Archive | March, 2010

FDA and Raw Milk

31 Mar

FDA warns on raw milk

29-Mar-2010

From: http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Financial-Industry/FDA-warns-on-raw-milk/?c=KsNAqcFdxNHcJgKoAaNt8g%3D%3D&utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter%2BDaily

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning on the potential danger of consuming raw milk, following a campylobacteriosis outbreak that has been linked to at least 12 illnesses in Michigan.

The raw (unpasteurized) milk linked to the outbreak is from Forest Grove Dairy in Middlebury, Ind.

The FDA said in a statement: “Proponents of drinking raw milk often claim that raw milk is more nutritious than pasteurized milk and that raw milk is inherently antimicrobial, thus making pasteurization unnecessary. There is no meaningful nutritional difference between pasteurized and raw milk, and raw milk does not contain compounds that will kill harmful bacteria.”

The FDA added that it has been warning on the dangers of raw milk consumption for decades.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 1998 to 2008, 85 outbreaks of human infections resulting from consumption of raw milk were reported, including 1,614 illnesses, 187 hospitalizations and 2 deaths. However, as some illnesses are not reported, the actual number of illnesses associated with raw milk is likely to be greater, the FDA said.

Comments?

Eat. Move. Live.

24 Mar

Read time: 90 seconds

Exercise makes us fitter, stronger, healthier, happier, and it helps prevent a host of diseases.

Nutrition can make us healthier, but it can also make us sick. Eat poorly and exercise becomes critical to preventing diseases that poor nutrition might cause. Eat well, however, and exercise is ultimately for fun.

And, no matter how you cut it:

exercise + good nutrition = look better naked

Many of you exercise and eat a proper diet. Kudos. It shows in many ways, even with your clothes on.

But I personally know many people who exercise to offset a tendency toward poor nutrition. This works to a point. But, as the saying goes: You can’t out-exercise a crappy diet.

Of course, enjoying some less-nutritious food doesn’t make the entire diet crappy. I certainly enjoy the homemade carrot cupcakes (and I mean loaded with carrots and love) someone made for my birthday, and I ate them with half a bottle of Viognier. (Well, OK, the entire bottle.)

My diet, though, is definitely not crappy. I understand balance, and my food intake tips the dietary scale toward nutrient-dense, calorie-sparse foods that are wholesome and real. I tend to bypass processed foods (unless it’s hand-made with love).

The point, we do better if we know more about our food — where it comes from, how it’s made. We benefit in knowing what it does to the body. We don’t need to assign grams, calories, blocks, macronutrients, micronutrients to food as much as we need to know what food is wholesome and what is processed. Then just choose more of the former and less the latter… but enjoy the latter to the utmost once in a while, maybe with a good bottle of wine.

In the end, workout all you want, but it’s only a fraction of the picture. Nutrition is the major (often neglected) part. 

March is National Nutrition Month. In this newsletter, I hope you’ll enjoy nutrition articles by FIT trainers… maybe with a glass of good wine.

Best,

Johnny Nguyen

March 24, 2010

Interval Training for Less Time

24 Mar

An article posted on Yahoo! suggested that interval training could cut time for those of us limited on time to exercise.

How Well Does Your Environment Support Healthy Eating Habits?

24 Mar

Congratulations! You have made a commitment to good nutrition and healthy eating habits. Now ask yourself, how well do the foods in the cupboard and refrigerator reflect your healthy eating commitment? Do the time saving meal suggestions from family members emphasize high quality foods or fast food? At lunches and social outings are you offered a fruit bowl or a chip bowl? In other words, how well does your environment support your healthy eating goal?

Your Environment

According to Social Cognitive Theory, there are two ways to bridge the gap between intention and desired behavior: developing the ability and skills necessary to act on the behavior, for example shopping and cooking healthful meals, and creating a supportive environment. Environment refers to both the physical surroundings and conditions a person operates in, and the people that influence an individual’s life. It is interesting to note that although environment can influence a person’s behavior, an individual can also reshape their environment. Creating a supportive environment for healthy eating habits would include, but not be limited to, the availability of quality food, the means to acquire and prepare healthful meals, and modeled healthy eating habits.

Stimulus Control

An important tool for restructuring personal environment is stimulus control.   Stimulus control includes identifying triggers for unhealthy behaviors and generating a plan for controlling those triggers.  For example, many people find they consume more bread with dinner when the basket is sitting in front of them.  A possible plan would be to ask the waiter not bring bread to the table and start the meal with a tantalizing array of vegetables. Salty or sweet treats are often difficult to pass up, especially in a group setting. A stimulus control plan might involve providing fresh fruit or other healthy tempting treats when hanging out with family and friends. Time, or the lack of it, can be a trigger for stress and unhealthy food choices. When faced with limited time for meal preparation substitute easy to prepare meals, such as omelets, open-faced sandwiches, or a stir-fry, for fast food.  When your social environment needs stimulus control, make healthy eating habits a family affair by planning menus together, shopping at the farmers market, and sharing recipe ideas. The key to stimulus control is to identify the trigger, generate a plan, and stick to it.

Summary

Social Cognitive Theory views behavior pathology through a dynamic interrelationship of personal factors, environmental factors and behavior.  Environment influences behavior and can be either supportive to our intentions or an obstacle to adopting new behaviors. The good news is that we can restructure our environment. How well does your environment support your commitment to quality nutrition and healthy eating habits?

Reference:

Social cognitive theory: Explanation of behavioral patterns.  University of Twente. http://www.tcw.utwente.nl/theorieddnoverzicht/Theory%20clusters/Health%20Communication/Social_cognitive_theory.doc/

Contento, I.R., 2007. Jones and Bartlett. MA. Nutrition education: linking research, theory, and practice. Chapter 5 Foundation in theory and research: facilitating the ability to take action. Pg 121-123.

From the Vitamin D Council

19 Mar
The Vitamin D Newsletter
More Vitamin D Studies of Interest
March 14, 2010
 
This is a periodic newsletter from the Vitamin D Council, a non-profit trying to end the epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. If you are not subscribed, you can do so on the Vitamin D Council’s website. If you want to unsubscribe, go to the end of this newsletter.
 
This newsletter is now copyrighted but you may reproduce it for non-economic reasons without prior permission as long as you properly attribute its source.
 
The mainstream American press is ignoring much of the recent Vitamin D scientific literature. I suspect newspaper editors have decided that too many favorable Vitamin D stories run the risk of repeating the folic acid, beta-carotene and vitamin E affairs, when early epidemiological research was not routinely substantiated by later randomized controlled trials. If the press has made that decision, then this newsletter is your best source of information on new Vitamin D science.
 
Genetics, as well as dose, determine response to vitamin D supplements.
 
Your vitamin D blood level depends entirely on how much you take or how often you sunbathe, right? Wrong. Prior studies of identical twins show that about 25 -50% of the variation of Vitamin D levels depends on genetics. In July, researchers at the University of Toronto discovered the heritability of 25(OH)D is probably mediated through the Vitamin D binding protein (VDBP).
 
 
One of the common emails I get (and I’m sorry I can’t answer individual emails) is “I am taking 5,000 IU per day but my blood level is only 35 ng/ml.” What should I do? This study helps answer such questions. You probably inherited a tendency to not respond to higher doses of Vitamin D. Simply take a little more and get your blood tested again in 3-4 months.
 
Also, don’t forget your weight. Does it make sense that if you weigh 300 pounds, you need more vitamin D than a 3 pound baby? If that makes sense to you, congratulations, it has not made sense to any of the five Food and Nutrition Boards (FNB) that have convened and issued recommendations to Americans over the last 60 years; they have all recommended the same 200 IU/day dose for infants and young adults, no matter how much the adults weigh.

More researchers actually recommend that people take Vitamin D and not just give more money to scientists.
 
Researchers from Austria concluded their review paper on vitamin D and high blood pressure by stating: “In view of the multiple health benefits of vitamin D and the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, as well as the easy, safe, and inexpensive ways in which vitamin D can be supplemented, we believe that the implementation of public health strategies for maintaining a sufficient vitamin D status of the general population is warranted.” 
 
 
Good for Austria! By the way, while vitamin D may improve hypertension, it is not the be all and end all of hypertensive disease. If your doctor can stop your high blood pressure medication after you start taking vitamin D, great, but I doubt that will happen. Most people will have to continue taking their antihypertensive medication even after adequate vitamin D supplementation, albeit sometimes at a lower dose.
 
While I am on the subject, remember, that vitamin D will not prevent all cancer or heart disease or respiratory infections. True, evidence is accumulating that it will help, but you can still develop cancer, heart disease and respiratory infections with adequate blood levels of vitamin D. That’s why I believe in complimentary, not alternative, medicine.
 
Professor Michael Holick keeps increasing the amount of vitamin D he recommends.
 
As readers know, Professor Holick is one of the world’s foremost authorities on vitamin D. However, after being on the 1997 Food and Nutrition Board (FNB), he stuck with the FNB’s 200 IU/day recommendation well into the next century. Then he slowly went to 400 IU, then 800 IU, then 1,000 IU and now he is at 2,000 IU/day. Professor Holick is going in the right direction and is almost there.
 
 
Professor Robert Heaney of Creighton University just discovered that if you take 2,200 IU of vitamin D every day, you only have about 12 days supply of vitamin D in your body.
 
I love Robert Heaney’s papers. In a previous paper, Dr. Heaney discovered that at blood levels of 35 ng/ml, 50% of people are using up their vitamin D as quickly as they take it, that is, they are not storing any for future use and suffer from chronic substrate starvation. Obviously, one wants to take enough so the body has all it can use, which is why I recommend 25(OH)D levels of at least 50 ng/ml. At that level, no one should have chronic substrate starvation.
 
In the paper below, Dr. Heaney collaborated with two other Creighton scientists, Dr. Diane Cullen and Dr. Laura Armas, as well as one of the premier experts in measuring vitamin D in the world, Dr. Ron Horst of Heartland Assays. Ron runs tens of thousands of vitamin D samples a year as Heartland Assays performs vitamin D testing for most of the big studies and Dr. Horst is one of the few people in the world who can accurately measure cholecalciferol, and not just 25(OH)D.
 
 
Anyway, in his latest paper, Dr. Heaney found that if you regularly take 2,200 IU per day, you have about 12 days supply of vitamin D in your body. He explained, “What this indicates is that fat reserves of the vitamin are essentially running on empty and that . . . additional vitamin D inputs are [converted to 25(OH)D] almost immediately.” . . “The currently recommended intake of vitamin D needs to be revised upward by at least an order of magnitude.”
 
What is not known, at least by me, is what happens when cholecalciferol intake far exceeds the body’s requirement. We know it is stored in the body, mainly in fat and muscle, but what does the body do to control excess cholecalciferol from building up in the body? Professor Reinhold Vieth has written that much of it will simply be excreted unchanged in the bile, but how does that system work exactly, to get rid of excess cholecalciferol? We know it works because the few patients with vitamin D toxicity reported in the literature – almost always due to industrial errors – reduce their vitamin D levels rather quickly by simply stopping the vitamin D and staying out of the sun.
 
Zocor has no effect on vitamin D levels.
 
I know several studies have found statins raise vitamin D levels but different scientists report different findings. This paper found Zocor had no effect of vitamin D levels while a previous paper found Crestor almost tripled vitamin D levels. What’s the truth? I don’t know. The above study did find that higher vitamin D levels were strongly associated with better triglycerides and weakly associated with higher HDL (the good cholesterol) levels.
 
 
Vitamin D lowers statin blood levels
 
This study makes the point that things are often more complex than they first appear. Almost nothing is known of vitamin D’s drug-drug interactions. That is, how does vitamin D affect the blood level of other drugs? The below study measured the effects of vitamin D on Lipitor levels and cholesterol levels hours after Lipitor was given to patients taking vitamin D. The authors were looking for drug-drug interactions and found them.
 
 
The above study found vitamin D not only lowered Lipitor levels, but vitamin D lowered bad cholesterol levels as well. That is, the lowest bad cholesterol levels were found in patients on vitamin D with the lowest Lipitor levels, just the opposite of what one would think. I mean, wouldn’t higher Lipitor levels result in lower cholesterol levels? Not when vitamin D was taken into account. If you think my explanation of this study is confusing, you should read the study.
 
Intensive treatment with vitamin D, statins, and omega-3 fish oil reverses coronary calcium scores.
 
The below open study by Dr. William Davis and colleagues studied 45 adults with evidence of calcified coronary arteries, treating them with high dose statins, niacin, fish oil (not cod liver oil) capsules, and enough vitamin D (average of about 4,000 IU/day) to obtain 25(OH)D levels of 50 ng/ml. They found that regimen reduced coronary calcium scores in 20 patients and slowed progression in 22 additional patients. That is, it reversed the coronary calcification process in about half of patients and slowed its progression in most of the rest.
 
 
Most studies have shown high dose statins on their own do not reverse coronary arthrosclerosis, so we know it was not the statins alone. What would vitamin D levels of 70 ng/ml do? So, if you have coronary artery disease: ask your cardiologist about statins and niacin, take 5-10 fish oil capsules per day, and at least 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day.
 
A word about fish oil is in order. Fish oil means fish body oil, not fish liver oil. And, four or five capsules of omega-3 fish oil a day will do very little if you do not limit your intake of omega-6 oils. Your ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is the crucial number, your want that ratio at 2 or below, which means no chips, no French fries and no processed foods, a difficult diet. Omega-6 oils are vegetable oils such as corn oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil and cottonseed oil. Read the packages to see what is in them and if they contain the above oils do not eat them. In additions to taking fish oil capsules, try to eat wild-caught salmon three times a week.
 
Our group’s second paper on influenza is now the most accessed paper in the history of Virology Journal.
 
I was asked to write the paper by the editor of another journal, who then refused it! I almost decided to scrap the paper but, in the end, submitted it to Virology Journal. I’m glad I did.
 
 
I was glad to see that six other experts recently recommended that the diagnosis and treatment of vitamin D deficiency be part of our national preparedness for the H1N1 pandemic.
 
 
In addition, I hear through the grapevine that the CDC has discovered that, of the 329 American children who have died so far from H1N1, vitamin D levels in the dead children were lower than in children who survived the swine flu. Maybe something can be done to save our children by next winter? Not to mention the 16,000 adult Americans the CDC thinks died from H1N1.
 
 
Low vitamin D levels mean higher death rates in patients with kidney disease.
 
The below study is the first of its kind; Dr. Rajnish Mehrota and his eight colleagues studied 3,000 of the 28 million U.S. adults who have chronic kidney disease, finding those with vitamin D levels below 15 ng/ml had a 50% increased risk of death compared to those with levels above 30 ng/ml over the nine years of the study. These researchers from UCLA, Harvard, the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, and other institutions concluded: “The broad public health implications of our findings cannot be overemphasized given the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among individuals with chronic kidney disease, and the ease, safety, and low cost of maintaining replete vitamin D levels.”
 
 
These words are music to my ears; these words are strong words, urgent words, and, better yet, they are not my words. This is the first large study looking at a representative group of Americans with kidney disease, before dialysis, finding about 1/3 of them died over the 9 years of the study. Those with low vitamin D levels were more likely to die; in fact, they were more likely to have about every chronic disease you can think of before they died. The average age of those with kidney disease was only 55. This is a very important study, well written and well-conducted.
 
However, there is a scandal in medicine, a scandal not openly discussed in scientific papers, one not yet reported by the mainstream press. The scandal is this: if you are on dialysis, the chances are very high that your kidney doctor thinks he is giving you vitamin D when he is doing no such thing and some drug companies encourage such ignorance.
 
Drug companies market very lucrative activated vitamin D drugs to nephrologists as “vitamin D.” The kidney doctors, in turn, think they are giving vitamin D to their dialysis patients when they are doing no such thing. If anything, the activated vitamin D analogs nephrologists use in kidney disease will lower 25(OH)D levels by turning on the enzyme that gets rid of vitamin D.
 
The ugly secret is that plain old dirt-cheap vitamin D would lower the amount of activated vitamin D analogs needed to treat kidney disease. We used to think it was all or none, the kidneys would either make activated vitamin D to maintain blood calcium or the kidneys would not, as in renal failure. However, it is not all or none; the more vitamin D building blocks available to the diseased kidneys, the more activated vitamin D diseased kidneys can make. And, tissues other than the kidney, such as the skin, pancreas, adrenal medulla, and certain white blood cells, can contribute to serum activated vitamin D levels, and probably would if they had enough of the building block (plain old, dirt-cheap old, regular old, vitamin D).
 
Just out: Vitamin D administration (plain old vitamin D) to renal dialysis patients reduces the need for expensive vitamin D analogues, reduces inflammation, reduces the need for medication that increases red blood count, and improves cardiac function.
 
As I was about to finish this tirade about vitamin D and kidney failure, the below open study was published on March 4, 2010 and I ordered it. (By the way, the Council has to pay $11.00 for every paper I get and only one paper in ten is worth reporting on). The study below confirms what the above authors predicted; plain old cheap vitamin D helps patients with kidney disease.
 
 
Dr. Patricia Matias and colleagues in Portugal gave vitamin D3 to 158 patients on renal dialysis, using a sliding scale of vitamin D3 administration dependent on baseline 25(OH)D levels. Some patients got 50,000 IU per week, some got 10,000 IU per week, etc. Their dosing regimen increased 25(OH)D levels from a mean of 22 ng/ml at the beginning of the study to a mean of 42 ng/ml during treatment, indicating half of patients still had levels lower than 42 ng/ml after treatment. Interestingly, most of the patients who did not increase their 25(OH)D very much had diabetes, suggesting the metabolic clearance (how quickly it is used up) of vitamin D is increased in diabetes. By the way, we know the patients took the vitamin D; the doctors gave it to them when they came in for dialysis.
 
The results of this study were amazing. After vitamin D administration, parathyroid hormone, albumin, CRP (a measure of inflammation), brain natriuretic peptide (a measure of heart failure), and left ventricular mass index (a measure of heart function) all improved significantly. The dose of activated vitamin D (Zemplar in this case) was reduced, and some patients were able to stop it all together. Also, the dose of two other drugs used in kidney failure, one to bind phosphorus and the other to raise hemoglobin, was reduced.
 
It is a tragedy that drug companies sell more expensive vitamin D analogs by having their drug salesman assure kidney doctors that the expensive vitamin D analogues are vitamin D, even if it kills their clients. But, with the brand new knowledge that kidney failure patients live much longer on vitamin D, the drug companies might want to do some simple math. They might make even more money if they kept their patients alive longer. True, they will need less vitamin D analogues and other expensive kidney drugs every day, but the patients may live many more days.
 
John Cannell, MD
 
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FIT Client of the Month – March 2010

11 Mar

Name: Brad Kancigor

Age: 42

FIT Member Since: August, 2009

Goals coming into FIT: #1 – Reduce lower back pain, #2 – Lose some body fat, #3 – Improve overall fitness levels and feel better

Results: #1 – Back pain has been reduced to rare, if ever!  #2 – He did lose some body fat along the way….as evident by his belt fitting 3 holes smaller than before!  #3 – Overall fitness level has gone through the roof in comparison to where he started and he is now able to make it through an entire workout at a higher intensity in conjunction with completing at home “homework” workouts.

Likes: Buying voodoo dolls of coach Rob and putting as many pins in them as possible!

Dislikes: Pain!

500m Row Personal Best: 1:43

Chin-Ups Personal Best: 1

Key’s to Brad’s success: He has been dedicated to completing his core work both during and outside of his personal training sessions.  Brad has remained motivated by his decrease in pain and increase in mobility.

Brad joined us last year with a long history of back pain. He had seen Chris Reed with Agile earlier in the year and was told even though he had a very slight disc degeneration it was nothing that would stop his from getting into better shape!!!

When I first started working with Brad, he was extremely de-conditioned and after a few basic exercises I knew that most of pain would decrease with some general body strength.

He didn’t have any limitations of movement ad was pretty flexible for someone who has not worked out since high school and is 6’3. I quite often remind Brad how far he has come in such a sort period that during our first workout he was unable to stand up from a BWS. He recently back squatted 40kg for 2×10. Brad is an avid golfer, but was unable to play as he was into much pain. He has been extremely committed doing his prescribed core work to strength his trunk as well as over time increasing his movements on his home workouts with BWS and push ups, just to name a few. In the last few months Brad has been playing golf again but still taking Advil pain meds get round the course. He has been making great strides in the gym with his fitness and strength and this past week played a full 18 holes of golf without any pain meds before, during or after the round.

Well done Brad.

Vitamin A’s role in energy production identified by scientists

11 Mar

http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Vitamin-A-s-role-in-energy-production-identified-by-scientists/?c=KsNAqcFdxNEF46YkkRrH4w%3D%3D&utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter%2BDaily

From Lead Paint in your Toys to Organic Food on your Table

9 Mar

Organic from China to the local Whole Foods.

Final destination: your table.

Read the label carefully.

Raw Zucchini Hummus

8 Mar

Ingredients

  • 2 zucchini
  • 3/4 cup tahini (raw)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (cold pressed, if you want it to be truly raw)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2.5 teaspoons salt (if you use Sea Salt use between 1-1.5 tsp as the taste is much stronger)
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin

Directions

Chop the zucchini and blend everything in the blender. Add the lemon juice and garlic (and salt) a little bit at a time to get the flavor that you want.  Remember that measurements are “guestimated” in this recipe – so be sure to taste as you’re mixing and add lemon, garlic, and salt to taste.

Share alternative spices you use with us!

Kids Teach Us A Lot About Food

8 Mar

As a father of two children, I have learned a ton about my kids when it comes to food. Like anybody who grew up watching numerous episodes of “Married with Children” and “Roseanne”, I try to stay lighthearted when it comes to how my kids may behave. Unfortunately, the “parenting portion” of my lighthearted-perspective may take more time to develop than my nutrition perspective.

When my first child, Keala, was ready to be introduced to whole foods after breast milk, I was excited to introduce her into the world of nutrition. Once she was able to tolerate more variety of food, I was involved every step of the way. It was my way  of being able to help physically develop my daughter more directly than when she was breastfeeding alone.

I was excited. Just like when she was breasfeeding, I wanted to make sure she was getting a healthy supply of healthy fats. I had mixed Udo’s Perfected Blend of oil with her cereal, she was trying some of my oatmeal mixed with Natural Muscle Milk, and there was always a plethora of any and all fruits and veggies I could find and finally, my greatest accomplishment, Children’s fish oil which Keala calls “jelly beans” today.  Keala developed into eating a great array of foods as soups, stews, raw or roasts. She would eat virtually whatever was put in front of her. She is also one of the few kids that will eat very little amounts of chocolate ice cream or candy when you put a large amount of it in front of her. She would willingly push it away and say something like, “That’s enough” (I have to confess, I have no idea how this happened as I did not intentionally make this happen). Today, she is six-years-old and she knows a number of foods that are classified as junk food and which foods are healthy. I ask her why is something junk food and she tells me, “Because there’s sugar in there”. That’s good enough for me.

Somehow, in her open-minded eating, I was spoiled by her willingness to try any food.  Keala was clearing over all of the often problematic food hurdles, such as green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, dinuguan and pinakbet. I had succeeded! My ideal child rearing for eating has developed into eating habits I am proud of today. I thought I had a system of parental child rearing for nutrition down like Martha Stewart had a system for  improving a 401K portfolio.

However, another (and more challenging foodie) child entered the world, my son, Tristan. Again, I thought I had another willing participant in my unshakable food-introduction system. Well, I always knew that having one child did not make me an expert as a parent, but now I learned that I did not know crap when it came to how to convince a child on choosing and relishing the most nutritious foods.

Long story short, if there was such a thing as “eating antonyms” in this world of eating habits, it would be comparing Keala to Tristan. Tristan is now three years old and he will say, “I can’t,” before trying anything. 

Ever since he could eat food, he is all about eating one type of food: starch – noodles, spaghetti, corn, any assortment of potato chips, mashed potatoes and, his favorite, French fries. If there was not a more stubborn specimen of eating that walked this earth, I do not know who it could be. Quite frankly, he would rather starve himself than not have one of his preferred processed, white foods available to eat. If I try to force him to eat something else, he will either eat a small bite of whatever it is or put it in his mouth, chew a little and spit it out…no matter how delicious or healthy it may be.

Because of this, I have always worried that some sort of health issue may arise. Thus far, he has shown to be a healthy boy. However, because he was going to be so stubborn to eat only what he wants, I realized that I would have to get ahead of this eating game – some adjustments on my end as a parent would have to occur instead of mandating his menu.

So, I began to provide more healthy options for him. Instead of potato chips, he will get sweet potato chips or flaxseed nachos; if he gets rice, he will only have it with a protein, such as eggs, mixed with it. He refused to eat plain seeds and nuts, but he will eat sunflower seeds that are covered in chocolate that look like M&M’s – finally he can get a variety of monounsaturated fats into his diet.

As a parent, I realize that I needed to become more creative  for Tristan’s nutrition. Obviously I cannot be there at every moment that he eats, but I have learned that if it is not available for him to eat, there is a greater likelihood he will try something else. The same rules apply to us as adults.

Many of us are not willing to change our eating habits for healthier options when they are available. Sometimes eating healthier for us means not buying the processed foods that tempt us. It can really be that simple: If it is not in the house, it will not be consumed.

As adults, knowing that there are healthier options available and not taking advantage of them is irresponsible. Perhaps, instead of believing that when another individual suggests to try something different, there does not need to be an “all or nothing” attitude. For example, certain vegetables taste better when paired with salad dressing or cheese. If the only thing keeping us from eating broccoli is because we only eat it drenched in cheese, then by all means have it with the cheese, but keep a goal of eating it alone without the cheese. With time, we can lessen the amount of added topping and try to achieve eating fresh broccoli alone.

When it comes to dessert, I have found myself asking, “Why can Keala push away her ice cream cone and I have to finish not only my own but everybody elses?” If a six-year-old can do it, then why can’t I?

The transition does not need to happen over night,  and just like Tristan, it may take quite a while and you may need to be flexible and patient in your solution. Although you know that there is your own “eating ideal”, as I have in Keala, out there, there is a road that you need to travel to help you get there.