Detoxing

So I was recently approached by a magazine for some information on detoxing.  The editor gave me a list of questions that I provided answers to and I wanted to share  that information with more people.

Below is the Q&A session.

  1. In what ways does a detox help the body?

 There are many different types of detoxes on the market and depending on the detox there are many different ways a detox can help.Some detox programs are focused on heavy metal detox, detoxing the liver, kidneys, and gastro intestinal tract (GI tract)  which also includes the colon.

 Depending on the focus of a detox and the intention of the user, many benefits can occur, but our body has organs that actually detox the body naturally: our liver, kidneys and colon. Some benefits could include reduced heavy metals in the body, improved liver and kidney function, increased energy levels, clearer skin, less smelly body odor, better GI function, better hormonal balance, possibly more efficient metabolism, improved mood and an overall sense of better well being.  The reason why these benefits occur are because of the increased intake of fruits, veggies, herbs and spices and all the good stuff that is packed in them.  When fruits and veggies replace more processed foods, the body will start to feel differently.  There are draw backs to doing a detox if you are not getting a balanced diet or have an unbalanced relationship with food to begin with.

  1. Why has detoxing become such a popular trend in recent years?

I think that detoxing has become popular in recent years because it is like any other fad diet that promises rapid weight loss and that is attractive to many people.   This can be a trigger for people who have struggled with their relationship with food.  I also believe that our society is looking for a more natural way of health and living.

  1. Many people do a detox cleanse and then fall back on old habits, causing their weights to fluctuate dramatically. Is this ever healthy? And how do you recommend continuing healthy eating habits after finishing a cleanse?

 Any time someones weight fluctuates more that 10% in 6months or less that is a major health risk factor and is never healthy. If your body is changing that dramatically your metabolism is actually being damaged.  Our bodies have a biologically appropriate weight at which all systems function best, and the body will do what it can to maintain that weight.  If your loose weight too quickly, your body will be in shock and actually be programmed to store more fat as a protective mechanism to get back to the weight prior to the significant change in weight.  

What is recommended is gradual change. That will produce sustainable results. I work primarily with Eating Disorders and have seen some many clients with EDs that stem from dieting at a young age and yo-yo dieting.  As a Registered Dietitian I never recommend any kind of diet.  What is recommended is having balance of all nutrients and making sure you have fun foods regularly.  

The best thing to do if you do decide to do a cleanse is to make sure you are still getting a balanced diet.  Make weekly nutrition goals around what foods to include and limit. Make sure you are still having “fun” foods and foods that you do enjoy because if you don’t, you are setting yourself up for overindulgence and “last supper” type eating of those foods.

  1. Are there cases in which detoxing is unhealthy or even dangerous?

Yes!   Always check with your physician or a registered dietitian about what kind of cleanse your interested in and that medical professional can give you advice on whether or not it is appropriate. An annual general detox is acceptable, but I have seen clients who take detoxing to the max. If you do certain things to detox your body you can actually be doing more harm than good.  Especially when it relates to the body’s major organs (kidney, liver and colon). If you do too many colon cleanses or GI cleanses, you can damage the delicate microbial balance and open yourself up for a really bad infection if you don’t have enough of the “good” bacterias to fight off the “bad” ones

  1. Are there any specific foods that people who are detoxing should eat?

Making sure to get enough protein, carbs and fats throughout the day is really important. Our brain’s main fuel source is glucose, which comes from carbohydrates, so we need carbs every 3-4hrs on a daily basis.  We do need protein on a daily basis to rebuild, repair and replace various things in the body. Protein is not only used for muscles, but it is used to replace hair, skin and nails, along with being used for enzymes, cellular communication and the transportation of biological molecules. A lot of times when people go on cleanses, they loose water weight and protein from their skeletal muscles and bones because it is missing from the diet and the body needs it. Fats are also necessary on a daily basis to help us absorb fat soluable vitamins (A,D,E,K). If we don’t consume fats we cannot absorb those vitamins that actually help us on many levels. Including more “healthy fats” like nuts, seeds, avocados and oils, you will still be eating “clean” on your cleanse but you will also be getting vital nutrients that your body needs. Fats play a role in brain health, mood stabilization, neurological function and many other processes in the body.

 Having a balanced relationship with food and exercise will also provide the above mentioned benefits of a detox. I really hope this writing helps provide information and also explain the “why” behind nutrition for people to make informed decisions. 

 

 

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Mediterranean Diet

Recently I attended a workshop for Registered Dietitians that had a brief snipit about the Mediterranean Diet (type of eating style, not a restrictive fad diet) and I was so refreshed.  Being of Italian descent, an RD and coming home from a recent visit to Italy, I thought I must do a post on this, oh, so delicious way to eat your way to better health.  First off, let us take a look at the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid so we can compare and contrast to our own personal food habits.

mediterranean diet pyramid      Basically the picture is showing physical activity, and enjoyable eating experiences with friends and family (mindful eating) as the base of their pyramid.  Working up the pyramid shows a primarily plant based dietary pattern, or a high intake of fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, beans, legumes, herbs and spices.  Olive oil as the primary fat source (polyunsaturated fat) with a moderate to high intake of fish and a low intake of dairy, poultry and red meats – (sources of solid fats) and a low to moderate intake of wine.

Now, looking at what is recommended from the Mediterranean style of eating, what is different from your personal eating habits?  Take a minute to make note of your usual food choices and things that you would like to change or feel like are food habits that you struggle with.  Look back at the Mediterranean pyramid and see if you can or would be willing to substitute some of your usual choices with some Mediterranean choices.  This could mean swapping a snack a day or swapping out a meal a week for a healthier choice.  Remember, when making dietary changes (aka lifestyle changes) start with small steps that are reasonable and easily attainable.  That will ensure you are successful and more likely to continue (sustainable), rather than having an all or nothing diet mentality that will leave you feeling like you failed.  If you need help with this please email me or visit my website (click here) for more individualized dietary help.

Studies have shown that the typical American is deficient in several categories of nutrients that come from fruits, veggies, whole grains and are in excessive consumption of Sofas (solid fats and added sugars) and sodium.  So in a nut shell, studies are showing that the typical American is eating way too many processed foods which are actually promoting weight gain and the development of chronic disease and not enough fresh, whole, unadulterated foods that are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that will keep your body running at peak performance and have a protective effect against disease and premature aging.

Some of the research from the PREDIMED study (CLICK HERE) showed results of decreasing the risk of heart disease by 30% and reducing the risk of stroke by 50% and significantly lowering blood pressure.  Other results of following the Mediterranean diet were weight loss, lowering LDL cholesterol, benefits for age related cognitive change, reduced oxidative stress and inflammation, reduced risk of diabetes and improved metabolic syndrome factors.  What’s not to lose just by incorporating a few new choices?

Happy Earth Day

 

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Hey y’all I just wanted to get a quick note out on earth day.  So the purpose of earth day is to celebrate our beautiful, bountiful planet. The quickest way I like to enjoy nature is to walk through my garden when I have tea in the morning.  Its almost like a moving meditation if you will.  Meditation is helpful in lowering your blood pressure and you can actually reshape neurotransmitters to reprogram your brain to be in a constant state of happiness.

Granted my garden consists of several potted plants, lots of aloe and 2 huge variegated blue agaves (which i got as little tiny guys and joke about making tequilla from – half serious)  Lately I have been doing some care taking for an elderly woman who has the greenest thumb I have ever seen.  She planted tomatoes, squash, cucumber, peppers, and eggplant.  Her garden has grown so large in the last month and she is already pulling several cucumbers and squash to eat.  Her tomatoes will be ready in a few weeks and there are enough there to feed a small army.  The reason why Im writing about this is because as a Registered Dietitian, I am constantly telling people to eat fresh foods and what not a better way to eat fresh produce than to grow your own.  Its super simple all you need is a little sun, water and some TLC.  If you have kids, this is a great project to do as a family because it helps them to see where their food comes from and how it grows. 

In honor of earth day, I encourage all of you to do your part in conserving our natural resources by eating and living sustainably.  Growing your own garden helps to decrease carbon emissions and hopefully pesticide use if you use organic gardening techniques.  My favorite organic gardening technique is to use the complementary planting method.  With this method, you plant different species of plants together that will protect each other.  For example, plant marigolds with your tomatoes.  Marigolds are known to repel garden pest and therefore reduce the need to use pesticides.  Little tips like that can give you some of the most amazing foods that are full of flavor, free, fresh, and are not contaminated with pesticides (that can cause damage to the body).  Have you ever picked a vine ripened strawberry that was being warmed by the sun?  Its not just food or nourishment, its an experience.

One more thing that isnt really related to gardening, but is definitely related to earth day is how we are letting all kinds of trash into our oceans.  I know i have already written about the pacific trash vortex in another blog entry (i think it was stewards of the planet).  The pacific trash vortex is a floating island of trash in the middle of the pacific ocean the size of Texas!  There is also one in the Atlantic.  If you dont believe me, please google it. We need to be more mindful of our actions and how they are impacting the planet.  On this earth day in 2014, what habits will you incorporate to your lifestyle to keep our planet clean and green for the generations to come?  Will it be starting your own garden, using your reusable bag, installing solar panels, or a installing grey water system? leave a comment below for other sustainable living techniques that you use.  and if you have time, check out earthships on google.  One day, I will have one.

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Feelin Alive

Best run ever today!  We, (me and Ranger) made a “wrong turn” and found ourselves smack in the middle of Downtown Disney!  The energy there was amazing btw.

For those of you who know me, know that I absolutely cant stand running.  What has changed you ask?  Well as a Registered Dietitian, I have to keep current with nutrition and fitness information and recently I have been reviewing info in regards to weight loss, diabetes, heart health and healthy lifestyle habits.  It is no secret that exercise plays a huge roll in weight management and preventative health maintenance.  I have slowly gotten into the running because my husband signed me up for one of those zombie runs and I didnt want to be the weakest link – my competitive side came out – (cant help it)  Since then I have slowly started to build up and now I can relate to “runner’s high.”  It feels so amazing, knowing that you are using your body to its full potential.  The benefits of running are many, but my favorite, besides the high (lol) are that it is the quickest and most efficient way to exercise your cardiovascular system (heart and lungs), it helps to release endorphins in the brain that make you “feel good” actually boosting your mood, and it burns a ridiculous amount of calories.  So either way you slice it, running is good for the bod – in moderation.  After you do any form of exercise you want to make sure you refuel your muscles within one hour and make sure to have some protein and carbs.   Modifying some of your lifestyle habits can greatly improve the quality of life that you are currently living and set you up for a bright future.  For nutrition coaching and lifestyle modification help please visit my website.  http://lynseyargota.wix.com/lynseyargotard 

Trail-Runner-1

The shift in our health care system is in line with the energies of the universe, which are also calling for a huge shift in not only our conscience but othe way we live our lives.  Part of living consciencsly is awakening.  Over the last few decades we have become zombie like through the things we have been putting in our bodies – all the sugar and food additives, antiboitics, hormones and now GMOs.  The tV and internet dont help either when we are in a sugar coma or have had a highly processed meal.

On the subject of GMOs lets look at peanuts.  I was reading about Mediterranean  style of eating and how good it is for you heart.  The article also talked about those who eat 1.5oz nuts daily or most days have less belly fat.  Besides the belly fat thing, nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats which are protective for your heart.  Nuts are also a great source of plant based proteins, fiber and all those microminerals like zinc and magnesium that help keep the body functioning at optimal levels.

So for those of you who cannot eat nuts because they cause anaphylaxis -a serious and potentially deadly allergic reaction to nuts and tree nuts, this is your time to let the food industry know to stop genetically modifying our food sources.  Did you know that back in the 70s they started to genetically modify peanuts that went into our food supply?  As soon as they did that, we saw a huge spike in deadly peanut allergies.  For those of you who can enjoy peanuts without fearing for your life, please do so.  Mommies to be that do not have peanut allergies get your daily dose of nuts!  Studies have shown that pregnant women who eat nuts regularly are more likely to give their children nuts before age 2 (which is not recommended) and their children are less likely to have an allergic reaction to nuts.

Let us discuss the belly fat thing.  I have seen so many adds (diet propaganda) that talk about belly fat and they are trying to sell a dietary supplement to “shrink your belly fat”.  For those of you who dont know about belly fat, it is visceral adipose tissue, which is much more metabolically active than just subcutaneous adipose tissue, aka under the skin fat.  So what this means is that the visceral fat sends out hormones and affects our insulin sensitivity.  This can actually overtime lead to more storage of visceral fat and it is a cycle that if you are not mindful of nipping in the bud can drastically increase your risk of several chronic diseases.   The good thing about this visceral fat is that since it is more metabolically active, it is more responsive to you guessed it, EXERCISE!!  If you have a waistline of more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men, you are at risk for developing a number of chronic diseases.  To decrease your risk, make a weekly goal to add in some exercise and work your way up to 150 minutes/week of moderate physical activity and 2 days of weight training or strength training or 75 minutes/week of vigorous physical activity and the 2 days of weights or strength training.  You can also clean up your diet and I can help you.  Please visit my website.  I would love to help you reach your nutrition and wellness goals.   http://lynseyargota.wix.com/lynseyargotard 

Dietitian Review of the Paleo Diet

Ok, so several people have asked me to do a review of the paleo diet or the caveman diet.  Here it is.  So, in a nutshell, the paleo diet is of the school of thought that we should not eat anything that our ancestors didnt eat.  Sounds pretty healthy right?  On the surface it does sound super healthy and worth a try.  Well here is the skinny, with the paleo diet, you are not supposed to eat diary, legumes (nuts, beans,lentils,peas), grains, salt and sugar.  Ummm….   I get the whole sugar and salt thing but why not eat dairy, legumes and grains?

The idea behind the exclusion of dairy, legumes and grains comes from the idea that as we have industrialized our nation, we have done so with our food by adding in dairy, legumes and grains to feed the masses.  The argument from the paleo supporters is that our bodies are genetically predisposed to eat a paleo diet pattern.  The argument I have here is that the hunter/gather lifestyle is extremely different than the lifestyle that we have this day and age.  These days we have a more sedentary lifestyle that doesnt call for a diet to support the hunter/gatherer lifestyle.  The paleo diet is a high protein, high fat diet and very low on carbs.  We all know that high fat diets can promote heart disease but did you know that low carb diets effect our brain chemistry, energy levels and moods? (More on that below)  The paleo diet supporters also are from the school of thought that since we have added in dairy, legumes and grains that rates of chronic disease has increased.  My argument against this idea is that as we have industrialized our nation, we spend long hours at work (not following the flow of nature, rising with the sun and retiring with the sunset) inside stuffy buildings away from sunshine and fresh air.  By doing so, our biorythms are off and not in sync with the true vibration of nature and we tend to accumulate stagnant energy which can manifest as disease.

I digress.  Back to the components of the Paleo diet.  Removal of dairy.  I can kind of understand the dairy thing, as we are the only species that continues to drink milk beyond weaning, and it is the milk of a different species, which is kind of weird.  Also, with the dairy products, the way they are processed is kind of creepy, the animals are pumped full of antibotics and hormones.  It is no wonder why milk is one of the most common food allergens.  Dont get me wrong, dairy products do provide us with vitamins and minerals and have research to support help with weight management.  However, there are milk alternatives like soy milk with almost the same nutritional content (with less than half of the saturated fat) and you can also find everything you get from dairy in other sources such as green leafy veggies for the calcium and mushrooms and sunshine for the Vitamin D.  Dairy is completely fine to have in your diet, I would just recommend organic and sustainably farmed with out all the hormones and antibiotics as your first choice.

Removal of legumes and grains.  Why on earth would you take away legumes and grains?  They are loaded with so many good things,  vitamins, minerals, fiber and proteins.  These provide us with essential nutrients without these vital sources, there may be a need for supplementation.  Plus the fiber provided by legumes and grains help to prevent heart disease, cancer and diabetes (provided you are using whole grains).  Legumes and grains also provide carbohydrates.  As I mentioned above, since the paleo diet is very limited on carbs, effects brain chemistry, energy levels and moods.  Have you ever gone on a low carb diet or known anyone who has?  You may recall them being irritable, and having a lack of energy.  Carbohydrates are our main energy source for the brain and the body.  Having a balanced diet allows for the brain chemistry reactions to take place increasing serotonin production therefore boosting your mood.  The carbohydrates eliminate competition for tryptophan so more of it can enter the brain and be converted into serotonin.  Without carbohydrates our bodies go into a state of Ketosis or basically lowering the blood pH, which is not ideal for body chemistry as our bodies have a very strict homeostatic blood pH range of 7.35-7.45.  When you go out of this range, it throws your body into a compensatory response either changing your breathing rate or kidney function, not something you necessarily want to mess with!

The paleo diet is healthy in that it does include lots of fruits and veggies, that is really the only thing that it has going for it.  This is like any other fad diet and is not necessarily sustainable.  (I cant remember the last time i saw wild game in the grocery store, a main component of the paleo diet).  What is sustainable is a balanced diet without all kinds of crazy rules!

Email me today to schedule a nutrition assessment and nutrition coaching today!

Lynseyargota@gmail.com

California Drought

Ok so winter has decided to skip us here in California. It has been 70 nice for the last few months without any rain in sight. So, what is the problem you ask? Well, in California we do lots of farming and ranching to provide the fruits, veggies, dairy and meat products. I was prompted to write this when I saw a news special on the dry conditions we have been experiencing. The special talked about the conditions and how the prices of our groceries were expected to rise due to the cost to the farmers to raise crops. I also saw that ranchers were having to sell off some of their herd due to the high cost of maintaining them and thought, what an opportunity for change! Dont get me wrong, I feel terrible for those who depend on farming and ranching as a source of income, but on a larger scale, I believe this is an opportunity for positive change for the American Diet. We consume massive amounts of animal protein here in America, most of which has been treated with hormones, antibiotics and have had absolutely horrific living conditions.
All along we have been getting messages to consume a plant based diet to promote health and longevity. Lets start now.
Lets take a quick look at the animal protein industry. It takes lots of space to house these animals, under which the conditions are not necessarily the most sanitary. Their food, which sometimes is not their natural wild diet but something cheap that is a surplus crop has to be shipped in from another state, pushes carbon emissions in to our atmosphere and leaves the animal with digestive issues. The run off from their wastes pollute neighboring landscapes and hormones and antiboitics seep down into our land and eventually into the water table.
I am not here to push vegetarianism, I myself eat meat but am starting to transition towards a more plant based diet. How do all these other countries survive without eating the massive amounts of animal protein like we do here in America? Easy, with plant based proteins like beans, lentils, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains. All of which can be farmed without excessive damage to the eco system and being injected with antibiotics and hormones.
Please friends, do some research and make your own decisions. If you would like any help transitioning to more of a plant based diet please contact me at Lynseyargota@gmail.com. I am a Registered Dietitian and would love to help you reach your nutrition goals.

Youth Sports: Who is advising your child? and is it healthy?

Youth sports can get extremely competetive.  I understand this because I was a national champion for softball in 1998.  Sometimes parents can get so wrapped up in the competition and not  clearly see that some of the coaches may be directing our children in a “not so healthy way.”

Recently my husband and I had some dinner guest over with teenaged kids.  The parents were talking about a boy that dropped dead on a football field a few weeks ago because his heart stopped.  Then later that evening one of the girls was talking about how her friend’s brother (who was very tall and skinny) had to either loose weight to stay in his “weight class” or bump up into the next weight class for football.  The girl went on about how her friend and her friend’s mom helped him “not eat anything all day except sips of water and then only salads”  As a Registered Dietitian – and one who works in the world of Eating Disorders – I was absolutely floored!  How can someone advise an adolescent to loose weight, especially when they are within normal limits for their height and age?  Adolescents need to be eating quite a bit to support their normal growth patterns as they mature into adults.  It is also imperative that as young adults they learn healthy eating habits.  I have witnessed this countless times where certain sports focus on weight or body image specifically, and the individual develops an eating disorder.  The wrestling team is a perfect example, they have to weigh in and if they are even a tiny bit over the specified weight, they can’t participate.  So what happens?  The kid becomes obsessed with the scale and how to manipulate their weight either through restricting food intake, or through other compensatory behaviors.  This turns into a habitual practice, spirals out of control and then bam! they drop dead on the field because of the damage they have done to their body by not eating or purging to make weight, or they end up in rehab for an eating disorder.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is that if you have a child/teen in a competitive sport that focuses on weight, or body image (diving, or gymnastics) and someone gives your child nutritional advice, consult a professional before you make any decisions.  You can also try to encourage a different sport that doesn’t focus on weight or body image.  As adults we need to set good examples for our children/teenagers and encourage healthy habits.

It absolutely blows my mind that people without the proper credentials are giving out nutrition advice to young malleable minds.