5 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease in Women

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Contrary to popular believe, heart disease is not a mans disease. In fact, heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the U.S. claiming the lives of every 1 in 3 women. This is more than all forms of cancer combined.

Research from the American Heart Association shows that 80% of heart attacks and strokes are PREVENTABLE with early diagnosis/treatment, a healthy diet, and exercise.

This year, I am honored to serve as one of the leaders for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign.  As a private practice Registered Dietitian, the prevention of heart disease is one of my core values, and something I talk about with EVERY client that walks through my door.

Here are my top 5 ways that you can prevent heart disease starting NOW:

  1. Start heart disease screenings in your 20s. This should include talking with your physician about your family history, and having blood pressure/cholesterol/glucose checks. Back in the day these screenings didn’t start until our 40s, however knowing your numbers now, and establishing heart healthy habits in your 20s will help decrease the chances of any complications in the future.
  2. Focus on cardio + strength. When you think of the best exercise for your heart do you automatically think of cardio? While aerobic exercise (running/biking/swimming) is definitely important in lowering your LDL and Triglycerides (bad cholesterol levels) and elevating your HDL (good cholesterol levels) – research has shown that adding in 20 minutes of strength training to your regular routine 3-4x per week can help lower your blood pressure (and keep it there). Blood pressure is known as the silent killer, and keeping it within normal limits decreases your chances of having a heart attack.
  3. Eat red meat in moderation. Sorry paleo/keto followers – if you have high LDL and Triglyceride levels (bad cholesterol) those fad diets are NOT for you! While I do support a lifestyle where all foods can fit, it’s important to focus on lean proteins the majority of the time (80% of your intake) to improve your heart health. Research published by the American Heart Association reports that swapping red meat for nuts/fish/poultry can decrease your heart disease risk by 19-30%.
  4. Fill your plate with produce! Did you know that adding just 1 more cup of fruits or vegetables to your day could decrease your chances of cardiovascular disease by 13%? Focus on making half of your plate non-starchy vegetables at each meal, and get bonus points for choosing a fruit or starchy vegetable as your carb!
  5. Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. While a healthy diet and exercise are very important for preventing heart disease in women, research shows that if we don’t have an adequate amount of sleep per night those benefits can be diminished. Not sure how to get to that magic 7 hours? Try setting a bed time (and using your phone’s bedtime alarm to help you remember), establishing a caffeine cut off time, and put your phone on the opposite side of the room to eliminate distractions and blue light (which can make it harder to get to sleep).

February is Heart Month, and please join me in the fight against the No. 1 killer of women by clicking here to donate to the Upstate South Carolina – American Heart Association to continue to spread the word of prevention. Together we can beat this disease!

Heart Healthy Cooking Segment with Fox Carolina

Did you know that the recommendation for sodium per day is 2400mg which is 1 TEASPOON total per day?

Most Americans are getting way more than the recommend amount (not to mention some restaurant dishes can have 2000mg+ sodium in them). High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer” because it’s symptoms are not always obvious, and watching your salt intake is one way you can combat this risk factor.

Instead of adding salt to foods in cooking or at the dinner table, try using herbs and spices instead! Watch my Fox Carolina segment below for more tips, and click here to get the Go Red for Women  Herbed Veggie Skillet recipe that I demonstrated on the show!

Greenville Restaurant Week 2019 Dietitian Picks

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Photo Credit: Jianna

It’s Restaurant Week again in South Carolina! Here in the upstate there are tons of local restaurants offering special 3-4 course menus from January 10th – 20th 2019.

I love this time of year to get out of the house (because these 20 degree nights are no fun) and try something new! However it does come at an interesting time, just ten days into the New Year. If you are focused on healthy eating habits but want to support Restaurant Week, this post is for you!

I’ve taken some time to look over the menus, and below are my top 10 healthy picks for this year. I chose these options using the portion plate concept. I was searching for options prepared using a healthful cooking method, featuring lean meat or fish, lots of vegetables, and whole grains. (Note: I was not given nutrition facts for any of these dishes, and these recommendations are based on the menus descriptions from each restaurant. This blog post is not sponsored by Greenville Restaurant Week nor any specific restaurant. All opinions are my own.)

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Photo Credit: Tupelo Honey Cafe

But before we get started, I wanted to share my tips for Restaurant Week:

1. Choose if it’s an 80% or 20% meal. These are my personal healthy restaurant week menu picks, however I am totally down for some She Crab Soup and Mac and Cheese every now and again. It’s important to think about your week, and your goals, and decide if you want this particular meal to be an “80% meal” or a “20% meal.” What does that mean? I work with all of my clients to find a balance between functional and fun foods – without cutting anything compeltely out – you can read more here. So, these picks below would be considered an “80% meal” or a healthy option, but of course there is a time and place for fun foods as well!

2. Use the fullness scale to pace your eating. Three to four courses is a LOT of food! I would recommend checking in with yourself regularly, and being sure to eat until you are a 6-7 on the fullness scale (with 10 being overly stuffed and 1 being ravenous). This will make sure you are not uncomfortable when leaving the restaurant, and keep you feeling great!

3. Get a box for dessert or split it. You will see my picks below focus on the appetizers/main course, without a mention of dessert. Chances are you will fill up on the first two courses, and I would recommend splitting the dessert with a friend/family member, or bringing dessert home to eat or share later!

So without further ado….

10 Greenville Restaurant Week 2019 Dietitian Picks

  1. Basil Thai: Fresh Basil Rolls + Basil with chicken/shrimp/tofu
  2. Generations Bistro and Bar: Seared Tuna Poke + Fresh Pasta Pesto Primavera
  3. Ji-Roz: Greek Salad + Rabbit Stifado
  4. Jianna: Grilled Pear Salad + Sea Scallops with Farro, Kale, Carrot and Citrus
  5. Larkins on the River: Larkin’s House Salad + Mahi Mahi with stone-ground yellow grits, and roasted cauliflower
  6. Lazy Goat: Beet & Goat Cheese Salad + Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Polenta, and Roasted Root Vegetables
  7. Nose Dive: Tuna Poke Bibb Wraps + Cedar Grilled Salmon with Jasmine Rice, and  Braised Bok Choy
  8. Rick’s Deli & Market: Gourmet Greens + Herb Crusted Salmon with Vegetable Medley
  9. The Farehouse: Kale Salad + Trout dip with veggies + Seared scallops with pomegranate sauce over roasted root vegetables, and parsnip puree
  10. Tupelo Honey Cafe: Slow Roasted Beet Salad + Spiced Blistered Vegetables + Charred Broccoli with Kale (V)

Have questions about healthy dining out options, or want to learn more about my concierge nutrition packages? Send me a message here!

 

10 Healthy Afternoon Snack Ideas

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The 3pm hunger strike is real! t’s been a long day, you ate lunch 3-4 hours ago and it’s not time for dinner yet. Your afternoon “snack attack” can make or break the rest of your afternoon, either giving you a major sugar high and energy crash OR giving you sustainable energy through the rest of your work day!

But exactly how do you get this “sustainable snack energy?”

By combing healthy carbohydrates, protein and healthy fat.

The healthy carbs will spike your blood sugar up giving you that energy boost you need, and the protein and healthy fat will sustain your energy until dinner time.

10 Healthy Afternoon Snacks

  1. 1 small apple + ¼ cup unsalted nuts
  2. ½ banana + 2 Tablespoons of natural peanut butter
  3. 1 small orange + 1 string cheese stick
  4. 1 cup raw vegetables + 2 Tablespoons hummus
  5. 6oz of Greek yogurt + ½ cup fresh berries
  6. 3 cups air popped popcorn + 1oz cheese
  7. 1 hard-boiled egg + ½ medium orange
  8. 3 celery stalks + 2 Tablespoons natural peanut butter + 1 Tablespoon dried cranberries
  9. 1 cup diced watermelon + 1oz feta cheese
  10. 1 piece of Ezekiel toast + ¼ avocado

As always, be sure to plan your meals and snacks with the Blush Nutrition Meal Planner ahead of time to stay on track! Happy afternoon snacking!

(This blog was originally published by Brittany L. Chin Jones, MS, RD, LD for Pure Barre Corp LLC)

5 New Years Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

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Do you make New Years Resolutions?

Research shows that 80% of people let their resolutions fade by the second week of February. Why? There are many reasons but some of the top reasons is that they are not S.M.A.R.T. goals, or they are too restrictive (things like cut out carbs, cut out alcohol, stop eating after 7PM).

I am not a big fan of taking things away, and would rather focus on the positive. Avoid putting a negative spin on your resolution to increase your chances of success!

Here are 5 resolutions you can actually keep throughout 2019!

  1. Find an exercise that you love. My husband and I joined a gym two years ago in preparation for our wedding. I had always read stories about people finding their community, but never had experienced it myself, but that was because it wasn’t a perfect fit for ME. This year I encourage you to find an exercise that you love, whether it is at a boutique fitness studio, by signing up for a 10K ,or joining a local curling club. Whatever it is, make this year the year you find the exercise that doesn’t feel like work to you!
  2. Show daily gratitude. In the 2018 Healthy Holiday Challenge we focused in finding the real meaning of the season by writing down one thing that we were grateful for each day. I encourage you to continue this into 2019! You can simply write it down in your phone, or pick up a gratitude journal. A healthy lifestyle is about more than just what you eat, and how often you exercise. Slowing down, and enjoying the joys of life is equally as important!
  3. Make time for YOU. To this one you might say “easier said than done,” however until you decide to put yourself first and focus on your health and wellbeing, you are never going to reach your goals, or be able to help others. This year commit to finding ways for putting yourself first, whether it is asking for help around the house so you can exercise/read a book, or saying “no” more often (FOMO is so 2018).
  4. Master meal planning. Meal planning is about thinking ahead of your busy schedule, and implementing a plan to make your life easier. Make 2019 the year that you master this life skill that will help you reach your health goals, save money, and decrease stress. It takes time to learn it, but I promise you, it’s worth it!
  5. Eat more vegetables. I know that this probably sounds super elementary, but focusing on eating more vegetables in 2019 will not only help you feel better – it produces results. I use the portion plate which features 50% non-starchy vegetables with all of my clients with goals from weight loss, to decreasing blood pressure or cholesterol, to improving blood sugars, to getting conquering PCOS and getting pregnant, to decreasing inflammation, and SO much more.

If you are looking to make a long term change in 2019, please contact me to set up your FREE discovery call today!

Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies Two Ways

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Who doesn’t love peanut butter cookies during the holidays? I put a spin on this classic recipe using almond flour (gluten free) and giving my guests the option of choosing peanut butter and jelly, or peanut butter and chocolate.

I recommend using organic fruit preserves (without high fructose corn syrup) for the jelly option, and you can use Nutella or the Trader Joe’s Cocoa Almond Butter for the cocoa ones! You’ll also want to be sure to get the NATURAL peanut butter without hydrogenated oils, as these are trans fats which will build up plaque in the arteries. The World Health Organization is banning hydrogenated oils due to it’s tie in with heart disease in 2023, but until then just read the ingredients and be sure to avoid them to keep your heart healthy.

Check out my easy to make recipe below, with only 6 ingredients! Each cooke comes in between 90-100 calories (depending on filling), has less than 10 grams of carb, and over 3 grams of protein to keep you full!

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Gluten Free Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies

Serves: 24 Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Natural Peanut Butter (no hydrogenated oils in the ingredients)
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Flour
  • 1/2 Cup granulated sugar, more for rolling
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
  • Organic Fruit Preserves and/or Cocoa Spread

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F
  2. In a bowl, combine all ingredients (except filling) and mix with a wooden spoon or your hands
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  4. Shape dough into 24 small 1-inch balls
  5. Roll each ball in granulated sugar to coat
  6. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet
  7. Lightly press the center of each dough ball with your thumb to create a well
  8. Add ¼ teaspoon of jam or cocoa spread in the center of each cookie
  9. Bake for 7 – 9 minutes, until set on the outside but still very soft – do not over bake!
  10. Slide the parchment papaer from the baking sheet onto the counter. Let cool for 5 minutes before enjoying!

 

Carolina Morning Segment: Avoid the holiday weight gain & Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls Recipe

I had a lot of fun sharing my tips for avoiding the holiday weight gain with Siblia and Christy! Check out my top tips below, and scroll down to get the recipe from the show.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls Recipe

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Why are dietitians so obsessed with snacking? Because snacks are amazing!

No really though, we love snacks because they help us reach our health goals! Snacks (especially during the holidays) can keep us from getting overly hungry before a meal, which can lead to over eating or bingeing on holiday sweets.

What’s the most important thing about snacking? That it incorporates both a carb + protein/good fat!

Repeat after me: carbs alone don’t keep you full!

This is why “healthy snacks” like an apple or a cup of berries doesn’t fill you up – but it’s also why goldfish don’t either (unless you eat the whole bag I guess). I love these Peanut Butter Chocolate Popcorn Balls because they’re not only festive, but it’s a snack the whole family will love! Have your kids help you with the assembly of each popcorn ball.

The popcorn gives you whole grains, and the peanut butter adds some good fats and protein to keep you fuller longer.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls

Yield: 10 Popcorn Balls

Ingredients:

  • 9 Cups Air Popped Popcorn (1/3 cup kernels)
  • 2 Tablespoons Dark Chocolate Chunks
  • 1/4 Cup Organic Honey
  • 1/4 Cup Natural Chunky Peanut Butter

Directions:

  1. Place the popcorn and chocolate chunks in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat a small sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the honey and peanut butter and stir together with a spatula until heated and the honey starts to bubble.
  3. Remove from heat, and pour over the popcorn, using the spatula to scrape the sides of the sauce pan.
  4. Stir until all of the popcorn is well coated with the peanut butter mixture, and the chocolate chips start to melt.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Using your hands, form the mixture into 10 balls before the mixture cools. Set each one on the parchment paper.
  7. Place in the refrigerator to cool for 25-30 minutes, and enjoy!

This snack can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week!

Nutrition Facts (1 popcorn ball): 198 Calories, 8.1g Total Fat, 1.3g Saturated Fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 2mg Sodium, 28g Total Carbohydrate, 4.5g Fiber, 9g Sugar, 6.6g Protein

The 2018 Healthy Holiday Gift Guide is Here!

Healthy Holiday Gift Guide 2018

The holiday gift giving season is here 🎄

This year instead of buying your loved one another sweater or scarf, give the gift of health! Check out my Healthy Holiday Gift Guide with options for everyone on your list.

For your busy friend or family member

One week of Freshly meal delivery!  There a lot of meal delivery services to choose from, but for your ulta busy friend/family member there is nothing like healthy prepared meals delivered to your doorstep. Freshly offers healthy pre-made meals that you pop into the microwave for an easy lunch or dinner! Perfect for the busy parent, professional (CPAs love this during busy season!), or new college grad living on their own.

For the office

This holiday season don’t be the third person to send chocolates or popcorn to the office, check out these unique and healthy KIND Holiday Cubes! I have been a member of the KIND nutrition collective for a couple of years now, and I love their products. Not only are they a delicious snack, but they are also filled with healthy fats and protein to fight the afternoon slump.

For the pizza lover

Pizza doesn’t always have to be a treat meal, and these pre-made cauliflower pizza crusts by Cali’flour foods are gluten free and low carb! Top each pizza with your favorite cheese, veggies, and lean protein for an easy Friday night dinner.

For the cook

Some of my favorite healthy kitchen gadgets include: an air popper to make your own healthy snack at home, a sous vide for percise cooking, and of course an Instant Pot for quick cooking grains and one pot meals! Not sure if they have these already? Check out our Meal Planning Bundle featuring healthy recipes and a weekly meal planner.

For the one who is stressed out

Stress has been scientifically proven to promote disease and weight gain. Research has shown that meditation for even a couple minutes per day can decrease stress. The Calm App has been named Apple’s App of the Year and Editors’ Choice by Google Play. Get them a 1 year membership here, or turn it into a gift basket by adding on the Calm Sleep Mist , and Calm Work Book as well!

For the fitness lover

We all know how important stretching and foam rolling is, but few of us take the time to actually do it. Help your friend or family member feel better, prevent injury, and improve performance with this TriggerPoint Grid Foam Roller! The design is modeled to feel just like a massage therapists hands, and comes with an online video library as well.

For the subscription  box addict

Subscription boxes are great, but you tend to end up with a lot of mini-samples – not with FabFitFun! They offer 8-10 FULL SIZE samples of high end products with each box valued over $200. BONUS they also get access to FABFITFUNTV with free workouts. Give a gift subscription here.

For the person who has everything

Sometimes gifts of experiences that we would never give to ourselves are the best gifts. I love the Spa Finder Gift Card  because it allows your friend or family member to find a spa near them and treat themselves to some self care, whether it is a massage, mani/pedi, or a facial.

For a healthy 2019

Gift the gift of health this holiday season with a Blush Nutrition Gift Card. Blush Nutrition gift cards are available for any amount and can be redeemed for a la carte appointments or any nutrition coaching and meal planning package.

Wishing you a healthy and happy holiday season!

 

Announcing the Blush Nutrition Healthy Holiday Challenge 2018!

6 Week Healthy Holiday Challenge

Avoid the holiday weight gain, and start 2019 off the healthy way!

I’ve develeloped a challenge focusing on six EASY habits to focus on during the holiday season.

Being healthy over the holidays is not about putting in a ton of time and effort – it’s about being consistent with your habits to get you to your goal. We may be really great about practicing these habits throughout the year, but sometimes with the holiday stress they fall off of our radar.

If you are looking to get through the holidays without feeling sluggish, bloated, and drained – this challenge is for you!

You will receive weekly emails with registered dietitian tips for encouragement and accountability.

The #BlushNutritionHealthyHolidayChallenge starts this MONDAY 11/19 and it is FREE to sign up! BONUS each weekly tracker that you submit gives you an entry into the raffle for a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

How it works:

  1. Click here to sign up for the FREE Blush Nutrition Healthy Holiday Challenge 2018.
  2. Download the first challenge tracker, check the box for each day that you complete the task, and email a photo of your completed tracker to Brittany for an entry into the $50 Amazon gift card raffle.*
  3. Each week you will receive an email with the next weeks challenge and healthy holiday tips. Check the box for each day that you complete the task, and email a photo of your completed tracker to Brittany for an entry into the $50 Amazon gift card raffle.
  4. The winner will randomly be selected and announced on Friday January 4th, 2019!
Sign Up Now!

*Each weekly challenge tracker must be submitted via email by 11:59PM three days after the weekly challenge ends (Wed 11/28, Wed 12/5, Wed 12/12, Wed 12/19, Wed 12/26, Wed 1/2)

Good Luck and Happy Holidays!

Roasted Garlic and Chive Mashed Cauliflower & Potatoes

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You asked for a healthy potato dish for the holdiays, and I delivered!

Recently on Instagram, I asked what was the dish that you looked forward to the most during the holidays, and mashed potatoes got one of the top votes. However, this dish that is traditionally made with lots of butter and heavy cream doesn’t have to be completly tasteless when you make it healthier. Here I came up with a time efficient to roast a whole clove of garlic to add in with all of the other ingredients which not only has a great flavor, it also makes your house smell incredible.

I also cut the carb count on this recipe by using half gold potatoes, and half caulfilower. The texture and falvor is amazing, and your guests/kids won’t be able to tell that they are also getting in some non-starchy vegetables! I left the skins on the potatoes for added fiber and texture, but if you want to peel them instead that definitely is an option too.

Check it out below:

Roasted Garlic and Chive Mashed Cauliflower & Potatoes

Serves: 10

Ingredients:

  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated, left in skin
  • 1/3 Cup + 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds golden potatoes, skins on, cut into 1″ chunks
  • 2 pounds cauliflower florets (about 2 heads)
  • 2/3 Cup 1% milk
  • 3 Tablespoons organic unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup chives, sliced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Place the separated garlic cloves in the middle of a sheet of foil. Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil.
  3. Wrap the foil around the cloves creating a little pouch.
  4. Place the pouch in the oven until cloves soften and you smell the aroma of garlic, about 30-40 minutes. Remove and let cool.
  5. While garlic roasts, in 7- to 8-quart saucepot, place the potatoes with enough water to cover it by 2 inches. Partially cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and for simmer 10 minutes.
  6. Add the cauliflower florets, and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is very tender and can be cut with a wooden spoon.
  7. Drain the potatoes and cauliflower and return to the pot.
  8. Meanwhile, in small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the 1% milk and butter on medium high for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes or until the butter has melted. Add the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil.
  9. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from skins into the potatoes and cauliflower mixture. Add the butter mixture to the potatoes and cauliflower along with 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons black pepper.
  10. Mash the potatoes and cauliflower with a potato masher or hand mixer until very smooth. Mix in chives with a wooden spoon.
  11. Serve immediately, or hold until service at 135 degrees.

Nutrition Facts (1 serving): 232 Calories, 15.9g Total Fat, 5.8g Saturated Fat, 0g Trans Fat, 19mg Cholesterol, 268mg Sodium, 21.7g Total Carbohyrate, 5g Fiber, 4.4g Sugar, 4g Protein

Want to know more about a having a healthy holiday season? Contact me to set up your FREE 15 minute phone appointment today!