You gotta LUV the Squirrel People

Darlings,

I have really mScreen Shot 2014-11-05 at 3.19.37 PMissed you.

There is a new business is town, Corporate Wellness and I’m gettin’ me some of the cash.  However, it comes with traps such as, let’s work a million hours and not keep up on blog.  It also leads to questions such as, are the pearls of wisdom coming out of my mouth making any difference?

For the last few months I have been a Health Educator for one of these companies.  The pay is okay, but the work can be grinding.  Some company pays our company to come in and do “health screenings” for their employees.  Sometimes there is a cash incentive for the employee to have the screening done and sometimes not.  Sometimes the cash is only for the salaried employees.  Sometimes the company just raffles off something to screening participants not cash oriented like a small backpack with a company logo.  This does not appear to generate the enthusiasm conceived by the corporate head honchos.

Screenings consists of height, weight, waist circumference, finger stick for cholesterol, HDL [happy cholesterol], LDL [lousy cholesterol], triglycerides and glucose levels.

Then, I, the illustrious Health Educator, reveal all the meanings of life or at least the meanings of your results in less than 5 minutes.  Move’em in, move’em out.  For some companies, the employees are fairly well educated and understand my Readers’ Digest version of how to turn a lousy result into wellness nirvana.  Then, there are the Squirrel People.

I’ve spent a lot of time in rural areas, and I really respect the people I’ve met, but I realized how sheltered I am not having cable TV, watching ads about food, drink and pharmaceuticals and sitting doctors offices reading back issues of People or Prevention magazines.

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Squirrel unimpeded by flashy food ads. Still fits on tree branch.

In contrast, many of the wage-earning folks of these companies located off Highway to Nowhere, America buy into everything on Dr. Oz and the Cartoon Network.  The amount of medication taken is astounding, especially from folks extremely cautious about owning a cell phone or having an email address.  Astounding because the drugs have so little effect and are peddled out with so little education of how they actually work and how you can take care of yourself.  This is where the squirrels come in.

I cannot remember the percentage of folks in the obese weight range who denied they were anything other than”Big Boned”.  Everyone told me, “I eat bad”, like I had put up a confessional when I set up the table and chairs, but resolved to continue with their current regime  and swallow the pills.  When asked about physical activity the answer was, “hunting”.  There was no understanding that sitting in a tree or blind for hours on end really didn’t consist of much activity and there was no cognitive connection with their “kill” and gout flaring up.  Here’s a sample discussion-

What do you eat or drink after you wake up?

“Coffee”

Then what happens?

“I go to work.”

Do you eat anything there?

“Cereal.”

What kind?

“Healthy.”

What does that mean?

“What?”

Healthy.

“You know Honey Nut Cheerios.”

What makes it healthy?

Blank stare.  “I don’t know.”

Anything to drink with that?

“Gatorade.”

What’s the point to the gatorade?

“What do you mean?”

If you are doing heavy work in a hot environment you can lose some minerals and stuff from your body that is really important, but you can replace it fairly easily.  Are you working that hard?

“Gatorade is good for you. . . or that’s what everyone says.”

Pause.

Then, what happens?

“Lunch”

What’s for lunch today?

“Ham and cheese sandwich.”

Anything on it?

“No.”

Anything else?

“Maybe an apple.”

Anything for a snack?

“Maybe a bag of chips.  Sometimes.”

Then what happens?

“I go home.”

Do you have dinner?

“Yes, pork chops.”

Anything else on the plate?

“Vegetables.  I don’t eat carbs.”

How many vegetables?  Is it like this? Make small bowl with hands. Or this?  Spread arms apart like a casserole dish.

“Like this.”  Hands scooped like 1/4 cup.

Any dessert?

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Same size as vegetables eaten for entire day.

“No”

Do you know that every vegetable is mainly carbs?

“No.”

Did anyone explain to you the connect between gout and game meats?

“No.”

Has anyone explained to you the use of fiber foods and whole grains to help with your high cholesterol?

“No.”

How long have you been on Lipitor?  Crestor?

“Five years.”

Fiber can help with cholesterol and also constipation, if that is ever a problem.

“Oh, I take Metamucil every day.”

Did anyone tell you that by having more fruits during the day you may not need Metamucil?

“Really?”

Gatorade is high in sodium.  Not having enough water in your system can also make you constipated.  Do you think you could swap out half the gatorade for just water?

This person is WAY into the obese category.  Their cholesterol is fairly high, and according to them, they eat about 800 calories a day.  That’s when I ask if they drink alcohol.  Of course, 90% only have, maybe one or two drinks a week.  I am amazed at the hundreds of people defying biochemistry and gaining weight on 800 calories a day and being at least 5 feet 7 inches.  I’m around 5 feet 5 inches and can’t make it through the day on less than 1200.

Here’s another problem.

When is the first thing you eat or drink?

“That depends.  I do swing shift.”

Swing shift means you work all the shifts for about one week each.  So your schedule is constantly changing.   This week you start work at 7am, in 12 days you will start work at 5pm, then in another two weeks you may be back at 7am or onto nights and start at 11pm.  This wreaks havoc on sleep, gastrointestinal health and the cohesion of a family.  But these are the only jobs in town that have benefits.  No one is going anywhere.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 3.23.18 PM

At least squirrel can see the trap.

There I am counseling a few hundred people at 5 minutes each on how to turn around these trends that are the heart of our national state of disease.  What am I really doing to help them and their families?

They need an onsite program that changes the entire community’s dynamic. We need to support time parents need with their kids, support long term health and educate on basic nutrition needs even if it includes squirrel stew.  It needs to be around for at least 5 years to make any long term impact.

Of course, there was one gentleman who was explaining how he dealt with his rotundity.  As he was sitting in the chair next to me, he explained.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 3.21.13 PM

Couldn’t leave you with just the “kneading” image. Here is nice, healthy squirrel.

“I get into my bathtub in some nice hot water.  Then, I massage my fat.”  He began to demonstrate on his stomach.  “I massage the fat so it breaks down.”  He is slowly kneading fat through his fingers.

” That’s how I am getting rid of it.  But, I don’t know if it scientific or anything.”

Just thought you might want to know what I’ve been up to.

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Does your food do what you want it to do?

There I am at a party looking at the food.  I’m looking for guests I know and who looks fun and interesting.

Before I can finish scanning the room.  The host says, “Meet my friend, LaDiva, she’s a dietitian.  LaDiva, don’t hate me because of the food.  I know so much of it is bad.  But it’s a party.”

Great way to meet someone new.  Now, the new person will begin to spew all their guilt about their diet to me.  “I don’t eat THAT much meat.  I mean, why does bad food taste so good?”

Really?  Do you think I care?  Did you notice I had a glass of red wine in my hand?

So here are my mental replies:

  1. “Hmm, interesting.  You don’t eat that bad-ly.  You are using the word, bad, as an adverb.  You need to add an -ly.  Strunk and White have an app.”
  2. “Hmm, interesting.  What else do you think about your food?”
    “Well, it is just hard to make healthy stuff.”
    “Hmm, interesting.  Hard to make.”  I nod my head.
    “Yes.”
    “Do you have a credit card?”
    “Yes.”
    “Great.  The rest conversation is going to cost you $150 for an hour.  I have my Paypal swiper with me.”
  3. “You eat really bad?  Actually you eat BADLY, and have you ever painted a room or anything?”
    “Yes.”
    “Well, this conversation is about as interesting to me as watching that paint dry.  I am now going to put that knitting needle through my eye to divert the pain of this verbal interchange.”
  4. “Okay, I’m going to cut to the chase.  You need to ask yourself, what do you want your food to do for you?  Answer that and the rest is easy.  Excuse me.  Those folks look like they are having fun.  I’m going to join them.”

That’s my bottom line.  What is it you want your food to do?  Here’s an example:

  • I’m a person with high cholesterol.  I have a couple of teen age kids, I want to get through college and off into their own lives.  I know what I eat causes my problem.  I pay my own insurance and if I need more medication, my premiums will go up.  I need my food to lower my cholesterol and make sure I go to my kids weddings.

If this person is chowing down on the animal foods, saturated fat and little fiber, their food is NOT doing what they want it to do.  Their diet is actually supporting their next stroke and decreasing the number of meals the caterer plans for the graduation parties.

  • I’m a person wiling to risk the damage to my liver by having a martini.  I drink my martini after 5:30pm.  The point of the martini is to break the work day from the evening.

This person’s food does exactly what they want it to do.  And if they have an olive, they even get fiber.  If they have more than one martini, it may not do what they want it to do because, depending on their alcohol tolerance, they make get to tipsy and not make dinner or go to bed at a reasonable hour.  If they have 3 or 4, they may have a hangover that REALLY ruins their next day and any relationships they have with people who don’t appreciate their 3 am bad joke phone calls and texting about how their bosses really don’t understand them.

The idea is not rocket science.  It does take looking at yourself, your goals and owning what you do versus what you want.  I come in when you want to get these two – goals and daily life – to work together.  That’s where my expertise gives you strategies to make your healthy life a reality.

So looking at your life and health goals, that’s the question to ask.  And when we meet at a party, tell me a great joke and the most fun thing you have ever done.  Leave the food guilt in the car.  It will wait for you.

Specific about Pacific

Only organic soy USDA gives poor mothers is possible GMO - Pacific

Only organic soy USDA gives poor mothers is possible GMO – Pacific

Conspiracy theorists are so annoying.  I am usually the one gently telling them to look up facts, and cut down the rhetoric.  But this ticks me off and I see discrepancies all over the place, so I am annoying. A new experience for me.

In creating an animated DVD about fruit for young kids,  I wanted to check on fruit listed on the Women, Infant and Children allowed food list.  WIC is a US government program for poor families with kids between 0-6.  I had to spend a little time at a WIC office.  These people NEED this help.  It keeps kids brains and bodies growing and out of hospital emergency rooms.

On my DVD I wanted to be sure to include fruits that every kid would be able to eat, so I made of list of all the WIC fruits and other foods. You may notice red tags on shelves in the grocery store around the OJ and milk area.  This red tag says this food is a part of the WIC program.   The red tag product can be obtained by the WIC recipient.  These are purchased directly with your tax dollars and feed a hungry kid nutritious food like fresh fruits and veggies.

Well, not all the foods are nutritious.  Until 2006 soy products were not available even if your kid was lactose intolerant or due to religious reasons you could not drink or eat dairy.  So, I was thrilled when I heard that tofu and soy milk were to be on the WIC list, especially ORGANIC products.  Since I work with kids 0-3 with eating issues sometimes silken tofu is an answer to propping up protein while transitioning to whole foods from thickened smoothies and infant formula.

Here’s the rub, Pacific Foods supplies the only organic soy milk allowed on

They don't believe you should know their product sources

They don’t believe you should know their product sources

the list.  Their Ultra soy does have a good dose of protein, calcium and B12 for growing bodies.  However, their organic status is in real jeopardy.  They state their beverage is made from “whole organic soy beans.”  On the other hand, they refuse third-party verification and do not have the import records to prove it.

The Cornucopia Institute repeatedly asked Pacific to clearly state where their soybeans came from since Pacific’s advertising claimed the beans were organic and came from the United States.   Cornucopia checked import records for Pacific and found shipments from China.  Cornucopia has their own seal of approval and asked Pacific to provide documentation so that the institute could bestow said seal.  Pacific replied that they had their own “Certified to the Source”.  I have no idea what that means and Pacific’s website has no further information on who the third party is or any other verification.  Cornucopia found that Pacific accepted a soy bean shipment that was refused by other companies.

Here’s my dilemma – I want to thank Pacific for helping out poor kids.  They will make a ton of $$ selling to the government at a cheaper price due to the volume of milk sold.  But is their claim true?  I want more info from Pacific about exactly where they source their ingredients with third party disclosures.

What are you waiting for?

What are you waiting for?

Demonizing any company really bothers me because there are many people working at the company who see what good the company does.  It is like a scientist who discovers something that gets turned into a crappy or devastating product.

Please contact Pacific and ask them to be clear or we just can’t support them and their products.  They need to fess up because this lack of information is annoying.

PS, I’ll be putting a minute or so of the DVD animation on my YouTube to view before purchasing from my 100% organic website.  I hereby disclose where I get all my ideas – at 3 am and during running.

 

You are what your grandmother eats

DNA illustrationDarlings,

Just got back from the 6th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition held in Loma Linda, CA.  This is a conference where research papers about vegetarianism are presented.  It happens once every 5 years.  So, those famous studies such as the EPIC-Oxford study, Framingham study, Nurses Health study get a chance to state their updated data with regards to veggie life.

The most interesting one I saw was Dr. John Kelly speaking about epigenetics.  Here is part of the definition of epigenetics by John Cloud from a Time Magazine article, “epigenetics is the study of changes in gene activity that do not involve alterations to the genetic code.”  What does that mean?

Ok, as oppose to what most people think, your genes and the work they do is not set in stone.  Your genes have on and off switches.  There are some basic biological actions that can turn the switches in one direction or the other.  One example of a flipping of a switch is  the beginnings of a beard as a young man . . . or an old woman.

In epigenetics, we don’t get rid of the on/off switch or change the wall it is attached to.  Rather, we see that lifestyle factors alone can flick a switch, such as food you eat.  Dr. Kelly demonstrates this in the Agouti mouse.  This was a female mouse programed with a genetic code for obesity and fed a diet during pregnancy to turn off the gene.  The Agouti mom gives birth.  The offspring doesn’t look fat like mom, however, it carries this gene.  And unlike mom, the gene is turned off.

What this says is that what mom ate changed the gene in the offspring.  What is more is that they found the gene switch change held for another few generations.  This type of gene switch expression was also seen in humans, although in a different type of study.

Okay, so you may be understanding how you can get stuff from mom, but here’s a fact I had completely forgotten about with regards to anatomy and physiology of a human.  You, at least in some faction, were created inside your grandmother’s womb.  Yep.  Your mother’s ovaries and eggs were created while she was still a fetus.  So if grandma was chowing down on the beer and potato chips that just may explain you.  Or if grandma was munching the greens on the farm that could have led to a different outcome.

I’m left wondering if the processing of foods in the 50’s and 60’s, then eaten by pregnant women, added to host of allergies that seem to plague every dinner party.  Which switches do the current typhoon of added chemicals to our diets get pushed in the other direction?

Ladies, I don’t mean to lay the ills of the world at your feet.  Rather, I’m excited knowing that you can truly change it.

LaDiva Coming to a Kitchen near You . . . Yours, Actually

You and me, Darling.  Cooking together at last.

You and me, Darling. Cooking together at last.

Very exciting news I’ve been waiting to share like a kitten wrapped in a box for Christmas.

So many people have asked me to teach them to cook or run a cooking class.  But, after trying to figure out the place and time, I threw up my hands in frustration.  Then, I thought why am I going to travel all over, schlep food and equipment, clean up after 20 people taste recipes and have folks go home and try to re-create it in their own kitchen with who-knows-what equipment?

The best place for them to learn – is in their own kitchen.  And you know what?  This is 2013 not 1913.  We have video chats all the time on a myriad of devices.  Why not cook the same way?

So I am.  Here’s video to introduce the idea.  That’s right.  I am having a video chat cooking class.  The class meets once a week for 10 weeks.  There are 4 different days and times to accommodate your schedule.  You will see me cook and I will see you.  We can chat and I can answer any of your questions right then and there.  No typing questions, no time lag.  It is interactive.  With a traditional cooking class it would be you and 20 more people very little hands-on.  But, with a video chat we cook together.  Here’s the catch -there is only room for you and 7 other members for each class period.  So, it is a very exclusive and limited class size.

We will be cooking with me, and LEARNING about the week’s recipes from my BFF, Marty Davey, MS, RD, LDN.  I will explain the How and Marty will pop in with a video explaining the Why.

Walnut Pecan Pesto with raw collards

Walnut Pecan Pesto with raw collards

The recipes include Nutty Thai Stir Fry, Apple Date Salad, Pear Stuffed Crepes, BBQ Tempeh Bacon Wraps, Girl-ish Figure White Bean Pockets, Raw Walnut Pate, Nepalese Dal, Morning Scramble Rancheros, Corny Bean Salad, and Chocolate Ice Creme Sandwich Cake and more.

We’ll cover how to use a knife, time a meal, read a nutrition label in 30 seconds, and substitutes for fats, eggs and dairy.  Marty will look at the food connections to cancer, heart disease, diabetes as well as what are antioxidants and probiotics.

I will have a demonstration class to check your connection and answer any other questions you have.  You just need your laptop or other device that can work with “Skype” type programs.  If you have any questions, contact me and we will walk you through it.  We set it up in about 10 minutes and I am NOT a tech wizard.

Writing the list of equipment and ingredients

Writing the list of equipment and ingredients for the first class

There’s a 20% discount for registration before January 10th and I can only teach 8 participants in a class period.  So, space is limited!

I am so looking forward to working with you to create de-lish dishes that, oops, happen to be healthy.

Oh, and you may even learn why LaDiva LUVS her immersion blender.

Just the Facts, PLEASE!

You should know this stuff for your health AND Girl-ish figure

Dear Friends,

Please come to this if you are in town or share with friends and family who can use the info. Also, I am presenting this information at conferences. If you know of any where this would be appropriate, I’d appreciate you contacting me.

Of course, we will have fun . . . and actually learn something.

Thanks!

Mark your calendars
October 13 – Just the facts, please! – Latest Diabetes, Cholesterol & Weight loss research. As a dietitian and weight loss researcher for 8 years, Marty Davey, MS, RD, LDN will dish out the skinny on the latest results from the GEICO weight loss study conducted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. As a researcher on this study she turns scientific outcomes into practical strategies for your kitchen.

Paying through the nose to lose body weight

LaDiva goes nuts over weight loss hype!

Okay, this is a quick post about weight.  I have gotten so many tweets about “Great New Diet”  “Quick Weightloss Plan” I am ready to go screaming into the night.  The amount of teasing done to the public about “pay me to lose weight” has driven me to the point of a short rant and cut to the chase about weight loss.

I am just finishing collecting data on a weight loss study for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.  I don’t know what all the data will say from the study.  I work at only 1 of 10 sites across the US.  This is what I see works at my site and it is VERY simple.

Fat makes you fat.  Cut out all the cholesterol from your diet.  Cholesterol is made in the liver.  So, you need to cut out all food sources that have a liver – cows, pigs, chickens, chicken by products, fish [yes, fish are high in cholesterol – chinook salmon 50% of calories from fat] and cow by-products.  Your body makes all the cholesterol you need.

Cut your fat intake from such sources as oils, nuts and seeds to 20% of your calories.  If that is too hard to figure out, I’ll make it easy.  Keep nuts or seeds to a few tablespoons a day.  Decrease concentrated oil, I don’t care what kind olive, canola, vegetable, you-name-it, to a teaspoon per day.

If you eat processed foods, this is not a judgement on your food merely a reality check, look at the nutrition label.  The serving should have no more than 3 grams of fat.

When you decrease the fat, you may find that you increase the volume of food you eat.  Having more whole grains and legumes will keep you satisfied because they take a little longer to leave the stomach.  However, the fiber in these foods will sweep out cancer cells from the colon and are a great source of protein, calcium and B vitamins.  They are exceedingly low in fat.   For those of you worried about Omega 3 fats, take a couple of tablespoons of flax MEAL, not seeds a day.

You do not have to exercise if you cut down the fat.  It would be great if you did, but one participant lost 22 pounds in 3 months with no exercise.

By following this eating style, I have seen a participant get off 3 of their diabetes medications and their endocrinologist will take them off all meds if their A1C number is still as low or lower in another 60 days.  Another participant, using this diet, lowered their cholesterol the same amount points in 4 months as much as their medication did in 1 year.  Everyone else that has been implementing this has lost weight and lowered their cholesterol.  The changes these participants have had in their health is directly related to fat in their food.

If you look at the foods on my YouTube Channel you will see little added fat.  Even the nut butters I use are very diluted.  FYI – for home made nut butters, a tablespoon of butter equals a tablespoon of nuts.

That’s what works, free of charge.