(Originally Published in Exposure Magazine 2018.)
Protein bars are great for people on the go. Are they good for you? This is a common question. With contradictory opinions on every food, diet, lifestyle etc., we encounter, the noise is deafening. Unfortunately, it leaves us in position of feeling confused, rather than confident.
Perhaps a better question to ask is “why” we are eating them. Ae we using them for a meal substitute, or as a better option than a candy bar, or as a boost after a hard work out? Deciding what your needs are will help you better decide which bars are right for you. For most people, the top concerns are calories and sugar. When choosing a bar that fits your needs, think about what your purpose is. If it’s to cut calories and sugar, be aware that the ones that taste better to you may not serve that need. Be aware that certain elements of protein bars can cause uncomfortable digestive issues as well. Once again, asking why one wants to ingest them is a valid question.
Marketers work to lure you with names that remind you of things we already love but are diet wreckers. Stick to reading ingredients and look for natural ingredients that are as whole as possible. You can easily avoid all chemicals and artificial ingredients by going to the internet and making your own protein balls, bites, and granola bars. You can control the sugar and the ingredients. You don’t have to make the bars to last for weeks on a shelf by using preservatives. There are many reviews on line; you can weed through them, and then taste test them for yourself.
I encourage you to take control of this particular type of food in your diet and create one you love with whole ingredients that serves your needs, your body, and your lifestyle. Be your own chef; it may save you dollars, your stomach comfort, and your health!
(Originally published in Exposure Magazine December 20, 2017).
Recently while I was in Kansas City, MO for business, my friend suggested we meet at lunch at Trago Bar & Tapas. I took the opportunity to learn a bit about the place, the owner, and its origins. It was such a unique experience, I decided to do a review and share.
Trago is in a busy shopping area, so it’s convenient for those who might be multitasking. The appearance outside is rather unassuming and basic. The inside, however, is very inviting, warm, and welcoming. I was greeted by the owner, founder and Chef Kandi Kerns. The décor, the food and the atmosphere are just like Kandi: warm, friendly, open, and inviting. It’s understandable that the place is packed on the weekends, including the outdoor patio area.
Sherri: This is a very interesting space, Kandi. How did you arrive at the idea of this kind of establishment?
Kandi: It was inspired by my late grandmother. Her name was Anna Maria Rosa Carlota Urrutia Evans. All the recipes are inspired by her recipes in some way. I was going to start with a food truck, but then suddenly I found myself in this almost 2500 square foot building due to some unexpected financial help.
Sherri: What is your mission with Trago Bar &Tapas?
Kandi: When I returned to Kansas City, I was so welcomed into this community. I knew I wanted to create something that promoted community and made people feel welcome and connected. I wanted to incorporate parts of the community into it, also. We made the bar from repurposed materials, and much of it coming from the Habitat for Humanity store. The tile, the construction, everything is a little part of this community. We have local musicians play every Wednesday evening, which is ladies night.
Sherri: Who is your target customer or patron?
Kandi: (Chuckles) Myself! I strive to put together a place where friends and family could gather in an upscale, yet comfortable place with friends and family, and experience custom drinks and fine dining. A place where memories are made. It’s more than just food and drinks, but an experience people never forget!
Sherri: What do you see as your long-range goals having just celebrated your one-year anniversary on Halloween?
Kandi: I would love to see us within 5 years also in a free standing 2 story building, which would allow more events, live music and entertaining!
Kandi then asked what I chose to eat. Because I knew I wanted to sample a few things, I ordered 3 items to sample and share (which is what Tapas means- shareable plates- usually paired with drinks). I ordered Albóndigas en Salsa de Tomate (Spanish meatballs), Tacos Hinchados (Puffy Tacos), and Pan Plano con Brie (flat-bread with brie). It was so delicious. Fresh ingredients, and a very unique presentation to each dish as well. Palette appealing as well as beautiful to look at. We had fabulous service by Jessica, and I learned so much. Too bad I was driving, because the drink menu is stellar! Be sure to stop in at the Trago Bar & Tapas if you are in Kansas City. You can visit them online at TragoKC.com, follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/tragokc or stop in at 9261 NE 83rd Terrace, Kansas City Mo. I absolutely give Trago Bar& Tapas thumbs up, a 10, a 5 star rating or whatever measure you prefer. It’s an experience you don’t want to miss. Order the Puffy Tacos!
(Originally published in Exposure Magazine.)
As we stroll through life we are presented with people and opportunities that change us. This lovely lady I speak of has changed me in the short time I have known her. Micca Donohoo is a registered dietician who knew early on she wanted to help other people live a healthy life, push away from the table, push away the guilt and shame related to their food choices and manifest a better healthier lifestyle. Not necessarily just by learning about your plate choices, but by the choices we make in our head. She refers to it as manifesting your health, not being on a diet. She helps people of all shapes, sizes and ages.
Sherri: Being a dietician for over 16 years has brought many types of people your way. What type of person would you say you enjoy helping most?
Micca: I worked with bariatric patients for over 10 years from start to finish, pre-surgical to lifetime post op. I see surgery simply as a tool, embedded in the concept of a lifestyle change. To create any lifestyle change, there needs to be adequate and continued support. I loved being that support.
Sherri: If someone wants to make some small yet significant changes immediately what would you recommend?
Micca: 1. Put yourself on your own to do list. YOU are important. 2. Schedule healthy snacks during the day. Honor your hunger! Hunger is a sign your body is requesting fuel/food. 3. What is your plate size? Plates should be 9-10 inches in diameter for best results. We eat with our eyes first. Our eyes LOVE a full plate. When working on portion control, its more appealing on a smaller plate.
Sherri: You are about to start on a new adventure. Can you share a little about what you are creating?
Micca: My vision is to create a loving space to be able to serve the bariatric surgery community in a global way. I envision this program to be flexible, and accessible to all, anywhere at any time. This new branch of NiCHE Nutrition and Health will include a virtual community, a monthly resource toolkit, online courses, and personalized coaching. To build a healthy and loving community, I aim to partner with local, national, and global medical experts that share my vision.
Thanks to Micca Donohoo from NiCHE Nutrition and Health for sharing a way to help our friends to better health! You can contact Micca at NIche Nutrition And Health by clicking on the Contact button.
How about plant protein specifically, instead of what probably just came to your mind. Are you aware that the average American consumes almost twice the protein the body needs? The formula is: at least 10% of your daily calories, but not more than 35% of calories, from protein, according to the Institute of Medicine. Protein is essential, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Excess protein can’t be stored in the body, and is more difficult to eliminate. There are many health challenges that can occur because of excess protein over time. Excessive protein consumption has been linked to certain cancers, kidney disease, and osteoporosis. Consider deriving these protein needs from some plant based alternatives as opposed to meat and dairy forms. There are many alternative plant based protein forms. Since protein is made up of amino acids, they are considered essential and foundational for great health. Our skin, hair, nails, muscles, and much more are healthy (or not) because of the protein we take in. Some forms of protein come with unhealthy fats that, given our family medical history, we don’t need. Because of my family history of heart and stroke issues, I chose to reduce my animal proteins. I haven’t eliminated them, I just work hard to diversify my diet. I ask you to consider spending the next 30 days experimenting with various meal choices, where maybe 1-3 days per week you eat only plant based proteins. This isn’t an all or nothing experience. It’s about being aware that food is fuel and that nutrition is key to excellent health! Anything eaten in its whole form will be better for your health. Consider using whole grain bread for toast with almond butter, which packs a whopping 16 grams of protein in a ¼ cup. Or perhaps a smoothie with a ¼ cup of flax seeds ground into it, which provides 7 grams of protein. Proteins are very valuable, as they produce feeling of satiety as well as being good for your body. You will feel full longer. With cooler weather upon us, consider making a soup or chili, but use 4 kinds of beans instead of meat. Experiment and enjoy the process! Protein builds strong bodies!
Many people stress over trying to figure out how they can “fit” exercise in to become more fit. Being fit and creating a healthy body isn’t about time. It’s all about mindset and commitment. We were made to thrive, not just survive. If you don’t commit the time, you may find that down the road the time you do have here on earth is spent enduring ailments and simply existing. The first step is to dispense with the thought(mindset) that you need to spend an hour every day. This is not true at all! Staying fit and becoming healthy is really accomplished in smaller increments, consistently. Walking daily at a semi brisk pace will strengthen your heart and reduce blood pressure. Walking can even improve mood, balance, and coordination, according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s kind of like eating an elephant one bite at a time. Start small in your planning. Maybe it’s 5 minutes of walking each day. Seriously, you could walk and eat a piece of fruit at breakfast or lunch time. Talk to a different friend each day for 10 minutes while you walk. You will catch up with them and they will be happy to hear from you and will contribute to you becoming a healthier you. If you are a social exerciser, find people who will commit to walking with you each day! STOP making it hard. Most of all, STOP making excuses. Don’t allow yourself to fall in to the category of people who find themselves with a health challenge they can no longer avoid or correct! Why wait until you can’t correct something? Let us be proactive in this quest. Be that person who says- yes I want to watch “XYZ” show but I haven’t walked my 10-30 mins for today yet so I need to do that first. That’s mindset and also why we have DVR’s! Hence- there is your commitment: we can all walk for exercise. Yes, we can even lift weights sitting on the couch or at our desk at work. We can ALL make excuses also. Life is all about choices- good and bad. Invest that 30 minutes a day to design a healthier body today. We simply want to make sure that what we do today creates the life we WANT to live tomorrow!
(Originally Published In The June 23rd Edition Of Exposure Magazine.)
The LORD is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me?
Life is about choices. Often, we have a variety of choices. Other times, we aren’t so lucky and all the choices seem bad. This is typically where our friend/foe fear enters. Fear is a healthy tool and should be used for discernment. People can use fear as a means to ensure personal safety, which is healthy. However, I believe that we have become a society that uses fear as a containment tool, typically referred to as staying in your comfort zone, inside your box or mental paralysis. There have been many acronyms for fear such as: False Evidence Appearing Real, Forget Everything And Run, and so forth. While fear is a healthy indicator in a fight or flight circumstance, today many people have created personal mental prisons. They are unable to become fully engaged and enjoy life because of the unknown, having life not be totally planned out and scripted. I am here to shed some light on this. The prison is simply in your mind. The box is in your mind as well as the comfort zone. What you are missing is everything that is possible. Facts have nothing to do with these walls. What is on the other side of fear? Prosperity, abundance, confidence, and peace is very likely what you will find. Will it be worth it to you? Can you peek outside that comfort zone or box and actually see what is possible? Can you get out of your own head long enough to allow yourself to grow in the sunlight of possibility? I wish that for you more than anything. Embrace new challenges, and possibilities will multiply and create new futures and enlarge your vision for your life. We are designed for greatness and to live life fully. Break down the walls that fear keeps us so tightly sealed in. Be more! Do More, Expect more! If you don’t know where or how to start, simply ask the person in your life who seems the most daring and confident and bold. They likely don’t have these walls or have already gone through the process of knocking them down. We can’t let fear keep us from becoming the most beautiful version of ourselves. I encourage you this week to plan to do something you have never done. Go somewhere and step up to volunteer to do something you personally have never done. Together we can break down the walls of mediocrity. We will live large and conquer! This is what F.E.A.R. means to me:
Face Everything And Rise!
(Originally Published In The June 16th Edition Of Exposure Magazine.)
A couple weeks ago, we talked about how making your food with a variety of color tends to make it more attractive to eat. Interestingly enough, this week I learned that people are also affected by what vegetables or foods are named. Research suggests that similar thinking persists in young adults. In a research letter published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine Bradley Turnwald, Danielle Boles, and Alia Crum explain that people in a university cafeteria were much more likely to eat vegetables labeled with indulgent descriptions than vegetables labeled in a descriptive way or in a way that highlighted their health benefits. It definitely points to how much the brain is involved in our eating preferences. We are attracted by what it is called and also by what it looks like. I know this is true for me and for many others as well. When I am searching for a new recipe on Pinterest or a recipe site, I am always drawn to recipes that provide pictures and descriptions. Words are important. How it looks is great, but how it fuels your body is most important.
You can create a menu that looks, sounds, and tastes great, and still fuels your perfectly designed body. I encourage parents to use menu planning with their children. Help them understand that food is fuel, and should look appealing. Let your children create a fun and nutritious menu and encourage them to name the menu items. Discuss what the meal will look like, what vitamins are in certain foods, and when it comes time to choose a vegetable or fruit, ask them what they think would be a nice color and flavor to go with the rest of the meal. This kind of creative meal planning will help you avoid the starch laden, repetitious meals of chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, and corn. If you have young kids, a better way to teach is to simply have pictures. You can print, laminate, and attach a magnet to the back of each picture. You can sort the various food groups and help them pick the meal based on balanced nutrition, color and content. As part of their morning routine, post the pictures of what the nights meal will be on the refrigerator. When my three children were young, each family member was responsible for choosing a dinner menu for one day a week. We planned the whole months meals at one time and I wrote it all out by hand. It was always posted so that everyone knew what was coming. Grocery shopping was much easier and efficient. Each dinner had to have a main dish, a side dish and vegetable or fruit. We also always had to choose two out of three items on the menu that everyone liked. I was the master of the planning so we didn’t eat the same thing 3 times in a week. My husband and I chose last so we could provide variety. This was a truly joyful experience and one that helped our children learn about food pairing, balancing a meals nutrition, color and variety. If we had only known we could have named the meatloaf Marvelous Mouthwatering Meatloaf instead! I think we might have missed out on a bit of fun!
(Originally Published In The June 9th Edition Of Exposure Magazine.)
1 Peter 4:10
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
We are all graced with different abilities and gifts. When we share those gifts with others we feel good inside. Ask yourself where you may be of value. Pick something you are passionate about. Share a little bit of your time and talents by helping another without benefiting yourself. Serving others can provide the opportunity to feel good about helping someone in need. There are so many amazing opportunities to impact your community. Think about who you might like to spend time with. You can lend a hand in helping the elderly, children, pet shelter or community group. Do you have a talent to entertain with, mentoring capability, or you fundraise better than anyone? We are all graced with different ways to bless others. There is a Carnegie Mellon study that suggests that volunteering actually lowers your blood pressure. What could be better than a health benefit while serving others? Feeling good emotionally and receiving physical benefits also? Just say yes! It’s a definite win-win.
Another study in 2012 by Health Psychology suggested that as long as one volunteers regularly, with an altruistic intent, one will likely live longer. The ROI, return on investment, may be surprising. I encourage you to share a part of your life so you too can live a healthier and longer life filled with blessings!
(Originally in the June 2nd Edition of Exposure Magazine.)
Food is fuel, but most people eat strictly based on taste. We need to remember that it is important to make selections that are appealing to the eye as well as the palate. As we may get bored with eating the same meals over and over, we also tire of seeing the same mono chromatic color in our food as well. Even when we love the ingredients, we may not find it appealing if it’s all the same color.
The other night I was cooking dinner. I had cut up several small zucchini. I then added fresh garlic and green onions and a big handful of asparagus chopped in pieces. I sautéed them in coconut oil. While it smelled heavenly, it just didn’t make me happy looking at it. I added some seasoned chicken and still thought it wasn’t right. Color, that’s what it was missing. I threw in about a cup of steamed carrots slices. I literally laughed out loud! I thought “now it is perfect”! We have to spend some time in meal planning to make sure we are attracted to what we need to eat. Eating healthy isn’t a chore, but it does take some thought. I might have added some red pepper if I had one on hand. Color makes us happy and food is no exception. Your eyes don’t eat, but they do motivate you, so be sure to take some care with presentation. Think about the last time you had a green salad. Did you eat just lettuce or spinach? Did you create a masterpiece and add some tomato, shredded carrot or cranberries or blueberries? If two salads were put in front of you, and one had varied tiny bits of flavor and color and one was just green, which would you choose?
When creating your next meal, give some thought to how you can make your meal a piece of art, pleasing to the eye as well as your mouth!
(Originally posted in the May 28th Edition of Exposure Magazine. )
Sixty percent of our body is water. Do you realize that you “lose” water by breathing, exercising, urinating and even breast feeding? We are constantly depleting the water needed by our body to function properly. In helping people create a healthier lifestyle, I find low water intake to be the most problematic, yet easiest to fix.
Our bodies have a few ways to communicate dehydration. I will share three. The first sign for most people is feeling tired. Your body is encouraging you to conserve water by sleeping. Breathing will be shallower, less movement – all adds up to conserving water. If you feel fatigued, drink 16-24 ounces of water and reassess how you feel. The second common symptom of lack of water is headaches. Often you will find people have dehydration headaches. Your brain is literally yelling at you; it is thirsty! Once again, try 16-24 ounces of water intake. We do derive approximately twenty percent of the required water needed through our food. This doesn’t mean we should slack off in water intake because we ate spinach or watermelon. Drink first! The third symptom is constipation. This is no fun! There is a reason it’s called waste. Your body is done with it and it’s got to go. Without adequate hydration, it may not be able to. Constipation can impact your health in a variety of negative ways resulting in other health issues.
What is the magic number? Drinking less than fifty percent of what you weigh in pounds in ounces of water is too little. The actual percentage is about sixty-seven percent, according to Mayo Clinic. Factoring in what you derive from food- fifty percent of what you weigh leaves you with a pretty good balance. If you want top performance from your body, make water intake a daily goal. For most wanting to lose weight, a gallon a day is recommended.
Lastly, here are some tips to increase your intake. Measure it with a measuring cup or gallon jug! It’s the only way you can be sure. Flavor your water by adding slices of strawberry, cucumber, pineapple, apples, lemons and limes. Be creative! You will know you are drinking enough when your urine is light yellow to almost colorless. I start every day with a gallon pitcher full of water to make sure I reach my intake goal. Drink up my friends!
These are my older blog posts, which originally appeared in my Exposure Magazine Column, "Healthy Living."