2021’s Most Popular Dishing Up Nutrition Episodes
By Nutritional Weight & Wellness Staff
December 28, 2021
We’ve arrived at that time of the year where we find ourselves in between “how did we get here already?!” and “look at all we’ve accomplished since the start of the year”. Before we close this last chapter on 2021, we want to look back and reflect on the most loved, most listened, and most shared Dishing Up Nutrition episodes, like we do every year.
Whether you are new to Dishing Up Nutrition or are a faithful listener, we are grateful to have you with us! Dishing Up Nutrition is our way of sharing the power of real food with people everywhere and it’s a free resource we are thrilled to create for you and your loved ones.
It’s our goal every week to provide you with the inspiration and information around a health concern and to help you stay motivated to change your life with real food solutions. Here are a few top takeaways from the three most-listened-to shows to carry with you into a new year:
The health concern: From research, we know that 500 calorie weight loss diets will lead to a slower metabolism and to binge eating. And let's face it: you're pretty darn miserable on those! Maybe you’ve tried a vast array of diets in the past to no avail. People do drop the weight, but because our body is so intelligent, it doesn't allow us to continue the starvation mode. Eventually we fall off the diet and then usually we'll start binging, overeating, and gaining the weight right back (and sometimes more!). If you’re sick of dieting, how can you lose the weight without focusing on the dreaded calories in-calories out model?
The nutrition solution: Change your mindset! Think of your goals and actions steps as HEALTH management instead of WEIGHT management. By focusing your efforts on supporting other health concerns, like your A1C, cholesterol numbers, and getting those foods you’re sensitive to out of your diet, your weight will naturally improve without having to worry about dieting. Here are a couple other strategies for losing weight without dieting covered in this episode:
- Cook at home: Here's an interesting fact: researchers are now linking weight gain and obesity to poor cooking skills. Understanding how to prepare meals and developing better skills in the kitchen is a really powerful and effective way to lose weight. We’ve got virtual cooking demonstration classes to help you gain confidence in the kitchen!
- Healthy fat: Replace refined oils that slow your metabolism with natural, healing oils from your kitchen, like avocado oil, coconut oil, olives, and butter.
- Quality protein: Eating protein actually boosts your metabolism by 30%, so make sure you include high quality protein at meals and snacks. Eating protein gives you energy to move, to play, and to enjoy life. Protein breaks down into amino acids, which then helps produce all of our neurotransmitters like dopamine. That's a key neurotransmitter that we need to have to reduce cravings for sugar and alcohol and it's easier to maintain a real food plan when you have a sufficient level of dopamine.
- Get those zzzz’s: Sleeping seven to nine hours most nights reduces cravings and inflammation, supports your immune system, and keeps your metabolism buzzing. When you start getting sufficient sleep, you can actually drop the weight more easily.
The health concern: The statistics show that over 70% of the United States population has some sort of digestive issue, whether that's heartburn, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation. Intestinal health plays a crucial role in in EVERY part of your health: mood, immune, energy, weight, skin issues, memory, aches and pains. The microbiome is like a garden that lives in your intestinal tract. Tens of billions of microbes are swimming around in your entire digestive system trying to keep you balanced and healthy. They have a complex variety of functions and chances are if you are having a health issue, the ratio of good bugs to bad bugs in your gut garden is probably out of whack.
The nutritional solution: Taking care of that inner garden is the name of the game when it comes to gut health! Re-establish the balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria by eating more fruits and vegetables for fiber and fermented foods, like plain full fat yogurt, the refrigerated sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles. Eliminate processed foods and reduce sugar to prevent yeast, pass on the damaged oils, and avoid foods that your body is sensitive to since they can wreak havoc on the intestinal lining of your gut. Consider supplementing with a high-quality probiotic that’s just right for your unique microbiome, like Bifido Balance and Acidophilus, especially if you’ve taken antibiotics or weren’t breastfed as a baby. Antibiotics are great for taking care of bacteria, but it can wipe out BOTH the good bugs and the bad bugs in your gut, causing digestive issues. It's important to say that some people need certain medications, like antibiotics, but if you work in tandem with a dietitian to help you overcome some of the side effects, you can improve your digestion and find relief.
The health concern: Cravings for junk food is a common reason people fall off the wagon of their healthy food plan. What makes certain foods so irresistible? Why can't we say no, even when we know something isn’t good for us? What is it that makes us binge on certain foods? Why can't we stop at just one or two bites? Unfortunately, when we eat more of these processed foods it can lead to more weight gain, aches and pains in the body, and we could have cravings for DAYS. Overtime, if we're eating processed junk foods on a consistent basis, it can lead to more serious health issues, like insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, cholesterol issues, Alzheimer’s, and any health issues that are caused by the inflammation in the brain and body because of excess sugar.
The nutritional solution: There is more to the story than willpower!The junk food and processed food manufacturers actually design their foods to taste the best so that they override our internal stop signal. And that keeps us craving more and more! Dr Howard Moskowitz, who has a PhD in experimental psychology and is a market researcher, figured out the exact science he calls “the bliss point”. This precise combination that makes products more desirable and tells our brain to keep eating is salt, fat, and sugar. The perfect combination of salt, fat, and sugar triggers a reward pathway in our brain and encourages dopamine to be released. Dopamine gives us energy, can help us to feel more positive and upbeat, and it also is connected to how we feel pleasure. We all of course want those positive feelings, so that is why we want more! Armed with this empowering information, here are a few things you can do that we covered in the episode:
- Read labels: The front of the package is the billboard used to sell the product to us, but what we really want to look at is the ingredient list. Just because the messaging on the front says it’s “healthy” and “natural”, take a look to see what’s actually IN it from the ingredients on the back.
- Plan ahead: the hardest part about habits is they're not easily broken, so the best way to stop the junk food eating behavior is always to have a plan in place. How are you going to handle going to the grocery store or eating out at a restaurant? What if there’s some tempting snacks at work? What happens when you’re out and about running errands and suddenly get hungry? Know what your “no-no” foods are (those ones that trigger your cravings and you can’t stop with just one) and stock your purse, car, desk drawer, gym bag, pantry with healthy snacks, like meat sticks, cherry tomatoes, RX bars, hard-boiled eggs, veggies for munching, and maybe even a little high-quality dark chocolate.
- Avoid low blood sugars: often, cravings happen when our blood sugar dips too low and the body’s survival mechanism is to desire something that will bring it back up quickly. Eating balanced meals and snacks throughout the day will help keep your blood sugar stable and reduce cravings for the quick pick-me-up treats. Aim for some protein, healthy fat, and a fruit or veggie carb at each meal and snack every three to four hours.
- Get the bliss point from real food: speaking of healthy protein, fat, and carbs…eating real food cooked in your own kitchen really is the best way to outsmart these big food companies that are making this junk food. Real food does not need to be engineered to taste good. Mother Nature did that for us! The combination of animal protein, vegetables, and healthy fat (think steak with a side of broccoli and sweet potato with butter) will also create that dopamine in the brain and will make us feel satisfied, full, and nourished.
We encourage you to tune in to these favorites to get more details or to catch up on whatever topic piques your interest from the past year and beyond. You can find hundreds of other episodes here and we can’t wait to share what we have coming up on Dishing Up Nutrition in 2022! Listen on our website or on your favorite podcast app. And if you’re in the Twin Cities, listen LIVE on the radio on MyTalk 107.1 every Saturday morning at 8 am (replay on Sundays at 6 pm). And a big thank you to all of our listeners who share podcast reviews so that we can continue to bring the real-food message to more people! We’re grateful for you.
For more information on these favorite topics, check out these resources: