Is detoxing legit?

Is a detoxing program/diet legit? My answer to that question a couple of years ago would have been no, because I thought the body naturally detoxed itself and it was just a gimmick for consumers to buy supplements and special foods.  Well my answer has changed, depending on the program detoxing is legit, actually necessary because most of us are toxic.  There are thousands of chemicals we are exposed to daily through our water supply, food we consume, air we breathe and chemicals/cosmetics we use daily.

Here are a couple of signs that you may be toxic…

  • You have a hard time losing 10 pounds, despite your efforts
  • You are extremely sensitive to smells (perfumes, cleaning solutions, etc.)
  • You worked or lived in a newly constructed building
  • You suffer from a skin condition like eczema or others similar
  • You don’t break a good sweat when others around you are doing the same thing and sweating a lot
  • You are mentally foggy (I think we all feel this way but if you feel like your sharpness is fading at work or home then you may be toxic)
  • Constipation (if it is not going out then those toxins are going somewhere)
  • You have excess cellulite, the skin should appear to be smooth when it is detoxed
  • Headaches or excessive muscle soreness

So what makes a good detox program?  Nutrition needs to be the focus, the program needs to be balanced, should not cut calories to put one in starvation response, should include protein, good fats, fiber, and an abundance of vegetables and some fruits while the body is supported by appropriate supplementation.  Detoxing is a strain on the body, doing it without supplementation to support the liver, GI , thyroid, etc. can be dangerous and put you at risk for other auto-immune responses.


Celebrity detox programs that are on the cover of a $2 magazine are the dangerous ones, I remember the lemon water with pepper diet a few years ago, what the heck was that?!  Sure you may get results quickly and for a short period of time but you could create a thyroid, adrenal, or hormone imbalance that will set you back for months or even years (think Janet Jackson’s yo-yo weight :-)

When I put clients on a detox program we eliminate all of the high allergy foods including peanuts, soy, dairy, gluten, eggs, to name a few and they also eliminate all chemicals like artificial sweeteners, caffeine, etc.  In order for them to get the most out of the program I push them to get in the dry sauna a few times per week to clear the skin of toxins, get a lymphatic massage and foam roll/stretch.  At the same time they are eating 3 balanced and healthy meals per day along with meal replacement shakes and supplementation.  They almost always say they don’t feel deprived and could turn the program into a lifestyle change.

If you are searching for a program as a detox make sure you do it under the supervision of a health professional, or if you would like more information about it reach out to me!  I am sure this will be “part 1″ to many detox posts.

In Health,



Is sitting the death of you? Prevent weight gain, posture imbalances and develop more core strength simply by standing more and walking more all throughout the day.

When I was younger I always used to think that walking was for “old people” or those who were beginners, but now that I have researched the damaging effects of sitting all day I think walking is one of the best things you can do for yourself! Or just stand up more throughout the day to avoid shoulder and lower back imbalances from sitting behind a computer. One of my clients said he asked for a standing work station for Christmas and his family laughed at him, the truth is he will improve his health simply by standing up while he works.  Our ancestors who typically did manual labor all day on farms or in shops did not have nearly as many health problems as we do, they simply moved more.


1.Did you know in order to be classified as “active” in your daily lifestyle (not including exercise) you should be walking 10,000+ steps per day?  The average working American thinks that they are active (because we work and over schedule our lives) but when they actually measured their activity with a device they were classified as sedentary.  The bottom line is we do not move enough, myself included the first time I wore my activity monitor to measure steps I was shocked, I was about 4,000 on non-workout days and maybe 6000 on training days.  Here are the general guidelines for activity measured in steps.

< 5000 steps/day = sedentary
5000-7499 steps/day = somewhat active
7500-9999 steps/day = somewhat active
10,000-12,500 steps/day = active
> 12,500 steps/day = highly active

2.Set a daily goal of how many steps you want to get in and buy an activity monitor to accurately measure your steps.  The Fitbit is a great device that not only accurately measures steps but will effortlessly download to your computer so you can see the trend of your daily activity over time and even join online groups to compete or hold each other accountable.

3.Make small lifestyle changes throughout the day.  The most common things you can do include parking your car far away, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or going for walks after dinner instead of watching television.  Sometimes even those things above will not get your daily activity to the “active level”.  Other ideas include taking a work meeting with a colleague(s) outside for a walk around your building and use a voice recorder app on your phone to take notes instead of sitting and taking notes.  Avoid going out to eat and sitting in a restaurant for your lunch break, instead bring your lunch to work and eat at your desk and use your lunch hour to go for a walk outside or if it is too cold or hot walk outside go to a local mall or store instead.  Or if you work a lot from home set up a treadmill desk or a standing work station.

4.Go crazy when you clean or do yard work at home.  I noticed I was stacking items on the stairs so I would not have to make multiple trips up and down, then I made it a rule to never leave things on the stairs and my daily steps started to multiply. Cleaning and yard work sessions can be done with the intention of getting a mild workout in, this way you have purpose and the session will probably be done more quickly.

5. Sign up for an event with a friend or local group from work, church or a social run/walk club, they are typically free and a great social outlet!  A local 5k or 10k is a great starting option, when choosing an event.  If you have registered for an event it gives you a deeper feeling of commitment and accountability to get in shape for it.  You are less likely to skip workouts and walking/running sessions because you want to feel your best on “race day.”

Get out there and get those steps in!

Packing lunches for your kids (and you!)

Set your family up for success by packing healthy lunches for the kids and the adults.   Skipping lunch or eating a processed lunch out can set you up for an evening on cravings due to blood sugar imbalances and some serious afternoon “mental fogginess”.  I used to think it took a lot of time to pack a lunch but it really only takes a few minutes if you get a system down and prepare in advance, plus you save money!  This concept is for little ones and the older teenagers.  Teens are at a higher risk for gaining unwanted body fat and metabolic issues because they have more freedom to grab unhealthy fast food options or sugary coffee shop drinks.  Also consider their physically demanding weight training sessions in school or after school practices.  If they skip breakfast, eat a junk food lunch, and go to practice on empty and partially dehydrated their performance will  suffer and they could be putting their immune system at risk. 

I pack Ben Jr. (17 year old) a sandwich(s) or salad, 2-3 pieces of fruit, protein bars, a shaker cup with protein meal replacement powders in them, and nuts every day, this gets him through his classes, his weight training class, and after school practice.  My little Lily (2 1/2 year old)  typically gets leftovers with a organic yogurt, a piece of fruit and some gluten free puffs or crackers. 

Why is it important to pack a healthy lunch?

Dana Yarn, RDLD


It seems like every time I turn on the TV or check my e-mail health professionals are addressing our country’s obesity epidemic especially with future generations.  I have recently heard about a study that predicted our children’s generation to be 50% obese.  Obesity is defined as a BMI (body mass index) of 30 or more.  Obesity is a precursor for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, thyroid disease to name a few.  Obesity not only affects a child’s quality of life but in their adult years it will affect our country’s bottom line when it comes to health care, from an economical stand point our country is not going to be able to care for this growing population of health issues.

We have the resources to put a stop to this epidemic right now!  It starts with making small changes.  The first thing that you can do as a parent is make your child’s lunch every day.  Taking control of your child’s nutrition, knowing exactly what they are eating for lunch is the first step to preventing obesity.  If you think your child is getting a healthy lunch at school visit them one day and observe what they actually eat, any time a French fry is classified as a vegetable there is a problem!  Packing a lunch will take 5 minutes, if you find you are in a time crunch in the mornings pack it the night before this way you have no excuse to send them to school with lunch money.  Make sure you include 4 components, a protein, fruit, vegetable and healthy fat (and possibly a gluten free carb option).

Here are some simple healthy lunch box ideas for your child:

  • Twist on PB&J (2 slices gluten free bread, 1-2 Tbs. all natural almond or cashew butter  and all natural fruit spread or better yet real berries as jelly + 1 apple + 1 serving carrot sticks with 2 Tbs. hummus for dipping.
  • Lettuce Wraps or gluten free sandwich with nitrate free deli chicken or turkey, tomatoes, spinach, 1 oz cheese and mustard + 1 c chopped melon + and ¼ c nuts or homemade trail mix
  • 1 serving almond crackers + ½ c chicken or tuna salad + 1 banana + 1 c cucumber slices with salsa or hummus for dipping
  • 6-8oz Greek yogurt + ½ c all natural granola + ½ c berries and 5 celery sticks with all natural peanut/almond or cashew butter and raisins (ants on a log)

*Also I recommend packing a bottle of water as their drink, but if you insist on a juice box make sure it is 100% juice with no high fructose corn syrup in the ingredients.  As you probably already guessed sodas and diet sodas or drinks are out of the question, there is no nutritional benefit to drinking sodas or diet drinks.  Don’t forgot to keep it cool, make sure you are packing their lunch in a insulated lunch box/bag  with ice packs to avoid any potential bacteria that could develop if perishable food hits room temperature.   If you have a picky eater ask them to help you pack their lunch this way they will take ownership in what they are eating while maintaining healthy lunch options of whole grain, lean protein, fruit and vegetable.

MY NEW FAVORITE LUNCH PACKING TOOL- BENTO BOX (pictured above)!   This little guys make life easy and more green.  Forget going through endless plastic baggies, get some of these little boxes and packing lunch will be a snap.

Make a grocery list included healthy lunch items, pick up a few Bento boxes and get ready for the week!




Poor sleep and insomnia = increased body fat

The story goes… CLIENT- “I workout 5-6x per week a mixture of cardio, strength training, yoga, core, etc., I eat very healthy and I cannot seem to drop my body fat?!  I guess I just have a slow metabolism.” DIETITIAN- “Tell me more about your sleep quality, what time do you go to bed, wake up and do you sleep throughout the night or toss and turn?”  The client responds, ” My sleep could be better if I am lucky I get 4-5 hours per night (or they toss and turn and lie awake at night staring at the clock).   I have never needed much sleep, I have always burned the candle at both ends and my body is used to it.”  Here lies the problem, it’s not lack of exercise or poor nutrition it is poor sleep.  You may be able to get away with 4-5 hours per night for a little while or in the “glory days” but poor sleep patterns along with stress will eventually catch up with you. 

My personal battle with adrenal fatigue started after I had Lily almost 3 years ago, I could not get the baby weight off, I was unmotivated, I tossed and turned all night, and craved sugar like a mad woman!  The stress of life, waking up multiple times per night, and getting used to my new bundle of joy while going back to work took a major toll on my body and my poor sleep was the root of the problem.  The good news is adrenal fatigue at any stage can be repaired by making lifestyle changes, exercise modifications and proper supplementation. 


The importance of quality sleep on health and metabolism.

Dana Yarn RDLD

Sleep is truly the best medicine for overall health and optimal vitality.  It is unfortunate that getting adequate sleep is the most underutilized weight loss and wellness strategy.  I have clients who completely overlook the impact poor sleep has on burning fat and carbohydrates.  Quality sleep is often replaced with less impactful activities like watching late night television, or endless catching up on work and poor stress management.  When it comes to achieving optimal health 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night should not be overlooked.

There is endless research available that shows a direct relationship of poor sleep and obesity.  It truly only takes one night of poor sleep to negatively affect metabolism.  Insulin levels and carbohydrate metabolism are negatively affected the day after one poor night’s sleep resulting in excess fat storage and decreased fat burn according to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Think about the last time you had a poor night’s sleep and try to remember the way you ate the following day, you were probably consuming excess carbohydrates and caffeine looking for quick energy sources.  Sure one day of poor sleep will not develop serious metabolic disorders; the problem is many people have learned to live off of low quality sleep.  The result is poor metabolism and gaining excess weight, contributing to serious metabolic issues like Type 2 diabetes, adrenal fatigue, insufficient thyroid and the list goes on.  As we age we also tend to survive off of less sleep, this is directly related to increased risk of cancer, brain fog and dementia.

Unfortunately there isn’t one solution to improve sleep that works for everyone. Finding the best solution for you has everything to do with understanding and addressing what causes those sleepless nights to begin with. The best way to approach improving quality of sleep is to make small changes.

Slow down, answering e-mails and catching up on work “off the clock” will not make you more productive, try to unplug from your professional commitments when you are at home winding down.  This will clear your brain and only make you more productive when you are at work. I am sure your family and friends would also enjoy your company too.

Stress management is the key to successful sleep.  If you are stressed then excess cortisol will be produced putting the body in a state of “fight or flight.”   Excess cortisol suppresses melatonin (the sleep hormone) and serotonin (the good mood hormone) production, reducing the ability to get uninterrupted sleep while putting the adrenals in a state of fatigue and exhaustion if cortisol production is high for a long period of time.  Engage in meditation, yoga or simply incorporate activities that bring you joy into your everyday life.  Get outside, there are endless studies that prove engaging in outside activities makes us more healthy because we feel “free” and “like a kid,” start climbing, hiking, gardening, surfing, kayaking, and appreciating nature more.

Shut off the television an hour or two before bed time. The light from the television affects your body in much the same way that daylight does, think about how bright the casinos are in Las Vegas, they want you to be wide awake at all hours of the day.  Also, most TV shows are not relaxing and they may raise your levels of stress hormones, which is one of the worst things you can do for your metabolism at night. Add a digital video recorder to your cable plan and record your favorite shows for another evening. Read a book or just take some time to relax. Over time this will reduce the amount of tossing and turning you do while trying to fall asleep.

Avoid eating a heavy meal before bed, this puts your digestive system in overdrive and may not be too comfortable while trying to fall asleep.  It is important to eat all natural foods that do not contain any harmful chemicals, dyes, preservatives, hormones or antibiotics.  Consuming harmful chemicals will also decrease sleep quality.

Ensure you are getting quality nutrients from food and supplementationMagnesium has been shown to help restless leg syndrome in addition to a core supplementation program of multi-vitamins, fish oil, and probiotics.  If the body is deficient in any nutrients sleep quality will be affected.

Consider supplementing with 5-HTP, this is a precursor to two important hormones melatonin and serotonin.  If those hormones are depleted it will be difficult to fall asleep and could cause excessive sugar and carbohydrate cravings.

Aim to have a cool, dark and quiet bedroom.  Noisy gadgets or even pets and bright lights from clocks or baby monitors can interrupt quality sleep and affect your overall health over time.

Be consistent, we push our kids to adhere to a specific bed time, why don’t we do the same discipline for our own health?  The best window of time to sleep is between the hours of 10pm-6am, this correlates with the body’s natural rhythm and natural light patterns, sun rise and sunset.

Improving sleep quality may take away from the hours that you are awake during the day but the mental clarity and increased energy will be worth it for the hours that you are awake!


  1. The Endocrine Society. One      Sleepless Night Can Induce Insulin Resistance in Healthy People. Science      Daily 5 May 2010 (­      /releases/2010/05/100505091632.htm)
  2. University      of Hafia. Artificial Light at Night Disrupts Cell Division,      Research Shows. Science Daily. 20 April 2010 (­ /releases/2010/04/100412095542.htm)

In Great Health,



How to prevent/fade stretch marks & avoid parabens and obesogens.

I have a great friend who I teach with at Life Time Fitness, she was also pregnant around the same time I was with Lily.  You cannot tell that she ever had a baby (well actually 2), her body bounced back and he skin looks fantastic, she did not get any stretch marks.  During this pregnancy I was lucky enough for her to drop off some of her homemade all natural lotion that she used.  I was so desperate because during my pregnancy with Lily I got several stretch marks on my mid-section and was so embarrassed to show my mid-section even after I lost the baby weight, I was willing to try anything!


My friend’s concoction was coconut butter, coconut oil, Shea butter, and another oil (not too sure what she said).  I asked her where she got it and she said she ordered all of the items off Amazon and made it herself, but could not remember the ratios exactly.  So after I used up the batch she made for me I decided to make my own all natural paraben free lotion/rub to prevent stretch marks.  To this day in my pregnancy I have not got any new stretch marks and this stuff is much better then the expensive store bought stuff from salons or department stores.  I will continue to use this on my kids, husband and myself after the baby arrives too.   For one, because it works, but even more importantly it does not contain any obesogens/ estrogen mimickers/ or parabens or whatever you like to call them!  Your skin is the largest organ of your body and absorbs everything, 90% of cosmetics contain harmful chemicals that disrupt the natural hormone balance which could increase risk for certain cancers and even promote weight gain. Go all natural with everything that you put on your skin, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, deodorant, make up, etc.


My version of my friends concoction:


1/2 c organic extra virgin coconut oil

1/2 c pure African Shea butter

1/2 c pure cocoa butter

1/8-1/4 c organic extra virgin sesame seed oil (it is what I had and I remember using sesame oil when I used to compete as my stage prep so I figured it could not hurt 😉


Put all of the ingredients in a bowl and heat over another pot of hot water until heated slightly throughout, or if you have a double boiler even better  just don’t let it get too hot or else the fats will go rancid.  Use a hand mixer to blend until smooth and store in small mason jars or any other glass container that you can get your fingers in to the bottom.  If this process sounds like a lot of work then double or triple the batch so you don’t have to go through the hassle too often.  To me anything that prevents or fades stretch marks and while avoiding harmful obesogens and parabens is worth it!

Grease up!


Beer, wine, or liquor?


When I worked for the Health Promotions Department in college at The University of North Florida I remember doing a nutrition re-call with a student and we came to the question-  How may alcoholic drinks does he consume on the weekend or just when he is socially drinking?…without hesitation he said 24.  I tried not to looked shocked but I needed him to repeat the answer just so I could make sure I was not going crazy…YEP he said 24. Mind you, he was trying to drop body fat and was not contributing his weight gain to alcohol at all, anything in excess will put weight on especially alcohol.

His next question was- Should I switch up what type of drink I drink?  He was currently consuming beer.  Besides the alarming realization that this student who consumed 24 drinks an evening had probably developed an alcohol addiction and needed help outside of nutrition coaching.  What is the best drink to consume out there? 


Before I go over the different categories of alcohol based drinks, lets make something clear, if you are trying to drop body fat or weight know that alcohol consumption will slow down that process.  All forms alcohol require a lot of energy from the body to metabolize, therefore the body devotes it’s energy to metabolizing the alcohol and all of the other nutrients and calories take a back seat and typically end up getting stored as fat (beer belly).  Not to mention alcohol can increase appetite and release your inhibitions which could cause you to consume foods that you may not normally consume resulting in unwanted weight gain and a disruption in metabolism.  Come on, don’t you remember the college days of going through Taco Bell or Krystal on the way home from a party or club at 2 or 3am.  We were nutrition majors and we still did it, alcohol does have some serious power over the mind!

The 3 main alcohol categories are:

Beer– Light beer tends to have approximately 90 calories per serving and the darker ales tend to be 150-200 calories per serving, but heck with the whole calorie counting, what does beer have in it that will disrupt your metabolism?  Traditional breweries use grains that contain glycoproteins (aka gluten) which I typically advise clients to avoid due to gluten’s harmful effects on metabolism, excess inflammation and poor digestion.  A gluten free beer is a better option, you may need to go to a specialty market to find them but they do exist.  Beer also can be drank in excessive amounts because it typically does not “hit” people the same as liquor or wine.  It is easy for people to consume 2-3 times as much beer as they do other forms of alcohol, again resulting in weight gain and poor metabolism.

Wine– is my personal favorite, I am looking forward to April after I deliver my little bundle and I can have an occasional glass here and there.  The benefits that we all have heard about wine is that it is good for the heart due to potent antioxidants, specifically resveratrol, which is a natural phenol typically found in the skin of red grapes.  This antioxidant has been linked to lowering blood sugars, reducing inflammation, and increasing the immune system. Consuming wine in moderation 1-2 glasses occasionally is the key to reaping the benefits in regards to heart health and inflammation.  If wine is abused and consumed excessively daily then the health benefits go away and you could actually be at risk for heart disease, certain cancers and inflammatory conditions.

Liquor– The number one problem with liquor is we tend to mix it with sugary drinks like soda, juice, or worse syrups which drive blood sugars up and increase appetite.  If you prefer liquor look for non-calorie or lower sugar mixers.  I like rum and Zevia instead of artificially sweetened diet sodas or regular sodas.  You can also mix sparkling water and fresh lemon or lime slices to your choice of liquor.  The other downfall to liquor is the volume is small so we can easily consume too much too fast, pace yourself and try to consume water in addition to the alcohol based drinks.  You don’t want to be the one who got loud too fast and too quick at a party :-)

To sum it up, a shot of liquor, a serving of wine and a light beer all are about the same amount of calories, but optimal health is really not about calories out and calories in, so dig deeper into the metabolic effects of different types of alcohol.

  • Beer- look for a gluten free option and drink in moderation.
  • Wine- drink in moderation to get the health benefits from wine.
  • Liquor- avoid sugary mixers, and pace yourself by alternating drinks with a glass of water.
  • Enjoy a cocktail, glass of wine or beer here and there just be aware of how each effects your body and overall health goals.

Happy hour anyone?



Obesity…defined with meal and supplement recommendations to prevent or reverse it.

Sure we often hear this term being thrown around and pretty much we know it means VERY FAT, but what is the scientific meaning of obesity?  How do you avoid or reverse it safely?  Eat to promote optimal insulin levels and fat burn (see meal recommendations) and support the metabolism with proper supplementation (see links below).

Obesity- The state of being more than 20 percent above normal weight, having a body fat percentage greater than thirty percent for women and twenty-five percent for men.


Roughly one out of every three adults in the United States is now obese and even more alarming one out of every five children is obese.*  The cause of obesity has been directly linked to the standard American diet which is high in processed fats and sugars, and they get little, if any, exercise.  The causes of obesity are lifestyle and dietary related, the solution is to make changes in these areas.  This would include reduced television watching and increased physical activity.*

The types of obesity vary based on where the fat is distributed in the body.

  • Hypertrophic obesity is characterized by an increase in the size of each individual fat cell and is linked to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other serious disturbances of metabolism.
  • Hyperplastic obesity is an increased number of fat cells throughout the body.  This is typically determined by the mother’s diet while the person is still in the womb and early infant nutrition.

There are two main causes of obesity, physiological and psychological factors.

  • Psychological factors directly relate to the amount of TV watching a person does. Excessive TV watching is linked to the onset of obesity in both adults and children.  The sedentary effects of TV watching result in reduced physical activity which results in a reduced basal metabolic rate, which results in less calories burned at rest. (that is why I have started to watch the majority of my TV shows on my treadmill, get those 10k steps in per day)
  • Physiological theories of obesity are related to brain serotonin levels, diet-induced thermogenesis, the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, the metabolism of the fat cells, and sensitivity to the hormone insulin.  All of these factors support the notion that obesity is not just a matter of overeating.

Treatment for obesity includes establishing a positive mental attitude, a healthy lifestyle (especially important is regular exercise), a health promoting diet, and supplementary measures.  Improving just one of the cornerstones is enough to see positive changes, but improving all four will yield the greatest results.*

Breakfast options:

  • 1-3 eggs scrambled with vegetables and a few slices of avocado, 1 c fresh berries
  • Meal replacement shake- 1 scoop hypoallergenic protein powder (pea or rice protein powder), 1 c frozen or fresh organic/all natural fruit, 2 Tbs. ground flax seed, unsweetened almond, rice or coconut milk


Lunch Options:

  • Salad – 2-3 c dark leafy greens, 1 c additional chopped all natural vegetables (i.e carrots, peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc.) ¼ c chopped pecans or walnuts, 3-4 oz wild caught all natural grilled salmon fillet, 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar


  • Lettuce wraps: prepared all natural chicken salad (4-7 oz all natural chicken grilled and chopped, olive oil based mayonnaise, chopped celery, purple grapes, and walnuts with herbs to taste). Over 4 large romaine or Boston lettuce cups


Dinner Options:

  • 4-8oz all natural lean steak fillet, 2 c roasted asparagus (use olive oil and lemon), ½-1 c wild rice with herbs to taste
  • 4-8 oz grilled all natural shrimp skewers (marinade in olive oil, and herbs), 2 c grilled all natural zucchini and squash, 1 medium sized roasted or grilled red potato

There is several weight loss aids that can help either reduce appetite or enhance metabolism.  In order of effect I would rate these items as follows (consult with your doctor if you have any concerns):


5 – Hydroxytryptophan (5- HTP) – 300mg three times per day

Fiber supplements- start out with a small dosage and work your way up to 10g before meals daily

Chromium- 200 mcg per day

Medium- chain triglycerides – 1-2 Tablespoons per day

Hydroxycitrate- 500 mg three times per day

Coenzyme Q10 – 100mg daily (or 50mg/perscription medication you are taking)


R. Kuczmarski et al., Increasing prevalence of overweight among U.S, adults,” JAMA 272 (1994): 205-11.

G. Kolata, “Why do people get fat?” Science 227 (1985): 1327-28.

R.J.Wurtman and J.J. Wurtman, “Brain Serotonin, Carbohydrate-Craving, Obesity and Depression,”Adv Exp Med Biol 398 (1996) 35-41.

Fresh vs. Frozen Veggies

As a nutrition major I think that it was ingrained in our little heads to always say that fresh produce was best, but considering the way produce is picked and the journey it takes to finally get to your grocery store you may be surprised that frozen vegetables are sometimes a better option.  We do about half and half at our house, the fresh produce we do have is typically what is in season.


Fresh vs. Frozen Vegetables

Dana Yarn, RDLD

It is recommended that we eat 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.  Preferably we should stick to a ratio of three servings of vegetables to one serving of fruit, which is 6 servings of vegetables and 3 servings of fruit per day.    Americans typically only consume one-third of the recommended daily intake.  As customers of Service Foods we are lucky to have a stash of frozen vegetables and in some case fruit in our freezer.  But, how does frozen produce compare to fresh or canned?

During certain seasons, fresh produce is limited—or expensive—in much of the country, which forces many of us to turn to canned or frozen options. Canned vegetables tend to lose a lot of nutrients during the canning process and the inside of the cans are lined with harmful BPA (research has shown that BPA is also a hormone disruptor that contributes to obesity), frozen vegetables may be even healthier than some of the fresh produce.  The only exception to that statement is if you have your own garden in your back yard or you get your produce from a local farm.  Produce picked for freezing tend to be processed at their peak ripeness, a time when they are also peaking in nutrient content.

The first step of freezing vegetables is blanching them in hot water or steam to kill bacteria and arrest the action of food-degrading enzymes this causes some water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C and the B vitamins to break down or leach out which decreases the nutrient content.  The subsequent flash-freeze locks the vegetables in an optimal nutrient-rich state.

The “fresh” fruits and vegetables destined to be shipped to the fresh-produce section in your neighborhood market around the country typically are picked before they are ripe, which gives them less time to develop a full profile of vitamins and minerals. Visible signs of ripening may still occur, but these vegetables will never have the same nutritive value as if they had been allowed to fully ripen on the vine as nature intended. In addition to being picked early, the long haul from farm to the plate, fresh fruits and vegetables are exposed to lots of heat and light, which destroy some nutrients, especially delicate vitamins like C and the B vitamin thiamin.

Bottom line: The best fresh vegetables and fruits are those in season and grown locally. “Off-season,” frozen vegetables will give you a high concentration of nutrients. Choose all natural or organic vegetables that have been flash frozen and vacuum sealed for optimal nutrient value.  Finally, lightly steam, or lightly roast vegetables to minimize the loss of water soluble vitamins.  Over cooking and boiling vegetables can decrease nutrient value leaching nutrients into the water that you typically dump down the sink.  Vegetables should have a vibrant bright color when served.


Is your food safe?

Food Safety

Dana Yarn, RDLD

chicken 1

chicken 2

There is an alarming concern with the safety of our food supply in America.  It used to be that most Americans did not worry about the food they eat in restaurants and buy at the supermarkets.  Unfortunately due to America’s growing industrialized food system it is a necessary to consider the process by which food is grown, shipped, manufactured, processed and stored.  The food industry is an extremely productive business, but at what cost to our health?  These profitable methods are directly related to the increase in overall food recalls and food borne illness.  In the U.S. alone, 76 million cases of food-borne illnesses occur each year (and many of the cases go unreported).  E coli sickens roughly 73,000 American’s per year.

Aside from bacterial illness like E.Coli, the human body will become addicted to foods that contain excess sodium, sugar, saturated and trans fats.  This excessive amount of sodium, sugar and fat in processed and fast foods explain our country’s obesity epidemic, increase in the incidence heart disease, diabetes and cancer and the increase in overall healthcare costs.

Real food

Food in its purest form is best utilized by the body to prevent and manage disease – no chemicals, additives, dyes, steroids, hormones, or antibiotics.  According to the Natural Products Association, livestock on an all natural and/or organic farm cannot be given antibiotics or growth hormones unnecessarily which is a common practice in conventional agriculture.  Other countries have established strict regulations against Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone.  It is banned in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and all 25 nations of the European Union due to concerns about human health effects; unfortunately it is currently still allowed to be used in the US.

An estimated 71% of all U.S. antimicrobials are fed routinely to beef cattle, poultry & swine for non-therapeutic purposes.  Experts agree that using antibiotics excessively may contribute to the rise of antibiotic resistance to drugs and “superbugs”.  My husband works in infectious disease and “sees superbug” cases daily, patients are unable to be treated with traditional meds because they have developed such high resistance to the drugs, putting others around them at risk for developing these horrible strands of viruses and/or bacteria too.

Food labels and advertising can be extremely confusing and misleading.  Don’t confuse “free-range,” “hormone free, “with certified all natural and/or organic.  That means the food is grown, harvested, and processed according to USDA standards that include restrictions on amounts and residues of pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics.  All natural foods cannot be treated with any sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation.  The benefits of eating all natural foods include, higher nutrient values, better quality taste and the manufacturing is environmentally friendly.  The nutrient content of our food has decreased 1000% in the past 60 years.  Over 70,000 new chemicals have been introduced to foods, only time will reveal the impact these foods will have on our health. I have worked different events with local farmers and they have steered away from being certified organic simply because they cannot keep up with the paperwork, fees and of course the root of their business “farming,” other acceptable certifications for local farms are “certified all natural.

Lack of Food Inspections

 Imports account for nearly 60% of the fruits and vegetables we consume, and 75% of the seafood.  Yet only 1% of those foods are inspected before they cross our shores.  “Hundreds of scientists and inspectors responsible for food safety have personally experienced political interference in their work, and that’s bad for public health,” said Francesca Grifo, director of UCS’s Scientific Integrity Program.  Dean Wyatt, a USDA veterinarian who oversees federal slaughter house inspectors, said his agency regularly punishes inspectors for writing up legitimate safety violations. “Upper level management does not adequately support field inspectors and the actions they take to protect the food supply,” said Wyatt. “Not only is there lack of support, but there’s outright obstruction, retaliation and abuse of power.”  Look for companies that are doing inspections daily by the USDA to ensure the safety and quality of all our products.

Seafood certification (get ready)…


The Hidden toll on our environment

Despite natural food’s rising popularity, our main farming system that’s still heavily reliant on toxic pesticides (500,000 tons per year), pollutes our waterways and bloodstreams while gobbling up millions of gallons of fossil fuel.  Each year, 817 million tons of food is shipped around the planet.  The result is that a basic diet of imported products can use 4 times the energy and produce 4 times the emissions of an equivalent domestic diet!  A solution to this excessive shipping is to purchase food from local producers, this avoids long distance travel; overuse of plastic packaging; and chemical preservatives required for transporting food long distances.

The bottom line…

The above information is not meant to make you feel helpless and throw in the towel to healthy eating, it is to empower you to feed your family with the most chemically pure food you can find!

Find a company or farm with a certification to back up their claims.  like I have posted before, I started my chemically pure food journey with Service Foods Inc. there are several food co-op options out there that proudly advertise their food and manufacturing specifications.  If you do decide to purchase from a local farm or co-op ask a lot of questions about both the farming and manufacturing of the food.

In Health,