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Worried about vitamin D deficiency?

Are you worried that you may have a vitamin D deficiency?  It’s proven 31 percent of people in the United States are at risk for a deficiency in at least one vitamin or mineral essential for good health. It may be hard to imagine that we don’t get enough nutrition when we see an abundance of food available 24/7, but it’s true. A recent study showed the top five nutrients many of us need more of.


Should you be concerned about being low in one or two vitamins or minerals? In a word, yes. That’s because vitamins and minerals are essential for optimal health. Being low may not cause immediate symptoms, but it puts you at risk for many serious diseases that can affect your brain, heart, blood, immune system, metabolism, bones, mental health, etc. Nutrients are key pieces your body needs to maintain all your systems in good working order. Missing just one or two pieces can throw off the delicate balance you need to be healthy and feel great. That’s because most nutrients don’t have just one vital role to play within the body, they play many, many vital roles.


How would you even know if you’re at risk for a nutrient deficiency? It’s not always obvious. Sometimes symptoms aren’t felt for a long time and sometimes they’re very vague and non-specific. For example, fatigue, irritability, aches and pains, decreased immune function, and heart palpitations can be signs of many things, including a nutrient deficiency. This article goes over the five most commonly deficient nutrients, some of the more obvious symptoms, and foods that are high in each so you can get enough.

Worried about Vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” is very important for your bones. It promotes the absorption of the mineral calcium. When your body has enough calcium, it can maintain normal bone mineralization and prevent problems in the muscles that lead to cramps and spasms. Getting enough Vitamin D and calcium can also help protect against osteoporosis. In addition to all of these bone and muscle impacts, Vitamin D helps to reduce inflammation and modulate both immune function and sugar metabolism.


With Vitamin D deficiency bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Vitamin D prevents these issues known as rickets (in children) and osteomalacia (in adults).


Your skin makes Vitamin D when it’s exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun and very few foods naturally contain it. There are a few foods that include D-rich nutrient which include fatty fish and fish liver oils (e.g., salmon, trout, cod liver oil). Other foods that naturally contain small amounts of Vitamin D include egg yolks, beef liver, and cheddar cheese. Some mushrooms can contain Vitamin D—particularly those exposed to UV light.


Most of the dietary Vitamin D that people in the US get is from fortified foods and beverages. These include some dairy products (mainly milk), certain plant milks (e.g., soy, almond, or oat milks), various breakfast cereals, and a few types of orange juice. Be sure to look at the nutrition labels to see if and how much Vitamin D is in each serving of the food or beverage.


Click the link here and set up your account so I can send you some of the top Vitamin D supplement options.


Up to one-third of people in the US are at risk for at least one nutrient deficiency. Most commonly, that deficient nutrient is Vitamin B6, but there are also many people deficient in vitamins B12, C, and D, as well as the mineral iron. Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients because everybody needs them on a regular basis for good health. Lacking in any one nutrient can have far-reaching consequences.


Eating a nutrient-rich diet with a variety of foods can help everyone achieve their health and nutrition goals.


To know if you’re at risk for a nutrient deficiency, consult a certified/credentialed/licensed/Master’s level, registered dietitian/nutritionist/nutrition professional who can review your foods and supplements. I can help. Here is my link to book a chat about making sure to meet your dietary needs.


If you’re feeling “off” or having symptoms that concern, you? Want inspiration on how to meet your health goals through a nutritious diet? Need a personalized list of recipes and a plan to help you enjoy eating well? Book an appointment with me to see if my product/program/service can help you.


Bird, J. K., Murphy, R. A., Ciappio, E. D., & McBurney, M. I. (2017). Risk of Deficiency in Multiple Concurrent Micronutrients in Children and Adults in the United States. Nutrients, 9(7), 655.


National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. (2020, February 28). Iron fact sheet for health professionals.


National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. (2020, February 4). Vitamin B6 fact sheet for health professionals.


National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. (2020, March 30). Vitamin B12 fact sheet for health professionals.


National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. (2020, February 27). Vitamin C fact sheet for health professionals.


National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. (2020, October 9). Vitamin D fact sheet for health professionals.


6 often overlooked steps toward a healthier weight


If you’re looking for professional weight loss advice beyond “eat less, move more” then you’re in for a treat. You and I both know that weight is just one of many, many measurements of health and whatever your measurement happens to be, it should not define you. I can tell you that I get a ton of questions on metabolism and weight loss/maintenance, so I want to share it with you in this month’s post.


This topic is near and dear to my heart because I have struggled with my weight since I was a child.  I felt like I had gotten mixed messages from my family and basically tried to teach myself about nutrition and weight loss, which is what lead me to getting into nutrition as my career.  So, I feel your pain and I am here to clear up any confusion on the matter.


When it comes to metabolism and nutrition for weight loss and maintenance, there are so many options to try. Not one single approach or diet helps everyone. Finding one that works for you can take some trial and error, and even when something does work, it may stall, and you may need to try new options.


Don’t worry. I have your back.


I’ve collected a bunch of my best tips and strategies, with several examples of each, so that you can try them out. I’d love to hear how these work for you.


Click here to learn all about metabolism and weight loss/maintenance.




Wondering do you have to exercise to lose weight? 



I recognize that weight is just one measure of overall health, but it is one that many of my clients are concerned with. If this describes you, then this article is for you. Overweight and obesity are so common today that two-thirds of adults and one-third of children experience these in the United States right now. That’s hundreds of millions of people, so please don’t feel alone. Overweight and obesity can increase the risk of many health problems like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Achieving a healthy weight, eating nutritious foods, and being physically active can help improve your health and reduce your risks.


But as you know, there is so much more to the old adage: eat less, move more.


Weight loss is very challenging for many reasons:


  • There is an abundance of food available around most of us 24/7
  • Eating isn’t just something we do for sustenance; it’s gratification, a social activity, and sometimes even a reward
  • Computers and cars, etc. have contributed to a much more sedentary lifestyle—we don’t all need to be physically active farmers to survive anymore
  • Reducing calories voluntarily is really, really hard; it’s a huge challenge to change habits
  • Many diets work in the short term, but fail later on because they’re simply unsustainable
  • After losing weight, maintaining weight loss is extremely difficult and this is particularly true for women after menopause.


Today, let’s go over some strategies to overcome the challenges of weight loss.

What is metabolism and how can I lose weight?

Your weight is based on several factors, some are controllable, and others are not. For example, your genetics, family history, and hormones can impact your weight, but there’s not too much you can do to significantly change those. On the other hand, how much and what you eat, the medications you’re taking, the amount of stress you’re under, and how much sleep and physical activity you get also contribute to weight and are a bit more controllable (albeit not completely controllable).


Here’s where metabolism fits with weight. There are so many things that your body does at rest: breathing, pumping blood, adjusting hormone levels, maintaining your body temperature, and growing and repairing cells. The amount of energy (calories) your body uses to perform these essential functions is called your “basal metabolic rate.” Overall, your basal metabolic rate (BMR), or metabolism, accounts for about two-thirds of the calories your body burns each day.


Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. During this complex process, calories in food and beverages are combined with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function,” according to the Mayo Clinic.


Your metabolism is influenced mostly by your body size and composition. This means that people who are bigger and/or have heavier bones and more muscle mass burn more calories at rest. Because men tend to be bigger and have more muscle, they naturally tend to have a higher metabolism than women. This also goes for younger people. Because bone and muscle mass naturally tend to decrease (and fat mass naturally tends to increase) with age, if you don’t take steps to maintain bone and muscle mass, your metabolism likely will decrease which results in increased weight.


Certain medical conditions can also affect your metabolism. For example, the hormonal conditions of Cushing’s syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), or hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) can slow your metabolism down. These conditions often come with a range of other symptoms beyond just weight gain. If you suspect that you have an underlying medical condition, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or healthcare professional about tests to confirm these diagnoses.


A slow metabolism may be one factor that influences your weight, but it’s not the only one. How your body processes what you eat or drink and how active you are also play roles in your weight. The process of digesting food burns calories. About 10 percent of the calories in carbohydrates and protein are used to digest them. Plus, the amount of physical activity you do also accounts for some of the calories you burn every day.


While some people may gain or lose weight easier than others, in general, the balance of your “energy equation” counts for your weight. That is, the amount of energy (calories) you take in minus the amount of energy (calories) you burn can determine whether you gain or lose weight.

Weight loss/maintenance strategies

Before you start a weight-loss program, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider. Many weight-loss products or programs can be harmful depending on your current state of health and goals. Be particularly wary of products or programs that promise quick, long-lasting, or effortless weight loss.


Your behaviors and habits have a huge influence on your weight, and you are empowered to adjust them as you see fit. It’s recommended that if you experience overweight or obesity and want to lose weight, try cutting 500 calories per day from what you eat. And, if you can add in some of these other strategies (including adding physical activity) you may be able to reach your weight-loss goals even faster.


Here are my top six strategies for weight loss/maintenance:


1 – Set specific, realistic, forgiving goals


  • Instead of a goal to “lose weight,” try smaller and more specific goals that you can attain.
  • Daily or weekly goals can be, for example, to cook a vegetable-rich meal on the weekend, decrease food cues (hiding cookies out of sight or disregarding food ads), or walk at least 30 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week.
  • Try to stick with a new habit for at least a week or two to start making it routine. Then when one habit becomes consistent, add another one.
  • Remember, it’s not uncommon to take 6 months to lose 5% of your body weight, so that may be a more realistic goal to aim for.


2 – Ditch the “diet” mentality and focus on making lasting improvements for sustainable health


  • Focus on improving your food choices for overall health, rather than “dieting” for weight loss.
  • Enjoy lots of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
  • Replace saturated and trans fats with healthier choices such as olive oil, nut butters, avocadoes.


3 – Try eating a different way and see what works for you


  • Ideally, each meal should take at least 20 minutes to eat, so eat slower. Enjoy your food more and listen for fullness cues that subtly signal when you’re getting satisfied and it’s time to stop eating.
  • Eat more mindfully by focusing on and enjoying what you’re eating while you’re eating it. Pay attention to your food’s smell, taste, and texture as you’re eating it.
  • Try putting your fork down or sipping water between bites and thoroughly chewing before swallowing.
  • If you have a habit of snacking in front of the TV or computer screen, try getting used to replacing that with a glass of water or unsweetened beverage instead.


4 – You don’t have to do exercise to be more physically active (but you can)


  • Boost your activity; move for at least 30 minutes per day (even three 10-minute sessions can help); more movement can bring greater benefits.
  • Aerobic activity (e.g., walking, bicycling, etc.) is the most efficient way to burn calories.
  • Weight training (e.g., using weights or pushing your body against gravity) builds your muscles which increases your metabolic rate; ideally, you’d include at least two weight training sessions per week.
  • Don’t forget you don’t have to do “exercise” to be physically active, you can take the stairs more often, park further away, walk a bit faster, or do housework or gardening—they all count toward your physical activity.
  • Fidgeting counts, too. Your non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), like shaking a leg, tapping a foot, or even twirling a pen, also burns some calories.
  • Remember that any physical activity is better for your health (and weight loss goals) than none.


5 – Reward your successes


  • According to the National Institutes of Health, “frequent small rewards, earned for meeting smaller goals, are more effective than bigger rewards that require a long, difficult effort.”
  • Each time you reach a goal, however small, reward your success with a non-food activity or item.
  • For example, you may want to buy yourself that book, movie, music, or game that you’ve wanted for a while. Or re-read, re-watch, or re-listen to an old favorite.
  • Perhaps you can put a small amount of money away to save up for a larger reward.
  • Rewards don’t have to be monetary. You can take some time for yourself like have a bath, do your nails, or enjoy a craft or hobby you love (or try a new one).
  • Maybe you’d prefer some time to watch comedy skits or funny animal videos online.


6 – Persevere


  • Losing weight is very hard and most people must keep trying before they find a way that works for them.
  • Every day is a new day. If you go off track, get back on track and try again.
  • Don’t give up. A study published in September 2020 found that trying to lose weight repeatedly (also known as “weight cycling”) can significantly reduce your risk of dying. According to the National Institutes of Health, “repeatedly losing and regaining weight was better than giving up after one or two attempts or, worse still, never trying to lose weight at all.”


If you need help with recipes, or meal plans click here to connect

Final thoughts

While weight is but one measure of health, it is a big concern for many people. Losing weight is not easy. Your metabolism is influenced by many different factors—some you can’t control (e.g., your genes) and others you can (e.g., what, and how you eat).


The fundamentals of weight loss include enjoying healthier, nutritious foods more often and being more physically active, but there are so many approaches that help you make this happen for you. The way you approach dieting and eating, the way you set your goals and reward yourself, and the way you persevere are all totally customizable so you can try and see what works for you.


For a nutritious approach to metabolism and your weight, consult a certified/credentialed/licensed/Master’s level, registered dietitian/nutritionist/nutrition professional who can work with your concerns and dietary restrictions. I can help. Here is my link to book a chat about making sure to meet your dietary needs


Is your metabolism causing issues? Need help to lose weight or maintain weight loss? Looking for ways to lose weight beyond “eat less, move more”? Book an appointment with me to see if my product/program/service can help you.


Harvard Health. (2018, May). Burning calories without exercise.


Harvard Health. (2018, July). Small tricks to help you shed pounds and keep them off. Retrieved from


Harvard Health. (2019, March 19). The lowdown on thyroid slowdown. Retrieved from


Harvard Health. (2019, November 20). Building simple habits for healthy weight loss. Retrieved from


Mayo Clinic Healthy Lifestyle. (2019, February 21). Is a slow metabolism the reason I’m overweight? Retrieved from


Mayo Clinic Healthy Lifestyle. (2019, February 21). Can I boost my metabolism to lose weight? Retrieved from


Mayo Clinic Healthy Lifestyle. (2020, November 10). Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories. Retrieved from


NIH Intramural Research Program. (2020, Dec 8). Attempting Weight Loss Linked to Reduced Risk of Death. Retrieved from


NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Healthy. (2017, September). Weight Control. Retrieved from


NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (n.d.). Aim for a healthy weight. Retrieved from


NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (n.d.). Guide to Behavior Change. Retrieved from



Leaky Gut




What does leaky gut mean?


Harvard Health calls it a “medical mystery” and “mysterious ailment.” It’s been linked to everything from gut troubles, autoimmune diseases, and even mental health concerns.


I’m talking about “leaky gut” or “intestinal permeability”—have you heard of it?


Many doctors and the established medical community may not recognize it, but there is growing research to suggest it is associated with many health conditions.


What exactly is “leaky gut?” Do you, have it? How does it happen? What can you do about it?

What is “leaky gut?”


Your gut (gastrointestinal system) is not just a 30-foot-long muscular tube (tract) that starts at your mouth and ends with you going to the bathroom. It’s, in fact, It’s a vast and complex system with many functions. It breaks down food into smaller digestible bits, keeps it moving through the gastrointestinal tract, and skillfully absorbs water and nutrients while keeping out harmful substances. More and more research show that these essential gut functions are interconnected throughout your body—to everything from your heart to your brain.


Your gastrointestinal tract is lined with millions of cells, all side-by-side in a single layer. In fact, this layer, if spread out flat, covers 400m2 of surface area! Those intestinal cells help the body to absorb what we need from foods and drinks, while keeping out what needs to stay out. It acts as a gatekeeper allowing in what your body uses and keeping out the rest which ends up as waste. This ability to selectively allow some things in our gut to be absorbed while keeping others out is only possible if the cells are working properly and physically joined together very tightly. The bonds that keep the cells tightly together are called “tight junctions.”


Leaky gut happens when the tight junctions aren’t so tight anymore. The cellular barrier is irritated and weakened, allowing tiny holes to appear. These perforations allow things that normally would stay out of the bloodstream get into the bloodstream. Things like food particles, waste products, and bacteria.


When these get into the bloodstream your immune system is triggered to start fighting them. Similarly, to how your immune system starts fighting the cold virus and causes inflammation. This immune reaction is normal and helps keep you healthy.

Do you have a leaky gut?


The symptoms of leaky gut are like those of other digestive conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and Crohn’s disease. Symptoms can include diarrhea, constipation, cramps, bloating, food sensitivities, or nutrient deficiencies.


But, because the food particles, toxins, and bacteria have been absorbed into the bloodstream which travels throughout your body, symptoms can appear anywhere. Studies show that leaky gut may feel like fatigue, headaches, confusion, difficulty concentrating, joint pain, or skin problems (e.g., acne, rashes, eczema). Leaky gut is also linked with diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, liver disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, and autoimmune diseases such as lupus and multiple sclerosis. There may even be links to anxiety and depression.


Many of these gut and non-gut symptoms and conditions are linked to chronic inflammation, but more research is needed to understand how they are connected.


Even if you have some of these symptoms, the fact is, it’s very difficult to diagnose a leaky gut, nor how leaky it is. This means that, while there are some biomarker tests, there isn’t a reliable diagnostic test available just yet. So, it’s difficult to say whether your symptoms are from leaky gut, or whether leaky gut is a symptom of another issue.

What causes leaky gut?


It’s not 100 percent clear what causes those bonds to loosen and result in tiny perforations in the gut barrier. In fact, we’re just starting to understand how the gut barrier functions and there is a lot of ongoing research.


Part of leaky gut may be due to the genes you inherit from your parents. It can also be from medications or gut infections. Leaky gut is also linked to eating a diet that is low in gut-friendly fiber (adults should aim for 25-30 g of fiber per day). It can also be from consuming too much added sugar and saturated fat. Leaky gut may even result from stress or an imbalance in the diversity and numbers of your friendly gut microbes.


Also, as you age your cells can get damaged more easily and heal slowly, including the cells that line your gut. This can leave you more susceptible to loosening of the gut barrier.

What can you do about leaky gut?


One way to approach a suspected leaky gut is to address inflammation and eat a more gut-friendly diet. This means reducing excessive alcohol and processed foods that tend to be high in fat and sugar or artificial sweeteners. It’s also a good idea to avoid foods that your allergic or sensitive to. For example, if you have diagnosed celiac disease, you want to be sure to stay away from gluten, as exposing your gut to it can cause a large inflammatory response.


Instead, enjoy more foods rich in gut-friendly and fiber which is a prebiotic, or food for your friendly gut microbes. These include


  • yogurt or kefir
  • fermented foods (e.g., kimchi, sauerkraut, and miso)
  • fruits and vegetables (e.g., berries, oranges, broccoli, carrots, and zucchini)
  • nuts and seeds (e.g., walnuts, cashews, and chia seeds)
  • Whole grains (e.g., oats, corn, and quinoa)


Pro Tip: If you’re going to proactively increase your fiber intake, do it over several days or weeks because sudden increases in fiber can cause gas, bloating, and other gut discomfort. If you have IBS, talk to your doctor, or me to see if certain fibers may worsen your condition and which are recommended.


Also, regular exercise can help your digestive system. This means taking even a 15- or 20-minute walk after you eat to help you digest your food. And don’t forget the importance of stress management, quality sleep, and not smoking.


If you plan on making changes to your diet and lifestyle, consider keeping a journal to help see if the changes are helping your symptoms.

Final thoughts


When it comes to guts, a few simple shifts toward a gut-friendly diet can help you.  Try these nutrition tips to help with leaky gut


A leaky gut is associated with gut and non-gut symptoms. It’s an inflammatory condition that has been linked to metabolic disorders, autoimmune conditions, and even mental health. There is no good diagnostic test currently to know for sure if you have it or not. And remember, this is still a rather new area of research, so more information emerges all the time.


In the meantime, if you have symptoms that suggest a gut, you can move toward a more gut-friendly diet. Try cutting down on alcohol, processed foods, and any that you may be allergic or sensitive to. Replace these foods and drinks with ones higher in gut-friendly probiotics and fiber. And remember that regular exercise, stress management, and quality sleep are great lifestyle strategies for your gut and the rest of your body.


If leaky gut or other inflammatory symptoms are bothering you, book an appointment with me to see if my program/service can help you.



Harvard Health. (2018). Putting a stop to leaky gut. Retrieved from


Harvard Health. (2018). Putting a stop to leaky gut: What can you do about this mysterious ailment? Retrieved from


Leech, B., Schloss, J. & Steel, J. (2019). Association between increased intestinal permeability and disease: A systematic review. Advances in Integrative Medicine. 6(1), 23-34.


Mayo Clinic. (2016). Food sensitivities may affect gut barrier function. Retrieved from


Medical News Today. (2019). What to know about leaky gut syndrome. Retrieved from


Medical News Today. (2019). What is the best diet for leaky gut syndrome? Retrieved from


Medscape. (2019). Is ‘Leaky Gut’ the Root of All Ills? Retrieved from


Mu, Q., Kirby, J., Reilly, C. M., & Luo, X. M. (2017). Leaky Gut As a Danger Signal for Autoimmune Diseases. Frontiers in immunology, 8, 598. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2017.00598


National Institutes of Health News in Health. (2017, May). Keeping Your Gut in Check. Retrieved from


Obrenovich M. (2018). Leaky Gut, Leaky Brain? Microorganisms, 6(4), 107. doi:10.3390/microorganisms6040107


US Department of Health and Human Services and US Department of Agriculture. (2015). Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, eighth edition. Appendix 7. Nutritional Goals for Age-Sex Groups Based on Dietary Reference Intakes and Dietary Guidelines Recommendations. Retrieved from


Inflammation and Anti Inflammatory Diet

You may have heard of “inflammation” and how good or bad it is. There are two types of inflammation, a “good” kind, and a “bad” kind.


What makes inflammation good or bad for your body is how long it stays around for. You see, inflammation is your body’s way of protecting and healing itself. This is a good thing! However, when it hangs around for weeks, months, or even years, this is where it becomes a problem. This type of inflammation (chronic inflammation) is linked with several diseases, including heart disease, cancer, depression, and Alzheimer’s.


There is some great news! By using dietary and lifestyle habits to target chronic inflammation, you can prevent or reduce your risk of these diseases, plus others. Let me give you the scoop because this is not only possible, but very doable. Sometimes making small healthy habit changes can make a big difference. Research shows that there are foods, diets, and other lifestyle factors that are linked with lower levels of inflammation and lower risks for a ton of diseases. I’m here to share those with you so you can start implementing these today.


My latest blog post is all about inflammation and the delicious and doable diet and lifestyle tips to help you reduce it. Click here for all the details and juicy recipes/meal plans.



Everything you need to know about Anti-inflammatory diet


You may remember having a cut, sprain, or a sore throat. The area feels painful and hot and looks red and swollen. These are telltale signs of inflammation. Inflammation is a natural and essential process that your body uses to defend itself from infections and heal injured cells and tissues.


Inflammation is sometimes compared to a fire. It produces specific biochemicals that can destroy invaders like bacteria and viruses, increase blood flow to areas that need it, and clean up debris. It can be a good thing. But sometimes it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.


Before we talk about the power that certain dietary and lifestyle habits can have on inflammation, let’s sort out the two different types of inflammation.

Types of inflammation (acute vs. chronic)

There are two kinds of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is short-lived. It’s like a flaming fire that produces the painful, red, hot, swollen symptoms described above. When inflammation is acute it’s usually at high levels in a small, localized area in response to an infection or damage to the body. It’s necessary for proper healing and injury repair.


When your cells detect an infection or damage, they send out warning signals to call over your immune system to help. Your immune system sends over many types of white blood cells to help fight off invading germs such as bacteria/viruses/pathogens and clean up damage so you can heal.


Symptoms of acute inflammation may need short-term treatment such as pain relievers or cold compresses. More serious symptoms like fever, severe pain, or shortness of breath may need medical attention. In general, acute inflammation goes away after the damage is healed, often within days or even hours. Acute inflammation is the “good” kind of inflammation because it does an essential job and then quiets itself down.


Chronic inflammation is different. It’s more of the slow-burning and smoldering type of fire. This type of inflammation can exist throughout your whole body at lower levels. This means that the symptoms aren’t localized to one area that needs it. Instead, they can appear gradually, and can last much longer—months or even years. This is the “bad” kind of inflammation.


Chronic inflammation is often invisible without immediate or serious symptoms, but over the long-term it’s been linked to many chronic diseases such as:

  • Acne, eczema, and psoriasis
  • Allergies and asthma
  • Autoimmune diseases (arthritis, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus)
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Gastrointestinal disorders (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis)
  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Lung diseases (emphysema)
  • Mental illnesses (anxiety, depression)
  • Metabolic diseases (type 2 diabetes)
  • Neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s)


How does chronic inflammation begin? It may start acutely—from an infection or injury—and then instead of shutting off, it becomes persistent. Chronic low-grade inflammation can also occur with exposure to chemicals (e.g., tobacco) or radiation, consuming an unhealthy diet or too much alcohol, not being very physically active, feeling stressed or socially isolated, and having excess weight.


Now that we see that inflammation underlies so many of our medical conditions, here’s what to do to put out those slow-burning, smoldering fires.

Nutrition and lifestyle tips for reducing chronic inflammation through anti-inflammatory diet

Studies show that reducing inflammation can reduce the risk of several of these conditions, including heart disease and cancer. There are medications used to help lower inflammation to treat some of these diseases such as corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and biologics. However, there are also several lifestyle changes—including a healthy diet—that can be very helpful to prevent and scale down inflammation to reduce its many damaging effects on the body.


“For chronic low-grade inflammation not caused by a defined illness, lifestyle changes are the mainstay of both prevention and treatment,” says Harvard Health. The good news is that anti-inflammatory foods help you stay healthy and reduce your risk of many diseases. In fact, it’s estimated that 60 percent of chronic diseases could be prevented with a healthy diet. Here’s how.


Enjoy an anti-inflammatory diet

  • Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains (brown rice, oats, bran), nuts (almonds), seeds, fish, poultry, legumes (beans, lentils), and healthy oils (olive oil)
  • Pay particular attention to foods high in antioxidant polyphenols, including colorful plants such as berries, cherries, plums, red grapes, avocados, onions, carrots, beets, turmeric, green tea, and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale
  • Omega-3 fats can help to reduce pain and clear up inflammation and are found in salmon, trout, mackerel, soy, walnuts, and flax
  • High fiber foods (whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes) encourage friendly gut microbes to help reduce inflammation
  • Avoid charring foods when cooking at high temperatures
  • Limit inflammatory foods such as red and processed meats (lunch meats, hot dogs, hamburgers), fried foods (fries), unhealthy fats (shortening, lard), sugary foods and drinks (sodas, candy, sports drinks), refined carbohydrates (white bread, cookies, pie), and ultra-processed foods (microwaveable dinners, dehydrated soups)


Be physically active

  • Regular exercise reduces inflammation over the long-term, so try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (brisk walking) per week; about 20-30 minutes per day
  • To this add two or more strength training sessions (using weights or resistance bands) each week


Get enough restful sleep

  • Disrupted sleep has recently been linked to increased inflammation and atherosclerosis (the buildup of plaque in the vessels that’s linked with heart disease), so aim for 7-9 hours of restful sleep every night to help the body heal and repair
  • Tips for better sleep: try to maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule every day, get exposure to natural daylight earlier in the day, avoid caffeine later in the day, cut out screens an hour before bedtime, and create a relaxing nighttime routine


Quit smoking and limit alcohol

  • Quitting smoking can help reduce inflammation and several other health concerns by reducing exposure to toxins that are directly linked to inflammation
  • Limit your alcohol intake to no more than one or two drinks per day


Manage your stress

  • Engage in relaxing stress-reducing activities such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or tai chi


Be social

  • New research suggests that feeling socially isolated is linked with higher levels of inflammation, so reach out to family and friends (or make new ones)


See your doctor or dentist

  • Get your cholesterol and blood lipids tested because high amounts of “bad” LDL cholesterol is linked to inflammation and negatively affects your vessels
  • You can request a blood test to measure levels of CRP (C-reactive protein) which is a marker of inflammation (this test is also used to check your risk of developing heart disease)
  • If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, this may be a sign of gum inflammation (gingivitis), so ramp up your oral hygiene and see your dentist


Chronic, long-term, low-level inflammation is linked with many health issues. The first approach to preventing and improving this is through food and lifestyle changes. Start by focusing on adding colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fish to your diet. Then layer in lifestyle upgrades like physical activity, restful sleep, and stress management.


These changes can be integrated into your day-to-day practices. First try adding one additional fruit or vegetable to your day. Then, several times a day at each snack or meal. For inspiration, try recipes from my Anti-inflammatory Meal Plan



If you’d like a plan designed to help you enjoy more of these anti-inflammatory foods, consult a certified/credentialed/licensed/Master’s level registered dietitian/nutritionist/nutrition professional who can provide personalized research-based nutrition advice for your health, lifestyle, and goals. I can help. Here is my link to book a chat about making sure to meet your dietary needs.


Want to learn how you can beat inflammation with simple and delicious foods? Need a plan and delicious recipes to get more antioxidants into your diet? Are you looking for ways to incorporate more anti-inflammatory foods into your day? Book an appointment with me to see if my program/service can help you.


Harvard Health. (2018, November 7). Foods that fight inflammation. Retrieved from


Harvard Magazine. (2019 May-June). Could inflammation be the cause of myriad chronic conditions? Retrieved from


Harvard Health. (2020, April). Understanding acute and chronic inflammation. Retrieved from


Harvard Health. (2020, May). Quick-start guide to an anti-inflammation diet. Retrieved from


Harvard Health. (2020, June). All about inflammation. Retrieved from


Mayo Clinic. (2017, November 21). C-reactive protein test. Retrieved from


Mayo Clinic. (2018, May 25). Home remedies: How a healthy diet can help manage pain. Retrieved from


Mayo Clinic. (2019, August 13). How to use food to help your body fight inflammation. Retrieved from


Medscape. (n.d.). Inflammation, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer. Retrieved from


National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. (2020, April 4). Inflammation. Retrieved from


Neuroscience News. (2020, March 5). Social isolation could cause physical inflammation. Retrieved from


University of California Berkeley News. (2020, June 4). Fitful nightly sleep linked to chronic inflammation, hardened arteries. Retrieved from


University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. (2018). The anti-inflammatory lifestyle. Retrieved from


Food intolerances and allergies

Everything you need to know about Food intolerance symptoms.

What’s the difference between food allergies and sensitivities?

Many clients come to me with symptoms of food allergies or sensitivities. They may already know that they react to certain foods. And sometimes we figure it out together. 

It’s important to know if you have an allergy or sensitivity because when you know, you can take steps to avoid the allergen. Avoidance is the number one strategy to prevent reactions from occurring in the first place. And this is what this week’s post is all about: food allergies and sensitivities.

Find out the difference between food allergies and sensitivities, the most common types of each, and my best advice to you on how to live your best life despite them. Click here to learn what you need to know about food allergies and sensitivities.

Food Intolerance and Allergies

Food allergies and sensitivities (or intolerances) are increasingly common. You’ve heard of nut-free schools and gluten-free foods, and yes, some people truly need to avoid even the tiniest traces of these foods. In fact, millions of Americans experience allergic reactions to foods every year. While most reactions are mild, some can be life-threatening and require emergency treatment or hospitalization.

Where do food allergies and sensitivities come from? How do we know whether our symptoms are from an allergy or sensitivity? What are the best ways to prevent, treat, and live with them? Keep reading to find all of the essential answers in this blog post.

Food allergies vs. sensitivities

Food allergies are simply an abnormal response to food that’s triggered by the immune system (the system that fights infections). It happens when the immune system mistakes a non-harmful food, like peanuts [tree nuts/shellfish/milk/soy/fish/eggs/wheat] for example, for a serious invader and overreacts to it. The immune system creates a specific type of compound called an IgE antibody that is responsible for most of the symptoms of true allergies. These IgE-mediated allergic reactions can be non-serious or serious and life-threatening. 

Allergies are often first noticed during childhood, but they can develop at any age and may last for a lifetime. Mild allergic reactions to a food may result in more serious symptoms the next time it is eaten. So, after your first reaction—even if it’s mild—it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider to see if you should go for allergy testing or carry emergency medication (more on this below).

It’s unclear exactly where food allergies come from. Research shows that they could partly be genetic (inherited in the genes you’re born with). Gut microbiota may also influence your chance of developing food allergies. New studies show that introducing young children to peanuts may reduce their chances of developing serious peanut allergies. (Speak with your healthcare provider before introducing your child to peanuts.)

Unfortunately, there is no cure for food allergies but reactions can be prevented. In an allergic reaction, the production of IgE antibodies is triggered by a protein in the offending food. Any food has the potential to cause an allergic response, however, there is a short list of foods that account for most reactions. These common food allergens must be declared on package labels, according to the FDA. Common food allergens include:

  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
  • Fish (e.g., cod, bass, flounder)
  • Shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp)
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Wheat
  • Soy

Many food sensitivities or intolerances are often mistaken for allergies. Food intolerances can cause many symptoms after eating offending foods but what differs is that these symptoms are not the result of the IgE antibodies. That’s what makes them a sensitivity and not an allergy.

Common food intolerances and allergies

There are several different types of food allergies and sensitivities. Here is a short list of the most common reactions.

Anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock 

This is usually a very fast, life-threatening reaction that can occur when exposed to specific foods, medications, or stinging insects (e.g., bees). Symptoms can include sneezing, coughing, itching, hives, swelling, blood pressure drop, abdominal pain, dizziness, tightness in the throat, and shortness of breath. The main treatment for an anaphylactic reaction is an epinephrine auto-injector and calling 9-1-1. Avoiding what caused your reaction is necessary to prevent future life-threatening reactions which may be even worse than the first one.

Oral allergy syndrome or Pollen-food allergy syndrome 

When symptoms such as rash, itching, sneezing, and swelling occur around the mouth, lips, and tongue, this is called oral allergy syndrome. Foods commonly associated with this syndrome include raw apples, bananas, cherries, kiwis, peaches, celery, tomatoes, potatoes, melons, and hazelnuts. This type of allergic reaction is not life-threatening and is common among those who are also allergic to grass and ragweed pollen (hence the name pollen-food allergy syndrome). Cooking the fruit or vegetable often reduces the symptoms because the heat breaks down the proteins responsible for this type of non-life-threatening reaction.

Eosinophilic Esophagitis 

Heartburn-like symptoms, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or difficulty swallowing after eating certain foods may be eosinophilic esophagitis associated with food allergies. If this happens, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider to see if you should get tested for allergies or need medications. Avoiding foods that cause this reaction is key.


Lactose Intolerance

Lactose is a sugar found in milk that can cause gas to build up in the gastrointestinal [digestive/GI] tract. This is not an allergy, but rather an inability to effectively digest it. Lactose is a two-part sugar molecule that needs the enzyme lactase to break it down. When someone does not have enough active lactase in their digestive [gastrointestinal/GI] tract, lactose remains intact and causes abdominal pain, nausea, excess gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

Celiac Disease or Gluten food Intolerances

Gluten is a protein found in many grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. While intolerance to gluten involves the immune system, it differs from allergies by the specific antibodies involved (allergies involve IgE antibodies, while gluten intolerance does not).

Living with food intolerances and allergies

The best way to deal with food allergies and sensitivities is to avoid those foods that cause reactions for you. Here are my best strategies to deal with them.

  1. Read your food labels carefully. To help you avoid foods that you react to, most pre-packaged foods must clearly identify if they contain any of the major food allergens (or contain the immune-triggering protein of the major food allergens). Look at the list of ingredients, “allergen free” claims, and also for statements like “may contain” or “produced in a facility that also uses.”
  2. Wash your hands, surfaces, dishes, and utensils well to prevent accidental cross-contamination between offending foods and other foods.
  3. If you’re eating out, confirm whether the meal is free from the food you’re allergic to before placing your order.
  4. Food allergens may also be added to certain medications and cosmetics, so check those labels or ask your pharmacist before purchasing.
  5. If you experience an anaphylactic reaction, the FDA says that “Persons with a known food allergy who begin experiencing symptoms while, or after, eating a food should initiate treatment immediately, and go to a nearby emergency room if symptoms progress.”
  6. If you have had a serious anaphylactic reaction, it’s important to carry an epinephrine auto-injector in case of accidental exposure. This is a lifesaving medication that can help maintain your blood pressure and restore your ability to breathe. You can ask your pharmacist whether a prescription from a medical doctor is needed. Be sure to learn how to use it properly and replace it as it reaches the expiry date.
  7. Anaphylaxis is a condition where you may consider wearing a medical alert bracelet or necklace.
  8. For lactose intolerance, all milk products do not need to be strictly avoided, provided they are consumed with the lactase enzyme (available as a dietary supplement) or have been pre-treated with the lactase enzyme (e.g., lactose-free milk). These ensure that the lactose has already been broken down for you and should not cause symptoms of intolerance.
  9. If you believe that you may have a food allergy or sensitivity, see your healthcare provided to discuss getting tested.

Conclusion on Food Intolerances

Food allergies and sensitivities are increasingly common. There are several different kinds, and most are not serious or life-threatening, however, they all cause unwelcome symptoms. As a general rule, avoiding the offending foods is highly recommended. This post contains several essential tips on how to live with food allergies and sensitivities.

If you believe you have a serious food allergy, it’s critical that you see your healthcare provider to determine if you need to carry emergency medication for future exposures. If you think you may be sensitive to certain foods I have several allergy-free recipes/meal plans to try.

For a customized plan designed to help you enjoy the meals you love minus the few foods that you may be allergic or sensitive to, consult a certified/credentialed/licenced/Master’s level registered dietitian/nutritionist/nutrition professional who can provide personalized research-based nutrition advice for your health, lifestyle, and goals.

Want to enjoy your favorite foods without allergens? Need a meal plan and simple/amazing allergen-free recipes? Looking for ways to enjoy an allergen-free lifestyle? Book an appointment with me to see if my product/program/service can help you.

Book Now


Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Lactose intolerance. Retrieved from

MedlinePlus. (2020, September 28). Anaphylaxis. Retrieved from

MedlinePlus. (2020, September 28). Food allergy. Retrieved from

Medscape. (2020, February 5). Food Allergies. Retrieved from

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2018, October 26). Identifying Causes of Food Allergy & Assessing Strategies for Prevention. Retrieved from

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2019, September 11). Treatment for Living With Food Allergy. Retrieved from

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2018, October 25). Characterizing Food Allergy & Addressing Related Disorders. Retrieved from

NIH News in Health. (2017, March). Understanding Food Allergies. Retrieved from

United States Food and Drug Administration. (2018, September 26). What You Need to Know about Food Allergies. Retrieved from



Inflammation in the body, types, causes, and treatment

Inflammation, a natural process, is a part of a defense mechanism that heals your body and fights against things that harm it. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about inflammation, including its types, causes, and treatment. So let’s get straight into it.

Definition of inflammation

Inflammation is a body’s immune system’s response to an irritant. It is a body’s way to protect itself from illness, infection, and injury. When foreign invaders or germs attack your cells and damage it, your body releases chemicals that trigger a response from your immune system. This response may include the increased blood flow to the affected part and the release of proteins and antibodies.

So when the foreign invader attacks the body, it launches the biological response to try to remove it. It also serves as a system initiating the eradication of agents and damaged tissues.

Types of inflammation

Acute Inflammation (short-lived): Acute inflammation is also known as a short-lived inflammation that can disappear quickly. It often resolves in a few hours, days, or maximum in a week. Acute inflammation often causes signs such as redness, swelling, heat, or pain. But mind you, these signs are not always present. Sometimes inflammation is silent, and a person may also feel tiredness or fever without having any symptoms.

Chronic Inflammation (long-lasting): Chronic Inflammation occurred inside the body without any prior-noticeable symptoms. It can also happen when there is no injury and last for several months or years. Chronic inflammation signs are usually subtler. These symptoms include rashes, fatigue, mouth sores, chest pain, abdominal pain, or fever. These symptoms can range from mild to severe. It can also happen when people are obese or under stress
This type of inflammation may result in autoimmune disorders & prolonged stress. It can also lead to heart disease, asthma, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.


The common signs of Inflammation.

Loss of function

Sign of long-term Inflammation

Here are the signs that medical practitioners often associate with long-term or chronic inflammation.

Constant Fatigue
Body pain
Mood disorder
Frequent infection
Gastrointestinal issues
Weight gain
Weight loss and anemia

Causes of inflammation

When a physical factor triggers an immune reaction, Inflammation happens. Inflammation does not necessarily mean that there is an infection, but infection can cause inflammation.
Bacteria and infectious agents are the most common stimuli of inflammation. It is considered that viruses raise the inflammation by getting into the body and destroying the cells whereas, the bacteria release a particular substance “endotoxins” that can initiate inflammation.

Several other things can cause inflammation, include:

Pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and fungi
Exposure to an irritant or foreign materials your body can’t eliminate easily
The immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues
Lack of nutrients or oxygen tissues required
Loss of blood flow to the area
Effects of radiation or chemical
Untreated infection or injury
Certain medication

Food Ingredients that may trigger more inflammation in your body

It may hard to resist chocolate bars, pastries, cakes, and other desserts. However, scientists have hypothesized that consuming a high amount of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup can be quite harmful that may lead to obesity and diabetes. Studies have also shown that a high intake of refined carbs, such as white bread, can also contribute to inflammation, obesity, and insulin resistance.
Excessive intake of alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and stress are other possible culprits. Furthermore, processed foods, frozen breakfast products, fast foods, and other fried products that contain trans fats are known to trigger systemic inflammation. Experts also believe that an inactive lifestyle that includes a lot of sitting and an unhealthy diet may also contribute to inflammation.

Is inflammation good or bad?

Inflammation may play a vital role in healing the body, localizing and eliminating harmful factors, and removing damaged tissues, but having long term inflammation may increase the risk of various diseases and makes your body vulnerable against bacterial and germs attack resulting in a weak immune system. As the immune system doesn’t work up to the mark, in this case, an inappropriate immune response may give rise to a damaging and prolonged inflammatory response. It leads to the development of several severe diseases, including cancer, arthritis, periodontitis, and rheumatoid.

How are inflammatory Diseases diagnosed?

There is no single test that can diagnose inflammatory disease. While visiting a doctor based on symptoms, your doctor may require your medical history to start examining along with bloodwork.

How to reduce inflammation

The things you eat and drink can also play a role in Inflammation. You can reduce its level by just changing your diet. By avoiding sugar, processed foods, excessive oil, and fats, you can put yourself on track to heal.
There are foods that are proven to be useful in fighting-inflammation. Anti-inflammatory foods include:

Green tea
Leafy green vegetables
Fruits (oranges, berries, and cherries)
Fatty fish (mackerel, tuna, and salmon)
Spices (turmeric, clove, and ginger)

You can further help reduce-inflammation by taking supplements and choosing a balanced diet.

It’s easier to start when you have a set diet plan in front of you. People often get confused about what menu they should take and how much they should eat to keep things balanced.
If you also are not sure what to eat in Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, nothing could be better than consulting a dietitian nutritionist. Cheryl is a registered dietitian nutritionist and will help you to prepare an anti-inflammatory diet by listing out and incorporating foods with beneficial effects at every meal.
So what are you waiting for? To get a Perfect and detailed diet plan to get things started, BOOK A SESSION with her now.


Foods to Stock Up on During COVID19

You may be finding it challenging lately to purchase the right mix of healthy foods during this pandemic. I wanted to put together a list of food sources you can stock up on that are healthy and easy to incorporate into any meal plan without being perishable:

  • Canned Beans – lentils, great northern, chickpea, black beans – try to use low sodium versions and rinse with water
  • Brown Rice
  • Quinoa
  • WG pasta or chickpea pasta like Banza
  • Egg noodles
  • Oatmeal
  • Peanut butter or any nut butter
  • Any nuts such as – Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachio, Pecans, Cashews
  • Soups- low sodium versions
  • Stocks – Chicken, vegetable, beef
  • Maple syrup, Honey, Agave
  • Olive oil, avocado oil or canola oil
  • Canned fish – Tuna, Salmon, Sardines
  • Canned green beans, spinach, etc- try to use low sodium versions and rinse with water
  • Salsa
  • Dried fruits – make sure they are unsweetened and sulfur dioxide-free
  • Granola

*Tip – remember you can combine brown rice with any bean to get a complete combination of proteins!

Let’s not forget that frozen foods are a great option for fresh produce as well…

  • Frozen berries or any fruits
  • Frozen vegetables – any mixture is good – Broccoli, spinach, green beans, asparagus, riced cauliflower, carrots, etc.
  • Frozen long grain rice
  • Frozen meats – Turkey burgers – I love the ones from Trader Joes!



Immune Boosting Nutrient Needs During COVID19

Focusing on the immune system and proper nutrition, diet plays a vital role in building/maintaining a balanced immune system. A wide variety of foods, especially fruits and vegetables, can have an impact on your immune system’s resiliency against infections. Make sure to include a mix of fruits and vegetables into your meal plan daily!

Single micronutrients can have many diverse effects on the body, but an excessive intake of some nutrients can also be associated with an impaired immune response. That’s why it’s important to obtain nutrients through the diet first and possibly look to supplementation to fill in the gaps where needed.

Nutrients – Vitamin C, E for immune support:
*Vitamins C and E help to protect cell membranes from damage caused by free radicals created during metabolism, toxin exposure, and pollutants.
Food sources of vitamin C include:
● Bell peppers (all colors)
● Citrus fruits (orange, lemons, limes, grapefruit)
● Tropical fruits​ ​(kiwi, pineapple, guava, mango, etc.)
● Berries (strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, etc.)
● Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and leafy greens (e.g. kale, spinach)
● Cherries are a high form of whole food vitamin C

Foods sources of vitamin E include:
Sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, avocados, squash, kiwifruit, trout, shrimp, olive oil, wheat germ oil, and broccoli.

Immune Nutrients Vitamin A, Zinc, B6, B12, and B9.
*Vitamin A, Zinc are important for the structural integrity of skin and mucosal cells.
*Vitamins A, B6, and B12 and folate (B9) are essential for
the composition of intestinal microbiota.

Food sources of Vitamin A include sweet potatoes, carrots, fish (tuna), winter squashes, dark leafy greens, cantaloupe, lettuce, bell peppers, broccoli, and grapefruit.

Food sources of Zinc include:
● Seafood (crab, lobster oysters, etc.)
● Grass-fed beef
● Organic chicken (dark meat)
● Raw pumpkin seeds
● Yogurt
● Raw cashews
● Chickpeas

Food sources of vitamin B6, B9 & B12 include:
Green beans, whole grains, spinach, fish, bananas( B6)
Green leafy vegetables, citrus juice, legumes, tofu, tomato juice ( B9)
Milk, fish, fortified breakfast cereal, eggs, shellfish ( B12)

Immune-boosting nutrients Vitamin D3 (Calcitriol)- the active form of vitamin D helps to protect the lungs from infection by stimulating antimicrobial peptides in epithelial cells (i.e. cells lining the
respiratory tract), stimulate tight junction in the gastrointestinal tract.

Excellent sources of vitamin D include:
● wild-caught fish such as salmon
● fatty fish
● pastured eggs
● beef liver
● cod liver oil
● mushrooms


Meal Preparation During COVID 19 – Getting Your Plant Based Foods In!

I don’t know about you guys but has mealtime been a challenge during the pandemic on ensuring you are getting all of your fruits and vegetables in? 

It has been for me since I am not able to get all my fresh fruits and vegetables due to the availability via online grocery shopping. I now purchase mostly frozen fruits and frozen vegetables to ensure I get my daily quota of plants based foods.  Below are some ideas on how to incorporate more plant-based foods during the pandemic based on the availability of fresh produce.  


Tip 1 – I encourage you to buy frozen fruits of all kinds such as all berries, cherries, mango, pineapples, etc and then purchase frozen riced cauliflower, frozen spinach, broccoli, peas, carrots, etc.  
Tip 2 – For breakfast, I used to make an omelet with many fresh vegetables in it like spinach, broccoli, kale, and onions along with w/ a side fresh berries but due to the situation, I have had to make other foods such as smoothies to get my fruits & vegetables in.  For my smoothie, I use any shelf-stable nut milk, frozen riced cauliflower (as its color and tasteless), along with any frozen fruits I am in the mood for and some gluten-free oats to help amp up the fiber content.   
Tip 3 – I have been utilizing more shelf-stable foods which have led to buying items like canned beans, canned vegetable soup, instant brown rice, quinoa, peanut butter, oatmeal, unsweetened nut milk (shelf-stable or canned), nuts and bananas.  Ideas on how to incorporate these foods below:
  • Canned beans, such as great northern with some instant brown rice served with some cooked frozen broccoli
  • Canned vegetable soup with adding in some frozen spinach and quinoa until its cooked.
  • Overnight oats by mixing GF oatmeal, unsweetened almond milk & peanut butter altogether and put into the fridge overnight.  Take out in the morning and top with cinnamon, bananas, thawed berries, and nuts of choice.  

Nutrition as we age

Nutrition as we age

Eating to fuel our bodies is especially important as we age as it can affect how we feel but also help us to maintain healthy body weight and condition our bodies to fight off infection and reduce the risk of developing diseases.

As we age our muscle mass naturally decreases with age, which causes the metabolism to slow down. This means that you don’t need as many calories to sustain your lifestyle.  Therefore, it’s important to personalize your caloric and nutritional needs based on if you need to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Specific nutrients needed for our bodies to keep us healthy through the aging process include potassium, magnesium, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and dietary fiber.

Foods important to eat to support healthy bones as you age and protect against developing osteoporosis, and bone fractures it’s important to eat foods rich in vitamin D and calcium.

Vitamin D – food sources include fortified milk and milk products, fatty fish such as salmon and tuna and fortified cereals.

Calcium – food sources include milk and other dairy products, some forms of tofu, dark-green leafy vegetables, soybeans, canned sardines and salmon with bones, and calcium-fortified foods.

Foods important to eat to support healthy skin as you age are foods that are rich in antioxidants called anthocyanin.  Also, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and omega 3 fatty acids are needed as well.

Antioxidants rich foods do well when combined with vitamin C foods for collagen production.

Vitamin C – Blueberries, Spinach, Tomatoes, Red bell peppers, pomegranates

Vitamin A – Sweet potatoes, broccoli

Omega 3 fatty acids – Fatty fish – salmon & sardines, walnuts

Vitamin E – Fatty Fish, avocados


Foods important to eat to protect heart health as you age, which will reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, hypertension, and heart disease can be done by eating foods that protect your body from developing these diseases with the promotion of consuming more plant-based foods.

A diet utilizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, plant-based protein, lean animal protein, and fish are good sources of nutrients from vitamin A, vitamin C and unsaturated fats which can help to lower bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Some examples of heart-healthy foods are: Oatmeal, legumes, salmon, nuts and seeds, strawberries, grapes, spinach, legumes, berries, olive oil, avocados


Other important foods to eat to support healthy aging are:

Protein – It’s important to add protein to our diet as we age because our muscle mass naturally decreases, and you want to prevent muscle wasting.  Specific foods that are good sources of protein can be found in meats, eggs, dairy products, legumes, tofu, and tempeh.

Vitamin B12 – Some people over the age of 50 have trouble absorbing the vitamin B12 found naturally in foods. Therefore, you may need to take vitamin B12 supplements and or eat foods fortified with this vitamin. Foods to focus on are meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy such as milk, and fortified breakfast cereals. If you are eating non-animal-based foods incorporating nutritional yeast and certain fortified non-dairy kinds of milk will be good.

Potassium – Potassium is a mineral that helps muscles contract, regulate fluid and mineral balance in body cells, and helps to maintain normal blood pressure by limiting the effect of sodium and bone loss as we age.  Many different fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy foods contain potassium. Foods high in potassium include bananas, dried apricots, lentils, and potatoes.

Magnesium – Magnesium keeps your immune system, heart and bones/bone density strong.  It’s a mineral generally found in foods containing dietary fiber, such as green leafy vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts and seeds. Breakfast cereals and other fortified foods often have added magnesium. Magnesium is also in tap, mineral or bottled drinking water.

Probiotics – can help with keeping you regular and strengthen the immune system.  Food sources you can get them from are fermented foods like yogurt or sauerkraut.  You can take supplements if fermented foods are not your thing.

Fiber – helps protect against strokes, helps you stay regular with bowel movements, and lowers your cholesterol and blood sugar levels.  Consuming foods such as fruits and vegetables will help you meet your daily fiber needs.

The importance of drinking water and staying hydrated as we age…

Staying hydrated helps to maintain every system in our body to work from cells functioning, to our body’s ability to fight off infection and prevent dehydration.

Also, as we age dehydration can occur as the kidneys become less able to hold water. Individuals’ water intake varies based on one’s physical activity and exposure to heat.  If it’s warmer outside, there is an increased risk of dehydration, especially in older adults. It is good to consume ~9 cups of water a day

Lastly, general tips for a healthy, balanced diet as you age…

Promoting a more plant-based diet, along with including whole grains, lean protein is key to helping with the aging process no matter if your 40, 50 or 60+ years old.

Its recommended that incorporating more whole foods into your diet while reducing the number of processed foods consumed from our diets.  I also like to promote individuals to include more plant-based meals by making half your plate full of fruits & vegetables and whole grains.  The key to good health is consuming a variety of foods to ensure we get a wide array of nutrient-dense foods that are high in nutritionally.