Category Archives: Family Food Tips

Nutrition Trends from FNCE

IMG_1978I left FNCE this year with three main questions. Read me out and let me know your thoughts – I’d love to hear from you!

Imagine rows and rows of food brands. Then take this image to tasting, learning, and understanding how these foods can help the clients and patients you see in private practice. This is the Expo part of FNCE.

What I noticed at the Expo this year (and as also pointed out by colleague, Robyn Flipse, an RDN and anthropologist – who also spells her name with a Y and is from New Jersey like me! What are the chances?) was that there were way less big brands and more smaller food companies. Why the changes? I have a few ideas, but this is where I ask questions.

As much as I love small – small houses, small companies, local farms – these companies don’t always reach nor are they affordable to a large part of our world’s population. A lot of the smaller food companies present were gluten, soy, dairy, GMO, grain, or sugar-free – either a combination of these or one of these was eliminated from a product. This is wonderful for individuals with food allergies. In fact it could not be better timing to have food allergies, specifically in the US, because of the food industry’s focus on creating products suited for those with allergies and food sensitivities. But if the food industry is moving away from big companies that make processed foods, aren’t foods free of so many key ingredients and food groups still processed? Check my social media posts in the coming weeks for more exploration on what exactly is processed and minimally processed food.

Another part of FNCE are the educational sessions. The two most powerful sessions I attended were Food Porn Dilemmas: Balancing Artful Imagery and Real-World Attainability in Social Media with Marci Evans, Regan Jones, and Rebecca Scritchfield and Debate: A Conversation on Weight Management and Health At Every Size.

In the first session we learned about ‘Social Comparison Theory’ and ‘food porn’. For example, when you see pictures of glorious foods on Instagram, then compare these to what you’re eating, which is ‘comparing up’, this can actually correlate to low self esteem. We can also relate this theory to our clothing choices, social situations, and how we feel about food and our bodies in other ways. So if you are on social media and you are ‘comparing up’ with the pictures you see, this could make you feel worse about yourself! How can we use social media positively without allowing ‘food porn’ to make us ‘compare up’ triggering low self esteem? I’ll be exploring more on this topic next month as we approach what I refer to as the ‘food holiday’ (Thanksgiving is coming…quickly!).

This brings me to the second session I loved with Christy Harrison, Hollie Raynor, and Dr. Robert Kushner. Wow. So incredible that the evidence between the movements of ‘Health At Every Size’ and ‘Weight Management’ were being discussed openly and in a room with thousands of dietitians! Christy and Dr. Kushner discussed diets and ‘weight stigma’. Weight stigma is actually a greater risk factor than dieting in regard to an individuals’ mental health.
We hear, read about, and see countless messages from healthcare professionals and all forms of media about weight stigma – it’s everywhere.

The big question is: Can we overcome using so much weight stigma and instead accept our bodies for what they are whilst taking care of them as we individually need? As we move into the New Year prepare to see even more on weight stigma, as we do annually, with the month of January. Stay posted for more on this as I will continue to write on ‘intentions’ again in early 2019.

Food for thought – thank you for reading!

Intentions Over Resolutions for 2018 & Beyond!

Jan eNL Image_1_

Last week I posted a question across my social media platforms

‘Imagine if we obsessed about the things we love about ourselves…?’. Right?

Resolutions come from a place of needing to change a negative (to me). Yesterday, I found a funny, but cool and poignant definition of ‘resolution’: A useless list of things that may or may not get accomplished in the first few days of the new year. Read: How to ruin your fun related to eating and other fun pastimes. I couldn’t agree more.

Think instead about obsessing around something you love about you and combine this with your new year’s intention(s). This is a much better recipe for success.

Here are some of my own examples. I’m trying to stay obsessed with loving our kids and our blendedness around meal times. When I relate this specifically to dinner it has to consider nut allergies, non-gluten preferences, dislike for cheese and shellfish, and keeping cooking time concise including enough food for 2 active teenage boys.

Instead of becoming overwhelmed about it all and resolving to make it different, I’m embracing it, and going with what the kids’ dietary restrictions, likes and dislikes are. It feels more calm. (With help from my Instant Pot, rice cooker and steamer allowing me to get dinner going and give the littlest one her bath!). Thank goodness none of the children are requesting specificities with requests like organic, cage-free or grass-fed or I would resign as head chef in our home!

Another, sort of continuous, new obsession I’m trying to love about myself is I cannot run regularly anymore. I used to run. A lot. 30 miles a week was my norm with frequent races. I went for a run a few weeks ago and loved it, but this was followed by days of discomfort in my lower back and lower joints. When I initially had to change exercise habits a few years ago it felt excruciating to give up so much running. Now, I’m obsessed with other things my body can do.

More weights and lifting quite a heavy amount. Awesome yoga poses that take a lot of practice. Tennis continues to surprise me as well – and humble me ;).  The keys, for me, at 45 years old are a lot of variety with my exercise and realizing I did have to break up with running. This may be a year I go back to running if my body feels good enough, but for now, my intention is to be open in other ways around exercise.When I think about my clients over this year I had two write and say particularly poignant things over the past few weeks. One is a woman I have worked with for just this year. She had battled binge eating and bulimia but also was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in March after we started working together. Throughout our sessions, she has normalized her hemoglobin A1C which is the measure of her blood sugars over 3 months. Her primary care provider has also taken her off the medicine she was taking for her diabetes as she has been able to focus so strongly on eating mindfully, movement, and decreasing stress.

Another client I have worked with for many years for her eating disorder said in last week’s appointment ‘I’m not even thinking about safe foods anymore. It feels good to be in charge of my body in a different way. I can look back at the eating disorder and say wow that was such chaos.’

Two women, two different stories. Two forms of success and calm around food and their bodies. Why? Their intentions. Not resolutions. To resolve, lacks empathy, sounds negative, and is likely to fail. Intentions are strong and full of light.

They incorporate obsessing about loving you and can shine well past January of the new year as I hope yours will for 2018.

Here’s the challenge – can you intend to love yourself obsessively in 2018?

Here are a couple of other pieces on intentions from like-minded colleagues:

A podcast on setting intentions by Summer Innanen

Krystal Thomas wrote about intentions for 2016 

Melissa Groves, RDN, wrote about 18 Ways to Hack Your New Year’s Resolutions 

Mandy Enright, is a dietitian and yoga teacher (on the JERSEY SHORE!) and wrote about What You Can Do MORE Of in 2018 

Remember to follow me on FB & Twitter @NutritionMentor and on Instagram @Nutrition.Mentor