Sunday, August 21, 2016

Inightful Intern: Back to School


“Back to school”: three words most kids dread to see come mid-August.  You see the phrase plastered all over general stores and hear it in about every other commercial when you’re watching TV (typically followed by the word “sale”).  How is it possible for two and a half months to fly by so quickly?  I ask myself this same question every year.  It feels like I just began at Kindred Nutrition yesterday and here I am now packing all my things and preparing to head back to Blacksburg to take on another school year at Virginia Tech.  Although I am by no means dreading my return to school, I still feel like I didn’t have enough time at Kindred Nutrition as there’s so much more that can be learned from Amy, Dawn, and their clients.

I want to use this blog final blog post before returning to school as an opportunity to make a short reflection on my time at Kindred Nutrition, but first I would like to thank both Amy and Dawn for allowing me to be one of their interns for the summer.  I have had a wonderful time following the both of you and your clients throughout the summer and have learned so much that I think will greatly benefit me in all my future endeavors regarding dietetics and nutrition.  After my very first week of interning here at Kindred Nutrition I told one of my best friends I wanted to be just like the two of you one day and that sentiment continued to be reinforced as my time continued on and I learned more and more from you two, so thank you for this awesome chance to see how you two change people’s lives with the power of nutrition.

When I first began at Kindred Nutrition, I had just finished my first year at Virginia Tech as a Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise (HNFE) major.  I was pretty sure I wanted to become a dietician based upon my enjoyment for my nutrition courses and based on what I knew about dieticians (which really wasn’t a whole lot).  However, since interning at Kindred Nutrition I have gained a whole new appreciation for dieticians and it has solidified my wanting to eventually become a dietician.  It has been so cool to see Amy and Dawn’s client’s progress as the weeks have continued on and it is really neat to see how much Amy and Dawn’s recommendations impact these people’s lives.  It’s remarkable to be able to revel in the joy when someone’s body or body functioning has improved how they have wanted because of the counseling provided by Amy or Dawn.  Being able to see someone initially come in feeling very insecure about themselves and then eventually seeing them leave with a new found confidence about themselves and just a new overall happiness is a very fulfilling feeling.  It is this feeling that makes me want to be a dietician.  If there is one thing I can take away from my summer with Amy and Dawn, it is that nutrition is the pinnacle of good health and the understanding of nutrition can serve to better a vast multitude of chronic conditions and other illnesses many people suffer from.  Not only is nutrition so important to physical health, but also emotional health.  When people start feeling better and looking better, it truly changes their lives as they become almost a new person. I am thankful for all that I have learned from Amy and Dawn this summer and I am excited to put that new knowledge to work as I continue my education at Virginia Tech this year.

In Good Health,
Katie Wanger

 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Food Trends: Macros Misconstrued

Oh Macros, how I love thee. You are the foundation of my nutrition recommendations. You should be individualized and different for everyone although you are "prescribed" routinely the same person to person. You are scientific, there is not a one size fits all, and frankly you are misunderstood.

A couple of years ago Macros started to become more popular in the www world when a brilliant someone decided to market magical macro percentages to induce weight loss, body massing, and everything else under the sun. The thought process is to start with grams of protein needs dependent on body weight, to then look at range of fats between 25-35% dependent on goals and body type, and to provide the remaining of your macro goals from carbohydrates.  How easy, especially since everyone has the same protein needs, insert sarcasm here.
A food label providing grams of fat, carbs, and protein

Right away many bought into this bullet proof hope and we now have too many folks determining and "prescribing" ratios for people who aren't qualified and more importantly aren't licensed to do so.  Does this mean it doesn't work? Absolutely not as most of the time any change provides results BUT it does mean you may need to tweak things significantly multiple times as you move through the guessing game, especially when their is no scientific assessment made prior to your "prescription".

Dietitians and dietitians only are experienced, licensed, and protected from a liability standpoint to assess current lifestyle, activity, body type, co-morbidity's, and exercise regimens and provide specific calorie goals.  Based off of a dietitian's trained assessment and potentially additional equipment such as a Resting Metabolic Rate or Body Fat machine,  they come up with recommendations for calories to maintain, gain, or lose weight. The calories are then made up specifically of % or grams of the macronutrients Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fat.

So many clients come into my office nowadays with their own research. Most come in telling me they follow a 40/30/30 macro diet or that they have been prescribed macros from My Fitness Pal. The fact of the matter is that the generic diet you have been prescribed comes from a generic calculation that doesn't take your body type, exercise regimen  lifestyles, or co-morbidity's into account. Most of these clients have some success to start but reach what they fear is a "set point" fairly quickly.

This is the problem. When you work off of a generic macronutrient percentage you are learning nothing about food, fuel, or your body's reaction to food. You are simply allowing yourself more flexibility to come up to a calorie number that someone prescribed from a generic calculation. Does it really make sense to eat 1 teaspoon of butter or some jelly beans at the end of the night just to hit your ratios?

Speaking of ratios, there is so much more to the generic macro ratio.  You really need to also look at the Carbohydrate to Protein ratio which is different for weight loss, weight gain, and maintenance, It is also different for my Runners & Triathletes and my Crossfitters and Body Builders, combine any of the two and boy are we getting complicated.

My point is macros are important but is the Macro diet the end all be all? It could be if you are working with the right person but most likely it's a means to provide more attention to your food and maybe that's all you need to do.

Bottom Line: Macros aren't Miraculous. Don't buy into the nonsense, especially if it's from someone who's not qualified to provide the recommendations.

In Good Health,

Amy







Thursday, August 4, 2016

Insightful Intern - Conquering the Craving

When we look at foods and are deciding what to eat, we will often label certain foods in our minds as “good” or “bad” usually in respect to their calories, carbohydrates, fats, or sugars.  For this reason, if we were choosing a dairy product to add into our meal plan for the day, we would probably chose something like Greek yogurt over something like ice cream.  But, what if on whatever particular day you’re having a strong craving for some ice cream?  Do you go ahead and just give into your craving or do you settle for something a little less satisfying like the yogurt?  Often times, people will refuse to give into their craving and will eat the yogurt, but will also eat a number of other things in order to attempt to get the satisfaction they may have gotten from just eating the ice cream – Amy would refer to this as “eating around” the craving.  Since I have begun at Kindred Nutrition, I’ve heard many clients speak of “eating around” the craving.  In this situation, it usually would have been better to have just eaten the ice cream but maybe sticking to the serving size.  I believe this is part of the issue we have with labeling certain foods as “good” or “bad” in our minds. 

If you really think about it, your body cannot tell the difference between the nutrients in the yogurt and the nutrients in the ice cream.  What I mean is, your body cannot tell that you’re eating ice cream and that’s “bad” so it is just going to automatically store it as fat.  Either way – whether you eat the ice cream or you eat the yogurt - your body is simply going to recognize the nutrients, break them down and convert them into glucose so that they may be used for ATP and energy.
Now, I don’t want people to read this post and think it’s cool to have ice cream daily because they’ve read a nutrition blog that makes a case for giving into a craving.  However, as I mentioned in my very first blog post I do think balance is extremely important in diet.  You ate ice cream or some other high - calorie, carbohydrate, fat, or sugar food that normally you would not have given into – so what?  Maybe you walk an extra 10 minutes every night this week or take out a dairy or fat from your meal plan the next week to make up for it.  Excess weight isn’t put on after one bad meal or after one day of excess intake, it’s added up over a longer course of time and there are many methods by which you can make up for it. 

What it may ultimately come down to is re-framing your mind.  In order to survive you truly need the fats, carbohydrates, and calories which you may be avoiding.  So, say you indulge in ice cream one evening – try looking at the ice cream from a different point of view rather than just filing it under “bad”.  From that ice cream you are getting the fat you need for your fat soluble vitamins, you’re getting calcium which serves a precursor for your hormones, and you’re getting the carbohydrates that your heart needs just in order to beat, so why feel guilty?  Now in a perfect world you would just eat that small ½ cup portion size, but say you over-indulge – all you have to do is find a way to incorporate this over-indulgence into your meal and/or activity plan for the next week so there is no damage. 


Really, at the end of the day, balance is key.  However, saying balance is key and actually achieving balance are two very different things.  Balance takes time and a fair amount of brain-training.  The way I see it though, without balance any kind of health-diet is very unrealistic.  I think it is borderline impossible to say you’ll just never give into a craving or never go out with friends and enjoy some foods or drinks that may not be the most nutritionally-dense.  What kind of life is life without foods that really make you happy or you find to be delicious (despite their poor nutrition)?  This is why I feel so strongly about the re-framing of the mind and also just finding ways to incorporate poor-nutrition choices into our meal/activity plan so that we are able to live how we want to.  

In good health,
Katie Wanger 

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