7 Healthy Chia Recipes That Go Beyond Pudding

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailYou’ve probably heard a lot about chia in the past few years. The black, white, and gray edible seed of the Salvia hispanica plant, it seems like the superfood has quickly popped up everywhere, from smoothies and muffins to pudding and cookies. Read the full article on Chowhound where I’m interviewed on the topic.

Eat Healthy! Be Happy! Xo Nicolette

30 Foods You Should Eat More of Once You Turn 30

magnesium-foods.jpgThe time around your 30’s is probably full of career growth, family growth…and waistline growth! Combat weight gain and lay a groundwork for a longer, stronger life by adding healthy foods to your diet that can help you feel younger and live longer. Read the full article on Eat This, Not That! where I’m interviewed on the topic.

Eat Healthy! Be Happy!

Spring Allergy Relief with Diet Changes

If you find yourself suffering this Spring with sneezing, itching or coughing well you’re not alone.

During peak allergy season you may find relief from staying away from certain foods that can intensify your symptoms and make matters worse. While these foods are healthy, if your susceptible to pollens from trees, grass or weeds, see what simple diet moves can do to not aggravate the problem.

Take a look at my segment on CBS 2 to learn more!

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Eat Healthy! Be Happy!

Food Cures for Spring Fever

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Image Credit: foundationchristianschools.com

Feed a cold? Yes! Starve a fever? Maybe.

When it comes to Spring Fever, it’s all about feeding your health and lifestyle right!

The right foods can make all the difference.

Are you feeling restless? Anxious? Excited? Energetic? Sexy?

Well, you’re not alone.

It’s very real.  Research has been exploring a link between daylight and how we feel and act.

Spring’s arrival marks a rapid increase in day length. It’s noticeable and eagerly welcomed.

Underneath this seasonal euphoria are hormone balance changes which can lead to greater energy and motivation, a positive outlook and less of a need to be a couch potato. Specifically, melatonin and serotonin are two hormones that are tied to day length and have been shown to be instrumental in how we feel and act.  It seems they are the real culprits behind Spring Fever.

Melatonin helps regulate our sleeping and awake cycle and it decreases with increased light. On the flip side, serotonin rises and this usually sparks motivation, energy, and an overall good feeling.

Sounds great but its not a done deal.

Between our 24/7 lifestyle and “eat it now, ask questions later” diets  we need all the support we can get!   Additionally, Spring’s abrupt hormone changes can reek havoc on our sleep cycle, appetite, activity, and yes, libido in ways that can lead to burn out, over indulgence, injury and relationship outcomes that may have you say, ” I wish I hadn’t done that!”.

On the flip side, cloudy Spring days may further confuse our moods and give us a bad case of the blahs. What better time to harness our wayward food choices and eating patterns?  Its a great time to maximize nature’s gift of motivation to renew our health and outlook,  tone our bodies and embrace the season to jumpstart wellness.

Wondering what foods you should be eating right now? Check out my recent appearance on CBS NY where I discuss the best food cures for Spring Fever!

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Click here to watch my segment!

Eat Healthy! Be Happy!

 

How Bacteria in Your Body Can Make You Fat

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The battle of the bulge just got a little bit bigger. It’s no secret that fighting fat is hard and even harder to fix in the long term. Read on and check out my latest CBS NY segment for more on this great topic!

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Even if you eat less and move more your work can still be cut out for you, especially if you don’t have the right bacteria on your side. A growing body of research is pointing toward how certain bacteria can make you fat and make it even harder for you to lose weight.

Our body is a collection of bacteria, most of which are good, helping our body run smoothly and fight off disease. But the 10% that are not, are notorious fat-loving bacteria which have been discovered to be far more common in people who have weight problems.

Fat loving bacteria live in your gut and release toxins that can negatively affect certain genes involved in fat activation and breakdown. This in turn leads to more fat. These gut bugs also spit off inflammatory chemicals that increase your risk of cancer and other nasty conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

Fat loving bacteria are super hungry and very efficient at extracting and storing calories in you so they can survive. It’s a vicious cycle that can make it hard for you to manage your appetite as fullness signals are interrupted and hunger management is even more difficult.

The good news is that this may be fixable. You can starve your fat bugs by reducing calories. As you lose weight the proportion of lean bacteria improves. There are promising studies done in mice showing that transferring lean bacteria to obese mice led to their weight loss. While this is still experimental, in the meantime you can work to change your gut flora naturally.

But before you reach for a bottle of probiotics or start gobbling down yogurt, realize that there are many healthy strains of good bacteria that your body needs. Their specific role for various conditions is not yet determined so it’s best to look to a wide range of food sources to cover your bases.

The key to finding healthful probiotic bacteria comes from the age old practice of fermenting foods for preservation. Many cultures have their own unique food product that was routinely used in their diet. These foods provide nutrients, introduce healthful strains of bacteria, guard against illness, fight inflammation and may have contributed to a lean physique by fighting off fat loving bacteria.

You can find healthy bacteria in a wide range of foods, herbals and botanicals. Some are quite common like yogurt, kefir, leben, ayran, fermented cheeses, miso, tempeh, kimchi, barrel cured sauerkraut, aged unfiltered vinegars and kombucha tea, while others may still be considered relatively exotic and need to be purchased at ethnic markets.

Bring on the bugs but don’t forget to feed your little lean critters with their preferred food. Prebiotic foods give your healthful bacteria the energy to grow and colonize in your body. Switch out refined sugars and starches for fibrous plant foods. Top food sources include beans, legumes, sulfur rich cabbage family foods, onions, garlic, field greens like chickory and dandelion, bran, wheat berries, buckwheat, oats, flax, tomatoes, kiwi, cherries and berries.

Show your fat bacteria the door! In just a few days fighting fat just got easier as you put lean bacteria to work for a new you.  Check out the latest medical news on CBS NY!

Eat healthy! Be Happy!

Nicolette Pace

 

 

Butter Good For You? Nicolette Pace Breaks it Down with CBS NY

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Butter is often associated with being bad for you but research studies are suggesting health benefits to eating this tasty dairy product. I recently sat down with CBS 2 New York to chat all things butter and how it’s an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. Check out the full story below to find out more!

Eat Healthy! Be Happy!
Nicolette Pace

Welcome Back Butter!

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Believe it or not, butter and all the saturated fats we were told to avoid are back on “good for you” food list.

With a little PR and valid research, the previously hidden benefits to butter and other natural fats are back in the limelight and challenge some long held health beliefs.

With evidence mounting over the last two decades that dietary saturated fat and cholesterol do not directly lead to cardiovascular disease, the low fat/fat free diet may have met its demise and usher in a more reasonable way of eating – one that promotes a more natural appreciation for whole foods, and a respect for calories.

We’ve got to remind ourselves that fat is a nutrient, not a disease. Obesity is a disorder of the fat cell. Not just any fat cell but the ones that surround your organs (belly fat) and disrupt your metabolism, mind and mood.

This is the bad fat we want to avoid. It grows with an excess of calories and is promoted by a diet too high in carbohydrates (mostly sugars and starches) for a person’s level of activity. It is a viscious cycle that leads to more insulin need, more fat deposits, less insulin sensitivity and health problems like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Just as not all dietary fats are created equal in health benefit, not all body fat is bad. Most body fat is stored under our skin (subcutaneous fat). In addition to insulation, it is home to hormones that help to control appetite and regulate metabolism.

What many may not also realize is the link between fat and mood. Our brains are 60% fat tissue. It is the most fatty organ in our body. We need fat to help in brain growth and development, insulate neurons and allow proper message signaling. Without this necessary nutrient the body runs amok.

While it’s true that eating fat will yield more calories, the effect on slowing stomach emptying can help you to reduce portion size and eat fewer calories. Natural dietary fats like butter have tremendous value. They have a complex chemical structure that can retard inflammation while they nourish and lubricate body cells. In fact, many types of fatty acids in saturated fats support the immune system, promote heart health and a healthy metabolism while keeping skin smooth and supple.

But, before you jump on the fat wagon, know that not all fats are created equal. Many of the long chain polyunsaturated fats that gained popularity during the low fat heyday are under scrutiny now for their potential to increase inflammation. These fats have a reactive potential due to their chemical structure which is prone to oxidation and free radical formation.

These popular oils (cottonseed, corn, soybean, canola) are in widespread use in processed foods, convenience foods and restaurant chains. Their use has been met with public and scientific concerns related to the environment, the use of pesticides, questions on genetic modification, refining, bleaching, and deodorizing techniques so keep your use of them in check.

Welcome back butter and choose the right fat for the job. Flavor and cooking methods can help you to decide. Know that the once taboo saturated fats like butter, duck and bacon fat, lard and coconut oil are back to claim their place in a healthy kitchen for a balanced meal.

Eat Healthy! Be Happy!
Nicolette Pace

Nicolette Pace on News 4 Jax: Food Cures for What Ails You

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At one time or another millions of Americans may complain of feeling under the weather from some very common ailments. If you’re suffering from a cold, flu symptoms, headaches, indigestion or high blood pressure, you might want to look to your pantry instead of the medicine cabinet.

There are certain foods that you can add to your daily diet to help you solve some of these common problems.  Check out my segment on News 4 Jax where you can find the good news food remedy to cure what ails you.

Eat Healthy!  Be Happy!

Nicolette M. Pace

5 Ways Winter Works For Weight Loss & Good Health

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1)  Hydrotherapy for Health: No need for expensive spas when you can enjoy the benefits right at home.  Hot-cold water therapy is an effective way to condition your circulation and improve your body’s natural defenses. It’s an incredible pick me up and helps to increase calorie burning by encouraging energy burning brown fat tissue activity and “metabolic adaptation,” as the body revs up to maintain core temperature. Take a hot shower or soak in a therapeutic herbal bath (Juniper, Eucalyptus, Rosemary oils or salts) and then either venture outdoors in a robe to feel the fresh cold air or practice alternating hot, cool, cold water flows in the shower to feel invigorated.

2)  Hold Out on Hibernation:  If you turn up the heat and keep your home too warm you can feed into sluggish, sleepy habits, hit the couch and conserve calories. This will put the brakes on energy burning and weight you could lose by not letting yourself habituate and adapt to cooler temps. Try lowering the heat to 60 degrees for few hours to gain a metabolic advantage and help you get used to colder outside temperatures. Being outside in the cold for a few hours can raise your metabolic rate as much as 15% which can translate into 200-300 calories extra per day!

3)   Polar Plunges: You’ve seen the excitement surrounding an exhilarating New Years Day cold water plunge! Those who’ve achieved fitness and braved the weather to greet the season will tell you how amazing it feels. For those uninitiated or not yet ready, you can train your body to feel the benefit of cold water therapy and look to enrich your immune system, circulation and your quality of life. Try cold water therapies like a cold arm bath, leg and knee effusions, water treading or cold limb compresses. They are therapeutic and will decrease inflammation and pain, help to tone your system and improve blood pressure.

4)  Winter Foods For Fitness: Fat and fiber are among the season’s best defenses when it comes to planning your cold weather menu.  Tone down the carbs and sweets and bring up the protein and fiber with natural whole foods that are rich sources of insulating and nourishing fats, probiotics, vitamins and plant chemicals. Take a lesson from Nordic countries where a stark contrast in obesity rates (12 %) versus the U.S. (36%) is observed.  Food faves include Swiss Muesli, sprouted rye bread, stone ground cornmeal, hemp seed, berries, Skyr (Icelandic yogurt), fatty fish like herring, sardines, salmon or haddock. Turn nourishing root veggies like turnips, parsnips, rutabagas into a rejuvenating winter soup to soothe your soul. .

5)  Let it Snow: Let the kid in you come out and play! You can make snow a big part of your winter exercise regimen. From skating, sledding, snowboarding, snowshoeing and skiing to neighborhood norms of shoveling and snowman making, these activities get you out into the fresh air and average 300-600 calories per hour. Explore new outdoor adventures and take a cue from nature as it rejuvenates and gets ready for new season of growth. Yes, before you know it, Spring is around the corner!

Eat Healthy! Be Happy!

Nicolette M. Pace

 

Wait, Don’t Throw Out That Pumpkin! Watch Nicolette Pace on Fox and Friends For Tasty Tips!

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Did you know that approximately 280,312,500 pounds of pumpkin gets wasted every Fall season? That’s about one pound of pumpkin per person living in the U.S.A.   In this economy we need to take advantage of every healthy opportunity when we have junk food all around us.  What many people don’t know is that this Native American crop is super high in nutrients and is very versatile.  I appeared on Fox & Friends to share and demonstrate three unique ways to cook pumpkin (mentioned below) that are not only delicious and healthy to eat, but fun to make with the whole family. Make sure to check out my recipes page for more details and save the pumpkin!

· Crispy Baked Pumpkin Chips: Native Americans roasted strips of pumpkin over a fire…you can do the same by baking them right in your oven and get with the hot trend of making healthier snack foods.

· Pumpkin Harvest Salad: This nutritious cool weather salad includes roasted pumpkin, toasted pumpkin seeds, seasonal spinach, cranberries and a homemade pomegranate dressing. For an extra pumpkin boost top it off with your pumpkin chips for a perfectly inspired pumpkin salad!

· Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip: Move over kiddies! Family favorite Smores just got a nutrition face lift! Go grown up with a to-die-for pumpkin cheesecake dip that’s simple to make and even better to eat.  Sandwich the dip between classic graham crackers and sliced crisp apples.

Eat Healthy! Be Happy!

Nicolette M. Pace MS,RD,CDE,CDN,CFCS