Dr. JoAnn Yanez, Executive Director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (left), joins KROQ’s host, Megan Holiday (right) to speak about healthy eating and how to start on that path.
Speaker 1: Open Line with Tammy Heidi.
Speaker 2: And now Open Line chief correspondent, Megan Holiday joins us with an interview with Dr. JoAnn Yanez about healthy eating, and it’s guaranteed to make you hungry.
Megan Holiday: Good morning, I’m your Open Line chief correspondent Megan Holiday. This morning, I’m joined by executive director at the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, Dr. JoAnn Yanez. How are you doing this morning Dr. Yanez?
JoAnn Yanez: I am very well, how are you?
Megan Holiday: I’m good. Thank you so much for joining me on the program. You know a subject like this is something that most people might think,”Oh, it’s common sense, how to eat healthy, just eat fruits and vegetables.” Or “I can read a book about this or find out what I need to know online.” But unfortunately there are a lot of health problems associated with unhealthy eating habits. I’m wondering, what is your advice for those who are intimidated by eating healthy and where is a good place to begin?
JoAnn Yanez: You know, I think a really good place to begin is just admitting to yourself that you’re human and you’re fallible and there’s no perfection. Getting over the fact that … or the belief that you have to do this perfectly. I think is probably a great place for people to start. We beat ourselves up enough as it is for so many other things, that diet shouldn’t be one of them. What was funny when you were doing the introduction, I was thinking about the Standard American Diet, and the acronym SAD is what is used for the Standard American Diet. We actually literally call it the SAD diet.
Megan Holiday: Oh man.
JoAnn Yanez: When I’m thinking about healthy eating and where to start, there are a lot of different ways. There’s literature on this, there’s a lot of the research that’s been done. One of the statistics that I’ve always found really fascinating is, we need, depending on your age, your activity level, about 2000 to 2500 calories, typically to maintain our body weight. Obviously that depends on gender and size and activity. One of the things that I’ve found has always been challenging for me personally, is when I’m eating out a lot, it’s really difficult to figure out how many calories are in this and what choices should I make that don’t blow my waist line. There actually have been studies showing that folks will tend to eat an additional 200 calories when they’re eating out, and that adds up very quickly. If you eat out several meals a week or more, that can easily be a pound or two without even thinking about it.
One of the things that I always tell folks to do, is that if you’re really starting to be conscious about what you’re eating, start trying to prepare some more meals, maybe not all of them, but start to really think about what you’re eating and prepare things at home. You’ll start to save calories and money just by doing that simple step.
Megan Holiday: It’s really about being conscious, but what if you’ve been eating really healthy, doing really well, and then a friend comes into town and you guys are eating out the whole time and you just start to get down on yourself because you blew your whole healthy eating routine. What’s your advice? Should people jump right back into the healthy eating again?
JoAnn Yanez: Well, before we even get into the beating up and jumping back in, there’s something that I remember back in my days in medical school. I had a professor, and they went up on the blackboard and they drew this big horizontal line with the two arrows at the end. If I think about any goal that you’re trying to reach, really what I always tell folks when they’re trying to incorporate more healthy lifestyles is, “What’s your goal? Why are you doing this? What’s your motivation? What is gonna make you want to do something that is a little bit harder of a choice to do every single day, and every single chance you have?”
Folks in recovery know this very well. Every moment you’ve got a choice, you can make a choice that’s gonna help your recovery or you can make a choice that’s not gonna help your recovery. With diet, we can make choices. Is this gonna get me toward my goal or away from it, and at least be conscious. If you’re going after that chocolate cake, do it because you’re consciously doing it, not because you’re stress eating, not because you’re reflexively eating what’s in front of you without thinking about it, but make a conscious decision. Say, “Sure, I am going to enjoy this birthday cake today, ’cause it’s my son’s birthday and screw it.” That’s fine, and that is totally fine.
I think that being conscious about it, because so many people … there are books actually written about mindless eating, and the amount of food that we eat when we’re not paying attention. There was a study out of Cornell years ago where they … and it’s a famous one. They had this bowl of soup, and some people got a regular bowl of soup, and some people got a bowl of soup with a little straw underneath that kept filling it up. The folks that were watching television, were eating while they were watching TV and not paying attention, ate way more soup than folks that were not.
Megan Holiday: Yeah.
JoAnn Yanez: When we’re mindless, when we’re not thinking about what we’re eating, when we’re out, when you know … I think the biggest thing about that, is conciseness and being aware of what you’re doing. Make a conscious choice and then you make a conscious choice to get back towards your goals again.
Megan Holiday: So, if you and I were to take a spin together through the grocery store, what types of foods would we be buying?
JoAnn Yanez: First off, I tell folks, shop the perimeter. Shop the outside of the grocery store first, pick up your dairy, your meat, your produce … some grocery stores have bulk bins, pick up your grains, whole grain rice, whole grain oats, and other grains like that, and beans and nuts. If you really don’t need to, skip the aisles except for toilet paper. That’s typically the advice that I give folks when they’re going to the grocery store. Stock up on all the stuff that’s on the outside, and leave the aisles alone because most of the stuff that’s in the aisles is processed, comes in a box and a can, and that means that things have had to be added to it, in order for it to stay shelf-stable in a box and a can, and not rot. Go to Farmer’s Markets, shop produce that’s in season, it’ll be cheaper, and really try and do those types of things to stock your fridge.
You know the funny thing is … and my husband and I over the years have really, you know, we’ve tried to eat more healthfully and we have a rule, “Don’t bring it in the house.” We don’t bring things in the house that we know we’re gonna have a really hard time saying no to. There’s also additional literature showing that people will typically eat, within about two days, most of the things that they grocery shop. If you’re buying a bunch of bags of chips, there’s a good chance you’re gonna eat a lot of it. Don’t bring it in the house if you don’t want yourself to be eating it.
Megan Holiday: That’s definitely my rule when it comes to ice cream. I do not bring it in the house, can’t have it in there.
JoAnn Yanez: That is our rule as well, ’cause it’s gone in a night.
Megan Holiday: Exactly, exactly. You know, I feel like the excuse that I often hear from people is,”Oh, it’s too hard to eat healthy because it’s too expensive.” Do you really find that excuse to be accurate in the long run or do you have any advice on people who might say that.
JoAnn Yanez: Well, I’ve heard this, I think we prioritize the things that are important to us. I remember years ago talking to my patient about eating more vegetables. He told me they were really, really too expensive-as a packet of $11 cigarettes peaked out of his pocket. We prioritize what we want to spend money on in many cases.
Speaker 1: This is Open Line with Tammy Heidi.