Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Was your nutritionist trained by Coca-Cola?

ANDAccording to a trulyhorrifying report released last week by public health lawyer Michele Simon, the information you’re getting from your RD may have made its way to you via Coca-Cola. Seriously.
The 50-page document, which was first reported in the New York Times,details how the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, is in the pocket of the most unhealthy food manufacturers out there, and it consistently allows their influence to affect the information it provides to its members.
This is especially scary since AND is the organization that certifies nutritionists as RDs and is in charge of continuing education courses and credits for these professionals.
Want to know more? Here are the three worst highlights from Simon’s report:
1. AND’s most loyal sponsors are the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, ConAgra, General Mills, Kellogg, and the National Dairy Council. Goodbye China Study, hooray processed foods!
2. Companies that AND has approved as continuing education providers include Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, and Nestle. Why is this so awful? One session, sponsored by Coca-Cola, taught that aspartame is completely safe; another said that sugar has no impact on behavior in children.
3. At AND’s 2012 annual meeting, its largest gathering of the year, lobbyists for high fructose corn syrup (The Corn Refiners Association) sponsored three sessions for RDs. At another AND nutrition symposium, a “Kids Eat Right Breakfast Series” was sponsored by Kellogg and Pepsi. (Who needs milk on your Froot Loops when you can use soda?)
Here’s hoping the report will pressure AND to clean up its act, so it can do a better job of helping everyone else clean up their diets. —Lisa Elaine Held

9 Wellness Rules of Exceptionally Healthy People

1. Hang out with positive people and movers-and-shakers
Research is starting to confirm what your mother always told you—that the people around you can be good or bad influences. Spend time with folks who have the habits you want!

2. Take a break from your militant diet and exercise regime
If you never, ever indulge, that's not living well. Take Sunday off and you’ll wake up eager to get back on track Monday morning.

3. Get back into nature 

There’s a reason why apartments overlooking the park are more expensive. Whether we realize it or not, humans have a profound connection with nature. Just try walking through green spaces on your way to work or bringing your Kindle to a park bench.

4. Practice Hari Hachi Bu
This is the Japanese practice for eating until you’re 80 percent full - it's helpful because it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to catch up with our stomachs. Eating less is not only associated with avoiding weight gain but living longer.

5. Double Your Ds
Vitamin D, that is! Particularly on those dreary winter days, it’s important to get enough vitamin D. Doctors used to promote vitamin D as only good for bones, but new research associates it with preventing a host of maladies, such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression. Take not more than 600 IU daily.

6. Try some Tulsi
Known as holy basil, this herb has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years (mystics believed it fostered personal growth and enlightenment). Usually sipped in tea or taken in supplement form, tulsi is full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Even better, tulsi also lowers cortisol, the hormone associated with stress and belly fat.

7. Eat your ‘shrooms

Shiitake, enoki, oyster, and maitake mushrooms boost immune system activity and have anti-inflammatory properties. They’ve been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years and are getting more recognition as health-boosters in the West.

8. Hit some HIIT
That’s high intensity interval training. Short bursts of activity have been shown to be even more effective at burning fat than prolonged periods of exercise. That’s really good news for those barely able to find the time to exercise.

9. Know your “trigger points”
Everyone has a tendency to overuse certain muscles, whether they're related to your desk work or your workout. It’s important to be aware of your trigger points, which can lead to pain, stiffness, and limit your range of motion and use massage and stretching to prevent injury. And you don't need an excuse to get a massage!!

~from Jim Nicolai's Integrative Wellness Rules: A Simple Guide to Healthy Living

Monday, January 28, 2013

Who gives the best nutrition advice?

Chip Allman-Burgard
Health coach Chip Allman-Burgard, left, talks with client Myron Mix at Urban Orchard grocery store in Andersonville. Allman-Burgard makes it clear to his clients that he is not a registered dietitian, but, he says, “it’s often precisely why they choose me.” 

After spending four miserable days in the hospital with gallstones, Chicago resident Priscilla Dias Hill resolved to improve her eating habits. Rather than working with a licensed dietitian, however, she chose a holistic health coach.

Dias Hill's coach, Chip Allman-Burgard, came to her home and helped cook meals. The two went grocery shopping together. And he taught her how to choose whole, nutrient-rich foods over heavily processed substances.

But some say health coaches have no business dishing out that sort of nutrition advice — especially when medical issues may be involved — because they are not licensed by the state of Illinois.

"When (a health coach) takes a client shopping, helps in meal preparation, and then counsels on better meal choices, they are performing the job of a registered dietitian," said Jackie King, a registered dietitian and diabetes educator. Those who are not registered dietitians, she added, "have no better credentials than a neighbor or friend who would do the same thing, except they are profiting from it financially."

Long ignored by medical doctors, the field of nutrition is now recognized as an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. As interest grows, registered dietitians have been fighting to protect their turf against an influx of competition from not only health coaches but also pharmacists, acupuncturists, herbalists, chiropractors, personal trainers and bloggers.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a trade group that represents registered dietitians, has been working to ensure that only licensed professionals can legally offer detailed nutrition counseling, both by seeking licensure laws in states that do not have them and by opposing efforts to relax rules elsewhere. To help its state affiliates submit licensure bills, the association developed a Model Practice Act to be used as a blueprint and offered training on effective lobbying strategies.

A 2011 report from the group stressed that licensure was critical because it protected the public from "incompetent, unqualified and unskilled practitioners" and encourages its members to report "incidents of harm." It also noted that dietitians face "a significant competitive threat" as other practitioners expand their services to cover nutrition counseling."

Opponents of restrictive licensure laws accuse the dietetics association of trying to monopolize the field by excluding competition and restricting choice at a time when nutrition professionals are needed more than ever.

"Nutrition isn't an occupation like nursing; it's a tool kit used by doctors, life coaches, dietitians, acupuncturists," said Zina Murray, of Chicago, who used a holistic nutrition expert to restore her health and traveled to Springfield to help lobby legislators for broader licensing laws.

Until recently in Illinois, only registered dietitians could qualify as a "licensed dietitian nutritionist," but in December the law was amended to include certified nutrition specialists and several other groups who undergo extensive training.

The new law, which the Illinois Dietetics Association initially opposed but now says is "pleased" has passed, also offers slightly more protection to those who give general nutrition advice, including acupuncturists and employees of health food stores. Health coaches and other unlicensed practitioners may describe themselves as a "nutritionist" or "nutrition coach," provide broad information and encourage healthy eating choices.

What remains unchanged is that unlicensed individuals may not legally call themselves a "nutrition counselor" or another protected title or advise clients on an individualized basis — such as by developing customized diet regimens.

A license is also required to practice medical nutrition therapy, which involves working with people who are ill or have conditions such as diabetes or high cholesterol.

Though some certifications require more science-based nutrition training than others, there isn't a single group that can claim to have the edge, said Dr. David Miller, a pediatrician and licensed acupuncturist who uses herbs and nutrition counseling in his practice.

"The science of nutrition hasn't been established yet and is, in fact, still a very active area of research," Miller said.

At the same time, Miller said, several overarching nutrition principles seem to be holding up: eating fewer processed foods and emphasizing the Mediterranean-style diet, which includes healthy fats, fruits and vegetables.

"The greatest problem is that the public doesn't have access to enough professionals who can help them understand the basics of healthy eating," said Miller, the director of East-West Integrated Medicine in Chicago.

Critics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' tactics say the group's partnerships with food industry giants — including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Con Agra, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Mars and the National Dairy Council — hurt the credibility of registered dietitians.

"There are registered dietitians who advocate for chocolate milk, turkey bacon and Splenda With Antioxidants," said Andy Bellatti, a Las Vegas-based registered dietitian. "I find the RD credential much more under attack by RDs who shill for PepsiCo and the Corn Refiners Association than by a well-informed, capable non-RD nutrition professional."

Less than 9 percent of the organization's annual operating budget comes from outside groups, said Joan Salge Blake, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "The academy is very sensitive to even the perception of conflict of interest that may occur," she said, adding that the organization maintains transparency and issues only credible, science-based nutrition information to consumers.

And though licensure favors registered dietitians, the group says laws are "not an attempt to control any market" and don't affect those who simply describe the nutritional value of products. Regulation would, however, provide "recourse for victims of unqualified and unscrupulous individuals dispensing improper advice," the group says.

Health coach Allman-Burgard said he trained through the New York-based Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which offers a yearlong online course. He said he works in conjunction with a medical doctor at his company, Naturally Fortified, and makes it clear to his clients that he is not a registered dietitian.

In fact, he says, "it's often precisely why they choose me."

That was the case for Dias Hill, 32, who was faced with gallbladder surgery. Instead, she hoped Allman-Burgard could help her change her lifestyle "without resorting to unhealthy dieting or medication." The two began working together in May. Today she credits him with helping steer her down the right path and instilling habits that she enjoys, such as her green morning smoothie made with vegetables, fruit, chia or flaxseed, and raw nuts.

"A dedicated health coach offers you something critical: coaching," she said. "It was amazing to work with someone committed to my well-being."

Among the many registered dietitians who work in health care settings is Eric Sharer, who counsels patients at the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment in Skokie on what foods to eat, how much, and whether certain supplements might be dangerous in conjunction with treatment.

Sharer said he believes there's a place for alternative nutritionists, as long as they are well-trained and licensed.

"I've had patients see a practitioner for nutrition counseling and end up on a very unbalanced, potentially health hazardous diet," said Sharer, who also conducts cooking classes for patients going through chemotherapy and radiation treatment. "I've also had many patients buying products they find on the Internet, which often have little health benefits or could be potentially dangerous."

Ineffective or misleading nutrition advice doesn't have to be life-threatening to have an impact, say licensure proponents. In some cases it can cause people to lose faith that lifestyle changes will work.

Chicago-based registered dietitian Monica Joyce recently saw a 24-year-old-client who had been taken off dairy and gluten by another practitioner. But the woman wasn't lactose or gluten intolerant, Joyce said.

"She was confused about what to eat and frustrated by the limitations of the diet. She missed some of her favorite foods yet she hadn't lost any weight on it and was miserable," Joyce said. "The information that people receive from non-RDs is usually fragmented and diluted and sometimes downright wacky."

Bellatti advises that "rather than going by whatever title someone has, go by what they say. "In the same way that an RD who thinks nothing of recommending highly processed 'diet foods' should raise a red flag, so should a nutrition therapist who tells you that you need to subsist on a liquid diet for a week to get rid of toxins."

Sunday, January 27, 2013

5 Foods That Will Help Your Body Detoxify And Cleanse

It's that time of year again; everyone's doing a detox or cleanse. (Yep, me too!) It's time to lighten the load on our bodies and clear things out.
So what is a detox or cleanse?

It's a way of eating (and living!) cleanly, to minimize the amount of chemicals and pollutants in our systems, while emphasizing high-nutrient foods that help draw out and eliminate toxins. 

The lighter dietary load allows our body to expel accumulated toxins (which are stored in our fat cells? eek!) and reduce the burden on our organs and detoxifying functions (like the skin and liver).

And what should you include in your diet while you're on a detox?

Here are 5 fabulous foods that will help your body detoxify and cleanse.

1. Parsley and coriander
These bind heavy metals like mercury so they can be extracted from your body. They are also alkalising and full of chlorophyll. Add to salads, stir fries, and green smoothies. They can be eaten cooked or raw.

2. Water
OK, not technically a food but crucial when you're cleansing - and when you're not! Many people are partially dehydrated all the time which stresses your system and prevents efficient detoxification. Drink lots of water; 2 to 3 liters per day.

Try drinking a liter (about 4 cups) of water in the morning, then sip the remaining 1-2 liters throughout the day. Avoid drinking at mealtimes, so you don't dilute your digestive juices.

3. Leafy greens
Leafy greens (think kale, celery, bok choy, silverbeet, baby spinach...) are the backbone for any good detox! They are alkalizing, and an alkaline body is better at battling bad bacteria, yeast and keeping cravings at bay - not to mention warding off all chronic illness.

Green leafy veggies also contain chlorella which helps to cleanse and increase the oxygen in your blood, improving your cellular health.  

Try adding a daily green smoothy to up your green intake, as well as eating lots of big leafy salads with every meal (including breakfast!) and simple veggie stir fries.

4. Lemon water
I know I've already said water, but the key here is the lemon! Lemon is further alkalising to your body (even though it tastes acidic when we drink it), and it helps improve digestion, supports liver detoxification and reduce bloating. The lemon juice activates your liver to release toxins and helps cleanse the intestines.

Mix the juice of half a lemon into 200 milliliters of warm water and drink it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. If you can handle it, add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar as well. This will neutralize any acidity and get your day started on the right foot.

5. Avocado! I love avocados, and eat them almost every day.
Actually, here I mean fats and oils that are high in Omega-3 (so you don't have to share my avocado obsession). Omega-3 helps reduce inflammation and ease digestion. Eat avocado, flax seed oil, hemp oil and extra virgin olive oil.

These oils are unstable at high heats, so make sure you don't undo your detoxifying benefits by submitting them to high temperatures and turning them rancid! Keep hemp and flax seed oils in the fridge, and get them into your diet by pouring over salads. A salad with avocado in it, obviously.

And your bonus, non-food detoxing tip:

6. Head to the sauna
A quarter of our body's toxins are eliminated through the skin, and sweating it out in the sauna aids that elimination process. Plus the process of the hot, cold, warm cycle helps slow my mind, giving me a bit of a mental detox.

Following these simple steps, you will immediately feel a huge difference in your body and spirit!

How to Make Your Groceries Last as Long as Possible

1. Onions stored in pantyhose will last as long as 8 months.

Onions stored in pantyhose will last as long as 8 months.
Put onions in pantyhose, and tie knots between onion. Plus it makes cool wall art!

2. Freeze green onions in a clean (safe) plastic bottle.

Freeze green onions in a plastic bottle.
Make sure the green onions are completely dry before storing or they'll get freezer burn.

3. Get an ethylene gas absorber for the fridge.

Get an ethylene gas absorber for the fridge.
A set of 3 costs $16. These little pods absorb the ethylene emitted by fruits and vegetables to keep them fresh up to 3x longer. Here's a handy list of ethylene-producing and ethylene-sensitive foods.

4. Store delicate herbs like flowers, then cover with plastic, secure with a rubberband, and refrigerate.

Store delicate herbs like flowers, then cover with plastic, secure with a rubberband, and refrigerate.
This is the best way to keep delicate herbs like parsley, basil, cilantro, and chives fresh the longest.

5. Treat oily herbs differently.

Treat oily herbs differently.
Oily herbs like thyme can be tied loosely together with string and hung in the open air.

6. If you use a lot of fresh herbs...

If you use a lot of fresh herbs...
Invest in an Herb Savor. Supposedly, it'll make your herbs last up to three weeks.

7. Use a vinegar solution to make your berries last longer.

Use a vinegar solution to make your berries last longer.
Prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider) and ten parts water. Swirl the berries around in the mixture, drain, rinse, and put them in the fridge. The solution is diluted enough that you won't taste the vinegar. Raspberries will last a week or more, and strawberries go almost two weeks without getting moldy and soft.

8. Spray leftover guacamole with cooking spray before putting it back in the fridge.

Spray leftover guacamole with cooking spray before putting it back in the fridge.
There are a number of ways to keep avocado green, and oil is one of them. You should also keep the pit in the guacamole.

9. Don't store onions with potatoes.

Don't store onions with potatoes.
They'll spoil faster. In a cool dry place with good air circulation, onions will last 2-3 months.

10. Store potatoes with apples to keep them from sprouting.

Store potatoes with apples to keep them from sprouting.

11. One rotten apple can spoil the bunch.

One rotten apple can spoil the bunch.
It's not just an old wives' tale.

12. Add a dab of butter to the cut side of cheese to keep it from drying out.

Add a dab of butter to the cut side of cheese to keep it from drying out.

13. More cheese rules:

More cheese rules:
Wrap in cheese paper or wax paper (NOT plastic wrap) and then place in a plastic baggie. Keep in the warmest part of the fridge (vegetable or cheese drawer).

14. Freeze and preserve fresh herbs in olive oil.

Freeze and preserve fresh herbs in olive oil.
The herbs will infuse the oil while freezing, and the ice cubes are very handy for cooking: just pop one out and use as the base of a dish. Works best with rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano. Dill, basil, and mint should always be used fresh.

15. Follow these rules on where to place items within your fridge:

Follow these rules on where to place items within your fridge:

16. Store asparagus like cut flowers.

Store asparagus like cut flowers.
Sort of. Cut the stems, place in water, throw a plastic bag over 'em and refrigerate. They'll stay crisp for a week or longer, and you can use this trick on cilantro and parsley as well. 

17. Wrap the crown of a bunch of bananas with plastic wrap.

They'll keep for 3-5 days longer than usual, which is especially helpful if you eat organic bananas. Bananas also produce more ethelyne gas than any other fruit, so keep them isolated on the counter.
Wrap the crown of a bunch of bananas with plastic wrap.

18. This trick using a paper towel will keep your salad lettuce fresh all week long.

The paper towel will absorb the moisture. Also, you might want to invest in a salad spinner. It'll get rid of moisture, which is the culprit of wilting leaves.
This trick using a paper towel will keep your salad lettuce fresh all week long.

19. Wrap celery, broccoli, and lettuce in tin foil before storing in the fridge.

It'll stay crisp for 4 weeks or more.
Wrap celery, broccoli, and lettuce in tin foil before storing in the fridge.

20. Mason jars are your friend.

They provide a healthier and longer-lasting alternative to plastic tupperware, which deteriorates and stains easily. Produce will keep a few days longer if stored in a jar.
Mason jars are your friend.

21. Clean your fridge.

Clean your fridge.
Once something goes bad in your fridge or cupboards, it leaves behind a nice gang of mold ready to eat up your new food. Disinfect the fridge — it'll make everything last a little longer.

22. How to store tomatoes:

How to store tomatoes:
Don't store tomatoes in plastic bags! The trapped ethylene will make them ripen faster.
Unripe tomatoes should be kept stem side down, in a paper bag or single layer in a cardboard box in a cool area until they turn red in color. To ripen faster, store with fruit. The gases emitted will help ripen the tomatoes.
Perfectly ripe tomatoes should be kept at room temperature, on the counter away from sunlight, in a single layer, not touching one another, stem side up.
Overly ripe tomatoes should be put in the fridge, but let them come to room temperature before eating them.

23. Reuse clean plastic bottles to close up your plastic bags.

Reuse plastic bottles to close up your plastic bags.
Make sure your produce is absolutely dry before putting the cap on.

24. Keep ginger in the freezer.

Keep ginger in the freezer.
It grates much more easily, and the peel grates up so fine that you don't actually need to peel it. Plus it lasts way longer.

25. Roast nuts as soon as you get home from the store, then store them in the freezer.

Roast nuts as soon as you get home from the store, then store them in the freezer.
Nuts that are roasted have more flavor, keep longer, and can always be used in recipes that call for nuts, roasted or otherwise. Spread them in a single layer on a sheet pan, bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant.

26. Keep mushrooms in a paper bag, not a plastic bag.

Keep mushrooms in a paper bag, not a plastic bag.
A plastic bag will trap moisture and cause them to mildew. Put them in a paper bag in the fridge or in a cool, dry place.

27. Follow this handy guide on what to store on the counter, and what to put away in the fridge:

Follow this handy guide on what to store on the counter, and what to put away in the fridge:

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