thyroid dysfunction

Thyroid Health 101

23 Aug 2017 no comments operator

Thyroid conditions are becoming increasingly more common, with approximately 20 million Americans suffering from a thyroid condition.

Why does this matter? What does your thyroid even do? Well according to Kelly Brogan MD, it is in control of your metabolism, and depending on what kind of thyroid condition you have, it dramatically affects your weight and many other things.

If your thyroid is under-active, meaning you have HYPOthyroidism, then your body’s processes are slow.

  • Your metabolism is slow
  • You gain weight more easily
  • You’re often tired
  • Have poor concentration
  • A slow heart rate
  • A slow digestive system

If your thyroid is overactive, and you have HYPERthyroidism, then your body’s processes are too fast.

  • A fast metabolism
  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • A fast heart rate
  • A fast digestive system




Four nutrients that are extremely important for a healthy thyroid include:

  • Iodine
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Iron

Hearing this, it may seem like a good idea to automatically supplement with these nutrients. However, if these minerals are too high, they can cause problems. This is why it is important to consult an expert when dealing with thyroid conditions.

Foods to Avoid

  • Pro-Inflammatory foods : if your condition is caused by inflammation (autoimmune diseases like Grave’s or Hashimoto’s), reducing inflammation can be very beneficial. Common pro-inflammatory foods include:
    • Sugar: discuss with your dietitian how much sugar is recommended and how much are in your favorite foods
    • Saturated fats: high fat meats and cheeses, processed foods
    • Trans fats: watch for ingredients such as “partially hydrogenated” and “fractionated” in ingredient lists, that means there is trace amounts of trans fats! Common foods: frozen breakfast foods, pastries, donuts, etc
    • Refined carbs: those “white” carbs: white rice, pasta, instant mashed potatoes…
    • MSG: typically in soy sauce and Asian dishes, but can be found in salad dressings and deli meats
    • Gluten: Wheat, rye, and barley. Hidden in many foods. Just because it is pro inflammatory, you may not need to be off all gluten
    • Aspartame: (Equal)
    • Alcohol: everything in moderation

Avoidance of these foods can vary depending on the individual, because everyone has different food sensitivities and is unique! It can also be dose related, so a good rule to follow is everything in moderation. A great way to find out what is causing inflammation in your body is by having a LEAP food sensitivity test done, which you can have done through LBS Nutrition LLC.

Cruciferous vegetables contain goitrogens, which can impair the thyroid’s ability to function. The following foods should not be consumed raw if you have a thyroid condition, and may need to be limited altogether:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Soy
  • Brussels sprouts

Soy is another food that may decrease thyroid function if consumed in large quantities.   Common foods with soy include: soy sauce, products using meat substitutes (check the label), miso, and edamame (soybeans). However, soy can also be a healthy addition to your meal plan. Again, discuss this with your doctor and dietitian.

Be wary of supplements if you are on thyroid medication.  Always discuss your supplements with your doctor and dietitian. These can impact the effects of your medication:

  • Calcium supplements
  • Iron supplements
  • Antacids

And of course, physical activity is very healthy for your thyroid. This may be hard, because fatigue is so common when you have a thyroid condition. Gradually, it will become easier to exercise, and your body will thank you for it. Start slowly and work your way up towards more high-intensity training. Don’t feel like you need to only do cardio! Strength training is great for your body, too.

Foods That Are Beneficial

Omega-3 fatty acids are great for hormone balance, and can be very helpful for inflammation and thyroid function. This includes…

  • Wild caught fish (salmon especially)
  • Nuts (especially walnuts)
  • Flax seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Leafy green veggies

Seaweed is a natural source of iodine, which may help your thyroid if you have low iodine. If your iodine levels are too high, you should not consume seaweed.

Probiotic foods help support healthy stomach bacteria, which helps inflammation and general health. Foods like…

  • Kefir
  • Greek yogurt
  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kombucha

Fruits and vegetables are important, because the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals support a healthy and proper-functioning body. A body that is treated properly will work properly!

Coconut oil may also be great for your gut health, and inhibits the growth of harmful microorganisms, which can contribute to inflammation.

Other Things to Consider

It is common for individuals with thyroid conditions to have low vitamin D levels, and it is important for proper thyroid function. You should request that your doctor check your vitamin D levels.

Be sure to get enough sleep! This can contribute to stress, which is also not good for thyroid function. (of course!)

So What Do I Do!?

This can all seem complicated, and your thyroid is absolutely a complex system. Knowing what to do to stay healthy and balanced is not easy, so consulting an expert is the best way to go. An individualized nutrition plan is needed for individuals with thyroid conditions, because knowing the cause and type of your condition impacts the treatment. The Registered Dietitians at LBS Nutrition LLC can help you determine what food plan is right for you, supplements to take, and how to minimize the negative effects of your condition.

Plant-Based Sources of Protein

30 Jul 2017 no comments operator

Balancing plant-based sources of protein with meat can be very beneficial to your health. There are many plants, grains, and legumes that can offer lean sources of protein. Since meat is typically higher in saturated fat, replacing some of your proteins with high fiber, plant-based options can be great for your heart. They also come with vitamins, & minerals packed in, so there are many nutritional benefits. Keep reading to find out how you can reach your protein goals without relying solely on animal sources, and even eat a little bit cleaner!

Legumes & Beans

Green peas: 1/2 cup, 4 grams

Most beans (kidney, black, pinto, garbanzo, etc): 1/2 cup, 7 grams

Hummus: 2 Tbsp, 3 grams

Lentils: 1/2 cup, 9 grams

Black Bean Spaghetti: 2 ounces, 25 grams (Explore Asian bean pasta products)



Seitan (derived from the protein of wheat, meat substitution): 3 ounces, 15 grams

Nutritional yeast: 2 Tbsp, 6 grams

Buckwheat: 1/2 cup, 4 grams

Quinoa: 1 cup, 8 grams

Quinoa is especially nutrient-dense because it contains all nine essential amino acids. Our body uses amino acids to grow and repair. Some of these amino acids are not produced by our bodies, and therefore we must get them through our food. Quinoa has ALL of these essential amino acids!

Nuts & Seeds

Most nuts & seeds (flaxseed, chia, sunflower, pumpkin, hemp) contain about 6 grams of protein per ounce or 1/4 cup. (pretty much a nice handful!)


Soy Protein

Tempeh (made from soybeans): 1/2 cup, 15 grams

Tofu: 1/2 cup, 10 grams

Edamame/soybeans: 1/2 cup= 8 grams

There is a debate regarding soy consumption. Remember the motto, everything in moderation! 

Plants & Greens


1 cup most veggies = about 2-3 grams

Try to eat deep green leafy veggies for more nutrition.

Non dairy/plant based protein powders

If milk products do not digest well, you can try some of these non-whey based protein powders for your smoothies or even to bake with! These include soy protein, hemp protein, brown rice protein, & pea protein


Sample Day

Here’s an example of a meatless day that has a sufficient amount of protein:


1/2 cup oatmeal (3 grams)

1 scoop plant based protein powder (20 grams)

2 Tbsp flaxseed (3 grams)


Protein Flatbread (12 grams)

1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) hummus (6 grams)

1/2 avocado (2 grams)


Celery sticks

2 Tbsp Sunbutter (7 grams)


1 cup tofu (20 grams)

1 cup broccoli (3 grams)

1/2 cup quinoa (4 grams)

1 diced red pepper

1 tbsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp ginger

2 Tbsp crushed peanuts  (2 grams)

PROTEIN TOTAL: 82 grams!

vegan 2


Keeping Up With Your Goals With A Busy Schedule

18 Jun 2017 no comments operator

Maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle can require some effort, especially when we are constantly on the go. Whether you’re rushing to get to work or running from one errand to the next, you still have to eat!  Knowing how to make decent choices and plan better for our hectic lives is crucial for staying on top of our wellness goals.

Tips For On The Go

The most important thing to remember is having foods around that will be filling and hold you over longer.  This includes protein/healthy fat based snacks.  Going long periods of time or eating carbohydrate heavy snacks will make you even more hungry and increase cravings.

Some filling and nutritious snacks:

  • Roasted edamame/crunchy edamame
  • Sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • Individual Justin’s Peanut Butter Packs with a piece of fruit or with celery
  • Protein shakes (make at home or get pre made ones)
  • Protein bars (should be balanced, at least 15-20 g protein and less than 6 g sugar)
  • Cheese sticks and large handful of nuts or seeds
  • Raw veggies- try sugar snap peas and sweet peppers

Also try to stay mindful and accountable! Tracking what you eat at least 3-4 times per week on an app or the old fashioned way, pen and paper, will help. This will keep you honest and maybe even prevent you from choosing that cookie or bag of potato chips!

Last but surely not least, make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Dehydration can mimic hunger.  Sometimes buying the bigger bottles (24 oz or more) can help you get your fluid requirements in easier than the smaller bottles. Do what works for you! Drinks such as Powerade Zero, Propel, Vitamin Water Zero will also work if you want to switch it up.

The main idea is, you want to avoid getting too hungry! This is what leads to poor decisions that will ruin your progress (and being starving is not fun). Keep high-protein / healthy fat snacks on hand to keep you satisfied all day. “Snacking” on a large handful of nuts and a cheese stick will leave you much more satisfied than a bag of chips or pretzels!

Meals On-The-Go

It can be difficult to make good choices when you’re in a rush, so being prepared can be very helpful. Here are some quick meals to pack if you know you will be out all day:

  • Salads or wraps with chicken/fish meat/ask for avocado
  • Yogurt with seeds, nuts, and some berries
  • Lean meat and vegetables



Convenience Stores & Rest Stops

Emergency meals can be tricky, so being prepared is always the best option. Still, we all get stuck at times and end up stopping at a convenience store for chips and candy. Knowing the more balanced choices before the situation arrives can help you stay on track. Go for nuts, seeds, plain yogurt (add nuts or a little granola), fruit with nut butter, vegetables with hummus, hard boiled eggs, protein drinks, and protein bars rather than the cookies, chips, cereal, cereal bars… the list goes on.

Fast Food

Even fast food chains can have decent choices. When in a pinch at these fast food restaurants, here are some of the healthier choices:

  • Chipotle: burrito bowl with chicken, veggies, black beans, and guacamole
  • Smashburger: Avocado black bean burger and veggie frites (veggies fries!)
  • Chick-Fil-A: grilled chicken nuggets
  • KFC: grilled chicken wings and small side of cole slaw
  • Subway: salad with chicken, turkey, or tuna and a little dressing, you can ask for extra protein
  • Starbucks: oatmeal(without the brown sugar), wraps, Moon Cheese, hummus/protein box


Again, notice that each of these meals is a balance of protein, fiber, and fats to keep you feeling satisfied for longer periods and prevent cravings.

Remember that we have to learn how to balance our healthy with our hectic days! They aren’t going anywhere unfortunately. However, this doesn’t mean you have to ruin your progress and how far you’ve come. Being just a little prepared beforehand can help you make better choices and keep you progressing nicely towards your goals.


Do Not Fall Victim To False Hope Syndrome

20 Apr 2017 no comments operator

We all have been there…

“Monday I am going to start running before work in the morning and eat salads for lunch and dinner”

 “I am not going to drink for the next 2 months so I look great for my cousin’s wedding”

“No added sugar or refined carbohydrates starting January 1st, this will be the best year yet!”

How long do these behavioral changes last, or do they ever get past the initial yearning/thought? Week after week, my fellow dietitians and I at LBS Nutrition LLC  listen to many people who state how they planned to start eating ‘healthier’ or work out, but they “just never got to it.”

Life tends to have a way of, well, getting in the way. 

So my question is why? Why are these goals unable to be met? There must be something holding us back.  We can blame external events such as work and social pressures, but the truth lies in our personal values and willingness to commit to these lifestyle changes.  Maybe we need to work on rephrasing our health goals and restructuring the game plan.

The article attached, Does ‘false hope syndrome’ make it hard to lose weight? By Juli Fraga parallels how many feel when they continuously perceive they are failing at achieving a goal, whether it is public speaking or losing weight.  Often we set ourselves up for failure by jumping into broad resolutions without really analyzing how these goals reflect our values and genuine willingness to commit to the changes necessary to achieve the end product.

ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy), as discussed in the article, provides us with an effective structure to rephrase and restructure our goals. No longer will false hope syndrome hold us back!

Summer is coming… so lets review some ACT principles to make sure your goals become reality!

Sample goal: To eat breakfast daily- NO MORE SKIPPING!

What are the barriers?

  • I need to be at work by 7 am so I have trouble waking up early enough to make breakfast.
  • I am not very hungry and feel nauseous when I wake up
  • Traffic is heavy in the mornings so I often do not have time to stop and buy something or am in a rush to make it there on time

Does this goal align with my values?

  • I really enjoy eating breakfast on weekends when I have time
  • I feel energized and usually eat better throughout the rest of the day when I eat breakfast
  • I cherish sleep and will not wake up much earlier to make breakfast, as then I will lack sleep and feel exhausted

 What emotions may come along?

  • Improved energy from eating breakfast, but less energy if waking up much earlier
  • I often feel anxious about everything I need to do in the day so making breakfast adds another stressor
  • Confusion about what composes a “balanced” breakfast

 Action plan:

To make sure this goal is compatible to the individual’s values, barriers, and emotions, an action plan must be made that is detailed, measurable and realistic.

  • Prepare breakfast options on Sunday night that can easily be taken and eaten on the road or when at work (hard boiled eggs, make mini protein/oat muffins, Greek yogurt with nuts or high fiber granola, pre-made or make your own protein shake, trail mix, cottage cheese and fruit with a sprinkle of flaxseed)
  • Morning food preparation for this individual should not take more than 3-5 minutes to ensure long term success as he or she highly values sleep and current wake up time.
  • Talk with a dietitian about easy to prepare ‘balanced’ options that can be made at home and kept/ made at work
  • Protein shake!  It takes 2-3 minutes with the right ingredients and equipment. Or you can even make it the night before!

As seen, your goals must be approached in a unique fashion depending on your values, emotions and potential hurdles. It is essential to meet with a registered dietitian to best structure your individualized, nutrition-based goals to make them most realistic and compatible to your life.

You can check out the article:


brown bag lunch

What’s Inside a Dietitian’s Brown Bag Lunch?

28 Mar 2017 no comments operator
By Sari Greaves, RDN

You’ve heard the expression “you are what you eat.” If you find yourself cranky and tired in the mid-afternoon, you may be able to boost your mood by changing what you eat.

Many of my clients start their day with a breakfast of champions such as eggs/omelets, oatmeal with walnuts, and protein shakes. But still, they are left snoozing after lunch time. Which begs the question: what are you eating for lunch? Typically, responses include “I have no time for lunch, I buy something from the vending machine, or “I grab a bagel or low fat blueberry muffin at the coffee shop.”  Even “healthier” choices such as a a basic garden salad are brought up. However, without the right combination of nutrients, these choices will inevitably result in an energy bust instead of an energy boost.

A lunch break is the ideal time to choose foods that will fuel your body and give you sustained energy to conquer your day. Here are some personal go-to 5 brown bag lunches that take only a few minutes to prepare. Best of all, the total cost of ingredients is $25.00 (That’s 5 brown bag lunches at $5.00 a pop). Each meal encompasses the correct balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
Mix it up and choose the lunch that best matches the specific demands of your day.

Brown Bag 1: High Energy Pasta

chickpeapastalentilpasta    chickpeawsauce

Best if: You’re hitting the gym after work.

1 cup lentil or chickpea pasta, ½-3/4 cup tomato sauce, 2 tsp olive oil, a handful of skinless rotisserie chicken, 1 small chopped tomato, and a few Tbsp shredded cheese. Try throwing some cooked zucchini or broccoli on top for added fiber.
Brown Bag Bonus:  This pasta combination will provide time-released fuel for your cardio blast workout without weighing you down.

Brown Bag 2: Heart-Healthy Peanut Butter Sandwich

blogPB  blogPITA  blogSIGGIS

Best if: You’re giving a presentation late in the day.

Fill a small whole-grain pita or a slice of high fiber (3-5 g per slice) bread with 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter, almond butter, or Sunbutter. Pair with a 6 oz. container of a low sugar, high protein Greek or Icelandic yogurt, and some baby carrots with 2-3 Tbsp hummus.
Brown Bag Bonus: The healthy fats in the nut butter combined with the high protein yogurt can contribute to an upbeat mood and sustained energy. *Buyers beware:  if the first ingredient on a multi grain or whole wheat product does not say “whole” it is not truly whole grain.

Brown Bag 3: Veggie & bean Soup, Fully Loaded


Best if: You’re tempted to hit the vending machine for a late afternoon munch.

Stir 2 cups of chopped pre-washed leafy green salad blend (try kale, spinach, arugula) chop up a few carrots, and ½ cup bean of your choice, into 1 can of low sodium vegetable soup. Add seasoning/spices to taste. Enjoy with a toasted high protein, whole grain tortilla broken into chip sizes such as La tortilla factory mini whole grain tortillas or Ezekiel tortillas.

Brown Bag Bonus: Fiber packed vegetable soup naturally helps stabilize blood sugar to stave off end of day hunger.

Brown Bag 4: Portable Picnic Lunch


Best if: Your evening will include cocktails and cake.

1 small apple or pear, ¼ cup nuts or seeds, hard boiled egg, 1 cheese stick or ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese.
Brown Bag Bonus: If you know you’ll be tempted later, a light but filling lunch (or when you do not have time to prepare an actual “meal”!) is a crucial defense. Nuts or seeds will provide heart healthy fats and an egg will give you a filling protein punch. The apple will deliver a gratifying crunch adding to your daily fiber goals!

Brown Bag 5: Nutty Pear & Chicken Salad


Best if: You’re tied to your desk the rest of the afternoon.

Combine a handful of skinless rotisserie chicken with 2-3 cups of leafy greens of your choice (arugula, kale, spinach), ¼ cup canned beans, 1-2 tablespoon of walnuts or pecans, and a small ripe pear. 1-2 Tbsp shredded cheese or 1/4 avocado slices is optional. Try making your own dressing with a teaspoon of grapeseed oil and balsamic vinegar.

Brown Bag Bonus: A veggie-centric, high fiber/low sugar lunch is an easy way to keep a meal low-calorie yet high volume when you are going to be sedentary the next few hours.

*For full nutrition facts: add a new recipe to myfitnesspal or email us at

Role of a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist in Eating Disorder Care

17 Mar 2017 no comments operator

By Hilary Raciti, RDN CDN


A Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (RDN) can work in a variety of settings with a great diversity of clientele.   Often when thinking of a nutritionist one thinks of a professional who helps people eat “healthier” for weight management or weight loss. Often I hear people calling me the ‘food police’ and get ashamed to admit that they nibbled on a cookie over the weekend.

The truth is, dietitians utilize the science and art of medical nutrition therapy to improve clients’ medical status. This does not necessarily indicate weight loss or removal of certain foods; dietitians promote optimal nourishment and often this means promoting balance and eradicating nutritional myths.  When working with eating disorders, a dietitian is drastically removed from this stereotypical role.

Let’s first define what an eating disorder is. An eating disorder is any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits. This includes but is not limited to Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), and Binge Eating Disorder.  For more information about eating disorders outlined in the DSM-5 please refer to the link below.

Eating disorders come in all shapes and forms and often do not fit perfectly into the categories above. Usually in that case one will be diagnosed with EDNOS or Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. A Dietitian who works with clientele displaying symptoms of an eating disorder must be aware of the various diagnoses, assess individual behaviors, thoughts, external factors, and medical and family history to best develop a nutrition treatment plan. One must be ready for hurdles and necessary changes to this treatment plan, as an eating disorder is a dynamic struggle that requires consistent care and modifications.  Working with a treatment team including a therapist, primary physician and often parents and other support figures is absolutely necessary. Successful treatment of an eating disorder requires consistent collaboration with the whole treatment team, as it is a genetically, socially and environmentally based condition with threatening physical outcomes if not treated.10SELFIMAGEThe role of a RDN in the care of eating disorders is similar to that of all other conditions:  he or she develops and implements the nutrition treatment plan while providing support in accomplishing the goals set out in the treatment plan. Just like with any other client, the dietitian works with the individual based on his or her unique eating disorder behaviors, needs and motivation level. Dietitians who are involved in the treatment of eating disorders must take time to understand the client’s motivation for recovery and readiness level while respecting the individual as a person, not an eating disorder.

A Registered Dietitian will calculate the individual’s energy, protein, vitamin/mineral, and fluid needs and assist the client in creating a meal plan that is realistic and adaptable to his or her daily life. During times of severe caloric restriction, a dietitian will strategically increase energy intake in small increments to prevent re-feeding syndrome, a potentially fatal condition in which shifts of fluids and electrolytes occur in a malnourished person.   Once a client or patient is medically stable, the introduction of new or “challenging” foods continues at a slow pace, however, energy or calorie needs are often heightened due to prolonged abuse and damage to internal organs from long-term malnutrition.

Many patients with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa or those with restrictive intake patterns may experience hypermetabolism with symptoms of extreme hunger and night sweats in the beginning of recovery. This is due to the body’s sense of security that nutrition will again be provided and thus turning its engine on to replace fat and muscle stores, organs, bone mass, hair, nails- all that were depleted during prolonged starvation or restriction.  A dietitian will guide the client during this phase to ensure sufficient energy, protein and fluid intake.

What about those with binge eating disorder or those with restrictive-binging tendencies that are at a healthy weight or even potentially overweight? A dietitian will never promote weight loss or diets for clients who display BED (binge eating disorder). In this case a dietitian will work with clients to promote regular or normalized eating habits, sufficient nourishment throughout the day, and detection of external or internal triggers that may result in the binges. Working on techniques to battle these triggers, gain control of eating behaviors and prevent the sense to restrict or compensate after a perceived binge is essential in the treatment of these conditions.

Educating clients about nutrition while challenging clients’ food roles and fears is another important role of a dietitian in the care of eating disorders.  Many clients have false beliefs about what composes a healthy diet and gravitate to extremes to gain a sense of control.  Clients with eating disorders necessitate proper education that all foods do fit in a balanced diet. Carbohydrates and fats are extremely important components of our diet, but societal cues today cause much confusion. Trained Eating Disorder dietitians will often execute exposure relapse prevention with the client. This consists of creating a hierarchy of fear foods starting from those that are least anxiety provoking to those that cause intense stress or discomfort. A dietitian will carefully expose a client to these foods, one at a time, continuously until his or her SUD (subjective unit of distress) decreases. This is a great method to overcome food fears for those with eating disorders.

Although the main goal for a dietitian working in Eating Disorder care is to promote adequate, balanced nutrition with decreased irrational thoughts, behaviors and fears about food and the body- clients often display comorbid medical issues such as gastroparesis (slow digestion/poor muscle motility in your stomach), bone loss and amenorrhea (loss of menstrual cycle) due to long-term restriction or compensatory behaviors. A dietitian will have to be wary of such conditions and assist with symptom alleviation while ensuring sufficient caloric and protein intake via liquid supplements, low residue foods, and high-density meals and snacks. Proper supplementation is also crucial for many in recovery due to bone loss, deficiencies and hormonal imbalances.


A Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist is a vital component of eating disorder care. He or she takes the time to work through a client’s struggles, food beliefs, personal preferences, social support team and medical history to create a nutrition treatment plan personalized for his or her specific needs.  The dietitian will need to work with other clinicians including a therapist and primary physician to guarantee dynamic care. Remember an eating disorder is rarely about food and an eating disorder dietitian understands this.

For nutrition counseling appointments call 732-210-9581.

For more information on Eating Disorders please visit:


Reaching Goal Weight and Preventing Weight Gain After Bariatric Surgery

27 Dec 2016 no comments operator


Contrary to popular belief, bariatric surgery is not a guaranteed long-term weight loss solution. You have to put in the work and make lifestyle changes in order for your surgery to be a life long success. Continuing or going back to old, unfavorable habits can quickly bring you back to where you were before your procedure. Start 2017 off right and follow these tips to ensure that you will have permanent results.

Bariatric Surgery Long Term Success Tips

1. Continue follow-ups with your bariatric surgeon and bariatric dietitian 

It is very important to continue regular visits with both your bariatric surgeon and your bariatric dietitian. Just because you are losing weight and you feel wonderful at the moment does not mean you should stop these meetings. Remember that the weight comes off much faster in the first few months following surgery, so nothing may alarm you. However, this surgery is a lifelong commitment and should not be taken lightly. Aim to meet with your surgeon as directed right after surgery and at least 1-2 times per year after that, and try to check in with your dietitian once every 3-4 months. This will help you stay on track, continue progressing, and prevent issues before they arise. Always remember that preventative medicine is best!   You should be keeping up with your blood work and meeting with your dietitian go over your food/nutrition plan to ensure you are getting in proper nutrients and not losing too much muscle. You took this step to change your health, it is OK to get some assistance along the way.

2. Utilize the surgery

You just got a wonderful procedure done and your stomach is much smaller than it once was. Make sure to pack it full of nutrients and filling foods such as PROTEIN, fiber, &  healthy fats.  This will ensure you will stay satisfied longer and prevent overeating. This is the point of the surgery isn’t it? When you do have some space and hunger, make it count with a nutrient dense choice. Try your best to avoid going too long without eating, every 3-4 hours is ideal.  Getting in your fluids and staying away from excessive amounts of coffee/caffeine is also important and another way to utilize your surgery. Again, you’ve been handed an amazing tool of a smaller stomach, so make sure to take advantage! Over time you will be able to eat more so adapting these habits from the start will keep the weight off for good. If you are not eating protein & fiber packed foods, skipping meals, and not getting in enough fluids, you are not fully utilizing your surgery. (and taking advantage of such a wonderful tool you’ve been given)


3. Always remember the rules (& never get too comfortable)

When you first arranged your surgery, you were provided with a bunch of rules of thumb to follow. These are not only for the first few weeks following the surgery, they are life long! You are given these rules for your advantage. You are not invincible and things can change over time. It will benefit you greatly to adhere to:

  • Not drinking and eating together: waiting 20-30 minutes after drinking to eat, and 20-30 minutes after eating to drink
  • Avoiding carbonated beverages, even diet (can expand your stomach in the long run!)
  • Eating slowly
  • Chewing thoroughly
  • Reaching your protein goals & eating it first at your meals
  • Avoiding high calorie/sugary drinks (juices, lattes, alcohol) the empty calories add up and go down even smoother

4. Keep yourself accountable

Tracking any and everything from what you eat, drink, exercise, and even your mood will help you stay accountable and mindful.  Just even 2-3 days per week if it is tough to do daily is great. It will also help you and your health care provider recognize any unhealthy habits/patterns that are starting to form. In the beginning, you are so limited to what you can eat, so what are a few snacks here and there going to do? Well over time, you are able to eat more (and are more comfortable) and that one handful of chips or pretzels or that 1-2 chicken nuggets can easily turn into a few more. Continue with weigh ins, follow-up visits, and support group attendance. You are the only person you are cheating if you aren’t honest with yourself. This surgery can be so extremely beneficial, but it is a must to stay accountable and pay attention to what you are doing!

5. Exercise/movement

The end goal of the surgery should be to be fit & healthy. Maintaining a healthy weight consists of both a balanced diet and exercise. Exercising will keep you burning calories (especially on those days you had that extra piece of chocolate) help tone loose skin, and build muscle to help your metabolism. It may not accelerate your weight loss, but it is a key factor in keeping the weight off for years to come. It is also very beneficial for mental health, heart health, and overall well-being.



If you have fallen off track or if you see yourself heading down an unhealthy path, make sure you reach out to your healthcare providers.  Do not feel embarrassed or shy! They are here to help you. Experts in this field, such as your surgeon and bariatric dietitian, can help you stay or get back on track by providing you the tools you need to jump-start again and stay motivated.

The worst thing you can do is go back on an extreme diet or take a diet pill. This will only set you back further. Figure out what is preventing your progress and work on these issues one by one. If you still have too many barriers, consider meeting with a therapist to help.

Eating your protein first will never get old either. Protein will keep you fuller longer, avoid eating too many “empty” calories, utilize the surgery,  and it is necessary for so many of your body’s functions. And just one more last piece of advice: avoid exploring too much. Just because the surgery isn’t stopping you, doesn’t mean do it. 🙂


We always focus on protein! So here is a sample high protein day: 

*this is only for patients that are beyond the first few months of surgery


Egg Wrap: 24 g

  • 1 egg and 1 egg white (10g)
  • Flatout Protein Up Flatbread (12g)
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped and sautéed (1g)
  • 1 Tbsp salsa
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms, sautéed (1g)


Smoothie: 28 g

  • Protein powder (15-20g)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds (3g)
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter (4g)
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup spinach (1g)


Tuna Salad: 22 g

  • 2 oz tuna (14g)
  • 1/2 cup kale or romaine (1g)
  • 1 oz Roasted Chickpeas (5g)
  • 1 Tbsp sunflower seeds (2g)
  • 1/4 cup avocado

Snack: 15g

  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt (10g)
  • 1 oz pumpkin seeds (5g)
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Dinner: 17g

  • 2/3 cup lentil pasta (14g)
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce (1 g)
  • 1/3 cup zucchini (2g)

Snack: 5-7 g

  • Frozen greek yogurt bar or Enlightened Bar (5-7 g)

Total: 80-90 grams protein

As always, you can only try your best. Everyone has different eating styles and amounts they can eat at one time.

You can call the office at 732-210-9581 or visit to schedule your nutrition counseling appointment & get more of these meal plans!



Have A Happy Healthy Holiday!

07 Dec 2016 no comments operator

Staying healthy around the holidays sounds impossible, but I promise its not as difficult as it seems! Paying attention to your choices and staying accountable will help you stick to your goals.


Top 10 Healthy Holiday Tips

1.Set realistic goals:

Just maintaining your weight (and not gaining) can be win during this treat-filled, less active time. When we set goals that are not realistic, we often feel discouraged and defeated. This is a journey and a lifelong commitment, there is no rush. Allow yourself to have some of your favorite holiday fare, because it is unrealistic to expect yourself to stay away from all temptation.

2. Stay accountable & mindful:

Track what you eat and drink (good, bad, and ugly) a few times per week (or more) using an app or the old fashioned way. Make sure not to let this habit die! You can never get too comfortable because it is easy to fall back into old behaviors. Remember, it is how you bounce back that matters.

3. Move more:

Make sure you do some sort of activity. Whatever you can do is beneficial. Instead of saying you have to exercise for an hour, try 15-20 minutes and you will probably go even longer. Walk extra around large department stores and malls or do some extra cleaning around the house. It all adds up. Plus, it should force you to drink more water!

4. Avoid going to dinners and parties on an empty stomach:

Going to a holiday party starving will not end in anything good! Have normal, balanced meals throughout the day, and do not “save” your calories so that you can go crazy and eat them all at once. You will most definitely overindulge and go over your calorie goal, not to mention have a belly ache.


5. Bring your own healthy appetizer to parties:

Don’t rely on other party attendees to supply the healthy choices, bring your own! Bring a veggie and dip or hummus platter, chicken kabobs, lettuce wraps, tomato/mozzarella salad, deviled eggs, zucchini/eggplant dishes, the list goes on… This will keep you away from the chips and other empty calorie, high carb choices. Keep reading on to get some delicious recipes!

6. Be wary of drinks:

They have more calories than you think. Pick your poison, and consider if it’s really worth the extra calories. A drink is a drink is a drink…


7. Stay hydrated:

Water intake tends to be neglected during the colder months since we feel less thirsty. You need to keep your water bottle with you at all times. Try adding fruit or get an infuser bottle to make it more interesting.  The latest recommendation are the True Lime drink mixes- they have a lot of great flavors.  Also remember, when we are dehydrated we may think we are really hungry and go for food instead of water.

8. Have a support person:

Have that go-to support person to slap your hand away from the chips and who isn’t afraid to say “don’t do it!” Someone to text you when you need it most, to be a great influence when you are out to eat, (to also share with and one who says no when you ask if you want dessert) and someone to trade healthy recipes with.

9. Dust yourself off after a “bad” few days of eating:

It is how you bounce back that is key. One or two days being “off” isn’t going to completely sabotage all your hard work and effort. We are human, which means we are not perfect. So, dust yourself off, move on, and tomorrow is a new day. Just do not allow the “funk” to linger- then it will be extra hard to dig yourself out.


10. (last but not least) Visit your Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist!

This will help you stay focused, stay accountable, keep motivated, and keep you on track. Not to mention you can get some great ideas for meals/snacks, a new eating plan that is tailored to you, and some nice variety. When we are bored of what we are eating, we fall off.

As always, you can only try your best 🙂





To help you make good choices this holiday season, here are some healthy and delicious recipes that won’t set you behind! Offer to bring one wherever you’re going, and I’m sure there will be other party members who will thank you for it.


Cheesy Brown Rice Gratin With Zucchini & Eggplant

Filled with healthy fats from olive oil and walnuts, fiber from the vegetables, and protein from cheese, this cheesy brown rice veggie gratin is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser!


Roasted Root Vegetables With Walnut Pesto

Nothing says winter holidays like roasted root veggies such as carrots, parsnips, and turnips. If your guests aren’t a huge fan, you can easily swap in different vegetables, too. Pesto made from walnuts and basil is heart-healthy and gives it a nice twist from traditional, plain vegetables.


Roasted Turkey With Apples & Onions

Roasting your turkey will give it crisp and flavorful skin, while keeping the meat super moist. The apples and onions infuse such great flavor!


Polish Beet Soup

Nothing warms you up on a cold winter day like beet soup! Beets are filled with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They detoxify, fight cancer cells, and also prevent inflammation. Plus, they make a beautiful colored soup!


Spaghetti Squash Latkes

Using spaghetti squash rather than potatoes lightens up traditional latkes by cutting carbs practically in half. They taste almost exactly the same, too!


Apple Crisp

Can’t forget about dessert! This clean apple crisp uses very little added sweetener, but will taste like the real deal.


Chickpea Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

You can’t come empty handed to a cookie exchange, and I can guarantee people will be fighting over these! When I made these, no one could tell that they weren’t made with refined sugar and flour. Made with chickpea flour, they have 3 grams of protein each and much less carbs than regular cookies.


Some additional dessert ideas:

Fruit menorah: Blueberries, bananas, kiwi, and strawberries

Dark chocolate bark with pistachios and pomegranate seeds

Dark chocolate covered strawberries with pretzel antlers and reindeer faces

Grape/strawberry/banana santa hats


Most importantly, have a healthy and happy holiday and new year!

gut health

Your Healthy Gut Bugs Are Fighting For Their Lives (And Yours!)

02 Dec 2016 no comments operator

Some of us may have heard that our gut microbiome is important. In fact, it is a huge area of research right now.  What exactly does that mean though, and why is it important?

Your Gut’s Bacteria

Your gut consists of multiple different types of bacteria- some good, and some bad. A diversity of bacteria in your gut is most beneficial.

We start accumulating these little bacteria the day we are born, and they continue to change and function throughout our lives. These bacteria have many functions that range from digesting our food, extracting nutrients, and producing hormones. Think of them as helpful little bugs that each have their own job. You want a wide variety of jobs being done, and therefore a wide variety of bacteria in your gut.

The standard American diet depletes the good bacteria and feeds the bad bacteria in our gut, messing with the balance of our microbiome. Processed foods, a lot of added sugar, unhealthy fats (saturated/trans/fractionated), and inflammatory foods are what contribute to this imbalance.

Food isn’t the only thing that kills our good bacteria. Overuse of antibiotics and over-the-counter medication are other contributing factors. Pesticide/chemical exposure and smoking are also believed to be good bacteria killers. We also tend to avoid dirt, which is rich in probiotics and healthy bacteria, which our ancestors did not do.

Stress is another factor that influences your bacteria. Research has shown that high levels of stress can feed bad bacteria. Also, stress raises cortisol levels, which increases inflammation levels, which kills our microbiome.

All around, we are not doing much to support a healthy gut. We are slowly killing the little bugs that are working so hard to help us out.


Why should I care if my gut microbiome is balanced?

Nearly every aspect of your health is controlled by the bacteria in your gut and those hard-working little bugs. Our brain and our gut actually communicate, and if our bacteria is sending negative signals, it can even affect your mental health. Bad bacteria can impact your brain’s production of serotonin, a hormone which controls your mood. It also affects other hormones that are associated with anxiety, depression, and stress.

Your body’s ability to fight illness is affected by your microbiota, because bad bacteria can feed pathogens that are responsible for viruses. Also, bad bacteria contributes to inflammation in the body, which can suppress your immune system and make it difficult to fight off bugs.

Research has shown that decline in gut health might be responsible for the increase in food allergies such as lactose and gluten.

Newer research has shown that neglected gut health might be responsible for weight gain as well. Individuals who are obese tend to have less microbiota living in their gut, and less of a variety. This means that a lot of those good bacteria’s jobs are being neglected. A deficit in good bacteria in the gut can make your body extract too much energy (calories) from your food. If your body is processing more energy than it needs, the excess gets stored as fat. There also seems to be a connection between low gut microbiota levels and sweet cravings.


So then what can we do to rebalance our microbiome?

Fixing your bacteria balance is fairly easy! Probiotics and prebiotics, two healthy bacterias, are found in many foods that can help replenish what you’ve lost so far:

  • Fermented foods: like sauerkraut and kimchi
  • Kombucha: a fermented bubbly drink (like a healthier soda!)
  • Kefir: similar to yogurt but with even more beneficial bacterias
  • Foods high in prebiotic fiber: onion, garlic, leeks, artichokes, jicama, green bananas
  • Healthy fats: avocado oil, olive oil
  • Eat a variety of foods, and be sure to include all colors of fruits and veggies! Each type of healthy bacteria can be found in different foods, so eating a wide variety ensures you’re receiving a wide range of nutrients. This is especially true for plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables.
  • High fiber foods, such as beans and legumes, help healthy bacteria grow
  • Eat organic: research has shown that pesticides can be harmful to microbiota
  • High polyphenol foods: antioxidants and polyphenol rich foods reduce inflammation and help good bacteria grow. Some examples of polyphenol rich foods are dark chocolate, red wine, green tea, almonds, and blueberries


If you are unable to eat foods high in probiotics and prebiotics, there are also supplements available to provide you with these nutrients.

It is equally important to avoid too much of certain foods as it is to include the gut-healthy ones. Here is what to avoid if possible:

  • Too much added sugar & artificial sweeteners (everything in moderation)
  • Processed foods
  • Refined carbohydrates (white bread, white pasta, muffins, cakes, white rice)
  • Any foods you know that you are intolerant to or are unable to digest well

Exercise has also been shown to support a healthy gut, but so is rest! Be sure to let your body recover.

Reducing stress is another important step to take in order to improve your gut health. As stated before, stress raises cortisol, which increases inflammation in the body. This can kill healthy bacteria in the gut.

Balancing your microbiome can help you feel better mentally and physically. It can help you lose weight, improve your immune system, and feel less stressed. Balance your bacteria and be a better you! You should discuss how you can do these with your Registered Dietitian.

gut health 4.jpeg

busting the myths

Weight Loss Myths Debunked

01 Sep 2016 no comments operator

We are fed a lot of information about weight loss and dieting, and it can be difficult to decide what to believe. Here’s the truth about a lot of what you hear in the media.

1. Carbs make you gain weight

Carbohydrates can be great for you. They offer a great deal of energy that can be helpful to fuel your body, especially before a workout. Like all categories of food, not all carbs are created equal. There are complex carbohydrates (like whole grains and rice), and simple carbs (like refined flour and baked goods). Simple carbs are turned into sugar, which is what our body stores as fat when consumed in excess. In reality, it is sugar and simple carbohydrates that make you gain weight. Complex carbs should be included in your diet in moderation. They are digested much slower than simple carbs, and therefore offer a slow stream of energy rather than a blood sugar spike. They can be found in oats, rice, grains, and even in fruits, vegetables, and nuts.


2.Fat makes you gain weight

Similar to carbohydrates, the right kind of fat can be very good for you. Fat has a bad reputation because of the unhealthy saturated fats that are linked to heart conditions. Healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, avocados, and coconut can have great health benefits. They can help lower cholesterol, they are great for your skin and hair, and they have individual benefits in addition.

3. Cardio is the best form of exercise for weight loss

Cardio is a very healthy exercise, but that doesn’t mean you need to do over an hour of it daily to lose weight. 30 minutes of high intensity cardio can be just as effective. Fluctuation in heart rate has been shown to be very effective in burning fat. This means that the more your heart rate moves up and down, the more fat your are burning. HIIT, circuit training, and Tabata are great at moving your heart rate into fat burning mode.


4. Weights make you bulk and look heavier

Weight training is also great for fat burning as well. When you do a high number of repetitions on a low weight, you burn fat and build muscle without bulking. Include weight training in your daily workout routine to see full body results.

5. You need to cut calories to lose weight

We wrote a full post already on why cutting calories isn’t always effective here, but to summarize, cutting calories isn’t always the way to go. Eating too little can damage your metabolism just like eating too much can. Increasing your calories can speed up your metabolism and help you lose weight. Also, not all calories are created equal! Eating the same amount of calories but focusing more on protein than carbs can help you lose weight without reducing calories.

6. Dieting can help me lose weight fast and keep it off permanently

A lot of the time, the weight you lose from dieting is only temporary. Diets are not something you can follow long term, and so you gain the weight back the minute you go back to your typical lifestyle. Eating healthy in a way you can maintain is much more effective. The weight you lose will stay off if you continue with your lifestyle change permanently.

7. Low fat, fat free, sugar free, and diet foods help with weight loss

These labels signal that these foods are filled with chemicals. In order to lose weight and be healthy, you should avoid anything in a box, especially with these labels. Processed foods filled with preservatives and refined ingredients are digested as sugars and stored as fat. Eat nutritious foods that don’t need to be fat free and sugar free, and you’ll be much better off.


8. Having off-limit foods is an effective way to avoid temptation

Completely avoiding foods you enjoy only triggers temptation. It is more effective to enjoy your favorite foods in moderation, and practice balance. Enjoy those off-limits foods on occasion, and fuel your body with nutritious foods most of the time.

9. Skipping meals can help me lose weight

We wrote a full article on this as well here, but skipping meals ruins your metabolism. Eating 3+ times a day is much better for weight loss, because it keeps your metabolism running and prevents energy crashes.

10. Eating healthy is too expensive

There are a lot of nutritious foods you can purchase for cheaper than pre-packaged diet foods. For example, beans, rice, and chicken are all thrifty options that can fill you up. Besides, your health is an investment and it should be a priority.


11. You can lose weight by either focusing on diet OR exercise

To effectively lose weight, you need to balance your nutrition and exercise. You won’t get anywhere by focusing on one without the other. It is important to fuel your body with the right food and burn extra calories at the same time.

12. Skinny people are healthier

Skinny people can be just as malnourished as everyone else. Just because they seem to be in shape, it does not mean that they are feeding their body nutritious foods. It is also possible to be overweight and malnourished as well.

13. Fat and muscle weigh the same

Muscle is very dense compared to fat, so the same mass weighs more when it is made up of muscle. Don’t focus on weight! Focus on how you feel and aim to be the healthiest version of yourself possible.


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