WIC Can Help You “Go Further with Food”: March Is National Nutrition Month

By Susan Krahn, MS, RDN, CD, CLC, Public Health Nutritionist, Eau Claire City-County Health Department

Whether it’s starting the day off right with a healthy breakfast, packing a brown bag lunch, or enjoying a family supper, the foods you choose can make a real difference. “Go Further with Food” is the theme for National Nutrition Month. The theme highlights how our food choices impact not only our own health and well-being, but also the community.

Conversations about food often revolve around weight, health, or the environment. But people rarely talk about the foods we toss out. It is estimated that Americans throw away up to 90 billion pounds of food each year–either at home or when eating out. This amount doesn’t include food that goes to waste at the grocery store.

While many families struggle to get enough food to feed their families, the amount of safe food wasted in the United States is on the rise. While not all food that is thrown away could be saved and eaten, there are ways we can prevent food from being thrown away, especially at home.

  • Plans meals around the foods you already have on hand. Check the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry for foods that need to be used up. Buy fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products that can be eaten within a few days. Buy more frozen fruits and veggies that are ready to use quickly and keep longer.
  • Get creative with leftovers. Plan to use leftover meats and vegetables in soups, salads, or sandwiches later in the week. Use them as a topping on cooked grains like rice or pasta.
  • Learn about date labels. Many dates on food packaging refer to the food’s quality, not food safety. Easily find out if it is time to toss foods by using the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ “Is My Food Safe” app (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.foodsafety&hl=en) or accessing the USDA’s FoodKeeper App at www.foodsafety.gov/keep/foodkeeperapp/index.html.

Registered dietitian nutritionists with the WIC program can give you more practical tips on how your family can “Go Further with Food.” The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program is a nutrition program that provides wholesome foods, nutrition and breastfeeding education, and community support for low- and moderate-income women and children up to the age of five years.

WIC gives you healthy food and teaches you how to use it. Good nutrition during pregnancy and in the first few years of life has long-term positive impacts on health. WIC teaches you about the benefits of breastfeeding and guides you through the process. WIC gives you healthy food and teaches you how to shop for it, how to prepare it, and ways to help your child enjoy eating it. If you think your family may be eligible, contact your local WIC office or visit http://bit.ly/EauClaireCoWIC .

Each March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics focuses nationwide attention on healthful eating through National Nutrition Month. For more reliable nutrition information, visit www.eatright.org/nnm.

Choose HEALTH This New Year

By Dr. Emily Smith, Smith & Prissel Chiropractic

With every new year, we as adults find ourselves knee-deep in resolutions to make this year different than the last. As with everything else, our kids are watching! Without knowing we often “gift” our kids with their lifestyle habits, both good and bad. Breaking a bad habit is much harder than making a good habit. This year resolve to instill healthy changes that will benefit the entire family (and if everyone is involved, success is more likely to last past January!)

● Treats are just that, a treat! Eating a sweet treat every day creates a habit of needing sugar to feel satisfied. Avoid buying highly processed cookies/cakes at the store/gas station and instead choose to make healthier versions of sweets at home. (Add the word “healthy” into your Pinterest search bar to eliminate temptations.) If you have always been a family that ends a meal with dessert, try to follow the meal with fruit instead!

● Water should be the drink of choice! It’s not sweet or carbonated, but water is what our body needs and craves in order to function optimally. You should be drinking half of your body weight in ounces every day (for example if you weigh 100, pounds you should drink 50 ounces of water every day). Think of it like this, if you aren’t drinking enough water you are essentially creating “jerky” out of your muscles. If you’ve ever tried to bend/twist/stretch jerky, you know that you don’t want to be on the receiving end of that yourself. Dehydrated muscles will also be more prone to injury and result in more pain. Nobody wants that! If cold/flu symptoms have caused dehydration, turn to coconut water for rehydration (it’s nature’s Gatorade!)

● We’ve all heard the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but did you know that a simple apple contains 10,000 ingredients?! None of these are in huge amounts but rather in small amounts that work synergistically together to provide us with the prevention we give it credit for. But don’t stop there! All fruits and vegetables have their own massive amount of nutrients just waiting to do amazing things within your body! Strive to “eat the rainbow” with a wide variety of colors of fruits and vegetables every day. For those of you who struggle to accomplish that (due to cost/time/effort/desire), Juice Plus+ can be a great way to bridge the gap between what you are eating and what your body needs! www.JuicePlus.com

● Get active together! Whether this involves a family gym membership or hiking through the woods on snowshoes, the important part is that you are moving! To motivate kids check out http://healthylivingrevolution.com/start-strong-kids-challenge/. This Strong Kids Challenge sticker sheets offer lots of ideas to help kids incorporate all of these healthy choices and keep track of their progress. There are also great ideas for healthy snacks, lunchbox planning, and a downloadable cookbook full of tasty recipes that the entire family will love.

Dr. Emily Smith is a pediatric chiropractic specialist but treats patients of all ages at her Menomonie and Eau Claire (Smith & Prissel Chiropractic) offices. She focuses on whole body wellness as it relates to health, including how important good nutrition is. She can be reached at esmithdc@msn.com or (715) 833-3505.

Quality Eats Lead to Quality Zzzs

By Bethany Soderlund, dietetic intern, Festival Foods

Sleep is a key lifestyle factor that can positively or negatively affect our health. When it comes to sleep, the quantity and quality of those resting hours make all the difference. Whether you struggle to fall asleep every once in a while or it seems to be a chronic issue, finding a solution will greatly benefit your mood and ability to function throughout the day. Did you know food and nutrition can play a key role in the quality of your sleep?

The quantity, quality, and timing of meals can positively or negatively impact your sleep. First let’s look at how food can disrupt our sleep. Large meals, high fat or high protein meals, and spicy foods during the day, and especially before bed, may cause gastroesophageal reflux, or heartburn, which is a potential sleep disrupter. Many foods also contain substances that act as stimulants to the brain including alcohol, caffeine, and tyramine.

Alcohol before bed can cause frequent sleep disruptions, headaches, and less restful sleep, so it is best to avoid alcohol four to six hours before bedtime. For many Americans, caffeine is the life-sustaining liquid that flows through their veins. Whether a cup of coffee, energy drink, or soda, the high levels of caffeine consumed during the day can lead to a night of tossing and turning. For optimal sleep, avoid consuming caffeine four to six hours before bedtime. Another potentially problematic component is tyramine. It is a naturally occurring substance derived from the amino acid tyrosine that causes a brain-stimulating effect. Some of the tyramine-containing foods to minimize or avoid before bed include bacon, ham, pepperoni, raspberries, avocado, nuts, soy sauce, and red wine.

Fortunately, not all foods are sleep disrupters. In fact, some foods can actually be sleep promoters. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that acts to increase the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of deep sleep. Meat, dairy products, eggs, nuts, seeds, bananas, and honey are some of the sources of tryptophan. Carbohydrate foods help increase tryptophan’s access to the brain. What does this mean for your meal plan? In general, eating a balanced diet containing protein at each meal during the day and a small snack one to four hours before bed will promote this normal body physiology to increase the stages of deep sleep. Example bedtime snacks include yogurt and crackers, wheat toast and cheese, and cereal and milk. Just remember to keep your portion sizes small to help avoid sleep disturbances.

Sleep is a key element of a healthy lifestyle that can affect mood and productivity during the day. Our food choices and the timing of those food choices can be the difference between counting sheep and a deep restful night’s sleep. Whether you opt for two cups of coffee instead of three or switch your bedtime snack from hot wings to a glass of milk, small changes each day can get you on the right track to waking up energized and rejuvenated.

Bethany Soderlund is a dietetic intern with the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay and is currently working with the Mealtime Mentors at Festival Foods. Learn more about Festival’s registered dietitian team and their many resources and recipes at FestFoods.com/Mealtime.

Do Not Be Afraid of Food!

by Corbin Burkard, Head Trainer, Burn Boot Camp—Eau Claire

Believe it or not, most people I meet with are terrified to eat! As a personal trainer, I think most would think the majority of people you encounter would be overeating. This could not be further from the truth. Many people I meet with struggle to consume 1,400 calories/day (let alone clean calories)! One suggestion I make is to track your food using an app. See how many calories you are putting into your body and how those calories add up with your macros (carbs, fats, and proteins).

Still, people are afraid of food. It is disappointing that society has taught us not eating is healthy. I have had six-year-old kids tell me that their tummy feels too big and they shouldn’t eat today. How sad is that? Our brains were ingrained from a long time ago with the message that not eating will cause us to be skinny. I am here to tell you that balanced nutrition and consuming at LEAST 1,400 calories/day will help you to be healthier, and lose body fat. Let me tell you how.

When we look at fat loss, we need to think of simple math. How do you burn the most calories in a day? If your answer was exercise, you are actually incorrect! Exercise is an incredibly important component of this equation, and there are numerous benefits to exercise, but the answer I was looking for is: metabolism! This burns anywhere from 75 to 90 percent of your calories throughout the day. There are many factors that contribute to how much your metabolism burns, such as age, height, and gender—things you have no control over. Other factors include frequent eating, consuming enough calories, exercise, drinking water, etc.

When we talk about carbs, people shake in their boots. Healthy, complex carbs are essential to kick-starting your metabolism in the morning, as well as keeping it elevated throughout the day, by eating every two to three hours in small quantities. The omitting of fats is often misguided; they should also be eaten regularly (don’t buy “Fat Free,” buy “Sugar Free”). Healthy fats (unsaturated fats) help with many things from skin health to helping you feel satiated. Finally, your proteins should be over 100 grams/day, especially if you are exercising as they help you burn fat and build lean muscle mass.

At the end of the day, we need to eat to survive, and if you are not eating enough good food, you are essentially starving yourself. So throw something green on your plate, eat breakfast, and start eating consistently!

For more information, stop in at 3529 Gateway Drive, Eau Claire, call 715-214-5678, or visit BurnBootCamp.com/EauClaire-WI.

Auto-immunity: Management through Nutrition

by Daniel Czelatdko,DC, CCSP, DACBN, Tenold Chiropractic

Auto-immunity occurs when our system develops antibodies to attack its own tissues. The body does not recognize its own tissue and perceives it as foreign. The body then wants to destroy this particular tissue because its main goal is to survive infection. In case you haven’t noticed, the frequency of auto-immune diseases appears to be increasing.  Despite poor reporting on auto-immune diseases, there is a trend showing an increase in its incidence. Conditions like Crohn’s disease have more than tripled in the last thirty years, and multiple sclerosis (MS) has more than doubled.

So what are some possible reasons as to why auto-immunity occurrence has increased? Auto-immune conditions are nothing more than undifferentiated immune failure, ultimately leading to defined cancers, infections, and degeneration. One possible cause is the lack of cell membrane integrity due to bad fats in our diets. Fats such as trans fats tend to form poor phospholipid barriers. This allows DNA to leak out of the cell, and then our immune system recognizes the DNA as being foreign. DNA in the blood like this is unmethylated. So let’s say some unmethylated thyroid DNA is floating through the blood and the body recognizes that as possible infection. It then mounts an immune response to that particular DNA. The problem then becomes any DNA that is related to thyroid is attacked and hence we get a condition called Hashimoto’s syndrome. Along with a poor diet, other contributors are genetic predisposition to methylation difficulty, overburdening of the body with toxic chemicals, psychological stress, and immune dysregulation due to the burdens put on it through the intestinal track. Conditions such as leaky syndrome are a prime example.

Every person has a normal amount of auto-immune activity, which is vital for immune management.  Normal sampling of genetic material in the bloodstream provides feedback to the immune system. The body will interpret genetic material in the blood as upstream tissue damage and degeneration vulnerable to infection and disease. Auto-immune conditions such as psoriasis, Grave’s disease, vitiligo, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, and lupus all then have the opportunity to form.

So what are the goals of managing this condition? In any of these cases, the employment of therapies seeking to balance all systems of the body can help bring a resolution of auto-immune conditions. Down regulation of the immune activity by reducing inflammatory and chronic infection burdens while also balancing the intestinal track can gradually improve symptoms and result in a remission. Realize that it’s difficult to repair tissue that has been attacked and damaged by auto-immune responses. However, the goal here is to stop the progression and begin the healing process.

This article does not permit the ability to go into extreme detail on each case by case basis, however there are some keys to managing auto-immunity. One step is to improve lipid membrane reinforcement, and this can be done via essential fats like omega 3s. The fats will allow a better phospholipid membrane, preventing unmethylated DNA from escaping. Supporting methylation of circulating DNA is also important, so utilizing foods that are methyl foods, such as cruciferous vegetables, garlic, or spanish black radish, are helpful. Third, one must reduce the body’s inflammatory and immune burdens, such as food allergies. Each body system is then supported to promote healing of particular target tissues. This could include specific glandular support for the thyroid, the gut, bone, etc. Typically the gut has to be repaired, and this would be done via pre- and probiotic efforts along with other support to heal the intestinal tract.

Although detailed and systematic, auto-immune conditions can be managed and placed into remission if done with proper nutritional therapies that systematically stop the immune response to its own body tissue and heal that particular tissue with specific nutraceuticals.

Dr. Dan Czelatdko is a board-certified clinical nutritionist from The American Clinical Board of Nutrition. He has been practicing nutrition and chiropractic for the last twenty-three years with an emphasis on hormone health at Tenold Chiropractic in Eau Claire.