Nashville

Preventing Winter Weight Gain

17 Nov
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments


First, of all I want to start off by apologizing for not posting in a long time. Free time in the 1st trimester was spent resting after work, and lately I’ve been writing at my other blog.  I’m blogging about baby over at
Baby Makes Three. If you want to see pictures from our Gender Reveal Party, check them out here.

Preventing Winter Weight Gain:
If you’re like me, the winter months may make you to want to stay inside under a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa.  Now that daylight savings has hit and it gets darker earlier, I find myself coming home from work and wanting to sit on the couch with a good show/movie.  My normal (and usually easier) plan is to head to the gym for a workout class or meet a friend to go walking.  So, I completely understand how hard it is to get yourself to the gym in the winter rather than do what your body wants, which is hit the couch.  But I promise you that once you complete that workout, your body will thank you for the extra energy and the mood-lifting endorphins.

3 Tips to Prevent Weight Gain:

  1. Hit the Gym at the Right Time:  For some people, they are too exhausted after a long day at work to work out.  You know that you will not even try to force yourself to make it to the gym even though you know it will make you feel better. So, if you’re one of those people, you may benefit from an early morning workout (before you head to work). Sure, you’ll have to get up earlier, but you will get a great workout in, and you won’t feel guilty for watching your favorite TV shows after a long day on the job.  Or maybe you are someone who cannot get motivated again once you make it home from work. The best tip for you is to always keep gym clothes in your car, and make sure you head straight to the gym after work (do not go home first).  Because you know that once you make it home, you won’t be getting out in that cold weather again.  You must plan in advance to accomplish your workout goals.
  2. Get REAL FOOD Conscious: During the winter, people’s vitamin D levels drop because they are not exposed to the best source of vitamin D, which is sunlight.  This is one reason why it’s very important to get your vitamin D levels checked regularly-you probably need supplementation at least during the winter months.  Low vitamin D levels are linked to depression, and many people struggle with SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder), caused by not being exposed to as much light/sunshine.  This could lead to comfort eating during the winter blues.  Instead of turning to comfort foods turn to real foods, which will boost your mood. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, folate, & B12 are especially important.  These include wild salmon, walnuts, eggs, dark green leafy veggies, sunflower seeds & organic/grass-fed meat products.  When you’re focused on eating foods that grow from the earth and less processed foods, the weight will naturally come off.
  3. Don’t Go Overboard at Holiday Festivities: Some people blame the winter pounds on the holidays.  And if you’re someone that has multiple Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years parties to attend, than you definitely have to work harder at preventing the weight gain than others.  But it IS possible, and you CAN do it.  The best way to not overeat at a holiday party is to eat a healthy snack right before the party.  A handful of nuts is an easy snack to keep in your purse when you’re on the go.  The healthy fats & protein in the nuts will keep your blood sugar from dipping and will give you a sense of satiety so you’re not starving at the party.  Make sure you’re eating protein at every meal/snack to keep you feeling fuller longer.  When you’re at a party, don’t feel like you have to deprive yourself.  Enjoy the food, but just make sure you limit the items that are exceptionally high in calories/fat/sugar.  Load your plate up with veggies/fruit and protein first, then have a small portion of the higher carbohydrate items.  Remember that sugar is just as addictive as cocaine is, so the more you eat it, the more your body wants it.  Focus on your veggies & protein during the winter months, and this will help you not go back for seconds and thirds on all those holiday desserts.

Enjoy this holiday season and remember the reason for it all.  Don’t stress over the little things, because we all know what stress does to our body.  Have fun with all your loved ones, and safe travels to you all!

If you ever need help with your weight or other nutrition issues in your life, feel free to schedule a private consultation with me.

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

Easy Recipe: Kale Chips

30 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  6 Comments


Have you been hearing a lot more about kale lately and wondered what’s so great about it?  Well, kale is a true superfood.  The most nutrient dense foods are vegetables, not whole grains like some people think.  Kale is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and many other nutrients that are important for optimal health. Here are a few other nutrition facts about kale:

  • Kale eases lung congestion and is beneficial to the stomach, liver and immune system.
  • It contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect the eyes from macular degeneration.
  • It also contains indole-3-carbinol, which may protect against colon cancer.
  • Kale is an excellent source of calcium, iron, vitamins A and C, and chlorophyll.

Kale chips are a staple in our house.  They are extremely easy to make and a delicious side to your dinner.  If you don’t love them the first time (like my husband), keep trying because they will grow on you.  I absolutely love them!  Here is the recipe I use:

Kale Chips:

Ingredients:
1-2 bunches of kale
Olive oil
Sea Salt (to taste)
Cumin

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Wash kale and remove from stalk, leaving the greens in large pieces.
3. Put the kale pieces in a bowl, and drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the kale. Stir it together so the olive oil lightly coats all the pieces.
4. Lay the kale out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with cumin & sea salt. Bake for 5 min or until kale starts to turn a bit brown. Keep an eye on the kale; it can burn quickly. Turn the kale over and bake with the other side up.
5. Remove, serve, & enjoy!

An even greater way to enjoy kale’s benefits is to eat it raw.  Here are 2 smoothie recipes that are delicious and include kale:
Kale Smoothie
Nutrient Packed Smoothie Recipe

Naturally Yours,
xoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN

Preparing For Your Pregnancy

03 May
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments


In honor of Pregnancy Awareness month, the next few weeks’ posts will feature guest bloggers who specialize in this area.  So if you’re pregnant, have little ones at home, or a woman of childbearing age, you don’t want to miss this month’s posts!

By Kim Corrigan-Oliver, CNP ROHP at Your Green Baby 

I am often amazed at how little thought and time woman take in preparing their body for pregnancy. The journey of pregnancy is a demanding one; you are building a human being from scratch…yes, you are building a human being. It truly is an amazing gift women have been given, and preparing for this journey before you conceive sets the foundation to support a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Research now suggests your preconception nutritional status sets the foundation of your baby’s long term health and well being.  With this in mind, what should you be eating preconception?

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables.  Fruits and vegetables supply the body with minerals, vitamins, enzymes, antioxidants and phyto-nutrients.  Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure you get all the nutrients you need.  Aim for lots of color and choose organic as much as possible.  Don’t forget about nutrient dense dark green leafy vegetables like kale, collard greens, watercress, swiss chard, spinach, etc.  These are especially important because they supply so many vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron.  Leafy green vegetables are also a rich source of folate, a must-have nutrient for any woman trying to conceive. Folate is a B-vitamin that prevents serious birth defects. Folate deficiency has also been linked to infertility. 

Protein.  Required for every function in the body, protein is very important for health and well being.  Protein is important for building tissues, muscles and digestive enzymes, and will help to stabilize blood sugar levels. Choosing plant-based proteins is best for optimal health and well being.  Nuts and seeds, leafy green vegetables, beans and grains (especially quinoa) are excellent choices.  If you will be consuming meat or poultry, choose organic to avoid hormones, antibiotics and pesticides.  If choosing to eat fish, be cautious with your choices – avoid tuna, swordfish, Chilean sea bass, grouper, orange roughy, shark, king mackerel, halibut, bluefish and tilefish due to mercury concerns.  Instead focus on anchovy, mackerel, pollock, herring, rainbow trout, salmon (not farmed), sardines and smelt.

Carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates in the form of whole grains provide us with fiber, important minerals and vitamins and immune supporting properties.  Fiber is an extremely important nutrient in our diet – it helps the body get rid of excess hormones and helps stabilize blood sugar levels, which in turn aids in balancing hormones. It can be beneficial for some woman to avoid gluten.  Gluten is a protein found in some grains – wheat, spelt, kamut, barley and rye.  Many people have difficulty digesting gluten and are sensitive to it.  Creating an environment of healing is important preconception and avoiding foods that cause sensitivity is imperative.  Gluten is also known to be very sticky and can “gum” up the intestine, which in turn means things don’t move quite as well through your body.  Gluten free grains include quinoa, millet, oats, amaranth, rice, buckwheat, sorghum and teff.

Calcium rich foods.  Calcium is important to create an alkaline environment in the body, which is a very friendly environment for the sperm and the fertilized egg.  Choose plant-based calcium rich foods including sesame seeds, almonds, quinoa, chia seeds, beans, lentils and dark leafy green vegetables. Why choose plant-based calcium rich foods over dairy? Dairy is very congesting to our bodies.  This congestion can have an impact on your ability to conceive; even more so if you are experiencing any hormonal imbalances.  It is also important to note that non-organic dairy production uses hormones and antibiotics during production, both of which can lead to increased levels of estrogen in your body and hormonal imbalances – both unfavorable environments for conception.  When trying to conceive, it is best if we are easy on our digestive system; unfortunately for many of us dairy is difficult to digest.  When our digestive system is stressed the other systems in our body don’t work as well.  Your body must use a lot of energy to digest dairy; energy your body needs elsewhere to ensure optimum health and well being for conception.

Fats.  Fats are necessary for hormonal balance and the production of hormones.  The right fats control inflammation in the body, aid in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins, are important for healthy egg production and are important in every step of the reproductive process.  Omega-3 fatty acids are also very important in the development of the brain, nervous system and retina of your baby.  Choose fish oils, flaxseed oils, hemp seed oils, nuts (especially walnuts), chia seeds, hemp seeds, avocados and olives to meet your needs.  Minimize animal fats and avoid hydrogenated fats. 

If there was ever a time to provide optimum nutrition for your body, preconception is it!  During this time it is important to choose the freshest, healthiest and most natural foods to support reproductive and general health. By optimizing your health you will increase your chances of conceiving, having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.  This is within your control; you have the power and the choice to make a difference in your health, fertility and in the health of your baby. Take control and become empowered.

About Kim:
Kim is a mom, holistic nutritionist and writer.  She is passionate about cooking, real food and raising happy healthy babies.  Kim specializes in mom, baby and toddler nutrition, offering workshops, consultations and cooking classes through her company Your Green Baby. She has recently published her first book “Raising Happy Healthy Babies” which focuses on nutrition preconception right through the toddler years and included 95 recipes for mom, baby and toddler.
 
Find out more about Kim and read her blog at www.yourgreenbaby.ca 
 
Receive daily tweets about mom, baby and toddler nutrition by following Kim’s Twitter page @yourgreenbaby

Allergy Season-Tips for Relief

26 Apr
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  9 Comments


Are you one of millions of Americans who are struggling through allergy season?  You just want to enjoy being outside without all the sneezing, itching, and congestion.  Ragweed, which is the largest culprit in seasonal allergies, grows faster as carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere, according to the National Wildlife Federation and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.  That being said, there is also much evidence showing that the pollen count is rising in parts of the U.S., as well as allergenic trees such as oaks and hickories.

Allergies cause an inflammatory response in the body.  For example, when pollen enters your nasal passages and lands on your mucous membranes, histamines are released.  These histamines set off a host of reactions to get rid of the intruder, such as sneezing, itching, watery eyes, etc.  Another reaction for some people is swelling in the bronchial tubes, which makes it difficult to breathe.

Personally, I have struggled with seasonal allergies for as long as I can remember.  I also suffered from chronic sinus infections, which would lead to secondary bacterial infections and a round of antibiotics.  I hated the feeling of constantly feeling sick and not being able to breathe.  Every night during allergy season, I would have to put eucalyptus oil under my nose to clear my sinuses.  I grew up sticking my head over a pot of an herb solution that my mom made up for me so I could find relief.  In college, I was so desperate for a quick fix that I popped Claritin or Zyrtec on a regular basis and still never got complete relief.  Today, I’m happy to say that I’m symptom free.  No more sinus infections or seasonal allergy issues, and I feel great!  The main solution was in my diet: I took away inflammatory foods.

TIPS TO BEAT ALLERGIES NATURALLY:
The goal is to build up the immune system by avoiding inflammatory foods and enjoying anti-inflammatory foods.

1. During allergy season, avoid sugary products and grains, especially wheat as these foods worsen your allergies.

2. Avoid or limit pasteurized dairy products. Some people may need to be completely casein free (the protein found in milk).

3. Eat more raw fruits & vegetables, which will improve your immune system. Raw foods contain more enzymes, which are essential for the digestive system to work.  Heating foods to a high temperature kills the enzymes, and a lack of digestive enzymes can be a factor in food allergies.  For many people, the underlying cause of seasonal allergies are food sensitivities and food allergies.  Your body (nasal passages, sinuses, etc) may already be inflamed and the seasonal pollen and other triggers only worsen this inflammation.  A food allergy blood test, which can test over 350 potential allergens, may be beneficial for you.  You may not have any food allergies or sensitivities, but most people find that if they at least eliminate wheat and dairy, they see remarkable differences in their symptoms.  Mine completely disappeared when I eliminated these 2 common allergenic foods.  Try it for a few weeks, and let me know how you feel.

4. Eat raw, local honey daily.  The reason why local is so important is that the bees in your area are traveling from flower to flower, collecting nectar from the same plants that are causing your allergy problems.  By eating raw honey from the bees in your area, you are building your body’s immune response to these plants.

5. Of course it’s best to eat foods high in these nutrients, but if that’s hard for you, then take these supplements:

  • Quercetin: Natural plant-derived bioflavonoid that helps to prevent mast cells from releasing histamine.  Foods high in this compound are: citrus fruits, apples, onions, broccoli, and parsley. However, allergy sufferers usually need supplemental form. Start taking supplement before allergy season for better protection.  (500-1,000 mg per day)
  • Vitamin C:  Powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system
  • Vitamin D: Most people’s levels are low.  Get your levels checked & aim for a goal of 65.
  • Bromelain: Found in pineapple. It’s a proteolytic enzyme that reduces inflammation.
  • Probiotic:  Puts good bacteria in your gut

So if you’re miserable during allergy season, there is hope for you.  You can overcome these allergies, naturally.  Happy Spring!

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN

 

Hot Yoga-Is it Really That Great?

18 Apr
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  4 Comments

Many of you know that I do hot yoga as a form of exercise.  A lot of you ask me, “What is hot yoga and is it really that good for you?”  Let me start off by saying that I have experienced the benefits of hot yoga, and I’m hooked!  My entire life, I’ve been a huge cardio junkie and never cared for yoga because it was too slow and I never felt like I was getting a good work out.  I didn’t give yoga enough of a chance, and my perceptions were definitely wrong.

My first hot yoga class was last September (2010) at Hot Yoga Nashville, and I can’t say that the first class was amazing because it was hard getting used to working out in the heat.  Yet, the feeling I had afterwards is honestly what brought me back again and again.  The more that you go, the better it feels.  It’s hard to describe to you, so you should try to experience it for yourself.  The month of January, I did hot yoga 4-5 times a week.  That month, I felt better, my mood was lifted, my stress levels were diminished dramatically, and I had so much more energy.  After the month was over, I went to the gym to lift weights, and when I started doing lunges with dumbbells, I couldn’t believe how easy they were.  Right then, I realized just how much hot yoga had strengthened my legs.  Hot yoga is one of the ways I de-stress when life gets overwhelming.  It’s very important that you have an outlet for your stress because the toll it takes on your body can be extremely harmful.  The effects of stress are listed here.

What is Hot Yoga?
Hot yoga is a scientifically-designed series of postures that systematically stimulate the muscles, organs and glands, as well as the nervous system. As you progress through the postures, you move freshly-oxygenated blood throughout the entire body.  The studio is heated to approximately 100°-105° so that your muscles are warmed, which helps prevent injury, and it allows you to go deeper into the stretches/poses.  Sweating helps to cleanse your body from toxins through the skin.

Benefits of Hot Yoga:
Yoga builds strength and flexibility to the entire body.  “A recent study at the University of California at Davis found that 90 minutes of yoga practice four times a week over eight weeks increased muscular strength up to 31%, muscular endurance up to 57%, and flexibility up to 188% in a group of healthy college students.”  The average calorie burn is 600-800 per class.  People who practice frequently lose inches of fat, develop muscle tone, and increase strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination.  Many athletes with injuries practice hot yoga in hopes to avoid surgery by strengthening their muscles, ligaments, and tendons.  Runners love hot yoga as they are able to shave seconds and even minutes off their race time.  Hot yoga also helps to:

  • Accelerate weight loss
  • Reduce stress
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Relieve headaches
  • Increase energy
  • Promote relaxation
  • Lessen menopausal symptoms
  • Reduce arthritic pain
  • Improve coordination
  • Increase strength
  • Build stamina
  • Restore healthy immune system
  • Improve functioning of circulatory system

Hot yoga is for all fitness levels.  The classes are full of people with different levels of ability, so don’t let that scare you.  We are all beginners at some point.  I have experienced the benefits first hand, as have many others.  If you’re in a city that offers hot yoga or bikram yoga, you should definitely give it a try! Namaste!

 

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN

 

Source: Hot Yoga Nashville
Photo Credit: Cherrios & A Proper Garden

Celiac Disease Vs. Gluten Sensitivity (Part 1)

28 Mar
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  12 Comments


You’ve probably heard about celiac disease and the gluten free diet.  As people are becoming more aware of this disease, people are asking their doctors for the blood test and biopsy and getting the proper diagnosis.  But are you one of MANY people who tested negative for celiac disease, but all your symptoms went away on a gluten free diet?  Or are you living with painful symptoms, but you can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong, and you need some answers.  I hope this post gives you those answers.  I know how frustrating it is to live in pain when doctors can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong, and you just feel hopeless.  Read my story
here.

Researchers from the Center for Celiac Research have identified key pathogenic differences between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity “at the molecular level and in the response it elicits from the immune system.”  “We found differences in levels of intestinal permeability and expression of genes regulating the immune response in the gut mucosa,” says Alessio Fasano, M.D., who is the director of the Center for Celiac Research.  When people with celiac disease consume gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, barley), their body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissue.  Gluten causes antibodies to harm the villi of the small intestines, which are needed to absorb nutrients from food.  If the disease is not treated with a gluten free diet, then other autoimmune diseases can develop, as well as infertility, neurological conditions, osteoporosis, and even cancer.

According to studies, one of the main distinguishing factors between these two conditions is that people with gluten sensitivity show no signs of damage to the small intestine, unlike those with celiac disease.  (More studies need to be done on this)  Gluten sensitive individuals do show some of the same symptoms as people with celiac disease, which makes it even harder for us to distinguish between the two.  Why does there seem to be more and more people who have celiac disease and gluten sensitivity? Joseph A. Murray, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic, says that the rise isn’t just due to greater awareness.  He states that people at the age of 70 are being diagnosed who ate gluten safely their entire lives.  Dr. Murray thinks that one possible culprit of the rise in gluten intolerance is the agricultural changes to wheat that have boosted its protein content.  Wheat today has far more gluten in it than the wheat of our ancestors.  Our bodies are being overexposed to this protein.

So you may be asking yourself, “Could I have celiac disease? Could I be sensitive to gluten?”  The symptoms vary so greatly and do not have to be gastrointestinal, which is another reason some doctors don’t think to check for celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.  Please know that just because one person has a certain set of symptoms doesn’t mean that you will have the same ones.  In fact, some people show no symptoms for years.
Gastroenterology 2001 found: “…for every symptomatic patient with celiac disease there are eight patients with celiac disease and no gastrointestinal symptoms.”  Here is a list of possible symptoms from the Celiac Disease Foundation:

Classic Symptoms May Include:

  • Abdominal cramping, intestinal gas
  • Distention and bloating of the stomach
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation (or both)
  • Steatorrhea – fatty stools
  • Anemia – unexplained, due to folic acid, B12 or iron deficiency (or all)
  • Unexplained weight loss with large appetite or weight gain

Other Symptoms:

  • Dental enamel defects
  • Osteopenia, osteoporosis
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Fatigue, weakness and lack of energy
  • Infertility – male/female
  • Depression
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Delayed puberty
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
  • Migraine headaches

Some Long-term Conditions That Can Result From Untreated CD

  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Early onset osteoporosis or osteopenia
  • Vitamin K deficiency associated with risk for hemorrhaging
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Central and peripheral nervous system disorders – usually due to unsuspected nutrient deficiencies
  • Pancreatic insufficiency
  • Intestinal lymphomas and other GI cancers (malignancies)
  • Gall bladder malfunction
  • Neurological manifestations

Now the difficult part for many people is figuring out whether you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.  Come back tomorrow for more information on this.

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN

Read complete study here. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/9/23

Going Local

21 Mar
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  1 Comments


I hope everyone had a great weekend!  I know I did, and wanted this next post to be more light and fun about my beautiful Saturday in East Nashville.  We went to The Green Wagon for their Spring Reopening Celebration.  The Green Wagon is an all-natural/sustainable general store featuring local products.  I absolutely loved walking through the store and gazing at all of the natural items such as candles, makeup, soaps, homemade cleaning products, baby clothes, and the list goes on.  For those of you who can’t seem to find natural products in your area, The Green Wagon’s online store is coming soon, so be sure to check out their website periodically. http://thegreenwagon.com.

Aunt April’s Bakery just launched her new location at the Green Wagon, and I was able to taste her delicious gluten free cupcakes.  My husband got to try Nashville’s newest local beer, the Nashvillion, and a delicious grilled cheese sandwich from The Grilled Cheeserie. Being at this event and seeing all of the support from the local community really motivated me to buy local more often.

You may be asking how you can help to support your local community. Here are some tips for you:

  • Shop at your local Farmer’s Market for fresh produce & handmade items. Go to this site to find one closest to you.  Local food is more flavorful & doesn’t need to be injected with preservatives to make it endure the long trip across the country like most produce in a chain grocery store.  Also, you can have a peace of mind just by knowing exactly where your food came from.
  • Support your local businesses. Instead of always eating out at chain restaurants, try a local restaurant in your area that you’ve never experienced. It could end up being your favorite!  Other examples of local businesses to support include coffee shops, boutiques, & supermarkets.  Their products may be a little more expensive than their national brand counterparts, but more of their profit stays in the community.

When your local community is thriving, it provides more opportunities for everyone.

How are you keeping it local?

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen Pardue, RD, LDN

Sneak peak into next post: Celiac Disease vs. Gluten Sensitivity