February Blog Post

Fat is good. Fat is bad. Low-fat, no-fat, red-fat, blue-fat? Sounds like a Dr. Seuss book, doesn’t it?  That’s often how nutrition goes these days.  Compared to the other sciences, nutrition is a relatively young field.  We’re still learning about vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and macronutrients and how they all promote health.  Over the past year or two, there has been a shift in how the nutrition field talks about fat.  Previously, we encouraged low-fat everything and suggested avoiding all saturated fats.  Now, we recognize that egg yolks provide an essential nutrient choline, vitamin D, in addition to those satiating fats. We also know that 1% or 2% fat in your dairy products can help you feel full and helps with digestion of fat-soluble vitamins A and D.

With February being heart health month, I want to highlight how fats in your diet can help keep your heart healthy.  First a little science lesson: there are two types of fat – saturated and unsaturated fats.  The saturated fats have, historically, been called “bad fats” whereas the unsaturated fats are the “good fats”.  Research is now showing that not all saturated fats are bad, instead we should avoid all trans-fats.  Within the group of unsaturated fats, we have monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.  Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are essential polyunsaturated fats.  When a nutrient is essential, it means we HAVE to get them from our diet because our bodies cannot produce them.  Omega-6s are pro-inflammatory (they promote inflammation – which isn’t always a bad thing), whereas omega-3s are anti-inflammatory.  In a perfect world, we’d eat 2 servings of omega-6s for every 1 serving of omega-3s, and the pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory properties would balance out.  We don’t live in a perfect world and instead of a 2:1 ratio it’s closer to 20:1!  This chronic inflammation increases your risk for diseases such as diabetes, some cancers, and heart disease.

You do have control over your food and your nutrition, and you can improve that ratio.  Replacing some of those omega-6 rich foods with omega-3 rich foods can get that ratio back in line and help keep your heart healthy.  Omega-3 fatty acids help keep your arteries fluid and the blood flowing freely, reducing your risk for plague build-up, high blood pressure, and other heart issues.  As mentioned before, omega-3s also help reduce inflammation (including muscle soreness - which is a type of inflammation!). 

Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include: cold-water, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel), hemp seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds (ground flaxseed and flaxseed oil), and walnuts.  Don’t limit your fat consumption to just these omega-3 rich foods.  Fill your diet with a variety of healthy fats including eggs (and their yolks), all nuts and seeds, avocados, and low-fat dairy. 

January 2018 Blog Post

Happy 2018! When the New Year rolls around, we like to look forward to all the things we can accomplish with the next 365 days ahead of us.  Many people have health, fitness, or nutrition goals, and our team at Texins is ready to help you meet those goals.  This New Year, I’d like to introduce myself to you all as the new dietitian at Texins.  My name is Morgan Johnson.  I’ve worked in the fitness and corporate wellness realm for the past two years and am excited to put my experiences and expertise at work here at Texins.  Before we dive into all things nutrition, I want to tell you a little about myself.  I graduated from the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!) with an undergraduate degree in Human Development and Masters’ in Human Nutrition. With my diverse education, I’ve worked in many different environments – from a pediatric hospital, an adult hospital to corporate wellness and tele-health.  When I’m not talking about food, you’ll likely find me doing CrossFit.  I am a Level 1 trainer, and teach a few classes a week at my local box.  My favorite vegetables are sugar snap peas and Brussels sprouts.  My favorite “fun” food is ice cream.  My husband and I have two dogs; their names are Ellie and Bear.

Now that you know a little about me, I look forward to getting to know you – the TI employees and Texins’ members.  To help me get to know some of you, let’s play a little trivia game.  If you can answer this question (either email me the answer or stop by and see me!), the first 10 people to respond with the correct answer will win a free water bottle!

Question:  Which Alabama football coach is my dog (Bear) named after?

My office is located in the Texins Fitness Center on the weight room floor, or you can contact me via email at mrjohnson@ti.com.

I hope to see and hear from ya’ll in the future, and be on the lookout for the next blog post in February.