SATURDAY POST 16

Owing to the inability to travel anywhere in a straight line around here, my new commutes around North and South Carolina meander between interstates and back roads. These are typically the fastest options, but given a choice, part of me will always seek out the quiet, forgotten highways, passing through beautiful countryside and small towns.

I may travel some 800 miles out and back in one weekend — that’s a lot of time to observe the beating heart of America. This time of the year it’s mostly winter-brown fields, oddly vibrant green horse paddocks, densely wooded swaths of loblolly pines. The road can be a lonely place, but the audiobooks are plentiful and the scenery truly does not disappoint. So much so I’m frequently reminding myself there’s a set timeline, and stopping multiple times to photograph a rustic farm or sunrise is not wise. Perhaps I’ll start leaving earlier…

Deep Bottom Road

Then again, perhaps not. I realized just how tired traveling makes me when around 0930 after a long drive home the night prior it dawned on me that my sweatpants were on backwards. The exhaustion even more apparent when I raised an eyebrow and continued the rest of the morning in that fashion. (Cut me some slack… sweatpants… not much difference front or back.) This road warrior thing will clearly take some getting used to. Tips?

In other actual news, you’re probably aware by now that the Dietary Guidelines Committee, an expert panel advising the federal government on nutrition, released it latest recommendations. The commentary. is. every. where. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I took some time to read and digest these new updates: There are home runs. There are strikeouts. But what I’m really curious about is what you think. Please share your comments below. [These are in “comment” phase until April. If you have a suggestion, make it known!]

And as always, take a look at this week’s round-up of links before you go. Have a most delightful weekend!

Cheers, Heather

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Some interesting, fun, delicious reads:

  • National Eating Disorders Awareness Week begins tomorrow. Four out of every 10 Americans have either suffered or have known someone who has suffered from an eating disorder — the mental illness with the highest mortality rate. If you know anyone with an eating disorder, please help them get support. Let’s celebrate healthy body images not only this week, but every week!
  • If my husband had his way, we would adopt one of these beautiful behemoths.
  • Reality check. I need these from time to time.
  • All you ever wanted to know (and see) about how mushrooms are grown. DYK that one portobello has more potassium than a banana? I do now!
  • Girl Scout smarts. Is there a badge for ingenuity?
  • Happy Lunar New Year. Vivino thinks that Rats (my husband and myself) are best suited to drinking 2008 Malbec with Oxen, Rabbits and Dragons. Sounds like a recipe for a heated discussion…
  • This week’s pinned words of wisdom.

Recently on HGN:

  • We waded into the deep parts of the ocean with the newest in the Have you met series, featuring sardines.

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p.s. I love hearing from you! Check back if you ask a question, because I’ll answer it here.

And if you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing. Thanks!

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From the Author

7 comments

    • Heather Goesch, MPH, RDN, LDN says:

      Ha! I can see where one might think that with a name like Maine Coon.

      As for the information about cholesterol, I fear this is going to be something that causes a lot of confusion. The messages the public is receiving are only bits and pieces of a much bigger picture. I’ll try to be as succinct as possible with a response. As research continues into the effects of cholesterol in the human body, scientists are finding that many other factors, including individual genetic differences, exercise routine and overall diet are the predominant determining factors of blood levels of cholesterol, as opposed to what’s taken in directly from foods (the high-cholesterol foods being things like meat, cheese, bacon, hot dogs, fried foods, butter, eggs, etc.). Cholesterol is a naturally manufactured compound in the body and it’s really good a self-regulating. Without going too in depth with the complex biological processes, when we eat too much cholesterol, our bodies know to produce less. The body can also excrete excess cholesterol, granted there is enough fiber present to bind with and take what’s not needed out.

      All that said, keep in mind the “overall diet” part of the equation. Foods that are high in cholesterol, like those mentioned previously, are also typically high in saturated fats and often trans fats as well (with the exception shellfish and eggs, which are high cholesterol but low in saturated fat). You may recognize that two of the dietary components targeted to decrease intake of are saturated and trans fats, so we still should not be consuming those foods in any great amount. In addition, the advisory committee recommends increased intake of whole grains, which provides the fiber necessary to help us excrete excess dietary cholesterol, if needed.

      In the end, not much has changed. The general takeaways are to aim for more healthy unsaturated fats in place of saturated and trans fat; more whole grains, veg/fruit, legumes and nuts, fish and lean/minimally processed protein sources; less added sugar and less sodium; moderate alcohol (for adults, if desired); and maintain a regular physical activity routine. Some of the wording could certainly have been clearer and will hopefully be polished up in the final guidelines put forth by the government. Remember, these are suggestions at this point, and you have until 8 April to submit comments.

      I went a little long there, but did my rambling help clear things up? (Or make it worse?) Happy to discuss more! Great question.

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