Tag Archive for nutrition

Willpower: Why You Can’t Resist The Donut

willpower

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Do you ever wonder why it’s so hard to have self-control at a morning meeting, when the plate of delicious donuts are practically asking you to eat them? Isn’t it interesting that after the 20th time you have told your child “don’t touch that” they seem to forget and do it anyway?  Saying “no” to the sweet treat or controlling the impulse isn’t just about self-control, it’s more than willpower. You can learn right from wrong, but your brain can be much more powerful than logic.

Think of willpower like a muscle, if it’s not developed fully it can be weak; it can get exhausted by overuse, but just like our other muscles, we can repair it.

“It is as if self-control is a limited resource that ‘runs out’ if it is used too much,” said Chandra Sripada, the lead researcher in a study published last week in The Journal of Psychological Science.

Therefore all the effort in the word can’t keep little Timmy’s hands from reaching to touch the object of his affection or that sweet treat from hitting your lips. Researchers found that increasing levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine can help to reduce urges and increase self-control.

The study, published April 22 in The Journal Psychological Science, indicates that when one has the right balance of these two neurotransmitters it can help prevent the depletion of self-control.  If you overuse the “muscle” the chemicals in your brain are too tired to say no.  Medications or supplementation may be the missing link by giving a boost to specific brain circuits that are often depleted after attempting to maintain self-control for long periods of time.

What is even more interesting and notable is that ones mood plays a vital role in impulsivity and aggression.

Research published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) found that loss of self-control is also due to nutrition. When blood-glucose levels dropped, subjects were more likely to act on an urge.

“Self-control requires energy, and that energy is provided in part by glucose,” wrote lead study author Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University.

“Glucose is made from nutritious intake that becomes converted into neurotransmitters that provide energy for brain processes. Low glucose levels can undermine self-control because people have insufficient energy to overcome challenges and unwanted impulses,” wrote Bushman and his colleagues.

willpower

Wish you or your child could resist the urge to act on their impulses? As you can see it’s more than knowing right from wrong, it also takes a bit of a brain workout to build up that muscle.

  • Test the brain.  A simple urine analysis can show which levels are off, and results will suggest what supplementation will help increase self-control Neurotransmitters.
  •  What you eat effects willpower. What you feed your body affects how much energy the prefrontal cortex has to work with, where many of our impulsive decisions are made.  If you are not absorbing nutrients from the food in your gut, your brain is going to be cloudy.  Making sure that your blood sugar stays balanced, requires eating right and often, this means every 3-4 hours. For more self-control, stick to the foods that you know fuel your brain. Click Here for some great backpack snacks that boot brain power!
  • Talk with your health care practitioner about medications or supplementation that may be impacting your willpower. Notice what is difficult for you to resist, or what you wind up regretting later on in the day.  These actions are examples of what a boost of self-control could help you resist.
  • Repetition.  Although you may not get it on the first try, continuing to say no or practicing a new behavior, instead of the problematic one, can help rewire the brain.  That is, if you have enough power to run the system.

At the end of the day it takes gas and mechanics to keep a car running, the same is true for your brain.  Everyone needs help behaviorally and neurologically to make changes stick.

 

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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant.  Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.

 

 

 

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Chia Seeds: The SUPER Seed

super seed

The month of March is National Nutrition Month (#NNM). The awareness and education campaign is sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (known previously as the American Dietetic Association). Its’ purpose is to promote good nutrition by spreading awareness and education about nutritional choices, and to challenge people to make the healthiest food choices they can. This month we are blogging, posting, and tweeting about #NNM.  We will share our delicious & nutritious recipe ideas and nutrition-packed foods for you and your family to try.

The Super Seed: 10 Benefits of Chia Seeds

If you haven’t tried chia seeds you are missing out!  Chia seeds are the hottest super food and phenomenally rich in health benefits. One serving has:

  1. 5 x more calcium than milk
  2. More than 1/3 of your daily fiber intake
  3. 27% of your daily value of phosphorus
  4. 4.4 grams of protein, nearly 10 percent of the daily value
  5. They are the richest plant source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 (the vital fats that protect against inflammation) & contain more Omega-3 than salmon!
  6. 3x more antioxidant power than blueberries
  7. Helps to regulate insulin
  8. Cleanses the colon and absorbs harmful toxins
  9. Contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps to improve mood and regulate appetite and sleep
  10. Combat diabetes by helping to control blood sugar

Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant salvia hispanica, grown in Central America dating back to Mayan and Aztec cultures. “Chia” means strength, and serves as a perfect name for this super seed, because they are filled with nutrients, protein, carbohydrates and healthy fat. Chia seeds are popular for weight loss, energy, and make a great healthy substitute for those with food allergies. They reduce food cravings by preventing some of the food that you eat from getting absorbed into your system – making you feel full. This is because they absorb 10 times their weight in water, forming a bulky gel.

chia seedsChia Seed Pudding

This tasty treat is nutritional and remarkably simple – All you need is one bowl! (serves 4 – 6)

  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 3 cups nut milk, coconut or hemp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp of birch sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon (optional)
  • Pinch of sea salt

Place the chia seeds and dry ingredients in the bowl, add in milk (almond is my favorite) and then vanilla. Stir well, so that there are no clumps and the chia seeds are coated in milk. Let sit at room temperature for 20 – 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate. Within one hour you should have a delicious pudding (similar to tapioca). If it isn’t sweet enough feel free to add a bit of agave nectar or a handful of fruit.

Chia Seed Gel

Easy and energizing!

  • 2 Tbs chia seeds
  • 1 cup coconut water

Add two tablespoons of chia seeds to a cup of coconut water and let sit for ten minutes. Like recently-introduced products from energy and sports drink companies, you’ll have a thick hydration and energy gel that’s great for runners’ recovery or other athletic activity

 

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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant.  Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.

 

 

 

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Don’t Fear the Fat: Good Fats vs Bad Fats

good fats vs bad fatsThere is a lot of hype in the news this week about “bad fats.” This Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration took a big step toward potentially eliminating most trans fat from the food supply, saying it has made a preliminary determination that a major source of trans fats, partially hydrogenated oils, is no longer “generally recognized as safe.” says CNN.com. It is important to recognize the difference between “happy fats” those in which our bodies need and rely on for brain function, and “hurtful fats” the ones that can damage our health.
Adults should get 20% to 35% of their calories from fat, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The right fats are imperative to heart and health, while trans fats and saturated fats can clearly be toxic to our bodies. Don’t get terrified of never touching a doughnut or drumstick again; get clear on what’s good and bad for our brains and bodies.

What is a hurtful fat? good fats vs bad fats

Trans fat can be found in processed foods including desserts, microwave popcorn products, frozen pizza, packaged snack foods (even those that claim to be “healthy”), margarine and coffee creamer, among others. Trans fats and saturated fats have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Saturated fats and trans fats are known as the “bad fats” because they increase your risk of disease and elevate cholesterol.

Appearance-wise, saturated fats and trans fats tend to be solid at room temperature (like traditional stick margarine or Crisco), while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats tend to be liquid (think of corn oil), these are healthier. To be safe, check a product’s ingredient list. Food manufacturers can say a product is trans fat free if it contains less than half a gram per serving. These can add up. If you see the words hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated, or shortening, it contains trans fat; you’re better off leaving it on the shelf its been living on for years.

What is a “happy fat”?good fats vs bad fats

You can find polyunsaturated fats in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils such as corn and safflower oil, and fatty fish. This category encompasses omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are known as essential fatty acids because our bodies don’t make them—we have to get them from food.

To increase your unsaturated fat, replace solids, like butter, with olive and vegetable oils, and swap red meat for seafood, legumes, or unsalted nuts. (Seafood and nuts also contain saturated fat, but less than red meat.) Monounsaturated fats are good guys, they raise HDL (good cholesterol) and lower LDL. Canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados are good sources.

In the world of fats, omega-3s are superheroes. They taste great and fight disease while keeping your brain running smoothly. They fight inflammation, help control blood clotting, and lower blood pressure and triglycerides, and make outer appearance, such as skin and hair, glow. They have been shown to aid in reducing depression and anxiety symptoms and balance the brain.

Fatty fish like albacore tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines are good sources. Vegetable sources include soy, walnuts, and some vegetable oils, such as olive and peanut (prior to heat, heating these oils creates a trans-fat like reaction).
Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as the “good fats” because they are good for your heart, your cholesterol, and your overall health.

Fats to Embrace: good fats vs bad fats

• Olive oil
• Canola oil
• Sunflower oil
• Peanut oil
• Sesame oil
• Avocados
• Coconut
• Lean poultry
• Olives
• Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
• Nut Butter
• Soybean oil
• Corn oil
• Safflower oil
• Walnuts
• Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds, flaxseed
• Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
• Soy & Tofu

Fats to Fear

• High-fat cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork)
• Chicken with the skin
• Whole-fat dairy products (milk and cream)
• Butter
• Commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough
• Packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips)
• Margarine
• Vegetable shortening
• Fried foods
• Candy bars
• Cheese
• Ice cream
• Palm and coconut oil (when heated)
• Lard

Tips

  1. Try to eliminate trans fats from your diet. Check food labels for trans fats. Avoid prepackaged and fast foods when you can. Baked goods, such as those yummy little donuts that have a shelf life longer than a goldfish, is a good start.
  2. Make small shifts: instead of creamer use milk, instead of a piece of fried chicken opt for baked.
  3. Eat omega-3 fats every day and take supplements.
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    Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant.  Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.

     

     

     

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Why Family Dinner Really Counts! By Dr. Lynne Kenney

Dr. Lynne Kenney shares with us why having dinner together as a family is so important, as well as some great tips and tools to make planning these meals much easier!

Here is her original post on her site.

Just back in the US today after 14 days abroad and first thing this am, I listened to a wonderful show on family dinner with Aviva Goldfarb and Chris Efessiou. Family dinner is a strong preventive factor for children and teens. Aviva asks us to take the Dinner Pledge and eat three family meals with your children each week. Aviva makes meal planning, shopping and eating as a family simple. Check out her site for easy meal planning. CLICK LINK TO LISTEN http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/71848/the-cure-for-childhood-obesity-is-sitting-in-your-kitchen

Aviva Goldfarb

We encourage your family to share in a similar meal, but if you have children with special dietary needs, here is a simple printable for helpful meal planning. CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE AND PRINT.

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 5.23.27 AM

 

 

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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant.  Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.

 

 

 

3,283 total views, 2 views today

Eggcellent Eggs

Are you getting enough eggs in your diet? Here's how to add more this Easter.

Easter is just around the corner and a good reminder to add more eggs into our daily diets.  Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse; an easy source vitamins and, nutrients. Even better, eggs are a complete protein, meaning they contain all 9 of the essential amino acids including the serotonin precursor, tryptophan.     Just one egg is filled with healthy brain benefits. With only 75-80 calories per egg, 7 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat and only around 1.6 grams of saturated fat, you can’t beat (excuse the pun) an egg for a perfect dietary staple.  They provide disease-fighting nutrients, vitamin E, vitamin D and omega-3s. As a satisfying source of protein, they have been shown to help dieters feel fuller longer, and even those with high cholesterol can enjoy the benefits of egg whites. Even better, according to new USDA study, the cholesterol in one egg has gone down by 14 percent!

One crack of an egg will only run you about 15 cents, making it one of the most inexpensive sources of protein out there.  Eggs are not just for breakfast, they are a wonderful, heart healthy, alternative to meat and a good way to experiment with new recipes.

Instead of a fat-filled casserole try a heart healthy frittata. Frittatas are often seen on the brunch menu, but you can make them as a dinner option as well.  Throw in your favorite veggies, meat (turkey bacon, soy sausage, or ham if you prefer) and you have an amazing dish that is much lower calorie than a quiche and allows you to be creative in the kitchen. Try Bethenny Frankel’s vegetarian, low-fat version or this Asparagus, Spring Onion and Pancetta Frittata

Instead of tiresome chicken or beef try: Broccoli and Sausage Egg Muffins which can actually be a staple at any meal.  Check out the link!

Instead of frozen, soggy waffles or cold cereal, try a breakfast taco (a Tex-Mex staple) instead.  While the breakfast classics may give you the carbohydrate rush you want to get going in the morning, it doesn’t provide you with nearly enough protein. Grab a tortilla, scramble some eggs (or egg whites), add potatoes or beans and a little salsa and you’ve got breakfast on-the-go that is good for you.

Another tip, make a dozen hard boiled eggs and keep them on hand.  You will have a breakfast on-the-go, protein to add to your lunchtime salad or just a healthy snack that you can’t help but eat. Eggcellent!

 

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10 Tips for a Healthy Brain

We all want optimal health, one of the best ways to achieve this is through taking care of your most valuable body part: the brain.  By making good choices to maximize your health, the brain and your overall well being benefit.

Try a few of the suggestions below.  If you can add them all, great but start slow, so these changes can be habitual, and become part of your daily routine.

» Read more..

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Seven Superfoods for Any Budget

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

As I was checking out of my local health foods store last week, I had stunning realization. With less than ten items in my basket I had spent almost $50.00, were these products really worth the hefty price tag or did it make me “feel healthier” by purchasing them at this particular market?  The question is, when it comes to our budget, are we getting the most for our money; are the foods we are choosing to spend money on really even worth the price? Below are 10 Superfoods that weight very little on your pocketbook, and heavy on your families nutrition needs.

1. Yogurt:   look in your store’s dairy section and I guarantee you there is a sale on yogurt, even organic.  I have seen it as low as .59 cents recently and if you by it in quart size or six packs it’s even less expensive.  Yogurt is a great source of protein, calcium, and natural probiotics that keep your child’s gut happy and healthy.  It helps prevent cavities, increase immunity, and build strong bones.  On the label look for “live active cultures” and avoid added sweeteners. Yogurt is an easy, on-the-go snack; add it to granola or cereal instead of milk for a tasty breakfast.

2. Strawberries:frozen strawberries are a steal, and can be purchased for under 3.oo dollars depending on the store you frequent. Real strawberries those are the ones that are whole and actually look like a strawberry; skip anything that says “strawberry flavor”, has artificial colorings, preservatives, or corn syrup.   Fresh or frozen strawberries are high in vitamin C, are cancer fighters, and can decrease asthmatic symptoms. Remember to wash them well and pat dry. Fresh strawberries can be a sweet snack, and frozen ones can be added to yogurt, cereal, or smoothies.

3. Almonds: buying raw almonds in bulk can be as inexpensive as peanuts. Almond butter is usually around $4.00 for a 12 ounce jar. Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, antioxidants, protein, and a high source of monounsaturated fat; good fat that keep your brain running smoothly.  Almonds are also known to help prevent anemia, as it helps produce iron in one’s body. Add a handful of almonds to a salad, add to trail mix for healthy snack, or eat in “butter form”.  Almond butter is a great source of protein and can be substituted for peanut butter.

4.  Quinoa: At $1 a pound quinoa is inexpensive and nutrient dense. Quinoa is a complete protein and can substitute for less sustainable proteins. Compared to other grains, quinoa is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc.  The texture is light and fluffy, which most kids love.  Add beans for a great rice substitution and protein packed meal.

5. Black Beans: A can of these guys may run you $0.89-1.99 depending on the brand; never the less is a great substitution from refried beans or anything laden in lard. Black beans are a good source of foliate, dietary fiber, manganese, protein, magnesium, vitamin B1 (thiamin), phosphorus, and iron. 

6.  Kale At just over a dollar a bunch, kale is a member of the dark, leafy greens group. It’s loaded with vitamin C and vitamin B as well as calcium, and has known cancer fighting properties. Kale is also known as a great source of soluble fiber, which many children (and adults) do not get enough of in their diets  Use as an alternative to your usual steamed veggie, add to a stir fry or pasta dish, it is packed with more nutrients than your usual vegetable.

7. Blueberries:  At less than $3.00 a container, even less for frozen, blueberries are easy on the budget, but packed with power.  The antioxidant-rich fruit provides bodies with protection from sun damage, and have been shown to slow the rate of pre-cancerous cells; they also help boost immunity.  Add some to a smoothie, yogurt, or cereal. Grab a handful as an alternative to a treat, their natural sweetness can curb any sugar craving.

So you don’t always have to break the bank when it comes to eating well.  Maybe heading to the regular grocery store to stalk up on these basics is in order.  For more information on Superfoods that are kid and family friendly check out http://www.superkidsnutrition.com/superfoods.php and awesome site for parents with information from dietitians and nutritionists.

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Quick Protein-Filled Snacks

By Emily Roberts

The importance of rotating protein is often under-minded when we are dieting or attempting to get kids to eat whats on their plates.  We often go for whatever is easy and quick rather than whats really beneficial for our brains and bodies.  In our past post The Power of Protein, we talk about the importance of protein and briefly on rotating proteins:

Why Rotate?: If we eat the same thing everyday our body is going to get used to the amino acids in that food, making it difficult to create new strains of amino acids, thus less neurotransmitter availability.  Therefore, making changes in protein increases your availability to create new strains.  Simple fixes are, chose fish instead of chicken on your salad.  Add protein powder to your morning oatmeal instead of just milk, or try adding in a mid morning snack of yogurt and nuts.

Below are some great ideas to get new proteins into your old routine, as well as easy snack ideas for children and adults alike:

Edamame: Instead of chips reach for this heart-healthy, protein filled snack.  With 11 grams for a 1/2 cup, you are doing yourself a favor.  Sprinkle some sea-salt on them, put them in a Tupperware and take them along to the office or in your child’s lunchbox.

Greek Yogurt or Cottage Cheese: Instead of boring fruit on the bottom yogurt (still a good source of protein) try something exciting like Fage 2% Greek Yogurt, it has 17 grams of protein.  Add a little Agave Nectar and a handful of nuts and you have yourself a perfect snack!  Kids love it with fruit and granola.

Hummus or Baked Chickpeas: Instead of your usual dip or spread try hummus with veggies or baked chips, its a great alternative to or usual spreads.  Kids eat it up, and by adding this in we are getting in protein from a legume, something most of us don’t get unless we are eating beans or lentils.  The snack packs are a great, portable, snack idea or for throwing in a lunch pale. Baked Chickpeas are a fantastic way to appease your crunch and salty cravings and helps to fill you up.

Beef Jerky: Instead of salty chips or rice cakes.  It can be high in sodium, however 1 serving shells out 70 calories and 11 grams of protein, with only 1 gram of fat.  Try a few pieces instead of your usual afternoon snack.  Kids love the chewy texture and its super portable. There are some organic brand out there that are pretty healthy.

Let us know what protien snacks you and your kids like, we’d love to hear them!

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MSG: In Your Child’s Lunchbox

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

With back-to-school in full effect, many parents are packing their rouine lunches or giving kid’s money to buy lunch at school, but do you really know what your child is eating?  Interestingly enough, we notice when kids are eating more prepared and prepackaged foods, often times their behavior gets worse.  Why? Monosodium Glutamate or MSG is added to many “kid friendly” and fast foods. In many ingredient lists is hidden as “flavor enhancer” or “natural flavors”.  MSG increases glutamate levels (glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitters) thus increasing aggression, impulsivity, and decrease the ability to focus. This is not only occurring in our children’s brains, but ours as well.  That bag of Barbecue chips is full of MSG, so is that “natural flavored” cereal bar….Just think about it.

“It taps out our inhibitory neurotransmitters causing inflammation to the brain.” Says Nikki Jackson-Drummond CCN.  This is a normal reaction to ingesting MSG, even for someone who does not have an allergy to MSG. According to Grocery Warningby Mike Adams,” There is no regulation whatsoever on the use of MSG in school cafeterias despite its possible ill effects.  In fact, current trends allow fast –food pizza and hamburger chains to sell their MSG-laden products during the children lunch hour.” Adams says, ” The sudden increase in glutamic acid within the body is rapidly absorbed an can raise the normal blood level of glutamate to eight or ten or even twenty times its usual amount.”

So what’s in your kid’s lunch box?  Popular children’s soups, macaroni and cheese, even products that are labeled “natural” have “natural flavorings added.”  If you are giving your child these foods, or they are getting them at school, the likelihood is that they are increasing the glutamate enough to disrupt your child’s brain chemistry. We have seen some kiddo’s brain chemistry levels plateau or become worse do to diets heavy in MSG foods, without parents even knowing it was disrupting their neurochemistry!

Common Foods:

  • Hamburger Helper Microwave Singles®  (targeted towards children)
  • Doritos®
  • Campbell’s® soups – all of them – based on their commitment to add “umami” (read – MSG) to their products
  • Pringles® (the flavored varieties)
  • Boar’s Head® cold cuts and most of their hot dogs
  • Progresso® Soups – all of them
  • Lipton® Noodles and Sauce
  • Lipton® Instant soup mix
  • Unilever or Knorr® products – often used in homemade Veggie dips. 
  • Kraft® products nearly all contain some free glutamate
  • Cup-a-soup® or Cup-o-Noodles®
  • Planters® salted nuts – most of them
  • Accent® -this is nearly pure MSG
  • Braggs® Liquid Aminos – sold at Whole Foods
  • Hodgson Mill Kentucky Kernel Seasoned Flour®
  • Tangle extract (seaweed extract) – found in sushi rolls (even at Whole Foods)  Seaweed is what MSG was first isolated from.
  • Fish extract – made from decomposed fish protein – used now in Japanese sushi dishes – very high in free glutamate.
  • flavored ramen noodles
  • boullion – any kind
  • instant soup mixes
  • many salad dressings
  • most salty, powdered dry food mixes – read labels
  • flavored potato chips

This is part of the list from MSG Truth http://www.msgtruth.org/avoid.htm

There are many safe, alternatives to MSG filled foods.  Do an experiment, what is your behavior or your child’s behavior like after avoiding MSG free foods for just a few days?  Check out this mom’s blog post for specific foods and where to buy them for an MSG free diet http://www.latitudes.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=2976

Next time your thinking about grabbing a quick bite, or throwing in that flavored bag of chips into the lunchbox, think about it, do you really want your child eating a flavor enhanced, chemical filled snack?  Think about it….

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The Power of Protein

By: Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Its 3 PM. Your starving, so you reach for that 100 calorie pack of starch to curb your hunger…and your not satisfied?  Well who would be, there is no protein in it, its all carbs.  We all know protein is important for keeping us full and keeping us strong.  However, studies find that most children are not getting enough and many adults fall short on their daily intake as well.  The reason this is so important, is without the rotation of different proteins and the quantity, out bodies will not make the natural amino acids that keep  us focused, stable, and happy. 

The Facts: Amino acids are the building blocks for Neurotransmitters; amino acids are created by our genetic make-up, but also our diet.  Protein and supplementation are the main sources of changing and increasing amino acid availability in ones body. 

Are You Getting Enough?: To calculate how much protein you need on a daily basis take your body weight in pounds and divide it by 2.2, this will give you amount in grams that your body needs at a minimum (unless otherwise noted by your doctor or other health professional).  For example:  140 pound woman needs approximately 64 grams per day.

Where to Get it:Nuts, lean meats, dairy products, soy, legumes, whey protein powder, and seafood are all great sources.  For kids a serving size is approximately 2 oz, depending on their weight. For adults a serving size is 4 to 6 oz.

Protein for Kids:  even for the pickiest eaters daily protein intake can be achieved.  This especially important when school starts and focus is needed.  In the morning try almond or peanut butter and toast, instead of a pop-tart or sugar filled pastry.  For a mid morning snack, freeze a yogurt and put it in their lunch box, it will be cold by the time snack-time rolls around.  For lunch, turkey and cheese roll-ups, rather than pizza. For dinner, adding in tofu or chicken to your child’s meal will increase their amino acid availability and keep them satisfied longer.

***If your child refuses, whey protein powder is easily hidden in smoothies, milk, and oatmeal.

Why Rotate?: If we eat the same thing everyday our body is going to get used to the amino acids in that food, making it difficult to create new strains of amino acids, thus less neurotransmitter availability.  Therefore, making changes in protein increases your availability to create new strains.  Simple fixes are, chose fish instead of chicken on your salad.  Add protein powder to your morning oatmeal instead of just milk, or try adding in a mid morning snack of yogurt and nuts.

So next time your starving, think about this, will that snack fill me up?  Adding in protein keeps you fuller, longer, carbs alone will leave you feeling hungry and tired.  Instead of that bag of chips try a bag of trail mix, or cheese and crackers .  You will find yourself more focused, in a better mood, and best of all SATISFIED.

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