In today’s digital age, you can find an article or video, or influencer who will support all sorts of different health beliefs, diets, and wellness routines.
Recently, a video of Gwyneth Paltrow talking about her daily wellness routine has gone viral. In the video, she uses lots of today’s big buzzwords around health and nutrition, including “intermittent fasting,” “Paleo,” “Detox,” and “Bone Broth.”
The issue with this video (and so many others) is that it can glamorize eating disorder behaviors. As a registered dietitian, when I hear someone say that they only drink coffee in the morning, drink bone broth for lunch and follow paleo with lots of vegetables for dinner, I do not think “health and wellness” but think “that’s not enough nutrition!” So, let’s talk about some of these buzzwords and what they mean.
There are several different variations of this diet. The general concept is that there are certain windows in which you fast (not eat) and certain windows in which you eat. A common variation of this diet is called the 16:8, where you fast 16 hours each day and eat only within an 8-hour window (10 am to 6 pm).
The Mayo health clinic lists the following side effects of fasting: hunger, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, decreased concentration, nausea, constipation, and headaches. Interestingly enough, these are the same side effects that come with an eating disorder! Because intermittent fasting covers a broad range of behaviors and no guidance on what to actually eat during the eating windows, it can be hard to compare the results of the diet.
While some people may find having some structure to their eating pattern helpful overall, intermittent fasting is no different than other diets. It can lead to an increased risk for developing an eating disorder or disordered thinking about food, and while weight may be lost initially, it is typically not sustained long-term.
Also sometimes called the caveman diet, the Paleo diet encourages eating like the hunters and gatherers would have in prehistoric times. This calls for eating meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds and cutting out most grains, legumes (a fancy word for beans), and dairy.
First of all, the diet is founded on the faulty idea that people were healthier way back when! While it may be true, there were fewer known cases of chronic diseases; this is mostly because people didn’t live long enough to develop them and died from other causes. While promoting more whole foods, more fruits and vegetables, and less processed foods can definitely have health benefits, the Paleo diet takes it a bit too far by cutting out whole food groups that have plenty of great nutrients to offer. Whole grains offer fiber and many vitamins and minerals.
Legumes are a great vegetarian protein source, along with fiber and other nutrients. Dairy is best known as a source of calcium, but is also a good source of protein, phosphorous, and vitamin D. If dairy isn’t included in one’s diet regularly, finding alternative sources of calcium is very important.
Additionally, having less variety of whole food options to choose from can make cooking and preparing meals more challenging. The other disadvantage of following the Paleo diet is it can be very limiting when eating out or in social settings.
Detox and cleanses are two words that often are seen together. There is no standardized definition of what this means. Often, these words are used to advertise or sell different products or supplements. Things like a “juice cleanse” or “green tea detox.”
Our bodies have great detox systems in place already! Our liver, kidneys, skin, and digestive track are helping us to stay “detoxed” all the time by excreting (releasing) toxins through urine, sweat, and stool. The idea that we need to help our body detox often comes down to marketing. Many of these products come with a high price tag and big claims about all the miracles they can perform. With all of the health claims and buzz around them, there is little to no evidence that they actually do anything to benefit the body. Fiber, water, and a variety of foods can help keep our system naturally feeling its best!
Bone broth is a broth or stock that is made by simmering bones (typically chicken or beef) generally for at least 12 hours, and sometimes for more than 24 hours, to have the bones release the collagen and nutrients that are typically locked inside the bones. Some bone broth recipes may also include adding vegetables during the cooking process. This can then be drunk on its own or used as a base for soups or in other recipes.
Bone broth can certainly provide many great nutrients and have some health benefits. Collagen can help with skin and joints and there are also claims that bone broth helps with digestive inflammation. While bone broth can be a healthy addition to a balanced diet, it is important to remember that no one food is the answer to all health and wellness questions and concerns.
So, if you want to try making your next soup with bone broth instead of with a traditional stock, or sip broth instead of your morning coffee, go for it! If you’d rather not, there are still plenty of other ways to take care of your body every day.
A quick Google search of most nutrition topics will give you a wide variety of opinions and very conflicting advice. It can all be enough to make your head spin! So, next time you’re watching Tik Tok or reading a blog or doing just about anything on the internet, take note of the nutrition “facts” that you’re seeing.
Before believing it all to be true, do a little investigating. It is especially important to consider the source of information; is the information coming from someone reputable or someone trying to sell you something?
As dietitians, we love helping our clients separate fact from fiction, and assisting them in making the choices that make the most sense for them, based on their individual needs and health goals!
Summer is on its way!! And it is always helpful to have some quick, easy, nutritious, and fun snack ideas in mind for road trips, picnics, baseball games, and lazy days in the backyard!! The Healthier Tomorrows team has shared their favorite summer snack ideas so that you can spend less time thinking about what to bring with you to avoid hunger pangs and more time thinking about your grand summer adventures ahead!!
My current obsession is Trader Joe’s “Chips in a Pickle”.
I get indecisive about what I want to have, so I tend to make my own little “charcuterie boards” of snacks on a plate – usually some nuts, potato chips, chocolate, and maybe some apple slices or carrots. – Sara
My go-to snack lately is perfect for summer. I have a busy work/life schedule with two young kids so I need snacks that are convenient and uncomplicated. I’ve been craving crisp, juicy snacks as the weather is getting warmer, and I’ve found a great solution. I buy individual guacamole packets from Aldi (spicy flavor is preferred) and a bag of mini cucumbers and simply dip and eat! The combination is perfect—salty and creamy yet crisp and crunchy. Plus, I can eat them without any preparation or dishes to do afterward, which is an added bonus. – Kerry
My absolute favorite summer snack is frozen red grapes with cashews. It’s the best sweet and salty snack on a hot day. It is super yummy, and pairing the two helps stabilize blood sugar. – Alessandra
I’ve been mixing vanilla Greek yogurt with a spoonful of peanut butter and a little honey to make a sort of creamy peanut butter dip. Then you can dip whatever you want! My personal favorite is apples, but you could also use bananas, strawberries, pretzels, etc. It’s nice and refreshing as the weather gets warmer, but the dip also has protein and fat to make this snack satisfying and more nutrient dense! – Jessie
I love stuffing dates with nut butter, dipping them in melted dark chocolate, and keeping them in the freezer! So yummy and tastes like a fiber-rich relative of a Twix bar! Sometimes if I want to add an extra protein punch, I will mix some collagen peptides into the nut butter before I stuff the dates. – Dara
My favorite summer snack is what I call my PB Granana Smoothie. It’s a blend up of greens, banana, and peanut butter, along with some other nutrient-dense ingredients to further support the gut microbiome and anti-inflammatory pathways. Not only is this smoothie delicious, it’s nutritious and balanced for blood sugar stability and sustained energy! Cheers to health! – Jess
Frozen Grapes! So easy, like a little bite-size popsicle! All you do is wash and remove it from the stem and put in the freezer. I like to put them on a baking sheet so they don’t clump together, but you can also lay them out flat in a plastic bag. If you’re looking for a little extra sweetness (especially good for more sour grape varieties), tossing them in a few spoonfuls of sugar to coat the outside of the grapes before you freeze makes them the perfect summer treat. – Anna
Fruit dip made with vanilla greek yogurt, peanut butter, and ground cinnamon (love dipping apple slices in this) – Hannah
Toast with ricotta, honey, sliced almonds, and strawberries, or avocado toast with pickled red onions, feta, and microgreens or other toppings
I love these because they’re simple, fresh, and delicious, with a mix of carbs/healthy fats to stay full and satisfied. I get inspired by the toasts at my favorite coffee shop and try to recreate them at home. –Adrienne
Let’s not forget the gluten-free side of snacking!!
I very much enjoy having chocolate rice cakes w/ peanut butter as a sweet, filling snack. Sometimes, depending on how I’m feeling in the moment, I’ll throw some strawberries on top. I don’t like bananas, but strawberries w/ peanut butter and chocolate — yum! That is the way to go! The Quaker chocolate rice cakes even have little chocolate chips in them — OMG delicious.
As for a savory snack, I enjoy having gluten-free Wasa crackers. I like the sesame ones, but I’ll also take plain, whatever is available in the grocery store! I throw some slices of deli turkey and cheese on there, as well as lettuce and tomato if I’m feeling like it. I’ll do a few “open-face cracker sandwiches.” Delicious! – Loni
When I close my eyes and think of summer, the first image that pops into my mind is a bunch of loved ones gathered around a fire, making s’mores after a day of enjoying the lake, river, or pool! They’re a super simple and wonderfully sticky snack to enjoy after a warm summer day. You can even get creative with your own s’mores variation. Some of my favorite variations are swapping the chocolate bar for Reese’s cup or adding peanut butter to the original recipe (as you can see, I’m a peanut butter lover!). Use your imagination and see what variations you can come up with!
-Milk Chocolate Bars
-Place half of the chocolate bar on the graham cracker half.
-Use a metal skewer or long stick to toast a few marshmallows over the campfire until desired char – my personal favorite is golden brown. If you’re not around a campfire, microwave the marshmallow for about 15-25 seconds until it has doubled!
-Place the toasted marshmallow over the chocolate graham cracker half and top with the second half.
-Press together, slowly remove the rod or skewer and enjoy! – Claire
If the sauce comes out too thick for your preference, add a splash of water or broth, blend, and keep adding until you find the consistency you prefer.
This recipe is packed with powerful ingredients!!