Category Archives: Diet

Bridging the Gap Between the Medical Visit and Real Life


IMG_5504-0.pngWritten by Janie Charlot, FNP-C


There is no better way for me to connect my love for health and fitness than by doing it as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Over the past 10yrs, I have worked in the acute care, urgent care, primary care, retail healthcare settings, and have provided numerous local community healthcare services. As a nurse, I am trained to take care of patients in a holistic, non-judgmental, caring manner regardless of their background on any level.


There is no surprise that many of the chronic diseases we see today such as Diabetes, Hypertension, Cardiovascular Disease, Hyperlipidemia, and Cancer are linked to our diets. My approach to patients has always been for them to be advocates of their own health; encouraging them to take responsibility and accountability to live their best healthy lives. My biggest obstacle to this has been having the time to provide the necessary coaching and discussions with patients about behavior and lifestyle modification in the short and rushed medical office visit. In the 15-20 minute office visit, patients are often told by their healthcare provider of their lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyles, increased weight, or other habits that are leading to a decline in their health. Patients are then left unable to make the necessary changes on their own that will last. It has been my biggest interest to help bridge the gap between that of the office visit and real life. It has been my biggest interest to take things a step further and provide health coaching to patients outside the medical visit. I enjoy helping others set goals, realizing their own potential, and achieving those goals. It is imperative that we bring back the missing element in healthcare of accountability.


Today’s average family is busy juggling a 40 plus hour work week, children, homework, after school activities, etc. It is important for me to assess the daily life and stressors of patients in their natural setting to be of the most help in getting them to achieve a lifestyle change. A stay at home mother of 2 toddlers will have a different eating pattern than the single woman working a corporate job 5 days per week. Because life is hectic and unpredictable, I offer a flexible partnership to patients who are seeking more in-depth knowledge to achieve their health and fitness goals with face to face sessions, online sessions, e-mails, telephone, etc. Whatever method that works best for them and their Lives, is what works best for me. 


Bridging this gap has never been so critical. I am just excited that I can enjoy the best of both worlds!




The Hype on Going Gluten Free

Written by Janie Charlot, FNP-C

It’s been a common trend now days to walk into the grocery store and find that the packaging on food labels says “Gluten Free”. It appears that the market for Gluten free products is at an all-time high. Well, I think that this is incredibly awesome for those people who have Celiac Disease! But what about those people who do not have Celiac Disease? Is it really necessary to follow the “gluten free” trend? Is this a necessarily healthier diet choice? Basically, the answer is No!

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune condition that typically occurs in genetically predisposed individuals where the ingestion of gluten can cause severe damage to the small intestine. Symptoms of Celiac Disease include diarrhea, abdominal pain, gas, bloating, anemia, bone pain, and sometimes skin rashes. Therefore, avoiding gluten secondary to a diagnosis of Celiac Disease is pretty much essential to quality of life. A diagnosis of Celiac Disease is confirmed by blood testing to detect the antibodies related to the abnormal immune response.


 So what about the rest of the world who do not have Celiac Disease, because research reveals that only about 1% of Americans have Celiac Disease? Going Gluten free can mean missing out on a lot of nutritious foods. Gluten is a protein found in whole grain foods such as wheat, rye, barley, and oats. Gluten itself isn’t all that nutritious, but the whole grains found in gluten are rich in vitamins, minerals, iron, and fiber. Studies have implicated that whole grains can help decrease the risk of some forms of cancer, heart disease, and Type 2 Diabetes. The 2010 Guidelines for Americans actually recommends that half of all carbohydrates come from whole grain products. 


The moral of the story: if you have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease going gluten free is very necessary for your health. But if you do not have Celiac Disease, going gluten free is putting you at risk for nutritional deficiencies.

The Best Time to Eat Bananas


The Best Time to Eat Bananas

Written By Janie Charlot FNP-C


If you love to grab a banana in the morning as you walk out the house for work or a quick workout then this article will be of great importance to you. Bananas are a great source of potassium, anti-oxidants, B-vitamins, magnesium, Vitamin C, Biotin, and Fiber. Bananas are excellent for cardiovascular health, the digestive tract, and a great “first food” for the young infants.


The next time you pick up a banana to eat you may want to keep a few key important factors in mind. The nutritional properties of bananas change as they ripen. Have you noticed that a banana gets sweeter as it ripens? This occurs has the enzymes contained in bananas progressively break down the starch (a polymeric form of sugar that does not have a sweet taste). As the banana ripens or get brown, the starch has already transformed into a simple sugar, which makes the banana much easier to digest, especially for those who have irritable bowel disease or abdominal bloating. However, if you are a Type 2 Diabetic, you might want to avoid the brown bananas, as the broken down simple sugar can cause a spike in blood sugar levels.




According to a Japanese study, published in a 2009 issues of “Food Science and Technology Research”, the brown spots on bananas produce a substance called Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF), which breaks down abnormal cells including those that cause cancer. According to their research, as the banana ripens it produces more anti-oxidants and more anti-cancer properties. The darker spots it has the better the anti-cancer properties are. Also the research concluded that a banana with yellow skin and dark spots is 8 times more effective in boosting the body’s immune system than the banana with a green skin. Therefore, the best time to eat the banana is when it is fully ripen.





Aug 2, 2015 Starts Our Next Health & Fitness Challenge! Get Your Health Back!







August 2, 2015 Starts the Next NP Way: Change Your BIO(Body Inside & Out) Health & Fitness Challenge for Men & Women!


There is No Better Way to Get Your Health Back Than to Do it With Family Nurse Practitioners Who Know What Your Body Needs Both Inside and out! With Fall Time Around the Corner and Children Going Back To School, Learn How To Get Your Whole Family More Active, Prepare Healthier Meals, and Adopt a Lifestyle That Will Keep You and Your Family Living Healthier Longer. Don’t Put on Those Fall and Winter Pounds This Year.



* Accountability 


* Two Certified Family  Nurse Practitioners


* Learn How to Eat to Live


* Learn How to Work Around Your Chronic Health Conditions


* Get 1 on 1 Time on Adopting a Healthy Lifestyle


*Ask All the Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask Your Primary Care Provider


* Be led By Example With Your Workouts and Meal Preps


* Do This In a Confidential Way From Anywhere In the World




Are We Practicing What We Preach To Our Patients?


Written by Janie Charlot FNP-C



Just a few years back as I was leaving work one evening from a hospital, I could not help but to observe several people in the designated smoking area. Half of those people were hospital staff, and the other half were visitors and patients. At that moment I began to think about my purpose for promoting a life of good health. I knew it was my job to teach healthy habits to others, but at that moment I realized I needed to illustrate a life of healthy habits as well. It wasn’t just enough for me to be able to teach others, I needed to be able to put it into practice too!


Although we may be doctors, nurses, therapist, nutritionist, etc.; We are still subject to the same temptations of smoking, alcohol, caffeine, over-eating, stress, drug use, and the ins and outs of life.  When I walked out of the hospital that day, it occurred to me:  What would I have thought as a patient if I had seen my Healthcare Provider lighting up another one in the designated smoking area? It is definitely something to think about. Are we reflecting the picture of health in ourselves that we expect out of our patients? Can patients really trust what we are saying about nutrition and heart disease if we are severely overweight and smokers ourselves?



I don’t have any statistical data to rattle off (although studies are out there), but being in the healthcare industry for many years, I can tell you that as healthcare providers we have to practice what we preach. I use WE, because it applies to me and all those delivering healthcare in some fashion to the public.


Here’s what I have found that may hinder healthcare providers from portraying the look of perfect health to their patients:


High Stress Positions

Outside demands such as low customer service scores, high patient volume, low reimbursement from insurance companies, staffing & workflow issues, no paid time off, & outside competition often place stress on healthcare providers.


Feelings that the same statistics and guidelines don’t apply to them 

Many healthcare providers do not have a PCP (Primary Care Provider) themselves. Therefore, many national screening guidelines such as yearly physicals, cholesterol checks, blood sugars, mammograms, etc. are going undone by healthcare providers. Consequently, chronic diseases can easily set in.


Lack of Balanced Life

Healthcare providers often spends a great deal of time caring for their patients, families, and communities that they fail to maintain a healthy lifestyle for themselves. Easy to pick up food or even office deliveries lead to eating unhealthy and  over-indulging. Long work hours can hinder  time dedicated for exercise.




With more and more people having access to care and choosing to visit their healthcare providers more often, we have to be able to practice what we preach! We want our patients to be able to trust us and that requires preaching and practicing the part!


What’s The Real Deal About The Superfood the Acai Berry?

   What’s The Real Deal About The Superfood the Acai Berry?

Written By Janie Charlot FNP-C



The acai (pronounced ah-sigh-EE) is a fruit berry of the Amazon palm tree grown in Central and South America.

The fruit is the size of a small grape but in its natural state is an excellent source of:

  • Fiber(maintain effective digestive system)
  • Anti-oxidants (boost the immune system, fight off cancer, combat premature aging)
  • Heart-healthy fats( amino acids, omega 3, trace minerals)

Because of its small and delicate size, transport  is often difficult which is why you are most likely to find the acai berry as an ingredient in smoothies or as a juice in the refrigerated section of natural food stores in the United States. The acai has been featured on Oprah and several other television showings.


In my recent travels to Rio De Janerio, Brazil of South America, I wanted to experience this superfood. In the local area of Lapa while visiting the world famous Escadaria Serlon Steps, I was able to get the acai in a smoothie at a local juice bar. Although, I did not experience the acai in its natural fruit berry state, it was plenty tasteful! I found that the fruit had an energizing refreshing taste that blends chocolate and berries. Its deep royal purple color is where all the hidden energizing amino acids, anti-oxidants, and fatty acids are held.



You may not be able to find this super fruit in your local supermarket, but you should be able to find it at a farmers market or a health food store (most probably in juice form). Although, there are no current research out that says acai  has more anti-oxidants than any other berry(strawberry, blueberry, raspberry), I highly recommend trying it!



Obesity Rates to Rise by Year 2030: What Does all this Mean? Written by Janie Charlot FNP-C


Here we are with recent analysis reports findings of increased obesity in the U.S. by 2030. Several studies conducted by multiple organizations including the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention), the Trust for America’s Health, and The National Heart Forum have all conducted studies with similar outcomes: America’s obesity rates continue to climb! According to reports, all 50 states will have adult obesity rates above 44%, with 13 states way over 60%. Obesity is defined in the medical world by being 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight. It’s predicted that Mississippi will be #1 with the obesity rates of 66.7%; Oklahoma at 66.4%; Delaware at 62.6%, Tennessee at 63.4%; and South Carolina at 62.9%. As of Today, Mississippi has the highest rate of obesity in the U.S. at 35.1%


Now that we have all the statistics out the way, let’s talk about what all this really means for you and I. 1) It means increased cost. Currently, estimated costs of obesity related illnesses range from $147-210 billion per year. This means that by year 2030, estimated costs will climb between $48 to 66 billion if rates increase as projected. Childhood obesity alone currently costs $14.1billion. 2) We will see a decrease in Worker productivity and increased absenteeism. As a person’s BMI (Body Mass Index) increases, so does their number of sick days, healthcare costs, and medical claims which could potentially cost an employer several hundreds of dollars per obese worker each year. 3) Increased obesity related diseases. Obesity is linked to high blood pressure, stroke, depression, hyperlipidemia, coronary heart disease, gallbladder disease, some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder, and liver), type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and now a possible link to autism.


Obesity now trumps smoking as the greatest health concern of this time! However, I see hope! It took many years to get all this fat, and it will take many more years of social change, education, behavior modification, and physical movement to reverse the alarming data. What can be done? Healthcare providers are the first link in educating and modeling to children, adults, parents, and seniors the benefits of maintaining a healthy body weight. With so many fad diets, non-FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved supplements, and quick gratification regimens out there now, it is imperative that people seek the advice of a medical provider before starting any particular fitness or meal programs. Almost all physical fitness trainers and nutritionist will take a health history making sure that you have been cleared by a medical practitioner prior to the start of any program. Therefore, be proactive and consult with your Primary Care provider FIRST. They are your first line of trusted individuals with the most up to date evidenced based practice data whom ultimately has your overall health at the forefront of your care.


To maintain a healthy body weight and limiting risks of obesity, I recommend limiting energy intake from total fats, and shifting fat consumption away from saturated fats to unsaturated fats. I recommend increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as whole grains, nuts, and legumes. It’s important to limit intake of sugars, and engage in at least 30minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity most days of the week. However, more activity may be required for weight loss. Monitoring weight can also be a healthy practice. It is known that those people who weigh themselves every couple of weeks have been more successful in keeping excess pounds off. It is also important to keep stress levels down, acquire enough hours of sleep, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Those using weight loss supplements should ensure these supplements are FDA approved.


The state of obesity is alarming and racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities persist. Our nation is at a critical point with the need to build a strong, unified, active, and vibrant culture of health that affords all people in America the opportunity to maintain a healthy weight and live a healthy life. If not, I fear what America will look like in 2030!




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About Change Your BIO

We are Certified Family Nurse Practitioners who have teamed up to provide individuals with the necessary tools, education, coaching, and plans to gain and maintain a life of good HEALTH from the expertise and guidance of Health Practitioners. We know that being healthy consists of knowing and taking care of your Body Inside & Out (BIO).