If you follow any health and wellness social media influencers, it is likely that you might have heard about food combining and its supposed health benefits. So what exactly is this style of eating and is it evidenced-base
Food Combining is essentially the belief that certain foods pair better together than others for better ease of digestion. A few of the most controversial practices of this diet is that it restricts fruit consumption to only being eaten on an empty stomach in the morning, and that people should avoid “mixed meals.” Mixed meals are considered to be any meal that contains a mixture of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The theory behind this way of eating is that some foods are better absorbed on an empty stomach, such as fruit, and that the stomach has a difficult time digesting “complex” meals which could lead to digestive discomfort. So what does the research say about this?
There have only been a few studies on the effects of food combining, but all show that there are no significant benefits by practicing this style of eating. The human body can digest these “complex” meals, and eating food on an empty stomach such as fruit will not enhance nutrient absorption. It is actually encouraged to eat meals that contain carbohydrates, protein, and fat as it ensures that you are eating a balanced diet, and each component will provide you with energy and nutrients that your body needs and will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
There is a great deal of information regarding nutrition on social media, but just always be sure to check your sources and make sure that you are only following the advice of a licensed healthcare professional such as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or other professional. Be sure to follow Healthy Bites on Instagram @healthybitesnutritionservices for nutrition, health, and wellness tips!
Author: Nicole Boylan, Intern
Weekly Blog 4: Why am I always hungry?
Many people often complain about feeling hungry too frequently throughout the day. The feeling of hunger can be caused by a multitude of both physiological and environment reasons and factors. Here a few reasons why you may note feel satisfied after meals and snacks which could contribute to low energy, brain fog and change in mood!
1. Not enough protein and Complex Carbs! Your current diet indicates whether you are consuming the right kinds of foods that encourage the feeling of fullness. Eating protein increases the production of hormones that stimulate fullness and reducing the hormones that signal hunger. Consequently, refined carbohydrates are digested by the body very quickly and raises blood sugar levels which stimulate your body’s need for more food. Replaced refined carbs with whole foods that are rich in fiber such as vegetables, fruit, legumes, and whole grains to keep hunger under control! (Note: Refined carbohydrates do have a place in a lifestyle! I always encourage clients to incorporate simple carbohydrates as all foods should be included in our diet because food should be fun! Following the 80/20 rule is a good guide!)
2. Not getting enough sleep. Getting proper rest is very important for the regulation of hormones that stimulate and inhibit your appetite such as ghrelin and lectin, respectively. Less sleep is associated with a higher production rate of ghrelin while more sleep is increases the production of lectin. An adequate 8 hours of sleep per night should reduce feelings of hunger throughout the day!
3. Higher stress levels. High anxiety or tenseness releases a hormone called cortisol which can lead to an increase in feelings of hunger. A person under a lot of stress could have heightened cravings for more sugary or fatty foods and binge eat in hopes of stress alleviation. Maintaining a healthy diet and sleep cycle, exercising, and the uptake of relaxation techniques are just a few of many positive and natural ways of controlling cortisol levels!
4. Dehydration. Although proper hydration is extremely beneficial for your overall health, Feelings of thirst are often mistaken for feelings of hunger. It may be helpful to drink water when you are feeling hungry after a meal that would typically be satisfying and packed with protein, vegetables and whole grains. (Note: Water shouldn’t be used as a way to mask our hunger or for a way to skip meals for weight loss as overhydration can become an issue as well!)
5. Your diet lacks fiber. Fiber slows digestion in the body and elongates feelings of fullness after a meal. Furthermore, fiber releases hormones that are appetite-reducing and promote feelings of satiation. If you are feeling hungry too often, consume more fibrous foods such as whole grains, plant-based foods, fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, and legumes to curb your appetite!
-Blog written by Nicole Iorio (nutrition intern)
http://clipart-library.com/thinking-person.html - photo credit
Many people believe meal prepping is just a tedious, time consuming way to prepare the same boring meal to eat for the next 5 days in a row. This is not true! Meal prepping can be extremely beneficial for those with a busy schedule and a demanding lifestyle. Here are some beginner tips on how to create delicious, diverse meals for every day of the week!
1. Buy in bulk. Packaged fresh or frozen lean meats and fish sell cheaper in larger quantities. Look for organic, hormoneless brands that are safe to freeze for use at later dates. If your a smoothie person, purchase either your favorite fresh fruits to cut up and freeze at home or buy frozen pre-cut variety packs depending on price and quality. To buy the perfect amount of food, ask the butcher counter to scale out exactly what you need or use the consumer friendly scales in the produce isles. Freezing anything does not decrease the health value or alter the taste if properly defrosted!
2. Invest in portioned tupperware. To prevent overeating, make sure the containers you buy are perfectly sized for one meal. You can easily estimate portion sizes by comparing foods to household items. A 4-oz serving of protein looks similar to a standard smartphone, a serving of oil or butter compares to a single die, carbohydrate-rich foods like quinoa, rice, or pasta should fit into a tennis ball, and a cup of raw veggies should fit into a baseball. There are several purchasable tupperwares that premeasure these foods to fit correctly into each available slot!
3. Storing each food separately. To subside the bore of eating the same food every night, store each food made in the beginning of the week in separate containers to create different new and exciting combinations. This introduces the possibility of repurposing the same foods by preparing them several different ways. For example, prepared steamed broccoli and grilled chicken can be used one night in an extravagant caesar salad and the next night as an oriental stir-fry with the addition of soy sauce and sesame seeds!
4. Slow cook foods. Investing in a slow cooker or crock pot is the easiest and most painless way for daily food preparation. Grilling, fame-broiling, sauteing, or baking foods at high heat could be the most delicious ways to cook food (especially meats) but are sadly some of the most unhealthy ways. The protein and fat in the meat interact with several harmful compounds when cooked at high temperatures. Slow cookers create perfectly tender foods that are readily available right when you walk in the door and decreases the risk of creating harmful compounds!
5. Use storage bags. Storage bags encourage perfectly portioned sizes and long term freshness of bulk foods. You can pre-measure dry ingredients or produce in individual bags and write down the exact measurements of each along with their required expiration dates. They even fit easily in pantries and refrigerators for convenient storing purposes!
Article Written by Nicolina Iorio (Nutrition Intern)
For more on portion sizing: https://www.livestrong.com/article/248298-how-to-calculate-food-portions-without-a-scale/
Fad diets are diets popular for a period of time, promising its users with certain health benefits like weight loss, nutritional advances, and other quick fixes. These types of diets, such as the South Beach Diet, Atkins Diet, and Paleo Diet, are advertised heavily in mainstream media to inform people of its “advantages” and ultimately persuade people to literally buy into its empty promises. Here are some facts and myths that will hopefully better inform you of what truly is a fad diet!
Cutting out carbohydrates and severely restricting caloric intake will result in weight loss.
Although a significantly less amount of food then you usually do may result in initial weight loss this is NOT the recommended route dietitians and specialists would encourage for weight loss. As many times it is not sustainable. Carbs come in 2 forms: simple and complex. Simple carbs are represented by more sugary foods that contain less nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Cutting back on these foods is a healthy way to increase weight loss and nutritional status. However, complex carbs such as whole wheat grains, beans, and fruits are NEEDED by the body for energy and should NOT be restricted. These are the foods that keep you energized throughout the day!
Fad diets work for permanent weight loss.
While cutting certain foods out of your diet could have weight loss effects at first when following strict fad diet regimens, many people quickly get tired of how limited their choices are and immediately regain any lost weight. With diets like these, the body’s metabolic system can be significantly shifted, resulting in an even more difficult time trying to lose weight again. Instead of aiming for extreme weight loss in a short period of time, the best way to maximize health gains are to make healthy food choices, eat moderate but still satisfying portions, and incorporate physical activity into your daily routine!
Gives nutritional advice based on testimonials of other users rather than scientific evidence.
Advertisements use those who have followed the fad diet and reaped its benefits to adhere to the public and drive the idea that “it actually works”. Often, you will see before and after pictures of people who have used the diet strategies. While these pictures could be real (or edited), the consumer still has no idea how unhealthy and calorically restrictive the fad diet user’s practices actually were. Additionally, the influence of pop culture in the media play on people’s emotions by deceiving those into thinking that “if Kim Kardashian likes it, I will too”. It’s important to note that we are all different and that healthy eating and weight loss is not one size fits all.
Forces you to buy the company’s foods and supplements rather than showing you how to make better choices at a grocery store.
What happens when you can no longer afford to purchase the expensive products provided by your fad diet advisors? Rather than investing in overpriced protein powders from a clickable link on the sidebar of your computer, educate yourself about how to correctly shop for food on your own! Fill your shopping cart with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Drink WATER and lots of it! Nutrition and weight management becomes so easy once you know what works for you as an individual and taking steps to change or maintain your current state of health, even without a fad diet kit full of eccentric powders and potions!
Article Written by: Nicolina Iorio (Nutrition Intern)
As another new and exciting year begins, I tend to self evaluate my current state of mind and health behaviors. I aspire to make positive changes to my mind and body by setting reasonable and achievable health and fitness related goals and resolutions. Here are some tips to ensure long lasting, attainable goals that will benefit you physically and mentally throughout the New Year!
Be SPECIFIC.The first step to creating new goals for the New Year is to state exactly WHAT you are trying to accomplish. This can be classified by anything from wanting to lose weight, gain or tone muscle, overcome disordered eating, exercise more, or simply introduce a healthier diet strategy. A great method to creating a goal would be using action words such as “I WILL”, “I CAN”, or “I WANT to” and defining the goal by what needs to be achieved or attained and by WHEN. IE. I Want to lose 5 pounds
Make sure goals are MEASURABLE.Provide a way to evaluate your goals by using metrics or data targets. If you seek a more balanced or nutritious diet, you can purchase a certain quantity of dark green leafy vegetables (for instance) and make sure to incorporate them into your diet within a certain amount of time before a new quantity is purchased. Scaling is a great way to track caloric weight and making sure you are intaking the correct amount of food. Additionally, there are several phone applications that make it easy to track eating and exercise patterns in which you are able to manually input goals directly into the app!
Make sure goals are ACHIEVABLE. The goals you set for yourself should be IN REACH and within your body’s limits. Always know where you are currently and build up from there. Most people struggle with the perception of where they are as opposed to where they want to be. Don’t confuse the two! If you want to run a marathon but have never run before, start SMALL by running one or two miles a day and work up to a 5k initially! Everything is achievable with time, effort, and persistence!
Ensure RELEVANCE. The process of working to achieve your goal should make sense with end result. When attempting to improve throughout the given time frame, use necessary protocols that will accurately and effectively induce a positive result in the end. When aspiring to introduce a healthier diet strategy, simply start by avoiding sugary and starchy foods and begin to incorporate more macronutrients into your diet!
Provide a TIME-FRAME. During the specificity stage of goal setting, provide a REALISTIC time frame to meet your goals. Use a registered dietitian or fitness coach to pair your individual needs with a safe, effective guide/outline. Training for a marathon in a month seems a bit ambitious. Taking your time, training and eating properly, and realizing your own personal boundaries will ensure your ability to achieve any and all goals you have set for the New Year!
Example: I want to reduce the amount of soda I drink. I will Only drink 2 sodas instead of my typical 3 sodas a day over the next week. I will measure this by logging how many sodas I drink a day. This is relevant to me as I rely on soda for caffeine on a daily basis and still feel sluggish. I want more natural energy and I will start by eventually eliminating daily soda consumption. (Each week your goal is evaluated and altered to reach your next goal!)
For help creating and reaching your SMART GOALS email email@example.com
Blog Written by: Nicolina Iorio
No Bake Cookie Dough Energy bites
Healthy energy bites that taste like chocolate chip cookie dough! Perfect for breakfast, snacking, and even dessert.
YIELD: 12 balls | TOTAL TIME: 10 minutes
1/2 cup natural almond butter
1/2 cup vanilla whey protein powder (about 2 scoops—use plant-based protein powder to make this dairy free)
1/3 cup coconut flour,* plus 1-2 tablespoons additional as needed
1 1/2 Tbsp honey (or pure maple syrup)
1 Tea pure vanilla extract
1/4 Tea cinnamon
2-4 Tbsp Almond Breeze unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 Tbsp dark chocolate chips (dairy free if desired)
In a large bowl, mix the almond butter, protein powder, 1/3 cup coconut flour, honey, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons almond milk. Stir until the mixture forms a dough that is soft enough to roll into balls, but not overly sticky. Add additional coconut flour or almond milk as needed to make the mixture more or less dry. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Roll mixture into 12 balls. Enjoy immediately or store in the refrigerator for later.
Bites can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months.
*Since this recipe isn’t baked, I recommend using pasteurized coconut flour to eliminate possible food safety risks.
Serving Size: 1 ball
Amount per serving:
Total Fat: 7g
Recipe from Well Plated by Erin Clarke | All images and text ©Erin Clarke/Well Plated.
1 Can of all white albacore tuna
1/2 of an avocado
1 Cup of spinach
6 cherry tomatoes
2 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar
Dice avocado and mix with flaked tuna, season with salt and pepper to taste. Plate avocado and tuna salad next to spinach, top with cherry tomatoes and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. You’ve got a protein packed, low calorie lunch!
~240 calories, 22g of protein
As a dietitian I get asked frequently what I do for meals and how I meal prep! This week I wanted to provide a sneak peak into what a week of meal prep looks like! I also added some treats which I normally don't include but was in the fall spirit! See my instagram @healthybitesnutritioncounseling post for more details! Below are the links to the recipes!
Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash
Slow Cooker Lentil Sloppy Joes with Spaghetti Squash
Coconut Flour Pumpkin Bread
2 hardboiled eggs
1/2 bag of a 10.5 bag of steam in the bag mixed vegetables
2 Tbsp of pesto, fresh made or store bought, just check the ingredient list for additives
A few shakes to taste of Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning
Toss steamed vegetables, pesto and seasoning in a bowl, top with halved eggs and enjoy!
~ About 360 calories, 14g of protein