Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Our Brain On Food...


CNN recently posted an article about a research study comparing obese and normal weight individuals and their cognitive function. Although the study only involved 29 people I still think it's an interesting development.

I often hear my healthier friends talk about how sluggish they feel after having a "bad" meal. I know if I eat out and get something higher in sodium than usual I end up waking up in the middle of the night needing water.  In my personal case it's more likely effecting my body than my brain, but repeated exposure to these high calorie, nutrient low foods might just have effect on our day to day functioning. 

The study had individuals say the color of a word written on a screen. Some were easy while others were harder. For example the word "Blue" written in red with a red background. The study appears to show overweight and obese individuals brains struggled more to come up with the answers when compared to normal weight people.

Timothy Verstynen (one of the researchers with multiple colleagues) believe this increased effort can effect mental performance in day to day life. This includes food choices. If it takes more effort to make the right food choices, overweight individuals may not be making healthier choices. The research explains this can be a vicious cycle.

 This reinforces the aspect of individuals not lacking food knowledge, but not applying knowledge when making food choices. Many people have read about nutrition or seem interested in making the right choices, but when it comes down to it the commitment to constantly choosing healthy foods can be daunting. It is for me and I have been in nutrition based classes for multiple years, and plan on making it my field.

It begs the question of what professionals can do to not only educate but help change the thought process about food for clients. What can we do to decrease the number of poor choices are people making? Is it even our responsibility. I think it is. If someone is coming to a dietitian for help and they are struggling with committing to their lifestyle, we need to have to skill set to help them.

 Below is a link to the abstract I believe the article is based off. I could not find the entire article to read.{70007181-01C9-4DE9-A0A2-EEBFA14CD9F1}

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Sunday was a very busy day at the conference I went to 4 lectures as well as a Student Reception.

This is what happened at some of the sessions. Note, there was a lot of knowledge dropped on me so I'm just sharing the bits that stuck out for well as memorable moments.

Understanding Dietary Fructose: Sponsored by Coca-Cola
Dr. John Sievenpiper and  Dr. Frances H. Seligson (who used to work for Hershey's and said her views are all over the place with this) presented a large portion of research studies.
Here are some memorable facts:
  • 1/2 of the U.S. population consumed added sugar from sugar sweetened beverages (SSB)
  • Most people consume an average of 41g of added sugars, only the top 10% consume 100g or more
  • Children aged 1-10 and females over 51 consume the least amount of SSB (Yay for children!)
  • A lot of fructose based studies have people or animals consume unrealistic amounts of fructose for the trials...of above the 100g mark
  • Dr. Sievenpiper suggested the health problems often associated with fructose are actually because of over-consumption in general.

This is where it gets interesting! After presenting a woman from NYC came up and said how ashamed she was of FNCE letting such a biased presentation be shown at a conference. When the presenters told her she had to ask a question she asked if they thought a majority of Americans do consume too much fructose, they were a bit reluctant to answer but just explained it's the over-consumption issue, not the fructose issue.

Later a woman from Coca-Cola thanks the presenters for doing such an awesome job and asked how much soda would have to be consumed before a person reached the amounts commonly consumed in some studies: it was more than 5 liters!

Either way...take of it what you will. I am still skeptical of too much added sugar. After all they said in the seminar it is hard to determine just how much is natural and how much is added to foods these days.

It's Fall and time for APPLES

Apple picking and apple cider donuts are delicious. Apples are also have fiber!

Today was the 3rd time I've been to the Plattsburgh Heart Walk and we gave out apples and some nutrition information on apples

                                                  Snagged this recipe from

Saturday, October 13, 2012

It's Food Photo Time

That's right folks, I'm no better than any other food blog. Shamelessly taking photos of food before I consume it is ok to do sometimes. Mind you not always...actually almost never...but that's why it's so so shameful. Some of these are from Connie (very effective food photographer, pretty sure she documented every morsel) and I snuck a few when no one was looking! Enjoy :-)

                                   From left to right: Red velvet, Flourless chocolate, Green tea!

                                                      Kale, Spinach and Banana Ice Cream
                                                          (I have the recipe if you want it)

                              Grilled chicken, Kabasi, Kale, and Butternut Squash...ridiculous!
                                      Ok, I was only going to get cupcakes once, but this was called                                          "Plain Jane" and had rum in was for my Mom's honor!
                                                 Buttermilk and Parmesan Cheese Dressing

                          Initially we were only going to eat unhealthy things to be ironic, then thought better of it.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The power of women

In visiting Philly I would say at least 90% of the people there were females. It was amazing!

These women featured by CNN and many others are inspiration for not only young girls looking to find their dream, but for young women like me so close to reaching theirs. It reminds me not to give up and to not let my past mistakes or short comings stop me from reaching my goals.

We need women to be fighters. We need women to help others, especially other women struggling.

Nutrition is a science constantly evolving with new discoveries and adjusting to social contexts. I'm glad so many women can navigate this profession with grace. Hopefully any negative views of nutrition professionals can eventually be eliminated, we are not snobs! We just want to help.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Before it all began

It being my first time in Philadelphia myself with Jennifer and Connie had to take advantage and check out the sites!

We arrived over 4 hours before the opening session and after we dropped of our bags we went exploring.  Jennifer and her amazing Iphone helped us navigate and find everything worth seeing. It has also convinced me to stop begrudgingly hate smart phones and start wanting one...really bad.

Some of the places we visited included
Lunch at Pearl's Oyster Bar at Reading Terminal: Fish fry and fries, very delicious. Reading Market was packed with the people on Saturday and was in full swing of selling produce, meat, specialty items and coffee :-)

 Where the Declaration of Independence was signed! We walked the same steps as the Founding Fathers. Also probably the closest I'll get to the Liberty Bell, about 20 yards
                                         Founding Fathers aren't the only heroes to be recognized.

                                                       Adorable sign by Reading Market

First NATIONAL Adventure

This past weekend I attended my first National Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo! About 10,000 nutrition professionals attended. There were a dozens of people in the top of our field discussing new techniques, research, and participating in debates! Plus a HUGE expo was there with food companies giving away samples of new foods and recipes.

 I must say the experience has changed me, especially being at the opening ceremony. The crowd was huge and full of professionals I someday hope to be like. I felt humbled, exhilarated, confident, proud, anxious for the future...and yes a little smarter haha. It has definitely given me the motivation to keep fighting for my goals an not backing down, I'm hoping to keep up the momentum!
The president Dr. Ethan Berghman, Kathleen Niedert who received the Copher Award (the most prestigious award the Academy has), and insane-running-man Dean Karazes all spoke. I'll share just the best things I heard and learned:

(Paraphrasing Kathleens words of wisdom about 3 rules to live by.)
1. If you don't go after what you want you'll never get it.
2. If you don't ask- the answer will always be no.
3. If you don't step forward you'll always be in the same place.

The strange body of Dean Karazes
He's consumed 28,000 calories while running 200 miles in 48 hours...but still lost 4 pounds after burning 34,000 calories!
His run across America to visit schools in order to encourage kids to be active. A mantra became "No child left on his behind!"

"Live like you mean it."

Kids have to want to change, they need role models, education, and most importantly inspiration. The opening was just the very beginning of an amazing weekend!