Mitzi Dulan, RD
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Tuesday, June 30

Smoothies: Healthy Treat or Overindulgence?

There are few things more refreshing than a cold, creamy smoothie on a hot summer’s day. With smoothie joints offering various fruity flavors and even enhancements promising improved immunity, weight loss, and muscle-building, these blended beverages seem like a super sweet deal, chocked full of health benefits!
The fact of the matter is that while smoothies can be very healthy and good for you, if you are purchasing them from a store there are some unfortunate surprises: smoothies containing close to 1,000 calories! Yikes to anyone trying to lose weight!

So what’s a hot, thirsty person to do? Luckily, I’ve go the inside scoop on how to navigate the smoothie shop’s menu for a cold treat that’s nutrition facts won’t leave you frozen in fright!

1. Stay away from smoothies with added sugar and full-fat yogurt or milk. Instead, ask about all fruit options with no additional sweeteners.
2. Get a small or even a kid’s size – and even then you might want to share! Fitting right in with the “supersize” mentality, the “small” size at Jamba Juice is 16 oz, and at Smoothie King it is a whopping 20 oz!
3. Check out your smoothie shop’s website! Smoothie King and Jamba Juice both have nutrition info posted online. Make a note of the smoothies that are lower in calories and sugar, and keep the list in your car, wallet, or even phone for a handy reference guide. This really is your best option, as even healthy sounding options may have something to hide. At Smoothie King, for example, the small “Grape Expectations II” smoothie has 548 calories and 125 grams of sugar . . . and is listed as a “snack right” option. I don’t know about you, but 548 calories sounds like more of a meal than a snack to me!
4. Not only can store-bought smoothies have a lot of added calories and sugar, but they can also be expensive. Why not try making your own smoothies at home? Stock your freezer full of frozen pineapple, peaches, bananas, and berries for a sweet treat that won’t break your bank account! Also, with summer here, visit your local farmer's market for fresh fruits and vegetables to add to your smoothies. To find one near you visit See below for my favorite combinations.

Banana Berry Smoothie: In a blender, combine 1 frozen banana, 1 cup of almond, hemp or organic 1% milk, and ½ cup of frozen berries (your choice!).

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie: Blend together 1 frozen banana, ½ cup of canned pumpkin puree, 1 cup of almond, hemp or organic 1% milk, and 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice.

Pineapple Lemon Bliss Smoothie: Blend together 1/4 lemon (peeled), 3/4 cup of fresh pineapple, 1 cup almond, hemp or organic 1% milk, 3/4 cup ice.

Cinnamon Apple Smoothie: (high powered blender works best) 1/2 Granny Smith apple, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 frozen banana, 1/2 cup fresh pineapple, 1/2 cup ice.

If you want to buy the best blender to help you eat more of a whole foods diet and to pulverize a Granny Smith apple, carrot, or ice in seconds get a Vita-Mix. I've only had mine a few months and I use it every day to make smoothies for my husband, kids and myself. We all have our own favorite recipes! Sometimes we throw in a few carrots and/or a handful of baby spinach to boost the nutritional content and you can't even taste them.

Follow me on Twitter if you want to follow some of my smoothie creations at

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Monday, June 22

Detox Diets: Worth It or Useless?

Lose weight fast and cleanse your body of harmful toxins! These are just a few claims given for what you can expect if you go on a detox diet. You’ve probably seen them on TV, read about them on the internet, or heard athletes and celebrities boasting about the wondrous effects of these diets. It is believed that detox diets remove toxins from the body that accumulate from the environment, foods we eat, and water we drink, prevent and cure diseases, and give people more energy. By taking certain pills, powders, herbs, drinks, laxatives, supplements, or fasting and only eating certain foods, these results can be achieved. So, what’s the deal with these diets? Do they perform as advertised? Can one expect to achieve optimum health through a detox diet? The answer is simple...NO!

Currently, there is no scientific proof that these diets help rid the body of toxins faster or that the elimination of toxins will make you healthier. Some of these detox diets may actually have a negative effect on your health. The side effects of taking certain pills, powders, supplements, or laxatives can be diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and mineral imbalances, or problems with the digestive system. Other side effects can include fatigue, irritability, weight loss, and excessive hunger. Fasting or eliminating certain foods can cause weight loss but in the form of water and possibly muscle. If a detox diet is continued for a long period of time, it may result in nutrient deficiencies and can slow down a person’s metabolism, making it harder to keep weight off or lose it later.

These claims may be too good to be true and in reality they actually are. So save yourself time and money and just stay away from these so-called “magical” detox diets. They are unproven and can be a lot more harmful then beneficial. The body is designed to cleanse and detoxify itself without the help any special diet. Our kidneys, liver, and intestines are naturally built to rid our bodies of toxins and excess waste. So let nature take its course and let your body cleanse itself naturally by eating a clean, whole foods diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean protein and plenty of water!

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7 Tips for a Healthy Vacation: Food, Fitness and Fun!

Summer is here, and you’re about to take that long awaited vacation – a word synonymous with indulgence, escape, and breaking out of the daily routine. If you’ve been diligently working at establishing healthy lifestyle habits, this whole vacation concept may pose some anxiety. Never fear, because America’s Nutrition Expert® has the tips you need to have a vacation that is fun, fabulous, and won’t leave you falling back on all of the great progress you’ve made!

1. Make a point to pack your workout clothes! Knowing that you’ve packed them and lugged them all the way to your destination, you’ll be more likely to use them!
2. If you are vacationing with family or friends who don’t want to join your workout, bite the bullet and wake up earlier than they do for a quick sweat session at the hotel’s gym, a walk along the beach (hopefully you have one!), or even try one of Exercise TV’s free full-length workout videos. Getting your blood pumping early in the morning will leave you feeling refreshed and energized for a day of vacation fun!
3. To really get a feel for your vacation spot, don’t count on sightseeing by car or tour bus. Instead, why not walk, hike or even rent a bicycle? In addition to it being a fun way to get to know your surroundings, you’re also cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions and sneaking in some exercise (burning some calories)! What’s not to love?
4. Before heading out on vacation, check out the local restaurant menus online! By knowing which restaurants have healthier fare from the get-go, you can avoid finding yourself stuck at a restaurant with limited healthy options. Plus, your traveling companions will be grateful for your superb dining recommendations.
5. Pack a few healthy snacks for the road. Dried fruit, almonds, high-fiber cereal, baby carrots, America's Nutrition Expert® approved energy bars (LARA Bars, Pure Bars, SoyJoy, Clif Nectar) are all great options that can easily keep you fueled throughout your day instead of succumbing to the offerings of street cart vendors.
6. When booking your reservations, try to choose places that have a refrigerator whenever possible. Then, when you get to your destination, take a trip to your the grocery store and stock up on some basics that will save both the budget and the waistline. Stock up on bottled water, organic milk, fresh fruit, whole wheat bread, natural peanut butter, and honey. You can have cereal for breakfast and peanut butter and honey sandwiches for a high energy snack on the go.
7. And finally, make time to indulge! You are on vacation after all! If there’s a local specialty you are just dying to try, go for it! Just suggest that your traveling companion shares it with you, and remember to savor each and every fabulous bite.

Happy and safe travels!

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