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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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.

Kick your Sweet Cravings to the Curb

First, I would like to apologize for being MIA this past week between presentations, papers, client appointments and birthday madness I neglected to post last week.

This week however, I would like to start off with a blog about curbing your sweet tooth.  Why do we crave sugar in the first place? There are 2 main reasons.  First, sugars are carbohydrates.  Carbs trigger the release of our brains happy chemical, serotonin.  Second, because the taste of sugar actually gives your body a natural high by releasing endorphins.

Now, I have 5 Basic Tricks for curbing that sweet tooth.

1.  Usually, when we are craving sugar, or anything for that matter, it is because there is an imbalance in our diet.  To make things simple, I have attached a cravings chart that tells you you’re craving, what you’re missing, and what you should eat.

2. Instead of going for that chocolate bar or gummy worms, go for fruit.  Yes, fruits have sugars, but they are natural sugars that our bodies are able to better process.

3. Live a little, but not a lot.  Everything in moderation is ok.  If you have a good week, 2 weeks or even a month 1 bad day won’t kill you. When you do give in, try to combine the unhealthy sweet with a healthy one.  For example, a fruit with some nutella.

4.  Have a support system.  Making a LIFESTYLE change (healthy is not a diet, diets are temporary) can be difficult.  It gets a lot easier when you have an accountability partner or group.

5. Don’t skip breakfast.  When you skip breakfast you allow your body to drop in blood sugar levels that make you crave something sweet later on in the day.cravings chart