No Bake Fall Energy Bikes

We’ve been talking a lot on Instagram about combatting low energy, and today I am excited to share NEW fall recipes that can help you fuel for your day to give you more energy!

These no bake energy bites feature some of my favorite fall flavors, are super easy to make, and can be meal prepped on the weekend to eat throughout the week. Simply put them in an air tight container and keep them refrigerated for up to 5 days to eat for morning or afternoon snack throughout the week!

Get your go-to fall snack recipes below.

Pecan Pie Energy Bites

Servings: 6 (2 bites per serving – 12 bites total)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup rolled oats
  • 1 Cup dates, pitted
  • ¼ Cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender. Blend well.
  2. Scoop out 1 Tablespoon of the mixture and form balls with your hands until all the mixture is used.
  3. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy!

Oatmeal Raisin Energy Bites

Servings: 9 (2 bites per serving – 18 bites total)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup rolled oats
  • ½ Cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • ⅓ Cup raisins
  • ¼ Cup honey
  • ¼ Cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

  1. First combine the wet ingredients of peanut butter, honey, and vanilla extract in a bowl and mix until combined. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until evenly distributed.
  2. Scoop out 1 Tablespoon of the mixture and form balls with your hands until all the mixture is used.
  3. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites


Servings: 8 (2 bites per serving – 16 bites total)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup rolled oats
  • ¼ Cup natural creamy almond butter
  • ¼ Cup ground flax seeds
  • ¼ Cup honey
  • ¼ Cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tablespoon Chia seeds
  • 2 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Combine the almond butter, honey, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract in a bowl and mix well. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until evenly distributed.
  2. Scoop out 1 Tablespoon of the mixture and form balls with your hands until all the mixture is used.
  3. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy!

Substitutions:
*Dates can be substituted for raisins
*Natural peanut butter and almond butter can be used interchangeably
*Honey can be substituted with maple syrup, however it might make the bites more malleable

Written by Gabby Childers, Brittany Jones Nutrition Intern

What I Learned as a Diabetic Educator From My Glucose Test

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Hi everyone – Christie here! It is the week of my due date, and before I head out on maternity leave I thought I would share my 2nd trimester update with y’all. (Get my 1st trimester update here!)

There are so many milestones and markers that come along with a progressing pregnancy. Every week it can be both exciting and scary to see how your body and baby are changing. I know one big milestone that I had been curious and nervous about was my 28 week glucose screening. As a Certified Diabetes Educator, I was interested to see the process first hand, but as a first time mom I was pretty nervous. During this appointment, you do not have to be fasting and you are asked to drink a 50 gram glucose drink (called glucola) that is about 10 oz within a 5 minute period. This is used to screen for gestational diabetes which can be defined as either diabetes that develops during pregnancy due to an increase in placental hormones, among other factors, or pre-existing diabetes first recognized during pregnancy.

The morning of my glucose test

Prior to my appointment, I ate a fairly normal breakfast of scrambled eggs with cheese and 1 Cup of strawberries. I knew it was so important to continue to eat normally prior to your test! At the appointment, the nurse gave me the 10 oz bottle and “started the clock” to drink it within 5 minutes. For those who are not used to eating a lot of sweets or sugary beverages the drink is a little startling. It tasted like a flat orange soda or overly sweet sports drink. It is amazing how quickly 5 minutes goes by and I had to chug the last few sips. I was then taken to the exam room to wait the 1 hour prior to getting my blood drawn. Honestly, the hardest part was not being able to drink any water during this time. I felt a little shaky and my heart was definitely racing while I waited. After 1 hour it was finally time to get my blood drawn and I was feeling pretty faint at this point. I was told I would be called with the results in a day or two.

Two days later

“You did not pass the glucose screening.” Two days later the nurse called me to tell me that my blood sugar came back at 161 mg/dL. This was decently above the 140 mg/dL cut off for the screening. I was honestly in shock. She went on to tell me I would need to schedule a 3 hour glucose tolerance test at a lab as soon as possible. That meant I would have to drink double the sugar in a 100 gram 10 oz glucola and stay for 3 hours to have my blood sugar tested at each hour. I knew how bad I had felt from the 50 gram drink and was really nervous about how I would make it through 3 hours, while fasting this time! I went the following Monday and this time the drink tasted almost more like syrup and I thought I may throw up during that first hour. My body did not know what was going on. Fortunately, I was able to drink water throughout this one and I sat in a chair and read to distract myself. In order to pass this 3 hour test, you have to have at least 3 of 4 normal readings from the fasting (< 95 mg/dL), 1 hour (<180 mg/dL), 2 hour(<155 mg/dL), and 3 hour (<140 mg/dL) glucose checks.

Then I got the news

Once again, 2 days later I received the call from the nurse, “you failed the 1 hour and 2 hour readings, you have gestational diabetes”. Luckily, I was able to share that that since I was a dietitian and certified diabetes educator I felt confident in what I was doing.
However, even though it is my job and I have an extensive knowledge of diabetes and nutrition, I was devastated. I couldn’t help in that moment feeling like I had failed or done something wrong. The only risk factor that I had for gestational diabetes was that I’m over 25 years old. I immediately started thinking about the worst case scenarios of how my baby may be negatively affected. I thought of all the clients who had come to me in the past describing this feeling that I was now experiencing first hand. After about an hour of throwing myself a pity party, I went to the pharmacy and picked up my blood sugar meter. I have continued to eat how I normally would with balanced meals of lean protein, high fiber carbohydrates, vegetables, and unsaturated fats. I make sure all of my snacks contain both carbohydrate and protein. I walk everyday and do yoga some days. I have been checking my blood sugar 4 times per day for the past 6 weeks with only 2 readings outside of normal range.

The takeaway

The bottom line is that gestational diabetes can have serious adverse effects on you and your baby if uncontrolled, but it is not impossible to maintain well controlled blood sugars with diet and exercise. It does take a little extra thought and time, but ultimately it has helped give me even more focus on what I am putting into my body and listening to what my body is telling me that it needs.

I want anyone reading this to know that a diagnosis of gestational diabetes does not mean you failed or you did anything wrong.

I’m thankful that I now can understand first hand what women with gestational diabetes are experiencing and can speak to the actual experience. Here are my top tips for moms with gestational diabetes!

5 Simple Steps to Maintain Well-Controlled Blood Sugars in Pregnancy:

  1. Know Your Numbers! A lot of women are afraid of checking their blood sugar because of the needles or fear of “failure”, but this is truly your best tool in knowing how your diet and exercise are affecting your blood sugar and your baby. These numbers are not a reflection of your self worth.
  2. Eat every 2-3 hours to help keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day. Eating smaller portions more often will also prevent you from getting too hungry which could lead to overeating and heartburn later.
  3. Carbs + protein are your best friend when it comes to maintaining good blood sugar control and managing your hunger. Eating carbs alone may spike your blood sugar and cause nausea. It is important to eat carbohydrates throughout the day (don’t avoid them!) to give you and your baby energy, but always make sure to pair with a protein like whole grain bread with peanut butter or a piece of whole fruit with a cheese stick.
  4. Daily Movement! Nothing new here, it is always so important to keep your body moving. During pregnancy you don’t have to be doing crazy cardio workouts to get benefits. Simply walking for 10 minutes after meals can help your body use the sugar in your bloodstream for energy. It can also help improve circulation in your lower legs to decrease some of the swelling you may be experiencing.

Diabetes is my specialty, and if you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes or just want some extra help with nutrition throughout your pregnancy, I would love to work with you. Click here to set up your FREE 15 minute discovery call!

Foods to Boost Immunity

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With the COVID-19 and flu rates rising in South Carolina, we are getting a lot of questions on how to boost your immune system naturally.

Here Are 5 Ways To Boost Your Immune System Through Your Diet.

1. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables at each meal!

The key to using food as a tool to fight against sickness is to eat as many different types of vitamins and minerals as possible. Making 50% of your plate fresh or frozen produce is an easy way to get an immunity boost!

2. Focus on whole foods as much as possible.

While all foods do fit in a healthy diet, processed foods like white bread/pasta/rice/crackers, deep fried foods, and packaged chips/snacks can cause inflammation in the body. To boost immunity, focus on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, nut butter, and whole wheat bread/pasta/rice/crackers to decrease inflammation and balance out your fun foods with some of these functional options. If you do choose to have Ramen, try adding some frozen veggies and some defrosted frozen cooked shrimp to increase the virus fighting power. 

3. Eat lean protein to strengthen antibodies.

Antibodies fight off disease, bacteria, and viruses. If you aren’t getting enough protein in your diet, your body can’t make enough antibodies to help you fight whatever germs you pick up throughout the day. At meal time focus on lean meats like chicken/turkey/fish (not deep fried), and at snack time pair a protein like natural peanut butter, almonds, or a low fat cheese stick with a piece of fruit for an immunity boosting snack!

4. Hydrate!

Dehydration can lead to illness, so take this time to focus on getting in water throughout the day. Keep in mind that beverages like coffee/tea/soda/alcohol can dehydrate you, so if you are sick it’s best to stick with water and caffeine free hot tea as much as possible.

5. Stock up on these non-perishable items!

Here is a list of foods we would recommend picking up from the store: fresh and frozen veggies and fruit to go with every meal,  frozen brown rice or quinoa, frozen cooked chicken/shrimp, frozen meals (we love Healthy Choice Power Bowls), canned low sodium tuna, canned low sodium beans, whole wheat bread, air popped popcorn, nuts, and natural nut butter.

Have more questions? The Brittany Jones Nutrition Group offers virtual sessions to answer your questions even while in quarantine! Contact us here to set up your FREE 15 minute discovery call.

Avoid Starvation Mode to Meet Your Goals!

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Diet culture tells us: “if you eat less food than your body burns, you will lose weight.” However, our bodies are not computers and do not work like calculators. What most people don’t understand is that the human metabolism is actually much more complicated than calories in vs. calories out.

Your body uses energy from food to perform all the activities you do in a day and all of the functions needed to keep you alive! Energy from food is used in three different ways:

  1. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)– energy used at rest to maintain basic physiological functions (i.e. breathing and pumping blood to your body from the heart)
  2. Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)– this is the energy required to breakdown and digest your food
  3. Physical Activity (PA) – Fuel used for exercise and body movements

*When you don’t eating enough to sustain all of these activities, your body goes into starvation mode*

What is starvation mode, and why is it harmful?

The term “starvation mode” is used to describe how the body adapts to a caloric deficit. When calories are restricted, the body becomes more efficient by reducing the number of calories burned. Your body’s goal is to maintain energy balance and prevent actual starvation. The technical term for starvation mode is “adaptive thermogenesis” where the body slows down the metabolic processes to conserve energy. This means that when you restrict your food intake, your body reduces how many calories you are able to burn throughout the day to prevent starvation. This is why under eating and over exercising does not work!

The negative effects of under-eating:

  • Increases risk of health problems like eating disorders and heart disease
  • Increase in cortisol levels (stress hormone)
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Brain Fog
  • Fatigue

Being in an over stressed and underfed state will NOT help you lose weight. In an over stressed and  underfed state, your body will hold onto more fat stores because it doesn’t know when the next surge of energy is coming next.  Under-fueling slows down your metabolism, breaks down muscle, and as a result prevent individuals from meeting their weight/fat loss goals.

Set Point Theory  

Chronic Dieter: “But if I don’t control my food, I will spin out of control, and my weight will go up and up and up and all my hard work will be for nothing!”

Dietitian: “Not necessarily”

Let us introduce to you the Set Point Theory. The Set Point Theory explains that our bodies naturally maintain a constant weight range to keep our bodies functioning optimally. Our bodies are designed to maintain a healthy state and keep us alive!

Your body’s set point makes it much more difficult to maintain a body that is smaller than it needs to sustain these physiological functions. When we under eat, the body secretes more ghrelin (hunger hormone) to have you eat more to restore your body’s natural set point. This is actually really cool! Your body is working to protect itself and maintain a healthy environment for all the activities going on inside your body.

As the body starts to put on more weight, it doesn’t just keep going higher and higher up into space and out of control. Eventually, the body will stop around it’s natural set point. It may overshoot the set point at first, but give your body time and grace to recover. After all, it was starving for quite some time, so it will need extra energy for repairs. 

Watch this video to learn more about the Set Point Theory

4 Tips to avoid starvation mode & meet your goals!

You might be thinking “If I shouldn’t restrict my food intake, how can I reach my goals?” Start with these tips!

1. Eat Protein with carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are an excellent source of energy and are required for daily life functions, and adding protein will help you stay satisfied until your next meal and help you build lean muscle mass!

2. Eat incrementally throughout the day

We want to focus on *fueling* for our busy day! Having consistent meals helps balance blood sugar and will help stabilize energy levels throughout the day. Aim for a meal or snack something every 3-4 hours.

3. Leave room for fun foods

The great thing about our bodies is that it uses all kinds of foods for energy including our favorite fun foods such as chocolate, cookies, or chips.  We encourage to incorporating these foods into our clients weekly meal plan! Eliminating fun foods entirely could result in a binge later on. Additionally, it can isolate us from social activities! Establish a healthy relationship with these foods by incorporating them into your routine each week.

4. Work with the nutrition expert, a Registered Dietitian

Sometimes it’s best to ask for a little extra support during your journey to meet your goals. Working with a registered dietitian for one on one nutrition counseling, meal planning, and extra accountability can help. You can learn more about how Brittany Jones Nutrition Group can help you meet your goals in a sustainable way here!

Your body is incredible! It knows exactly what it needs to do with the fuel you give it. Don’t worry about controlling your food so tightly because your body will tell you what it needs at that time. You just have to learn to listen.

Here is a reminder that you deserve to eat today. You don’t need to “earn” your food, and you don’t need to punish your body for what you already ate. Choose to honor your body with love and respect today.

Written by Gabriella Childers, Brittany Jones Nutrition Group Intern & Brittany Jones, MS, RD, LD

Meet Our NEW Registered Dietitian: Christie Griffin, RD, LD, CDE, CSOWM

I am very excited to announce Christie Griffin, RD, LD, CDE, CSOWM as the newest member of the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group team! Christie offers nutrition counseling in packages of three or six sessions in our Medical Nutrition Therapy program. Keep reading to learn more about her background, her favorite food, and the #1 that she wants her new clients to know.

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Q&A with Christie Griffin, RD, LD, CDE, CSOWM

Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I am originally from Atlanta, GA. I grew up in a family with 2 younger sisters and parents who loved all things sports. I played Varsity Tennis all through out high school. When I graduated high school it was off to Clemson University to study Nutrition!

Q: Why is being a Registered Dietitian your dream job?

A: I struggled with being overweight and my relationship with food when I was younger. I went to Clemson University to study nutrition to learn more for my own benefit and to help others. Years later, I love helping others learn to love food, and how it can help them (and not hurt).

Q: You also are a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), what made you want to specialize in diabetes?

A: I first started practicing as a dietitian in the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina, which has one of the highest rates of Type II Diabetes in the country. I worked with a Registered Nurse who was also a CDE to create and implement a Diabetes Self Management Program to help better meet the needs of the patients in that community. The more people I saw with diabetes, the more I wanted to learn about this disease. I then began to pursue getting certified as a Diabetes Educator myself!

Q: What is your favorite food?

A: Veggie pizza or roasted potatoes…oh and PICKLES!

Q: Take us through your typical day.

A: One of the things I love most about being a dietitian is every single day is different. Most days of the week I wake up and go to Orangetheory Fitness Greenville for my favorite HIIT workout. I started 6 months ago and I have loved seeing the progression in my endurance and strength! Other mornings I might walk my golden retriever Barkley around the neighborhood. For breakfast, I almost always have a Berry Protein Smoothie and some hot tea. I also work for the Business Health Department for Prisma Health where I get to meet with employees of the hospital as well as other companies in the area. My days are mostly filled with one on one appointments with clients for Prisma Health and/or the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group discussing weight loss and chronic disease management, or teaching group classes on various health topics. It is such an honor to work with people who are making a conscious decision to put their health first!

Q: What is your favorite thing to do in Greenville, SC?

A: My husband, Michael, and I absolutely love to try out new restaurants in the area. There are so many! We also really enjoy biking or walking the Swamp Rabbit Trail as well.

Q: What would you like your future clients to know about working with you?

A: I am all about Progress NOT Perfection! When you come and meet with me please don’t feel like you have to change everything in your life overnight. I love to help people make small, sustainable changes until they are confidently doing them regularly. Having a healthy and balanced eating pattern is a continuum, and I am going to meet you exactly where you’re at, with absolutely no judgement at all!

Click here to set up your FREE 15 minute discovery call to discuss your goals and book an appointment with Christie today!