Have you been tricked into buying these so-called "Healthy Foods?"

I recently wrote a blurb that was featured in Women's Health (https://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/foods-you-should-not-buy/slide/3) on so-called healthy-foods you should stop buying. In addition to Alkaline water, I wanted to share my complete list below!  

1. Fruit Flavored Yogurts

·         Fruit flavored yogurts are more often than not loaded with sugar and devoid of actual fruit! If you read the ingredient list on the label and see added sugar, artificial sweeteners, or fruit juice concentrates, steer clear. Opt for a plain, whole milk yogurt instead and add your own fresh fruit and honey if desired. You’ll not only eat less sugar overall, but you’ll get the added bonus of fiber from the fresh fruit. 

2.       Protein Bars

·         Most protein bars aren’t much healthier than a candy bar with added protein powder. While they’re convenient for a quick-on-the go snack, use your snacks as an opportunity to get in a fruit or vegetable plus protein-rich food such as almonds, pumpkin seeds, or a hardboiled egg.

3.       Alkaline waters

·         Alkaline waters claim to neutralize blood acidity levels leading to an array of metabolic benefits. However, our bodies do an excellent job at maintaining a consistent blood pH (or acidity) despite what liquids we put in our system. Save your money and stick to plain tap or mineral water.

4.       Store Bought Salad Dressings

·         Store bought salad dressings are typically made with vegetable and soybeans oils which are high in Omega-6 fatty acids. In the typical American diet, our balance of Omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids is high and linked to an array of inflammatory diseases. Instead, make your own salad dressing with heart healthy oils such as olive oil or avocado oil, which have a healthier balance of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids.

5.       Low Carb Breads/Tortillas

·         Low carb breads and tortillas are often made with heavily processed flours and filled with additives such as modified food starch and gums to help maintain texture. Instead, look for brands with 100% whole grain options or corn tortillas with minimal ingredients and preservatives.

Are sweet potatoes really healthier than regular potatoes?

sweet potato.jpg

Sweet potatoes are a type of complex carbohydrate.  Complex carbohydrates are typically recommended over simple carbohydrates due to the fact that they break down to sugar slowly in the body, providing you with a consistent energy source and stable blood sugars. Complex carbohydrates are also typically higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals when compared to simple carbs.  Sweet potatoes, along with other orange colored fruits and vegetables, are high in antioxidants Vitamin A and Vitamin C, and are a good source of Potassium. 

Sweet potatoes are considered a starchy vegetable and have 42 grams of carbohydrate per cup. What sets them apart from regular potatoes is their fiber content; they have 3x as much fiber as a regular potato, helping to slow down digestion and leaving you feeling fuller longer. Not only are sweet potatoes more nutrient dense then regular potatoes, but they will help keep you satiated. (This is probably why they have a reputation for being healthier than regular potatoes).

Healthy ways to prepare sweet potatoes are to simply bake them like a baked potato and top with a teaspoon of olive oil and sprinkle of salt. Adding a healthy fat will help you better absorb the fat soluble vitamins (like Vitamin A). Other ways to prepare them would be to steam, roast, and add atop a salad. Pairing your sweet potato with a protein rich food such as turkey, and a non-starchy vegetable (anything green) is a perfect way to create a colorful and balanced meal. 


Nutrition: Beyond just "what" to eat

From a young age, I learned that nutrition is much more than knowing WHAT to eat and more about WHY and HOW we eat. Growing up, my dad was always telling me that if I could help him lose 20 pounds, he would pay me $100. As a teenager whose weekly allowance was $20 (including gas money), this was pretty motivating. I would read books about nutrition and fitness and relay this information to my dad. I would tell him exactly what he should and should not be eating just as he requested. However, most of the time, my dad would do the exact opposite of what I said.  I can remember a few periods of time when my dad would adhere to the recommendations I proposed; however, these phases were rarely longer than a month or two. He would lose a few pounds here and there, but ultimately gain the weight back (if not more) over time. This story is not unique; I am sure many of you have a similar story or know someone who does. But, it does bring up a good point- achieving nutrition goals over the long term is not simply about what to eat, it’s about addressing our behaviors associated with eating (the WHY we are reaching for that bag of chips and the HOW we are mindlessly eating ice cream out of carton in front of the television).

While in school to become a dietitian, I lost my dad suddenly to a heart attack. I felt guilt for not being able to help my dad make the changes he wanted to improve his health. If I could not help my own dad, then how was I going to be able to help others? That’s when I realized my focus needed to change; while it’s helpful as a dietitian to know what to eat for optimal health- it is far more important for to understand what motivates and drives people to make the decisions they do.

One of my mains goals as a nutrition coach is to help you identify what drives you to achieve optimal health, and what is holding you back from doing so. My job is not to provide you with a detailed meal plan that focuses on strict adherence and perfection. My goal is to guide you on your path as you create consistent eating habits, as you learn to intuitively listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, and as you discover what foods work with your body chemistry. The next time you think about “starting” the next diet, I challenge you to think about what your long term goals are, what is driving you to make these changes, and what behaviors can you begin to change to help you get there.  

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Jim Ryan

To "follow" or not... that is the question.

One of my yoga instructors in college used to say “What you think about is where your energy will go.” In a world where are bombarded with social media posts about nutrition and fitness, I’ve started to wonder how constant exposure to photos and posts about restrictive dieting impacts our thoughts. And if our thoughts directly influence our actions, then what impact do these posts have on our actions and motivations related to health behavior change? While I think the majority of people who post these photos are doing so with good intention (i.e. hoping their efforts will inspire others to take the plunge), the effects may not always be positive. It is important to take a step back and notice how constant exposure to this type of media may be subliminally impacting our thoughts, and ultimately our health.

The most common posts about nutrition and fitness are before and after weight loss photos. My main concern with these types of photos are that they drive home the stereotype that weighing less = improved health. The means in which these results are achieved are often negated. And more often than not, these results were achieved by following some type of rigid diet with the main focus of reducing body fat or mass. The showcased weight loss is often lost over a very rapid period of time versus gradual weight loss, which increases your chances of keeping it off.

Research shows dieting (particularly yo-yo dieting) increases an individual's risk of greater weight gain over time, heart disease, diabetes and eating disorders. Yet, people continue to trial the latest diet fads. Making small sustainable behavior changes over time is associated with long term health and vitality. However, making simple changes such as increasing consumption of fruit or vegetables or reducing added sugar in coffee do not make the most intriguing social media posts.

Constant exposure to this type of media naturally increases our need to compare ourselves to others. The next time you get home from a long day of work and log onto social media- notice how many weight and fitness related posts there are. Observe what self-talk occurs during this browsing period. How does this ultimately make you feel? Comparing ourselves to others is a natural inclination; however, what are potential downsides? For one, comparing ourselves to others takes the focus off of the things in which we can control- our choices, and our actions. We often forget that people are posting the best representation of themselves online, while within ourselves we typically see that worst.

I’m not saying we have to give up social media in its entirety, I’m just hoping we will all take a moment and pause before  we click that “follow” or “friend” button. Begin to notice how this exposure impacts you… observe your thoughts, because ultimately what you think about is where your energy will go. And nobody likes wasted energy.

I have a confession to make...

This past December - amidst training for LA Marathon, crossfitting a few times per week, teaching spin class, and my new age of 30+, I began to notice that my muscles were more sore for longer than usual, I was constantly battling off a cold, and I was finding it hard to keep up with my husband on long weekend runs (something I do not like to happen!)  

But….I have a confession to make. I was rarely ever consuming a post-workout recovery shake or meal. Even with my extensive knowledge about the benefits of optimal nutrition post-workout, I was not making my personal recovery a priority. I’m speaking in past tense, because one of my goals this New Year is to consume a post-workout recovery shake or meal within one hour after my workout.

The benefits of post workout fuel can range from replenishing glycogen stores, minimizing protein breakdown, maximizing protein synthesis, as well as helping to maintain a healthy immune system. Post-workout meals are ideally a combination of carbohydrates and protein, while being relatively low in fat. Fat slows down digestion/absorption- which is generally desirable; however, after a workout we want nutrients to get into the cells as quickly as possible.  

While some protein powders can be a great solution when on the go, whole foods are generally the best option when available/able to prepare. Thus, I wanted to share with you my go-to “Post Workout Berry Smoothie” recipe that will leave you feeling refreshed and refueled.

Post Workout Berry Smoothie

  • 1 cup blueberries

  • 1 cup spinach

  • 2-3 Frozen Strawberries or ½ frozen banana

  • ¼ cup Egg white powder from Trader Joe's (or protein powder  of your choice)

  • 1 cup Unsweetened almond milk

  • 1 tsp almond butter or nut butter of your choice

*Mix the above ingredients in a blender or Vitamix and enjoy!

Happy Training!

Colette Rose, MS, RD

Have a HAPPY & HEALTHY Holiday!

Healthy Holidays!

‘Tis the season for copious amounts of pumpkin pie, eggnog, cookies, and unlimited opportunities to stuff our faces full of sugary treats. Whether it be a family gathering, office party, or celebration with friends, it can seem overwhelming to keep our health and fitness goals a priority throughout the holiday season.

When I go home for the holidays I often catch myself reverting back to my 16 year old self which can include sleeping for twelve hours straight, picking meaningless fights with my sisters, and eating anything and everything my mom puts on the table in front of me.  Over the years, I have grown to realize the importance of maintaining healthy eating habits throughout this busy season, not only to maintain weight, but to help manage mood, energy, and stress levels. Here are my top nutrition tips on how to stay healthy this holiday season.

      Reject the ALL OR NOTHING MENTALITY: “I’ll get back to my old eating habits on Monday” or “I already ate a cinnamon roll this morning, so I might as well splurge the rest of the day.” These types of “all or nothing” statements are our way of letting ourselves off the hook. It temporarily allows us to forgo the guilt and move on with our day.  However, it is important to remember that healthy eating is not about perfection, it is about balance and choices over time (not just in that one moment where you decided to enjoy some eggnog!). If you do choose to indulge, savor it and enjoy it without the guilt, and know you can choose to eat healthy again whenever you want.

      Avoid saving up for the big meal: “Man, I’m starving...Where are the appetizers? I haven’t eaten anything all day, because I knew there was going to be so much food here.”  Saving up for the big meal can cause us to make unhealthy decisions we wouldn’t normally make. Physiologically, when we do not eat for an extended period of time (i.e. skipping breakfast or meals), our blood sugars naturally get low. In response, we crave the foods that will raise our blood sugars the fastest- simple sugars and carbohydrates. By eating a balanced meal or snack prior to our holiday feast, we are less likely to overeat later in the day.

      Bring a healthy dish to share with family and friends: To ensure there is at least one healthy option at the party, takes matters into your own hands and bring a healthy dish to share. Stick to “whole food” appetizers and sides dishes such as deviled eggs, roasted brussels sprouts and bacon, or a veggie or fruit platter. I promise you won’t be the only one who appreciates it.

      Get a workout in: Holiday travel or gym closures may seem like a barrier to getting a workout in during this busy season. However, getting a quick jog in, or simple workout with pushups, squats and sprints is not only a great way to deal with the stress of family, but it’s a great boost to the metabolism on a day when nutrition may be less than optimal.

Cheers to a healthy and happy holiday season!

Colette Rose, Registered Dietitian