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From hearty soups to crisp apples and all-things pumpkin, the cooler seasons bring some delicious foods to our kitchens. Dietitian Maxine Smith, RD, shares the best and healthiest ways to enjoy your fall favorites.

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Comforting (and Nutritious) Foods for Fall With Dietitian Maxine Smith

Podcast Transcript

Nada Youssef:  Hello, and welcome to the Health Essentials Podcast, brought to you by Cleveland Clinic. I'm your host, Nada Youssef. If you're looking for easy ways to improve you and your family's health, seasonal eating is one of the best ways to do it. What is seasonal eating, and why is it so important? Here to help us get smarter about seasonal eating is Maxine Smith. She's a registered dietician in Cleveland Clinic's Digestive Disease and Surgery Institute. Welcome, Maxine.

Maxine Smith:  Thanks for having me, Nada.

Nada Youssef:  Thank you for being here today. And for our viewers and listeners, please remember this is for information purposes only, and it's not intended to replace your own physician's advice.

So I'd like to start by asking you what is seasonal eating, and is it actually better for us?

Maxine Smith:  Well, at this time of year we can think of seasonal eating as taking advantage of the vast harvest that is available to us. All the seasonal fruits and vegetables. But also some of those holiday or traditional foods that we're accustomed to.

Nada Youssef:  Great, so would you say that the season should determine our dishes, our recipes?

Maxine Smith:  Well, to some extent, absolutely. Because the foods that are in season are often those that are locally available, less time being transported, they taste the best, as well as offering the most nutritional value.

Nada Youssef:  So you're saying it's healthier, it does have a better taste, and is it cost effective since it's local and not coming from out of state or out of country?

Maxine Smith:  That's another good point. The more abundance the less the cost. So you can absolutely get good values at this time of year.

Nada Youssef:  So during the fall season, what fruits and vegetables should we look for?

Maxine Smith:  The seasonal ones are those that are often quite hardy, because the summer season has passed, so you're going to get into a lot of the squashes, and gourds, and pumpkin. Some of the fruits are going to be apples, pears, and also a lot of the dark green leafy vegetables have a long growing season. So especially some of those hardier greens that we can think of, kale, and mustard greens and so forth. So all of those are great options for this season.

Nada Youssef:  So with these fruits and vegetables, can our cooking methods alter the nutritional value in those vegetables, the way that we cook them or maybe they're better eaten raw?

Maxine Smith:  Absolutely. The benefits from fruits and vegetables can be attained both through raw and cooking methods. Some nutrients are released more when they're cooked, some are more readily available in the raw form. So I always encourage people to try to get a variety of different foods cooked with different cooking methods. For example, when you take dark green leafy vegetables, the folic acid, which is very important for many of the cells in the body for our heart health, is more readily available, less damaged in raw form. So dark green leafy vegetables in salads, for example, would be encouraged.

Also, when you are cooking them you can preserve some of that nutritional value by the particular cooking techniques. And as a general rule of thumb, the shorter the cooking time, the lower the heat, and the less water used, you're going to preserve more of those nutrients.

Nada Youssef:  So the less cooking, the healthier they could be.

Maxine Smith:  Or ... as far as cooking times, absolutely, and cooking methods. Also, another point is sometimes food in combination enhance the nutrient absorption of those foods. For example, if you have garlic cooked with olive oil, which is part of many different dishes, often foods are cooked that way, the benefits of the garlic are enhanced by mixing it with the olive oil, so eating foods in combination with each other enhances those nutrients also.

Nada Youssef:  Excellent. And now let's say we want to use less of summer's harvest, is it okay to eat fresh fruits or veggies that are in cans, or that are frozen? Does freezing fruits and vegetables make it any less nutritious?

Maxine Smith:  Well, that's an interesting question. And it really depends on how long that food has gone from being picked to being consumed. The nutrients in many fruits and vegetables decrease by almost half after just a few days. Yes, refrigeration can slow that down to maybe a week or two, but yeah, it starts very quickly, that oxidation process once it's picked. So preserving foods either through refrigeration, freezing, canning can actually preserve some of those nutrients. Especially if it's flash frozen right at the site soon after it's picked.

Now, if you get something at a local farmer's market that's just been picked off the farm that day or the day before, you're going to have a lot more nutrients in that to begin with. So if you're going to freeze or can your own foods, the fresher the food that you start with, the more nutrition that it's going to have.

Also, again, going back to that heat component, heat can damage a lot of nutrients. So those cooking techniques that use less heat, such as blanching quickly and freezing, can retain more of the nutrients than you would with a longer heating process when you're canning. However, canning can still be done very nutritiously, and again you're probably preserving more of those nutrients than getting a vegetable or a fruit that has been transported from a distance, maybe an older fruit of vegetable, so that can be a good option. And it's fresh, then you can buy extra and preserve it in some way, that can be a very nutritious option.

Nada Youssef:  And as long as it's frozen in its max nutritional value while it's fresh.

Maxine Smith:  Absolutely.

Nada Youssef:  Yeah.

Maxine Smith:  So the fresher that you can get the product to start off with the better. So yes, farmer's markets can offer fresh produce, but even when you're at the grocery store, looking at the dates, paying attention to that. I'm always reaching towards the very back because it's rotated to get you to buy the older produce first. So always looking towards the back, looking at expiration dates, lettuces now even have the harvest date so you can take a look at that. And just taking a look at the quality, does it look like it's fresh, has it lost a lot of its moisture, and is it wilting, or is it turning brown, those are signs of deterioration where it would lose value, and lose taste also.

Nada Youssef:  Sure. Great, that's great information. Now, let's jump to Thanksgiving recipes since that's going to be right around the corner. What foods should we consider when we make recipes that are healthy, and nutritious, and within the season?

Maxine Smith:  So yeah, first of all, yeah, you want to give yourself a little leeway there on the actual day. I always say you want to treat yourself on the actual day, not the whole season. As we know, the grocery stores are marketing things very early, so you will find all those traditional foods in the grocery store maybe a month or two ahead of time. If you start eating them a month or two ahead of time, it can lead to weight gain. So identifying what's most important to you, what do you value the most, what are some of those special maybe family recipes that you only have once a year, or that Aunt Sue or Mom makes only once a year. So allowing yourself to have some of those foods, even if they are less healthy, while maybe eliminating some of those foods that you can have every day. Maybe it isn't a great value to you, or mashed potatoes, you could have those every day. But that special sweet potato casserole, or that sweet piece of pumpkin pie that only one person can make the way they do, you want to allow yourself those, to have a piece of that on Thanksgiving Day.

So planning is very important when it comes into that. Having some kind of plan for the day. Envisioning what that day is going to look like, how you're going to proceed through that day, and maybe lightening up a couple of the other meals during the day to allow for that. You don't want to go into a meal with some of those highly tempting foods starving, by any means, because that could set you up for trouble. One of my favorite sayings is hunger is the best seasoning. So if you're overly hungry, it's going to taste extra good and temptations ... You may be tempted to eat too much.

But, yeah, so planning it out. I'm always encouraging that rainbow colors, it really simplifies making healthy food choices. And there's so many abundant colors now in our food supply, so whether it's multicolored capers, or winter squashes, or dark red apples, all of these are examples of the different colors of the rainbow that offer different nutritional advantages based on color.

Nada Youssef:  And you mentioned mashed potatoes, and we all know it's a comfort food that we all love, but it isn't actually maybe healthy for us. Can you talk about maybe some substitutes for old favorites like mac and cheese, chicken pot pie, mashed potatoes, and so on?

Maxine Smith:  Yes, that's interesting you brought up potatoes, because potatoes have been bashed, and they can actually have nutritional value. Potatoes are very rich in some nutrients such as potassium, which is important for heart health, controlling blood pressure, for example. But on the other hand, it's sometimes easy to eat too many of those foods, or what they're combined with could be an issue, when you put lots of cheese and butter on them, those are animal fats and detracting from the nutritional value. So portion control and considering how you make those recipes are important.

Now, you could make that lower calorie, a lower calorie dish by considering some of the alternatives. So for example, for potatoes, what's popular right now is of course the mashed cauliflower. Real easy way to do that is in a blender with water. Super easy. So you can look up that on YouTube, how to do that. So that could be an alternative, I actually am in charge of all the potatoes on Thanksgiving. I make three different kinds of potatoes. For those that don't eat potatoes, the gluten free, the dairy free, it's kind of crazy.

You can also consider thinking out of the box, how can I add some color, maybe add some vitamin A to this meal, so you could do mashed sweet potatoes, or mashed yams. As far as a lot of the food products that are made out of flour, white flour, and sugar. So I kind of put those together as crappy carbs. So how can we make some of those foods made with crappy carbs a little healthier? So there are different options for that. Many baked products you can substitute some of the white flour, at least up to about a quarter of a third, with a whole grain flour. So whether it's 100% whole wheat flour. Another trick is just taking whole oats and putting them in a blender until they're very fine, or a food processor, that's whole oat flour. So you can substitute up to about a third with that recipe with whole grain flour.

Another trick is that you can often use other flours, anything from almond flour, coconut flour. I just bought pecan flour, I've never used that before. I don't have any white flour in my house, it's kind of crazy, I have all these other ones. My kitchen is somewhat like a lab. And then even bean flours work in some recipes. Or ground up beans. You may have heard of white bean cakes or black bean brownies. So those can serve as a base instead of the white flours also that can add fiber, that can add a lot of nutrients, that can keep blood sugar stable throughout the day so you have energy to do all those fun things that you want to do with your family that day and not have that huge crash after your Thanksgiving meal and fall asleep during the movie.

Nada Youssef:  And I really like what you have to say about preparing different versions of food, like mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower, and giving people a choice to go for the healthy kind, that's a very good point. Now, with comfort food comes a lot of nice warm soups, especially with this weather. What ingredients do you think we can use to make nutritious soup that is hearty and healthy?

Maxine Smith:  Yeah, soups are ... I love the idea of soups, because again, getting that rainbow of colors, you can get it all in one bowl. And you can fast cook it, take it to work in little containers, all of those things, makes life easy. And a lot of leftovers can be thrown into soup, too. You also get a lot of the nutrients from things like the bones that you may cook things in, from the collagen and so forth. So you're getting an array of nutrients.

So one other way to make foods healthier is to think about, hmm, animal fats, how can I substitute other things for animal fats? Well fats make things creamy, and that's one thing we like in soup sometimes. Or in macaroni and cheese, or what other ... pot pies and things like that. So we want to think about what are other healthy ways that we can make things creamy, a comfort food, right? So there's some different tricks to do that. So creaminess can be added to a soup, again, by green vegetables. So you can puree cauliflower, and you can use frozen as well as fresh, so that makes it easy. You can puree butternut squash, I make butternut squash to put into soups that will add creaminess. And again, frozen works fine, too, it's already cubed.

And then other ways to add creaminess without all the cream and butter, is to consider things like adding yogurt, if you want a little bit of a tang. Say, in something that would have potatoes that might compliment it well. Or another thing you can use a milk replacement, like an almond milk, there's a lot of different milk replacements out there right now that would be thickened a little bit. There are even some creamers that ... Usually at higher end food stores you can get the ones without added sugar. There are so many out there right now that have tons of sugar in them, and that's the majority of them, so you don't want those. But almond milk, cashew milk, soy milk can add creaminess, all of those that don't have added sugar.

One other thing that works very well is cashew cream. You can buy that upscale stores, you can even make your own. I made a fettuccine alfredo the other day with just milking raw cashews overnight and then pureeing them in a blender, I do everything in my little cheap $25 Oster blender. And then just adding some chicken broth to that. But nuts can, especially those creamier nuts like cashews, when they're soaked and whipped up can add a lot of creaminess.

Whipped cream, I've made whipped cream from pulverizing tofu. So you just get silken soft tofu and you whip it up and it can be a good substitute for whipped cream. Of course you have to add a little vanilla to it, maybe even a little bit of spices like cinnamon or lemon, my favorite is cocoa powder, a little bit of sweetener, and preferably a natural sweetener, such as stevia or monk fruit.

Nada Youssef:  Okay.

Maxine Smith:  So that can be used in a lot of recipes to add sweetness. And that's a good replacement. And baked products can be a little tricky when it comes ... It's more of a science in order to make them rise correctly, and in order for things to crisp and pull together. So sometimes starting with a good recipe is important for that. But a lot of the sugar replacements, the natural ones, like monk fruit of stevia, can be bought in a granulated form. Even a brown sugar form, and that's measurable comparable to sugar. And often those work better in recipes.

Nada Youssef:  Excellent, and you sound like a great cook, Maxine. So I want to jump to leftovers, because that's one thing we always have is leftovers in the fridge the next day, especially after a big meal. Can you give us ... You did mention putting some leftovers in soups, which I think is a great idea. Are there any other ideas off the top of your head that we can do with leftovers?

Maxine Smith:  Yeah, absolutely, leftovers in soup, and I just mentioned beans and every vegetable under the sun going into soup, too. A lot of the ... at least some of the meat could be substituted with beans and leaner chicken or beef and things like that, in things like chili. Moving more towards a Mediterranean healthy model. Leftovers can be put in a lot of one pot meals, so whether you have it mixed into something like an Instant Pot or a slow cooker, put it into a stew, just making a different sauce to throw things in. Even some of the jarred sauces can be pretty healthy, and there's ways to determine that, ones that have less salt, less saturated fat and sugar, being a label reader. But yeah, if you're really sick of that turkey already and you've already had it every way, shape, or form, well, you might want an Indian version. So buy a healthier jar of masala sauce or something and easily you can throw it in there, throw in a few vegetables. And you can have a whole different taste sensation, and a lot of those anti-inflammatory herbs that are known to be health promoting.

So the same thing with stir fry, I buy bags of stir fry vegetables, so you have a good variety, and throw some of those leftovers into a stir fry. And just a little bit different sauces, seasonings can change the whole dish.

Nada Youssef:  I love that, so change up the seasonings, change up the sauce, make it taste completely different with the same ingredients and-

Maxine Smith:  Absolutely.

Nada Youssef:  Not have to throw that away, that's great. So let's switch to drinks, okay, so fall is upon us, so apple cider is everywhere. And so I want to know, is apple cider from an orchard farm healthier for us, better for us, than maybe purchasing it at a grocery store, and why?

Maxine Smith:  Well, you can answer that in two ways. So, again, going back to the sooner you consume if after harvest, the more nutrients it's going to have, particularly some of those that are known as antioxidants, and for immunity, vitamin C, some of those B vitamins, and so forth, can rapidly decline. So in that sense, it could be a healthier option, but you have the other concern about food-borne illnesses. And is that apple cider or apple juice, is it pasteurized? So it's not required by the FDA that apple cider or apple juice is pasteurized, however, it is recommended by many health experts, particularly for those who might have compromised immunity, or the very young, or people who are pregnant, or the aged, and so forth.

So there's a greater risk for particularly E. Coli, so in that respect looking for products that are pasteurized can be beneficial. It is mandated by the FDA that, at least in stores, that products that are for sale are indicated ... there's a label saying that they are not pasteurized if they are not. You might not be getting that if it's right there at the market.

Nada Youssef:  Great, so any suggestions on what to drink in the fall to keep us warm while keeping sugar at bay?

Maxine Smith:  Teas, teas of every sort are a great way to go. Because you can get so many of those anti-inflammatory herbs in teas. You can also get some compounds like ECGC that have been shown to moderate weight and so forth. So yeah, speaking of, I have a big thermos of tea right here. So yeah, having ... And you can get all different kinds, my granddaughter went to a teahouse the other day and she came over and she said, "Do you have chocolate tea?" And I said, "No, but I have chai," which has all these anti-inflammatory-

Nada Youssef:  Yes.

Maxine Smith:  Herbs and turmeric, and all these other teas. So they can, yeah, be very soothing and consoling on a cold day.

Also milk is always a good healthy option, go with a low fat version, you can make hot chocolate out of it. Again, if you want to reduce the sugar, adding a stevia or a monk fruit to that, good old Hershey cocoa powder, put some of that in there, got to add the chocolate. And you're making a much healthier product than the store bought mixes, and don't have all the preservatives and all of that. And yeah, so that's another option.

Coffee is always a good option, as long as it's earlier in the day so it doesn't interfere with sleep. So later in the day, decaf coffee is a fine option, too, you can make it a little bit more comforting and winteresque if you add a little frother and you froth a little bit of milk along with that, add a little cinnamon on top, little dusting of cocoa powder so you can make it a little bit more special.

You could do some ... Even, I made a great kind of skinny eggnog last year, and it was made with low-fat ... well, unsweetened almond milk and eggs, and it was quite amazing. You can always add a little bit of alcohol if there isn't anybody in the crowd that cannot have that, which can be a little treat also. So there's a lot of different winter options, and tweaking things a little bit you can make them much healthier, have much less guilt about them.

Nada Youssef:  Yeah, definitely. Now, I know you mentioned tea, and I'm a huge fan of tea. I use locally grown honey, so I know we didn't really talk a lot about honey so I wanted to kind of bring that up. Is locally grown honey healthier than any other brand that you would purchase from the store? Is it good, is it okay to put on my tea?

Maxine Smith:  Yeah, the research has found that small amounts of honey can be beneficial as far as being an anti-bacterial, which can enhance immunity and so forth. There's a lot of different factors when it comes to locally grown. And so I can't say for sure that what is grown locally, what would be local honey here would be as beneficial in that aspect, as far as local honey somewhere else. But there are a variety of different honeys, often the darker ones will have more benefits, and the less processed, so if it's a raw honey, it can have more benefits. There are some-

Nada Youssef:  Just ... So when you go for honey would you go for the raw and unfiltered, is that the best choice?

Maxine Smith:  Yeah, so that would, yeah, have more of those active components that have been shown to have health benefits, help soothe your throat and that sore throat and whatnot. But yeah, you do want to be careful again, especially in babies and so forth, there may be some contraindications, we get the potential, again, food-borne illnesses, so you always want to discuss that with your physician.

Nada Youssef:  So we talked about purchasing locally grown food and how important it is for our health, how can I find out more about what's in season in my area?

Maxine Smith:  One way to determine that is go to your county's cooperative extension service online, and they'll have much information on that. So that's probably one of the best resources, because it's locally created.

Nada Youssef:  Sure. Now sometimes we do find ourselves going to the grocery stores and buying some produce there. So first of all, is organic always better? And second, how do we know what to pick when you have a vast option of different produce, and how do you know you're picking the most nutritional one?

Maxine Smith:  So in terms of organic, it definitely sounds healthier. But there just isn't a lot of research to identify that it will offer significant health value over conventional produce. Theoretically, there may be some benefits, particularly for those that may contain more pesticides and herbicides. So one may choose to pay a little bit more, particularly for those that may be prone to having more pesticides and herbicides. Those are controlled by the FDA, however, some produce slip through the cracks and tend to have more than FDA regulations.

If you go the Environmental Working Group or EWG.org, they keep an updated list of the dirty dozen, and also the clean 15. Those numbers may change a little bit. But those are, the dirty dozen are those that may have the most pesticides and herbicides, and that you would want to consider getting in an organic form.

Nada Youssef:  If they want to go to the store, there's a vast variety of options from produce to pick from, carrots, tomatoes, how do we know which ones are the best to pick?

Maxine Smith:  Well, first of all, start with some healthy recipes in mind. So that will drive ... the planning process will drive what you pick in the grocery store. So when you're planning your recipes, try to identify those that have the most variety. For example, if you're making a soup, ask hmm, how can I add the most variety to this soup? I made some healthier sloppy Joe's the other day and I put finely ground carrots in there, along with the onions, the garlic, the peppers, a couple other vegetables, just to add to that variety. The more vast variety of produce you have, the more fidonutrients or plant nutrients you're going to get. And those fidonutrients work synergistically together to protect the cells and optimize every cell in your body. They are often grouped together by color, so just thinking how can I get more colors in my dishes.

So planning that out ahead of time, and then again, doing a little research to find out what's in season based on the cooperative extension service, or just look around and see what's growing outside at this time of year, that'll give you a clue. And then picking, again, the freshest, so do a little evaluation there, look at expiration dates, and yeah, consider how much you're going to use, too. There's some great resources out there as far as menu planning resources that will help you to decrease waste, to use those extra vegetables so that they're not rotting in the refrigerator for future dishes.

Nada Youssef:  Okay, that's great. Now, when we go to the store we do find a lot of vegetables that ... and fruits, that are in bags versus individuals, and I know today you have some props with you, so maybe you can kind of explain to us what is the difference between bagged vegetables, unbagged, and which one we should go for.

Maxine Smith:  Yeah, so whether they're in a bag or not isn't necessarily the identifying factor as far as health value. However, you want to consider what is the food that's closest to the farm? If I just picked it, what is it going to look like? That's usually going to be the most nutritious. So whole foods as part of a healthy food, including the Mediterranean diet model.

So for example, I have these carrots, and yes, they are very convenient, and I buy these because when I'm in a rush and I want to pack lunch, they're easy, they're already in little pieces, I can just throw them on a salad, it requires minimal work. But it's compromised in terms of nutritional value compared to these carrots, which still have the skin on them, so they haven't been de-skinned. A lot of nutritional value in the skin of a vegetable, so any time you can eat the skin, whether it's a potato, or whether it's a delicate squash, which is a fabulous finger food if it's roasted, you're getting a lot more nutritional value getting that fiber, and fiber is a key indicator, nutrient for fall. So if you're getting lots of fibers in your diet, you're probably eating a pretty healthy diet.

Also, what else can I use here? I can use the tops, I'm not going to throw these away. It's a sin to do that. So just like other bitter greens like turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, you can cook these up on the stove, just like sauté them with a little olive oil, a little vinegar and lemon always tastes good with more bitter type or savory type foods, so giving a little splash of a good vinegar, lemon. So lots of nutrients in the leaves. But also in the stems. So and broccoli, cauliflower, we buy those little bags of maybe cauliflower rice or broccoli rice. Yeah, they're not using the prime part of that or the florets, but in a sense they are using the prime, because they're using the stems, and a lot of the nutrients are hiding out in those stems. When you think about it, within the stem it's feeding that root, it's feeding that flower, like in broccoli, so there's a ton of nutrients in the stems.

So those can be chopped up just like they are for making cauliflower rice, broccoli rice put into recipes.

Nada Youssef:  Excellent. And so a great takeaway is use the whole vegetable, use the skin, because I see a lot of people, even when they're purchasing the carrots that you mentioned are the best ones, whole foods, a lot of people do peel them. Clean it, keep it, and then use the whole vegetable, those are great takeaways.

Maxine Smith:  Absolutely, and it's better to wash them just with water. So rinse them very well, but to get off some of those contaminants and so forth. But keep the skin intact. Yeah.

Nada Youssef:  Okay. Excellent. Now, a lot of times we find ourselves shopping for all these great fruits and vegetables. We go home, we put it in the fridge, sometimes we forget about it or sometimes we don't, but it does ... it dies fast, it rots really fast. What are some tips that can help those vegetables stay fresh much longer?

Maxine Smith:  Yes, yes, there's nothing worse than spending a lot of money on your groceries and then having to toss them out. I hear that a lot of times from my patients, and it can be a deterrent even buying produce. So first of all, yeah, you want to start with the freshest quality product. Because even through transportation it's already starting to deteriorate, so start with a fresh product. Also, there's a lot of emphasis right now with cleanliness and hygiene and washing everything, but don't wash your produce before you eat it. So you want to put it unwashed into the refrigerator. Make sure your temperatures are set on your refrigerator and freezer correctly, about 37 degrees for your refrigerator but if it's too warm it's going to spoil quickly, if it's too cold it's going to freeze.

Nada Youssef:  Right.

Maxine Smith:  And then you want to separate the fruits and the vegetables, because the fruits you're going to want drier than the vegetables, and don't mix them up together, that's going to enhance the ripening if you put them in the same place, and speed that up. Also, it's recommended that most vegetables that you put in some kind of bag. So a safe BPA free plastic bag, for most fruits and vegetables you can use paper bags also, tend to keep foods longer. I like the ... You can also pack some of those into the freezer by blanching quickly and freezing. Herbs go bad quickly, you might buy a whole bunch for your recipe and you have a ton of dill or rosemary left over and you don't want to throw it out, you could chop it up really small, put it in a little bit of oil, such as olive oil, put it in little ice cube trays and then the next time you want that you could pop it in a soup or whatnot, and you have those herbs readily available.

Nada Youssef:  Great, Maxine, and I do like what you said earlier about planning is very important because if we do plan our recipes we know what we're using, we know not to get too much of something that we may not be using in the future, or in the near future. So I want to finally talk about diets. So there are so many diets out there, what to eat, what not to eat, it's hard to know what will work for me personally. Where is the best place to find factual information about nutrition and healthy diets?

Maxine Smith:  Well, of course the Cleveland Clinic offers an abundance of information on healthy diets, on how to make decisions. Our Wellness Institute is a great resource, so checking out all the resources on the Wellness Institute website. Another good source of information that evaluates diets on annual basis, is the US News & World Report. And so they do a pretty good job, they really get good information from good sources, from experts, and evaluate the pros and cons of various diets for different conditions, and that's updated annually. Of course there's innuendos, and there's one diet does not fit everybody. There are certain special situations where someone might benefit from this type of eating pattern, that type of eating pattern, and tweaks. So that's a good plate, it's always good to discuss diet with your physician, with your dietician or nutritionist who can offer more personalized advice.

Nada Youssef:  Great, and for those listening or watching, if you do want to check out our Wellness website in Cleveland Clinic, you can go to my.clevelandclinic.org, click on departments, and then click on Wellness and all the information there. All right, well Maxine, it's been very informative, is there anything that we didn't touch on that you would like to talk about before I let you go?

Maxine Smith:  No, just have a great holiday season, enjoy this invigorating weather. Think out of the box and while you cannot aim for perfection, but just make one little tweak to make something a little bit healthier.

Nada Youssef:  Thank you, thank you so much again for being here today. And for our viewers and listeners, if you'd like to schedule an appointment with the Cleveland Clinic registered dietician, please call 216-444-3046. And to listen to more podcasts with our Cleveland Clinic experts, you can visit ClevelandClinic.org/HEpodcast, or subscribe wherever you get your own podcasts. And for more health tips, news, and information from Cleveland Clinic, make sure you're following us on social media, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And thank you so much for tuning in.

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