Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Losing Fat and Winning In Life Blogger Shay Shay

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting and counseling a very positive and wonderful client. Her name is Shay Shay and the best way I think I can tell her story is to just let her tell it herself. See her Blog at (http://losingfatandwinning.blogspot.com/2010/08/keep-momentum-going-on-weekends.html).

I find that many people have the same problem. Those dreaded weekends!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Acai berry diet: Does it work?

Just recently I came across this new supplement called the Acai Optimum diet. This "diet" supplement claims that if you combine their acai (ah-sa-hi) berry extract in pill form along with a colon cleansing supplement for 1 month you will lose pounds and inches effortlessly!

The premise of this "diet" is that the acai berry extract will help "detoxify" your body, eliminate toxins, enhance energy, and help "speed up your metabolism," and the colon cleanser supplement supposedly helps further eliminate toxins that may be causing you to be sluggish or "slowing" you down. Interestingly, there are several testimonials by "reporters" with website names such as "news11reporter.com", or news8reporter, or news9, 10 (etc... you get the idea), who all have the exact same story. They claim to have lost 25 pounds in 4 weeks as they experimented on themselves. The story sounds very convincing because it starts out as a skeptic reporter who goes on to become a believer in the product as she loses tons of weight in just 4 weeks.

The truth is there is no such reporter and there is no scientific evidence that the acai berry extract will help people lose weight. In fact, on the company's website they have a disclaimer that the berry is not regulated or has not been proven by the FDA. In fact, I recently served as a dietitian for a pharmaceutical company researching a new weight-loss medication which incorporated a three phase intensive trial over 5 years in numerous locations across the country. Even with the advance technology behind this drug the research showed that people only lost about 10% of excess body weight over a one year period. The FDA is just now considering the safety of this drug and whether to allow the sale for weight loss. So, you mean to tell me some supplement company has the "magic bullet" without any research and just a few fake testimonials? Not so sure!

Bottom-line: There is just no replacement for balanced healthy eating, adding more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean sources of protein, and healthy fats to your diet as well as daily physical activity. There are numerous products that claim to "enhance" this and "detox" that but there is just no scientific evidence for these claims. Just remember, if it's too good to be true then it probably is!

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about a supplement or new weight-loss product.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Organic or Not?

One of the questions I get a lot from clients is whether or not to buy or use organic products.

The label "USDA Organic" is only based on the production or growth of produce or meat and dairy products. In other words, organic foods are foods that are grown without the use of any pesticides, herbacides, GMO (genetically modified organisms), or petroleum-based fertilizers, or live stock that are raised with organic feed and are not given hormones, antibiotics, or steroids and have space to roam freely. The organic label does not determine food quality or safety, or simply how much better, healthier, or safer it is than its conventionally grown foods. For example, if you buy a "USDA Organic" certified strawberry there is no guarantee that it has more vitamins or phytonutrients than the conventionally grown strawberries. Actually, there are few studies that show greater food quality or safety since those studies are so difficult and expensive to conduct. Bottom line, more long-term research will be needed to determine whether organic is "healthier."

Some people shop organic because it's "green" or environmentally sustainable. Although less chemicals, petroleum-based products, hormones and genetically modified organisms are put in our environment, the real issue is that many farmers or ranchers have to spend more time and money growing organic. Organic crop yields are lower, growing organically is not subsidized by the government, and only a small percentage of Americans buy organic. Also, it's a lengthy and expensive process for farmers and growers to seek USDA Certification and there is little oversight or inspection of these foods and products. It is for the most part self-regulated.

With all this said, I believe shopping organic is still a healthier option, however more research is still needed. It does give me a sense that I'm doing something healthy for myself, my environment and the farmers that grow organic. But what organic foods do I recommend buying? I tell people to save money and buy conventional for most produce that have inedible skins or peels. For example, bananas and avocados have a tough outer skin which protect it from many of the chemicals. I also don't buy organic packaged foods like crackers, cereal, or juices because it's just not worth the cost. Lastly, buying organic in this economy is just a little harder to swallow, which is another huge issue for people on tight budgets.

I tell most of my clients to keep it simple. If they really want to go green and eat healthier, I tell them to shop local grocers with produce from sustainable farms. Buy products that are in season vs food shipped from around the world, and only buy organic produce where the skin is edible. As far as meat and live stock, eat less. Animal based proteins (beef, pork, poultry, and fish) require a greater amount of petroleum to grow, produce, and ship. Actually, it is also healthier for you since most of the healthiest people in the world have a 70-80% plant-based diet.

Keep it simple:
  • Shop locally
  • Buy seasonally
  • Buy organic only if you eat the skin
  • Freeze extras
  • Eat less meat or animal based products
For more information visit the USDA National Organic Program website at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ams.fetchTemplateData.do?template=TemplateC&navID=NationalOrganicProgram&leftNav=NationalOrganicProgram&page=NOPConsumers&description=Consumers&acct=nopgeninfo

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Super Brain Foods

Do you ever feel that you go through the day in a cloud? You are moving and going through the motions of day-to-day life, but find it difficult to concentrate, focus or remember.

You may be tempted to grab caffeine or a quick sugary snack, but there are actually foods that can help enhance memory, improve brain activity and help us focus. These "supper foods" provide the essential nutrients such as glucose, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, monounsaturated and omega-3 fats, and CLA (conjugated linolenic acid) that our brain needs to function properly.

Try these 10 Super Brain Foods

  1. Blueberries - rich in color, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that help prevent oxidation of cells from stress
  2. Spinach - leafy greens has been associated with increase learning capacity and motor skills
  3. Oatmeal - whole grains packed with fiber help regulate blood sugar to the brain
  4. Beans - all types are beneficial because of the fiber and protein
  5. Salmon - a good source of omega-3s that help promote cognitive function
  6. Yogurt - contains protein, vitamin B12, calcium and probiotics that improve nerve function
  7. Broccoli - a good source of vitamin K, which helps enhance cognitive function
  8. Walnuts - also contains omega-3s which make up the majority of brain tissue
  9. Eggs - yes eggs contain vitamin A and choline which plays an important role in neurotransmission
  10. Avocado - Packed with vitamin E and monounsaturated fat that helps boost brain function

Adding Super Brain foods to your diet is easy! Here's a few ideas

Oatmeal with walnuts and blueberries
Yogurt with granola and berries
Spinach omelet (1 whole egg and one white)

Spinach salad with grilled salmon
Black bean burrito with guacamole
Bean soup

Salmon burgers with sliced avocados
Grilled tuna steaks with brown rice medley
Black beans and rice with grilled vegetables

Hard boiled egg and fruit
Bean dip and whole wheat crackers
Oatmeal cookies

Lastly remember
Balance your calories. Skipping meals can cause you to over eat, lower metabolism and make you sluggish regardless of what you eat. Be careful with overly processed foods and too much alcohol.