Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Diet Myths: If a Little is Good, a Lot is Better

In the modern diet world, there are so many different theories and ideas on nutrition that it can sometimes be overwhelming. We have diets that don't allow carbs, diets that restrict fat, diets in which you eat exclusively fruit, diets in which you can't eat animal products, diets based on "superfoods"... whatever that means. Whichever food or food group is targeted, most of these diets fall victim to the same fallacy: if a little is good, more is better. Or, in many cases, if too much is bad, then none at all must be best.

Allow me to elaborate. Eating too many carbs can be detrimental, so restrict them all... too much dietary fat can be bad, so get it as low as possible... eating fruit is healthy, so let's eat nothing but fruit. You see the pattern? I don't think I need to go on. None of these diets get at the foundation of a healthy eating plan, and none come close to establishing a healthy relationship with food. What they lack is a sense of balance. Along with a misunderstanding of how biology works.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Flaxseed and Omega 3's: Why You're Being Misled

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you probably realize that misleading marketing claims really steam my clams. I just wish we could go to the grocery store, look at a food item, and see the real truth right there on the package, without any of the confusing health claims and advertising. You'd have to have a degree in nutrition just to understand them ha! Which is why I'm writing this article.

There seems to be some confusion about flaxseeds. It's become sort of "cool" to put flaxseeds in everything lately, from cookies, to breads, to granola, to cereal, to whatever. And it seems that taking flaxseed oil as a supplement is in style too. Why? Well, they're a great source of omega 3 fatty acids!!

Okay, technically true. But this doesn't tell the whole story.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Why Grains ARE Important For Most People

It's been a while since I've talked about grains. Like over a year. Too long. I've written Why You Don't Need Grains, about why you don't need grains. Duh. And Whole Grain Destruction, providing some hard science on the pitfalls of whole grains. Oh, and then there was Modern Wheat, explaining the difference between the wheat of the past and the wheat we eat today. Despite the nutritional shortcomings discussed in these articles though, most nutritionists still recommend a grain-based diet like the one depicted in this here food pyramid. Yes, it's outdated, we've moved on to the Plate now. The philosophy is still the same.

As a nutrition professional, I think it's important to talk to other nutrition professionals and understand their views on things, as they often differ from mine. Sometimes you learn something new from considering someone else's perspective.

I can remember one situation when I was doing my counseling internship at Student Health Services at UConn. I was shadowing a dietitian there, and a client that day mentioned that she didn't eat bread; she had heard we didn't need it in our diets to be healthy. Being the intern, I kept my mouth shut and let the counselor handle it. Of course, her advice was that we DO need bread, as it provides important vitamins and minerals. She may have had a point; refined flour products like white bread are enriched and fortified with B-vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin), folic acid, and sometimes iron. For people who haven't eaten vegetables or red meat in six months, maybe refined grain products actually serve a purpose.

So I started thinking... I wonder what it takes to get enough of these nutrients without grains?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Brendan Coburn, RD! And What's Next.

Yoooo what's up y'all!?!? It's been a while since I've written anything here, but it wasn't without good reason. For the past month or so, I've been deep in study mode, getting ready to take the Registered Dietitian exam. And on August 7th, I passed! I'm officially an RD! It's been a long road with countless hours (okay, countable... 1200 in fact) of supervised practice, too many classes, papers, and exams, and overall one big ball of stress, but it's finally over! Now, time for the next step.

So what is the next step, you ask?
  1. Most importantly, graduate school at UConn. Yup, stepping right back into the school world. Only this time I'll be a Teaching Assistant, complete with free tuition and a paycheck every two weeks. For real! 
  2. I'll be getting back to blogging. Maybe not weekly posts like I had been doing, but I'll be posting as often as I can. Or as often as I have something meaningful to write about!
  3. Leaving my job as a cook at Whole Foods. Sorry to my beloved coworkers, but it's time I move on... that job just doesn't serve me anymore at this point in my life. I plan on flexing my RD credential and getting some sort of nutrition-related job on the side!
  4. Huh, well I guess that's all I've got for ya. There are some other big things brewing in my head involving some future projects, but nothing's set in stone yet, so I'll refrain from talking about it. Suffice it to say, the future is looking bright!
So that's it for today, back to the blog writing in the near future. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and continues to support me, thank you for reading my blog and for the kind comments, keep being awesome, keep it real, peace I'm out!