Teal Pumpkin Project

Halloween can be a tough time for families battling food allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project works to make Halloween a fun experience for all, even those who may not be able to eat the traditional treats. Inspired by the efforts of a Tennessee Mom, the Teal Pumpkin Project is now a national campaign in its third year. By placing a teal pumpkin outside your home, trick-or-treaters know that there are allergy safe options. About one in thirteen Americans has a food allergy and with the majority of Halloween candy containing milk, nuts, soy, and wheat the holiday can quickly become more worrisome than fun. Providing things like glow sticks, toys, or crayons allow children to get the classic Halloween experience without putting their health at risk. Hosting a teal pumpkin painting party prior to Halloween or passing out informational flyers from FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) is a great way to make your neighborhood more allergy friendly on the 31st .  If you are in need of nutritional guidance regarding food allergies the registered dietitians at Sage Nutrition are available to help!


Girl Holding Up Clothes to Herself

The Scale

The Scale. It can be a useful and necessary tool. It can also be the means to which people… individuals… men… women… children… adults… are destroyed. It is not so much the scale that breaks these individuals, it’s the number. A number that holds the power to make or break the day.

A number gains the control of determining the value or self-worth of individuals who struggle with eating disorders. A number may determine whether or not someone eats, how many miles they run, or whether they purge. A number becomes the definition of these individuals – it defines their degree of success, their purpose in life, what they will strive to achieve.

YOU are more than a number. If you are struggling with stepping on the scale multiple times a day – or daily at that – there is hope for a life of freedom from the need to define your life or day based on a number. Your beauty, your worth, your purpose… they stem from something deep inside of you… not on the gravitational force your body produces on a tool called the scale.

How will you define yourself? You are so much more important than any number and a scale will only give you a numeric value that does not correlate to your passion, your integrity, your values, your hopes for the future. Consider tossing this defining characteristic out of your life. If you need help, Sage Nutrition has a variety of resources available to help you in your journey. Check out www.sagenutrition.org for more information and contact us with any questions or concerns.


We’ve often heard how the media influences how we feel about our weight, shape, and general appearance. But, have you ever considered how the media influences the food, drinks, and pills we put into our bodies? Today, we examine the role of supplements in the American lifestyle.

Let me begin with a disclaimer: I am not anti­supplement. I have often taken multivitamins, both prenatal and otherwise. I also frequently recommend multivitamins for certain groups of patients, specifically those with wounds that need healing, those with poor appetites, and those who are recovering from eating disorders. I also recommend that women who don’t consume much in the way of dairy include a calcium supplement and that clients following a vegan diet supplement with Vitamin B12 and any other nutrients they may be missing.

With all of that being said, not everyone needs supplements in their diet. Ideally, if you are generally healthy; eating a well­balanced, omnivorous diet; and are not pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or lactating; you should be able to meet your nutrient needs. Of course, this isn’t always possible, as demonstrated by the examples above. However, our desire for health is often exploited by those selling supplements. We are told about the benefits of these supplements without being informed about the risks associated with taking over the counter supplements.

One of the risks is that the supplement you are taking does not contain the ingredients it claims. Supplements are not regulated like medicines, which means that they do not have to meet any specific standard of quality or amount of active ingredients. The New York Attorney General recently brought attention to this fact when their testing showed that many store brands of herbal supplements didn’t contain the herbs they claimed to contain.

Supplements and herbs can also interact with medications. St. John’s Wort, which is often used for depression, can decrease the effectiveness of many medications, including birth control pills. Valerian, often used for insomnia, can interact with medications such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan. This is why it is extremely important to make sure your health care providers are aware of any and all supplements you take.

One of the main issues I find for my patients taking supplements is that the risks outweigh the benefits. I had a patient who was taking Vitamin B17 which she thought was helping to cure her cancer. Note that this is not a true vitamin, but an herbal supplement which can cause cyanide toxicity and has not been proven to help with cancer treatment. Despite the fact that the supplement could poison her (which she and her family were aware of), wasn’t helping her cancer, was very expensive, and had to be purchased online from another country, she continued to use it because someone­ who likely had no professional knowledge of nutrition or health­ had told her that it might work.

Another patient spent at least $50 per month on a supplement that claimed to help his diabetes because he had seen it on a TV talk show. He did no other research on the product once he had heard about it on TV. A quick internet search allowed me to see that although the individual ingredients had been tested, the whole product itself had never been tested, so there was no research on whether or not the amounts of the active ingredients used had any effect on his disease.

When my patients tell me that they pop vitamin C tablets when they feel a cold coming on or add protein powder to their beverages when their diets clearly contain adequate protein for their activity level, I have to gently inform them that they are really just paying for their urine to be more expensive. That’s because our bodies don’t store extra Vitamin C or protein when we don’t need it­ we just pee it out instead. Which isn’t great for our bodies or our wallets.

That said, if your health care provider thinks you need a supplement and you are ok with that-go for it! But don’t just add a pill to your regimen without first looking into it. Ask your primary care provider if it will interact with any other medications you are taking or if you even need it in the first place. And always be wary of someone who will financially benefit from your supplement use instructing you on what to use. Remember that Registered Dietitians (RD) and Registered Dietitian­ Nutritionists (RD­N) are the only recognized health care providers who specialize in nutrition. Most of the credentials you will find at your supplement store of choice do not require the intensive training and continuing education that RDs and RD­Ns are required to have. And, they are probably making a commission from your purchase.

Knowledge is power. So do your research and ask questions. Your body and wallet will thank you.

Sources: The New York Times, Drugs.com, National Institutes of Health

Food: Are you Living It, Leaving It, or Loving It?

Food. For each and every one of us in this world there is a different response to what appears as a simple, four-letter word. But really – a simple, four-letter word it is not. I have folks I work with that see a crumb of food as a mountain of fear and others see a mountain of food as a teeny, tiny relief from feelings that seem unbearable. Some see food as their best friend, others as their worst enemy. Love, hate, fear, anger, hope, joy, sadness, and a host of a million other emotions are unveiled when food is placed in front of various individuals. Our past, where our memories linger, what we are trying desperately to remember or sometimes forget, all impact our relationship with food.

My question to you… are you living it, leaving it, or loving it?

Living It

Does your life revolve around food? Do your emotions seem to be connected to different types of food (i.e. stress to chocolate, loneliness to fries, shame to ice cream, anxiety to pizza)? Often times I will have clients in my office share with me the connections I just mentioned. For you, there may be a very different emotion connected to those foods, but my hope is to provide you an example of what it means to have an emotion that is so intertwined with certain foods. We live in a society that is constantly telling us to be thinner, faster, better, stronger. They want us to work more, sleep less, and provide exceptional service with a body that we barely have time to care for. It has become so easy to allow food to control our lives versus being a solid component of our lives. Consider whether food is something you plan your life around as a means of an escape, a coping mechanism, or if it is something that liberates you from the stresses of your busy life for just a short while.

Leaving It

Negative memories are often the culprit for why people avoid certain foods. Our experiences as children can affect us for years and cause us to walk away from a relationship with food. Sometimes negative body image can lead folks to disordered eating patterns in an effort to control the way their body looks and how they feel in their body. We can actually see some similarity between folks who leave food and those who live for food…

Both sides are trying to avoid the feeling their facing. We are surrounded by the (unrealistic) message of needing to eat less and exercise more so that we can have the “perfect body.” If we leave food behind we have no means to nourish the body and therefore lose the physical strength to keep going day after day. If leaving food behind is something you struggle with, start with considering why you believe it is necessary to leave it behind.

Loving It

Cooking, baking, catering, and serving are just a few ways that folks enjoy food and have the opportunity to share it with others. Some individuals are the “foodies” that get out and explore all the new restaurants, try a variety of new foods, and really appreciate food for the colors, textures, and flavors it has to offer. While “loving it” can certainly be taken to an unhealthy extreme, in this case I really want to highlight the fact that food can be quite pleasurable. There are many people who have a positive, healthy relationship with food that can guide us in a fulfilling and sensual experience with food.

So – food? Do you… live it, leave it, or love it?

-Emily Estes, MS, RD, LMNT