Aging Nutritionally and Gracefully

Aging Nutritionally and Gracefully
By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

 

If there is one thing working against us when it comes to aging it’s..…TIME. It is true that as we get older, we age. While we can’t turn back time, we can try to keep our bodies as healthy as possible to help us feel better, stronger, and more energized. Here are three of our favorite books that discuss diet, health, and lifestyle recommendations that can help you feel younger by keeping your mind and body in a state of wellness:

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You Staying Young- by Dr. Roizen and Dr. Oz

This book describes the aging process in a fun, easy-to-read way. It does an excellent job of intertwining medicine and nutrition. It has tons of useful tools like the YOU Tool 2 “Ultimate Work Up”-a fantastic list of tests you should be sure to inquire about at your next doctor’s visit. You also offers a 14-day plan that includes dietary changes, exercise routines, meditation, and relaxation plans. This book reminds you that caring for the mind and body together are equally important. It also includes interesting little known facts. For example Roizen and Oz note that you should remove your dry-cleaned clothing from the plastic-wrap, as soon as you get home to prevent the chemicals from becoming trapped.  There is a great chapter on other toxins that you may find in your environment as well. I am going to head to my closet right now to remove the plastic from my dry-cleaning.

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Younger Next Week- Elisa Zied, MS, RD

In Younger Next Week , my colleague registered dietitian Elisa Zied points out that crash dieting is not the solution to aging. In fact she explains that crash dieting increases cortisol levels, leading to both weight gain and aging! Zied’s 7-day vitality plan offers manageable ways to make permanent lifestyle changes that can lead to improved health and wellness. This plan is supposed to be repeated weekly so that it eventually becomes a lifestyle. Elisa states “it’s about finding a sustainable balance in your food and food choices” (Page 189). Finding balance, not only in food choices, but also in our schedules is important. Elisa offers countless examples of structured meal plans, tasty recipes, and creative “stressipes” to get you started on living a more balanced life. I am really excited to try Strawberry-Walnut Cinnamon French toast (Page 216) for breakfast next weekend!

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Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy- Dr. Willett

This book may look intimidating at first, but when you crack it open it has some very practical advice. Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating is one of my favorites! Dr. Willett provides a review of some of the quick-fix diets and why they do not work. He also includes his own version of the USDA pyramid, which I find to be very useful. This is a great book if you want to learn about nutrition science. This book focuses more on the diet component of lifestyle changes and includes some really wonderful recipes, menus guides, and cooking tips to help you feel comfortable trying new ingredients. This book may be a little more of challenging read than our other two recommendations, but it is certainly worth it.

 

Ultimately these books can aid the work you are doing with your RD and/or MD. Remember to help yourself feel your best, make small daily changes in your life. Think balance not CONTROL! Aim for the middle ground – “The Grey Zone” – the healthy diet mentality should steer clear of black and white, all or nothing thinking. Healthy diets are learning which foods work for you. Try to think of these foods as  “everyday” foods and  “sometimes” foods, when meal and snack planning. Choose to exercise to help your bodies physically and mentally, not just to lose weight. Take time to relax  – again both physically and mentally!! Oftentimes quick fixes may be appealing when trying to become healthy, but this typically ends up backfiring. Instead, consider taking small manageable steps, such as meditating for one minute each night, to achieve permanent behavior change.

 

Want more information on nutrition and aging? Check out this recently published article by the Nutrition Society:

Jessica C. Kiefte-de Jong, John C. Mathers and Oscar H. Franco. Nutrition and healthy ageing: the key ingredients . Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, available on CJO2014. doi:10.1017/S0029665113003881.

EALM reviews: "PCOS: The Dietitian’s Guide"

In honor of National Nutrition Month, EALM reviews: “PCOS: The Dietitian’s Guide

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Specializing in both eating disorders and endocrine disorders, I often encounter women with an ambiguous diagnosis of PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Some of these clients have struggled with weight issues for years and doctors have mentioned PCOS, but they do not have an official or clear diagnosis. When looking for resources to help these clients, I came across Angela Grassi’s The PCOS- Workbook and PCOS- The Dietitian’s Guide. Whether you are a woman with a potential diagnosis of PCOS or a dietitian looking to brush up on the condition, these books are much needed additions to your bookshelf.

 

Having been diagnosed with PCOS herself, Angela Grassi understands just how difficult it is to receive the correct diagnosis, as well as the complexities of living with the syndrome. Her first-hand experiences and knowledge as a registered dietitian help to offer a mind, body, and soul perspective to her readers.

 

It is estimated that PCOS affects between 6-10% of women worldwide, but getting diagnosed may be difficult. Many more women may be living without a diagnosis. A diagnosis typically requires two of the following criteria: Irregular or absent menstrual cycles, clinical or biochemical signs of increased androgen production, and polycystic ovaries (Rotterdam, 2003). Women may struggle for years before these symptoms are recognized. As dietitians, a client may present with weight struggles, disordered eating, or glucose abnormalities even before she knows she has PCOS.

 

What most women don’t know is that a lot of the symptoms of PCOS, such as hunger and weight gain are a result of their condition.  For example, did you know “women with PCOS have pre- and post-meal ghrelin impairments” (Page 31)? Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates appetite. Complications of PCOS, such as infertility, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, can be reduced with lifestyle changes, making nutrition critical to the treatment of PCOS. However, “despite the benefits of weight loss, losing weight and maintaining weight loss is difficult in the general population and especially for women with PCOS (Page 31).”

 

Grassi reviews common diet trends and offers information on supplements that may be useful in this population. Did you know 1 tsp (3g) of cinnamon has been shown to reduce fasting blood glucose and improve long-term glycemic control (Page 52)? Pick up a copy of Grassi’s book to find more information about supplements that may help with the insulin resistance commonly found in women with PCOS.
The book goes on to describe challenges women may face throughout their lifetime.  It also touches on the psychological aspects of PCOS, including eating disorders. Because individuals with PCOS are at a higher risk for disordered eating and body image disturbances, dietitians must be aware of the signs and symptoms of disordered eating. Grassi offers dietitians and professionals various ways to screen for eating disturbances and tips for working with these clients.

 

This book summarizes current research, making it a great tool for any one looking to learn more about PCOS. It provides context to the disorder, offers practical advice, and reviews evidenced-based nutrition therapy in order to address treatment for the “entire” person. This particular book is intended for dietitians and health care professionals, but Grassi also offers a workbook for women with PCOS.

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 2.25.44 PM For more information on both Angela Grassi and her books click here.