Category Archives: health goals

Picture of looking through a glass ball showing the landscape upside down with text Perception is Reality. How Does this Impact RDs?

Perception Is Reality

There have been a lot of opinions flying around after it became more widely known that HB1193 added an exemption to the Florida Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Law under the Occupational Freedom and Opportunity Act. See more about this exemption.

One thing I firmly believe is that the laws are designed to stop the honest people and the rule-followers. People have been providing nutrition advice without a license in Florida. This is illegal and it is not new.

RDs have been focused on “playing defense” as the nutrition license laws are systematically challenged state by state. Our associations have been working hard on this task with some success and some compromise. I do not want to downplay their efforts. They are working hard for what they believe is right. I respect that. More people should do the same.

My belief is that we should stop wasting resources, time, and money, on fighting attacks on the nutrition license laws. There are states without nutrition license laws and the sky has yet to fall. Let others onto the playing field. Competition is good for us all. It makes us be creative and grow. It fills the needs of the public – and they need help with nutrition and health.    

See this idea through.

Some people will provide excellent, well-researched, and appropriate nutrition advice and people will thrive and those providers will be rewarded with referrals and reputation-building.

Others will provide crap advice, trigger or glorify disordered eating, and make people sicker and those providers will not survive for long.

Yes, people may be harmed as this sorts itself out – but people have a right to make their own choices. And no law is going to prevent them from seeking out the latest BS MLM shakes or miracle pills anyway. If you believe, as an RD, it is your job to protect everyone from harmful nutrition advice – well, that will be tiring and frustrating and I wish you luck.

In the end, those who provide the best service and solve people’s nutrition problems will be the ones who thrive.

Yes, you absolutely need to be an RD to calculate a tube feeding.

No, you absolutely do not need to be an RD to coach a generally healthy person on nutrition.

In fact, RDs who calculate tube feeds are typically lousy coaches. But that’s okay. Good coaches probably suck at calculating tube feeds.

So… I propose to you that perception is reality and RDs need to focus on MARKETING what differentiates RDs from other health providers and coaches.

Picture of looking through a glass ball showing the landscape upside down with text Perception is Reality. How Does this Impact RDs?

I think that RDs have buried their heads in the sand about their (our) reputation. Sadly, I refer to myself as an RD very rarely offline because I have been listening to what people think in the wellness and fitness arenas.

I asked a kick-ass, supportive Facebook group that focuses on exercise with a CrossFit leaning about their perceptions of RDs. While far from being a methodologically sound study, it provides some information us RDs would be wise to pay attention to.

My post request: Would like to do an informal request for info: What is your opinion of Registered Dietitians? Do you think you need to see an RD to get valuable nutrition advice? Disclosure – I’m an RD fighting to change our organizations, so we work more with others… and am hoping to show my peers the truth about how we are perceived. I want the good, the bad, and the ugly!

In 8 hours, there were 76 comments and responses. I stopped counting at that point. Here is what those 8 hours reflect. There were 25 (33%) positive opinions, 16 (21%) neutral or no opinions, and 35 (46%) negative opinions.

There is no amount of legislation that is going to make 46% of people say, “I really need help with food and I think RDs suck but since it’s the law I’ll go to the RD who won’t help me instead of the nutrition coach who will help me.”

THIS is the problem. It is in how RDs are perceived not how nutrition advice is legislated. We need a marketing campaign, not another lobbyist.

Let’s look at some of the comments. RDs there are a lot of things we can learn from here.

Positive Comments

I think it sounds cool but also expensive. It would be great to sit down with someone and go over meal plans, goals, macros, etc. BUT there is so much info online, it’s hard to justify spending the money.

I honestly would totally use the hell out of the services of a registered dietitian, but I can’t afford it. I would love to see all insurance companies covering this service.

 I’m one who would work with someone. I was looking into it before all the lockdowns started. I know all the info is online, but I have no desire to figure it out. The amount of information can be overwhelming. I also like the idea of someone checking in on me. That helps me to keep at it.

 I think that RDs could make a HUGE impact within the fitness community if they marketed themselves right. I firmly believe that abs are made in the kitchen, and a lot of people fall victim to unhealthy dieting and/or eating habits. I hate seeing personal trainers with no formal nutritional training trying to play the role of an RD. Basically, I think there is a place for RDs in the fitness world, but it would take a lot of effort to get a strong foothold and get the public to truly recognize your value (because y’all are worth your weight in gold IMO).

We are working with one right now since my daughter is struggling with her IBS. We tried a low FODMAP diet on our own but struggled when trying to reintroduce foods. We needed advice about what and how to add foods back into her diet. This is a time when common sense and self-education weren’t enough and a dietician was definitely needed.

 I’ve been meeting with an RD for a bit over a year. She’s free to me through my employer which is awesome. She’s helped me transition from weight loss into eating for performance and weight maintenance. She’s not pushed any specific diet plans to me, just giving me advice like how to adjust my food intake before half marathons and longer training runs and what I needed to do nutritionally to avoid muscle cramps during runs. She’s done metabolism testing on me (again, free to me) to get a baseline of how much food I really need to be eating and found I was severely under eating.

I’ve used weight watchers, nutritionists and registered dietitian. RD worked more in my mindset, which will help me more in the long run.

I have been seeing an RD for a little over a year now at the recommendation of my doctor. She has helped me. She keeps me in check and I have been successful.

 Nutritional intake are the basic building blocks for these beautiful body machines. RDs are the best asset to help get the most from your efforts.

I had a great experience with a dietician in my health plan when I went in with really detailed questions and wanted recommendations about how I could increase protein as a vegetarian without going over my carb limit or eating too much fat. If I had just gone for a basic education appointment that was planned I would have felt like I already knew the information, but I took so many specific questions. The dietician gave me a lot of suggestions and some free hacks like use the information she gave to go to the local grocery store that offers a shopping trip with a dietician and some blogs that have super simple recipes that combined foods I already liked. I really wish that part of my yearly checkup included a referral back to the dietician.

 I have met one twice and due to her limitations in time she could give me (a state sponsored one) I was impressed with how much she gave me personalized advice. So overall I’m positive. I’m not sure I would want to pay for the service though without someone who I trust recommending them as I feel I have a lot of knowledge myself and if someone isn’t knowledgeable enough and try to sell me a one size fit all I would not feel like it’s worth it at all.

Having an RD has definitely helped me. Even though I am now post-bariatric, even before having surgery it definitely helped change my mental mindset to help me make better choices and allow me to educate myself better with certain foods.

I think RDs are invaluable. Having said that, it is very difficult where I live to find one that understands fitness nutrition. I’ve talked to several, but they seem focused on weight loss rather than fuel for fitness. It’s frustrating.

Depends on the dietitian. Mine is amazing and covered as preventative care (zero copay) by my insurance. He specializes in working with athletes, ed folks, and special diets. He is rated as one of the best in the city to boot. Just make sure they have credentials and a good reputation.

I saw one. She seemed really strange. Had my proteins stupid low (70 g). But she helped me realize I have a body that can’t handle a lot of fat! So once I kept my fat macro under 38 g, the weight has been flying off. I did up my proteins because I was in so much pain and really hungry. I wasn’t eating enough carbs! So that was upped and man I feel a lot better. I’m glad I was open minded enough to try what she had to say.

Neutral Comments

I’ve worked with 3 different dietitians: the first gave me a standard meal plan; the second gave me a macro plan; the third and current one actually started with some simple habits and exploring the deeply rooted issues I have with food. The third time was the charm.

I did WW and lost 30 pounds. But, got stuck. I am now working with a coach at EAT TO PERFORM. I love the program. That being said I don’t know if I would go to just any RD.

In this day where you can find any information online – the good, the bad, and the fake, RDs are where I turn for a way to sort through the bs. We get free access to them, sometimes you just have to wait awhile for an appointment. And I’m seriously contemplating becoming one.

 I have had great nutritionists and bad nutritionists… for my goals. Some nutritionists (most of them) didn’t hear my goals and famished me trying to make me reach fat percentages in a short span of time, which was extremely frustrating. I wanted to be healthier, not stop living entirely.

When I had gestational diabetes I was referred to a RD. I already tracked everything I ate and worked out daily. Our conversation was eat more veggies, less bread, drink diet soda instead on coke… this is prior to her knowing or asking about my current diet. I asked her if I could show her my food journal, she looked at it, looked at me and said, “keep doing what you’re doing.” End of session.

 I honestly can’t decide how I feel about RDs. I don’t know how or if an RD is different from a nutritionist and I don’t really understand what they do. Are they covered by insurance? Are they medical professionals? I sort of view them as being on the fringes of health and medicine with a mix of voodoo nonsense and science mixed in. I prefer science and evidence-based studies, to someone telling me what I *should* be doing. I want to know why I should be doing what you’re telling me to do and how to eat. Obviously, nutrition is important. I know I’m supposed to eat fruits, veggies and real food. So what would be the point in seeing a nutritionist/RD for them to tell me to eat more fruits, veggies and real food? I’m sorry if that sounds harsh – I really don’t mean it to be, but it’s the truth from my perspective. Maybe I just don’t know enough about them.

I think RDs are vital for those that are on tricky meditation, after surgery, cancer treatment, etc. However the vast majority of people just want to lose weight and keep it off. That is less about counting calories/macros and more about teaching habits and getting to the bottom the whys (why they do what they do with food and moving forward) to develop new strategies. This can be done with a certified nutrition coach (a good one). *Just like in any field you will find people that are good/exceptional at their job and others that give that profession a bad rap – do your research and go to someone with good referrals

I think for coaching after something like weight loss surgery, it’s important. I feel like helping someone in general, it depends on their age and where they went to school… If they still live by the food pyramid and pass that shit out, then it’s useless.

 I am split down the middle as to whether or not we need them for valuable advice because I do think RD’s have the knowledge and the background/education to help, but I also think we are capable of finding most answers without them. Of course, this changes with different conditions a person might have or inherit. I’m currently in school and before starting I was really considering a local dietetics program, but decided that I’d rather go into the educational side of nutrition and health for varying reasons including having a better grasp on helping people from a different angle when it comes to healthy lifestyles.

I think you need an RD for certain medical conditions. My diet coach has a Ph.D. In sports physiology and he’s been amazing and I’ve had way more success with him then I ever had with the 3 RD’s I sought out at first. The RD’s gave me a basic AF “meal” plan, lectured me, and EVERYTHING was super restrictive. I don’t do well that way. I was honestly not excited when my son had to see a metabolic nutritionist the first time due to my experiences with an RD (he has a metabolic disease, so it’s necessary and she’s actually amazing).

Most RD I meet are locked in a cycle of standard American diet advice. The majority are stuck because of the healthcare system they work in. It’s always interesting when you meet an RD that will not follow their own advice because they know it doesn’t work for them. I’ve also met a few that actually we’re able to design a eating plan that was helpful to their client’s needs without sticking to SAD. It’s such a mixed bag and most are full of good intentions. But no one wants the liability of suggesting or prescribing food that might not work.

Honestly, I don’t think the designation is worth all much in the fitness industry. There are so many programs and certifications now. This coming from someone who went to grad school for nutrition.

 I’m currently using Macrostax. Before I started that I had an appointment with a RD. I was kind of underwhelmed. I felt like I got the “my plate” handout and nothing I didn’t already know, and no idea what to change to actually start making progress where I’d been stalling. That said I’m sure RDs have different specialty areas and the one I met with probably just wasn’t the right fit for me and what I already knew (which is prob more than your average person). The other side to this coin is there are so many people out there spewing absolute BS and I would love to see RDs out there more. There’s an RD behind Macrostax and I have been very happy with that program

Negative Comments

 I don’t really trust the recommendations of registered dieticians. There have been so many past cases of medical doctors and dieticians recommending specific diets based on assumptions with inadequate research that later turned out to be false. I absolutely believe that it’s not done intentionally or maliciously, and y’all are following your training, but I don’t really trust your training, and I don’t want to pay for a service I don’t trust, you know?

I had to see a registered dietitian when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The sample meal plans were so bunk (like have milk or orange juice with each meal or do jello or 7 grapes – pure silliness for blood sugar control). It was super unhelpful and I found better info online (like carb to protein pairing and the awesomeness of fiber).

I’ve only seen one so I don’t have a ton of experience, but my frustration was I paid a good amount of money to get a boilerplate plan she gave everyone, nothing personalized. Even when I told her I don’t do well on carbs and wanted to balance more towards proteins and fats (I’m insulin resistant and me + carbs just don’t work well, but I also know I need a little before I work out). She gave no options and said that this was what her clients were successful on.

I have only had interactions with a registered dietitian for my high cholesterol and possible diabetes. Unfortunately, I was just told the foods to avoid.

 I’ve only met with a dietician once. And the diet was so strict, I couldn’t maintain it.

I don’t want to pay a ton of money to be ordered around.

 I was referred to an RD when I was Dx’d with gestational diabetes. I realize it is a specialized field BUT I absolutely couldn’t follow her dietary advice. I would have ended up on insulin. Too many net carbs. T2/GD/IR is different than T1 (unless you’re a T2 burnout) and they don’t seem to get that. I did my own thing and managed my numbers quite well through to 41wks. I’d probably use one if I could pick my own vs insurance assigned.

I have seen 3 different RDs and none of them listened. All three told me to eat things I am allergic to (yes they were told in advance what my allergies are) and I also need to follow a low oxalate diet due to my body not processing things correctly which causes all sorts of mineral deposits including kidney stones.
Well all three of them told me to eat more dark leafy greens and switch to soy or nut “dairies”. All things that will put me in the hospital. As soon as they start with that shit I’m done. I can’t trust another thing that comes out of their mouths. I know I’m a difficult case that’s why I wanted to find expert help but well that’s apparently not going to work. Obviously I have to just figure it out on my own.

I was referred to an RD after I was diagnosed with celiac disease years ago. I worked with her for a while and while she helped me figure out what foods were gluten free, she also helped me make my undereating worse. After a couple of months gluten free, I started gaining weight. She had me eating 1,000 calories a day, while I continued running 3 times, 2 strength training days, 2 dance classes, 2 days running 100 flights of stairs each week plus just every day walk everywhere NYC life. I was exhausted and afraid to eat more because I didn’t want to gain weight. It was a bad experience for both my mental and physical health, and that makes me not trust RDs and not willing to pay the money to try again.

I have a very negative opinion of RDs. When I was 5 years old, I was diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia. It’s genetic (thanks Dad) and rather than immediately going on meds I was told to try diet first. So off to the RD we went. She was nice enough, but the eating plan was boiler plate. I spent the next decade on a low-fat diet, terrified of meat and fats of all kinds. I developed eating disorders I’m only now starting to get past. It was one meeting and done. No follow up, no checking in, no tailoring anything. Nutrition is such a personal thing, especially as a child, and I felt like this was just a stamp in my file to say they tried it. I know this is just one experience and not all RDs will be like this. But the issues I was left with have made me never want to try again. I would love to have somebody able to work with me and help me get past some of my food issues but this isn’t the route I would take.

 I’ve only been to one, once and I’ve never been back. She printed out a plate image off the USDA website and gave generic advice. All for $225 an hour which was really 40 minutes. I had been hoping to get guidance on how to build a meal plan and was clear in that when I made the appt so waste of money for my experience. I know there are great ones out there I just don’t know how to find one

I had a couple appointments with an RD. I felt like she didn’t really listen to me. Her recommendations were basically what I was already doing and she was spoon feeding me chapters of The 10 Principles of Intuited Eating (one chapter per appt). The book from which she was directly providing the info was $14.99 on Amazon, which is significantly less than RD appointments. The book has some good points, but most of which I already had a good grasp. I expressed concern, but felt like she wasn’t really listening, so I didn’t go back.

When I went to see one after I went to my doctor asking for a hormone panel because I have PCOS I was referred to a dietitian instead. I am a vegan and I eat very clean yet I am 230 lbs and I log my food daily and I’m still not losing weight. When I met with one, she told me I was unhealthy and told me I needed to eat meat and dairy products even though I am getting all the vitamins and protein I need. She then told me she had no idea why I wasn’t losing weight after looking at over 3 months of food logs and gave up on me. After one meeting. I never went back.

Unfortunately, I think that the idea forced upon us that from a legal standpoint, only doctors and nutritionists, or registered dietitians, can give nutrition advice, breeds the idea they are infallible. I have seen them push artificial sugars, care more for calories than vegetables and also have no idea (or maybe just not interest) in working with and for people who are athletes.

I have seen one several times for myself and my child, but they never go past the basics everyone knows. They have never asked our goals or tried to tailor instruction. I had one just show the My Fitness Pal app.

For me personally, I’m in a different situation than most people. I have my PhD in biochemistry and cell biology and have studied metabolism for years. So I know what my body needs to thrive. My problem has never been what to eat, or even how much to eat, it’s to follow it. That is on me. No one can force me to do that. I do think RDs are good for people that are not knowledgeable in what to do or how to eat. And I do think it gives a level of accountability to people when they first start a healthy eating lifestyle. But the biggest thing is people need to find a good one that will not just give a cookie cutter diet plan. The plans need to be tailored to each person, their needs, and their preferences, which from what I have heard from friends, never happens.

Every RD I have spoken to has looked at my list of food allergies and given up. “Good luck” is the only response I’ve received, which felt discouraging and dismissive each of the 3 times I saw someone. I know my allergies make things challenging, that’s why I was seeing someone who was knowledgeable, or so I thought.

I’ve seen a couple RDs and they both put me on plans that were too low calorie for me that left me constantly hungry and pushed shitty processed foods at me. I’ve steered clear of them ever since.

My totally honest opinion-I am an RN and have gotten better advice from non-RDs. RD training is antiquated, many push the same ADA, AHA diets that are showing to not work (I.e. low fat). I saw an RD when I was pregnant for gestational diabetes. It was the worst thing I could have done and in hindsight, knowing what I know now, I would not do it again. I was shamed and told I wasn’t eating enough carbs and was hurting my baby. I followed their recommendations to a T-kept a daily food journal with carbs. I gained 40 lbs and my blood sugar was worse and ended up on meds. The best person I saw was trained in functional nutrition. He was going to sit for RD boards, but he customized and worked with me as individual and didn’t blame me when things didn’t work. We just changed courses and tried something until it worked.

 I went to see a RD once and was told that my food is fine and balanced and that was pretty much it even though I asked about eating for fat loss I was told maybe my body likes this weight and was sent on my way. I never went back.

 Rd only know what they are taught, most of it is false info bought and paid for.

I’ve been to 4 RDs. NOT ONE could tell me about PCOS, high testosterone or Metformin. Every single one said, “I don’t believe in Metformin for anything except diabetes.”

 I’ve been to 2. One wanted me to eat real food, which I already did but wouldn’t give me any guidance in amounts. The second one lowered me to 1100-1200 calories a day, only green veggies, minimal carbs. I was already working out 6 days a week, she told me to add an extra 150 mins cardio a week on top of 6 hours I was already in the gym. I did see results and then stalled to which she lowered my calories again and suggested fasting. I was exhausted and starving ALL the time. I loved her don’t get me wrong but not sure 1200 calories is sustainable long term.

 I have had terrible experiences with RDs. In general, it’s that even five years ago I was getting the advice to eat a bagel with no butter or cream cheese for breakfast (for example) and do like 60-70 percent carbs, 20 percent protein and as little fat as possible. My fitness coaches have me on a 40/30/30 plan which is much easier to follow and seems to work. I am thrilled with the idea that RDs are out there who are open to change but just have not personally met one who is.

Nope. I do not agree with the pyramid with cereal and grain at the bottom.

I honestly have never used a RD, but I have had several friends who had. There was nothing positive said. They said they never really learned anything. They were just told to cut calories very low and received lectures. Very restrictive type eating and told certain foods were 100% off limits. Never explained proper combinations ie protein/carb/fat, just calorie intake.

When my husband was in end stage renal failure and starting hemodialysis we had a RD stop by the hospital room and go over his diet and tell him all the things he couldn’t eat or had to restrict, hand us a bunch of papers for detail and ask us if we had any questions. That lasted 10-15 mins.

I’ve been to two RD’s. One pushed a strict vegan lifestyle. She had great ideas for whole food subs for meat, but I had/have no desire to be vegan and to fit her plan it was all or nothing. The other preached that only the quantity of calories mattered, not the quality. With both I could not get the scale to move and I felt like garbage more often than not. We worked with an RD when I was caregiving for my mother in law as well. She mostly gave us “eat this, not that” pamphlets and minimally answered questions. I was very disappointed with all of them and honestly haven’t taken most seriously since.

Hubs saw a RD for diabetic nutrition and the advice was not good. Eat whatever and take metformin.

 I’ve had 5 try to help me lose weight. 3 flat-out quit on me because my body doesn’t lose weight easily/at all and they thought I was cheating on the plans we had set up. 2 I had to stop seeing because after 6 months of only losing 7 pounds and then the scale going up again, my mental stability couldn’t handle it anymore.

I saw one for a while and she did nothing for me. I am now on a program with a great “coach” who has done more for me than anything else I’ve ever tried.

I saw one that was a total waste of my time and money! I have a severe intolerance to salicylates… and week after week I was lectured that I wasn’t eating enough green vegetables and I needed to eat more fruit and to cut out sugar! It was either dump her sorry ass or get really really sick…. so her ass got dumped!

 I got sick many years ago with a rare disease (Porphyria). I lost a lot of weight due to not being able to eat, spent two months in the hospital, had to relearn how to walk, etc.. After the hospital, I started gaining weight. 50 pounds one month, then another 20, then another 20; I went from 135 to 215 in a very short time. My doctor sent me to a dietitian who had me keep food diaries. Then she told me I was lying, that I couldn’t gain weight with what I was eating! Turns out that my medications had a lot to do with my weight gain. I will never forget her calling me a liar.

What I Learned from the 10 Holiday Survival Tips Workshop

Do you wish there was a way to have all of your favorite foods of the holiday season. Well, sit down and brace yourself – it IS possible!

Welcome Vanessa, NMC’s nutrition student and mentee, who  shares below what she learned from attending the live event showcasing the 10 Holiday Survival Tips from the “Love Yourself Healthy through the Holidays” Plan.

The holidays are fast approaching and I’ve already been daydreaming about the rich, indulgent foods that only are made at this time of year. They are calling my name! How do I choose what to eat? Do I go all in with my favorites, like green bean casserole or pumpkin pie, at every party… or do I not indulge in my favorite foods because I know how many more parties I will have to go to?

After seeing Coach Alexia talk about her 10 holiday tips to enjoy a guilt-free holiday, I walked away with three new ideas for how to enjoy everything about the holidays this year.

First, it is important to take the time to catch up with my family and friends. This is the only time of year that I get to see my aunt and uncle that live out west. I always say that I will plan a trip and I never do. If I take this time to catch up with them then I take the focus off the food and can reconnect with my family. As a bonus, while I’m chatting away, my mouth is too busy to chew!

Second, keeping my hands full will help keep me from eating too much. This year at the holiday party, I’m going to keep a drink in one hand and my phone in the other hand to have ready for taking pictures. With both hands full there is no space for me to hold a plate of snacks and mindlessly eat during the party.

Third, and most importantly, I gained new confidence for going into the holidays. With these 10 new strategies, I know can get through the season worry free (maybe even a little lighter!). The holidays are a time of family, friends, laughter and tons of food and this year I can now make my plan so I can eat, drink and be merry!

Happy Holidays from Vanessa!

Check out the entire Love Yourself Healthy through the Holidays Plan so you can make a plan and not be so uncomfortable after your holiday meals that you have to reach under the table and try to unbutton your pants while hoping no one notices!


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


A Gift: Enjoy the Holidays without Sabotaging Your Health

I am beyond excited to announce a gift to you from me and N.E.W. Motivation Coaching. Because I am so unhappy with the Diet Culture / Weight Loss wheels turning as we come to the end of another year, I am giving away – yes free – both a video course and a booklet this year. 


Unfortunately, December is a month when many feel overwhelmed with stress and give up on their health goals believing they will return to healthy habits in January when they make their resolutions.

There is some good in this actually.

If you look at the research on willpower, it indicates that people are not as successful at white-knuckling it / sucking it up / using their willpower to [insert goal here: stick to their meal plan, exercise daily, go to sleep on time, etc] when they are either stressed or depressed.

The trick is to manage the stress or depression first and then re-focus on health goals. If you are stressed in December, then relaxing on your health goals may be 100% appropriate. 

Giving up entirely to eat like a jerk and couch surf for 4-6 weeks, however, can result in a pretty big back-slide on health complete with weight gain and loss of cardiovascular endurance and muscle mass/strength! Oh, and an increase in blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugars, and those other health concerns that are totally impacted by your daily food and activity choices.

So, what do we do?

I’ve got an idea: Find a way to both enjoy the holidays and keep some focus on your health goals. It is so very possible to do with a few tricks & tips up your sleeve!


The free course gives you 5 realistic tips to coast through the holidays while staying true to your health – and weight – goals as well as 3 worksheets and a health coach walks you through making your personal strategy in the videos so you can enjoy the holidays without sabotaging your health!

You also get tips for making traditional holiday foods healthier AND a list of which herbs and spices pair best with which foods so you can reduce fat and sodium without sacrificing flavor.

This course is designed for:

Dieters who are tired of the repeated cycles of weight loss and regain who want to find peace with food, activity, and themselves so they can improve health and weight

Adults with – or at risk for – chronic lifestyle diseases who want to find realistic and enjoyable ways to approach lifestyle changes so they can reduce their risk for chronic diseases and live a healthier life.

People who are confused or overwhelmed with all the conflicting rules and information about nutrition and exercise who want to sort it out so they can find a lasting, realistic plan that works in their unique lives.


I offered this information last year as an in-person class and just didn’t get to share it with enough people! So this year we are giving it away in order to get this good info into the hands of more people who need this type of support and guidance during the season.

Check it out – try some tips before the next big holiday meal in just a few short weeks – and share this with anyone you think may benefit from it! There is no limit on how many freebies we give away so share it as much as you would like to!

Here is the link text:

So you know, this is only 50% of the tips we share in our Love Yourself Healthy Plan. We will be sharing more on that soon!

Yes, you can eat the pecan pie AND be healthy.

A Pumpkiny Good Time

I had so much fun today sharing my new pumpkin recipes at the N.E.W. Motivation Coaching Pumpkin Love Make & Take!

These lucky ladies joined the fun and made a tangy pumpkin vinaigrette, a pumpkin-nilla-chai smoothie with no added sugar (thank you very much!), and some sweeeeeeet and healthy pumpkin power bites.

But I’m really just writing this blog to share the pictures. So, here they are!


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?

HelloFresh Meal Review: Sweet and Savory Plum Flatbreads with Ricotta, Charred Onion, and Arugula

I love every single word in the name of this dish! Color me excited to make this one!

If you want a deal, I can offer you this:  Get Cooking Today With HelloFresh And Get 50% Off!

HelloFresh categorizes this meal as a breakfast according to the recipe card. I think this would make a divine breakfast but it is just a little too much work for me to do while on my first cup of coffee. Don’t get me wrong, I love a hot breakfast. In fact, I have a hot breakfast pretty much every day! I can cook a veggie omelet with one eye closed and one hand on that coffee mug; but this recipe was just a bit too involved for that level of attention (or rather that lack of attention…).

As the video shows, there are not that many steps but there is some multi-tasking. Once again, I turned to my non-stick pan so my plums did not get any delicious carmelization action… and my onions did not get charred. I think I was a wee bit heavy-handed with the oil (which you may notice in the video!).

What would I change? Well, per the recipe card, this recipe calls for 5 teaspoons of olive oil for 2 servings. I love me some healthy oils but this was too much for me. Reducing the oil could easily be done by omitting from arugula and not coating the flatbreads and I think the recipe would be just as good without this much oil. I also found this dish to be flavorful enough without the honey drizzle – which was fun to do – but omitting honey would reduce the sugar which comes in at 21 grams. For my taste buds, the extra sweetness is not needed and doesn’t add any extra nutrition.

What did I love? Once again – this is a meal of delicious flavors that I would never have thought to put together. I love that HelloFresh is introducing me to new flavor combinations! I got excited a while back mixing blackberries and blue cheese (uh, yeah, so good!) but plums and red onion? No way! Totally works. I also love the small amounts of leftover ingredients. This time I had some pomegranate balsamic vinegar and almonds that got tossed onto the next days lunch salad… and there was leftover arugula which hubs and I ate on the side with the flatbreads.

Things I learned:

Non-stick pans – once again – are not always the best option

There is a world of flatbreads outside of my stand-by FlatOut wraps

I really have to double-check that my video shots are centered before I film!

Here’s that info again if you want to take advantage of the discount I can offer you to try out HelloFresh! Get Cooking Today With HelloFresh And Get 50% Off!


HelloFresh provided a Meal Delivery Box containing three meals to me free of charge. This is #sponsored and I was so impressed that I have joined their #affiliate program. As always, all opinions in my reviews are mine and I if love it or hate it, I’ll let you know.

Cheese and Strangulation by Bedsheets

I say when your press release gets no press, make your own! We will get to the cheese; but first:


Dieting is Making You Bigger

Say Hello to Jacksonville’s Only Health at Every Size® Nutritionist

Jacksonville, Florida – July 2017 – There is a movement growing among health professionals called Health at Every Size® which, among other things, rejects the use of weight as an indicator of health and believes that weight is largely unchangeable by individuals. There is only one registered HAES® practitioner in the Jacksonville area. Search the listings here.

Regardless of what the celebrities and infomercials who promote a Diet Culture say, the fact is that the majority of dieters only temporarily lose weight. In the long-term, they regain the lost weight plus more. Many of them will then go back on a diet – and this weight cycling is detrimental to health. Following restrictive diets and intense work-out plans provides temporary weight loss results at the expense of mental health and self-esteem with the result often being an out-of-whack metabolism and eating binges. Social relationships can also suffer as food rules, good food/bad food beliefs, and guilt or shame about food choices become more consuming.

Many people think if someone is overweight, they are not healthy. The truth is that not everyone who has a large body is sick/unhealthy – and not everyone who has a small body is well/healthy. One cannot make judgements about someone’s health based on their body size. Many larger bodied people are healthy in terms of lab values, freedom from chronic conditions, and ability to exercise and live independently. All the diseases and conditions that obesity supposedly causes are nothing more than associations and correlations – things that happen together – not necessarily one thing causing the other.

For some fun correlations to illustrate this point, see Spurious Correlations and you can “prove” that eating cheese leads to death by strangulation by bedsheets… or that eating margarine leads to happier marriages (or at least less divorce filings)…


You see my point?

(And if you don’t, I’ve got a heckuva deal on some swampland I can sell you down here in Florida… hit me up!)

As a HAES® practitioner, registered dietitian, and certified health coach, I can offer a welcome change of pace for people who choose to reject the diet culture and prefer to work on improving health through mindful eating, enjoyable exercise, self-acceptance, and realistic, flexible lifestyle habits.

Get more information or see our upcoming events.

HelloFresh Meal Review: Emeril Lagasse’s Herby Dijon Chicken Breasts with Zucchini and Red Potatoes

HelloFresh provided a Meal Delivery Box containing three meals to me free of charge. I was so impressed that I have joined their #affiliate program. As always, all opinions in my reviews are mine and I if love it or hate it, I’ll let you know.

Take advantage of this discount – Get Cooking Today With HelloFresh And Get 50% Off!

I was so excited to make this meal! The pictures on the recipe card look amazing and I (like many others) am more comfortable cooking chicken than I am with cooking fish, which was my first HelloFresh meal.

This recipe was prepared on a work-night and did not take much time from start to finish. All that was needed from my kitchen was olive oil, pans, a strainer, and a small bowl – oh and a cutting board and knife of course! Prep time didn’t take long as there was very little chopping involved, just half a shallot, a few potatoes, home herbs, and a zucchini. Although, I must chop faster than the average person (thank you Food Lab in undergrad nutrition program!) as I found myself waiting on the chicken to cook. I admit to starting Step 3 (cook chicken) before Step 2 (prep/chopping) and the chicken took a little longer to get to temp than expected.

Now, I do not typically cook chicken on the stove-top. So, I will warn those of you who also typically bake or grill you chicken: beware the oil splatter! I have a mesh screen to prevent the splatter but by the time I realized I needed it, the splatter had happened so I let it go. You could easily bake the chicken instead and end up with less cleaning (splatter and one less pan) and this also would be nutritionally less fat and calories if that’s important to you. But you would lose the searing which gives the meat some flavor as well as leaves those tasty little brown bits in the pan to get incorporated into sauce – and the sauce makes this meal!

I’m also kind of a food safety and sanitation freak so be sure to sanitize anything that contacts the raw chicken. I cut all that out of the video but make sure to do that at home! Oh, I also cut out a lot of wine sipping. Oh my gosh, so many edits to take out the wine sipping!

Another random tip is don’t use a non-stick pan for potatoes like I did or they won’t get crusty-crispy. I was smart enough to use a regular pan for the chicken because I knew I wanted those brown bits for the sauce; but I did not bring that logic over to the vegetables pan.

This recipe is definitely more cost effective from #HelloFresh than if you had purchased ingredients from the store! All that was leftover was half a lemon, half a shallot, and some tarragon– bonus. My pictures do not do this dish justice… that’s what happens when drinking wine with dinner – I got too excited about the food and didn’t take good pictures!

Final review: This meal is flavorful yet subtle and is made with familiar foods – I will be making this meal again!

Things I learned

A mesh splatter screen is a useful kitchen gadget

Non-stick pans are not always the best choice

Emeril may have some more recipes out there that I need to try!

Here’s that info again if you want to take advantage of the discount I can offer you to try out HelloFresh! Get Cooking Today With HelloFresh And Get 50% Off!