8 Things That You Should Be Teaching Your Children About Nutrition

While I do not currently have kids, I work with a lot of parents and I observe a lot of parents and what they teach their children about nutrition.  Before I begin, I get a lot of heat from people whenever I opine about pregnancy, infant nutrition, adolescent health and fitness.  The same way your male Dr. does not need to know what it feels like to be pregnant in order to help guide you through a healthy pregnancy, an exercise physiologist with an extensive back ground in academic nutrition (not jo shmo nutrition blogs) can help you establish healthy habits for you and your family.  There are 2 critical periods for when children establish the number and size of the adipocyte tissue (aka our fat tissue) in infancy and in adolescence.  The goal as a parent should be to do your best to keep the fat cell size to as small as possible and fat cell number to as little as possible. Here are 8 things parents should be doing in order to help set their children up for health success!  These are not my opinion, they are all backed by the sciences.

  1. In infancy, stick to infant ONLY foods!  No need to sneak an infant soda, friend food, lasagna, or processed sugar before 12 months!  While it may seem like they can handle it, inside their body react adversely
  2. In infancy, if you’re a parent who gives your baby anything that is not labeled for infants because you want to or that’s “how you grew up” (only science is now realizing the way you grew up has lead to a ridiculously obese population), please do NOT give your baby anything that has honey or corn syrup in it.  I see it all of the time and a little piece of my soul dies because you are potentially exposing your baby to something called botulism.  Botulism is a death sentence, if they contract it from honey or any food that has corn syrup because their organism cannot fight it off.
  3. Go as long as you can (goal 12 months) if you are able to breast feed.  Make the sacrifice because the immunological, health, cognitive, you name it benefits far surpass the benefits of formula.  Understand that formula is a first world commodity. In 3rd world countries it’s either you breast feed or the baby unfortunately passes.  Formula is meant to keep your baby nourished enough to where infant death is not an issue in case breast feeding does not happen.
  4. Moving away from infancy and into childhood, one of the biggest mistakes parents make, especially those in the hispanic community (It’s the anthropological studies saying it, not me!) is impose the “clear your plate” mentality.  We have something in our brains called the hypothalamus and it lets us know when we are hungry and when we are full.  The beautiful thing about children (and babies too) is that they have not fried it the way most adults do.  Meaning, their brain still tells them when they should stop eating before they get to a place of over eating.  The clear your plate mentality breeds obesity.  If your child doesn’t want to eat anymore, don’t force them to eat twice as much as they want.  Trust me, they won’t die of starvation.
  5. Don’t make dessert something they can have only if they eat their vegetables.  Find a way to make them enjoy their veggies without bribing them.  If they eat their veggies every day that would mean they get dessert everyday.
  6. Which, brings me to my next point, junk foods, processed sugars, fried foods, sodas, etc. are not foods we should keep at our children’s reach all of the time.  They do not know what nutrient density is, they only know that those foods taste yummier so without realizing it you are allowing them to build poor habits when you aren’t around.  In my house we bring ZERO of the aforementioned and I plan to keep it that way when we have kids.  We do this so that when we go out, it’s OKAY to have a fried shrimp or lava cake because it’s something that we do not eat every day at our home.
  7. This leads me to point number seven.  Teach kids about balance!  I’m not by any means saying forever forbid your kids from eating junk food.  What I am saying is make junk food 15-20% of their overall diet.  Fill the rest with a plethora of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, non-antiobiotic/steroid packed protein sources, nuts, seeds, and legumes.  Growing up chips and sodas were something my mom would save for when friends came over, the few times we went out to eat, or for the holidays.  I personally, love this approach because what do all of those events have in common?  They happen in a minority, meaning the majority of the time you are nourishing your child.
  8. Try to pack your child’s lunch.  It’s a great way of controlling what goes in to fuel their bodies and NEVER let them skip breakfast!  Myplate.gov has killer tools and articles to help you choose healthy lunches.  These plates also from mygov are GREAT to help YOU as a parent portion out each food group while teaching them at the same time what their plate should look like.
  9. Bonus:  Try to teach them how to make healthy choices and why it’s important.  If you are clueless, find a health professional who CAN!  When you understand why something needs to be done it’s easier to do it.

Learn more about the best online fitness program which includes comprehensive programs focused on shifting towards healthier eating habits, staying fit, and building a better booty. You’ll also find a variety of fitness apparel to help get you that extra motivation to take your goals to another level. Contact me today to learn more about the best fitness programs available to get your body in gear.

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8 Habits of Highly Healthy People

 

  1. At least 80% of their diet comes from whole foods
  2. They read at least 1 hour a day with the goal of improving themselves
  3. They don’t drink their calories–they enjoy concentrated sugar filled juices and alcohol in moderation
  4. They workout at least 3 times a week or total 180 minutes a week of moderate exercise
  5. They choose to eat healthy at least 80% of the time
  6. They do NOT obsess over the number on the scale, but rather how they feel and how their clothes fits
  7. They look at food and think “what nutrients am I being provided?” and not “How many calories is this?”
  8. They Sleep at least 6 hours a night-no sleep, no results.

Learn more about the best online fitness program which includes comprehensive programs focused on shifting towards healthier eating habits, staying fit, and building a better booty. You’ll also find a variety of fitness apparel to help get you that extra motivation to take your goals to another level. Contact me today to learn more about the best fitness programs available to get your body in gear.

5 Delicious Foods That Are Shockingly Low In Calories

Ultimately weight loss is about calories in vs calories out.  Your total daily intake cannot be more than what your body burns from performing your daily activity.  Here are 5 foods that are not only low calorie, but also PACKED with nutrients that may help you on your weight loss journey.

  1. Celery:  A stalk of celery is roughly 3 calories.  It’s calorie coming from .5g of carbohydrates.  The great part about celery is that despite being low calorie it is a great source of natural sodium, potassium, calcium, and vitamin C!
  2. Spinach:  1 cup of spinach is only about 7 calories and has more nutrients that lettuce! The calories in 1 cup of spinach come from about 1.1g of carbohydrates, .9g of protein, and .1g of fat.  Spinach is another great source of sodium, potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron
  3. Kiwi: 2 Kiwis are about 100 calories coming from 24g of carbohydrates (natural sugars and fibers), 1 g of fat, and 2 gram of protein.  Sprinkle some seeds on those slices and you have a refreshing snack!  Anyways, kiwis are a great source of protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron
  4. Green Bell Peppers: 1 cup of green bell peppers has 18 calories from about 4.3 grams of carbs, .2g fat, and 1 gram of protein.  It is loaded with potassium, vitamin A, more Vitamin C than your average orange, and has some sodium.
  5. Mushrooms: 1 cup of mushrooms has about 44 calories coming from 6.6 grams of carbs, .6 grams of fat, and 6.2 grams of protein! Mushrooms are a great source of Calcium, Iron, potassium, and sodium.

Learn more about the best online fitness program which includes comprehensive programs focused on shifting towards healthier eating habits, staying fit, and building a better booty. You’ll also find a variety of fitness apparel to help get you that extra motivation to take your goals to another level. Contact me today to learn more about the best fitness programs available to get your body in gear.

Have you watched any Netflix health docs lately?

What the Health?, Forks Over Knives, Fed Up (personal fave), Food Matters, Vegucated, are just a few of the Netflix documentaries you can find on food.  There are plenty more, but those are the ones I’ve seen recently.  I must admit I have a love-hate relationship with most of them leaning more towards the hate than the love.

Here’s what I do love:

  • I love how they are bringing awareness to fruits and vegetables and how we need to increase the amount we are eating.  The majority of us don’t even get half our recommended daily dosage.
  • I love how they shed light on the atrocities of the meat slaughtering industry, because regulations NEED to happen.  The real animals are us humans, who choose not to find more humane ways to put down the meat that we do eat.  Personally I am a vegetarian, I believe in doing my part, but I also do not believe everyone needs to go vegan.  I’m a realist who believes it should be a personal choice as to whether or not someone decides to consume meat, and because I am a realist I know not everyone will remove or decrease the amount of meat in their diet, which is why more humane treatment of animals needs to be put in place.
  • I love that they shed light on the amount of garbage they are adding to meat, poultry, and farm raised fish.
  • I love how are they are raising awareness to the amount of added sugar the majority of us eat without realizing it
  • I love that they bring awareness to how food can help prevent more health issues than the pharmaceutical companies want you to believe.  YOU NEED A BALANCE PEOPLE!

Here’s what I don’t like

  • How EXTREME and one-sided they are.  The ones pushing people towards veganism more so than the ones warning people to stay away from wheat and sugar.  At least the one’s I have seen about wheat frequently give the disclaimer that the negative effects of wheat more so impact the gluten intolerant.  The documentaries about sugar also frequently express the need more consuming added sugar in moderation.  However the ones that promote veganism, never once touch base on the idea of grass-fed or organic meat and poultry alternatives that are worth the investment due to significantly less pesticides, etc.
  • I do not like how they neglect to go over the differences between complete and incomplete proteins and how animal proteins are complete proteins where as plant based protein usually requires 2-3 different sources to reach the complete protein status.
  • I do not like how they neglect to mention that for athletes looking to get stronger, IGF1 only found in red meat is a legal and natural “steroid” in the sense that is helps our strength gains.  I’m not saying you won’t get stronger if you only eat vegetarian or vegan because that is not the case.  The gains can come faster though with the help of red meat, but I opt out of that natural boost.
  • I don’t like how they neglect to talk about the dirty dozen (aka the most contaminated fruits and vegetables) that everyone should prioritize as buying organic because of the amount of pesticides found in them.
    • Peaches, Apples, Bell Peppers, Celery, Nectarines, Strawberries, Cherries, Pears, Grapes, Spinach, Lettuce, Potatoes
  • I don’t like how they do not touch on the subject of how easy it is to also be overweight and have health issues has a vegetarian or vegan.  I personally know way too many overweight, anemic, or overall unhealthy vegetarians and vegans

Overall for people who do not have extremist personalities and tendencies I would recommend educating themselves with these documentaries, however also keeping in mind that there are 2 sides to every story.  I wish they would make them with less of a bias.  I believe they’d have more success reaching larger audiences if they did.  I also believe they would make meat-eaters understand the POV of vegans and vice versa.  We all know that vegan or meat eater that tries to make the other side feel like terrible people for choosing to eat or not eat meat.  We need to educate people on both sides and THEN let people decide and respect their decisions!  The lesson continues to be that everything in MODERATION is key!

Learn more about the best online fitness program which includes comprehensive programs focused on shifting towards healthier eating habits, staying fit, and building a better booty. You’ll also find a variety of fitness apparel to help get you that extra motivation to take your goals to another level. Contact me today to learn more about the best fitness programs available to get your body in gear.

Leafy Greens: My love hate relationship

Leafy greens and I have a love hate relationship.  I am probably the only vegetarian in the world that abhors veggies (except broccoli), but I eat them anyways because they are an integral part of a balances diet.  Vegetables in general are incredibly nutrient dense with very little calories.  Green veggies in general tend to be the most nutrient packed containing Vitamins A, C, K, B, and E along with minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium just to name a few.  Green vegetables are also extra high in protein and fiber.  Now before I continue I want to warn you guys that this is going to be a long, but info-packed post.  Because it is very long and I still have a workout to test, youtube videos to record, and chemistry to study I will not be doing extensive proof reading, only skimming.

Now that I have given that disclaimer I can move on.  So, our bodies have a something called t-bet genes.  They help with the production of immune cells and feed off the foods we eat, more specifically our consumption of green vegetables.  The t-bet gene also allows our body to produce innate lymphoid cells that line our digestive systems and act as a barrier against bad bacterias and allergies.  Without proper consumption of green vegetables you are depriving this gene in being able to carry out its daily activities inside our body.  Leafy greens are high in antioxidants and disease fighting compounds such as photo-chemicals.  Phyto-chemicals help reduce inflammation, regulate cell production and elimination, and they get rid of carcinogens (cancer causing agents often hidden in the processed garbage we eat).

How many servings should we aim for?  According to one of my nutrition textbooks the average American eating 3 servings a week! unfortunately, that’s no where NEAR enough.  The goal should be 4-6 servings of greens a day!  My advice, find a way to make them yummy, but be advised the more you take veggies out of their raw form, the more you strip them of their vitamins in minerals.

Although their are more green vegetables than the ones I am about to list, I chose the following 7 because they are either under-recognized or under-appreciated.

1.  Sprouts:  (Under-recognized) help our bodies to extract the necessary vitamins, minerals, healthy essential fats, and amino acids from the food we consume.

2. Spinach: (Under-appreciated) Contain vitamins A, C, K, and B-vitamins along with minerals such as calcium, iron, fiber, selenium, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, and copper.  They also provide us with folic acid, omega-3s (hint hint to all of my vegetarian/vegan friends, omega 3s are not just found in fish and iron is not only found in red meat, you just need to eat 10x the amount if your source is coming from plant), and lutein for eye health.  Spinach aids in overall heart health and is an anti-inflammatory veggie.

3. Kale: (WAYYYYYYY Under-appreciated) is one of the MOST NUTRIENT DENSE foods in the world!  It contains Vitamin A, K, C, B vitamins, and minerals such as manganese, calcium, copper, potassium,  and magnesium.  You can also find antioxidants and phytochemicals (quercitin and kempferl) that help protect the heart, regulate blood pressure, fights cancer causing agents, lowers cholesterol (which lowers risk of CHD), and also contains lutein and zeaxanmin to help keep your eyes healthy.  Because kale is low in calorie and high in nutrition it is an excellent veggie to stuff yourself with (especially when losing weight).

4.Swiss Chard: (Under-recognized) contains vitamins A, C, E, K, and minerals copper, manganese, magnesium, and natural sodium.  Swiss chard helps maintain an overall healthy skeletal system, lungs, heart, and immune system.

5.Collard greens: (under-recognized) contain vitamins A, C, K, are a great source of fiber, and phytochemicals diindolylenethane and sulforaphane that contain cancer fighting agents.

6. Dandelion Greens: (under-recognized) are like root rooter for your system.  Need a fast acting cleanse? Eat tons of dandelion greens!  They also are an excellent source of iron, calcium, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, protein and vitamins A, C, and B.

7.Broccoli: (under-appreciated) are high in fiber, antioxidants, photo-nutrients beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and sea-xanthin.  Also have copious amounts of floats, B vitamins, vitamin A and K, and minerals such as calcium, manganese, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and phosphorous.  Contribute towards a healthy colon, urinary tract, and pancreas.

Not sure what all of the aforementioned vitamins and minerals do for us? scroll down to my micronutrient post!