Changing the Fast Food Habit

May 14, 2016

More people are wanting to eat healthier yet fast food sales are off the charts. We’re exploring why people choose fast food and offering ideas to help you avoid the fast food lane.

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DAR: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. I’m Darlene Kvist, licensed nutritionist and certified nutrition specialist and host of Dishing Up Nutrition. This show is all about nutrition and how eating real foods supports the health of your body and your brain. Many of us believe we need to eat well just for the health of our body. But Dr. Amen, author of Change Your Brain to Change Your Life said, “When your brain works right, you work right. When your brain is out of balance you may have problems.” We know it is important to feed your brain with sufficient protein, such as salmon, beef, and chicken. I don't know how many people really understand that they have to feed their brain with healthy foods. They need healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, coconut oil, and they need healthy vegetables because you get a lot of vitamins from your vegetables and our brain needs vitamins. Truly, this is not a new message on Dishing Up Nutrition.

CAROLYN: Oh, my goodness, it is not a new message. You and all of the other co-hosts of Dishing Up Nutrition have said it over and over. But have you checked out the sales of fast food restaurants lately?

DAR:  I bet that's what we're going to get into today. But before we get into the big numbers, those big numbers that fast food sales produce, let me introduce our co-host. Carolyn Hudson is a registered and licensed dietitian who sees clients in our Eden Prairie office. Carolyn is not a new grad. She's been a dietitian for many years and has had a variety of work and life experiences, which adds to her counseling abilities. So, if you have IBS and want Carolyn's help, you won't be her first client. Truly, she's helped many people with IBS.

CAROLYN: Yeah. And if you're someone who has an auto immune disease like lupus or M.S., you will not be my first client with these conditions either.

DAR:   So, at the same time, if you want help with brain health for memory, depression, anxiety, Carolyn has had experience with helping many people who are lacking good brain health.

CAROLYN: Yeah, helping people with these health issues is really fairly straightforward because it all goes back to the same thing: eating real food first.

DAR: Eating real food. It is simple to say. We say it all the time. But, apparently a lot of Americans are not eating real food because fast food sales are off the charts. Carolyn has some interesting fast food sales figures to share. So, throw us those numbers.

CAROLYN: OK. Well, according to QSR Magazine, that collects data on fast food sales, McDonald's gross sales for 2014 were $36.4 billion.

DAR:  So, Carolyn, last night in the paper when I was reading it, I noticed that McDonald's sales are really down. So, they're actually worried about their sales right now, which was surprising. It was in the paper in the news section.

CAROLYN: Next in number of sales was Starbucks. I thought that was very interesting. They have $12.7 billion in sales. And then Subway came in at $11.9 billion . And then we've got a pizza place, Papa John's, with the lowest sales numbers. That was $2.7 billion .

DAR: So, that tells us a lot of people are choosing fast food over real food. And I think most people know it is not the best choice.

CAROLYN: Not at all. Today, we want to explore why people choose fast food. And what might be wrong with fast food? And how can we get people to eat real food more often? Because more and more people are wanting to eat healthier foods.

DAR: We hear it all the time. Compared to, say, 20 or 25 years ago, I don't think people were very concerned at that point.

CAROLYN: No, I think it was they didn't even really think that there was anything wrong with fast food.

DAR: But, then we take a look at the number of people that are buying organic food now versus what was happening. I mean, just look at all the organic supermarkets and co-ops that have grown and sprouted up. So, people are looking at and wanting better foods. So, we are also pleased to have another dietitian join us in our discussion today. Teresa Wagner is a registered and licensed dietitian. Teresa, you really see people mostly in the St. Paul office. And you have how many children again?

TERESA: Three. Ages 7, 4, and almost 2.

DAR:  So, I bet they watch TV and see all the ads for fast food.

TERESA:  Yes, they do.

DAR:  And what do they want?

TERESA: They're pretty good. But I would say that they would like chicken nuggets of the things that they could pick.

DAR:  OK. So, they love to have you go to fast food. If you would they would love it.

TERESA:  Yes, if I would.

DAR:  So, Teresa has a few frustrations still about different things that are happening at school and you are talking about those treats.

TERESA:   Yes. There are lots of treat in our schools. And it seems like daily, my son is coming home excited about the latest treat they've had for somebody's birthday or special event.

DAR: And I bet it isn’t a protein treat.

TERESA: It is not a protein treat. It’s a sugar treat.

CAROLYN: Probably not something you're going to give them at home, right Teresa?

TERESA: That's right. It’s not something they get at home and they don't need to have it at home because they get plenty of it outside of home.

DAR: And she also has a few techniques of how to keep kids satisfied at home and out of the fast food lane.

CAROLYN: Yeah, I think most of our listeners realize that choosing fast food is really not the best choice for their health, but they still do it. Let's say that maybe you need some more information to arm yourself so that you cannot avoid that fast food Lane.

DAR:So, if you have a teenager at home, your teen your teen might be asking you, “So, Mom, what is so wrong with eating fast food?”

TERESA: Well, I would like to answer that. An average fast food meal has about 1,800 calories. 1,800 calories in just one meal. That's a lot of calories. And if you eat two fast food meals in a day, that's 3,600 calories. Most people's bodies stay balanced at about 2,300-2,400 calories per day. And if you're eating that 2,300-2,400 calories per day you receive sufficient nutrients, and then people don't gain weight at that amount, either. People will gain weight, though, if they eat fast food several times a week because they're getting just way too many calories.

DAR: I think we see that all the time. People don't realize it. I think lots of times that's a college student, too. They only hang out at the fast food places.

CAROLYN: But even worse than those calories, also there are those bad fats. Most of them contain things like partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil or soybean oil. Those are really bad.

DAR: People are saying, “So, Carolyn, what is wrong with eating foods with partially-hydrogenated fat? I mean, what's so wrong with that.”

TERESA: Well, if you're worried about having a heart attack and you should be worried if you're a fast food eater. Partially-hydrogenated oils make your LDL cholesterol go up, while reducing your HDL cholesterol. That makes me think of clogged arteries.

DAR: So, basically, when you're thinking about cholesterol, your good cholesterol, your protective cholesterol goes down. That's the HDL. When you eat all of these bad fats, these trans fats and partially-hydrogenated fats. And your good cholesterol goes down while your bad cholesterol goes up. Yes. So, bottom line: fast food usually throws your cholesterol numbers off and it puts you in more of a cardiovascular risk.

CAROLYN: Well, on Dishing Up Nutrition we encourage our listeners also to eat less sugar. A fountain drink at a fast food restaurant has about 46 teaspoons of sugar. That is almost a whole cup of sugar.

DAR:                      And I have had many clients totally addicted to fountain drinks. Because they can go back and fill it up again. So it's not only one. It's sometimes two or two and a half or something.

CAROLYN: Yeah, and I have clients that do the sweet tea thing and they think that that's better. But those have about five teaspoons of sugar in one really small glass. So, a fountain size thing of sweet tea would again be about 46 teaspoons of sugar.

TERESA: And when we drink sweet tea we know it has sugar because it's a sweet name. But who would guess that there are nine teaspoons of sugar in a Fruit and Maple Oatmeal from the fast food restaurants?

DAR: So, Teresa, let's think about that. That's the Fruit and Maple Oatmeal and that's got nine teaspoons of sugar in it. Well, how about this kind of stuff that you buy at the grocery store that's that instant? It's the same thing.

CAROLYN: We’ve got to go to our first break now. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. So many clients in their 50’s and 60’s are stressed about their hair loss and they make an appointment with me to see if nutrition might be a solution to their problem. There are many reasons for hair loss, but the first thing I look at on their health history is how much protein they're eating every day. So many women eat only a few ounces every day, so not enough for maintaining and growing hair. I suggest at least 12 to 14 ounces of protein daily as their first step. So, when we come back, Dar will share some supplements to support healthy hair.


DAR:  Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Before break we were talking about simple solutions for hair loss. And Carolyn mentioned eating 12 to 14 ounces of animal protein. And I think that's pretty shocking for a lot of people. But, if you think about spreading it out through the day it isn't that much. It's three or four ounces per meal. And we all know that hair and nails need quality protein to grow. I think everyone knows that. Hair and nails also need sufficient quality fats to grow and be strong. So, a low fat, low calorie, low protein diet doesn't work. Your hair might not be in very good health and it probably will start falling out. So, a variety of healthy fats is the best. Butter, olive oil, avocados, olives, nuts, coconut oil. In addition to fats you might add to your diet, I recommend a special fat that is good for your skin, nails, and hair. And that fat in supplement form is called GLA. It’s an Omega-6. It's called gamma linoleic acid and it’s an activated fat and it's needed for good hair growth and it's also great for dry skin and tissue. So, people, as they get older, tend to have dry skin and it's needing that fat.

CAROLYN: So, before we went to break we're really talking about fast food facts to help encourage our listeners not to go through that fast food line. So, many of our clients pick up a mocha on their way to work. And I bet you they don't know that that has almost 10 teaspoons of sugar in a small mocha. And then what about the medium? It's got about 15 teaspoons of sugar.

DAR: And we just had a client on Wednesday that I had these numbers in my head so I was actually able to tell her. She was actually drinking one even bigger than the medium. So, it's more and more sugar. So, a solution to that would be if you have coffee and cream, real cream. It has no sugar and it has no partially-hydrogenated creamer in it. So, it's a relatively good treat.

TERESA: And speaking of sugar, juice is another one that's high in sugar. Recently, I was made aware that at my daughter's preschool, juice was an option at snack time. That seemed so innocent. But as parents, maybe we don't realize that two cups of juice has 12 teaspoons of sugar. Maybe a baby would only drink a cup of juice, but my 4- and 7-year-olds could probably drink two cups easily. And the thing is that juice isn't very thirst quenching, either. It actually tends to make you thirsty, so you end up drinking more and more. Again, two cups of juice has 12 teaspoons of sugar. I don't think parents realize that.

TERESA:  I don't think they do, either, because I think we're told that it's got vitamins in it and that it's good for them. But, you can see why kids with all the sugar are becoming overweight and why the epidemic of Type 2 diabetes is becoming more and more common in children. Rather than juice, I have my kids eat an orange and then drink a glass of water. As a parent, I just offer water first. And for our family, it's better not even to buy juice because if it's in the refrigerator, they're going to want to drink it. They see it and then I have to say, “no.” So, it's easy.

DAR: I know. If you don't buy it they're not going to want it.

CAROLYN:  I think this is great timing for our caller. We've got Heidi on line one. Hello, Heidi.

CALLER: Hi. So, I have a question. I have a 3- and a 6-year-old and we have had a horrible diet lately and the 6-year-old is much better at trying new foods and when we've gone through diet cleanses, things like this, trying to do more whole grains, regular fruits and vegetables, she's OK. But my son actually refuses almost anything. So, I'm really having a hard time getting my kids just switch from a horrible diet into something a lot more nutritious.

DAR:  Well, I’d take a look at your younger child, your 4-year-old and say, “Has that child been on antibiotics recently or off and on?”

CALLER: Not too much. But he doesn't like textures, he's really particular about textures. And he is one of those kids that just loves french fries. Swedish meatballs only from Ikea. He's just really fussy.

DAR:  Well, one of the things if you brought him in and I was working with him or one of the other dieticians or nutritionists, we'd probably think, “OK he's kind of what we would call a picky eater.” And so, we look at what is causing a picky eater? And a lot of times that starts in the intestinal tract. And so, we might look at balancing that out with some of the good beneficial probiotics called bifido bacteria. And he got that if he was breast fed. So, kind of starting at that point to help. And that would help balance out some of that texture stuff, too.

CALLER:  We do have the probiotic. And then he is very deficient in iron. So, we started with an iron supplement and I'm trying to get him to eat raisins.

DAR:   OK. I would really say to bring him in to sit down with somebody. I mean, Teresa would be great because she's got her own kids and I don't know if you're near the St. Paul office, but before it gets into a really serious habit or kind of a problem for him to change some of that around. He's got some issues going obviously.

CAROLYN:  Yeah, let's get on top of those.

TERESA:  And, I would just suggest just sticking with it. It's a lot of trial and error. And sometimes it feels like there's a ton of food waste because you just keep trying and trying and they keep rejecting. But just keep up with it.

DAR: Patience, patience, patience. But thanks for the call.

TERESA: At least he eats hummus, so there you go.

CAROLYN: Thank you, Heidi.

DAR:  Yeah, I think that that's a good caller because I think a lot of parents are experiencing the same thing. And it's great to keep offering, but you can't force kids to eat something that they're not going to eat. You can't get into that struggle with them because it just makes things worse.

CAROLYN:  Yeah, battles are not worth it. I know when my kids were growing up, I really didn't have any junk food in my house. I just didn't put it in there and they loved going to their neighbors because they got some of that stuff. But, now they are very healthy eaters. And they're very conscious of what they put in their mouths.

So, TV nutrition told us for many years that if we want to stay healthy, we should drink orange juice. Oh yes, the commercials used to be on over and over and over and over on TV. And orange juice promoters told us that orange juice was loaded with vitamins. I think Teresa said that earlier, but they didn't really advertise the fact that it was also loaded with sugar. The juice of six to eight oranges is in one glass. And also, sugar from six to eight oranges is in that. Eight oranges worth of sugar. Wow. That's a lot.

TERESA:  So, let me ask you, would you eat six to eight oranges at one time? Of course not. Water is for drinking and oranges are for eating.

CAROLYN: That's a good way to put it.

DAR: Again, we have another reason to stop fast food. This one may surprise you. It actually costs more to feed a family of four at a fast food restaurant than it does to cook at home. And that's shocking. I hope people are really listening now.

TERESA:  And there's actually an organization that compared prices. Check this out. If I took my family and got two quarter pounders with cheese, two kid's meals, and two vanilla shakes, the cost would be $25.76. Remember that's close to 26 dollars.

CAROLYN: Well, I can't believe it but it is time for a break already. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. A recent study published in The Lancet reported in 1975 that there were 105 million adults with obesity. OK, that was 1975. A hundred and five million obese adults. Today it's 640 million obese adults. The rate more than doubled for women and, believe it or not, tripled for men. What is causing this obesity crisis? Is it from choosing fast food over home cooked meals? Or is it drinking soda and not water? Is it all the bread or pasta or pizza or chips? Or is it eating low-fat diets and highly processed carbohydrates? Maybe it's all of these reasons and more. Our goal of Dishing Up Nutrition on this show is to help educate our listeners and more people on how to make healthy choices.


DAR: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. I'm Darlene Kvist, licensed nutritionist and I'm here in studio with Carolyn Hudson, registered and licensed dietitian and Teresa Wagner, registered and licensed dietitian. And we're discussing how to eat fast without eating fast food.

TERESA: Today there are 640 million obese adults. Last week many of you read the article in The New York Times reporting that almost all of the contestants on The Biggest Loser who lost 100 or 200 or even 300 pounds in seven months gained it all back in a short time. Of course, the message was that weight loss diets don't work. People gain their weight back and more, which is a very discouraging message for those people who are battling that obesity battle.

DAR: So, actually, there's more to this story than what was reported. The Biggest Losers followed a very low-calorie, low-fat plan. They were eating about 500 to 800 calories and exercising four to five hours a day. And, of course their metabolism slowed down and it was easy for them to regain the weight. So, with exercise and low calories, again, it was really easy to gain weight. And actually, going through that, it's a little obsessive, but I also think it's a little abusive to people's bodies. I mean, who could do that? So, to maintain and support her metabolism, I mean all the research says that people need to eat five to six times a day. And they need to eat about 2000 to 2400 calories of real food. Plan not to lose more than one pound per week. I mean, that's what the research is showing. You'll have great energy, you'll have good moods, wonderful focus and memory. And everybody wants to lose 30 pounds in 30 days. Everybody says that. But we know that that's not realistic. It's a lifelong plan. It's just not a weight loss plan. It's not a diet. That's different. So, a plan that will give you permanent weight loss is called Nutrition 4 Weight Loss. To lose weight we need to support our metabolism with real food and sufficient nutrients. And nutrition is where you get those nutrients. Our number is 651-699-3438 and you can sign up online at also.

CAROLYN: Well, over the break we've had a couple callers. I think I'll take the caller on line, first.

DAR: Good morning. You have a question for us today?

CALLER: I do, but I actually have a really quick comment about what you guys are talking about, too. So, I've lost 150 pounds. I had weight loss surgery about eight years ago. And a lot of people regain weight after weight loss surgery as well. And our clinic was always pushing. They always told me fat-free, sugar-free everything and I would always fight them and say no to that because I actually took your class. And so, they always would look at me a little weird because I'm like I do the whole milk, I do normal, regular sugar. I mean I can't say I'm totally off sugar, but I tell them I eat real food. I'm not doing sugar-free, fat-free cottage cheese. I'm not doing any of that. I'm just doing normal, real food and it's really helped me. So, I became a fitness instructor and I eat quite a bit, but I've kept 150 pounds off for the last eight years with your diet. Thankfully, I switched from the sugar-free/fat-free, but the thing that I've been left with is I also have PCOS. My weight is good, but something I've been left with is really bad acne and I'm an adult and it's kind of frustrating. And I've gone to dermatologists and they've recommended Accutane and all those super extreme methods. And, what I'm looking for is maybe something in terms of my diet. I’m mostly off of sugar. I do have my flat white in the morning at Starbucks. I'm thinking maybe I should cut that out. I just don't know what it is in my diet that I could change that could possibly clear up my skin, because it's been a problem for maybe three or four years now.

DAR: Well, a couple of things. One thing for sure is I would cut out dairy products. All dairy products. And my guess is probably your skin would clear up. I think I would come in because I've kind of got a couple of other ideas, but they're just kind of on an individual basis for people with acne. And it works for some people and it doesn't work for others and I almost have to sit down with a person to know whether some of these things will work or not. But, I think we could clear up that acne.

CAROLYN: Yeah, the other thing I would say is maybe some bifido bacteria and some other probiotics.

CALLER: Yes, and talking in terms of the dairy, would that include cutting out cheese as well?

DAR:Yes, definitely.

CALLER: That’s the one thing, I eat a lot of dairy.

CAROLYN: It’s worth a try, though.

DAR:The casein that's in dairy, the protein is inflammatory for a lot of people. And acne is an inflammatory condition

CALLER: And that's probably what I didn't want to hear.

DAR:  But you are doing so many great things. Thank you for the call.

CAROLYN:  OK, so we had a couple other callers that didn't want to stay on the line. And so, the first one was about hair loss.

DAR: We talked about hair loss, people needing adequate protein, which is that 14 ounces. So, how do you get that in?

TERESA:Well, you have some at breakfast. And then you have more at lunch. And then you have some more at dinner. And snacks.

CAROLYN:Now, this caller was I believe a little bit older. I wasn't trying to say anything bad about being older. But, what I found is that women, particularly after the age of 50, are just not eating enough protein. And it's like I'm beating them over the head with a stick.

DAR:That's one of the things that they don't realize is that they have to eat protein to keep their bone structure.

CAROLYN: Yeah, bones and everything. Of course, healthy hair, healthy skin, everything is really connected to how much protein we eat. Even our brain needs protein. A lot of people don't realize that. So, I think when we're growing and still like in our 20s, people are eating enough protein many times. But once they hit like 50, for some reason people think magically they don't need protein.

DAR:  So, that's an answer for that client. Was there anything else you wanted to know?

CAROLYN: Yes, there was somebody that wanted to know what brand of GLA.

DAR: Well, I think there's a lot of different brands out there. Our NutriKey brand is great. You can also get a brand of Evening Primrose Oil. That's also another way to get GLA. GLA comes from borage oil or evening primrose oil. You would need about 600 milligrams of borage oil a day to help your hair grow better and your skin to not be so dry.

CAROLYN: That's good. So, let's get back to our script.

DAR: OK. We were talking about if you eat fast food it’s how much, Teresa?

TERESA:  It costs about $26 for maybe the average family of four.

CAROLYN:  But if I cook at home for a family of four and I make like our Muffin Tin Meat Loaf, sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli, and a dessert of fresh strawberries with whipping cream, the costs is like $15.15. Over ten dollars less expensive to cook at home.

DAR: So, we also looked at if you want to cook organic foods at home, well the cost is more than 15 dollars, but not more than 26 dollars, which is actually the cost of eating fast food. So, you can eat for a little less if you buy organic food than if you were eating fast food.

TERESA:  Right. And of course mom and dad have to cook if they're feeding their kids at home. So, that's more work for the parent. And there is the planning, the shopping, and the prep work. But, I believe the benefits of eating quality food outweigh the work. I feel, and I know, that I'm giving my kids the best food for their brain and helping keep their bodies healthy. I'm willing to do the work if I can save ten dollars a meal. If we are at home three times a week, that's 30 dollars a week, or almost 16 hundred dollars in a year. That's money that we can put toward a family vacation or doing something fun.

DAR: That's a lot of money. In our class, Eating Fast Without Fast Food, we show a really shocking graphic of a number of calories in a serving of french fries to help people understand why 80 percent of the population has weight problems today. For example, back in 1963, when I was in college, I can remember this very clearly. Fast food restaurants were just really getting started locally. There was only a small size of french fries. It had 220 calories and you would not think of eating more than one small serving. That was men and women. One small serving of french fries. And you'd never would order two.

TERESA: Yea, then in the 1970s, the serving size got larger and had 320 calories. Still not too bad for the waistline.

CAROLYN:Yeah, but in 1990 the size went up and it was 380 calories per serving. And of course people ate the whole thing.

DAR:   So, we get to the year 2005 and everything was super-sized. So, an order of french fries got bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and had 510 calories. And, again, people ate the whole serving. Almost 300 calories more than a serving from the 1960s.

CAROLYN: Wow. Well would you believe it is time for a break number three already.


CAROLYN: Well, before we went to break we were talking about french fries. So, let's get back to that topic. The fat that the fast food restaurants use to fry those French fries. That changed somewhere in the 60s. Most fast food restaurant used fat that could withstand those really high heats. And then in the 90s they switched to more of a vegetable fat that is easily damaged with high heat.

TERESA:  A research study we quote in several of our classes, I believe helps us understand a health risk of eating french fries that most people are not aware of.

DAR:  I found it to be rather shocking every time we read it.

CAROLYN:  It's shocking, yes. Here's the research: It was reported in the International Journal of Cancer, February 2006. Researchers found that little girls ages 3 to 5 who ate french fries once a week had a 27 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer as adults.

DAR: And if they ate french fries twice a week, the risk factors went up to a 54 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer as an adult. Amazing.

TERESA:  Yeah, and I have a 4-year-old girl, so that study really hit home. I know that fast food is convenient, especially for families with little ones, like I have, but again, I believe the risk outweighs the convenience. At home, cook up a bunch of little red potatoes, put a toothpick in them, and let your kids dip it in butter. Or they could try dipping the potatoes in hummus, or even an avocado dip, where you just mash up some banana and mix some mayo with it and let the kids dip those potatoes in there.

CAROLYN: Sour cream, too. You could do full fat sour cream. What a great idea, Teresa. I bet they don't even miss french fries.

TERESA:   Right. And little red potatoes are so inexpensive and I buy organic, so they don't use any at any pesticides on them.

DAR:  So, I think that's a really important point, Teresa. You really need to buy organic potatoes these days because they have a lot of pesticides. So many of the convenience type foods are made with factory fats. We call them manufactured fats. And if you look on the label, it will say partially-hydrogenated soybean oil or partially-hydrogenated corn oil or vegetable oil. These are all toxic fats in the foods we often feed our kids because they're so convenient.

CAROLYN: Yeah. Well, we've got a couple of callers on line. So, here we've got Lynn on the line. Good morning, Lynn.

CALLER:  Oh, hi. I just have a quick question, if you could recommend this or your supplements or dietary changes or anything for a sluggish or nonexistent thyroid.

DAR:  Well, you still have your thyroid, right?

CALLER: Yeah, I do. It's been stable for 30 years I've had hypothyroidism. Not Hashimoto's is at least what they told me. But, now pre-menopause, it’s starting to fall apart.

DAR:  So, I think a couple of things. There's many things, frankly. Again, I think it would be best to come in for a consultation, because when you're looking at thyroid function, there are many, many things. But a couple of the easy ones is you have to have enough zinc because the thyroid needs zinc. So, probably about 50 milligrams, I think. And we know we get zinc from meat. So, again, eating sufficient amount of protein is important. I think another mineral, selenium helps the T4 to be utilized by T3, which is the active part of your thyroid. So, you need some selenium. But then, when you're looking at peri-menopause or menopause, you look at your body probably has too much estrogen. So, it's looking at how to get rid of some of that estrogen and that's where I think it would make sense to make an appointment because I think we could probably get your thyroid working better. We could try for sure. And sometimes I make recommendations that maybe you need a different type of thyroid medication.

CALLER: That's what I'm trying to decide, too.

DAR: So, come on in and see one of us because that would be a good solution so you can feel better.

CALLER:  Thank you so much.

DAR:  OK, thank you. Thyroids are complicated.

CAROLYN: They are. And then throw in perimenopause on top of it. So, our next caller is Julie. Good morning, Julie. You have a question for us?

CALLER:   I do, indeed. First, I'd like to say that about a year ago I came in with horrible acid reflux and worked with Joann, and just steered around my doctors trying to shove Prevacid and everything else down my throat. It was life changing. So, I do eat the Weight & Wellness way and love it and have referred a lot of people to you. It's wonderful, really. My question, though, is I’m eating more protein now than I had before, and I’m wondering if that could be causing some constipation. Too much protein?

DAR:  Not too much, but you probably are missing something to help break protein down. You might try something that’s a digestive enzyme, that is called Ortho Digestzyme, and maybe just one with each meal. It has something that's called hydrochloric acid in it, just a little bit, and it helps you to digest meat a little bit. So, it's something to try at least. I'm sure that that's probably is what's happening, but I'm glad Joann fixed you up.

CALLER:  Oh, she did. She’s wonderful!

CAROLYN:  We love those success stories.

DAR:  Thanks for the call.

CAROLYN: Well, chicken nuggets. That's another one that kind of falls into that bad, toxic fat category. But we have a really great, simple recipe for chicken nuggets in our Weight & Wellness Cookbook. So, no bad, toxic fats. And they are absolutely delicious. I love getting ground chicken or turkey at my co-op. I like to use ground meat that has both dark and light meat. It gives it more moisture and much more flavor.

TERESA:  And I love to have my kids snack on vegetables and not on dry cereal. I think it's pretty common that people will throw a handful of Cheerios on the tray of their kid’s highchair. Another simple thing that you could do is just throw some frozen peas or even some thawed peas. My daughter happens to like them straight out of the freezer. Just something that's kind of crunchy for them to snack on that's not cereal. And another thing you can try is just putting toothpicks in your veggies. Put a toothpick in a cherry tomato or a toothpick and a sugar sappy or a slice of cucumber and then let them dunk them in those sauces that we had talked about earlier. And then also buying carrots with the green tops is kind of fun, too. You can say they’re like a rabbit. They taste better, too.

DAR:  I want to thank you for listening to Dishing Up Nutrition today. Our goal at Nutritional Weight & Wellness is to help each and every person to experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple, but powerful message: eating real food is life-changing. 

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