Diane May Nutrition Blog

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Should You Try Intermittent Fasting

July 10th, 2020

Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating in which there are periods of fasting and eating. What is interesting about this, is there is no discussion of what you can/should eat during the eating period. It is more about the the window of time in which you eat. Periods of fasting can allow Insulin levels to go down far enough and long enough to burn fat. This format of eating has not been proven to be any more effective than any other diet program,  but we are seeing positive health and metabolic changes. There is research to support that intermittent fasting  can:

  • Decrease inflammation
  • Increase cell repair
  • Increase Human Growth Factor
  • Improve Insulin sensitivity
  • Improve weight stabilization

There are a number of different ways to  intermittent fast. What is important to factor in for you would be, can you sustain or maintain whatever format you choose to try?

  • The Leangains portocol: (16/8). This eating pattern allows you to have an eight hour eating period with a 16 hour fast. I find this to be the most sustainable program. Do not eat first thing in the morning and have a cut off period at night. The majority of your fast is while you are asleep! I find it best to not have a late night eating schedule if you can avoid it.
  • The 5:2: You eat normally five days a week and cut back your calories 20% two days a week. It is recommended that women have approximately 500 calories and men 600 calories on the fast days.
  • Eat-stop-eat: This programs recommends a full fast a few days a week-but not in a row. 
  • 14:10: Similar to Leangains with a smaller fast window.
  • Alternate day fasting: This is as it is named and you fast every other day-some of these eating plans allow 500 calories on the fast day. There is no conclusive research on this protocol.

Intermittent fasting is not for everyone. If you have any history of an eating disorder, you should not do this eating pattern. If you have a history of any medical condition, you should always consult your doctor before starting one of these eating patterns. 

This eating pattern does not discuss food options, so it is important to note that you should still eat healthy, whole foods and pay attention to portions when not in your fasting phase. Have a diet that includes lots of vegetables and fruits, lean protein, whole, complex carbs, low fat dairy and beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. Reduce sugar and processed foods, stay well hydrated with water and remember to stay active. If you want more information regarding intermittent fasting, I recommend reaching out to a RD in your area to guide you.

This dish is packed with flavor and fits perfectly into a Mediterranean diet. Source: Diabetic Living Magazine


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place potatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp. of the oil and sprinkle with garlic and 1/8 tsp. of the salt and black pepper; toss to coat. Transfer to a 15×10-inch baking pan; cover with foil. Roast 30 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, thaw salmon, if frozen. Combine, in the same bowl, sweet peppers, tomatoes, parsley, olives, oregano and 1/8 tsp. of the salt and black pepper. Drizzle with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil; toss to coat.

  • Rinse salmon; pat dry. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and black pepper. Spoon sweet pepper mixture over potatoes and top with salmon. Roast, uncovered, 10 minutes more or just until salmon flakes.

  • Remove zest from lemon. Squeeze juice from lemon over salmon and vegetables. Sprinkle with zest.

Nutrition Facts

422 calories; 18.6 g total fat; 2.4 g saturated fat; 78 mg cholesterol; 593 mg sodium. 1741 mg potassium; 31.5 g carbohydrates; 5.7 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 32.9 g protein; 2990 IU vitamin a iu; 233 mg vitamin c; 131 mcg folate; 104 mg calcium; 4 mg iron; 102 mg magnesium;

How To Meal Plan

June 4th, 2020

The term meal planning is thrown around all the time, but rarely is it explained how to do it. It may seem daunting, but once you get the hang of it, it is an extremely useful tool and can significantly reduce food waste. As food costs rise and availability of food items you may want decrease, meal planning can be a savior. I feel more and more people are cooking and now is the optimal time to learn to meal plan.

  • Pick a day that you can sit down and plot your meals for the week.  I plan my meals on Sunday, which takes me through the whole week ahead.
  • Look at the recipes that you would like to use. Try and find at least a few that use similar/same ingredients.
  • Create a grocery list to incorporate all the ingredients you will need. The more similar the ingredients, the less you will need to stock. Consider how you might repurpose food items into other meals, for example-Day 1: Rotisserie chicken, steamed broccoli (leave off stems), cabbage slaw and quinoa. Day 2: Chinese chicken salad w/ leftover rotisserie chicken on a bed of shredded cabbage and broccoli stems and side of quinoa with chopped up leftover broccoli. Great salad dressing-low sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, fresh minced ginger and garlic. Day 3: Last of rotisserie chicken and bones-make a stock. After it has cooked, remove bones and add any/all leftover vegetables and some frozen vegetables and seasonings of your choice, and if there is any leftover quinoa, add at end.
  • Think of all dry goods, condiments and extras you may need for the week. Do not over purchase snacks, but include enough for the week.
  • Do NOT overbuy. Keep healthy, more perishable items, such as berries and yogurt, towards the front of the fridge to reduce spoilage and so that you will not forget you have them!
  • Once you get your groceries, prep vegetables and chop up as much as you can to reduce some of the daily prep time.
  • Most important….Stick to the meal plan. If you have healthy options in the house, use them! No need for takeout or unhealthy options.  If it is not in the house, you will not eat it.

As people have been in their homes, the temptation to wander into the kitchen and snack and pick has increased. By meal planning and sticking to your food list, you reduce temptation and have a better ability to create a safe food environment. If you don’t bring it into the house, you can’t eat it. If you really hate cooking, investigate healthy frozen meal options and steam fresh vegetables. Stock up on fresh produce, low fat/non fat dairy, lean proteins and whole, complex grains. Planning your meals leads to a healthier lifestyle.

Thai Turkey Lettuce Cups

Thai Turkey Lettuce Cups
Photo: Caitlin Bensel
Active Time 20 Mins
Total Time 20 Mins
Yield Serves 4 (serving size: 3 filled lettuce cups)

Crisp, delicate butter lettuce leaves have a cup shape that’s perfect for holding the sweet-and-savory ground turkey mixture and crunchy, colorful vegetables. The key is not to weigh down the cups with too much filling so they don’t tear. Add some heat with crushed red pepper or a diced red Fresno chile. The sugar here not only balances the vinegar tang; it also helps the meat caramelize and develop wonderful crispy bits in the pan. You could use ground pork or a tofu scramble in place of turkey. If you can’t find butter lettuce leaves, you can cut romaine leaves crosswise, removing the wide part of the rib.