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Downingtown Nutrition & Weight Management Center

Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Years and Healthy Lifestyle Goals

As 2016 comes to a close, it gives us time to reflect on the past year. This past year Downingtown/Kennett Nutrition and Weight Management Centers grew adding one more nutrition expert to our family and changing the lives of 200 more patients in our community. Thank you for choosing us to help guide you on your healthy journey to good health and eating. We are truly privileged to be apart of such a great community and have such great patients.

This past year I dealt with my own weight management challenges including a thyroid disorder and yet another spinal injury. It's hard to manage your weight when you are dealing with medical issues, right? The importance of daily movement and eating balanced is vital to managing your weight. It helped to test my metabolism with our metabolic tool, the MedGem, so I was able to determine how much movement and caloric intake I needed. As for movement, it helped our family adopted a dog, Stella, from La Mancha. She truly has blessed our lives and adds almost 4,000 more steps to my day! Stella loves carrots, yogurt and pumpkin-she loves her veggies!

We will be offering more new services in 2017 including a Lifestyle Medicine Program online, at medical offices and worksites in the area. According to the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Lifestyle Medicine "involves the therapeutic use of lifestyle, such as a predominately whole food, plant-based diet, exercise, stress management, tobacco and alcohol cessation, and other non-drug modalities, to prevent, treat, and, more importantly, reverse the lifestyle-related, chronic disease that's all too prevalent". We are excited to add another new addition to our practice to head this amazing new component, which we will be announcing in August 2017.

Additionally, we have added evidence-based food intolerance testing, including lactose, fructose, and leaky gut tests. These new additions will enable us to provide more precise meal planning and diet navigation so that you may lead a healthier life. Last, we have a new meal plan offered: 12 Weeks of Healthy Clean Eating. The plan includes breakfast, lunch, dinners and snacks to help you eat healthier and manage weight. All plans include a shopping list, colorful recipes that include once a week preparation, and nutrition/cooking tips to help you navigate the grocery store, dining out, and on the go eating. Our plans can be individualized at the VIP package rate. For more information, follow this link to sign up

Wishing you and your family a healthy New Year in 2017!


The Dieting Dietitian

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

21 Day Vegetarian Challenge Starts next Tuesday

Want more energy? Want to lose weight? Want to feel healthier?

I know I do! I'm also doing the challenge with you to help me get back to my goal weight and just feel better!

Did you know eating more plant-based foods can lower your risk of heart disease, cancers, and shrink your waistline? Vegetarians also live longer! It is not hard to follow a plant based diet, join us for our 21 day Vegetarian challenge. Let us help you on your journey to help!

Includes detailed family based meal plans, including recipes and a shopping list.
Plans are vegan (no animal) or ovo-lacto vegetarianism (includes eggs and diary-no meat).

We will individualize your meal plan if you are trying to lose weight as wel

Access to a private Facebook page, where support, questions, and additional recipes/tips will be shared.

General-$45 for 21 day challenge
VIP -$99 includes a 1/2 hour phone/Skype/Facetime appointment to help you reach your goals with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Start changing your life today!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Farmer's Market Finds

My absolutely favorite activity to do on Saturday is to visit our local Farmer's Market. I mix it up each weekend between Downingtown's Farmers Market and West Chester. The smells and bright colors always inspire me for my family's healthy meals. August yields so many fresh and inexpensive produce including beans, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, corn, eggplant, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, pears, potatoes, berries, squash, tomatoes and watermelon. I always check the website What's in Season to get an idea of meals. The Farmer's Markets usually have recipe cards featuring their seasonal products, so you are never at loss for how to cook it! The produce at this markets are fresh, local and recently picked which means it has the highest nutrition content. A win-win for sure!

Today I took a small group of our patients to the West Chester Grower's Market. The Market has been operating on Saturdays since 1995 and is located at the corner of North Market and West Chestnut Streets in West Chester, PA. I used to venture there as a college student and buy the cheaper bruised produce that was on sale. The same farmer is still there! If he only knew he was my only fruit supply throughout college! We found some great deals on produce today that were not bruised. Queens Produce, a local farm that specializes in Asian based fruits, herbs and vegetables, was selling Asian Pears for $2.00 a pound and long green beans at a very low price. Additionally, all of their produce is organic and free of pesticides. As an added plus, the Farmer at this farm is very knowledgeable about what nutrients and minerals are in his produce. If you are looking for leafy greens high in iron or avoiding high vitamin K produce, this is the farmer to speak to!

There was a game called Guess the Vegetable operated by the Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program in which you won green peppers. Our entire group guessed the tomato, fennel, and corn mystery produce! Everyone won a pepper and a Guide to Pennsylvania Tomatoes. We enjoyed each farmer stand and the unique foods at each booth. Everyone tasted their way through goat cheese and vegetable samplings. It was a tasty Saturday for everyone!

Our last booth we toured had carrots with green tops on them. They were 50 cents less that the carrots without the tops. The carrots tops can be made into pesto, a raw salad, or as vegetable stock. Carrot green tops are high in vitamin C and calcium. You can boil them into a nutrient rich low sodium broth to retain the nutrients. I clean off the entire carrot and cut the tops off. Once a week, I do food preparation for the entire week. One of my "prep" items is to cut up raw vegetables such as peppers, carrots, celery, tomatoes, green beans, and cucumbers for snacks throughout the week. I save the vegetable scraps (and any other ends of vegetables like garlic and onion from dinner prep) and freeze so I can make vegetable stock. This week I have enough vegetable scraps, along with the carrot tops to make about 50 cups! This can be frozen into 2-4 cup containers and saved for future soups or to use for cooking instead of oil. It's a great way to add even more nutrition to a dish!

Hopefully I will see you at our next Farmer's Market tour or at our Weight Loss Wednesdays Group! Stay tuned for our 21 day Vegetarian Challenge that starts after Labor Day. Its a great way to increase your vegetable intake and will include easy recipes for the whole family.

Recipe for Vegetable Stock

4 cups of vegetable scraps (carrots, celery, peppers, root vegetables, onion, garlic, etc)
2 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 filled stockpot of water

Boil water with scraps, bay leaf and seasons for 1 hour. Let cool. Using a strainer, pour broth into small containers to freeze and save for later.

*Nutrition: the nutrition varies on this depending on what vegetable scraps and how much salt you use.


The Dieting Dietitian

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Is my nutrition information reliable

There is misinformation everywhere.

In the nutrition world, there is a plethora of incorrect information and just bad science. As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), I completed a Bachelor's of Science with a major in Nutrition and Public Health Nutrition (this includes biology, chemistry biochemistry, food science with labs, anatomy and physiology to name a few sciences!), a Master's in Public Health, a supervised nutrition internship, passed the national board exam, and every year have to have 15 hours of continuing education in my area of expertise in different nutrition specialties. This is ALOT of schooling and studying, not to mention the other specialties of nutrition (pediatrics, diabetes, sports nutrition, nutrition fellow, ect), that require even more testing, hours and commitment to studying. So if you think you are confused about what's out there on the internet and in magazines, just think I have over 15 years experience and still think it can be daunting information. RDNs are nutrition experts. There are many online nutrition certification programs that allow people to call themselves nutritionists after completing the courses. Some are more rigorous than others, however none are like the RDN nutrition and dietetics courses of study.

The other evening, I had a patient ask me about a few weight loss programs and products being offered in our area. Keep in mind this patient does not have many financial resources, is a busy parent, and works full-time. They were inquiring about the $3200 weight loss program that provided "magic drops" and guaranteed weight loss. Here's my thoughts on these types of programs/centers:

I will guarantee you when you walk into our nutrition and weight management centers, we do not sell you any products. This is what sets us apart. There is no financial gain from pushing a vitamin, supplement or test. Don't get me wrong, we do recommend these things (especially if there is a nutrition deficiency or medical condition that warrants such things as a vitamin, test or probiotic), however there is no one product that is a gold standard or superior than the other. If you are seeking nutrition advice and that advice comes at a very costly package with products, WALK AWAY. If the health claim they are promising sounds too good to be true (lose 30 pounds in 30 days), WALK AWAY. If it was really that easy to lose weight, and keep it off, wouldn't that product or service be on the cover of TIME Magazine? I'm not saying these gimmicks, services or products don't work. I'm sure some of them do. But what did you gain from it? Did you learn how to plan healthy meals, cook healthier (or just how to cook), role model good behaviors for your kids, improve long time chronic diseases, or improve your quality of life? Or did you just spend a lot of money on something that worked "for a little bit"?

RDN's have to be licensed in your state and most insurances cover 100% without a copay. Often no money out of pocket what so ever is handled in our office. Think about that? Nutrition advice covered by your health insurance? Sounds legit to me and without the costs of meals, shakes, vitamins and supplements.

Confused about misinformation on the internet relating to nutrition? Give us a call or email, we will straighten you out!


The Dieting Dietitian

Jennifer Barr, MPH, RDN, LDN