Category Archives: coach

Walking the Aisles Talking about Food

It is Okay to Shop in the Middle of the Grocery Store

Have you heard that you must shop the perimeter of the grocery store to be eat healthy? The idea is that all the healthy foods are on the outer circle of the store. Following that logic, the foods in the center aisles must be horrible for your health. I call bullshit.

I’m writing to you today from my home in Florida where “hurricane season” has come up on the 2020 Jumanji dice. In planning for the potential for a power-blip from the incoming storm, I ordered some shelf stable foods from Instacart for delivery today. Shelf-stable foods get a bad rap from health-promoters. While some deserve the unhealthy reputation, there are many health-promoting foods to be found in the aisles.

Besides, fearmongering about foods and the “health halo” judgment from those with food privilege pisses me off.

You can find plenty of articles on healthy-foods in the aisles, so let me share just a few of the shelf-stable foods that are typically a part of my heart-healthy, nom-focused eating style.

Walking the Aisles Talking about Food

Dried beans… every week.

Hubs and I have been enjoying chickpeas (garbanzo beans) in our salads for the past few months. Extra delicious when you toss in some feta cheese, sliced almonds, and top with a spicy vinaigrette! Black beans are another family favorite. Last weekend, I cooked up a pound of dried black beans, then portioned them into baggies in 1-cup servings and froze them. Now, I just grab a bag from the freezer each time I use one up and they are ready the next day.

I wrote about how amazing beans are a while ago. And for the cost – mon dieu – dried beans are the way to go! A 16-ounce can of beans has about 1 1/2 cups of beans. You can buy a store brand can for around $1.00. Dried beans though, that 16-ounce bag makes about 6 cups for the same price. I can do that math. Four times as much if you take the time to cook your own beans.

If we lose power, the beans will need to get eaten first since they’ve been cooked. Roll up black beans mashed with avocado from the countertop and some shelf-stable salsa in a thin flatbread and you have a tasty wrap.

Peanut Butter.

Not only do the dogs enjoy the natural peanut butter to get their daily pills down, hubs and I are huge peanut butter fans. I add some to my protein shakes for thickness and flavor, stir it into yogurt, mix it with salsa for a spicy sauce, top rice cakes with it (plus banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon), and eat it right off the spoon. If we lose power, we can just spread some peanut butter on a rice cake or banana and have a nice, filling snack.

Any nut butter will be a heart-healthy delicious choice so don’t get stuck wondering which nut or seed is the most nutritious, just choose what you enjoy. And check the label to make sure there is no sugar added or sugar alcohols (xylitol is toxic for dogs). It’s a winner if you see just the nut/seed and salt on the ingredients list.

Fruit Cups.

I’m on a mandarin oranges jag. These little beauties are great in yogurt, cottage cheese, tossed in those salads, or just straight out of the cup while leaning over the sink. I’m a macro-counter and when I need more carbs in my day, these work great. My hubs adds them to some bourbon drink he likes too. Look for the ones packed in their own juice or with no sugar added.

While these are found in the perimeter of the store (so I’m a little off topic), I am talking about foods to eat if you lose power. So, I will throw in that many fruits can be kept on the counter like bananas, apples, and peaches oranges as well as tomatoes and avocados.

Soup and Canned Chicken.

Not weekly staples but great if we lose power. Soup is easy to heat up on the propane grill. Canned chicken can be mixed with mayo and mustard packets and spread on a slice of bread with a tomato from the kitchen counter.

I hear you groaning “but the sodium, so much salt!” I would agree.

We choose the lower-sodium versions. You could also rinse of the chicken if sodium is a concern (but we don’t). And remember, if you eat a high sodium lunch, that will balance out if you eat a low sodium dinner. Your health isn’t broken by the healthfulness of one meal. Nutrition gives us the grace of time and cumulative effects.

Via Packs & Shelf-Stable Almond Milk.

A storm is coming and I won’t be without coffee. Enough said.

Plus for protein, I use the almond milk as a base for a protein shake – made with some shelf-stable protein powder – and grab a handful of walnuts to keep my macros balanced.

I could go on and on because I love food. Why else would I do what I do for a living? But I will stop here and instead ask, what are your favorite healthy finds in the aisles?

Share in the comments and let’s all help each other find those shelf-stable foods so we can get rid of the food fear and just start enjoying the fact that we have safe, readily available, and healthy options for everyone.

Yours in good health,

-Coach Alexia Lewis RD

Image of one slice of pie in pie tin.

Occupational Freedom and Opportunity Act (HB1193) in Florida

Florida just updated the Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Law to add another exception to the need to be a licensed nutritionist. I know some RDs who are upset about this. We have been cautioned to “share and compromise” or else we will “lose it all.”

Ummm. WTF?

Legally allowing others to be able to help people get well with nutrition is something that we should be celebrating. RDs do not own the rights to nutrition practice.

It’s not pie.

Sharing this so-very-needed work does not take anything away from the RD. There is no shortage of people who need help with nutrition.

Image of one slice of pie in pie tin.

I am one of a small contingent of RDs who welcome the inclusion of other experts into this realm. Old-school RDs cling to the idea of ONLY RDs being “the food experts” and work behind the scenes to write letters to politicians and work with lobbyists.

How’s that working out for you RDs?

I say – who cares if the law allows everyone talk and provide guidance on nutrition? RDs should welcome this friendly competition and focus on building relationships for collaboration and strengthening our marketing to showcase the things that make RDs different.

Notice the word: different. Not the word: better.

The one place that RDs level of education and internship and experience IS a necessary thing is in the hospital and medical clinics. Tube feedings, parental nutrition, kidney dialysis, healing burn victims and pressure ulcers – These things needs more than a nutrition certification. This is the medical life-and-death level of nutrition care.

I don’t think anyone is saying that a CrossFit coach should be the one calculating your parental nutrition needs. Pretty sure hospitals aren’t going to start hiring them. This will regulate itself.

So now let’s shift our focus to the new paragraph added to the Florida Statutes.

DISCLAIMER. I’m an RD, not a lawyer. This is conversational and one person’s interpretation of the law. It is NOT meant to be legal guidance and you should NOT do anything without consulting with your own lawyer or based off your own interpretation and judgment.

It says: 468.505 Exemptions; exceptions.

(1) Nothing in this part may be construed as prohibiting or restricting the practice, services, or activities of:

(n) Any person who provides information, wellness recommendations, or advice concerning nutrition, or who markets food, food materials, or dietary supplements for remuneration, if such person does not provide such services to a person under the direct care and supervision of a medical doctor for a disease or medical condition requiring nutrition intervention, not including obesity or weight loss, and does not represent himself or herself as a dietitian, licensed dietitian, registered dietitian, nutritionist, licensed nutritionist, nutrition counselor, or licensed nutrition counselor, or use any word, letter, symbol, or insignia indicating or implying that he or she is a dietitian, nutritionist, or nutrition counselor.

Let’s break this down.

This is an exemptions paragraph. That means that people described in the paragraph are free to provide services or activities without being a licensed dietitian/nutritionist by the State of Florida.

Se let’s see who can do what under this new exemption paragraph.

The first part states that this exemption is for people who give nutrition information, advice, or wellness recommendations OR for people who sell food or dietary supplements for money.

Ah but there’s a caveat. The word “if” provides some limitations.

You can do this IF the person you are giving this info or advice to is not seeing a medical doctor for a disease or medical condition that requires nutrition intervention. Oh – but we aren’t counting obesity or weight loss as a disease or condition.

So, first, let’s define nutrition intervention. Oh. Whoops. It is not defined under the statute.

Okay so, let’s think about this. I would wager that most Floridians are seeing a medical doctor for a disease or medical condition that would benefit from nutrition intervention. We have to exclude weight management so think about the big ones: pre-diabetes, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. These are diseases so if someone is seeing a doctor for these – even annually – they are under a doctor’s care and supervision.

So, I would expect to see a yes/no question asked by people who want to offer services and activities under this exemption. If someone check yes, they have a disease and they see a doctor, then the person cannot practice under this exemption. If they check no, then they are a generally healthy person who would benefit from help with nutrition. Great! Let’s get them to work with whoever they feel comfortable with to improve their nutrition!

And there’s one last part to this exemption, hang on!

Finally, if you aren’t licensed, don’t act like you are or make people think you are. This statute just claimed the title of nutritionist and nutrition counselor for the licensed professionals. If you are not licensed, you may still call yourself a nutrition coach or nutrionalist (who ever came up with that crazy word? LOL).

TLDR: you can now offer services and activities to people who are generally healthy and not under a doctor’s care as long as you are careful about how you represent yourself.

This is pretty awesome. Yes, I say this as a registered dietitian and licensed dietitian/nutritionist.

People – if you don’t have medical conditions, then please…

Go see your CrossFit coach for your macros diet…

Go see your stay-at-home mom starting her business to learn about planning healthy meals for your family,…

And go see your holistic nutrition coach to learn about an organic, clean diet.

If that’s your thing, go learn about it.

And I want to end this by pointing out when it’s a good idea to see that licensed nutritionist.

It all hinges on that medical condition/disease thing. That is important. I’ve witnessed a dietary supplement seller in a gym tell a woman that his company’s shakes are totally okay and would be great for her husband who is under-going chemotherapy. That’s a problem. Even the general “eat more veggies!” mantra can be dangerous advice to someone whose kidneys are failing. And that low-carb/keto diet that we all loved (until the pandemic – anyone have yeast and flour yet?) may put a person with diabetes on insulin into the hospital.

Most of the time, nutrition advice is harmless for the majority. But there are times when it should be given by someone who understands the intricacies of medical diseases and nutritional biochemistry and health. This, my RD friends, is where you fit in.

There is enough pie for everyone.


FL FL State Statutes definitions for dietetics and nutrition practice.

FL State Statutes on exemptions and exceptions to licensed dietetics and nutrition practice

Overview of bill:

Language of bill:

What To Expect on a Grocery Store Tour

Are you curious about what actually happens on an interactive grocery store tour? Many people are unsure what to expect if they tour a grocery store with a nutritionist. Wonder no more – here is what you can expect on a grocery store tour with N.E.W. Motivation Coaching.

what to expect grocery tour blog imageA grocery store is an excellent resource for learning about food and food marketing in general, discovering which foods and products will work best for you and your family, and getting answers to your health and food questions.

In short, it is the best place to learn which foods can help you with your food goals because you have direct access to all the foods!

Expect a Mini Nutrition Education Class

Spend the first 15-20 minutes in a mini-class where you will learn the big-picture guidelines about the nutrition or health topic, how to read food labels, and what to look for on food packaging. You also get recommendations from 1-3 different agencies that make dietary recommendations so you can decide which guidelines fit your goals and food preferences the best.

Examples of tour topics include:

  • Heart Healthy Proteins
  • Healthy Grab-and-Go Grocery Store Meals
  • Fat, Sugar, and Salt
  • Keto Dieting – All about Dietary Fats
  • Low Carb Diets – Focus on Healthy Proteins & Fats

Expect to Walk the Store

This is where the fun really begins! After the mini nutrition education class, you will put Food-Label-Detectiveon your (imaginary) detective hat, go into the store, and put our hands on food packages. You get to put what you just learned into action to make better-for-you food choices.

You can go to the foods and brands you typically choose to take a good look at the packaging and compare it to other options. While brands may be recommended by your nutritionist based on your food preferences, budget, and health goals, you will not get any blanket brand recommendations during these tours. No kickbacks or bias here!

You will check out the package claims, nutrition facts, and ingredients to ensure the foods you choose fit into your food guidelines, you may learn about some hard-to-pronounce ingredients including what they are made of and how safe – or not – they are, and you may pick up some new tricks and tips to get the most out of your food choices. You also learn a little about how grocery store layout and food packaging can affect your buying choices without you even realizing it.

Expect Each Tour to be Different

Each tour has a focus but your questions determine where we go in the store and which foods we investigate.

Aisle by aisle, the nutritionist will help you make better food choices by pointing out marketing strategies and misleading packaging, showing you resources in the store that you probably haven’t ever noticed, introducing new foods and ingredients, and answering your food and nutrition questions.

Expect to Get Goodies

You always receive recipes related to the tour topic. You may also get samples of foods or coupons or other goodies like fabric grocery bags or shopping lists.

Expect to Become Empowered about Food

By the end of the tour, the confusion and anxiety around which foods to put in your grocery cart with will have been whisked away by the experience and insight you gained from having a dietitian at your side in the store.

You+RDYou will walk away empowered knowing you can choose healthier-for-you foods on your very next shopping trip. After this fun and interactive experience, you will be so much closer to knowing exactly how use food and nutrition to reach your health goals. You will also be well prepared to handle life’s curveballs because you know how to critically evaluate food packaging – instead of just getting brand recommendations. You will now have the skills to change your food choices as your health, needs and schedule changes.

In short, you will become an bonafide food label detective.

This is a guest blog by Vanessa Tarbell, University of North Florida Undergraduate Nutrition Student. 

Salt: Where Does the Salt in Your Diet Come From?

This is Video/Blog # 2 in our Series: All About Salt.

Myth or Fact? I don’t have to worry about my sodium because I don’t use the salt shaker at meals or when cooking?

When my clients want to reduce sodium in their diets, they typically focus on the salt shaker. They believe if they don’t add salt to their food at the table or when they are cooking, it is enough to keep their salt intake low.

Is it enough?

This is a MYTH!

Wait. What? Why???

Most of the salt in the average American diet – a whopping 71% according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – comes from processed foods and restaurant foods – not from the salt we add during cooking or sprinkle on to our cooked steaks or vegetables!

In fact, the foods with hidden sources of salt are the biggest offenders since many do not realize they are so high in salt. The American Heart Association has dubbed these foods the “Salty Six.”

The Salty Six includes:

  • Breads
  • Deli lunch meats
  • Sandwiches
  • Pizza
  • Soups
  • Processed chicken products.

And, if they asked me, I would make it the Salty Seven and added

  • Sauces and condiments

Can you Trust the Food Packaging Claims?

You can always look at the nutrition information label to find the milligrams (mg) per serving – just be sure to notice how much is considered one serving of the food per the label.

Those nutrition claims on food packages are a little trickier. Let’s quickly go over what those nutrition claims really mean.

First, realize that some of the claims are based off comparing the lower sodium version to the regular version.

If you see “reduced sodium” on the label, that means there is at least 25% less salt than the regular version. So, if your food is a salty one – like soup that can have 2000 mg in one can, then reduced sodium may still have 1500 mg which is not what I would consider low in sodium at all.

Claims that mean low sodium include “low sodium” with 140 mg or less per serving, “very low sodium” with 35 mg or less per serving, and “salt / sodium free” which means less than 5 mg per serving.

Finally, “no salt added” means just that – salt was not added during the food processing. The food may or may not be high in salt naturally.

Check out the video where I review some food packages and talk about the salt in some common foods – including what you just might be eating for lunch today!

So getting rid of the salt shaker may not be enough to get you to your salt intake goals.

Which may make you wonder… just how much salt should I actually eating? I will answer that question with our next video!

To get these when they are released – subscribe to my YouTube Channel


New ebook and special for October

Many people know that following a gluten-free diet means not eating wheat bread and pasta but they have very little help figuring out what they can eat or where else gluten is hiding in their food, medicines, and other products. Well, I can help with that! I just published an ebook: Celiac Disease: Real-Life Nutrition Strategies to Improve Symptoms and Heal Your Gut. This ebook gives and easy-to-understand explanation of what really happens in your body if you have celiac disease, provides guidelines and tips to ensure food choices are truly gluten-free, and goes one step further to list foods to help avoid common nutritional deficiencies.

COVER-celiac-diseaseAround 95% of people with celiac disease have not even been diagnosed and are suffering with symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, and even fatigue and joint pain. This ebook gives them real-life solutions for how to change their food choices so they don’t have to live with these uncomfortable symptoms, allow their body to repair damage from gluten, and still enjoy delicious food.

If you are not the reading type (well first, thanks for reading this blog), I’ve also got a special going on for October and am offering 50% off the “Go Gluten Free” coaching package which includes 1 initial and 2 follow up sessions, a personal grocery excursion to check out food packages where you make your food decisions (if local) OR the Label Detective online course (in development, course will be delivered by coach if not yet complete), and a FREE copy of the ebook. You must be a current email subscriber & limit of one deal per person. More details here.

This ebook, priced at $4.99, is available at or at your favorite book retailer. Is it chock-full of information including:

  • The basics of a gluten-free diet
  • Whole foods and alternative grains to include
  • Which foods and ingredients to avoid
  • How to best use gluten-free products (and when to avoid them!)
  • How to fit alcohol into a gluten-free diet
  • How to read food packaging and labels for gluten-containing ingredients
  • How to plan meals or approach eating out while remaining gluten-free
  • How to choose foods to address the most common nutrition deficiencies from a gluten-free diet
  • A list of online resources
  • Two case studies to give you examples of how two people with celiac disease approached their food and nutrition choices to better manage their symptoms

GF-delishI wrote this initially in 2013 (it has been updated for this ebook!) as a continuing education course for health professionals. In addition to the information that remains in the book, there was also a section on how to implement the Nutrition Care Process and tips for health professionals working with patients who have celiac disease. I said back then, four years ago, that I really should make this consumer-friendly and publish it that way too. And time passed. So… four years later… here it is! I am BEYOND EXCITED for this day to finally come. Now that I know how to epublish, expect more goodies coming from me as well!

This information will be useful for anyone with celiac disease as well as those who suspect they may have a gluten/wheat allergy or intolerance – so please pass this information along!

Don’t miss out on the NEW monthly email newsletter that will have information on nutrition, health, and wellness topics as well as freebies, offers, and discounts; a schedule of upcoming workshops and classes, recent blog posts, as well as any new ebooks or online courses. (Spoiler alert – discount for ebook will be in the October newsletter!) Sign up here!

And remember…


Vitruvian Man Logo

You may have noticed that N.E.W. Motivation Coaching has an updated logo. We kept the Vitruvian man – because reasons below –  but made the graphic simpler and more visually friendly.


Why Choose this Image?

You may know that the Vitruvian Man is a sketch done by Leonardo Da Vinci which represents the “perfect proportions” for man. The circle and square which surround the Vitruvian Man provide the touch-points for the length of the arms and legs as they move from one position to another.

It’s an art and a science: A multi-faceted approach. Leonardo’s new twist – to place the circle and square on top of each other – combine science and art. This is similar to our approach.

(1) We are firmly grounded in science, research, and evidence-based practice. We know the research and we keep up with new findings. We understand that the plural of anecdote is not data… yet we realize there are always outliers in research studies who may not fit the data trends. In other words, even if the research does NOT support something for a group on the whole, we are open to pursuing alternative paths to health as long as it does not bring you any harm!

(2) Making lifestyle changes that “stick” for the long-term is an art. We won’t throw information at you and tell you to make it work. Information is everywhere and if all it took was having legit info, then everyone would be exactly where they wished they were with health and weight. We do not believe our role is to tell you what you should do, what you should want for your health (or weight), or how to go about it. We instead focus on discovering your uniqueness (including your personal and environmental strengths and challenges) and then tweak, adjust, and experiment to create individualized goals to baby-step you to success. We use coaching and behavior change techniques to challenge you to think in new ways, but you will always make your own decisions.

Many body types can fit. Weight does not determine one’s overall health and yet many continue to focus on this one narrow view to judge their own health and the health of others. We like that a body with little fat and a body with lots of fat can both fit into the circle and square. The image is not body-shaming and embraces that all sizes belong.

What N.E.W. Stands For

Nutrition. The founder is a Licensed Nutritionist which means we can provide you with nutrition coaching and medical nutrition therapy. (More information on the differences here.)

Exercise. As an American Council on Exercise Certified Health Coach, we can get you started with activity and exercise safely.

Wellness. Health is more than food, exercise, and body weight. We work with you on finding health-life balance, improving sleep habits, managing stress, and figuring out all your Plan B’s for when life and situations throw you off course.

If you want more details, check out N.E.W. Motivation Coaching for upcoming workshops, group challenge classes, and individual coaching/counseling.

What do you think of the new logo and what it represents?