I am so excited to be joining The Refinery Staff and to be given the opportunity to share my nutrition education with all the amazing people I have been sweating with during the last few years! A little bit of information about me- I am a Licensed Clincial Social Worker and a Certified Holistic Nutritionist. I have a private practice in Northeast Portland where I work with people around nutrition and/or mental health issues. With my dual educational background, I believe it can be important to help clients examine both the physical and emotional factors that may be helpful for them to reach their goals. If you see me at the gym, please don’t hesitate to ask me questions or I am also available for private nutritional consultation if you would like a more individualized plan to reach your health and fitness goals.
Clients often ask me what I feel are the most important areas to focus on for good health. Of course, there are many areas you could emphasize but focusing on the five below, will set you firmly on the path to overall vibrant health.
Focus on Healthy Fats: Research has repeatedly demonstrated that fat is necessary to our health, particularly omega 3 fatty acids. Omega -3’s are an essential fatty acid, meaning our body cannot produce them on its own. These inflammation fighting fats must be obtained from our diet. Two crucial ones, EPA and DHA, are primarily found in certain fish and pasture raised beef. ALA, another omega-3 fatty acid which can be converted to EPA and DHA in the body, is found in plant sources such as nuts and seeds. The benefits of omega-3s are well documented in the scientific literature. Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet contains entirely too many Omega-6 fats from vegetable oils and processed foods. We want to have a 1:1 balance of omega-3’s to omega-6’s. Eating 2 deck of card sized servings of fatty fish like salmon, lake trout, herring or mackerel a week should give you all the omega-3’s you need. Also, trans-fats like those found in processed foods should be avoided at all costs.
Avoid Processed Foods: Processed foods include anything that comes in a package or has been altered from its natural state. Processed foods often contain harmful chemicals our bodies don’t recognize, rancid, inflammation producing vegetable oils and trans fats . Read the labels on your food, if you see an ingredient you don’t recognize, return it to the store shelf.
Vegetables and Fruits: Fill your plate with as many vibrantly hued fruits and vegetables as you can. These nutritional powerhouses offer your body a host of benefits including cancer fighting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, fiber and a plethora of health promoting phytonutrients. A good rule of thumb is to try to fill at least half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal. In particular, leafy greens pack a powerful nutritional punch.
Eat Mindfully: Mindful eating is eating with attention to the food you are putting in your mouth. It allows you to be fully present in the experience of eating. It requires you to pay attention to the sight, sound, texture, flavors and taste of your food. Put aside the phones, computers, newspapers and TV’s so you can listen to the cues your body is providing about satiety, making it more likely you will stop eating before you become over full.
Sit less: Dr. Mike Lara asks his patients to think about sitting less instead of exercising more. An important distinction because most of us are busy, multitasking people who may not have time to exercise everyday but most everyone can think about sitting less. On those days when you can’t squeeze in a Refinery workout, the trick is to avoid staying stationary for long periods of time. Moving around activates the large muscle groups in your legs and back helping to burn calories and keep blood sugar in balance. Scientists are now recommending you try to stand up and move around every thirty minutes throughout the day.