Our guests this episode are Julie Brown and Ryan Dodge. Brown is a registered dietitian, personal trainer, and the nutrition and assessments program manager at Life Time. Dodge is the executive chef for Life Time’s LifeCafe® nationwide and is responsible for crafting a menu filled with healthy, wholesome ingredients.
Why is nutrition so challenging for people?
One of the reasons that nutrition is challenging is because there’s so much information out there and the advice is frequently changing — and often contradictory.
At one point in time, Ancel Keys came up with the concept that fat caused cholesterol issues and heart disease, and therefore should be avoided. We now know this is not accurate. We also created a food pyramid based on foods that were easy to grow and monetize but weren’t the best for our bodies.
The culture is beginning to shift, in that we’re starting to understand the importance of whole foods over processed, convenient, or junk foods. But the accessibility of better options needs to improve as well.
Food waste is huge in the United States. There are a lot of fresh, whole foods going to waste. Their shorter shelf life in comparison to packaged food may be one reason people don’t buy them.
One of the most important tools we have to fuel a healthy way of life is the food we choose to eat to nourish our bodies. It’s challenging when many restaurants aren’t necessarily thinking about what’s nutritious, but rather what tastes good. Dodge talks about his experience with this while working at Michelin-star restaurants.
As with many other aspects of health, when it comes to food, it’s important to not just look at the aesthetics, but to also focus on the deeper health components.
Dodge talks about how he approaches menu planning for LifeCafe. He focuses on balancing micronutrients and appropriate portion sizes while still maintaining a great flavor profile and presentation — and has all items vetted through nutrition and fitness professionals.
A meal is a sensory experience. A lot of people forget that digestion starts in the mouth and the process of chewing your food is a very important component of that. Ideally, we want to sit down for meals, smelling and tasting the food, and really taking the time to pause and appreciate the meal.
When you take a greater interest in what you’re eating, it can become less of a chore and more of something you look forward to — or even a stress-relief tactic.
Why is it such a struggle to reduce our sugar intake?
It can be hard to know how much sugar is actually in the foods and drinks we’re consuming.
A lot of people perceive healthy eating as being boring — but it doesn’t need to be. And it doesn’t have to be hard either.
Brown offers some tips around buying and using fresh produce.
Meal planning is a big issue for many people, but it’s a key skill for eating more nutritious foods. Brown offers her advice for how we can make it simpler as well as tips for grocery shopping.
Dodge offers some of his meal-prep hacks, including taking advantage of pre-prepared foods.
Cooking takes some trial and error to learn what you like and how you prefer certain foods.
Brown offers a tip for getting more vegetables into her day with very little preparation or cooking required.
Frozen vegetables oftentimes have more nutrients than fresh ones, as they’re flash-frozen at their peak.
Dodge and Brown discuss how they each approach meal prepping.
If we strive to maintain healthy food habits 80 percent of the time, that leaves room 20 percent of the time for balance.
Variety in your diet is important for many reasons, one being that without it we can put ourselves at risk of developing a food sensitivity. Just because a food is “healthy,” doesn’t always mean it’s healthy for your individual body.
The non-negotiable, healthy-living habits that Brown and Dodge incorporate into their daily lives.