Tag Archives: health

Follow me at my new site . . .

Just wanted to post another invitation to follow me at my new website, lmwellness.com.  I notice that there are still a number of people who are visiting this site (kimthedietitian.com), yet I have not posted in many months.  I fear they must think I am lazy!  Not so.  I have just been posting in a different place.  Join me there!

Think you are destined to live out a set genetic destiny? Think again.

I am a big believer in the power of our thoughts – and the actions they create – to either make us healthier or sicker.  The environment is constantly acting on our genes to create our health status, and part of that environment is the quality of your thoughts.  Are your thoughts defeatist or hopeful in nature?  Are they leading you in the direction of a healthier lifestyle, or are they convincing you it’s not possible?

If you would like to be healthier  – who wouldn’t? – I think you will find that Deepak Chopra knows a thing or two about this.  His recent blog post is very encouraging, and much to my liking, also based on solid research about the human body.

Need Help Evaluating Weight Loss Product Claims?

It would be really, really, REALLY great if a weight loss product actually did what it promises.  There are few other products – erectile dysfunction products come to mind – that create such . . . um, high . . . expectations.

A list of guidelines for evaluating the claims for the many weight loss products on the market would be so helpful, and that is exactly what I found.  Developed by the Federal Trade Commission (Try their quick quiz), the Seven “Gut Check” Claims have been adapted for publication in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The following seven claims are worth noting and using to avoid unrealistic expectations – and wasted time and effort.  

1.Causes weight loss of 2 lb or more a week for a month or more without dieting or exercise.

Gut check: Meaningful weight loss requires taking in fewer calories than you use. It’s that simple. But it’s also that difficult for people trying to shed pounds. That means ads promising substantial weight loss without diet or exercise are false. And ads suggesting that users can lose weight fast without changing their lifestyles—even without mentioning a specific amount of weight or length of time—are false, too. Some ads might try a subtler approach, say, by referring to change in dress size or lost inches, but the effect is the same.
2.Causes substantial weight loss no matter what or how much the consumer eats.

Gut check: It’s impossible to eat unlimited amounts of food—any kind of food—and still lose weight. It’s a matter of science: To lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you take in. To achieve success, dieters have to put the brakes on at the dinner table. If an ad says users can eat any amount of any kind of food they want and still lose weight, the claim is false.
3.Causes permanent weight loss even after the consumer stops using product.

Gut check: Without long-term lifestyle changes—like continuing to make sensible food choices and upping the activity level—weight loss won’t last once consumers stop using the product. Even if dieters succeed in dropping pounds, maintaining weight loss requires lifelong effort.
4.Blocks the absorption of fat or calories to enable consumers to lose substantial weight.

Gut check: Without lifestyle changes, no over-the-counter product can block enough fat or calories to cause the loss of lots of weight. To work, even legitimate “fat blockers” must be used with a reduced-calorie diet.
5.Safely enables consumers to lose more than 3 lb per week for more than 4 weeks.

Gut check: Medical experts agree: Losing more than 3 lb a week over multiple weeks can result in gallstones and other health complications. So if an ad says dieters can safely and quickly lose a dramatic amount of weight on their own, it’s false.
6.Causes substantial weight loss for all users.

Gut check: People’s metabolisms and lifestyles are different. So is how they’ll respond to any particular weight-loss product. The upshot: No product will cause every user to drop a substantial amount of weight. Any ad that makes a universal promise of success is false.
7.Causes substantial weight loss by wearing a product on the body or rubbing it into the skin.

Gut check: Weight loss is an internal metabolic process. Nothing you wear or apply to the skin can cause substantial weight loss. So weight-loss claims for patches, creams, lotions, wraps, body belts, earrings, and the like are false. There’s simply no way products like that can live up to what the ads say.


Who Doesn’t Love a Man Who Cooks?! (Listen Up You Young Guys.)

When my 29-year-old son was much younger, I taught him how to cook.  Let me just say that this has served him well – practical for himself, but also a fine advantage with the ladies!

My husband also used this trick – with me – and it worked.  He is a great cook, and he looks great in an apron.  (Not JUST an apron – shame on you!)

I am going to share with you a recipe he makes often.  I have passed it along to several of my young male clients, and they have given it the “thumbs up.”  It meets all the necessary criteria for young, busy men:  It’s quick, easy, requires very few ingredients, and it tastes amazing. Here you go. . . . See what happens!

Fire-Roasted Meat Sauce (from Runner’s World)

Brown 1 pound ground beef in a pan. Add 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped bell pepper, and 3 minced garlic cloves; cook 3 minutes. Add a 28-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes and 5-ounce can tomato paste. Season with oregano, basil, chile flakes, salt, and pepper. Add 1/3 cup red wine and 1 tablespoon sugar. Simmer, reduce heat, and cook 1 hour.  Serve over spaghetti or penne.


Daily Exercise Offsets Unhealthy Changes from Short-Term Overeating

recent study of 26 healthy men highlights the amazing benefits – even in a brief time period – of regular exercise.  Several previous studies have shown unhealthy changes in blood sugar control as well as genetic changes to fat cells in response to overfeeding.

This study compared two groups, both of which were significantly overfed relative to their usual calorie level.  Both groups decreased their usual daily activity level during the study, but only one group ran at a moderate pace on a treadmill 45 minutes every day.  (This group consumed additional calories to compensate for the additional calorie burn, meaning that both groups were overfed by the same net amount).

In just a week, the non-exercising group showed deteriorating insulin action and negative changes to key genes controlling metabolism.  The exercisers showed no significant changes!

If  you have trouble getting back on track after the big holiday feed-athons, consider these study results!  If you are still feeling off-track from Thanksgiving dinner, this might be the encouragement you need . . . yes, it does matter!  What you do NOW always matters.  Even with dietary splurges, a little activity goes a long way toward better health.  Happy Holidays!

A Pea Coat Is Just a Pea Coat, or Is It?

Motivators are so individual.  I have seen people work toward health or weight loss goals with the incentive of “earning” a special bowl or vase they might not otherwise buy. . . or maybe they would, but somehow it is different when they “earn” it.  Others will work for mere stars on a chart.

One of my clients told me about his recent motivational technique, one that is working very nicely for him.  He gives himself money – tracked in a notebook log – for accomplishing certain behavior goals.  Not eating after a certain time at night earns a dollar amount, etc.

He applies his “earnings” to clothing purchases.  Granted they are items he needs and would probably buy anyway, but he explains that “it just feels more like I earned it.”

I love creative ideas like this.  The fact that he came up with the plan himself makes it even better – it is customized to his personal motivators.  We all can get discouraged – or just plain bored – working for a long time toward a goal.  It helps to offer a personalized “carrot” to keep us moving forward.

Is this just a game we can play with ourselves?  Of course, but who cares if it is effective.  There are plenty of mental games we play with ourselves that work against our goals.  Let’s take advantage of every opportunity to get mind games to work for us instead.  That’s what I think!

Penne with Quinoa Turkey Meatballs

This has quickly become one of my “go to” meals – healthy, delicious, hearty, and relatively quick and easy.  It has also become one of my favorite dishes to eat as a leftover for lunch with extra broccoli.  The quinoa is a great way to make the meatballs moist and tender, while at the same time reducing the meat in the meal.  The large quantity of broccoli relative to the pasta makes it filling AND lower in calories.  (Sorry no picture – I ate it already!)

1 lb 99 percent fat-free ground turkey

½ cup cooked quinoa

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tbsp fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)

1 tsp dried thyme

¼ to ½ tsp kosher salt, to taste

Olive oil spray

½ cup minced onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 24-oz jars low-sodium marinara sauce

6 cups broccoli florets

1 cup dry whole-wheat penne

4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1.  For meatballs:  In a bowl, combine the turkey, quinoa, egg, oregano and thyme.  Season with salt and set aside.  Coat a skillet with olive oil and heat on medium-low.  Add onion and garlic; sauté until translucent, 2 to 4 minutes.  Let cool; combine onion and garlic with the turkey mixture.  Form into 10 to 12 2-inch balls.

2.  In a large pot, combine the sauce and meatballs; cover and heat on medium.  Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.

3.  Meanwhile, steam broccoli and cook penne according to package directions.  In a serving dish, combine steamed broccoli, cooked penne and meatballs.  Add sauce, as desired.  Sprinkle with Parmesan.  Serves 4.

Per serving:  about 400 calories

In the interests of full disclosure, this is not an original recipe.  I would give credit if I could, but I’m not sure where it came from and I can’t find it on the internet.  

Is Water “Boring”?

“What can I drink?  I don’t always want to drink water.  I know it’s the best, but I get sick of it.”  This is a question I often hear.

And here is my most recent answer.  I like to mix fresh squeezed orange juice (1/2 cup) with a 12-ounce can of sparkling mineral water (or seltzer) like Perrier or LaCroix.  This is nothing new for me, but what IS new is . . .


The last time I went shopping for La Croix water, they were OUT!  But they did have many different flavors.  This coconut flavored one caught my eye – think pina colada when combined with orange juice! – and I gave it a try.  I am hooked.  Now all I need is a fancy glass – and some of those little umbrella toothpicks to skewer a slice of pineapple.

I Forgot the Balsamic: Imperfection is a Gift to Ourselves and Each Other


Oh, so that’s where I left it . . . on the kitchen counter!

The demonstration table was ready.  I had the single burner ready.  Two bags containing everything I could imagine I would need to cook an asparagus side dish was there:  saute pan . . . check, wooden spoon . . . check . . . . asparagus, goat cheese, grape tomatoes . . . check, check, check.

“Ok, everyone, today I’m going to show you how quick and easy it is to make a side dish to go with your grilled entrees.  I’m going to be making Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes”.  As the words came out of my mouth, my brain focused on the work “balsamic”, the very balsamic that I HAD FORGOTTEN TO PACK!

A small shot of adrenaline (panic) later, I came to my senses.  A little honesty and humor always helps, and my honesty here is that I am working on laughing at my imperfections more.  With each year that passes by, I am realizing how very few mistakes are serious.  This one certainly fell immediately into the  category I call “not important”.  No one was hurt, either emotionally or physically to my knowledge, and the show did go on.

I kept the mood light and was even able to convince everyone that they should be using balsamic vinegar on all kinds of foods – all without a single drop of it with me!  Good balsamic vinegar can transform any vegetable into a sweet and tasty side dish.  With olive oil, it is a fresh and healthy salad dressing.

As I drove away afterward, I did not feel embarrassed or stupid for my little lapse.  In fact I have to say that the whole group relaxed more quickly and we had a lighter mood as a result of it.

Note to self:  My comfort level with imperfection seemed to be a gift to all of us.

The same principle applies to eating for weight loss and health.  Eating “imperfectly” seems to be a big barrier for changing eating habits, but I think it is a lack of comfort with the inevitable imperfection that is more often  to blame for overeating.

If someone eats a brownie and feels terribly shameful about it, the lack of comfort can lead to many more.  Although it may not make immediate sense, acceptance of imperfection works so much better, yet it is so hard for so many dieters.  It’s worth a try, don’t you think?

He loves me. How do I know?

Check out my Valentine’s Day gift!  (A big bag of fruit . . . oh, and a very lovely bunch of flowers)  Can life get any better?