Setting Your Health Goals

January 1, 2022

The time of year is upon us where folks like to make resolutions, goals, or intentions for the coming year. It feels like a fresh slate and a new beginning. Deciding to make lifestyle changes especially in your food choices is never easy and sticking to new health habits for the long haul can be challenging. In this show we’ll share education and some ideas for support, personal data to pay attention to, and ways to set actionable health goals that will create real change in your life. Join dietitians Teresa and Kristi, with culinary nutrition educator Marianne, to hear lots of inspiration for 2022.

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TERESA: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. As we start the new year, many of us are in the habit of setting health goals for the upcoming year. It's kind of nice, right? We have a new year. It's a nice blank slate. We can get started with some health goals. What do you want to accomplish with your health this year? You know, some people set the same goal each year. It's to lose 15 pounds or maybe it's 30 pounds. And for some it's a little bit bigger. It's a hundred pounds. But you know, this last week I was talking with one of our clients and she decided that she'd make a more realistic weight loss goal. She told me, “You know Teresa, I decided that I will lose one pound per month. And then in two years, I'll be down about 25 pounds. That is better than I've done for years.”

Making a plan to achieve health goals


And to lose this one pound per month, she has set small, important health goals or habits she needs to do. She is making a plan. She's writing down the habits she's working on and recording daily how she is doing. She is serious about sticking to her plan. And so, you know, in the topic of today in goal setting, she's done some very important things or taken some very important steps. The first step is almost backwards. It's saying, well, what do I want to happen? What is going to be the result? The next step is to set up a strategy as far as how you are going to get to that result.

Then next we need to have a method for tracking. How are we doing on our progress on these habits? And then fourth, I think it's really good to build an accountability and that can be with a spouse. That could be with a dietitian or nutritionist at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, but someone to help you hold your hand through the process of this, this ultimate goal that you have for yourself.

And, you know, for some people you might think, well, 25 pounds in two years, that's really slow. You know, how can you stick with a goal like that? But the thing is, is we don't know how our body is going to respond, correct? So it could go faster than that. We don't know that it's only going to be 25 pounds, but by setting a realistic goal, you're setting yourself up to be successful in that, in that goal.

So before we go any further, my name is Teresa Wagner. I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. And I've been with Nutritional Weight and Wellness for oh, about six and a half years now. And joining me today is Kristi Kalinsky. She is also a Registered Dietitian and she has been working in nutrition for about seven years. So welcome to the show, Kristi.

KRISTI: Thanks, Teresa. Good morning to you and to everybody out there. It's great to be on the show today. Happy New Year to all of you that are listening out here.

TERESA: Yes. Happy 2022.

KRISTI: Yeah. I'm excited to be here today talking about goal setting for the new year.

TERESA: In starting today's show, I think I'm going to quote a couple of well-known researchers and authors just for a little inspiration. The first quote is from Dr. Linus Pauling. He is a two-time Nobel Prize winner and he said, “Provided one has the correct level of vitamin, mineral and nutritional input, the body can overcome diseases.” I mean, and I think that this is wonderful to think that if we provide our body the nutrition it needs, then our body can heal itself. But as a dietitian, I think this requires eating real food that is also free of hormones, free of toxins, free of chemicals, that doesn't have too much sugar in it, and doesn't have those damaged fats that we have talked about many times on this show.

Another well-known saying is from Hippocrates. He said, “All disease begins in the gut. And today we are going to talk more about gut health in the microbiome.” But before we do that, I've got one more quote that I I'm going to tell you. It's from Dr. Robert Lustig, and he is the author of Fat Chance and Sugar Has 56 Names. He also has a very popular TED Talk that you can access online too that is really interesting and talks about the effects of sugar. So I would recommend looking up Dr. Robert Lustig and checking out his TED Talk. But he said, “Sugar is celebratory. Sugar is something that used to be something that we enjoyed more rarely. Now it has basically coated our tongue. It's turned into a diet staple, and it's killing us.”

Finding your “why” to make healthy changes


So I wanted to share a few words of wisdom with you. So we could get inspired thinking about going into this 2022 and some of our health goals. So now let's get started with our topic: setting health goals for the upcoming year. Deciding to make lifestyle changes, especially in your food choices is never easy. Developing new health habits can be challenging and most people need support and education and a real reason to change. We talk about this in some of our classes is find your why; why do you want to lose weight? So that when temptations arise, you can dig down into that, that why, and, and know that it's for something more important, something maybe even beyond you.

You need a reason to pick vegetables over pasta or to cook versus ordering pizza. And speaking of cooking, joining us today is Marianne Jurayj, who is a chef and a culinary nutrition educator, and teaches all of our cooking classes at Nutritional Weight and Wellness. And these classes have been very popular. They're not only popular with our clients. They're popular with our, the people who are in our classes, and they're actually really popular with the staff as well, myself included. So thanks for joining us today, Marianne, so that you can, you know, provide some culinary flare to the show.

MARIANNE: Yes. Culinary flare; thank you so much. It's such a pleasure to be here. And, and as a chef, I work with clients who want to change their health. And so I use those culinary skills to help them achieve those goals. And some of those goals might be losing weight, but it might be a chronic illness or something else they want to tackle.

TERESA: And, you know, speaking of chronic illnesses, being overweight and, and obesity has been classified now as a chronic illness. And we know that about 75% of U.S. adults are overweight and 40% are in that obese range. At Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we believe that losing weight is just one health goal and perhaps not the most important one. Really what we talk about is weight loss being a side effect of making healthy decisions, you know, and it just kind of happens along the way. So Kristi, what do you, you know, I mean, of course weight loss is what's on a lot of people's minds, but what do you believe is one of the most important health goals for many people now; if it's not just the typical weight loss goal. “I'm going to lose 10 pounds or 50 pounds in 2022.” What do you think?

KRISTI: Sure. Well, I know from what I've seen from a lot of my clients, their primary goal is to manage and control their blood sugar numbers. They want their fasting blood sugars in the morning to be below a hundred when they wake up in the morning. It actually isn't unusual for some of my clients to wake up in the morning and their fasting blood sugars will run 160 to up to 200.

TERESA: Yeah. I've seen that too. And I think when that, when that happens, you know, when we talk about numbers, sometimes it's, it's nice to have that context of okay, if 100 is, or less than 100 is the goal, you know, where can we, where, why is that the goal or where are we coming from? I think that that's really good.

KRISTI: Right. Another thing they usually like to look at in regard to their blood sugar is the A1C. They usually want to strive for about 5.6% or less for their A1C number. For those that don't know what A1C is, it's actually a measure of your average blood sugar over the last three months. You know, looking at the fasting blood sugar and looking at the A1C, they're just great data points to help keep us on track. And it also tells us how well our body's functioning in regard to our blood sugar control.

TERESA: Right. And so when we were talking before about setting goals and having a way of having accountability and that data, you know, to, to make sure that you're on track, that's a perfect data point is, is watching your blood sugar numbers.


TERESA: So how, when you are working with your clients, how do you start on making changes in their eating choices or their lifestyle habits? What do you do?

How do we make changes in our lifestyle habits?


KRISTI: Well, I know, I honestly believe the first step to change is actually believing in yourself and believing you can make that change. After you have that positive mindset, you need to go make a plan and put it in place to hold yourself accountable. I know a while back I set a health goal for myself. I wanted to get about eight hours of sleep at night. I have to get up in the morning around 6:15 or so. Especially during the week to see my kids off to school and to make sure I get to work on time. This meant that I needed to be asleep by around 10:15, if I wanted those eight hours of sleep. So I also had to factor in the fact that it takes me about 30 minutes to get ready for bed; lots of different things to do, pack your lunch, let my dog outside, brush my teeth. So realistically I needed to start getting ready for bed around 9:45. That meant if I was checking Facebook or I was returning emails, that I needed to turn off my phone and shut off my computer by 9:45.

TERESA: You know, Kristi, those are really good tips on getting to bed on time, but we have to take our first break. And when we come back, you can keep telling us on how you make this happen. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Today is a great day to set your health goals for 2022. What are your health goals? Get more sleep, eat more vegetables, cook more of your own meals, drink less alcohol and more water, take a daily walk? Or maybe it's to lose a few pounds. We understand that many of you listening are focusing on your goals to make you healthier in 2022.


MARIANNE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I believe that for your best health, it is really important to cook your own meals in your kitchen. Take control of what you eat. I wish I could say that I learned to cook from my mom, but we were sort of a typical household. We ate a lot of processed foods. My mom would open a can of cream of mushroom soup and put it into a casserole. But what we did have is grass fed animals. We did have a cattle farm and we did eat chickens and the eggs that were really good for us, and they ate grass and bugs, and they were high in omega threes and DHA and vitamin D. Of course, I didn't know that as a kid, but I, I know that now. So I had a, a, a pretty decent balance, even though we ate processed foods, I, we were lucky enough to have an organic garden and eat good fats and good meat.

So I was where in between, but I really learned how to cook late in life. And I'm wondering how many of you learned how to cook by opening a can, but if you'd really like to learn how to cook and make some simple goals in the kitchen, I am hoping that you will sign up for some of my cooking classes in January or February. We've got some great classes. And you can get started on these health goals and we will make them simple for you. So Kristi, you were talking about your, your sleeping goals. Tell us about that.

Cooking Classes

KRISTI: Before the break, I was talking about how I wanted to get eight hours of sleep and I needed to start that bedtime routine around 9:45 so I could be in bed by 10:15. In order to do that, I needed to put a plan in place, or what I'd notice is that time would slip away. And before I knew it, it was 10:30 or 11 o'clock at night, and I still was not in bed. What I needed to do was hold myself accountable, turn off the computer, shut down the phone so that I actually would be in bed and ready to sleep by 10:15. I made a list of what I needed to do, and then I could check these items off. So I knew I could accomplish my goal.

Now, was it easy at first? No, absolutely not. But eventually I was able to change my unhealthy sleep habits and get good sleep. And even to this day, I still have that goal. I no longer need to check a list because it's just become second nature. There actually is a running joke in our family. As my kids get older; they're 17 and 13. They're now tucking me into bed instead of me tucking them into bed.

MARIANNE: I love that. That's great.

KRISIT: They think it's pretty funny. Getting those eight hours of sleepy night; oh my gosh. It has helped my metabolism. It's helped my moods. I notice that I'm more positive and stable and I honestly think everyone around me appreciates that. And I get so much more done during the day because I have more energy from that good night of sleep. So honestly, making a plan and then sticking to it was so worthwhile.

TERESA: Yeah. So I mean, and I would imagine that in the early stages of that making that plan, you probably had to make some revisions on the plan. Right?

KRISTI: Absolutely.

TERESA: You know, you make that plan and you're like, this sounds good on paper. And then you start living the plan and you're like, that didn't really work out like I thought it was going to work out.


TERESA: So by making that plan, making those revisions to make it fit your life, creating that checklist to hold yourself accountable, I mean, it's just, it's it works so well when your goal setting into having a very specific plan. So perfect Kristi. And that way, when you have that checklist there, you don't blame anyone else that you didn't get to bed on time or whatever the goal may be. You know, and if we're thinking about just staying with that theme of going to bed on time, if you get a late call, you can choose not to take it. Because your goal is to be sleeping by 10:15, you won't accept the call from your best friend who you know is very chatty and will keep you up till midnight. So it gets you into bed at the appointed time so you can get that eight hours of sleep.


MARIANNE: Exactly. And I know it's hard to turn off all of our, you know, digital equipment to, you know, in order to get into bed. It's a tough thing. And so, so sort of setting that hard and fast rule, I think is really makes it easy for, for anybody. And it does take time, obviously. So, and a good night's sleep boy, it's, it should be part of everybody's health routine. It's good for life. I mean, it's so important. We spend 56 hours a week on average in bed. That is a full-time job. And so don't, we want to do that job? Well, I think I do.

KRISTI: Yes, definitely.

MARIANNE: So since I have the pleasure of teaching the cooking classes for Nutritional Weight and Wellness, I wanted to let everybody know how fun these classes are. I teach them virtually. They're, I'm in my kitchen. So it's like having friends over. And so it's a lot of fun. And my participants have a wide range of proficiency. We have beginners who want to understand where to start and then to more advanced cooks who might want to use their kitchen skills to learn how to create nutritious more balanced meals. But what they all have in common is that they are ready to switch. So they want to get away from the, you know, processed premade foods and they want to get real food that they can control at home because they know now that home cooked meals will help them lose that weight, control that blood sugar. And they might be surprised to find that they reduce their pain and inflammation in their bodies. I know I have some back issues and it's amazing how eating well can keep me from having that pain.

So, so in the cooking class, we give them the tool. So we give the recipes, the shopping lists. We talk about simple cooking techniques and of course we are cheerleaders, because we want to keep everybody motivated and we get lots of questions. We answer lots of questions and the participants share their kitchen knowledge with each other. So it really is a wonderful experience.

Cooking Classes

TERESA: You know, and if we're thinking about goal setting and if you're wanting to either get going with some kitchen skills or if you want to improve your kitchen skills or just see new recipes, I think a great goal for 2022 would be to sign up for one of Marianne’s classes and get going with that idea, because it'll just give you some inspiration in the kitchen on how to make some real food, which is really the foundation of, of our health goals is eating that real food.

So that's one place that you could start. But another thing that I think is really important to think about is something that Kristi had already mentioned. First of all, you have to believe that you can do it. You have to believe that you can make that recipe and that it's going to turn out and that your family is going to like it. And you know what? You also have to think too is if this is something that's new for you, if it doesn't turn out well, what's the worst that can happen? You know, you still made real food. You still learned a skill. You still learned maybe what, what that process was and how to improve it for the future. And Marianne, you are much better at giving instruction on how to make this work than I am. So how are you helping clients learn how to cook real food and actually start enjoying the cooking process?

MARIANNE: Absolutely. You know what? Everybody needs to be more forgiving with themselves in the kitchen. It can be tough. I mean, it, it, it really is. If you're not used to being in the kitchen, it's a whole new experience. So I always say that cooking is a craft and it's a craft that we build upon. Think about you didn't just learn how to knit or, or, oh, I'm just a great gardener, you know, things, you, you acquire knowledge as you go along and everyone is somewhere on that journey. And I think it should never be intimidating or overwhelming. So I encourage my beginning clients to start really small. Plan for one new recipe per week or per month, if that's, you know, how, how you need to do it and try a new cooking technique that maybe you haven't tried before. Dust off that slow cooker or pull out instant pot that you might have gotten last year that's still in the box.

KRISITI: That sounds familiar.


TERESA: I think, I think a lot of people are intimidated by the Instant Pot. And I think that there are a lot of Instant Pots sitting in pantries, still in the packaging.

MARIANNE: Oh yeah; they’re still in the box. So I'm hoping I can, I can coax them out of the box. So with each class that I teach, students, we learn to be efficient with our time. We use less dishes, which come on, how many of us want to do less dishes? I mean, I feel like that's really the part of cooking that people don't like.

KRISTI: Absolutely.

TERESA: Yes. And I think a part of it too, is it's the time right? Many people say that they don't cook at home or for themselves because I don't have time. And a huge factor in that is not only the cooking process, but it's the cleaning up process. So yes. Any techniques that you can share with us to make sure that that is minimal.

MARIANNE: Yes. Less dishes. Absolutely.

TERESA: And very appreciated.

MARIANNE: The economy of motion. So there there's a lot of great tips with that. And then maybe just to discover a new veggie to add to the plate. That's always a good goal.

TERESA: Yeah. So another goal for 2022 is maybe as you're walking through the produce section, find something unfamiliar and see if we can figure out how to cook it or to eat it.

KRISTI: That's a great idea.

TERESA: Well, it's time for our next break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. I would like to read a few sentences from Dr. Mark Hyman's book Food: What the Heck Should I Cook? He wrote, “Today, the food industry has hijacked our kitchen, not by accident, but by design. It has rebranded cooking as a chore, a burden and drudgery. You deserve a break today. Nonsense. It's a scam to get us to buy prepared, processed foods.” He went on to say, “Cooking simple whole foods isn't actually that time consuming. It can take less than an hour a day and it shouldn't be expensive.” We believe at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, the first step is learning what to eat. Our Nutrition for Weight Loss series of classes can help you learn what to eat and then join Marianne in her Zoom cooking classes to learn how to put it all together. Real food, whole foods support, good health.

Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program


KRISTI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. We started this podcast over 17 years ago and it's been so received over the years. We have listeners all over the world now and we pride ourselves in staying with the same real food message for those past 17 years. Eating real food in balance and reducing our eliminating processed food helps people get and stay healthy and it prevents disease. We always say, it's a simple but powerful message. How can you take advantage of this real food message? How can it become part of your life? How can it become part of your family's life?

If you live in Montana or Illinois or New York, or even across the globe in Australia or anywhere in the world, we can connect with you. Pull up our website, and check out your options. We're on a mission to help everyone become healthier. Even though I'm a dietitian, I've taken a few of your cooking classes. Marianne. I always learn something new and informative that I didn't know before. And I just think your classes are great.

MARIANNE: I love that. That's great. Thank you.

TERESA: Yes. I think they're so great. And even I, I taught the final class of our Nutrition for Weight Loss series. So these women had gone through 12 weeks of, of our classes and, and several of them had taken your class and they were just talking about how great the class is, how much they love you, how they like that, you know, we can, they can ask questions like during the demonstration and how you're responsive.

And you know, some people don't know though, too, it's not just Marianne. We actually do have somebody from Nutritional Weight and Wellness helping her. And so that she can do her cooking demonstration. and we can still answer questions. And so there is, you know, there are two people there that are, that are helping, but, but the spotlight is really on Marianne.

MARIANNE: It's a nice mix. I get the, you know, I can, I can, it's a little bit of spinning plates so I can do my thing. And then, you know, I have an MC that sort of tells me the questions that are being asked. So it really is. It's a great class. It's, it's got a great flow. So I hope everybody can join us.

Believe in yourself: first step to makes healthy changes


KRISTI: Well, when we look at those health goals, like say you want to learn how to cook healthier meal is for your family, or you want to lose that weight or you want to get your blood sugar numbers under control, I honestly believe half the battle is telling yourself that you can do something.

TERESA: It's a mind game, isn't it?

KRISTI: Absolutely. If you could ignore that negative self-talk about not being able to do something and actually reframe it in your mind, you can do what you want to achieve, you're already on your way to success. I know a lot of times in our clinic we'll hear clients say, “I've been overweight my whole life, or I'll never be able to lose weight.” Think of how much better it would work if you said, “I can and I will lose two pounds this month and two pounds the next month and two pounds the following month.” And I know I get it as a dietitian. I know for most people, there's a whole chain of behaviors that need to change to meet those health goals. For example, if you didn't get that eight hours of sleep the night before, you head to Starbucks to grab mocha for a caffeine fix.

TERESA: Right. And because you had that mocha, you don't have your appetite for breakfast, so you skip it.

KRISTI: Exactly. And then you go into lunch starving and you overeat.


MARIANNE: Or you have that chocolate, you know, at four o'clock in the afternoon, because you need a little energy boost.

TERESA: Sure, yeah. Because when you're low on sleep, you're high on sugar cravings usually, you know, it's like, you're looking for that energy that sugar provides. And then, and then you have this great justification, right? I didn't eat breakfast. And so therefore I can have the chocolate cause I'm, you know, it's, if it's a calories game, right?

KRISTI: Exactly. It's a vicious cycle that you have to break. Our job as dietitians is to help you with a plan so you can be successful and then break that chain of behaviors.

MARIANNE: So I'm going to swing back to, to quotes like Teresa had earlier. And so one of my favorite quotes is “Change is hard at the beginning. It's messy in the middle and glorious in the end.” And that is so true. And we're setting any goal. I think it's so true.

KRISTI: I love that.

MARIANNE: Especially when you're doing dishes; messy in the middle, you know. So now we've all seen the commercials, those weight loss plans. They're coming at us. It's January and oh my gosh, it's the only thing we see on TV. The ones that want you to buy all that expensive pre-made boxed meals or special weight loss drinks. But these are only temporary solutions to a very long-term problem. These plans don't teach us lifelong skills that we need to be healthy and, and these programs and boxed meals, once they're gone, you're going to go back to the same old, same old. So real food cooked in your own kitchen is the long-term solution. It's a more sustainable solution.

TERESA: Yes. I totally agree with you. And that's what I love about what we do here at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is that we teach people skills. We don't give them products to in replacement of the food. You know, we teach them how to change behaviors and we teach them how to cook and we teach them what to eat; good choices. So I really, I really just love what we do here and how it really helps people for their long term goals.

Cook real food for better health and weight loss


So what do you think is the number one habit you need to develop for better health and for weight loss? Well, I think that number one habit is to cook real food and to avoid those processed pre-made packaged foods. Truly our metabolism and immune system is under assault from, you know, just the everyday stressors that live in modern life from pollution to stress and poor quality, toxic food, full of sugar and chemicals and damaged fats.

Well, on the other hand, organic vegetables, grass fed hormone free meats and beneficial fats support our immune system. They support our metabolism and our brain. So I think the number one health goal for 2022 is to cook real food at home.

MARIANNE: I absolutely agree. Of course I agree. It's my favorite place to be is in the kitchen. But you know what? It doesn't have to start with a really big plan. We can make it manageable. It can be just exploring the produce aisle and grabbing, maybe you grab a head of cauliflower or if it's easier for you grab a bag of that pre-cut cauliflower or one of those great mixes like the kale, the, the sort of a slaw mix.


MARIANNE: I mean that can, you can sauté that up in a really easy stir fry and it's great. So wherever you are on that journey, it doesn't to be a big plan.

KRISTI: Real foods, honestly, don't get enough credit. Did you know that real foods are a great way to support your gut health? Real foods are also so good for our metabolism, our energy levels, our good moods and our memory. And actually, speaking of memory that brings up a client story I'd like to share her. Several months ago, a long-term client shared that her sister had just been diagnosed with the early-stage Alzheimer's disease. And of course my client was worried and so scared for her sister. Alzheimer's disease can be such a debilitating condition to watch a loved one go through.

So I suggested to her to start cooking real foods for her sister, choosing those organic vegetables, the grass fed meats and a variety of those natural fats too, like olive oil, coconut oil and real butter, and to eliminate sugar and grains from her sister's diet. I'm actually happy to report this past week, her sister went back to the doctor for a reevaluation of her memory, and she received some good news because now she tested within the normal ranges for her memory and they no longer could classify her as having early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Isn't that amazing?

TERESA: That is amazing.

MARIANNE: That is incredible.


TERESA: Remember, early in the show, I quoted Hippocrates? His famous saying “All disease begins in the gut?” Well that includes Alzheimer's disease. So our gut is ground zero for good health. Perhaps one of our healthy goals this year should include steps to support our gut health or our internal microbiome.

So let's talk about some ideas to improve our intestinal health. One recommendation would be to eat more fiber. Fiber comes in real food, not packaged foods like we had mentioned earlier. Vegetables are a great source of fiber. You know, fewer than one in 10 U.S. adults meets their daily fiber needs. Actually, dietary fiber is the one food ingredient that the beneficial bacteria of our gut microbiome need to survive. On that note, we are going to go to our next break.

You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you are ready to get some healthy habits in place to lose some weight, to get your blood sugars under control, to let go of your pain and inflammation. I suggest you sign up for our Nutrition for Weight Loss program that starts the week of January 17th. You can take the classes either in person at one of our six locations or virtually in a Zoom format or by video. You know yourself best. What is the best option for you to make the changes you want to make? You can sign up online at or you can just call us and we will answer your questions.

Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program


KRISIT: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. We all know 2020 and 2021 have been stressful years. Many have gained weight, struggled with anxiety and depression, had trouble sleeping and have wanted more energy. Eating real food at least four times a day is the answer. Real food supports your metabolism at the cellular level. Real food supplies the nutrients needed for good mental health. Protein produces those amino acids, which makes your brain chemicals. It's all about science. Eating real food supports good sleep and real food can ease the pain and inflammation we're experiencing. Is it time to get started on the real food bandwagon that will take you down the track to good health? Call and talk to us. Our phone number is (651) 699-3438.

Why fiber is important and how to get it in


TERESA: Yeah. And we're always happy to help and answer questions for people. You know, before break, we were talking about fiber and we were talking about how fewer than one in 10 Americans meet their daily needs for fiber.

MARIANNE: Which is amazing. That is amazing.

TERESA: Yeah. That isn't very many of us that are getting that, getting the recommended amounts of fiber.


TERESA: And you know, we all really, well typically feel better when we eat a variety of vegetables per day and get that fiber in. And we know that vegetables are the best source of fiber; not the cereals that are advertised to reduce cholesterol. You know, we've seen those advertisements touting the benefits of eating this particular cereal and how it will lower your cholesterol. Well, here's the thing. Cereal manufacturers have big marketing budgets.


TERESA: They can afford to advertise.

KRISTI: They do.

TERESA: However, the people who produce our broccoli, our cauliflower, our asparagus, our foods that are nutrient powerhouses beyond just fiber, but great fiber sources, they do not have that kind of budget. So therefore it's not as well known to the average person who doesn't study nutrition, that vegetables are really the best source of fiber for us.

You know, and something else that's interesting that you know, is so common in our diet is it is sugar. Surprise, surprise, we're talking about sugar. But sugar and artificial sweeteners found in those cereals and other processed foods, they can alter our gut microbiome so that even our blood sugar control can be disrupted. So for better health, make a new year's goal to include vegetables in your daily habit three times a day. And another goal could be to avoid products containing refined flours, such as cereal, pasta, waffles, breads, bagels, and more, and you know, most, most muffins. And I would say, when you have this as your goal, you know, be specific, you know, vegetables three times a day. What am I having for breakfast? What am I having for lunch? You know, specifically, how is that going to happen? And then how often am I going to have a muffin or maybe Marianne, you have a suggestion about muffins? I don't know.

MARIANNE: Yes. Well, you know what? The, the, on the website,, there are actually several really great muffin recipes and they're gluten free and they're dairy free if you're dairy sensitive and they really are delicious. I mean, there's pumpkin and banana and…

TERESA: Blueberry.


TERESA: I've even used cherries in some of those recipes.

MARIANNE: Yeah. They're great.

KRISTI: That's a good idea.


KRISITI: They also freeze beautifully.

MARIANNE: Yeah, they do. Which is nice. They do, which is a great way to, to have them, you know, for that breakfast on the go. And I, and I also say, you know, for sure you want to add, add some vegetables to your breakfast. A lot of people sort of that's the ignored breakfast meal and I, or vegetable meal. And I think you should always, if you can sneak them in, it's a good way to do it. So, so all these muffin recipes are, they're real, they're balanced; they’re ingredients that are satisfying and you can eat them for breakfast, but you can also eat them as a snack. Yep. So, great snack.

TERESA: Yes. In fact, in preparation for this show, I had a muffin, but to up the fiber, I actually used the tip that Marianne recently told me. And that was to add chia seeds to increase the fiber in those muffins. And as we were talking about the fiber that's in those chia seeds, well, it feeds our microbiome.

Importance of probiotics for a healthy microbiome


But for good health, or I shouldn’t say, but, but in addition for good health and to support your microbiome, I often suggest using a probiotic as well. And specifically using Bifido Balance. And for many of my clients, what works the best is to have two to three Bifido balance probiotic capsules before each meal. And then for those clients that also have acid reflux, I suggest adding two to three of the Acidophilus capsules at bedtime to prevent that acid reflux.

KRISTI: Yeah. 70% of our immune system is actually connected to our gut.

TERESA: Isn't that amazing?

MARIANNE: That is amazing.

KRISTI: So we've got to keep that gut healthy, especially…

MARIANNE: It is ground zero.

Importance of a sufficient vitamin D level


KRISTI: It is. That is very true. I mean, we want to stay healthy, especially this time of year with so many things being thrown at us with cold and the flu season upon us. Something else we have to be mindful of too, besides our gut health is our vitamin D level. Low vitamin D levels actually can weaken our immune system and they can also contribute to cancer. And as many of us know, COVID just continues to rear its ugly head. And cancer is the number two leading cause of death in the United States.

I always encourage my clients to have their vitamin D levels tested yearly, sometimes twice a year because our vitamin D levels can fluctuate with the changing seasons. A vitamin D deficiency can lead to a high susceptibility to many different kinds of cancers. It's linked with colon cancer and breast cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer.

In addition to an increased cancer risk and that higher level of susceptibility to infections, our low vitamin D can also be associated with autoimmune problems like rheumatoid arthritis or hypothyroidism. And I don't know if many of you know, this but low vitamin D can also cause depression. Vitamin D is essential for so many different things. So if you have your labs drawn and your vitamin D levels come back within that normal range, just be aware. Most healthcare professionals will actually say that a normal range is 30 or higher. Your optimal range is to protect yourself from cancer, that lowered immune function and to ward off depression need to fall between 50 and 80.

TERESA: Well, so it sounds like a good goal for 2022 is to have your vitamin D level checked.

KRISTI: Yes, I like that. Absolutely.

TERESA: And that I feel like is an easier goal to accomplish, right?

MARIANNE: That is easy. And good. That's a great goal, actually. So in talking about our ground zero, our gut, I think it's important to know how we can feed this inner garden. And that's what it is. It's an inner garden of good bacteria for our immune system. And the, these are, these are living bacteria that, that need that fiber. And as Teresa said, it loves fiber from lots of different vegetables. So here's what I suggest to my clients. It's developing that simple habit of grabbing a vegetable you might not be familiar with. Did you know that there are over a thousand different cultivated vegetables in the world? And you all tend to eat the same 10 or 12 vegetables?

TERESA: Yes, I actually did know that. And I was really surprised when I read that, but then when I sort of evaluated my own vegetable intake, I was like, nope, I have about 10 that I rotate through.

MARIANNE: So it is amazing

TERESA: Guilty.

MARIANNE: Exactly.

KRISTI: Me too.

MARIANNE: But I mean the grew grocery store is also guilty of that. They do put their, their biggest sellers you know, up front and at eye level. And so we do tend to buy the same vegetables. So if you can sort of look up and down and a little bit in a different bin that that might you might find something that's a little different.

TERESA: You mean I have to break out of my habits of going directly, I am such a creature of habit. That's why I say, why I say that. Like I have to, I have to change the direction I walk in the grocery store?

Gut-supportive foods


MARIANNE: Yes, you got to, you got to sneak out of that comfort zone. And again, you know, get a precut vegetable if that makes it easier for you. And, and another great way to feed that gut is to start incorporating some fermented foods into your diet. And there's an easy way to do that. Add a tablespoon of sauerkraut to your salads. Really easy. It, you don't have to eat it on its own, because some people are like, I don't really like the taste of it, but if you sprinkle it in your salad, you'll barely taste it. If you like spicy, throw in a little kimchi, that's the, the spicy sauerkraut. And if you tolerate dairy, you could find a really good quality, full fat, unsweetened yogurt; top it with some berries. It's a delicious snack and so good for you. It's got the good bacteria in it. And another great thing for your gut is just make a simple soup. And if you can make it with bone broth. It's so healing for our gut lining and think about, you know, when somebody doesn't feel well, if they're under the, under the weather, what do we give them? We give them soup and we do that because it's going to help their gut and make them feel better and be great for their immune system.

TERESA: Yes. I love that idea of both feeding the good bacteria and then healing the, the cells of the intestinal tract to make sure that the organ itself is in a well-functioning state. Those are great ideas, Marianne. I love that. Our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is help each and every person experience real health through eating real food. Thank you for joining us today and have a Happy New Year and let's make it our healthiest year yet.

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