Whatever you do, DON’T follow your dreams.

Gonna drop a little bit of Monday morning inspiration on you guys.


So about a year ago, someone asked me: If you could have dinner with a famous person, who would it be? 

Naturally I start thinking about the most badass female scientists and leaders I can think of, I ended up listing one of them that was up there on my list.

A few weeks ago, I found out that person was speaking at a research center I happen to dabble in. Obviously I had to go.

Her lecture was brilliant and so, so interesting. I was talking to a colleague about how nervous I was to introduce myself to her and how much I’ve read her work over the years. They reply: Well, what are you doing tonight? 

“Oh you know, just going to the gym and making dinner.”

Nope. You’re going out to dinner with a famous person.

Needless to say, dinner FAR exceeded my expectations. This inspiring scientist was hilarious, approachable, and down right BRILLIANT.

That 4 hour dinner was like a concentrated lesson on life and everything in it. Politics, public health, science, medicine, nutrition, family, her career and future, my career and future…

Every word of of her mouth was totally spontaneous, yet was so full of intelligence, wisdom, and experience that it felt calculated and deliberate. She would say seemingly trivial things that resonated strongly as a straight-up write-this-down life lesson.

Anyway, the topic of goals and ambition came up, of course.

I was talking about how lucky I was to be able to have dinner with her and she quickly shot that down. It wasn’t luck that brought me to that dinner, it was choice.

In life, we make several — and when I say several, mean thousands upon thousands — of choices. Every day. We choose to stay up late and order a pizza. We choose to wake up early and go for a run. We choose to snooze. We choose to stay late after work. We have the opportunity to make a choice at almost any given moment in the day.

Those choices shape our futures. Those choices, one by one, present us with the opportunities we have. Yes, there are several other factors that contribute to opportunity (I would even argue that luck is one of them), however, choice is a significant one.

Achieving what we want out of life is our choice. Reaching your goals is your choice. Being successful at what you do is a choice. My writing a blog post on a Sunday night in the hopes to one day be an advocate for health is my choice.  My showing up at the hospital at 6:30 AM tomorrow to calculate TPN orders in the hopes to one day be a great dietitian is my choice.

Years ago, I chose to stay up late in my dorm room reading about longevity and cancer. I chose to seek out research and scientists doing what I wanted to one day do. I chose to continue research. I chose to have the kinds of conversations in which we think about what kind of famous scientist we would have dinner with. I chose to speak up for myself at the research center I work at, so I would be trusted to converse with such a person. I chose to go to a science lecture for fun. I chose to introduce myself to a famous role model. I chose to go to dinner.

That dinner didn’t happen out of luck, it happened out of choice.

Well, that’s what she said anyway.

TL;DR? Don’t follow your dreams, CHASE after them like your life depends on it!


So there’s a little story from my week and some inspiration for your Monday! What did you guys get up to last week?

PS – In case you are wondering, I chopped off another 10 inches of my hair to donate to those who need it more than me, you can see the new do (and follow my random locations/cooking/drinks/musings) here! I mean, if you’re not going to follow your dreams you can at least follow my Instagram.

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The Skinny on Diet Coke

diet coke

So we of course all know that soda and sugary drinks are terrible for your health, right?


But what about diet coke? For some reason even a few of the most health conscious people I know still have their diet coke vice. Or, they drink diet coke and don’t actually think it’s bad for them.

No sugar and no calories sooo….that’s healthy. If it’s not healthy, it’s at least not going to make you gain weight, right?

Of course not.

So instead of using sugar, diet sodas are sweetened with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin, acesulfame-k or sucralose.

If that isn’t gross enough for you, let’s get into the science and evidence-based research on the topic.

In a study published in the journal Circulation in 2008, which followed 9,514 people for 9 years, drinking artificially sweetened beverages was associated with a 34% greater risk of developing the metabolic syndrome.

A different study found a 36% increased risk of metabolic syndrome and a drastically increased risk of diabetes in diet soda drinkers.

What’s the metabolic syndrome? Well, it’s any three of the following: belly fat (abdominal obesity), low HDL (good) cholesterol, high triglycerides, high fasting glucose (helloooo diabetes!), high blood pressure.

Metabolic syndrome basically means your body is more at risk for developing serious diseases, like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Drinking diet soda thus increases your risk for developing both obesity and those risk factors and diseases.

In fact, there were three studies (1/2/3) that found diet soda — not all sodas, but diet in particular — increased risk for developing diabetes. This connection is not only strong, but is even stronger in women than men…yikes.

Let’s talk obesity.

Several studies — and I mean a TON of studies — have found that drinking diet soda is associated with weight gain and obesity. (1/2/3/4/5/6)

This is likely because the fake sugars in diet sodas increase appetite and food intake.

Drinking diet sodas was even associated with preterm births and depression. Y-i-k-e-s.


Basically, diet sodas are not in the clear because of the lack of calories and sugar. They are packed full of harmful chemicals and artificial sweeteners that post their own health risks, and drinking them is flat out unnatural and not safe.

What do you guys like to drink instead of soda and diet soda?

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Nutrition Facts that Everyone Should Know

….but not many do.

nutrition facts

One of the most frustrating things about working in nutrition is the fact that — although it’s based on evidence-based research of the hard sciences — it is surrounded by a TON of false information that isn’t based on science at all. The worst part is that the general public prefers to eat up the wrong facts, and tune out the science.

Recently there have been a few lists about lesser known nutrition facts. So, this is my list of nutritional facts that EVERYONE should know about, but most don’t know or don’t believe.

20 nutrition facts that everyone should know…but don’t.

  1. You should never — NEVER — trust mainstream media for your nutrition information. If it doesn’t come from a dietitian (that does not include: celebrity trainer, blogger without credentials, Dr. Oz, or any media personality that doesn’t have an advanced degree in nutrition), it shouldn’t be trusted. Nutrition is a science and should be respected in that light; it requires years of evidence-based research, something that those personalities have zero consideration for.
  2. “Organic” does not mean “healthy” — just because something is organic does not necessarily mean it’s a health food.
  3. Whole milk and whole milk products are beneficial for your health and may even aid in weight loss.
  4. Junk food is literally addicting, and can target the same areas of the brain as cocaine.
  5. Trans fats were not invested to be eaten…yep, gross.
  6. The food consumed by pregnant women influences their baby’s risk for disease and health even before they get pregnant! (So, eating unhealthy and then getting pregnant may influence your future child’s health!)
  7. Fast weight loss sets you up for failure. Studies have shown that the slower a person loses weight, the more likely they are to keep it off.
  8. Most people are vitamin D deficient and should take a daily supplement. Vitamin D is also a super underrated vitamin and a crucial for good health.
  9. Eating fat does not make you fat.
  10. And on that note, eating cholesterol does not increase your cholesterol.
  11. The number and kind of bacteria in your gut can not only determine your health, but also your risk for chronic diseases and longevity, your brain, and your weight. The best way to improve the health of your gut bacteria is probiotic supplementation or consumption.
  12. Low-fat foods are less “healthy” than low-carb foods. Research is beginning to debunk the stigma against fat, finding that most fats are not bad for you, and may even be beneficial for your health. They also keep you fuller and satisfied longer, whereas carbs leave you hungry shortly after. Low-fat foods are typically higher in carbs, and low-carb foods are higher in fat, making them “healthier” (if you have to choose one).
  13. Egg yolks are not the enemy. Come on guys, egg whites are sooo 2012. The yolk is packed with all the vitamin and nutrient goodies!
  14. Intermittent fasting may prevent cancer and other diseases and make chemotherapy more effective.
  15. Fruit juice is just as bad as soda. (Those healthy looking green smoothies that taste amazing and sugary?! Well, they’re pumped with unhealthy sugars.)
  16. Eating small meals frequently does not boost your metabolism!
  17. The average number of calories consumed at a buffet is 2,500! (Gross!!!)
  18. Supplements are not as effective as consuming foods with vitamins and minerals.
  19. The longer you cook vegetables, the more nutrition content of them is lost.
  20. Adding citrus to tea boosts its antioxidant capacity (so adding lemon to green tea makes its antioxidant qualities stronger).



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PREbiotics & Weight


Letting Ali Lawrence take over again today to tell you guys alllllll about prebiotics (NOT probiotics!) & maintaining a healthy weight!

(My ramblings on PRObiotics here!)

To learn moer about the pre/probiotic duo, this is also a great article.


Have I mentioned that dieting sucks? Replacing necessary foods with rubbery sodium-ridden microwavable meals, consuming everything through a straw or starving myself into utter misery? No thanks. Always on the lookout for healthy, sustainable alternatives to traditional dieting, I discovered prebiotics.

You may be more familiar with the term probiotics, which are digestion-helping bacteria found most commonly in yogurt (although nowadays lots of foods contain added probiotics). Prebiotics are similar — they also serve to push digestion along, combat diarrhea and treat irritable bowel syndrome (to name a few things). Prebiotics, however, are actually nutrients for probiotics and are found in other all-natural foods.

Keeping Your Gut Healthy

Prebiotics are naturally occurring chemicals and could be the key to losing weight and keeping it off. See, our large intestines host about a hundred trillion microorganisms. That’s a lot of action happening in your gut. Venket Rao, PhD, emeritus professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto, describes the intestines as “a war zone, where beneficial and harmful bacteria are fighting to establish predominance.” In eating more prebiotics, you aid the good side.

The already-existing community of good bacteria assists with numerous bodily functions, including (but not limited to): regulating metabolism, fighting off infection and comprising our immune systems. The bad bacteria, on the contrary, lead to issues like type II diabetes, bowel inflammation and digestive problems. Unhappy gut bacteria has even been linked to depression.

The science is rather new, but a study in mice explored the mental/behavioral differences in mice with and mice without “good” bacteria inhibitors. Their findings confirmed gut bacteria impact the brain. Specifically, the conclusion states:

The intestinal microbiota influences brain chemistry and behavior independently of the autonomic nervous system, gastrointestinal-specific neurotransmitters, or inflammation. Intestinal dysbiosis might contribute to psychiatric disorders in patients with bowel disorders.

Science in Action

Another study in mice demonstrated other physical effects: when mice lacked a particular protein, they were drawn to a fattier diet, gained more weight and developed diabetes. The absent protein, called toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5), is responsible for keeping bad gut bacteria in control. Without it, the mice’s bad bacteria took over, negatively impacting metabolism and overall health.

Prebiotics have also been found to boost bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria, two bacterial types that help digestion and mineral absorption. So not only do prebiotics help you to pass things along more regularly and potentially keep you happier, but they also aid in delivering more benefits from each food you consume.

How can you incorporate more prebiotics into your diet? Sources of prebiotics aren’t exactly normal pantry stuffers, but they are not impossible to locate. Acacia Gums (also called Gum Arabic) contain the highest concentration of prebiotics and can be purchased online. Other sources include beans, raw oats, raw dandelion greens, raw onion and unrefined wheat.

Overall, consuming more prebiotics can make you feel fuller for longer and consume fewer calories while also satisfying cravings at the same time (unlike traditional diets). They can aid the “good” gut bacteria, thus helping to combat weight gain as well as mental unease. If you’re looking to boost your mind and body — prebiotics could be your answer!



lisasig & Ali!
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