About New Motivation Coaching

New Motivation Coaching (NMC) believes that the best way to achieve health and fitness goals is to follow evidence-based nutritional guidance and exercise principles while using coaching sessions to discover what truly motivates each individual person. Our mission is to help people of all ages who are healthy or who are living with chronic diseases that are affected by nutrition to maintain or better their health through group education, individual coaching sessions, and hands-on experience putting nutrition concepts into practice.

This blog will include the coach's thoughts on the basics of nutrition, the reality versus the marketing hype, and current hot topics or trends. Expect 2-3 posts every month. Feedback and questions are always welcome.

Please see our Web site for more information at http://www.newmotivationcoaching.com/.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Those Confusing Carbs!


Carbohydrates come from plant and animal sources. The food groups that contain carbohydrates include grains, fruits, dairy, and vegetables.

There are two main types of carbohydrates: simple carbohydrates (sugar) and complex carbohydrates (starch and fiber).


There are two types of sugars that people typically think of when talking about sugar in the diet. One type is the natural sugars that are found in foods in their natural and whole state. Examples are fructose and sucrose (in fruits) and lactose (in milk). The other type of sugar is the added sugars that are added to foods during processing or created from refining natural foods, Examples are high fructose corn syrup (in many products) or sucrose (refined into table sugar).


Starches are long chains of sugars. Our bodies break down these long chains into simple sugars that our body can absorb to provide us with energy. Many foods that are starchy need to be cooked in order for our bodies to be able to digest them.  Examples are potatoes, corn, and grain products such as bread, pasta, and rice.


Fiber is the indigestible part of the plant. Fibers are also long chains of sugars; but the way the chains are held together prevent our bodies from being able to digest them for energy. Fiber is important for health for many reasons. Fiber can be fermented by the bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract which promotes colon health. Insoluble fiber helps promote regularity and prevent constipation. Insoluble fiber includes whole grains (the outer bran layer) and the strings in celery. Soluble fiber can help to lower cholesterol and regular blood glucose levels. Soluble fiber includes oats, beans, and citrus fruits.


The functions of carbohydrate include:
·         Energy! Carbohydrates currently have a bad reputation; but they are the main and preferred source of energy for the body. Our bodies need carbohydrates to be at our best health.
·         Helps to lower cholesterol and regulate blood glucose levels (soluble fiber)
·         Maintains digestive tract health (fiber)


For a generally healthy adult, the range for carbohydrate intake is set between 45% and 65% of daily calories. A person consuming a 2,000 calorie diet would have a range of 900 – 1,300 calories. Since 1 gram of carbohydrate has 4 calories, this is a range of 225- 325 grams of carbohydrate per day. The minimum number of carbohydrate grams per day is 130 grams to promote good brain function.

Those trying to build muscle should be sure to consume enough carbohydrates to “spare protein” to be used for muscle growth.

Many people restrict carbohydrates due to the belief that “carbs make you fat.” In healthy individuals, carbohydrates trigger insulin and insulin lets the sugar into our body and cells. People mistakenly believe that this always means weight and fat gain. This is not true! When we eat the appropriate amount of carbohydrates for our bodies, the sugar is used as a fuel source and burned.  It is only when we overeat carbohydrates that weight gain results. Carbohydrates do not make you fat. Carbohydrates are an important part of the diet. Without carbohydrates, the body begins to break down fat storage and then body proteins. In extreme cases, metabolism slows drastically and both health and life can be jeopardized.

People with specific health conditions or concerns may need a different amount of carbohydrate in their daily diet or to time the consumption of carbohydrates throughout their day.

Other guidelines:

Whole grains: Consume whole-grain carbohydrates whenever you can. Recommendations are to make half of your grains whole. Read the food label and be sure the first ingredient is listed as a “whole” grain (example: whole wheat, not wheat flour).

Fiber: For those between 19 and 51 years old, females should consume 25 grams and men should consume 38 grams of fiber a day. Those over 51 should consume 21 grams (women) or 30 grams (men) per day. If you are increasing your fiber intake, do it slowly and drink lots of water or you may end up with a bout of constipation!

Added sugar: Limit the amount of added sugar in your diet. Many health risks are associated with added sugars and in general, Americans consume too much added sugar. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 100 calories (women) or 150 calories (men) of added sugars per day. Most natural sugars are generally not associated with health risks as these are consumed along with fiber which slows down the absorption of sugar and other vitamins, mineral, and phytochemicals which promote optimal health. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Veggies in Dessert - Eggplant Chocolate Chip Muffins

If you missed my segment on First Coast Living, you can watch me talk about Veggies in Desserts here: http://www.firstcoastnews.com/firstcoastliving/default.aspx. It's not easy to find; but go to the tab for Food (click the right arrow to see more tabs) and then scroll down until you find Wednesday September 26th UNF Nutrition.

I showcased three desserts during this segment: Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes (see blog post Sept 16th), Eggplant Chocolate Chip Muffins, and Black Bean Brownies. As I mentioned, none of these recipes were my creation and you can find them at these links:

Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes: http://www.dominosugar.com/recipe/beet-red-velvet-cake-7560

Eggplant Chocolate Chip Muffins: http://sucheela.blogspot.com/2009/09/eggplant-chocolate-chip-muffins.html#!/2009/09/eggplant-chocolate-chip-muffins.html

Black Bean Brownies: http://www.pattycake.ca/node/370

The main points from my segment were:

1. Add vegetables to your day in any way you can!

Americans do not eat enough vegetables. The recommended amount for generally healthy adults is 2-3 cups per day and data shows we are eating 1.5-1.8 cups/day (2004 NHANES)! Sneaking vegetables into desserts can help us to baby-step our way towards the recommended daily amount - remember, it's still dessert so it won't get you all the way there!

2. Use vegetables to increase the nutitional content of your favorite desserts by reducing calories and fat, increasing fiber, and adding vitamins.

3. Methods (not covered in segment)

If using a puree, replace half of the fat with the puree. If it's a liquid fat (oil) use 3/4 the amount that you are replacing and if it's a solid fat (butter), use 1/2 the amount you are replacing. Reduce the oven temperature or check sooner than the recipe calls for or it might overbake.

If using chopped vegetables, some have a high water content so you may need to reduce the other liquids in the recipe.

Now, on to my favorite of the three recipes - the eggplant chocolate chip muffins!

Start by making sure you have all the ingredients you will need on hand. 

Next, figure out how to chop that eggplant! Here's a suggestion, start by cutting into smaller sections with straight edges so the vegetable will sit flat when you start chopping.

Now, peel the eggplant. Honestly, when I make my second batch of these muffins today (yes, they are that good!) I will not peel the eggplant and see how that goes... but the recipe called for peeling, so I did.

Finally, chop the section in half (again to give you a flat edge for safer chopping) and make smaller and smaller cuts. These pictures show going from the whole section, to half the section, to slices, to matchsticks, to a small chop.

Moving on to the other ingredients, you will end up with four bowls of goodies. Top left is the flour mixture, top right is the butter mixture, bottom left is the chocolate chips, and bottom right is the chopped eggplant.

The beautiful thing about making muffins is that it is so easy! Simply make a well in your flour mixture (dry ingredients) and add your liquid ingredients. Be careful how much mixing you do! Gluten develops quickly once liquid is added to flour so you want to mix as LITTLE as possible while still combining the ingredients so there are NO DRY SPOTS of flour. Then fold in the extras (chips and eggplant) and mix just enough to distribute those extras throughout the batter. The mixture should be lumpy!

This recipe yields 24 muffins. Here they are before going in the oven

And after! YUM!

Compared to store-bought chocolate chip muffins, these have 50 less calories, 4 grams less fat, double the fiber, and we've added vitamins A and C. 

Per muffin:
Carbohydrates (g)26
Protein (g)3
Fat (g)8
Sat Fat (g)3
Trans (g)0
Cholesterol (mg)30
Sodium (mg)170
Fiber (g)2.1
Vitamin A3%
Vitamin C7%

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Beef on Protein

One of the jobs I have is as a wellness dietitian for a university. I love this job. I've been working on updating the Web site and thought I'd share some of the things I've been updating. Right now, I'm working on a page about the nutrients. I'll post the new sections of the page as I get them done.

First up, the *beef* on protein (because I just can't resist bad wordplay!)



Protein comes from animal sources such as meat, dairy, and eggs and from plant sources such as beans, nuts, seeds, and even some grains. It is possible to consume enough protein for good health on a vegetarian or vegan diet if you plan your food choices well.


Protein is an essential nutrient meaning that we must get it from our food. Proteins break down in our bodies to amino acids. Our bodies cannot make all the amino acids it needs to function and approximately 25% of amino acids are lost to other uses every day, which is why protein is an important part of the daily diet. 

Protein has many functions including:
·         Provides body structure by building and maintaining muscle, bone, and other body tissue
·         Allows for movement (40% of body protein is muscle tissue)
·         Regulates gene expression
·         Integral part of enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters
·         Immunity through antibodies
·         Transports of vitamins, minerals, oxygen and other substances through the body
·         Regulates fluid and electrolyte balance
·         Maintains acid-base balance
·         Necessary for blood clotting
·         Used as fuel when other sources of energy are not available – this is not an efficient use of protein!
·         Protein is satiating – it helps us to feel full and satisfied


For a generally healthy adult, the range for protein intake is set between 10% and 35% of daily calories. A person consuming a 2,000 calorie diet would have a range of 200 – 700 calories. Since 1 gram of protein has 4 calories, this is a range of 50- 175 grams of protein per day.

The DRI recommendation for generally healthy adults is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. To convert pounds to kilograms, divide weight by 2.2. For example, a 150 pound person is (150 divided by 2.2) 68.18 kilograms.  This person would consume around 54 grams of protein per day, which is the low end of the above range.

People with specific health conditions or concerns may need a different amount of protein in their daily diet. Many Americans, however, over-consume protein in the belief that it will help them build muscle more efficiently. Any protein over what the body requires is converted to fat. A high protein diet can also overwork the kidneys. 

Reference: Nutrition Concepts and Controveries, 12th ed. by Sizer and Whitney, 2012. ISBN-13: 978-1-1133-62818-7.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes

Did you know it's "Fruits and Veggies - More Matters" month?

I'm doing a media spot this month and decided to focus on sneaking in more vegetables by using them to create desserts. My first adventure in the kitchen was red velvet cupcakes made with beets. I'm happy to report no red stains anywhere in my kitchen from the beets!

The recipe is from: http://www.dominosugar.com/recipe/beet-red-velvet-cake-7560 with no alterations. I did add store-bought cream cheese icing because making these cupcakes - which is more like making cake than muffins - was enough for one day.

Lab coat, check. Hair back, check. Hands washed, check. All ingredients on hand and measured, check. And we are ready to go!

Step 1: Cream sugar and butter. Note that a husband with strong hands is helpful for this step!

Step 2: Add eggs

Other bowls of goodness ready. Note that if you don't have a sifter, you can use a wire mesh strainer. I did this and it sifted beautifully. Top left: flour mixture. Top right: sugar, butter, eggs mixture. Bottom left: buttermilk mixture. Bottom right: pureed beets - pretty!

Once mixed together = big bowl of batter and a wooden spoon that will probably always be slightly reddish...

The recipe does indeed make 24 cupcakes

These have a nice moistness and grain but are not as red as conventional red velvet cake (even with sneaking a few drops of red food coloring in the batter...shhh!)

And the final product with the icing, which I will be bringing into work tomorrow to share!

These are husband-approved so you know they must be good.

Nutritional analysis has not yet been done; but I will update this post once I've run the numbers. I don't think these will be low-calorie cupcakes... but they do sneak in a vegetable that many people dislike in it's pure form. Simply by making the vegetable into a puree, you can add beets to your diet!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

One Day in Food Pictures

I decided this morning to document my foods today with photographs. One because I need the practice and two because I though it would be kind of fun to show how much color and variety can make up a day's worth of yummy food.

Breakfast: Egg white omelet with red onion, mushrooms, roma tomato, spinach, and reduced fat pepperjack cheese served with one slice whole wheat bread with olive oil based butter spread. Two cups coffee with splenda and almond milk.
Snack: Celery and carrots. Mmmmmmm.
Lunch: Flatout Wrap with pepperjack cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado, quinoa, and jalepeno mustard.
Snack #2: Almonds in a wonderful little tin from the Almond people. One of the benefits of being a registered dietitian is food schwag!
Snack #3: Starbucks tall non-fat latte (not pictured) because my brain was fuzzy and I needed caffeine. I realized after I got my coffee on that I was low on calories for the day and with the run, I just needed more energy (calories) and not really the caffeine. But it was still quite enjoyable.

Dinner: Tilapia sauteed in white wine with green onions, garlic, and tomatoes; sweet potato with cinnamon. Not shown are a green salad with olive oil & balsamic (plus oregano and black pepper) and a nice glass (which is about to be two nice glasses) of gervertraminer (which is probably not how you spell that nice white wine's name).

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Thoughts on Dieting and a Quinoa Recipe

I believe we should all eat when we are hungry.
I interned and now work part-time with a private practice that specializes in eating disorders. We all have that voice inside our heads that sends us positive and negative messages about our bodies, our food intake, our ability to control these things. Eating disorders, like any psychological illnesses, are normal thought patterns taken to the extreme. Those with eating disorders battle with that voice in their heads and that voice begins to win.
I have also worked briefly at a bariatric surgeon's office who specialized in lapband surgery. I had ethical issues with his post-surgery diet so it wasn't a good fit. In the time I worked there, however, I saw another form of disordered eating in both the pre- and post-surgery patients.
Both of these populations had lost touch with or flat out ignored their body's hunger and satiety cues and I, in no way, endorse this. 
If you are hungry, eat. If you are not hungry, don't eat. 
Yes, that is simplistic and  much easier said than done; but that's the premise for a healthy relationship with food.
I also do not believe in "dieting" per se. The research shows time and time again that dieting does not work. No matter the method (low carb, low fat, high protein, shakes, meal plans, or simple calorie restriction), the weight comes off (duh), the dieting stops, and the weight comes back on. The diet mentality is not effective.
One can go "off" a diet and therein lies the problem.
I'll step off my soapbox now to share a recipe and picture. I'm working on my food photography skills. Here is a version of a recipe I found in Clean Eating Magazine.
Quinoa Bowl: 1/2 cup quinoa, 1/2 cup rinsed black beans, 7 grape tomatoes halved, chopped red onion to taste, 1/4 avocado chopped, red wine vinegar to taste, lime juice, and cilantro. YUM! Nutrition Info: 335 kcal, 56g CHO, 9 g fat, 13g protein.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Fast Food: Cheeseburger Versus Salad

I admit it. I watched part of The Doctors television show the other day. I caught a segment on how Americans eat and one of the doctors was working at a fast food drive-through window attempting to get customers to choose a healthy meal over the unhealthy meal they were ordering. It did not go that well for him. Only one person on the segment out of four changed their meal after he told them how unhealthy their selection was in terms of calories, fat, and sodium levels. 
What stuck with me was that one woman said that a cheeseburger was kind of like a salad. Her point was that salads have vegetables and cheeseburgers have vegetables. Therefore, they are similar. The audience laughed good-heartedly and I groaned and laughed.
Then I got to thinking… Is a fast-food salad really that much better of an option than a fast-food cheeseburger? I turned to the restaurant’s Web sites to make some comparisons.
Let me start by saying that there are other choices than what I have compared below. If the Wendy’s Garden Side Salad with no croutons and low-fat dressing (70 calories, 0 g fat, 190 mg sodium) or the ¾-pound Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Triple Burger (1060 calories, 67 g fat, 2020 mg sodium) are your choices then yes, the salad is much healthier. However, I have tried to pick middle of the road choices that I think people would make in these examples.
 First, I compared a regular McDonald’s Cheeseburger to their Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken (with and without the creamy southwest dressing). As the table below shows, the salad with dressing, which is how most people would order it, has 90 more calories, 2 more grams of fat, and 240 more milligrams of sodium than the cheeseburger. If you can forego the dressing for the salad, you are only saving 10 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 100 milligrams of sodium versus the cheeseburger. That is not a huge difference.

Salad with dressing

Next, I moved to Wendy’s to compare the Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe to their Apple Pecan Chicken Salad (with and without the pomegranate vinaigrette dressing). Again, the cheeseburger is the healthiest option in terms of calories, fat, and sodium. The salad with dressing has 210 more calories, 8 more grams of fat, and nearly 700 more milligrams of sodium. If you can go without the dressing, you will still have 100 more calories and 3 more grams of fat than the cheeseburger; but you will save almost 300 milligrams of sodium.

Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe
Salad with dressing

I could continue; but I think the pattern is clear. The salad is not always the healthier choice at a fast food restaurant. We are still operating under the assumption that the salad is always healthier, or at least that audience and I were, and that is just not true! Now, there is a lot to consider when deciding which choice is healthier, such as the types of fats, cholesterol, and other nutrients such as the vitamins and minerals. But if I included all of that, you would have stopped reading by now…
My advice?
·         Avoid the fast food places altogether. You can make a yummy salad or a healthier cheeseburger at home using a small portion of lean beef, low-fat cheese, and lots of vegetables.
·          If you cannot avoid the fast food restaurant, ask for the nutrition information before you order (many have handouts) or look at their Web site before you go. Most importantly, make your choice before you order at the register (where you can see the pictures and smell the food).  
·         Realize that what you think may be an unhealthy choice, may not be the unhealthiest choice on the menu. Sometimes, the cheeseburger may be better than the salad.
As always – enjoy your food!