It happened, it finally happened! I have finally become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and I am so excited to get back in the game (and out of the study books) to share so much of what I have learned with you. The road to becoming a Registered Dietitian was a long one but I am so very thankful I wandered the road less traveled.
During my rotations as a Dietetic Intern, I visited a number of different hospitals, clinics, personal practices, schools and kitchens. Talking with fellow Registered Dietitians throughout the day kept me up to speed on a lot of current information. We would discuss what was important, what wasn’t, what was hype and fiction, what crazy fad diets are out there today etc. If you haven’t already guessed by most of my previous posts, my interest resides in FAD diets and squashing the unrealistic hype that comes with the latest food trends.
When deciphering between what foods are healthy for you and which are better left alone, RD’s have a few tricks up their sleeve that I want to let you in on. Busting some of these common thoughts might save you a headache when you’re out shopping for groceries or ordering off a menu. So here we go, let’s dive into the brain of an RD for a minute or two.
Juicing doesn’t give you magical powers
I think I am still stuck on this phenomenon because it keeps showing up day in and day out. People reaching for the fancy juice instead of water and deciding to go on juice cleanses to clean their organs. I find people are more interested in looking at juice recipes than they are at whole food dishes with actual sustenance. I have even written an entire article (or two) based around juicing and why it’s not necessary. Juice is wonderful during the summer months when all you want to do is drink something cool and refreshing, but it shouldn’t be a daily thing. Juice is hardly anything else but sugar and carbohydrates (minus the fiber and protein), which gives you a quick energy boost but quite possibly a long crash afterwards (plus an empty wallet). I will admit though, the truth is coming out about juice and the focus has begun to shift back towards real food.
Rebuttal: Juice contains vitamins and some trace minerals if they are not lost during processing. Some Juice can contain added ingredients to help bulk it up, in this case I think we are talking about smoothies.
Read more here Why You Shouldn’t Be Drinking Juice
or here The Truth About Fruit Juice
There isn’t ONE super hero food
This one gets us going, I mean really going. Food should be eaten in a wide variety, meaning eating different types of fruits, veggies, whole grains, dairy products, meats, fats and oils. There is a reason for this, every thing we eat is good for something. Every piece of fruit or vegetable has a different vitamin and nutrient profile, giving us everything we need collectively. Collectively i.e. forming a whole from a group of individuals taken together. If there was a magical fruit or a magical plant that produced an all encompassing product, we would have found it by now. Likewise for the opposite, no food item is 100% unhealthy and terrible, but probably should be eaten in moderation. This is the reason to be eating different foods at every meal, to collectively receive and absorb the different vitamins, nutrients, macronutrients and hydration our body needs to function. Not to mention it would get pretty boring to be eating the same thing day after day, meal after meal.
Rebuttal: There are foods that have extra functional capabilities and these are deemed ‘superfoods’ such as lycopene in tomatoes, resveratrol in red grape skins, and of course avocados.
What does ‘Eating Clean’ even mean?
This is one of our favorites to discuss because the fire gets out of hand pretty darn fast. I get it, most people want to be eating ‘clean’ in regards to minimally processed foods (that’s a whole other topic), better ingredients, less chemicals in the food, shorter ingredient lists, and wholesome food products. However, when you don’t know what ‘clean’ means or cannot explain it, that’s when it gets a little bizarre. ‘Eating clean’ does not have a formal definition by the FDA or the USDA, so when food manufacturers slap the clean label on it’s product- it doesn’t mean anything. Is it referring to the ingredients, the processing facility, the sanitation practices, what exactly are we talking about, people?
Rebuttal: Eating clean has become more and more popular as the decade progresses and some industries/ companies have given it a definition including 1. Eating more wholesome ingredients or ‘real’ food. 2. Eating more plant-based foods and less heavily processed foods that come from packages and cans. 3. Buying foods local 4. Limiting fat, sugar, and salt 5. Get moving throughout the day to increase exercise. In this case, I rest my case- these sound like wonderful tips to incorporate into your diet, just don’t fall for the labels on food that say “clean” because there is no regulation on this.
Smoothie Bowls = Bowls of Carbohydrates
I think we can all agree on this one, smoothie bowls are taking over social media. They are everywhere I turn. Smoothie bowls and avocado toast, but unlike avocado toast which has some fiber, fat and maybe a little bit of protein if you throw on some bacon- smoothie bowls usually consist of 100% carbohydrates. Now that is not to say you can’t make a smoothie bowl contain more protein and nutrients, but the most popular ones contain wayyyy more than the recommended amount of carbs and sugar at one meal. Let’s look further on this one.
Smoothie bowls usually contain a few different components; we have the smoothie base, the fruit topping, a drizzle of sweet sauce, and maybe some nuts or seeds. The smoothie itself contains fruit, fruit juice, and maybe some form of milk. Smoothies alone are close to 200-500 calories with all the fruit considered. Then adding more fruit and sugar on top only increases the carbohydrate load. Finally adding some nuts and seeds on top might help but does not negate the fact that you have a very dense and heavy carbohydrate filled meal with little to no protein or necessary fat. Maybe I need to do a full article on smoothie bowls, it sounds deliciously tempting.
‘Pretty’ Food Doesn’t Always Mean ‘Healthy’ Food
More often than not, my daily meals do not look ‘instagram worthy’. But that’s not to say that it is not healthy or good for me. I think the younger generation gets so wrapped up in the outward appearance of food and what it has to look like in order to eat it, post it, or talk about it. Sometimes I get wrapped up in it as well, thinking my meals have to look beautifully crafted and I end up spending way more time and attention to the details that don’t matter. Good food doesn’t always look enticing, sometimes the colors are not perfectly matching and let’s face it sometimes I cook my food past the bright colors. But I can almost 100% guarantee that my food is delicious and packed with nutrients.
Rebuttal: It’s my job to entice you with food, therefore I design my food to catch your eye and hopefully want to eat good food too. It’s okay to want to make/eat ‘pretty’ food but just remember it’s not necessary in order to be healthy.
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