Are you about to hit the road this coming summer for fun, sports events, or other outdoor activities? If so, chances are your food budget is limited, your encounters with unhealthy snacks and fast food are relentless, and your hankerings for convenience and comfort overpowers your usual nutritional preferences. In other words, even if you know what you should (and shouldn’t) eat, you may still struggle with your available choices.
Spring is an ideal time to detox. When I say “detox,” I am not referring to fasting, juicing, or mixing a concoction of maple syrup, lemon juice and cayenne that has you running to the bathroom. I am referring to eating in a way that supports your body’s ability to detoxify effectively and eliminate consistently, so it can function optimally.
I recently spoke at a conference sponsored by the food and nutrition non-profit organization Oldways and the Whole Grains Council. Of course, the conference was something of a pep rally for whole grains, and that was fine with me. I eat them routinely, and think the case for doing so is very strong.
When I first started working as a registered dietitian, I gained 10 pounds in just a few short months. I was surprised, and a bit embarrassed. After all, considering my profession, I should know better, right? Even worse, my office is smack in the middle of a fitness center. So just what the heck was going on, why was I packing on extra weight? My eating habits hadn’t changed, and I was probably working out even a little more than before. But then it hit me: The pounds I was accumulating were a direct result of my new job.
Diet, food, and cooking are staples of morning television. What makes the never-ending parade of diet segments possible is, in large measure, a willingness of the media to provide constantly changing messages and not worry about inconsistencies. The question for everyone who watches such shows regularly is this: What is the net effect of all this competing, sometimes mutually exclusive information?
You’d think what you put in your mouth would be a personal choice, but there are plenty of messages weighing in about what you should and shouldn’t eat. When the 2015 Dietary Guidelines by the Advisory Committee (DAGC) recently released a 500-page document containing suggestions for updated nutrition standards, media stories on the subject spread like ink on a paper towel. The resulting coverage focused on counter-intuitive recommendations sure to drive controversial conversations and varying opinions from health professionals.
The release of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report does not officially give us new dietary guidelines just yet. Famously, there is a political element to this process. What actually emerges as guidance is determined by the federal agencies in charge, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). But given that, I like what I see so far. In fact, I think the advisory committee has done a stellar job.