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Easy. Healthy. Delicious.

Hey everyone!

It has been a while since we have done a blog post. Things have been getting really busy around the clinic which is very exciting! We just absolutely LOVE serving this amazing community. Thank you to everyone that has been coming in and referring your family and friends to us!

Today’s blog post is about easy and healthy weeknight meals. I get questions ALL THE TIME about how to feed your family a healthy meal that everyone at the table will eat that is also very easy to make. I want to use this post to bring you all some great ideas and resources to do just that! Some of the easiest meals to make are some of our household favorites. I find that it is important to mix it up for us with easy meals most of the time but occasionally throw in something a little more fun and exotic to keep having fun in the kitchen. One of my favorite easy meals is a sheet pan meal I am actually making for us tonight! This meal is fun because the components can very easily be swapped around to make this meal different but still easy and delicious.

For this meal I start with a basic formula. Protein + Veggie + Veggie = Dinner! Seems simple enough right? But think of the possibilities! Fish + Broccoli + Asparagus or Chicken + Butternut Squash + Green Beans…endless combinations! Everything goes on a sheet pan and gets roasted…couldn’t be easier. We are big fans of roasting veggies for dinner. If you haven’t tried roasted broccoli or roasted Brussels sprouts then you are really missing out! When you roast vegetables they take on totally different flavors. For example, think of a radish. When consumed raw, radishes have a spicy taste to them. However, when you roast a radish it suddenly takes on the flavor of a potato! Such a fun new twist to an awesome vegetable. Another benefit of roasting the veggies is that you can roast veggies straight out of the freezer. This leads to ultimate convenience. We always have at least 2 or 3 different bags of frozen vegetables in our freezer along with frozen fish. By keeping the freezer stocked with frozen fish and veggies I know I can always whip this meal together in no time if needed.

For the sake of this post I will use one of our favorite combinations in that formula. Fish + Broccoli + Potatoes. I like to use the bag of organic fingerling potatoes from HEB for this meal because they are colorful and taste so good roasted. We use the frozen organic broccoli from HEB and the frozen wild caught cod from Sam’s Club. All I had to do was wash and cut up the potatoes while the oven was preheating then throw everything in and badaboom DINNER IS SERVED! One of my favorite ways to play around with this meal is changing up the seasonings. You could use more of an Italian blend one day and then use more of a spicy Mexican flare the next and it would feel like a completely different meal! We kept it very simple this round and simply used garlic and onion powder, salt, and pepper. So easy!

I put the potatoes and broccoli in the oven at 400 for 35-40 minutes. We have a very old and slow oven…newer ovens would require even less time! After about 20 minutes I take out the broccoli tray and add the fish then put the tray back in for the final 15-20 minutes. The fish was seasoned with lemon, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Nothing fancy here this time but feel free to get creative!

I served everything together in a bowl. I topped mine with some Tessemae diary free ranch but Dr. Ply chose to eat his without any dressing because it was not needed! If we had gone with more of a Mexican blend of spices I likely would have topped mine with salsa instead for a fun change up!

Please note…I am no food photographer! Pictures do not do this justice! Take my word for it, this meal is ridiculously easy and so delicious.

If you try your own combinations let us know in the comments! I hope you all enjoy the idea! For more ideas on easy weeknight meals that are a little more fun (and beautifully photographed) check out www.thedefineddish.com to get some inspiration. Bonus points that she has young children to feed and is always updating her recipes to include how her children eat them!

Incorporating Protein into Your Diet

Protein is found throughout the body in virtually almost every tissue and organ.  In fact, 20% of the human body is made up of protein.1 The building blocks of protein are amino acids which carry out many roles such as transportation of nutrients, supporting our immune system, healing and repairing of tissue, and help remove waste. The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of 8 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight.2 Beyond that, there’s little information on the ideal amount of protein you need from the diet.  Generally, the more active you are, the more protein you will need.  Athletes or individuals who exercise on a regular basis may even need up to double the amount depending on the intensity, duration, and frequency of the exercise.

Essential amino acids are required to get from the diet because our body does not produce these types of amino acids.  If you do not get essential amino acids in your diet, proteins break down, resulting in muscle loss and problems with repair.  You can get protein from animal sources and from plant sources.  Adding a protein supplement can give the body an extra boost to heal and repair after workouts as well.  We will talk more about supplementing protein later on.

Most desirable sources of animal based proteins would be fish, eggs, chicken, turkey, and red meat (if OK’d by your nutritionist).  If you have a normal serum ferritin and normal serum iron, then 4-6oz of red meat should be OK for you to consume on a weekly basis.  Plant based sources of protein would include beans, seeds, nut, sprouts, and quinoa.  Nut butters such as peanut butter, cashew butter, or almond butter are good sources as well.  Vegans and vegetarians need to be aware of their protein levels.  It is very common for these individuals to lack the appropriate amounts of protein for the body’s ability to heal and repair.  Chlorella is a good supplement to be taking and is vegan friendly.  Chlorella consists of 58% of protein and generally they are about 2 g of protein per 2-3 capsules/tablets.

Proteins to eliminate from the diet include soy protein and whey protein.  Many vegans or vegetarians often times refer to soy as their main source of protein.  You may not know it, but 80% of the oil Americans consume is soy.  If you look on the ingredient list of many foods, especially processed foods in the aisles of the supermarket, you will see ingredients such as “soy lecithin” and “isolated soy protein”.  Soy lecithin has known effects on reproductive abnormalities and sexual dysfunction. Containing the compound phytoestrogen, it produces similar effects on the body as estrogen.  Unfortunately, about 75% of breast cancers are estrogen-receptor positive.3   Soy is also highly genetically modified (MSG).  Common side effects of MSG exposure include:

    • tachycardia
    • heart attacks
    • asthma
    • headaches
    • joint pain
    • sterility in females

Types of Soy to Eliminate

  • Tofu
  • “Soy Protein Isolate” [Isolated Soy Protein]
  • “Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein”
  • “Texturized Vegetable Protein”
  • “Soy Protein”
  • Soy Protein Supplements

When choosing to supplement with protein for added nutrients to the diet that can help with healing and repairing, you want to be sure to choose wisely.  There are many products on the market today which are full of artificial flavoring, colors, dyes, and fillers.  Whey protein is one of the most popular supplements however, most are actually harmful.  Most whey protein manufactures use a lot of heat for production which actually denatures the protein and makes it insoluble in water. This is why the manufactures add chemicals to restore the flavor and solubility.  Also, many whey protein supplements are deficient of the healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals due to the acidic processing as well.4 Genetically modified ingredients, such as soy lecithin, are added as well artificial sweeteners such as sucralose (also known as Splenda).  We suggest supplementing with organic hemp protein instead. Hemp protein is ideal because it is a plant based form that anyone can enjoy and it is very easy to digest.  When consuming hemp protein you will not only get the benefits of protein but also a hefty serving of fiber and essential fatty acids.

Adding more protein to the diet has many benefits and is even necessary in many situations.  However, before starting any new diet or lifestyle change it is important to discuss your concerns with your experienced nutritionist.  By testing a comprehensive blood panel and hair tissue mineral analysis, we are able to determine other necessary vitamins and minerals you may need to optimize your health.  Get tested today to find out where you need to start and to know exactly what to do and what to take for better health!

 

References:

  1. http://www.aminoacid-studies.com/amino-acids/what-are-amino-acids.html
  2. Institute of Medicine, Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients). 2005, National Academies Press: Washington, DC.
  3. Breastcancer.org
  4. Mercola, Joseph, Hofmekler, Ori, Stroden, Kipp. Not all whey protein is created equal.  Food Matters.  July 23, 2013

 

The information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Why the word “DIET” is being used wrong

Weight loss. one of the most talked about topics when it comes to women’s health.  Let’s face it, in today’s media driven society, we are putting ourselves on display more than ever and are even comparing ourselves to other women our ages all the time.  The weight may have creeped up over the years and now you feel stuck.  Or, your typical workout routines just aren’t enough anymore.  Women sometimes go to great lengths to try and discover the perfect weight loss product or program on the market.  And let’s be honest, there are way too many to choose from.  From fasting, to yo-yo dieting and detoxing, many of the weight loss programs out there now are too hard and too fast for the body to handle and, without proper guidance from a professional, you could end up causing more harm than good or even end up in the hospital!  Crash dieting has been known to cause heart palpitations, a drop in blood pressure, and even increase your risk for heart attacks.1

The word diet should be used when describing your lifestyle habits.  When people say they are “going on a diet” does this mean that they weren’t on one before? Case in point…They were on “diet” before but their diet  probably consisted of pro-inflammatory foods, fast food, sugar, and dairy.  Portion control can be quite time consuming and dictates unrealistic rules which set most people up for failure. In addition, when most people start counting their calories and following a low calorie diet, it slows their metabolism and in addition their protein intake drops too low which increases their susceptibility to infections, joint, bone and muscle disorders.

There are many factors that influence one’s ability to lose weight.  Ask yourself, why have you gained weight?  Have you ruled out factors that only a health professional can discover such as altered Thyroid function, imbalanced hormones, poor digestion, or even the medications you are on?

So where should you start?

  1. Get a physical. You want to be sure that before you start any exercise program, you are cleared to do so. This is especially important for those that are not currently exercising.
  2. Get your blood tested thoroughly. This will tell you exactly what your body is lacking or what toxicities you may have.  You may have to take supplements to fix the deficiencies found.  By getting your blood tested, you won’t have to guess at what supplements you may need.  For specialty cases, such as autoimmune diseases, you may be referred to your endocrinologist.
  3. Drink 2-3 quarts of clean filtered water daily. Be sure you measure it so you know how much you are drinking.  TIP: Try filling up a 32 oz water bottle in the morning and drink it by lunch time.  Then fill it up again and drink another 32 oz before dinner.
  4. Read your labels. Try to avoid all soy, artificial sweeteners, colors, dyes, and whey.  The deal with soy is that most of it is genetically modified and heavily sprayed with pesticides.  Too much consumption of this can cause endocrine imbalances which affects your hormones and thyroid.  Soy has the ability to actually mimic estrogen in our bodies which not only increases your chances of breast cancer, but the body encourages the body to hold onto fat.  If you are drinking a protein shake as a meal replacement or after a workout, be sure you avoid the powders with soy in them.  Opt for an egg white protein, rice powder, or pea powder.
  5. Cut down on the sugar. This includes fruit juice and soda, breads, pasta, crackers, cookies, chips, potatoes, and sweets. With carbohydrates, it is a fact that if you consume more than your body can use, your body stores them for later (which contributes to weight gain).
  6. Reduce dairy. Did you know that 60% of adults are unable to digest milk?  This is mainly because lactase, the enzyme responsible for digestion of milk, is stopped produced when we are 2-5 years old.2 Consumption of dairy can increase gas, bloating, diarrhea, and nausea.
  7. Increase proteins and healthy fats in the diet. Chicken, fish, nuts, seeds, quinoa, beans, eggs, and even some red meat are all good sources of proteins.  (TIP: Be sure to know what your Serum Iron and Ferritin levels are in the blood before consuming a lot of red meat.  It would be contraindicated to do so if your Ferritin is high.)  Healthy fats to include more of in the diet would be avocados, fish, nuts and nut butters, olive oil, and coconut oil.
  8. Try to eat vegetables with every meal. Fresh or frozen is best.
  9. Give it time. Changing up your “lifestyle habits” is not going to be easy.  But remember, if you are not taking care of yourself, you may not be healthy enough one day to take care of your family.  It may even take months.  But if you make just 1-5% progress every month, think about where you will be at the end of the year!

These guidelines are general.  Every individual is different and will need a different approach towards their goal.  There is not one “cure all” factor.  The most important factor to consider when considering making changes to your lifestyle is to be sure you get tested first.  By doing a comprehensive blood panel and tissue mineral analysis by an experienced nutritionist, deficiencies and toxicities can be detected.  This will save you time and money in the long run because you won’t be guessing at what your body needs and where you are lacking.  Lose weight in a healthy way by making the necessary lifestyle changes in order to have long term success with weight loss.

 

 

REFERENCES

  1. http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/04/20/crash.diets.harm.health/
  2. Weise, Elizabeth. Sixty percent of adults can’t digest milk.  USA today.  9/15/2009.

 

The information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.