Showing posts from 2018

Eating at Barbecues and Everywhere: Everything in Moderation

I was recently asked about the vague topic of summertime eating. My answer is the same as for every other season: everything in moderation. Now, let's look at how this works in real life. Let's say we're going to a barbecue. Barbecues typically serve so-called "junk" foods, such as burgers, hot dogs, potato chips, potato salad, pasta salad, ice cream, popsicles, sweet tea, and lemonade. Many health coaches would tell you just to avoid all of that. But, I think you can eat anything in moderation, even if you have a medical condition....

Mental Health Month: Aluminum and Alzheimer's

 For the final Mental Health Month post, I tackle aluminum... Does eating products in aluminum cans cause dementia? Maybe.  There are studies that suggest people with Alzheimer’s dementia have higher amounts of aluminum in their brain cells and in the blood vessels near the brain. However, this aluminum may not come have come from canned foods and drinks….

Mental Health Month: Chocolate on the Brain

This month is Mental Health Month and I’m answering questions about foods’ effect on mental health. One common question I get, especially from women, is, “Does chocolate actually help me feel better?” Yes! Researchers as IMDEA Food Institute in Spain and the University of Padova in Italy reviewed 17 studies in humans and determined that the polyphenols in chocolate, tea, and coffee help protect the brain from depression and anxiety.

Mental Health Month: Aspartame, Mood, and Moderation

May is Mental Health Month and I’ve been getting questions about food’s effect on mental health, especially junk food.    One common question is , “ Do diet drinks affect the brain and cause depression?”   Yes.    In particular, the artificial sweetener aspartame , found in diet soda, is often blame d .   Aspartame has been studied for its potential effects on the nervous system, including mood . Unfortunately, two studies have found that drinking aspartame-containing beverages increased risk of depression and one study also worsened symptoms in those who already had diagnosed depression .     If aspartame causes depression, why do you say, "Everything in moderation?"   One single can of diet soda doesn't cause depression. One teaspoon of aspartame in your tea or coffee doesn't cause your existing depression to worsen.  Even one can of soda a day in addition to one teaspoon of aspartame added to coffee or tea each day wo

Vegan Gnocchi: When Carbs + More Carbs = Dinner

I haven’t shared an entrée recipe in a while. Sometimes I think about sharing one but worry that it detracts from the “junk food” aspect of the blog. Well, today’s dinner was deli cious junk food. Carbs or starches often get labelled as "junk." The star of tonight's meal was two carb-heavy ingredients: mashed potatoes and white flour.   Seriously. These two carbs come together to make a dish called gnocchi. Often, chefs will add egg, but I don't cook with eggs and my gnocchi turned out just fine. Here's what I did... I combined 1 cup of leftover mashed potatoes with ½ cup of white flour. I kneaded them together on a cutting board. (Any flat surface will do.) Then, I rolled the dough into a rope and cut it into segments. I was raised eating gnocchi without any fancy lines. If you want to make lines on it, like many stores sell it, you can roll the dough against the tines of a fork.   I brough

Understanding the Alphabet Soup of Nutrition Credentials

On blogs and social media, you run into a lot of different acronyms. I get a lot of questions about the letters after people's names, such as RDN, CNS, CNSC,  and CDE. You might be wondering, "What do these mean? Which professional is the right one for me? Can I trust them?" I'll help you sort through these questions... But first, you want to know the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian, visit my previous post on that topic. What do these acronyms mean?

A Dietitian's Brownies for Football Sunday

                I was invited to a potluck party to watch the big football game…at the last minute.                 What!? I love preparing food to share with others. But, I’d rather have advance notice.                 My usual potluck favorites: fruit salad, quinoa salad, hummus with crackers or vegetable chips, or dessert with a dietitian twist.                 Well, I didn’t have enough fruit for fruit salad and I was missing the sauce I usually add to my quinoa salad. I’d already gone grocery shopping and didn’t want to go back out to find any special ingredients.                 So, I thought about what I did have and how I could make something special without a special ingredient. I realized I had white and green sprinkles. (I may not be a football fan, but I know my local team's colors.)                 I first thought I’d make sugar cookies, but the dough is better if it chills first. Not to mention, I still haven’t perfected an eggless sugar cookie.     

New Year: Time to Cleanse? Part 3: Alternative Options

We've made it through almost 3 whole weeks in a new year! Time flies, doesn't it? Even though we're getting further away from the "New Year, New You" stage, I'm still hearing people talk about starting the year "right" with a "cleanse" or "detox." The past two weeks, we've discussed why that's not necessary and may even be harmful. But, if I've learned anything from being a dietitian and from being a patient myself, it's that people don't always listen to healthcare professionals. So, if I can't totally dissuade you from a cleanse or detox, here are 3 better ways...

New Year: Time to Cleanse? (Part 2: Safety)

photo by Toa Heftiba Last week, we discussed why it’s not necessary to follow a detox diet or a juice cleanse. But, just because it’s not necessary, that doesn’t mean you won’t try one.  Chocolate isn’t necessary, but many of us eat it.  Everything comes with it's own risks and benefits…

New Year: Time to Cleanse? (Part 1: Detoxifying)

Taken by Francesca Hotchin In the New Year, we often hear about juice cleanses and detox diets to “start the year off right” or “jumpstart weight loss” or “undo the effects of holiday indulgences.” But are they really necessary? What are the risks and benefits? Are they safe?  I'll explore these questions and more in a 3 part series. Let's begin...


The information provided in this blog is not intended to replace individualized medical advice provided by your own doctor, dietitian, or other healthcare professional.
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