TOPICS: February is Heart Health Month! Inside this newsletter learn about lifestyle solutions to support your heart health. Featuring topics on movement, food, and more!
Sneak Peek: Recipe for the Dinner with a Dietitian is included!
February Newsletter by baileyk8
Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD, CNSC
Nutrition plays a critical role in supporting our physical health, but research has also shown the powerful impact it can have on our mental health. As we know, a full wellness approach can support the mind and body, so taking into account physical activity, stress reduction techniques such as yoga or meditation, as well as nourishing nutrition can help to fully support your health. Let’s review the recent literature together to learn more about the correlation between nutrition and mental health and which steps you might like to take to better support your wellness goals.
When it comes to mental health, major depression is one of the most common psychological diagnoses. In 2020, approximately 21 million US adults had experienced at least one major depressive episode. People with major depression tend to have high levels of monoamine oxidase (MAO) in their brain. When the body has excess monoamines, which are a type of neurotransmitter such as dopamine and serotonin, MAO is the enzyme that breaks down these excess neurotransmitters. Unfortunately, for people with major depression and therefore potentially high levels of MAO, serotonin and dopamine levels can be abnormally low due to the excess breakdown of these neurotransmitters. Fortunately, nutrition research has shown that some foods naturally inhibit MAO activity to prevent excessive breakdown of these important neurotransmitters for psychological regulation. For example, apples, berries, green tea, onions, peaches, and pears all contain phytonutrients that have the ability to inhibit MAO activity. Overall, research participants who consume more fruits and vegetables demonstrate increased levels of happiness, energy, and an overall sense of calmness compared to control participants. If you are experiencing depression or have in the past, working with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian one-on-one can be imperative to create a safe, feasible, and realistic nutrition plan together that meets your individual preferences and goals, while taking into account any medications and lifestyle factors.
Anxiety and other panic disorders are a common diagnosis among US adults. Currently, approximately 40 million US adults experience anxiety or other panic disorders each year. Research has indicated a growing association between omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and depression and anxiety. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna, nuts and seeds including flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts, and vegetable oils such as soybean oil and canola oil. As you work with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian, together you can review if you are consuming adequate amounts of omega-3 PUFAs. Patients diagnosed with anxiety and other panic disorders may also be advised to limit caffeine and alcohol intake. Food and beverage sources of caffeine and alcohol may worsen symptoms of anxiety and panic disorders. Your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian can creatively meet your dietary preferences by suggesting alternative solutions to meet your needs, while still supporting your taste preferences and matching your lifestyle.
Nutrition has shown that it may play a role in impacting obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Researchers have noticed that patients with OCD tend to have lower levels of vitamin B12 and vitamin D, which may demonstrate that vitamin B12 and vitamin D may be involved in the etiology of OCD, as well as the severity of the disorder. Alternatively, researchers have argued that vitamin B12 deficiency or insufficiency may be a side effect of OCD, rather than it having a causational effect. Either way, ensuring adequate vitamin B12 intake regardless of mental health status is vital to prevent deficiency. Food sources of vitamin B12 include animal-based proteins and products, including meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy products. Plant-based vitamin B12 food sources include nutritional yeast and fortified foods, but working with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian is imperative to ensure adequate amounts of plant-based vitamin B12-rich foods are included in your diet because absorption is impacted by dose and food source. Vitamin D-rich foods include fatty fish such as salmon and eggs, as well as vitamin D-fortified foods such as orange juice and cereal. Your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian can review your intake and work with you individually to make sure you are consuming enough vitamin D-rich foods. Your nutrition specialist can also assist with supplementation recommendations if needed. Of note, research has shown an improved correlation between stress management (specifically yoga) and OCD. Integrating yoga with its many different forms may be something that patients with OCD also consider as part of their lifestyle routine. No matter the reason you may seek a yoga practice, Nuleeu Nutrition and Wellness offers both in-person and virtual yoga classes with all experience levels welcome!
Bipolar disorder has a growing and variable amount of research when it comes to its relationship with nutrition. Some studies have indicated the importance and impact that omega-3 fatty acids may play on the disorder, while other research has shown no correlation. In this case, your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian can provide you with the latest evidence-based research and will take into account your medications, any other diagnoses you may have, as well as your overall nutrient intake in order to provide you with individualized nutrition therapy recommendations.
Nutrition has also proven to play an influential role in optimizing brain health and delaying brain aging. Approximately 5.8 million people are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias in the United States. Research has demonstrated the association between oxidative stress and chronic, low-grade inflammation as major risk factors for brain aging and dementia. Therefore, antioxidant-rich foods have demonstrated their effectiveness at preventing or delaying the onset of dementia and improving brain cognition. Overall, increasing fruits, vegetables, and nuts have shown to be beneficial in improving cognitive ability. Specific antioxidants that have been of focus in the literature include carotenoids (specifically lutein and zeaxanthin) and flavonoids (specifically anthocyanins). Lutein and zeaxanthin-rich foods include spinach, kale, and collard greens. Berries, red cabbage, plums, and cherries are rich in anthocyanins and can be easy and delicious additions to your meals and snacks. Working with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian can be supportive when beginning to include antioxidant-rich foods. Together, your dietitian can modify your current recipes and suggest affordable and delicious approaches to increase these foods in your life in a simple manner to optimize brain health.
For clients looking to focus on their nutrition for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), there is a growing body of literature on this topic with still many mixed results and inconclusive evidence. Some studies have demonstrated specific nutrient deficiencies, while other research has shown that suboptimal nutrient intake due to the nature of the disorder may be the cause of the nutrient deficiencies, rather than the deficiencies causing the disorder. Emerging research on the gut microbiome and its influence on ADHD has shown few results, however it may be worth considering probiotics in specific situations. Ensuring a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet assisted by consistent intake can be one of the most supportive approaches for patients with ADHD. Your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian can provide you with realistic lifestyle modifications that may include reminders and cues to ensure adequate, high quality intake. The dietitian will also keep you up-to-date with the latest evidence and information regarding ADHD and diet. Patients looking to implement an elimination diet, followed by a re-introduction phase should always work with a Registered Dietitian. These clients can greatly benefit from the expertise and guidance of a dietitian given the restrictive nature of these diets and their multifactorial approach to avoid over-restriction, potential deficiencies, and lifestyle disruption.
The importance of regular, consistent intake along with a positive relationship with food has also shown to have a significant impact on our mental health. A positive relationship with your food intake allows for increased meal and snack satisfaction, flavor enjoyment, and adequate and accurate satiation. A relationship with food that needs healing can impact our mental health, as it can contribute to circular, distracting thoughts about food. Equally, the opposite can occur as well. If our mental health has us thinking about foods in a negative context, labeling or judging foods or food groups, or creating any level of guilt, then it can impact our relationship with food. This process can then become cyclical with our relationship with food impacting our mental health and our mental health contributing to our relationship with food. Working with an interdisciplinary team that includes a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Therapist or Psychiatrist or Psychologist can have a profound impact on healing your relationship with food or working through any mental health considerations that may be impacting your relationship with food. We want the experience of eating to be enjoyable for you! We want you to be able to enjoy the taste, texture, fullness, satisfaction, satiety, traditions, memories, and nostalgia that food provides. If this relates to you, working with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian can help you build an individualized plan to heal your relationship with food.
Many clients may consider turning to supplements to help boost their nutrient intake in order to support their mental health. Unfortunately, supplements are not monitored nor approved for effectiveness by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Preference may be made towards increasing nutrient intake by choosing whole food sources. Choosing foods rich in specific nutrients helps increase your intake in a safe, satisfying, and often cost-effective manner, while also having the benefit of consuming other nutrients in the food. For example, omega-3 which walnuts also provide fiber, protein, copper, manganese, vitamin E, and magnesium. While an omega-3 rich supplement may only provide the omega-3 fatty acids. Of course working with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian is vital to create the optimal supplementation plan for you. In some cases, supplements can be safe and may better meet your lifestyle and nutrition needs. Your dietitian can also review any drug-nutrient or nutrient-nutrient interactions to be aware of when choosing foods and supplements to ensure maximum safety and optimal absorption.
Although we have reviewed just a small number of mental health topics and diagnoses, your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian can discuss any mental illness or mental health concerns you may have. Your specialist will take into account your individual needs after reviewing your medical history, current lifestyle, dietary preferences, and eating patterns. Together you will create a safe, realistic, affordable, and delicious individualized plan that supports you to meet your goals and preferences.
Brierley, Mary-Ellen E., et al. “Lifestyle Interventions in the Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders: A Systematic Review.” Psychosomatic Medicine, vol. 83, no. 8, 2021, pp. 817–833., https://doi.org/10.1097/psy.0000000000000988.
Esnafoğlu, Erman, and Elif Yaman. “Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Homocysteine and Vitamin D Levels in Children and Adolescents with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.” Psychiatry Research, vol. 254, 2017, pp. 232–237., https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2017.04.032.
“Facts & Statistics: Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA.” Facts & Statistics | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics.
Hammond BR;Miller LS;Bello MO;Lindbergh CA;Mewborn C;Renzi-Hammond LM; “Effects of Lutein/Zeaxanthin Supplementation on the Cognitive Function of Community Dwelling Older Adults: A Randomized, Double-Masked, Placebo-Controlled Trial.” Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28824416/.
Klevebrant, Lisa, and Andreas Frick. “Effects of Caffeine on Anxiety and Panic Attacks in Patients with Panic Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” General Hospital Psychiatry, vol. 74, 2022, pp. 22–31., https://doi.org/10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2021.11.005.
Lange, Klaus W. “Micronutrients and Diets in the Treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Chances and Pitfalls.” Frontiers in Psychiatry, vol. 11, 26 Feb. 2020, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00102.
Larrieu, Thomas, and Sophie Layé. “Food for Mood: Relevance of Nutritional Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Depression and Anxiety.” Frontiers in Physiology, vol. 9, 2018, https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2018.01047.
Lindbergh CA;Mewborn CM;Hammond BR;Renzi-Hammond LM;Curran-Celentano JM;Miller LS; “Relationship of Lutein and Zeaxanthin Levels to Neurocognitive Functioning: An Fmri Study of Older Adults.” Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society : JINS, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27776568/.
“Major Depression.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression.
Marzo, Claudio Marcello, et al. “Inhibition of Human Monoamine Oxidases A and B by Specialized Metabolites Present in Fresh Common Fruits and Vegetables.” Plants (Basel, Switzerland), U.S. National Library of Medicine, 27 Jan. 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8838583/.
Mewborn CM;Terry DP;Renzi-Hammond LM;Hammond BR;Miller LS; “Relation of Retinal and Serum Lutein and Zeaxanthin to White Matter Integrity in Older Adults: A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study.” Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology : the Official Journal of the National Academy of Neuropsychologists, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29161349/.
Millichap, J Gordon, and Michelle M Yee. “The Diet Factor in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.” Pediatrics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 9 Jan. 2012, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22232312/.
Saunders, Erika F., et al. “Adjunctive Dietary Intervention for Bipolar Disorder: A Randomized, Controlled, Parallel‐Group, Modified Double‐Blinded Trial of a High N‐3 plus Low N‐6 Diet.” Bipolar Disorders, vol. 24, no. 2, 2021, pp. 171–184., https://doi.org/10.1111/bdi.13112.
Pinto, Sofia, et al. “Eating Patterns and Dietary Interventions in ADHD: A Narrative Review.” Nutrients, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 16 Oct. 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9608000/.
“The Truth about Aging and Dementia.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 Aug. 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/aging/publications/features/Alz-Greater-Risk.html.
Upadhyaya, Suneet Kumar, and Archana Sharma. “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Due to B12 Deficiency: Justification Required.” Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, vol. 34, no. 3, 2012, pp. 298–299., https://doi.org/10.4103/0253-7176.106045.
Vilarim, Marina Machado, et al. “Caffeine Challenge Test and Panic Disorder: A Systematic Literature Review.” Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, vol. 11, no. 8, 2011, pp. 1185–1195., https://doi.org/10.1586/ern.11.83.
We know it is that time of year, everyone is thinking about wellness and health. While not big fans of resolutions, we are huge fans of wellness and fun fitness!
Starting a new wellness program is hard, we totally get it! Busy schedules, poor sleep habits, long commutes, routines, habits and more, adding something new can be really hard.
Here are a few tips we have found to be helpful when trying to form a new routine:
- Write it down… Yes, everyone says this, but what we mean is write down the ideal routine. Start by writing down what your ideal routine would look like in total, every day, in an ideal setting, without any limitations and barriers. Then we will work backwards.
- Now, take a look at that ideal scenario, and make a list of barriers that prevent this from coming true. This could be anything from hard to wake up because not sleeping enough to no time to hike 3 hours during the week.
- Next, cross out the parts of your routine that are due to barriers that you cannot change and really do not want to do.
- If you want to hike during the week, but work a full-time schedule, likely you need to come up with a new ideal routine (or new job) but right now it is most likely not realistic. Maybe you want to walk in the morning, but you would have to start before the sun comes up, or you are not a morning person because you do not sleep very well.
- Then, write in something that is realistic, such as walking in the evening until the sunrise is earlier.
- Circle the barriers you can address, and star the items that are related to that barrier.
- In this example, poor sleep prevents early rising, so this can be addressed, but may take time, so having a backup plan is also beneficial.
- Write a plan that will address the barriers
- Write a plan on how you will start small and build up to your goal:
- Start walking in the evenings, 2 times a week for 30-minutes and slowly build to 3 times, 4 times and 5 times a week to build the routine.
- Be kind with yourself as you start the plan. Set-backs are normal and expected. But being gracious with yourself will make you more likely to continue the plan.
Making a plan is always a great first step to starting a new routine. Writing it down helps to bring it down from being a wish. Finding support groups to join, communities that share your goals and passion, using coaching and other resources are all great too, but we always start with a plan.
Making your plans? What about Pilates?
This four-week introductory class will explore the fundamental movements of mat Pilates. The slow-controlled exercises are suitable for all fitness levels.
We will break down each movement allowing time for focus on breath, proper muscle activation, and the overall mind- body connection. Additionally, you can look forward to learning about Joseph Pilates, his original bodyweight exercises, and the many benefits of Pilates, like less pain, better balance, improved endurance, and more!
In addition to 8 group classes, you will receive a one-hour private session on the reformer. The Pilates Reformer is a fitness experience like no other! It’s fun and safe for all fitness levels.
- Eight intro classes 60-minutes long
- (one) 60-minute private reformer session
- Bonus access- attend Mixilates every Friday during the program!
- Join a great, supportive community that loves fun fitness and wellness!
Mondays 1/30, 2/6, 2/13, 2/20 9 am – 10 am in-studio
Wednesdays 2/1, 2/8, 2/15, 2/22 9 am – 10 am in-studio
Private Reformer Session – by appointment
Written By: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD, CNSC
Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician
What does eating mindfully mean? Eating mindfully encourages you to be aware of your meal, surroundings (including any distractions), appetite, pace, and emotions at meal and snack time. All of these components help shape us to be more mindful at each meal and snack. Eating mindfully not only helps us meet our nutrition goals, but it provides surprising benefits, such as promoting meal enjoyment and gratification. Today we’re going to focus on the pace of our meals and how being mindful of our pace can help us to meet our nutrition goals.
In a world of convenience and fast-paced schedules, our meals tend to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives. Convenience, take-out, increased commutes, and busy schedules have all led us to speed up our meal and snack times. Many people find themselves eating on the go more than ever before. We may eat in the car, while running in-between errands, during a family member’s sports event, or throughout the workday. Unfortunately, getting more time to spend at meals isn’t always the easiest, but understanding the importance of being mindful wherever your mealtime occurs, may encourage you to make mindfulness your priority.
No matter where your meal or snack takes you, whether it’s on the go or sitting down at the family dinner table, time plays an important role. Firstly, our appetite and hormones depend on the duration of our meal. It takes time for our digestive system to send fullness signals to our brain, telling us that we’re no longer hungry. If we eat our meal very quickly, that fullness cue may not be received yet. If our brain still thinks we’re hungry and we don’t feel full, then we may venture for additional servings of our meal before those hormone signals get to their final destination. However, if we take our time at our meals and allow our hunger/fullness signals to work, then we can accurately assess if our body needs to be nourished with additional servings. If we take 20-30 minutes to complete a meal and we are still feeling hungry afterward, then we know our bodies our telling us that we need more nourishment.
By slowing down our eating pace at meals, we’re able to savor our meals and really enjoy the hard work and money spent on the meal. Take note of the flavors, aromas, colors, temperatures, and textures. Do these characteristics change from the beginning to the end of the meal? Can you brainstorm how you will prepare the meal differently next time? Can you substitute simple swaps to nourish your body differently the next time you prepare this meal? For meals eaten out, can you prepare the meal similarly at home? Can you request substitutes for simple swaps to nourish your body differently the next time you order the meal? Slowing down the pace of our meal helps us be more aware of the meal we are eating. It gives us a moment to sit, eat, and reflect. Time is so valuable to capture these nourishing details.
Now that we know some reasons as to why we want to slow down our meals, let’s discuss some tips about how we can slow down our meal pace. One approach is to put your fork or spoon down in-between bites. If your meal has finger foods, you may choose to place your hands in your lap in-between bites. This habit may take practice, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be enjoying your meal one bite at a time.
You may also find it helpful to avoid cutting up your meal at the beginning. Instead, choose to slice or cut each bite individually as you eat your meal. This will help to slow down the meal time and allow you to be mindful of your pace.
Another tip you may find useful is to use your non-dominant hand when eating. Often times, we may rush through our meals using our dominant hand without taking a break. Sometimes we have our next bite loaded on our fork before we’re mid-way through chewing our current bite. Due to lack of coordination, our non-dominant hand often slows down the pace of our meal naturally.
As we know, we can’t always control where we eat, including our busy schedules. But, if you find yourself eating on the run or in a short period of time, try to maximize that time and lengthen your eating pace within the time you have. For example, if you only have a 30-minute lunch break and you typically finish your meal in the first 10 minutes, work to pace and lengthen your meal to take the full 25-30 minutes you have. If you find yourself eating in the car in-between errands, the tips above can help to lengthen your meal.
Enjoy your food and any company that may be joining you in-between bites. If you’re alone, savor the meal and note the characteristics we discussed earlier. Engage in conversation or think about your meal. Your new pace will allow you to reflect on your appetite, emotions, and overall feelings about the meal.
Every person has their own individual nutrition goals. The few tips reviewed here are just a short list of the full toolbox that you and your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian can use to help focus on meal and snack time pace. Not all tips work for every individual, so working closely with your consultant will bring you the most individualized success to meet your goals and improve your mindfulness at meals. Touch base with the your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian to review your current mindfulness and brainstorm additional tips of how to improve mealtime mindfulness overall.
Written By: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, CNSC
Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician
As we continue our mindful meal series, let’s look at two more aspects that contribute to eating mindfully: our appetite and emotions. First, let’s review mindful eating.
What does eating mindfully mean? Eating mindfully encourages you to be aware of your meal, surroundings (including any distractions), appetite, pace, and emotions. All of these components help to shape us to be more mindful at each meal and snack. Eating mindfully not only helps us meet our nutrition and wellness goals, but it provides additional benefits, such as promoting meal enjoyment and gratification.
In order to implement mindfulness when we eat, it’s important to take a look at our appetite and emotions. Our appetite is a wonderful feedback cue that tells our bodies when to eat and how much to eat. Our hunger is driven by many variables, the first being hormones. We have hormones that drive both our hunger and fullness cues. They tell us when we’re hungry and help to show our bodies just how hungry we are. Other variables that play a role in our hunger are the sight and smell of food. Did you know that just seeing and smelling food can trigger our bodies to begin secreting digestive enzymes? The human body is so smart! Another aspect that drives our hunger is our bowel regularity. If we’re constipated or backed up, then our digestion can be delayed, which can impact our hunger.
The other aspect of eating mindfully, emotions, plays a significant role at meal and snack time. Our emotions, no matter what they may be, can have a profound impact on our appetite and our meal consumption. These emotions range from boredom and happiness to sadness and stress. Most of us can relate to these emotions and the impact they have on our appetite, food choices, and portions sizes. Acknowledging our emotions is an important step when evaluating our meal mindfulness.
Since appetite and emotions can sometimes be impacted by each other, it’s important to evaluate both of these components together. When working with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian and coach, you may be encouraged to review a mental hunger scale before eating. It’s a nice way to evaluate just how hungry we are and if our hunger is true hunger vs. emotional hunger.
Since emotions play such a significant role in our meal intake, it’s equally important to pause and evaluate our emotions before eating. Checking in with ourselves and asking, “How am I feeling right now?” can help bring awareness to our emotions. It’s important to notice when we’re stressed, angry, tired, or ecstatic. Our culture has driven food intake to be associated with not only holidays and events, but emotions as well. Think about the classic picture that our culture has engrained in our minds: someone feeling down or upset headed to the freezer for a pint of ice cream. Pausing and thinking about our current emotional state can help set the pace of meal and snack decisions. Instead of being on autopilot, a brief evaluation can give us a quick emotional check-in. Perhaps we’re not truly hungry, perhaps we’re just eating because we’re nervous and around new people in an unfamiliar situation, or maybe we’re emotional and restricting foods that we know would nourish our body.
Remembering to check in with your emotions is a habit that can take time to master. Many people find visual cues beneficial as a reminder to check in with their appetite and emotions before eating. Setting phone reminders or using sticky notes are some useful methods to use. Everyone is different in how they process appetite signals and emotions, so it’s important to work individually with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian to evaluate your nutritional goals and implement the best practices for you.
As you know, meal mindfulness includes paying attention to meal pace and being aware of meal distraction. Now we can add paying attention to our appetite and emotions to the mindfulness characteristics. Learning to eat mindfully certainly takes practice to implement over time, but incorporating each aspect one-by-one will help you to be more mindful with each meal and snack.
Touch base with you Nuleeu Registered Dietitian or coach to discuss how appetite and emotions may be playing a role in your nutrition and wellness goals. It’s important that you have have an individualized plan to help improve your mindfulness at meals. Not all tips work for every individual, so working closely with your consultant will bring you the most individualized success to meet your goals and improve your mindfulness at meals. Touch base with the your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian to review your current mindfulness and brainstorm additional tips of how to improve mealtime mindfulness overall.
Remember we are a diet-free, all foods company, supporting clients to learn balanced lifestyle living without guilt, shame or restrictions!
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Written By: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD, CNSC
Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician
As we’ve reviewed previously, eating mindfully encourages you to be aware of your meal, surroundings (including any distractions), appetite, pace, and emotions at meal and snack time. All of these components help shape us to be more mindful at each meal and snack. Eating mindfully not only helps us meet our nutrition goals, but it provides surprising benefits, such as promoting meal enjoyment and gratification. In the past, we’ve talked about the importance of meal pace and slowing down our meal and snack times. As we venture on our journey to learn more about mindfulness at meals, let’s review the importance of distraction at mealtime.
Distraction is a valuable component that we can try to reduce when eating meals and snacks. When we are distracted, we are removed from being in the moment. When it comes to meals and snacks, this means that being distracted reduces our attention span. We pay less attention to the foods’ flavors, the pace of our meal, our hunger/fullness cues, as well as the hard work put in to prepare the meal. If we pay less attention to our pace and hunger/fullness cues, then we are likely to consume more than our body requires. On the other hand, if we are distracted and aren’t mindful of our portion sizes, then we may also not nourish our bodies enough. Distraction can also draw us away from paying attention to the meal or snack details. The flavors of our foods are so rich and varied. Paying attention to these flavors and enjoying them plays a significant role in our ability to nourish our bodies and feel satisfied. Taking note of the hard work you or someone else put in to prepare the meal or snack creates appreciation for the meal, which helps to add satisfaction to the meal or snack.
Reducing distraction at meals takes some self-awareness. Reducing distraction is possible no matter where you are when you eat your meal or snack. If you typically eat meals at home at the dinner table, take note if the television is on or if your phone is nearby. Evaluate who you eat with as well and if they bring distractive items to the table. Eating with others is less of a distraction and more of an asset to your meal if all members are engaged in the meal and with each other. If you are on the run and find yourself eating in the car, can you wait to eat your meal when you park or when you arrive to your destination? Driving while eating is very distracting and can also be unsafe. If you typically eat at your desk at work, see if you can take a moment to pause and eat, instead of working while eating.
Most of these behaviors have become habit for many of us, so making a change may take time. Start small with these behavior change goals and work to achieve a new habit over time. For example, if you typically eat with the television on each night at dinner, aim to reduce screen time by 1 night every week. If you typically eat while driving, see if you can plan to eat either before or after driving once each week. For those people who eat while they work at their desk, choose one day each week to take pause and eat lunch away from the computer or workload. Even if this means eating half your meal away from your workload at first, know that you’re making progress!
For some people, removing these distractions feels like an uncomfortable change. You can easily substitute non-distracting behaviors in place of distraction to help you stay mindful at meals. For example, if you typically eat meals in front of the television, see if you can replace the television with some of your favorite music. If you are eating with friends or family, engage in conversation. Encourage children at the table to talk about the meal and all of the ingredients it takes to make something so delicious. Take the time to talk about your day or things that are on your mind with your family or friends. If you’ve chosen to limit eating while working but feel tempted to just pick up your phone instead, see if you can try just a few minutes at a time sitting and eating without any screens or work. Take note of the foods you’re consuming. If you eat near a window or outside, take in the view if possible. If you’re not near a view and are sitting at your desk with the computer and phone off and your workload put aside, take note of the flavors in your meal as you enjoy your food bite by bite.
It may feel a bit out of sorts at first but taking the time to mindfully eat with less distraction is a powerful tool to keep you on your nutrition and wellness journey. Touch base with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian to review how you can individually reduce distraction at meals. These recommendations will be tailored just for you to help you meet your individual goals and stay on track because we all have our own specific goals.
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Written By: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD, CNSC
Now more than ever, we are focusing on our health and wellness. We are recognizing the importance of our overall wellbeing and the significant impact it can have to support our lifelong goals and long-term health. Investing in your health now may not only save you time, money, and complications down the road, but it can give you years back in your life, filled with rich wellbeing, so that you can be your best self for the rest of your life. When you work with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian, Certified Personal Trainer, or Yoga Coach, you know that you are investing in your health with the guide of trained and certified professionals with years of experience, ready to provide you with evidence-based recommendations. When you invest in your health with Nuleeu, you make the decision to create a lifestyle change.
Now, you’re asking, “what’s the difference between a lifestyle change and a diet or a fitness program?” The answer is everything. A lifestyle change doesn’t have bookends. There’s no start and stop like many diets or regimens function. There’s no yo-yo dieting, circling through nutrition trends, or feeling deprived for temporary periods of time, just to look forward to enjoying the real foods you like when the plan finishes. A lifestyle change doesn’t include unrealistic fitness routines and demanding requirements. This type of transformation is all about changing your life so that you can eat, play, and live doing the things that feel fun instead of like work and eating the foods you love.
At Nuleeu Nutrition and Wellness, your lifestyle change starts the day that you decide to put your health and wellness first. A lifestyle change will change your life forever and for the better. An individualized lifestyle change is exactly what we all need so that the changes we make support our lifestyle and meet our own specific goals. There’s no one-size-fits-all lifestyle change. Your life is so unique to you and the changes that need to occur have to be just as unique and specialized!
The best thing about a lifestyle change is that it’s manageable and sustainable. Lifestyle changes take time as they need to fit into your life to be practical. They take time because they rely on building habits. Habit building is a journey in itself, since research shows that it takes approximately 66 days to start a new habit and stick with it. Developing and creating these habits are just what we all need in order to implement a lifestyle change tailored just for ourselves. We have likely all been there before. Starting a new routine or plan and feeling excited and enthusiastic in the beginning. But because the plan isn’t realistic and manageable, the newness ends up fading and we fall “off track”. In order for your health and wellness goals to be met for the rest of your life, we all have to stay on track- and that track is just living your life.
No one wants to feel like they’re “on a diet”, “on a meal plan,” or “on a fitness regimen.” We all just want to live and be our best selves every day. Nourish and support your body so that it has the fuel and energy to do all the things you love to do. A Nuleeu lifestyle change will ensure your body has everything it needs to run errands, be a coach for your kids, enjoy vacations, manage stress, and spend time with grandchildren, just to name a few of the millions of activities we want your body to be nourished for. A Nuleeu lifestyle change also ensures that your body safely engages in these activities as you incorporate safe, effective, and practical fitness into your life.
Nuleeu Nutrition and Wellness has a number of individualized lifestyle change options. Whether you work one-on-one with a Nuleeu Registered Dietitian, Certified Personal Trainer, or Yoga Coach, or you dive into our tailored, affordable, state-of-the-art Nuleeu Connect Memberships, prepare to experience a lifestyle change that will support you for years and years to come. There’s no better time to choose to put your health and wellness first. If you’re waiting for the perfect moment to start a lifestyle change, know that today is the moment to make your lifestyle change perfect.
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Written By: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD, CNSC
How many of us have ever been on a diet? How many people do you know who have ever been on a diet? Do you see how many hands are raised? If I had to guess, I would say everyone has their hands up. We can likely all say that we have either been on a diet ourselves or know someone who has. Diets are so common in our culture. In fact, they’re almost synonymous with holidays! Think about New Year’s Day. It seems like the entire country starts on a new diet on January 1. Since diets run so common around us, they must be successful, right? There certainly must be a best diet out there that always ensures success. Now the real question is: how many of us have been on a diet or know of someone who has, and experienced long-term, forever success while enjoying their food, meeting their wellness goals, and living their best, sustainable life?
Unfortunately, not many of us (if any) have our hands raised now.
This is the reason why your professionals at Nuleeu encourage a no-diet approach. This is because diets don’t work. We love food and we follow the idea that all foods fit.
Of course we all want results, something guaranteed, and perhaps something with quick outcomes. Knowing that your health takes patience and invested time, diets don’t work because they’re like bookends. They have a clear start and a clear end. After we stop, we usually see our results fade and our previous state come right back to where it started. This can be anything! Whether it’s your blood sugar uncontrolled again, poor sleep, reduced strength, or added weight gain, when we’re “off the diet,” we’re back to reality. And the reality is that diets are unsustainable, difficult to follow, and frankly, unenjoyable. They’re also lonely! When we’re on a diet, we’re usually starting off that “I’m on a diet” sentence with, “No, thank you…I’m on a diet” or “I can’t because….I’m on a diet.” Restrictive, unsustainable diets create walls around us. Many clients describe feeling excluded at holidays and parties when they’ve been on a diet in the past. If you our someone you know has been on a diet, it’s common to feel excluded or separated from friends and family as they eat out at restaurants or share in the experience of eating potluck-style at parties and holidays.
Diets always bring the hype in the beginning. They’re something new and exciting to follow, so they bring hope. No matter your nutrition goals, diets are exactly as their name implies. They’re something temporary. Since we say we’re “on a diet,” this implies that we’re on something and will later be off of it. In fact, it’d be great if we could call them “short-term food changes,” “unenjoyable restrictions,” or even “expensive ways to see results for a short period of time.”
The cost of a diet adds up in the end because we’re left investing in something that didn’t last. Some diets make us jump through hoops, sometimes restricting foods we love, counting and calculating numbers throughout the day, or paying for bland meals, shakes, and snacks, just to name a few. Diet trends have been endless. But these diet components can lead us nowhere. If we restrict food, we may end up craving those foods even more later. If we spend our days counting and calculating, we lose our valuable time without gaining insight into the core of the nutrition information. If we only receive pre-prepared meals, snacks, or shakes without education, then when the deliveries stop, we’re left confused and uninformed about how to carry on.
Ideally, instead of saying, “I’m on a diet,” we at Nuleeu want to change that to, “I made a lifestyle change and this is how I eat and live now. And I love it!” Our non-diet approach is individualized and tailored to you, because we don’t believe in one-size-fits-all recommendations. We’re all different and we all require different needs, modifications, and recommendations. What works for one person, may not work for another. What works for one person in the beginning, may not work for them in the long-run, so we work together to find the most successful, sustainable nutrition changes for you to change your life.
One of the best parts of making such a nutrition lifestyle change, is that you get to share this information with your friends, family, and loved ones. Healthy habits are contagious and motivating! So instead of feeling excluded at a cookout or holiday gathering, you’ll have a healthful mindset that includes balance and inclusivity.
We want to share our evidence-based recommendations with you, so that when we’re done working together, you continue to meet your wellness goals without the need of your Nuleeu coach. The great thing about a non-diet approach, is that it’s easy to follow forever. This way, you can enjoy living your life independently and sustainably, while successfully maintaining your wellness goals for years and years to come. Contact your Nuleeu Nutrition and Wellness Registered Dietitian or professional coach to discuss the best program options for you to meet your specific needs and start your path of lifelong success.
Join us for our Diet-Free Holiday Celebrations!
We are hosting several workshops through the holidays to support lifestyle living without dieting. We focus on lifestyle changes not fad diets or extremes to support long term wellness.
Written By: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSPCC, LD, CNSC
Making any behavior change requires intention and consistency to achieve our goals. Any new change that you set to accomplish in your life will require a new habit to be formed. Of course, we want to achieve our goals as quickly as possible, but we also want them to be safe, long-lasting, and achieve the outcomes we intend. When looking to make changes in your nutrition, fitness, or wellness lifestyle, starting with a habit is key.
Research shows that it takes approximately 66 days to start a new habit and stick with it. This is quite a bit of time to allow ourselves some grace as we may forget our new habit until it becomes routine. Knowing up front that it will take some time to create a habit, helps to set the ground for realistic expectations. For example, say your new goal is to incorporate at least 1 fruit and 1 vegetable at every meal. Evaluating where we are starting at, we notice that we currently only eat 1 fruit at lunch and 1 vegetable at dinner. We have room to make improvements with our nutrition and we find ourselves eager to get working towards this goal. First, you may plan out your meals and choose fruits and vegetables ahead of time that you intend to incorporate in your meals. Having a plan is a great way to follow a path to your goal. Of course, life doesn’t always go as planned, so having back-up options available is a great idea. You may keep a banana, orange, or raisins at your desk at work to have as back-up in the event the cafeteria doesn’t offer a fruit or vegetable option that you like one day. You may keep a bag of pre-washed, ready-to-use spinach in the refrigerator to quickly add to sandwiches or prepare a side salad for quick, last-minute weeknight meals. For those times when you are attending a birthday party or cookout, you may plan to have your fruit or vegetable as a snack after the get-together in the event that fruits and vegetables are not offered. Due to the time commitment involved with forming a habit, give yourself flexibility with establishing your routine.
Once you have intention set, it’s important to have cues and reminders set to keep us on track. Reminders help to cue us on the behavior change we’d like to see. Let’s take our fruit and vegetable example again. If at every dinner, you serve your protein and grain on the right side of the plate (instead of the center), then there will be an open area to be filled on the left side of the plate, perhaps reminding you to fill that plate with at least 1 fruit and 1 vegetable. Some people benefit from visual cues upon an action. For example, if you pack your lunch daily for work or school, you may put a sticky note near where you store your lunch bag. Every time you go to get your lunch bag to pack, you’ll see the sticky note reminding you to double check your lunch and if it includes at least 1 fruit and 1 vegetable. If you typically make oatmeal for breakfast, you may put a sticky note on the oatmeal box or microwave to include a fruit or vegetable. Other people prefer to stay digital, so setting reminders on your phone at the time you go to lunch every day, or the time you typically eat or prepare dinner is another great reminder method! Another option is to include others. Tell your spouse, roommate, or colleague about your goal, and recruit them to help keep you on track. Consider your route. Review the route that you take and evaluate if another route would help you meet your goals. If you typically drive home and stop at a particular fast food location that offers limited fruit and vegetable options, consider driving another route home to break the habit. Think of other restaurant options that may better help you meet your goals, or skip the fast food altogether and plan to prepare your meal at home. If you’re headed to the workplace cafeteria, see if you can walk first by the fruit and vegetable station instead of the vending machine to remind you of your goal. Be forgiving of yourself if you forget to meet your habit even after seeing the reminder. Feel free to make adjustments to your reminder locations, times, and methods.
Keep your intention at the forefront of your mind. When we stay invested in our goals, we’re more likely to follow our cues and reminders to form the habits we need in order to achieve our goals. Review why you set your goal to begin with. Reflect on the accomplishments you’ve achieved along the way. Some people prefer to see it visually, so feel free to create a calendar or schedule that marks your achievements. Create a calendar with breakfast, lunch, and dinner written on every day. Every time you include 1 fruit and 1 vegetable at a meal, give yourself a checkmark or a sticker!
In the end, you’ll have compiled a number of achievements that you can reflect on. These achievements will help you stay motivated along the way.
Lally P, van Jaarsveld CHM, Potts HWW, Wardle J. How are habits formed: modelling habit formation in the real world. Euro J Soc Psychol. 2010;40:998–1009.