A special thanks to Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, LDN, CPT for participating in the Good Greens Nutrition Spotlight Series. Erin is a nationally recognized nutrition and fitness expert who has contributed her expertise to national media outlets including “The Doctors,” CBS Early Show, ABC News, CBS News, Fox News and more. She operates a private nutrition practice in New Jersey and is author of the upcoming book, Belly Fat Diet for Dummies.
Please take a moment to introduce yourself. How did you first get interested and involved in nutrition What do you currently do on a day-to-day basis?
As a former athlete (gymnast)I was always interested in how nutrition impacts performance, energy, and overall health. In my freshman year of college, I took a nutrition course and love it, leading me to transition into a Nutrition major. Currently I run a private practice with a team of dietitians in northern New Jersey. I have two offices- one in Franklin(Sussex Co) and one in Mahwah (Bergen Co). I also work as a consultant for various food and health companies as a spokesperson and nutrition advisor.I am also an author, with my book “Belly Fat Diet for Dummies” (Wiley)being released on November 6th 2012. I also travel the country speaking to corporations, at conferences, and to community groups on nutrition and fitness topics.
In terms of nutrition, what is the most common problem you see with your patients today?
Everyone today is busy. It can be hard to fit in time for work, family,chores, etc and still find time to cook a healthy meal and fit in exercise. Many people just grab and go, leading to less healthy options at times.
Is there a common myth that you hear from patient about healthy eating or dieting that you would love to dispel?
Yes- if you want to lose weight and get healthy don’t “diet.” A diet is something to go “on” and then go back “off”- going back to the old habits that got you in trouble in the first place. This is something I stress in my book- I dislike the word “diet” – it’s all about learning to make practical, simple changes daily. This is what leads to big, and most importantly- permanent- results!
Everyone has heard of *superfoods*, but what makes a food a *superfood*?
A “superfood” is essentially a food that provides terrific health benefits. Usually this is a food loaded with disease fighting antioxidants, such as berries.
Are there health benefits in maintaining a gluten free diet even if you’re not suffering from Celiac Disease?
No. A gluten free diet is a must if you have Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. However, just going gluten free if you can tolerate gluten just fine, will not promote weight loss or health benefits. In fact, many individuals gain weight when going gluten free because many gluten-free grains are less filling and less whole grain. If you say you are going“gluten-free” really meaning you plan to focus on increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables along with lean protein and decreasing your intake of processed grains and snacks, then this certainly will promote health and weight loss. But that’s due to your overall food choices and reducing processed foods, not reducing gluten.
What are a few tips or strategies you employ to get your patients to start eating right?
Spend one day writing down everything you eat and drink. Then look at it and ask yourself, what are you doing that is very healthy and what can you improve on. Maybe you’re only eating one vegetable per day. Now, looking at your typical habits, make 1-2 realistic goals for yourself that will slowly improve your health. For instance, if you only eat 1 vegetable serving a day, make a small goal to eat 2 most days of the week. After you can reach a goal for at least one week, create a new goal. And keep doing this until your overall eating is about 80-90% healthy. The remainder can be used for a few “splurges” here and there.
When choosing a healthy snack, what are the top three things to look for and why?
Choose a snack that’s made from a whole food- such as whole fruit, or 100% whole grain Aim for a snack low in sodium- 200mg or less Choose a snack low in saturated fat (3 grams of saturated fat or less per serving)
You can learn more about Erin at www.erinpalinski.com.TAPP to read more.
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