Oil: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

So we’ve all heard by now how fat is bad and can lead to higher cholesterol, blood pressure and larger waistlines. But if oils and fats are bad, why are avocados high in fat but also good for us? That’s because not all fats and oils are created equal! Instead of simply cutting fats and oils out of our everyday life, we need to learn to make healthier substitutions and choices to get the most benefit out of the good fats. To put things simply, here’s how things break down:

Good Fats

  • Polyunsaturated fats: These are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, aka essential fatty acids since our bodies don’t produce them, we have to get them from food. They can actually help lower your total cholesterol level.
    • Examples: Soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, walnuts, Sunflower sesame  and pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines), soymilk, tofu
  • Monounsaturated fats: These fats can not only help lower cholesterol and lower your risk for heart disease or stroke but they increase your HDL or good cholesterol. They are typically in liquid form at room temperature and are typically plant based liquid oils.
    • Examples: Olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, avocados, olives, nuts, peanut butter

Bad Fats

  • Saturated Fats: Saturated fat increases total cholesterol and LDL or the bad cholesterol. Meat, seafood, and dairy products are all sources of saturated fat. Dietary Guidelines recommend no more than 10% of your daily food intake come from saturated fats.
    • Examples: High-fat cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork), chicken with the skin, whole-fat dairy products (milk and cream), butter, cheese, ice cream, palm and coconut oil, lard
  • Trans Fats: These are known as hydrogenated oils because they are made with more hydrogen to keep them solid at room temperature. They’re found in many processed and fried foods. A product is “trans fat free” if it contains less than half a gram per serving so watch out for these! If you see the words hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated, or shortening, steer clear of it.
    • Examples: Commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough, packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips), stick margarine, vegetable shortening, fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish), Candy bars

Instead of cutting fat out of your diet entirely, try swapping out the unhealthy fats for the better ones. Again, some fat is actually a good thing and does have some benefits. Watch your intake and keep these quick tips in mind:

  • Keep total fat intake to 20-35% of calories
  • Cut out Trans Fats
  • Limit saturated fatsEat omega-3 fats every day
  • Fish, nuts, flax seed and some oils fit into this category
  • Replace mayo with avocado spread they are filled with heart and brain healthy fats and can add variety to a boring sandwich
  • Use olive oil over butter or margarine
  • Use canola or vegetable oil when baking
Fresh homemade lemonade in glass with lemon, orange, ice and mint. Ingredients for lemonade.

Get hydrated!

With water taking up half of our body weight, we all know just how important water is and making sure we are getting enough in our diet.  Water is important for every cell and organ in our body to function properly. Water helps us regulate body temperature, lubricate our joints and rid our body of waste. The problem is, how do we know were getting enough water for our body to function normally? Here are some tell-tale signs of dehydrations:

  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Extreme thirst
  • Headache
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Darker than usual urine

Typically you want to try to stay well enough hydrated to where you don’t experience any of the above symptoms. Most people drink only when they are thirsty but thirst is one of the first signs of poor hydration. Most recommendations say to stick between 6-8 glasses of water a day but each person has different hydration needs. Some things that factor hydration are exercise, temperature, and certain medical conditions that deplete our bodies of water faster than normal. To keep your body hydrated without these symptoms, try these simple steps.

  • Start your morning right by drinking a glass of water as soon as you wake up
  • Keep a water bottle with you everywhere you go and mark each time you have to fill it up
  • Add flavor like slices lemons, cucumbers or limes to your water so you don’t get bored with it
  • Drink a glass of water before each meal to help when hunger sets in and to keep you feeling fuller. A lot of times we may think were hungry but were actually just thirsty!
  • Make sure to drink water before, during and after your workouts so that dehydration doesn’t lead to dizziness or a possible injury
  • Eat something spicy! The increased spice will not only help you to reach for more water but the spice can also help boost your metabolism

Summer of Cycling: Bike to Work

June is Colorado Bike Month and Bike to Work Day is Wednesday, June 26th. Everyday around 10,000 people bike to work in Denver. This year, they are expecting that over 30,000 Coloradans will take on the challenge of riding to work. If you are going to be one of the participants taking on this challenge, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind.

Safety First: In Colorado, bikers have to obey the same rules of the roads as drivers do. Biking next to cars can be scary at first but if you’re wearing the proper gear, injuries can be prevented. Statistics show that most bike accident fatalities are caused by bikers not wearing helmets. In fact, wearing a helmet can reduce the severity of a head injury by 88%. Always remember to wear your helmet and use proper signals when turning to let the cars around you know to avoid injury.

Hydration is Key: Especially in the hot summer months, it’s important to drink as much water as possible. When your exercising outdoors, it’s even more important to keeps those hydration levels up. Make sure to drink water before, during and after your ride to work. Keep a water bottle attached to your bike at all times and even a hydration pack for easy access as you ride. There will be plenty of food and water stations out for you to stop at and even get a quick tune up if needed. For a list of stations and to map out your ride, check out the Bike to Work Day Site.

Be Prepared: Bring a change of clothes and lunch to work the day before to help lessen the load you’ll be carrying on your ride. Especially if you don’t frequently ride into work, you’ll want to have your bike be as light as possible. Knowing that your meals are ready to go after a hard workout and where the showers are located in your office will take a lot of stress off of you on the day of. If you do have to bring a change of clothes, keep them in zip lock bags to avoid getting any sweat or water on them during your ride.

Check the Weather: In Colorado, we tend to have cooler mornings and warmer afternoons. Make sure to bring a light jacket for your morning ride and breathable sweat wicking clothing on your ride home. If you are new to bike riding, there are compression shorts that have a bit of padding in the glute area to relieve some of the pain from sitting on a bike seat for a longer period of time. Shorts or pants that are tight around the ankle are also recommended so that they don’t get caught up in the bike chain. Lastly, the brighter color of clothing, the better. This way, other commuters and motorists can clearly see you to avoid accidents.

Enjoy the Ride:
The most important thing is to have fun on this ride. There will be plenty of other riders out and it’s a great time to meet people and meet the local organizations and sponsors in the community. Take in the beautiful scenery that Colorado has to offer and enjoy a day outside of traffic!

Young sportive couple working out together on the quay, near the sea. Attractive man jumping with skipping rope, while his girlfriend watching at him and cheerfully smiling.

Cardio Intervals for Exercise

Did you know that alternating between high and low intensities for 20 minutes is more effective at burning calories than 20 minutes of steady state exercise? Once you are able to complete steady state cardiovascular exercise for thirty minutes or more, start to gradually introduce interval training to your workout. Interval training is a fitness training approach in which low to moderate intensity intervals are alternated with higher intensity intervals. Interval training has been proven to be one of the most effective forms of training for weight improvement because of the fat burning benefits even hours after your workout. So, how do you safely introduce cardio intervals to your workouts?

  1. Choose your exercise equipment.

It is safest to introduce cardio intervals on exercise equipment that creates less impact on your joints, such as the bike, elliptical or rower. Cardio machines make it easier to control the intensity and help individuals keep the correct form during high intensity intervals. If you prefer to exercise outdoors, then you can with your bike or on foot. However, if you start on foot be careful and make sure you don’t create unnecessary stress your joints.

  1. Choose your interval time and recovery time.

After your five to ten minute warm up, start to alternate between your high and low intensity intervals for a total of twenty minutes.

  • High-Intensity Interval Time: The amount of time you spend exercising at higher intensity, such as a 70-100% effort.
    • You will want to focus on bringing your heart rate up safely and keeping correct form.
    • Usually a 30 seconds- 1 minute interval
  • Low-Intensity Interval Time: The amount of time you spend exercising by at a lower intensity, such as a 30-60% effort.
    • You will want to focus on recovering by bringing your heart rate down and taking deep controlled breathes.
    • Usually a 1 minute- 3 minute interval
  1. Third, adding intensity effectively.

The most common two ways to effectively increase your intensity is by increasing your resistance and/or your speed. I recommend first increasing your resistance and then increasing your speed for the safest results. For example, add resistance to your stationary bike and pick up the speed for 30 seconds. Then, take the resistance you added back off the bike and ride easy for 1- 2 minutes during your low intensity interval.

Big sandwich - hamburger with juicy beef burger, cheese, tomato,  and red onion on wooden background

Healthier Choices To-Go

Everyone has those days where the meal planning didn’t get done, there was not enough time to go to the grocery store, your kids have a late night practice or you just don’t feel like cooking at home. We get it, it happens to everyone. However, what we want to try and avoid is making the worst decisions when stopping at fast-food restaurants. Some of the tips and choices below will allow you to still get that quick meal in without all of the added guilt, try them out!

Skip the Sauces: Going light on the sauces and dressings can make a big impact on the calorie content of a meal. Mustard is usually the best dipping sauce in terms of being healthy. Ask for burgers, salads and sandwiches ‘dry’ or with the sauce on the side to help manage intake.

Make it a Small: When ordering a combo meal, fast food places may try to upsell you for a minimal charge, don’t fall for it! If you get a combo meal ask for the small serving of sides and drinks. That way, you still get the sides you love, but don’t get the chance to over indulge.

Say “No” (Thanks) to the Soda: This is a hard one, because a drink usually comes with the meal. Skip the soda and try unsweetened tea, hot tea, coffee, soda water – if you still need that carbonation, or just  a cup of water.  Removing soda from the meal takes out unnecessary calories and sugars, that I would rather use on actual food!

Eat When Relaxed: This is another tricky tip to follow, especially if you are in a rush. I know I get fast food when I am in a bind, its past bed time and have two screaming toddlers in the back seat. I find all too often gorging down the meal while driving, just so I can get home and get everyone else taken care of, knowing this is my only chance to get some food down. This is called distracted eating. I recommend skipping the upset stomach later by waiting to eat when you can sit down at home or park the car and have everyone eat in a somewhat relaxed manner. This way your stomach has a chance to tell your mind it is full.

Some ‘healthier’ option ideas next time you are at McDonalds

(McDonalds Healthiest (CNN, 2017))

Kids: 4 piece chicken McNuggets, apple slices, low fat yogurt stick and low fat milk.

Vegetarians: Fruit and yogurt parfait (snack/mini meal); or Southwest salad (no chicken) with Newman’s Own creamy Southwest dressing

Vegans: Southwest salad (no chicken or cheese) with Newman’s Own low-fat balsamic vinaigrette; or side salad with balsamic vinaigrette and hamburger bun; and a “Cutie” (mandarin orange)

Calorie Counters: Southwest grilled chicken salad (without dressing); or bacon ranch grilled chicken salad (without bacon and with half a packet of Newman’s Own ranch dressing); or Egg McMuffin (without Canadian bacon or butter); and fruit and yogurt parfait (snack/mini meal size)

Sugar Conscious: Chicken McNuggets (six pieces) with spicy buffalo dipping sauce; or Egg McMuffin (without Canadian bacon or butter)

Gluten Sensitive: Southwest grilled chicken salad (without dressing or tortilla strips); or Egg McMuffin (without muffin and butter)

Athlete: Artisan grilled chicken sandwich; or fruit and maple oatmeal without brown sugar; and fat-free chocolate milk jug

Low Carb: Artisan grilled chicken sandwich (without bun); or Egg McMuffin (without muffin and butter); or cheeseburger (without bun); side salad with Newman’s Own low-fat balsamic vinaigrette

A Healthier Way to Vacation


When you think of vacation, usually you think of relaxation, adventure, and a chance to get away from the everyday hustle and bustle. Typically, eating right and exercising is not the first thing that comes to mind. But, you can still focus on healthy eating and active living while on vacation without feeling like you’re missing out on the full experience of what vacation is.

Plan Your Vacation Around Activity

Sand volleyball, swimming, golfing and walking around site seeing are all easy and fun to do during a vacation. When you are having fun, you are more likely to participate in those activities and less likely to think that you are actually exercising. Plan your days with something active and adventurous in between all of the lounging and eating that can happen.

Bring Your Own Snacks

Whether you’re driving or flying, snacks tend to be expensive and limited to unhealthy options. Most airports have increased prices on food and vending machines leave you with choosing between cookie and chips. Bringing your own snacks helps you to be prepared to tackle on those cravings and hunger pains that happen with long layovers and traveling. Bring fresh fruits or cut up vegetables, pretzels or air popped popcorn along and you can actually save money.

Fill Up on Healthy Foods First at the Buffet

Walk around the buffet once to pick out all of the healthy options you have. Focus on getting plenty of fresh fruits, greens, and lean protein sources first to help fill you up before indulging in some of the treat foods. Then, if you are forced to eat some lesser healthy options throughout the day, you will have at least eaten plenty of produce and fiber beforehand.

Treat Yourself

Choose your splurges wisely, but do allow for some splurges—I mean it is a vacation! Consider your favorite things and enjoy them, but pass on the things you can easily get at home that add extra calories. For instance, pop and bread at dinner are things we easily come by every day but fancy desserts or a cities signature food is hard to duplicate.

Unplug and Unwind

These days, it’s harder than ever to put down our phones and unplug from all the technology we are around every day. The point of a vacation is to eliminate stress and steer clear of work in order for your brain to fully relax. Try your hardest to resist the temptation of checking on your emails and always having your phone around. Leave your phone in the hotel room 1 day and bring a disposable camera to still capture all the memories.

6 Tips From Our Registered Dietitian

Portrait of sporty beautiful happy young woman practicing yoga, standing in low lunge exercise, warming up, stretching before morning running routine, working out outdoor on autumn day in sportswear

Tips for healthy eating during the holidays:

  • Take your time! Be mindful of what you are eating, especially between meals when you are more likely to graze your way through the day.
  • Use a smaller plate at meals. This will help you control your portion sizes and help prevent you from over eating. Also, try to fill most of your plate with vegetables.
  • Do not skip meals throughout the day. Rather than “saving your appetite” for the big feast, try to fill your day with nutrient rich meals. High fiber foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can be a great way to stay full.
  • Hydrate with water. There may be a large variety of beverages available during the holidays. Remember that water is the only beverage that your body needs to function regularly.
  • Be healthy when satisfying your sweet tooth. Choose a piece of fruit when you feel like eating something sweet.
  • Post feast physical activity. After a busy day of preparing for the big meal, remember that it is always advised to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity during the day. A post meal walk with friends and family can be a great way to fit your activity in.

MORE This, LESS That

Group of diverse people are gathering for christmas holiday
With the holidays on the horizon, it can be daunting to think about how to eat healthy and maintain a healthy body weight. The peer pressure of friends and family around the table mixed with all the delicious options can surely set you back. Before looking into tips for eating healthy during the holidays, let’s review what a healthy diet looks like!


  • Whole Grains: Make at least half of your grains whole grains by eating more brown rice, quinoa, whole grain breads and cereals, and whole wheat pasta.
  • Vegetables: Try to make at least half of your plate fruits and vegetables at meals. Include more beans and legumes as well. Focus on eating vegetables of varying color!
  • Fruits: Try to sneak more fruits in between meals to help prevent letting yourself feel starved. Again, eat fruits of varying color!
  • Lean Proteins: When choosing a protein for your meal, try to choose a lean protein source such as chicken breast, turkey breast, lean cuts of beef and pork, fish and seafood, as well as tofu.
  • Fat Free Dairy Products: Choose low-fat or fat free milk, yogurt, and cheese.
  • Nuts and Seeds: This is another great snack food to help satisfy your hunger between meals.
  • Water: As always, make sure to drink plenty of water throughout each and every day.


  • Sodium: Try to limit salt to 2,300 mg per day by consuming less processed foods that may be high in sodium, add fewer high sodium ingredients, and taste food before salting it.
  • Saturated Fat: Try to avoid processed foods with high levels of saturated or trans fats, as well as well-marbled meat, cured meats, poultry skin, butter, and whole fat dairy products. Replace these fats with avocados, olives, nuts, and seeds.
  • Refined Grains: These grains have had the bran and germ (which hold most of the nutritious value!) taken out. Try eating more whole grains to replace white bread, white rice, pasta, and flour tortillas.
  • Added Sugar: Avoid foods and beverages that contain added sugars. These foods include soda, juice, candy, cookies, dairy desserts, cakes, pies, and more.

One in Eight

Breast Cancer Awareness {Not just for Women}

Hands showing cancer balloons word

No one likes the ‘C’ word. It’s scary, unknown, expensive and can change lives in an instant. However, the more you know about cancer and the more measures that are taken towards prevention and detection, the better off you’ll be.

Did you know that one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime? If that’s not you, its someone you know, someone you sit by at the office, a high school friend, a daughter, sister or Mother. While women do take the brunt of breast cancer, it is important to remember that men can be diagnosed as well.

Signs and Symptoms
  • Tenderness
  • Lumps or ‘thickening’ of tissue near underarms
  • Skin texture or pore enlargement
  • Change in shape/size/placement {bigger or smaller}
  • Dimpling, swelling or discoloration
Have you done these things yet? {Have your friends?}
  • Stay physically active and control weight
  • Limit alcohol and give up smoking
  • Breast feed (if possible)
  • Avoid radiation exposure and pollution

Know your body and when things are different. Do self exams and if something even seems questionable, go to a screening facility or your doctors office. Even if you think, “it’s probably nothing,” set your mind at ease, or begin the on your path to treatment.

So, what’s the good news…..

By reading this you have further educated yourself and will {hopefully} pass on at least one piece of information to another women {or man} that will help raise awareness and increase the estimated 180,000 SURVIVORS of breast cancer each year.