Archive | January, 2011

9.30.11 – The Big Day

31 Jan

After FINALLY setting a date for our wedding (we’ve been engaged for almost 5 months!), I’ve set a few goals for myself to look and feel my best on our wedding day.

Now I did set my New Year’s Resolutions a few weeks ago, and these goals definitely are in line with a few of those. But for this, I’m putting myself totally out there… putting my personal stats online for the world to see. I’m taking my own advice: Tell someone about your goal to keep you accountable. By putting myself out there, as embarrassing as it can be, I’m a lot more likely to follow the plan because anyone on the world wide web can check in on my progress. I’ve always had a workout journal, and track my weight and (occasionally) calories on the My Fitness Pal app on my Droid, but now I’m going to track my progress here.

So in addition to providing evidence-based nutrition news and debunking diet myths, I’m going to get a little more personal with some of my posts. As a dietitian and personal trainer, even I am not perfect – any advice on my journey would be more than welcome!

Question :: What are you doing to better yourself, inside or out?

Putting myself out there… my goals:

  • By August 1, that 26 weeks from now, I would like to lose 8-10 pounds. This entails dropping fat and toning up.  While my current weight, which maxes out at 145#, is healthy for my height and I do have a good amount of lean body mass, I still would like to lean out for the big day.
    • 30 min+ HIIT (high intensity interval training) 1-2x per week
    • Other cardio (regular runs) 1-2x per week for total of 2-4 days of cardio per week
    • Strength training 3-4 days per week
      • Day 1: Lower body, core
      • Day 2: Chest, back, shoulders
      • Day 3: Biceps, triceps, core
    • Keep food journal 2-3 days per week
      • Based on my calculations based on height, weight, age and activity level:
        • 1800 calories on rest days
        • 2000 calories on workout days (or more, depending on the workout)
      • 50% carbs, 25% fat, 25% protein
      • Eat ~400 calories at breakfast and 350-400 calories per meal after (5 meals total per day)
      • Eat only every 3-4 hours (yes, 3 hours is a LONG time for me to go without eating!)
    • Drink 1-2 liters water in addition to tea and and other beverages
  • Really, whatever the number is on the scale, I would LOVE to be a size 4 or 6 instead of a 6 or 8. That is really my ultimate goal more so than the number.
  • Continue going gluten-free – this really does make my stomach feel SO much better and I do not get bloated when I don’t consume gluten.
  • Be more confident. I’ve always been kind of a shy person, so this is me breaking out. I’m about to have over 100 people with their eyes on me for the entire night… gotta work on confidence! Not really sure how to work on this, any ideas?
    • I do know that I want to find a hairstyle I love. Mine is a good start, but could use some help.
    • I need a good skincare regimen – I just started using Proactive and it burns my face and bleaches my towels… does this happen to anyone else?? I’m pretty sure I don’t want anything that bleaches towels on my face. I’m very open to suggestions here. I don’t get bad acne, just a few constant annoying pimples and bumps.
    • New wardrobe – I will use clothes as rewards for reaching my goals! But I also need a personal stylist…anyone interested?
    • Smile and say hi to every person I walk by.

In addition to updating my own progress, I’ll post ways to succeed in your own goals.


Starbucks “Trente” … Really??

30 Jan

As I’m sure most of you are aware, Starbucks is trying out a larger than life beverage. Considering some of the moves Starbucks has made recently towards promote healthy living, I’m a bit surprised at this monstrosity. The ‘trente’ sized drinks are 31 ounces, with a hot venti drink being 20 ounces and iced venti being 24 ounces.

…Big gulps, eh? Welp, see ya later.

That’s right; the trente is 1 measly ounce less than a 711 Big Gulp. 31 ounces is 930mL – the average capacity of the human stomach is 900mL with the maximum capacity being 2000-4000mL….

Here are the stats::

♦Tall (12 oz) Caffe Latte w/ skim milk: 100 calories, 0gm fat, 15gm carb, 14gm sugar, 10gm protein, 75mg caffeine

♦Venti (20 oz) Caffe Latte w/ skim milk: 170 calories, 0gm fat, 25gm carb, 23gm sugar, 16gm protein, 150mg caffiene

♦Trente (31 oz) Caffe Latte w/ skim milk: 265 calories, 0gm gat, 39gm carb, 36gm sugar, 25gm protein, 233mg caffeine

♦Venti Caramel Macchiato w/ 2% milk: 300 calories, 8gm fat, 5gm saturated, 43gm carb, 39gm sugar, 13gm protein

♦Trente Caramel Macchiato w/ whole milk: 525 calories, 20gm fat, 12gm saturated, 65gm carb, 60gm sugar, 20gm protein

Considering that most people drink their coffee in addition to a meal or snack, I can’t even fathom a 525 calorie drink being a part of my meal plans. Even with skim milk, 31 ounces add up – 265 calories – and really, who gets full from coffee alone?? Not me, so this is not somewhere I’d prefer to spend my hard-earned caloric bucks. Also, a trente caramel macchiato with whole milk has almost the maximum amount of saturated fat recommended for the entire day.

Starbucks, I am disappointed in you.

More incentive to support local coffee houses!

Question // Anyone tried the trente yet and been able to drink it all? Any local Denver coffee houses you’d recommend?

Kill them with caffeine.

29 Jan

Caffeine, specifically coffee, and I have been friends for a long time. I started drinking coffee in 7th grade to stunt my growth because, as a gymnast, I was getting to be on the taller side. Let’s just say if it did stunt my growth, I’m thankful because I’m 5’8″! And ever since 7th grade, I’m pretty sure there hasn’t been a day that has gone by that I haven’t had multiple cups of coffee…

Now let me just say that coffee is not the problem; coffee contains heart healthy antioxidants and recent studies have shown it can help prevent type II diabetes.  Even caffeine is beneficial, when used moderation, promoting alertness and mental clarity. Keyword: moderation, AKA a dietitian’s favorite term.

Each and every day, the very first thing I do is pour a 16 oz cup of coffee into my mug. Since I’ve obviously guzzled that down while getting ready for work, I refill for the drive. Then at work, I easily get 2 more 8oz cups of coffee before 1pm. That’s a mild day. If I’m extra tired, at home or meeting up with a friend, I’ll easily have another 16oz cup. That’s a minimum of 6 cups of coffee per day.

Another (not-so) fun fact about me: I’ve been going to different doctors for about 6 years because of fatigue. I just always fill drained. I’m definitely Type A, so I like to have a long “To-Do” list, but each and every day it’s a struggle to keep my legs moving and my eyes open.  In that 6 year time period, I’ve been diagnosed as depressed (wouldn’t you be if you felt like crud all the time??), tried multiple supplements from a Naturopath (and I am NOT a supplement advocate) and been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Tried all three prescriptions for hypothyroid and none made a difference. In the last few months, I’ve discovered that my digestive issues resolve when I don’t eat gluten. So I thought that cutting out this intolerance would improve my energy levels as that often does for people…. not so far. I’ve tried many other things, but needless to say, I’m DESPERATE.

So in the last few months, I’ve started making my coffee 1/2 caf  and I’ve been choosing decaf coffee after my home-brewed coffee for the most part also. So I figured, with the low amount of caffeine in decaf, I shouldn’t be addicted to caffeine still, right?

Well, I randomly decided to stop drinking any coffee (like I said, desperate) last Tuesday. And let me tell you, I felt like I hit a brick wall the first few days! Here we are on day #5, and while I’m still tired, I may actually feel a tiny bit better than normal! And I must say that I do enjoy my Vanilla Chai steeped in almond milk with stevia for my creamy morning treat. So I’m obviously still drinking tea, which also has caffeine, but not as much as regular coffee and I’m not drinking the same quantity.

I feel like it’s worth keeping up for a week or two to see if there is any improvement.. in the meantime, I also plan on cleaning up my diet a little and see where I could be lacking. More to come on this and my coffee-free journey as well.

Question :: Anyone found a cure to constant fatigue???

The Low-Down on Fats ://: “GORP”

25 Jan

Good fats, bad fats, skinny fats, fat fats . . . There is a lot of talk about fats these days. Let’s break it down. For most people, about 30% of your total calories for the day should be from fat, this is considered a low-fat diet. Of that, 20% should come from the heart healthy fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Monounsaturated Fats – – Lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol

  • Sources :: Olive oil, canola oil, avocados, nuts & seeds, peanut butter, sesame oil
  • Benefits ::
    • Reduces cholesterol when used in place of saturated and trans fats
    • Sources of monounsaturated fats also usually good source of vitamin E (antioxidant)

Polyunsaturated Fats

Lowers LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol

  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids
    • Sources: Vegetable oils (safflower, corn, sunflower, soy and cottonseed)
    • Abundant in American diet – used in processed foods, salad dressings
    • Pro-inflammatory
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    • Best sources: Salmon, trout, tuna, sardines
    • Plant sources: Flaxseed, wheat germ, canola oil, walnuts, pumpkin seeds
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • Benefits ::
      • Have been shown to reduce risk of heart disease
      • Lowers triglycerides at certain doses
      • May improve depression
      • May ease joint pain
      • Improves cognitive functioning

The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3’s in the diet is 2 to 1 while the typical American diet is about a 15 to 1 ratio. Key message: decrease omega-6’s (found in many processed foods) and increase omega-3’s. In order to get the recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids, you would need to eat 2-3 servings of the fish sources listed above.  If you’re taking a supplement, most people DO NOT need to supplement omega-6’s (or 9), just omega-3. The dose depends on what your goal is with supplementation, but quality is key with fish oil supplements – read the labels. If the label doesn’t show that EPA and DHA (two of the most beneficial types of omega-3’s) comprise most of the “fish oil” in the capsules, look for a different supplement.Hint: You’ll be paying a bit extra for EPA and DHA, but it’s worth it!If you need suggestions navigating supplementing fish oil, let me know!

Now for the bad:

Saturated Fats

Sources :: Animal products (such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy products, lard and butter), and coconut, palm and other tropical oils [Look for a post coming up about one of the newest fads – coconut oil]

  • Increases risk of heart disease by increasing total and LDL cholesterol
  • Aim for no more than 15-22 grams per day (7-10% of total daily calories)


Chemical process which changes a fat from a liquid (unsaturated fat) to a solid (saturated fat) that increases the shelf-life of products.

Sources :: Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, commercial baked goods (such as crackers, cookies and cakes), fried foods (such as doughnuts and french fries), shortening and margarine

  • Increases total and LDL cholesterol
  • Aim to consume no trans-fat!

GORP aka Trail Mix

Makes 4 servings


  • 1/2 cup whole almonds, unsalted
  • 1/4 cup unsalted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pitted dates
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon dark chocolate chips

Nutrition Stats (Per serving): 209 calories; 15g fat (2 g sat, 6 g mono, 5gm poly); 0 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrates; 12 g sugar; 5 g protein; 4 g fiber; 4 mg sodium; 190 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium, magnesium, fiber, vitamins E and C, antioxidants

Homemade trail mix is an easy snack and it’s much better for you than store-bought. Store-bought trail mixes are always high in sodium and usually have M&M’s as opposed to dark chocolate. But because of the nuts in this recipe, it is a higher calorie snack, so watch your portions!

Homemade Almond Butter

24 Jan

Making your own almond butter couldn’t be easier. Those store-bought jars can be super expensive, so this can save some money too! And maybe the best part about making your own nut butters is that (at least with this recipe) you won’t be adding in trans fats like MANY commerical nut butters have to give the product a longer shelf life. Even the ones without partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats), most have palm oil – a saturated fat that is also bad for your heart. We actually won’t be adding in any oil at all.

Ever since I tried almond butter, I haven’t been able to go back to peanut butter – which I used to love. My now ‘AB’  (as I call it) obsession is going strong, I literally eat 1-2 tablespoons per day! Almonds contain heart healthy monounsaturated fats which, when used in place of saturated and trans fats, help lower cholesterol. While fat does contain more calories per gram than protein or carbohydrates (9 calories per gram compared with 4 calories per gram in protein and carbs), that doesn’t mean that eating fat makes you fat. Eating excess of anything will cause weight gain. That being said, incorporating healthy fats like almond butter into a balanced diet will keep you full between meals which may actually help you lose weight. Good stuff, I know.

Almond Butter


  • 2 cups whole, unsalted almonds
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar/honey (optional: most of the time I don’t add it)
  1. This step is optional – roasting the almonds. I will say, this does help speed up the blending process! Preheat oven to 350*F and spread almonds out onto a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes until slightly browned.
  2. Put almonds (not honey or salt!) into food processor. It will take a while, but these are the stages it will go through if you do not roast your almonds.

  3.   It’s done once the oils have released from the nuts, the butter will look shiny.

  4.   Stir in the honey and salt by hand. Experiment with other flavors to add in!



Some of my favorite ways to use almond butter: 

  • Stir in a spoonful into oatmeal or other hot cereal, UH-mazing!
  • 1/2 tablespoon on brown rice cake with apple slices
  • Tasty spread on pumpkin or banana bread or the Carrot Cake Protein Bars
  • Spread over a frozen whole grain waffle (watch out for the sodium) with half a banana on top
  • Plop into a protein shake for a filling meal replacement when you’re on the go

Thought :: Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm – – Winston Churchill

Question // What did you add into your almond butter??

Debunking Detox Diets ::

20 Jan

Check out my guest post about Detox Diets on The Me Movement – a great blog about putting your self, and your health, first!

Granola & Grime

16 Jan

Thought //::// “The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it” — William James

Granola and grime, doesn’t sound like a very appetizing combination does it? Well don’t worry, two totally separate items 🙂 The grime is just my plans to start spring cleaning a bit early. The winter seems to create messes in places one wonders how it even got there. So slowly, starting with my kitchen, I plan to clean out, organize and put a little elbow grease our small apartment which happens to have many nooks and crannies.

Now to the good part, the granola. I’m on a baking kick I guess. But really, I wanted something crunchy in my beloved greek yogurt. Commercial granolas are not only high in calories and fat, but most often not gluten-free, so why not make my own? It’s just about the easiest recipe ever! This time, I made a fairly simple granola since I usually add fruit or my organic blackberry jam to my yogurt.

Simple Homemade Granola

Makes 8 servings

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup whole almonds, unsalted
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 T blueberries, dried
  • 2 T. honey/agave nectar
  • 1 T. maple syrup
  • 2 T. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to  325*. Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add wet ingredients and combine well. Pour onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread well. Bake 10-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. The granola will still be soft when you take it out, just look for the oats to begin browning – it will harden once it’s cool. Store in airtight container.

Nutrition Stats (per serving) :: 140 calories // 7gm fat // <1gm saturated // 3gm polyunsaturated // 4gm monounsaturated // 0mg cholesterol // 30mg sodium // 190mg potassium // 23gm carbs // 4gm fiber // 6gm sugar // 4gm protein

Try out different combinations of fruit, nuts and seeds – pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts!

<> Last, I’ve been seeing a lot of blogs using coconut oil and coconut butter in their recipes… I’ll give you my tack on this new fad in a blog coming up! I’ve also been asked to write a guest blog this week – I’ll keep you updated! 🙂

Question :: Before I give my opinion, what have you heard about coconut??