I am offering an educational weight loss program in the month of January. It will include a weekly educational seminar on weight loss with tips on what to change, how to eat, and lifestyle modifications for lasting weight loss and maintenance. Each session will be 45 minutes to 1 hour long. These sessions will be presented live with an option to listen to a recorded version at any time in the month. The sessions will offer a few small changes to work on for the week, and each session will build upon the last.
The program will also include a login to a food journaling website and smartphone app where you can journal in real time with photos of your food and receive a weekly feedback summary from ME (a registered dietitian nutritionist)!
Most people can expect to lose between .5 and 2 pounds per week. It will be slow sustained weight loss with real life patterns set for you to lose the weight and keep it off.
This program is less expensive than most of my other offerings because it does not include any 1 on 1 counseling or coaching sessions. It is meant for those motivated to listen to the seminars, photo food journal and implement electronic feedback. Just $55 dollars for the entire program. I will only be taking on 20 individuals in the program, so purchase quick if you would like to secure yourself a spot!
I will be selling this package until January 15th. You may begin at any time between now and then. The sessions will all be presented on Wednesdays or Thursdays with the first session being presented this Wednesday at 10 am. All sessions will be available all month long and will be recorded.
If you are interested, purchase here. You will create an account and can then search on your smart phone for the 'get healthie' app. Please begin photo food journaling at any time.
Let me know if you have any questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a weight loss and healthy eating seminar with associated food tracking, it is not medical nutrition therapy, it is not meant to treat any disease or chronic illness.
It is new years eve day and the dawn of a new year is quickly approaching. As humans we approach newness with a sense of hope and excitement. It is an opportunity to begin untarnished with fresh beginnings. We quickly build visions of where we wish to be a few months from now or at this same moment in twelve months time, having accomplished so much and nearer our goals and hopes than we have ever been before. Perhaps you sit there now looking back at last year, reflecting on what you may have accomplished, mountains you have climbed or seas you have crossed. Perhaps you see other peaks that had the best of you and still you didn’t reach the pinnacle. It is often a nostalgic day and the end to a very busy holiday season.
Soon the days will feel longer with more sunlight to light each step. Soon the snow will melt and the flowers will bloom. Soon it will be March and then June. We sit here on new years eve looking into the next 365 days and ask ourselves, what will we do, who will we become? I love the hope this time brings. It feels similar to sitting on a ship looking for a light house in the pitch dark, and the rays starting to become evident in the distance, land!
We tend to mark time and seasons and we set goals. Goals for health, goals for business, goals for the family and relationships, and retirement. As we reach to these goals, if we are not making the deadlines that we have set for ourselves, discouragement often creeps in. I would like to encourage all my readers to approach each day of this new year with the same hope and enthusiasm as they feel at this moment. Every day gives you opportunity to reach, to make decisions, to commit. Every day is a fresh slate, clean and untarnished. Every day affords you the opportunity to make decisions that support your goals, whatever they may be.
Set some goals. Then ask yourself, “will this action support my goals”. If your goal is weight loss, it will help you to stop and ask yourself “will this action support my goals” as you sit down to a huge bowl of tortilla chips and salsa or the desserts hiding in your pantry. You will clearly be able to say, “no”. Then stop and respect yourself enough to make a different decision. If the goal is to get out of credit card debt, it will help you to stop and ask yourself the question “will this movie be just as fun to watch on my couch in six months when I have no more revolving debt instead of paying $15 bucks a ticket and seeing it tonight with friends”. The answer will be clear. Set some goals, stop and ask yourself the hard questions, answer honestly, slow down your decision making, and reflect on the hope you feel right now, at the dawn of a new year, remember this feeling, and you will be more successful making these small changes that support your major life goals.
Most Americans don't eat anywhere near the amount of fiber they should. Let's change that! Fiber is critical for many organ systems from your heart to your bowels. It can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and is great for weight loss efforts. It's actually pretty easy to add into your diet. Check out the suggestions below:
1. Eat more fruits and veggies!
Try to add a piece of fruit to your breakfast routine, and choose fruit as an option for a morning snack. Make sure you inculde at least 1-2 vegetables in your lunch and evening meal. Eat the skins and peels of fruits and vegetables.
2. Choose whole grains whenever possible.
Look for "whole grains" on the packaging. If something says wheat flour, it isn;t the same as whole wheat flour. Choosing whole grains means that you get the whole or entire grain. You are getting the roughage in addition to the sweet tasty white carbohydrate parts we all love. It usually helps incorporate a fun nutty flavor.
3. Add legumes to your diet.
When making dishes look for opportunities to add in beans or lentils. I like to add black beans to enchiladas, garbanzo beans to shepards pie, kidney beans to italian soups, and hummus to sandwiches.
4. Make my recipe below to add a natural fiber mix to your oatmeal or drink it in some luke warm water right before dinner. This fiber mix will help even out your blood sugar throughout the day, improve your bowel habits and help you feel more full.
Natural Fiber Mix
Mix together equal parts of the following:
Ground Flax Seed
Ground Chia Seeds
Store in a tupperware, plastic bag or mason jar and keep in the fridge. It is good to limit the amount of air that touches (so a plastic bag is GREAT) it will limit oxidation frmo the ground flax seeds and chia seeds. I would start with just one teaspoon per day and gradually increase to two heaping tablespoons.
My favorite way to take this mix is in 6 oz of hot water about 10 minutes before dinner. I recommend having this drink right before dinner, it will help bind extra fats. It also will help you feel super full - this is great for portion control.
Saucy Saturday: Let’s Talk Bone Broth
Is this hype or truly healthy? Is it a super-food or a super-trend? Bone broth has had a place in the typical human diet for ages. It’s been in your grandma’s repertoire for health and healing and there is certainly something to be said regarding those tried and true methods to nurse us back to health. With modern scientific influence looking at components in food rather than the food as a whole item, we now know more about why certain foods (or rather, certain nutrients) are so good for us. I would conclude that bone broth is a super-food and though it is super trendy right now, it’s a bandwagon worth jumping on, and here is why:
Bone broth is very nourishing and tolerated by almost everyone. So how do you make it?
I like to save the carcass from a chicken or turkey in the freezer in a large ziplock bag until I am ready to make my broth. You don’t need to make it the same day/night or even the next day from the roast chicken you made. Save two carcasses even and make a large batch. I also like to save the extra nibs, bits and peels of vegetables over a few weeks. As I cook dinner I will store the carrot tops and ends of celery, ribs from bell peppers, etc and I throw them into a big zip lock back and let the collection grow. Once I have a nice collection of bones and vegetables I know I’m ready to start a batch of broth.
You can also go talk to your butcher and get bones that may otherwise be thrown away. It is a super cheap way to source bones to make some broth. You can use beef, lamb, turkey, chicken, venison, fish, really most bones can make bone broth. It’s good if you can source some chicken feet and neck to increase the gelatin in the broth. But beware, adding a lot of chicken feet and forgetting you put them in the pot can make for a horror movie scene when you go to check on your broth. Okay let's get started:
1: Get out a large pot for the stovetop or uncover your crockpot. Place bones in to the pot or crockpot and cover with water. If you are making a lamb or beef broth, it’s nice to brown the meat/bones before starting the broth. Throw in the vegetables you would like to add (you can also add half way through cooking) Add some extra water over the bones, to allow for evaporation. Don't worry so much about how much meat, water and veggies, just get it in the pot and add some water. You can't mess this up.
2: Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to water prior to cooking. This is so important to pull minerals and nutrients from the bones.
3: Bring the broth to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer for at least 6 hours. Skim the fat off the top as it rises. I recommend cooking for 16-20 hours for optimal nutrients. You can cook longer, many people say low and slow… however, if you cook too long you can have high levels of glutamate which is not optimal. So low and moderately slow.
4: Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Discard solids and strain the remainder through a colander, I also like to strain through a cheese cloth to get all the floaty bits out.
5: Let broth cool to room temperature, cover and chill. Use within a week or freeze for up to 3 months.
You can sip this broth, but I like to also use it to cook and incorporate in meals for my whole family (not everyone is willing to sip a mug of broth every day). I like to add the broth to cook my grains like quinoa, rice, barley, and spelt. I use it as a base for soup or to make a gravy. I use it in curries and noodle bowls like a pho knock off.
The thyroid gland is a 2-inch butterfly shaped organ located at the front of the neck. This is often times the gland a physician is checking during an exam when they are touching your neck. It is small in size compared to other organs, however it is a major command center in terms of hormone health and metabolic health. It affects nearly every organ in the body. It helps to regular fat and carbohydrate metabolism, breathing, body temperature, brain development, blood calcium levels, menstrual cycles, skin, integrity, cholesterol levels, and MORE.
The thyroid gland is often one of the big players wreaking havoc in my patients’ bodies as an underactive thyroid has a profound impact on the ability to lose weight. It is an important organ to pay attention to as those with underactive thyroids are at an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. 27 million americans have one form or another of thyroid disease. The most common condition being hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid. In the US this is most commonly caused by an autoimmune response known as Hashimoto’s disease. Essentially, your body creates antibodies that target the thyroid and decrease thyroid function significantly. Other conditions include hyperthyroidism (overactive), goiters (not enough iodine intake), or thyroid cancers. Since hypothyroidism is the most common we will focus on lifestyle and nutrition factors that can help an individual with hypothyroidism.
How do I know if I have an underactive thyroid?
This requires blood testing and is a diagnosis your physician will provide for you. Often physicians will check TSH (thyroid stimulating horomone), T3 and T4 levels. I always recommend a patient ask their physician to also check for the thyroid antibodies such as TPO antibody, Anti thyroid globulin antibodies and thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin. Often times if the thyroid is underperforming, there is a link to adrenal function so checking DHEA-S and cortisol levels is helpful. If your physician is ordering labs, ask them to include these adrenal markers as well.
What symptoms accompany an underactive thyroid?
Potential causes of hypothyroidism
Inflammation that goes haywire causing an immune response that leads to an attack on your bodies own organ.
Leaky gut syndrome
Pregnancy (causes postpartum thyroiditis)
Certain medication interactions
High levels of stress (persistent)
Toxic burden (heavy metals)
What medications will a physician prescribe?
Typically the first line of treatment is with a synthetic drug called synthroid. This supplies only T4. Many, many people are on this drug and see some benefits in symptoms and ability to lose weight, increased energy levels, etc. There are more “natural” forms of medication, the most popular is called Armour, it is sourced from porcine (pig) thyroid glands. It contains both T4 and T3 in a ratio more similar to what a human produces. It is worth asking your physician why they prescribe one over the other. Most will not even consider Armour.
Lifestyle and diet are two of the biggest factors that contribute to healing your thyroid, and if healing it is no longer available, we can support it allowing the most optimal functioning.
Let’s consider lifestyle factors first.
SLEEP MORE, aim for at least 8 hours of sleep at night. I know this sounds like a lot, but your body needs it when your thyroid is underperforming. It will allow for optimal healing.
AVOID STIMULANTS, caffeine in any form is best to be avoided. If you can’t avoid it, I recommend choosing a green tea, so that you get the antioxidant benefits.
MOVE YOUR BODY, but not too much. Choose gentle exercise activities until your medication and stress levels are lowered. Try longer low impact walks or an activity like yoga.
Be patient with yourself and inform your family members what you are dealing with so they can be patient and understanding with you too.
Food and Nutrition
You can do a lot in terms of supporting your thyroid with the right food. Let’s get down to it.
AVOID EXCESS SUGAR. I am serious. Your body doesn’t need it, and your immune system most importantly, doesn’t need it. Cut out cakes, cookies, candy, soda, sugary coffee beverages, etc. A little maple syrup in the oatmeal is fine, but really, take this seriously. It’s the most important food choice to help you recover.
COOK CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES (goitrogenic foods). Your body needs iodine for optimal thyroid function, however these vegetables in the raw form have an incredible ability to block iodine from being absorbed. To combat that, cook these vegetables. Broccoli, Kale, Cauliflower, Brusell sprouts, Bok Choy, Kohlrabi, Mustard and Mustard greens, Cabbage. If you are one to add greens to your smoothie, choose something other than Kale, like spinach or arugula.
ADD SEA VEGETABLES OR NATURAL SEA SALT. This will help increase your mineral and iodine intake.
CHOOSE ORGANIC PRODUCE WHEN POSSIBLE. These have higher levels of trace minerals and significantly lower levels of pesticides, which are known endocrine disruptors.
INCORPORATE FOODS RICH IN TRACE MINERALS AND VITAMINS YOUR THRYOID NEEDS TO CREATE THRYOID HORMONE AND CONVERT FROM T4 to T3.
ZINC: red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, seafood
VIT E: liver, eggs, nuts, seeds, sweet potatoes and avocados
B2, B3, B6: meat, seafood, green vegetables, mushrooms, eggs, almonds
Selenium: brazil nuts
Vit C: veggies and citrus
STICK TO WHOLE FOODS. Avoid processed foods as much as possible. Choose fruits and vegetables as snacks throughout the day with a handful of nuts.
What about supplementation?
There are some antioxidants that research has shown improve thyroid function, they include vit C, vit E, turmeric(curcumin) and glutathione. There is a place for supplementation with thyroid issues. However, it’s important to seek the help of a qualified professional. For instance, if you have Hashimoto’s you do not want to supplement with iodine, it can increase the rate of thyroid destruction. This is not the condition to play around with, I would not consult the vitamin clerk at your local healthfood store, speak with a physician or dietitian to get evidence based, proven solutions.
If you suspect Hashimoto’s you most likely have leaky gut and would benefit from food sensitivity testing and an immunocalm diet. You would also consider as a first line of defense, decreasing gluten in your diet as it has been shown to affect hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Yesterday I wrote about SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. This occurs oftentimes alongside bacterial dysbiosis. Dysbiosis is an alteration of the body’s microbial community making a shift in the population when primarily good bacteria decreases and bad (or pathogenic) bacteria flourish. In simple terms you have less good and more bad. The balance is thrown off.
How can dysbiosis occur? Overuse of antibiotics, poor diets, excessive alcohol intake, overuse of NSAIDs(aspirin, Ibuprofen), and other lifestyle factors.
Many are more used to calling these instances of dysbiosis by the location of the bacterial community shift or the type of change that is taking place. For instance, we call a dysbiosis in the vaginal cavity a vaginal yeast infection. Or a local overgrowth of yeast in the mouth is called thrush. Other examples are SIBO (dysbiosis in the small intestine), vaginosis, and candida overgrowth.
If you have IBS, chronic bloating, distention and indigestion, celiac, crohn’s, colitis, GERD, obesity, food allergies or heart disease, you may have some intestinal dysbiosis.
In order to assist in bringing a better balance to your intestines, eating a specific diet and reintroducing the best bacterial communities can improve the above symptoms/conditions. It is also important to take specific protocols for gut healing to avoid dysbiosis in the future. Taking glutamine for gut healing and nourishing yourself with bone broth, and decreasing sugar intake, especially in the form of soda and other liquid sugar can all help with keeping a balanced bacterial community.
If you have gas, bloating, diarrhea and other uncomfortable symptoms in your gut, you may have SIBO. SIBO, which is pronounced “see-bo”, stands for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. This develops when too many bacteria colonize in the small intestine. In a healthy colon (or large intestine) there should be 100 billion bacteria per milliliter but in your small intestine you should have less than 100,000 per milliliter. You can see a big difference between 100 billion and 100 thousand.
SIBO is uncomfortable, usually underdiagnosed and can cause damage to intestinal cells. There are estimates that more than 80% of people with IBS also have SIBO. Individuals with other digestive issues are more likely to have SIBO, conditions such as Celiac and Crohn’s Disease.
What symptoms are present along with SIBO:
In a normal healthy intestine there are cleansing waves that take place between meals and snacks that sweep food through the small intestine into the large intestine. If these cleansing waves are compromised it can lead to more time for bacteria to colonize in the small intestine.
Other anatomical issues such as the valve between the small and large intestines becoming compromised and allowing bacteria to migrate from the large intestine back up to the small intestine.
Chronic inflammation leading to an underactive immune system. Most of the immune cells are located in the intestinal tract, if the immune system is compromised then it can not fight off invading unfriendly bacteria or manage concentrations of bacteria.
Insufficient stomach acid can lead to intestinal bacterial overgrowth. The pH of stomach acid kills acidophobic(or acid hating) bacteria. If the pH is higher than normal, it can lead to certain bacteria surviving that would have otherwise died in the stomach.
If SIBO persists, what else happens?
Many physicians will treat SIBO with antibiotics. This can be necessary depending on the amount of overgrowth. Other treatment options include diets that starve the bacteria. Diet options include: Specific Carbohydrate Diet, GAPS diet, or low FODMAP diet.
Working with a Functional and Integrative Dietitian can help as these diets are implemented. Preventing SIBO from returning is essential, correcting for vitamin and mineral deficiencies and healing the gut lining is very important. If you think you have SIBO, it is important to visit your physician and obtain testing for accurate diagnosis.
Here is tip #1 for preventing SIBO: Encourage cleansing waves in your intestine. Drink hot lemon water or take a shot of apple cider vinegar. You can do this before bed or after meals (just make sure to brush your teeth after). It's also important to wait sufficient time between meals and snacks before eating again (at least 2 hours).
Tips for beating the holiday hangover.
As a functional medicine Dietitian I am not encouraging copious amounts of alcohol intake. Alcohol is a neurotoxin and for many individuals it drives hormonal imbalances, liver damage and unnecessary weight gain. The tips in this blog are find for the occasional night out and are meant to help you get back on track again, okay? Agree? Good. Let’s get started.
EAT WELL. Don’t skip dinner (or lunch and snacks for that matter). Alcohol is absorbed more quickly when poured into an empty stomach. Make sure you have a good, well-balanced meal when you are drinking.
SAY NO TO CAFFEINATED COCKTAILS. Walk away from the Red Bull and Vodka. Alcohol is a punch to the liver, don’t mix it with another: caffeine. Allowing your body to detox one major chemical at a time is better than mixing it with caffeine and whatever other crazy chemicals are found in Red Bull.
TAKE YOUR MULTIVITAMIN. Having adequate B vitamins will help your body detox alcohol and can assist in a shortened hangover the next day. Most multi vitamins have adequate amounts of the B vitamins. Take you multi the day you plan to drink and the day after to support your bodies detoxification pathways.
EAT AN ORANGE. You body will also need electrolytes and vitamin C. If you don’t like oranges consider a bell pepper. Or drinking an EmergenC is a good alternative.
DRINK UP THE H20. For every one alcoholic beverage, drink 1 large glass of water or coconut water. Stay away from sugary beverages on a night you drink. These make hangovers so bad.
WAKE UP AND DO WHAT? Exercise, drink some caffeine, try another coconut water and if it’s really bad, pop a few advils.
Alcohol has more calories per gram than protein and carbohydrate. It is also metabolized in a different way than other foods. Because it is a toxin in the body, your body will always preferentially metabolize alcohol, meaning other foods have to wait. Your body will send signals to store other food as fat while it is metabolizing alcohol. It can affect your metabolism for hours even after the alcohol consumption stops. So do yourself a favor and limit the amount of evenings you choose to partake in alcohol. This is for your overall health, but also for you weight loss efforts.
Are you constantly tired but your doctor tells you nothing is wrong? You may suffer from adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is something more widely acknowledged in functional medicine than in conventional western medicine. The western world will only embrace adrenal function when the adrenals don’t work anymore at all.
If you are constantly tired your adrenals may have been working overtime and now are very depleted. This deserves attention and treatment to avoid complete adrenal burnout. Preventative support is better than total system failure.
The Adrenals or an organ that sit on top of the kidneys and secrete cortisol, DHEA, and adrenaline in response to signals from the pituitary gland(which is in the brain). These secretions: cortisol, DHEA and adrenaline help us adapt to stress both internal and external. When stress becomes chronic (meaning, it doesn’t go away) the adrenals become impaired in their ability to keep up with the stress.
This stress may be due to physical injury or infection, environmental (poor diet, toxin exposure) or even psychosocial (family issues, divorce, etc). Your adrenal glands respond to stress in the same way no matter the origin. Adrenal fatigue can be sudden, as in a terrible accident. It can also take it’s toll gradually with smaller stresses that accumulate or come so close to one another so that your body has no time to recover. I’m sure we can all imagine a time where a root canal, major job stress, family member major illness, and a month of binging on holiday candy and egg nog, all happened at the same time.
The hormones that the adrenal glands secrete are very important. Cortisol causes conversion of protein for energy, it makes the liver use protein stores to convert to sugar, it suppresses the immune system, and helps maintain blood pressure. DHEA is a precursor to testosterone and estrogen, it improves resistance to viruses, bacteria, parasites, can lower osteoporosis, lowers total and LDL cholesterol. Adrenaline is the major fight hormone. When the adrenal gland can not produce these hormones, it can have an effect on many different body systems from bone health, to hormone and endocrine health, heart health, and immune health. You can also have an impaired ability to manage blood sugars when the adrenal gland slows.
A short list of symptoms:
-Continuing fatigue not relieved by sleep
-Increased effort to do everyday tasks
-Craving for salty foods
-Increased time to recover from illness, injury or trauma
-Skipping a meal causes worse fatigue and irritability
Conditions associated with adrenal fatigue:
-Use of corticosteroids
-Chronic fatigue syndrome
Eating habits are very important in treating adrenal fatigue. Some tips:
-Eat at frequent intervals. The adrenal hormone cortisol is partially responsible for keeping our blood sugar at normal levels. You need to eat to keep your blood sugar up because your body is having more difficulty doing this function as well on it’s own.
-Avoid caffeine(or at least decrease intake of caffeine), it depletes the adrenals too, making matters worse not better - this can be a hard one when you are tired all the time, however it is an important step in the healing process.
-Eat breakfast early in the day (within an hour or two of waking)
-Snack between lunch and dinner and snack before bed(choose healthy fats and whole grains instead of sugar filled foods).
-Eat good quality whole foods.
-Decrease intake of high sugar foods.
-Stay hydrated – aim for half your body weight in ounces of water per day.
-Go ahead and eat salt. You need it.
Food sensitivities can also play a key role as the offending foods cause histamine and other inflammatory substances to be released. It takes cortisol to reduce that inflammation. That’s taxing on the already drained adrenals.
If you suspect you have adrenal fatigue you should get assessed by a functional doctor or nutritionist and get a personalized plan. Click on this website for more resources and information.
We all have times we really want a specific food. Sometimes it is an unexplainable urge to have a random food you haven't eaten in months, other times it is cyclical and relates to chocolate and hormones, sometimes a visual cue or a smell will trigger a memory that gives way to your want for a certain item.
Whether something is a true craving or just something you really want, don't worry - you are just human. This happens to everyone. There is a theory that cravings are your body’s intuitive needs speaking to you. For instance if you are calcium deficient perhaps you would crave milk. In modern times where most people take vitamins and have a healthy and consistent food supply, this may be less the real cause. It is more likely that in this "instant" world, when you want something, it is most gratifying to get it as quickly as possible. The point I would like you to keep in mind is this: You are in charge of what goes into your body and what is done to your body. You get to decide that the craving for ice cream is worth satisfying or not. You and you alone.
Below are some suggestions for beating the cravings.
Listening to your body is important. It isn't wrong to give in to cravings now and again, but building habits where you can willy, nilly eat anything you want at anytime will quickly derail weight loss efforts and other lifestyle patterns painstakingly gained when investing in your health.
What's your favorite way to beat a craving? Comment below or on my facebook page.
Caitlin Johnson is a dietitian, wife, lover of ice cream, chef wannabe, California-girl, Christian, liver eating, "food-avore."
218 W. Carmen Lane, Suite 108
Santa Maria, California 93458
Hours: Tues and Thurs 9-5 PST