Mindful Eating During the Holidays

December 22, 2019

Today we will be sharing our thoughts and ideas on how to stay mindful of your goals and your personal health plan during the holidays. Hopefully, we can help you say, “no” to the fudge, the Christmas cookies and the bars on this final stretch to the New Year and say, “yes” to the food that makes you feel alive and full of energy.

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TERESA: Hello everyone and welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. I am Teresa Wagner. I am a Registered and Licensed Dietitian who works for Nutritional Weight & Wellness. And I work individually with many clients, either in person, by phone or via Skype. Today we will be sharing our thoughts and ideas on how to stay mindful of your goals and your personal health plan during the holidays. Many of you have made it this far in the holiday season successfully avoiding the high sugar treats that are in abundance everywhere you go. Hopefully we can help you say no to the fudge, the Christmas cookies and the bars on this final stretch into the new year; and say yes to the food that makes you feel alive and full of energy. Joining us today as the co-host is Britni Vincent, who is also a Registered and Licensed Dietician. Some of you may recall from an earlier Dishing Up Nutrition show that Britni is expecting her first baby in… how many months Britni?


BRITNI: Two months.


TERESA: Two months! It's so soon.


BRITNI:  It is so soon. It's crazy.


TERESA: You can be sure that Britni is very mindful of her food choices, especially now during the holidays.


BRITNI: Good morning everyone. Yes, I have been very mindful because I know that eating fudge is probably going to make my blood sugar crash; especially being pregnant, my blood sugar is more sensitive. So that leaves me feeling light-headed, maybe foggy, you know, the Christmas cookies with the gluten makes me bloated, constipated; sometimes might even trigger a migraine.


TERESA: Oh, that sounds lovely.


BRITNI: Right? No kidding. So knowing those things, it's easier for me to just say, “No thank you”. And when you develop the mindset that food you eat should give you energy and a sense of well-being, then making those correct choices for your body is a lot easier. And you know, I had this conversation with the client a couple of days ago. And she used to have the mindset that sugar is poison and that's what she would say to herself when she saw sugar. But sugar snuck back into her life and she was telling me she really needs to go back to that mindset because then it was just so much easier to say no.


TERESA: Right. It's just off the table. We don’t eat poison. We don't eat sugar. When I teach the Nutrition 4 Weight Loss classes, I often hear this: “How can I stay on a healthy eating plan through the holidays? I am faced with Christmas cookies at work, when I'm out shopping and even after church.” I mean, I know when we got our Christmas tree, there were cookies and hot apple cider. At church, there's always something, you know, in between services. It's everywhere and they, you know, it's, it's as if the treats are talking to you, right? It's, you know, “Come on, try me, try me.” Or “It's the holidays. It's okay. We’ll worry about it next year.” Right; in the new year with those resolutions. But then they also say, “I know if I just eat one, then I want another and then another and another and my body will start to ache. And inevitably weight gain will happen.”


BRITNI: Yes. Because most of us just cannot stick to one.




BRITNI: That’s the reality. And this time of year, some of my clients like a hard challenge. And so they'll challenge themselves and make an agreement with themselves. And if they can make it through the holidays eating real food, avoiding the flour and the sugar, then they'll treat themselves to a new top or a massage or a pedicure. So they're actually using their intelligence to control their own eating behavior. And maybe they're going by that Benjamin Franklin quote, “Eat to live. Don't live to eat.”


TERESA: That's a great quote.


BRITNI: That is a great one. Whatever the reason, they know themselves and they've made that commitment to themselves. They're making their body a priority.

And you know, I've made that commitment myself this holiday season because I don't want I body, my baby to be born with insulin resistance. But you know, it doesn't mean that I'm not ever attempted.


TERESA: Right.


BRITNI: And so sometimes I have an inner dialogue with myself. Take a step back. Okay, if I eat that, how am I going to feel? And is it actually worth it? So sometimes that’s what you have to do: just take a step back and talk through it with yourself.


TERESA: Right. And food's main purpose is to provide nourishment, right? Like that Benjamin Franklin quote and what you're saying, that inner dialogue that you were talking about too. So it's to provide nourishment. Yes, we use it for other things like celebrations, but really if we focus on its primary purpose: to provide the building blocks of life. And for you that's quite literal. I mean it is for all of us, but when you're building a baby, like it's…


BRITNI: It's different.


TERESA: Yes. But if we focus on that: that it's nourishment and it's providing you those essential nutrients that we need, then we'll probably do all right.


BRITNI: Absolutely.


TERESA: We love the wisdom of Maya Angelou. You've probably heard us say this quote a few times lately, but we'll say it again. “Do the best you can...” Let me start that again. We want to her justice. “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Ask yourself, what do I know? Am I really doing the best I can or am I holding myself back from doing better? If you truly know better, then you can do better. You can really make a difference in your health and well-being through the rest of this holiday season in 2020 or anytime in your life, you know, for that matter; really. Okay. So now you know, taking that like “know better, do better” situation, we're going to share some comments that we have heard from some of our clients or some of the class members that we've had. And, when we ask them, well, what do you do when you know better?


BRITNI: You know, one of them I hear is I know better than to eat Christmas cookies and bars after church because every time I do I feel drugged and I need a nap. And I don't like that feeling. You know, I've heard some people refer to it as a sugar hangover.




BRITNI: I think it's a really good way to think of it and we can probably all relate to having a sugar hangover.


TERESA: Right. And maybe because it's, you know, probably typically on Sunday that they might think, “Well, it's been a long week so I just need a nap because I'm catching up on sleep from the week.” And maybe not even connecting the dots that it might be that that doughnut that they had in Bible study or you know, whenever they had that sugar. Another comment that we hear is, “I know better than to overeat processed carbs and sugary foods because every time I do, my ears start to itch. Then I get a full blown sinus infection and sometimes even an earache.”




TERESA: And it's like, well, maybe some of the people out there are thinking, “Well how does that happen? How is that happening?” Well, it's because when we eat a high sugar diet, it lowers our immune function. And so if we are, or if we have the propensity for earaches or sinus infections or that kind of thing, when our immune system is lowered by the, by the things that we're eating, that's when that's going to happen. That's going to strike at that time.


BRITNI: And that's why, you know, part of the reason including stress, but so many people get sick around the holidays. Another one we've heard is “I know better than to eat the pizza my company brings in every year during the holidays for a lunch treat. Every time I eat it gives me heartburn and later I get a rash from eating that pizza.” And pizza is really a double whammy, right? You have the dairy. You've got the gluten.


TERESA: And sugar.


BRITNI: Yep. So it can definitely leave you not feeling so good.


TERESA: Another comment we hear: “I know better than to eat sugar and flour because eating foods continue them raise my blood sugar and according to my A1C I'm pre-diabetic. And over time having a higher blood sugar can damage my kidneys or even those tiny blood vessels in our eyes.” And while you may be on holiday, your pancreas does not get a vacation. It's always working to maintain your blood sugar levels. So we need to be supportive of the pancreas through the holidays.


BRITNI: Absolutely. Another one we hear is, “I know better than to eat sugar-filled treats because afterwards my knees feel like they have shards of glass poking me and giving me excruciating pain with every step I take.” Sounds terrible.


TERESA: That does sound terrible. “I know better than to eat or drink foods containing dairy products because every time I do my sinuses and throat become coated with mucus and my face and body get so bloated that if I were stuck with a pin I would pop.”


BRITNI: So you listeners out there, if one of those resonated with you, or if while we were talking, you thought of your own personal reason, take a moment. Write it down. You know, writing things down is a lot stronger and sinks into our brain a lot more than just thinking about it. And then maybe you could put that piece of paper on your fridge, on your bedroom mirror. And it could be motivation for you.


TERESA: Right and I think there is research to support that if you physically write it down… and it's different than tapping it into your phone or on your computer; it's you know, actually using a pen or a pencil.


BRTINI: Yeah, if you can find one.


TERESA: Yeah, right. Well we are getting close to break here so you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. We are discussing the practice of being mindful while making your food choices during the holidays. If you practice being aware before you place your order at the coffee house, you will probably order a brewed coffee or an Americano with heavy cream and not the peppermint latte that has 53 grams of carbohydrate, which turns into 13 grams or teaspoons, excuse me, of sugar. Nutritional knowledge plus being mindful when ordering your coffee can save you over 18 teaspoons of sugar.




BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you need a little inspiration to stay the course of eating real food, tune in next Saturday to Dishing Up Nutrition, as three of our clients from Nutritional Weight & Wellness will share their success stories. Tina put her MS into remission 15 years ago. Mary found eating real food to be a stronger pain reliever than pain medication. And Lisa stopped dieting, lost a lot of weight and got her life back. So truly amazing; very inspirational stories about the power of eating real food.

So before the break we were talking about “when you know better you can do better.”




BRITNI: And honestly, I think most people, especially our Dishing Up Nutrition listeners, do know better. You know, you hear this message every week and it's the actionable part that it can be difficult sometimes, you know.  It’s applying this knowledge.


TERESA: Easier said than done. Yes.


BRITNI: So now we just have to convince everyone they can use their knowledge of the side effects they often experience and the health risks they could experience to do better. So for those of you who are tempted every time a TV commercial about high sugar or processed food comes on, here's a simple trick I use: I just switch the channel.




BRTINI: Because I’ve been there. “Ooh, that sounds really good. What do I have at home?” And I don't have anything at home like that. But what I know is happening in my brain is it's activating that pleasure center and suddenly all we can think about is that dessert or that pizza. And if you've been eating real food and you have a lot of sugar, like a dessert, sometimes it doesn't even taste that good, right? It's kind of like, “Oh well that was a let-down.


TERESA: Right. It's almost as if your tongue, like your tongue has been reconditioned.




TERESA: Yeah, I've seen those commercials and I've had that circumstance where it's like, you know, I wasn't even thinking about food but now I am. So like you said, “What do I have? What's in the pantry? What's in the cupboards? What can I, you know, what can I do?” But you know, and another trick: changing the channel. Yes. Or you know, DVR, Netflix, Prime Video, you know, places where there is no commercials or limited commercials comes in very handy to keep those ideas out of your head.


BRITNI: That is really nice. And you know, because of my knowledge of nutrition, I understand that sugar, the flour and the holiday treats, it really is going to activate my pleasure center. And since I know better, I'm able to do better because I am one of those people. It's hard for me to stop at one.


TERESA: Yeah, I'm the same way.


BRITNI: Yeah. And then I overeat and feel extremely crappy. And so that is why I've made my own personal commitment to my health and I'm able to resist buying whatever those food companies are advertising on TV. So think about this: Do you eat foods based on advertising or what you see; or do you eat based on what you know and your commitment to your health? A really good question for you to ponder today.


TERESA: Yeah. Who's influencing you?




TERESA: Lately in the mail… I mean we get so much mail this time of year, but I have noticed that I'm getting postcards and flyers from realtors or drapery companies or other, you know, other companies who are trying to sell their services. And along with their, you know, their sales pitch or their advertisement for their service, they include a recipe. And so, you know, since I have a pretty strong nutrition interest, I'm always checking out the recipes just to see what those, see what they are. They and they also know that people are curious like I am, right; that they will look at the recipe and take a second look at their advertisement. Just the other day I received a postcard from a realtor with the “Best Pumpkin Pie” recipe. And of course I had to check it out. As I looked at the ingredients, I just kind of shook my head and like, this does sound good. But the recipe contains a lot of sugar: one and three-quarters cup of sweetened condensed milk, which is full of sugar. It also called for two-thirds of a cup of firmly packed light brown sugar, and “light” in this case does not mean low sugar.


BRITNI: No, it does not.


TERESA: I thought to myself, these companies are marketing homes, drapes, carpeting, furnaces. They must have had some success with this because you know if they send out this recipe that's loaded with sugar that they probably sparked some interest in people. So they just continue to use them as inexpensive marketing tools and probably effective, right? I did take a second look. I do remember which company that came from, but we need to be mindful of our commitment to our health or these marketing tactics could set off like the pleasure center that you were talking about in our mind. And suddenly that pumpkin pie sounds really good. And while I might not make that at home, it might find its way onto my like grocery list or what could I do that's maybe, you know, it's not pumpkin pie but it can fulfill that sugar thing that I'm looking for.


BRITNI: You know, recently, Michael Pollan, he's author of several different books. But one of his books In Defense of Food and How to Change Your Mind, he shared his thoughts about mindful and mindless eating. One example he shared was the mindless eating that many people do in front of the TV. I think so many of us can relate to this.


TERESA: Yeah, because you're focusing on TV.


BRITNI: Yeah, yeah. And people mindlessly reach into that bag of chips or popcorn. All of a sudden they try to grab another handful and there's none left. They ate it all. So they've eaten the entire bag, but their brain still wants more. It's not satisfying enough. So this should bring up the question, “How do I stop mindless eating?” You know, one great way that you could do it is before you sit down to watch your favorite TV show, perhaps you make the decision: food is just off limits in my TV room. And a lot of us just associate snacking with watching TV or watching a movie. So it's breaking that habit. It's breaking that association that you have. So at first, I think a lot of people need those rules to set in place just to remind them and help them to develop that attitude in the habit of wellness. And then that becomes your new habit.


TERESA: Right. You don't even think about eating in front of the TV because that's now your habit. You just don't do that.




TERESA: Michael Pollan also said that many people mindlessly overeat. They just keep eating and not even conscious of what they're eating or if they have reached that point of being satisfied. And I've got to admit this happened to me last night. This is pretty recent. I was out to dinner with some friends eating and enjoying the conversation and when we were leaving I was getting up. I'm like, man, I am, you know, I'm pretty uncomfortably full. Granted I had a steak and kale and pistachio salad, so it wasn't like I was making the worst choices. It was just sort of that mindless… I reached a point of satisfaction and then went beyond, which in and of itself can cause problems even if it is healthy foods. Another example of that would be eating fast food in your car. You have limited amount of time, so you just kind of snarf down that food really quickly and are totally oblivious to what you are eating, if you are full, if you are satisfied and you just complete that meal. Michael Pollan recommends being aware of the taste of your food and slowing down the pace of your eating. Look at your food, smell it, notice the different textures. Mindful eating is actually being aware of what you're eating. It's paying attention to the quality and quantity of food that you are eating.


BRITNI: Growing up we played “clean plate club”.




BRITNI: And I was often the president.


TERESA: And I didn't get, we didn't get ascribed roles. It was just the club. You were just joining it.


BRTINI: That’s funny. So I prided myself in that. But as an adult, you know, I didn't have that mind/body connection. So, it took me a very long time to slow down, think about my food, chew thoroughly. And I think a lot of people can relate to that.


TERESA: Yes. I think they can.


 BRITNI: Yeah.


TERESA: The clean plate club runs rampant. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Nearly 40% of adults in the U.S. are obese and another 32% of adults are overweight. That means over 70% of adults in the U.S. should lose weight for health reasons.




BRITNI: …so you can sign up before January 6th and receive our early bird discount. January is a really busy time for a lot of people. You're just getting over the holidays. Everybody's gone back to school. But at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, some of our classrooms are just a little bit too small. So you want to make sure and save your spot.


TERESA: Yeah. So if you're busy right now, sign up now quickly while you're thinking about it so that you don't have, you have that off your plate.


BRITNI: Yes. You know, we don't count calories. We don't count points. We don't have food that you need to buy. We just teach you to eat real food to make the best health choices you can.


TERESA: Right. You’re not on a diet.


BRITNI: Exactly. Maybe 2020 is the year to stop thinking about signing up and just do it. I hear that a lot from, from clients or class participants. “I've thought about signing up for years.” Well just do it; now's the time. Gives this to yourself as a Christmas gift and get started on that real food plan. At Nutrition Weight & Wellness, we say “Change your food to change your life”. You can call our office at 651-699-3438 or sign up at weightandwellness.com.


TERESA: Yes, that is a good class. I think that it's a great, if you have a New Year's resolution to lose weight that that is, you know, it is the season of, of weight loss thoughts so sign up.


BRITNI: So continuing on what we were talking about before break, you know the quote, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” I think nutrition and nutrition education is a perfect illustration of the meaning of that quote from Maya Angelou. We don't always know how to make better choices until we understand why. Some of those choices we are making may not be the best choices for us as individuals. And that's what Nutrition for Weight Loss does too. It helps you to understand the why behind things, which is a lot more powerful than somebody just telling you to do something. And if you haven't taken one of our classes or maybe had nutrition counseling, you wouldn't know that two French fries break down to one teaspoon of sugar or 14 French fries equals seven teaspoons of sugar cooked in soybean oil or some sort of refined oil. And that damaged fat can actually damage your cells.


TERESA: Right. On the drive here, I saw a billboard and it was this big plate of French fries. And the tagline was “You do you and we'll do dinner” I think was the rest of it. And I'm like, is that what I want? You know, I don't know. You know those French fries while, and nobody, I don't think anybody listening to this show is, you know, thinking that French fries are a health food.




TERESA: Right? But I just, I just kind of thought that, “Oh, that's, that's, that works?”




TERESA: I don't know. I just, I don't know. It’s an eye roll.


BRITNI: It is, but they know that, I mean, nobody's going to eat two French fries.




BRITNI: You're going to probably eat the whole plate if you're going to eat it.


TERESA: Yeah. It's like we were talking about before. It works with French fries too.




TERESA: You can't just have one.


BRITNI: Yup; yup.


TERESA: Well, I suppose you could, but it's really hard.




TERESA: At Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we believe people need well-researched nutrition education. So when they are reflecting on how to make better choices, they will actually have the nutritional knowledge to be mindful and to know better. How can you be mindful and make the right choices if you are unaware of what is really in the food that you're eating. For example, a large pretzel that you might pick up at the mall while you're shopping; you know you're running low on energy, you've got a few more things you've got to pick up before you go home, that that pretzel has 65 grams of carbohydrates in it, which breaks down in digestion to 16 teaspoons of sugar. I'm pretty sure that you would not spoon 16 teaspoons of sugar into your mouth.




TERESA: But I'm pretty sure I would be capable; many people are capable of, you know, picking away at that pretzel until it's all gone, having eaten that 16 teaspoons of sugar.


BRITNI: Yes, and you know, unless you've taken a Weight & Wellness nutrition class or you've listened to some of Dishing Up Nutrition shows that specifically relate to what I'm about to say, you most likely would not know that an eggnog latte… and this could apply to just eggnog. 16 ounces contains 63 grams of carbs.


TERESA: That is a lot of sugar.


BRITNI: That is a lot.


TERESA: So that breaks down to 16 teaspoons of sugar. And then if you're running through a coffee shop and you're grabbing this in the morning and you grab a muffin, that could be 71 grams of carbs or about 18 teaspoons of sugar. Together with that latte and the muffin, you are going to get 34 teaspoons of sugar. That's just for breakfast.


TERESA: Okay. I'm going to put you on the spot here. So how much sugar should we have? Obviously not 34 by our reaction.




TERESA: So how many grams of carbohydrates would you say that at a meal would be appropriate for the average person? Yeah, I think for the average person about, you know, 30 grams of carbs is appropriate.


TERESA: Yeah, and that breaks down into approximately, what? Six teaspoons or seven teaspoons of sugar or something like that? Which when we're talking about that kind of sugar, we're not talking about added sugar. We're not talking about table sugar or high fructose corn syrup or you know, any of those sugars. We're talking about the carbohydrates that just break down naturally into sugar in digestion, so the real sugars or the natural sugars. Yeah.


BRITNI: And you know, not all carbs are created equal. So having 30 grams of carbs from, maybe you say, well, I'll just get a small.




BRITNI: …one of these lattes and that'll be my carbs for breakfast.




BRITNI: But that's very different than eating spinach and sweet potato. And it's going to leave you feeling very different.




BRITNI: Yeah. So if you were being mindful of your personal goals, you would most likely have ordered a cup of brewed coffee, added heavy cream to it, maybe ordered some egg bites.


TERESA: And they looked really good.




TERESA: I wasn't there recently, I promise. I was there recently and I did get a brewed coffee with some heavy whipping cream in it, but I looked at the egg bites and I was like, this is fantastic. There are eggs. There are veggies. What's not to like?


BRITNI: And I was out of town for, for Thanksgiving and there was a Starbucks right by where I was staying and that's what I had for breakfast every morning: an Americano with cream and egg bites.




BRITNI: Yeah. So I did not have all of those carbs and sugar. And I had more protein, you know? So by choosing that breakfast, you're now being mindful of your goals. You're feeling better. You're going to stay satisfied, have the energy and clarity to complete that holiday shopping. Naturally, you're going to make better food choices the rest of the day too.


TERESA: Right, and when you get home, you'll have the energy then to wrap those presents. It’s a win. During the holiday season, it seems as though everyone you know wants to get together, which is wonderful. That's part of the great part of this time of year. Yes, it's busy, but it's so great to see everyone. If you're meeting a friend at a restaurant, how do you stay mindful to your commitment to your health? How do you decide to be in charge of your food choices and your health goals? Well, here are a couple ideas to try: rather than wine or other alcoholic beverages, order mineral water on ice with a twist of lime. It's a good habit to develop, especially if you're pregnant like Britni or thinking about becoming pregnant or thinking you may be pregnant; or if you've had any type of cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends not drinking any alcohol if you have had cancer in the past. For cancer prevention, they actually recommend not drinking any alcohol at any time. To be mindful, order mineral water on the rocks with a twist of lime or lemon. It's refreshing and no one will be the wiser. And honestly I don't think anybody cares what you're drinking. I think they're more concerned about what they're drinking. And as far as alcohol is concerned, I would also say part of the fun of alcohol is that it lowers inhibitions. And that happens with food too. So you're not thinking about the food choices as maybe clearly or logically as you would had you not had that alcohol.


BRTINI: Oh, absolutely. You're much more likely to order maybe the hamburger with the bun and the fries, or the pasta, if you've had that alcoholic beverage?


TERESA: You do you, right?




TERESA: Yes. Another trick at a restaurant is avoid filling up on the bread basket. It's really tempting when it's on the table. So, if you just politely asked the server not to bring the bread basket, that can be really helpful. And then if you are hungry, certainly eat but maybe order a side salad or something to munch on while you're waiting for your entree.


BRITNI: And now I feel like more and more restaurants are having healthier appetizers where it might just be like veggies and hummus that you could have for an appetizer and you can share with the table. So I think that there are a lot of options.


TERESA: Yes, there are. I'm really doing my best to be mindful of my health. And one of those, one of the things that I do in order to be mindful of my health is trying to eat five to seven cups of vegetables each day. And that's no small feat.


BRITNI: No, it’s not.


TERESA: But it is doable if you are mindful about it and if you plan for it because it doesn't happen by accident.




TERESA: My health plan is not for weight loss or even weight maintenance. It's for my complete health and well-being because weight maintenance and healthy weights come from, you know, focusing on your health versus your weight. I'm a parent of three young children, so I'm mindful about the foods that I eat and my overall health. I want to see my children go to prom, attend their high school and college graduations. I want to go to each of their weddings. I want to snuggle their babies when they have them and read stories to them. I want to be able to travel with my husband in retirement. Those are several of the reasons why I'm being very mindful of the way that I'm eating now.


BRITNI: Yeah, and you know, earlier we talked about you know, writing things down. Maybe you write that list down for yourself.


TERESA: Yeah, that's a good idea. Well, okay, I think we should go to break here. All right. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I want to share some mindful thoughts and good practices with you. Thought number one: do you eat on a schedule or just whenever you're hungry? The good practice would be to not wait until you're hungry to eat or you will lose control. This happens because your blood sugar levels will get too low and you'll start craving sugar and processed foods. Thought number two: do you love the body you have or the body you want to have? Good practice number two is to treat your body with respect through eating quality food on schedule and then you will get the body that you want. You know, maybe reframe those negative thoughts. If you don't like your thighs, you know, you don't like the size or shape, don't focus on that. Re you know reframe that thought and think, “Well I wouldn't be able to walk without these. I won't be able to stand up from a sitting position.” Look at the amazing things that these thighs can do.


BRITNI: That's such a great idea.




BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I'm going to share some more mindful thoughts with you: Thought number three: ask yourself, “What changes do I need to make and what support do I need to move the needle in the right direction?” Thought number four: where is your health on your personal priority list? Think about it. The Nutritional Weight and Wellness staff is ready and willing to help you become mindful of a goal and good health for you. We have classes. We have one-on-one nutritional appointments. We have blogs. We have podcasts. We have recipes. We have quality supplements. We are all about you and your health. So mindful eating is nutritional awareness plus self-reflection, which supports the ability to make better choices. Think of the motivation behind your health goals. Is your health goal to reduce your aches and pains? When people come to our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss class and discover that sugar, wheat and gluten often lead to aches and pains, they are shocked. You know, usually they're making the connection more with their activity level than they are their food. And no one had ever told them that information before. They thought the only thing that could take away their pain was medication. And they're even more shocked when their pain goes away after they have given up sugar. I just had a client yesterday. She said, “My, my aches and pains are way lower. I’m feeling more fluid in my movement until I had pizza last night.”


TERESA: We hear it all the time.


BRITNI: Yeah. But once you make the connection; you know that that pizza does that to you, then again, like we've been talking about, it's a lot easier to just say, “No thank you. I'll make a different choice.”


TERESA: Yeah. It's a lot more motivating that way. And I think if you don't take that break away from, you know, you have cereal for breakfast. You have pasta for lunch. You have, I don't know, sandwiches for dinner or something along that line where you're constantly putting in those higher sugar foods and you have these aches and pains, it's really hard to, to make that connection that it's the food because it's consistently that way. So, you're consistently in pain and it seems like the only thing that can help is, you know, an aspirin, ibuprofen, a medication or, or something along that line.




TERESA: What about this? Is your health goal to prevent diabetes? Right now, about 10% of the population has type-two diabetes. About 25% or one in four senior adults has diabetes. Is it time for you to learn more about preventative, mindful eating? We have so many classes to help you learn how to eat to prevent diabetes. For example, our Nutrition 4 Weight loss program or our Weight & Wellness series. They're both great to learn how to eat and prevent diabetes and so much more.


BRITNI: Perhaps your health goal is to have better digestion or have better sleep or more energy. And again, maybe you've never thought that food could actually help you sleep better. But absolutely it can.


TERESA: It absolutely can.


BRITNI: And if you are not a class person, you could come in for an individual appointment with the dietitian or nutritionist. And at that time, you know, we just sit down and figure out what, what does your body need? You know, we really make it individualized for you and make it doable for your lifestyle too.


TERESA: Right, because everybody's different. Everybody has a different schedule. You have different situations. Some people live by themselves and are cooking for one. Some people are cooking for a family. Somebody cooking for small children is different than cooking for teenagers because then they have their schedules to accommodate for as well. And then it gets really hard. And when you, when you have that time one-on-one with somebody to actually sit down, organize your thoughts, figure out how we can make it happen, it is an actual doable task.


BRITNI: Yes. And you know, a lot of the major health insurance companies will now cover the cost of these one-on-one nutrition appointments. So yeah, on our website when you go to nutrition counseling, there is something that you can click on that says will health insurance cover and then it'll give you more information about how to find out about that.


TERESA: And I think it's usually called nutrition therapy, right?




TERESA: Yes. All right. So we have some tips for you going into this holiday season. So one of the things when, okay, we all have these situations where we're going to be going to holiday parties and what are we going to do? What about the food? So number one: if it's not at your place where you're not in control of the food, if you offer to bring something or maybe you don't even offer, maybe you say, well I'll bring the_____, and then you know, the more food the better usually. Most hosts/hostesses will be happy to have an extra appetizer or something.


BRITNI: Absolutely.


TERESA: So, a couple of ideas: one and that I like, and I don't know why I think it's fancy because there's really no work involved but shrimp cocktail. That seems very holiday-ish, New Year's-ish. You know, and it's simple; really low work.




TERESA: Just watch the cocktail sauce; you know, read the labels. There are some that are better than others. Another one that seems kind of fancy is a charcuterie tray. You know, and if you don't know what that is, it's a, you know, or charcuterie board, I think it's called. It has cured meats, maybe fancy cheeses on it, some olives, grapes, nuts. You could put some smoked salmon on it; cherry tomatoes.




TERESA: Really anything that's kind of that kind of grab and go sort of snacky kind of thing. But all those foods can be really healthy alternatives to some of the other more common holiday things.


BRITNI: Great ideas. Well and I, if I can, I always try to find out what will be there too.


TERESA: Yes. Yeah.


BRITNI: Because then in my head I'll kind of have a plan in place. “Well I can eat that. I can eat that.” I learned it the hard way one holiday season where you know, I assumed there's going to be vegetables there.




BRITNI: And the only vegetable was green bean casserole, which I couldn't have because I'm gluten-free. So I was stuck with turkey and mashed potatoes. So lesson learned, you know, now I always bring something. Now I always ask what, what there's going to be.


TERESA: Yeah. You bring the veggie tray. You bring the fruit bowl.


BRITNI: Or salad.


TERESA: A salad; yeah.


BRITNI: We were just talking yesterday at work. We had recently both made a salad with pomegranate seeds on top. And it looked so festive. It has that nice pop of texture and sweetness and then you could put nuts on there as well. And you know, different than your just regular old salad.


TERESA: Yeah. I think yours was cabbage and brussels sprouts. Mine was brussels sprouts. But with that it's like it's got that green and it's got the red. So it's, you know, kind of festive looking that way. One tradition in my family is that my, and I have only recently gotten on board with this and I still, I still don't have a lot. But oyster stew is another thing that you can make really healthy because ingredients are very simple. It's butter, heavy whipping cream, whole milk, oysters, which are a wonderful source of zinc.




TERESA: And I think you can flavor it with salt and pepper and garlic, shallots; that kind of thing. So that is another thing that's kind of festive. Oysters are expensive, so you're probably not eating that on your Tuesday night unless it's a holiday. Or even having peppermint tea and putting a couple of drops of chocolate Stevia in it. It's kind of a yummy holiday drink. And you can do dark chocolate squares with strawberries.


BRITNI: Yes, there are a lot of ideas or you can make hot chocolate with the Greens and Fruits and heavy cream or coconut milk.


TERESA: Yes. Like you said, there are all kinds of options. Today in this world of abundance, many people are no longer aware of the impact food has on the function of our bodies and our brains. Sadly, our food choices are often influenced by the advertising campaigns of food companies and the belief that faster is better. If we can get into the habit of paying attention to how certain foods affect how our brain and our body functions, and if we can be mindful of choosing real whole foods, we will be able to start practicing disease prevention and have good health to feel alive and full of energy. And isn't that what we all want? To feel alive and full of energy? Our goal at Nutritional Weight & 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 may the rest of your holiday season be healthy and happy.


BRITNI: Happy holidays.

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