The Importance of Having a Dietitian on Your Side When Taking Weight Loss Medication

There is a lot of buzz around the new drugs in town for weight loss. These medications belong to a class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RA) used to treat diabetes; medications under this class include Victoza, Trulicity, Ozempic/semaglutide, Rybelsus, Wegovy and Mounjaro. Their method of action is to increase insulin release with food, slow gastric emptying, promote fullness, and suppress glucagon. 

As an RD, I am seeing patients having success with weight loss, diabetes management, improvement in insulin levels, reduced cholesterol levels, reduced blood pressure and improvements in confidence using GLP-1 RA. While these medications can help patients progress towards their health goals, it is important to be mindful of their impact on the body. Medication can be a great tool, but working with an RD to improve dietary/lifestyle behaviors in tandem with taking these medications can be really beneficial long term. 

Nutrition concerns I am seeing with these patients include:

  1. Suppressed hunger can help with reduction of calories to aid in weight loss; however, it can also lead to behaviors like skipping meals, causing inadequate nourishment and malnutrition. Missing out on important nutrients can impact our whole system: gastrointestinal tract/constipation, fatigue/energy level, bone density, strength, immunity, hair loss, sleep, and more.
  2. While losing weight rapidly might sound great, it is hard on the body. It causes metabolism to slow down, increases muscle and bone mass breakdown, makes weight harder to keep off, increases risk of gallstone formation, and leads to electrolyte imbalances and dehydration. Weight loss of no more than 0.5-2 pounds per week is much gentler on the body.

Special Considerations:

  1. If patients are breaking down their lean muscle mass stores, this will decrease the calories burned on a daily basis and slow down metabolism. Long term, this is going to make it challenging to maintain this weight loss.We know with age, muscle mass is harder to build and can impact balance/mobility. We want these patients to preserve as much lean muscle mass as possible.
  2. Long term, we do not know the impact of these medications on body dysmorphia or eating disorders due to limited studies available. Drastic changes in weight, appearance, dietary behaviors, or appetite while on the medication or when coming off the medication have the potential to greatly influence these conditions.

In short, these medications can be very helpful with progress towards health goals – specifically for folks whose weight puts them at health risks and those for whom lifestyle changes alone have not been successful. Working with an RD can help modify dietary and lifestyle behaviors alongside medication use to have long term success, muscle preservation, and create a positive relationship with food.

Sweet Victory: The Science Behind Your Sugar Cravings

Do you ever find yourself desperate for something sweet and not finding satisfaction until you finally get that bowl of ice cream or a slice of cake? Many of us have been there, wrestling with a sugar craving that feels impossible to shake. While sugar and other simple carbohydrate foods are not to be demonized or considered “bad,” these desires can be detrimental to one’s physical and mental health, particularly when they occur often or regularly. But is it a matter of low willpower, or is there more to it? Below are a few scientific drives for increased sugar cravings.

The Why Behind the Craving
• Poor sleep: Sleep deprivation can disrupt hormonal regulation, including hormones that control hunger and appetite. This hormonal imbalance can lead to increased cravings for high-calorie, sugary foods.
• Inadequate energy/carbohydrate intake: Dips in blood sugar due to lack of caloric consumption or, more specifically, low carbohydrate intake have been shown to cause an increase of neuropeptide Y. Neuropeptide Y is a neurotransmitter (or messenger to the brain) that stimulates appetite and increases the desire for carbohydrate foods.
• A diet mindset: Similar to the abovementioned reason, just thinking about restricting foods and food groups can significantly increase our desire for those “restricted” foods. Food deprivation increases neuropeptide Y and cortisol production, driving up those cravings even before we begin to limit them.
• Anxiety/stress: Appetite and stress are closely related. High stress levels can trigger cravings for foods high in sugar due to their ability to provide a temporary sense of relief. Sugar consumption can stimulate the release of feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Getting that boost of serotonin and dopamine during and after consuming sugar-rich foods can lead to the unhealthy habit of utilizing food as a “treat” after a stressful day or situation.
• Nutrient deficiency: A deficiency in a nutrient or multiple nutrients has been shown to increase cravings for carbohydrates. Those deficiencies include magnesium, zinc, B vitamins, protein, fiber, iron, and chromium, to name a few. These deficiencies could be due to a lack of variety in the diet or poor overall intake.

Combatting Cravings
The first step in combatting your cravings is to find the root cause (or causes) of the specific food desire you are experiencing. Documenting your mood/emotions, daily intake, and cravings may help with this. This mindfulness practice can lead to self-discovery and empowerment as you delve deep into the why behind the sugar cravings and explore the remarkable idea of treating the root cause rather than just the symptoms. Working with a registered dietitian is recommended as they can decipher these food behavior logs expertly and create a nutrition intervention that meets your unique needs.


Sustainable Farming vs Regenerative Farming

Sustainable farming and regenerative farming are both approaches that aim to promote environmentally friendly and ethical practices in agriculture. While they share some similarities, there are important differences between the two concepts.

Sustainable farming focuses on maintaining agricultural practices that can be continued indefinitely without depleting natural resources or causing significant harm to the environment. It aims to strike a balance between economic viability, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility. Sustainable farming practices often include measures such as conserving water, reducing chemical inputs, promoting biodiversity, and minimizing waste and pollution. The goal is to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Regenerative farming, on the other hand, takes a more proactive approach to restore and enhance the health and vitality of agricultural ecosystems. It goes beyond sustainability by seeking to actively regenerate and improve the natural resources and ecological functions of farmland. Regenerative farming practices focus on building healthy soils, enhancing biodiversity, improving water cycles, and sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. By adopting regenerative practices, farmers aim to improve soil fertility, increase resilience to climate change, and create self-sustaining and self-renewing agricultural systems.

In essence, while sustainable farming aims to minimize the negative impact of agriculture on the environment, regenerative farming takes it a step further by actively working to restore and revitalize ecosystems, with a particular focus on soil health and regeneration.

So, what can you do to contribute? A good place to start is by looking for products that support sustainable and regenerative practices. While identifying these products can be a complex task, here are a few guidelines that may help:

  • Use online directories and platforms: Utilize online directories and platforms that specialize in connecting consumers with regenerative farmers and their products. Some popular options include:
    • Regenerative Agriculture Network: A platform that connects consumers with regenerative farmers and offers a directory of farms and products.
    • LocalHarvest: An online directory that allows you to search for organic and regenerative farms in your area.
    • Regeneration International: Their website provides information on regenerative agriculture and a directory of farmers practicing regenerative methods.
  • Visit Farmer’s markets and local food co-ops: These venues often feature farmers who prioritize regenerative practices. Speak with the farmers directly to inquire about their methods and products.
    • Community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs: Join a CSA program in your area. Many CSA farms prioritize regenerative practices, and by participating, you can support their efforts. In addition, CSA programs often allow you to purchase a share of a local farm’s produce in advance. Check out Oklahoma CSA Farms Community Supported Agriculture | for more information.
    • Online resources and social media: Use search engines and social media platforms to search for keywords such as “regenerative farming,” “regenerative agriculture,” or “sustainable farms” along with the name of your city or region. Explore websites, blogs, and social media accounts of farms to learn about their practices.
    • Networking and word-of-mouth: Engage with like-minded individuals or groups who are interested in sustainable and regenerative practices. Attend workshops, conferences, or community events related to agriculture, sustainability, or environmental conservation.

Regenerative and sustainable farming practices vary, so it’s essential to ask farmers about their specific methods and certifications to ensure they align with your expectations and values. By considering these factors and making informed choices, you can enjoy flavorful products that have a lower environmental impact and contribute to a more sustainable future.


Is Açaí Really a Superfood?

What is acai anyway?

Açaí is a dark purple fruit, native to Central and South America. There has been some misleading information about açaí being promoted for weight loss, but there isn’t much research supporting this. We do know, however, that fruit and other plant-based foods are a great source of fiber and antioxidants which can help regulate blood sugars, gut function, and cholesterol levels.

So is it a superfood?

The term superfood has been around for decades; in fact, one of the first known “superfoods” was a banana because it was an affordable and nutritious option during World War I. You might notice catchy headlines such as “top 5 superfoods to add to your grocery list,” and while these foods, including açaí,  are oftentimes nutritious, they aren’t necessarily superior to other food options at the store. You can reap the same benefits from other fruits and vegetables, and we recommend going for whatever produce is available to you. Rather than focusing on a very specific type of “superfood,” practice building a well-rounded “super-plate” including sources of proteins, grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy.

If you are interested in trying a new fruit, that is great! Variety and spontaneity in our diets allow us to obtain many different vitamins and minerals. Looking for a place to try açaí? The Blue Dolphin, a new cafe in Yukon, recently opened and is offering a variety of smoothie bowls, including açaí as a base. You can also find açaí bowls at Surf Bar, Organic Squeeze, The Wheeze Experience, and Modern Berry Co. Our dietitian, Cassie, tried the Rainbow Bowl with açaí and spirulina at The Blue Dolphin, and she shared the picture below.


Kids Cooking in the Kitchen – Part 1

If you are a parent or guardian, you likely spend a good deal of time chauffeuring your child to soccer, dance, and other learning opportunities. Have you ever considered teaching your child to cook?  Or, are you concerned about how much it will slow your meal prep time if you involve your child in meal preparation?  We’re here to say that the additional time spent is worth it! For one thing, the ability to plan and prepare balanced meals is a valuable skill that pays off throughout a lifetime. Second, cooking is a great confidence booster for a child. And finally, cooking together is an easy relationship-building activity for parents and children.

Let’s look at the story of seven-year-old Isabel and her mother, Ryan.

Isabel has the ability to cook meals for her family, but it didn’t come all at once. Her mom, Ryan, says, “She is seven. She has always loved helping in the kitchen and really began spending more time with us in the kitchen in 2020 during Covid. At first, we gave her ‘safe’ tasks that were age-appropriate, such as washing fruits and veggies and mixing ingredients. Gradually, we have allowed her to take over more tasks as she has gotten older, like peeling and chopping veggies, or using the stove and oven, and she can now prepare a meal on her own. We have found she is more likely to try new foods when she is involved in the process. When she prepares a meal on her own, she feels very confident and proud of herself. She is also excited to contribute to the family and make people feel cared for. One time she surprised us with a picnic. She prepped and packed all of the food and drinks, blanket, and even planned everyone’s outfits.”

Isabel was introduced to meal preparation by doing small, easy tasks, and that’s a great way for kids to begin. Allow your child’s curiosity to be explored throughout the kitchen, with proper safety measures. When you think they are ready, allow them to take the next step.

Below is a general guide for age-appropriate kitchen tasks. Take it at your own pace according to your child’s comfort and skill level. Try to create a positive environment for them to learn and grow!

2-3 years old: Rinsing vegetables, mixing, throwing away small things

4-5 years old: Whisking, measuring ingredients, mashing foods with a fork

6-8 years old: Washing produce or dishes, cracking eggs into a bowl, shredding cheese, setting the table

9-12 years old: Planning a basic meal, operating kitchen appliances, baking and cleaning up

Remember, your children might excel and progress quickly through the different skills, or they might need more time to prepare for certain skills. Be their cheerleader and encourage them to try new things.

Stay tuned for the next part of “Kids Cooking in the Kitchen.”










Cancer Prevention: Behavior Related to Intake, Activity Level, or Obesity

Interested preventing cancer? Confused by all the misinformation, disinformation or scientific uncertainties about cancer? Looking for a specific nutritional supplement to add or targeted food item to avoid?

Nearly one-half of all cancer cases are attributable to behaviors such as tobacco use, poor diet, alcohol use, sedentary behavior and excessive ultraviolet exposure.

As dietitians at Banister Nutrition, we are particularly interested in those behaviors that relate to intake, activity level, or obesity.

Food is necessary to run your body. NO food can prevent cancer or eliminate your risk. Emerging cancer prevention research is focusing on overall healthy diet patterns in place of searching for single food items to eliminate or add to your diet. In other words, what you eat in a typical week is more important than individual foods. A healthy balanced diet has NO food rules, nor is it a strict meal plan. Some guidelines:

  • Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
  • Switch to whole grains to increase fiber such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, bread, oats. Look for the word whole when searching for high fiber grains.
  • Add healthy sources of protein like fresh fish, chicken, lentils.
  • Enjoy 1or 2 meat-free meals each week.
  • Incorporate low fat milk and yogurt as good sources of protein, calcium and other vitamins.
  • Limit to “occasional”: lean red meat in 3-4 oz portions, processed meats including bacon, sausage, nuggets, and fast foods and sweets.

Alcohol should not be overlooked. The World Health Organization labeled alcohol as a carcinogen in 1988. We love the idea that wine could be beneficial for our heart, but we may overlook the fact alcohol is also a carcinogen. It also can be a significant contributor of unnecessary calories. Whatever your current alcohol intake, decrease it slightly and you will be doing yourself a cancer-prevention favor.

Energy imbalance due to sedentary behavior and/or excessive caloric intake is a key (but preventable) cause of cancer. You may know that a sedentary lifestyle is not good for your heart, but did you know it may be a contributing factor to cancer? Exercise reduces your risk of cancer by:

  • Helping you maintain a healthy weight
  • Helping regulate hormones that can increase cancer risk
  • Supporting healthy digestion and helping reduce toxins in your body
  • Keeping the immune system healthy.

To increase your activity level:

  • Move 1-2 minutes every hour you are awake. Extended periods of sitting increase cancer risk.
  • Schedule exercise – where, when and how.
  • Aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise weekly. Exercise can be done in short intervals of 10-15 minutes.
  • Strength training should be incorporated at least 2x/week.

Obesity is considered a risk factor for developing cancer.  Research indicates higher amounts of body fat are associated with 13 different types of cancer including breast, liver, kidney, pancreatic, thyroid, ovarian, gallbladder. If you are struggling with excess weight, seek a registered/licensed dietitian to guide and support you to achieve a healthy weight and decrease your cancer risk.

Remember that prevention has the greatest potential to reduce the likeliness of cancer in your life.


Looking for a quicker, more convenient way to grocery shop? Sometimes finding that time in your week to create a grocery list and go to the store can be a struggle. Whether your kids have sporting events, you just got back from a vacation, or you’ve caught a cold, there is a new grocery store in the Oklahoma City metro that can do the shopping for you! JackBe will hand-pick your items for you to pick up curb-side.

JackBe currently has two locations in Edmond and will be opening up a third location in Yukon later this summer. It is a pick-up only, speedy alternative way to do your grocery shopping. JackBe has a wide variety of perishable and non-perishable foods, including fresh produce, pantry items, baked goods, and meat. JackBe carries brands you will recognize and also strives to deliver goods made in Oklahoma. One feature that sets JackBe apart from others is their “Curated Collections,” where you can select an entire meal that shows the ingredient list for you to select what you need for the recipe.

JackBe makes ordering online or through an app a simple process. They work to fill your grocery needs without making substitutions or requiring a price-minimum unlike other grocery-pickups. Their promise for fast service means you will not be waiting all day for the next available pick-up time.

You can find more information on their website:


What is Gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis, or slow gastric emptying, is a condition which occurs when the stomach nerves are not functioning properly, which causes the stomach to empty much slower than normal.

Symptoms of Gastroparesis
– Bloating
– Lack of appetite
– Early satiety /poor appetite
– Constipation
– Heartburn
– Nausea
– Vomiting
– Abdominal Pain
– Malnutrition
– Dehydration

Causes – some causes of gastroparesis include:

– Diabetes
– Some medications such as semaglutide, narcotic pain medicines, some antidepressants, some anticholinergics, pramlintide, and other medicines used to treat overactive bladder can increase the likelihood that an individual will develop gastroparesis
– Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
– Viral infections to your stomach
– Some autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma
– Injury to the vagus nerve due to surgery
– Certain nervous system disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis

What nutrition and lifestyle changes can help relieve gastroparesis symptoms?

– Eating regularly throughout the day. Eating only 1 meal per day can worsen feelings of fullness, nausea, and heartburn. It is recommended instead to eat small, frequent meals during the day.
– Fat intake. Reducing intake of high fat food can greatly improve symptoms of gastroparesis. Foods high in fat include fried foods, oils, butter, margarine, cheese, and many creamy dressings.
– Fiber intake. High intake of fiber, especially in one sitting, can also worsen symptoms of gastroparesis. Space out fiber throughout the day instead.
– How you eat: Sitting upright and taking time to chew your food well can greatly impact symptoms of gastroparesis.
– Fluids with your meals can make one feel fuller sooner. Try spacing out liquids throughout the day and abstaining from drinking with meals.
– Taking a walk after eating promotes movement of food through the digestive system. On the opposite side of the spectrum – high intensity workouts can increase symptoms of gastroparesis.
– Alcohol and smoking both increase gastroparesis symptoms.
– Carbonated drinks and drinking through a straw may increase bloating.

What foods can I eat when experiencing a gastroparesis flair?

– Lean protein: lean cuts of chicken, turkey, fish, low fat yogurt, protein shakes, egg whites, nut butter
– Vegetables that are well cooked and peeled or canned
– Fruit: applesauce, bananas, dried peaches/pears, melon, canned or well-cooked fruits without seeds or skins
– Low fat dairy such as 2% milk and low-fat cheese
– Low fiber grains: such as white rice, white bread, crackers, cream of wheat
– Starches: peeled potatoes, canned corned
– If symptoms are severe, choose semi-solid or full-liquid foods. Choose liquid foods with 2 grams of fiber or less per serving.

Reach out to a registered dietitian today to learn more about managing your symptoms of gastroparesis!


All About Watermelons

It’s that time of year again! Time to find a tasty watermelon to eat in the hot summer sun! Have you wondered what nutritional benefits there are in a watermelon?

Watermelon contains an amino acid called “Lycopene” that gives the watermelon its red/pink color and is a great antioxidant. In addition to that, watermelons contain a variety of vitamins such as Vitamin A, B6, and C, which are great for overall health and the immune system. They also have a great source of potassium which lowers blood pressure. Finally, watermelons carry 92% water within the fruit, which is great for hydrating and refreshment under the sun.

A fun tip when looking for watermelons at the grocery store is to look for one that is firm, symmetrical, feels dense, and has a yellow underside.

Try this tasty Watermelon Salad:
-Dice seedless watermelon into small squares and place in bowl
-Add in crumbled feta cheese, 1 large diced cucumber, and minced mint (to your taste)
-Optional: Add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and finely chopped jalapeno
-Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy!

Reference: MayoClinic

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma

What is the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma? 

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is a non-profit organization that aims to fight hunger in Oklahoma by providing food assistance to those in need. It serves as a central hub for collecting, sorting, and distributing food and other essential items to more than 1,200 partner agencies, such as food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters, across 53 counties in Oklahoma.

The organization was founded in 1980 and is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. It operates a variety of programs, including the Food for Kids Program, which provides food to children in need on weekends and during school breaks, the Senior Feeding Program, which serves seniors who may be homebound or living on a limited income, and the Mobile Pantry Program, which brings food directly to underserved areas.

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma relies on donations and volunteers to help provide food assistance to those in need. Its mission is to end hunger in Oklahoma by ensuring that everyone has access to nutritious food, regardless of their circumstances.


If you are interested in volunteering, click this link



About Us. Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. (2022, April 1).