Thursday, May 31, 2012

What's for Breakfast?

According to a survey sponsored by Kellogg’s, only about 34% of Americans eat breakfast, but 54% feel it is important. Many believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it may help determine your dietary needs throughout the day. It also helps to jumpstart your body and your metabolism. I most always eat breakfast, and while I wholeheartedly agree that it is the most important meal of the day, eating JUST ANY KIND OF BREAKFAST will not do. Six donuts is not a sufficient breakfast and will spike your blood glucose level high. A couple of pop tarts is not a sufficient breakfast. A sausage egg and biscuit with hash browns and a 24 ounce juice may be a filling breakfast, but not necessarily a healthy one (high in fat and calories).

When my mother was working full-time (she is retired now), I often asked my mom what she ate for breakfast and 95.23% of the time she responded: “Coffee.” This most definitely is not a sufficient breakfast. What is a sufficient breakfast? Well, it DOES NOT have to be low in calories, as many may prefer and recommend that your heaviest meal be breakfast. But for me, too many calories in the morning makes me sluggish throughout the day. So what are examples of a sufficient breakfast for most?

1. 1 slice of  whole wheat toast with jelly, 1 egg, 2-3 egg whites, and a bowl of fruit (about 200-275 calories)

2. 1 cup of oatmeal with raisins, apples, and a little sugar, and 2 pieces of turkey bacon (about 300-380 calories)

3. Any protein or weight loss shake that is 250-300 calories

4. Any high fiber cereal (4 or more grams of fiber per serving), skim or low fat milk, a bowl of fruit, and an egg and an egg white (300-400 calories)

5. 6-8oz of lowfat yogurt, handful of granola, bowl of fruit, and 2 pieces of turkey bacon (about 250-300 calories)

As you see, I like to keep my breakfast at close to 300 calories. I usually make lunch my heaviest meal, and then dinner is my lightest meal (most days). Many may need more food than this for breakfast. That is fine. But make sure you eat more of the right things. Fruit, yogurt, turkey bacon, shakes and smoothies, low-fat milk, whole grain bread, oatmeal, eggs, high fiber cereals and pancakes, as well as mostly egg white omelets (with low fat cheese and a variety of vegetables) are all sufficient foods that can be eaten for a good breakfast. I hope this helps you think about incorporating breakfast into your daily routine…until next time…

 Jenelle N. Robinson


Kellogg’s. Retrieved May 31, 2012 from

Thursday, May 24, 2012

15 tips for Healthy Living…Physically and Spiritually…

1. Pork is not your friend.  He might be an associate, but don’t let him come in your house every day.  He doesn’t mean you a lot of good.  And truthfully, you don’t mean him a lot of good, the way you dress him up.

2. Tea does not have to contain two cups of sugar for it to be sweet.  Don’t let it sweeten you (“sugar diabetes”), you sweeten it.

3. Fried potatoes don’t constitute a vegetable of significant nutrition value. (They sure taste     good though!)

4. When is the last time you had a BM (bowel movement)?  If it has been days, or even weeks, something might not be quite right, or at the least, you definitely have bad breath.

5. Give up meat for a day once a week. The cows, pigs and chickens will thank you.

6. Eat with your mouth and its connected system and not with your eyes.  Your eyes always have the potential to deceive you.

7. Exercise is not your enemy.  Stop being mean to it and looking at it funny.  It is actually very friendly and wants to help you.

8. Delayed manifestations can come as a result of your own disobedience, procrastination and inconsistency. You can’t expect to see a better body (physical or spiritual) when you don’t follow the principles. So stop getting upset when you don’t get results.

9. Your health is a result of what you believe. To change your health, you must change what you believe. But note this: Temptation always comes to challenge your belief system. Stay solid on what you believe and you will always overcome temptations.

10. You have a choice of what you can put into your body. What you eat is your choice. What you listen to is your choice. But remember this: what goes in must come out.

11. Feelings only have power when you allow them to. Self-control, self-discipline, and self-denial help train you to rise above your feelings and still make the right choices.

12. Food was never intended to offset a mood or fill a void. That is what medication does for many. The wrong food has become an overly abused medicine for many.

13. Your eating habits will always affect other people’s lives.  Whether directly or indirectly. When you make bad eating choices, physically or spiritually, it affects other people.  How?  Because you pass on to others what has been given to you, whether through your mouth (knowledge), or with your hands (buying or cooking food). Even if you believe your food choices don’t affect others, when your health deteriorates as a consequence of bad dietary choices, you will inevitable involve others who may have to take care of you. Your choices always will affect someone else.

14. Smile, be kind, and willing to learn from other people.  This one thing has the potential to change the health of your entire city and state.

15. Discover your purpose.  To do this, you must discover God and His Son Jesus Christ.  He holds the key to living, and thus, the key to living healthy.

Until Next Time….

Jenelle N. Robinson

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Eve's Apple...A glimpse at my program...WITH GREAT PICS!!!

For this blog, I am excited to inform you that I am officially Dr. Robinson!!! Woohoo!!! Not because I graduated last Friday, but because it’s on my transcript. Lol. Anyway, several have asked me, “What did you have to do to get your doctorate? My answer is usually short and to the point, “I completed coursework, wrote a proposal, completed a nutrition education intervention, and wrote and defended a dissertation.” Sound easy? Not so. Nonetheless, since I have had so many inquiries into what I did in order to write my dissertation, I decided I would give you a brief glimpse of what I did for my nutrition education intervention. In order to finish writing my dissertation, I completed a “faith-based” nutrition education program. This program was designed to promote healthy dietary behaviors among African American women. It was called Eve’s Apple Nutrition Education Program. Eve (from Genesis in the Bible) was the focal character of all the sessions. Throughout the 8-week program (1 class each week), comparisons were made between Eve and how women make eating decisions. In addition to using Eve as the “star” of the program, to further include the “faith-base,” the program utilized a church as the venue where all the class sessions were held, along with prayer and scripture that were given at most every session.

Class sessions included:


2.      Hiding Your Shape. This session contained information on body image and the pros and cons of dieting. It relied mainly on group discussion.

3.      Educate Yourself before You Buy Food. This session contained information on how to analyze and interpret information on food within the grocery store. Participants were to look for labels that were high in fiber, low in sodium, low in calories, and low in fat.

4.      When at all possible, cook! This session contained information on healthier ways to cook along with a fruit smoothie demonstration.

5.      Overeating Out! This session contained information on how to analyze menus at the restaurant and how to practice healthier eating when eating out. Participants had to come up with healthy menus based on retaurant. Below is an example.

6.      Eat, Eat, Eat! This session contained information on basic principles to live by when eating food in efforts to not just diet, but live a healthier lifestyle.

7.      Burn Calories! This session contained information on exercise and gave simple exercises to do when at home with little time to exercise. A local beautician (THANKS BRANDI!) also discussed hair and exercise.

8.      Commit to a lifestyle change—not a diet. This was a conclusive session which was a culmination of what was learned in all sessions, where participants presented bulletin board presentations and commercials. At the end of the session, participants received free massages, hairdos, and makeovers.

Methods used in each session included lecture, group discussion, role-play, and hands-on activities using local restaurant menus, cookbooks, and food labels. Program objectives were to increase low-fat eating behaviors and decrease negative dietary behaviors. The program was implemented with over 40 African American women at a church in Little Rock, Arkansas. Data was collected from pre and post surveys and determined that at eight weeks, participants significantly DECREASED negative dietary behaviors that included emotional eating, snacking on sweets, haphazard planning, and meal skipping, and INCREASED low-fat eating behaviors like eating lean meats, and eating fruits and vegetables. These results indicate Eve’s Apple Nutrition Education Program was successful in improving dietary behaviors during the program. A focus group with eight of the participants was completed after the program and also indicated that the faith-base was an important component in improving dietary behaviors. More specifically, using the church, scriptures, prayer, and Eve as the focus were supportive in helping the women to modify dietary behaviors. Hopefully, the research I completed can be built upon and used to help women in general overcome eating issues.

Well, I hope this has answered some questions....until next time…

 -Jenelle N. Robinson

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Organic or Not?

As a health professional specializing in the area of nutrition, I often get asked the question, is it better to eat organic? This is usually an easy and difficult question for me to answer. There are several things to consider when thinking about whether or not to eat organic.

What does it mean for a food to be organic?

For a food to be considered organic, it must be free of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, artificial flavors and additives. Usually, it is a “whole food” in which nothing has been added or taken away from the food (though not always applicable).

The USDA actually has a National Organic Program where certain food products are approved for labeling “organic.” Products are “certified” organic if they have 95% or more organic content. There are voluntary labels for products like meat, poultry and eggs. Several egg and chicken products are labeled “free-range” or “cage-free.” “Free-range means the flock was provided shelter in a building, room, or area with unlimited access to food, fresh water, and continuous access to the outdoors during their production cycle. The outdoor area may or may not be fenced and/or covered with netting-like material. Cage-free means the flock was able to freely roam a building, room, or enclosed area with unlimited access to food and fresh water during their production cycle. Other meat products may include labeling of “natural.” Meat, poultry, and egg products labeled as “natural” must be minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients. However, the natural label does not include any standards regarding farm practices and only applies to processing of meat and egg products. There are no standards or regulations for the labeling of natural food products if they do not contain meat or eggs (”

Though there are many claims that organic is best, there are not many “significant research studies” that support this claim. My personal opinion is that there are not a lot of studies on this because it would take a lot of money to complete these studies, and if organic was shown to be associated with better health outcomes, many manufacturers would be put out of business. Politics always plays a role.

Nonetheless, here are a few things to consider when deciding whether or not to eat organic:

1.       The less processing the better. Though there have not been a lot of “significant studies” that have deemed artificial flavors, and certain processing of foods as terribly unhealthy, I believe the more natural the better. I could say that all your fresh fruits and vegetables are the most natural, but I have read a few stories of how certain artificial vitamins/minerals are pumped into some fruits and vegetables. So we don’t always know what we are getting, even when it is fresh. But if it has an organic label associated with it, it may be better for you. (Now, that is not based on scientific proof, but simply my personal opinion.)

2.       The closer you are to the product, probably the better. So many foods are shipped from other countries and mature on trucks. This is why manufacturers use certain artificial methods to make sure the product looks good when it gets on the shelf in your local grocery store. So it would be great if you could buy from a local farmer’s market, or grow your own fruits and vegetables in your own garden.

3.       Do you have the money to eat organic? Organic food costs more. Though we may know several benefits of eating organic, if you can’t afford it, it will be hard for you to adopt this lifestyle. If you can’t afford it, don’t use this as an excuse as to why you can’t eat healthy. Fruits, vegetables, and lean meats are still in order. Even with a little processing, they still have less fat and calories than most other foods.

Until next time…

 -Jenelle N. Robinson

 Hunter, B. (2006). A Whole Foods Primer: A Comprehensive, Instructive, and Enlightening Guide to the World of Whole Foods. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Publications, Inc.

Stanfield, P., Hui, Y. (2010). Nutrition and Diet Therapy: Self-Instructional Approaches, 5th Edition. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

7 Days---7 Fast Food Restaurants---7 Day Fast Food Diet

So, I am on the “going out to eat” subject again. However, I thought it might be good to give some specifics in this blog. I will be in and out of town for the next couple of months, and I won’t have a lot of time to make my meals, or even go to a sit-down restaurant. So I will probably have to depend mostly on fast-food. In order to maintain or even continue to lose weight, it will be necessary that I stay under 1500 calories.

Most diets you review will be 1200-1500 calorie diets. So if you are always on the go and want to lose weight, this diet may help you shed a few pounds. Now, when I say “diet,” most think of something you “go on to lose weight.” However, I am using it in the general sense of “what you eat.” So as you review recommendations, understand that this is not a weight loss diet, but simply a healthier way to eat when eating fast-food that may also help you shed some pounds. But if all else fails in the weight-loss area, this is just a plan to help you maintain your efforts and eat “healthier” at fast-food restaurants. For this plan, I chose 7 common restaurants that most major areas have: McDonalds, Sonic, Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Arby’s, and Taco Bueno. When reviewing this plan, or rather MENU, take in mind that some items may seem to be unhealthy (i.e. burgers and fries), but we have to look at meals in terms of the whole day, and calories for the whole day.  Take that in mind when planning your own meals…

1200-1500 Calorie Fast-Food Diet Menu

Total Calories
Chicken Biscuit- 360
Orange Juice-140
Burger King Whopper Jr.-340
Value onion rings-150
3 packages of ketchup-30
Diet Drink-0
Apple slices-40
Taco Bell          2 Fresco Crunchy Tacos-300
Mexican Rice-120
Bottled Water
Steak and Egg Breakfast Burrito-280
Bottled Water
Taco Bueno Bowl of Chicken Tortilla Soup-237
Party Taco-143
Bottled Water
Apple slices with caramel dipping sauce-150

McDonald’s Premium Southwest Salad with grilled chicken-290
1 carton of milk-100
McDonald’s Egg McMuffin-300
Apple slices-35
Bottled Water
McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger-440
Bottled Water
Lowfat Chocolate Milk-150
Burger King Garden Fresh Grilled Chicken BLT salad  with dressing-510
Bottled Water
Burger King
3 pancakes and 1 oz of syrup-500
Bottled Water
Taco Bell
2 Fresco Grilled Steak Soft Tacos-300
Diet Drink-0
McDonald’s Snack Size Fruit and Walnuts-70
Grilled Chicken Wrap-390
Mini Chocolate shake-230
Bottled Water
Southern Style Chicken Biscuit-410
Bottled Water
Roast Turkey and Swiss Wrap-500
Bottled Water
Burger King soft serve ice cream cup-140
Taco Bueno
2 Flame Grilled Chicken Fajita Tacos-420
Bottled Water
McDonald’s Fruit and Maple Oatmeal-290
Bottled Water
Taco Bell Express Taco Salad with chips-580
Bottled Water
1% Milk-110
Wendy’s Homestyle Chicken Go Wrap-350
Bottled Water
Burger King Breakfast Muffin Sandwich-Bacon, Egg, and Cheese-250
Bottled Water
Sonic Burger with Mustard only-330
Small tator tots-130
3 ketchup packages-30
Bottled Water

Taco Bueno 12oz strawberry smoothie-195
Roast Beef Classic-350
Chopped side salad-80
Balsamic Viniagrette Dressing-130
Bottled Water


Now I will say, this will be expensive. But if you are already “on the go” several days a week and have to live like this, hopefully this menu will provide a little bit of direction. Oh yes, the other thing I can’t promise you is that this is healthy in terms of fat or sodium, as most fast-food items are processed and will most always contain a lot of fat and sodium. But what I can say is that the calories are accurate to my best knowledge; so if calories matter to you, and you take these suggestions into consideration, you are probably on the right track.
Until next time…
-Jenelle N. Robinson

Nutritional Information obtained from the following sites:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Overeating Out...

Last year, I traveled to California to do multiple health and nutrition seminars. It was the greatest experience for me as  I had an opportunity to do what I love and eat some of the greatest foods I have ever eaten. I also got an opportunity to gain a lot of weight. I would speculate that during that 6 month time period of travel, I gained at least 15 pounds. And if it were not for the fact that I DID workout when I went out of town, I probably would have gained even more.

My biggest problem then and now was going out to eat. It is a lot harder to control your eating when you go out to eat. Everything looks good to eat! And if they put bread on the table, it is a done deal. As always, we need to “govern” ourselves when we go out to eat. We have to develop standards for eating out if we are ever going to be successful at eating healthy and just not being plain gluttons. So here are 4 tips for not “overeating” when you eat out…

  1. Have a strategy already in place when you go to a buffet. That strategy can include only eating on small plates, or only eating one plate of food and not several plates, or having only water to drink but eating whatever you want within reason. The point is: you know where you need to cut back. Buffets usually promote overeating. But just because it is a buffet doesn’t mean you should think that is license to eat more. If anything, I would eat less, simply because of the sanitary conditions of some buffets (I don’t like how little kids are allowed to walk around and put their nasty little hands on everything…no offense to parents who allow their kids to do this…just make sure their hands are clean). As a general rule for buffets, always make sure to start off with a salad and put at least 2 vegetables on your plate/s (French fries don’t count). I already know it would be failure to ask you to not eat dessert, but can I tell you to only eat one dessert? I am confident that you can at least do that…

  1. When at a “sit-down” restaurant, or even a fast-food restaurant, look to see if they have healthier options available. A lot of restaurants now have special items that they highlight as healthier options because they are lower in calories, fat, or carbs.  

  1. Don't be afraid to special order- “hold the mayo and the cheese!” Taking mayo, cheese, and bacon out of the equation equals less fat and less calories. For example, a Burger King whopper with cheese and mayo has 760 calories, and 46 grams fat. Without the cheese and mayo, this same whopper has 510 calories and 23 grams of fat (that is half the fat, so you see where most of the fat is coming from…the cheese and mayo). 

  1. Never eat your whole meal (unless it is a huge salad that you didn’t add a lot of high fat and caloric salad dressing to).  Don’t be afraid to only eat half of your food and take the rest home to eat at a later meal.  Or another option is to share your meal with someone else.

I hope this helps you when eating out…until next time…
-Jenelle N. Robinson

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Greater Revelation within the Weight Loss Process…Fruit of the Spirit

I was walking around the neighborhood a couple of days ago thinking about how slow my weight loss has been. I have loss close to 20 pounds in the course of over 3 months. As I have shared in another blog, endurance has been key. Well, in addition to endurance, what I heard from God while walking was a GREATER REVELATION of my weight loss journey…
Many times we are so focused on our weight loss goals that we don’t recognize the virtues that are being tested and worked during the process. During the process of my weight loss journey, I have had to learn and practice 6 specific virtues that are biblically termed FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT (Galatians 5:22-23):
1.       Love. I have learned to love myself at any weight I am at. During this process, I have come to the understanding that women can be beautiful and love themselves at any weight while getting to the place they want to be. Realizing God’s love for me no matter my size was a huge help to me. In actuality, His love helped me reach my goal. This same love I realized and was able to practice is needed in other areas of my life. I need love to deal with the stresses of life, difficult people, and even difficult situations. In fact, only through the eyes of love can I truly make a difference in the world…
2.       Joy and Peace. Joy and peace are two virtues down deep on the inside that help us to be content even when our situations don’t look pleasant. Several times during my journey, I have looked at the scale and been disappointed. But soon after, I allowed my heart to be at peace and then be joyful, knowing that the number on the scale did not determine my day, nor my destiny. Your weight should not have that much power over your life as to cause you to be doom and gloom for days because of what it says. This same peace and joy that I allowed to emerge in spite of what the numbers said is the same peace and joy I will need when facing future situations that have the potential to cause me to be angry or depressed.
3.       Longsuffering. Longsuffering may also be termed patience. Patience is not something you just pray for and automatically get. Patience is something that has to be practiced. Patience only comes through being in a situation that requires it. The patience it took for me to wait weekly for this weight to SLOWLY diminish is the same patience I needed when completing my dissertation. It will be the same patience that I need when completing even greater tasks or working with certain types of people.
4.       Faithfulness. As I have told you in a previous blog, I have been on the Weight Watchers Diet. In order for me to be successful, I have had to be faithful to the plan. I have been diligent in recording my food and activities. In addition, I have been faithful to working out at least 5-6 days of the week for at least an hour at each workout. This same faithfulness will be needed when I have to complete the writing of future books. Likewise, this same faithfulness will be needed when I get into a committed relationship.
5.       Self-control. During my process, I have had to control myself from indulging in certain foods at excess. That same self-control was needed when I dealt with rude students who I wanted to go off on. That same self-control was needed when I wanted to buy something I didn’t need. That same self-control will be needed in the future when I get upset about something and want to act out.

The other three fruit of the spirit include kindness, goodness, and gentleness. Though I didn’t get an opportunity (or revelation) to practice these in reference to my weight loss journey, my point in all these virtues is that they have to be practiced in order for them to become routine in our lives. During a weight loss journey, we are able to practice many of the “fruit” needed to succeed in everyday life. The “fruit of the Spirit” are characteristics that cause us to become more like God, and enter into His Divine Will for our lives. Instead of complaining or getting agitated because our weight does not line with what we will, enjoy the process of being conformed to be more in HIS WILL through practicing the “fruit of the Spirit.”

Until next time…

-Jenelle N. Robinson

Friday, March 30, 2012

Losing Weight without Losing Inches in the Breasts and Buttocks...

I have loss about 17 pounds in the last 3 months and my biggest problem right now is that all my bras seem to be too big. Sadly, whenever I lose weight, the first thing to go is inches off my breasts.
I have certain women friends who have been concerned with losing weight and inches because they did not want to lose it in certain areas (i.e., breasts, buttocks, hips). This may be compared to “spot reduction” where people SEEK TO lose weight in a certain spot on the body (i.e., “I need to get rid of these flabby arms,” or, “I want to work on losing weight on my thunder thighs”). In the case of NOT wanting to lose weight in certain spots, this may be referred to as “spot maintenance.”
In over a decade of education and training in the health, nutrition, and even fitness arena, what I have learned is that all of our bodies are different in their methods of operation in regards to weight loss, so it is very difficult to tell a person how “NOT TO” lose weight in a certain area of the body when they are trying to lose weight. However, many women (and men) admire certain areas of their bodies and want to keep them in tact, but know they need to lose weight all over for health reasons. What to do?
My biggest advice for the person who wants to maintain certain spots on the body while losing weight is to use exercise workouts to tone the area you don’t want to lose. This way, you may still lose weight in that area, but it will still look great as it may be smaller but properly formed, toned, and proportioned with your smaller body. The biggest way to do this would be to limit the cardio workouts (not eliminate), and focus on strength training to tone key areas. For the buttocks and thighs, toning exercises that work well include the infamous squats and lunges. For the breast area, push-ups and even chest flys work well to maintain breast tone and size.
Now toning alone will not help you maintain your shapely form if you are not eating healthy. Your diet should also be altered. As is in most posts, my advice is for you to limit the fat, salt, and sugar in the diet, and increase your water intake. If you are committed to losing weight, but want to keep and build muscle on certain areas of the body, along with the strength training, increase your protein intake by eating lean meats like chicken, fish, and turkey (decrease the red meat). Even eating 3-4 turkey slices as a snack a couple of times a day can help increase your protein intake in conjunction with the protein you consume during your normal meals.
I hope this was helpful. Until next time…
-Jenelle N. Robinson