Change Begins with Facts

As you consider your exercise goals, it is vital to include these key elements to promote optimal fitness: Exercises that build muscular strength and endurance, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance.

Please note that this article is not intended as medical advice. Each exercise and nutrition plan must be personalized to take into account your specific medical history, health concerns and health and fitness goals. Meeting with your primary care physician to determine any health concerns and exercise restrictions is paramount BEFORE beginning any exercise program. Contact a certified personal trainer to discuss your health goals so that a customized exercise program can be created just for you. 

Before we highlight the essential elements for a complete fitness program, let's define a couple of terms. Muscular strength is the ability to exert maximal or near maximal force against a resistance. Muscle development leads to a stronger skeletal system. Studies show that muscular strength can...

Get the skinny on the Keto Diet, Intermittent Fasting and the Mediterranean Diet. Choose an eating style with lifestyle, health and habit in mind.

Recently I have had several acquaintances ask my thoughts about beverages that are being promoted as "colon cleanses". These people are aware that I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) through the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the registering body of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I appreciate when those curious about the latest food trend come to me to find out what is truth and what is hype. I am quick to point out that since I don't know the questioner's medical history, I can only offer general nutrition guidelines. 

To answer the initial question about whether a certain beverage is effective as a "colon cleanse", I would ask: What is the end goal of drinking this product? Weight loss? Bowel health? Better overall health? Just curious?

If weight loss is the ultimate goal, a liquid diet with the hope of a quick weight loss can be harmful, not easily adhered to and seldom results in long term weight loss. The first step toward making any health change (after se...

The month of February is traditionally known as "Heart Month". In honor of this ritual, let's look closely at some steps that can improve your heart health.

The American Heart Association's "Healthy for Good" movement is great advice. Their approach is to "Eat Smart, Add Color and Move More to Be Well". In previous articles we have explored lifestyle changes to be taken one small step or bite at a time. So, let's look at how we can mesh these heart-healthy principles into achievable goals.

What does eating smart look like? Choosing leaner protein sources and low fat dairy foods, including more whole grains, opting for plant-based healthy fats and selecting more fresh fruits and vegetables are all health-changing first steps. What does this look like? Preparing a leaner turkey burger instead of a higher fat beef burger, ordering a low fat or non-fat latte in place of a frappuccino or opting for an oil-based salad dressing instead of a mayonnaise-type dressing is a smart start. The key to...

Happy New Year! Okay, this may a bit late to be celebrating a holiday that happened more than two weeks ago. But, how are your New Year's resolutions coming along? Already skipped a couple of days at the gym? Had a case of the munchies and polished off stale Christmas cookies? Or, did you embrace a new way of thinking like we highlighted in last month's article? If so, Well Done! If not, the new year is fraught with health change possibilities!

We've all seen the gym membership, diet program and weight loss ads. Though your aim may not include weight loss, it does require a change in behavior and thinking in order to achieve your goal. Note the word, "your". That's correct. This is YOUR target, so think long term and start small. We've all heard the old adage, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time...". The behaviors you would like to change will likely take time and various steps for you to ultimately meet with success.

Finding success begins with taking step one towa...

What a glorious time of year with its kaleidoscope of colors! The fruits and vegetables of this season are also ripe with color from the bright reds of pomegranates and heirloom tomatoes, the rich oranges of pumpkins and squashes to the deep greens of leafy vegetables. Sooo…perhaps one of the nutrition changes you would like to make is to include more fruits and veggies in your diet on a daily basis.  

Let’s take some time to highlight the nutrient-rich properties of the produce readily available this time of year. Brussels sprouts, for example, are cruciferous vegetables, chock full of glucosinolates which the body converts into compounds that help the body fight cancer at the cellular level. Brussels sprouts are also a significant source of vitamins A and C and potassium. Butternut squash with its beautiful shape and hue is also a major source of vitamin A and potassium, yet is relatively low in calories depending upon the toppings you choo...

As stores become flooded with pumpkins, pilgrims and poinsettias, we begin what is commonly referred to as the "Bermuda Triangle" season. Trying to navigate the foods often associated with Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve can be a challenge. Yet, what if you begin the health change(s) you want to make NOW before the holiday season commences?

The notion that we can start to make nutrition, exercise and health changes BEFORE the New Year sounds impossible at first. Consider the alternative: You wait until January 1st, but meanwhile you gain additional weight that you will need to lose. For those of you who have already lost weight through eating changes, you could regain some of the pounds you've lost after the many months of discipline. Perhaps your goal is to exercise more "in the new year", imagine starting NOW and you will have already jumpstarted your workout regimen BEFORE January 1st!

Let's explore a new way of thinking. Weight loss is tricky during this time of year, but...

Over the summer I hiked the Pygmy Forest in Salt Point State Park in Gualala, California. On the south side of Gualala grow stands of miniature Bolander Pine, Bishop Pine, Mendocino Cypress and Redwood trees. These trees are stunted in stature due to the combination of highly-acidic, nutrient-free soil and rock layer that prevents drainage, root growth and subsequently overall tree growth. 

As I was exploring the terrain and looking more closely at the pygmy trees, the dietitian in me considered the effects of nutrient-poor food selections on our "stature" or health. Americans typically have an abundance of food and a vast variety of foods with which to choose. However, it bears deeper inspection of our daily nutrient intake to see if we, like the pygmy trees, are ingesting adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals and macronutrients to allow our bodies to be maintained and if needed, heal. It is easy to get complacent in what we buy at the grocery store and convenience...


Perhaps you have noticed the abundance of produce ripening on the vine in your neighbor's yard or, better yet, in your own garden. This is the perfect time to start incorporating the plethora of fruits and vegetables into your daily meals.

There is a variety of reasons to include more fruits and vegetables into your meal planning. It costs less to use the produce that is in season and locally available than to choose those that have to be shipped. It is also a great way to use up the surplus from your garden or your neighbor's plot next door. It doesn't get any better than growing something with your own hands and nothing tastes fresher! Lastly, including more fruits and vegetables into your meals provides additional vitamins, minerals, fiber, water and phytochemicals which may defend the body against heart disease and cancer. 

It is easy to add summer's bounty into your meal plans. Add fresh fruit including berries, melons and stone fru...

Recently a client called me frustrated that he didn't have the discipline to eat healthier. Most of us hear the words, "Should", "Need to" and "Ought to", when it comes to changing habits to improve our health. Whether it is drinking more water, choosing more nutritious foods, moving our bodies more or sleeping better, life or fear often gets in the way.  Sometimes we just need to......START!  It has been said that doing something is better than doing nothing and of course, this applies to eliminating unhealthy habits, too.  Today is a new day, a fresh start, the beginning of a new chapter. By deciding what you would like to do to boost your health and then STARTING, you are one step or bite closer to incorporating a new habit into your life.  Let's celebrate those victories together!  (What habit would you like to change to better your health?)

Please note this article is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this informatio...

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