Hi everyone! LTNT: long time, no type! So what have I been doing the last few weeks instead of blogging? A selection:
(1) Enjoying two smoked Thanksgiving turkeys (yes, TWO) – Peter-prepared, of course. He wanted to compare a turkey smoked in an electrical smoker to a Big Green Egg-smoked turkey. Don’t ask me why. I just know that his Big Green Egg cart is dubbed the “Egg Cartin’” (no, I’m not kidding).
With his remotely-adjusted temperature control device in front.
Check out here, here, and here for other THIH posts featuring the BGE. And no, Gary aka LeQuan‘s Hungry Hubbie, you can’t have the BGE :P
The embroidery on Peter’s “smoking shirt”, a Christmas gift from Peter’s brother (thanks a lot, Dave):
(2) Moving. A few of you have heard about our “adventures” moving to a townhouse down the street: for several reasons, we recently decided to move out of the apartment we’ve lived in for over 1.5 years. Peter and I have moved many times, but it struck me this time how much stuff we’ve accumulated since our last move. I’m not sure when this epiphany occurred – I think it’s a tie between when I hauled the seventh box of kitchenware down to my station wagon and when I saw the same station wagon filled to the brim – with just plants.
(3) Playing with Peter’s dad’s DSLR camera. I had a few successful shots:
… and, some not-so-successful photos:
(4) Finally, I’ve been enjoying a good book:
Remember my FNCE encounter? I finally had the chance to sit down with the new edition of “Fueling the Teen Machine” and I’m so glad I did! As I wrote in the FNCE post, Ellen Shanley and Colleen Thompson are two University of Connecticut dietetics professors. Ellen is also a member of the American Dietetic Association‘s Nominating Committee and Colleen is the president of the Connecticut Dietetic Association. Talk about experts in their field!
Colleen signing my copy:
Displaying my very own signed copy at FNCE!
(Before I begin, I want to emphasize that I am not being paid to write a review – you know, free will and all that :) )
“Fueling the Teen Machine” is an excellent resource for teens AND parents. Colleen and Ellen take teens seriously: they refuse to talk down to their readers, instead providing practical information in a fun and engaging manner.
The book begins with an overview of the basics: food groups, physical activity, and weight management. Next up are chapters with intriguing titles, such as “Find Your Fuel”, “Vitamins and Minerals”, and “Let’s Move” – all written with the modern teen in mind. They offer up-to-date suggestions for healthy living, such as texting to help encourage exercise and mobile phone apps for everything from meal tracking to activity-logging. Did you know you can even download a pedometer app to keep track of the number of steps you take per day? I particularly liked their charts that condense info into bite-sized portions: for example, the many “to do” and “top ten” lists offer a lot of info in a short time, which is perfect for busy teens. I know I’ll be using their “10 Ways to Stay Motivated to Move” list!
The book has a helpful BMI chart on page 55 that requires no calculations: all you do find your weight and trace your finger up to your height to estimate your BMI. Ellen and Colleen emphasize the fact that a teen’s healthy weight may be different than his or her friends’ healthy weights or the healthy weights of other people they know. This section is great for teens who often compare themselves to others and may help with self-acceptance. In addition, they emphasize that even if a teen’s BMI is high, he or she may be at healthy weight if, for example, he or she is muscular (great for student athletes!). It’s not all about the numbers, folks!
Colleen and Ellen also do a great job talking about special issues for teens, such as body fat and adolescent girls, and athletes who want to “make weight” (and who might harm their bodies at the same time!). In their “Eating Disorders” chapter, they give clear explanations of different eating disorders, ways to identify them, and where to get help. I love the term “Twinkie vegetarian” in the “Vegetarianism” chapter – you’ll just have to read the book to find out what it means! ;)
Athletes will enjoy the “Sports Nutrition” chapter and its guide on what to eat before, during, and after exercise, as well as the section on performance supplements, like creatine and sports bars. The book even has a “Funky Foods” chapter about herbal remedies, superfoods, and functional foods, including the dos and don’ts of using herbal remedies (which are increasingly popular these days). Check out the chart of functional foods (such as carrots, oats, broccoli, and yogurt) and their health benefits on pages 121-122.
The “Fast Facts on Fast Foods” chapter is important for teens who often eat out at fast food places. Instead of swearing off fast food, which is unrealistic for many teens, the authors help teens make healthy choices when they go out to eat. The chart on page 128 gives healthy choices at specific fast food joints, like McDonald’s and Wendy’s. By giving them knowledge, Collen and Ellen empower teens to make their own choices.
The book ends with chapters on meal planning and cooking that offer quick meal suggestions, as well as break down the Nutrition Facts label. The book contains a concise Food Label Terms chart on page 161, explaining what terms like “low-calorie” and “high fiber” actually mean. There’s even a section on food safety – a subject that I knew very little about until I started studying nutrition! Finally, the book gives nearly 75 pages of simple healthy recipes for teens and adults. How many teen nutrition guides have a whole cookbook in them?
“Fueling the Teen Machine” is a great for everyone, even adults! It offers a helpful overview of everything you wanted to know about nutrition, including what to eat and how to move. I can see teens using the book as a jumping off point to read more about the topics in which they are most interested. If you’re looking for a fun, informative nutrition and physical activity book for your teen, check this book out! You can buy the book on Amazon here.
Until next time, have a great week!
Q: What’s the most interesting thing you did over the past few weeks?
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Hi, everyone! I’m back from my birthday weekend (Nov. 6) at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) in Boston and I had a blast! I met so many interesting dietitians and other health professionals. I can’t wait to share with you what I’ve learned at the conference. But first, birthday celebrations! Peter’s aunt Laurel and her family very kindly invited me to their house for a birthday luncheon prior to my arrival at the conference. Feast your eyes on this!
My photography skills do not do this creamy carrot ‘n’ squash soup justice. The fresh dill and cheese chunks were savory additions.
Fresh grilled chicken sandwich:
The best part!
How beautiful is this cake? The recipe is “Fantasy Fudge Cake with Fantasy Fudge Frosting”. I think the title says it all.
Midey, don't eat my cake!
I’m pretty sure I spit all over the cake as I was struggling to blow out the candles – thanks to Laurie and Co. for not making fun of me … and for a wonderful birthday meal! :D
So, why is my back sore from FNCE? Well, it’s not FNCE’s fault – my back hurts because of a little something called FREE STUFF. Every booth in FNCE’s exhibition hall was giving out something – all of which I proceeded to load into not one, but TWO, bags – one swinging off each shoulder. I looked like some sort of pack mule. In a gray vest.
Free stuff, y’all!
How cool is this nut display?? You guys know I’m all about my portion sizes:
My new friend.
Check out this new Chobani product for kids:
This kid-friendly yogurt is packed with protein and comes in Very Berry, Strawnana, Honeynana, and Chocolate. You can bet I went back the next day to try the Honeynana!
Larabar has also come out with some new flavors this past July, including chocolate chip cookie dough (inhaled during an educational session):
The chocolate chips are a genius addition, although I would probably keep these new chip-studded flavors for an occasional treat.
I had heard good things about the robot in the picture below, including how it would address you by name (after your badge is scanned) and how it flirts with the ladies. I made a beeline to this booth on the second day, hoping to be
flattered by an inanimate object amazed by the robot’s engineering, but sadly, it was not operational during my visit.
I also had the fortune to hang out with these two wonderful ladies:
Ellen Shanley and Colleen Thompson are two University of Connecticut professors who have written an informative book called “Fueling the Teen Machine“. The second edition of this teen-centered nutrition book was just published.
Stay tuned for a full review ASAP!
Just so you know, I didn’t just go to FNCE to collect free stuff: I also attended a number of (mostly) interesting educational sessions. Here are a few tidbits I picked up about the latest nutrition research (as reported by FNCE’s presenters, unverified by me):
Vitamin D (Dr. Michael Holick, presenter)
* Low blood levels have been associated with diabetes, metabolic syndrome, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, schizophrenia, muscle weakness, peritonitis, upper respiratory tract infections, low birth weight, and poor birth outcomes. Whew!
* 81% of newborns are vitamin D deficient (within Dr. Holick’s hospital)
* Night sweating is most common symptom of vitamin D deficiency (!)
* Mushrooms make vitamin D, and are a potentially rich food source of vitamin D. In fact, I visited one exhibitor at the FNCE expo giving information on mushrooms as a vitamin D source. Interesting!
* Dr. Holick suggests that osteomalacia (softening of the bones related to lack of vitamin D) can be masked as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.
* Getting vitamin D from sun exposure when young can help decrease lifetime cancer risk (obviously, Dr. Holick’s view on this topic is controversial).
* Oily fish (like salmon) contain vitamin D, but farmed salmon contains NO vitamin D.
* Obesity is associated with vitamin D deficiency. Because body fat stores vitamin D, people who are obese need 2-10x as much vitamin D.
* Dr. Holick’s recommends large dose vitamin D supplements (4000 – 6000 IU/day) to maintain vitamin D levels in the body. While his research points to the need for such supplements, especially for people who live at higher latitudes, I would recommend getting your vitamin D levels checked first (ask for a total 25(OH)D assay) before supplementing with vitamin D. Just be prudent.
Nutritional Genomics (Jose Ordovas, PhD & Ruth DeBusk, PhD, RD, presenters)
* Different areas of the world have varying levels of selenium in the soil, and thus different levels of selenium in crops (see my selenium post).
* Could out-of-sync biological clocks (like the internal clock that controls your sleep cycle) contribute to chronic disease?
* Starvation during fetal development affects newborns’ metabolisms – their bodies are programmed to “hold on” to every calorie they get, increasing future risk of overweight and obesity.
* Someday, RDs may be able to look at a person’s unique “genetic signature” to help design an individual diet and exercise plan to keep the person healthy and meet their unique needs. Cool, huh?
Healthy Aging (Stephen B. Kritchevsky, PhD & Jennifer G. Robinson, MD, MPH, presenters)
* “Lifespan” vs. “Healthspan”: our goal should be to extend the number of years of healthy life, not just the number of years of life, period.
* As people age, they tend to lose muscle and bone – but they also tend to gain weight! Where does that weight come from? (Hint: FAT). Resistance training as you age will help reduce the loss of muscle and the gain of fat.
* Loss of muscle in aging is related to the amount of protein in the diet (a.k.a. give your seniors plenty of protein!).
* BMI’s related to lowest mortality in adults ages 60-68 is 26.6 in men and 27.3 in women. These BMI’s are considered “overweight” according to the current BMI scale.
* Higher omega-3 fat levels are correlated with longer telomere lengths (telomeres are a measure of how fast you are aging – you want longer telomeres). Eat your fatty fish!
Breast Cancer: Diet, Physical Activity, and Genetics (Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, PhD, RD & Dr. Jennifer Ligibel, presenters)
* Women who gain weight later in life (regardless of whether they were lean or overweight in early life) are at a higher risk of breast cancer, possibly because of increased fat mass over lean mass (muscle and bone).
* The “Western diet” (higher in saturated fat, trans fat, sugar) is associated with a 2x higher risk of ALL-cause mortality.
* Plenty of exercise AFTER breast cancer diagnosis is linked to a better outcome, whereas women who gain weight after diagnosis increase risk of cancer mortality.
Overall, my first time at FNCE was a success! … Not least because I got to meet three wonderful bloggers! Do you know them?
Melinda (on right) blogs at Nutrition, Food, Travel, and More – you may remember her wonderful guest post on THIH when I was in China this past summer. I was so thrilled to meet Melinda, not only because I’m a great admirer of her blog, but also because she lives in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and I probably would never have met her if it wasn’t for FNCE! Lovely to meet you, Melinda!
In the middle is the gorgeous Kristen who blogs at EatingRD. Check out her blog for beautiful pictures and fun recipes :) It was so nice to meet you, Kristen!
Our final blogger buddy is one of my favorites: Kristen at Swanky Dietitian.
I loved chatting with you, Kristen! I feel like I’ve known you for a long time! FNCE has only whetted my appetite for blogger meetups – anyone coming to Connecticut any time soon? ;)
Q: Have you ever been to a blogger meetup?
What’s your favorite birthday dessert? See pictures 4-6 of this post for mine :D
Edited to add: The Happiness in Health is one of the featured “Best of the Web” blogs at this link – check it out!
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