Posts

pic-jointer-1

 

Yesterday I completed my first week of the Heart Healthy diet, which also means I’m off the meal plan today (yay!). Overall, I’m not finding this way of eating too difficult, though the meal plan certainly could have added more sodium-free and low saturated fat flavoring methods to certain dishes to reduce their blah factor (here’s lookin’ at you, plain cooked pearled barley). For the most part, this is the way I typically eat, though I am a big salt lover. There have been a couple of notable differences:

I’ve definitely upped my fish intake, which is a great healthful change. My fiber intake has also increased,  and my digestive system took note, veered off of the approved course, made adjustments, and returned to the regularly scheduled program. Fear not – we are back on track.

 



 

I’m looking forward to doing Heart Healthy on my own for the next two weeks and experimenting with sodium-free ways to flavor things. Check out the table below to see how my last week went.

 

  Heart Healthy Goal Week #1 Week #2 Week #3
# of days nutrition recommendations met 7 6    
Average calorie intake <2000 1831    
Average sodium intake <2400 mg 2064 mg    
Average saturated fat intake <12 g 10.2 g    
Weight change   -1 lb    
Blood pressure change   -5/-6 mmHg    
Waist change   -.75″    
Grocery Budget Change   +75%  

 

Now on to the next week! Check out this tiny pile of groceries to go with all my meal plan leftovers!

 

img_0665

 



Heart Healthy

Alright, here goes a new post (some might call it a rant) about my feelings on meal plans. I gotta tell ya, I love to hate ’em. Making them, selecting them, and most of all, following them. They are stinky, like fish. That will make more sense in a few paragraphs. Promise.

Why are they stinky, you ask? Well I would be more than happy to tell you.

The food we eat is connected to everything in our lives. Everything. Your budget, your spouse (or lack of spouse), your kids (and their preferences, allergies, and appetites), your schedule, your culture, and your mood all play in to the food you choose to eat. That being said, someone would have to thoroughly understand all of those things about you in order to select foods that are good options for a meal plan for you. Now, how many meal plan makers know you that well?

Take the meal plan I’m currently on, for example. The meal plan ingredients increased my grocery budget by 75%! Typically I use dinner leftovers for lunches, but this meal plan uses NO leftovers for ANYTHING. You know what that gets you (besides an expensive grocery trip)? A fridge full of leftovers waiting to go bad. It also leaves you cooking two meals every night – dinner and tomorrow’s lunch. Not sustainable, functional, or enjoyable.

 



 

My final gripe about following meal plans made by others? Sometimes I just don’t like the food. Like, for example, coleslaw. I’m not a huge fan, but it’s on the meal plan, because the person who made it didn’t know me and my lack of appreciation for coleslaw. So here I am, either eating coleslaw or feeling as though I somehow “failed” my meal plan because I didn’t like it.

And you know what else (yes, I lied about the final gripe part)? As a dietitian, my goal is to empower my patients to live a healthy life they love. Now even if I gave them the perfect meal plan that worked great for their lifestyle, are they empowered? What will they do when the week-long meal plan is over? Will they just eat the same food week after week forever?

Of course not.

Remember the old saying, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and feed him for the rest of his life”? Well, a meal plan is a fish.

 



 

I can give someone a meal plan fish and they can meet their nutritional goals for a week (if they can manage to stick with a meal plan someone else made), or I can teach someone how to plan for themselves and meet their health and quality of life goals. Truly, they are the only ones who know themselves well enough to do it. It’s not easy and it’s awkward at first, but once they get the hang of it they are empowered. They can eat for life – on a budget and with foods they love! And that is why I love what I do!

And why I hate stinky meal plan fish. End rant.

 



Archives Wellness Tips

Want a hint? It doesn’t look like this:

pic-jointer

Okay, here comes my first video! Editing is bad and trying to find a better video editor put me a day late (and still didn’t fix it), but I’ll get better!

Want to learn more about carbohydrates? Check out my post here.

Need some ideas of foods high in protein? Here ya go!

 

 

Healthful Protein Foods

Beans/Peas

Nuts/Seeds (includes peanut butter/almond butter/etc)

Skinless chicken and lean turkey

Lean cuts of beef and pork (look for loin, leg, and round in the name)

Low-fat dairy products

Plant-based protein products like tofu, tempeh, seitan, etc.

 



Heart Healthy

I made them with whole wheat sandwich rolls – they were delicious!

 

 

Recipe feature time! By far my husband’s favorite recipe from the Heart Healthy meal plan so far, these tasty sandwiches hail from a recipe from Eating Well. My husband said even other firefighters at work were enviously ogling this veggie-laden sammich.

The sandwiches are pretty high in sodium (likely one reason they are so delectable), so I was a little surprised to see them on the Heart Healthy meal plan, though the plan did keep me low enough for the rest of the day to keep me under my daily sodium recommendation of 2400 mg per day.

Heart-Healthy Tip: Use half the fish sauce and replace it with apple cider vinegar in the marinade to cut the sodium by 353 mg per serving.

The meat is flavorful and tender, the veggies are crisp and zesty. Give ’em a try – the full recipe is here!

One sandwich has 373 calories, 9 g fat, 8 g fiber, 858 mg sodium (505 mg with the heart-healthy modification), and 2 g saturated fat.

 



Heart Healthy

I know you are all just absolutely dying to know how I’ve been eating (note the heavy sarcasm font), so I thought I’d grace you with some sneak peeks of my heart healthy meals/snacks and the list of recommendations I’ll be following for the next 3 weeks.

 

image

 

Two days in to my Heart Healthy meal plan, my meals have been mostly enjoyable. My least favorites have been breakfast – too boring, too carby, and too lacking in protein. I’m starving by lunch, even with my morning snack. I have discovered two delicious recipes pictured above (Vietnamese Steak Sandwich, top left, and Warm Quinoa Salad with Edamame, bottom right)!

 

 

You can find the full page of recommendations from the American Heart Association here, but the quick gist is paraphrased below:

  • Use up at least as many calories as you take in (I’m aiming to hit the activity recommendations of 150 minutes of physical activity per week).
  • Eat a variety of foods from all the food groups.
  • Eat fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables and fruits without added sauces, salt, or sugars.
  • Choose fiber-rich whole grains for most grain servings.
  • Eat a variety of fish at least twice a week.
  • Eat poultry and fish without the skin. If you eat meat, choose the leanest cuts and prepare them without added saturated or trans fats.
  • Select fat-free and 1% dairy products.
  • Avoid foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  • Reduce saturated fat to no more than 5-6 percent of total calories (in my case, 10-12 grams per day).
  • Cut back on foods and beverages with added sugars.
  • Choose foods with less sodium and prepare foods with little or no salt. To lower blood pressure, eat less than 2400 mg sodium per day. Reducing even farther to 1500 mg per day may have an even greater effect on blood pressure.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation. For women, limit to one drink per day and for men, two. And yes, those drinks have standard serving sizes.

As with any diet recommendations these guidelines have been a subject of hot debate in nutrition, but that’s a topic for another day.

 



 

Now here’s your turn to help me out: pretend you have just had a heart attack (I know, scary – but the good news? You made it!) and you are presented with the recommendations above to lower your risk of it happening again. What are your initial thoughts? Overwhelming? Easy? What the heck does any of that mean? I want to hear it.

If you had to follow these recommendations, what would your questions be? What would you want from your dietitian to make you feel confident in taking care of your heart? Commence to comment in 3, 2, 1…

 

Heart Healthy

Welcome back – to you, reader, and to me. The absence has been long and so full of change and craziness. My life changes include a journey from being a bachelorette and part-time RD living in a travel trailer in my brother’s front yard to being a full-time RD and full-time wife with 2 stepkids. The transition made keeping up the blog just a lee-tle unrealistic, so it had to take a back-burner for a time, but I’m ready to get back into learning more about what my patients face when they make a commitment to improve health, prevent and manage chronic conditions, and change their lives.

 

I’ll be honest – at first I was intimidated about trying to follow a diet with a family in tow:

 

Will I have to make separate food for myself? What if my family doesn’t like any of the food? Will it be too expensive to feed everyone on these diets? Ehh….I don’t think doing that blog really makes sense with a family.”

Satisfied with my very justified self-care decision, I went about my life but something kept nagging at me until I let it hit me – my patients have families. My patients have picky kids (and spouses). They don’t get the luxury of saying “Ehh…that’s not important right now.” They have to choose – figure out a way to take care of yourself with a family or simply don’t take care of yourself.

My hypocrisy got the better of me. So will I be eating separate things from my family? Sometimes. Will they dislike some of the food? Probably. But we’re going on this journey because that’s being healthy in real life – challenges and all.

 



 

So this time I’m back. For real. I promise.

 

And to assure you of my commitment, I grocery shopped for my next diet today. The diet I have chosen to use as I re-start is….

The Heart Healthy Diet recommended by the American Heart Association! The spoils of my venture are shown below:

 

Note that the pile is MUCH bigger than when I was cooking just for me - and this doesn't even include some extras I bought for the fam.
Note that the pile is MUCH bigger than when I was cooking just for me – and this doesn’t even include some extras I bought for the fam.

 

 

IMG_0642
Or the meat. Doesn’t that seem like a lot of meat? And yes, I smooshed a salmon burger on the way home. Sad.

 



 

The meal plan I’m using is courtesy of EatingWell.com and can be found here.

UPDATE: Eating Well has since changed this meal plan. If you click the link, you will see their new Heart Healthy meal plan.

 

Stay tuned for more information on what the Heart Healthy Diet is and how it’s going for me!

Heart Healthy

As you may (or may not) have noticed, Dietitian on a Diet has been on a bit of a hiatus. This is bound to happen from time to time, as the project is a method of self-development that lands below a number of other things on my life priority list. As I’ve been rather busy with wedding planning, new job-ing, and enjoying some gorgeous weather, the blog has taken a backseat for a bit. I realize that this is probably depressing news, as I am certain you have all been waiting around with collectively bated breath waiting for the next riveting edition of my research and snarky opinions, but I’m afraid it is a reality of life that you shall all have to deal with. Please note my extreme sarcasm here.

In the meantime, however, I have been focusing my research and attention on a different area of nutrition than I have been working in until this point – sports nutrition. My new job is on a military base providing nutrition education, counseling, and intervention for our servicemen and women. Consequently, I have immersed myself into my exercise physiology and sports nutrition books and I am dusting off the cobwebs in those portions of my brain. I’m looking forward to working in a place that allows me to utilize my exercise physiology background as well as nutrition!

In other news, my fiance and I started a pretty intense exercise program which would have skewed data I might have gleaned from any diet experiment I might have tried, so I decided to let my body get used to that before changing my eating habits again. It’s likely the blogging, or at least the dieting, will be scarce until after the wedding and honeymoon are over in a couple of months, but if you’re interested I’d be happy to post about whatever I’m learning along the way! I’ll keep it nutrition-related though…I won’t blog about “10 Ways to Have a Wedding Reception Your Guests will Always Remember.” I promise.

Archives