Posts in Mind Over Fork
It appears I have offended a few.

I’m sorry, but maybe that is because my message isn’t for you.

Even Jesus couldn’t win the approval of everyone.
And I am done trying.

My ethics as a dietitian quickly comes under fire when I preach a message of inclusion of food groups — allowing you to release the need to control every calorie. And giving yourself permission be the sole author of what good health means to you and your daily life.

I get it. It’s scary out there without hard-pressed rules and regulations surrounding every bite you take. There is a part of you that wants a higher authority to take the reins and tell you what will or won’t kill you, what will or won’t make you fat. I get it because I lived with this mindset far too long. For years, I justified an extreme mindset by laying it on the altar of the elusive idea a “perfect” approach to eating, moving, and loving myself was out there. 

Registered dietitians are trained to administer “medical nutrition therapy” (MNT) to a wide array of individuals who have a wide variety of unique nutrition needs. Without a doubt, there are individual cases which warrant strict approaches to their dietary intakes, to the point it is life or death.

For instance, peanut (or any authentic food) allergy can be so severe that a person must always have an EpiPen. There are genetic disorders, like phenylketonuria (PKU), which is an inborn error of metabolism that can lead to severe disabilities if consumed. Children and adults who suffer debilitating and life-threatening seizures often undergo the journey of a ketogenic diet to help reduce the risk or severity of seizures. People with type 1 diabetes spend their entire life counting carbs and adjusting insulin to enjoy foods us with a working pancreas take for granted.

That is a short synopsis of how strict dietary lifestyles do help people with specific, diagnosable needs. While the list appears extensive, most of you don’t fall into that category and end up restricting your diet for a variety of other misleading and often vain reasons.

Guess what!?! The people and parents who are navigating this world with legit MNT regulations wouldn’t wish that lifestyle on their worst enemy. But they do it and are grateful for the break troughs in nutrition science because it helps keep them or their children alive and healthy.

Indeed, the public can learn things from diagnosable diseases with unique triggers and treatments. Come on that doesn’t mean that just because it works for them to be healthy, it is necessary for your health. 

My message includes food group inclusion and accepting your life’s limitations with grace. Some of the boundaries you need to accept can consist of physical limits or crazy schedules, for example. Even finally admitting to yourself, you have limited self-discipline, or legit don't want to give-a-damn about exceptional health can be life-changing. And no one can change those mindsets but you. 

Don’t mistake for my message of being gentle with yourself as a get-out-of-jail-free-card for making your health a priority. Go back and scroll my facebook and read why I want you to want the lemons!

I want to challenge the way you THINK more than the way you EAT. 

WHAT you EAT is a byproduct of HOW you THINK!

I could care less about WHAT you eat, but my heart hurts for so many because of WHY you are eating it (or not eating it). 

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. Jesus died, so you have joy – it’s time you learn to enjoy the body you live in, the food that nourishes, and the thoughts you have about yourself and your diet.

I will keep pushing the limits of your thinking and challenging you to question your motives. If that offends you, I’m not your problem.

Love you, mean it.

Soda vs. Diet Soda: Which is healthier?

What a loaded question, but one I often get as a registered dietitian. It is a particularly popular question among those that don't have a polarized food ideology. Some of you feel very passionately that soda of all kind is the devil in a pop-top, and should be avoided at all cost – no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.

Fair. I will acknowledge that sodas whether regular, diet, or any version in-between add zero nutritional value to one’s diet. If you so choose, your life and health will be no “worse” off if you sustain from fizzy or sweetened beverages from now till Jesus comes back. BUT, I will argue that you don’t have to abstinent from soda to be in good health.

The last gentlemen who recently asked me this very question got somewhat frustrated with me when he didn’t get a black and white answer from me, the dietitian. You might find yourself in the same boat - but keep reading.

I think my next book title will be “50 Shades of Healthy.” You want it black and white, but the truth be told it doesn’t work that way unless you are hard-pressed for it to be that way. (Which is an issue in and of its self.)

TRUTH: No-One should be drinking a volume soda or diet soda that would render a big-ole positive impact on their overall health if it vanished from their daily diet.

Meaning, regardless of your choice, one should at maximum be drinking them on occasion, defined as less than one per day, which means, on a daily bases your intake of plain water should double or triple in comparison of your sweetened (of any kind) beverage intake.

(Moderation is the most overused, undefined term, that makes your ego feel better about partaking in things not right for you. Life lesson, define it, or it is meaningless.)

To ask the healthier question, soda, or diet soda is to ask the wrong item entirely.

First, you need to answer the question, what are your overall goals?

If you are trying to manage diabetes or your weight, then you have objectives of higher value and choosing the diet route is going to be in your favor.

If diabetes or weight control isn’t of concern to you, ask yourself which beverage brings you the most joy and go for that.

The MILLION-DOLLAR question of the day– why do you need your beverage to be fizzy or sweetened to chug it down?

Humans are great at finding substitutions for things that please them but are killing them or putting them at high risk for unfortunate consequences.

“Light” Cigarettes still cause cancer.
“Light” Beer still impairs your driving and can make you fat.
“Artificial” sweetener is still unhealthy in large doses.
“Fat-free” is often just as unhealthy with added salt and sugars.
“Sugar-free” is often just as unhealthy with added salt and fat.
“Gluten-free” is just dumb if you’re not wheat intolerant.
"Dairy- and Meat-free" is just dumb if you don't have a doctor-diagnosed allergy or significant (family) history of heart disease not controlled by sensible lifestyle changes or have strong "emotional-feelings" towards ceratin farming principals.

You are looking for a unicorn without facing your real issue.
Remember, the truth will set you free.

Why do you “need “substitutes for your real issues?

Pull up your big girl/boy undies and deal with the elephant on your plate, or in your glass. Take time to explore and deal with your more significant issues. Your physical and mental health will thank you.

Love you, mean it.

Why I stand by a Balanced Diet

Notice I said why I (the one typing) stands by a balanced diet approach. I didn’t jump to the conclusion that you (the reader) should. As a registered dietitian, and someone who has battled a healthy relationship with food, I finally feel like I'm on the winning side. I believe my journey and insight can help those looking for the light through all darkness surrounding something as primal as breathing: eating.

I could give you academic answers only, turning to solid science surrounding what experts do know (and kind of know) about food and nutrition. Again, the title is why I stand by a balanced diet. I use more than worldly science to make my life decisions. In addition to acquiring two degrees and a decade of experience as a nutrition professional, I am also a faith-based gal. For me, the Bible has profound principals for living your best life on this side of the dirt. You’ll find that most well respected worldly science (at least in nutrition), supports what God and ultimately your intuition tells you is true.

If you turn your Bible to 1 Peter 5:8 (amp), you’ll encounter a sharp warning for believers. You are told to be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious always; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeing someone to seize upon and devour.

Like ideal hands, extremes are the devil’s playground. When you become one-sided an out of balance with anything you are no better off than you were before, and in many cases, you are worse emotionally than you started. It appears the "wellness industry" has taken something like eating and moved the extremes as far away from each side as possible: vegan to keto and everything in between. Both teams are screaming at the other that their approach is blasphemy. Most folks are left sinking in the sea of uncertainty, just looking for a bullet list of diet rules to finally render them skinny and worldly acceptable.

It’s all quite sad.

I still stand by the idea that one of Satan’s most significant accomplishments is creating this sh!t storm the West calls the wellness industry.

See, Satan doesn’t care about your thighs, but he cares that YOU care. YOUR emotional connection to your outward appearance has reached such extremes. Many of you detox, try fad diets, or seek out scary prescriptions (with unimaginable side effects) to achieve your worldly vision of health! These extreme lifestyles and mindsets have left a wide ass door open for a lion! An entry so vast its easy to see how a devil can charge in and devour your joy, peace of mind, and focus on things that matter.

See, Jesus doesn’t care about your thighs, but he cares that YOU care. Your emotional connection to your outward appearance that has reached extremes is also a door for you to let Jesus in. I know what it is like to live in extremes with food, and it’s no fun. There is no peace, and there is no joy, there is no day that feels like a good day. It took years of hard mental, emotional, and spiritual work to get to the point of peace with all food. It took trusting Jesus more than my need to control calories. It took surrendering the scariest stronghold in my life – body image – the only One who could change my heart about it.

When you read Mind Over Fork, you learn the tools (not the faith-based tools) but the actual mental tools and tactics that got me out and kept me between the ditches. I’ll never promise you that it will be the last book you will need to read to take control of your plate, but I will guarantee it will challenge the way you think more than the way you eat.

I’m finally at a place of peace in my journey with food and body image that I’m ready to stand in the gap of extremes and be a voice for you treading water in the middle. You, desperately trying to pick which side to swim too. All the while, I know without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is already in the boat just waiting for you to acknowledge Him and He is ready and able to pluck you out and the storm. But you got some scary shenanigans to let go of first before you can grab His hand. And that, my sweet friend, I can’t do for you.

Love you, mean it.

**No one was injured by the lion in this photo, while vicious looking, it provides warm hugs, and sweet giggles. 🤪😍**