10 Easter Egg Safety Tips: Keep Your Eggs Safe to Eat

Easter egg safety

Easter egg safety during the holidays

The egg hunt is on! However, if you want to eat those Easter eggs after the Easter hunt, you need to be thinking about Easter egg food safety. Families all over the country will buy, dye, and hunt for eggs in the next few days. If you handle the eggs properly, those colored eggs will be safe to eat in the upcoming week. Add the leftover eggs to a salad, eat as a snack, or a even a quick breakfast.

Nutrients in an egg

A hard boiled egg has only about 80 calories, but is rich in many nutrients such as protein, phytochemicals, and B-complex vitamins. Eggs are also a source of vitamins D, A, and E. If eggs are from chickens fed an omega-3 rich feed, the hatched eggs will also contain omega-3 fatty acids which we need more of in the American diet. Another nutritional perk of eggs hatched in 2019, is they are significantly lower in cholesterol. Today’s eggs have an average of only 180 mg. of cholesterol, down from about 220 mg. cholesterol in years past!

Purchasing and refrigerating your eggs

  • When purchasing your eggs, make sure there are no broken or dirty eggs. The shell keeps the inside of the eggs free of bacteria and a broken shell can allow for bacterial contamination.

  • Be sure to check the date stamped on the carton. Avoid purchasing eggs which are stamped with a “sell by” date close to the purchase date.

  • After purchasing, refrigerate eggs immediately at 40° or less. Avoid putting eggs in the refrigerator door, as temperatures will be inconsistent and may not meet temperature guidelines.

  • For eggs already in your refrigerator, you may safely use them for both coloring and eating even if the sell-by date has already passed. In fact, they can be safely eaten 2-4 weeks past that stamped “sell by” date. If your eggs are typically stored in another container in the refrigerator, and you have no idea how long they have been there, it is best to pitch them and start with fresh eggs for coloring if you plan on eating them.

Prepping eggs for cooking, coloring, eating

  • Consumers should not wash egg shells prior to hard boiling. When the chicken lays an egg it has a protective film coating to protect the inside of the egg. Washing the shell can actually remove that protective film, and hasten the likelihood of bacteria moving into the egg.

  • Cook the eggs thoroughly. Place your eggs in a pan of water and bring to a boil. Just as water boils, remove from the burner and cover with a lid. Let eggs remain in the hot water for 9 minutes for medium eggs and 15 minutes for extra large.

  • After cooked, refrigerate the eggs within a 2-hour period. You can safely eat your leftover Easter eggs for up to 7 days.

  • Use a food safe dye so you can plan on eating your Easter eggs!

  • Do not plan on eating Easter eggs which have been placed on the ground.  This becomes a perfect recipe for making you ill as the bacteria from the ground can enter the cooked egg. Stick with the plastic version for egg hunting in the yard.

  • If you are hiding real Easter eggs, pick clean areas to hide them inside your home. Bacteria lurks there as well.

Take away for Easter egg safety

Check your egg carton for “sell by date” to assure freshness. And, always check the eggs for intact and clean shells. Refrigerate the eggs at the proper temperature before coloring and within a 2-hour period after properly cooking. Hide them in a safe clean location and be sure to eat within 7 days. Enjoy as a breakfast, snack, or salad ingredient.

Do you do anything special with leftover eggs?

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How to Age Well: 5 Tips to Make it Happen

how to age well

So, do you want to look your age? This topic can get pretty dicey as we push through the decades. I have one friend that says she’s earned her wrinkles and intentionally sports her gray hairs. No more hair coloring for her (we’ll see if that lasts)! I think it’s certainly a personal decision. I also think that if we implement diet and lifestyle strategies that make us look a bit younger than our real age, we might reap some very positive health benefits. After all, our health has to be our top priority as we get older. Better health usually means a better quality of life. We want to be able to enjoy our second 50 years, right? The following aging tips are science backed, and not that hard to implement.

My top five tips for how to age well

Wear sunscreen every day

This is a huge point and it’s never too late to start. Anti-aging dermatology procedures are pricey. They are almost all self-pay. If you can protect your skin early in life, it will help your appearance in your second 50 years. When I was in graduate school, I had a strange rash that brought me to the dermatologist. She told me at that point to never go in the sun again. I followed her advice (for the most part), and now that I have a Medicare card, I am so glad I did. Wrinkle removal is expensive and time consuming, prevention is much easier. The health benefit: lessened skin cancer risk. On a vanity scale, this was one of the best anti-aging tips anyone every suggested to me.

How to age well includes exercise

exercise tips for aging

Cardio. We all know we should be moving our bodies more, right? For some, it is easier said than done. Lots of us have knees that hurt, but even for osteoarthritis, the current recommendations are to push through discomfort. Most health experts on this subject suggest the importance of bodily movement without a ton of sitting around. Options for lessening joint stress while working out with cardio include using a stationary bike and an elliptical. If you are able to move, you really should be sure to do so.

Resistance. And, on the exercise topic, don’t forget resistance type exercises. These exercises, using free weights or equipment, promote muscle strength. Progressive weight training in the older population can either help to manage or even prevent chronic and debilitating disease. It can mitigate risk for cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Appropriate strengthening of the back and abdomen can prevent debilitating back pain and improve core body strength.

Thoughts on body composition

Lastly, all exercise will help improve body composition. Body composition is the proportion of muscle, fat, bone, and other tissues that make up a person’s weigh-in weight on a scale. Having a favorable body composition (the right amount of body fat) usually has significant positive health implications. More muscle retained in the aging process translates to being able to eat more! Muscle is metabolically active, so it needs fuel. If you can eat more because you need more calories, think about how much easier it will be to manage your weight. That weight management can be a significant factor in preventing diabetes, heart disease, and even some types of cancer.

After counseling thousands upon thousands of clients over my career, it never ceases to amaze me how much younger the exercising crowd looks in middle and later life. Exercise really does seem to be the fountain of youth for both the interior and exterior of your body!

Manage your weight

how to age well means weight controlJust like those that exercise, people that are at an appropriate body weight always seem to look younger. For women in particular, weight gain seems to happen easily during menopause when our estrogen levels decline. A common “sign” of middle age in both women and men is the increased fat in the abdominal area-known as visceral fat. This fat pouch does not need to happen with a healthy eating plan matched to energy requirements and limited in alcohol. Losing this abdominal fat will lessen inflammation and decrease risk for diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. Utilizing the suggested cardio and resistance exercise, along with a healthy diet will go a very long way in helping with weight management.

Sleep enough to age well

It can be difficult to get enough sleep. It seems like each decade brings its own sleep issues. I know of so many seniors that will fall asleep, but then cannot stay asleep.  Getting up at 3:00 AM is not ideal, and many of us already did that when we raised our kids. Tips are to not overstimulate your brain before bed. Get off the iPad or phone if it is too stimulating before nodding off. Try to set a routine and stick to it most of the time.  Discuss sleep issues with your physician. Lastly, a little melatonin may be helpful. I generally recommend 3-5 mg about 30 minutes before bedtime. We make less as we age, so this supplement makes sense. The health benefit: you just feel so much better after a good sleep, it’s like magic!

Eat healthy to age well

Don’t give up on a healthy eating plan. Consult with a nutritional professional if you are totally confused about what you should be eating to maintain or improve your health. There is just so much information out there that is often incorrect or not correct for you as an individual. Most nutrition health care providers would suggest a diet high in fruits, vegetables, with the appropriate amounts of whole grains (all of which yield fiber) and lean protein.  A diet rich in colored fruits and vegetables will also help preserve your vision as you age. Some supplements might be in order as well, depending up your individual circumstances. For thoughts on those supplements:  5 Dietary Supplements for Baby Boomers!

If you haven’t implemented these self care aging tips yet, it’s never too old to start. For those of you in your second 50 years, what else can you add?

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Drinking Water and Fluoride: Healthy for All?

Drinking water: fluoride for all?

For most of my life I never really thought much about fluoride or my drinking water. My teeth are in pretty good shape, and the only time I thought about fluoride was when I taught a college level nutrition class. The text books noted the “benefits” of fluoride in preventing tooth decay, and then always showed the classic brown spots on tooth enamel due to overexposure of fluoride.  We discussed that fluoride was delivered to municipal tap water in the Chicago area (our location) and that bottled water was not typically fluoridated. While it may have natural fluoride, fluoride is not typically added to bottled water.

Fluoride not an essential dietary nutrient

For the last 70 or so years, it’s role in public health has been one of preventing tooth decay. Once teeth have erupted through the gum, fluoride added to the tooth surface plays a role in preventing tooth decay through remineralization of the weaker spots on the tooth enamel as well as controlling the amount of acid that bacteria of plaque produce.  I remember routine fluoride treatments given in the dental office because I had great dental insurance and it was covered.  And, of course, there is lifelong use of fluoridated toothpaste.

Fluoride in drinking water, same for all?

For the municipalities that deliver fluoridated water, there is no choice in the matter. If you want to avoid ingesting fluoride in the Chicago area, you must find a means to remove it from your tap water or stick with purchasing spring water. Preset fluoride levels are “one size fits all.”

According to a recent article in the Indian Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine (2018), these points should be considered:

  • Current evidence clearly suggests that the protective mechanism of action of fluoride is mainly topical.  In other words, we do not need to be ingesting fluoride to reap the dental benefits.
  • 1% of the population appears to be highly sensitive to fluoride (yes, I am in that 1%).
  • Certain subsets may be particularly vulnerable to ingesting fluoride: the elderly, diabetics, the malnourished.
  • Once added to water, would the fluoride levels be problematic for those that drink a large amount of water? Those individuals might include manual laborers, diabetics, and athletes.
  • Interestingly, on the international front, most European countries have rejected water fluoridation. Only Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom practice water fluoridation.

Protect your teeth by while debate continues:

  • Choosing a healthy diet low in sugar will help prevent tooth decay. Emphasizing fruits and vegetables will stimulate saliva production to help rinse the sugar away.
  • Avoiding cavity promoting foods like sugar, sticky foods (like raisins), and soda will help prevent tooth decay.  
  • If indulging in sugary foods, try not to do so all day long. Best to splurge and then brush, instead of exposing your teeth all day long.
  •  Apply that fluoride through toothpaste, mouth rinse, and in the dental chair.

My last comment will be that in the concept of “clean eating”, I see no reason to be putting fluoride into my digestive tract.

Where do you stand on the issue of ingesting fluoride through tap water?

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Probiotic Supplements: 5 Purchasing Tips

probiotic supplements

Do you understand how to buy probiotic supplements? Or, are you unclear on how they differ? Well, take heart, you are definitely not alone. It seems even some healthcare providers are confused, but they may not know it!

Case in point

My father lived in an assisted living facility a few years ago. The assisted living physician ordered probiotics for him. I remember the doctor sitting at his desk writing the order and at the same time quipping that “all probiotics are the same!” The comment took my breath away. This was only a few years ago, and most health care providers should know they are NOT all the same! There is plenty of research available on how probiotics are both similar but also different. And, there is plenty to consider when purchasing probiotic supplements due to those differences.

Bacteria benefits

A healthy functioning gut has a good balance of bacteria. But, occasionally, that balance of bacteria becomes unbalanced. This may occur due to antibiotic use, illness, stress, or even a poor-quality diet. Research on the health benefits of probiotics is vast and ongoing. Researchers are evaluating how probiotics may affect mental health, cholesterol levels, weight, and various gut conditions. Even our pets are taking these supplements!

 5 probiotic purchasing tips

1. Packaging of probiotic supplements

Probiotics need to be alive to be effective in your body. If they are dead on arrival on purchase, they will be useless to your gut. Therefore, always take a good look at the packaging. Keep in mind that many strains need to be refrigerated to stay alive. If the product needs refrigeration, be sure online shippers are shipping the product with dry ice during warm weather. Blister packaging is an alternative form of packaging and these supplements do not need refrigeration. It’s also important to keep in mind that the supplement companies are doing their own regulation. Therefore, you might want to use a name brand product to insure quality control.

2. Dosages

Potency is usually noted on the label as CFU which stands for “colony forming units”. The recommended intake for probiotic supplements varies by the strain and intended therapy. For general use, take supplements that have a CFU of at least 1 to 10 billion. Many reputable brands may have higher dosages but they are still safe for the consumer.

3. Strains in probiotic supplements

Contrary to the thoughts of my father’s former physician, bacterial strains do matter. For instance, for antibiotic-related diarrhea, it may be advisable to start taking a common drugstore brand such as Culturelle. This product contains Lactobacillus GG which research has suggested to be effective for some types of diarrhea. Other research suggests that it may be even more effective to take a probiotic with multiple species of organisms. In adult women with IBS, Bifidobacterium infantis has been shown to reduce pain, bloating, and bowel movement difficulty. For cholesterol reduction, Lactobacillus reuteri may be therapeutic.

4. Dosing of probiotic supplements

If you are taking probiotics for overall wellness, keep in mind that the organisms only survive for a few days to weeks. Because of this, it is necessary to keep taking them. Speaking of surviving, some probiotics have an outside coating which allows the product to be effectively delivered to the digestive tract.

5. Food

probiotics from food

Many foods also contain probiotics. Think yogurt, kefir milk, sauerkraut, and kombucha as common sources of probiotic rich foods. And, nutrient dense complex carb foods are usually great sources of prebiotics-the food probiotics use. Those gut bacteria need their own fuel, and fiber rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains supply that fuel.

Take away

Remembering to keep these key points in mind when buying supplements: packaging, dosages, strains, and dosing should be driving your purchasing decisions. And, while supplements can be purchased, there are plenty of foods that also contain probiotics. To keep those probiotics well fed, be sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Has probiotic use helped your health? Share your thoughts!

For information on purchasing other supplements, read on. 

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Chronic Fatigue: 4 Diet and Lifestyle Tips to Tackle

It goes by many names: chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID), myaligic encephalomyelitis (ME). Whatever you want to call it, it requires lifestyle changes to cope, and bed rest is not a quick fix for those that are truly afflicted. If you have this condition, you know who you are! You may also remember your life before the condition and after, that red line of health and when it was crossed and what triggered your seemingly endless fatigue.

chronic fatigueEven rest can’t help chronic fatigue

Here are some tried and true tips to help chronic fatigue:

Manage your weight for lessening chronic fatigue

Under the circumstance, this can be a huge challenge. If you are needing to pace yourself with rest, then you will be sitting more. Eating more nutrient rich low calorie foods will be your tool for weight management. It’s amazing what a difference there is in terms of calorie burn on days you are mostly sitting vs. being able to walk around all day when you may feel better. It’s important to match your calorie intake with calorie output.

I am a huge fan of fitness trackers for just this reason. Knowing real time energy output on bad days and then better days, helps immensely in weight management. The fitness tracker can guide you on how much you can eat on a given day based on your calorie burn.

Do eat a nutrient dense diet

Your calories need to “count” from a nutritional standpoint because there may not be a lot of discretionary calories for you to be eating if you are burning few calories due to your fatigue and limited activity. The better quality diet will only increase your chances of feeling better. There’s no guarantee, but it can’t hurt.

Too tired to prepare food?  Never cook for only one meal. Double batch and use your freezer. Don’t be afraid of a frozen meal such as Healthy Choice brand meals. They are always going to be healthier than what you might grab at a restaurant.

Consider certain supplements

The condition remains one that the established medical community cannot open a text book and find solid direction on how to treat. With that said, there are a few supplements that may be helpful. Consider CoEnzymeQ10, D-ribose, and probably a good quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. I don’t uniformly recommend the latter to patients, but when calories need to be restricted for manage weight, it’s not a bad idea in my opinion. The CoQ10 and D-ribose are tied in with our biochemical energy cycle, and I personally find them to be helpful. Other research has suggested a daily dosage of 200 mg CoQ10 and 20 mg of NADH twice a day as being therapeutic for symptoms.

Know and state your boundaries to manage chronic fatigue

While boundary setting is not necessarily a nutrition tip, it’s an important lifestyle tip. Learn to say “no” if you feel it will compromise your health. Many of us are so eager to be normal, that it is very easy to overdo it when we feel on the normal end of the spectrum. Both mental and physical pacing need to be first and center in your life. If you are reading this, you are probably all too familiar with the “crash and burn” cycle of both chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Doing too much at a time can result in being a limp rag doll later. Best to manage that precious resource called energy and pace yourself all day and every day-even when you may be feeling “normal”.

What tips can you share to live your best life?

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Tips To Decrease Your Triglycerides: 6 Easy Steps

tips to decrease your triglycerides

Do you need tips to decrease your blood triglycerides? Triglycerides are the blood fat not readily discussed during your doctor’s appointment. The focus may be more on your blood cholesterol level. But, blood triglyceride levels are still very important to your heart heath. If your blood triglyceride value is elevated, your blood is thick like motor oil. This can contribute to heart disease as well as other medical conditions.

In addition to being present in your blood, triglycerides are the common fat found in all food as well as your body. In fact, 95% of the fat found in food and the human body would be classified triglycerides.

Normal ranges for triglycerides

These test results are part of simple routine blood work. When blood is checked for various types of cholesterol, triglycerides can also be measured. An elevated triglyceride level can be an independent medical problem, or related to another medical problem. For instance, poorly controlled diabetics often have elevated blood triglyceride levels. Those people with thyroid disease, obesity, and kidney disease also often have elevated triglyceride levels. Hypertriglyceridemia is the technical term for an elevated blood triglyceride level.

The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) classifies ranges of fasting triglycerides as follows:

  • Normal-less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL
  • Borderline high- 150-199 mg/dL
  • High- 200-499 mg/dL
  • Very high- more than or equal to 500 mg/dL

In addition to increasing heart disease risk, elevated triglycerides increase risk of stroke and pancreatitis. When a stroke occurs, blood flow is cut off to the brain. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas gland is necessary for producing insulin which then regulates blood sugar levels.

Six simple tips to decrease your triglycerides:

1. Decrease triglycerides by limiting alcohol

For some people, cutting out all alcohol drastically lowers triglyceride levels. And, while you may like it if your doctor tells you red wine is healthy, your dietitian knows it can increase your triglyceride levels. So, I tell patients to eat grapes instead! I know it’s not as fun, but it works. And, if you must have a beer, consider going the non-alcoholic beer route. Doing so will not cause your triglycerides to increase.

2. Choose fats wisely with appropriate swaps

Replace highly saturated fats with more unsaturated fats. For instance, replace butter with olive oil. Don’t forget to swap these fats for each other! Simply adding olive oil to your diet on top of your usual butter intake will NOT decrease your triglyceride level. That also goes for topping your salad with a whole avocado. While an avocado has heart healthy fat, the impact on your triglycerides will be the same as too much olive oil. Scale it back to a small wedge or 2 Tbsp. Serving sizes of fats matter. Keep in mind that a serving of oil is only 1 teaspoon (not 1 tablespoon).

In addition to olive oil, consider using canola and peanut oil in your diet when needing fats. Add raw unprocessed nuts and seeds to the diet as another method of adding healthy fats to your current diet.

3. Decrease simple carbs

simple carbohydrates and triglycerides

Carbohydrates are basically divided into two categories: complex and simple. Bread, pasta, rice, fruit, and vegetables are examples of complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates tend to be sweet, such as soft drinks, desserts, candies, and syrup. Individuals should avoid simple carbohydrates in order to decrease triglyceride levels. Some people are so biologically sensitive to sweets that their triglyceride levels drastically increase when they eat too much sugar.

In any healthful diet, complex carbohydrates should be in the 45-65% range of overall calories. But even excessive amounts of healthy complex carbohydrates can elevate triglycerides. Triglycerides often decrease when complex carbohydrates are less than 60% of the overall diet. Complex carbs that are rich in fiber will also aid in lowering your blood cholesterol, if that is of concern!

4. Eat more omega-3 fatty acids

Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and herring give us omega-3 fatty acids. Other good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include: tofu, soybeans, milled flaxseed, chia seed, walnuts, and even green leafy vegetables. And, if you eat a food from an animal that ate a rich omega-3 fatty acid diet, you will reap the omega-3 fatty acids. For instance, when you buy eggs that say they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, it’s because the chickens were fed an omega-3 fatty acid rich diet!

5. Increase physical activity 

Aerobic exercise can help with weight loss. Aerobic exercise can also decrease triglyceride levels while aiding with weight reduction. Triglyceride reduction occurs with both short bouts of exercise and longer term repetitive exercise. Most studies find that the best bet is to do 30-45 minutes of moderately intensive exercise five times a week. Have your doctor approve an exercise program if you have been inactive.

6. Manage your weight

A healthy body weight has been shown to correlate with lower blood fats-including both triglycerides and cholesterol. In addition to reducing all blood fats, weight loss helps with decreasing blood pressure and diabetes.

In Summary

Tips to decrease your triglycerides start with cutting down your alcohol and total fat. Add some more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. Be careful to add more healthy fats to your diet while decreasing more saturated fats. And, lastly, ramp up your physical activity and get to a healthy weight. These steps usually get the job done when trying to decrease triglyceride levels. For additional technical information on triglycerides and how to treat, visit here.

Do you have a success story about how you lowered your triglyceride numbers?

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Can Dietitians Write Prescriptions? Sort Of!

can dietitians write prescriptionsWhen I started out in college, I began as a premed student. Then, I took my first nutrition class. While I had been very interested in nutrition even in high school, my first college nutrition class made me quickly realize that there was a huge potential to “treat” people with food. No, dietitians do not write prescriptions. But, we do a lot to help people take care of themselves. It was at that point I decided to give up the idea of being a doctor. Instead, I chose the path of dietitian.

Dietitians write prescriptions for living

Bottom line, in the traditional sense, dietitians don’t write medication prescriptions. But, we do effectively treat people with diet and lifestyle modifications that we “prescribe.” Most dietitians individualize those prescribed diet and lifestyle “prescriptions.” While we can’t heal everyone with our strategies, they are usually effective enough to impact the course of traditional physician management.

A few examples from my own practice:

  • In preparation for a heart transplant, “Ray” is referred for weight loss. He loses 100 pounds. In the course of the weight loss process, his cardiac enzymes return to normal. Now, he no longer needs that heart transplant!
  • Countless diabetics and prediabetics have been able to stave off treatment with medication by tweaking both diet and lifestyle. There are so many “dietary” bullets and lifestyle strategies that these patients can use which are effective and well tolerated. Why take medication if you can tweak your diet (like add more fiber) and physical activity to lower your blood sugar level?
  • Want to lower your blood pressure? Did you know that most of your sodium intake is from the restaurant and carry out food you consume? A dietitian can help you cut your sodium intake by making simple suggestions for alternative food options. Did you know your potassium intake can drastically affect your blood pressure? A dietitian can help you to increase your potassium intake as well!
  • And your cholesterol? If you are concerned about heart disease, there are so many dietary manipulations that can be suggested to lessen your odds of death from heart disease. Numerous clients have saved themselves with the proper diet and lifestyle recommendations that began in my office.

Final thoughts

It’s a good feeling helping people with dietary and lifestyle “prescriptions.” While in some cases it’s tougher to follow through on a dietitian’s suggestions than taking a traditional drug prescription, for those that can work with a dietitian, the benefits are boundless. You might even look and feel better, as well as be healthier!

To find a dietitian to work with in your area, check out the Registered Dietitian Finder from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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Mother’s Day Reflections from a Dietitian Grandma

Mother's day

As I contemplate the upcoming weekend and Mother’s Day, I realize that I know and respect an awful lot of amazing mothers. These mothers are my clients that I have come to know very well over the years. They are also my friends and relatives. And, last but not least, they are my children.

These mothers always put mothering at the top of the priority list even as they pull off multi-faceted roles as wedding planners, secretaries, doctors, teachers, nurses, dentists, lawyers, administrators, and so on. The similar theme with these strong women who are amazing moms is their tenacity in nurturing and their instincts for being the driving force and support for their children.  It does not matter how old those children are, the “force” is still there. That “force” exhibits itself in various forms for various situations, but it is ever so present.

Appreciate YOU on Mother’s day

So to all those amazing mom’s out there, mom’s of little babies and adults already on their own and out of the nest, please take care of yourselves. Remember. YOU are worth your weight (no pun intended) in gold.  It’s necessary to replenish yourself to continue giving all that you give to others. Over the decades of counseling clients (as well as being a mother myself), I have realized that we can get “spent” very quickly as we go about our daily tasks of keeping our lives in line with ideals, and juggling all we do in a 24-hour period.

To keep up your pace, remember some guidance of self-care for YOU

  • Mange your diet as you would manage your business, your children, and careers!  Eating is meant to keep you well, strong, and the best you can be. It needs to be planned out as the rest of your life is planned. The outcome of this planning makes the effort worth it!
  • Feed yourself the same quality of diet you want your babies and older children to eat. Kids of all ages have a keen eye on what you are doing, and will learn to imitate your food behaviors and patterns of eating eventually, be it good or bad.
  • Take the time to eat; it is the only fuel and nutrients you will take in.  Just thinking you should eat, or taking supplements, will not give you the energy to carry on, only good quality food will do so.
  • Make sure you take the time to actually enjoy your food. Sit down at the table and teach your toddler that mom needs to enjoy her meal.
  • When sharing your meals with your children, enjoy the experience. One day they will cook for you and pick up the dishes without being asked. Remember, you are a role model, and what goes around comes around!

If you are reading this, you are probably a mother or know a wonderful mother.  I salute you all and wish you a wonderful day and upcoming week. Happy mother’s day to all those truly remarkable women called “mom”.

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Dangerous Supplements: How to Keep Yours Safe

dangerous supplements

Updated November, 2019

Many Americans naively pop vitamin and mineral supplements and guzzle various types of protein powders, thinking they are helping their health. The reality is that many of these supplements are actually dangerous. In fact, according to a recent newspaper headliner, the 28 billion dollar supplement industry has serious and widespread manufacturing flaws. These flaws are extensive enough to have the potential to harm health. From quality control to formulation issues, the product you’re taking may not be what you think it is. There may be much more or too little of a specific nutrient. Even lead, arsenic, and rodent feces have been known to contaminate supplements. So, being a savvy consumer can indeed protect you from dangerous supplements.

 The supplement industry is a self-regulating industry. That means the government does not directly oversee the quality control of a supplement. Under current laws, the FDA does not screen supplements for safety before they hit the consumer market. The FDA only takes action regarding supplements on the market once there is a documented problem with the supplement. In fact, the FDA relies on manufacturers themselves, as well as consumers, to report any adverse effects.

Steps to avoid dangerous supplements

Buy name brand supplements

Well-known brands may have better “in-house” quality control standards because the reputation of the company is at stake. Steer clear of companies you have not heard of.

Look for the USP label

usp label assuring supplement safety

This label means that the supplement has been at least evaluated for ingredients stated on the label. It also means the product will dissolve in your digestive tract rather than passing straight through your body. The symbol does not guarantee any other health or safety advantages of the supplement. With this symbol present, you at least know that product has what it’s advertising, and the product will dissolve in your digestive tract.

Look at the Nutrition Fact Label

Note the percent daily value of the nutrients. If you see values of many nutrients far exceeding 100%, don’t be duped into thinking this is a good thing. Consumers need to understand that too much of a nutrient can be very harmful. We have upper limits of safety for many nutrients, and we should avoid exceeding those upper limits of safety. And, you should be getting a lot of these nutrients from your diet!

Research to avoid dangerous supplements

Consumer Labs is an independent testing lab that evaluates supplemental products and makes the test results available for a small subscription fee. The analyses and data are extensive and informative.

Have a dietitian evaluate your diet

A dietitian can evaluate nutrient shortcomings and make appropriate recommendations to meet those dietary deficits with the correct supplements. Or better yet, a dietitian can help you find the foods you like to eat to give you the nutrients you need!  After all, mother nature does the best nutrient packaging of all.

Do you ever think about safety issues regarding supplement use? Hoping this blog post helped you do so.

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20 Reasons to Eat Your Carbs and Forgo the Beef!

Updated December, 201920 reasons to love your carbs

If you have a beef with carbs, you might want to rethink avoiding them. There are technically many reasons to actually eat the right amount of carbs. For whatever reason, the topic of carbohydrates fuels a firestorm of controversy. Look anywhere on the internet, and you will find a preponderance of carbohydrate criticism and vilification. It’s true that not all carbs are the same. The carbs which should be emphasized for health are the complex carbohydrates. These carbs are high in nutrient density. Complex carbs include lentils, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Check out this list of 20 solid, fact based reasons to eat your carbs. Then, enjoy bringing this macronutrient back into your life!

  The first 10 of 20 great reasons to eat carbs

  1. They provide a rich source of B-complex vitamins not found in other food categories.
  2. In the form of fruits and vegetables, they are an excellent source of vitamin C.
  3. Complex carbs provide significant sources of potassium.
  4. They are naturally low in fat which helps a variety of medical issues ranging from gastric reflux to heart disease.
  5.  They have health protecting phytonutrients which are found almost exclusively in complex carbs.
  6. Complex carbs are high in fiber to aid digestion, prevent constipation, and feed gut bacteria.
  7. Fiber-rich complex carbs aid in blood sugar control.
  8. Complex carbs fill you up and help you stick with a weight loss diet.
  9. Sufficient carbohydrates prevent ketosis.
  10. Carbs are the preferred energy source for your brain and central nervous system. By eating enough carbs to fuel the brain and central nervous system, the protein you eat can be used to promote growth, healing, and repair. Consequently, eating enough carbs spares the protein to do the job of growth and repair, instead of being used to meet energy requirements.

10 more great reasons to eat carbs

  1. When decreasing carbs, you need to increase your calories from another nutrient such as animal protein. But, protein in excessive amounts may weaken bones.
  2. If you cut your carbs, then you need to increase your calories from other nutrients such as fat. This may lead to plaque build up in your arteries.
  3. A low carbohydrate intake might increase cortisol levels. This may increase risk of some cancers.
  4. A low carbohydrate intake might lead to eating more animal protein. Too much animal protein can increase painful gout symptoms.
  5. You need carbohydrates in your diet to make glycogen. This is your storage fuel for endurance athletic events. You need this fuel source when food is not available. Adequate glycogen stores are essential if you want to excel at endurance sports.
  6. Dairy products are nutrient dense carbohydrates which have important nutrients for strong bones and normal blood pressure.
  7. Most Americans do not consume enough magnesium. Many good sources of magnesium are complex carbs like spinach, bran cereal, beans, lentils, and dairy products.
  8. Strong bones need more than just calcium. And, many of the nutrients necessary for strong bones-vitamin K, various B vitamins, and magnesium are readily available from complex carbs.
  9. As food, they create less of a carbon footprint than growing animals to eat.
  10. They are satisfying and taste good! Don’t you miss them??

Take away

For these reasons, emphasizing unprocessed nutrient dense carbs such as lentils, beans, fruits, vegetables, fat-free dairy, and whole grain foods is not controversial. In fact, it is intelligent eating for the 21st century.

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