Friday, June 20, 2014

Foodie Friday: Vanilla Chia Pudding

Vanilla Chia Pudding - Copyright 2014 - Go Wellness - Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD, CSSD
If there's one sweet treat I remember enjoying as a child, it was pudding.  Vanilla was my favorite. Fast forward to 2014, and I can't even remember the last time I've had pudding...at least the instant kind that I ate as a child.  I've probably moved away from eating pudding for two reasons.  One...it just doesn't show up on my radar as something I want to eat too often.  Two...as a dietitian, I probably just know too much and I've realized that the instant-type of pudding is not the highest quality of foods in my dietitian book.  That and my little guy seems to have a sensitivity to dairy foods, too.  At the same time, I've been trying to figure out how I could make a dairy-free and more nourishing version of pudding for my kiddos to enjoy.  I've made a chocolate pudding using avocado as the base, which turned out well.  However, as a lover of trying new things, my search has continued for more ways to give this pudding thing a shot.  Enter chia seeds!  I'd been seeing and hearing about "chia pudding" for a while, but I didn't officially try it until recently.  Initially I experimented with a chocolate chia pudding to no avail. I still need to work on that recipe to get it right, but I finally discovered a vanilla chia pudding that has been taste-tested and approved by my entire fam!  See my littlest one's finger dipping into the pudding below? Yes, she couldn't wait for mommy to stop taking pictures to start digging in!

Vanilla chia pudding - Copyright 2014 - Go Wellness - Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD, CSSD
I love that this is so simple and tasty and that it can hit the spot should you have a craving for a creamy, sweet, and higher quality treat.  If you like tapioca pudding, you may really enjoy this as it has a texture similar to that of tapioca.  I've seen some versions that are blended after mixing, so that may give it a little creamier texture, if you prefer that. If you give this one a shot, please let me know what you think!  I love getting feedback.

Vanilla Chia Pudding

{Print this recipe}
Ingredients
1 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
1/4 c chia seeds
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
*small amount of fresh vanilla bean paste ~1/8 tsp (optional -- I purchase a bag of vanilla beans that I keep on hand for things like this.)

Directions
1.  Combine all ingredients into a glass container. (I use a large mason jar.)  Mix well.  Set in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Stir well just before eating.  (The seeds can tend to clump together at the bottom over time.)  Enjoy!

Serves:  3
Nutritional information:
Calories:  121  Carbohydrates: 13 g   Fat:  7 g (3113 mg omega-3)  Protein:  11 g   Fiber:  7 g   Cholesterol: 0 mg   Sodium: 71 mg
Good source of:  vitamin D and riboflavin
Excellent source of:  vitamin E, vitamin B12, calcium, manganese

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

10 Interesting Facts About Registered Dietitian Nutritionists [Infographic]

Happy Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day 2014!  In honor of all of the hard-working RDN's out there, please enjoy this infographic of 10 Interesting Facts About Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.

Feel free to copy, distribute, and reprint unaltered versions for non-commercial/educational purposes with proper credit.

Thank you and Enjoy!

10 Interesting Facts About Registered Dietitian Nutritionists [Infographic]

Creative Commons License
10 Interesting Facts about Registered Dietitian Nutritrionists [Infographic] by Michelle Loy, Go Wellness is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.gowellnessco.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at nutritionandwellnessbytes.blogspot.com.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Foodie Friday: Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream

Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream - Copyright 2013 - Go Wellness - Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD, CSSD
What is fall without a little bit of pumpkin and spice and everything nice?  If you've visited my blog before, then you know two things:  1) I love pumpkin  and 2)  I like a little dessert every now and then.  I decided to try a new spin on my good ol' Banana Ice Cream dessert, and it worked beautifully!  Have you ever imagined combining a vegetable and a fruit in a frozen dessert?  Well, this one has been taste-tested by my professional taste testers (read -- husband and children), who give this a thumbs up.  It's a nice flavorful, creamy frozen treat, if that's something you're into.  What you might love about this dessert is that it's only made with 4 ingredients, it's dairy-free, and you do not need an ice cream maker to prep it.  If you give it a try, I'd love to know what you think.  Enjoy!

Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream
Adapted from:  The Gracious Pantry
Ingredients:
4 medium-large bananas
1 cup pureed pumpkin
2-3 Tbsp pure maple syrup (I tested this at between 2-4 Tbsp, and I found that 2-3 Tbsp was plenty sweet for our taste buds.)
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions:
1.  Slice bananas and spread evenly on a large baking sheet.  Freeze for at least a couple of hours.  
2.  Combine frozen banana slices, pumpkin, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice in a food processor.  Process until smooth.  You may need to scrape down the sides and mix it up a few times to help it along.  Now you have two choices from here. You can either enjoy this immediately. It'll be a little more creamy and less frozen OR you can put the mix into a freezer safe container and freezer for a few more hours before enjoying.  This will give it a little more solid consistency like the real thing.  It's still yummy either way.

Serves:  4
Nutritional Information:
Calories:  161   Carbohydrate:  41 g   Protein:  2 g   Fat:  1 g   Cholesterol:  0 mg   Fiber:  5 g   Sugar:  24 g (7 g added from maple syrup)   Sodium:  6 mg   
Excellent source of:  vitamins A and B6
Good source of:  riboflavin, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and zinc

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

5 things that could be sucking the joy out of your workout

Image credit:   Kevin Trautman  - GORE-TEX Products via Flickr

Is your love tank for exercise on empty?  Have you been wanting to exercise more but just haven't been able to bring yourself around to doing it?  You are not alone.  While the most frequent excuse people offer for not exercising is not having enough time, I find that a close number two is that they just don't feel like it.  In fact, I'd argue that excuse #2 may actually be the root cause for excuse #1 for many people.  So, if you're one of those people who've found yourself in a rut loathing the idea of exercise, then this list is made just for you!  Read on for some inspiration that I hope will get you moving more.

Problem #1:  You're too focused on how many calories you're burning during exercise.
Nothing kills the joy of a workout like calorie counting.  In fact, this could be considered a form of torture in my book.  If you spend the majority of your time during a workout checking your heart rate monitor or reviewing the treadmill digital display to determine how many calories you've burned, then you are likely missing so much more out of your workout. When you're so busy counting calories during exercise, you might miss how invigorating it feels to have fresh oxygen surging through your blood, how empowering it is to challenge your body and mind through each movement, and how calming it is to release the tension from your muscles and joints.  Once you forget about those calories and become more mindful of how you feel and how you  move, you'll get a more enjoyable, more satisfying, and more effective workout as a result.

Problem #2:  Your workout sessions are too long.
Many people are still under the impression that if they can't get in a solid hour long (or more) workout, then it isn't worth it.  At the same time, the idea of committing to movement for an hour can be daunting. However, the current body of research suggests that those who perform short bouts of activity (10 minutes or less at a time) throughout the day not only experience similar health outcomes, such as lower blood pressure and cholesterol, to those who perform longer bouts, but they also tend to be more likely to meet current exercise recommendations, too!  Newer research also indicates that high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which involves short bursts of intense activity followed by periods of rest or low-level activity, produces fitness and health outcomes comparable to traditional endurance exercise.  Not only can a challenging HIIT workout keep you engaged, but they can also be done in shorter blocks, sometimes around 15-20 minutes per session.

Problem #3: You don't like the type of exercise you're doing.
I can't tell you how many clients I've worked with who started running solely because it's a "really great cardio workout" even though they absolutely hated running.  The problem with choosing activities that you loathe is that it can make the chances of you actually doing them much lower.  Plus, when some people dislike an activity, they put less effort or focus into it.  I've also noticed that when people perform activities they despise they spend most of the time counting down the minutes or miles until it's over.  How fun is that?  On the other hand, if you choose activities that you enjoy, then you're more likely to do them.  In some cases, when you choose enjoyable-to-you activities, you don't even realize you're doing them or how much time has passed.  Keep in mind that even if you despise a particular activity, you may eventually find yourself liking it more as you continue practicing it.  So don't give up on something simply because you don't immediately enjoy it.

Problem #4: You're comparing yourself to others.
Comparison is the thief of joy. I repeat...COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY! Thank you Theodore Roosevelt for this truth!  I'll admit that it's easy to slip into comparison-mode when working out around others.  I think many of us have been there staring down the speed demon on the treadmill next to us, eyeing the buff-looking guy or gal lifting much heavier weights than us, or checking out the Dancing with the Stars-worthy participant in the front of the Zumba class.  In order to achieve workout bliss, it's best to stop comparing yourself to others.  It's pretty hard to be content with your own progress and accomplishments when you're distracting yourself with someone else's progress or accomplishments.  Unfortunately, when we compare ourselves to others, we can be left feeling discouraged, ashamed, disgusted, hopeless, or just plain negative.  Those feelings will not produce the most joyful workouts.  So stop the comparing and focus your gaze inward.  You will get the most satisfaction and joy out of your workout by doing YOUR very best to achieve YOUR own goals.  Remind yourself of where you're at and how far you've come.  How much better/fitter/healthier/(just fill-in-the-blank here) do you feel compared to how you felt yesterday? A week ago? A month ago? A year ago? Five years ago?  Focus on that and feel the bliss.        

Problem #5:  You haven't tried anything new in a while.
I've worked with a lot of clients who started an exercise routine, and their routine became such a habit that they eventually got stuck in it.  They found themselves bored, and eventually, their workouts got shorter and/or less frequent.  If you find yourself getting bored with your workouts, don't give them up, change them up!  Sometimes it's as simple as changing the scenery of a workout.  Do you always take the same route on your runs?  Go a different direction. Find a new path or location.  Maybe you're ready to incorporate a completely new-to-you activity?  Is there a new type of workout you've been wanting to try or a class you've wanted to take?  Go for it!  Have you balanced out your cardio or strength routine with another element of physical fitness, like flexibility or neuromotor exercise?  Merge these into your workout mix.  Are you using the same weights, machines, tools, or gadgets?  Try something new.  Have you been working out solo?  Try getting social.  Take a class or join a Meetup group.  There are plenty of ways to change up your routine, so find something that works for you and go for it.

Are you in need of some workout bliss?  What will you try?  How have you returned joy to your workouts?  I'd love to hear from you.  

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Health Food Imposter #13: Frozen Yogurt

Does frozen yogurt deserve its health halo?  - Copyright 2013 - Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD, CSSD - Go Wellness
Health Food Imposter #13:  Frozen Yogurt
Over the last few years, the rise of the FroYo has been occurring with the growing popularity of frozen yogurt shops and frozen yogurt products on grocery store shelves.  People seem to be flocking to frozen yogurt as a healthier alternative to ice cream, but unfortunately, in some cases, it may not be all that we believe it to be.
  • While frozen yogurts are generally lower in fat and calories than their ice cream cousins, it doesn't mean they are "low calorie".  For example, I decided to compare Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia FroYo with their Cherry Garcia Ice Cream.  The ice cream has 240 calories and 13 grams of fat per 1/2 cup serving while the FroYo has 200 calories and 3 grams of fat per serving.  So yes, the frozen yogurt is lower in calories and fat.  However, it is not technically a "low-calorie" food since it does not contain less than 40 calories per serving required by federal labeling guidelines.  Add some less nutritious toppings, like cookies or candy, and you're tacking on a lot of extra low-quality calories and ingredients, too!  
  • Frozen yogurt may generally be lower in fat than ice cream, but it is not necessarily lower in sugar.  In fact, using the Cherry Garcia example again, the frozen yogurt actually contains 1 more teaspoon of sugar than the ice cream, 27 grams vs 23 grams per half cup respectively.  While some of the sugar in frozen yogurt is naturally occurring from the yogurt itself, much of it is added in the form of sweeteners, like sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and dextrose.
  • Another reason people turn to frozen yogurt is for the proposed probiotic health benefits.  Because frozen yogurt falls under a different product classification than regular yogurt, it does not have to meet the same standards in terms of the production and final product as regular yogurt.  Unfortunately, not all frozen yogurts contain live and active cultures, which means they do not confer the health benefits associated with probiotics.  In some cases, the yogurt is heat-treated during the production process thereby diminishing the benefits from the probiotics.  Frozen yogurts also may not contain the amount or variety of probiotic strains as some regular yogurts do, and this may affect the potential health benefits as well.  
  • Frozen yogurts may still contain other questionable ingredients, such as artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners, that many people are now trying to limit or avoid. For instance, some fruit-flavored frozen yogurts do not actually contain any real fruit in them.  So the health benefits of the real fruit are lacking in many of these frozen yogurt products.  
A better alternative?
Consider frozen yogurts a treat like ice cream.  Enjoy it occasionally, but it's best not to consider it a nourishing everyday meal or snack.  There are higher quality frozen yogurts available.  To make the best choices, read the Ingredient Lists and Nutrition Facts for products on grocery shelves and check out the nutrition information online for versions from yogurt shops.  Look for frozen yogurts with simpler ingredient lists that also include live active cultures.  When opting for FroYo from yogurt shops, stick with healthier toppings, like fresh fruit and nuts, rather than cookies or candy, and consider portion size, especially with self-serve spots.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Foodie Friday: Pineapple Whip Ice Cream

Pineapple Whip Ice Cream -- Copyright 2013 Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD, CSSD -- Go Wellness
The grand opening of summer is upon us as we head into Memorial Day weekend, and I could not think of a better way to kick off the summer than by sharing a special cold and healthy dessert with you.  While I definitely think there's room in the diet for the occasional high quality premium ice cream, I also love to experiment with more nourishing ways to satisfy that same craving for a luscious, creamy, and flavorful cold treat.  If you don't believe me, then please check out my recipes for Banana Ice Cream, Blackberry Sorbet, Raspberry Creamsicles, and Strawberry Banana Ice Cream.  Yes, you just hit the jackpot of healthier summer frozen desserts. You're welcome!  Now, I introduce to you Pineapple Whip Ice Cream.  This is just amazing because it is so delicious that you will not believe it's healthy.  Plus, it's made with only 4 ingredients.  Boom!  My entire fam loves this.  Believe me, it will hit that ice cream craving spot!   Try it and let me know what you think.  Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Pineapple Whip Ice Cream

Ingredients:
6 cups frozen pineapple chunks, unsweetened
1/2 cup coconut milk (canned pure coconut milk is preferable)
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp honey

Directions:
1.  Combine all ingredients into a food processor or high quality, powerful blender, like a Vitamix.  (I would not recommend trying this in a regular blender as it may burn it out.  I would also recommend sticking around to make sure the food processor manages this well, too.)  Process until smooth.  Enjoy immediately!  

Serves: 6
Nutrition Information:
Calories: 141   Carbohydrate:  24 g   Protein:  1 g   Fat:  6 g   Cholesterol:  0 mg   Fiber:  2 g   Sugar:  18 g (2 g added sugar from honey; 16 g natural)   Sodium:  4 mg
Excellent source of:  vitamin C
Good source of:  thiamin, vitamin B6

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Health Food Imposter #12: 100 calorie snacks

Are 100 calorie snacks health food imposters?  Copyrigh 2013 -- Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD, CSSD -- Go Wellness
Health Food Imposter #12:  100 calorie snacks

The 100 calorie snack products are tricky.  The fact that they are portion-controlled and only 100 calories each may make them appear more healthful, but this does not make them high quality, health supportive, and deeply nourishing food.

  • Most of these 100 calorie snack products are made with processed flours, which have been stripped of valuable nutrients, including vitamins and hunger-satisfying fiber.  Most of them also contain a variety of sources of refined sugars, like corn syrup and dextrose, often contributing up to 2 teaspoons of added sugar per serving.  While these may satisfy a craving for something sweet, without the naturally occurring fiber or a high quality source of protein, these may leave some hungry again in no time.
  • Unfortunately, the 100 calorie snack products may also be taking the place of more healthful foods, like vegetables, fruits, or nuts, that could be consumed instead.  This could make one less likely to consume enough essential nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and other health promoting phytochemicals.
  • Many of these products also contain less healthful fats and oils, like trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils.  While these oils may enhance the shelf-life and flavor of a product, they will not  enhance your health.  Because the trans fat content is < 0.5 grams per serving, you will see 0 g trans fat listed on the Nutrition Facts Panel even though the product contains trans fat in the form of partially hydrogenated oils.  Always read the ingredient list.
  • Some of these products do a little health washing by using "yogurt flavoring", but that does not mean they confer the same health benefits as regular yogurt with live and active cultures.  The yogurt flavorings are generally nothing more than sugars and fats dressed up with heat-treated yogurt powders that do not contain live and active probiotic cultures.
  • Some of these products also contain moderate amounts of sodium that could pose a problem for sodium-sensitive individuals.  
  • Finally, some of these products also contain artificial colors, flavors, and other questionable ingredients that many people are now looking to avoid for a variety of reasons.  Again, while these ingredients may make the product taste or look better, they don't necessarily add to your health or quality of life.  
What is a better alternative?
There are many naturally lower calorie snack options that incorporate whole, real foods, so plan these into your diet. Some simple examples include almonds, pistachios, fruit with cheese, vegetable sticks with hummus, or even a hard-boiled egg.  Not only are these foods more nourishing, but they'll also often be more satisfying than the 100 calorie snack products.

Do you know someone who could benefit from this information?  Then please "like", "pin", or share it!  Thanks for reading!


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