Eat Your Way to Health

January 12, 2020

Listen in to learn how the foods we eat make a big difference in fighting chronic illnesses or conditions. Whether it’s high cholesterol, joint pain, high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, muscle aches or pains – it’s all tied back to the food choices we make.

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MELANIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I have a couple of questions to ask you right off the bat. Are you living with a chronic health condition or are you taking care of someone who has a chronic health problem? If you have a chronic medical condition, you're not alone because at least 60% of us have one or more chronic health problems. And when I said us, I was including myself because I too have dealt with chronic health problems and I use food and nutrition to help manage these health issues. I'm Melanie Beasley. I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietician and I've been helping clients for more than 30 years. Currently, many of my clients have at least one of these chronic health problems and autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, type-two diabetes and osteoporosis. I also have numerous clients who have ongoing depression and anxiety. Now, for those of you who don't know me or know my story I have dealt with a diagnosis of breast cancer 15 years ago and that was about two weeks after I had back surgery. So a few months after that I was diagnosed with multiple food allergies. My body was and is sensitive to dairy products, gluten, corn, wheat, chocolate, Brazil nuts, and a host of other ones. So with this multiple food allergy diagnosis, eating any, any of these foods inflames my body and stresses my immune system. That being said, it was a no brainer for me to stop eating these foods as soon as I was diagnosed. I mean, I was desperate for relief. And in this whirlwind of multiple health issues, the good news is with some drastic changes to my diet and some key supplements, I was able to get off three prescription medications. So I guess you could say I know quite a bit about chronic health problems. I also know that what I eat or what I don't eat makes a big difference in how well I manage my health and my pain. Teresa Wagner's joining us this morning. Good morning Teresa.

TERESA: Good morning.

MELANIE: And as our co-host, Teresa's also a Registered and Licensed Dietitian.

TERESA: Yes. And while I certainly can't compare what I was going through or what, what I was kind of dealing within the last couple of years to Melanie's story as far as seriousness, I have also had to learn to manage, well more of a digestive issue that would leave me bloated after eating most meals. It was frustrating because seemingly the healthier I ate, the more bloated I would get. And really when you're eating well, you shouldn't be uncomfortable after you're eating. That's a sign that something's not going quite right.

MELANIE: That's not our normal.

TERESA: No, no. So after much research and then appropriate food and lifestyle approaches, the issue has actually been resolved and I can eat most anything again. But like Melanie just said, the correct choices of the foods I ate made a difference in how well I manage that bloating and then how I got over that situation.

MELANIE: Because you know I have little saying, which is “Joy is great; peace is wonderful. But when you're in pain, relief is everything”. So having that relief is just a, it's such a great gift.

TERESA: It is. Yes. And you don't think about those things either. I mean generally you don't think about, you shouldn't think about how you're feeling afterwards.

MELANIE: You should just go about your day and feel energized and be fueled, right? Well, if you've been listening to Dishing Up Nutrition for a few years, you're well aware that you can, you can use food to help manage any chronic health condition, really. My clients often report that after being on real food eating plan, their cholesterol numbers go back into normal range. Their joint pain eases. Their blood pressure drops. Their diabetic numbers improve and their muscle aches and pains go away. The bottom line is this real food eating plan can, it can work miracles. At Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we always say… what do we say? Food matters.

TERESA: Food matters.

MELANIE: But sadly, I think many people pay attention to what they eat and how it is… they don't pay attention to what they're eating and how it affects not only their body, but their brain.

TERESA: Right. And I have found that when I work with clients, if their knee pain goes away after they stop eating sugar and processed carbs, they will usually give up those sweet treats or those things that cause that pain. They quickly learn that only a few bites of a muffin or their favorite cookies will cause that knee pain to return. This gives them a really strong reminder that eating sugar hurts them. I mean, it's a physical hurt. They can, they can feel it. They eat it and they feel it. And although sugar is sweet and yummy, it is not their friend. What I find rather interesting, though, is that somehow many people with diabetes or prediabetes don't connect how processed carbs and sugar… so foods that come from bags or boxes or those, the center aisles of the grocery store, how those process carbs and sugar affect their blood sugar numbers or their A1C levels. Sugar is still hurting their body, but it's a different kind of hurt. It's a slow breakdown of their body and their brain. If a client eats a muffin and they get knee pain, they get that immediate feedback. But if that muffin pops up their blood sugar to 140, 160 or even 200, people are not aware of the damage being done to the kidneys and their heart because they don't feel it. You don't feel high blood sugar like you feel knee pain.

MELANIE: You know it's really like the frog in the pot that you put on the stove and you heat it very slowly. The frog has no realization that there he's being, he's being killed slowly. And that's sort of our situation as we eat and we incorporate these foods. At present, over a hundred million people have prediabetes. They'd been told over and over that the leading cause of type-two diabetes is eating excess sugar and flour. But they continue to choose muffins and bread over meat, vegetables, and good fat. You know, Teresa, as I was reading the book, The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes, I found a little excerpt that I thought was appropriate for this topic. And he says, “As we become ever more insulin resistant and glucose intolerant, as our blood sugar gets higher along with our insulin levels, as our blood pressure elevates and we get fatter, we are more likely to be diagnosed as diabetic and manifest the diseases and conditions that associate with diabetes. These include not just heart disease but gout, cancer, Alzheimer’s and a cluster of Western diseases. But all the conditions typically perceived as complications of diabetes such as vascular disease, lead to strokes, dementia and kidney disease, retinopathy, Linus cataracts, plaque deposits, and the arteries of the heart leading to heart attacks or the legs and feet leading to amputations or neuropathy. All of these are connected to how much sugar we’re eating.”

TERESA: Yeah, and you think: sugar it's just so innocent. It's so sweet and simple.

MELANIE: And delicious.

TERESA: Yes. Yeah. It's so true that we continue to choose these processed foods over meats, vegetables, and good fats. And it's very unfortunate that these kinds of foods, those processed foods are so addicting to most of us; maybe not everybody, but I would say the good majority of us. As humans, we seem hardwired to pick sugar-ladened foods over vegetables. And of course the food manufacturers are keenly aware that a product will sell better when sugar is added to it. So for example, think of pickles, even pickles that don't taste sweet. If you go to the grocery store and you just kind of pick up a jar of any major brand of pickles, you'll usually find sugar or high fructose corn syrup in the label.

MELANIE: Isn't that crazy?

TERESA: Yeah, it's crazy because this isn't a sweet food. So it makes you wonder, “Is this how we build brand loyalty?” Is it that there is just enough sugar? Maybe we don't taste it, but there's just enough sugar there to tickle our brain.

MELANIE: Because we know it's so addictive.

TERESA: And there are other foods like that too. I mean, just go through the aisles. We have spaghetti sauce or peanut butter, you know, those, those hidden sugars that over time it all builds up.

MELANIE: And people will say, “Well it doesn't taste that delicious” to switch to these brands that don't have sugar in them. And I'm like, “If you give your palate two to three weeks, you'll switch over and you don't have those addicted taste buds.” So there are so many books and excerpts telling people how to eat their way back to better health, but there are also a lot of mixed messages with unrealistic expectations. So often people will say, “If the experts can't agree, I'll just eat whatever I want.” Right? Most likely it's something high in sugar. It's a cop-out really.

TERESA: Really. And it's just a really nice excuse for us to eat really whatever we want, right? Well the experts can't agree. So why don't we just have the sugar?

MELANIE: Yeah. It's a justification honestly that we can just eat whatever we want to eat because if they can't agree, I'll just whistle past the graveyard.

TERESA: Yes. Well you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you have type-two diabetes, cholesterol issues, heart disease or cancer and you currently eat the Standard American Diet, the SAD diet, we recommend upgrading your food choices. It begins with the belief that you are worth it. You are worth eating better to better your health.


MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Each day I focus on eating my way back to better health. Some of you may be wondering “How did I do that?” I cook for myself. That's how. I mean brain blown, right? I mean cooking. It's a new concept in our busy world, but today I want to share one of my favorite real food recipes: Hamburger Soup. I make a batch of this healthy soup at least twice a month. I use grass-fed ground beef, a variety of veggies that I like or have left over like zucchini, carrots, celery, onion and diced tomatoes, and I use organic butter for the healthy fat. You can find the Hamburger Soup recipe on our website that I use, and I put a little dash of hot sauce in mine because I like things a little spicy. You can find it on our website, or you can call 651-699-3438 and we can email you or mail a copy to you.

TERESA: So before going to break, we were talking about how even the nutrition experts can't seem to agree on what we should eat. I like what Dr. Mark Hyman says about why there seems to be such a disconnect about what people should eat. He said, “Sometimes I wonder if there's anything more confusing for people than deciding what to eat. One day we're told to avoid carbs. Another day it's animal products of all kinds. And the list goes on and on. Meanwhile, we're bombarded by food-like substances overflowing with sugar and chemicals in every market aisle and checkout lane we pass through.”

MELANIE: One thing all nutrition experts agree on is we should eat more vegetables.

TERESA: That's nice. At least we have common ground on something.

MELANIE: We have common ground. Vegetables are really our powerhouse of for our immunity. And I do think a large portion of the U.S. population is aware that we should eat vegetables. They have vegetable guilt when I talk to them about how much vegetables they do not eat, so they know it. They know the information because vegetables help us lose weight. They're cancer preventative. They support our cardiovascular systems, heart and blood vessels. However, according to the CDC, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, only one in 10 Americans ate the recommended one and a half to two servings of fruit and two to three cups of vegetables daily. At Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we recommend: eat five to nine cups of vegetables every day; right? You hear us, I mean, I say “five is fine, nine is divine”. I don't know where I got that, but I eat at least five cups of vegetables every day. And when I get less than that, I have vegetable guilt because I need those antioxidants to help prevent any chance of return of cancer. I have a very firm mindset, Teresa, that my body needs at least five cups of vegetables every day.

TERESA: Right. And it's, I think with vegetables too, it's, most people say that they like them, but it's, you just have to plan it. You have to figure out how this is going to happen because five to nine servings of vegetables doesn't happen by accident. This is something that we have to figure out, well how are we going to get that in at breakfast, lunch and dinner? And then maybe snacks too in order to get that amount of vegetables because it's a lot.

MELANIE: I think many people get to the end of their day and think, “Oh my goodness, I have not eaten a single vegetable.”

TERESA: I mean I've had that day.

MELANIE: Absolutely.

TERESA: You know it happens. The CDC recognizes that education about the benefits of eating vegetables is important, but it isn't enough to get people to take action and eat more vegetables. Our clients often share this with us and this is kind of what we were talking about. “I know what I should be doing. I just don't do it.” They are still working on developing the mindset that eating their vegetables is one thing they do to prevent or control a chronic health condition. And it's challenging to do. It's more work than opening a box of crackers or popping a bag of popcorn in the microwave. And we don't get that quick feedback that we like, you know, I think we like this idea that we do something and we get that immediate response. I ate the vegetables so now I'm thin and disease-free. Well that's not really how it works. Chronic illness and weight gain: they develop over time.


TERESA: And prevention works the same way. It's over time. So, prevention of chronic illness or weight loss happens when we eat five to nine servings of vegetables every day over a period of time.

MELANIE: It's not just about that scale. And you know, incorporating vegetables can be something as simple as… I use vegetables for my ice cubes in my smoothie; frozen vegetables.


MELANIE: Like frozen cauliflower, frozen broccoli. You know, the first time you do it, you kind of put one in and then tentatively try your smoothie and you realize, “Oh my goodness you, you really can't taste it.”


MELANIE: So that's my, that's my ice cubes for my smoothie are vegetables; helps.


MELANIE: I'm sneaking them in.

TERESA: Yeah. Every little bit helps.

MELANIE: Yeah. When working with my clients, I am so delighted to find that more and more of them are choosing foods that will support their health and avoid the processed foods. I personally developed a desire to eat healthy because again, I don't want to return to the place where I was before where I was so ill. It motivates me. I had to develop the desire to eat for my health and not what the food manufacturers were trying to entice me to eat. Here's a statement that was in a recent sugar industry speech at a symposium run by the American Sugar Alliance. To discount the message, “eat less sugar,” the speaker said “the fact that sugar comes from a plant is a positive thought for consumers currently.” He also went on to say the term “real” and “pure” create a positive association in consumer's minds. “The key message should be that sugar comes from a plant like sugar beets or sugar cane. It's grown on a farm and it's minimally processed.” For us in the know and I think anybody who's had any level of common sense, that statement is a sad joke. Dr. Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics is always digging up how food manufacturers slant the message of their products in their marketing to try to get us to buy more. I mean, they're in the business of making money. The truth is biochemically sugar feeds cancer and because I personally know that fact, I avoid sugary treats. In fact, the British Medical Journal published an article July 10th, 2019 that states, “Sugar drinks including 100% fruit juice, increase your risk for cancer.”

TERESA: Did you notice that the weeks before Christmas, so we're not too far out of that: the Christmas hangover, that all the major newspapers had pages upon pages of cookie recipes? They were encouraging families and friends to get together and do a cookie exchange. And while I'm not much of a baker, so it's pretty easy for me not to get into that, like that idea of the cookie exchange…

MELANIE: …doesn't entice you.

TERESA: Not really, but you know, I mean, and I really don't want my kids to have all that sugar either. And mostly it's because they get it everywhere else they go, so I don't need to have it actually in our house. However, with the emphasis on baking cookies, I almost felt guilty because I wasn't baking cookies with my kids; like I wasn't creating those traditions of the holidays; that I was seemingly not making those magical holiday memories. But in the end, my desire to feed my kids good food, at least in my home, was successfully achieved. I bet many of you still have tins of Christmas cookies stashed in your garage to have on hand for, for guests, right?

MELANIE: Well Teresa, you could always establish the tradition of, you know, the “Christmas Protein Chia Pudding”.

TERESA: I'm not sure how that one would go over. I guess try it and see.

MELANIE: Give it a shot.

TERESA: So those cookies might be around for, like I said, your guests or perhaps for you for a quick sugar fix. As a registered dietician, I have read the research about the harmful effects of sugar and I want to share a quick study when we come back from break. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. When I think of eating your way to better health, I think of my three young children. I know they need protein for breakfast for good brain health and focus. So when we come back I'll also share a few ideas to get your kid's day off to a great start.


MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I'm so serious about eating my way back to health and so passionate about teaching others to get on the healthy bandwagon. What if eating your way back to health reduced your risk of bladder cancer or prostate cancer? What if eating your way back to health reduced your risk of having a heart attack? What if you decided to learn more? And you could learn more by taking a class, booking a nutrition appointment, listening to another show or podcast or getting the Weight and Wellness cookbook. We are on a mission to get you on the eating your way back to health bandwagon with us.

TERESA: Yes. And part of that eating your way back to better health is starting out your day with a good breakfast. And I was talking about how I think it's important for my kids to start their day with protein and fat for good brain health and focus. So one of the things that I often make with my kids is scrambled eggs. And when I make scrambled eggs for my kids, I like to put a fair amount of butter in it to up that healthy fat. And then along with that I pair it along with some carbohydrate of some sort. And I tend to go with fruit most often because my kids just like that a little bit better in the morning. But if your kids are game or if you’re game, or if you want to try and experiment, try sticking to a game to try more vegetables in the morning. Try sticking a toothpick in bite-sized pieces of cherry tomatoes, cucumber, sugar, snap peas or any vegetable you have on hand.

MELANIE: They love that.

TERESA: Yeah, and with kids it's just kind of fun to see how that presentation sparks their interest. They try more vegetables and they eat more vegetables when it's, when it's presented that way.


TERESA: Another idea is to make deviled eggs. Some kids really love deviled eggs and if you use an avocado oil based mayo, then you also have that healthy fat that's, that's included in that mayo. Or you can think outside the typical breakfast idea and make your own chicken nuggets and bread them with almond flour, and maybe you make this for dinner the night before and you make enough so you have leftovers so that in the morning you can either reheat those chicken nuggets and have those for breakfast as the protein. So some of you might be thinking, “Well, what about cereal?” And generally we don't recommend cereal. That's not, that's not generally what we recommend because so many cereals are full of sugar and they have food dyes in them, both of which are harmful to the health of our brains. If your kids like their breakfast on the sweeter side, try banana egg pancakes.


TERESA: All you do is just smash a small banana, stir in two or three beaten eggs, add a touch of real maple syrup, a sprinkle of cinnamon and mix it all together. And why I say add that maple syrup… if your kids are used to a sweeter breakfast like Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Puffs or any of those kinds of things, transitioning to this might be a little bit more difficult so we can add that real maple syrup and then eventually maybe pull it out or reduce the amount that we use. In any case, you mix it all together and then you fry it up like you would a typical pancake. The batter is a little looser than pancakes with flour are, but it still works the same. I personally in the pan, I use coconut oil because it has that sweeter flavor to it. But butter would work just fine.

MELANIE: And those stay in your refrigerator for a while if you make a batch.

TERESA: Yup. And then I like to heat them up in the toaster so they're a little bit crispier but when they're fresh, they are pretty, you know, like a pancake. So I have some clients that'll spread some natural peanut butter on them and kind of roll them up and eat them like that.


TERESA: That higher protein, higher fat breakfast will hold your kids or you till lunch so that you can focus on your work or their school work; and not be thinking about how hungry they are. So what are you eating for breakfast or what are you feeding your children? Maybe that's something to think about. Maybe changing up your breakfast is the first step in eating your way to better health. And you know, we were talking about sugar and how I was feeling a little guilty about not, you know, having that holiday tradition of baking cookies with the kids. But one study that helps to relieve some of that guilt is a study found in the New England Journal of Medicine that was published in 2013. This study found that even a slight elevation in blood sugar far below the diabetes range has been shown to significantly increase the risk for the development of dementia, and I think we all can agree that maintaining our memory is a really important thing.

MELANIE: You know, Teresa, when I was a kid, you just didn't have people that had Alzheimer's. You just didn't know people that had Alzheimer's. It's just on the rise so dramatically and you have to say, “What is the connection”? In our Weight and Wellness classes, we teach over and over that blood sugar levels reflect your dietary choices. If you choose a white chocolate mocha or caramel macchiato, which is loaded with sugar, it'll make your blood sugar go sky high. When you eat too many refined carbs and sugar, you will have a hard time controlling your blood sugar. That's just a fact. High blood sugar levels lead to type-two diabetes, kidney failure, heart disease. Is that fancy latte really worth all of that pain and suffering? The American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons of sugar for women daily and nine teaspoons of sugar for men. Who do you believe; the food manufacturers that are trying to sell their sugar-ladened products? Or the research about the stress sugar puts on our bodies and brains? I go with the research both personally and professionally.

TERESA: We have to ask ourselves, “Am I eating my way to health or to health problems?” Think back to the sixties, the 1970s and the 1980s when we were told to eat a low-fat diet. Since then, what have researchers found about how well you think so your brain function and how well you remember, your memory, when you follow that low-fat diet. In 2013 a study was published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. And it found that when people added more fat by eating nuts and cooking their vegetables in olive oil, that they had better brain function than people who ate a low-fat diet.

MELANIE: A simple change, right? Sadly disease prevention through eating better doesn't have the same charm as taking a pharmaceutical drug. I mean that's so easy. We see commercial after commercial for the latest magical drug and we see very few TV commercials for broccoli or spinach or sweet potatoes.

TERESA: So who do you think has the money? You think it's the farmers?

MELANIE: No. Yes, it is more work buying real food. It is more work. And cooking real food is more work. It does take more time than taking a pill, but the upside is there are no negative side effects to eating real food, and it really is not more expensive. So many people say, “Why should I change my eating when I can just pop a pill?” Well, here's a good reason why you should change your eating: Three generations of people have been eating the Standard American Diet, which is high in calories, deficient in nutrients and overloaded with sugar and bad fats. And it's wreaking havoc on so many of us. Teresa and I have already shared some of those negative side effects that many people from these three generations are experiencing as a result of eating this SAD diet: Standard American Diet. We will continue to do so throughout today’s show.

TERESA: When I think about eating my way to better health, I consider the ways I can eat to stop or reduce inflammation. There are actually two types of inflammation. If we get a bug bite or we scrape our knee, we expect inflammation. To heal that bite or scrape, there is an immune response in that area, which is good, but when the inflammation serves no purpose and it's deep within our body or our brain, we can develop diseases such as cancer, depression, asthma, arthritis, MS, Alzheimer's disease and heart disease.

MELANIE: You know, not to mention what it does to our moods.

TERESA: Right.

MELANIE: You know that inflammation can, can be in the form of stress. It can… some of my, the veterans that I see can trigger PTSD reactions. Having that blood sugar balance is kind of key. When you have an ongoing inflammation in your brain, you may experience memory loss, dementia, anxiety, and depression. The problem that occurs with brain inflammation is you can't see it, but researchers have clearly demonstrated that brain inflammation leads to Alzheimer's disease. How do you stop inflammation you can't see? It all goes back to eating those high-sugar processed foods. Elevated blood sugar creates inflammation in the bloodstream and poor blood sugar control. So eating too many of these high-sugar processed brownies and cupcakes at your upcoming Superbowl party can lead to inflammation in your body and your brain. In fact, research published in the New England Journal of Medicine January 2014 called Alzheimer's disease “type-three diabetes”.

TERESA: As Melanie just mentioned, we have three generations of people in the U.S. eating the Standard American Diet of processed foods, high in sugar and bad factory fats. And as a result, there has been an increase by 145% in deaths from Alzheimer's disease between 2000 and 2017.

MELANIE: Between 2010 and 2020, it is expected that that new cancer cases in the United States will increase by 24% for men and 21% for women. That's pretty devastating.

TERESA: That is pretty devastating.

MELANIE: Having people come in with a cancer diagnosis… they see me and we get them started. The very, very first thing that I do is put them on real food and take them off sugar.

TERESA: Right.

MELANIE: And sometimes when you're in the emotional upheaval of having that diagnosis, you reach for comfort foods. Well, those comfort foods from your childhood are generally cereal, ice cream, cookies, and chocolate: all of those ladened with sugar. Even I think people don't realize that chips convert rapidly into that sugar and create that inflammation which then feeds the cancer and feeds that rest of the inflammation in our body. So I like to think of inflammation kind of like a little army that we need to fight with the tools which is real food nutrition.

TERESA: You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Beginning this week we are offering our Nutrition for Weight Loss program at all seven of our locations, and also online so you can take it at any time. The Nutrition for Weight Loss program consists of 12 weekly classes and two one-hour personal nutrition consultations with either a dietitian or a nutritionist. When we come back from break, Melanie will give you more details about our Nutrition for Weight Loss program.


MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Maybe your grandparents were not able to eat well or maybe your parents were in that generation of processed food eaters. But despite that you can choose to eat your way to better health and ultimately have a positive effect on the health of your grandchildren. You can start by signing up this week for the Nutrition for Weight Loss program and schedule your two nutrition consultations with a dietician or nutritionist. Do this program that teaches you eating your way to better health starts with eating real food in balance. Sign up today either online at or call (651) 699-3438.

TERESA: And Mel, you know what I love about these classes and really all the classes that we teach is that the message is consistent. It's “eat real food in balance” and good health follows. And there's not necessarily a specific diet for each condition. For the most part it's about the same thing: eating that real food.

MELANIE: It is. And I have clients that come in who've done the Nutrition for Weight Loss online; that they want that classroom experience. They enjoyed it. They got the basics down. But repeating it in the classroom situation where you have sort of the energy of the class and you get ideas from other class members; they do very, very well doing it that way: repeating it in classroom, so…

TERESA: Yeah. Yup, I've heard the same thing. Well, here's a rather alarming statement. According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of all adults in the U.S. have cardiovascular disease. That's half. So look at the person next to you. Chances are they have cardiovascular disease. Diagnoses of cardiovascular disease is happening at younger ages than it, than it has in the past. That fatty buildup that's in the blood vessels can start actually in childhood. And you hear people say, “Oh, they're young. They don't need to worry about it.” And while I don't expect kids to have perfect diets or anyone for that matter, this idea that eating a high sugar, nutrient-poor diet when you were a kid or a young adult, that it's okay. It's not okay. And I would say things are different now. It's not just the home-baked cookies that you got every once in a while from grandma or your mom used to bake.

MELANIE: …who used real butter and lard.

TERESA: Right; real ingredients. But second of all, it's everywhere kids go. And while they like it, it's not special because special implies that it's something different than the usual. And daily sweets are in kids' diets are the norm. I mean, it's every day everywhere. A treat is necessary for every function we go to. It's just, it's getting to be a problem. So I can see why these diagnoses of cardiovascular disease are increasing because we know that high sugar increases inflammation in the body, which can be in the blood vessels and inflammation not only is the root cause of cardiovascular disease, but almost every disease.

MELANIE: Absolutely. You know, it's also, if you are going, your children go out into the world and you can't control what they're eating in the classroom, what they're eating at a person's sleepover. But you know, it's, back in the day, they used to only give bank tellers real cash to handle. Years ago, they only gave them real cash to handle because the thought was if they got counterfeit, they would recognize it because they'd only been handling the real thing and that's kind of the philosophy raising a child that I try to get parents is if you always give them real food: healthy food; and you have that treat now and then, but when they go out into the world, they're going to come and they're eating the junk. They'll come home; like my kids would come home after sleepover and say, “Can you make me a green smoothie?” I mean who says that at the age of 14? But they recognize that real food made them feel better because that's what I gave them all the time.

TERESA: I like that idea of counterfeit food.

MELANIE: Counterfeit food; “Franken-food”, right? As a dietician reflecting on the upsurge in all major health issues, we really, really need to help more people develop the attitude of wellness, which is fuel your body with real food. To decrease the rate of chronic disease, you really need to shift what we're eating. A simple solution is to eat real food. That's it. As Michael Pollan said, “Eat real food, which is vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish and meat, and avoid edible food-like substances.” You know, I had a client who was so diligent. She ate really healthy. She's in her sixties. She's been in great health. And her lipid panel, her cholesterol or LDL triglycerides and her good cholesterol: the HDL, were always on point: really good. Well I saw her this week and she came back and she had an episode with cookie making. So her family all wanted her to make her usual cookies.

TERESA: She got pulled in by those, those recipes. Yes, the idea of tradition.

MELANIE: So she, and she could taste them. She's always had a problem with being able to taste things but she could taste these cookies. So she indulged in those cookies probably from Thanksgiving way through the New Year. I saw her this week. She had gained nine pounds. She had just had her lipid panel done. And in that short period of time, her cholesterol, her bad cholesterol, the LDL had really risen. Her triglycerides had really risen. Her blood pressure went up and she felt lousy; her aches and pains and she had gained, Teresa, nine pounds.

TERESA: Yeah, unbelievable.

 MELANIE: Cookie splurge. So I said, “You need to get a sign that says “store-bought cookie grandmas are loved just as much as homemade cookie grandmas.” And give it away. You know, we start over.


MELANIE: And I know that we can correct that, but some damage has been done and you can't, you can't always undo a hundred percent of the damage that's done with years of eating this way.

TERESA: And you know what's interesting about that is that we're talking about cookies so we're talking about something sweet, where I think sometimes people are like, you know, “Wouldn't it be the eggs, the red meat, the bacon, the lard?

MELANIE: That's what she thought.

TERESA: …the butter, you know, wouldn't that be the thing that would raise our cholesterol? But when we talk about sugar being inflammatory and inflammatory to our blood vessels, well cholesterol is actually anti-inflammatory.


TERESA: And that's why we have high cholesterol when we eat high sugar foods.

MELANIE: That's so true. And unfortunately a lot of the medical community is not up on that research, so I just had to calm her down and say, “Remember, you were eating the healthy fats. You're eating the animal fats and your cholesterol was good. It was when we went to processed food when you lost your momentum and you lost your traction here.”

TERESA: Right. And I think while it makes logical sense that eating cholesterol would cause you to have high cholesterol, that's not biological.

MELANIE: It's not biological. That's just not the biochemistry of our bodies. It's not how it works. And we need that cholesterol to actually make the good cholesterol, HDL.


MELANIE: “The good guys” quote unquote.

TERESA: Right. And I had a client yesterday too that I was talking with and she has been doing everything well over this last year. She's kind of been on this, this, “I'm going to focus 2019 is her year.” And she stuck with it and she made her goal of the amount of weight she wanted to lose within the year; not her goal weight yet, but the amount of weight she wanted to lose in the year. She had her lipid panel done or she went to the doctor, and all the numbers trending in the right direction; HDL up, triglycerides down; blood sugar in the normal range. A1C is coming down into the normal range. So real food, eating real food does eat yourself to better health, right?

MELANIE: Science works.

TERESA: It sounds simple, but eating real food is a new concept for many people. At Nutritional Weight and Wellness we believe that for most people it takes practical education, motivation, and a desire to eat your way to better health. Our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you for listening and have a wonderful day.

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