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Showing posts from 2012

Common Challenges: Happy and Healthy through the Holidays

Last year the New England Journal of Medicine published that on average North Americans gain one pound of weight from Thanksgiving to New Years Day.  Of course, this is an average number meaning some gain less and some gain more.

I've thought about this a lot because, in my opinion, Thanksgiving through New Years is the most difficult time of the year when it comes to nutrition counseling. Most of my clients live in absolute fear of gaining weight.  To them it means failure, disappointment, and can increase negative feelings about body image.  In addition to that fear, stress is at an all time high with holiday travelling, food preparation, and gift giving and focusing on nutrition can almost be debilitating.

What if the focus on the holidays from a weight management perspective was just to maintain?   Would that take some of the pressure off or ease the fear of failure?  I think it's worth a try so here are some of my tips to maintain through the holidays.

1)  When it comes t…

Food Trends: Coo Coo Cooking with Coconut Oil

I'm back after quite a long break.  Call it writers block or what you may but I've abandoned my blog and missed it greatly.  I have to say I was greatly impressed when I just logged on and saw that I've had over 15,000 views in the last few months.  I have been reading all your comments and listened to all your pleas to come back so here I am. Thanks for the push.

Recently on my facebook page I asked for some help with some ideas to get me back on track with my blogging.  The first question I had was from one of my very good friends regarding the use of Coconut Oil for cooking asking, "I've been reading a lot lately about cooking with coconut oil...why is this better than olive oil?  Are there certain oils to avoid all together?" 

My immediate reaction after reading this was 1) I hate the Internet  2) the Internet is going to slowly kill my profession by providing misinformation and then 3) well maybe there's some positive information that has recently c…

Food Trends: The Reality of Carb Cravings

I have a lot of clients who come to my office with “a fear of carbs.”They are either avoiding carbs or craving carbs.Each visit is independent of each other, however the guilt, stress, and confusion is usually similar.As I silently and calmly thank the media for yet again mass misinformation we soldier on and figure out the best plan to move forward.


My theory has always been that the more you restrict your calories, a.k.a the fuel your body needs to get things done, the more your body is going to crave its simplest form of energy.That unfortunately is carbs and if you aren’t eating enough of these the cravings are going to be constant and strong.


You can imagine how excited I was when I read Cornell’s latest study that explored the relationship between hunger and food choices and consumption. The study reviewed 128 students and split them into two groups.One group fasted for 18 hours starting at 6 pm and the other (the control group) did not fast.Twelve weekday lunches were reviewed du…

Spotlight: Ask Amy name Top 40 Nutrition Blog by The Institute for the Psychology of Eating

I am very excited to announce that Ask Amy  was recently named as one of the Top 40 Nutrition Blogs by the The Institute for the Psychology of Eating.  Take some time to check them out and stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime if you have a nutrition question or concept that you'd like more information on comment below.

Sensible Sports Nutrition: Exercise and the Truth about the “Recovery Product”

I have worked with lots of athletes in my thirteen years as a dietitian and it seems the big question is always what should I be eating pre and post exercise.Often times this is not a simple answer as we must go through a typical daily intake of food combined with a specific explanation of exercise.I do find, however, that the general public is completely confused about this and often over eating when it comes to pre and post meals.

As Nancy Clark describes in the Sport’s Nutrition Handbook, there are two types of athletes:“serious” and “recreational.”Please do not get disturbed with these labels as I’m sure we all agree that the recreational exerciser is still quite serious about the method.The point is that a serious athlete is the person who exercises intensely for approximately90 minutes straight or someone such as a competitive swimmer or runner, a soccer player who may have two a days, or a triathlete training twice a day.The recreational athlete exercises about three to four day…

Miraculous Misconceptions: Magic Bullet…to the Heart?

There’s been a lot of press talking about a new diet pill Qnexa this week.Have you heard about it?Basically it’s a diet pill that combines amphetamine phentermine, medication said to suppress appetite and approved for short term diet use, and Topamax, a medication said to increase satiety.Many federal health advisors have been singing its praise this week and it was even voted in favor 20-2 from FDA doctors.The next steps are a follow up study to make sure the drug doesn’t cause any heart problems.
Excuse me you say?Yes that’s right.The FDA urges the company to conduct a folIow up study. You see, Qnexa was rejected by the FDA in October 2010 because a study showed a higher heart rate in those who took Qnexa and birth defects for woman who became pregnant.Although, the drug did yield an average of a 10% weight loss, the highest reduction noted by any “diet drug,” the FDA wants to be sure to follow up just to be sure of the drug’s safety.I’ve read that the second ruling will take place a…

Guest Post: An Update from Sarah

Sarah continues to move through her recovery from Anorexia Nervosa and has made it through the most triggering time of the year for the majority of my clients - the holidays.  As Sarah moves forward from a setback of restriction, she shares her latest thoughts below.  Keep up the hard work Sarah. As always, we are pulling for you!


The past couple of days, who am I kidding; the past month has been difficult. Maintaining the healthy path of recovery is not as easy as the average person may think. I have come to the realization that listening and obeying the voices that sometimes accompany an eating disorder goes against my own personal beliefs. I have always been a true believer in the phrase what doesn't kill you will only make you stronger and so I have decided to make my new mantra, “eating will not kill me”.


You see not eating is what will kill me.If I continue on this path of restricting, I will remain week both physically and mentally and where is the fun in life if I am too …

Spotlight: It's our Blogaversary!

It's hard to believe I started this blog a year ago today!  Thank you to those of you who who have read and commented on my 77 posts in the last year.

I started this blog due to a large frustration with  all the misinformation presented in the media and news about nutrition and health.  Ask Amy is here to provide correct information that is backed by research or personal experience with my private practice. 

I am always looking for new ideas and topics so I encourage you to share this blog with your friends and family and send in your requests for 2012.  If you have a question feel free to email me and you'll find it answered in a coming blog. Until then... be well!


Family Nutrition: Unveiling of New Standards for School Meals: A Review

I’m a visual person so to start take a look to the right.Today the First Lady, along with Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the first changes to school meal programs in 15 years.The aim is to clean up some of the high fat, sugary, and salty options that are current in the school system. The thought is that by providing an extension of healthy options away from home this can help parents who are already working hard to create healthy balanced meals. The changes are said to improve the health and nutrition of 32 million children who utilize the school programs daily.The staples of the changes will offer both fruits and vegetables at each meal, increase offerings of whole grains, offer low fat and fat free milk products, as well as focus on calories, portion sizes, saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium.School meal changes will be implemented within the next three years starting as early as September 2012.Lunches are expected to change first with breakfasts following.
When I took…

Spotlight:The Year of the Dietitian?

I am a dietitian, therefore I believe in dietitians.I do not think all dietitians are created equally.I do not think all dietitians are necessarily great at what they do, but I do believe if you work with the right dietitian you can get results that affect your overall health in a very positive way.What I don’t know how to do is convince the public at large that a dietitian is the professional to seek out when looking for assistance with weight loss, food allergies, high blood cholesterol, uncontrolled blood pressure, Diabetes, Eating Disorders, and much more.It seems like a no brainer to me; simply a written order from a physician to schedule an appointment with a dietitian along with medication prescriptions.But this doesn’t happen as easily as it sounds.
I’m still boggled after answering questions like what’s the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist. Now I’m starting to also be asked what a health coach is.Personally, I think a lot needs to be done to better educate the…

Common Challenges: Happy New Year - tips for a healthy 2012

Ah, January and New Year’s resolutions.Those who consistently go to the gym throughout the year get slightly bothered in the beginning months of because of how crowded it is, the grocery stores notice healthier purchasing and increase their marketing and coupons on the organic or health foods, and dietitians read advertisement after advertisement on the web, in the newspaper, or in magazines promising for fast easy results as we roll our eyes (at least this one does).

I think it’s a great idea to make a resolution but it’s important to make it realistic and measureable to keep motivation and accountability intact.Instead of saying “2012 is the year of health” why not make a specific measureable goal, share it, and have a buddy who can cheer you on?I’d recommend changing the statement “2012 is the year of health” to, “in 2012, I will focus on eating 2 additional servings of fruits and vegetables and decreasing my lean protein from 7 oz. to 4 oz.”Share the goal, hold yourself accountable…