‘Eat Well, Be Well’
- Losing 10 # in one week: losing weight quickly results in regain (and more). Think slow & steady – no more than 12 # week
- Cutting out fat completely: choose healthy fats: plant oils, olives, avocados, nuts, seeds
- Banning dessert: restricting certain foods can lead to uncontrollable urges & overeating. Instead of good vs. bad foods think “sometimes” vs. “all the times foods.”
Does wheat make us fat and sick is the title of a recent publication in the Journal of Cereal Science (yes that is an actual journal). Anyone who has stepped into a bookstore lately is well aware of the multitude of books claiming that wheat is causing all of our current health problems. Wheat Belly, Grain Brain & Wheat Free Diet are among those seemingly endless titles. I find my head spinning when I hear another professional purporting the benefits of eliminating wheat from our diet. These researchers have suggested that wheat consumption leads to overeating and addiction, therefore resulting in our current obesity epidemic. Not only is there weak scientific evidence to back this claim, it also oversimplifies a very complicated problem. In my experience as an RD, I have found that obesity has not resulted from overeating healthy whole wheat grains, (such as bulgur, kamut, spelt, wheat berries, etc.) but rather consumption of refined breads (i.e. wheat), crackers, cookies & other processed baked goods; in general overconsumption of calories & limited physical activity.
Obesity is multifactorial; we cannot assign one specific type of food to our current epidemic. However, what we do know for certain is that if we cut processed food from our diet (which includes processed wheat), increase our consumption of plant foods, engage in regular physical activity, we will lose weight and our overall sense of well being will improve. Individuals that eliminate wheat from their diet are essentially limiting their processed food intake. The culprit: high calorie, processed foods (not the wheat)
It should be noted that persons with celiac disease or wheat allergies do need to eliminate wheat from their diet.
- Eat more fiber: fruits, vegetables, whole grains & legumes (i.e. beans)
- Cook dinner at home: make healthier versions of your restaurant favorites
- Exercise 30 minutes per day: aim for minimum of 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise
- Farmer’s & ranchers can grow excellent food that is not “certified” organic
(think soil in organic matters vs. synthetic pesticides)
- Remember organic does not mean necessarily mean food is good for you (i.e. “organic” soda)
- Soils rich in organic matters produce more nutritious foodstry local & organic when possible
source: Michael Pollan Food Rules
As I have mentioned in past blogs, I am not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions simply because I think it often embraces the all or nothing mentality that gets us into trouble in the first place. That said, I stumbled into this blog From College Girl to College Girl (just in case it needs to be noted, I am not a college girl) about New Year Resolutions Revamped that is worth the read. I really like reframing the typical resolution into something more concrete and not nearly so daunting as say “lose 10 pounds by summer.” After all, isn’t good health more about what our weight says on the scale? We should care for our body no matter the shape or size and embrace our ability to move, run, walk, dance, etc.
Even if you are not a college girl like me, check out this post.
Old: “I’m going to lose 10 lbs this year.”
Why focus on weight and appearance for your New Years Resolution? You should instead focus on feeding your body with healthy foods and listening to what it wants and needs. After all, the number on the scale is… well, just a number.
New and Improved: “I’m going to make more meals at home.”
After the holidays, we fall into a bit of a nutrition slump. We’re used to eating bigger meals, eating out with our family and friends, and sampling the wide variety of Christmas cookies! And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! But, most of us grow tired of this and are ready to get back on our normal eating schedule. After New Years, make a resolution to make more meals at home. This will give you a chance to try new recipes! Also, eating at home is often healthier, more nutrient dense, and lower in empty calories and more conducive to weight management.
Old: “No more desserts for me!”
Everything can be incorporated in an overall healthy diet. Cutting out your favorite foods will only lead to wanting them more, so give yourself permission to eat your favorite foods in moderation.
New and improved: “I am going to eat at least 3 different kinds of fruits/vegetables a day.”
Instead of focusing on what you are going to cut out of your diet, focus on what you can add into your diet! Fruits and vegetables are a great place to start. Fruit can also be a yummy and dessert! Check out this recipe for banana whip.
Old: “I am going to work out every single day.”
Again, this goal is very vague.
New and improved: “I will sign up and train for a 10 mile race.” or “I will try 2 new group fitness classes a month, and work out at least 3 times a week.”
Being more physically active is a great New Years Resolution! But, if you do not consistently exercise, making a resolution to “work out more” or “exercise every day” may not be specific enough. If you like to run, try signing up for a race with a few friends. Set up a training schedule together! If you don’t like to run, find other ways.
Old: “I’m going to get the bikini body I’ve always wanted.”
What is a “bikini body” anyways?
New and Improved: “I’m going to focus on what I love about my body.”
Try committing to saying 3 positive affirmations out loud everyday. Or make a list of 10 things you love about yourself that you love about yourself that includes non-body related personality traits. Add to this list often and read it often!
Old: “I’m going on a diet.”
New and Improved: “I’m going to fuel my body with the food it needs.”
This year try to REBEL against conventional fad diets that do not provide long lasting results and can be dangerous to your health.
Old: “I am going to start eating healthier”
This is a great resolution, but it’s too vague and general. Try coming up with specific and small health goals that you can accomplish and focus in on.
New and Improved: “I am going to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night” or “I am going to eat 2-3 servings of vegetables per day” or “I will start eating breakfast”
These resolutions will help you eat and be healthier and are specific and achievable!
Old: “I am going to spend more time working, etc.”
This is also a great resolution! But we often find it harder to make time to relax and stress relief.
New and Improved: “I will set aside 2 hours per week to practice self-care”
Taking time for yourself to relax and clear your mind will actually help reduce stress and help you accomplish more!
- Downsize your dinnerware. Eat from appetizer or bread
plates rather than pizza sized dinner plates.
- If you bit it, write it. Keeping logs of food & drink will help
avoid mindless eating.
- Eat a protein packed breakfast. Those who eat protein rich
breakfasts consume fewer calories all day.
- Rethink your drink. Beverages don’t contribute to fullness like foods. The # 1 contributor to weight gain is alcohol consumption.
- Up your exercise intensity. One of the best ways to make your body more resistant to extra calories is to get more exercise.
After browsing the latest Bon Appétit & Eating Well I found myself feeling the pressure to go into a baking frenzy. Everywhere you look from the Internet to grocery store magazine shelves, decadent, delicious (not to mention) festive cookies are calling your name. Normally I would feel the pressure to make every single one of them, but this year, I am going to stick to my tried and true favorites. Always a tradition, my Hazelnut Biscotti marks the beginning of the holiday season in my house. I wish I could tell you this biscotti recipe spans generations in my Italian blooded family, but alas, that would be a fable. I actually spotted this recipe years ago in a now defunct vegetarian magazine. Though it didn’t come from my Italian roots, at least I know my favorite Italian aunt, Zia Patty will enjoy these tasty bites with her morning coffee.
Hazelnut Maple Biscotti
Hazelnuts (a tree nut) are a good source of folate & dietary fiber. Consuming tree nuts may even reduce the risk of dying from heart disease.
½ cup pure maple syrup (not pancake)
½ cup hazelnut butter (I ground my hazelnuts which is actually pretty simple)
¼ cup butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon hazelnut liquor (optional)
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup lightly toasted hazelnuts
Semi-sweet or Bittersweet Chocolate for drizzle
|Preheat oven to 325. Line cookie sheet with parchment or silpat). In a medium bowl, cream together maple syrup, hazelnut butter and butter. Add eggs, vanilla and liquor, blending well. In a larger bowl, combine flours brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir to blend. Make a well into dry ingredients, add egg mixture and mix until incorporated. Add nuts. (Knead by hand if necessary). On a lightly floured board, divide dough into half and roll into 2 14-inch logs. Place logs on prepared sheet, then flatten about 1 inch high. Bake for 25 minutes or until loaves spring back when touched lightly. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Reset oven to 300. Slice cookies on the diagonal. Place slices flat on baking sheet, and bake for 25 minutes (a lot of this process is trial and error; I like my cookies crisp so I bake longer). Remove from oven and let cool. Drizzle with chocolate (or dip in chocolate) if desired.|
Many people make the false assumption that as a dietitian I have “perfect” eating & exercise habits. I have even had a few people mention they hope to never see me in the grocery store for fear that I may “judge” their cart contents (rest assured, grocery cart judge I am not). While I am certainly not the food police, I recognize that I cannot teach others about proper nutrition & exercise if I am not engaging in those behaviors myself. The biggest barrier to living healthy for me is time management. Without time management I am stressed and stress equals poor lifestyle choices (more caffeine, more chocolate in my case). This year I am determined to better manage my time thus resulting in a day mostly filled with smart choices (notice the word “mostly” because after all it is the holidays).
Tips for managing holiday (or anytime stress)
1. My number one tip is developing a positive attitude. This sound cliché but it is oh so true. Attitude makes a huge difference in how my day goes. If my attitude is poor, so is my day (along with my eating habits).
2. Sleep and wake up on time. One is not possible without the other, in other words I cannot wake up early without the appropriate amount of sleep. No browsing the Internet or Pinterest before bedtime (guilty).
2. Exercise, dance to holiday music…. in other words move. Many people don’t make time for exercise during the holidays, but it is a tremendous stress reliever. Mornings are a great time to squeeze some physical activity into your day (note the above tip…sleep). If planned exercise is not a priority (though it should be), make a point to move throughout the day (take a walk break, use the stairs, etc)
3. Don’t skip meals. I repeat, don’t skip meals. More times than not this results in overindulging in foods you would not normally eat (or eat in large quantities) Plan ahead and snack smart with items such as apple slices with peanut butter, plain Greek yogurt with some granola, a handful of nuts & “healthy” energy bars. Check out this easy recipe for portable homemade energy bars from Appetite for Health.