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Kim Stoeger, MS, Clinical Nutritionist

Kim Stoeger, MS, Clinical Nutritionist

Kimberly Stoeger, MS, is the clinical nutritionist and owner of Nutritional Healing, LLC. Her passion lies in supporting people’s health through evidence-based medicine (risks versus benefits of medications) and healing therapies through nutrition. Kimberly has her masters of science in human nutrition degree, and experience working with clients regarding weight and fatigue issues, sports nutrition, food sensitivities and allergies, and general health concerns such as high blood pressure, high glucose levels, high cholesterol/triglycerides, migraines, thyroid conditions and gut dysfunction. To learn more, call 920-358-5764 or email [email protected]

Monday, 01 October 2018 01:46

Fall into health this Halloween

As a nutritionist, one of the most common concerns I have heard over the past few months is: “Summer eating is such a challenge.” As we now move into fall, all tempting foods should be out of the way, right? Unfortunately, as most can already tell from the aisles upon aisles of Halloween candy, things only get more challenging from here on out. Halloween kicks off the “holiday season” with Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and then Valentine’s Day just around the corner. The underlying message here — our health is a journey, never a destination. Good nutrition starts in the home, and it starts with you! With the right mindset and a little discipline, everyone has the power to stay on track with their health goals if they want to.

Here are some suggestions for your family’s healthy plan of attack this Halloween!

  • Procrastinate purchasing. Buy your Halloween candy the day of trick or treating to avoid temptation. Buy less than what you think you will need to avoid leftovers, and preferably a candy that you do not like or crave.
  • Non-candy treats. If you really have a hard time with temptation, choose to pass out non-candy treats such as snack packs of dried fruit, pretzels, nuts and seeds, raisins, single serve boxes of healthy ready-to-eat cereal, beef or turkey jerky.
  • Activity items. Encourage activity and creativity by handing out items such as bouncy balls, spider rings, pencils, erasers, bubbles, stickers, funny Halloween glasses, temporary tattoos, costume jewelry, glow sticks, crayons/markers and coloring tablets.
  • Eat before you trick or treat. Serve a healthy family dinner before the fun begins, this way the kids will not be tempted to eat candy along the way. Before you leave, have a discussion regarding when and how much of your kids’ candy they will be allowed to eat along the way.
  • Practice portion control. After trick or treating, sort the candy to keep only the favorites and preferably “healthier” choices. For example, choose which “fun size” candy bars have the least amount of fat, sugar and calories per serving. Pure dark chocolate is going to be a healthier choice. Set boundaries for your children on how much candy can be eaten each day, and put the rest out of reach. This rule applies to parents as well!
  • Creative incentive. Reward your kids for making good decisions by asking them to trade in their stash of candy for valued non-food items like toys, clothes, video games or music. If you pay for each piece of candy they “sell” you, they will be motivated to get rid of the unnecessary pile of candy they’ve collected in no time!

Halloween can be enjoyable for both kids and adults without overindulging. Due to the alarming obesity rate our nation faces, our children are predicted to be the first generation that will not outlive their parents. So what can we do to turn things around? Again, health is a journey, never a destination. If you and your family eat sensibly all year, then kids will already know how to make wise decisions when they are tempted to overindulge during various holidays. If we’re allowing both ourselves and our kids to indulge daily on unhealthy items, our “journey,” and health, will be a bumpy road ahead. Enjoy the holiday with your kids, but carefully plan what you will do at your house to assure that healthy eating habits are practiced.

Friday, 31 August 2018 14:44

Football Season Go For More Guacamole

Ingredients

1 cup small curd cottage cheese

1 avocado

4 tablespoons lime juice, divided

2 tablespoons hot sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup finely diced tomato

1/3 cup finely diced red onion

2 tablespoons finely diced jalapeño

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Drizzle of olive oil

Directions

Place the cottage cheese in a food processor and blend until smooth. Gently mash the avocado with 2 tablespoons lime juice and hot sauce, season with salt.

Mix the creamed cottage cheese with the avocado mixture. Place in a serving dish and top with the diced vegetables and chopped cilantro. Drizzle with olive oil and the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice.

Serve with a variety of healthy cut up veggies at your next football party or gathering! High in protein and delicious! 

“I only had a handful of chips… a tiny scoop of potato salad… and just a little piece of cake.” Does this sound like you? It seems harmless enough, but if you’re trying to stay healthy, the average summer barbecue can leave you feeling less than celebratory. When you think about how many Americans are participating in barbecues, graduation parties, tailgating and various other events this summer, that’s a lot of potentially calorie-laden eating (and this is not even including the “delicacies” we find at county fairs and festivals!).

However, these social events do not have to ruin your diet. There is hope for healthy outdoor meals, especially if you watch the sauces and side dishes, and stay away from the chips and dips. Simple steps can make a difference whether you’re grilling for a crowd or bringing a side dish to an event.

Swapping simple alternatives to traditional classic dishes can mean the difference between enjoying yourself all weekend long or feeling lousy after overdoing it on one day. Moderation is key!

Here are the top summer foods to avoid and suggested alternatives:

1. If you can hold it in your hand, it might stick to your hips. Summer barbecues don’t have to be about hot dogs, brats, ribs and chicken drumsticks. Go for foods that require a knife and fork. Generally speaking, if your meat is considered “portable,” it’s probably not good for you! Grilling fish and lean cuts of meat like chicken breasts and even filet mignon gives diners the delicious, smoky, chargrilled taste synonymous with cooking outdoors — just be sure to skip the heavy sauces and sugary marinades.

2. Work on a healthy “color” during summer; don’t be too “white.” Of course this isn’t about your tan! Side salads that are “white” from mayonnaise are best avoided. Opt for a combination of purple and red potatoes or macaroni salad made with quinoa pasta and crunchy vegetables like shredded carrots, colorful bell peppers and fresh parsley to add more color and flavor than traditional side salads. Hold the full fat mayo altogether and substitute nonfat or low-fat Greek yogurt, or a dressing of diluted vinegar, fresh herbs and a taste of honey.

3. Observe all the buns you can! Hamburger buns, that is. If you must serve burgers and dogs, 100 percent whole-grain/wheat buns pack more nutritional punch than the overly processed and refined white flour buns. White flour products have been stripped of beneficial nutrients like fiber, which help regulate our digestive system and keep us feeling full longer.

4. Keep the cooler light. So many unnecessary calories are consumed from beverages. Skip the sugar-laden sodas, punches, sports and energy drinks. Since these events are celebrations and very social, also be mindful of regular beer, wine and cocktails. Adding seltzer water and ice to wine helps keep the calories down and last much longer. Impress your guests and take the time to make and serve unsweetened iced tea or water infused with fruits, cucumbers or fresh mint! It will surely be a hit with all ages, and those who are drinking alcoholic beverages can alternate with water.

5. Spice up your dessert. Who really wants to bake desserts on a sweltering summer day? How about grilling some fresh tropical fruit and serving it with a dash of nutmeg? It’s not only fast, but simple. After the main courses are cooked, fruit can be placed on the grill while the other finishing touches are being made. This dessert is then ready by the time guests are seated. This treat is simple to make, guaranteed not to melt and will be a welcome and refreshing treat that’s easy on the waistline!

Saturday, 30 June 2018 02:28

Healthy Baked Beans

Ingredients

1/2 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon liquid Stevia (I recommend Sweet Leaf Stevia Clear Liquid Drops)

1/2 pound uncooked pinto beans, soaked overnight in water

1 can (15 ounces) no salt added tomato sauce

21/2 tablespoons reduced sodium Worcestershire sauce

13/4 cup water

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 garlic cloves, minced

11/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Place all ingredients in a crockpot, stir and cook on high for 7 hours (or until beans are soft and sauce has thickened). Let sit for one more hour with heat turned off and lid on. Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, 30 May 2018 21:19

Five food myths that keep us fat and sick

When it comes to our weight and health, there’s a ton of advice out there. And the problem is, most of it is terrible, outdated and scientifically disproven. Those who believe it are getting in their own way of their best health! If what you’re doing isn’t working, it isn’t right for you. Here are five of the top common food myths that people are falling for:

1. Genetics. “I have bad genes.” You may think if your mom is fat and your grandma is fat, that’s why you are fat. You drew the fat card or the diabetes card in the genetic lottery. But the truth is there are 32 genes associated with obesity in the general population and they only account for nine percent of obesity cases. So even if you had all 32 obesity genes, you would put on only about 22 pounds. Our genes don’t change that fast. What changed is we went from eating about 10 pounds of sugar per person per year in 1800 to 152 pounds of sugar (and 146 pounds of flour) per person per year today. Those are drugs, doses of sugar and flour that hijack our metabolism and make us fat and sick. The truth is that obesity is caused by all kinds of factors, but the least of them is genetics.

2. Starvation is the only way to lose weight. You do NOT have to starve to lose weight! In fact, that’s one thing that my clients love to learn about. They don’t go hungry when eating real whole food. In fact, when you balance your hormones and insulin by eating the right combination of proteins, healthy fats, the right carbs (low glycemic) and phytonutrients, you can not only lose weight without starving, you can lose weight without craving all the junk that was making you fat!

3. Calories in, calories out. The idea that as long as we burn more calories than we consume, we will lose weight, is completely dead wrong. Just eat less and exercise more is the mantra we hear from the food industry and government agencies. It’s all about moderation we keep hearing, but how is that working for America? Our nation is becoming sicker as each year goes by. The truth is there are more people focusing on counting calories versus simply counting chemicals in their food.

4. Exercise is the key to weight loss. If you think you can exercise your way to weight loss, I am sorry to say you are in for a big disappointment. Relying on exercise to lose weight without changing your diet is asking for failure. You can change your diet and lose weight, but if you exercise and keep your diet the same, you may gain some muscle, improve endurance and be healthier overall, but you won’t shed many pounds. The simple fact is that you cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet.

5. Eating fat makes you fat. Eating fat not only doesn’t make you fat, it’s critical to health and weight loss. Studies comparing an identical calorie high fat diet to a high sugar diet had totally different effects on metabolism. The higher fat diet caused people to burn an extra 300 calories a day. That’s the equivalent of running for an hour without doing any exercise. Fat speeds up your metabolism. Sugar slows it down.

If you feel like you’re doing everything right but not seeing results, then you are not eating “right” for you no matter what you think. The operative phrase is “for you.” We need to give up the idea that there is one right way, and embrace the discovery process of finding what works for you. As a clinical nutritionist, I help people get back to their best health through their own unique journey. Once people determine the underlying factors holding them back from their best weight and health goals, then it is a matter of “when” not “if” it will work. 

Tuesday, 01 May 2018 00:52

Cilantro-Lime Grilled Watermelon

Turn your watermelon into something new and delicious this grilling season!

Ingredients

Yield: 8 pieces

2 (2-inch) slices watermelon

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 limes, juiced

½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut each watermelon round into 4 pieces, for a total of 8 pieces*. Brush each side of the pieces with olive oil and a little of the lime juice, reserving at least half of the lime juice for after cooking. Season with a little bit of salt — about ½ teaspoon total for 8 pieces, both sides.
  2. Heat an outdoor gas grill to high heat. Grill watermelon for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, allowing grill marks to form.
  3. Remove from grill and season with the remaining lime juice and sprinkle with cilantro. Season with additional salt to taste. Salt brings out additional flavor so really do it to taste.

Notes

*This is one of those recipes where a written recipe with exact amounts is not really necessary. You can make as much or as little as you want and easily adjust it. Slice the watermelon 2 inches thick. The above written list of ingredients can be used to estimate how much you’ll need for either more or less.

Do you feel like you’re running on empty? Just as your car or truck needs clean gas, clean oil and a clean air filter to function properly, your body needs “clean” food. If you pour in the wrong kind of oil or gas that’s loaded with “fillers,” or your exhaust system is clogged up, your car will give you obvious and immediate signs of system breakdown. What will you do about it? Will you pour in more dirty gas and more of the wrong oil? Will you try to keep driving until the engine completely fails? Will you drive to the first car “doctor” (mechanic) and get the latest “prescription” (car parts or “diagnostic” you don’t need) and waste your money, your time, and destroy all common sense when it comes to proper maintenance? What ever happened to preventive maintenance?

It’s time to understand that your symptoms are simply your body’s way of telling you that you’re running on empty and quite toxic. Clean food entails consuming foods that are purely carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Not “food-like” substances that come from vending machines and drive-thrus.

Here are 5 telltale signs that you’ve consumed some toxic food and your “symptoms” need more than just cover up medicine, in fact, your body needs clean food starting today:

  1. Inflammation or edema: Are you retaining abnormal amounts of water? This could show up as weight gain. Do your hands and feet swell often? Are you consuming excessive animal protein, dairy or genetically modified wheat? What about refined sugars? Check the sodium levels in processed foods, especially ones you ate in the past six hours.
  2. Lethargy or vertigo (dizziness): Nothing slows down a human body faster than “trash” food. If you eat nutrient-void food, you will not have any energy. If you are dizzy, this is usually an equilibrium issue in the inner ear, boiling right back to diet. Check your recent intake for MSG, aspartame, nitrates in meats and concentrated sweets.
  3. Gut or Bowel dysfunction: Not always, but most often the gluten we are consuming is “mutant” GMO food “glue” and causes constipation. Gluten and artificial sweeteners can irritate your entire digestive tract and pollute your cleansing organs with synthetic toxins, which may never release. Your body knows when you’ve consumed these “poisons” and lets you know right away.
  4. Skin rashes, eczema or psoriasis: Check your concentrated sweets, gluten, GMO pesticide-laden foods like corn and soy, and remember, the more processed food you eat, the more you break out with these skin conditions. Even typical medications like aspirin, cough syrup and ibuprofen can be overdone and cause headaches and rashes.
  5. Headaches, migraines or brain fog: Did you just drink some unfiltered tap water (containing fluoride and bleach)? Did you just get a flu shot or a vaccine? Did you just eat something with aspartame in it? Did you just return from the dentist with a new mercury cavity filling? Did you just take a strong pharmaceutical medication for anxiety, depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?

Your body’s immediate response (within 6 hours) to consuming something that it does not want to process and cannot utilize for nutrition are often clear signs that if you continue to inflict the same “damage” to your system, eventually major system “failure” will occur. The biggest question is, “Are you promoting disease or protecting yourself against it?” Are you truly putting out the “burning fire” of inflammation, or are you temporarily getting rid of just the “smoke”?

If you are experiencing one or more of the five most popular categories of toxicity symptoms, there are simple fixes that begin right within your kitchen pantry and it’s time to dump the junk food. You can also get a personalized blood test to see which specific foods and ingredients are your personal poisons.

Bottom line: in our busy environment, make sure you’re not running on empty and take back your health! 

Wednesday, 28 February 2018 15:58

What color is your diet?

Remember ROYGBIV? This mnemonic device is how many of us learned the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Nowadays I use the acronym to represent the colors of food I should be eating. March is National Nutrition Month, and “eating the colors of the rainbow” is one of the best things we can do for our health. Of course I’m not referring to the popular candy that encourages tasting these brilliant colors, I’m talking about fruits and vegetables!

Think about the average person’s daily meals. Breakfast may start with either cereal and milk, or eggs with pancakes and sausage. As one moves into the lunch hour, grabbing for a burger or sandwich sided with chips, fries, cookies and soda is pretty common. Lastly, envision a typical supper, which is usually based around some sort of meat with potatoes/rice/noodles, and a fan favorite “veggie” known as corn! Close your eyes and picture the colors that were just consumed on an average day — brown, white and yellow! Unfortunately some of the only vegetables that Americans eat are lettuce, tomato and onion — because they came with that burger!

The proof is in the pigment, everyone! And what a wonderful and easy way to protect your health — through eating! Consuming a diet rich in plant foods will provide a vast amount of phytochemicals, or nonnutritive substances in plants, that possess health-protective effects preventing and treating chronic disease. Phytochemicals are both anti-inflammatory and tissue-specific for the body. The best part? The benefits come from consuming mixtures of the fruits and vegetables, not just a single few, leaving us with many options to select from nature’s pharmacy! Challenge yourself to eat foods from each color every day. There is only so much benefit received from eating the same thing all the time; rotation and variety is key! The following are a few examples of where to find these phytochemical colors and their specific healing properties:

Red: Lycopene, or anthocyanins, help to reduce several types of cancer risks (especially prostate) and serve as powerful antioxidant protecting from cell damage.

  • Beets
  • Cherries
  • Red peppers
  • Red potatoes
  • Cranberries
  • Raspberries
  • Radishes
  • Pink grapefruit
  • Strawberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Red grapes
  • Tomatoes
  • Red apples
  • Pomegranates
  • Watermelon
  • Red cabbage

Orange/Yellow: Carotenoids help to maintain healthy mucous membranes and eyes. They also may reduce risk of cancers, heart disease and can improve immune system function.

  • Butternut/yellow squash
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Yellow peppers
  • Yellow tomatoes
  • Yellow apples
  • Apricots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Mangoes
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Tangerines

Green: Chlorophyll, lutein, zeaxanthin and indoles serve to maintain vision health, atherosclerosis and also protect against some forms of cancer.

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Green beans
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Green cabbage
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce/spinach
  • Green onions
  • Peas
  • Green peppers
  • Limes
  • Zucchini
  • Avocados
  • Green apples
  • Green grapes
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwi

Blue/Purple: Anthocyanidins are “anti-aging,” protecting one’s brain health and nerve tissue, and controlling blood pressure and heart health.

  • Purple kale
  • Purple cabbage
  • Purple potatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Purple grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Boysenberries
  • Raisins
  • Figs
  • Plums 


References: Lila, Ann .N.Y. Acad. Sci. 11143:372-380, 2007.

Walsh et al., Amer J Clin Nutr; 2007: 86:1687-1693.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018 19:25

Breaking your relationship with sugar

Have you ever tried to break a sweet tooth addiction only to find yourself still craving cookies, soda or other refined carbohydrates? Do you want to know why it is hard to break your sweet tooth addiction? The answer is simple: because it is a real addiction.

So while you might beat yourself up inside for not being strong enough to fight your sweet tooth, you should cut yourself some slack because it is not “a piece of cake.” Research shows that sugar is a highly refined substance that actually acts a lot like heroin when it hits the brain. Although the idea that sugar is addictive was controversial among scientists for years, studies have shown that sugar affects the brain chemistry and thus might be expected to cause addictive behavior. Sugar has also been shown to cause withdrawal symptoms and cravings. The behavioral effects are similar to the neurochemical changes in the brain that also occur with addictive drugs. Both sugar and the taste of sweet activate beta endorphin receptor sites in the brain, the same receptor sites that are activated by heroin and morphine.

Needless to say, sugar is usually found as simple carbohydrates, which are not exactly “healthy” foods. They are considered high glycemic index (GI) foods, which produce high levels of blood sugar. A diet that consists primarily of high GI foods can lead to carbohydrate cravings and an overall increase in appetite — potentially resulting in unwanted weight gain. These foods can cause large fluctuations of both blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to a vicious cycle of overeating (even overeating foods that are good for us). And studies have shown that each time you give into this cycle, “the chronic consumption of a diet with a high glycemic load is independently associated with an increased risk of obesity, developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers.”

As far as choosing products without refined sugar goes, unfortunately, so many of these “better alternatives” contain artificial sweeteners, which studies have shown do not ultimately control your cravings for sweets. Some people do use these to bridge a gap here and there, but never should be used long term. Reason being is that they are unnatural, and hundreds of times sweeter, tricking your body into thinking it craves even more of that sweet flavor. So replacing things with sugar-free and diet beverages will definitely not break the sugar addiction. The body sees sugar as sugar, and you would just end up compensating by taking in more calories later on.

To break your sweet tooth addiction, focus on products that contain natural forms of sweeteners (i.e. stevia) in small amounts. Also slowly replace one unhealthy sweet food (i.e. cookies) with another food that is naturally sweet like fresh fruits, small portions of dried fruits, Greek yogurt and unsweetened dairy alternatives, etc. Even adding things like a little honey, cinnamon or cocoa powder could be helpful in satisfying a sweet tooth in a healthy way.

Be creative! Break the cookie cycle!


“Sugar and Fat Bingeing Have Notable Differences in Addictive-Like Behavior.” Journal of Nutrition. 2009.

“The role of glycemic index concept in carbohydrate metabolism.” J. Ciok et al. 2006.

Friday, 29 December 2017 02:56

When food causes you pain

With the holidays now over, everyone can relate to the feeling of a “food hangover,” or the agony of overeating. But could what you eat really be the culprit of arthritis, muscle pain, asthma, digestive and skin disorders as well? Yes, in fact it can be to blame. Scientists are making a strong link between our food choices and pain. About 70 percent of our immune cells are in our digestive system, making direct contact with the food we enjoy every day. If the immune system is triggered by bacteria in food, or flags a food as an allergen, or has an imbalance of important hormones such as insulin, it can set off the red alert of inflammation.

Inflammation is a major underlying factor in chronic conditions such as arthritis or poor digestive health, resulting in serious discomfort and a limited lifestyle. In other instances, inflammation is a periodic byproduct of stress and the proverbial wear-and-tear of living. At times we tax our bodies excessively, causing joint pain and decreased mobility. And yet, there are occasions where the stressful demands of work and family — the unexpected obstacles that are symptoms of financial and personal hardship, unhealthy diet, and too little sleep — manifest themselves through inflammation.

Persistent, systemic inflammation also increases a person’s risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and an assortment of other problems that become more likely as we age. More disturbing is the rise in the use of prescription drugs — many of which have serious long-term side effects — as a response to the growing threat of inflammation. Bottom line? Inflammation is the root of all chronic disease. How inflammation becomes visible in our own health will depend on the person.

There are immediate steps we can all take to reduce inflammation, starting with improved eating habits. Sufficient rest, moderate activity and a strong immune system also complement our dietary choices so that we can better control inflammation when it strikes.

Diet is critical! Amidst the far-too-numerous types of processed foods, sugary drinks and oversized meals, we must seize any chance to embrace the benefits of sound nutrition. When you eat foods you’re sensitive to (especially over and over each day or week), it causes an inflammatory reaction in your body and your health declines. And the important fact to note is that healthy foods such as squash, turkey, beans and apples, for example, may be your “personal poison” foods causing the inflammation.

The easiest way to discover your food sensitivities is a food sensitivity lab test. It’s a blood test that challenges the part of your immune system responsible for food sensitivities against different foods to determine your immune response. The strength of the response tells if you have a severe, moderate or mild sensitivity or none at all. You can choose to test up to 200 different foods, with results listing all your sensitive foods, the degree of sensitivity and your safe foods. It’s that simple. Imagine how long it would take to test that many foods on an elimination diet!

It is not a matter of whether a person “has” food sensitivities. In my experience, “how many,” and “which foods,” are what the blood test results show. The solution to pain is choosing to support your immune system with your next meal. We eat numerous times throughout the day, every day. Your next bite of food has the power to help or the power to heal. Which would you prefer? 

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