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Gift cards available

Shopping for gifts can be hard. Let that special someone know you care about them by sending a gift that gives them a boost in their health and towards their health goals. Show them you care by communicating how important it is to you that they’re healthy and happy. When they feel well, they’re able to accomplish more and reach their personal life goals.

Gift cards for 1-on-1 nutrition counseling are available for purchase: Give the gift of health

Celebrating National Nutrition Month with tips to keep your diet on track

March is National Nutrition Month and as we are approaching the end of the month, I teamed up with CSUN undergraduate nutrition student, Sierra King, to share some of her favorite ways to stay motivated and on track with eating healthy throughout the year. In addition, here is a list of apps that could help support your health goals by setting reminders, tracking progress and increasing mindfulness.

  • Practice meal prepping or meal planning or both. Choose one or two days of the the week to meal plan, grocery shop and prep for several meals of the week.
  • Create short term and long term goals. To reach long term goals, it’s important to first start with short term goals such as goals for the day or goals for the week.
  • Find ways to work through emotions without food which can lead to emotional eating. Journaling, talking to a friend or family or going to therapy may help.
  • Treat yourself to self care and devoting quality time to yourself. Examples include relaxing, reading a new book or trying a new sport, or meditating.
  • Make a check list or set reminders on your phone.
  • If you get off track of eating healthy, try your best to skip the guilt as this will only make you feel worse and commit to getting back on track by making your next meal or the next day healthy.
  • Stay aware of dietary habits and food choices. Get into the practice of asking yourself “Will I be happy with that decision an hour from now?”
  • Find the right support to help you through the process of change. Work with a dietitian to get guidance and support to be successful. Have a buddy to team up with.
  • Practice mindfulness.

Apps

  • Moment – forces off your phone
  • My mood track – tracks sleep, exercise, medication, menstrual cycles, stress, pain, energy and stimulants–all to help you figure out why your mood goes up or down
  • The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout App – intense 7 minute workouts
  • Sleep cycle – tracks sleep
  • Sweet slumber – tracks sleep
  • Waterlogged – helps you drink more water
  • Plant Nanny – reminds you to water your plant when you drink your water. Great reminder to drink water
    so your plant doesn’t die
  • Headspace – offers mediation guidance
  • Pact – earn cash for exercising
  • HealthyOut – helps you find nutritious restaurant meals nearby
  • ChefTap – find recipes
  • Pinterest – find recipes

Shopping tips for canned foods

Canned foods tend to have a bad rep, but not all canned foods are bad. Within an overall balanced and healthy diet, canned foods can have a role in it. Examples include bean products that are ready to eat in your next vegetarian meal or canned tuna soaked in olive oil that can be a convenient, nutrient dense snack on the go. Additionally, when fresh or frozen is not an option available for any reason, it’s recommended to include canned forms of protein, fruits and vegetables than to skip them entirely in your diet.

Unique fruits to try at least once

Beyond the usual apples, bananas, and oranges…there’s a whole category of exotic fruits that includes fruits you may have never heard of. The freshest way to eat these fruits is when you travel to other countries and you buy them locally. Traveling and (mindfully) eating your way through is one of the best ways to get to know a country’s local culture, cuisine and flavor. However, if you can’t travel, there are alternative ways to access some of these fruits. Here are a few of the most popular unique fruits that don’t require you to travel out of the US to try.

Created in collaboration with Sierra King, CSUN nutrition student

Discussing elderberry: what it is and what do studies say about its effectiveness in preventing and treating cold and flu

The newest issue (January 2021) of Today’s Dietitian magazine arrived in the mail recently and one of the articles went over elderberry. Elderberry is a natural remedy that has been suggested to help prevent and treat cold and flu. With flu season here and COVID-19, many people are looking into this solution, so it’s been a hot topic!

One thing I particularly appreciate about the article is that it reviewed published studies on elderberry, as do many articles published by Today’s Dietitian. As you know, there is a ton of information on nutrition, some that are evidence-based and others that make you wonder if it’s too good to be (if it does, then it probably is too good to be true). Knowing who and what to trust can be challenging. It’s important to find credible sources and as a clinician, I’m committed to providing information that’s based on science, not fads or quackery. If you have questions on this, send me a message.

In this post, I want to share the key highlights from the article and help you understand more about elderberry. I will be referencing Today’s Dietitian’s article in magazine Vol. 23 No. 1, “Elderberry: Is it really efficacious in the prevention and treatment of the cold, flu, and COVID-19?”

What is elderberry?

Elderberry is “the dark purple berry of the European or black elder tree. It grows in warm areas of Europe, North America, Asia, and North America.”

What highlighted nutrients does it contain?

– Phenolic compounds, particularly anthocyanins that give the berry its dark blue/purple color, similar to blueberries and blackberries
– Flavonoids such as quercetin, which has anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating effects

Takeaway

– “There have been several small, company-funded clinical studies that have suggested elderberry may reduce the symptoms and shorten the duration of the cold and flu, but a study not company funded didn’t show benefit.”
– In September 2020, a large study evaluated if elderberry extract decreases severity and duration of the flu. The results showed no difference in severity or duration of symptoms between elderberry and placebo.
– Elderberry has also been suggested to help improve cardiovascular disease (CVD) biomarkers, however there is a lack of evidence to support this claim.
– There seems to be uncertainty of the level of compound needed to determine elderberry’s efficacy due to the inconsistent amount of extract used in several of the small, company-funded studies.
– “Currently, there are no published studies that have evaluated the use of elderberry in the treatment of COVID-19.” – What this translates to is, it’s not safe to take elderberry supplements for COVID-19 without fact-checking and checking with a provider. Elderberry may actually harmful to the those with COVID-19 due to the immunological actions of elderberry, one of which causes the release of cytokines and studies have suggested a link between increased cytokines and acute respiratory distress in COVID-19 patients.
There is inconsistent researching findings on the efficacy of elderberry to prevent and treat colds and flu.
– Bottom line: There is no magic bullet and no diet or supplement can replace a healthy diet consisting of whole foods with natural antioxidants, immune-stimulating vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.