Welcome New Staff

Flori Brioni, RD

Flori Brioni, RD

I am thrilled to have welcomed several new dietitians to our team recently. Flori Brioni, MS, RD, LDN has already begun seeing some of my Early Intervention clients (now that our state has resumed coverage for these families!). Carmyn Zoler, RD, Leslie Stiles, RD and Rebekah Langford, RD will be joining us in the near future to see Early Intervention clients as well. I’m excited to be able to expand our reach, with the help of so many outstanding registered dietitians. Read more about how we serve EI clients.

Flori was ready to start with F2S in June, but her work was put on hold due to the state budget impasse. Now that Early Intervention is once again covered, Flori has serviced a few F2S clients in the evenings and on weekends since October. Early Intervention appointments take place in a client’s home, which makes them much more personal and customized.

Flori says that seeing patients in their home settings is a big advantage with these young clients. “You can see how a child interacts with siblings and with their moms. When I come, they might be eating, so it’s great to see how that’s going.”

Overall, it’s a more relaxed atmosphere, says Flori, which is ideal for these patients under age 3.

Flori works full-time at La Rabida Children’s Hospital, seeing children with chronic diseases. Read her full bio here.

She enjoys working with kids, especially, because she appreciates what she considers a bigger challenge. “No child is ever the same. With adults, you are usually helping them to maintain weight, but with kids you are helping with proper growth.”

Flori considers her work with EI patients especially important. A lot of the kids who receive EI spent a long time in the hospital in the NICU and were were likely seen by a dietitian while there. “When these kids leave the hospital, it’s still really important for them to see a dietitian in order to meet their weight goals.”

And as we all know, healthy nutrition is essential for all children, especially the EI kids who need everything in place in order to thrive.


What’s the Beef on Bacon?

Bacon, usually in the news for its popularity among foodies, recently received a major thumbs down from the World Health Organization. An international panel of experts convened by the WHO concluded in late October that eating processed meat like hot dogs, ham and bacon raises the risk of colon cancer and consuming other red meats “probably” raises the risk as well.

Sorry, Atkins Diet fans. Looks like excessive consumption of meat is not where it’s at.

For dietitians, though, we’re not alarmed. We’ve long recommended reducing meat consumption, which certainly includes the kinds that are salted, cured or smoked to enhance flavor and improve preservation.

And while I wouldn’t recommend completely eliminating a favorite food completely (my own family loves most processed meats), based on new health research, I will take this as an opportunity to suggest ways to reduce meat consumption. Most of us in America eat more meat than is good for us or for our planet. So try these tips out for size.

1. Meatless Monday. This is pretty self explanatory, and it doesn’t have to even be a Monday. For families that eat meat every night, start to rethink dinner at least one night a week.

2. Use meat as a flavoring. A little bit of meat can go a long way to flavor a stir fry, soup, lasagna or tacos.

3. Fill up on vegetables. Make sure you serve appetizing vegetable dishes, and then you’re less likely to stuff yourself with steak.

4. Serve from the kitchen. When you do serve meat, there’s no need to put a huge platter of it on the table. Reduce dirty platters, while helping control portions at the same time.


Breast is best!

Congrats Gia Diakakis, RD on the birth of her first baby, Theodore Peter! What does a RD do in preparation of having a baby? She researches food, of course! For Gia, this meant completing a “Breastfeeding Basics” course at Evanston North Shore Hospital, which further increased her desire to breastfeed. She wrote the following prior to her maternity leave.

In working in the field of nutrition for the past 5 years, I have been made aware of the benefits of breast-feeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends to breast feed until 12 months of age. If you’re like me, it’s important to understand the rationale behind something before you jump on board.

So why is it so important to breast-feed and for a full year? To begin, breast milk, specifically colostrum, provides important antibodies to newborn infants and helps to build their immune system starting at birth. Infants also receive vital fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which plays an important role in neurodevelopment. A mother’s breast milk is also specifically made to nourish the infant and provide appropriate proportions of calories, fluid, carbohydrates, fat, protein and micronutrients (for healthy newborn/infants). Lastly, studies show that children who breastfeed longer, drink water and consume vegetables and fruits more often at six years of age compared to infants who were not breastfed. They also consume less fruit juice and sugar sweetened beverages.

Much of this is common knowledge, but how about the impact breast milk and breast feeding has on intelligence? The American Academy of Pediatrics completed a study that looked at academic outcomes in children that were not breast fed, breast fed less than four months, breast fed four to seven months, and breast fed eight moths or more. They monitored their academic outcomes from 8-18 years of age. One of their findings was that those children who were breast fed eight months or more, had mean scores of 0.11-0.30 standard deviations higher than scores of those children who were never breast fed. They explained it well when they wrote,

“Increasing duration of breastfeeding was associated with small, detectable, and generally consistent increases in childhood cognitive outcomes from the age of 8 to the age of 18. Breastfed children had higher mean scores on tests of cognitive ability; performed better on standardized tests of reading, mathematics, and scholastic ability; were rated as performing better in reading and mathematics by their class teachers; had higher levels of achievement in school-leaving examinations; and less often left school without educational qualifications.”

I have been told numerous times how difficult breastfeeding can be and will be. I am going to keep these encouraging pieces of information with me when I feel like I want to give up (which I have been told will likely happen). Wish me luck!