Diet Tips for 2019 with NurseChrisP

Sharing Pizza is a good thing

Diet tips for the New Year For Fitness After 40

 

If you have decided to improve your health in 2019, no doubt this has included some thoughts about ways to improve your diet.  While it is true, health and obtaining a healthy weight is 80% diet and 20% activity, it is a bit more difficult  as we age, especially for middle aged men and women. This is due to hormone changes and natural aging, and it is far less easy to out exercise our poor food choices.  Here are my top diet tips to integrate into your eating plan starting today.

1. Drink adequate water.

Ideally your urine should be pale yellow to clear. Relying on your thirst level to guide your thirst may be too late, especially if you are taking a diuretic for blood pressure management. A good rule of thumb is to consume ½ of your body weight in ounces of water. Adjust according to your activity level and your environment.

2. Eat an apple a day.

Apples provide astonishing benefits is their tiny packages and should be included in eating plans for people of all ages. If you struggle with constipation eat an apple daily. The fiber and pectin will alleviate the constipation. If you struggle with loose stools eat an apple a day, the pectin will improve the consistency. Apples improve the gut biome which can improve digestion and mood. No need to eat a monster apple, the huge ones are about 2 ½ servings, instead aim for the small ones, eat the peel and consider eating the whole apple, seeds and all. Many cultures do this, however apple seeds contain cyanide which can be toxic if too much is consumed. Purchase organic apples if possible, and if you cannot, then wash the fruit to remove the waxy coating before eating.

3. Share.

Sharing entrée’s when you go out to a restaurant, or getting a doggy bag and putting half of the meal away before you start eating is a simple way to manage serving size and calorie intate. Restaurant meal portion sizes are double or more and can exceed a day’s calorie portion in one dish. Sharing the meal with your dinner date will save you calories and money. That is a win/win right there.

4. Start Intermittent Fasting.

Begin practicing intermittent fasting during the week, or at least 5 days out of the week. Intermittent fasting has been shown to aid in weight control, blood sugar management, and more. To incorporate intermittent fasting into your day, make lunch your first meal and dinner your last meal. The old adage that “breakfast is the most important meal” is not, in my opinion, the best way to manage weight or health at mid-life.

5. Limit alcohol consumption to the weekends.

6. Eat no processed snacks.

If you must snack, make them yourself. For example, if you are a cookie fiend, then mix up your favorite recipe, roll the dough into a log and place it in the freezer. Slice off a couple of cookies when you want them. This limits you from eating the whole batch, but can still enjoy the deliciousness of a fresh cookie without preservatives and chemicals.

7. Eat vegetables daily.

This one is very difficult for me to do as I do not readily like to eat them. Blue Apron has been my salvation in this area, as their menus rely on a good serving of veggies with every meal preparation.

8. Do not eat in front of the TV, or on the run.

Try to eat at the table with a real plate and utensils. Reclaim eating from something that is done in a hurry to something that is enjoyed.

9. Drink no sugary drinks.

Avoid pop/soda/cokes (I have covered all of the names for Americans right here ), sweet tea and Gatorade. Limit your consumption of diet sodas to 1-2 times per week.

10. Put good fats back into your diet.

Good fats are ones like nuts, chia seeds, nut butters, oils like avocado, sesame, olive oil, coconut, eggs, and fish like salmon, sardines, and tuna.

Those are my top 10 dietary improvement suggestions. When you incorporate these suggestions into an energy balanced diet, you will see weight loss and improved sense of health. There are many experts out there, and amazing people want to help you. Thank you for reading my suggestions. Here is to your improved and continued health.

We are all going to die, but the goal is to die being as healthy as possible.

If you want assistance in discovering your best diet and exercise plan for 2019, order my book Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating.

This is a condensed version of the counselling that I do with my own patients who come to me for health and wellness assistance. I am a guide and you are the hero. I can help.

5 Foods to Eat for Weight Loss

While there are not any magic foods to eat for weight loss, these are my favorite foods to eat for weight loss or weight management.  I will recommend foods from the common food categories and that can easily be found and any grocery store.

These foods can be incorporated into a low calorie diet by ensuring the proper serving size. If you are on a low carbohydrate or ketogenic diet, the sweet potato carbohydrate content is too high.  Soups can be used on all programs with the proper ingredients.

Vegetables

1. Brussel Sprouts

One of my favorite vegetables is Brussel sprouts (and I actually don’t like many vegetables). This vegetable comes from the cabbage family, but they aren’t baby cabbages. They grow on a stalk. ¾ of a cup of Brussel sprouts have a measly 80 calories. They can be eaten fresh, or frozen. They are high in fiber which helps with satiation. They are also high in vitamin C, calcium, Vitamin A and iron.

One of my favorite ways to prepare them is cut them in half, coat them in healthy olive oil, salt and pepper and bake until crispy.

2. Chicken

Chicken without the skin is a versatile protein source that will help with weight loss because it is satiating. A proper sized portion is approximately 3-4 oz. Adequate protein is necessary for weight loss so that you can preserve your muscle mass while in a calorie deficit. A serving of chicken will provide approximately 190 calories, 35 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat.

My favorite preparation is to pound the breast slightly flat, season with salt and pepper and cook in a teaspoon of healthy oil.

3. Raspberries

Some nutritionists would recommend not eating fruit on a weight loss program but if there was one fruit that could be included it is the raspberry. Raspberries are little packages that pack a punch. They contain naturally occurring ketones that some companies have capitalized one. The raspberry ketones are said to assist the body in accessing fat from fat cells for energy. You could use the raspberry ketone supplement, but you can also just include the fruit itself. I am a fan of eating natural whole foods rather than eating supplements. Raspberries are a low calorie fruit; in 1 cup you will consume only 65 calories. They pack a fantastic amount of necessary vitamins as well. They are rich in fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, B-6, and even protein.

My favorite way to eat raspberries is eating them fresh out of the package (after washing).

4. Sweet Potato

Yes, even the sweet potato can be used for weight loss. They are high in fiber, which helps for satiation, and have a low glycemic effect, which helps prevent sugar fluctuations that can lead to over eating. One 5 “ long sweet potato has far fewer calories than one would imagine. The calorie count for this size vegetable is approximately 112 calories. This amazing vegetable provides substantial amounts of Vitamin A, and significant amounts of fiber, potassium and B-6, and lesser amounts of Vitamin C, and iron.

My favorite way to prepare this vegetable is cut it into 1 inch wedges and coat with a healthy oil and salt and pepper and bake. I also love sweet potato soup.

5. Soups

Ok this isn’t actually a food, but it can be a simply fabulous staple to any weight loss and weigh maintenance program. Homemade soup will be the healthiest choice because you will be able to manage the ingredients, and fat content. Broth based soups with copious amounts of vegetables and some tasty lean protein can fill you up easily.

My grandmother made the most delicious tomato/broth based soup that I have ever tasted. It was full of green beans, carrots, and maybe a potato or two.

No Magic Foods

In my experience the best eating plans that are sustainable include the foods that people like to eat in the proper portion size. Portion size is incredibly important as portions eaten are usually 2 to 2 1/2 times larger than they should be.

There are no magic weight loss foods. Eat a clean healthy diet. Eat foods in their most natural form. Eat them if they walked, swam, flew or grew. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.

If you want more guidance on how to gain health with clean eating order my book, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating.

Food Sources of Vitamin D

Natural foods rich in vitamin D.

Vitamin D is important to maintaining a healthy body. Vitamin D deficiency is rampant in our modern age for a variety of reasons. The main reasons include our indoor lifestyle and use of skin protectant.

Science is not infallible, we must change our thinking when new information is exposed, and this pertains to the importance of vitamin D. In this post I will describe what Vitamin D is, how it helps our bodies, symptoms of deficiency,  the recommended amounts to consume each day and the foods that you can eat to obtain your Vitamin D.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that we obtain from food or our environment via the sun, or supplements. Vitamin D is stored in the human liver and fat from exposure during the sunny periods, for utilization during the winter, less sunny season. We have circumvented this natural process by limiting our exposure to sun in the summer months with sunscreen, clothes and a lifestyle of avoiding the sun.

The dermatologists have scared us to the point of damage. Skin cancer is a concern, but so is vitamin D deficiency

What does vitamin D do in our bodies?

  • Regulates the immune system
  • Regulates neuromuscular function
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Required for bone strength
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Decreases the risk for depression
  • Reduces risk for type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
  • May reduce risk for certain cancers

What are signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?

Classic signs are rickets (which is an old disease of the bone) and osteomlacia. This is related to the interaction of vitamin D and calcium for bone strength. Subtle bone pain and fatigue can be symptoms that are missed with a Vitamin D deficiency. We do know that low Vitamin D can result in osteoporosis. Additionally, there is some evidence that colon cancer, diabetes type 2, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis.

The medical conditions above demonstrate the broad array of physical effects from inadequate Vitamin D, and can seem nonspecific. However, a lab test can be a good place to start to identify your levels.

Who is at risk for vitamin D deficiency?

Certain people are at risk for Vitamin D deficiency and some of them include those who have indoor lifestyles, dark skinned people, infants who are nursed for a prolonged time. Additionally, men and women who have had gastric bypass or have inflammatory bowel disease appear to have limited ability to absorb it via their gut. Older adults are also at risk; this may be due to their tendency to be indoors. Medications can also put people at deficiency. It is known that steroids and certain cholesterol medicines as well as anti-epileptic medicine can interrupt the absorption and result in a deficiency.

What are the most common sources of vitamin D?         

Sun

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin. It is synthesized in the skin, by a certain wavelength in the sun’s rays; wave length 290-320 nanometers, penetrates the skin and synthesized through a chemical process to previtamin D which then converts to vitamin D.

We know that sun is a source, but this article is about the food sources of Vitamin D. The food sources are limited, but let’s review them now.

Food

Vitamin D is not found naturally in many foods. Cow’s milk has been fortified with vitamin d for years.

Interestingly, the foods that are high in vitamin D are ones that are found in the sea. I always wondered why Eskimos who lived in the north- who had no sun for months, survived. Well, once again, God takes care of his humans. Blubber or muktuk, as its called by the Inuit/Eskimos of Alaska and Canada is high in vitamin C and vitamin D. Citrus is difficult to come by in the arctic, God is good.

 Ok, so we won’t be eating whale blubber, but we can eat wild caught salmon, wild caught mackerel, cod liver, tuna, and sardines.

The cow is a good source of vitamin D in the flesh and the calf liver. Egg yolks also have vitamin D. Dairy products that are fortified with vitamin D are also a good source, like cheese, or yoghurt made with the fortified milk.

Enhanced mushrooms have been developed to be an additional food source.

This is a table from a trusted website, National Institute of Health (see references) for food sources.

Food Sources
Food IUs per serving* Percent DV**
Cod liver oil, 1 table-
spoon
1,360 340
Swordfish, cooked, 3 ounces 566 142
Salmon (sockeye),
cooked, 3 ounces
447 112
Tuna fish, canned in water, drained,
3 ounces
154 39
Orange juice fortified with vitamin D, 1 cup 137 34
Milk, nonfat, reduced fat, and whole, vitamin D-fortified, 1 cup 115-124 29-31
Yogurt, fortified with
20% of the DV for
vitamin D, 6 ounces
80 20
Margarine, fortified, 1 tablespoon 60 15
Sardines, canned in oil, drained,
2 sardines
46 12
Liver, beef, cooked, 3 ounces 42 11
Egg, 1 large (vitamin D is found in yolk) 41 10
Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with 10% of the DV for vitamin D, 0.75-1 cup 40 10
Cheese, Swiss, 1 ounce 6 2

*1.

Recommended Numbers and Blood Levels

Recommended Daily Amounts of Vitamin D (RDA) varies depending on age and gender. Middle aged adults should be consuming 600 IU.

The lab value to aim for via a blood test for 25(OH)D is >30ng/ml.

This level should be the goal via sun, food and supplements.

Vitamin D research continues and its importance is becoming increasingly clear. To optimize your Vitamin D levels to reduce your risk for deficiency, ensure that you go outside for 20 minutes during the day without sunscreen, include food sources weekly, and take supplements to ensure that your levels are optimal.

You can go to your primary care provider to obtain a blood test, or you can go to my Ulta website and order it yourself and take the results to the doctor if they are abnormal.

Choosing healthy foods and staying active is paramount to reduce your risk for experiencing lifestyle related diseases. My book, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating can help you find the best eating plans and movement plans for you!

Reference:

1. Vitamin D for Health Professionals/Fact Sheet. Retrieved from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

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