80 Twenty Nutrition http://www.80twentynutrition.com Christy Brissette, MS, RD, media registered dietitian, NUTRITION AND FOOD COMMUNICATIONS EXPERT Fri, 21 Jul 2017 17:44:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 https://i0.wp.com/www.80twentynutrition.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/cropped-meet-inner-page-image.jpg?fit=32%2C32 80 Twenty Nutrition http://www.80twentynutrition.com 32 32 102167928 Vegan Rice Pudding in the Instant Pot – Gluten-Free and No Refined Sugar! http://www.80twentynutrition.com/recipe/vegan-rice-pudding-instant-pot-gluten-free-no-refined-sugar/ http://www.80twentynutrition.com/recipe/vegan-rice-pudding-instant-pot-gluten-free-no-refined-sugar/#respond Fri, 21 Jul 2017 17:28:13 +0000 http://www.80twentynutrition.com/?post_type=recipe&p=3541 I’m tardy to the party on the whole Instant Pot craze… but I couldn’t resist getting one on Prime Day. I gotta admit, I’m falling in love with it. It’s fantastic on hot summer days when you don’t want to turn on the oven and you can make almost anything in it. Case in point: I...

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I’m tardy to the party on the whole Instant Pot craze… but I couldn’t resist getting one on Prime Day. I gotta admit, I’m falling in love with it. It’s fantastic on hot summer days when you don’t want to turn on the oven and you can make almost anything in it. Case in point: I wanted to make a dessert without going out to buy any ingredients and came up with this delicious Vegan Rice Pudding in the Instant Pot! Its loaded with coconut, maple and cinnamon flavor. This dessert is so nutritious, I approve it for breakfast.

Vegan Rice Pudding in the Instant Pot - Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, No Refined Sugar - recipe by Christy Brissette media registered dietitian and president of 80 Twenty Nutrition in Toronto and California

You can make this recipe using brown basmati rice or white if you prefer. The brown has a bit more texture to it that I really like. Plus, fiber! The Instant Pot makes it super creamy so it’s the texture of sticky rice but softer. Gotta love that “Porridge” button!

Vegan Rice Pudding in the Instant Pot - Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, No Refined Sugar - recipe by Christy Brissette media registered dietitian and president of 80 Twenty Nutrition in Toronto and California

If you’re making this Vegan Rice Pudding as a breakfast (and I highly recommend you do), make it as is and then the morning of, top it with your favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruit, fresh fruit or jam.

Here are some of my favorite rice pudding/rice porridge toppings…

Vegan Rice Pudding in the Instant Pot - Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, No Refined Sugar - recipe by Christy Brissette media registered dietitian and president of 80 Twenty Nutrition in Toronto and California

Sometimes the maple syrup comes out WAY TOO FAST. Super delicious, though!

The Best Vegan Rice Pudding Toppings Ever!

    • Cinnamon (I put it on almost everything though)
    • Coconut cream (buy a can of full fat coconut milk and skim the cream off the top. SO GOOD!)
    • Grated apple
    • Pear slices
    • Fresh blueberries
    • Dried cherries
    • Green mango
    • Crushed walnuts
    • Chia seeds
    • Hemp hearts
    • Unsweetened shredded coconut

Vegan Rice Pudding in the Instant Pot - Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, No Refined Sugar - recipe by Christy Brissette media registered dietitian and president of 80 Twenty Nutrition in Toronto and California

Vegan Rice Pudding in the Instant Pot – Gluten-Free and No Refined Sugar!

Vegan Rice Pudding in the Instant Pot - Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, No Refined Sugar - recipe by Christy Brissette media registered dietitian and president of 80 Twenty Nutrition in Toronto and California

What are your favorite vegan rice pudding topping additions? Are you on the Instant Pot bandwagon? Let us know in the comments below!

blog signature - Christy Brissette media dietitian 80 Twenty Nutrition

Vegan Rice Pudding in the Instant Pot - Gluten-Free and No Refined Sugar
This delicious Vegan Rice Pudding in the Instant Pot is loaded with coconut, maple and cinnamon flavor. This dessert is so nutritious, I approve it for breakfast.
Servings
4
Cook Time Passive Time
30minutes 30minutes
Servings
4
Cook Time Passive Time
30minutes 30minutes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Put your coconut milk, water, rice, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in your Instant Pot. Stir to combine.
  2. Put the lid on and close it. Close the vent. Turn on the porridge setting and cook for 20 minutes. Let it depressurize for 10 more minutes. Then press Cancel and open the vent.
  3. Once the floating valve drops down, open the lid. Add maple syrup to taste. Sprinkle with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

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Sushi Burrito Loaded with Fresh Veggies – Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Low Calorie! http://www.80twentynutrition.com/recipe/sushi-burrito-loaded-fresh-veggies-gluten-free-dairy-free-low-calorie/ http://www.80twentynutrition.com/recipe/sushi-burrito-loaded-fresh-veggies-gluten-free-dairy-free-low-calorie/#respond Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:28:30 +0000 http://www.80twentynutrition.com/?post_type=recipe&p=3525 Have you ever loaded up your fridge with fresh vegetables with the best of intentions, only to find them uneaten and sad by the end of the week? I’m embarrassed to say how often this happens to me! I do a big healthy grocery shop on the the weekends and then during the week, things...

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Have you ever loaded up your fridge with fresh vegetables with the best of intentions, only to find them uneaten and sad by the end of the week? I’m embarrassed to say how often this happens to me!

I do a big healthy grocery shop on the the weekends and then during the week, things get so hectic that I can’t find the time to wash and chop up my vegetables. Not a great healthy eating strategy, is it? Here’s how I deal with that on busy days… plus a super yum recipe for my Sushi Burrito Loaded with Fresh Veggies!

Sushi Burrito Loaded with Fresh Veggies - Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Low Calorie - recipe by media registered dietitian nutritionist Christy Brissette, president of 80 Twenty Nutrition

Disclosure: this post is a collaboration with Mann’s. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

I’m a huge fan of making eating veggies easy. Mann’s has ready-to-use vegetables like various slaws, sugar snap peas and more. They’ve taken the concept one step further with their Nourish Bowls. The bowls come with a rainbow medley of fresh vegetables, a fibre-rich complex carb such as brown rice or squash, and a delicious sauce. Just stir, heat (if you like) and you’re ready to eat!

Sushi Burrito Loaded with Fresh Veggies - Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Low Calorie - recipe by media registered dietitian nutritionist Christy Brissette, president of 80 Twenty Nutrition

Not only do Nourish Bowls make it so much easier to prep a nutritious lunch or dinner – they’re also super versatile. Add any protein you like and you have a warm, satisfying and balanced meal that’s ready in minutes.

My favorite Nourish Bowl is the Sesame Sriracha. It’s great topped with some salmon, shrimp or edamame. You’ll also love it in my sushi burrito! It’s as easy as mixing the Nourish Bowl ingredients, layering them on a nori sheet, laying some fillings on top and rolling it up. It’s a healthy handheld meal in minutes!

Sushi Burrito Loaded with Fresh Veggies - Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Low Calorie - recipe by media registered dietitian nutritionist Christy Brissette, president of 80 Twenty Nutrition

The Southwest Chipotle Nourish Bowl is another winner that would work great in this recipe if you want the flavors more on the burrito side than the sushi side. You can even wrap it up in a whole grain tortilla!

This sushi burrito is loaded with broccoli slaw, kohlrabi, cabbage, carrots and snap peas and some brown rice, making it way lower in calories than your white rice versions that feature mayonnaise-laden sauces.

Sushi Burrito Loaded with Fresh Veggies - Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Low Calorie - recipe by media registered dietitian nutritionist Christy Brissette, president of 80 Twenty Nutrition

You can use any type of protein you like in your sushi burrito. I love to use sushi-grade salmon or seared tuna. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can use tofu as your protein. Try smoked tofu for even more flavor!

Sushi Burrito Loaded with Fresh Veggies

Sushi Burrito Loaded with Fresh Veggies - Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Low Calorie - recipe by media registered dietitian nutritionist Christy Brissette, president of 80 Twenty Nutrition

Have you tried a sushi burrito yet? What do you like to put in yours? Share in the comments below!

Enjoy!

blog signature - Christy Brissette media dietitian 80 Twenty Nutrition

Sushi Burrito Loaded with Fresh Veggies - Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Low Calorie!
This sushi burrito is mostly vegetables. It's loaded with broccoli slaw, kohlrabi, cabbage, carrots and snap peas and some brown rice, making it way lower in calories than your white rice sushi burritos that feature mayonnaise-laden sauces.
Servings Prep Time
2 6minutes
Cook Time
0-2minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 6minutes
Cook Time
0-2minutes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Open the Mann’s bowl and add the rice and half of the sauce to the veggies. Stir to combine. You can either leave the veggies and rice cold for more crunch, or if you want a softer filling, cover with a paper towel and warm them up for 2 minutes in the microwave to steam lightly.
  2. Lay a nori sheet down on a sushi rolling mat or on a piece of parchment paper. Top with half of the veggie and rice mixture and smooth into an even layer.
  3. About 1 inch from the bottom of your sushi, place half of your fish or tofu, cucumber and avocado on top of the veggie layer.
  4. Slowly roll up your sushi burrito, making sure to keep it as tight as possible. Repeat steps 2-4 to make the other sushi burrito.
  5. Slice your sushi burrito in half. Serve with the other half of the sauce for dipping. Tip: wrapping your sushi burrito in parchment paper and then scrunching the end is a great way to hold it together as you eat.

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Vegan Shawarma Salad Plate – Gluten-Free! http://www.80twentynutrition.com/recipe/vegan-shawarma-salad-plate-gluten-free/ http://www.80twentynutrition.com/recipe/vegan-shawarma-salad-plate-gluten-free/#respond Mon, 17 Jul 2017 17:07:12 +0000 http://www.80twentynutrition.com/?post_type=recipe&p=3518 One of my favorite takeout meals is the shawarma plate from a Middle Eastern restaurant down the street from us. I crave the combination of salty, savory and tart flavors. Typically I’ll get the rice and potatoes subbed out for more salad, but they don’t have a vegetarian option for when I want something plant-based....

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One of my favorite takeout meals is the shawarma plate from a Middle Eastern restaurant down the street from us. I crave the combination of salty, savory and tart flavors. Typically I’ll get the rice and potatoes subbed out for more salad, but they don’t have a vegetarian option for when I want something plant-based. So what’s a food blogger/dietitian to do? Here is my vegan version of a Shawarma Salad Plate – and it’s gluten-free too! 

Vegan Shawarma Salad Plate - Gluten-Free - recipe by Christy Brissette, media registered dietitian nutritionist and President of 80 Twenty Nutrition

Check out the recipe for my Vegan Shawarma Salad Plate below… or design your own with some of these fun options!

Shawarma Salad – Essential Ingredients

  • Romaine lettuce 
  • Tomatoes
  • Chickpeas or lentils

 

Shawarma Salad – Optional Ingredients

  • Pickled turnip (trust me, it’s awesome)
  • Dill pickles, sliced (if you can’t find the pickled turnip)
  • Radishes (thinly sliced)
  • Red onion (thinly sliced)
  • Olives
  • Pita cut into triangles or pita chips, broken up into pieces (gluten-free)
  • Parsley
  • Hummus
  • Hot peppers

Shawarma Salad Dressing Options

For a quick option, I’ll use a fresh ranch salad dressing on my shawarma salad. I also love this with my Lemon Tahini Salad Dressing. It’s absolutely perfect!

Vegan Shawarma Salad Plate – Gluten Free!

Vegan Shawarma Salad Plate - Gluten-Free - recipe by Christy Brissette, media registered dietitian nutritionist and President of 80 Twenty Nutrition

What’s your favorite salad recipe? I’d love to hear your ideas.

blog signature - Christy Brissette media dietitian 80 Twenty Nutrition

Vegan Shawarma Salad Plate - Gluten-Free!
This Vegan Shawarma Salad Plate is a plant-based version of the popular sandwich deconstructed on a plate. The flavor combinations of salty, savory, tart and sweet will make this gluten-free salad a huge crowd-pleaser!
Servings Prep Time
4 10minutes
Cook Time
0minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10minutes
Cook Time
0minutes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Toss all of the ingredients together except for the dressing. Divide between 4 bowls and drizzle with the dressing. You can also lay your ingredients across a plate in rows and then drizzle with dressing.

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Caesar Salad Bites – Caesar Salad on a Skewer! http://www.80twentynutrition.com/recipe/caesar-salad-bites-caesar-salad-skewer/ http://www.80twentynutrition.com/recipe/caesar-salad-bites-caesar-salad-skewer/#respond Sun, 16 Jul 2017 23:33:18 +0000 http://www.80twentynutrition.com/?post_type=recipe&p=3496 Salad doesn’t have to be lettuce on a plate doused in dressing. Mix it up and put your salad ingredients on a stick! Everything is better on a stick, including these Caesar Salad Bites. They’re literally Caesar Salad on a Skewer! The fun part of this recipe is you can serve on the skewers or...

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Salad doesn’t have to be lettuce on a plate doused in dressing. Mix it up and put your salad ingredients on a stick! Everything is better on a stick, including these Caesar Salad Bites. They’re literally Caesar Salad on a Skewer!

Caesar Salad Bites - Caesar Salad on a Stick! Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Low Carb - recipe by Christy Brissette, registered dietitian nutritionist and president of 80 Twenty Nutrition in Toronto and California

The fun part of this recipe is you can serve on the skewers or have kids design their own (make sure you use straws instead of skewers for young children).

This recipe can be made vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, low carb… whatever you like! These Caesar Salad Bites are completely customizable.

Here are the core ingredients to make Caesar Salad on a Stick:

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Cucumber 
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Caesar Dressing for drizzling or dipping!

Here are some optional items you can add:

  • Croutons
  • Mozzarella cubes
  • Grilled chicken cubes

The rest is up to you!

Caesar Salad Bites – Caesar Salad on a Skewer!

Caesar Salad Bites - Caesar Salad on a Stick! Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Low Carb - recipe by Christy Brissette, registered dietitian nutritionist and president of 80 Twenty Nutrition in Toronto and California

What’s on your skewer? (That sounds like a strange pick-up line.)

blog signature - Christy Brissette media dietitian 80 Twenty Nutrition

Caesar Salad Bites - Caesar Salad on a Skewer
Salad doesn't have to be lettuce on a plate doused in dressing. Mix it up and put your salad ingredients on a stick! Everything is better on a stick, including these Caesar Salad Bites. They're literally Caesar Salad on a Skewer!
Servings Prep Time
4 6minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 6minutes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Put all of the ingredients on a skewer and drizzle with Caesar salad dressing. You can also dip into the dressing. Enjoy!

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Cantaloupe Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese http://www.80twentynutrition.com/recipe/cantaloupe-arugula-salad-blue-cheese/ http://www.80twentynutrition.com/recipe/cantaloupe-arugula-salad-blue-cheese/#respond Sun, 16 Jul 2017 23:10:35 +0000 http://www.80twentynutrition.com/?post_type=recipe&p=3498 Summer is the time for fresh, crisp salads that marry flavors and textures beautifully. This simple and delicious Cantaloupe Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese does just that! It’s as simple as combining the ingredients and tossing with dressing. Done and done. It’s also impressive enough for entertaining or bringing to a barbecue or potluck. This...

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Summer is the time for fresh, crisp salads that marry flavors and textures beautifully. This simple and delicious Cantaloupe Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese does just that!

Cantaloupe Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese and Prosciutto - recipe by media registered dietitian nutritionist and president of 80 Twenty Nutrition

It’s as simple as combining the ingredients and tossing with dressing. Done and done. It’s also impressive enough for entertaining or bringing to a barbecue or potluck.

This salad is perfect for anyone who is gluten-free.

If you want to make this salad vegetarian, just leave out the prosciutto. If you want it to be paleo, just leave out the cheese.

There are a few substitutions you can make if you don’t like the bitterness of arugula or the funkiness of blue cheese. I’ve made this using spinach and feta cheese and the results are different – but just as good – and more crowd-pleasing if you’re going to serve this to kids.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Cantaloupe Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese and Prosciutto

Cantaloupe Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese and Prosciutto - recipe by media registered dietitian nutritionist and president of 80 Twenty Nutrition

When I ate this salad, I literally mmm-ed after each and every bite. Unbelievably tasty!

Let me know what you think of this recipe.

blog signature - Christy Brissette media dietitian 80 Twenty Nutrition

Cantaloupe Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese
Summer is the time for fresh, crisp salads that marry flavors and textures beautifully. This simple and delicious Cantaloupe Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese does just that! It can easily be made vegetarian by leaving out the prosciutto. It's impressive enough for entertaining or bringing to a barbecue or potluck.
Servings Prep Time
4 7minutes
Cook Time
0minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 7minutes
Cook Time
0minutes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients. Drizzle with dressing and enjoy!

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The Wild Diet Review http://www.80twentynutrition.com/the-wild-diet-review/ http://www.80twentynutrition.com/the-wild-diet-review/#respond Sun, 16 Jul 2017 20:16:09 +0000 http://www.80twentynutrition.com/?p=3502 If you’re looking for a diet plan to help you get healthy, join the club. Chances are you’ve read descriptions of countless theories on weight loss and fat burning – many of which contradict each other. This confusion is the basis for an ABC reality show – My Diet Is Better Than Yours, which pits...

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If you’re looking for a diet plan to help you get healthy, join the club. Chances are you’ve read descriptions of countless theories on weight loss and fat burning – many of which contradict each other. This confusion is the basis for an ABC reality show – My Diet Is Better Than Yours, which pits diets against each other to see which eating plan can help contestants lose the most weight and body fat in 14 weeks. The Wild Diet was made popular by the show, since the contestant following it came in second place, losing about 25% of his body weight throughout the series. But is it a diet you should try? Here’s my take on the Wild Diet.

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What is the Wild Diet?

The Wild Diet is an eating plan developed by blogger, author, and podcaster Abel James. The diet focuses on eating real, whole, unprocessed food with a emphasis on vegetables, meats, wild game, and fats. It cuts out processed and packaged food, grains, and refined sugars, focusing on the quality and source of foods just as much as the ingredients list. The diet plan also addresses eating habits, rather than just providing a list of foods to eat – paying attention to hunger and fullness cues and enjoying food with friends and family are both encouraged.

image: Pixabay

Is the Wild Diet different from the Paleo Diet?

When you look at the list of foods encouraged and banned, the Wild Diet and paleo diet are fairly similar, although the Wild Diet doesn’t ban dairy products. They both emphasize vegetables, high quality meats, and unrefined fats like coconut oil or butter as main dietary components. James claims that the Wild Diet is superior to the paleo diet because it makes food quality a main focus and encourages at least half your plate to be plant-based, rather than the meat-heavy meals often found on the “popular paleo” diet.

How do you follow the Wild Diet?

For the full story, you’ll have to purchase James’ book or buy into his 30-day program, but here are some basic steps to “eating Wild”:

  • Don’t count calories; focus on the ingredients list instead and make sure all the ingredients are real food
  • Avoid sugar, grains, and processed “diet” food.
  • Eat high quality fat like grass-fed butter, unrefined coconut oil, pasture-raised bacon and steak, and free-range eggs.
  • Eat wild seafood, pastured animals, and wild game.
  • Buy local, organic, and non-GMO when possible. Get to know your farmers and producers and form relationships with where your food comes from.
  • Eat when you’re hungry, don’t eat when you’re not – it’s okay to skip meals if you’re not hungry.
  • When you make a plate, fill it up in this order: non-starchy vegetables, protein, fat, everything else; make at least half of your plate plant-based.
  • Make room for indulgences like dark chocolate that are grain free and low in sugar

image: Pixabay

Does the Wild Diet work for weight loss?

Let’s start with the great aspects of the Wild diet. If you need some structure in order to cut out “empty calories” from sugary drinks, refined carbs, and processed junk food, then having a definitive list of “do’s” and “dont’s” at your fingertips can be helpful. Switching from a diet full of junk food and refined grains to one full of nutrient-dense, real food is always a good move for weight loss.

One of the biggest perks to the Wild Diet is the advice to fill at least half your plate with produce. That means you’ll be getting in plenty of filling fiber, vitamins, minerals, and lots of satisfying volume without tacking on unnecessary calories. Another sound piece of advice from the Wild Diet is the notion of intuitive eating, where you pay attention to your hunger and satiety cues rather than counting calories. Eating intuitively leaves you with a more sustainable eating plan and has been correlated with lower body weight and cardiovascular risk.

While there is no research looking specifically at the Wild Diet’s effectiveness, there’s a bit of research suggesting that the paleo diet was more effective for weight loss than the Nordic diet, which focuses on produce, whole grains, lean meats, fish, and low-fat dairy.

image: Pixabay

All in all, you’ll likely see weight loss any time you back on processed foods and eat more nutrient-rich foods, though the Wild Diet cuts out food groups like legumes and whole grains that we know are nutritious! Both legumes and whole grains are “slow carbs” that are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

The Wild Diet claims you’ll be eating like your grandmother, since our grandmothers knew that eating “carbohydrates like grains, starches and sugar makes us fat.” I don’t know about you, but my grandmother wouldn’t swear off whole grains – and if you’re in the paleo mindset, there’s no evidence that cavemen did either. The Wild Diet guidelines talk a lot about how bad for us refined grains and sugars are, but not so much about whole grains or legumes – despite them being cut from the diet. Perhaps that’s because there’s plenty of evidence showing us that they’re healthy? I can get behind cutting out processed foods, but cutting out entire food groups that are good for you just becomes a restrictive diet that can set you up for failure.

Should you try the Wild Diet?

I like several aspects of the Wild Diet, and they fall in line with what I work on with my counseling clients – cutting down on processed foods and focusing on real, whole foods, upping vegetable intake, shopping local and sustainable, eating mindfully and taking time to enjoy the process of eating, and making room for indulgences. These guidelines set you up for a sustainable healthy eating plan, rather than a fad diet that you’re likely to quickly spiral out of.

However, the Wild Diet falls short in a few places – namely cutting out healthy food groups like whole grains and legumes. If you’re set on buying into a diet program, the Wild Diet at least guides you towards mindful eating and emphasizes high quality foods. If you want to save the cash and steer clear of gimmicky promises, though, stick to a less-restrictive eating plan that doesn’t cut out healthy foods unnecessarily.

 

Have you heard of or tried the Wild Diet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

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Omega-3s and Brain Health: Are You Getting Enough EPA and DHA? http://www.80twentynutrition.com/omega-3s-brain-health-getting-enough-epa-dha/ http://www.80twentynutrition.com/omega-3s-brain-health-getting-enough-epa-dha/#respond Thu, 06 Jul 2017 15:07:23 +0000 http://www.80twentynutrition.com/?p=3475 Nutrition can impact brain health throughout your life. One of the most important nutrients for a healthy brain is omega-3s, particularly EPA and DHA omega-3s. These also happen to be among the nutrients that many people aren’t getting enough of. Our bodies aren’t able to make enough EPA and DHA, so we have to get them...

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Nutrition can impact brain health throughout your life. One of the most important nutrients for a healthy brain is omega-3s, particularly EPA and DHA omega-3s. These also happen to be among the nutrients that many people aren’t getting enough of.

Our bodies aren’t able to make enough EPA and DHA, so we have to get them from food or supplements. Unfortunately, 95% of Americans don’t get enough EPA and DHA. Here’s what you can do to make sure you’re getting enough of these brain-boosting omega-3s.

Disclosure: this blog post is a collaboration with GOED. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

Omega-3s and Brain Health

Omega-3s and Brain Health - Are You Getting Enough EPA and DHA? Fish oil supplements, algae supplements, how much fish to eat each week and more from Christy Brissette, media registered dietitian nutritionist, 80 Twenty Nutrition in Toronto and California

Photo credit: Pexels

DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, is one of the main types of fat in the brain. Brain cells, called neurons, are mostly made up of DHA. Neurons send messages from the brain to our muscles and nerves.

DHA plays an important role in brain development and function throughout your life.

Omega-3s and Brain Health - Are You Getting Enough EPA and DHA? Fish oil supplements, algae supplements, how much fish to eat each week and more from Christy Brissette, media registered dietitian nutritionist, 80 Twenty Nutrition in Toronto and California

Photo credit: Pixabay

Here are some highlights of DHA’s key functions from the womb to older adulthood:

Pregnant Women

DHA is essential for cognitive development, particularly during the second half of pregnancy.

Pregnant women need to be sure they’re getting enough DHA so this key nutrient can be passed to the fetus via the placenta. That’s why eating enough fatty fish or taking an omega-3 supplement is especially important during this time.

Babies

Omega-3s and Brain Health - Are You Getting Enough EPA and DHA? Fish oil supplements, algae supplements, how much fish to eat each week and more from Christy Brissette, media registered dietitian nutritionist, 80 Twenty Nutrition in Toronto and California

Photo credit: Pixabay

Getting enough DHA is also important for babies to promote cognitive development during this time of rapid brain growth.

Babies can get DHA via their mother’s breast milk or fortified infant formula.

Breastfeeding women should also make sure they’re getting enough omega-3s whether its from fatty fish or supplements.

Adults

Omega-3s and Brain Health - Are You Getting Enough EPA and DHA? Fish oil supplements, algae supplements, how much fish to eat each week and more from Christy Brissette, media registered dietitian nutritionist, 80 Twenty Nutrition in Toronto and California

Photo credit: Cubezz

Getting DHA throughout adulthood alone or together with EPA can help boost memory in older adults.

Learn more about the importance of omega-3s for brain health in this video from GOED:

How Much EPA and DHA Do I Need?

Omega-3s and Brain Health - Are You Getting Enough EPA and DHA? Fish oil supplements, algae supplements, how much fish to eat each week and more from Christy Brissette, media registered dietitian nutritionist, 80 Twenty Nutrition in Toronto and California

Photo credit: Pexels

Not sure if you’re getting enough EPA and DHA for brain health? Most health care professionals recommend 250 –  500mg of EPA and DHA per day for healthy adults. If you have coronary heart disease, talk to your doctor about how much EPA and DHA to take.

How Do I Get Enough Omega-3s?

To meet your needs for EPA and DHA:

  • Eat 2 servings of fatty fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel or sardines each week (1 serving is about the size of the palm of your hand)
  • If you don’t eat enough fatty fish, take a fish oil supplement
Omega-3s and Brain Health - Are You Getting Enough EPA and DHA? Fish oil supplements, algae supplements, how much fish to eat each week and more from Christy Brissette, media registered dietitian nutritionist, 80 Twenty Nutrition in Toronto and California

Photo credit: Pixabay

What about ALA? Can’t I Get Omega-3s from Vegetarian Foods?

Omega-3s and Brain Health - Are You Getting Enough EPA and DHA? Fish oil supplements, algae supplements, how much fish to eat each week and more from Christy Brissette, media registered dietitian nutritionist, 80 Twenty Nutrition in Toronto and California

Photo credit: Pixabay

You can get another type of omega-3s called ALA by eating plant foods such as chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds and walnuts. Your body can turn a small amount of ALA into EPA and DHA, but the process isn’t very efficient and won’t be able to provide enough EPA and DHA for brain, eye and heart health benefits. That’s why getting EPA and DHA from fatty fish or a supplement is your best bet.

If you’re vegan or otherwise want to avoid fish, you can find algae supplements that contain EPA and DHA.

Recipes to Help You Get Enough EPA and DHA

Aren’t sure how to cook fish? Or had it once and weren’t a fan of the flavors that were used or found it was too dry? Try my fish recipes that are not only delicious, but quick and easy to prepare, and loaded with EPA and DHA for brain health!

Sesame Salmon Poke BowlSesame Salmon Poke Bowl - no added sugar, gluten-free, low carb, paleo, keto, primal, high in protein - recipe by Christy Brissette, media registered dietitian nutritionist, 80 Twenty Nutrition Communications in Toronto and California

 

Miso Trout with Garlicky Bok Choy and Brown RiceMiso Trout with Sesame Garlic Bok Choy and Brown Rice - Christy Brissette, media registered dietitian nutritionist - 80 Twenty Nutrition

 

Baked Lemon Dijon Salmon – ready in 15 minutes! Baked lemon dijon salmon - delicious on the barbecue or in your oven - perfect every time! Paleo, keto, gluten-free, dairy-free, low carb, pescetarian - recipe by Christy Brissette media registered dietitian nutritionist at 80 Twenty Nutrition

Are you getting enough EPA and DHA for a healthy brain? Take the quiz! 

Omega-3s and Brain Health - Are You Getting Enough EPA and DHA? Fish oil supplements, algae supplements, how much fish to eat each week and more from Christy Brissette, media registered dietitian nutritionist, 80 Twenty Nutrition in Toronto and California

Photo credit: Pixabay

 

Share your favorite EPA and DHA-rich recipes in the comments below!

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The Dissociated Diet Review: Does Separating Your Food Help You Lose Weight? http://www.80twentynutrition.com/dissociated-diet-review/ http://www.80twentynutrition.com/dissociated-diet-review/#comments Fri, 30 Jun 2017 20:24:30 +0000 http://www.80twentynutrition.com/?p=3456 If you’re on the hunt for a diet to help you lose weight, chances are you’ve come across the Dissociated Diet. It includes a variety of different foods but has you eat them separately from each other – making it more appealing to many people than a super-restrictive diet that has you counting calories. But...

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If you’re on the hunt for a diet to help you lose weight, chances are you’ve come across the Dissociated Diet. It includes a variety of different foods but has you eat them separately from each other – making it more appealing to many people than a super-restrictive diet that has you counting calories. But is it really less restrictive? And does the Dissociated Diet really work? Read on for my thoughts!

Does eating food groups separately really help you lose weight? Get the facts from registered dietitian Christy Brissette in this review of the Dissocated Diet

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What is the Dissociated Diet?

Unlike most current diet advice that recommends balancing protein, carbohydrates, and fat throughout the day, the Dissociated Diet suggests keeping them all separate. That means you’d be limited to eating just one food group per meal or per day. This is basically a rebranded version of Food Combining, a diet popular in the 70’s that’s been claimed to be the brainchild of numerous naturopathic doctors.

The Dissociated Diet is based on the theory that eating acidic and alkaline foods at the same time slows digestion, throws metabolism out of balance, and causes weight gain. That’s allegedly because your digestive system gets overworked trying trying to create the perfect conditions for digesting both alkaline and acidic foods at the same time.

image: Shutterstock

The Dissociated Diet focuses mainly on proteins, which are acid-forming, and carbohydrates, which are alkaline-forming. By not eating these two at the same time, your digestive system would (supposedly) run at peak performance, maximizing nutrient absorption so that you can run on smaller portion sizes.

Following the Dissociated Diet usually goes one of two ways: you follow a weekly rotation, eating only one food group per day, or you rotate meals, eating only one food group per meal.

What do you eat on the Dissociated Diet?

Eating only one food group at a time doesn’t mean you get to eat only junk food for a whole day and call it a diet, though. The plan encourages eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and meat proteins as main food groups, limiting refined starches and fat, and cutting out all junk food.

The one hard-fast rule is that proteins and carbohydrates can’t be eaten within 4-5 hours of each other, until digestion is “complete”. Most followers of the diet don’t combine protein sources or carbohydrate sources either (for example, eating fruits and vegetables or meat and dairy together). Essentially, everything is eaten separately so your body can allegedly focus on digesting that one specific type of food.

image: Pexels

If you’re on a weekly rotation, here’s what that might look like:

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If you rotate ever meal, here’s what you’re looking at:

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Does the Dissociated Diet really make you lose weight?

The Dissociated Diet’s basis has no scientific backing. There’s no proof that our bodies can’t handle breaking down protein and carbohydrates at once – especially since so many foods contain more than one macronutrient. Nuts, for example, combine protein, carbs, and fat, and our digestive systems do just fine with them.

Even if we did have evidence saying that eating alkaline and acidic foods separately improves digestion, there’s no saying that would make you lose weight.

If you lose weight on the Dissociated Diet, it’s likely because you’re dropping calories, not because your digestive system is suddenly working perfectly. I could only dig up one study comparing a dissociated diet (that rotated food groups every meal) to a balanced diet for weight loss, and it found no difference between the diets in terms of resulting weight loss, insulin and cholesterol levels, or blood pressure after six weeks.

Is the Dissociated Diet Safe?

Cutting down on junk food and refined carbs is a great idea for anyone – but doing it in a way that only lets you eat one food group at a time isn’t so smart. Who wants to eat a bowl of rice without veggies or protein? Or a plate of eggs without sautéed vegetables or whole grain toast? Your meals would be super boring and I’m all about enjoying your food!

image: Dreamstime

Not only is the Dissociated Diet unsustainable (you’re way more likely to binge and gain weight right back after such a restrictive regime), but if you do the version of the Dissociated Diet that’s a whole day of eating one type of food, there are some concerns.

Yes, fruit is healthy, but it’s also high in sugar. Eating nothing but fruit for a day means you’re not getting protein or fat to help slow down the release of sugar into your bloodstream, so your blood sugar could go way out of balance.

Fruits and vegetables are also chock full of fat-soluble nutrients that your body won’t be able to absorb without a little fat during the day, and the lack of protein means you’re likely to lose muscle.

On the days where you eat nothing but protein, you’ll be lacking crucial vitamins and minerals found in fruits and veggies, and your energy could take a serious slump without any carbs. Inevitably, you’ll be missing out on key nutrients every day of the week – no matter what food group you’re skipping.

image: Unsplash

Alternating food groups for every meal, rather than every day might give you some relief from that, but it also doesn’t do much for you in the way of weight loss.

Without any proven weight loss or other health benefits, is it worth the restriction and boring meals?

The bottom line on the Dissociated Diet

The dissociated diet does give you a few guidelines for a healthy diet: focus on real food that’s nutrient rich and steer clear of empty calories. But the eating pattern suggested in the diet is unrealistic for a long-term lifestyle change and could leave you with nutrient deficiencies, like water-soluble vitamins that your body doesn’t store, if you don’t get enough variety.

Eating only one food group per day means you’re constantly nutrient deficient and constantly unsatisfied – all for results that haven’t been proven. You’re much better off applying those healthy guidelines of eating real food to a sustainable healthy eating plan that’s more realistic for long term weight loss.

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Is Carrageenan harmful? Everything you need to know about Carrageenan http://www.80twentynutrition.com/is-carrageenan-harmful/ http://www.80twentynutrition.com/is-carrageenan-harmful/#respond Fri, 23 Jun 2017 18:07:32 +0000 http://www.80twentynutrition.com/?p=3439 If you’ve heard of carrageenan, you’ve likely heart some nasty horror stories of inflammation and potential cancer-causing properties. That reputation is enough to scare plenty of people away from this food additive, but is there any truth to these claims? Is carrageenan harmful? Here’s everything you need to know about carrageenan. –> Click here to...

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If you’ve heard of carrageenan, you’ve likely heart some nasty horror stories of inflammation and potential cancer-causing properties. That reputation is enough to scare plenty of people away from this food additive, but is there any truth to these claims? Is carrageenan harmful? Here’s everything you need to know about carrageenan.

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What Is Carrageenan?

Carrageenan is a natural fiber extracted from red seaweed that’s often used as a thickening or gelling agent. When it comes to looking at research, it’s important to note that carrageenan is sometimes referred to as “undegraded carrageenan” – and you guessed it, there’s also a “degraded carrageenan.” Undegraded carrageenan is approved as a food additive by the FDA and more frequently goes by just “carrageenan,” but once it’s been degraded, it’s then referred to as “poligeenan” – a substance you won’t find anywhere near your food.

image: Pixabay

Poligeenan is used in medical imaging applications and is a known carcinogen listed in the FDA’s Poisonous Plants Database. It’s created by heating carrageenan to at least 190 degrees Fahrenheit and adjusting the acidity to a similar pH of car batteries (1.0). Compare that to the level of heat or acidity in your body – an average of 98.6 degrees and pH of 2.0 to 3.5 – and it becomes clear that you will never make carcinogenic poligeenan out of the carrageenan found in foods (as is sometimes claimed).

Where is Carrageenan Found?

Now that we know that we’re talking about carrageenan, not poligeenan, let’s get into where this controversial food additive is found. You’ve probably seen it in the ingredients list on a box of almond milk or other plant-based milks, where it’s used to keep everything smooth and prevents the other ingredients from separating. You might also find it in some yogurts, coffee creamers, infant formula, ice creams, and other dairy/dairy-like products as an emulsifier. It’s also used to thicken the mouthfeel of low fat products. Mmm… who doesn’t love that artificial oily feeling on your tongue!

image: Pexels

Does Carrageenan Cause Inflammation?

The most common critique of the use of carrageenan in food is the claim that it causes inflammation in the gut, which can lead to or worsen symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, or simply contribute to chronic inflammation.

There is some research supporting this claim in animal models and in human intestinal and colonic cells. While that seems pretty legitimate, keep this in mind: The rat models used in most carrageenan research are fed concentrations of carrageenan that far exceed what humans would get from drinking, say, a cup of almond milk a day. In addition, the carrageenan is usually administered with water. When carrageenan is dissolved in water, it isn’t bound to any proteins and is essentially free to interact with other molecules. Most humans will likely never consume high concentrations of carrageenan dissolved into pure water – so those findings on rats aren’t very applicable to our bodies.

image: Pexels

Research finding inflammation in human cells is concerning, though, right? Well let’s keep in mind that there are no research studies looking at inflammatory effects of consuming low concentrations of carrageenan from food (not just dissolved in water) in real, live humans. In other words, no one is researching carrageenan’s effects in the way that we actually consume it. Applying isolated carrageenan to isolated intestinal cells in petri dishes doesn’t necessarily strike a strong resemblance to how our bodies work, so I’d like to see some practical research before recommending you avoid carrageenan.

There’s also plenty of research that’s found absolutely no inflammatory effect of carrageenan on human intestinal cells – even when applied directly to cells in a petri dish – and no adverse effects of carrageenan in rats.

All in all, the research on carrageenan and inflammation is pretty cloudy. Even in isolated situations and exaggerated rat models, the verdict is unclear. Keep in mind that when we consume carrageenan, it’s not in isolation and it’s not often in high concentrations. Since inflammation can be caused by so many lifestyle and eating habits, I’d say carrageenan is a far cry from being our most pressing inflammatory issue.

Does Carrageenan Cause Cancer?

Critics of carrageenan in food are quick to point out that carrageenan is a known carcinogen. As we discussed earlier, poligeenan is in fact a known carcinogen, but it’s also not found in foods. So what about food-grade carrageenan?

There’s some research on animals pointing to food-grade carrageenan as a “co-carcinogen,” meaning that it doesn’t cause cancer on it’s own, but it does enhance the effects of other known carcinogens. The research on carrageenan and cancer in human cells is lacking, but it’s important to note that ulcerative colitis (a result of inflammation) poses a risk for colorectal cancer, so research finding a link between carrageenan and inflammation could suggest a link between carrageenan and cancer.

However, just like with the research regarding inflammation, let’s take animal and isolated human cell studies with a grain of salt. There are numerous studies demonstrating no carcinogenic effects of carrageenan – even in animal models treated with high doses of carrageenan for their entire lifespan.

Should You Avoid Carrageenan?

Carrageenan is infamous for being an inflammatory, carcinogenic food additive – but the research simply isn’t conclusive. As long as your diet doesn’t consist solely of foods with high amounts of carrageenan, I’d say you’re probably in the clear.

That being said, I certainly wouldn’t seek out foods that have carrageenan in them. Although there’s some research supporting the cholesterol and lipid-lowering effects of carrageenan, you’ll get those benefits from any other fiber source (like fruits, veggies, and whole grains) and carrageenan doesn’t have any other redeeming nutritional value. Stick to whole and minimally processed foods and you likely won’t run into much carrageenan. If you do find it on the ingredients list of some foods you’re eating once in awhile, I’d say don’t sweat it.

 

What foods have you found carrageenan in? Do you try to avoid it?

 

 

 

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