The 1-2-3 to Feeding Your Brain

By Nancy Mehlert, MS

Here’s the 1-2-3 to feeding your brain:

#1 You need choline, a water soluble vitamin-like substance, essential to the brain.

Here are the foods to eat often so that you get plenty of choline for your brain:
• Vegetables – dark green veggies like swiss chard, asparagus, spinach, green peas, green beans, collard greens and bok choy. Also, cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower. Mushrooms are also a good source of choline.
• Fish – contains both choline and omega-3 oils. Sources include shrimp, scallops, tuna, salmon, sardines. Buy wild and source for sustainable.
• Meats and Eggs – pasture raised eggs, pasture raised chicken and turkey, and grass fed beef are all excellent sources of choline. You are what the animal you are eating ate, so buy good quality in which the animal consumed its natural diet.

#2 You need Omega-3 fats. They are neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory. The ones that really support your brain come from animal sources, specifically marine sources. There are Omega-3 fats in some plant foods (such as walnuts and flax), however they are not the Omegas that support and get into the brain.

So, in terms of brain health, ideal sources for Omega-3 fats include:
• Fish – especially wild-caught Alaskan salmon, anchovies, sardines, mackerel, and herring. Buy wild and source for sustainable.
• Omega-3 Fat Supplement – such as Krill Oil or Cod Liver Oil, sourced carefully for purity and quality.


#3 You need AIR – BREATHE DEEPLY – the brain demands more oxygen than any other organ in the body. If you are a shallow breather and/or don’t get much exercise, your brain is HUNGRY for oxygen. Breathe deeply often and get moving.

Eat well. Be well. Think clearly.

By |2018-10-01T07:35:41+00:00September 20th, 2018|General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|

Digestive Kindness and Patience

When we decide to move from one diet to another, it is important to make the change slowly over a period of one to two weeks. It may not seem like a big deal to move from omnivore to vegetarian, or processed food to whole food, or elect to dramatically increase fats while reducing protein, but the pancreas and gallbladder, the two organs responsible for making the enzymes needed to digest the food you eat, will be unprepared to handle the initial change.  Often a one time digestive discomfort is taken as a reason to not eat the food again, when all that is needed is a slower ramping up in quantity over time and perhaps a little digestive support.


Regardless of whether you are increasing fat, or adding meat to an otherwise vegetarian diet, a good way is to begin by adding in single bites or teaspoons.  One bite of chicken or fish, or one teaspoon of coconut oil, for example. The next day or so, if no digestive discomfort presents itself, increase again by another bite or another teaspoon. Each day, the pancreas and gallbladder will become aware of the greater need for different enzymes and begin to adjust accordingly.


The older we become, the less productive our pancreas and gallbladder can become, so it may be necessary at some point to use supplemental digestive enzymes every time you eat, or for heavier meals that include more fat and protein. Whole food has many of its own enzymes, so you may find that just eating real food (vs. processed and fast) dramatically improves your digestion and comfort after meals.


Be patient and kind to your body.

By |2018-09-05T10:54:34+00:00August 24th, 2018|General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|

Individualized Nutrition

By Nancy Mehlert, MS

As you scour the internet or  bookstore for the next NEW diet, please keep in mind that there isn’t one perfect diet for everyone.  We are each biochemically unique. Our lifestyles and abilities are unique. The goal should be to find a way of eating that works for you, your lifestyle, and contributes to providing you with optimal weight and health.  Below is a list of the many factors that will impact your ideal food choices, how and when you eat, as well as the macronutrient (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) content that might be right for you.

  • Digestive styles – efficiency or inefficiency with carbohydrates or proteins.
  • Metabolic rates – resting metabolic rates vary greatly among individuals and should be tested with a reliable medical device (TWIHW uses Metacheck)
  • Food sensitivities and allergies (both food and environmental)
  • Activity Level – which may be too little or too much depending on these other factors
  • Weight status – over, under or normal
  • Medical history – surgeries such as gallbladder removal, stomach lap bands, partial colon removal, as well as diseases such as thyroid, cardiovascular, and autoimmune diseases, cancer and metabolic syndrome, all have a direct impact on dietary approach
  • Emotional and social issues around food
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Genetic mutations
  • Age and stage of life
  • Toxic burden on the body
  • Stress level and status of adrenal health
  • Composition of microbiome (i.e. the balance of microbes in GI tract)


The latest fad diet could be a mistake for you. Choosing a vegetarian diet may be perfect or it might be problematic. Or 130 pounds may be a realistic goal weight for you or a totally unhealthy one. We are all unique, so seek your personal nutrition lifestyle for optimal health. If you are interested in discussing your nutrition lifestyle and want to work toward finding a healthy diet to maintain optimal health, call our office to schedule a nutrition consultation today.

By |2018-07-27T13:12:16+00:00July 25th, 2018|General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|

How to Hydrate Healthfully

  1. 1. Clean water has always been and remains the gold standard for hydration. For normal daily exercise and play in the sun, aim for 25-50% of body weight in ounces for adults and children.  For long periods in the heat, drink more and drink frequently.
  2. 2. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Rich in both water and electrolytes, they are optimal hydrators that prevent cramping and assist with recovery.  Examples of good hydrating choices for summer outdoor activities include celery, watermelon, cucumber, kiwi, citrus fruits, carrot, pineapple, iceberg lettuce, tomato, berries, broccoli and cauliflower.
  3. 3. Add Sea Salt to water, fruits and vegetables. Sea salt will help to balance potassium levels, alkalize the body and support hydration.
  4. 4. Avoid typical sports drinks such as Gatorade, Powerade and Propel, just to name a few. They are full of sugar, phosphoric acid, food dyes, and artificial sweeteners. If you feel you must use something more than the options listed above, then opt for cleaner, healthier choices such as NUUN Hydration Effervescent Electrolyte tablets, Hi-Lyte™ or Lyteline™ Electrolyte products. These choices are clean and appropriate for endurance sport activities. They are non-GMO, gluten free, and sugar free.  Follow the instructions provided on the products.
By |2018-06-28T22:14:07+00:00June 20th, 2018|General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|

What Foods Contain Lectins

And What to Do About It

By Nancy Mehlert, MS


If you are reading this without first reading our main article, you may want to back up and read it to benefit from the more in depth introduction to lectins

Now, for anyone struggling to lose weight, dealing with autoimmunity or digestive issues, or simply frustrated with a stubborn health problem, then it is worth considering that lectins may be holding back your journey to better health.

Lectins are found in a wide variety of foods making it impossible to eat a lectin free diet. Not all lectins are bad (see Tip #5 below), however there are many lectins that are quite harmful, and there are some foods that contain high levels. It is important to think about the cumulative impact since you may be eating a combination of high lectin foods that result in considerable toxicity.

Foods with the Highest Lectin Content – Best Avoided

Corn – One of the very highest in lectin foods, corn lectins are also very resistant to heat and, therefore, are difficult to reduce through cooking.  Pervasive in the American food supply, corn is also genetically modified (unless organic) and one of the highest allergenic foods.

Corn-fed Meats: This includes most meats sold in grocery stores and restaurants. We are what we eat, and this applies to animals, too.  They are raised on corn and soy, two foods that are high in lectins. The purpose is to make them fat for market.  Lectins make us  humans fat, too.  The best way to avoid them is to buy certified grassfed meat. The American Grassfed Association is a good place to learn more. Look for “100% Grass Fed and Finished” on the label.

Casein A1 Milk[1]: Because of a genetic mutation in cow populations, some cows produce milk containing casein A1 protein, which is a lectin-like protein called beta-casomorphin. It attaches to the pancreas’ insulin-producing cells, prompting an immune attack on the pancreas of those who consume milk and cheeses from these cows.  Most cows today are casein A1 producers, and this is the milk and cheese found in store-bought dairy. Many who believe they are lactose intolerant are responding to the casein A1 in the milk. If you are going to consume dairy, opt for only casein A2 dairy products which come from goat, sheep, water buffaloes or specifically Belgian Blues, Guernsey, or Brown Swiss cow breeds. Holsteins are the most common breed and their milk is casein A1. Jersey cows may produce either, so checking the source and verifying is critical.

Peanuts and Cashews: Commonly called nuts, peanuts and cashews are legumes and both are very high in lectin content. The shell around the cashew is such an irritant that cashew workers must wear protective gloves to harvest them.  Cashews are in the same botanical family as poison ivy and dramatically increase inflammation[2].

Unfermented Soybean Products: Examples include tofu and edamame, the green soybean where lectins are highest and best avoided.  Traditionally fermented soy products such as miso or tempeh, if organic, have a much lower lectin content due to the fermentation.


High Lectin Foods to Eat Sparingly and Prepare Properly

Legumes: This pulse family includes any plant seed that is found in pods, such as peas, green beans, lentils, split peas, and all other beans (e.g. red kidney, black, white, garbanzo). Proper soaking and cooking, as well as choosing some of the lower lectin options like Great Northern beans, green beans and lentils, can make these a reasonable option when used sparingly. Most canned beans have not been soaked or cooked properly to reduce lectins. White kidney beans and soybeans are highest in lectins.

Grains: Just when we thought whole grains were best for us, we are learning that the lectins are highest in the outer sheath. Most earlier cultures seemed to understand that removing it made digestion easier. Traditionally, the Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian people have not been plagued with obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, yet they have been eating rice for thousands of years, always stripping away the hull where the lectins exist[3].  WGA or gliadin attached to gluten in wheat, oats, rye and barley are two other damaging grain lectins. Is it any surprise that many traditional European breads are made using the process of fermentation to make sourdough bread? The process of fermentation deactivates lectins. This traditional process is not used in bread manufacturing by the food industry.  There are many other health concerns when it comes to grains, such as pesticides and genetic modification.  Careful selection, preparation, and minimal consumption, however, make some grains a viable choice from time to time.

Nightshade Fruits and Vegetables: Included are tomatoes, potatoes (excluding sweet potatoes), eggplants, bell peppers, and goji berries among others. The highest lectin content is found in the skins and seeds, so simply peeling and deseeding can significantly reduce the lectin content, as well as reducing frequency and portion. Potato lectins are quite resistant to cooking and will only reduce by 50-60%.

Gourd Family Fruits: Normally called vegetables, the gourd family are fruits and include all squash varieties, pumpkin and zucchini. As with nightshades, some of these can be peeled and deseeded well and cooking will also help reduce lectins.


Preparation and Cooking Tips to Reduce Lectin Content

Research demonstrates that sprouting, fermenting, soaking overnight and cooking high lectin foods does dramatically reduce the lectin content, making them safe for most people. In addition to removing seeds and peel, here are some other tips to help reduce lectins.

Tip #1 – If you choose to eat beans, be sure to prepare and cook them properly, and NEVER eat raw or undercooked. They can have acute and toxic effects[4]. Be sure to soak beans in water for at least 12 hours before cooking, changing the water frequently. Rinse the beans well, discarding the water used for soaking. Cook for at least 15 minutes on HIGH heat, ideally using a pressure cooker like the InstaPot™.

Tip #2 – If consuming grains, keep in mind that the only way to make bread safe is to buy organic AND raise the bread using traditional methods of yeast or sourdough, which breaks down the gluten and other harmful lectins.  You would be hard pressed to find this in our grocery stores. You will need to make it yourself or purchase it from a traditional artisan bakery.

Tip #3 – Many beans, seeds and grains can be sprouted to deactivate lectins. There are some exceptions, such as alfalfa, where sprouting increases lectins. We recommend the cookbook, Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon for all forms of traditional food preparation including sprouting, fermentation, and cooking methods that reduce harmful lectins.

Tip #4 – Consider investing in a pressure cooker.  Plant lectins are most effectively neutralized when cooked under pressure relatively quickly. This method is ideal for beans, legumes, quinoa and rice, for example.  Avoid slow cookers for plant foods, as they will increase lectin content because of the low temperature used.

Tip #5 -There are some safe lectins in many foods. The lowest lectin content options are asparagus, garlic, celery, mushrooms and onions. Cooked root vegetables like sweet potatoes, yucca and taro, along with leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, avocados, olives and olive oil are all examples of healthy foods that do contain some lectins.  They can be eaten without restrictions.

Remember, while lectins can wreak havoc on health, it is not possible nor ideal to eliminate them from your diet.  The key is to identify the worst culprits, cut those out, and make sure you are preparing food in ways that minimize or reduce lectin content.  How strict you need to be will be determined by your health status, genetics and willingness to explore the possibility that lectins are standing in your way of better health.



[1] Gundry, Steven R., The Plant Paradox, (New York: HarperCollins, 2017), pg.32

[2] Gundry, Steven R., The Plant Paradox, (New York: HarperCollins, 2017), pg.209-210

[3] Gundry, Steven R., The Plant Paradox, (New York: HarperCollins, 2017), pg.45


By |2018-09-25T10:10:39+00:00May 30th, 2018|Articles, General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|

Nutrition Nugget: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Bites

Check It Out – Portable packaging, Dessert Cookie, Breakfast or Lunchbox treat…..

Every once in a while, I see some really great new products that I know our readers will want.  Here is one you need to check out:

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Bites come in a larger bag or individual snack bags. I found them at HEB in the Healthy Living section next to the chia, hemp and dried berries shelf and they are also available on line at and Do you remember Pecan Sandies? That is what these remind me of in texture and enjoyment but thankfully they are chock full of good nutrition. My favorite flavor is the Cinnamon and they work great with my morning tea as a breakfast. They come in chocolate and original too.  For 230 calories in the bag and 15 grams of healthy fat, 15 grams of carbohydrate, 3 of which are fiber and the modest but helpful 10 grams of protein, it makes for a well-rounded food to enjoy. They do contain sugar so those with allergies or trying to reduce sugar or lose weight, you may simply want to enjoy a smaller portion such as 2-4 of the cookie bites rather than the serving size, which is 10 pieces. That makes them great for everyone.

By |2018-04-16T09:39:00+00:00April 16th, 2018|General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|

Nutrition Nugget: Julian Bakery Pegan Seed Protein Powder

Check It Out – A Stevia Free, Smooth, Clean Vegan Protein Powder…

Every once in a while, I see some really great new products that I know our readers will want. Here is one you need to check out:

Julian Bakery Pegan (Vegan + Paleo) Seed Protein Powder– Two of the biggest and most frequent complaints I get about protein powders is the overpowering bitter taste of Stevia and/or the gritty bad taste and texture of the protein. Problems solved! This protein powder mixes up silky smooth and is sweetened with Luo Han Guo (aka. Monk Fruit), which has no aftertaste, just a nice degree of sweetness to it. The Vanilla Cinnamon is a pure pumpkin seed protein. The Double Chocolate is a Sacha Inchi seed protein. Both are easily digested. Triple Chocolate, Vanilla Cinnamon Twist or Unflavored. Available online, directly from, or

Eat Well, Be Well






By |2018-03-25T11:45:14+00:00March 16th, 2018|General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|

Nutrition Nugget: Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise

Another NEW Product!

Every once in a while, I see some really great new products that I know our readers will want. Here is one you need to check out:

Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise – This company is making clean condiments including mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard. They use clean oils and are non-GMO project verified. They specialize in a wide variety of mayonnaise flavors including sriracha and chipotle. The Fabanaise is a soy free, egg-free vegan mayonnaise and it tastes great! Look for it in a refrigerated section in Whole Foods, Kroger and Sprouts, usually close to produce or dairy. The regular mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup are on the condiment aisle, non-refrigerated. Most Sir Kensington products are also available online!

By |2018-02-24T11:08:00+00:00February 18th, 2018|General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|

Hilary’s Salad Dressings

Hilary’s Salad Dressings

Clean Product with No Eggs, No Gluten and No Stevia!

Hilary’s Salad Dressings – distributed by DrinkEatWell out of Lawrence, Kansas, these dressings pride themselves on no artificial ingredients, USDA Organic and Allergy Friendly. They are egg free, soy free, dairy free, corn free, and gluten free.  I have tried at least four of the many flavors and found them to be delicious. So far, my favorites are the Apple Fennel and the Chili Lime Vinaigrette. The Ranch was a pleasant surprise too!  They are available in some Kroger stores and online with,,

By |2018-01-17T14:29:13+00:00January 17th, 2018|General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|

The One Next Thing

by Nancy Mehlert, MS
Edited by Mila McManus MD

Taking specific single steps toward changing eating habits.

One of the best New Year’s Resolutions I’ve ever made to myself was to quit trying to change everything about my diet all at once.  I was miserably failing at it.  Instead I decided to start taking small, single steps at a time.  I also emotionally accepted this lifestyle would take years to cultivate, and settled into the idea that it is a long journey and would be well worth it.  I began to liken it to getting a college degree.

Week by week working through one class.  Class by class, working through a semester, then a year, then two and so on.

I continue to stay on the journey by focusing on The One Next Thing.   My target every day is to choose clean, nourishing foods 85-95% of the time, and indulging infrequently; only 15-5% of the time.  I look forward and identify opportunities both to indulge as well as conscious decisions not to.  If I choose to do so, I also choose not to feel guilty about it.

The outcome of improved health, reduced body pain, better mental focus, stabilized weight, and increased energy, provides the mental, emotional and physical stamina to live out the challenges and joys of life with family, co-workers and friends.  Having good health has allowed me to redirect my mind away from irritating health problems and towards other things.

Give it a try this year.  Here are examples of how this happened for me as I focused on The One Next Thing

  • One New Year, I simply determined that I would never go to a fast food burger joint ever again. I haven’t. Instead, I developed the habit of finding better quick places to stop for food, including grocery stores, and I also practiced and learned to prepare ahead so that I would not get caught away from home, hungry.
  • Five years ago, I determined that Hellman’s Mayonnaise had too many terrible ingredients. While I was raised on Hellman’s, and it carried with it family tradition and memories, I made myself try other mayonnaises with healthier oils and ingredients. I found one just like Hellman’s that I love!  It’s so good, I wondered why I had not made this simple change sooner.
  • Over the last 5 years, I have added hemp seed, kale, cooked spinach, winter squash, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and Brazil nuts to my diet. Initially, these foods were questionable in their appeal, but now, they are some of my favorites.  I did this by choosing 1 food to focus on, putting it on my “to do” list (Yes! I wrote down “Learn to like cooked spinach this week”) and added it to my grocery list, practicing until I found a way to prepare it, include it and like it. It took me about 90 days to accomplish one food.   7 new foods, 5 years. Seriously, you can do this too!
  • Last year, I resolved to remove as much food storage plastics as I could. I have practiced not buying bottled water, found containers for my tea and water that I can carry with me, and converted my lunch box and food storage containers to stainless steel and glass.  As a result, I have reduced the toxic load on my body.
  • Finally, I’ve always been a Starbucks junky. For years, I have gone to Starbucks at least once a day and often twice.  Ten years ago, I gave up my beloved Mocha Frappuccino’s and Hot Mochas in exchange for hot or cold tea.  That took some adjustment.  Learning that tea and coffee are very high-in-pesticides plants, I knew this daily cup or two of joy was toxic. In truth, most of my addiction was the feel of the double paper cups and the warmth emanating from them, much more than the tea inside!  This year, I searched for tea containers that offered the same manual comfort and warmth (I know this sounds like a personal problem, right?) and found organic teas, at the grocery store and online, that are satisfying and affordable.  My Starbucks addiction has finally ended.

My New Year’s wish for you is that this time next year, you will reflect upon 2018 and be pleased by your accomplishments toward a healthier nutrition lifestyle.  Remember, you have a resource for nutrition encouragement, accountability and direction readily available, me. It would be my honor to serve you in the New Year as you journey ahead on the road to greater health.  What’s your One Next Thing?






By |2018-01-06T14:02:17+00:00January 5th, 2018|General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|
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