Tiny Tips, Huge Benefits 

We get load of stellar questions through our 'Ask a Nutritionist' every month. We thought we should share these questions and answers to help everyone get some eat smarts.  Below are a summary of what is trending this month. And don't forget to ask your own question here.


Intuitive Eating - 5 Steps to get you started…

1. Take Time Deciding What to Eat and Where - Plan purposefully, eat mindfully. Plan what you are going to eat purposefully. Take time to consider what to eat before deciding. What is appealing?  Then, take time to enjoy your meal. Do nothing but eat, take it all in, the smell, taste & texture.  

2. Listen to and Understand Cravings

Our bodies tell us what we need. Have you ever woken up & had a strong craving, perhaps for eggs? It probably means u r in need of protein. This is ur body telling u what we need. These cravings come from our instinct. Animals & kids eat instinctively. We can too, we just need to pay attention.

3. Distinguish Nutritional versus Emotional Cravings

It is important to recognize when we have cravings that are nutritionally beneficial to us versus having nothing to do with nutrition.

When craving something sweet, note is it because your blood sugar is low & you need energy or it is that you want to have the experience. Either way, enjoy.  But if it is a craving because you are feeling sad & hope the bowl of ice cream will help you feel better, consider how to rectify the feeling rather than  actually eating. 

4. Only Eat When Hungry & Stop when u r full. 

Instead of eating when our schedule dictates, eat when ur stomach dictates. Use the hunger scale. 0=Hangry, 1=Empty, 2=Ravenous, 3-Hungry, 4=Pangs, 5=Neutral, 6&7=Satisfied,8=Full, 9=Stuffed, 10=Sick. Note before you eat where you are on the scale. Aim to eat around 3 & stop around 6 to 7. 

Many of us overeat without realizing it. We focus on finishing whats on the plate. Pause your eating  ¾ the way through your meal. Stop for 1-5 mins. See if you have any interest in finishing your plate, if so, go for it. If not, move on. 

5. Keep a Food and Mood Journal

The purpose of keeping a food & mood journal is NOT to keep a record of every single food we eat.  But to make us more aware of what we are eating & why.  Write down what you are feeling before & after, include what you feel physically & emotionally.  This is a valuable exercise on how our feelings affect our food choices, as well as how our food choices affect our body.


Can I drink coffee & still be healthy? 

I get this question all the time and when working with clients, they plead, ' Please don't take away my coffee!'  

First, I ask these questions - Do you physically need the coffee to start your day? Do you feel tired and sluggish until you have a cup of Joe or soda? Do you find that you need more and more to get the same buzz?

If the answer is yes, then lets go a little deeper and look at your sleep or lack of sleep. What could be happening is you either have worked up a tolerance to the caffeine and/or you are not getting enough or enough good sleep. This could be a vicious cycle.

Caffeine has a half-life of 12 hours. What is a half-life? It is the amount of time it takes for Caffeine to leave your body completely. You may not ‘feel’ the effects or think you feel the effects but it is still in your body and may disrupt your sleep. So, then you NEED caffeine to wake up, but it disrupts your sleep and so on.

So, stop drinking caffeine 12 hours before you slumber just to be sure you are not sabotaging your sleep with caffeine.

Or other things may be interfering with you getting enough sleep. Could be stress, alcohol, work, habits (staying up late), anything really. So, do some recon into the factors that may be causing your sleep deprivation. Because without enough good sleep, you will be chasing that caffeine buzz to get you through the day.

Secondly, what might be happening is you have worked up a tolerance to caffeine. Meaning the buzz you use to get from one cup now requires 2 or 3. The dependency is real and can be very harmful. Dependencies on Caffeine can lead to elevated blood pressure, speedy heart rate or irregular heart beats, and dehydration. While a cup or two can have health benefits and help you be more focused, too much is too much. A possible plan would be to eliminate it for a week. That is how long it will take to cut the dependency. Work on getting enough sleep during this week and then reintroduce a cup or so back into your routine.

On the other hand, if you are like me and love, love to get up in the morning, get a cup of Joe, head out to your deck or meditation chair (yes, I actually have one, I don’t meditate on it but it is comfy to just chill on and my dog, Izzy loves it.) And enjoy the quiet first minutes of the day with your friend coffee, then you love the ‘ritual’ of coffee and you don't need it but I like it. Then I give the thumbs up.  

Bottom line, if you have to have it, look at your lifestyle and specifically focus on your sleep! Once you get that in order, you most likely will not need caffeine.

Some alternatives to that morning or afternoon buzz are actually nutritious and will give you the focus you need. They include, taking a walk, I know not revolutionary but highly effective. Or grab some high protein food, such as nuts, avocados, whole-grain items like quinoa, oatmeal, or whole-wheat bread, and, of course, fruits and vegetables.

But if you love the ritual of your morning coffee like I do, BUT do not actually, physically need it to wake up or get you through the day. Enjoy!



Here fishy, fishy, fish..the low down on Fish oil supplements 

Every nutrition snippet you see recently has some thing in it about Omega-3 or Fish Oil. I was recently, asked by my doctor why I did NOT take a Fish Oil supplement...he actually said, 'Wow, you must be the only person in SoCal that doesn't'.

My reasoning is I get what Fish Oil supplies, Omega-3 fatty oil from my food. 

Let me explain. Omega-3 and Omega-6 oils are essential fats.  That means they're required for normal body functions but your body can't make them. So you must get them from food.

But the piece of the puzzle missing from all the news, is that we need a balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 oils.

What they are not saying when they tell you to buy Fish Oil(Omega-3), is that we get a ton of Omega-6, something like 10 times more than we need, that is why we 'need' to swallow fish oil to balance that out. 

Or do we?

What I recommend is first, cut back on Omega-6 oils, found in veggie oils used in fried and processed foods. So limit those. Like added sugars, you will get enough from foods that sneak the oils in so really don't worry. 

Secondly, increase your Omega-3 but get it from food. Omega-3 oils are found in Chia seeds, fatty fish like sardines, trout, salmon, flaxseeds and walnuts.  Omega-3 from foods are better absorbed and used by your body AND they come with a bucket of other nutrients. Think more bang for your buck. And you get to eat them, not swallow them!  

Tiny Tip, Huge Benefits: Limit or omit fried foods, veggie oils and processed foods. This will cut down on your over intake of Omega-6 essential fatty oils. Increase your intake of food that is rich in Omega-3's. Ditch the Fish Oil supplement. 


March is National Nutrition Month  

In honor of NNM - I want to share my top 5 food nutrition tiny tips, huge benefits for any person, any age to drive.  

  1. Hydration - here is a quick test, look at your pee. Yes, look at the color. If it is a light yellow, you are hydrated. If it is a dark yellow you need more H20. If, it is really, really light, i.e. clear and you have to pee every hour, u r drinking too much H20. 

  2. Balance your meals. Nutritionally. Even snacks.  Have all three macronutrients, Protein, Fats, & Carbs and..fiber each time you eat.  This will aid in better digestion, absorption & satisfy you sooner, so you will stop when you are full.  

  3. Portions. Use your body to measure food on your plate.  Rule of thumb for each meal ( scale for snacks) 2 open hands for fruit/veg.  Like one apple and one half bell pepper. Fist full of carbs, palm amt. of protein & a thumb of fat. 

  4. Eat all the colors. I know sounds kinda cheesy. But do it. Vary your selection of fruit/veg to get optimal nutrients. 

  5. Select purposefully & eat mindfully. Be aware of what you are eating & eat with awareness.  

You officially have some Eat Smarts! carry on and thrive. 


what are 3 best things to do for my healh? 

Eat, sleep, move and repeat. These three are often considered the trifecta of optimal health. And you may be like, doh..I knew that.  However, the more interesting point here is that you have to do all three and do them a lot. Often I have clients, and I have been guilty of this myself, think I can exercise away the night of burgers and beer. I don't need sleep, that is for lazy people. Uh no, It just doesn't work that way.  

Frequently, people will focus on one of the three areas. This may be harder to do as there is a strong dependency between eat, sleeping and moving.  If you get a good nights sleep, you're more likely to do a workout. If you eat nutritious food and move it will greatly enhance your sleep quality. Now, get eating, moving and sleeping.  


Good fat, bad fat, OK fat?

Confusing for sure. After years of everyone telling us all to avoid all fat, all the time.  Finally, nutrition science cleared up how our body and fat work together. 

Firstly, our bodies, specifically our cells need fat. Think of fat as a lube that allows your cells to move and get to where they are needed in the body.  So, yes, fat is good.

No, fat will not make you fat.  When you eat too much of anything it is converted to fat stored in your body.   

There are three types of fat, two that are made in nature and one that is mostly made in the factory?  Can you guess which one is the 'bad' fat? 


'Bad' fats are Trans fats or man-made fats. On food label ingredient lists, it is typically listed as "partially hydrogenated oil."  It is in everything packaged and processed in the grocery store and is the fry part of fried foods. Think, French fries, doughnuts, fast foods, margarine, vegetable shortening like Crisco, baked goods, cookies, cakes, pastries in your grocery store and all processed snack foods generally located in the center aisles.  


Saturated fats are like trans fats but made in nature. They are the 'OK' fats.  Eat them but sparingly. These include, red meat, whole milk and other whole-milk dairy foods, cheese, and many commercially prepared baked goods and other foods.

Call out to Coconut Oil. It is a saturated fat, but it is also a medium chain triglycerides.  It is rapidly broken down and absorbed into the body and used as energy. So, put it in the good fat category. 


Good fats, yea! Unsaturated fats  come mainly from vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, olive oil, avocados, salmon, mackerel, and sardines, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.      

Tiny Tip, Huge Benefits: Eat Fat, it will NOT make you fat. A little goes a long way to fill you up fast.  Limit or omit all Bad Fats, eat OK Fats sparingly and enjoy Good Fats.  


what are the healthiest veggies? 

The best veggies to eat are a wide variety of them.  All vegetables, specifically organic are the powerhouses of nutrition. However, they all have a different, unique offering in terms of nutrients and vitamins. Let's talk, micronutrients.  These are the essential compounds our bodies need to do an optimal job. They differ from our primary energy source or macronutrients (protein, fat and carbs) as their function is to help our biological functions.  Fruits and vegetables have a massive amount of micronutrients to offer.   

There are hundreds of difference essential micronutrient so we need to diversify what we eat for optimal health ad nutrition. We all know we need 3-5 servings of veggies a day, add to that 3-5 different kinds. If that is too hard, shoot for 5-7 different types of veggies over a week. 

Screen Shot 2019-03-25 at 12.13.48 PM.png

Red Bull*hit?

What is in this stuff and why am I so hooked on it….is it the taste? The secret bull ingredient..WTF? This is the question I got at one of my Lunch and Learns the other day…so here goes, don’t hate the messenger….

From the Red Bull website they list the ingredients as:  

  • Water

  • Caffeine

  • Taurine

  • B-Group Vitamins

  • Sugar or aspartame ( sugar-free version) 

But if you get a can of the stuff and look at the back here is the actual List of Ingredients: 

Glucose & Sucrose: Do you recognize your old friend sugar? Red Bull has 27 grams of sugar per can, which is actually a little less than most soft drinks (Dr. Pepper has 40 grams) – but still a massive amount of the sweet stuff. Prepare for an energy rush – and then the inevitable crash. Sugarfree Red Bull contains the artificial sweeteners aspartame, acesulfame K, and sucrolose instead of sugar, which have recently been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Taurine: Taurine, or 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, is an amino acid naturally made in the human body. Found in the lower intestine and a major component of bile, taurine is an antioxidant that helps to move minerals through the system and generate nerve impulses. Each can of Red Bull contains 1000mg taurine, and although Red Bull products containing the substance was banned in France for a while, at this point all bans are off and taurine is generally considered safe.

Caffeine: Red Bull contains 80mg of caffeine, about half of other soft drinks and about the same as a cup of coffee. Caffeine’s stimulating mental and physical benefits have been well documented, with some even arguing that coffee’s introduction to the Western World made the Industrial Revolution possible. Caffeine works by blocking adenosine, a sleep-promoting brain chemical, which in turn makes your body release adrenaline. Caffeine is the world’s most widely used psychoactive substance, and over-consumption can cause diarrhea, twitching, racing heartbeat, and nervousness – otherwise known as the “caffeine jitters.”

Glucuronolactone: This naturally occurring chemical is found in connective tissues and plant gums. A carbohydrate, glucuronolactone is a stimulant with mild anti-depressant effects that helps improve memory and concentration. It also has detoxifying qualities and can help remove waste from the body.

Inositol: Inositol is a chemical compound and mood-booster that helps the brain use serotonin, and can be found in many foods such as oranges, cantaloupes and high-fiber nuts and beans.

Niacin: B vitamin that helps with energy formation and use.

D-Pantothenol: Also known as vitamin B-5 or Pantothenic Acid, D-Pantothenol is an essential nutrient that improves mood, boosts metabolism and helps to turn fat into energy. Vitamin B-5 deficiency has been connected to a host of mental and physical health problems including acne, fatigue, muscle cramps and apathy.

Pyridoxine HCL: Otherwise known as vitamin B6, pyridoxine HCL helps the body to form red blood cells and use oxygen, improving mood and energy levels.

Vitamin B-12: Like vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 helps form red blood cells for oxygen utilization.

Artificial Colors & Flavors: You didn’t think that glowing pink color was natural, did you? While Red Bull also uses natural flavors, every version of the drink includes artificial flavors and colors.

Lets start with the good, water! Yea, good old H20 thumbs up on that one.  

Now, Taurine, it is a amino-acid that you body makes to assist in building and repairing cells. Good stuff. BUT, the Taurine in Red Bull, Taurine is Latin for Bull…hence the name.  But this is a synthetic version.  

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin examined the combination of caffeine and taurine, discovering the  two together contributed to a marked increase in blood pressure and bradycardia (a potentially dangerous decrease in heart rate).

Caffeine and tolerance. I am not going to call it an addiction because is not that. What happens is you develop a tolerance to Caffeine. Meaning the buzz you use to get from one can now requires 2 or 3.  This happens with any caffeine drink but since Red Bull is so concentrated it is more profound.  Coffee is mostly sipped but RB is gulped. That could be why the high or bump is more pronounced as well.  

Dependencies on Caffeine can lead to elevated blood pressure, speedy heart rate or irregular heart beats, and dehydration. 

If you or someone you care about is has an energy drink addiction, it’s crucial to know about the dangers of energy drinks and the negative aspects of caffeine dependence. Only by breaking your energy drink addiction will you be able to once again enjoy the increased alertness and performance improvements that caffeine offers to those not addicted.

If you continue to feel fatigued once you leave the dangers of energy drinks behind and break your addiction (it takes about a week), it’s important to explore other potential underlying causes of your fatigue and to seek safer, more natural fatigue remedies.

For worthy alternatives to energy drinks, think outside the “drink” arena. Research shows that just taking brisk walk for 10 minutes is a natural pick-me-up. The fresh air and vitamin D you get from sunshine are known energy boosters. Likewise, napping can help, a 60- to 90-minute nap can restore energy.

Likewise, various foods can fit the bill: Think protein-rich selections like nuts, avocados, whole-grain items like quinoa, oatmeal, or whole-wheat bread, and, of course, fruits and vegetables. For beverages, you’ll help yourself by replacing energy drinks with tea (iced or hot) or water.

Try a singular, moderate source of caffeine, such as coffee, green tea, matcha or yerba mate instead of high levels or combinations of multiple energy-inducing ingredients.  This is where many of the problems seem to arise. 


what should I eat for ______?(fill in the blank)

This I get a lot, I mean a lot. I get it,  people want to be told exactly what to eat and when.

Their hope of a magic combination of food that will make them healthy if they could just crack the code is understandable. 

Lovely idea but there is a problem.

First, I can't be with you for every meal and every trip to the grocery store.  But what I can do as a nutritionist is to teach you how to be your own nutritionist. 

Secondly, the 'code' is unique to you. What works for your co-worker may not work for you or your boss or your husband.  So, we need will need to do some trial and error to learn about you, your body and how it responds to food.  

Tiny Tips, Huge Benefits:  Eat all three meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Eat some protein, fat, carbs and fiber at every meal. Eat most of your food at breakfast and lunch. Try to stop eating 2-3 hours before you go to bed.

And lastly, get educated on good nutrition and become your own expert. Contact Me