Ocnutrition’s Blog


Vegetarian Diets: Is it Healthy to Cut Meat out of Your Diet?
June 5, 2012, 5:42 pm
Filed under: General Nutrition

Vegetarian diets have become increasingly popular over the past few years as more and more studies have shown positive health benefits to following a mostly plant based diet. But some of you are probably wondering, is consuming a vegetarian diet really healthy for you like everyone says?

 What exactly is a vegetarian?

 A vegetarian is one who doesn’t include meat, poultry, seafood, or any products containing these foods in their diet.

  • A lacto-ovo-vegetarian is one who includes eggs and dairy products in their diet.
  • A lacto-vegetarian is one who includes dairy products but excludes eggs from their diet.
  • On the more extreme side, a vegan is one who only eats plant products and doesn’t include any animal products in their diet.

 Is this type of diet healthy for your body?

Yes, it can be! According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” They also state that well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for people of all ages, including those who are pregnant or lactating, children, adolescents, and athletes.

So what does an “appropriately planned” vegetarian/vegan diet mean? Following a vegetarian diet can be tricky if you’re not aware of certain nutrients that you may become deficient in, especially if you’re following a vegan diet. Here are the nutrients you want to make sure you’re getting enough of:

  • Protein: Since most protein is found in meat and dairy products, if you’re eliminating these from your diet it may be hard getting enough protein. Here are some great non-meat, non-dairy sources of protein: quinoa, legumes such as beans, peas and lentils, and soy products such as tofu and soy milk. You can also try meat substitutes and protein supplements.
  • Vitamin B12: Lacto-ovo-vegetarians can get adequate amounts of vitamin B12 in their diet from a combination of eggs, dairy foods, fortified foods, and supplements, if consumed regularly. For vegans, it is a little trickier. Sources of B12 for vegans will mainly have to come from regular use of vitamin B12 fortified foods, such as fortified soy and rice beverages, some breakfast cereals and meat substitutes. Most of the time, vegans will need to take a vitamin B12 supplement.
  • Calcium and Vitamin D:These are mainly a concern for those who eliminate dairy products from their diet.
    • Some non-dairy sources of calcium are: soy beans, tempeh, broccoli, leafy greens such as kale, okra, turnip greens, collard greens, and bok choy, blackstrap molasses, and calcium fortified cereal, orange juice, and soy and rice beverages.
    • Great non-dairy sources of vitamin D are: fortified tofu or tofu products, fortified soy milk or soy products, fortified cereals, fortified orange juice, and mushrooms.
    • Did you know the sun is a great source of vitamin D too? Researchers suggest that 5-30 minutes of sun exposure (without sunscreen) to the face, extremities or back, between 10am-3pm at least twice a week, can usually lead to sufficient vitamin D synthesis. For individuals with limited sun exposure, a vitamin D supplement may be needed.
    • Iron: The iron in plant foods is called nonheme iron. Nonheme iron is not as well absorbed as the iron found in meat, which is why the recommended iron intake is 1.8 times higher for vegetarians. Some great iron sources for vegetarians can be found in: beans, lentils, quinoa, tofu, tempeh, and leafy greens such as spinach, Swiss chard and turnip greens.

Research has shown that those who follow a vegetarian diet usually have higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, and fiber and lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol. Because of the higher intake of dietary fiber and nutrients such as antioxidants, magnesium, potassium, folate, carotenoids and other phytochemicals, vegetarian diets are often associated with many health benefits, such as improved cholesterol and blood pressure levels and a lower risk of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. With all of these great benefits, it’s no wonder the number of vegetarians in the U.S. is expected to increase within the next decade! But following a vegetarian diet isn’t for everyone. If you still love your meat but would like to try and include more fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your diet, try choosing one day out of the week to have a vegetarian meal! You might be surprised at how delicious it tastes and how great you feel after eating it.

This information was brought to you by OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice, and Megan Ting, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Dietetic Intern. OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services over the phone or in person in Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino Hills and Long Beach. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS, MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
kristy@ocnutrition.com
http://www.ocnutrition.com
(949) 933-6788



Celiac Disease and the Gluten-Free Diet
May 31, 2012, 11:56 pm
Filed under: General Nutrition

ImageCeliac Disease is gaining popularity in news and health coverage as more people are being diagnosed. Celiac Disease is a digestive disorder caused by the inability to tolerate gluten.  Gluten is the plant-protein found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale.  When someone with Celiac Disease ingests gluten, it damages the tiny projections of the small intestine (villi) that are used to absorb nutrients.  If untreated, severe damage can occur to the small intestine causing nutrition and immune-related disorders that are potentially life-threatening.  

As a result, people with Celiac Disease must avoid gluten-containing grains and make healthy substitutions.  It is also recommended that people with Celiac Disease avoid oats, as they tend to be processed with wheat products.

Thankfully, almost all grocery stores carry forms of gluten-free flours and restaurants are developing gluten-free menus.  Living with this disease is no longer the inconvenience it once was, and in fact can create a diet with more variety.  Some common gluten-free flours include: buckwheat, corn flour, corn meal, rice flour, millet, and quinoa.  Safe grains and other starches include rice (brown, wild, red, short and long grain, jasmine, and basmati), risotto, popcorn, corn, potatoes, lentils, beans, and peas. 

Some symptoms of Celiac Disease include bloating and abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or constipation, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, weakness, fatigue, and bone or joint pain.  A blood test can screen for your risk of Celiac Disease, but cannot confirm it.  An intestinal biopsy is the most conclusive way to diagnose the disease.  Once diagnosed with Celiac Disease, it is time to start a life-long gluten-free diet.  After effectively removing gluten from the diet, the small intestine will begin to heal and in most cases without the use of medications.  

This information was brought to you by OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice, and Lyndsay Romano, CSULB Dietetic Intern. OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services over the phone or in person in Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino Hills and Long Beach. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS, MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
kristy@ocnutrition.com
http://www.ocnutrition.com
(949) 933-6788

 



Get Your Plate In Shape; Fill Half-Your-Plate With Fruits & Veggies
April 13, 2012, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Diabetes, General Nutrition, Heart Health, Weight Management

Did you know the average American eats only 43% of the recommended amount of fruit and 57% of the recommended amount of vegetables each day?  Include more colorful fruits and vegetables in your menu plan for a brighter future.  Fruits and vegetables reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic conditions.

When choosing fruits and vegetables, “eat the rainbow of colors.”  Different color groups provide a unique set of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.  Fruits and veggies are nutritious in any form:  fresh, frozen, canned or dried.  They are available year round and are ready when you are.

Benefits of eating more Fruits and Vegetables:

  • Fiber help fill you up, lowers cholesterol, and aids your digestive system
  • Disease Reduction including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, some cancers and Type 2 Diabetes
  • Vitamins & Minerals  are abundant which keeps you stay healthy and energized
  • Low in Calories and rich in flavor and texture

How to include more Fruits & Vegetables

  • Include veggies with breakfast:  add mushrooms and peppers to eggs to make an omelet, or wrap up an egg and veggie scramble in a whole wheat tortilla
  • Enjoy fruit and veggies as your snack:  top of Greek yogurt with frozen fruit, dip carrots or sliced bell peppers in hummus, or make up a trail mix of dried fruit and nuts
  • Add extra veggies to your favorite dishes: pile veggies on top of your pizza, stuff them in your sandwich, or add veggies to pasta sauces, soups, and casseroles
  • Include a colorful salad with your lunch or dinner and add some fresh or dried fruit for a little sweetness
  • Choose fruits and veggies that are darker or brighter in color; these contain more vitamins and minerals
  • Each week choose a new fruit and/or veggie.  There are hundreds to choose from and it adds variety to your meal
  • Purchase fruits and veggies from local farmers or markets to ensure the freshness and hence its nutrient content

This information was brought to you by Robyn Moss, MS, RD and OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice.  OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services over the phone or in person in Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino Hills and Long Beach.  If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS,MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
kristy@ocnutrition.com
http://www.ocnutrition.com
(949) 933-6788



FREE Mindful Eating Seminar with Robyn Moss, MS, RD from OC Nutrition
April 13, 2012, 10:30 pm
Filed under: Dietitians, Eating out, General Nutrition, Weight Management

Brain ImageTuesday, May 1, 2012
6:30-7:30 pm

Just For The Health Of It and OC Nutrition are bringing you a nutrition seminar to make you think.  There are countless acts of mindless eating that we all do throughout the day ~ eating on the go, driving through for coffee in the morning, afternoon fatigue leading to poor snack choices,  eating in front of the TV, etc. These speedy habits may contribute to a range of eating and digestive issues.  Learn how to enhance your ability to eat with greater awareness assisting in better food choices and how to stop eating when you are full.

Sign-ups are required.
Call or email to register today…

JUST FOR THE HEALTH OF IT!
417 N. Tustin St., Orange   ~  714.639.0494
email: diane@justforthehealthofit.info
 
This information was brought to you by Just for the Health of It and OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice. OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services over the phone or in person in Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino Hills and Long Beach. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS, MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
kristy@ocnutrition.com
http://www.ocnutrition.com
(949) 933-6788



Focus on Fiber
February 19, 2012, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Dietary Supplements, General Nutrition, Heart Health, Label Reading

Recently there has been a strong push for Americans to increase their fiber intake. Fiber has been added to food products such as cereals, yogurts, and sweeteners, and the market for fiber supplements has taken off. The majority of Americans are getting less than half the daily fiber recommendation (25 grams/day for women and 38 grams/day for men), so this push for more fiber is a good thing.

Simply put, dietary fibers are non-digestible carbohydrates that help maintain a healthy digestive tract and may improve heart health, immune function, and blood sugar control. Two major categories of fiber are soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber has been found to lower cholesterol and promote digestive health. Good sources are oats, dry beans, peas, lentils, fruits and vegetables. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool to help it pass through the gut more quickly. Foods containing insoluble fiber include wheat bran, whole grains, vegetables, nuts and seeds. A mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber is suggested for optimal health.

Functional fibers are fibers that have been isolated from food products or manufactured for therapeutic use. The use of fiber supplements has been linked with lowered cholesterol, increased weight loss, and improved gut and immune function. It is important to be aware of the type of functional or added fiber so you can receive the desired benefits. Listed below are some of the most common functional and added fibers, what they do, and the products they are found in.

Psyllium

  • Effects– May help lower cholesterol/lower blood pressure/regulate blood sugar, soluble, prevent/relieve constipation
  • Common Products– Metamucil: stir-in powder, wafers, caplets (assorted flavors)

Methylcellulose

  • Effects– Adds bulk to stool, relieves constipation, soluble
  • Common Products– Citrucel: caplets, stir-in powder (unflavored or orange)

Inulin

  • Effects– Supports good gut bacteria, may help absorb calcium, bulking, prevents constipation
  • Common Products– Fiberchoice: chewable tablets (assorted flavors), Activia with Fiber, Fiber One: pancake mix, chewy bars, etc.

Wheat Dextrin

  • Effects– May help lower cholesterol/assist in weight loss/boost immune function, relieves constipation, soluble
  • Common Products– Benefiber: stir-in powder, chewable caplets, tablets, to-go drink mix-ins

Bran

  • Effects– Bulk stool, relieve constipation, insoluble fiber, blockage risk (use in moderate amounts)
  • Common Products– Ready-to-eat cereals (All-Bran, Quaker Oat Bran, Raisin Bran), Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Bran: to be used in food preparation (i.e. baking)

The importance of fiber in our diet is becoming more and more undeniable, which is why finding ways to increase your daily fiber intake is worth the effort. Don’t forget to increase fiber gradually and drink plenty of water to prevent digestive discomfort. Before turning to supplements, try adding more whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds to your diet. Be creative and remember that fiber is just one component of a healthy lifestyle!

This information was brought to you by OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice, and Sarah Trinajstich, CSULB Dietetic Intern.  OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services in Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino Hills, and Long Beach.  If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS,MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
(949) 933-6788
kristy@ocnutrition.com
http://www.ocnutrition.com



“Healthy Fat’’—a Contradiction or Not?
February 19, 2012, 9:13 pm
Filed under: General Nutrition, Heart Health, Label Reading, Weight Management

Fat has gotten somewhat of a bad rap in the past and you increasingly see more and more “low fat,” “reduced fat,” and “non-fat” food items popping up in supermarkets. However a balanced diet should have 20-35% of your daily calories coming from fat. What’s important is to pay attention to the kinds of fat you’re eating, decrease unhealthy fats (saturated and trans fats), and focus on healthy fats (monounsaturated and omega-3).

Saturated fat and trans fats are considered unhealthy because they promote unhealthy cholesterol levels, plaque formation, and inflammation in the body. Saturated fats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your calories and they are found in foods like butter, cheese, beef, whole fat dairy, and other animal products. Trans fats shouldn’t make up more than 2% of your calories and they are found in fast food, fried food, and other processed food with hydrogenated oils.

The healthy fats which have been found to have the most health benefits are monounsaturated fats and omega-3s. Monounsaturated fats can improve your cholesterol and decrease risk of heart disease and stroke. These fats are also needed to keep your body’s cells healthy. Monounsaturated fats can be found in nuts, canola oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, and avocado. Omega-3 fats can improve heart health by preventing plaque buildup, lowering blood pressure, and preventing irregular heartbeats. The USDA recommends daily intake of 1.6 g (1,600 mg) for men and 1.1 g (1,100 mg) for women. Omega-3 fats are found in fatty fish (salmon, trout, tuna, etc.), canola oil, walnuts, flaxseed, and leafy green vegetables.

A few ways you can include more of these healthy fats in your diet are to:

  • use healthy fats instead of unhealthy fats when cooking (ex. canola instead of butter)
  • have a handful of nuts or trail mix for a snack
  • make an effort to have fatty fish at least twice a week
  • dip bread in olive oil rather than spreading on butter

Remember, not all fats are created equal and monounsaturated and omega-3 fats are necessary for optimum health. Maintaining a well-balanced diet with an emphasis on these healthy fats will improve your body’s function now and help prevent diseases in the future, a win-win!

This information was brought to you by OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice, and Jenna Haug, CSULB Dietetic Intern. OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services over the phone or in person in Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino Hills and Long Beach. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS, MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
kristy@ocnutrition.com
http://www.ocnutrition.com
(949) 933-6788



January: A great time to start a Healthy New Year
December 31, 2011, 2:19 am
Filed under: Eating out, General Nutrition, Heart Health, Weight Management

January 1:  Have a family discussion about New Year’s resolutions today.

January 2:  Choose one new fruit or vegetable to try this week.

January 3:  Buy yourself a good cookbook full of healthful recipes or find an “app”. The American Heart Association has several.

January 4:  Keep an eye out for “New Year” deals on gym memberships, fitness equipment, or workout videos.

January 5:  Tally how many calories your family is consuming each day in beverages (include juices as well as soda). Is it worth it?

January 6:  Have a special healthy treat tonight!  Get creative using your new cookbook/app for a yummy and healthful dessert.

January 7:  Have everyone rank their hunger on a scale of 1–10 before eating today. Choose servings accordingly.

January 8:  Plan a week’s worth of healthy meals today.

January 9:  Learn more about Meatless Mondays by visiting www.meatlessmonday.com.

January 10:  Replace one half of the fat in baked good recipes with unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana.

January 11:  Look for frozen meals, if your family eats them, which contain ≤600 milligrams of sodium/serving.

January 12:  Know that most cereal bars are not a good choice for breakfast. Many contain too much sugar and not enough protein or fiber.

January 13:  Have everyone wait 20 minutes before getting a second helping today.

January 14:  Make a meal involving beans today, such as black bean burritos, chili, bean soup, or your family’s favorite.

January 15:  Brainstorm new ideas for packed lunches today.

January 16:  Remove foods that contain “partially hydrogenated fats” from your cupboards.

January 17:  Make a dental appointment, if you need one. Everyone in the house needs to see a dentist every 6 months.

January 18:  Clean kitchen sponges by wetting them and zapping them in the microwave for 2 minutes.

January 19:  Have everyone pitch in and clean the house. It is great exercise!

January 20:  Choose another new fruit or vegetable to try this week!

January 21:  Popcorn is a whole grain and high in fiber. Use a lite margarine or a bit of olive oil to flavor it.

January 22:  Purchase a pedometer for each family member or buy one and switch users each day. The goal is to accumulate 10,000 steps/day!

January 23:  Choose bread that has at least three grams of fiber in each slice.

January 24:  Track how much “screen time” the kids or even you use each day, set a limit of 2 hours!

January 25:  Try a new grain, such as bulgur, barley, or quinoa.

January 26:  Make a pizza with thin crust (whole grain if possible), and top with all the vegetables you can!  Cook the veggies first to prevent the crust from soaking up the liquid.

January 27:  Blend cooked cauliflower into your mashed potatoes. You will not even taste it!

January 28:  Measure some foods today to see what a “serving size” actually looks like.

January 29:  Find a recipe for a baked fruit that you have never tried before.

January 30:  Add a spoonful of wheat germ to your yogurt or cereal. It is rich in vitamins. Wheat germ also adds a bit of fiber and a nice crunch to food!

January 31:  Include a fruit and/or vegetable with each meal today and every day.  Fruits and vegetables provide fiber and a multitude of vitamins and minerals.

This information was brought to you by Robyn Moss, MS, RD and OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice.  OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services over the phone or in person in Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino Hills and Long Beach.  If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

 
Kristy L. Richardson, MS, MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
kristy@ocnutrition.com
http://www.ocnutrition.com
(949) 933-6788