Why You Don’t Actually Need to Cut Out Carbs

By: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesche, MS, RDN, LDN

Carbs often get a bad rap. They are described as “unhealthy” or “bad” for you. Let’s clear up this confusion because carbs nourish your body. Read that again, please. Carbs are nourishing to the human body for many reasons. For example, carbohydrates are turned into glucose to use as energy for your body.

It can be misleading on social media or by word-of-mouth when someone says you should cut carbs out of your diet. However, they are one of the five major food groups and an important macronutrient (others include fat and protein). It is vital to balance your dietary intake and eat from all the major food groups. First, I will discuss the distinct types of carbs. Then, I will emphasize the importance of eating the rainbow and having a variety of nutrients in your diet.

 

Types of Carbs

To begin, there are two distinct categories of carbs: simple and complex. Simple carbs consist of sugars, whereas complex carbs consist of starches and fiber.

Sugars

Sugars are simple carbs that include natural sugars and added sugars. Simple carbohydrates break down quickly in the body and give us quick energy. Furthermore, natural sugars include those naturally occurring in whole foods like fresh, whole fruits or in milk. Added sugars are added to foods for flavor and include things like canned fruit or fruit juice, ice cream, and baked goods.

Tip: Limit foods that are refined and high in added sugars from sugar-sweetened beverages, candy, and white flour and instead focus on getting a healthful balance of natural sugars from whole fruits and milk products.

Starches

Starches are complex carbs that include fruits (watermelon, raspberries, apples, etc.), vegetables (corn, potatoes, beets, etc.), whole-grains (oatmeal, whole-grain bread, brown rice), beans and legumes (chickpeas, lentils, black beans, etc). Complex carbohydrates break down longer in the body and provide energy, as well as helping us to feel fuller for longer. Most starches provide vitamins and minerals to our body.

Fiber

Fiber is a complex carb found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Our body can’t digest fiber, but it aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar. Additionally, fiber keeps you fuller for a longer period. The two types of fiber are insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber speeds up digestion and soluble fiber gives bulk to the stool. Both types of fiber are found in foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds.

Whether eating simple or complex carbs, they are fuel for our bodies. MyPlate is a great estimate to ensure you are eating enough carbs in a day. This recommendation says to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, a quarter with whole grains, and the last quarter with protein. Another tip is to replace half your grains with whole grains each day, to include fiber and complex carbs. Eating should include a balance of foods from all the food groups and nourish your body and mind.

If you have any questions, or would like to get in touch with our dietitians, please email us at scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com to schedule an appointment!

Which Milk is Healthiest?

By: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesche, MS RDN LDN

The Big 9 food allergens include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, sesame, and soy. Many people are either lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy.

A food intolerance occurs when the human body has a chemical reaction and a challenging time digesting certain foods, whereas a food allergy elicits an immune response. With a milk allergy, there is an immune response elicited and a reaction to milk protein occurs. There are many cow’s milk alternatives on the market, and it can be confusing to choose the right milk for your body.

Let us break it down to the basics and learn about the several types of milk and plant-based milk available.

Cow’s Milk

Cow’s milk is a rich source of protein and calcium. Protein is important for growth and repair in the body. Calcium is vital for bone and teeth health, strong bones, and can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Choosing milk with lower milkfat can decrease the saturated fat content.

Soy Milk

Soy milk is a lactose-free dairy substitute that is rich in B vitamins, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids: healthful fats that can help with brain health and prevent certain diseases like cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and some cancers. Look for soy milk that is fortified with calcium to help with bone health. Soy milk is comparable to cow’s milk, but it contains more fiber and has slightly less fat, carbohydrates, and sugar.

Oat Milk

Oat milk is another plant-based, milk alternative. Oat milk has 2 grams of fiber per 1 cup, but less protein than cow’s milk or soy milk. Look for oat milk that has fortified vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin A. Another tip is to look for “unsweetened” oat milk to reduce the amount of sugar.

Almond Milk

Almond milk is another plant-based, lactose-free milk available for those who enjoy a nutty flavor. This milk is rich in magnesium, which is necessary for reactions in the body and can help control blood sugar levels. Look for unsweetened almond milk to lower amount of sugars and carbohydrates. A common tip is to purchase almond milk fortified with calcium and phosphorus to strengthen bones. Almond milk is also rich in antioxidants like vitamin E that help prevent cells from damage and lower the risk of certain conditions like heart disease.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a great source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which increase energy and are a healthful source of fat. Coconut milk contains a small amount of both iron and calcium. Coconut milk contains a higher amount of saturated fat and should be limited in moderation. 

It is important to consider allergies and intolerances when choosing the right milk for you. Some plant-based milks are great for cooking or baking, and others taste great alone or in coffee or tea. Check out the healthful tips mentioned above and the table comparing the nutrients of each milk mentioned above.

Whether you are choosing a non-dairy alternative due to an allergy/intolerance or other reasons, it is important to make sure you are not missing out on key nutrients. This is why working with a registered dietitian is so important! Schedule an appointment with us by emailing scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com.

Cuban Black Beans and Rice

Cuban Black Beans & Rice

By: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern

Hi, folks! My name is Ava and I am a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh. I am a Registered Dietitian to-be and I am excited to share some recipes with you all. A little bit about me: I am passionate about nutrition and dietetics, especially when it comes to working with food allergies and disordered eating. In my free time, I like to run, go on long walks with friends, and explore the food scene here in Pittsburgh. I am one quarter Cuban and I thought one of my favorite dishes, Cuban black beans and rice, would be a good first recipe to share. 

 

Cuban Black Beans and Rice can be served as a side dish to another protein or as the star of the plate. Growing up, my mom would also make black beans and rice with a fried egg and a salad on the side. Sometimes, she adds Cuban-style chicken for more protein and nutrients. I included a picture of the beans I made in my college apartment paired with a colorful salad, for reference.

Black beans are a great source of protein, fiber and are rich in antioxidants. Beans are a great plant-based source of protein that will fuel your body with energy and promote healthfulness. The fiber in the beans helps to keep you fuller for longer, and the benefits of antioxidant properties include protecting cells in the body from damage and reducing the risk of certain cancers.

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 cans of black beans (15.5 oz each), low sodium, rinsed
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 bay leaf, whole
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar

What To Do:

  • In a large pot, add black beans, water, chopped green pepper, finely chopped onion, and minced garlic together on high heat.
  • Season with ½ tsp of salt, ½ tsp oregano, and ½ teaspoon of cumin and stir into beans.
  • Add 1 bay leaf and 3 Tbsp of olive oil and 1 Tbsp of vinegar to the pot and stir.
  • Bring to a boil then simmer on medium-low heat for about 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve with rice, salad, and/or a fried egg.
  •  

If you like to meal prep, you can double the recipe or freeze the leftovers in your fridge for a few weeks. Hopefully you will enjoy this authentic dish, and feel free to make the recipe and post it on your social media! Tag us @casespecificnutrition on Instagram and Facebook.

The Athlete Mindset

Think you're not an athlete? Think again.

By: Jeremiah Rowe, CSCS, CPPS

The fitness industry is inundated with poor advice for lifters of all demographics. You see it when you go to your big box gym; that guy with 5 plates on each side of the bar, quarter-squatting his way to imminent lumbar disk herniations. You see it with the Instagram “influencers” spouting off their supplement recommendations and their promotion for fit teas and Botox. You see it in high school (and COLLEGE) athletics programs where the football coach hands his entire team the same workout plan to be followed, with next to zero oversight, for the next 3 months. The workout will have 12 exercises, each for 3 sets of 8-10 reps, except for bench press, of course. They’ll be maxing out on that every Monday. Perfect.

To paraphrase the great Michael Jordan, “”I take that personally.” That is why, when I was offered the position as head strength coach of Case Specific Wellness Center, I started visualizing what my future days would look like at this dream facility. I could hear the metal weights on the bench press clanging like church bells, calling everyone in earshot to give their attention to this sacred altar. 

I saw the hard-nosed, blue collar, western Pennsylvania football stars pushing a few hundred pounds of steel across the turf, their legs feeling like they’re disintegrating from their bodies, but still somehow finding that inner drive to push their knee to their chest and take another step, one after another. Over here an unassuming freshman girls’ soccer player is about to hit 135 lbs on her trap bar deadlift for the first time, and the rag-tag group of kids from various other teams and sports are encircling her, yelling and clapping as she grinds through her set and lifts two 45lb plates off the floor for the first time.

Yes. These athletes are working hard, but they’re working SMART, too. This idea is what turned my vision from Case Specific Wellness into Case Specific Athletics. I want to provide intelligent strength and conditioning coaching to athletes and general populations who want to work hard, but in a way that is going to train them for performance in life as well as on the field/court/rink/track, you name it. 

I’ve spent years working closely with general populations and their healthcare professionals trying to coach them intelligently in a way that allows them to feel better as much as look better. I love having people come to me with knee pain, unsure that they will even be able to train at all, only to realize 4 months later that they’ve got 100lbs on their back and they are squatting with no pain at all!

Now, the injury and movement impairment rehabilitative side of what I do is one thing, and I feel I’ve proven myself to (most of) my clients to be more than just a meathead gym bro. The issue, though, became this: Would the name Case Specific ATHLETICS turn away those populations who I am able to help move and feel better than ever?

I had one client who, when we were ordering new Case Specific Athletics hoodies with the new logo (see below), was hesitant to buy one because “There’s a weightlifter on it and I’d be embarrassed to wear it because I’m not fit.” This was the same client who, when she first came to our facility, was unsure if she should even bother with a nutrition appointment because “This is a place for elite athletes.” The same client who, a year later, is one of our hardest workers. She is in our gym 2-3 times per week in our B.A.S.I.C. (Building A System of Integral Components) Training classes, kicking the crap out of herself to get into the best shape she can, and pushing the pace of the whole class as she does it.

As adults, many of us lose touch with that youthful athletic drive that we possess through high school and maybe college. Our bodies age, we gain a bit of weight, we start to feel a bit more sluggish in our day-to-day grind. Sure, these are factors of life that everyone has to deal with at some point. I would argue, however, against the easily adopted mindset of “I’m not an athlete.” Do you think a non-athlete could go out and ride a bike through the whole neighborhood with his eight year old after a 10 hour workday? Do you think a non-athlete could be 70 years (young!) and accidentally trip over a crack in the sidewalk and manage to bring a foot through to catch his or herself before hitting the ground and possibly risking serious injury? Do you think a non-athlete could chase a wild toddler around the house all day, making sure the kid doesn’t jump off the couch or try to eat the Yankee Candle off the dining room table. I have a 19 month-old niece and, let me tell you, that girl needs a whole freaking team of people watching her to keep her from mischief.

What else I saw in those visions from earlier were the adults who have found their place among the young warriors. They’ve been intoxicated by this environment of sweat, loud music, and hard work, and they are out there on the floor, working just as hard as the kids. They’re grinding; not for sport, though. They’re fighting and battling this iron enemy for something greater; for life. It’s a life in which they feel comfortable that they can go out and play baseball with the neighborhood kids, keeping up and even “showing them how it’s done.” It’s a life that a dad working at the office isn’t coming home crippled up and sore from a long day of sitting. This is a life where a mom who hasn’t played a sport since high school is able to keep up and not become overwhelmed with the hustle-and-bustle of her three kids playing three different sports that she has to drive them to in between PTA meetings and making dinner. It’s a life where a husband can look at his wife of 15 years and two kids as she gets ready to shower and say “DAMN. I get to spend the rest of my life with THAT?!”

So maybe you don’t play a sport. Maybe you used to in high school and then college and life came at you quick and you lost touch of that athleticism that you used to have. Maybe you never played a sport because you didn’t have the confidence or just plain weren’t interested. That’s fine, but DON’T tell me you aren’t an athlete. You are as much an athlete as any one of those people you watch throw a ball around on TV. That vision that I had for Case Specific Athletics did include YOU. And if you are ready to find your inner athletic potential, reach out to us today and find out how you can get started with a FREE physical assessment or athlete movement screen! I hope that you’ll let me help you change your life forever.

Call 412-593-2048 (option 5)

or email info@casespecificathletics.com

Episode 33: Body Fat vs BMI


Understanding the measures of your body is a great step in navigating your own health and fitness. There are many measures because there are many goals and people.Body Mass Index (BMI) was an interesting correlation study in the 1950’s, and it has overstayed it’s welcome for many reasons.

What is the definition of Obesity? What does it mean?

How does measuring Body Fat differ from the BMI Chart? Who might this measure be useful for?

Know your body and know your goals so you can choose your path and progress! #spreadthehealth

Have you completed the Free Trial of Optilife Academy yet? If not, check it out with the link below! Don’t forget to enter code ANDREW at checkout for 10% off.

Jumpstart your mindset and goals with the Optilife Academy course! Click the link below for a free trial. When purchasing enter ANDREW at checkout for 10% OFF. https://optilifeacademy.com/ref/AndrewW/

Check out this episode!

Episode 32 CSN3M: Day 31


Does your 30 day reset or refocus help or hurt your health?

– Whole 30

– 21 Day Fix

– 10 day Juice Cleanse

– Diet goals for Lent

– Dry Month (Alcohol Abstinence)

It depends on why you are doing it and what you learn along the way! #spreadthehealth

The Optilife Academy course is a better way to focus in and drive change you can feel. Check out the free trial through the link below! Enter ANDREW at checkout for 10% OFF. https://optilifeacademy.com/ref/AndrewW/

Check out this episode!

Episode 31 CSN3M: “I thought that was healthy”

“I thought that was healthy” – the phrase we hear that so simply exemplifies how confused we are about food and our personal wellness.

By the time we look at the restrictive guidance of a paleo diet, ketogenic diet and vegan diet we have effectively said “Avoid all foods”. The reality is fad diets do not immediately address the case specific part of your nutrition!

Be sure to check out the Optilife Academy course! Enter ANDREW at checkout for 10% OFF. https://optilifeacademy.com/ref/AndrewW/

Check out this episode!

Episode 30 CSN3M: A Rare Guyatitian Spotting

Meet Brad Beatty, the owner of our Altoona office and the other Guyatitian in the CSN Family.

Just like the rest of us, he is eager to make a positive impact in peoples lives. The ambition of assisting others in navigating their goals and health is the most important thing we share.

A fun conversation with a very insightful practitioner!

#CaseSpecificFamily #SpreadtheHealth

Check out this episode!

Episode 29 CSN3M: Tracking and the Lifestyle 150

Tracking is meant to collect data, raise awareness and create and opportunity to make changes. Use wisely!

Lifestyle 150: Pick 5 things that would feel great if you did them most of the time.

Drink 80-100oz water
Intentional activity for 30min
Produce at all meals (fruit and or vegetable)
Sleep 8 hours
Read 10pgs of a book or learn something

Five checks a day for 30 days is 150 but we know that even 120 checks in a month would be a huge win!

 

Check out this episode!

Episode 28 CSN3M: Incremental Changes Ft. Michele Rager

Introducing the Lead Dietitian of our North Hills Office Michele Rager! Our virtual interview is packed with fun discussions of clients, and methods to create success for the individual!

 

Have you completed the Free Trial of Optilife Academy yet? If not, check it out with the link below! Don’t forget to enter code ANDREW at checkout for 10% off.

Be sure to check out the Optilife Academy course! Enter ANDREW at checkout for 10% OFF. https://optilifeacademy.com/ref/AndrewW/

Check out this episode!