Food & Diet

Weight Loss and Improvements in Mental Health

Weight Loss

People today are busy with work, kids, and the normal activities of daily living. Many people do not make time for physical activities, eat on the run, and find little time for themselves due to the demands of life.

America is a country with over 70 million people considered to be obese. This means that 39.6% of our population is at risk for many health issues due to being overweight. Weight loss ads are all over the television as well as on the internet and social media.

Keeping these statistics in mind, we need to realize the importance of weight loss and understand all the benefits that come with losing extra pounds. Weight loss provides many advantages. People who lose weight will typically see lower blood pressures, lower blood sugars, increased physical activity, and improvements in pain as well. People with chronic back and joint pain note that their pain levels improve due to less stress on their body from the loss of excess weight.

People see a big improvements in their mental health. Studies show that losing weight leads to higher self esteem levels, more positive body image and feelings of contentment. After losing even 5-10% of body weight people report less depression, improved relationships, longer sleep duration and lower anxiety levels. Overall, weight loss has shown that people have an improved perception in their quality of life and more self confidence.

The weight loss journey may be tough and hard but the benefits and rewards in a person’s overall health are worth the time and effort. Today there are apps like My Fitness Pal or Lose It to help with this effort to keep track of food intake and exercise. This will help keep people accountable as they make the scales drop.

Set a goal and make a change. Help yourself become a healthier version of you!

Superfood: Beet & Orange Salad with Grilled Trout + Walnuts


  • 12 oz. Boneless Skinless Trout
  • 10 oz. (about 2) Red Beets
  • 6 cups Arugula Lettuce Leaf
  • 2 oz. Goat Cheese
  • 8 Tbsp Walnut Halves & Pieces, Chopped
  • 1/2 cup Tarragon, Chopped
  • 2 ea Orange Segments
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette


  1. Preheat a char-grill or grill pan. Spray with oil to help stop the trout from sticking. Grill the trout until the internal temperature reaches 145F degrees, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Set aside.
  2. Peel and section oranges and set aside. Roast or boil whole beets until cooked through and tender, about 45-60 minutes depending on size. Chill then peel skin and dice. Set aside. Toast walnuts until golden brown and fragrant. Set aside.
  3. For each salad: Toss together 1/2 cup orange sections, 1 1/2 cup lettuce, 1/2 oz. crumbled goat cheese, 1/2 oz. (2 Tbsp.) walnuts, 3 oz. cooked trout, 2 Tbsp tarragon and to Tbsp dressing. Plate the salad.
  4. In the empty bowl, add the beets and toss lightly with leftover dressing. Place beets on the salad last (this will prevent everything from turning red).

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 420
  • Total Fat: 30g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Total Carb: 15g
  • Protein: 25g
  • Dietary Fiber: 4g
  • Sodium: 380mg

Superfood: Grilled Salmon with Orange Grapefruit Caprese


  • 4 ea Wild Salmon Filet, 4 oz.
  • 1/8 tsp Fine Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/8 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/3 Tbsp Canola Oil
  • 4 oz. Mini Mozzarella Balls
  • 4 oz. Orange Sections
  • 2 oz. Grapefruit Sections
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/8 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
  • 4 leaves Fresh Basil, Torn


For the Salmon:

  1. Drizzle olive oil on the salmon and season with salt and pepper. Place salmon on a pre-heated grill and cook for approximately 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Place on a baking tray and place in the oven for 5 minutes until firm but not dried out. The internal temperature should be 145F. Remove from the oven and set aside.

For the Grapefruit Salad:

  1. Use mini mozzarella balls for this recipe and cut in half. Toss mozzarella cheese, orange and grapefruit segments together and mix with olive oil, salt, freshly ground black pepper and fresh torn basil leaves.
  2. Place the grapefruit salad over the salmon and serve.

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 320
  • Total Fat: 18g
  • Saturated Fat: 6g
  • Total Carb: 4g
  • Protein: 34g
  • Dietary Fiber: <1g
  • Sodium: 390mg

Superfood: Quinoa Tabouleh


  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 ea Small Tomatoes, Fresh, Diced 1/4″
  • 1/2 cup Peeled Cucumbers, Seeded and Diced
  • 1 cup Fresh Italian Parsley, Chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Mint Bunch, Chopped
  • 1 Tbsp, 1 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice, Fresh
  • 1/2 cup Green Onions, Thinly Sliced
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Fine Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Canola Oil


  1. Place quinoa in a pot with water and bring to a boil; lower heat to simmer and cook until tender and outer ring is visible, about 15 – 20 minutes. Drain and chill.
  2. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, mint, fresh lemon juice and scallions.
  3. Fold in the olive oil to separate the grains. Season with salt and pepper.

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 260
  • Total Fat: 16g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5g
  • Total Carb: 25g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Dietary Fiber: 4g
  • Sodium: 130mg

Food for Thought…and Pain

  • Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Diet and exercise is well known to keep your heart healthy, but more and more research is showing that what you eat can directly impact your pain levels. The link between food and pain lies in systemic inflammation, and decreasing your inflammation can help to decrease your pain. By eating more foods with anti-inflammatory properties, and avoiding those that increase it, you can add another tool to your pain management belt.

First, what is systemic inflammation? Throughout the body, there are several inflammatory mediators, which are basically the body’s defensive line when injury or ailment occur. These defensemen can be everywhere…in the joints, in the back, in the gut. When inflammatory markers are activated, they stimulate the perception of pain, to tell you that something is wrong. Whenever and wherever there is pain, chances are, there is also inflammation.

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Next, how does food affect inflammation? Free radicals and foreign substances cause oxidative stress, which leads to the activation of the inflammatory mediators. Free radicals come from quick and sharp spikes in blood glucose and lipids (or sugars and fats), or processed foods which the body interprets as a foreign substance. The resulting oxidative stress caused by these foods is similar in process to rust on an old metal bicycle, so the body takes this as an injury that needs to be taken care of. The inflammatory markers are sent to take care of the oxidative stress caused by the free radicals, and systemic inflammation occurs.

What kinds of food increase and decrease inflammation? The culprits for increasing inflammation is processed foods, and added sugar. Fats are not so bad on their own, but when paired with sugar, the combination of the two is even more damaging. These are found in high sugar foods, white breads and pastas, soda, alcohol, and processed meats (hot dogs, bologna, etc.).

As far as foods that can help with inflammation and pain, the keyword here is “antioxidant.” These are found in vitamin and mineral-rich fruits and vegetables. The other trick is to avoid that sharp blood sugar and fat spike. Foods that shorten this spike are those that are high in fiber, like beans and whole grains, or good protein, such as chicken, fish and lean beef.

Overall, taking care of chronic pain requires a multi-faceted approach. Physical therapy, procedures, even surgery are all common tools to treat and manage chronic pain. However, there is one more tool to add to the belt, and that is a pain relieving diet.

Good luck and let’s hear back with how you are doing!

For more information, recipes, and meal planning tools, check out these resources!


Bonakdar, R., Cotter, N. and Rhodes, C. (2019). Nutrition, Inflammation, and Pain. The Pain Practitioner, (November/December 2017), pp.10-12.

Briggs, M., Givens, D., Schmitt, L. and Taylor, C. (2019). Relations of C-reactive protein and obesity to the prevalence and the odds of reporting low back pain.. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Jan. 2019].

Stone, A. and Broderick, J. (2019). Obesity and pain are associated in the United States.. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Jan. 2019].