Category Archives for "Practical Nutrition"

Vegetarian Junk Food

Wait, is that real?

I mean vegetables are healthy, right?

Well yes they are, but that doesn't mean everything a plant-based eater eats IS. Nobody would argue that the Vegan food in the picture to the right is. (well maybe, someone, but not many)

Peruse the vegetarian section of your grocery store, and you will find just as much sugar laden, preservative heavy, highly processed food as anywhere else.

Just because you are eating less (or no) animal based products doesn't mean you are automatically eating healthier.

Take a look at the label of that veggie burger, or meat-free breakfast sandwich, or egg-free dairy free dessert. Not pretty.

Now that is less of a criticism of those products, as poor as they are, but really of human nature. We are really good at ignoring what we don't want to see. 

I bought some vegetarian/vegan cookbooks with some really great recipes, and for the most part I really like them. BUT there seems to be absolutely no filter in the plant-based world when it comes to sugar. Just because you are using Maple Syrup, or Honey, or Brown Rice Syrup doesn't mean you have carte blanche to use as much as you want. Your body is still going to have a blood sugar response. In fact as a borderline type 2 diabetic who is has increased his carbohydrate load, I have to be MORE sensitive to the sugar response. My rule is to automatically cut sweeteners in recipes by half. At this point I can't even tell.

This also isn't a criticism of plant-based eating, per se. I have always maintained that a plant-based eater who is really doing it "right" is one of the most dedicated, conscious eaters out there. I am 4 1/2 weeks into my plant-based eating experiment, and I have spent more time in the kitchen in that time than the previous 4 or 5 months combined. 

The goods news is I really am enjoying eating this way. My body fat is down a little, my strength is still there (Set a PR in the bench press yesterday) and I am eating foods that I had largely removed from my nutrition plan, such as beans and some whole grains. As well as avoiding all meat and dairy, I have not yet eaten any Tofu (not a favorite) or rice. My goal, as always, is to eat the most nutrient-dense food I can. In other words, for every bite, I want to pack in all the nutritional goodness I can! 

As always, love to see some discussion below!

See you soon.

Coach Dean​

What I have discovered so far about Plant-Based eating and Protein

In the discovery phase of my plant-based eating experiment, one of the things I was most curious about (and still am) is protein. 

I was especially curious about looking into some of the more commonly cited sources of plant-based protein.  Ever heard "Quinoa is a great source of plant protein"? I've heard that a bunch of times, but never really dug in deep on it. 

Until now.

Below is a chart I made that outlines how much protein is in a variety of plant-based foods. I tend to view the quality not only by the amino acid profile, but also on the protein to carbohydrate ratio. In other words, how many carbs am I am eating in relation to how much protein I am getting? For me, like for many, it matters in terms of blood sugar control and a tendency to gain fat when I eat more carbs.

Do any of these surprise you like they surprised me? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

P.S. You can also download your own .pdf copy by clicking here.

My Experiment In Plant Based Eating

This post originally appeared on the Get Fit NH Family Facebook page. 

So apparently I have caused a bit of a hullabaloo with my experiment into Plant-Based eating. If it gets all of us thinking, then that is an awesome thing!

For those of who know me well, this adventure probably seems WAY out of character for an avowed meat eater. But it's really not that strange. I have been on a decade and a half vision quest for better health and fitness AND to do what it takes to help others on their quest. During that time I have experimented with all sorts of different ways of eating.

That being said, I have been an avowed skeptic of plant-based eating for a number of reasons. Chief among them was the fact that most people I talked to ate as much junk food as the rest of the population. Highly processed fake burgers, carbohydrates and sugar out the wazoo, and little regard for adequate protein.

But more and more I am getting questions about plant-based, and since I have no experience ever eating that way, I could not relate to the struggles. So I am setting out to change that. I have my blood work done every three months, the last time on Friday August 4th. So this will be a three month experiment into primarily plant-based eating. At the end I will have my blood tested again and evaluate the results.

Briefly here are the "rules" I have set for myself:

No animal based protein save 2 eggs a day. No dairy, no meat, no fish. Stay on exactly the same eating pattern and calorie level as I was on my previous plan, and adjust according to what happens to my body comp as measured by the Fit3D.

My body comp goals are the same. Increase lean mass and stay around 10% bodyfat. Eat no highly processed foods, limit sugar, etc. Get a minimum of 100 grams of protein per day. I am allowing myself 1 plant-based protein supplement a day, as my routine has been to have 1 whey protein shake a day.

This is not meant to be any kind of "statement". While I respect those who eat plant-based for ethical and environmental reasons, that is not my purpose.

What I want to find out is this:

What will be the measurable results of eating a whole food plant-based diet?

Is it possible to get enough protein to maintain and build muscle mass while still keeping carbohydrate levels to a manageable level?

What will it do to my blood sugars to up my carbohydrate load?

How about my cholesterol, etc?

I have invested countless hours of research into investigating the science (and psuedo-science) around plant-based eating. I have come up with a list of higher protein choices, and foods I am choosing to stay away from, for instance Tofu. I have purchased 3 cookbooks and already modifying the recipes in order to lower or eliminate the added sugars (just because it's plant based doesn't mean it's good for you).

I am still in the process of adapting to this new way of eating, as I am only 10 days in. I am experiencing more hunger than I was before; I suspect that is because the amount of fat I am eating has needed to decrease as the carbs increase. This is all information and part of the data collection process. And I am just one guy, my results may not be typical. But I promise to keep this an honest experiment.

The best case is that I find out there IS a "right way" to eat plant-based, get enough nutrients, and positively effect both blood work and body composition. That would make it one more arrow in my nutrition coaching quiver. Questions? Ask Coach Nancy (that seems to be what you are doing now, as I am big and scary) 🙂 (and yes, that was a joke)

FREE 28 Day Veggie Challenge with bonus 28 Tasty Veggie Recipes – One Every Day!

No, that is not a typo! We have a FREE challenge to anyone willing to step up to the plate and as you may have guessed it is all about VEGETABLES! 

You may be thinking, "I already eat my veggies" or "Yuck, I am passing on this one." This is a GIANT accountability opportunity as well as an opportunity to add 28 more recipes to your toolbox! That's right- 28 new recipes. This 28 day challenge will highlight 28 veggies. Each day you will receive the veggie, the health benefit, what is looks like and how to prepare it. Each day is a brand new veggie with a brand new recipes - sweet! 

At the end of the challenge all 28 new recipes will conveniently be compiled and available to download and print for your very own cook book!

Oh and let us not forget...a challenge is not a true challenge without accountability, right? Since all of this is conveniently done with Coach Catalyst (formally known as Habit Catalyst) with your daily veggie education you will also get the accountability question, "Did you eat servings (fists) of veggies yesterday?"  This daily accountability will encourage you to pile on the veggies which will help you to look and feel better - win! 

This challenge does not cost you a dime. All we ask is that you take the time to explore the vegetable world and step out of your comfort zone. Try something new and share your new vegetable tales with us on the Get Fit NH Family Page!

If you accept the challenge and wish to make a positive change then here are the key dates you need to know!

Sign up: Today. The cut off is Friday July 21st...DON'T DELAY!

Start date: Monday July 31, 2017

End date:  Sunday August 27, 2017

Coach Meagan’s ProCoach Experience

Today I want to share with you my Pro Coach experience. Pro Coach is our nutrition coaching portal which is coached by the one and only Coach Nancy. Today I want to share with you how Pro Coach has completely changed my way of eating and helped me achieve some consistent results.

Focusing on one habit at a time. This has been HUGE! You don’t have to do any of the thinking with the habits. Pro Coach sets you a new habit to focus on every 3 weeks. This has been a game changer for me. I have never been more tuned in when I am eating than I am now. Habits like eating until your 80% full/leaving food on your plate. Slowing down when I eat. These are small habits that have changed the way I eat.

Another HUGE benefit to Pro Coach is how engaging it is. You write your own “Owner’s Manual.” You discover where your weaknesses are and help yourself overcome those obstacles. The best part is that your coach (Nancy) is reading your responses and helping you dig even deeper and take another step toward success. The feedback alone from my coach has been so valuable and life changing. It is okay to have a bad day and it is a place to check in and measure your progress.

This is a lifelong version of the Sizzling Summer Slimdown (S3.) It puts nutrition in front of you every single day. It provides a short lesson about where your focused habit is and has you check yes or no daily on your habit. On top of all of that, bi-weekly you share your results and it measures your progress over time. I have been doing Pro Coach since April and as of two weeks ago these were my results (be transparent, right?).

This program is worth it. I am talking to you not only as coach, but also as a human being who struggles with nutrition and needs accountability to stay on track.

-Coach Meagan

Brookford Farms CSA Pickup at Get Fit NH – Winner!

There is nothing fresher, tastier, and yes even more friendly to the environment than having local produce grown by local farmers. For those of us who don't have the time or talent to grow our own veggies, getting involved in a CSA is like gold! (CSA= Community Supported Agriculture)

This is where it gets exciting, Get Fit NH is sponsoring a pickup place for Brookford Farm's CSA. You will be able to pickup your veggies at Get Fit NH in Concord. Last summer we did this and it was fantastic. For those of you out in Epsom, Coach Nancy will bring your food to the Epsom gym for pickup there as well. I would say that's perfect for everyone!

Brookford Farms has an easy registration process. They have different packages to fit your family's needs. While registering simply check the box for Get Fit NH Concord as your pick up place. Your veggies start arriving on June 5th, 2017 to October 22rd, 2017.

You can register using this link: Brookford Farm CSA Online Registration

If you need help, please contact Jodi at or 603-742-4084.

Don't wait til the last minute to sign up!

Jumpstart Nutrition Coaching – Getting Yourself Going on Your Goals

I love cookbooks. I love to make people happy with cooking. I love to eat food. Food makes me happy. 

I also get agitated because cooking takes a long time. I forget to plan and prepare so I end up stressed and rushed. ​I often serve the same thing over and over. Am I truly making anyone happy for a lifetime with my food skills? Do I know what foods should be on my plate? How much do I need to eat? Can my kids eat the same thing I do? What foods will make me healthiest? What foods can harm my body? 

Jumpstart Nutrition Coaching is your one stop for the answers to these questions. While we can't solve every issue in an hour, we can get a good jumpstart on them.

Begin Your Jumpstart

Date: Wednesday, April 12th

Time: 6pm sharp to 7pm

Place: Get Fit NH Epsom

See you there, 
Coach Nancy

Keep It Simple

Most of you that know me know that I hate cooking. Because I hate cooking I am not patient, which means when I cook it doesn’t always come out as planned, because I tend to miss important steps. Anyone else like that? For years I have tried to overcome this hatred, but here I am still not enjoying it.

Here is what I do- I am totally one of those people who CAN eat the same thing over and over, BUT eventually it will get old. Each week I make a meal plan. On that plan, I include ONE brand new (easy) recipe. If I like it then it gets added to an index card and I file it in my recipe box, if I don’t care for it then it gets trashed. The rest of my meals are pulled from the front of the recipe box then I make my grocery list. I ALWAYS cook the new recipe on a Wednesday or a weekend when I have more time to pay attention.

Once the week is over and I am ready to make my new meal plan I file the week’s recipe cards in the BACK of the box (with or without new recipe if I liked it) so that I am keeping it fresh, with what I know I like and what I know I can cook. And I am gradually growing my recipe bank.

What is your system? Is there a system or are you constantly on Google trying to find next week's meal plan? Don’t reinvent the wheel each week- keep it simple!

Coach Meagan

Coffee Comparison – UMP vs. Sweeteners

With this recent Friday where we gave out some free samples of our new “Churro” flavor of SFH, I talked to a few different people about using UMP or SFH in their coffee. This helps in a couple of different ways:

  1. helps you increase your daily protein amount
  2. helps cut down on the cream and tons of sugar you add to your coffee, either as sugar itself or as flavor shots or swirls

When I mix UMP with my coffee its very simple - I get black iced coffee from Dunkins, pour it into a blender bottle, add a scoop of ump and shake. Its that easy. It even works if you dump the coffee in, ice and all. Below are some comparisons. For the sake of comparison, all coffees will be sized “medium” with flavor swirls from Dunkins.



Iced Coffee & Vanilla UMP
Calories: 125
Fat: 3 grams
Sugar: 1 gram
Protein 21 grams

Iced Coffee & Chocolate UMP
Calories: 125
Fat: 3.5 grams
Sugar: 0 grams
Protein: 21 grams

Iced Coffee & Rocky Road UMP
Calories: 125
Fat: 3 grams
Sugar: 0 grams
Protein: 21 grams

French Vanilla Swirl Iced Coffee
Calories: 260
Fat: 9 grams
Sugar: 36 grams
Protein: 4 grams

Mocha Swirl Iced Coffee
Calories: 260
Fat: 9 grams
Sugar: 36 grams
Protein: 3 grams

Rocky Road Swirl Iced Coffee
Calories: 260
Fat: 9 grams
Sugar: 36 grams
Protein: 3 grams

As you can see, not only can using UMP instead of sweeteners and flavor swirls make a huge difference in your sugar intake on a daily basis, it also can heavily affect your protein intake and how many calories you are getting with your coffee. That stuff adds up, especially if you are someone who drinks more than one coffee a week. UMP and coffee even tastes pretty good too. My favorite is the Cookies and Cream UMP with coffee - tastes wicked good. Give it a try!

Coach Adam

4 Reasons to Supplement with a Multivitamin

For the final installment of the Smart Supplementation Series, I am going to share with you the bulletproof vest of nutritional supplements: a multivitamin.

A multivitamin can prove to be extremely beneficial by filling the holes in your dietary nutrition. Check out the 4 reasons why YOU could benefit from a multivitamin:

  1. If your intake is below maintenance needs. For those of us who have a fat loss goal in mind, it is often necessary to consume less than what your body was previously used to in food volume. This can lead to lost vitamins or minerals with simply not enough food to fulfill the Recommended Dietary Allowance of certain nutrients.
  2. If you are suffering from allergies or intolerances. Inability to eat certain foods due to allergies and/or intolerances is the unfortunate reality of many individuals. In order to make up for lost nutrients, a multivitamin can provide what you may be missing.
  3. If you limit food choices. I 100% respect vegetarians and vegans. Research supports plant-based diets to promote long term health, free of chronic disease. However, when entire food groups are cut out, a multitude of required nutrients go along with them.
  4. If you are a picky eater. While I promote choosing nutritious foods a majority of the time, food is meant to be enjoyed, not despised. For individuals who have tried to incorporate fruits and vegetables with limited success, a multivitamin is your safety net to fill in the holes.

As a dietitian, I will ALWAYS promote a food first approach. An eating plan consisting of balance and a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean protein sources, and healthy fats will provide the most important nutrients you need. However, there are certain instances where food alone is simply not enough.

A fantastic way to determine if you are deficient in certain nutrients is to track your intake for a couple of days. Using a calorie counter (like MyFitnessPal) that breaks down each day into macro and micronutrients can show what nutrients you are getting enough of and where you could use extra support. Think of tracking your intake as a short experiment. You won’t need to track calories forever. But tracking can be an extremely useful tool in this case.

Make an appointment with your physician to have blood work done and see if deficiencies are present. From there you can determine the multivitamin most appropriate for you. An example of a good whole vitamin we typically recommend at Get Fit NH is Beverly International’s Fit Tabs. For now, keep eating a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, and healthy fats to secure your bulletproof vest!

Eating for Health Every Day,
Coach Kristen

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