I’m in Washingtonian Magazine (Who Hoo!)

It’s not everyday you can say that you’re mentioned in Washington DC’s most well-known printed magazine. I was overjoyed this month to be mentioned in not only one, but TWO issues – Washingtonian and Washingtonian Mom!

As a working mother, with another one on the way I have since traded my fashion magazines for a new favorite, the Washingtonian Mom. I’m more interested to know where the trendy family friendly “hot spots” are around town versus the latest celebrity gossip and how to get “tight buns” these days.

washingtonian momAs I was paging through the Winter 2014 edition for some inspiration I was excited to read this one pager called “How Does She Do It?” Pictured is a working mom in high heels, balancing a sack of groceries and briefcase on one hip, an infant on the other and a smile on her face. (I could relate completely after having spent many a day eating with one hand and nursing with the other.) I was eager to learn the secrets behind keeping it all together.

As I’m reading through this must-have list: the personal shopper who crafts that perfect wardrobe, the nanny who looks after the kids, the personal trainer who keeps that body in fighting form, to the nutritionist who keeps that healthy eating on track…and what would you know? Surprise! It was ME! I was honored and excited! They said I “know what it takes to work healthy food into a jam-packed schedule.” That’s true… there has never been a time and energy budget I couldn’t help tackle. I even make sure moms keep their “me time” sanity.

2014_Feb_WashingtonianLess than a week later I was looking forward to purchasing the February issue of the Washingtonian, expecting to be mentioned, but still no less of an honor to be recognized as one of the top dietitians of Washington, DC. I was thrilled to be highlighted my work with athletes, along side of several other RD/Nutrition super stars who I am proud to know.   In addition, there is an article called The Skinny on Diets, my fellow dietitians and I were asked to grade some of the trendiest diets on the market, from the popular (but flawed) Paleo Diet to the crazy K-E Diet. If you know me, you know how I feel about diets. You’ll understand why I had to give some diets a failing grade. I pass one with an “A” – the Mediterranean Diet – this “diet” is not about restriction or weight loss, it’s about heart health and it’s not afraid of fats or calories – like me! And the science is there too!

As a mom, wife, and a professional it is an honor to be recognized by the Washingtonian for the many hats I wear. I have devoted several years of my life to establishing myself as a dietitian and healthy lifestyle expert while balancing my role a rock star mother and wife! Good self-care, a delicious diet, realistic exercise, and a healthy dose of “happy time” are some of the keys to my own success. I look forward to what this year brings, and who knows what will come when June is here and I will have two under two!

ShareCare Releases The Top 10 Nutrition Influencers Online

I don’t think anything could happen to take me off this cloud I’m on. I’m elated to know that I have the reach, impact, and knowledge to be ranked as one of ShareCare’s top ten nutrition influencers online. I’m among a group of some pretty big names. Dr. Andrew Weil (pioneer of integrative medicine!), Michael Pollan (NYT bestselling author!), Jaime Oliver (celebrity chef and TV host!) and Hungry Girl (author, entrepreneur, and Food Network show!) to name a few. Considering I have not been published as an author (yet) and I don’t have my own TV show, it’s amazing to realize that through my online presence (blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest), I made the list.

So many people ask if social media is worth their time. I answer with a resounding YES! All I ever wanted to do with myself was help people. While there are a bagillion ways to do that, I definitely landed in the right place after my early-midlife “What am I doing with myself?” crisis in 2001. I LOVE my job doing nutrition and wellness counseling in D.C. , speaking and TV/print media work. There is plenty of motivation, encouragement, and care to give to the world and the more positivity out there, the better! Social media takes your voice to the world and levels the playing field so those who aren’t yet well-known (like moi) can still reach people and have an impact to help them change their lives!

How ShareCare Compiled the List

In order to be included in the SharecareNow 10 — Nutrition list, influencers must have demonstrated a consistent impact on nutrition-specific conversations online over the past year. An individual’s influence is measured and quantified through a proprietary algorithm based on more than 40 individual metrics, including nutrition relevance, syndication, presence and reach. These influencers are then ranked from most to least influential based on a unique scoring structure.

The Top 10 Nutrition Influencers

Check out their infographic here: http://www.sharecare.com/static/sharecare-now-nutrition-top-ten-infographic

1. Andrew Weil, MD – http://www.drweil.com/ 2. Jamie Oliver – http://jamieoliver.com/ 3. Nanci Hellmich – http://yourlife.usatoday.com/ 4. Tara Parker-Pope – http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/ 5. Mitzi Dulan, RD – http://nutritionexpert.com/blog/ 6. Nicole German, RD - http://www.diet-blog.com/ 7. Lisa Lillien – http://www.hungry-girl.com/ 8. Rebecca Scritchfield, RD – https://rebeccascritchfield.wordpress.com/ (me!!!) 9. Michael Pollan – http://michaelpollan.com/ 10. William Davis, MD – http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/

(Go fellow RDs who made the list too!)

About ShareCare

Launched in 2010 and based in Atlanta, GA, Sharecare is an interactive, social Q & A platform that allows people to ask, learn and act upon questions of health and wellness. Created by Jeff Arnold and Dr. Mehmet Oz, in partnership with Harpo Studios, Remark Media, Sony Pictures Television, and Discovery Communications, the company’s innovative approach provides the consumer access to a wide array of health and wellness experts ranging from hospitals to doctors, specialists to non-profits, to healthcare companies and active health consumers, creating a thriving community where healthcare knowledge is built, shared and put into practice.

See my ShareCare profile and ask me a question – I’ll answer!

Who’s on Your Top 10?

We all know there are thousands of people helping others every day! Who is on your “top 10 nutrition influencer” list and why?

Are you #RD to Chat?

By Carlene Helble

The ultimate Twitter chat is ready to launch this November and it’s something you won’t want to miss! Registered Dietitian Janet Helm (@JanetHelm on Twitter) created #RDChat to help dietitians, students, and others interested in nutrition and health connect on fresh, hot button topics.

#RDChat will occur as a moderated conversation on Twitter the first Wednesday of the month from 8-9 pm ET in an hour long session. Things like headlines from newspapers, as well as new studies, and controversial topics will be covered with the help of special guests.

New to Twitter chats? Janet provided these step by step instructions to get you ready to go!:

  • The chat happens live on Twitter and you can jump in at any time during the hour.  Simply log on to your Twitter account and you can use any of these options to help you manage the conversations.
    • One option,  go to http://www.search.twitter.com and type in #RDchat.  Only the  tweets that include that hashtag (#) will appear.  You may have to refresh the page to get new results.
    • If you use Tweetdeck, start a column for #RDchat.  Only tweets that are tagged with #RDchat will appear in that column for you to respond to.
    • There are several other programs you can use that are specifically designed for chats on Twitter:   http://www.tweetchat.com http://www.tweetgrid.com http://twubs.com All you have to do is log on to one of those programs.  When prompted, type in #RDchat and you’ll only see tweets that include that hashtag.  It allows you to see the fast-paced conversation happening in real time.  You use just like Twitter;  reply, comment, retweet, etc.  All of your tweets will automatically be tagged with #RDchat.

See you for a #healthy #nutritious and interesting @Twitter chat in November!

Cheryl Forberg Discusses “The Biggest Loser: 6 Weeks to a Healthier You”

I had the great pleasure to sit down with superstar dietitian Cheryl Forberg, RD, who just so happens to be a professional chef and the nutrition expert behind the wildly successful weight loss on NBC’s The Biggest Loser! She talked with me about her latest book, The Biggest Loser: 6 Weeks to a Healthier You, which released yesterday. Plus, read on to see how you can win a copy for yourself!

Rebecca: Cheryl, you’ve authored several wonderful books for Biggest Loser so far and I was personally a big fan of Biggest Loser Simple Swaps, what makes The Biggest Loser: 6 Weeks to a Healthier You different than other books?

Cheryl: There are many books on the market catering to dieting and weight loss. One of the distinctions of The Biggest Loser eating plan is that the quality of the calories is as important as the quantity. Our eating plan has evolved since we began 10 seasons ago, and I’m happy to say that it’s continually improved in terms of including less and less processed food choices.

You won’t find any artificial sweeteners in the Ranch kitchen these days – no fat-free whipped toppings, etc. It’s all about whole foods/whole grains, lots of lean protein and good fats. The recipes in the new book reflect that. The other distinction is that this book includes 6 weeks of menu plans. It’s easy to tell/teach people which foods to choose, but it’s not so easy to put it into practice, especially when you’re busy, as most of us are. We’ve made it easy for you by providing 6 complete weeks of menus and recipes to help you with meal planning as well as shopping.

Rebecca: Wow, Cheryl! It’s like having you for a personal chef for 6 weeks! I see a huge value in that. I agree that it is about the quality of the foods you eat most of the time. I’m sure readers will be excited to know that the book will emphasize high quality whole foods.

I think a lot of people who are fans of the show watch and get inspired, but sometimes may feel like they won’t be as successful as contestants. How does this book help fans on the show with their weight loss journey?

Cheryl: You’re right, people sometimes hope for dramatic results as seen on the show. Though this IS a reality show, it’s NOT realistic to expect similar results at home. The contestants are sequestered away from their families, friends, jobs, school, etc. Their FULL TIME job is losing weight. They have the luxury of time, personal trainers, fabulous food, a registered dietitian, and our occasional guest chef, Curtis Stone, helps provide cooking instruction (as do I when I’m at Ranch for my assessments). This book reminds readers that a slower, more gradual weight loss is perfectly fine and not to expect the same results as what they see on the show.

Rebecca: That’s a good point. Viewers can get the book with the confidence that the meal plans are similar to the show and realistic for healthy weight loss, but they should not feel obligated to focus on nutrition and exercise full time. Slow and steady progress will still get them to their goal.

Is there something special about 6 Weeks to a Healthier You? Why not four or eight weeks?

Cheryl: Most books that provide menu plans may give you a week, 2 weeks, 10 days or a month! Six weeks is really an added dose not only of more menus to help you find your groove to stick with it, but each week also provides additional health tips and info. Overall, 6 Weeks to a Healthier You focuses on nutrient-dense high quality foods – but we also share the health benefits that these ingredients confer to make your choices and the recipes, even more seductive

Rebecca: Ohhhh…. seductive! I like that. I don’t know why people sometimes think eating healthy is boring! I also like that you give the education in weekly “bits” so they don’t have to take on too much, too fast.

As a successful chef and Biggest Loser nutritionist, what words of wisdom do you have for anyone who is struggling with healthy lifestyle changes?

Cheryl: Most people have fallen into an unhealthy rut over time, not overnight. Don’t place high expectations on yourself to reach your goals overnight either. Start with small approachable steps and build week by week. There’s less chance you’ll get overwhelmed and more chance that you’ll see slow, steady results making this plan seductive
and easy to stick with.

Rebecca: Excellent advice! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me and best wishes with this book and The Biggest Loser!

2010 Dietary Guidelines Summary Released!

It’s big news for nutrition. We may have new advice for eating healthy… and you can give your 2 cents, if you feel so inclined. Every five years the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are updated to reflect the latest knowledge in science and research. The Guidelines are used for government nutrition initiatives, programs and education, as well as by dietitians and health professionals to help educate people about eating healthier.

Dietary Guidelines (DG) Advisory Committee released their Executive summary on Tuesday, June 15th, 2010. The full report can be found here and is currently open for public comments. (that’s you, the public…let your voice be heard and comment on the Executive Summary).

The Committee has used a state-of-the-art, web-based electronic system and methodology, known as the Nutrition Evidence Library, to answer the majority of the scientific questions it posed, about specific nutrients and foods.

What’s New in 2010?

The 2010 Guidelines are different from previous reports in that this one addresses an American public of whom the majority are overweight or obese and yet under-nourished in several key nutrients. (It may sound strange, but it is possible to be overweight and under nourished at the same time.)

This DG also focuses more on children because primary prevention of obesity must begin in childhood. They say this is the single most powerful public health approach to combating and reversing America’s obesity epidemic over the long term.
To reduce the incidence of overweight and obesity in our country they recommend that we:

  • Shift food intake patterns to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. In addition, increase the intake of seafood and fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products and consume only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry, and eggs.
  • Significantly reduce intake of foods containing added sugars and solid fats because these dietary components contribute excess calories and few, if any, nutrients. In addition, reduce sodium intake and intake of refined grains.Daily sodium intake be 1,500 mg, (down from 2,300mg in the 2005 recommendations).
  • Eliminate Trans-fatty acids from the diet, and seeking to increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in diet.
  • Increase physical activity: adults should get at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, such as brisk walking, or 1¼ hours of a vigorous-intensity activity, such as jogging or swimming laps, or a combination of the two types. Kids and teens should do an hour or more of moderate-intensity to vigorous physical activity each day.

While I strongly support these recommendations, there are several things that must be changed about our  Food environment so that eating healthy is easy, accessible and affordable. Hopefully our government will launch initiatives that seek to improve the following points:

  • Improve nutrition literacy and cooking skills, including safe food handling skills, and empower and motivate the population, especially families with children, to prepare and consume healthy foods at home.
  • Increase comprehensive health, nutrition, and physical education programs and curricula in US schools and preschools, including food preparation, food safety, cooking, and physical education classes and improved quality of recess.
  • For all Americans, especially those with low income, create greater financial incentives to purchase, prepare, and consume vegetables and fruit, whole grains, seafood, fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products, lean meats, and other healthy foods.
  • Improve the availability of affordable fresh produce through greater access to grocery stores, produce trucks, and farmers’ markets.
  • Increase environmentally sustainable production of vegetables, fruits, and fiber-rich whole grains.
  • Encourage restaurants and the food industry to offer health-promoting foods that are low in sodium; limited in added sugars, refined grains, and solid fats; and served in smaller portions.

With over two thirds of our population either overweight or obese, this has a huge impact on the healthcare system, and our entire nation. On average, Americans of all ages consume too few vegetables, fruits, high-fiber whole grains, low-fat milk and milk products, and seafood and they eat too much added sugars, solid fats, refined grains, and sodium. Added Sugar and Fat contribute approximately 35 percent of calories to the American diet. (these are just empty calories) The current US Food environment is loaded with excess sodium, sugar, fat and refined grains, making it harder for the average consumer to eat healthy. We have to seek out healthy foods and do some detective work when eating out.

This summary is now open for public comments-so what do you have to say? Tell me here or submit your comment to the committee here! You can also read what others are saying here. Will changing the recommendations help make American healthier or do we first need to change the entire food environment?