Diet and the ADD/ADHD Brain

ADD and ADHD are brain disorders that occur when the connections between nerve cells that regulate attention are defective.  If you or your child has been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, you may be interested in managing symptoms or effect of the medication with diet.  Diet probably won't be an effective treatment on it's own, but some foods may affect symptoms and mood for some people. 


Food and Mood

ADHD is a "Reward Deficiency Syndrome" meaning that those who suffer from the condition have fewer of the dopamine receptors that cause well-being and stress reduction than average.  This leads to a chronic lack of well-being and increased perception of stress for those with ADHD.  To correct the deficiency, people with ADHD may be prone to extreme behaviors that increase dopamine such as addictive behaviors, compulsive levels of sex, gambling, exercise, eating, shopping, shoplifting, and computer game paying.  

Various macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients have an effect on mood.  Eating a balanced healthy diet and making sure you don't go too long without eating can help regulate mood.

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Scientific research on ADD/ADHD diets is limited and results are mixed.  However, whatever is good for the brain i likely good for ADD/ADHD.  Eating a balanced diet with regular meals and snack can help regulate mood  Ensuring adequate protein can improve concentration and possibly increase the time ADD/ADHD medications work.  Choosing complex rather than simple carbohydrates such as vegetables and fruits vs. candy, honey, sugar, white rice may also help manage hyperactivity.  Some studies suggest that consuming the recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids as apart of a balanced diet can alleviate symptoms.

Also worth noting....hunger can cause decreased concentration and performance, especially in persons with ADD/ADHD.  Unfortunately, their medications often case a loss of appetite, making good nutrition difficult for people with ADD/ADHD

Suggestions for increasing calories for low appetite:

  1. Use plenty of oil and butter when cooking
  2. Serve large portions
  3. Eat foods with low volume for calories like granola, peanut butter, dried fruit, trail mix, smoothies, bagels, banana chips, muffins, etc. 

The Feingold Elimination Diet

Friends or health professionals may have told you about the Feingold Elimination Diet as a treatment for the symptoms of ADD/ADHD.  The Feingold Diet involves eliminating goods and drugs containing synthetic colors and flavors, antioxidant preservatives, aspirin, and natural salicylates (these include almonds, apples, and foods containing apples, apricots, berries, cherries, cloves, coffee, cucumber, currants, grapes, nectarines, oranges, pears, peppers, plums, tangerines, tea, tomatoes, oil or wintergreen).  The diet suggests reintroducing foods containing natural salicylates one by one to see if particular foods are triggering symptoms.  There is limited research on the effectiveness of the diet. 

10 Tips for Living with ADD/ADHD

  1. Take 100% multi-vitamin everyday.  Studies have reported that they help people with learning and help prevent chronic illness
  2. Moderate Caffeine from your diet.  It interferes with treatment, medications, and sleep
  3. Get 30-45 minutes per day of intense aerobic exercise.  Make sure kids have safe exercise outlets and war helmets when appropriate.  When nothing else is available, go for long, fast walks.
  4. Turn off the television and video games, or limit them to no more than 30 minutes a day. This may be hard for kids and teens, but it can make a huge difference.
  5. Food is a drug.  Most people with ADHD do better with a diet high in protein and low in simple carbohydrates
  6. Do no yell at people with ADHD.  Many people with ADHD seek out conflict or excitement because they like the stimulation it brings them.  They can be masters at making other people mad or angry.  Do no lose your temper with them; if they are able to get this reactions out of you, their subconscious, low energy prefrontal cortex lights up and makes them feel great.  Never let your anger be their medication -- they can get addicted to it.
  7. Test ADHD kids and adults for learning disabilities.  They can occur in up to 60% of people with ADHD.  The local schools are often set up to do this for school-aged children.
  8. Apply for appropriate school or work accommodations
  9. Take a high quality fish oil supplement.  Adults: 2000-4000mg/day. Children 1000-2000mg/day.
  10. Never stop seeking the best help for your brain. 

Recipe Suggestions for ADD/ADHD Kids/Adults with low appetite due to medications




  • 4 cups cooked elbow macaroni, drained
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Once macaroni is cooked and drained, place in large bowl and while still hot add cheddar cheese.  In separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients and add to macaroni mixture.  Pour macaroni mixture into a casserole dish and bake for 30-45 minutes. Top with additional cheese if desired


Banana Muffins


  • 1 stick of butter (8tbsp)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup mashed banana (about 2 bananas)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • plenty of chopped walnuts or pecans (at least 2 cups)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together butter and sugar, then the eggs.  In a seperate bowl, mix together dry ingredients, then add to the butter/sugar/egg mixture.  Next, add the banana, sour cream and vanilla.  Lastly add the nuts.

Place the mixture into a non-stick pan that has 4 large muffin tins.  Make muffins at 350 derees for 45 minutes or until most and cooked all the way through.

EAch muffin provides approximately 1000 calories.  

The Juicing Craze: Is it all it's cracked up to be??


Do you juice? Everyone's doing it - it seems everyone from Gwenyth Paltrow to Miley Cyrus to Bill Clinton has jumped on the bandwagon.  Proponents of the trend claim juicing gives them glowing skin, increased energy, and helps the body "flush toxins." Some proponents claim that juicing provides superior absorption of vitamins and phytonutrients since the body can skip the digestion process.

Juicing is currently a 5-billion dollar industry, and business experts project the business will grow 4-8% a year.  In response to the trend, over 6200 juice bars have popped up nationwide. Juicing is certainly popular, but are the proposed health benefits real? While the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables are well established, there is no sound scientific evidence that extracting the juice is any healthier than eating the whole fruit or vegetable itself. Lets take a deeper look into the Pros and Cons of this juicing craze.


  1. If you don't like vegetables or fruit, it can be an easy way to get them in quickly
  2. Juicing can be fun and delicious.  Combinations are endless!


  1. Juicing eliminates the fiber from the fruit and vegetables.  Fiber helps keep us regular, helps maintain gut health, lowers cholesterol, helps control blood sugars, and may aid in weight loss.  Without fiber to slow absorption, juicing can make blood sugar control difficult for diabetics.
  2. Juices are easily contaminated and may cuase food borne illness.  If you choose to juice, make sure you only make the amount you'll be frinking in one sitting.
  3. Fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of a compound called oxalates, which can cause further damage to the kidneys in those with Chronic Kidney Disease when consumed in high amounts.  Those with kidney problems should avoid drinking large amounts of fruit and vegetable juice over a long period of time.  The American Journal of Medicine recently reported a case of oxalate nephropathy after a man with Chronic Kidney Disease underwent a 6-week juicing fast.

Some proponents of juices choose to undergo "juice cleanses," foregoing all solid food and drinking only juices for anywhere from 3 days to several weeks.  Cleanse diets are ineffective, not sustainable, and can sometimes be dangerous.  Since the body releases water as it breaks down its glycemic stores, you may lose weight temporarily on a cleanse diet, but it will come back once you start eating adequate calories again.  

The bottom line?  Juicing can e a quick way to get in the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients from the fruits and vegetables, and are generally safe for hose already in good health, but juiced frits and vegetables are not superios to intact produce. 

Spring Clean....Your Condiments!?

Spring is here and it's time to take stock of what you have in your pantry and fridge and clean! We will take a look at some of the the most common condiments people keep in their homes and how long they should actually be kept before being pitched. 


  • Unopened in Pantry: no longer than 1 year
  • Opened in the Fridge:  no longer than 6 months   


  • Unopened in Pantry: do not use if it has been more than 3 months past its sell by date
  • Opened in the Fridge: do not use if it is 2 months past its sell by date

 Barbecue Sauce 

  • Unopened in Pantry: no longer than 1 year
  • Opened in the Fridge:  no longer than 4 months 


  • Unopened in Pantry: no longer than 2 years
  • Opened in the Fridge:  no longer than 12 months 

 Tartar Sauce

  • Unopened in Pantry: no longer than 1 year
  • Opened in the Fridge:  no longer than 6 months


  • Unopened in Pantry: no longer 1 month
  • Opened in the Fridge:  about 1 month 

Hot Sauce

  • Unopened in Pantry: around 5 years
  • Opened in the Fridge: around 5 years


  • Unopened in Pantry: about 2 or 3 years
  • Opened in the Fridge: up to 1 year if canned and kept in their brine
  • *olives that are ripe and stored in oil will keep for 2 months in the fridge after opening

Relish & Pickles 

  • Unopened in Pantry: no longer than 2 years
  • Opened in the Fridge:  no longer than 12 months 

Homemade or Fresh Salsa

  • Unopened in Fridge: about 10 days
  • Opened in the Fridge: eat within the week
  • Frozen: a couple of months

Store bought, unrefrigerated Salsa 

  • Unopened in Pantry: no longer than 1 year
  • Opened in the Fridge:  no longer 1 month


  • Unopened in the Pantry: No expiration date....ever!
  • Opened in the Fridge: No expiration date....ever!
  • * If it hardens or crystalizes, simply submerge the jar in hot water.

Salad Dressings (creamy & vinaigrette) 

  • Unopened in Pantry: no longer than 1 year
  • Opened in Fridge: consume within 6 months of opening and pay attention to best before dates 


Milk Alternatives Comparison



Skim Milk

Pros: The cow comes out ahead of the herd if you're in the market for satiating, muscle-building protein.

Cons: It's high in natural sugar from lactose (12 g). And some brands use synthetic hormones, so consider choosing organic.

Nutritional Stats: 90 calories, 0 g saturated fat, 8 g protein, 30 percent calcium, 25 percent vitamin D



Pros: Almond milk has a nutty hint, but its flavor is fairly neutral overall. It works in both sweet (cereal) and savory (soup) dishes.

Cons: For some reason, it can be tough to find the unsweetened plain version, which has 0 g sugar, in grocery stores.

Nutritional Stats: 40 calories, 0 g saturated fat, 1 g protein, 45 percent calcium, 25 percent vitamin D



Pros: If you love whole milk and cream, you'll dig the thick texture. And even in the unsweetened type, the coconut flavor supplies sweetness.

Cons: Like coconut meat, the milk is high in saturated fat; it packs nearly a third of the daily limit for women on a 1,600-calorie diet.

Nutritional Stats: 50 calories, 5 g saturated fat, 1 g protein, 10 percent calcium, 30 percent vitamin D



Pros: Flax milk is the lowest in calories, making it the perfect base for a slimming smoothie snack.

Cons: You won't find any energizing protein here, so it's not the best beverage when you want a sip that gets you going.

Nutritional Stats: 25 calories, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g protein, 30 percent calcium, 25 percent vitamin D



Pros: Hemp seeds have a sweet, nutty flavor, and they're high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can hydrate skin and may boost heart health.

Cons: It's super pricey, at about $4.60 for a 32-ounce bottle. Otherwise, we have no complaints, so if you have the cash, bottoms up.

Nutritional Stats: 70 calories, 1 g saturated fat, 2 g protein, 30 percent calcium, 25 percent vitamin D



Pros: This sweet choice is best for those with soy and nut allergies, but it's sometimes processed with the allergens, so check labels.

Cons: It's too watery for coffee or tea. Plus, you don't get much nutritional bang (protein, omega-3s) for the calories.

Nutritional Stats: 90 calories, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g protein, 30 percent calcium, 25 percent vitamin D


Soy Milk

Pros: Soymilk is the only nondairy variety that's high in filling protein, so it's good for vegans and folks with lactose intolerance.

Cons: Scientists are still investigating soy's potential link to breast cancer. If you're worried, consult your doc before sipping regularly.

Nutritional Stats: 80 calories, 1 g saturated fat, 7 g protein, 30 percent calcium, 30 percent vitamin D



Pros: This pick is mildly nutty but not overpowering. And it's thick, so it stirs smoothly into coffee and tea without leaving gross lumps.

Cons: The grayish color may be a turnoff if you're drinking it straight from a glass.

Nutritional Stats: 45 calories, 1 g saturated fat, 1 g protein, 30 percent calcium, 25 percent vitamin D


RECIPE: Protein Fruit & Nut Balls

These protein, fruit & nut balls are an energy packed food that you can grab before those early morning spin classes or right before a big game. Not only are they easy and quick to make, they last a while in the fridge, making them a great "go to" before exercise.  Try it out!


  • 1 cup creamy almond butter (natural) (1,360cal)
  • 3/4 cup honey (786cal) or agave (720cal)
  • 1 cup rolled oats (360cal)
  • 3/4 cup dried fruit of choice (chopped dried apricots, cranberries, plums, etc.) (300cal for apricots, 288cal cranberries, etc)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds (270cal)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (360cal)
  • 3 scoops protein powder (360cal)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (3cal)

 Melt honey and almond butter in a saucepan over medium heat until runny, then mix in all other ingredients.  Make balls a little larger than golf ball size, place on cookie sheet, and let cool in fridge.  It makes about 12-15.

(about 465cal-495cal per ball depending on specific ingredients used)

Family Meals Do More than Put Food on the Table: During National Nutrition Month®, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spotlights Benefits of Cooking & Eating as a Family


Media Contacts: Ryan O'Malley, Allison MacMunn 
800/877-1600, ext. 4769, 4802

CHICAGO – Make mealtime a family time. If you can get together for meals even a few times a week, family meals mean healthier eating – and more. For National Nutrition Month®, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages all families to make a commitment to eating more meals together and "Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right."

"Research shows that family meals promote healthier eating – more fruits, vegetables and fiber; less fried food; and often fewer calories," says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson Angela Ginn. "This year’s National Nutrition Month theme, ‘Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right,’ reminds families to return to the basics of healthful eating by returning to the family dining table."

"And family meals do much more than put healthy food on the table. Beyond preparing the meal itself, we sometimes forget that mealtimes offer time to talk, listen and build family relationships. And it’s a chance for parents to be good role models for healthful eating," Ginn says.

Ginn offers ideas for adding more family meals to any family’s routine:

  • Start slowly. "However many meals you eat as a family now, add one more to your weekly schedule. If school nights are too hectic for a family dinner, make it a leisurely weekend breakfast or lunch. After a few weeks, add another family meal to your schedule," Ginn says.
  • Plan tasty menus together. "Putting together a family meal does not have to be complicated or time-consuming. Let every member of the family choose a favorite item and build simple, delicious meals around them. Even small children can pick a main dish like tacos or pasta, a vegetable like a green salad or cooked carrots and sliced apples or fruit salad for dessert," Ginn says.
  • Set the right mood. "Food is just one important part of mealtime. Your table setting can improve the mealtime mood with very little expense: a candle, colored napkins and wipe-clean plastic tablemats for children," Ginn says.
  • Talk! "The conversations families have while eating together have a huge impact, as you share experiences and ideas, and pass along family values. Pick topics that are positive and allow everyone to talk. Even toddlers like to discuss topics like ‘What is your favorite color?’ or ‘What made you laugh today?’" Ginn says.
  • Turn off the TV, phones and anything else that makes noise. "They create distractions that can throw off any family’s mealtime routine," Ginn says. "Declare mealtime a TV- and phone-free zone, except for emergencies, of course. Instead, put on some background music, played at low volume, to add a relaxing atmosphere."

No matter your children’s ages, parents and caretakers can find countless resources and a wide range of information about eating right – all backed by the unequalled expertise of nutrition professionals like registered dietitian nutritionists – at Kids Eat Right (, a joint initiative of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Academy’s Foundation. "Kids Eat Right helps families shop smart, cook healthy and eat right," Ginn says.

Visit the Academy’s website to view a library of recipes designed to help you "Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right."

As part of this public education campaign, the Academy’s National Nutrition Month website includes a variety of helpful tips, games, promotional tools and nutrition education resources, all designed to spread the message of good nutrition based on the "Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right" theme.

The Supergirl Dilemma: 5 Ways to Help Girls Resist the Pressure to be Perfect

These tips are adapted from You're Amazing! A No-Pressure Guide to Being Your Best Self by Claire Mysko.

Girls today are told they can do anything. Unfortunately, the message they're often getting is that they have to do everything--and please everyone while they're at it.  All this pressure is adding up to big time stress.  According to The Supergirl Dilemma, a study conducted by Girls Inc., more than half of girls in middle school reported that they often feel stressed.  By the time girls get into high school, that number jumps to 74%. One their of all girls in grades 3-12 said they often feel sad and unhappy.  

When girls get caught up in the quest to be supergirls, they are less likely to feel confident in themselves and more likely to struggle with low self-esteem and poor body image. Here are five tips to help the girls in your life tackle The Supergirl Dilemma.


  1. Does the pressure to do it all sound familiar? Supergirls and Superwomen hear the same voice, and it says "you're not good enough." Remember to give yourself a break and take time for healthy stress relief.  If we want to break this damaging "super" cycle and set positive examples, we have to start with ourselves.
  2. Teach girls to be savvy and critical media consumers.  Resist the urge to simply lecture about hat you think is inappropriate.  Instead, ask them what they like about the movies and TV shows they watch and the magazines they read.  What do they dislike? Talk about the difference between fantasy and reality by showing girls real examples of retouching.  Point out how often retouching is used to make models and actors look artificially flawless.
  3. Encourage girls to exercise their bragging rights  Girls are often hesitant to talk about what makes them amazing because they don't want to be seen as conceited or they feel like they're not perfect enough to be proud of themselves.  Turn that thinking around by challenging girls to take pride in all of their amazing qualities, not just their achievements.  Ask a girl what makes her amazing.  If you get a sheepish shrug or an "I don't know," press on.  You can spark the conversation by sharing a few of her qualities that you think are amazing, but don't let her off the hook until she can say this sentence out loud:  "I'm amazing because...."
  4. Discuss the value of making mistakes and taking healthy risks.  Many girls are so focused on being perfect and doing things "right" that they miss out on valuable opportunities because they are so afraid of failure.  Share a mistake you made or a risk you took in life that helped you get where you are today.
  5. When girls talk about the pressures they feel, the best thing you can do is listen.  Don't judge, interrupt, or get upset.  Remember that what girls need most of all in their lives are supportive adults who take the time to hear what they're saying.

 Amazing Girl :)

- Asks questions

- Makes mistakes and learns from them

- Talk about her feelings, fears, hopes & dreams

- Tries new things

- Is proud of her accomplishments, not matter how big

- Supports girls

- Knows three trusted adults she could turn to if she had a problem

- Knows how to set boundaries and say no

- Takes care of her body, mind, and spirit


Supergirl :( 

- Is afraid to not knowing the "right" answer

- Makes mistakes and agonizes over them

- Keeps it to herself when she's stressed or sad

- Doesn't take on new challenges

- Feels like no accomplishment is good/big enough

- Is jealous of other girls' successes

- Wants adults to think she is happy, even if she doesn't always feel happy

- Sometimes does things she doesnt' want to do if she thinks people might like her more for doing them

- Wishes she could be smarter, prettier, more popular, more athletic, etc. 

Can a Dog Test Your Blood Sugar?


Diabetes is a chronic condition affecting over 8% of the population ( People with diabetes need to check their blood sugar throughout the day to avoid it skyrocketing or plummeting too low, both of which can have terrible consequences-including coma and death. Dogs4Diabetics, Inc. is a non-profit organization trying to prevent hypoglycemia, or too low blood sugar, in diabetics. These dogs are trained to detect the low blood sugar and alert either the diabetic or a family member. By alerting the diabetics to test their blood sugar, these dogs are saving lives.

These dogs can smell low blood sugar and are trained with treats to alert people. When a person has low blood sugar, their body will release chemicals to raise the person’s blood sugar to help fuel the brain. If the body can’t raise the blood sugar level, the person may become confused, pass out, have a seizure, or die.  Ketones are among the chemicals released by the body to raise blood sugar and dogs can recognize the smell of them.  These dogs are certified  assistance dogs and wear jackets so that they are allowed in public places like restaurants.


One Wish

     Love Grilled Cheese? One-item restaurants dedicated to this comfort food are popping up all over the country. Picture courtesy of fd.Ever had a food craving for one thing, and one thing only?  We all have, and it is usually for our favorite comfort foods, such as grilled cheese, chocolate, or my personal vice, bacon.  Sometimes the desire for such foods is so strong that we will hunt around town for a restaurant or grocery store that sells what we long for.  Recently, restaurateurs have used this knowledge to their advantage, (and ours), by introducing more and more restaurants that mainly sell one type of treat – a concept known as one-item restaurants.

     The concept of one-item restaurants is nothing new – pizza parlors, burger stands, and ice cream shops have been around for years.  Yet, the food industry is now expanding their horizons to feature comfort food items as their star dishes.

     For example, The Melt, a chain of restaurants in Northern California, features many variations of the classic grilled cheese.  However, the menu features sandwiches that are way more sophisticated than the butter-laden cheese product concoctions most of our mothers made for us when we were children.  On my next trip to San Francisco, I plan to try The Melt’s Brie and Apple Honey on Country French…YUM!  In Idaho, you can find the Bacon Restaurant and Coffee Shop, where the owner expects to cook about 150,000 pieces of bacon each year!  That number even includes tempeh bacon, which is a vegetarian menu option made from soybeans.

     So the next time you have a craving for a particular treat, find out if there is a restaurant entirely dedicated to the food you desire.  You may just be pleasantly surprised.

A Farmer's Market Find

Look for the "Ask the Dietitian" booth the next time you visit your local farmer's market.

            September is here, and that means apples are in season.  If you’re heading to a farmer’s market to pick up your favorite variety, make sure to stop by the “Ask the Dietitian” booth.  There, you will be handed a delicious sample of Cherry, Apple, and Walnut Salad.

            Never heard of the “Ask the Dietitian” program?  This program was established by the Los Angeles Department of Public Health.  According to the Department of Public Health's website, a salad recipe utilizing farmer's market fruits and vegetables is prepared each month from March through November.  Free samples of this salad, recipe cards, and educational flyers about nutrition and health are passed out by booth volunteers.  Additionally, educational materials, such as a cup filled with the amount of sugar in one bottle of soda and a test tube with the amount of fat in one tuna sub sandwich, are on display. It is hoped that such materials will inform the public about the amount of certain ingredients in common food items.

            Check the Department of Public Health’s website to find out when the “Ask the Dietitian” booth will be set up at your local farmer’s market.  When you visit this booth, you will definitely learn a lot about how your eating habits impact your health.  By sampling the salad, you will also discover a tasty new way to enjoy your apples!


Ask the Dietitian Los Angeles County Program. (n.d.). Department of Public Health. Retrieved August 25, 2012, from

Earth Day

My wonderful intern, Kimberly Guess has some great insight on how to go green on this wonderful Earth Day.  Congratulations on becoming an official Registered Dietitian!!

Most Americans know very little about the origins of the food we eat and how food is actually produced. If you ask a child where a carrot comes from, he’ll probably say, “the grocery store.” We nourish our bodies with ­­value meals from the comfort of the driver’s seat, make dinner by simply adding water, and refuel after a workout with something unrecognizable without its shiny, flashy package.  ­Not to say that this is all wrong, but maybe it wouldn’t hurt to know where food truly comes from. Believe it or not, your food choices not only affect the health of your body, but also the health of our environment.


                Most of us know that fruit, vegetables, and grains are grown in fields and orchards and things like that. In general, the animals we eat are raised by eating food and drinking water for a few years. What may surprise you is how much energy and resources it takes to produce a cow, chicken, or pig. It takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, as opposed to just 25 gallons of water to produce one serving of grains. Think about the hundreds or even thousands of pounds of food an animal would eat before it reaches your plate.


It also takes about 54 calories of fossil fuel to produce 1 protein calorie of beef, as opposed to 2 calories of fossil fuel to produce 1 protein calorie of soy. Much of the crops grown in the world are used up as animal feed. According to some estimates, animal production accounts for more than one-third of all fossil fuels used in the U.S.!


Here’s the part where I tell you to stop eating meat right? Not quite. Eating meat is a personal decision. While focusing on more of a plant-based diet may be good for your health and the environment, by cutting out meat for just one meal per week, you could save more than 15 gallons of gasoline per year!


                You can also eat better for the environment by choosing foods that are minimally processed, use less packaging, and are produced locally. Highly processed foods use up an absurd amount of energy in production, packaging, and refrigeration, and transportation. Most of the packaging (which is most likely recyclable) on foods is thrown away. Food in the U.S. travels an average of 1,500 miles before it is consumed. By shopping at farmer’s markets, co-ops, and grocery stores that supply local foods, you can purchase extremely fresh foods that may be higher in nutrients and have likely traveled less than 100 miles. Still not convinced? A 2008 study by Pimentel et al. in Human Ecology “strongly argues that the consumer is in the strongest position to contribute to a reduction in energy use.” This study suggests that a healthier diet and a return to traditional farming could help reduce energy consumption in the U.S. food system by 50 percent!


                Climate change is real, and continues to occur at an alarming rate. The good news is that each one of us can do our part with something as simple as the food choices we make. Imagine the power we have to protect our planet by using less resources, recycling more, driving less, and making conscious decisions about food. For more information about what you can do to reduce climate change, go to

by: Kimberly Guess, RD


Other recommended reading:

  1. Energy to Recycle Glass Bottles vs. Aluminmum Cans vs. Plastic
  2. 8 Ways Vegetarian is Good for the Planet

  1. Earth Day Fitness Guide: 10 Ways to Save the Planet and Improve Your Health

Fat After 40

                Many adults experience weight gain around their middle after the age of 40. This can be related to the decline in muscle mass that occurs with age, resulting in fewer calories burned during exercise and daily activities. In women, estrogen decreases after menopause, which affects the way our bodies store fat. Fortunately, there are ways that we can stay healthy despite these changes.

               Exercise helps speed up your metabolism, which will help you burn more calories during exercise and daily activities. Cardiovascular exercise is important for heart health and for burning calories, and includes activities such as walking, biking, jogging, dancing, and gardening. Strength training can help prevent the loss of muscle mass and bone mass. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity for most healthy adults. Always consult your health care provider before beginning any exercise regime.

                It is difficult to prevent weight gain by diet alone. Exercise is key. Without exercise, you can only reduce your caloric intake so much before you start to feel deprived, miss out on necessary nutrients, and behaviors of disordered eating arise. However, it is important to eat healthfully at any age.  Emphasize plant foods in your diet, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit saturated fat intake, found in high-fat dairy and meat products.

                It is important not to become obsessed with the numbers on the bathroom scale. The goal is to keep fit and stay healthy, regardless of your weight. More important measurements of your health include your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. Healthy readings of these measurements can be achieved with healthy eating and exercise, with or without weight loss. After all is said and done, we need to learn to love and respect our bodies, doing what we can to stay healthy. This attitude will help you age gracefully, be happy, and feel confident in yourself.