battle Against Artificial Sweeteners

Lately I've been hearing this phrase a lot: "But you know, those artificial sweeteners are worse than sugar. You might as well just eat the real stuff."

Upon hearing this, several things immediately race through my mind:

1. Uh, of course you shouldn't eat a ton of artificial sweeteners. Who thought they were good for you in the first place? (I know, I know, probably the makers of artificial sweeteners)

2. What?! Did you just justify eating sugar by saying that artificial sweeteners are bad for you? Hold up, we need to talk about what SUGAR does in your body...

3. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down. We need to debunk a few myths.

So today I'd like to talk about some of the common fears about artificial sweeteners and perhaps explain what all the confusion is about. Wish me luck.

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An Overview of Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are confusing. They have weird names and are metabolized (broken down) by the body into components whose names we're not familiar with. That makes them scary. So, in anticipation of an upcoming post about the War on Artificial Sweeteners, let's review the current artificial sweeteners on the market today.

Disclaimer: I am not suggesting that you increase your consumption of artificial sweeteners. Nor am I advocating or endorsing one sweetener over another. My aim here is simply to provide scientific answers to some of the common concerns I often encounter. These are facts; not my opinions (although I understand the my unintentional bias is likely found). You will find the sources I cited with links throughout.

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The Tale of a Soda Pop

Carbs, glorious carbs!

A couple of weeks ago we talked about what happened as a reaction to the low-fat craze of the late 20th century: food manufacturers started taking fat out of all of their product and instead replaced it with sugar. What we didn't discuss is why this is such a big deal.

I'd like to walk you through a little of the physiology of what happens in our bodies when we consume sugar. Now before you get too concerned, remember that I'm a big fan of some types of carbohydrates (i.e. complex carbs that contain fiber). However, it's important to note that not all carbs are created equal. Some are made to fuel your body while other should only be enjoyed once in a while.

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Pickles, Sauerkraut, & Preservation

If cooking is a giant chemistry experiment, fermentation is a lesson in biology. Preservation is a happy marriage of these two sciences.

Lately, between the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) basket we purchased for the summer (check out Miller Farms if you live in Northern Colorado!) and a very generous co-worker (THANK YOU, Tracy!), we have almost too many veggies to eat.

 In an effort to avoid letting any of our amazing veggies go to waste, I've been dabbling in the art of food preservation. Because I don't have any canning equipment (or any room to store it if I did), the two main experiments I've been conducting are pickling and fermentation.

I'm excited to share two recipes with you today (Counter-Top Pickles and Fermented Sauerkraut) to briefly explain the difference between the two and give you an easy (and yummy!) chance to try your own hand at food preservation.

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