Monday, December 11, 2017

Don’t believe the “whole grain”, high fiber cereal hype

As an R.D., there are certain words on repeat in my office: carbs, protein, fat, greens, probiotics. Another one on this list is fiber, we field a ton of fiber and grain-related questions, especially with the rise in regimes like paleo and keto. Most of us in the nutrition field can agree fiber is a good thing. Fiber is beneficial for your heart and blood sugar,  it’s also important for satiety and weight management. But lumping all sources of fiber together is akin, using fats as an example, to comparing hydrogenated oils to an avocado. All fiber is not created equal and you can’t look at the “fiber grams” on a label to determine if something is worth eating. Quality counts with any type of food.

“Whole Grain” BS
Let’s start with “whole grain” products.  Just the term “whole grain” gives me flashbacks to the food pyramid and the 1990’s. Most of what’s deemed whole grain on food labels (there’s actually a seal and “standards”) isn’t so whole. 

When I think of whole grains, I think of something like this. 
You know, grains in their natural form.
But to earn that snazzy seal, you don’t necessarily have to have whole, as in intact, grains. You see grains contain three parts- the bran, the endosperm and the germ. Products with the seal just need to contain these three parts. You can process, mangle and take the grain apart, but if you have the bran, germ and endosperm it’s whole? If I take off the tires and remove the engine, is it still a car? Well not one that works…
In a Scientific American article “whole grain foods aren’t always healthful”, I came across the following information:
Harvard researchers compared the nutrient composition of 545 grain products and found that those labeled with the “Whole Grain” stamp, an industry-sponsored label for foods containing at least eight grams of whole grains per serving, contained more calories and sugar than those without the stamp. They're also more expensive. 

Fiber 1? Not for this one.
Most mass-produced cereals are heavily processed and the high fiber options are no exception.
Take a look at the Fiber 1 label (above).
We’ve discussed the grains but Sucralose (Splenda), caramel coloring? You cannot eat this and call yourself a healthy person. What’s the expression you can judge a person by the company they keep? (googled and it’s “man is known by the company he keeps” I had the right idea). It’s 2017, we know better than artificial sweeteners and carcinogenic coloring. This is as natural as a nose job. Go to the produce section and grab a container of (organic) berries instead.

Is eating wheat bad?
I’ll share a personal story here. After giving birth to my first son, I started having allergic reactions (eyes swelling shut, skin rashes etc.). I did an elimination diet and determined wheat was the cause. I have been wheat free ever since. This past summer, my integrative doctor suggested “you do know the glyphosate the wheat is sprayed with is probably partially to blame.” I was on PubMed before leaving her office. Glyphosate (herbicide AKA as roundup) use was limited in the 70s when it was introduced. In the last two decades, its use has skyrocketed. It’s interesting that I don’t have symptoms from gluten when I travel abroad… Now, I am a sample size of one, not everyone will react in this way. But, since we have no biological requirement for grains. I’ll leave you with this.
 Common wheat harvest protocol in the United States is to drench the wheat fields with Roundup several days before the combine harvesters work through the fields.”
Via healthy home economist.
For all you All Bran, wheat bran, believers, the bran is on the outside of the grain (getting drenched) yum. Additionallyand this is probably too large a topic for today, grains contains "anti-nutrients" (phytates and lectins). These, over time,  adversely affect both your gut health and appetite regulation. Specifically, leptin the "you've had enough" hormone. Our modern wheat and the type of gluten is also vastly different from ancient grains. The more I've learned about wheat and gluten, the stronger my stance and recommendations have become. 

So how should I get my fiber?
If you're freaking out, wondering how to get your fiber without whole grain bread and fiber cereal? I did some math with my breakfast smoothie. At Foodtrainers, we’re not big on nutrition calculations. If you’re eating whole foods, you don’t need to weigh, measure and count (phew). Anyway, between berries, chia seeds and pea protein I was at 20 grams, with a salad lunch and family dinner I’d have more than enough fiber, as expected. I know this is a shift if you've been on the bran bandwagon. Not to worry, now you know there are better choices. Get your fiber from fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds. And if you’re worried about “going”  fiber from whole, unpackaged food, adequate hydration and good fats and you’ll be fine. If you’re still fat phobic, eating nonfat, skim everything? I’ll cover that another day.
Do you eat any “fiber” products? Or, what to do rely on to help you go?

Monday, December 4, 2017

I’m so happy I was pregnant and had young children before Instagram

A close friend of mine is a psychiatrist (I’ll refer to her as M.D.) but she’s too professional to ever discuss her sessions. I do wonder if she’s encountering anything like:

M.D: Take me back to where this all started
Patient: Well, l I was in the womb.
M.D. And you have memories from this time?
Patient: I don't need memories, it's all on my mother's Instagram. 
M.D. Tell me more…
Patient: My mother documented her pregnancy, with me on social media. The legs over head to conceive, the WHOLE pregnancy, my bris (close up). It's all there for everyone to see.
M.D. So, she posted those “15 weeks, 16 weeks updates?
Patient: No, it is even more embarrassing than that. She counted hourly- it was “360th hour, 361st and so on.
M.D. And what is your first actual first memory?
Patient: It was my birthday, I was turning 3.
M.D. And you had a party or received a present?
Patient: Yes, there was a party and a beautiful, birthday cake. Guests sang happy birthday, I blew out the candles and there was clapping but my mom wasn’t happy, I didn’t know it, at the time but she didn’t like the photo. So, we did it again, not the whole party but the candle, the singing, the clapping. All I wanted was to taste my cake but we had to get the right photo.”

It’s cringe worthy for me, and it could just be me or that I’m at another stage, but the details and minutia of a pregnancy, then baby stages and then perfectly posed toddlers, I can’t. And I actually can’t. a) I don’t like to post too many photos of my kids as I don’t think people really want to see them and b) my kids would object, they’re of age now to do so. Are they kids or are they photo props? Correct me, if I'm wrong, but do any of you enjoy endless photos of pregnant friends or their children? Granted, most of my photos are of food. And I am guilty of postponing meals to document a photogenic salad or smoothie. And I have friends who roll their eyes at the meal pics. To each their own…. I guess.

Monday, November 20, 2017

I’m the opposite of Shonda Rimes.

 I read Shonda Rimes’ The Year of Yes when it first came out. It made the bookshelf cut, reserved for books that moved me (I say YES to purging, whenever possible). As much as I related to it at the time, I must’ve forgotten the key messages. When Carolyn suggested Oprah’s podcast with Shonda,  I gave it a listen. Shonda’s book and transformation were inspired by her sister calling her out. Her sister pointed out the number of invitations Shonda turned down. In the interview, Shonda explained that she turned down many of these due to anxiety or fear.
This is a pattern I recognize in myself. I’ll give you a recent example. I was to do a live segment on one of the big morning shows today. The timing was far from ideal as I was in Maryland for the weekend. Both boys had soccer tournaments and so our return time last night was uncertain. I secured hair and makeup magicians for this morning. 
Thursday, I had alerted the show’s producer I’d be out of town for the weekend and not at a computer. I got her the necessary information prior to getting in the car at 7am Friday. On the way down to Bethesda, I received a few frantic emails from her. I answered the best I could from my phone. I was pissed to be putting out fires for her when I wanted to be focused on the kids. I told her I’d be back at my computer late afternoon. Dissatisfied, she called my office. Grace explained my situation, reminded her I had told her I’d be unreachable. Instead of understanding, she took her frustrations out and yelled at Grace.
I told the producer this crossed the line. I am territorial when it comes to anyone close to me.
This was supposed to be a lighthearted Thanksgiving segment; I’m a nutritionist not a neurosurgeon! And I backed out. As soon as I did this, I had two feelings. First, I was relieved. I no longer had my head back in NYC. I could focus on passes and goals and my two soccer players. This was legit. But a part of me didn’t want the pressure of showing up first thing Monday morning, for a segment that wasn’t 100 percent in my wheelhouse. I could make a case this was the correct decision, as a mother. But I know myself and can try to weasel out of certain opportunities.

I’m sharing this to call myself out. Perhaps you have similar situation avoidance. Or, maybe this goes back to another of Shonda’s observations. You can’t have it all. If you are getting an A in mothering, you’re likely passing up something elsewhere. Shonda, you’re so smart. So that’s that, I promise to fill you in on the Thanksgiving nutrition specifics later in the week. Oh, one last point the producer above the scattered producer called to apologize. She was lovely and said this wasn’t a reflection on the network or Megyn J