**Orientations** Don't miss the opportunity to learn more about our health and weight management program at our free orientation sessions. We are located in the Indianapolis area! If you don't live near a site-we have a Remote Program. Contact us at info@hntindiana.com for more information. Visit our website to check available dates.

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

It's Strawberry Season!

May is the start of strawberry season here in Indiana.  The best strawberries are from local patches because they are fresh off the vine.  In Indiana, there are strawberry patches all over the state.  Some even have "u-pick" patches, where you come and pick your own.  These are more budget friendly than just buying from the farmer's stand because you have to do a little work for them!
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We love strawberries! Why? Because 1 cup of sliced strawberries is only 50 calories, contains 3 grams of fiber & 90 mg vitamin C (75-90 mg needed per day). Hey, what a great snack!  Add to your Strawberry Health One Meal Replacement + water + ice for a strawberry shake or on top of a Vanilla Health One Meal Replacement one by one with a little light cool whip for a nice summer treat.  Or, you could get really into it and make your own sugar-free strawberry freezer jam to use as an additive to the Health One or your morning 100% whole grain toast.
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What do we recommend?  Heading to a local patch to pick some strawberries.  The Indianapolis area has a few locations just outside the city.  Here are the farms that we know of and please share any that you know of that grow strawberries. 
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Once you have your strawberries, meal plan them in for breakfast, lunch, dinner and/or snack to help you get your 2 full cups of fruit in each day. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hot Topic: The Coconut Oil Craze

A couple of the registered dietitians on staff have been getting questions about coconut oil and people raving about using it for making soaps, cosmetics & in food preparation! So, we decided to research a bit on the oil to see if there was any new research that we had missed.  

As dietitians, we know that coconut oil is very high in saturated fat.  Looking at the chart below it happens to be ~91% saturated fat-the oil that contains the most saturated fat!  It contains some myristic fatty acids ("heart healthy"), but more lauric fatty acids ("heart unfriendly") which stirs the controversy on whether this should be touted as something to add to ones meal plan.  Potential health benefits include weight loss, cures Alzheimer's, reduces diabetes/regulate blood sugar, increases bone and dental health by improving calcium absorption, etc....but as stated above they are POTENTIAL.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends "limiting saturated fat intake to less than 7% of total daily calories" and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that "saturated fats have been linked to chronic disease, specifically coronary heart disease".  Both claims have been supported by many research studies with outcomes that are statistically significant linking saturated fat intake with increased risk for heart disease due to raising the levels of LDL or "bad" cholesterol.

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The findings so far on coconut oil are intriguing at best, but the research can not support claims that it is harmful or beneficial.  Additionally, there is increased interest in the oil because it is plant based and many think it can have beneficial plant chemicals, but those have yet to be discovered, states Harvard's own Dariush Mozaffarian MD, DrPH

Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD of Penn State University states that coconut oil is better than butter and trans fats but not as good as liquid vegetable oils.  What she means is that coconut oil, a saturated fat, is better than other saturated fats and trans fats, but is NOT better than oils such as canola or olive oil. Even though this particular type of oil is cholesterol free, because it is plant derived, it is still majority saturated fat and therefore should be limited in consumption.  

Fats that are often encouraged are "heart healthy" because they raise HDL "good" cholesterol and lower LDL "bad" cholesterol.  Those fats are made up of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and are found in vegetable oils such as canola or olive oil (see chart for compositions high in PUFA's & MUFA's), fatty fish, nuts or avocado.  

The research suggest that coconut oil can be included in a persons meal plan, but should be done in moderation (less than 7% of total calories) until further research concludes health benefits.  Remember that one food will not make or break your meal plan, it is what your overall dietary pattern provides that can tell the real story.  Be aware of those who tout certain nutrients or foods as "health life savers" as those have done with coconut oil recently. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hot Topic: Exercise with a Hula Hoop

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The hula hoop-you know the plastic and sometimes glitter blasted ring that children use to play outside?  It has been the latest exercise craze!  Have you tried it in a while?  It has been years for me & I'm not sure I could actually sustain it long enough to call it exercise...but apparently some do.  A quick Google search brings up 192,000 hits when searching "hula hoop workouts".  Now that's a lot of information.  This 'new' form of exercise is touted as being FUN! That is something that all our exercise or physical activity should be.  Finding ways to incorporate the things that you love doing into physical activity is the golden pathway to a more active lifestyle.  That means that the hula hoop may not be for everyone.  But for those still interested here are a few info tidbits:

  • Start by using a regular child-like hula hoop and when you get the technique down, start using a weighted hula hoop. You can find them online or in sports stores across the nation.  Just look at all THESE hoops! They even have a "travel hoop" that breaks down to increase portability!
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  • Read about hula hoop workouts and determine if you would like to do it at home or in a gym setting.  
  • Benefits include: increased torso flexibility, core strength, inches lost around the waist
  • Like any other exercise, you must be consistent to see results
If you are looking for a different way to get in your physical activity this might be just the type of activity you have been looking for! Let us know what you think after you try it!