Tag Archives: health


Meditation:  What it can do for you

Meditation is one of the simplest forms of calming the mind and reducing the effects of stress.  Almost all religions practice some form of meditation.  Medical Practitioners advocate meditation for lowering blood pressure, relieving insomnia, and overall improved health.  It’s the best way to balance physical, mental and emotional states.  Meditation is not about squatting in the lotus position or chanting. Meditation is a process that can be simplified for the sole aim of serenity and calmness in our lives.

Here’s how:

Sit in a comfortable position, cross legged or sit on a straight back chair.  Be aware of your breath.  Feel the air entering your nose, traveling inside, rejuvenating your body.  Gradually exhale.  Initially, breathe in and out deeply.  Then slowly decrease the pace to a normal one and concentrate and focus on your breath. Thoughts of the past or future may come and wander in your mind.  Be aware of your thoughts but gradually return back to your breath.  Continue the process for about 20 minutes.

There exists over 100 forms of meditation.  All these techniques have been found to be very effective and they all have the same objective — to concentrate the mind and cut off external stimuli and let the mind dive within itself.  The breath meditation is most popular as it is simple and overcomes barriers of religion or understanding.

A majority of our health problems relate to stress.  And we treat these health problems with medication and surgery.  But it has been proven that meditation plays a  big role in alleviating these conditions.  When you practice meditation tension leaves the muscles, decreases anxiety levels and reduces stress hormones.

You are probably wondering how sitting still can make so much of a difference.  Studies show meditation effects brain activity and more specifically the part which controls metabolism, blood pressure, respiration and heart rate.  There are numerous anxiety and stress relieving drugs available on the market, but these drugs only offer temporary relief.  Personally, I have been on these medications but found the side effects and addiction far outweighed the good.

I have practiced TM (Transcendental Meditation) since 1973.  At that time I paid about fifty dollars to learn the technique from a practitioner of TM who was personally trained by the Maharishi.  Today, it would cost about 2,000 dollars.  But in reality, it is something you don’t need to invest anything other than your time and determination — a small technique that does a world of good for your health.

It’s simple; and can be practiced anytime and anywhere.

Why not take one step forward to good health and a stress-free life by practicing meditation today.  I’d be glad to provide you with additional information.

Diana Young, RD, LD/N, CDE
Registered and Licensed Dietitian
Certified Diabetes Educator


Change Won’t Power to Willpower


1. Plan ahead.

Define your obstacles and have a plan for overcoming them. Prepare for temptation. If you are dining out, look on the restaurant’s web site for nutrition information and plan what you’ll eat before you go. If you are going to a party, eat a healthful meal before you go and only snack on raw fruits and veggies if available.

2. Write up a contract for yourself.

A written contract for weight loss or blood sugar control will keep you on track. Better yet, go public with your plans. Create a written document of your goals and actions steps and post it

• on your refrigerator
• online via Facebook, blog, or social network
• on the bulletin board at work

You will gain more support and accountability if others know what your plans are.

3. Be physically active early in the day.

You are less likely to be active once your day is rolling. Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier to get in your favorite exercise routine. It can be as simple as walking.

4. Do you have a social network?

You’re more likely to lose weight if others join in. Enlist your spouse, family, friends or co-workers.
Now YOU have the tools to change won’t power to WILL power. You can do it!
See you on the sidewalk!

Contact me for additional information.

Diana Young, RD, LD/N, CDE
Registered and Licensed Dietitian
Certified Diabetes Educator

Slim in 6 – Day 8

Just finished day 8 of Slim in 6 and I love it.  I just pop in the DVD and I’m doing my body good.  I’ll do one more week of Start It Up! and then I’ll begin Ramp It Up!  And then on to Burn It Up!

As I said previously, I’m looking to tone my abs.  The Slim & 6-Pack that is included in the program is doing just that.  It’s only 15 minutes, so it’s very doable.  I’m feeling great!  There is also nutrition guidelines that go along with the workout.  Plan 1, 2 and 3.  Plan 1 gets my stamp of approval.  It’s 1200 calories, 120 grams of carb, 90 grams of protein and 40 grams of fat.  Which is 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein and 30% fat.  If you’re an MyFitnessPal member you can easily keep track using your food journal.  Another meal plan that caught my attention was Michi’s Ladder and I highly recommend using it.  Focus on Tier 1 and Tier 2 and you will be eating clean foods that properly fuel your body.

Stay tuned for more updates by subscribing to my blog.

Keep it healthy,

Diana Young, RD, LD/N, CDE

Popular Diet and Lifestyle Books Reviewed by Registered Dietitians

Diet books routinely top the best-seller lists, and new diet plans come out every day.

American Dietetic Association members have reviewed nearly a hundred books covering topics like diet, food and nutrition, health concerns, weight loss and more. The reviews have been categorized by the title of the book.

Each review highlights the claims made in the book, provides a synopsis of the diet plan or program, describes the nutritional pros and cons, and provides a “bottom line” summary from a food and nutrition expert: a registered dietitian!

Before you start any “diet” check to see if a registered dietitian has reviewed that particular diet plan by clicking on the link below.

Popular Diet and Lifestyle Books Reviewed by Food and Nutrition Experts: Members of the American Dietetic Association.

Nutrient Dense Foods for Weight Loss

Choose low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods instead of higher-calorie/higher-fat options.


  • Whole wheat bread/tortillas/wraps
  • Whole wheat crackers
  • Low-calorie whole grain cereals (1 serving = less than 150 calories)
  • Low-fat granola bars
  • Oatmeal
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Skim or low-fat milk
  • Fat-free or light yogurt
  • 2% cheese
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lean cuts of red meat
  • Fish
  • Eggs and egg whites
  • Vinaigrette salad dressings
  • The following in moderation:
    • Peanut butter
    • Nuts/seeds/flaxseed
    • Avocado
    • Olive oil

Some examples of high-calorie foods to limit are as follows:

  • White flour, processed foods/snacks
  • Packaged baked goods/desserts
  • High-calorie breads (biscuits, bagels, croissants, etc.)
  • High-calorie cereals (1 serving = 200 calories or more)
  • Granola
  • Trail mix
  • Muffins
  • Heavy pasta dishes
  • Chips
  • Fried foods
  • High-fat meats/skin on meat
  • Heavy sauces/gravies
  • Whole milk
  • High-calorie protein powders
  • Juice
  • Sodas
  • Tea sweetened with sugar
  • Alcohol

Source:  The American Dietetic Association

Unboxing Frozen Meals


Frozen foods can easily be incorporated into all meals for a healthy lifestyle.

Laurie Beebe, a registered dietitian and weight loss coach, says if you have pounds to lose, head to the freezer section at your local grocery store. “It’s a proven weight loss technique,” she says. (It’s the business plan of lots of weight loss programs even–NutriSystem, for instance.) “With frozen dinners you don’t have to eat the same exact food every day (like chicken and rice) but you can eat a 350 – 400 calorie meal every day and vary the contents. This works because it takes away choices, which takes away decision making–this is the part of dieting many people find to be difficult … thinking too much about what they will have, so they just throw up their hands and eat whatever they want. Bringing your frozen diet meal to work every day takes that responsibility away from you and frees up your mind for other tasks.” Plus, she adds, “they’re good because they are already measured and portioned, so less work for you. Just heat and eat!”

Here’s how to pick the best frozen meals:

1. Calories. Frozen meals should be one third of your daily calories.  This means if your meal plan is 1200 calories then look for meals around 400 calories.

2. Look for frozen meals with vegetables. Some frozen meals only contain a protein and a starch–chicken and rice, shrimp and pasta, turkey and stuffing, etc.–and have very little vegetable content

3. Check the sodium content. If you are watching your sodium intake for health reasons, such as high blood pressure, check the sodium content of the meals.  You want to make sure that the sodium in it is no more than 30 percent of the daily recommendation of 2300 mg. therefore, less than 700mg. is ideal.

4.  Fiber. The meal should have at least three grams of fiber to help you feel full, and look for ones with about 10 grams of protein. And now that there are so many tasty whole grain options, look for meals made with things like brown rice and whole wheat pasta.

5.  Ingredient List. The first ingredient should be real food, whether it’s chicken or pasta or vegetables. It shouldn’t start out with stabilizers and fillers.

6.  Check the fat content. Stick to entrees with less than 15g of total fat, and no more than 5g saturated fat.  And if you happen to choose one that has more fat, calories, or sodium, it’s not a total disaster – just make sure you balance out the rest of your day with lots of low fat, low sodium choices.

Matt Lauer: “When it comes to fruits and vegetables, is fresh always better?”

Joy Bauer, RD: “Not necessarily. You may actually get more nutrients from frozen fruits and vegetables.  One reason for this it that the ‘fresh’ produce you just bought at your corner grocer may be a lot older than you think. Unless you live on a farm or shop at a greenmarket, these items generally spend days being sorted, packaged and then shipped (often cross country) after being harvested. During that long process, fluctuations in light and temperature rob fruits and vegetables of important nutrients such as vitamin C and folate. Also consider how long they sit in your fridge! Canned and frozen produce sometimes retain more nutrients because it’s been whisked off the fields to a processing plant in a fraction of the time it takes for the fresh stuff to make it to your dinner table.”

·  Leslie Goldman and Leslie Bonci, Runner’s World
In the February 2007 Runner’s World article, “A Cold Case,” Bonci states, “Eating frozen foods, especially fruits and vegetables, makes sense for runners looking for the best nutrient bang for their buck… Produce is picked when ripe, then flash frozen, which preserves nutrients.” She continues, “In fact, some frozen fruits and vegetables may be better for you than their fresh counterparts, because in the five to eight days it takes for most produce to go from harvest to your table, nutrient levels begin to drop.”
Goldman adds, “What made TV dinners popular with 1950s housewives holds true for runners dashing from workouts to the kitchen today: Frozen foods save time. You can skip the week’s second trip to the store for fresh foods, and there’s no need to wash and chop vegetables, mix marinades, or wait 40 minutes for chicken to broil.”

·  Timothy Grower, Men’s Health
Grower sings the praises of frozen foods all around in his October 2005, Men’s Health magazine article, “Frost Bites,” calling the freezer “the unsung and, too often, underused hero of any kitchen.”  Not only does Grower point out that frozen fruits and vegetables are often tastier than their fresh counterparts, but they are often more nutritious, too!

·  Janet A. Johnson, Montgomery Advertiser
In the article, “Fresh vs. Frozen,” appearing in the October 24 issue of the Montgomery Advertiser, Ms. Johnson states, “There is no difference in the nutritional value of fresh and frozen fruits or vegetables.” The article describes the many ways in which frozen fruits and vegetables can be used throughout the year as an alternative to their fresh counterparts.

·  Irma S. Rombauer, Joy of Cooking

The 75th anniversary edition of the Joy of Cooking cookbook mentions, “Home chefs are urged to… save time if necessary by using frozen vegetables.” This statement incorporates two conclusive benefits of frozen food: quality and convenience.

·  Adam Campbell, Men’s Health
Adam Campbell writes in the May issue of Men’s Health magazine, “Researchers at the University of Illinois recently found that frozen dinners may help speed rapid weight loss.”

·  Janis Jibrin, R.D., Good Housekeeping Research Institute
Janis Jibrin states in her book The Supermarket Diet, “Frozen foods are surprisingly nutritious and you should not dismiss them.

·  Jennifer Savenake, Department of Health and Human Services, Tasmania, Australia
Jennifer Savenake of the Hobart Mercury states in the February 1, 2006, article, “Budget with price freeze,” “Frozen food is almost as good as fresh food and in some cases can be better.” Savenake also acknowledges that “frozen vegetables are just as nutritional as fresh, although not subject to the same seasonal price fluctuations.”

For more information contact:
Diana Young, RD, LD/N, CDE

Intelligent Eating

 Kathryn P. Haarala
 Dietetic Intern

To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.
– La Rochefoucauld

The fact of the matter is that this world is too full of false information, especially when it comes to nutrition, healthy lifestyles, and weight loss.  As a society of quick fixes, food to-go, food delivered, fast food, and “To-Do’s” the length of a grocery list intended to feed a team of college football players, it is quite evident we are on the run and quite busy! So, we grasp any information we are given without taking the time to research if it is accurate or not.  Perhaps it is time we outsmart some of the less than accurate information!  If someone tells you a great way to lose weight is by removing all carbohydrates, removing all fruit, eating all meat, or drinking a supercharged shake, you should question this information.  Let’s plunge into some weight loss myths and shake out the truth!

Remove all that you love, ban all that is “bad”

So here you go.  You’re pumped and TODAY is the day.  Today is the start of your fantastic weight loss journey! Motivation is high and goals are set.  You’re going to eat lettuce and say no to every slice of cake, French fry, mom’s homemade chocolate chip cookie, potato chip, and ho-ho that comes you’re way!  Sound familiar? Of course it does.  The mindset of removing all foods deemed “bad” is a mindset that will have you reaching for the Chunky Monkey ice cream at 3 pm (or am, in that case).  Realizing that foods you love are allowed every so often will help you in the long run, while banning those foods you love will inevitably lead to a binge sooner than later.  If you’re an ice cream kind of gal or guy, allow yourself a serving every so often (and every so often does not mean every day, folks!) Just make sure that 80-85% of the time you are choosing foods high in fiber, naturally colorful foods(fruits & veggies) and are filling up on plenty of water.

Diet foods and low-fat foods are your friend.

False. Think again.  Our society is so scared of “fat” and continually opts for low-fat foods to ensure they are eating healthy and low-calories dishes.  Here’s the thing, the low-fat and diet foods are generally pumped full of sugar and additives.  The process of removing naturally occurring fats generally leads to sugar being added to the product.  Take peanut butter for instance: The low-fat version in comparison to the original version has the same amount of calories, 190 for 2 Tbsp.  How can that be, you ask? If you check the nutrition facts you’ll see that fat has been reduced (and by the way, the fat they took out was heart healthy fats) and sugar has been added.  Doesn’t sound like the low-fat version was the better choice, does it? Plus, we tend to have the mentally, ”because it’s low-fat, I’m allowed to eat more.” Eating the entire package of Oreos, even if they are low-fat, doesn’t mean calories aren’t present. Stick with whole foods.  Stick with foods in their original state, foods that haven’t been chemically manipulated and modified.

Mini-meals are the best for weight loss

We’ve heard this newest food rule belabored continuously, and it may seem to make sense, but it all depends on the actual size of this meal you call “mini”.  A large study with 10,000 subjects, completed in 2009, found that between meal snackers were 69% more likely to see an increase in their weight.  Now, I am a big believer in having a piece of fruit, cheese stick, of small handful of walnuts between meals when I start to feel my tummy start to rumble, but all too often, the idea of a “mini-meal” turns into a full blown meal for many people. If you are eating 5-6 real meals per day, or are choosing to continually graze on crackers, chips, and cheese, it is quite evident that those pounds will eventually find their way to your rear, dear.

The main thing to remember and focus on is your relationship with food.  Food is not the bad guy! We need food for nourishment, for energy, and to be able to chase our bad beagles up the road, or have the vitality to keep up with the little ones in our lives.  Just remember, our bodies are well equipped and very intelligent.  Listen to you stomach. It will remind you that it needs an orange to make it to lunch, or some peanut butter and a banana to make it through that run.  And just because it is 12:00 noon doesn’t mean it’s time to eat.  If you aren’t hungry because you had a big breakfast with the co-workers, it is ok to eat at a later time.  Do not let the clock tell you it’s time to eat, and do not be afraid to eat when your tummy is rumblin’ mid-afternoon.  Food is nourishment. Food is energy.  Food is life! Here’s to your health!

Eat Intelligently, Friends!


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