Eat Well Feel Better

Eat Well Feel Better

Written by Mindy Yoder, RDN, CDN (podcast guest)
Edited and updated by Sandra Gentleman, RD

Many people have a goal to lose weight….

Many people have a goal to lose weight…. and after deeper exploration and reflection to find what’s driving their reasons for wanting to lose weight, it’s actually that they just want to feel better in their own body, improve their energy, help their digestion to decrease bloating and feel better overall.

By considering factors of metabolism

By considering factors of metabolism, as well as some key nutrients that our bodies need for optimal energy, healthy immune function, mental clarity and good digestion,the goals can be clarified and altered for more specific actionable tips that can help move an individual to better behaviours that can have ripple effects on health.

How does your nutrition align with your schedule and lifestyle?

How does your nutrition (meals and snacks) align with your schedule and lifestyle? This can be determined by looking at your online or paper calendar. Where are there available time slots to eat, prepare, shop? You can insert meal and snack ideas based on your schedule rather than trying to follow a cookie-cutter plan that doesn’t come close to the chaos that might ensue in a day or week.

Knowing how much time you have until you eat again can be helpful in determining what to choose. Eating a lighter breakfast of yogurt topped with granola? Then it would be a good idea to plan a mid-morning snack to help maintain blood sugars, energy levels, and satiety. That snack might be apple slices with peanut butter.

Do you know

Do you know that you have a late morning meeting with a client that will most likely go for a few hours and you will potentially miss lunch? Plan for a complex breakfast that will tie you over for a good four to six hours. This might include Greek yogurt topped with granola, nuts, and fruit with some turkey or chicken breakfast sausage on the side.

Dinner time can be a challenging time to navigate. There are late work nights, driving kids to sports and activities, caring for aging parents, or just a fun night out with the girls. If you are looking for quick-fix or grab and go items, consider these ideas:

  • Rotisserie chicken with a salad kit and grain crackers on the side
  • Wrap (you can make at home or grab at a store) with lean protein such as beans, chicken, or tuna and vegetables and cheese. Have some tortilla chips and/or fresh veggies on the side.
  • Leftovers from last night. Know you have a busy week ahead? Double a recipe or cook extra on a night you have more time so you have leftovers available. Or make two wraps at a time so you have extra for lunch or dinner tomorrow.

Ideas to consider

Ideas to consider would fit into real-life and are categorized as Easy Prep, Grab and Go, and Restaurant Choices. Individuals realize there are practical solutions to meal planning , even in a busy, full schedule that can still be healthy.

Considerations such as work schedules, travel, family responsibilities, and many other daily and weekly tasks and details will affect the time that is available to plan, prepare and to eat. Many women have “aha moments”’ when reviewing their calendar from an objective lens and realize that it’s not always possible or realistic to do a full grocery shop haul or make favorite recipes every week.

It is common that women want to take care of everyone and everything

It is common that women want to take care of everyone and everything, including shopping and meal prep. It is in our nature to try to do it all but now that women are working and caring for the household it means new ways of meal planning and preparation need to be learned. Once women can discover and accept that there are different approaches to meal and snack time it reduces anxiety and guilt.

There are many meal delivery services available now.

By reviewing the nutrition information prior to committing to a subscription, it can help set up for success.

Many services that claim to be fresh or nutritious

Many services that claim to be fresh or nutritious are actually quite high in sodium. You can be prepared for travel by planning ahead. It does seem tedious and like you don’t have time to fit it in, but it’s important to consider how you want to feel. It’s easy to skip the planning ahead and then grab what you can find on the road. The result is usually dehydration and feeling full and bloated due to grabbing convenience foods and snacking. If you pack a granola bar, nuts, and dried fruit it can help energize and satiate you for an extra hour or two until you can find a rest stop or restaurant that serves healthier options like lean meats that are grilled, salads, or wraps.

Packing snacks in your carry on for a flight can also help you through delays and flight transfers when you have limited time. Take an empty water bottle through security at the airport and fill the bottle so you can stay hydrated and save some money.

Wrap-Up

Remembering how to fuel your body to feel better is an intentional way to reflect on the week ahead.

Everyone has a different goal and dream in life. With some objective review, contemplation and intention, meal planning and being prepared for the week can help living well and eating to feel better.

Check out Mindy’s services for more information.

Mindy is located in Buffalo, New York and is available for in-person consults and workplace wellness or professional organization presentations. There are also a variety of online programs and services available on her website.
Facebook: Mindy Yoder RDN, CDN  Instagram: @mindyyoderrd  Website: www.mindyyoderrd.com  Email: mindyyoderrd@gmail.com

Listen in to Episode

Eat Well to Feel Better with Mindy Yoder, RD  #113 Eat Better to Feel Better with Mindy Yoder, RD

Podcast – Sandra Gentleman, or on YouTube.

My Wife the Dietitian
Food Addiction Symptoms

Food Addiction Symptoms

Article written by Dr. Vera Tarman (podcast guest)
Edited by Sandra Gentleman, RD

Food Addiction: Yes, it is a real thing

Food addiction is a controversial yet increasingly recognized condition. Although not yet included as a diagnosis in the DSM-5, a growing body of research shows that for some people, certain foods can trigger brain responses similar to substance addictions.

WebMD Food Addiction article

What Happens in the Brain

Studies show that hyperpalatable foods – those high in sugar, fat, and salt – activate the brain’s reward circuitry in ways comparable to drugs like cocaine. Over time, this can override signals of fullness and lead to compulsive, uncontrolled eating despite negative consequences – the definition of food addiction

What to Know About Food Addiction

Key Signs and Symptoms

Common signs of food addiction include

  • Strong cravings and obsession over food
  • Continued overeating past the point of feeling full
  • Using foods to deal with distressing emotions
  • Failed attempts to cut back on trigger foods
  • Needing more of particular foods to get the same effect
  • Inability to stop eating (or thinking about food) despite physical, emotional, and social harm

The Importance of Abstinence: Most important Recovery Tip

For those struggling with food addiction, abstaining from trigger foods provides the best chance for recovery. Curbing trigger foods (esp junk foods) only works for a short time.

This allows brain pathways to reset and takes away the addictive temptation

Eating Disorder Hope – Food Addiction: Causes, Symptoms, Signs & Treatment Help

Total abstinence from products with added sugars and refined flours is often recommended for long term food sobriety and food serenity.

Seeking Help – Ask for Support

If you see signs of food addiction in yourself or a loved one, seeking help is crucial.

What is the Evidence for Food Addiction – A Systemic Review

Useful treatment options include

  • Get support: 12-step food based programs: These provide social support and sponsor relationships to promote abstinence.
  • Finding a food addiction coach or counsellor
  • Check out the Facebook group: I’m Sweet Enough: Sugar Free for  Life for free ongoing support.
  • Read books: Food Junkies: Recovery from Food Addiction, podcast: Food Junkies – is only a start.

Dr. Vera Tarman, MD, FCFP, ABAM MSc. is the Medical Director of Renascent and a senior staff physician at Salvation Army. Dr Tarman has a special interest in the clinical syndrome of food addiction and has presented at numerous public forums to educate and advocate on this subject. She is author of Food Junkies: Recovery from Food Addiction, and is cohost of the popular Food Junkies Podcast. She is also the founder of the free Facebook group, called “I’m Sweet Enough: Sugar-Free for Life”. Please check out her utube channel: veratarmanmd.

Social media links:

Facebook: www.fb.com/groups/SugarFreeForLife

Website:  addictionsunplugged.com; http://bit.ly/AddictionsUnplugged

Email: veratarmanmd@gmail.com

You tube: https://www.youtube.com/c/VeraTarmanMD

You tube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCybif3curwya4wh9z5hrYsA

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drveratarman/

Twitter: @addunplug

My Wife the Dietitian
Healthy Cookware

Healthy Cookware

Author Sarah Glinski, RD
Edited by Sandra Gentleman, RD

Your Complete Guide to Healthy Cookware

While many of us focus on what we eat, we often forget to consider how we prepare our food. From cast iron to stainless steel to non-stick, there are endless options for cooking our food. But how do you know whether you’re using healthy cookware?

In this blog post, we review the pros and cons of six different types of cookware, so you can make an informed decision about what tools you use to cook.

Non-Stick

Many of us are familiar with non-stick cookware. Manufactured using a liquid coating, non-stick cookware is a popular choice for many due to its ease of use.

Pros:

  • Easy to clean.
  • Requires less oil.
  • Even cooking (non-stick coatings evenly distribute heat across the cookware’s surface).
  • Convenient for delicate foods such as fish, eggs, and pancakes.
    Time-saving.

Cons:

  • Durability issues (over time, the non-stick coating can get scratched or wear off).
  • Not suitable for high heat (excessive heat can damage the coating and release harmful fumes).
  • Not compatible with metal utensils, which can scratch off the non-stick coating.
  • Limited lifespan leads to more money spent over time due to replacing the cookware.

The Verdict: Non-stick cookware can be a convenient tool in your kitchen, provided you use and care for it properly. Avoid using non-stick cookware with high heat and metal utensils to help prolong its lifespan.

Cast Iron

Cast iron is a kitchen staple known for its durability and versatility.

Pros:

  • Excellent heat retention, making it ideal for slow cooking and braising.
  • Can be used on various cooking surfaces, such as stovetops, ovens, and grills.
  • Durable and resistant to scratches and dents.
  • Adds iron to foods, which can be helpful for people with low iron levels.
  • When properly seasoned, has natural non-stick properties.

Cons:

  • Requires seasoning, which involves applying oil and baking it onto the cookware’s surface.
  • Cast iron is heavy compared to other types of cookware.
  • Slow to heat up.
  • Can rust if not properly cared for.
  • Not dishwasher safe.

The Verdict: While cast iron has an initial learning curve, it is a piece of healthy cookware that can last for generations if properly cared for.

Stainless Steel

Like cast iron, stainless steel is a popular choice of cookware due to its durability and versatility.

Pros:

  • Stainless steel is known for its rust, corrosion, and stain resistance.
  • Can withstand high cooking temperatures.
  • Does not react with acidic or alkaline foods so it won’t impart undesirable flavours to your dishes.
  • Easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
  • Compatible with induction cooktops.

Cons:

  • Poor heat retention can result in uneven cooking if not preheated properly.
  • Prone to sticking if the cookware is not adequately oiled.
  • Hot handles require the use of potholders or oven mitts.
  • Quality stainless steel cookware can be more expensive compared to other types of cookware.
  • Heavier than some other types of cookware.

The Verdict: While expensive, stainless steel cookware is reliable and long-lasting. Its durability and non-reactive properties make it the perfect healthy cookware choice.

Copper

Copper cookware is known for its excellent heat conduction and high-end appearance.

Pros:

  • Superior heat conductivity, which provides precise temperature control and even cooking.
  • Responsive to temperature change.
  • Attractive appearance.
  • Suitable for various cooking methods.
  • Has a long lifespan when properly cared for.

Cons:

  • Copper can react with certain acidic or alkaline foods, producing a metallic taste.
  • Requires regular polishing to avoid tarnishing or developing a patina.
  • High price point.
  • Not compatible with induction cooking surfaces.
  • More susceptible to dents and scratches than other types of cookware.

The Verdict: Copper cookware provides excellent heat conductivity and can be a stylish addition to your kitchen. However, it requires careful maintenance and can be more costly compared to other types of cookware.

Glass

Often overshadowed by other types of cookware, glass cookware has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Pros:

  • Non-reactive and won’t impact unwanted flavours to your food.
  • Transparency allows you to monitor cooking progress without removing the lid.
  • Can be used for baking, roasting, and serving.
  • Easy to clean and dishwasher safe.

Cons:

  • Glass is fragile and may break or shatter when exposed to rapid temperature changes.
  • Slow to heat up.
  • Limited stovetop use.
  • Not for high-temperature cooking.
  • Heavy compared to other types of cookware.

The Verdict: While glass is a popular choice for baking, roasting, and serving, it typically isn’t compatible with stovetop cooking. Keep this in mind when deciding which types of glass cookware you invest in.

Ceramic

Ceramic cookware, often coated with a layer of ceramic material, has become popular for its non-stick properties and attractive appearance.

Pros:

  • Non-stick surface.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Even heat distribution.
  • Attractive design.
  • Lightweight.
  • Can be transferred between cooking surfaces (e.g., from the stovetop to the oven).

Cons:

  • The ceramic coating can wear off over time.
  • Not suitable for high heat.
  • More fragile than other types of cookware.
  • Not induction compatible.
  • Not compatible with metal utensils 

The Verdict: Provided you care for and handle ceramic cookware properly, it can be an excellent addition to your repertoire of healthy cookware.

Final Thoughts

When choosing healthy cookware, there are no right or wrong answers. Each type of cookware reviewed in this blog post has advantages and disadvantages. To make the most of your cookware, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for use and care.

Don’t be shy about trying new types of cookware – you may just find your new best kitchen friend!

Listen in to Episode

Nutrition Nuggets  #36 Healthy Cookware

Podcast – Sandra Gentleman, or on YouTube.

My Wife the Dietitian
Arthritis Best Foods

Arthritis Best Foods

Edited and Updated by Sandra Gentleman, RD
Written by Samantha Holmgren, RD (guest on podcast and blog contributor)

Arthritis Best Foods

A question that often gets asked is, “What are the best foods for arthritis?” These foods can help you balance the inflammation in your body, reduce health risks, and, best of all, help you feel better.

However, there is one caveat.

There is no food so wonderful that it will permanently grant health and there is no food so terrible that it will permanently ruin your health — unless you have an anaphylactic reaction or get the worst food poisoning ever. That sort of black-and-white thinking gets in the way of making real changes that can help you feel better.
Focus on making small changes that shift you towards a more balanced lifestyle that feeds your wellness. One place to start is to include the following foods in your diet.

1. Fatty Fish for those omega-3 fats

Diets that include fatty fish, like salmon, trout or herring, have been associated with positive health outcomes. In addition to reducing risk and helping manage heart disease, cholesterol, diabetes and other metabolic conditions, diets that include fatty fish can also help with arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis.

Omega-3 supplements can also help people with arthritis feel better and have less pain. In one review, people who took omega-3 supplements were able to reduce the amount of NSAIDs (medications such as Advil or Aleve).

Omega-3 fats help by balancing the inflammation in our body. While inflammation is a necessary part of our immune system, chronic inflammation is detrimental. Omega-3 fats are used to make compounds that help to balance and calm the inflammatory processes.

When we talk about omega-3s fats, we also need to talk about omega-6 fats. Some amount is necessary; just like inflammation is necessary. However, most of us are eating far more omega-6 fats than omega-3 fats, creating an imbalance in our body. Therefore, while you are increasing your intake of fish and seeds like flax or chia, try to reduce fat intake from soybean, sunflower, safflower, and hydrogenated (or processed) fats.

Another type of healthy fat is…

2. Olive oil

This is a popular ‘healthy fat’ and for good reason. One study was a meta-analysis that looked at the effects of olive oil on inflammatory markers. This study was particularly concerned with the heart health impacts of inflammation; however, that is also relevant to arthritis because, particularly with inflammatory arthritis, you have a higher risk of heart disease due to the inflammation. Six of the studies included in that meta-analysis compared olive oil and omega-3s. They had a very similar anti-inflammatory effect, with olive oil actually having a slight edge. In real life, you don’t have to choose between them, but it goes to show just how powerful olive oil is.

Replacing some of those sources of omega-6 oils with olive oil will help your body get into a better balance, as well as providing antioxidant and antinflammatory benefits directly.

You may also find it interesting to know that the same compounds in olive oil that are anti-inflammatory in our bodies are also a great food source for the bacteria in our intestines. So olive oil is also a prebiotic and therefore good for our gut.

3. Colourful Fruits & Veggies

The same compounds that give fruits and vegetables their color are also antioxidants. In popular media, antioxidants tend to be associated with anti-aging, but they are also relevant when it comes to inflammation. Oxidative stress happens when your body has an imbalance of pro-oxidants and antioxidants and oxidative stress triggers inflammation, so having a diet filled with antioxidants from colourful fruits and veggies, as well as olive oil offers your health a huge benefit.

However, I don’t recommend going out and taking a supplement purely because it is an ‘antioxidant.’ If you include too many antioxidants, it is still an imbalance and therefore causes oxidative stress. However, that’s not an issue when it comes to eating food. So focus on adding colourful fruits and veggies to your plate.

4. Less processed food

Processing exists on a spectrum, and some processing is super helpful and healthy. Think of frozen vegetables: Depending on where you live and the time of year, the frozen vegetables are often less expensive and therefore more accessible and it can actually be fresher than the “fresh” vegetables. Frozen food stays stable and doesn’t mold or wilt.

Pulling a carrot out of the ground and knocking the dirt off gives you an unprocessed food. Nothing has been done to it.

Chopping that carrot up and cooking it is a form of processing.

Grinding wheat down into a flour is a form of processing.

Combining ingredients to make a homemade soup is a form of processing.
The far end of the spectrum includes highly processed foods created in a factory from ingredients that are extracted from food but that aren’t food on their own. Again, this can be a net positive in some cases. Vitamin and mineral supplementation or enrichment is a significant form of processing but it can have significant health impacts, such as when we started adding iodine to table salt or folic acid to wheat flour, these both improved public health, and were only possible due to processing.

However… processed food also frequently strips out fibre, vitamins, and minerals. It adds ingredients that some people are sensitive to or that may disrupt the intestinal microflora. Science Vs actually did a great podcast episode on processed food that also digs into this.

But it’s a significant grey area. The old adage about ‘everything in moderation’ line is applicable here. Including some processed foods is perfectly fine, but a lot isn’t good for you nor does it feel good.

Bottom line on processing is:

  • Eat fewer foods that are highly processed
  • Eat foods that are less processed more often (i.e. more on the pluck a veggie out of the garden end of the spectrum)

5. The Mediterranean Diet

The go-to anti-inflammatory diet is the Mediterranean Diet. It combines everything I mentioned above: the fruits and vegetables, olive oil, fish. It also emphasizes cooking at home (less processed foods). And it has been heavily studied in many different contexts so there is a lot of evidence to support following this diet. Even if it doesn’t have a major impact on your day-to-day arthritis pain, it is still helping you.

People with inflammatory health conditions, including most types of arthritis, are at an increased risk of heart disease because of the inflammation. So eating in alignment with the Mediterranean Diet can help counter that risk and improve your overall health.

The Mediterranean Diet tidily answers the question of “what.” However, the other part of the equation is the “how” of eating.

6. Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is a key part of the equation. I have been a dietitian for over decade now, and I’ve seen over and over again how powerful mindful eating can be for people. It helps to break through a lot of the mental barriers we can put up around food, the disordered eating habits that we absorb living in the diet and weight obsessed culture we live in.

It also helps you reconnect with your body signals. It is so tempting to try to ignore your body when you have chronic pain and fatigue. And there are times when you just have to push through the pain and do the thing anyway because if you waited until you felt good you’d never do anything because you have chronic pain. However, those body signals are giving you information. Being able to take that information into account in your planning and how you move through the world can help you feel better in the long run.

Samantha is a registered dietitian who lives with psoriatic arthritis. She focuses on moving towards balance and wellness while living with chronic pain and fatigue. At the heart of her work is a focus on mindfulness and making small changes that have outsized impacts — the Bare Minimum Health Plan.

Samantha is passionate about helping people reconnect to their body through experiencing the pleasure and joy of eating. She loves seeing people move towards balance and wellness intuitively as they reconnect with their body wisdom.

Listen in to Episode

#99 on My Wife the Dietitian – Arthritis Best Foods, Samantha

Podcast – Sandra Gentleman, or on YouTube.

My Wife the Dietitian