Nutrition & Heart Healthy Advice from Cat Taylor
By: Elise Chretien
Figuring out what foods and how much of them to eat to reach your health and fitness goals can be tricky territory. With an abundance of information on the web (Good fats? Bad fats? Low carb?) and new fad diets popping up left and right it can be overwhelming to determine what exactly you should be putting in your body. Wouldn’t it be easier if you had someone who knew your exact body composition and what goals you were trying to accomplish that could just tell you what to eat and when?
Cat Taylor, our Registered Dietitian at VIDA Fitness does exactly that. All new VIDA members receive a complimentary 25 minute Nutrition Fit session with Cat where you can discuss what your goals are, share what your current diet is like and identify any areas that need improvement. After this mini-assessment, Cat will recommend a full consult for those with specific goals in mind and are committed to sticking to a diet that will help them reach those goals.
During your full consult, you’ll receive a full body composition analysis that measures your body fat percentage, BMI, lean mass vs. fat mass and a segmental analysis to determine which areas of your body have the highest fat vs. muscle ratio. Having this information allows you and Cat to identify what your ideal weight range should be and helps to determine the caloric requirement (broken down into grams of protein, fat and carbs) needed to reach that range.
“A lot of people come in knowing bits and pieces of information they’ve read online, but we’re able to clinically assess what their body needs and put all the information together for them in a balanced diet that they can follow,” says Cat.
During your initial consult you and Cat will create a personalized diet plan with the ideal amounts of fats, carbs and protein you should be getting every day, with her own recommendations of healthy foods to substitute for unhealthy ones. For those of us who are looking to lose a pound or two – a healthy diet plays a key role in seeing results on the scale. Unhealthy foods that are high in calories means you have to do even more exercise to burn them off, while a low calorie option would be burned off much quicker.
Cat explains that even those who aren’t concerned with losing or gaining weight should sign up for a consult to make sure their diet isn’t lacking in protein, vitamins or minerals.
“It’s not just about looking good. Some people can get away with eating poorly and still look fine, but their bodies aren’t healthy,” she says. “Proper nutrition gives you so much more energy and ensures that your body is getting the nutrients it needs,” says Cat.
A big part of keeping your body healthy is keeping your heart healthy. In honor of American Heart Month, Cat shared with me which foods will keep your heart pumping happily, and which ones to avoid. Foods that are ‘anti-inflammatory’ prevent inflammation in your circulatory system – which is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and certain auto immune diseases.
Great examples of anti-inflammatory foods include fish rich in Omega 3’s (salmon, tuna, mackerel), whole fruits, multi-colored vegetables, green tea (even better if you add some lemon!), flaxseed oils, olive oils, lean poultry, nuts (walnuts especially), legumes, seeds and dark green leafy vegetables. Cat also adds that certain spices including black pepper, chilies, ginger, cinnamon, garlic and turmeric (her favorite!) have huge anti-inflammatory qualities and should be added to your meals whenever possible!
As you can probably guess , the foods to stay away from when focusing on a healthy heart are anything processed or refined, salt, sugar, white pasta, bread or rice, high calorie cheeses, ice cream, fatty meats, and deep fried foods. Some unhealthy oils can also hide behind “healthy” snack food labels such as veggie sticks, so watch out for anything with corn, peanut or safflower oil on the label.
Having knowledge about what different foods do for your body is essential for healthy meal planning. A little nutritional guidance from Cat can be all the push in the right direction you need to start eating healthy and reaching your fitness goals. If you haven’t had a Nutrition Fit with her yet, email firstname.lastname@example.org to set one up!