Improving your relationship with food…

Are you struggling with healthy eating? Do you find that you are an emotional eater?

Virginia Mason Memorial will be offering a night with licensed expert on intuitive eating. You’ll learn ways to create a healthy relationship with food and with yourself.

Chelsea Buffum, MS, LMHC works with people who want to improve their relationship with food and their bodies.

Space is limited. Please call to register at 509-249-5317. Cost is $5.

May 22, 2018
Memorial’s Education Center, 2506 West Nob Hill Blvd.

Make the cut – 10 ways to shave 100 calories a day

If the mere idea of trying to lose weight fills you with dread, think of this number: 100.

If you cut just 100 calories from your daily diet, you’ll lose roughly 10 pounds in a year-without a big effort on your part. An added bonus: The small changes you make will likely be easy to stick with over time, which will help you lose even more weight.

So how do you cut 100 calories? Here are 10 ideas:

• Order your favorite coffee drink with fat-free milk and sugar-free syrup

• Enjoy slow-churned, reduced-calorie ice cream instead of regular ice cream

• Have a diet soda instead of a regular one

• Skip the cheese on your burger, or order small fries instead large

• Split a single dessert with others

• Munch on raw veggies with salsa instead of eating chips

• Get your chocolate fix with a fun-sized candy bar instead of a full-sized one

• Make an open-faced sandwich with just one slice of bread instead of two

• Cook with a cooking spray instead of butter or margarine

• Don’t clean your plate at each meal-leave a few bites

Sounds pretty doable, don’t you think?

Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; American Diabetes Association; American Institute of Cancer Research

Cauliflower- What’s not to love?

Cauli 2015Cauliflower- What’s not to love?

Kim McCorquodale RD, CSO
North Star Lodge

I find it interesting when different vegetables become the latest and greatest thing, the “food of the week” so to speak. You would have to live under a rock lately to not see all the many ways to eat cauliflower. No longer the spurned veggie because it’s only white and not “colorful.” Cauliflower has arrived on the vegetable social scene with a vengeance!

When I checked the brochure The Cancer Fighters in your Food (available from the American Institute for Cancer Research), I read that cauliflower provides the phytochemicals sulforaphane and lutein, like many other cruciferous veggies do. Sulforaphane belongs in the Isothiocyanate phytochemical family, and the possible actions and benefits of these include:

  • Antioxidant activity
  • Blocking tumor growth
  • Apotosis- causing cancer cells to die and
  • Inhibiting inflammation

All good things for sure! Check out their web site to order reliable information and access tons of fabulous, healthy recipes.

Back to our favorite white cruciferous veggie – I have always enjoyed lightly steaming cauliflower and eating it with just a touch of parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Or raw in salads, especially subbing in for broccoli on occasion. But, to get your juices flowing, check out just a few of the recipes creative people have come up with.

Cauliflower pizza crust– apparently this is very good, although I have to admit I haven’t tried it yet.

Low-carb cauliflower recipes, such as tortillas, poppers, cheesy tots, and even chocolate brownies!

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower– a fancy version of what I’ve done for a long time.

So, have fun and try some of these- and please let us know what you think J

Nutritionist vs Dietitian – Is there a difference?

By Kim McCorquodale RDN, CSO, CD
North Star Lodge

The world of nutrition can be a confusing one. There are new studies with new results all of the time. It can be hard to decide what the right thing to eat is or who to trust. And there are many people anxious to help you with those choices. How do you know what to do? I thought it might be helpful to start with what the letters that follow a person’s name.

I listed “my letters” above and will explain them all. The first, RDN, stands for “registered dietitian nutritionist.” Many “registered dietitians” (RDs) have started to add the N at the end because the word “dietitian” can be limiting or confusing. But, if it says either RD or RDN that means the person is a health professional who has university qualifications consisting of a 4-year Bachelor Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics or a 3-year Science Degree followed by a Master Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, including a certain period of practical training in different hospital and community settings (in the U.S. 1200 hours of supervised practice are required in different areas). They must meet national standards for professional legislation which includes passing a comprehensive exam and obtaining continuing education requirements.

The CSO after my name means I am a “certified specialist in oncology.” This means I have practiced a minimum of 2000 hours in the field of oncology nutrition in the past 5 years and have passed a rigorous exam. This exam must be retaken every 5 years to ensure the CSO remains current in the ever-changing field of oncology nutrition.

The CD after my name stands for “certified dietitian.” This simply means that the state of Washington has reviewed my qualifications and found they meet current standards. This is a credential that must be annually renewed.

The term “nutritionist” is harder to pin down. A “nutritionist” is a non-accredited title that may apply to somebody who has a PhD in Nutrition or to someone who has given themselves the title and to something in between. The term “nutritionist” is not protected by law in almost all countries, so people with different levels of knowledge can call themselves a “nutritionist.” It does not necessarily mean the person is uneducated or a “quack” or they are supplying inaccurate information. It just means it is up to you to make certain the person you are consulting is a qualified health professional and has the expertise. This task is much more difficult when the person does not have an accredited title.

Of course, all the letters in the world are not a 100% guarantee of the perfect health professional for your needs. You still need to investigate them carefully and make sure you understand any advice given to you. But, I hope the above information helps you make an informed decision in the interesting world of nutrition.

A daily avocado may be the secret to healthy cholesterol

Feb. 8, 2015—An avocado a day could help keep high cholesterol at bay—particularly if you’re overweight—new research in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests.

About the study

Researchers put 45 healthy, overweight adults on an average American diet—high in carbohydrates and fat—for 2 weeks. They were then randomly assigned to 1 of 3 different diets:

  • A low-fat diet.
  • A moderate-fat diet that contained heart-healthy monounsaturated fats from sources like canola and sunflower oil.
  • A moderate-fat diet that contained monounsaturated fats from a whole Hass avocado each day.

Forty participants rotated through all 3 diets, following each for 5 weeks with 2-week breaks in between. Three people completed 2 of the diets, and 2 completed only 1.

After 5 weeks, all 3 diets resulted in lower levels of both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol , the bad kind of cholesterol that causes plaque in the arteries. But the avocado diet provided the best results, with the most significant decreases in LDL and total cholesterol.

The moderate-fat diets also did not lower HDL cholesterol—this is the good type of cholesterol that helps sweep LDL cholesterol out of the arteries—as much as the low-fat diet did.

The study, which was funded by the Hass Avocado Board, suggests that while all foods rich in monounsaturated fats contain fatty acids that are good for cholesterol, avocados may have an extra edge, thanks to their nutrient-dense nature.

Even so, the study supports the benefits of replacing saturated fats with any foods that contain healthier, unsaturated fats. Doing so may improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk for heart disease.

Learn more about this study in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The take-home message
Replacing the saturated fats in your diet with avocados may help lower cholesterol and reduce your risk for heart disease. But eating more of the green stuff is just 1 dietary step you can take toward a healthier ticker .

Knowing the difference between the types of fats and kinds of cholesterol can help you choose foods that are healthier.

Eating foods that are high in saturated fats raises cholesterol levels in your blood and increases your risk for a heart attack or stroke, which is why experts recommend limiting your intake of them.

Saturated fats are found in such foods as:

  • Fatty beef
  • Lamb
  • Poultry with skin
  • Lard
  • Dairy products, such as butter, cream and cheese, made with whole or 2 percent milk
  • Baked goods and fried foods

The majority of the fat you consume should come from monounsaturated or polyunsaturated sources, which can help lower levels of bad cholesterol in your blood and reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke.

In addition to avocados, good sources of these fats include:

  • Olive or canola oil
  • Nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, sunflower seeds and flaxseeds
  • Fatty fish, such as salmon, herring or trout
  • Tofu and soybeans

Remember, all fats contain 9 calories per gram, and eating too much fat can contribute to weight gain. To maintain a healthy weight, even healthy fats should be eaten in moderation.


What’s more nutritious? Home or school lunches?

Dec. 2, 2014—There’s a food fight going on in America’s school cafeterias—between school-prepared lunches and lunches packed at home. And according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, the school lunches are winning—at least in rural Virginia—by offering more nutritious choices that are less likely to contribute to childhood obesity.

According to background information in the study, about 40 percent of America’s schoolchildren eat lunches brought from home. So this study is a heads-up for parents to pack their child’s lunch with a more nutritious punch.

About the study

For 5 consecutive school days, researchers compared packed lunches brought from home to lunches available through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) at 3 elementary schools in rural Virginia. They focused solely on kindergarten and prekindergarten kids because at that age, food preferences are still developing and can still be influenced.

During the study week, researchers evaluated 562 packed lunches and 752 school lunches. The packed lunches were significantly higher in:

Saturated fat
Vitamin C (probably due to the prevalence of fortified fruit drinks)

Compared to school lunches, the packed lunches were significantly lower in calcium, fiber, protein, sodium and vitamin A. Packed lunches were also less likely to contain fruit, vegetables, milk, and juice with no added sugar. They were also more apt to include items that can contribute to higher body mass and, ultimately, childhood obesity: sugar-sweetened beverages, savory snacks (like chips) and desserts.

Overall, the school lunches were more nutritious than the packed lunches. One key reason: NSLP schools are required to offer foods that, over the course of any given week, meet nutrition standards based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This means that these menus must stick to specific calorie limits and include fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

The researchers noted that although the school lunches had more sodium, they met current federal standards. Acceptable sodium content is being lowered gradually to allow food manufacturers time to reduce sodium and give students time to adjust to lower-sodium entrées.

Limitations of the study

Researchers did not measure actual consumption of food. Also, because this was a small study of young students in predominantly Caucasian rural counties, the results might not apply to older, more ethnically diverse or urban student populations.

For more information, listen to the-editor-in chief of the journal interview an author of the study.
The take-home message

Eating habits develop at a young age and can set the stage for a lifetime of good health—or for serious health problems, like obesity. Packing nutritious school lunches is one way parents can influence kids’ food choices and help them maintain a healthy weight.

To boost the nutritional value of a packed lunch, try including:

Sandwiches made with whole-wheat bread
Fresh veggies (green peppers, snap peas, baby carrots) with hummus
Fresh or canned fruit instead of sugary desserts

It’s also wise to skip savory snacks and swap sugar-sweetened drinks for a thermos of water or a carton of milk purchased at school.

Get more ideas for healthy eating at

Family meals may help kids keep from packing on pounds

fam dinnerNov. 8, 2014—Healthy weight management in children isn’t just about what kids eat. A new study in the Journal of Pediatrics suggests how they eat also may play a role in preventing obesity.

The study suggests that eating together as a family can help keep kids’ weight in check. With parents searching for solutions to fight childhood obesity—a problem affecting nearly 13 million children between the ages of 2 and 19—family meals may be a welcome strategy to prevent adulthood obesity and the many health problems that can come with it.

About the study

Researchers surveyed 2,117 people while they were in middle and high school and again 10 years later to evaluate their eating habits and their body mass indexes (BMI)—a estimate of body fat based on height and weight.

They found even those who reported just 1 or 2 weekly family meals were 45 percent less likely to be overweight after the 10-year period compared to those who reported never eating together.

In the initial survey,15 percent of the participants reported that they never ate meals together with their families. Among these individuals, 60 percent were overweight at the 10-year point and 29 percent were obese.

However, of those who initially reported that they ate 1 or more family meals together, 47 percent to 51 percent were overweight 10 years later and 19 percent to 22 percent were obese. There was a stronger positive effect on weight management among black participants than among white participants.

Other studies have showed that eating meals together as a family may lessen the risk that adolescents will become overweight. This study supports those findings and suggests the positive effect may carry over even into adulthood.

Although the study didn’t evaluate why family meals are beneficial, researchers theorized that it may be because they tend to involve healthier foods, provide opportunities for building emotional connections among family members and give kids a chance to observe healthy eating behaviors in their parents.

To learn more, view the full study at the journal’s website.

The take-home message
You may help your children better manage their weight by making family meals a priority. And they can happen at any meal—not just dinner. If that time of day is too busy for your family, try family breakfasts, or have lunch together on the weekends.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that parents serve reasonably sized portions of nutritious foods, including:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Healthy proteins, such as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs and beans
  • Low-fat dairy products

It may also be worthwhile to involve children in planning menus and grocery shopping trips. You may even consider planting a garden—it can help kids learn about good nutrition and provide an opportunity for physical activity, another essential element for keeping weight down.