A Change of Heart – Or Bend in the Road?

About a week ago I headed to Arizona to check out a school for my future career as a Doctor of Naturopath.  I was really excited and pumped up on the idea of integrating holistic healing with modern medicine and being able to help people by spending the time to get to know the patients as a person rather than a chart number.  My perspective is changing, maturing as I work through undergrad studies.  One doesn’t have to know all of the little details about one’s life to understand the illness; and in fact, inefficiency and an unskilled Physician can be misunderstood as taking the time to find the answers.  The fact remains, a good Doctor knows what he or she needs to ask to find the answers, and a great Doctor will keep trying if he or she cannot find the problem and fix it.  Finding the answers is not necessarily going to come from talking for hours on end about the same thing repeatedly.

So I have been thinking about this.  I haven’t had a change of heart because I didn’t even know all of what I was getting into.  The fact is, the Doctor of Naturopathy education is geared toward the healing naturally, rather than with a balance of both types of medicine.  During my undergrad education, I have also realized that there are some things such as neurological disorders and extreme pain that are not well-managed with holistic healing.  The fact is, many so-called cases that are miraculously healed by taking herbs and other natural remedies are not tested before and afterward to make sure it is more than just a placebo effect that will fade through time.


So I’m going to visit the idea of becoming a Neurologist.  I am fascinated with the entire neurological system, and even think I could handle the surgeries.  I have watched videos of brain surgeries and spinal cord surgeries, such as tumor removal and epidural hematoma surgeries for example, and it was thrilling!  I work with a neurologist so will do some more research, reading, watch lectures, surgeries, and ask my coworker Neurologist how else to prepare and make sure it is the program for me.


My Personal Nutrition Plan

Nutrition and Disease
Natasha Tovar
HCS308 Intro to Nutritional Concepts
Instructor Christine McMahon
June 13, 2016

Strengths Photo Retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&biw=1366&bih=609&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=my+strengths+n+weaknesses&oq=my+strengths+n+weaknesses&gs_l=img.3…99665.105950.0.106077.….0…1.1.64.img..0.14.1106…0j0i30j0i8i30.c-JmKHG3mtw

Consistent Strengths

Presently, after taking this course in Nutrition, I realize that my strengths are in keeping healthy foods in the house, avoiding added sugars, as well as eating healthy snacks.  I also can see that preparing my own food has added to my nutrition in addition to watching what I eat, how much I eat, and when I eat.  I try to stop eating when I am full, eat when I am truly hungry, and try not to think about food all the time.  After having an unhealthy relationship with food previously, this class helped me see some things that I didn’t realize before.  One thing is that my sensitivity was not because I shouldn’t eat dairy, but rather because I needed to strengthen my gut by eating more healthy fiber and drinking more water.  This is now a new strength that I look forward to continuing.

strengths n weaknesses
Weaknesses Photo Retrieved from URL:https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&biw=1366&bih=609&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=my+strengths+n+weaknesses&oq=my+strengths+n+weaknesses&gs_l=img.3…99665.105950.0.106077.….0…1.1.64.img..0.14.1106…0j0i30j0i8i30.c-JmKHG3mtw

Weaknesses Presently

Presently I need to get more exercise, eat vegetables more consistently, and also eat more consistent meals.  I have a tendency to skip breakfast, eat a normal to large lunch, and then binge throughout the evening.  Eating a hearty breakfast is going to help me have the energy and keep my metabolism going strong all day long which will help me fight the urge to overeat in the evenings.  Another weakness is that I sometimes forget to drink water throughout the day, and end up drinking a bunch of water right before bed; when in fact I should be drinking it evenly throughout the day.  Also, I need to integrate more of a variety of different oils in my diet.  Currently, I use olive oil, canola oil, coconut oil, and eat avocados daily.  Getting other oils and incorporating them in my diet will help me have more variety of flavors.  I also need to cut back on the meats and eat more beans for protein since beans are lower in fat.  In this class, the assessments I did showed that I eat too much fat; and although it is healthy fat, we learned that if the fat exceeds 31 percent of one’s total calories then it increases one’s risk for cardiovascular disease (Sizer & Whitney, 2013).

yoga pilates
Changes That Need to Happen Photo Retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?q=my+health+plan&newwindow=1&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjYq-m286bNAhUCSFIKHfHfDTAQ_AUICSgC&biw=1366&bih=609

Changes Need To Happen

Firstly, continue with the water and teach my body to drink it consistently throughout the day.  Secondly, incorporate exercise into my day by practicing daily yoga and begin a running routine.  Thirdly, eat more beans and a healthier balance of diet, using a lot of salads as a basis for my mealtimes.  Finally, the last step is to fine-tune the proportions in order to have the optimum body mass index for my heart health and vitality.  According to Sizer and Whitney (2013), A BMI of 20 is optimum for vitality and is in the middle of normal BMI.  Being a previously obese person, this is important to help my body function at a level that it was designed to.

Better Life Ahead Picture Retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&biw=1366&bih=609&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=my+strengths+n+weaknesses&oq=my+strengths+n+weaknesses&gs_l=img.3…99665.105950.0.106077.….0…1.1.64.img..0.14.1106…0j0i30j0i8i30.c-JmKHG3mtw


Better Life Ahead

After these goals have become part of my life, I expect to feel so much better physically,  psychologically, and mentally.  Having a balance is essential for the entire being, not just the body.  Having a balanced lifestyle as far as diet and exercise goes will help me have the space necessary to get things done and keep my life clutter-free, balanced, and focused.  In my future career it will be essential that I have already established a good lifestyle with habits that keep things running as smoothly as it is possible; therefore, now is the perfect time to start.  While using apps to watch my diet and water intake is necessary for now, eventually after quite some time, I anticipate being able to let go of those crutches and just listen to my body in a maintenance stage of these lifestyle goals.

Conclusion in Perfection Picture Retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&espv=2&biw=924&bih=632&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=process+of+perfectin&oq=process+of+perfectin&gs_l=img.3…14012.16412.0.16490.….0…1.1.64.img..1.18.1657…0j0i30j0i5i30j0i8i30j0i24.Wc92GtBMhrE

Conclusion in Perfection

As noted throughout this class, nutrition is essential for efficiency in the body, function and stability of the mind, and even protection against disease.  There are many different aspects to one’s diet, however, if one simply watches their portions and balances the plate such as is seen on My Plate, then we can see that it is easy to envision what will support our body’s systems.  It is also good to remember that this nutrition is for our body, according to what our body needs to function as it was designed, and not just another fad diet.  This is scientifically backed-up, it is what our body wants, and it is what our body needs.  Nutrition is definitely as essential to our life as it is to open our eyes to read a book, or as it is to open the mouth to eat or drink.  Nutrition is part of our life, and we would do ourselves a lot of good to pay attention what kind of nutrition we are giving our bodies and how we are supporting it to function in the way it was designed.







Sizer, F. & Whitney, E. (2013). Nutrition Concepts & Controversies, Thirteenth Edition. Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Picture References:

Better Life Ahead Picture Retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&biw=1366&bih=609&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=my+strengths+n+weaknesses&oq=my+strengths+n+weaknesses&gs_l=img.3…99665.105950.0.106077.….0…1.1.64.img..0.14.1106…0j0i30j0i8i30.c-JmKHG3mtw

Health Plan Picture Retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?q=my+health+plan&newwindow=1&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjYq-m286bNAhUCSFIKHfHfDTAQ_AUICSgC&biw=1366&bih=609

Strengths Photo Retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&biw=1366&bih=609&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=my+strengths+n+weaknesses&oq=my+strengths+n+weaknesses&gs_l=img.3…99665.105950.0.106077.….0…1.1.64.img..0.14.1106…0j0i30j0i8i30.c-JmKHG3mtw

Weaknesses Photo Retrieved from URL:https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&biw=1366&bih=609&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=my+strengths+n+weaknesses&oq=my+strengths+n+weaknesses&gs_l=img.3…99665.105950.0.106077.….0…1.1.64.img..0.14.1106…0j0i30j0i8i30.c-JmKHG3mtw

Changes That Need to Happen Photo Retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?q=my+health+plan&newwindow=1&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjYq-m286bNAhUCSFIKHfHfDTAQ_AUICSgC&biw=1366&bih=609

Conclusion in Perfection Picture Retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&espv=2&biw=924&bih=632&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=process+of+perfectin&oq=process+of+perfectin&gs_l=img.3…14012.16412.0.16490.….0…1.1.64.img..1.18.1657…0j0i30j0i5i30j0i8i30j0i24.Wc92GtBMhrE

A Life of Nutrition

Nutrition and Disease
Natasha Tovar
HCS308 Intro to Nutritional Concepts
Instructor Christine McMahon
June 12, 2016

Pregnancy Nutrition Picture retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&espv=2&biw=822&bih=632&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=nutrition+pregnancy&oq=nutrition+pregnancy&gs_l=img.3..0j0i8i30l9.21021.23509.0.23655.….0…1.1.64.img..0.19.1791.G84O8Jr_QTg

Nutritious Pregnancy

During Pregnancy nutrition generally means supplementation due to the fact that it would be impractical to eat the amount of food that is necessary to fuel the body and support the growing baby as well.  One of the common concerns during pregnancy is obesity and pregnancy-induced Diabetes.  According to Sizer and Whitney (2013), the amount needed to get the nutrients needed for the baby is an amount that isn’t even possible to consume in one day.  For this reason, pregnant women are encouraged to take prenatal vitamins to get the sufficient micronutrients to support the baby, in addition to eating a nutritious diet that is well-balanced.

Some of the main micronutrients that are especially important during the time of pregnancy are iron to support the additional blood flow, Folate to prevent neural tube defects and brain and spinal cord abnormalities, in addition to Vitamin D and Calcium to help strengthen the bones (Mayo Clinic, 2014).  Another thing that should be included is water and fiber for proper absorption of the nutrients taken in through the diet as well as the supplementation.  As mentioned in a previous blog that fiber works together with water to create volume in the colon in order to stimulate the musculature which is necessary for absorption.  A lot of water in conjunction with fiber is necessary for the pregnant woman to absorb all the micronutrients from the diet as well as the supplement so that the micronutrients can make it to her growing baby and support different systems in his or her body.

Baby Nutrition Picture Retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?q=baby+nutrition&newwindow=1&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjuw-K21KfNAhUUNFIKHUehDdUQ_AUICSgC&biw=1366&bih=653

Nutrition during childhood

Children have a natural tendency to eat what they need as well as how much they need and when they need.  Oftentimes parents feel the need to force them to eat more than what makes them full, and they gauge their food needs by previous days and mealtime history.  The fact remains, according to Sizer and Whitney (2013), that babies and children will have varying nutrition needs depending on their energy expenditure as well as growth cycles.  The child naturally knows when he or she is full, and they learn to eat beyond the point of being full from the adults in his or her life.  It is for this reason that it is crucial that children be raised in a nutritious environment, with everyone eating what is good for them.  This way the child will grow up with a naturally healthy relationship with food as an energy, fuel, and cell restoration source.

Nutritionally speaking, children need micronutrients that are going to support their growing bodies as well as any athletic activities he or she may be part of.  It is for this reason that healthy food should be available.  Now, in some cases, the child has been raised on junk food before the adults in his or her life decide to eat healthily.  In this case, it will take some time; however, the child will eat what is available.  For this reason, it is best to stock up with healthy, fresh fruits and veggies for snacks, individual cheese packets, and even protein packs for them.  If there are chips and other junk foods in the cupboards as a “backup plan” the children will eat those.  If they are kept in a special cupboard for special times such as a family/friend get-together or parties, then it will be normal to save those for special times.  After all, the children will only make a big deal about it if the adults have already taught them that type of relationship with food.

adolescence nutrition.jpg
Adolescence Nutrition Picture retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&espv=2&biw=822&bih=588&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=nutrition+adolescence&oq=nutrition+adolescence&gs_l=img.3..0i8i30l2.12970.14363.0.14502.….0…1.1.64.img..0.11.878…0j0i30j0i5i30j0i24.-bawO_zYyB4

Nutrition for Adolescence

Teens struggle with social acceptance already, and therefore if there are nutrition and poverty involved, there may be what is called nutritional insecurity.  Whether this means not knowing when the next meal will come from, or if it means the person is insecure about the types of food he or she has, either way, it is likely to lead to an overconsumption of foods and also obesity.  This, according to Sizer and Whitney (2013) in their Poverty-Obesity paradox, can lead to health and social implications of obesity such as further insecurity.  If overeating leads to poor money-spending choices, then it can lead to financial insecurity and even further increase the paradox.  For teens, it is essential that they get proper nutrition, including protein, carbohydrates, and also fats; and is also necessary to have proper exercise, in order to keep a good metabolic balance in their system.

nutritino adult.jpg
Adulthood Nutrition Picture retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&espv=2&biw=822&bih=588&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=nutrition+adulthood&oq=nutrition+adulthood&gs_l=img.3..0i8i30.30462.32150.0.32289.….0…1.1.64.img..0.9.864…0j0i30j0i5i30.0VBkq-n41oM

Nutrition for Adults

Nutrition during adulthood is still driven by peer pressure in social situations.  In the picture listed above, peer pressure can also be a good thing.  As mentioned above in the childhood section, the family will eat what is available; therefore, it is good to have well-balanced meals available that are packed with nutrition.  Having a fresh salad ready to go and a hearty meat to put on the grill is one sure way of knowing you have a quick dinner ready.  Nutrition for adults is mainly focused on the balance of the macros and ensuring absorption of the micros, and is achieved through knowing how to prepare the food.  One suggestion for adults who are on the move is to prepare the meals to be eaten together with the night before.  For example, marinating meat, chopping veggies for the salad, and getting breakfast items ready to put together in the morning.  This will ensure that even if there is little time, the food is ready to go.

nutrition seniors.jpg
Senior Nutrition Picture retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&espv=2&biw=822&bih=588&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=nutrition+seniors&oq=nutrition+seniors&gs_l=img.3..0i8i30.66456.67197.0.67312.….0…1.1.64.img..0.7.616…0j0i30j0i5i30j0i24.rkXFxAoCf8k

Retired and Nutritious

Nutrition for seniors changes somewhat from the time period of adulthood.  For instance, seniors can suffer from osteoporosis (Sizer and Whitney, 2013), and therefore due to weakening bones it is encouraged that seniors increase their consumption of milk and food items that have Vitamin D and Calcium.  Also, due to a decrease in metabolism, the caloric content is decreased as well.  Because of this, it is easy to lose muscle tone; and therefore, it is greatly encouraged for seniors to engage themselves in activities that keep them moving safely and keep a good balance as long as is possible.





Mayo Clinic. (2014). Pregnancy Week by Week. Retrieved from URL:http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-nutrition/art-20045082

Sizer, F. & Whitney, E. (2013). Nutrition Concepts & Controversies, Thirteenth Edition. Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Picture References:

Adolescence Nutrition Picture retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&espv=2&biw=822&bih=588&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=nutrition+adolescence&oq=nutrition+adolescence&gs_l=img.3..0i8i30l2.12970.14363.0.14502.….0…1.1.64.img..0.11.878…0j0i30j0i5i30j0i24.-bawO_zYyB4

Adulthood Nutrition Picture retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&espv=2&biw=822&bih=588&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=nutrition+adulthood&oq=nutrition+adulthood&gs_l=img.3..0i8i30.30462.32150.0.32289.….0…1.1.64.img..0.9.864…0j0i30j0i5i30.0VBkq-n41oM

Baby Nutrition Picture Retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?q=baby+nutrition&newwindow=1&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjuw-K21KfNAhUUNFIKHUehDdUQ_AUICSgC&biw=1366&bih=653

Family Nutrition Picture retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&espv=2&tbm=isch&q=nutrition+for+the+family&spell=1&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjb_J-q5abNAhXF8YMKHWz8B-AQvwUIGygA&dpr=1&biw=822&bih=588

Pregnancy Nutrition Picture retrieved from URL:  https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&espv=2&biw=822&bih=632&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=nutrition+pregnancy&oq=nutrition+pregnancy&gs_l=img.3..0j0i8i30l9.21021.23509.0.23655.….0…1.1.64.img..0.19.1791.G84O8Jr_QTg

Senior Nutrition Picture retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&espv=2&biw=822&bih=588&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=nutrition+seniors&oq=nutrition+seniors&gs_l=img.3..0i8i30.66456.67197.0.67312.….0…1.1.64.img..0.7.616…0j0i30j0i5i30j0i24.rkXFxAoCf8k

Power to the Macros

Nutrition and Disease
Natasha Tovar
HCS308 Intro to Nutritional Concepts
Instructor Christine McMahon
June 11, 2016

How Macronutrients Assist Digestion

heart nutrition
Heart Nutrition Picture Retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?q=heart+nutrition+picture&newwindow=1&espv=2&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjB06jaz6fNAhVNUVIKHTHnAIMQ_AUICCgB&biw=812&bih=588

The role of macronutrients in our digestion is pretty clear and is found in the entire body as the digestion starts at the mouth and ends in the colon.  Macronutrients (or macros for short) are carbohydrates, fat, and protein found in the diet and are basically the bulk of one’s diet, being the “large” nutrients.  The basic function of macros is to provide fuel, energy, protection, and cellular formation to the body.  Taking a closer look at the specific

good bad macros digestion
Macros Picture Retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome-psyapi2&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8&q=digestion%20macros%20picture&oq=digestion%20macros%20picture&aqs=chrome..69i57.5908j0j7

application of macros on the digestion, we can see that the role in digestion will likely also primarily be for energy, as the individual nutrients of the macronutrients are absorbed into the system and digested.  Another function in the digestion is that of fiber.  Many carbohydrates such as dark leafy greens, vegetables, fresh fruits such as apples, bananas, and avocados, and even fatty foods such as avocados will have a good level of fiber.  Fiber is essential for digestive health in that it helps give shape to the colon, stimulate the muscular action of the colon, and also allow the micronutrients within the macronutrients to be absorbed.


How Macronutrients Affect Absorption

Eat Your Fiber
Fiber Picture Retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=609&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=fiber+&oq=fiber+&gs_l=img.3..0l4j0i10j0l5.2754.2754.0.3411.….0…1.1.64.img..0.1.93.bzSZ41cyzPU

As mentioned above, macronutrients play a key role in absorption through their fibrous tissue and is located mainly in the colon; although is also located throughout the body as absorption happens with cellular respiration as well as absorption in the blood cells for transportation.  While the fruits, veggies, and fats were mentioned, what is the benefit of protein in digestive absorption?  According to MSJC (2011), proteins tend to also be high in fats.  For instance, milk products, meat products, and even fish and eggs will have higher levels of fat than does fresh produce.  It is for this reason that they are to be balanced with carbohydrates in order to help with the absorption of the nutrients in the protein.  The main role of protein is to regenerate cellular structure and tissues, which is why protein is often said to help with building muscle.  It also requires a lot of fiber and water to help with the absorption of the nutrients found in protein-rich foods, or the nutrients will not absorb as well and will end up being eliminated with the rest of the byproducts.  Protein is essential, and since it helps build muscle will also help with the muscular tissues in the colon; however, needs the support of the carbohydrates for total absorption and efficacy.

How Macronutrients Revitalize Metabolism

Metabolism Picture Retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&espv=2&biw=812&bih=588&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=metabolism&oq=metabolism&gs_l=img.3..0l10.36089.37324.0.37624.….0…1.1.64.img..1.9.767.0Q43oRLfCKE

Metabolism is technically the rate at which the body uses the fuel and energy consumed, and is mainly found in the soft tissues of the body including organs and the colon.  After looking at what macronutrients do to fuel and energize the body, they will also have a leading role in the metabolism.  For instance, according to NCBI (N.D.), since obesity is the state of high energy stores, it can be concluded that obesity is a result of high energy intake as well as high energy expenditure in addition to the high energy stores.  Since certain macronutrients are more energy dense than others, such as fat being seven calories per gram  of lipids as opposed to that of carbohydrates and protein which merely have four calories per gram (MSJC, 2011).  Since protein tends to have higher levels of fats, it can be easily concluded that a healthy diet for a healthy metabolism will be high in fruits and vegetables with moderate portions of protein and minimal portions of fat.  Keeping a good balance in order to have optimum absorption will ensure proper and ultimate metabolism, which will also ensure proper energy as well.






MSJC. (2011). Digestion, Absorption, and Macronutrients. Retrieved from URL: http://www1.msjc.edu/hs/nutr100/nutr100_section2a.html

Nutrition 101 Macronutrients Photo. Retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&espv=2&biw=759&bih=588&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=power+to+the+macronutrients&oq=power+to+the+macronutrients&gs_l=img.3…39319.40408.0.40536.….0…1.1.64.img..1.0.0.YuH-0InkMs0#imgrc=UI7ovXmbf1K_-M%3A

Swinburn BA, Ravussin E. (N.D.). Energy and Macronutrient Metabolism. PubMed Article Retrieved from URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7980346

Picture References

Fiber Picture Retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=609&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=fiber+&oq=fiber+&gs_l=img.3..0l4j0i10j0l5.2754.2754.0.3411.….0…1.1.64.img..0.1.93.bzSZ41cyzPU

Heart Nutrition Picture Retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?q=heart+nutrition+picture&newwindow=1&espv=2&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjB06jaz6fNAhVNUVIKHTHnAIMQ_AUICCgB&biw=812&bih=588

Macros Picture Retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome-psyapi2&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8&q=digestion%20macros%20picture&oq=digestion%20macros%20picture&aqs=chrome..69i57.5908j0j7

Metabolism Picture Retrieved from URL: https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&espv=2&biw=812&bih=588&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=metabolism&oq=metabolism&gs_l=img.3..0l10.36089.37324.0.37624.….0…1.1.64.img..1.9.767.0Q43oRLfCKE


Impact of Macros and Micros

Nutrition and Disease
Natasha Tovar
HCS308 Intro to Nutritional Concepts
Instructor Christine McMahon
June 10, 2016


nutrition basics
Nutrition Basics Picture. Retrieved from URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqEVNbkW53k

What do they do?

Macros and Micros are all the hype right now.  In fact, there are fad diets and workout routines focusing on the macros, and there are different percentages to use depending on whether you are trying to lose weight or put on muscle.  So what is the impact these nutrients have on our health and well-being?  For starters, macros and micros feed the body, give us energy, and fight disease and illness.  Macros and micros also have specifically detailed jobs when it comes to nutrition absorption, efficiency in the elimination of waste and toxicity, and even protecting the cellular structure from harmful attacks.

What are they?.

Macros are mainly the large nutrients in our diets such as fats, carbohydrates, and protein.  According to Sizer and Whitney (2013), micros such as Vitamin A, D, C, E, and B6 in addition to Selenium and Zinc have key roles in the immune function such as protecting against oxidative damage, maintaining immune response such as antibody responses, maintaining healthy skin, as well as regulating T cell responses.   Sizer and Whitney also speak about macros such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in that the carbohydrates provide energy, the protein rebuilds cells, and the fat helps fuel the body.  Macros and Micros are basically one way of organizing different aspects of the food we eat, and we can use this organization to maintain a healthy balance in our diet and regulate what our body needs for optimum efficiency.

Optimum Nutrition Absorption

Optimum nutrition absorption is determined by the balance of fiber and water in the diet mainly.  Fiber is found in foods such as legumes, fibrous fruits and vegetables, and even in whole grains.  According to Sizer and Whitney (2013), the fiber adds volume and sweeps through the colon, stimulating the villi in the colon lining, which also stimulates absorption of the micronutrients in the foods.  Fiber is actually non-nutritious, however, it is essential for absorption of the micronutrients found in the macronutrients, in addition to cleaning and stimulating the muscular walls of the colon.  Proper use of the microbiome of the gut then helps with a healthy absorption system, which is essential to support the colon and digestive track in the sense that it prevents diseases such as Leaky Gut Syndrome and other digestive disorders or food sensitivities.   It is essentially part of the entire detoxification system as well as the immune system by protecting the gut itself (Brodhead, N.D.)


We can clearly see that the sources and functions of macronutrients and micronutrients have a huge impact on our health and well-being.  With the surge of information today on the internet regarding health, many of these concepts are beginning to reach social media and make an impact; however, it is good to understand what we are talking about when we talk about talking our macros.  Basically speaking, counting our macros is looking at our portions of the main  items in our diet, in addition to watching our fat intake.  Watching one’s micronutrients would be essential for those who are fighting disease and illness, trying to reset the balance of a vitamin or mineral deficiency, or even those who don’t have access to healthy foods and find they may be lacking in certain micronutrients.  Overall, the main focus is to make sure we have enough healthy foods such as plant-based carbohydrates, healthy low-fat meats and dairy, and also lots of water with fiber to help stimulate absorption and healthy colonic action for proper elimination.




Brodhead, P. CN. (N.D.). Healing the Gut and Working with Food Allergies. From the Book Is Your Child’s Brain Starving? By Dr. Michael R. Lyon, MD.  Retrieved from URL: http://www.brighterdayfoods.com/PDFDocs/d/DR3C27M98FWC9G33VJ916NSGP7RTAG86.PDF

Sizer, F. & Whitney, E. (2013). Nutrition Concepts & Controversies, Thirteenth Edition. Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Picture References

Nutrition Basics Picture. Retrieved from URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqEVNbkW53k

Culture and Nutrition

Nutrition and Disease
Natasha Tovar
HCS308 Intro to Nutritional Concepts
Instructor Christine McMahon
June 09, 2016

What Nutrition Means to Culture

Nutrition has become deeply rooted in our culture.  For example, we label certain types of foods for the country that it originated, such as Mexican, Chinese, and even Vietnamese foods.  Food can have a sentimental value, for instance, certain smells will remind one of being in Grandma’s kitchen, certain types of foods remind us of certain loved ones or friends, and even eating habits are specific to families and cultures.  Food choices are often driven by this connection from the most basic snack to the elaborate dinner in town.  Nutrition has more than sentimental value; however, and certain lifestyle factors can have implications on one’s nutrition.  Socially speaking, nutrition is often misrepresented, and the philosophical and psychological impact nutrition has on one’s health are misunderstood.  Also, the cultural differences make an impact as well as finding misunderstood nutrition controversies.

Preserving Culture

Every American has a vague idea of what cultures eat, for instance, Chinese restaurants are found in any substantial city in America.  While these restaurants are often “Americanized” with added preservatives, MSG, fatty foods, and fried foods, the effort to preserve Chinese culture is still present.  After viewing the video Preserving Chinese Cultural Heritage, we can see the importance of the culture of the food prepared.  There is an actual heritage to cooking, including who should be cooking and how the food is presented.  This culture is represented by the way the food is prepared, assorted and presented, and even consumed.  For instance, in segment 9, Knife and Fire Skills, we can see that the food appeal is more than just taste and the way the food is prepared and presented is part of the cultural picture and tradition for Chinese foods.

Social Health and Nutrition

Social health can be affected by nutrition and vice versa as well.  For instance, if one is trying to be healthy and socializes with people who are enjoying a pizza and movie marathon binge, the healthy eater is going to feel like an oddity.  Likewise, if a person normally eats healthy and joins a social event that encourages unhealthy eating, he or she will find themselves in the position of eating unhealthy foods followed by regret during recovery.  According to Fitzergald (2004), there is clearly a festive relationship with food and social implications, which can make it difficult to engage in social activities for those who are suffering from chronic illnesses that require a specific diet for their health during treatment, such as in the case of cancer patients.

Psychological Impact

David, M. (2014). Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Mind Over Food. Retrieved from URL: http://psychologyofeating.com/mind-over-food/

The psychological effect of nutrition lies in the processing of the micronutrients and macronutrients, in the way the mind perceives the nutrients themselves.  As David (2014) said, “The relationship with food is as deep and revealing as any we might ever have” (Introduction), and moves on to say that the way we think about the food we eat will actually affect the way we metabolize the meals.  Our brain has a huge impact on the absorption of nutrients in our diet, and therefore makes a decision about the value the food has on our body and our minds.  One example of the way David explains this is that our mind communicates with the digestive system, and creating the image of a fat person with the ice cream cone that we are about to eat will communicate with the intestines to store fat with this food.

Of course, this does work the other way as well.  According to NCHPAD (N.D.), lack of nutrition through a diet filled with fast food heavy in trans fats and saturated fats, sodium, and sugar can lead to psychological disorders as well.  For instance, in this article, the author depicts a person who eats only McDonald’s foods, even when it comes to drinking water.  This person’s diet wreaks havoc on his physical health for sure and also has a huge impact on his psychological health.  For instance, he suffers from massive headaches, depression, and low energy levels.  This person would benefit tremendously if he would go to a Nutritionist and learn how to prepare healthy, nutritious foods and may even find that he feels better than he did before.

Philosophy on Nutrition

Nutritional philosophy is clearly connected to culture, as something that is handed down through the generations.  For instance, a family that is vegan will likely teach their children to be vegan as well.  Looking to Chinese culture and nutrition philosophy, we see through observance of Kong (Confucius’s 77th generation descendant), who was also “a gourmet who believed that where food is concerned, seek the finest” (segment 3).  His philosophical cuisine focuses on moderation, nutrition, as well as balance whether it be fancy banquets or everyday meals for the family.  His cultural philosophy included with the importance of the order dishes were presented, where the dishes were placed, and also the way it was eaten.  Philosophy of nutrition is the understanding of the way nutrition finds itself in our daily lifestyle and guides us with the significance of our culture, in a way that helps us make healthy, nutritious choices in our daily diet.

Physical Implications

Physical implications are directly related to nutrition.  For instance, above we mentioned the poor nutrition of the individual who lived off McDonald’s fast foods and suffered from psychological stress.  Well, in this article, NCHPAD (N.D.) also mentions that this diet left him with hypertension, high cholesterol, and weight gain.  In like manner, a healthy, nutritious diet can also leave one with good physical health.  For example, cod-liver oil, which was previously thought of for easing joint aches and pain, has now been used as a supplement for pregnant mothers, which was shown to decrease the development of Diabetes by 70 percent (Life: Life & soul: Nutrition: NUTRITION NEWS: Cod philosophy, 2002, Feb 24).  One’s dietary lifestyle has a great impact, in retrospect of the nutrition on our health.

Contemporary Nutrition Controversies

The Examiner. (N.D.). 38 Most Controversial Issues in Nutrition for Local Media Debate. Retrieved from URL: http://www.examiner.com/article/the-38-most-controversial-issues-nutrition-up-for-local-media-debate

Nutritional controversies are filled with food misinformation and are fueled by consumerism.  According to The Examiner, nutrition security is a huge topic in the news, covering areas of food preparation cleanliness, sanitation and preparation practices, and even food-borne illness prevention.  For instance, when it comes to food banks, which are in place in order to deal with local hunger, is the food healthy foods, or is it feeding into obesity and malnutrition through the obesity from poverty paradox (Sizer and Whitney, 2013)?  Is the food actually feeding them nutrition, or is it just filling their bellies with fattening products that taste good and increase their hunger through flavor enhancing additives such as MSG?





David, M. (2014). Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Mind Over Food. Retrieved from URL:  http://psychologyofeating.com/mind-over-food/

Fitzgerald, K. A. (2004). The psychological and social impact of home parenteral nutrition (Order No. 3126816). Available from ProQuest Central. (305077419). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/305077419?accountid=32521

Gourmet China [Video file]. (2009). In Films On Demand. Retrieved June 12, 2016, from http://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=100753&xtid=50321

Life: Life & soul: Nutrition: NUTRITION NEWS: Cod philosophy. (2002, Feb 24). The Observer Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/250458205?accountid=32521

NCHPAD. (N.D.). Food and Your Mood: Nutrition and Mental Health. Retrieved from URL: http://www.nchpad.org/606/2558/Food~and~Your~Mood~~Nutrition~and~Mental~Health

Sizer, F. and Whitney, E. (2013). Nutrition Concepts & Controversies, Thirteenth Edition. Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

The Examiner. (N.D.). 38 Most Controversial Issues in  Nutrition for Local Media Debate. Retrieved from URL: http://www.examiner.com/article/the-38-most-controversial-issues-nutrition-up-for-local-media-debate

Nutrition Against Disease

Nutrition and Disease
Natasha Tovar
HCS308 Intro to Nutritional Concepts
Instructor Christine McMahon
June 08, 2016

What’s the Connection?

Most of the time, this question comes up when considering therapy and treatment options in lieu of a specific diagnosis; however, the connection between nutrition and disease begins even before we developed in the womb.  Let’s look at some examples.  According to the video file by Films on Demand, Food Safety and Disease Prevention (2011), many diseases that used to be prevalent in the disease department, were actually a cause of nutrient deficiencies such as a diet lacking vitamins or minerals.  After listing marasmus, goiter, pellagra, and kwashiorkor, they go on to say, “For example, goiter is a condition that causes abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland in the neck.  It’s caused by a deficiency of the mineral iodine” (segment 1).  This brings to mind the iodine fortification of regular table salt, in addition to other fortified foods.

Fortifying foods with iodine is essential because it is not naturally found in the diet in levels that are necessary to prevent diseases such as goiter.  There is some controversy among certain populations, however, in that they feel fortification gives a false sense of security which can lead to a lack of health promotion in nutrition.  As Sichert-Hellert, Kersting, Alexy, and Manz (2000) say, in an evaluation of the DONALD study, there was a significant change in the diets as a result of the fortification of salt and margarine.  Having the proper nutrients, such as iodine, which are not otherwise found in the diet, is another way to support our systems as science advances.  As a result, in conjunction with the advancement of science, there is greater longevity, better quality of life, and fewer instances of “dying too young”.  As we learn more about different minerals and vitamins that are connected to disease versus health, we can use this information to continue on the evolutionary track to excellence.

What is a balanced diet?

While fortifying foods that everyone consumes on a daily basis is essential to providing nutrients such as iodine, it still does not ensure proper nutrition.  In addition to having nutrients such as iodine fortified in regular food, nutrition is achieved through a balanced diet, and one great way of measuring this is the food pyramid.  Keeping a balanced diet in addition to eating foods that are nutrient-rich in minerals and vitamins is an excellent way to ensure our body has the nutrients necessary to fight disease.  The pyramid clearly indicates in order of importance, how many servings should be consumed in each food group.  Using the food pyramid is not necessarily exactly what every individual need, as there are different caloric needs and there are also allergies to be contended with; however, it is a common indicator of what is a healthy balance in one’s diet.  As we look at the pyramid below, we can see that there is an extremely small portion of fat compared to the rest of the diet.

the new food pyramid
Food Pyramids Photo Retrieved from URL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/daily/graphics/diet_042005.html

The Food Pyramid concept has actually been updated three times.  As we can see here, the old, familiar pyramid has been replaced in 2005 by a different one.  In the new pyramid, it is easy to see in comparison how much of our diet should consist healthy whole grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, meats and beans, and lastly oil.  The fatty section is really small compared to the rest, and the other items are listed in either total ounces or total cups.  There are many reasons this is more effective; for one thing, portions are easily misconstrued.  For instance, we can go to the restaurant and see that one serving of pasta is at least three cups of noodles with fatty sauces and meats on top of it, and then there will besides in addition to drinks, with a really high-caloric meal consisting of more than what one should actually be consuming in one sitting.  Another way that the 2005 model is more effective is that it includes the note that foods should be low in added sugars, and also the fact that trans fats and saturated fats should be avoided as they increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Choose My Plate

The food pyramid is a rather outdated way of viewing our nutrition; although it does show very well what the daily intake should be.  Choose My Plate is the newest way of viewing a balanced diet, being introduced in 2011.  Choose My Plate is the best way to view nutrition in that it shows how the diet should be balanced in every meal.  For example, one could have a “hearty breakfast” in their minds; however it would be filled with grains and dairy with little to no fruit, no vegetables, and most definitely no meat or beans.  According to Sizer and Whitney (2013), it is best to keep nutrition, especially protein, at an even level across all meals in order to be of the most effectiveness in disease prevention and healthy metabolism.  Using the food pyramid, we see that we need to have fruit, whole grain, dairy, meat, and even vegetables at all three meals.  It also shows how to balance it out by using portion pictures in the shape of the plate.  Below we can see how My Plate lays out in the picture.

Choose My Plate Photo retrieved from URL: http://www.designscanvas.com/p/choose-myplate-coloring-page.php


The final recommendation from Food Safety and Disease Prevention (Films on Demand, 2011), is to have plenty of superfoods in the diet.  This can be integrated into the daily servings of fruits, veggies, protein, grain, and even dairy.  Ten superfoods listed in this video file are as follows: Yogurt, Eggs, Tree nuts such as pecans walnuts or almonds, kiwi fruit, quinoa, beans, salmon, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and berries of all types.  Many are aware of superfoods such as berries, in that they are known for their antioxidants.  Antioxidants are intended to prevent or delay certain types of cellular damage according to NIH (2016).  NIH moves on to say that many common elements in antioxidants are high levels of vitamin C and E, carotenoids (like beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin), and selenium.  While antioxidant supplements haven’t been known to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, a diet full of the superfoods has been known to be beneficial.

Superfoods Photo retrieved from URL: http://healthylombard.com/super-foods-make-for-a-super-you/

The types of cellular damage that can be prevented or delayed are such damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress.  Free radicals cause oxidative stress; and oxidative stress, according to NIH (2016) is “thought to play a role in a variety of diseases including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and eye diseases such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration” (section 3).  They move on to say that the molecules of antioxidants (such as those found in the superfoods listed above) have actually counteracted the oxidative stress in the lab.  It can easily be concluded from this that superfoods should be integrated into our portions.  For instance, we could have berries for fruit, yogurt for the dairy, quinoa for grains, and the different vegetables and legumes mentioned as veggies and protein.  Overall, nutrition has a huge impact on disease prevention, and there is an easy way to ensure that we have proper nutrition by following My Plate, avoiding trans fats and saturated fats, and integrating superfoods in our plate throughout the day.






Food safety and disease prevention [Video file]. (2011). In Films On Demand. Retrieved June 12, 2016, from URL: http://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=100753&xtid=42032

NIH. (2016). Antioxidants: In Depth. Retrieved from URL: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/antioxidants/introduction.htm

Sichert-Hellert, W., Kersting, M., Alexy, U., & Manz, F. (2000). Ten-year trends in vitamin and mineral intake from fortified food in German children and adolescents. European Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 54(1), 81-86 6p. doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1600897

Sizer, F. and Whitney, E. (2013). Nutrition Concepts & Controversies, Thirteenth Edition. Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Picture References

Choose My Plate Photo retrieved from URL:    http://www.designscanvas.com/p/choose-myplate-coloring-page.php

Food Pyramids Photo Retrieved from URL:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/daily/graphics/diet_042005.html

Superfoods Photo retrieved from URL: http://healthylombard.com/super-foods-make-for-a-super-you/