What’s up with protein powder?

“What’s up with protein powder? What is it? Who needs it?”

I’m glad you asked! Protein powder is a growing fad and many people are jumping on the bandwagon. We’ll tell you all about what it is and who needs it in their diet.

Protein powder is a powdery mix that turns into a drink when it’s added to liquid, most commonly water. The three most popular forms are whey, soy and casein. It is an easy way to get a complete, high-quality protein meal.

So who needs protein powder? Everyone needs protein but certain people are looking to add more protein in their diets, such as:

  • Athletes trying to build muscle
  • People amping up their workouts, like for marathon training
  • Growing teenagers
  • People recovering from an injury
  • Vegans

Protein powder can be helpful but before you run out to the store and stock up, remember that you can have a protein-rich diet with lean meat, chicken, fish, dairy, nuts and eggs. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend that 30 percent of your daily diet comes from protein. So while protein powders may be delicious and easy, make sure you don’t over-do it.


The Sneaky Names for Sugar You Need To Know

Sugar. It’s addictive and something we all need to consume less. It’s the worst added ingredient that can contribute to a variety of health problems. Sugar is often hidden in the food and drinks we eat and drink – including some items we think are healthy. It’s important for you to know what sneaky other names manufacturers are using for sugar.

Here are some other names of sugar:

  • Agave nectar
  • Barbados sugar
  • Barley malt
  • Beet sugar
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Brown rice sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Buttered sugar
  • Buttered syrup
  • Cane juice crystals
  • Cane sugar
  • Caramel
  • Carob syrup
  • Castor sugar
  • Coconut sugar
  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Crystalline fructose
  • Date sugar
  • Demerara sugar
  • Dextrain
  • Dextrose
  • Diastatic malt
  • Diatase
  • Ethyl maltol
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Florida crystals
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Galactose
  • Glucose
  • Glucose solids
  • Golden sugar
  • Golden syrup
  • Grape sugar
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Icing sugar
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Muscovado
  • Organic raw sugar
  • Panocha
  • Raw sugar
  • Refiner’s syrup
  • Rice syrup
  • Sorghum syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Treacle
  • Turbinado sugar
  • Yellow sugar

Quinoa 101

Quinoa is a rising popular food that still baffles many people. What is it, how is it good for you, what recipes can you make with it? Welcome to Quinoa 101: Your new go-to guide for everything quinoa.  

What is it? Quinoa is a grain crop grown for its edible seeds in the Andes and Bolivia. It comes in three different types – white, red and black.

What makes it popular? Quinoa is gluten free and contains all nine essential amino acids necessary for good health.

Is it grown in the U.S.? Yes but it takes high elevation to grow properly, such as in the San Luis Valley in Colorado.

What is its claim to fame? The United States General Assembly declared 2013 as the Year of Quinoa. Sounds like a pretty big deal to us!

Fun Fact? It’s one of only very few plant foods considered a complete protein.

How can I add it to my diet? Blend it into a smoothie, use it instead of oatmeal, throw inside of quiche, make your own energy bars, mix in your salad, swap out for rice, toss it in chili, roll it in your burrito. Just get creative!

Keep Hydrated without Drinking Water

Water is essential to living and wellness. However, some people have a hard time getting the recommended amount of water per day (which varies for everyone based on body type but the average adult needs 60 – 100 ounces of water daily). Whatever the reason you have for not getting enough water – don’t like it, not enough time, too full – here are some foods to also keep you hydrated.

Many foods are filled with water to help hydrate your body.

  • Cucumbers are 96 percent water
  • Zucchinis are 95 percent water
  • Tomatoes are 94 percent water
  • Pineapples are 87 percent water
  • Watermelons are 92 percent water
  • Strawberries are 92 percent water
  • Pears are 92 percent water
  • Celery is 95 percent water
  • Grapefruit is 90 percent water
  • Blueberries are 95 percent water
  • Spinach is 96 percent water
  • Raspberries are 87 percent water

Stay away from alcoholic drinks and caffeinated drinks. These are diuretics and actually rid the body of water, which will make you dehydrated. Drink (or eat) up!

How to Start Meal Prep

One of the biggest concerns we hear from patients is, “I don’t have enough time to eat healthy.” Eating healthy is a lifestyle change and meal prep is one of the things to make your journey easier.

Planning and dedication are key when it comes to meal prep. It takes three weeks to form a habit. So don’t give up if you have challenges as you start prepping meals but focus on ways to make modifications. Overall, food prep is what you make it and any meal prep will help make eating healthy easier.

The first step is to determine what meals you should prep. Based on the number of meals, decide what recipes you want to make and create a grocery list. Head to the grocery store to get your items.

Once home, it’s often easiest to spread out all of the supplies on the counter. Think about the foods that will take the longest that you can immediately start cooking. Remember – all of the cooking actually doesn’t have to be done right then. You can easily prepare a meal and put the contents in the freezer or portion out snacks for the week. The last step is to store your meals in Tupperware, glass jars, baggies or any other container.

By beginning the habit now, you will quickly see how much a few hours of meal prep will save you during the week while helping to keep you on track with your healthy weight loss journey.


Eating Healthy While on a Budget

Many people think eating healthy is sticking and that it won’t fit within their budget. Well, I’m here to bust this myth. It’s definitely possible to be budget conscience and find food that will fit your diet.

Have you started with the source aka where you shop? A vegetable is a vegetable whether you shop at Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme, Kroger, Aldi or the farmer’s market. You don’t have to go to the high-end stores to buy your veggies. Compare prices online or from advertisements and go to the store that offers them the cheapest.

Or better yet, grow your own veggies! This could be a fun stress-relieving project for you, a teaching moment with your kids or a new adventure with your spouse. If you provide your veggies with the correct environment, you’ll have more fresh food than you know what to do with (which is where freezing and canning come into play).

Fresh berries can get expensive, especially out of season. Instead of buying fresh and then throwing out the rotten ones (which is like throwing your dollars straight in the trash), buy frozen berries. They are just as nutritious and last much longer.

Vegetable chips may be delicious but are more expensive AND way more calories than making your own. Grab some kale, slice it up, add some sea salt and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. At only 50 calories per cup, you’ll love how they treat your wallet and your waistline.

Instead of paying a lot to get fresh fish, try going back to canned tuna. You still get your omega-3s, it’s friendly on your budget and they make convenient lunches.

By combining these tips in addition to being proactive with your budget and grocery list, you will quickly find that eating healthy and saving money go hand in hand.

Four Weight Loss Myths Revealed

Single food diets really work.

Companies love to hype up juice diets and weight loss programs that force you to eat only one food or one type of food for a certain amount of time. Truthfully, most of these regimens, especially if they are exaggerated or not completed correctly, can actually end up being less healthy for you than your original eating pattern. The majority of these diets are based on the assumption or belief that your body can’t handle taking in multiple types of nutrients or foods, leading to digestive complications and weight gain. However, the opposite is actually true. There are very few foods that only contain one type of nutrient, so finding foods that consist of, for example, only carbohydrates or only proteins, would be virtually impossible in the first place. Not to mention, your body was designed to take in multiple nutrients at a time and to use those nutrients in conjunction with each other to keep your body functioning properly. Eating foods that help you achieve a balance of each of the five nutrients — carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals is the key to a healthy diet.


Fast weight loss is the best weight loss.

Programs that promise intense weight loss in short amounts of time are often leading you astray in your quest to lose those extra pounds. Although it is extremely tempting to adopt regimens that give you fast results with minimal effort, keep in mind it is almost always unhealthy to rapidly lose weight and that these methods are frequently unreliable. The only exception to this rule is a process of rapid weight loss that is prescribed by doctors to patients whose weight is causing them serious health problems and even then, these diets are closely supervised by medical professionals and the weight lost is often difficult to keep off. Losing weight quickly can often cause you to lose water weight or muscle as opposed to burning fat because it is difficult to burn fat in short amounts of time. Adopting a weight loss regimen that gives you a goal of 1-2 pounds lost per week is a realistic and healthy method to losing weight and developing habits that will keep the weight off for the rest of your life.


You should never eat fast food or “junk food.”

It is true that fast food is unhealthy overall – there is no disputing that. However, you don’t have to completely stop eating McDonald’s or Taco Bell just because you’re trying to lose weight. Eating well can be hard at first but it doesn’t have to be completely devoid of enjoyment. Now, if you previously ate a Big Mac during every lunch break or stopped to get a Cheesy Gordita Crunch daily, those habits need to be broken. But getting the occasional order of fries, isn’t going to break your healthy lifestyle. It’s only going to satisfy your craving and make it easier to stay faithful to your regimen later. Control your portion sizes and the frequency with which you eat unhealthy foods and you’ll find yourself enjoying your new healthy lifestyle while still reaching your weight loss goals.  


Watching what you eat is enough – exercise isn’t necessary.

We know — It’s hard to find time to get to the gym and it’s harder still to find the motivation to push yourself through a hard workout once you get there. While you will most likely drop pounds through healthy eating, you’ll miss out on a lot of health benefits if you don’t combine your smart food choices with exercise. Exercising helps you keep the weight that you lose from coming back, plus it improves mood, helps with sleep and can aid in disease prevention. It is recommended that you participate in 30 minutes of medium-intensity exercise most or all days of the week. Thirty minutes daily helps with disease prevention. Sixty minutes daily helps with weight maintenance. Ninety minutes daily can take care of both, plus it’ll burn more fat and helps you lose even more weight. Developing a regular exercise schedule can also reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and build healthy bones, muscles, and joints. Studies show those who were active when they were younger and stayed active throughout their lifetime developed fewer health problems and lived longer than those who were sedentary most of their lives. If you really hate traditional methods of exercise, find ways to get your daily dose that are enjoyable to you.

How To Trick Your Taste Buds

It’s difficult to continually eat healthy when you miss some of your favorite meals or snacks but here are some ways you may not have to miss out on taste and go easy on the waistline.

Zucchini Fries

Cut 4-5 small/medium zucchini into strips and place on a baking sheet after you place aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Mix together 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon zest and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Brush mixture on the zucchini strips and then sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese on top. Season with salt and pepper if you would like. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Spaghetti Squash

Heat up spaghetti sauce (with low sugar) on the stove. Place the entire spaghetti squash in the microwave for 5 minutes. Cut in half and let it cool a little bit. Scrape out the inside into a bowl discarding the seeds. Mix in the spaghetti sauce, sprinkle cheese on top and enjoy!

Cauliflower Wings

Line baking sheet with foil and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut cauliflower into pieces. In a bowl mix together ½ cup of all purpose flour, ½ cup of water and ¼ teaspoon of garlic salt. Dip cauliflower into the batter until evenly coated and place on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Brush cauliflower with your favorite or homemade buffalo or barbeque sauce. Place back in oven for 5-7 minutes.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Add 4 cups of frozen strawberries, 3 tablespoons of agave nectar or honey, ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to a food processor or blender. Blend until creamy and serve or store in freezer for up to one month.

Greek Yogurt Mac & Cheese

Cook 2 cups of pasta on the stove and drain once cooked. Stir together ½ cup of milk, 2 cups shredded cheese and ⅛ teaspoon of salt on the stove until melted. Add ½ cup Greek yogurt and cook on low until the sauce is hot. Stir in pasta and enjoy!

There are tons of new recipes to try that are healthy! Try them out and even create your own.

Dr. Christy Kirkendol Watson

Why Is Childhood Obesity Such A Problem?

The kids that we are seeing coming in are bigger for sure than they were 10 years ago and their composition has completely changed. Kids are carrying significantly more percent body fat and less skeletal muscle mass than they should be because they are not eating a protein based diet.

And kids are no different than typical Americans who are eating a third of the protein they need and five times more carbohydrates than they need. So for the person who already has a predisposition for being overweight or obesity – that is happening sooner. Their threshold is already low. If both parents are obese, there is an 80 percent chance that child is also going to become obese. Many times these kids are already predisposed to being overweight and obese. Because kids are getting exposed to higher amounts of calories and sugar earlier in life, they are developing obesity earlier than they would have even 10 or 15 years ago.

What Does Organic Really Mean?

You hear the term “organic” used often but what does it really mean? Dr. Christy breaks down this trend.

Another trend that we see out there is the organic trend. Products are being labeled as organic. It draws people to it just by saying that it’s organic but does anyone really know what organic means?

If you actually look at what”organic means, I can assure you it doesn’t mean what you think it does. It doesn’t mean that it’s cage-free or even hormone free. It means it has to pass certain standards in the food industry. There are places that basically will get told the inspectors are coming. The inspectors go to the same farm every time and that particular place will be certified organic but all of the products are coming from the entire region – it’s not just that one farm.

So there’s no regulation really on what organic means when you’re talking about whole foods or the clean eating concept. The only way to really know what you’re getting is to know your farmer, know the person who is actually growing the the beef or the chickens or growing the vegetables in their garden in their back yard quite honestly. Anything beyond that really isn’t any guarantee of what organic means.