The road to eating better, feeling better

8 Feb

By ALEX MATTHEWS — The Post-Star | Posted: Monday, February 8, 2010 11:50 pm

When it comes to eating right, most of us are looking for simple solutions. Eat this, not that. Steer clear of such-and-such, while loading up on painfully healthy items.

As a licensed and certified nutritionist, Mary Beth McCue of Saratoga Nutrition said this is why she avoids the word ‘organic’ and never forbids foods.

“It turns some people off,” she said inside her consultation room at Roosevelt Baths in Saratoga Spa State Park. “(I recommend) whole, clean foods, clean meaning sustainable.”

Whole Foods, I thought. Like the organic grocery chain I used to shop at in Boston, but can’t find anything remotely like in Glens Falls.

Whole foods, the holistic dietician explained, meaning unprocessed or minimally refined with mostly natural ingredients.

Beyond listing some places to shop – a natural food store in Saratoga, a co-op in Albany and perhaps the organic section of a major food store – McCue pointed out common nutritional pitfalls and their remedies. Here are some of her recommendations.

1. Lose the stress and processed foods: Easier said than done, but controlling food-related anxiety can help.

“A lot of things cause stress in our lives,” McCue said. “The cause of any imbalance is stress and toxicity. What is stress caused by? Many things, including processed foods.”

This includes foods altered from their original state, often for preservation (i.e. canned, frozen, dehydrated), which may contain high amounts of sodium and sugar, as well as trans and saturated fats.

“Most people are eating real fast on the run, and they’re eating processed foods,” she said, explaining this can lead to digestion problems and hormonal imbalances.

Translation: weight gain and stress.

2. Eat right, not less: People need to get back to eating for nutrients, and weight loss will follow, McCue said. Those with overweight or obesity issues often stumble on the fact that eating less of the same processed foods leaves them exhausted and without results.

Too many simple carbohydrates, such as honey, table sugar, fruit juice and most packaged cereals, can be to blame.

“The diet should be a plant-based diet,” she said, acknowledging that this is not what most people want to hear.

The complex carbs that should account for 50 to 60 percent of an average daily diet include whole grains, beans, seeds, some nuts (excluding peanuts and macadamia), most green vegetables, and non-citrus fruits (not sugar-loaded oranges).

3. Small steps for change: While trading chips and cake for organic fruits and veggies can be intimidating, McCue said to seek fresh, local produce for nutrients whenever possible. She recommends asking where organic foods are grown because those from outside the Northeast typically lose their nutritional value in storage.

“Even if you get organics a couple of months out of the year (from local farms), that’s better than no organics,” she said.

“Everything that you do is going to dictate how you’re going to feel at the end of the day, at the end of the month,” she added. “So if you cut your processed foods in half, you’re going to feel a lot better.”

Active Advice

Saratoga Nutrition integrative dietician, Mary Beth McCue, provided her rendition of the recommended daily diet.

* 50-60 percent complex carbohydrates: vegetables, fruits, legumes or beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

* 15-20 percent protein: fish, poultry, wild-game, whey protein powder

* 20-30 percent healthy fats, including olive and flax oil to ease digestion. Also, almond and nut butters. Avoid peanuts.

* Miscellaneous: dairy, breads and pastas account for carbs. Have a few “simple” sugary and white-flour carbs as little as possible.

Read more:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: