Why I will NEVER recommend DAIRY + Tips to Bone Health

One in every two women and one in every four men over the age of 50 are going to break a bone due to osteoporosis according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. It is up to you to take control of your bone health!

Eating a wide variety of plant foods in sufficient calories should supply the body with the calcium it needs sufficiently, without supplementation necessary.

According to the Academy’s Nutrition Care Manual:

Vegans can obtain calcium from a variety of foods, including (USDA, 2007; Manufacturer’s information):

  • Low-oxalate vegetables (see below for calcium content)
  • Calcium-set tofu (120 to 430 mg per half cup)
  • Figs (68 mg per five dried figs)
  • Soybeans (88 mg per half cup)
  • Tempeh (92 mg per half cup)
  • Calcium-fortified foods (300 to 350 mg per cup orange juice; 200 to 350 mg per cup soymilk; 55 to 1,000 mg per ounce ready-to-eat breakfast cereal)screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-10-24-54-pm

My Top 5 Tips for Bone Health?

  1. Exercise: Resistance training and impact activities like running and jumping improve bone mineral density, so be sure to incorporate these activities into your daily life. Recommendations are to resistance train at least 2-3 days a week for 30 minutes / day and to train aerobically at least 5 days a week for 30 minutes with moderate effort.
  2. Eat Plants: As shown in the video, antioxidants in plant foods have been shown to help bone health. The more the merrier.  Animal foods and animal protein have been shown to cause an acidic effect on the body that may interfere with calcium absorption and retention and could be associated with high rates of hip fracture in Western civilization where high amounts of animal protein from meat and dairy are consumed.
  3. Incorporate These Foods: Low-oxalate veggies like broccoli, kale, collard greens, as well as okra, figs, calcium set tofu, and fortified plant milk.
  4. Sunshine: Let your skin see the sun at least 15 minutes / day of direct sunlight. If you live in a darker, cooler area, I would recommend supplementing about 10,000 IU vitamin D and maybe even include mushrooms and vitamin D fortified foods like cereals and plant milks to cover the vitamin D necessity.
  5. Take it WITHOUT A Grain Of Salt: Eat less sodium. Sodium effects our calcium retention. Try bringing flavor to dishes with lemon, lime, or even orange juice. Also, try fresh herbs and flavorful veggies that you like, like thyme, garlic, sage, cilantro, basil, or onion.

I hope this blog post helps to bring you closer to the optimal health and happy life of your dreams.  Much love! Reines and SHINE, it is wake up time.

References:

K Michaelsson, A Wolk, S Langenskiold, et al. Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies. British Medical Journal. Oct 28, 2014.; 349 http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g6015

Z Dai, LM Butler, RM van Dam, et al. Adherence to a Vegetable-Fruit-Soy Dietary Pattern or the Alternative Healthy Eating Index Ss Associated with Lower Hip Fracture Risk among Singapore Chinese. The Journal of Nutrition. April 1, 2014. vol 144 no. 4 511-518. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/144/4/511.full

K Michaelsson, A Wolk, S Langenskiold, et al. Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies. British Medical Journal. Oct 28, 2014.; 349 http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g6015

Z Dai, LM Butler, RM van Dam, et al. Adherence to a Vegetable-Fruit-Soy Dietary Pattern or the Alternative Healthy Eating Index Ss Associated with Lower Hip Fracture Risk among Singapore Chinese. The Journal of Nutrition. April 1, 2014. vol 144 no. 4 511-518. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/144/4/511.full

V Benetou, P Orfanos, U Pattersson-Kymmer et al. Mediterranean diet and incidence of hip fractures in a European cohort. Osteoporosis Int. May 2013. 24(5): 1587-1598. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23085859

E de Jonge, F Rivadeneira, N Erler, et al. Dietary Patterns in an elderly population and their relation with bone mineral density: the Rotterdam Study. European Journal of Nutrition. August 24, 2016. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00394-016-1297-7

M Hassan, A Rezabakhsh. Hormones in Dairy Foods and Their Impact on Public Health- Narrative Review Article. Iran Journal Public Health. June 2015. 44(6): 742-758. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4524299/

BC Melnik, SM John, P Carrera-Bastos, et al. The impact of cow’s milk-mediated mTORC1-signaling in the initiation and progression of prostate cancer. Nutr Metab (Lond). Aug 14, 2012. 9(1): 74. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22891897

11 Ways to Improve Endurance

 

So you wanna be a superhero? Me too. Let’s start with endurance.  I’ve got the research, now all you have to do is put in the effort. Here’s my 11 tips:

1. Train

Think you have to keel over to improve your endurance? Think again. According to the ACE Personal Trainer Manual 5th edition, studies have shown that endurance improvement favored those who had performed more zone 1 training.

80% of training should be done at intensities where speech is comfortable (zone 1) and only about 10% of training should be performed at intensities above VT2 (zone 3, where blood lactate increases significantly).

It would make sense that this 80% zone 1 training should, for the most part, be performed relatively high in zone 1.  So, if you are just getting into endurance activities like running, just getting started will improve your endurance.  However, to really get your speed up and improve, get a little uncomfortable with the “talk test.” Can you sing comfortably while you are running? If you can, then you can definitely try to go a little faster. Get on those hills, and laugh fearlessly at your struggles!

2. Hydrate

Did you know that muscles are 70-75% water? That’s right! According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic’s Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, muscle is only 15-20% protein, 5-7% fat, glycogen, and minerals.

Why is hydration important?

  • Temperature regulation
  • Blood volume + blood pressure
  • Keep organs, kidneys, cells, working optimally
  • Prevent dehydration

Things to consider:

  • Weather
  • Clothing
  • Your personal sweaty-ness

According to the American Counsel on Exercise (ACE):

  • ~4 hours before the event, drink 3-4 cups of water + weigh yourself
  • > during the event: definitely varies, but drink about ½ cup water every 20 minute
  • after event drink about 2 cups of water for every pound that you lost during the event

IMPORTANT: Prevent depletion in electrolytes like sodium and potassium as those are necessary for muscle contraction and blood pressure regulation which, if low can cause cramping, twitching and even heart issues. These electrolytes may be excreted with sweat

In general, water alone should be fine to rehydrate, but if it is extra humid or you lose 3% or more body weight during the event I recommend a natural electrolyte beverage like coconut water and / or datorade.

Dateorade:

  • 2 cups water
  • ½ lime or lemon, juiced
  • 2-3 dates
  • maybe a pinch of Himalayan salt or dulse flakes

Blend for about 1 minute. This provides natural sources of electrolytes, antioxidants and nutrients without the added colors, flavors, or refined sugars and is a great go-to beverage before, during, and after an event.

3. Carb Load Correctly

FACT: Activity that lasts longer than several hours depletes glycogen stores. Carbohydrates consumed during exercise helps endurance athletes maintain a fast pace; fat is used more efficiently for fuel as exercise continues. Protein is a very minor fuel source during endurance exercise.

PROTEIN: it is important for repairing tissues, making enzymes + hormones, transporting nutrients, making muscles contract, regulating water balance. However, if you don’t consume enough carbs for your high energy demands, the body will use protein for energy instead which is EXTREMELY COUNTERPRODUCTIVE TO YOUR PHYSICAL GOALS! Although protein may supply energy, extra amounts are not your best fuel. While carbs are stored in the muscle and liver as glycogen to be used for quick energy, excess protein is stored as fat, and not used for energy if you already consume enough calories. In general, protein should supply 10-35% of overall calorie intake which is met easily without powders or supplements in a balanced whole foods plant based diet. Since athletes usually eat more with a good appetite, they easily get the protein and nutrients they need. Protein requires more fluid in order to be metabolized because we need to excrete the toxic nitrogenous waste as urea so can lead to kidney issues, dehydration, cramping, and fatigue.

Energy need for endurance sports depends on body size, duration of activity, and overall effort. An elite athlete may need 4000-6000 calories daily, chosen from a high carbohydrate diet. Don’t worry about calculating your protein because if you are eating a balanced diet of whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits, and are eating enough calories, the protein in these foods will add up to be enough protein.

7 days before the event:

  • Days 1-3 Moderate-CHO diet of around 55% of calories, in general, recommendations are 45-65% of calories should come from carbohydrates
  • Days 4-6 Increase to high carbohydrate diet of about 80% of calories
  • Dinner before the event: >80% calories from carbohydrates

4. Four Hours Out:

Simple balanced meal should be fine. Try to keep it around 500 calories and under to prevent fatigue and slow gastric emptying. If you are nervous it is ok to eat less and eat more simple carbs like fruit or fruit juice 1-2 hours before the event

5. Pre Workout

While what you eat pre-workout is very important, it is essential that the previous workout was properly recovered from and that we eat a healthy balanced diet with adequate calories and nutrients on a daily basis.

Day of the event: If in the morning, I recommend staying light with datorade or fruit juice beverage. Within 1-2 hours of event, The food eaten should be around 200-300 calories, high in carbohydrate to maximize blood glucose availability, and low in fat and fiber to minimize GI distress and facilitate gastric emptying, it should be moderate to low in protein, and known to be well tolerated by you. A go to for before, during, and after workouts.

6. During Event

During extended training sessions, lasting longer than 1 hour, and especially in extreme heat, cold or high altitude, exercisers should consume 30-60g CHO / hr of training to maintain blood glucose levels.

30-60 grams of carbs looks like:

  • 1 large ripe banana
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 5-6 dates.

7. Post Workout

Eat in abundance! It is counterproductive for endurance athletes to restrict. The best meals post workout include an abundance of carbohydrates accompanied by some protein. ACE recommends about 2.2 grams of carbs for each pound of body weight to be eaten within the first 30 minutes after exercise and then every 2 hours for 4-6 hours. A diet of whole plant foods consisting of vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fruit that is sufficient in calories should provide adequate post-workout carbohydrates and protein.

8. Prevent Pain

Prevent oxidative stress and reduce cell damage and muscle pain with: Antioxidants

  • Antioxidant power aka the power to protect our cells from damage was significantly increased with banana beverage versus plain carbohydrate beverage
  • Cherry juice was shown to decrease perceived pain significantly in runners versus placebo cherry flavored drink
  • There are lots of studies out there on various plant foods, when choosing fuel to prevent pain, recover quickly I recommend whole plant foods

9. Improve Oxygen Utilization

Yes, Nitrates are components in plant foods like beets, spinach, celery, and arugula that can cause athletes to perform intensely with less oxygen needed. Crazy!

In a study with cyclists, beet juice compared to current juice improved oxygen utilization by a whopping 20% which is quite significant. Drinking beet juice is so powerful that it can bring someones high blood pressure down within 3 hours. Also, pharmaceutical companies use this concept for patients with chest pain to help with blood flow. These drugs are called nitroglycerines. You know another nitrate drug? It’s called Viagra and it certainly improves blood flow but you might as well just eat your vegetables.

How do nitrates work? Bacteria in our saliva convert it to nitric oxide. HOWEVER be sure to not use antibacterial mouth wash because this has been shown to deplete healthy mouth bacteria and therefore inhibit the conversion of nitrate to nitric oxide to allow us to oxygenate our blood.

10. Build Blood

Think you don’t need to eat your greens? Ever been to a smoothie joint that sold wheatgrass shots? One thing that wheatgrass juice is dense in is that dark green pigment called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll has been shown to increase hemoglobin in anemic rabbits. Hemoglobin is the component of blood that carries oxygen and as you can see is very similar to chlorophyll in dark leafy green vegetables. I recommend eating about 5 cups of leafy greens daily.

11. Adequate REST

Symptoms can be both physiological and emotional and are highly individualized.

Signs/ symptoms of overtraining:

  • decline in performance with continued training
  • sleep disturbances
  • weight loss
  • multiple colds / frequent sickness
  • irritability, restlessness, anxiousness
  • loss of motivation / vigor
  • lack of mental concentration / focus
  • lack of appreciation for things that are normally enjoyable

Best way to prevent overtraining is with periodization: alternate easy, moderate, and hard periods of training. Generally, one or two days of intense training should be followed by an equal number of easy training days. A week or two of hard training should be followed by a week or two of easier effort.

Today you learned

about hydration, the talk test, carbohydrate loading, what to eat pre, during, and post workout, how to prevent muscle soreness, how to increase oxygen utilization and how to build blood and prevent overtraining. Get out there and awaken your inner athlete! Give this video a thumbs up, leave your comments below, and remember. Deep down, you truly are a morning person. Wake up and live, Reines and shine!

Dr. Michael Greger’s “Doping with Beet Juice” : http://nutritionfacts.org/video/doping-with-beet-juice/

Dr. Michael Greger’s “Enhanced Athletic Recovery Without Undermining Adaptation” : http://nutritionfacts.org/video/enhanced-athletic-recovery-without-undermining-adaptation/

Cherry Juice Study: G. Howatson, M. P. McHugh, J. A. Hill, J. Brouner, A. P. Jewell, K. A. van Someren, R. E. Shave, S. A. Howatson. Influence of tart cherry juice on indices of recovery following marathon running. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010 20(6):843 – 852.

Beet Juice Study: Bailey SJ, Winyard P, Vanhatalo A, et al. Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 cost of low-intensity exercise and enhances tolerance to high-intensity exercise in humans. Journal of Applied Physiology. August 6, 2009. 107: 1144-1155.

Antibacterial Mouthwash and Nitric Oxide: Goconi M, Janasson E, Weitzberg E, et al. The increase in plasma nitrite after a dietary nitrate load is markedly attenuated by an antibacterial mouthwash. Elsevier. 2008. 2: 171-177.

Anemic Rabbits Study: Hughes JH, Latner AL. Chlorophyll and Hemoglobin Regeneration after Hemorrhage. Journal of Physiology. 1936. 612 (119) :338-395

Chlorophyll and Hemoglobin: Hughes JH, Latner AL. Chlorophyll and Hemoglobin Regeneration after Hemorrhage. Journal of Physiology. 1936. 612 (119) :338-395

RL Duyff. American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2006. Print.

American Council on Exercise: https://www.acefitness.org/

Healthy Pasta TASTE TEST + 4 Reasons Why I STILL Avoid Gluten

 

Pasta. What a delectable vehicle for vegetables!  Add your favorite beans, steamed veggies, and tomato sauce and BOOM! An impressive gourmet dinner.  While intact grains are the gold standard (grains in their whole form), whole grains, yes including their bran, germ, and endosperm, are milled into a fine flour to make whole grain pastas, breakfast cereals, and other “whole grain” products.  A few examples of legit whole intact grains would be steel cut oats, brown rice, quinoa, and millet.

wholegrains

How to tell if the product is WHOLE GRAIN?

  1. Whole grain stamp is on the package
  2. “100%” or “Whole” are used to describe it
  3. The first ingredient listed is a whole grain

refinedgrains

Refined grains are not only grains milled into a flour, but their grain was stripped of the nutrient and fiber containing bran and germ! Murder! Refined grains are white / light in color and examples include white bread, cookies, cakes, pretzels, white rice, regular pasta, and anything made with white flour. Darn!

Don’t fret too much! The recommendation is:

Make at least 1/2 of your grains whole grains.

Grains are an important part of a healthy balanced diet for fiber, iron,powerplategraphichirez magnesium, selenium, b vitamins, and lasting energy! Be sure to include them on your plate.

The Taste Test

Well before #1, my personal favorite is ZUCCHINILINI OF COURSE! Which is simply zucchini or summer squash, spirilized to look and feel like spaghetti. I like to mix it with pasta dishes to add bulk, flavor, color, and more veg of course!

#1 Nature’s Promise Whole Wheat Spaghetti: #1 in taste, texture, and nutritional profile. Contains gluten.

#2. Bionaturae Gluten Free Corn and Soy Spaghetti: Fabulous texture and taste and with 5g protein and 6% iron, this product is ok. Low in fiber :-/

#3. Jovial Gluten Free Brown Rice Spaghetti: Quite sticky texture, but great flavor and elasticity.  Would go great with a sauce. However, low in fiber although whole grain. Brown rice is naturally low in fiber.

 

#4. Ancient Harvest Gluten Free Corn and Quinoa Spaghetti: Texture dry and kinda crunchy, but a good source of fiber at 16% daily value and 10% iron!

#5. Andean Dream Quinoa Gluten Free Spaghetti: Texture was definitely a little sandy.  But I must say with 6% calcium, 12% iron, and just barely a good source of fiber at 10% daily value, not bad.

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The Consensus:

The quinoa based gluten free products have a better nutritional profile, but are not as delicious as the lower fiber rice based ones.

Why I personally still avoid Gluten?

Do I go out of my way to avoid gluten?

No.  I still enjoy it in moderation. My mom makes homemade bread and pizza with gluten which I eat occasionally.  My diet is whole foods based, so I rarely purchase packaged products that might contain gluten.

Do I eat gluten every day?

No.  Maybe I eat a gluten containing meal or snack 3-4 times a week.  I am generally healthy and do not currently feel any reason to put more effort into seriously avoiding wheat, barley, rye, and foods containing gluten 100% of the time.

Why I make this personal choice:

  1. My sister has ulcerative colitis, which is similar to celiacs in that they are both autoimmune inflammatory intestinal disorders. With a genetic risk factor in my family, I try to not over load the gluten as a personal preventative measure.
  2. Studies linking gluten and autism spectrum disorders autism-and-nutrition-1. The GFCF (gluten free casein free) diet has been shown to help people with ADHD and autism, what else could it be linked to? I am ever curious and after reading such articles have trouble stomaching gluten (and of course would never recommend drinking milk).
  3. Naturopaths recommend avoiding gluten initially when trying to avoid inflammation with an “elimination diet,” along with dairy and other common inflammatory trigger foods. With this in mind, many people have success reversing adverse symptoms like rashes, IBS, fatigue, etc (SO MANY), once they remove gluten from their diet.  I grew up with canker sores, weird rashes, and eczema so, avoiding inflammation (and gluten) is in my best interest.
  4. Close friends with celiac disease so it is easier for everybody to find a gluten free delicious option!

While as you could see from the video, a gluten free diet is not recommended for the general public because it tends to have less nutrients. Be a savvy shopper and let me know if you have any questions! Enjoy those intact whole grains and plant yums! xx

pastathumb

Vegan Brunch: True Bistro with STEPH’S PLATE + Why Try A Vegan Restaurant?

First of all, I am so honored to have met Steph from Steph’s Plate! She is such a doll you must watch her videos and get inspired on IG.  Secondly, True Bistro is one of the most classy vegan restaurants I have ever been to.  It is definitely swanky enough for impressing a date, yet not intimidatingly so.  Their lunch menu offers brunch options of waffles, crepes, tofu scrambles, as well as classic sandwiches with burgers, salads, and they feature incredible sweets like local FoMu ice cream and fresh cinnamon buns.

 

Steph ordered the crepes with FoMu lavender ice cream and blueberry compote, I went for the more savory mushroom and red pepper tofu scramble with fresh home fries, salad, and a side of their smokey mac and cheese.  Steph’s crepes were incredible.  They didn’t, you know, “taste vegan” at all!  It was so good, like an incredible dessert to me!  My scramble had such a refined savory flavor profile, I was really impressed.  It didn’t taste like eggs necessarily but the combo of herbs and veggies were brilliant- so delicious.  The mac and cheese I actually got to take home for my sister (the cheese lover). It had a LOT of smokey flavor, almost sausage-y.  Anyone who enjoys those smokey tones would adore it.  Can’t wait to try the waffles and I must go for dinner!

 

4 Reasons: Try A Vegan Restaurant:

1. Plant Foods In Your Diet

A whole foods plant based diet has been shown to be the most effective at preventing and reversing disease. According to the USDA’s Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines:

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screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-11-26-13-am

2. Environmental Impact

It is without a doubt that eating more plant based meals is more sustainable for the long term and environmentally friendly. As described in the USDA’s Scientific Report, and watch Dr. Michael Gregor’s Video:

3. Prevent Heart Disease and Cancer

Saturated fat and cholesterol are well known for their association with causing the leading causes of death: heart disease and cancer.  Fortunately, plant based diets high in whole foods with fiber containing grain products, fruits, and vegetables, can significantly reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

4. Get Inspired

Once you find out how delicious plant foods can really be, you are much more likely to want to get in the kitchen and start cooking!  Keep trying more restaurants and dishes, and before you know it, every meal will be whole foods, plant based, and simply divine.

stephsplateigphoto

 

Rainbow Ginger Citrus Zoodles | Raw, Vegan, Simple, Delicious.

The research I am doing for my graduate program is on plant foods and cancer- I am on cloud 8374378457 with all the EUREKA WHATT research that is out there!! Sulforaphane in broccoli, sweet potato protein, flavanols in cacao, cranberries, blueberries, tomatoes, the plant kingdom cures cancer!! Amazing! The best is to get organic and picked ripe because plants produce natural components called salvestrols to protect themselves from harm similarly to how the plant foods protect us.  It. Is. Unbelievable. Potent cancer killers without harming the body, truly healing it. Mind, body, spirit, immunity, vitality, sustainability ❤ Eat the rainbow, reap the success, love, beauty, and happiness *starstruck*

Rainbow Citrus Zoodles

citrus zoodles

The Noodles:

  • 4 small zucchini, spiralized
  • 2-3 medium carrots, spiralized
  • 1 small red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 2 purple cabbage leaves, sliced thin

The Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup fresh scallion
  • a quarter sized chunk of ginger
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. tahini
  1. Combine noodles in a large bowl
  2. Blend sauce ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth
  3. Drizzle over noodles, mix and devour with some people you love!

History in the Making: Dietitians of South Texas Tour Their New 100% Organic Grocery Store

In a city of McDonalds, Whataburger, Wal-Mart, obesity and diabetes, a world saving beacon of health and sustainability opens; fully equipped with the highest quality produce/products, demonstration kitchen, vitamins/herbs/supplements, beauty products, books, and, it’s love!

natural grocers
Natural Grocers 100% Organic Grocery Opens March 15, 2016

Today, I had the opportunity to get a tour of the store with the Corpus Christi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics group lead by the wonderful dietitian there, Kelsey. I was extremely impressed by this tour. A grocery store tour to dietitians? Please, as if they could learn anything more, but we all did! Like how Kelsey pointed out that the hemp seeds, walnuts, and other unstable fats are kept in the refrigerated section (polyunsaturated fats become rancid very easily, creating free radicals, so they must be kept cool). I have learned this previously but I have never seen a grocery store actually put their nuts and seeds in the refrigerator!

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The sign above us says, “100% organic produce,” yes, I am the obnoxious intern that made everybody get in front of the produce section and asked the cashier to take our picture 🙂

The Tour~

Kristen gave us all a LONG list of things that Natural Grocers will NOT carry.  Including ingredients that I am quite familiar with like GMOs (genetically modified organisms), hydrogenated oils (trans fats), bleached flours, parabens (mimic estrogen and cause reproductive disorders), dairy products from cows given rBGH (recombinant  Bovine Growth Hormone), artificial sweeteners (all of them), and artificial colors and flavors, as well as so many that I have seen before but even (a nutrition nerd grad student studying nutrition) have seen but no clue what they are!

Ingredients like DBP (dibutyl phthalate) which is a fragrance ingredient, plasticizer, and solvent that is a reproductive and developmental toxin, endocrine disruptor, and a known human respiratory toxin.  Also, BHA and BHT (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) are preservatives that have been shown to be carcinogenic and cause allergic reactions in humans.  I could go on..This place doesn’t even carry chemical based sunscreens or antibacterial soaps! Amen!

A few more reasons why I’m in love with this place:

  • No bags, you have to bring your own! (or they use a cardboard box)
  • GF (gluten free) items are all marked clearly next to price on shelf
  • Local is emphasized and marked clearly with a Texas flag on shelf
  • Lots of cheap “Health Hotline” sale items
  • Bulk specialty items from mulberries and goji berries to raw buckwheat groats
  • WIDE variety of vegan items
  • Reverse osmosis water filter, only $0.25 to refill a gallon
  • Nutrition experts- these people know their stuff!
  • To reduce waste and cut cost of items: no deli/freshly prepared items (ever wonder where all the fresh baked goods from Whole Foods goes at the end of the day? Yup, in the trash #wasteful. !
  • No self serve bulk bins but still has large packages of items in bulk – reduces contamination and food waste
  • Huge wall of shelves with high quality nutritional reference and cookbooks

They even have cool events like this Saturday they have a gluten free tasting expo and health fair! Aw chocolate avocado pie food demo, and “How to live an alkaline lifestyle” is on Monday April 11th. Check out their website for more info on events.

A little bit about my internship…

I can’t believe it, I completed my food service and community rotations last semester and am now half way through my clinical rotation! Eeek! As a snob from the Boston area who  works at a raw vegan cafe called “Organic Garden Cafe” back home, I was nervous that I wouldn’t get to learn new innovations of nutrition while working as an intern in a program that emphasizes the low income communities of South Texas.

I could not be more pleasantly surprised and excited about my feelings towards this internship right now.  It brings me such joy and power to have worked with the people of this community. Diabetics who do not know what a carbohydrate is, teen mom’s going out for a cigarette, and people who are truly afraid to lose weight because they have (and their family and friends) have always been big, so if they lost weight, what would they think!? Many of these people do not want to change, and even if they did, where to even start? As my sister, the writer, put it, “You need to learn the script before you can re-write a new one.

My clinical preceptor now, Shannon Aguilar, has helped me to not only be a much more confident clinical dietitian, but to take it a step further, too.  It is one thing to study nutrition, it is quite another to actually care enough to reflect on our own lives and practice what we preach.  My preceptor, Mrs. Aguilar, is more than a dietitian, she is also a health coach, and helped me to see how important it is to learn who our audience is before we try to help.

Seeing a grocery store like this open in Boston or Vermont would have been a, yawn. Another natural grocery? But, HERE! I get to see history in the making. These people having access to this kind of world saving expertise is dream come true for me.

There is something really cool about the idea of helping people who really need it AND want it. I could talk coconut oil and kale to the organic junkies back home all day every day, but that doesn’t reverse our obesity epidemic now does it? I may have thought that my second round match was a mistake, but actually, it was the best eye-opening and invigorating experience.  To be able to explain what a carbohydrate is to someone who has no clue? Check. Next: to reverse their disease through diet and lifestyle! No matter where I end up, I hope to make a positive impact and continue to be pleasantly surprised by all that I learn from the experience.

What I Ate Less Than $4 / Meal Nutrient Breakdown

Save money and eat a healthy diet? Easy!

Click here to watch video
Click here to watch video

Saving money on a vegan diet is simple, as long as you’re willing to eat simply, haha. Every day is different and variety and adequate hydration are important. It doesn’t matter what I eat, what matters is what you eat and what makes you feel good. Just because I eat this way doesn’t mean you have to to be healthy. (I happened to get 3 boxes of bananas for free and feel great eating them!) The nutrient breakdown of this day will be on my blog to see what vitamins and minerals are lacking. I recommend that you log your food every so often to see what vitamins and minerals you might be low in so that you can research what foods contain those nutrients and begin incorporating more of those foods in your balanced vegan diet.

Today, I am definitely vegan for the animals after seeing a cute kitty smeared on the side of the road. Hope he didn’t know what hit him, unlike all the mass produced animals for food these days. I hate to be a vegan pusher, but I really can’t stand to see people supporting that business, it breaks my heart.

According to supertracker.com. I color coded green = good, yellow=warning to look out for, and red = do something about this! warning: these recommended values are based on a 2200 calorie diet and I wasn’t that hungry today so I only ate 2045 calories.  I am sure I would have met pretty much everything based on a 2000 calorie recommendation. Had I eaten more calories – I would have had higher numbers. Kapeesh!?

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Vegans should consider B12 supplementation or be sure to eat fortified products like plant milks, nutritional yeast, or cereals. Also, spending 10-15 minutes in the sun for fair-skinned individuals provides plenty of vitamin D.
Vegans should consider B12 supplementation or be sure to eat fortified products like plant milks, nutritional yeast, or cereals. Also, spending 10-15 minutes in the sun for fair-skinned individuals provides plenty of vitamin D.

Reds:

Vitamin B12: I take a supplement and normally like to drink fortified hemp milk that has B12 in it (I ran out).

Vitamin D: Sunshine baby! I spend at least 30 minutes in the sun everyday exercising, or just sitting, haha 🙂

Yellows:

% Protein: This is up for debate considering I clearly consumed plenty of protein.  I am only 1% low as well, 10% is recommended and I ate 9% of my diet from protein.  Should have eaten a few more lentils, huh!

% Carbohydrate and % Total Fat: Clearly I ate a high carb diet today.  I feel good and energized eating mostly carbs and have noticed though documenting food in the past that a higher fat percentage for me makes me sleepy.  I used to enjoy peanut butter sandwiches and handfuls of nuts but I honestly noticed they slowed me down a lot, both in my digestive tract and just throughout my day.  So, this is a personal thing, but just shows it wouldn’t hurt me to consume less calories from carbohydrates and more from fat.

Linoleic Acid: This is a very important essential fatty acid that is necessary for formation of hormones, brain function, and cell membrane stability.  It is great for me to see how my high carb diet is effecting my intake of essential fatty acids.  Looks like I need my hemp milk!

Calcium: Also a little up for debate, it has been questioned whether clean eating vegans really need that much calcium since fruits and vegetables have been shown to increase the absorption and utilization of calcium. However, this tells me I could stand to of course eat my fortified hemp milk that I love (the chocolate version is SO GOOD!), as well as more okra, figs, broccoli, almonds, collards, and kale in my diet to get some more calcium.  Calcium is in lots of plant foods, even oranges!

Iron: I was a little low in iron today, 16/18mg. Lentils and greens and beans are great sources of iron.  This worries me a little because plant based iron (non-heme iron) is less readily absorbed than iron from animal products (heme iron). To absorb it better, it is necessary to combine it with a source of vitamin C like red bell peppers, lemon juice, oranges or tomatoes.  Last time I got my blood checked I had more iron than my doctor, so I am not too concerned about it.

Selenium: a little low 46/55. I like to eat brown rice which is a decent source for me, (1 cup has 19 micro grams) also brazil nuts are high in selenium and I like to eat a couple of those once in a while when I get a few from the bulk section at Sprouts.

Vitamin E: This should definitely be higher.  I usually eat more greens, (5 cups of spinach has 6mg vitamin E) I am running low so I am trying to make my last bunch last me for the next two days.  Greens are a great source of the essential cell membrane saving fat soluble vitamin antioxidant vitamin E! I could stand to eat a few more sunflower seeds and almonds too.  Even fruit has vitamin E, 1 ripe mango has 2mg.

Choline: Pinto beans (which I have been loving lately) are high in choline, as well as soy products like soy milk and tempeh, also quinoa, broccoli, and green peas, even oranges, bananas and dates have choline.  I should try some tempeh next week to get some variety 🙂

There you have it! Hope this helps, and I hope you do the same once in a while to make sure you are on track! Not to get obsessive! I don’t record what I eat everyday! Very rarely do I actually measure out my food unless I am doing something like this.  There are lots of sites out there these days, I use http://www.supertracker.com because that is the USDA’s website affiliated with RDs. I like http://www.loseit.com and http://www.cronometer.com and http://www.myfitnesspal.com as well. Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.

How To Connect With People

I was beyond inspired by my Medical Nutrition Therapy class today!  We started getting into Nutritional Counseling.  The number one skill that is VERY important?! LISTENING.

listen

I have worked for Holistic Health and Nutritional Counselor, Christine Lucas, who has already taught me a lot about this, how to listen and importance of relating to a client.  I also thought of team meetings at the Organic Garden Cafe where we go through a “clearing” where you say what you are present to and fully listen to, and repeat back, what the person says to you.  So I thought I had ample practice in this topic…until…

empathy2

We learned about the importance of empathy.  Going into this lecture thinking I wouldn’t learn anything, and leaveing surprised and excited.  This video hit it home for me.  I realized that I am not at all empathetic.  Before this lecture, I thought that looking on the bright side and staying positive was helpful, but I was very wrong!

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Staying positive is obviously a good thing, but connecting with others and making a connection is even better.  Having the ability to listen and understand, relate, and connect, is very important for the nutritional counselor.

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I am the kind of person who will listen to someone’s sob story, and say, “Well, at least you made your bed this morning” and call it a day!  I am terrible!  Just like the animal eating a sandwich in that video (which you must watch in order to understand what empathy really is)!  After watching that video in class and being excited about being an empathetic person, about 2 hours later my friend Grace sitting next to me says, “Urgh, I am so tired and hungry.” I literally replied instantly. “Well, at least you look good.” and then I was like DAMNIT!

 

empathy5

I can’t believe it!  I am so relieved that at least I am aware of my terrible tendencies.  It is annoying to me, having a great day and then having to be brought down by other peoples problems.  But it is a skill that I am ready and willing to practice!  From this day forth, I will reply to Gracie with a, “I know how you feel.” In fact, I was definately there yesterday.  I patted her on the back and apologized.  I am so thankful for my education today!  I have grown so much, and am still growing 🙂 Much love superheroes!

Lettuce Have Healthcare Tacos!

thomasedison

Arriving home from Purdue, my father left me a wonderful surprise gift!  A DVD of a Naturopathic Medicine course by Dr. Mimi Guarneri!  I am so inspired and excited watching it!

SickCareVersusHealthCare

It’s funny how much I already know- like I think it is kind of silly how it is such a breakthrough that they are prescribing yoga and the elimination diet to people to heal!  Haha!  I’ve been interning with Christine Lucas who has been doing that for years!  Finally people are catching on- I can’t waaaaiiiiit to get my ND!!

 

804-health-food-industry-vs-health-industry

From what I have seen of the DVD so far, they emphasize how health care these days is actually not health care at all- it is sick care!  The system is fantastic at diagnosing and treating issues quickly!  Applause to the sick care system!  But for chronic disease, lifelong issues and truly making people healthy, finding what the cause is and truly 100% curing the issue… not so much… The doctor in the DVD painted a picture:

NC-food-is-health-care-medicine-is-sick-care

If you planted a tree and your tree’s leaves started to wilt and turn brown and dry out, what would you do?  You would give it more water and give it plenty of sunlight, right?  Well if your tree were given to an MD in America, the problem leaves/ branches would be chopped off- not truly healing your tree, just a quick fix.

healthOrHospital

😀 So inspired to continue shining my light!  Go vegetarian diets, fun exercise, relaxation, sleep, sunshine, and love ❤ !  Happiness is in your power to change perception!  Take care of your beautiful body!  And enjoy these simple recipes!

taco1

Mango Tomato Corn Tacos:

Serves 1-2, takes 5 minutes prep time

  • 2 organic Haitian mangos, diced
  • about 1 cup of thinly sliced zuccini
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 2 cups of organic corn
  • 1 cup of peas
  • 2-3 tomatoes, diced
  • 3 heads of romaine lettuce

Measurements are up to you, and you can use any yummy veggies and fruits you like! Maybe chop them different than I did? Whatever!  Just mix em all together and fill your romaine leaves and choww dowwn!

taco4

It’s funny how I loveeee salad so much- people think you need to be super disciplined to enjoy your greens.  Not this girl!  That crispy soft romaine! MMMM!!! Too delish!  Plain as it is- crave worthy fo shoo!

taco2

I also made Black Bean and Corn Burgers for my family for mother’s day.  They are one of my mom’s favorite vegan recipes, and they were pretty good as an addition to my mango corn tomato tacos!  Give it a go!

They are high carb and almost fat free!  Perf for raw till 4-ers!

  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 T olive oil (optional- could just use a little water to cook the onions)
  • 3 cups (or 2 cans) cooked black beans, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt (I didn’t use any salt)
  • black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2/3 cups quick oats, plus extra as needed
  • 3/4 cups fresh (or frozen and thawed) organic NOT GMO PLEASE corn
  1. Sauté onion and garlic in the olive oil for eight to ten minutes, or until golden, soft, and fragrant.
  2. Add 2 cups of the beans, the cumin, the paprika, the chili powder, the sea salt, and pepper to taste. Stir in the sauté pan till all is warm.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350° F.
  4. Add the oats to the bowl of a food processor and pulse them a few times. Add the onion, garlic, and bean mixture. Process everything together, until it’s well combined but still has texture.
  5. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the last cup of black beans and the corn and mix well with your hands. Check for seasoning and season to taste. If the mixture is too mushy to form into patties, add a little more oats or bread crumbs.
  6. Using a 1/3 measuring cup, shape mixture into patties.  I think it made 8? Transfer burgers to a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes (or until golden), flipping once through.  No cooking spray or parchment paper needed!  These guys don’t stick!
  7. Enjoy with a deep breath and a smile 🙂 ❤ xoxo Dream big, carb up!!

Protein, Protein, Protein

Are you eating enough protein?? Better question: Are you eating too much protein?! Nowadays people will buy into anything to get the results they are looking for. As a dietetics student, I have taken the classes and done the credible research, all that creatine, whey, and meat your piling on is doing you more harm than good.

Protein in Plants

According to our campus dietitian, Michelle Singleton, we only need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Protein isn’t listed as a percent value on the nutrition label, because the recommended intake varies so much since it is dependent on an individual’s body weight. To get your weight in kilograms, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2. For example, if you weigh 130lbs: 130 / 2.2 = 59kg. 0.8 x 59 = 47.2 grams of protein per day. You would be amazed at how easy this is to meet.

ripped1

Various online nutrient content websites show that we can get:
6.5 grams of protein from only 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds
6.9 grams of protein from only 1 cup of sprouted lentils
5.7 grams of protein from only 2 cups of kale
5.3 grams of protein from only 3 tablespoons of sunflower seeds
7.9 grams of protein from only 1 cup of green peas
6 grams of protein from only 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
9.1 grams of protein from only 3 ounces of goji berries
3.9 grams of protein from only 3 medium sized bananas
3.7 grams of protein from only 3 oranges

That’s already 7 grams over the amount of protein this person would need of energizing, high fiber, hydrating, and high vibrational protein! And did you know one large egg has 6.3 grams of protein?! Compare that to the list! Also, according to Dr. Sedlock, my exercise physiology professor, there are 28 grams in 1 ounce. So, taking our example from before, if you weigh 130 pounds, you need 47.2 grams of protein per day. If there are 28 grams in an ounce, then we could divide 47.2 / 28 to figure out how many ounces of protein that is. Turns out it is only 1.7 ounces. The serving size of a piece of meat is 3-4 ounces, which is about the size of a deck of cards! With this in mind- supplementing on protein with whey or eating three chickens for dinner is extremely unnecessary.

ripped4

According to my Advanced Human Macronutrient Metabolism professor, Kim Buhman, there is no storage place for protein in the body. The carbon skeleton gets turned into glucose (possibly stored as fat), fatty acids, ketone bodies, or cholesterol, and the nitrogen (amino acids are made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen), is toxic to the body and has to get excreted through urea either in urine (mostly), feces, or other places like hair, nails, and sweat (which gives you rancid body odor and strong smelling piss). So, it is really easy to measure if a person is getting enough or too much protein in their diet by measuring the amount of nitrogen that they excrete. A graduate student did a nitrogen balance study here at Purdue by comparing the excretions of a population with controlled protein intakes at various amounts. The student’s findings were that only 0.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day were necessary. Buhman’s lecture also taught me that the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) for protein is only 0.63 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. The EAR is an average; it is what is thought to be sufficient for 50% of the population; whereas the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 0.83 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. The RDA is meant to be sufficient for 97% of the population. It is clear that in order to be sure most people are getting enough protein, they bump up the requirements from the EAR to the RDA to ensure if people meet the RDA, they are definitely consuming enough protein! That said- any more than the RDA is overkill!

Metabolizing all of these amino acids is complex business. Don’t make your body work harder than it has to- you’re already such a hard worker as it is! High protein diets can cause a whole slew of issues, the minor ones feeling and fatigued and, grumpy with horrible body odor, to acidosis issues (cancer grows in an acidic body). Don’t get me wrong, if you are a burn victum, or a division 1 athlete, by all means your cells are breaking down and regenerating quite rapidly, and you might want to take in more protein. But wait, what was protein deficiency called again? Oh ya, kworshiorkor. Don’t hear that one too often. Dream big, and carb up!