Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Presentation is Everything...

Naturally, I am not attracted to every guy I see. There are several physical features on the outside of men that attract me more to some than others. However, I have been fooled on many occasions by men who simply knew how to present themselves well….
For instance, have you ever seen a guy who dressed so well, you didn’t even notice his 3 missing teeth? Or that he had a humpback? Or that he had a bad receding hair line and he was only 25? It seems his appearance in dress clouded everything else. You became attracted to somebody who ordinarily would not suit your taste, but at that point, in conjunction with his beaming personality, and smooth conversation, his style of dress—his presentation, was everything.
Similar to your attraction to anything else ladies and gentlemen, with food, presentation is everything. Why else could you watch 10 food commercials and then start craving the French fries you kept seeing? Oftentimes, when out to eat, we are allured by food based on the way it looks on the menu, or the words associated with the description of it on the menu. As pretty as food pictorials are painted on the television screen, and within restaurant menus, you too should strive to paint a pretty picture in your kitchen to help you eat healthier on a regular basis. Here are 3 tips to make your healthier meals more appetizing:
1.       Put your meal on a pretty plate. Square white plates are my favorite. There is nothing more appetizing to me than putting a field green salad with tomatoes and cucumbers on a white square plate. Also use nice glasses to drink your water, tea, or other low-calorie beverage.

2.      Use garnishes. Garnishes are not necessarily to be eaten (though some do eat them), but are more to make the plate more appetizing. Try putting a lemon wedge on the side of salmon and broccoli. Put a mint leave into your tea or smoothie. Put a parsley sprig in your soup. Put a grape cluster on the side of your sandwich and baked chips. Put a spliced strawberry on the side of your salad. These are all ways to make your meal look just a bit more appealing.

3.      Lastly, make the table you eat at look nice. Pretty flowers on a table bring out a visual appeal that may enhance taste (our senses are connected). Changing table covers to match floral colors also brings different themes to your meals, making eating healthy a little bit more exciting.

Bottom line: You should enjoy eating healthy more if a visual appeal is present. That’s all I have for today!

-Jenelle Robinson

Monday, August 22, 2011

Eating for 2...and I don't mean the baby!

 I love to see married couples. I especially love to see couples express their love for each other in public. There’s a popular guy in Oklahoma named “Heady” that I truly admire in that he is always telling others about how beautiful, fine, and wonderful his wife is (shout out to www.helloheady.com). I love it! I love to see happily married couples. However, I have found at least one huge downfall in marriage (as if there could be a downfall!!!?!!). For many men and women, at least one downfall in marriage is……………….extreme weight gain.
For a lot of women, nothing puts the weight on them like living with a husband (and kids)! For men, nothing puts the weight on them like a wife who can cook. This is not only purely my observation, it is also supported with at least one research study that notes the prevalence of obesity in couples sharing a household (The, & Gordon-Larsen, 2007).
I have many female friends and family members who got married and gained at least 20 pounds. They then got pregnant and gained 30-40 pounds. Post-pregnancy, they lost 15 pounds, but gained 30 back! And 5 years later, they are still claiming it is baby weight. Let’s be real ladies. The weight you are carrying is probably your own. And your husband didn’t help it. Because as you gained it, so did he. And though you don’t remind him of his weight gain every day, he does not hesitate to remind you of yours.
So, as I am not into tearing down the act of marriage, but am more into giving people tools to build up relationships centered around healthy living, let me give you 5 tips on eating while married:
1.    He wants fried chicken.
      So fix it for him. Only make sure that you do not compliment it with high carbohydrate and starchy sides (potatoes, gravy, fried vegetables, etc.). To compliment the fried chicken, choose a nice salad (with just a bit of dressing) and 2 other brightly colored vegetables (maybe green beans and carrots). In this way, you lessen his and your calories that would have been added in with higher caloric sides.

2.    He wants meat at every meal.
       That’s fine. But YOU don’t necessarily have to have it at every meal. When you do eat meats, make sure they are lean cuts; and aim for fish, chicken or, turkey that is baked or broiled.

3.      You two eat out a lot…and you enjoy each other’s companionship more when you are out to eat.
     Great! But hold each other accountable and know your limits. If you are going to eat a steak, please, don’t get a loaded baked potato and 4 rolls with butter too. Instead, eat a salad and some colorful veggies with it. If you are going to eat pasta, please, don’t eat 4 breadsticks with it. And if at all possible, never eat your whole meal (that statement goes against everything you and I were taught as children). Eat half of the meal, and take home the rest for lunch the next day. And if all else fails, and you believe you have to have the most fattening and sugary meal on the menu, for goodness sake, don’t get a large dessert too!

4.    He doesn’t care about your dietary restrictions and just wants to eat food like his mama makes.
Honey, if you can cook as good or better than his momma, good for you! But if it is food that is heavily seasoned with salt, packed with sugar, or loaded with fat, here are your options: serve less of it on his plate, or modify the recipe by reducing the salt, sugar or fat.

5.    Lastly, you two eat healthy for the most part, but eat like “pigs” only on the weekends.
Good. I’m glad it is not habitual for you two. However, I would suggest that you all get a good 1.5-2 hour workout in on at least 1 weekend day in order to help balance out your “piggish” splurge J. The meals will be more enjoyable when you know you just burned 1000 calories from exercising.

These tips may seem to be more geared towards the ladies (stats show that women have more of the problem with overweight/obesity), but men should be able to pull from the tips also. That’s all I have for the day. Keep the love up, and the pounds down!

-Jenelle Robinson

The, N. S., & Gordon-Larsen, P. (2007). Shared household environment and marriage, cohabitation, and dating: Living together increases the likelihood of obesity. FASEB Journal, 21(5), A324-A325.

Friday, August 19, 2011

10 Reasons You aren't Losing Weight

My mother and I have been on a strict dietary regimen the past couple of weeks. Initially, I lost about 5 pounds or so. My mom lost about 2 pounds. It has been a difficult road since then. It seems that neither of us are losing any more weight, which is really frustrating for the both of us.
I have been on several “diet plans.” And whenever it seems like I have stopped losing weight or if other people tell me they have stopped losing weight, at least 10 reasons come to mind. These are areas that must be adjusted in order for us to continue losing weight….
Jenelle’s Top 10 Reasons of why you are not Losing Weight:
1.       Your body has to get used to your new regimen.
Many times, our bodies just have to adjust when we throw something different at it. When we change up the amount of calories we consume, or introduce different foods, or add in exercising, it may just take a little time to adjust…but it shouldn’t take weeks…

2.      You are not physically active enough.
You may have decided to start exercising recently in efforts to lose weight, but oftentimes, if an individual has not changed their eating habits, they are only exercising enough to maintain their current weight. Change your eating habits to see results. If you have already changed your eating habits, you may need to lengthen your exercise regimen just a bit (it should be at least an hour on at least 5 days a week; I try to go for a little bit longer on the weekends (1.5-2 hours)).

3.      You are still eating too many calories.
Just like in #2, many people decrease their calories in efforts to lose weight, but only enough to maintain their current weight. A general rule I like to use in losing weight is 1200-1500 calories/day. But this will definitely depend on what your current weight is. E-mail me at jenelle@jenellenicole.com if you want more details…

4.      You are eating too few calories.
This is kind of funny, eh? Eating too many calories is not good, but also eating too few calories is not good. The reason being is that the actual act of eating enables  your body to burn more calories! When I hear people tell me they only eat 1-2 times a day, and they wonder why they aren’t losing weight, I tell them that it is probably because their metabolism is very slow because their bodies are used to only eating a few times a day. I suggest eating at least 5-6 times a day. 3 regular meals with small 100 calorie (or less) snacks in between.

5.      Hypothryroidism slows down the rate at which your body burns energy (calories).
I have a family member who has been trying to lose weight for years. She asked me for assistance and when I asked her about her diet and associated health issues, I found the culprit…her thyroid. Many make great strides to eat less calories, eat healthier foods, and exercise, but see no success from having this issue with the thyroid. I can’t really help a whole lot with this one, but I do know there are surgical procedures done, but I am still unsure of how to combat weight loss efforts if a person has this issue. I will have to do more research on this…

6.      Your hormones are out of whack!
Unbeknownst to me (and I call myself a nutrition professional (much sarcasm, for disappointment in myself)), your hormones can play a significant role in your ability to lose weight (thank you Saundra Myles). Some ways to balance your hormone levels are to limit stress, and get some sleep. Regular exercise may also help with regulating your hormones. If all else fails, your doctor may be able to prescribe meds or some type of regimen to help with this.

7.      Speaking of medications, taking certain medications can cause you not to lose weight.
My mom is actually taking a few medications. I told her that she needed to check the instructions that come with the medications because they usually will tell you side effects that may include water retention and weight gain.

8.     You aren’t going to the bathroom enough.
So we are back to BMs (bowel movements). You can be eating all of the healthiest foods in the world, limiting your calories, and exercising like an athlete in training, but if you are only using the bathroom once a week, your weight loss will probably be limited. Here, simply put, weight loss could obviously come through having a good BM. Oh yes, also, drink more water (8-10 cups/day), which could help with you having more BMs (if you are eating the right foods).

9.      Your body has gotten used to what you have been doing.
I was in Minnesota doing a seminar and a lady told me she had loss close to 100 pounds or so. Her problem (she stated) was that she had stopped losing weight after the 100 pounds and was unsure of what to do in order to continue losing weight. She was still eating healthy and less calories, and was exercising, but no weight loss. My answer to her was simple.
-Eat less
-Exercise more
-Eat less and Exercise more
-Change up your exercise routine to a higher intensity.

That same answer applies to you.

10.  Lastly, my favorite one: you are cheating on your “diet” more than you know.
I like to proclaim that I eat healthy. And when I try to lose weight, I like to “proclaim” that I am eating less calories. But there were those days when I got cravings…several cravings throughout the day. What I didn’t realize was that giving into these cravings was adding more calories than I knew.  If you only “go on a diet,” and don’t make lifestyle changes of healthy eating, you will have cravings frequently and will probably “cheat” more than you know. People who do extreme dieting may often eat few calories, but may “splurge” and have high calorie or high fat snacks that pack the calories. That “cheating” adds up to more calories eaten, and less weight lost. If you make a lifestyle change of just eating healthy, and eating less calories, you don’t have to “splurge,” you can just set a standard of incorporating the things that you like to eat (that may be higher in sugar and fat) on a regular basis (i.e., only on Saturdays you eat 1 piece of cake, or I heard one person tell me they eat 1 hershey kiss a day to satisfy their craving for chocolate).

I know this blog was rather lengthy, but I hope it was helpful for those of you who are frustrated with weight loss efforts. Until next time…


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Passing Gas...

Have you ever been standing in a room full of people and all of a sudden, you smelled a foul odor? And then you hear someone whisper, “it smells like somebody just passed gas.” It was probably you who passed the gas, right?
Gas (flatulence). This is a subject many of us avoid. Matter of fact, we avoid discussing any bodily function that has to do with bowels or the digestive system. However, passing gas is a normal bodily function that many of us do and do not connect the health aspects of why we do it.
In general, gas is produced by the bacterial fermentation of undigested foods or carbohydrates that are not completely absorbed by the body (Schlenker, & Roth, 2011). In general, we lack what is necessary to digest certain elements of foods in beans, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and other foods, therefore, gas is produced.
My grandmother used to say (after letting out a big one), “if it doesn’t come out of your behind, it will come out of your mouth.” Meaning that those who don’t pass a lot of gas, may burp (belching), or often have smelly breath. I don’t know if there is much truth to the smelly breath thing (though for some reason, I do think there is a little truth to it), and I won’t discuss any gastrointestinal issues I have, but gas is normal. Most people pass gas (through burp or the rectum) about 14 times a day (National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), 2011). This is completely normal.
Some even suggest that the more you pass gas, the better!
There are different types of gases humans produce (CO2, H2), however, hydrogen sulfide gas has the worse odor. It usually comes from eating vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, or broccoli; or anything high in sulfur (Schlenker, & Roth, 2011). Gas can also be produced based on medication taken, but if gas is extremely excessive, it can be a symptom of an underlying issue.
Now, I won’t be the one to tell you things you can do to decrease passing gas, because a lot of the healthier foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, etc.) produce gas. There are however products available that are natural and can help with the occurrence of passing gas (naturally) by helping your body digest what it needs to digest. Beano is one such source for this. Though I have never tried it, it makes the claim of containing a natural enzyme to help prevent gas from coming out (www.beanogas.com).  Another remedy might be an antacid that will cause gas to be belched instead of coming out of the rectum.
I know this wasn’t a fun topic, but I hope it was informative. Until next time…
-Jenelle N. Robinson
Schlenker, E., Roth, S.L. (2011). Williams’ Essentials of Nutrition and Diet Therapy, 10th Edition. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.
Gas in the Digestive Tract. Retrieved August 15, 2011 from http://www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gas/index.aspx.

Monday, August 15, 2011

To Grill....or Not...

It is summertime. Time for pool parties. Time for barbeques and grilling. Yesterday, I had my first grilling experience. I love barbeques. But I have never really grilled anything myself. So yesterday, I decided to try it for the first time (picture above). I grilled (gas grill) some chicken, and some skewers with zucchini, squash, red pepper, and shrimp. As you may notice above, there are few burnt  pieces on the food. That is because I had the fire on the highest setting. My dad had tried to show me how to use the grill before he left the house, however, his instructions weren’t quite clear, which resulted in several pieces of chicken and shrimp skewers being burnt. When I saw my disaster, it caused me to think about one of the first things I learned in my nutrition program when I was working on my masters. That was: “Limit grilling and make sure to not cook food on the grill to the point where it is burnt.” Failure…for me.
One of the reasons it is advised to limit grilling is because any time we cook meats (grilling (charcoal and gas), broiling, frying), HCAs are produced. HCA stands for heterocyclic amines. The longer we cook meat, and the hotter the fire, the more HCA is formed. This is actually a cancer-causing compound!  It is a well-known carcinogen! The amount of HCA depends on the type of meat you are cooking. Grilling chicken has been shown to produce more HCA than even steak, or salmon!
If you are like me, you are thinking, “man, everything seems to contribute to cancer.” That very well may have some validity. But I believe when we are educated on something, we definitely need to take heed. I’d rather limit certain things in my diet with hopes of not suffering with debilitating diseases, than not heed and take a chance at suffering because I didn’t heed warnings.
So what do you do when, like me, you love the taste of grilled meats, but want to beware of them because of their cancer-causing compounds? Here are some suggestions:
-grill veggie skewers with shrimp (negligible levels of HCA produced in the vegetables)
-cook food to medium well instead of well-done to lessen the HCA (this is a real problem for me as I like for my food to be well-done)
-put your meat on top of foil on the grill to cook; and then only put it directly on the grill for a few minutes to get the “grill” taste (it might or might not work, but it is worth a try)(FYI: some have said that the gas grill will produce less HCA than the charcoal grill, however, I have not done any research on this to see if this is a valid claim)
If all else fails and you still want your grilled meat…well done, just try to limit it to at most once every couple of weeks or so (if you do it on a regular basis). And when you eat the grilled meats, try eating lots of bright fruits and vegetables (instead of chips, fries, and potato salad).  Fruits and vegetables have many known cancer-fighting properties.
That’s all I have for today! Until next time…
-Jenelle Robinson
The Five Worst Foods to Grill: August 2005. Retrieved August 15, 2011 from http://www.cancerproject.org/media/news/fiveworstfoodsreport.php.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Drop the Pop

I don’t drink a lot of soda pops. But when I do, it is usually a diet soda pop. Not that that is any better, but for me, it is usually about a decrease in calories. Nonetheless, after further research, I have come to the conclusion that all soda pops need to be dropped.
4 reasons you need to drop the pop:
-The acids within soda contribute to the degradation of the enamel on the teeth.
-When going out to eat, people tend to get refills of drinks that are often 32oz in size or more. 3 fills of an average regular soda is over 1000 calories, contributing to many more calories than needed within one meal….which may contribute to overweight/obesity issues.
-Consumption of soda pops often occurs with higher calorie meals (restaurants, fast food), contributing to more total calories consumed within the meal...which may also contribute to overweight/obesity issues.
-Regular soda pops and the sugar within have been referenced with links to obesity, hypertension, and even cardiovascular diseases in various research studies (Brown, Dulloo, & Montani, 2008).The artificial sugars within most diet sodas has been linked to producing significant DNA damage within the body, along with other ill-effects (Bandyopadhyay, Ghoshal, & Mukherjee, 2008).
For those who drink soda pops on a regular basis, I wouldn’t advise you to quit cold-turkey. I tell most people that you need to wean yourself off of soda pops. Soda pops have an addictive effect on the body and some may experience withdrawal symptoms (headaches) if they go cold-turkey. So, if you drink 3-4 pops a day, I would gradually go down 1 each week.
So what are some good replacements for soda pops?
-Tea. Though it can be highly caffeinated, some teas have been shown to increase metabolism, and most have soothing effects.
-Water. Water is a purifier and cleanser for the body.
-Fruit juice. Fruit juice provides some needed vitamins/minerals; but it too can be abused if taken in excess and it also wears on the enamel of the teeth. So make sure to drink it in moderation.
That’s all I have for today. I hope this was helpful…until next time…

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Healthiest thing to Eat at the Movie Theater...

The healthiest thing to consume at the movie theater seems to be….bottled water. My mom and I have been anxiously awaiting the opening of the movie “The Help.” We both read the book and loved it, and have been really excited about going to see the movie. But I remember that when we went to the movies on this past Sunday to see "Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” my mom really wanted some popcorn. Sidenote: She is trying to lose some weight, so in accordance with the dietary rules I had given her, she knew she couldn’t have any popcorn. Fortunately, we had stopped at the store previously and purchased some healthier snacks to consume during the movie (I’m not advocating breaking the rules, I’m just telling a story…lol).
            Nonetheless, when we go see the movie “The Help,” again it will be a struggle to see that popcorn, in that big ol’ box, with all that yellow butter, glistening, and not be able to eat any of it…for my mother at least. So in thinking about the popcorn and other foods at the movie theater, I begin to wonder, “what is the healthiest thing to eat at the movie theater?” After research, I came to the conclusion of…bottled water.
Here are some facts:

-The larger popcorn, and nachos are each over 1000 calories.
-Most of the candy is between 500-800 calories, and if it is under 500 calories, it is too high in fat, or too high in sugar.
-Any drink over a large drink will be more than 300 calories.
-A hot dog is about 300 calories (but who wants to eat a hot-dog full of meat filler stuffed into a casing!).
            So what is your best bet? Water. Bottled water. But if the allure to get something is too much for you, my advice to you would be to buy one thing and share it with the people you came with. That way, you don’t over consume calories. Portion control may be the best bet for most of us who have to at least have a taste of that buttery, fattening popcorn. But let me say this: Popcorn, in itself, is not bad for you. It is packed with fiber, and is a great whole grain. It is what they put on the popcorn, and then the amount that is given to you that makes it unhealthy for us. So again, I say, if you CAN’T beat the craving, split it. If you CAN beat the craving, enjoy your bottled water! That’s all I have for today. Until next time…

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Stringy Hair

I recently (within the last 6 months or so) had my hair cut. I turned 30 and was excited to make some changes that would reflect a different, more mature and sophisticated me. I have not regretted the decision one bit. Prior to cutting my hair, my hair was about shoulder length. I had often desired to let my hair grow longer than that, but what bothered me about it was that though it was attempting to grow longer, it was beginning to look a little stringy. One thing I cannot stand to see on a woman (or man for that matter) is stringy hair!  But on the other hand, I love to see thick healthy hair (especially if it’s yours ;-)) whether long or short.

Fortunately, I have always had a beautician who took pride in making sure my hair and others’ hair stayed healthy. However, many like to blame their beautician when it looks like they are having problems with their hair. They will blame the beautician for improper techniques, or putting too much of a certain chemical on the hair, or putting too much heat on the hair, or just being too rough with the hair. This may be the case for some, but for many, the villain causing the most detriment to the hair is…your diet.
One thing many fail to realize is that our diets play a vital part in us seeing that thick healthy hair many of us desire. Our dietary habits and associated diseases may often affect the strength, thickness, and yes, even the color of the hair. Many of our dietary habits are deficient in certain vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids that may affect hair health. Some of which include zinc, iron, selenium, vitamin A, biotin, vitamin C, and essential fatty acids n-6 and n-3.
So how do you increase these needed nutrients in your diet? Yes, of course, a multivitamin may do the trick, but I believe our bodies were designed to get most of what we need nutrition-wise from the foods that we eat. So what foods contain the vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids we need?
-Good sources of zinc include sea food and eggs.
-Good sources of iron include meat, fish, and poultry.
-Good sources of selenium include seafood, legumes, whole grains, lean meats, and dairy products.
-Good sources of vitamin A include milk, fish, egg yolk, dark-yellow, orange, red, and green vegetables.
-Good sources of biotin include corn and soy.
-Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits and tomatoes.
-Good sources of essential fatty acids n-6 and n-3 include salmon, nuts, and various types of vegetable oils (corn, safflower, peanut, canola, etc.).
To sum it up, it seems to me that we need to eat more lean protein sources (seafood, nuts), and more colorful fruits and vegetables in order to promote better hair health. For those of you who eat a lot of food that is not healthy, but still have beautiful hair, I say: “kudos to you.” But, can you imagine how much healthier your hair would be if you ate better? That’s all I have for today. I will talk with you later…J
Goldberg, L. J., & Lenzy, Y. (2010). Nutrition and hair. Clinics in Dermatology, 28(4), 412-419.
Schlenker, E., & Roth, S.L. (2011). Williams’ Essentials of Nutrition and Diet Therapy. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

When's the last time you had a good BM?

When people ask me for nutrition advice, one of the first things I ask them is: “how often do you go to the bathroom?” And I am not talking about #1. Most people do not enjoy talking about this subject, but your “poo” may actually be a great sign of what is going on in your body, even in regards to nutrition.
One of the major things bowel movements are connected to is your fiber intake. Fiber is very important to your digestive system and provides many health benefits to the body. Fiber may provide a protective risk against high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and one of our favorite issues….constipation!

Constipation is the leading gastrointestinal problem in the U.S.  One of the major reasons for constipation is not getting enough fiber in the diet. Experts recommend a daily intake anywhere from 20-35 grams of fiber a day. However, on average, Americans may be getting 14-15 grams or less.
Here are 3 tips for increasing fiber in your diet:
1.       Eat oatmeal and raisins for breakfast instead of biscuits, eggs, and bacon.
2.       Eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day.
3.       Beans, beans, good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you….should be able to use the bathroom.

In addition to all these tips, be sure to increase your water intake if you are not drinking at least 8 cups/day. This will help things move a little better instead of getting stuck (constipated). I leave you with this great youtube video that further elaborates my point….good day!
-Jenelle Robinson