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Curious about the Mediterranean Diet? Interview with Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RD

Wendy Jo Peterson photo

Mediterranean dietwhat’s it about? With Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RD

Wendy Jo Peterson is a registered dietitian in San Diego, owner of Fuelin’ Roadie and Edible Nutrition and author of Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies. (To view the video, scroll to bottom or click here.)

Neily: Let’s talk about the Mediterranean diet. What is it?
Wendy Jo: Mediterranean diet is based on research that has been done throughout the Mediterranean region about why the longevity of health has been so prevalent over there. People live longer and not only do they live longer but they live healthier, longer. So, the quality of life is improved. I always think back to my girlfriend’s grandmother. She is 96 and when I traveled to Italy for her   wedding, she literally—in a dress and all, and heels—was riding her bike to and from the grocery store. It just showed right there how people live their lives. That’s the base of it. Based on that research they looked and said let’s figure out what they are doing right. And so the obvious things that we have talked about for years—the olive oil, the fish-based diet, the plant-based diet, a lot of nuts and tons of legumes (beans). Legumes are a huge part of the everyday diet in that region.
Neily: Any particular ones?
Wendy Jo: You know, it depends on where you are. You’re not going to really see the black bean or the pinto bean that you would see throughout more South and Central American in the United States. But, more of the white beans, the chickpeas, the garbanzo beans, lentils. Lentils are stars—they take shape in a lot of foods over there. I have a lot of recipes that are lentil-based in my cookbook.But   the biggest thing that I found interesting is that they really grace their plate with 3 to 5 servings of vegetables or fruits at each meal. I always say to my patients—really look at breakfast as a great starting point to kind of boost it. Because you will find tomatoes or fava beans or spinach—those types of hearty vegetables—served as a breakfast starter for most people. They do a lot of paninis for breakfast or beans are a huge part of the breakfast food throughout the region. And so, what a great way to start your day but with something such as that. And not just berries and stuff, that we love here, which is great but to really complement and offset days where you do berries one day and get vegetables other days. Three to 5 servings per meal.IMG_0727 good veggie pix porch
Neily: So, what would be an example of a meal?
Wendy Jo: A meal would typically look like salmon, some type of fish, they like their fatty fish with capers or olives and then maybe some sliced cucumbers like spears of cucumbers, the Persian cucumbers are very popular, maybe some slices of tomatoes, and then maybe a handful of grapes. And right there, that’s 3 servings. All raw, all simple. No prep time. Quite easy to palette. Even the pastas, where people really think, oh pasta makes us fat. The portion distortion that we have in our country is outrageous. And it is so evident because when you go over there, pasta is a primi so it is a first course. And the portion is—I always tell my clients—when you think of a Mott’s apple sauce cup, a half cup, double that or the little milk carton that’s the   actual portion of one cup of pasta. And maybe, really don’t eat that much. That’s their primi.And then they do their secondi, which is usually meat. So, often times for them, proteins are combined with a lot of vegetables; they’re also combined with legumes. So, lentils may be paired with chicken or maybe white beans with fish. So they will be paired together.And then they do their anti-pasta. Over there, they have a belief about eating your digestive foods after. So they eat their salads after their meal.
Neily: Interesting.
Wendy Jo: And the idea is it helps push things through your system. Then they will also have a digestive drink. So like a grappa or some type of alcoholic spirit that will also help burn the system through.Some interesting techniques but, you know, over there as well they do… they drink wine like water but you don’t see the overconsumption as you see in our country or in our culture. And you just don’t see the overconsumption in the food. The other thing that I always look at is how mindful they are eating—really in tune with savoring every bite.
Neily: Enjoying it.
Wendy Jo: Yes. You sit down to a meal—they dissect the food. As a family, everybody is talking about the food, what they are tasting and whether or not Nonna (which is grandma) did the spices correctly or did she change it. Or what did she have on hand that they normally didn’t have in it. It is comical but it is so in tune with what you are eating which we know mindful eating really does help with satiation.
Neily: Absolutely.
Wendy Jo: So, to me, it think, there are many facets that make up the Mediterranean diet. It’s not just the food they consume but how they approach food.
Neily: So, it is a real plant-based diet, olive oil, fish and legumes.It’s a great book, Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies.
Wendy Jo: Or my website
Neily: Thanks so much. Thanks for watching Neily on Nutrition and we’ll see you in the next video.Mediterranean Diet cookbook photo

Are you keeping a food log?

Food journaling

I acquired a client when a dietitian left Cooper Clinic where I worked. Joyce was awesome. Ate healthy, lots of fruits and veggies, kept a food log. But weight loss had stalled. She had already lost a significant amount of weight and we figured she just hit a plateau. Plateaus can last weeks or months. In reviewing her food journal Joyce had written one cup of Kashi GoLean cereal for breakfast and a snack was one tablespoon of peanut butter with an apple. I asked Joyce if she measured the cereal and peanut butter. No, she used to but got away from the habit. I asked her to measure everything for the next two weeks. Be honest. Two weeks later she was down three pounds. Her eyes had deceived her. It happens. A lot.

 food journal


Tips on keeping motivation high – Interview with Jill Weisenberger, MS, RD, CDE

Diabetes Wt Loss week by week - jill pic of book

Jill Weisenberger – author of  Diabetes Weight Loss: Week by Week: A Safe, Effective Method for Losing Weight and Improving Your Health in conjunction with the American Diabetes Association – talks to Neily on Nutrition about keeping motivation with diabetes and/or weight management. Jill is a registered dietitian and a certified diabetes educator. (To watch interview on YouTube, scroll to the bottom.)

Neily: So, what are some of the challenges? There is a lot of great information in the book (Diabetes Weight Loss Week by Week) but what are the take home messages that you would like people to know?
Jill: Diabetes Weight loss Week by Week’ is a very practical book. It is not a prescriptive diet so it will work with anybody using strategies: skills, strategies, planning – not will power. Will power never works for more than a short period of time. One of the things that I have right at the outset of the book is for preparing to be successful.  So you know how people when they start on a plan are very very motivated? Motivation is up there but it doesn’t stay. Very normal for motivation to wax and wane.So, one of the things I suggest is while you are very motivated, gather what I call a motivation kit. Get a box or notebook and put everything in there that motivates you. Because when your motivation is high, you put things in there and when your motivation is down, you can go back to it. So maybe it is magazine articles, maybe it is photographs, affirmations, a list of the reasons that you want to lose weight, a list of the benefits that you will get by losing weight and controlling blood glucose. All those things, keep them all in one spot where it is easy to reach because you want to add to it often and you want to go and get motivation from it often.
Neily: Great idea! A motivation box. Excellent. That’s a great idea not just for anyone with diabetes but for weight loss in general!
Jill: Yes
Neily: Thanks. This is Neily on Nutrition and Jill’s book Diabetes Weight Loss: Week by Week: A Safe, Effective Method for Losing Weight and Improving Your Health.

Registered Dietitians are not the Food Police

Big day tomorrow – Super Bowl Sunday!  Regardless of who’s playing I love to hang out with my friends and enjoy their company and of course some good food.  I might DVR it at home so I can re-watch any particularly great commercials.  (Yes I am one of those that loves the ads.  Sure hope there are some good ones!)

Most of the people I’ll be with know my profession and for those that don’t, I won’t publicize. You see, as a registered dietitian sometimes as soon as someone knows, they become self-conscious of what’s on their plate.  Oh gosh – I really hate that.  There is no need to!  And as you watch this video you’ll see I’m not alone in my feelings. My colleague registered dietitian Angela Lemond and I have a nice chat. Many of us like to practice and encourage the 80/20 rule.  If 80-90 percent of the time you do the right thing – eat a healthy diet of fruits/veggies, whole grains, and lean protein, 10-20 percent of the time it’s okay to have a bit of indulgence.

So, if you see me tomorrow, I PROMISE not to say a word about what’s on YOUR plate if you promise not to notice what’s on mine.  Deal?

Registered dietitians want to help Paula Deen

Big news in the media last week – at least in the world of nutrition and healthcare – Paula Deen made public that she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes three years ago.  Numerous people have blogged about it and rendered their opinions.  My colleague Angela Lemond, RD, CSP, LD and I had a chat about it. Tune in!

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