Saying Goodbye to Trans Fats

This New Years, California restaurants will have given trans fats the boot – becoming the first state in the country to ban the substance so harmful to our health.

Trans fats have long been an issue to our health. They contribute to increased levels of bad cholesterol, higher rates of obesity and coronary artery disease. Hydrogenation of  vegetable oil creates this artery clogging substance which is often found in fried foods and  packaged food products such as shortening, cookies and certain snack items.

In January 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Mendoza’s Assembly Bill 97 outlawing trans fats – giving restaurants over a year to comply.  Restaurants will have to substitute trans fatty oils and other products for those that are transfat-free. Bakeries will have until January 1, 2011 to comply.

According to the American Heart Association persons should limit trans fat to less than 1 percent of the total calories consumed daily. California restaurants are being mandated to comply. Routine inspections by local health departments are being conducted to ensure that no  more than 0.5 grams trans fats are included in a serving. The fine for not adhering is $1000.

Restaurants such as Rubios, KFC, and McDonald’s have been complying by using transfat-free oils that are soybean or canola based.

Info. for this post was compiled from The Sacramento Bee and The San Francisco Chronicle.


A Year in Review: Happy Holidays 2009!

A Year in Review: Happy Holidays 2009!

An amazing year has flown by. A&J are 17 months old now: little walking beings – full of curiosity, wonder and ever so expressive. If I pause to reflect the past year, I might miss a precious moment happening right before my eyes.

Yesterday Julia started walking around, her hands clasped behind her back just as her father does. And Ailish walked over to a small trashcan and deposited a piece of paper. This may not sound amazing. But after months of climbing into drawers and pulling out everything within their reach – this caught me off guard in a good way.

As I write, I remind myself that tomorrow we will be on the set of BIG LOVE, the last day
before the holiday hiatus. The last episode to film will resume on January 4th.

In a series of work that started with an Infantino photo shoot at 6 months of age, and resulted in string of continuous work – from season regulars on “In the Motherhood” (baby Sophie) to 17 episodes of  “Days of our Lives” (baby Grace), a gig on “Modern Family” and then a full-season of  “BIG LOVE” (baby Nell), A&J have pretty much been in the industry for more than half their lives.

A “stage mom”, I am not. But we have been fortunate to have had the many opportunities of work and have the wonderful friends we’ve met on set. Please visit their official website: for screen caps from the shows they’ve worked on, pictures on & off set, and behind the scenes.

Aside from work, A&J enjoy the Y’s daycare while mommy gets a chance to workout. The gym’s staff has been so accommodating and A&J seem to have quite a few fans of youngsters. It is not surprising to come to pick up my daughters and have a little girl or boy holding one of them or reading a book to them. I’ve even been asked if they could give my baby a bottle or help put them into their stroller. I am so grateful to have access to the YMCA and all of our friends there.

We are also blessed to have my caring tenants, one of whom has been watching my babies for quite some time. She is the most loving individual and brings out such joy in my little girls.

As this letter is starting to become “what I am thankful for”…I think I will continue to express my thanks and appreciation to all the wonderful opportunities we’ve had this year, the new friends we’ve met, the old friends who’ve supported us and our family who has been extremely supportive since the birth of our daughters.

Though we still are in hopes of finding a new house to better accommodate our needs, we are blessed to have our current residence in which we can enjoy our pleasant evening walks in the Hollywood Hills, our local Beachwood Market just a block away and being central to all that is important to our livelihood as my husband works as a Location Manager in the industry.

I am also thankful that we are close to my fav new eatery: The Oaks Gourmet: A hip establishment of European charm with a coffee bar, beer and wine selection, gourmet eats and treats and a side restaurant with a different feature of the day – Grilled Cheese Wednesday being one of my hubby’s favorites.

I have often walked into the Oaks simply to buy some Kombucha and/or have a nice place to sit down, eat a snack and feed my babies – and end up staying a while to chat with new local friends. One of whom is also a member of my gym – he referred me to his daughter’s business to develop a website for my Nutritional Consulting biz. Tracy has not only answered all my emails, suggestions, changes, and revisions, but has been patient and kind, cordial and ever so efficient. My website: If you are on facebook, you probably have seen the many posts from my NutrifitandSavvy’s Blog (and I hope you’ve had a chance to read them). : )

JP has been working hard on the TV show Medium. He continues to exercise his resourcefulness, efficiency and people skills necessary in his field. He has had a lot to juggle, but manages to come home with a smile  – ready and happy to play with the kids. The second he takes off his shoes, he welcomes A&J with open arms and they are his priority the rest of the night. And yes, I am truly thankful for such a wonderful husband who is such a sweet, caring dad.

And with that – I send my holiday wishes to all of you – my friends & family!

With love,

Lauren, JP, Ailish and Julia

Holidays are Fast Approaching: Take Good Care of Yourself!

by Lauren O’Connor, MS, RD

Stress, aging, hectic schedules, lack of sleep….you name it! It’s the end of the year and as the holidays approach us, so do our far-reaching expectations and ever-mounting deadlines; and the next thing you know — you have sniffles, sneezing and a runny nose.

These common challenges can weaken our bodies’ defenses and compromise our immunity. While it is important to stay on schedule and do your best to please others, it is just as imperative to take care of yourself.


 Get plenty of Vitamin C…Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant by helping eliminate disease-causing free radicals. It is required for collagen, an important structural component of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone. It also plays an important role in brain function, mood, and energy. Below is a table of whole foods that contain Vitamin C:

Food Serving Vitamin C (mg)
Orange juice ¾ cup (6 ounces) 75
Grapefruit juice ¾ cup (6 ounces) 60
Orange 1 medium 70
Grapefruit ½ medium 44
Strawberries 1 cup, whole 82
Tomato 1 medium 23
Sweet red pepper ½ cup, raw chopped 141
Broccoli ½ cup, cooked 58
Potato 1 medium, baked 26

Boost your immunity with Probiotics….70% of your body’s immune system is located in the digestive tract. Probiotic cultures in yogurt and probiotic drinks can help optimize the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and better regulate the digestive system for healthier function. Try Activia probiotic lowfat yogurt and DanActive probiotic dairy drink.

Eat a balanced diet….Whole foods such as fruits & vegetables, legumes and grains contain the vitamins and minerals necessary to sustain a healthy body. Fish, eggs, lowfat diary products and lean meats provide the proteins we need for our muscle tone and tissue integrity. Healthy fats such as walnuts, olive oil and flax oil have beneficial omega 3’s good for heart-health, mood and brain function. (Walnuts also contain an antioxidant compound, ellagic acid supporting immunity and said to be cancer preventative.)

Stay hydrated….Water is nature’s purest source of hydration, and drinking water is cleansing for the body. Though it has been recommended 8 glasses per day (varying according to the individual), we can get 20% of our water needs through fruits and vegetables as they are high in water content. This winter season; consider fruits such as apples, oranges and grapes; and vegetables such as red leaf lettuce, kale, squash and cabbage.

Cleansing and your Health – A Dietitian’s Review

With Thanksgiving over (and over-stuffed bellies rumbling), there’s a lot of talk about “cleansing”. There are several over-the-counter products for liver detox and colon cleanses. But as a Dietitian who has been schooled in the many processes the body naturally undergoes to properly digest and eliminate our toxins, I’ve been a bit weary of  “fast-and-easy” approaches to weight loss and toxin-release.

A 3-day cleanse? 10 day cleanse? Well I have to admit I’ve tried both. While I’m not convinced that it may replace any long-term health regimen. And certainly shouldn’t be done so frequent as to every time you’ve overindulged – the cleanse having become routine. I don’t see the harm in a 3-7 day cleanse (once or even twice a year) if can help replentish your energy and provide incentive for a healthier lifestyle.

The Master Cleanse is something you can concoct right from the cupboard of your own kitchen. Most of us have some Maple syrup; and in that spice cabinet I’m sure is a container of cayenne. And let’s face it; lemons add flavor and zest to many dishes so they pretty much are a staple as well. What I like is  the author not only prepares you for the cleanse with simple raw-food diet, but also eases one off gradually and stressses the importance of a healthy-way to break the fast.

The beauty of this cleanse is that it actually tastes good and is so easy to mix up, whether making a glass on hand or preparing a container for the day. You drink it quite often throughout the day so there is no real ‘hunger’ issue. But you must be prepared for the detox. This means traveling is not much of an option. A restroom must always be close by and you may need the facility for quite some time – so I wouldn’t suggest going anywhere there is likely to be a cue. But if you are in good health and have the time and space to relax in your home, and meditate in your own way, perhaps you may give this one a try.

I can break down the benefits of each ingredient. Fortunately there are only 3, plus water of course:

Lemons: Lemons are a citrus fruit. They provide Vitamin C – good for overall immunity function. They contain more potassium that apples or grapes which is beneficial for heart-health. Though the taste is sour and acidic, lemons actually leaves alkaline residue in the body, thus helping to prevent acidosis. It checks excesses of bile, dislodges mucus phlegm and cleanses the mouth. Lemon juice is also powerful antibacterial. And as many are aware, they act as a diuretic, thus may help eliminate excess water from our system (responsible for puffiness and bloating).

Maple syrup: Though a sweetener like sugar, it is not an empty-calorie treat, as one would expect. In fact, maple syrup provides important minerals that our bodies can use. Both Zinc and the trace mineral Manganese are beneficial for our immune system. As a component of the antioxidant SOD, manganese works as a cofactor in antioxidant defense. It also helps to reduce inflammation – a factor in disharmony and disease. Studies have shown that with deficiencies of manganese, the levels of good cholesterol HDL have been reduced. Lessened immunity may be seen with zinc deficiency. Zinc restoration in the body can help return white cell numbers and immune response to healthy levels. Zinc also works as an antioxidant to prevent endothelial damage and progression of atherosclerosis.

Cayenne: Many have touted the thermogenic effect of spicy foods and ingredients to aid in weight loss. It has been said that they stimulate the metabolism to burn more calories. Probably so to some extent, but not to be taken so literally as these effects are actually quite minimal. However, cayenne has essential B and C vitamins important for the heart and immunity. Cayenne may help breaks up mucus and add warmth to the entire system. Capsicum (cayenne pepper) is said to create a powerful boost in circulation and increase heart action. It has been known for its energizing effects. Cayenne also helps with peristolic action in the intestines and aids in digestion and elimination.

And oh, the virtues of water. While I could go on, I’ll keep this one short and to the point.  Water is cleansing and essential for our survival. It helps us digest our foods to maintain a balance of nutrients and eliminate toxins from our bodies. It is best to stay hydrated by nature’s pure source.

For more information on the Master Cleanse:

Healthy Introductions for their Growing Minds

BODY AND SOUL: Bites of Information, News, Tips & Ideas for Healthier Living

Between ages of 1 – 3 , toddlers are in self-exploratory
mode. They feel, touch, taste and manipulate practically everything
they come in contact with. Their senses are in full-drive and their
minds are growing and retaining many vital elements of the world around
them. According to Ruth Yaron’s book, Super Baby Food, what a baby
learns to like now will likely stay with her the rest of her life. Now
is the time to introduce healthy whole foods for their developing
bodies and their growing minds.


Apples are a source of carbohydrates providing energy
and nutrients for the body. It’s functional nutrients include Vitamin C
and dietary fiber. Benefits include prevention of cholesterol build-up
in the blood, healthy immunity function, regularity and ease of
digestion. And there are many varieties of taste and color from sweet,
yellow Golden Delicious to the sweet-tart Pink Lady. In fact evidence
stemming as far back as 8,500 BC shows how apples became the most
sought after fruit on each where various cultures all over the world
utilized this precious fruit for its heavenly taste and digestive
benefits. They were often served as dessert following a meal.

Welcome to Nutrifit&Savvy!

As a Master of Nutritional Science & Registered Dietitian, I can guide you to better health for your body and soul. I emphasize good taste, texture and social adventure. I will help you navigate through the complexity and confusion of media messaging, packaging and product claims. –  Lauren O’Connor, MS, RD

I hope you will enjoy the features on this site and join me in a NutriFit&Savvy – a program suited to your individual needs while maintaining tried & true practices of good nutrition. NutritFit&Savvy where you can still be fit and healthy while leading the saveur life (saveur (f) n. savor, flavor, taste; relish, zest – Babylon Frenh English dictionary)

NutriFit&Savvy is an approach to health & fitness through good taste, flavor and zest for adventure:

  • A foodie’s guide to savouring and enjoying food without the guilt or the growing waistline.
  • Reach and maintain your ideal weight/size through a heart-healthy lifestyle.
  • Personalized goals are designed for individuals to meet their required needs.
  • Food is not the enemy, rather a source of nourishment and delight for the body and soul.

Body and Soul: Our Eyes Can Say a Lot about our Health

They say you can see the soul through our eyes. And I’m sure we’ve all seen that person with those sparkly eyes that seem to magnify and attract almost everyone they come in contact with.

Our eyes are important for vision and are apparent in our beauty (both inside and out). When we are not feeling well it shows in our eyes – whether glassy, visibly red or half-mast when over-tired.

Did you know that intake of Omega 3’s from fish, nuts and olive oils can be eye protective? Diet (along with skin care and protection) can influence our eye health and keep you looking fresh and bright.

Below are some ways our diet can influence eye health:

  1. Include fish, nuts and olive oils in your diet: These healthy fats are good for are eyes as well as our hearts. Studies published in May 2009 in the Archives of Ophthalmology provide more evidence that these foods, which contain healthy fats, can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  And they aren’t the first to suggest fish and omega-3 fatty acids may help protect our vision.
  2. Eat foods rich in Beta Carotene to prevent night blindness and other eye disease. This includes fruits and vegetables because Beta Carotene is synthesized in plants. Though Beta Carotene is closely related to Vitamin A, it is remarkably safe (Large doses of vitamin A can be toxic). It is one of the 3 most important carotenes to man. Foods high in Beta Carotene include carrots, lettuce (Cos and Romaine), Turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, spinach, canned pumpkin and Chinese cabbage.
  3. Drink plenty of water: Though it has been recommended, 8 glasses per day (it varies according to the individual), we can get 20% of our water needs through fruits and vegetables since they are high in water content. Consider fruits such as apples, strawberries, apricots, watermelon and citrus; and vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers and carrots (Yes, carrots! Carrots are also great for your eye health as they contain Beta Carotene).
  4. Limit your caffeine intake: This includes coffees, sodas and teas. These act as diuretics – helping to take water out of our bodies, rather than replenish.
  5. Limit your alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a leading cause of water retention, which can result in puffy eyes.
  6. Keep your sodium intake within healthy limits. RDA recommendations are no more the 2300mg per day. This is the amount in 1 tsp of salt. Be sure to read nutrition labels and be aware of the amount of servings you have. Best to eat unprocessed, whole foods as these foods contain the least amount of sodium. Over consumption of sodium causes our bodies to retain water, which explains puffiness under the eyes.

For more ways to improve your health & well-being, be sure to check out the new Body & Soul section on my website: Below are some non-dietary ways to protect our eyes and the delicate skin around them:

  1. Use moisturizer and eye creams under the eyes: Our skin around the eyes is very delicate and thin, making it very susceptive to damage from chemicals in water, our facial products and our environment. As our skin is exposed to these external damaging substances, it begins to show signs of premature aging, fine lines and wrinkles. This is because our skin is absorbing harmful bacteria and toxins; while losing moisture, vitamins and minerals.
  2. Keep saline solution eye drops on hand, especially when the weather is dry. This will lubricate and sooth your eyes.
  3. Wear UV protective sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, which can cause cataracts.
  4. Get enough rest: According to the National Sleep Foundation, 7-9 hours per day is recommended. Enough sleep should help prevent those saggy eyelids and bags from becoming all too apparent.
  5. Lay cucumbers on your eyes for 10 minutes. This will help reduce the puffiness. Cucumbers contain cooling properties which helps reduce inflammation.
  6. Have your eyes checked annually. Failure to have corrective lenses could result in straining your eyes to read, which consequently shows in your appearance – eyes that are tired and sometimes even red.