You may have heard the term, food freedom or seen inspirational posts on Instagram with pictures of yummy food. But, what does food freedom mean exactly?
Food freedom means that all rules, diets and restrictions around food are eliminated. Our culture loves to promote fad diets and the misconception that certain foods are good and certain foods are bad. Food freedom removes boundaries around food and allows you to enjoy food without restriction, guilt or diets. This mindset brings freedom to the way we eat as well as our mental space around food. It is “freeing” to forget diets, lose the guilt and embrace whole foods!
Diet Quality not Calories
Diet quality is focusing on whole foods that nourish our bodies. This means a focus on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lean proteins and healthy fats. By incorporating a wide variety of foods into our diet including complex carbohydrates and a healthy dose of fiber, we increase our fruit and vegetable intake and make our gut microbiome happy.
Food freedom removes the guilt that can be associated with food. Allowing ourselves to enjoy the foods we like while focusing on diet quality over calories. Food freedom takes the stress and guilt away from food and gives you freedom to enjoy foods you like while fueling your body with high quality, whole foods. Making peace with food, is a freeing feeling!
Building Positive Perspectives
By ditching diets and restrictions around food, food freedom also builds positive perspectives around what you eat. This means nourishing ourselves with a quality diet and learning that food and eating can be enjoyable and good for you.
Are Intuitive Eating and Mindful Eating the same as Food Freedom?
Intuitive eating and mindful eating are practices that can bring you to food freedom. Intuitive Eating is based on 10 principles that include rejecting diet mentality, making peace with food and challenging the food police. Mindful eating focuses on the eating experience, encouraging experiencing your food with all five senses, no distractions while eating (i.e. television and phones), listening to your bodies ques for hunger and satiety. The principals and goals of intuitive eating and mindful eating can help you get to a place of food freedom. If you are interested in intuitive eating or mindful eating, I encourage you to find a registered dietitian who can guide you on these practices.
Curious what food freedom can do for you?
If food freedom has been on your mind and you are interested in learning more, I would love to help you on your journey. Send me a quick email or book a call with me to learn more.
These days, social media seems to be full of numerous so-called nutrition “experts.” Here’s a news flash for you, anyone can call themselves a “nutritionist!” Crazy, right? It is a completely unregulated term. However, registered dietitians ARE nutrition experts who have earned credentialing to obtain the title.
All dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are dietitians.
If this is confusing to you, you are not alone. Registered dietitians can use RD (registered dietitian) or RDN, (registered dietitian nutritionist) in their title, both options are approved for use by the Commission on Dietetics Registration. Dietitians can provide Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) to help patients manage chronic diseases, while “nutritionists” cannot.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the difference in education and training between dietitians and nutritionists.
Requirements to become a Registered Dietitian:
A Bachelor’s Degree or higher in nutrition/dietetics field from an accredited institution
Completed an accredited supervised practice program with 1,200 hours combined at a health-care facility, public health and foodservice organization
Passed a national examination given by the Commission on Dietetic Registration
Obtained licensure based on state requirements
Continuing education of 75 credits per 5 year cycle
Abide by code of ethics
Requirements to become a Nutritionist:
If you find yourself seeking nutrition advice, I urge you to do some background research on the person providing the advice. Do they have a degree and are credentialed in dietetics? If not, how do they claim to be an expert?
There is a LOT of misinformation out in the world related to nutrition. This misinformation is on social media, the internet, as well as books! Yes, people with no background in nutrition have published books on nutrition! Do not believe every “nutritionist” who gives advice or tells you to eat what they eat. Dietitians work in a variety of settings and will always have their credentials listed.
Areas of Practice for RDNs:
Hospitals and health-care facilities
Community and Public Health
Food and nutrition related industries
All nutrition recommendations should be INDIVIDUALIZED. We are all unique people with unique needs, and nutrition advice should always be tailored that way. If you want sound advice, seek out a registered dietitian nutritionist who has the education, credentials and knowledge to assist you in your health goals. If you are looking to get started on your health journey through nutrition, I’m here for you! Email me or send me a message here.
The realm of weight loss is a big business that includes everything from shakes and powders to supplements and bars. Within this mentality of a “quick-fix” for weight loss, weight-loss medications are ever popular. As the holidays are approaching many individuals become concerned with “staying on track” as sweets and treats become more abundant. Now the demand has turned to popular diabetes medications to help individuals quickly lose weight or keep it off through the holidays. Even Elon Musk credited Wegovy (as well as fasting) for his dramatic slim down, and celebrities are using Ozempic for quick weight loss before big events. So, what are these medications and are they an answer for weight loss? Let’s dig in.
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic (semaglutide) is a medication used to reduce A1C levels, in individuals with type 2 diabetes. It also works to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in these individuals. Semaglutide works by targeting GLP-1 receptors in the pancreas and brain. These receptors control the release of insulin and glucacon in the body. Semaglutide binds to these receptors to increase the amount of insulin released and decrease glucagon levels. This reduces the amount of sugar in the bloodstream. The medication also slows gastric emptying, which leads to a decreased food intake due to a feeling of fullness.
When Ozempic first came on the market, patient weight loss results were so significant the manufacturer started running trials on the drug with the outcome of treating obesity.
Wegovy, which uses the same medication (semaglutide) as Ozempic, was released by Novo Nordisk to treat obesity along with a reduced calorie diet and physical activity.
What is the difference between Wegovy and Ozempic?
The difference between Wegovy and Ozempic is the dosing. Lower doses are appropriate for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, while higher doses are typically used for weight loss. However, there have been some instances where Ozempic has been prescribed off label and used for weight loss. Several articles detail celebrities losing weight for events using Ozempic.
Both medications are once weekly injections. The pens must be kept in the fridge until first use. After first use, Ozempic pens can remain at room temperature for 56 days. Wegovy pens are single-use only and should be discarded after use.
Side effects to be aware of with this medication:
Acute abdominal pain
New Trials for Weight Loss in Adolescents
New trials are now being conducted to test the appropriateness of this medication to combat obesity in teenagers. Approximately 17% of adolescents in the 10 to 17 age range are considered obese. This comes with serious health complications such as early onset hypertension, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and joint problems. So far in trials, Wegovy has shown to be more effective for weight loss in obese teenagers than lifestyle interventions alone. More information is needed to understand the underlying cause of teenage obesity so targeted lifestyle interventions can be improved.
The Problem With Weight Loss Medications Alone
Many times weight loss medications are viewed as “quick-fix” options for extreme weight loss. The problem with this mentality is that this weight loss is not sustainable. Both Ozempic and Wegovy mention the drugs should be used in combination with “a reduced calorie meal plan and increased physical activity.”
A new study found that long-term 10% weight loss was achieved when the weight loss medication was used in conjunction with lifestyle interventions.
Also, depending on your individual health, wellness and goals, weight loss medications may not be right for you. Another study notes that, “In a head to head trial, lifestyle intervention was superior to pharmacotherapy in preventing type 2 diabetes in patients at high risk for the condition.”
It is also important to mention that one trial showed that weight loss slowed after stopping Wegovy , even with lifestyle intervention. Further research is needed to determine an appropriate long-term plan for patients requiring Wegovy for weight loss.
Pharmacist Sam’s Tips:
Semaglutide should be used appropriately – Ozempic for diabetes, Wegovy for weight loss. This prevents strain on the manufacturer to keep up with high demand and improves accessibility to medication for diabetics.
Use these medications while working with a dietitian and pharmacist on lifestyle changes to improve long-term results.
Ask your pharmacist about how to properly store, inject, and discard your medication.
Know what to do if you miss a dose.
Common side effects should reduce over time, typically within the first month.
Amy RD’s Tips:
Always discuss medications with your doctor as well as your pharmacist for questions
Weight loss medications should be used in conjunction with lifestyle interventions, dietitians are experts in nutrition and lifestyle interventions
Find a dietitian that will work with you and your specific needs and goals
Remember that small changes can add up to big results, weight loss medications are not always the answer for long-term, sustainable weight-loss
Halloween is a fun time for kids and parents, dressing up, trick-or-treating and the thrill of being out after dark. Halloween excitement can quickly turn to stress and anxiety for parents of children with food allergies. In the United States one in 13 children has a food allergy and we have some tips for parents on how to help reduce some anxiety related to this candy-filled holiday.
Top 8 Food Allergens:
Thrive Nutrition RDN’s Tips for Parents:
Talk About It: Talk with your child about their food allergy. Depending on their age this can be a simple or in-depth explanation. For young children, explain that certain foods can make them sick. You can do this by using terms you feel comfortable with. Some parents use simple “yes” and “no” foods, other ideas are “safe” and “unsafe” foods, or “green light foods” and “red light foods.” Whatever you choose, stick with the those terms while your child is young in order keep the message clear. Reassure your child that “yes/safe/green light” foods are okay for them to eat. Finally, make sure your child knows what to do if they think they’ve eaten a food they are allergic to, such as tell an adult, especially if they do not feel well.
Check the labels: Always read the ingredients labels and look for ingredients that relate to your child’s allergy. Many times candy is processed in a facility that also processes peanuts or tree nuts so be sure to look for that notation on a label. Also, any candy that does not have a nutrition label should be avoided.
Find a Teal Pumpkin: The Teal Pumpkin Project promotes safe trick-or-treating for children with food allergies. A teal pumpkin on a doorstep signals that non-food treats are inside.
Work Together on Rules: Set boundaries with your child before trick-or-treating. Do they need to wait until they get home before sampling any candy? If so talk about it together. If you know they will want to have some candy while walking the neighborhood, have some on hand so that you can give them treats you know are safe. Also, if one child has an allergy and another does not, be sure to include the entire family in the conversation around allergies and rules. Instead of phrasing the rules as restrictive, set it up so it feels special. Such as “we get to dive into our candy bowls together as a family after trick-or-treating.” Or, “to be safe we will save all of our candy for when we get home and then you can have 5 pieces before bedtime.” When boundaries are set, especially with a reward such as x amount of candy after trick-or-treating, kids feel prepared and know what will happen which helps to reduce their anxiety and in turn, yours as the parent.
Provide Non-Food Fun: While Halloween is certainly a candy focused holiday, there are other non-food ways to make it fun. Have a few non-food items to pop into your child’s bucket if all of the candy options pose a threat to their allergy. Glow sticks are always a winner, cracking the tube and watching it light up and light the way as you walk. Other ideas include stickers, spider rings, monster stamps, vampire teeth and bookmarks.
Allergy Friendly Candy:
Always read the label before giving a treat to your child. If you are uncertain about an ingredient in a candy, please do not give it to your child. Select an allergy friendly option or non-food treats.
I received such great feedback from my collaboration with Vegnews on a the benefits of a plant-based diet for psoriasis I thought I would expand on this topic.
What is Psoriasis?
First off, what exactly is Psoriasis? Psoriasis is an immune mediated disease, meaning that the exact cause of this disease is unclear. What we do know is that it causes inflammation in the body which is generally characterized by raised plaques and/or scaly skin. The National Psoriasis Foundation estimates that psoriasis affects 3% of the adult U.S. population.
Treatments for psoriasis can vary and include everything from pharmacology steroids, to light therapy to alternative treatments such as aloe Vera and fish oil supplements. The chronic inflammation of this disease is characterized by psoriatic lesions, resulting in oxidative stress. For those suffering with psoriasis the unpredictability of the disease can induce even more stress, triggering more psoriasis flare-ups.
While the internet is full of lots of helpful health information, regarding psoriasis, a 2019 research report estimated that nearly two-thirds of YouTube videos on psoriasis disseminate misleading or even dangerous content. Always consult your doctor or medical professional before making health changes. Registered dietitians are credentialed and licensed by state to provide you with expert nutrition recommendations.
Plant-Based Diet Effect on Psoriasis
Now, back to psoriasis inflammation and how plants can help! As with all nutrition recommendations I go to the research. At the foundational level, a diet for inflammation should be anti-inflammatory focused. This is where a plant-based diet comes in.
Plant foods are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals. Antioxidants are substances that protect against harmful effects of free radicals. Phytochemicals, also referred to as phytonutrients are chemicals found in plants, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts, herbs and spices that have the potential to stimulate the immune system, reduce inflammation and reduce oxidative damage to cells. Research shows that a diet rich in vitamin C, Beta-carotene and flavanoids helps to improve psoriatic skin lesions. Keep in mind many of these antioxidant nutrients are found in skincare products and oral supplements, however the best way to get the benefits of these nutrients is through food sources.
Key Nutrients for anti-inflammatory benefits:
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps with collagen formation, a key structural component of our skin.
Sources: Broccoli, kiwi, strawberries, bell peppers, tomatoes
Vitamin E: This antioxidant is found in our skin oil and helps create a natural barrier to keep moisture in our skin and helps reduce skin’s inflammatory response.
Sources: Nuts, seeds, avocado, legumes
Omega-3: These polyunsaturated fatty acids have been suspected to have anti-psoriatic effects.
Sources: Walnuts, flaxseed, salmon, mackerel
Flavanoids: These plant compounds have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in the body.
Dietary Fiber and short-chain fatty acids: Short-chain-fatty-acids are the by-products of fiber fermentation in the colon. They help to regulate inflammation in the intestines and have been shown to improve psoriasis.
Sources: Most SCFAS are made in the gut when following a plant-based diet. Sources include high fiber fruits and vegetables: garlic, onions, peas, lentils, bananas, apples, carrots. The list goes on!
Foods to Avoid:
Studies have shown that certain foods can promote the inflammatory response in the body and worsen skin disorders, such as psoriasis. Foods that promote inflammation include saturated fats such as those in red meat. Of course, if you are eating a plant-based diet red meat is not of concern. However, simple sugars have been shown to exacerbate psoriasis. So, avoiding excessive intake of simple sugars and simple carbohydrates is recommended.
Research shows that alcohol and smoking can exacerbate the symptoms of psoriasis and should be avoided when possible to reduce symptoms. Psychological stress is also a risk factor for psoriasis and dealing with psoriasis also causes stress, so this is a cycle that makes dealing with psoriasis very difficult.
Thrive RDN Final Thoughts:
Replacing processed foods, simple carbohydrates and simple sugars with vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes will help support healthy skin and help to ease the inflammation associated with psoriasis. A diet that is rich in antioxidants and plant-focused can help in providing relief to those dealing with psoriasis.
Garbicz, J., Całyniuk, B., Górski, M., Buczkowska, M., Piecuch, M., Kulik, A., & Rozentryt, P. (2021). Nutritional Therapy in Persons Suffering from Psoriasis. Nutrients, 14(1), 119. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14010119
Musumeci, M. L., Nasca, M. R., Boscaglia, S., & Micali, G. (2022). The role of lifestyle and nutrition in psoriasis: Current status of knowledge and interventions. Dermatologic Therapy, 35(9), e15685. https://doi.org/10.1111/dth.15685