Healthy food exchange is program topic

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Paulette Wagner, Certified Holistic Nutritionist, presented a program on healthy food exchanges on March 19 at the GMHC Lunch and Learn Program. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker

Guttenberg Municipal Hospital and Clinics (GMHC) added an extra educational session to their monthly Lunch and Learn programming. Amy Speed, Director of Marketing and Development GMHC, told The Press,  "March is National Nutrition Month. In our mission to partner with you on your health and wellness journey we enlisted Certified Holistic Nutritionist Paulette Wagner to present her program, Tasty Trade-offs." 

Wagner began, "I decided three years ago that I was getting to a point in my career where stress was starting to affect my health. I took a leap of faith and decided to step away from my 80-hour work week and focus on my health." 

Wagner and her husband reside on a 200-acre farm near Bellevue. She shared, "I try to eat healthy most of the time. Do I cook meat, potatoes and corn for Sunday dinner? Of course I do. Do my potatoes have cauliflower as part of the ingredients? Yes they do. Just don't tell my husband!" 

Wagner prepared and served attendees a plate of healthy dietary exchange samples. She also offered cooking demonstrations using an air fryer and modern pressure cooker. 

Fad Diets

Fad diets often cause added weight gain. She explained, "Your body's fat cells make a hormone called leptin. The hormone tells your brain when you have enough stored-up fat. As you begin to lose weight your body creates less leptin, which makes you hungry. Additionally your body's metabolism slows down to save energy. Once you stop the diet you are left with an oversized appetite, but you burn fewer calories. It creates a yo-yo cycle of weight gain and loss, which is very unhealthy for your body. Unless you can stay on the diet forever – it's not for you." 

Healthy eating

Wagner recommends, "Try to eat foods that are in their natural form. When food contains a long list of added ingredients and chemical processing it is less healthy for your body. The less ingredients – the closer to nature – the better for your body." 


Macronutrients are needed in our diet to fuel our body. "Carbohydrates, protein and fats are the three main suppliers of nutrients in our diet. A diet rich in macronutrients will keep you feeling full longer and give you more energy," she said. 

Complex and simple carbohydrates

Experts recommend carbohydrates should account for 50 percent of a healthy diet.  Complex carbohydrates should be favored over simple carbohydrates to avoid spikes in blood sugar. Complex carbohydrates include: 




Cereals and grains

(Sweet) potatoes

Whole-grain products

Brown rice

Simple carbohydrates include: 


Products containing refined or bleached flour

Sweets and desserts 

Sweetened soft drinks and fruit juices


Fats are essential for normal body function. They supply energy and assist with vitamin and mineral absorption. They are beneficial for healthy skin and blood pressure regulation. Examples of healthy fats include: 



Dark chocolate

Whole eggs 


Extra virgin olive oil 

Unhealthy fats include: 




Pork and beef fat 

Wagner noted, "We don't need trans fats in our diets. Thanks to the Food and Drug Administration the food industry has eliminated the artery-clogging artificial ingredient from the majority of our nation's food supply. Trans fat is one molecule away from plastic, and is a major contributor to heart disease in the United States. There are still some foods that contain trans fats so do your research and read your labels. Healthy fats come from natural foods."


Protein helps build and repair cells in the body. It can be found in lean meats, beans, poultry, fish and meat substitutes. Wagner gave an example, "If you purchased an expensive automobile you would take care of it – correct? You would check the oil, take care of the interior and exterior and use a high quality fuel to keep the engine running at peak performance. Think of your body the same way. You can't expect to feel good and look good if you don't take care of it." She added, "We are born with a sweet tooth. If you crave a snack before you go to bed or in-between meals it is a good indication you need more protein in your diet."

Sugar and salt

She recommended, "Sugar and salt should come from natural resources. We only need about a teaspoon of salt per day. Himalayan salt, which comes from the sea, is healthier than processed table salt. Pure cane sugar is sweeter than processed sugar so you won't need to use as much." 

"Listen to your body. It will send you signals when you have over-indulged in something unhealthy. You will feel sluggish, irritable, get headaches or experience other pain. Your body is talking to you, begging you for the nutrients it needs to function for you," she concluded. 

Contact Paulette Wagner, Holistic Wellness & CBD Certified at 563-590-4348, e-mail or

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