Hi! I'm Christina Ellenberg, and I'm so excited to begin working with FitWit members! I’ve been a Registered Dietitian and Strength and Conditioning Specialist since 2016. I have worked in a variety of settings such as gyms, athletic centers, retirement homes, cardiac rehab, college campuses, doctor’s offices and more!
I was very active growing up and never paid much attention to what I fueled my body with, until college. I played soccer at Appalachian State University and even while being a collegiate athlete, I put on the freshman 20! I met with our sports dietitian and she made just a few tweaks to my diet. I immediately saw my performance increase without having to train harder and my body composition toned up as well. During that time, I also had a loved one diagnosed with cancer. I saw her body begin to diminish until she met with a registered dietitian. After a few sessions I saw her strength come back all by changing the foods she fueled her body with. Since that moment it has been my passion to help people achieve their health and wellness goals through diet to feel their best!
Diet culture has confused many of us on how to fuel our bodies properly. Currently in the diet culture world, people are saying “carbs will make you fat.” Let me tell you that this statement couldn’t be further from the truth!
Did you know that carbohydrates are our body’s MAIN fuel source? When we eat a carbohydrate, it turns into something called glucose. Glucose is then utilized immediately for energy. The glucose that is not utilized right away is stored in our muscles and liver as glycogen to help with muscle recovery and used at a later time when we run out of immediate glucose.
Our brain alone needs a minimum 120 g of glucose a day just to function.
When we deprive ourselves of carbohydrates, our body goes into a state of ketosis. Ketosis is a clear-cut signal from our body that something is wrong! In the state of ketosis, we begin burning muscle and fat for energy. While this will result in quick weight loss, it has more harmful effects on the body than good and is not sustainable long term. A few examples of the harm it can cause on your body include low blood pressure, kidney stones, constipation, nutrient deficiencies and an increased risk of heart disease.
So, it’s not NO carb, it’s KNOW carb.
It's recommended to eat whole grains over refined grains, and here is why: Whole grains have the entire kernel (bran, endosperm and germ) intact therefore provide more fiber, selenium, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, zinc, vitamin E and other nutrients. Whole grains and other unprocessed starches are far better for your heart than refined food, they are slower to digest keeping you fuller longer and contain numerous vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for your overall health.
Refined grains are stripped of the bran and germ leaving only the endosperm which is the starch. If you need immediate energy, this is a good option!
Here are some sources of some of my favorite whole grains:
· Brown rice.
· Bulgur (cracked wheat)
· Whole-wheat bread, pasta or crackers.
Here is a delicious recipe to try containing the whole grain, Farro!
Farro Salad with Corn, Tomatoes and Edamame
Calories: 234 kcal
· 1 cup farro
· 4 cups water
· 1 teaspoon kosher salt
· 1 clove garlic, smashed
· 1 ½ cups cooked corn (I grilled fresh corn and then cut the kernels off)
· 8 ounces grape tomatoes, halved (about 1 ½ cups)
· 1 ½ cups edamame, cooked
· 1/3 cup chopped parsley
· 1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled
· 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
· 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
· 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
· ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
· 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1. Place the farro, water, salt and garlic in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until farro is done, 25-30 minutes. Drain the farro.
2. Meanwhile, make the sherry vinaigrette. Place the vinegar, oil, mustard, salt and pepper together in a small jar or other container with a lid. Cover and shake until combined. Alternatively, you can whisk the ingredients together in a bowl.
3. Stir the warm farro together with the vinaigrette, corn, tomatoes, edamame and parsley in a large bowl. Adjust seasoning to taste. Sprinkle cheese on top. Serve salad warm or chilled. Enjoy
Christina Ellenberg is a Registered Dietitian and Strength and Conditioning Specialist located in the Atlanta Metro Area.