Healthier Eating

The following information is courtesy of one of my professors: Ms. Anne Keller

Modifying recipes for a heart-healthy diet

You don't have to abandon all your favorite recipes to eat healthier. Several small modifications in your current recipes can often greatly decrease the calories, fat, saturated fat, and/or cholesterol in your diet for a heart-healthy makeover.
Modify a Recipe
You'll experiment with one of your favorite, (but likely high-fat or less than nutritious) recipes. By using the recipe modification suggestions you'll take your calorie-laden, decadent recipe and transform it into a lighter, more nutritious, and hopefully still delicious, treat.
Note:  For this assignment you must make several (3 or more) significant changes to a recipe.  Some students in the past have submitted very simple changes to convenience foods (macaroni and cheese from a box or salad dressing packet) and this does not qualify for this assignment.  You must use a "real" recipe!  Do not use "reduced serving number or size" as a recipe modification.
Step 1
Search your recipe files for a favorite meal, snack or dessert.
Step 2
Use the recipe modification, substitute the lower-fat and lower calorie ingredients for the higher-fat, higher-calorie ingredients in your recipe. Also, look for ways to make your recipe more nutritious, and not just lower fat, as well.  For instance, could you substitute some or all of the whole wheat flour for white flour?
Step 3
Create your lower-calorie, lower-fat version of the recipe. How does it taste? Is the flavor still good? How about the texture? Would you make it again? Which ingredients did you modify from the original recipe to make the new, lighter recipe?
Step 4
Evaluate each recipe for nutritional value on the form provided titled "Making Recipes Healthier."  On a separate page, write a brief summary of the recipe changes that you made and the effect on the nutritional value of a single serving from your recipe. 
Be conscientious of recipe modifications each time you cook.  Remember there are often numerous creative ways to trim down the fat and calorie content of a recipe and still add flavor.  Also, be conscientious about how to increase the nutritional value of a recipe.  For example, try whole-wheat flour for ½ the amount of white flour required.  There are many things you can do to make a recipe lighter and healthier.

These small changes in your current recipes can make a big difference in your intake of fat and calories without significantly affecting the taste or enjoyment of your favorite meals. Some suggestions for making heart-healthy substitutions in your recipes are given below. Notice the difference that minor recipe alterations (such as slightly reducing amounts or using lower-fat versions of ingredients) can make in the amount of fat you consume!
Recipe modifications
Instead of:
To cut out this many grams of fat:
1 cup shortening/lard
¾ cup oil
1 cup oil
¼ cup oil and ½ cup applesauce
2 Tbsp oil (for sautéing)
2 Tbsp wine or broth
1 cup whole milk
1 cup nonfat milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup evaporated skim milk
1 cup sour cream
1 cup nonfat yogurt or nonfat sour cream
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup low-fat cheddar cheese
8 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. light cream cheese
or 4 oz. skim ricotta and 4 oz. tofu blended
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can low-fat, low-sodium cream soup
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground turkey (read the label to be sure skin is not included) or 1 lb diet lean ground beef
6 oz tuna in oil
6 oz tuna in water
2 eggs
4 egg whites
1 cup walnuts
½ cup walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup chocolate chips
Additional tips for reducing fat in recipes
  • Reduce the amount of fat in the recipe by half (this can often be done without having a major effect on the final product).
  • Use non-stick pans and non-stick cooking sprays to cut down on the amount of fat used in cooking.
  • When stir-frying, use a small amount of canola or olive oil. If foods begin to stick, use water, wine, broth, or tomato juice to add moisture rather than adding more oil or other fat.
  • When making pies, omit the high-fat pie shells or choose a reduced-fat version, such as graham cracker crust.
     Modifying Recipes
Use the following table as a reference guide to help you make healthier substitutions for common ingredients in everyday recipes. These substitute ingredients are lower in fat and/or calories than the original ingredients. Therefore, trying these substitutions will greatly reduce the calories and/or fat per serving. Many substitutions sacrifice little in the way of flavor. However, you will need to experiment a bit to see how much your taste buds will sacrifice in the name of calorie reduction.


Making Recipes Healthier

·         Reduce fat by ¼ to 1/3 in baked products.  This works well for quick breads, muffins, and cookies.  It may not work as well with cake.
·         Substitute half the fat with equal parts fruit puree in baked products. Use applesauce, mashed prunes or bananas.
·         Thicken sauces and gravies with cornstarch rather than a flour – butter mixture.
·         Reduce cheese by ¼ to ½ in recipes which call for cheese.  Use low-fat cheese where possible.
·         Use skim or low-fat milk instead of whole milk.
·         Do not fry foods – bake, broil, grill, poach, meats, poultry, or fish.
Saturated Fat and Cholesterol
·         Use 2 egg whites in place of 1 egg.
·         Use vegetable oils in place of solid fat. If a recipe calls for 4 Tbsp. solid fat, use 3 Tbsp. oil.  These substitutions may not work for cakes or pie crusts.
·         Use trans-fat-free margarine in place of butter.
·         Reduce sugar by ¼ to 1/3 in baked products and desserts.
·         Increase the amount of cinnamon or vanilla in a recipe to give the impression of sweetness.

Sodium or Salt
·         Reduce or eliminate salt in most recipes.  Start by cutting the salt in half, until you get used to the less salty flavor.
·         Use herbs and spices in place of salt.
·         Choose reduced sodium ingredietns for cooking, such as: low sodium soy sauce, low salt canned tomatoes.
·         Use garlic or onion powder in place of garlic or onion salt.

·         In baked products, substitute up to half of the white flour with whole wheat flour.
·         Choose whole grain ingredients where possible.
·         Use wheat germ in place of bread crumbs.
·         Add extra fruits and vegetables to recipes, where appropriate.

To meet the dietary guidelines
during food preparation…


·         Use cooking methods that avoid or minimize fat.  Saute or stir-fry with little or no added fat.  Broil, grill, bake, or cook in the microwave, allowing fat to drain.
·         Use low-fat or no-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt, instead of higher fat dairy products.
·         Use lean meats and trim visible fat.  Remove skin from poultry.
·         Cook meat, poultry, and fish without fat or with very little added fat.
·         Use small amounts of fats and oils in preparation.  Use margarine instead of butter.
·         Use vegetable oil instead of margarine or shortening when possible.
·         Use less salt.  Add herbs and spices for flavor instead of salt or sodium-comtaining seasonings.  Use garlic or onion powder instead of garlic or onion salt.
·         Use reduced-salt or no-salt added products when possible.
·         Use less sugar and honey in recipes.  Add flavor with fruits and spices.  Use unsweetened canned fruits.
·         Add fruits to recipes and menus by using them to satisfy the sweet tooth. Add them to baked products.
·         Use fewer eggs or substitute two egg whites for one egg.


·         Use rolled oats, bulger, and other whole grain foods.  Substitute whole wheat flour for half the all-purpose flour in baked products.
·         Add ground flax seed.
·         Emphasize rice, pasta, potatoes, and other starchy foods.
·         Add dry beans, peas, and lentils to recipes.
·         Add vegetables to foods and menus by combining them with dry beans, grains, pasta, lean meat, and poultry.

Grocery List
Based on the rundown of your grocery aisles above, here is what a basic, healthy shopping list might look like (keep in mind that this is not an all-inclusive list - just a guideline of some very healthy foods to help keep the nutritious aspects of your diet in check):
·         Fruits -- oranges, grapefruit, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, mango, papaya, guava, kiwi, tangerines, apricots
·         Flavorings -- fresh or dried herbs, fresh or dried spices, flavored or herb vinegars, garlic
·         Dairy -- skim milk, low fat cheese, fat free yogurt, light cream cheese, fat free sour cream, soy milk, soy yogurt, soy cheese
·         Vegetables -- Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, green peppers, red peppers
·         Canned and Frozen – Vegetables (look for low sodium in canned), Fruits (look for “packed in juice” in canned), tomato sauces
·         Grains -- whole wheat bread, whole wheat bagels, whole wheat flour, wheat or bran cereal, whole wheat pasta, brown rice
·         Proteins -- extra lean ground beef, pork tenderloin, Canadian bacon, chicken breasts, salmon steaks, trout (or any other fish), tuna packed in water, shrimp, eggs, peanut butter (go easy!), nuts (go easy!), black beans (any other bean too), kidney beans, garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas, tofu
·         Oils and Fats -- Brume & Brown margarine, No-trans, or light margarine spread, olive oil, canola oil
·         Beverages -- green or black tea (these have lots of good-for-you anti-oxidants!), water/seltzer water


Fat Cell Count (Hyperplasia) and Obesity

Our body's develop through adolescence; we all remember those awkward years of being lanky, over weight, and all together a little funky.  When obesity develops in infancy or in childhood the person develops more adipose cells (fat cells).  Your body will first expand it's fat cells, but if the cells get too large, they divide and create more fat cells.  This is BAD.  You do not want your body making more fat cells than it needs because the body NEVER loses those fat cells.  This is why so many people have a hard time losing weight and keeping weight off.  Childhood obesity is a huge problem and it will affect people into adulthood. 

Please please encourage kids to eat healthy and exercise.  Soda, cookies, chips - these things are TOXIC to your children.  There are plenty of healthier snacks out there!

Attached is an article that can explain this concept better. 

Development of Obesity

Please remember that not all obese and/or overweight people are lazy and eat terribly; there are so many common medical factors that cause this too.  Birth-control pills, diabetes, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, medication, antidepressants, not eating, etc.  Please remember not to judge people because they are over weight, they are fighting a tougher battle than you are to lose weight or get medical conditions under control.

Thank you again for all your time!!  Hope some of these tips help some of you :)



Aromatherapy as an Alternative Medicine

Aromatherapy doesn't exactly fall under the category of "Nutrition" but, it's useful information.

Aromatherapy can be a very powerful healing aid; depression, burns, wounds, etc.

When shopping for essential oils look for the labeling: genuine, authentic, and premium as everything else probably has additives or is less potent. Dilute oil when applying to skin; use the following to dilute:

Carrier Oils
• Apricot Kernel Oil
• Sunflower Oil
• Soy Oil
• Sweet Almond Oil
• Grapeseed Oil
• Sesame Oil
• Avacado Oil
• Jojoba Oil
• Wheat Germ Oil


• Decreases sinus congestion
• Soothes GI tract
• Aids Digetstion
• Decreases headaches
• Decrease anxiety
• Decreases menstrual cramps

• Decreases anxiety
• Decreases depression
• Urinary antiseptic
• Acne
• Disinfectant for wounds, abscesses, boils

• Decreases respiratory congestion and coughs
• Loosens mucous in lungs
• Decreases pain and swelling of arthritis
• Antifungal for skin rashes

• Soothes muscle aches, sprains, swollen joints
• GI antispasmodic
• Rub on abdomen for colic, indigestion, gas
• Decreases anxiety
• Decreases stress related headaches
• Decreases insomnia (ok to use with children)

• Induces sleep
• Increases sense of well-being
• Massage or warm compress for menstrual cramps (DO NOT USE if pregnant)

• Improves digestion
• Decreases colic
• Decreases diarrhea
• Decreases muscle aches and stiffness in joints
• Decreases mental fatigue
• Increases memory and mental function

• Decreases rheumatic aches
• Decreases bruising and/or varicose
• Respiratory antispasmodic—decreases asthma and coughing (place couple drops on rag)

• Boosts immune system
• Speeds bone healing (massage prior to casting)
• Increases healing of cuts, sores, wounds
• Cools inflamed skin
• Can be a sedative

• Feels cool to skin and warm to muscles
• Decreases fever
• Relieves pain
• Anti-inflammatory
• Antiseptic/Antiviral
• Boosts immune system
• Inhaled as steam calms respiratory system

• Bronchodilatory (gets rid of mucous)
• Deepens breathing to induce calmness
• Incense creates a state conducive to prayer

• Antibacterial
• Insecticidal
• Antidepressant
• Improves yeast infections
• First aid on minor cuts and burns

• Wards off colds
• Calms upset stomach
• Decrease nausea
• Soothes sprains and muscle spasms

• Reduces headache severity
• Decreases anxiety
• Aids in weight reduction
• Reduce symptoms of claustrophobia

• Uplifting and stimulating
• Antidepressant
• Massage abdomen and lower back for menstrual cramps

• Calming
• Decreases stress
• Diuretic
• Decreases muscle aches and pains

• Calming
• Sedative
• Decreases insomnia
• Decreases headache (massage around temples)
• Inhale to speed recovery from colds/flu
• Decreases congestion (massage into chest)
• Heals burns (topical treatment leaving zero scarring)

• Sedative
• Skin antiseptic for acne

• Decreases insomnia
• Decreases tension
• Decreases muscle and joint pain
• Clears sinuses and congestion (inhale)
• Decreases menstrual cramps (massage abdomen)

• Gentle sedative for insomnia and panic attacks
• Decreases irritable bowel syndrome (massage abdomen)

• Decreases anxiety
• Decreases GI antispasmodic for colic and indigestion
• Decreases constipation (massage abdomen)

• Increases alertness
• Decreases colic and indigestion
• Decreases headache (massage on temples)
• Decongestant for colds/flu

• Great for acne and oily skin
• Decreases muscle spasms
• Gentle sedative

• Antidepressant
• Increases alertness
• Decreases eye strain and headaches (use as compress)
• Decreases PMS (massage on body)

• Stimulating
• Increase circulation to skin
• Decreases swollen joints (use as compress)
• Decreases respiratory congestion
• Antifungal/antibacterial
• Deodorizes the air

• Calms and cools the body
• Decreases inflammation
• Decreases sore throat, congestion (drop onto rag and inhale)
• Improves chapped/dry skin
• Increases a sense of peace in meditation/prayer

• First-aid kit in a bottle: Antifungal, great for athletes foot or ring worm
• Soothes insect bites and stings
• Soothes wounds
• Cures yeast infection (place in bath)
• Decreases coughs and congestion (place drops in a rag)

• Stimulates production of red blood cells – increasing circulation
• Induces restful sleep
• Decreases tension

• Soothes Central nervous system
• Decreases depression
• Increases euphoric mood
• Decreases blood pressure
• Regulates respiration
• Calms heart palpitations


Mineral Depletion: Over Eating for Nutrients

I will expand more on this topic later, as I am writing a research paper for one of my classes; however, I came across an excellent site and wanted to share with anyone who is interested.

No wonder our society is becoming more obese, we have to eat more in order to get the nutrients our grandparents used to.

Fruit 1940 vs 1991:
Sodium 29% Loss
Potassium 19% loss
Phosphorous 2% Increase
Magnesium 16% Loss
Calcium16% Loss
Iron 24% Loss
Copper 20% Loss
Zinc 27% Loss

Vegetables 1978-1991:
Sodium 39% Loss
Potassium 16% Loss
Phosphorous 14% loss
Magnesium 33% Loss
Calcium 40% Loss
Iron 6% Increase
Copper 72% Loss
Zinc 59% Loss

Meat 1940-1991:
Sodium 30% Loss
Potassium 16% Loss
Phosphorous 28% Loss
Magnesium 10% Loss
Calcium 41% Loss
Iron 54% Loss
Copper 24% Loss

It's no wonder we over eat.


Macronutrient: Carbohydrates

Macronutrients and Their Role in Your Body

  1. Primary energy source for the body (Brain and Nervous System).

  2. Carbs burned turn into ATP which is stored in the muscles as glycogen - it's ready when you are for exercising.

  3. Sedentary living turns carbs into fat by the liver. Fat (triglyceride) is stored in your adipose tissue (body fat). (High triglyceride levels are caused by too many simple carbohydrates or you are eating carbohydrates and not exercising enough).

When your body has plenty of carb and fat:
- carb gets burned
- fat goes straight to storage in fat cells.

The key concept is that since carbohydrate is the preferred energy source, as long as there are enough calories and enough carbohydrates around, the body will burn carbs and, if fat is eaten in these circumstances, it will be stored. Note: let's not freak out about fat though right? If you match calories in (consumed) to calories expended (exercise) the body will burn the fat you ate (forms ATP and goes straight to muscles).

Foods - Complex Carbohydrates and Fiber
In addition to energy, carbs are very important to the digestive tract (lots of health issues can happen to the GI tract when we reach 50 years old).

  1. Fruits (glucose and fructose)
  2. Vegetables (glucose and fructose)
  3. Grains (glucose)
  4. Legumes (glucose)
  5. Nuts and Seeds (glucose)
  6. Milk (lactose/galactose and glucose)

Role of Complex Carbohydrates

  1. Increase your feeling of being full - they slow the stomach from emptying; helping you to lose weight.

  2. Help maintain control of blood glucose and insulin metabolism.

  3. Keeps GI tract healthy by keeping the cells in intestinal lining functioning and able to suck up nutrients and helps to move food out of your body.

  4. Regulates all cell function.

  5. Lowers blood cholesterol (soluble fiber)

Recommended Daily Intake (DRI)
50-60% of your total daily calories

A balanced carbohydrate consumption does not cause an individual to gain weight. It is only when you eat carbohydrates in excess of your energy needs that they may contribute to weight gain. As we consume carbohydrates, we may be consuming more than what our body needs for energy at that particular point in the day. Typically, the excess carbohydrate will be stored as glycogen. If one consumes more carbohydrates (or fat or protein) on a daily basis, then yes, the body will start accumulating fat in the fat cells. The two primary reasons for this is that the body stops breaking down stored fat for energy because there is more than enough energy being supplied by carbohydrates. Secondly, the body starts producing more fats when one consumes higher levels of simple sugars (such as those found in sweetened drinks and juices).

A Research Article About Carbohydrates
Source: Tufts University Released: Thu 11-Dec-2008, 08:00 ET

Low-Carb Diets Can Affect Dieters' Cognition Skills

A new study from Tufts University shows that when dieters eliminate carbohydrates from their meals, they performed more poorly on memory-based tasks than when they reduce calories, but maintain carbohydrates. When carbohydrates were reintroduced, cognition skills returned to normal.

"This study demonstrates that the food you eat can have an immediate impact on cognitive behavior," explains Holly A. Taylor, professor of psychology at Tufts and corresponding author of the study. "The popular low-carb, no-carb diets have the strongest potential for negative impact on thinking and cognition."

Taylor collaborated with Professor Robin Kanarek, former undergraduate Kara Watts and research associate Kristen D'Anci. The study, "Low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets. Effects on cognition and mood," appears in the February 2009 edition of the journal "Appetite."

While the brain uses glucose as its primary fuel, it has no way of storing it. Rather, the body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which is carried to the brain through the blood stream and used immediately by nerve cells for energy. Reduced carbohydrate intake should thus reduce the brain’s source of energy. Therefore, researchers hypothesized that diets low in carbohydrates would affect cognitive skills.

Study participants included 19 women ages 22 to 55 who were allowed to select the diet plan they preferred -- either a low-carbohydrate diet or a low-calorie, macronutrient balanced diet recommended by the American Dietetic Association. Nine women chose a low-carbohydrate diet and 10 selected the low-calorie diet.

"Although the study had a modest sample size, the results showed a clear difference in cognitive performance as a function of diet," says Taylor.

The 19 dieters completed five testing sessions that assessed cognitive skills, including attention, long-term and short-term memory, and visual attention, and spatial memory. The first session was held before participants began their diets, the next two sessions occurred during the first week of the diet, which corresponded to the week when low-carb dieters eliminated carbohydrates. The final two sessions occurred in week two and week three of the diets, after carbohydrates had been reintroduced for those on the low-carb diet.

"The data suggest that after a week of severe carbohydrate restriction, memory performance, particularly on difficult tasks, is impaired," Taylor explains.
Low-carb dieters showed a gradual decrease on the memory-related tasks compared with the low-calorie dieters. Reaction time for those on the low-carb diet was slower and their visuospatial memory was not as good as those on the low-calorie diet. However, low-carb dieters actually responded better than low-calorie dieters during the attention vigilance task. Researchers note that past studies have shown that diets high in protein or fat can improve a person's attention in the short-term, which is consistent with the results in this study.

Participants were also asked about their hunger levels and mood during each session. The hunger-rating did not vary between participants on a low-carb diet and those on a low-calorie diet. The only mood difference between dieters was confusion, which was higher for low-calorie dieters during the middle of the study.

"Although this study only tracked dieting participants for three weeks, the data suggest that diets can affect more than just weight," says Taylor. "The brain needs glucose for energy and diets low in carbohydrates can be detrimental to learning, memory and thinking."

(1) Information for this posting was taken from lecture notes provided by Professor Sharon Tessier with the Metropolitan State College of Denver (Nutrition and Weight Management Class 3400).

Calorie Intake and Resting Metabolic Rate (Resting Energy Expenditure)

You always hear people talking about the amount of calories you need to consume each day, well, that number depends on a lot of factors:
1. Activity Level
2. Age
3. Ethnicity
4. Body Type
5. Health Conditions
6. Medications, etc

There are tables and websites that will give you a ROUGH estimate for the amount of calories that your body burns while at rest. The brain, heart, lungs, and all that blood coursing through your body eats up calories. You will be surprised to learn just how many calories your body burns performing it's daily functions. Now, add exercise on top of that and you can start to understand how many calories you need to consume in order to 1)maintain your weight, 2)lose weight, 3)gain weight.

Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)
Fun site to check out:

Note: BMR calculators should only be used to provide a rough guideline on daily energy expended. Actual values cannot be attained using such calculators, and may be quite inaccurate depending on several factors such as geographic location, body-type, diet, body composition, supplementation and some genetic factors. Values which extend +/- 15% above and below your calculated BMR may be a more accurate representation of your actual BMR range as daily fluctuations are constant and your BMR is rarely the same on a daily basis.

A really great website to subscribe to (one time $15 fee) is as follows:
The site helps you to understand what food you are putting into your body, how to read labels, and how much exercise you need to maintain/lose/gain.

Hope this helps! :)

Weight Management - A Helpful Guide

The vast majority of information for this posting has come straight from lecture notes provided by my professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver. I hope you find this information as helpful as I have. I have tweaked information a little hear and there, but please know that 90% of the information in this posting comes from her lecture notes.

Which Diet Is Right for Me?
There are several diets to choose from and each one works differently for people. A strategy that worked for you 5-10 years ago may not work for you now - that is VERY NORMAL. Our bodies change and we have to make adjustments.

Ask yourself a few questions:
1. Do you have time to cook elaborate meals like some diet plans ask of you?
2. Do you have the time to follow a strict eating plan?

General Suggestions for Weight Management:

  1. Don’t try weight loss during stressful periods in your life. Sometimes simply reducing stress reduces fat especially belly fat.

  2. Have a specific plan and strategies: “I’m going to cut down isn’t specific enough.” The best plans usually aren’t from a book or a magazine. They are usually the ones you created for yourself.

  3. Avoid fad diets. Instead, come up with a healthy eating lifestyle plan that works in the context of your life and that generally follows the dietary guidelines. Write down your menu/eating plan. Go shopping to buy the food you’ll need. Follow it. Don’t be too strict.

  4. Make specific plans and strategies for exercise: “I will walk for 30 minutes in the morning before work. I will lift weights Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.” Exercise is particularly good at reducing belly fat.

  5. Create an environment that supports your plans. For example, shop for the foods on your menu. Get rid of the tempting foods in your kitchen that aren’t. Make sure your exercise equipment is accessible and in good shape. Keep the TV and video games out of sight.

  6. Get enough sleep.

  7. Reduce intake of trans fat (cookies, crackers, cakes, muffins, margarine, pie crust, pizza dough, pancake mix, frozen dinner, packaged popcorn, etc).

  8. Take a long look at the factors in your life that help you stay lean and the factors that don’t. Make a long creative list for each. Next, think of ways to expand and accentuate the lean factors and think of ways to address, overcome or minimize the fat factors.

  9. Don’t try to lose more than 1-2 pounds per week. Eat at least 1,200 calories per day.

  10. Keep in mind, if in the obese range, loss of just 10% of body weight can result in significant health benefit. Beautiful and healthy comes in many sizes. Aim for mental and physical health as measured by blood pressure, blood glucose (if pre diabetic) and blood lipids. Do not focus on a number on the scale.

  11. Best weight management book I know: Volumetrics by Barbara Rolls

  12. Weight loss is almost never a linear process. Usually, it’s 5 pounds down and 4 back up…or for many 20 pounds down 25 back up and, later on, down again. Have a plan for overcoming adversity. You are sure to encounter adversity.

  13. To cope with adversity, find a mantra, a prayer, or a poem. Write in a journal. Find what works for you. Failure is as important to learning as is success. Maybe more so. This applies to a lot of things in life. Learning to deal with adversity in weight management will help you in other areas of life too.

  14. Drop the victim thinking. Telling yourself that it’s your mother’s fault (or whoever) or that the medical system stinks, won’t help. Tell yourself that challenges are part of life and they create understanding and compassion. Imagine how arrogant you’d be if everything were easy for you! Embrace your challenges. Overcome them and you’ll be ready to compassionately help others.

  15. Love life, all of life: the good the bad and the real bad. It’s good to feel even if it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. Just don’t obsess. Get help if you’re obsessing.

A No Diet Approach to Normalize Eating and Stabilize/Lose Weight.
4 Steps

  1. Take time to eat, and provide yourself with rewarding meals and snacks at regular and reliable times.

  2. Cultivate positive attitudes about eating and about food. Emphasize providing rather than depriving; seeking food rather than avoiding it.

  3. Enjoy your eating, eat things you like, and let yourself be comfortable with and relaxed about what you eat. Enjoying eating supports the natural inclination to seek variety, the corner stone of healthful food selection.

  4. Pay attention to sensations of hunger and fullness to determine how much to eat. Go to the table hungry, eat until you feel satisfied, and then stop, knowing another meal or snack is coming soon when you can do it again.

Energy Nutrients:
"Energy" for the body includes carbohydrates, fats, protein, and alcohol. Please remind yourself that vitamins and minerals do not provide energy – one of their primary roles is to support the processes that convert the macronutrients into usable (by the body) energy.

DRI (Dietary Reference Intakes) recommendations for a “healthy” population. These values vary for individuals with different health conditions. The levels for healthy adults are:

  1. Total fat: 20-35% of total kcal

  2. Saturated fat: <10% total kcal

  3. Carbohydrate : 45-65% of total kcal

  4. Dietary fiber: 20-30 g per day (minimum)

  5. Protein: 10-35% of total kcal

  6. Cholesterol: <300 mg/day

  7. Sodium: <2,300 mg/day

(1) Information for this posting was taken from lecture notes provided by Professor Sharon Tessier with the Metropolitan State College of Denver (Nutrition and Weight Management Class 3400).



I am including the topic of Stress here in the blog about nutrition. Please remember that the best ways to combat stress are to eat properly and get plenty of exercise each day. Another way is to change your attitude towards stress - that's right - learn to change your attitude to be more positive. (Easier said than done).

Please enjoy the clip I have attached, it comes from YouTube and is property of National Geographic. I found it very fascinating and eye opening.

Stress kills your brain cells; making learning more difficult and memory harder.




Macronutrient Requirements for Older Adults

Aging affects:
- Body weight decreases (or increases)
- Lean body mass decreases
- Body fat increases

Changes in the body influence nutrient metabolism and the nutrient requirements. Malnutrition is high; especially protein and micronutrient deficencies (vitamins and supplements).

Nutrition needs have to factor in:
- age related biological changes (body changes, illness, etc)
- socioeconomic changes (decrease money, living in nursing home with limited food options, etc)
- decreased food intake (not that hungry, food not appealing)
- sedentary lifestyle
- decrease in energy expenditure (weight gain from lack of exercise)

Nutrition Starting Point: Dietary Reference Intake Guide (DRI)
A fabulous site to utilize is the United States Department of Agriculture

The USDA has links for everyone and all sorts of food and health related topics. To access the DRI Table for people age 51+ please see the following link:

** Please keep in mind that Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) Tables are for HEALTHY people; those with medical conditions may need additional interpretation. **

Energy is physical activity and involuntary activity (respiratory/circulation/body functions). Energy is based on resting, physical activity, and food types. Energy comes from:
* Carbohydrates
* Protein
* Fat

Maintaining Weight
Food eaten = energy expelled

To monitor food intake and energy you can use the EER (Estimated Energy Requirement) tool. The US Department of Health and Human Services has an excellent site:

Please understand that "...older adults require less energy to MAINTAIN their weight, BUT their nutrient needs STAY THE SAME, and in some cases INCREASE." (Bernstein, 2010, pg 46)

A great indicator is to use the MyPyramid for older adults, it is different than the Food Guide Pyramid for younger adults.

The pyramid provides several options for exercise levels and food intake.

So many people want to cut carbs, STOP IT!! Carbs come from starch and fiber (complex carbs) and sugar (simple carbs). Carbohydrates provide energy to the brain and nervous system (incase you didn't know this.....the brain lives on 90% carbs which is why you feel brain-dead when you don't have enough).

Carbs are a VERY IMPORTANT part of the daily diet. Don't believe me? Check out this link and use Google to do some research of your own.

45-65% of daily diet should be carbohydrates

Examples of carbs:
- fruit
- vegetables
- legumes
- grains

See the following link for specifics (I am a huge fan of the Lance Armstrong foundation, they do great research!!):
Dietary fiber is the portion of the plant that we cannot break down (remember that age old saying about Celery being the colon's toothbrush? This is similar). Benefits to fiber:

* Relieves constipation
* Absorbs water, keeping our bodies hydrated longer
* Fiber moves slow through the body, helping the body to absorb nutrients better and manager our sugar intake - this is EXTREMELY BENEFICIAL for people who have Diabetes I or II.
** Appetite suppressant so be careful; people who are already too skinny or have an eating disorder should watch their fiber intake closely.

Recommended Amounts and Food Examples

Women: 50+ Men 50+
14 - 14.4g 17.5 - 18.5g

- Wheat bran
- Whole grain breads
- Cereal
- Vegetables

Fat is very important in the diet; without fat - fat soluble vitamins are not absorbed (Vitamins, A, D, E, K). Fat regulates the body's temperature (keeping you warm or cooling you off), fat acts as an insulator for your internal organs (reduces bruising and damaging), and fat is a hormone regulator. Our body's need fat in order to survive. When people talk about Good cholesterol vs Bad cholesterol here is what they are talking about.....

Good cholesterol makes hormones, retains vitamin D, and makes bile to help with digestion.

Saturated fat: 8-10% daily
(animal fat: butter, cheese, fatty meats)
Polyunsaturated fat 10% daily
(nuts and seeds)
Monounsaturated fat 10-15% daily
(oils: olive & canola)

How many people have seen this at the store.....? I know it's the milk I drink because I think it tastes better - well, that wonderful label (DHA-Omega 3) is beneficial to neurogrowth (brain development and maintenance), cardiovascular benefits, arthritis prevention and cancer fighting properties.

Essential fatty acids include Omega 6 and Omega 3 which come from FAT. Omega 6 comes from nuts and seeds and is the structure of your cells.

Dietary Recommendations:
Men 50+ Women 50+
14g 11g

Omega 3 also comes from nuts and seeds as well as fish and dairy products.
Dietary Recommendations:
Men 50+ Women 50+
.6 - 1.2 % .6 - 1.2%

Average adults eat more than enough protein; however, as we age our appetites decrease and we start to eat less and less food. There are not many studies out; however, the few studies that are out recommend a higher intake of protein as we age.

- 25-30g at EACH meal

Men 50+ Women 50+
56g+/daily 46g +/ daily

Protein combined with weight lifting and exercise has been shown to curb the loss of lean muscle and has even show to help add more lean muscle onto the body. It is recommended to eat protein from animal sources and not supplementation as eating from the source provides better nutrients:
Iron, B12, amino acids, and more nutrients are in meat than supplements.

Water is such a vital part of health. As we get older our thirst mechanism stops, our body stops sweating, and our kidneys are not able to hold onto as much water as before (hence the frequent bathroom trips as we age).

Men 50+ Women 50+
3.7L/day 2.7L/day

We lose fluid through the following avenues:
- Skin
- lungs
- kidneys
- GI tract
- Medications can dehydrate us as well

Water imbalance occurs:
- mental problems
- physical problems (can not get cup to mouth, shaky hands, etc)
- anorexia
- incontinence management (drinking less to pee less)
- hospitalizations
- severe weather changes
- stress

Indicators of dehydration:
- cracked lips - rapid weight loss
- sunken/dry eyes - need help drinking from cup
- trouble swallowing - confusion
- headache/dizzy - lethargy
- muscle weakness - falls

Nutrition is such a huge part of how we live, feel, and sustain our quality of life. Please remember to be empathetic towards others as you may not understand what they are going through. Thank you again for your time!

All information in this post is taken from the following school text book:
Bernstein, M & Schmidt-Luggen, A. "Nutrition for the Older Adult," 2010 by Jones and Bartlett Publishers, LLC