A friend and colleague of mine forward me this video clip from The Onion, which is perhaps my favorite place for news. (For those of you who don't know The Onion writes parodies of news stories and is often quite hysterical.)
Alert: if you are bothered or offended by profanity, please don't watch this. For those of you who aren't...now I really have your attention! So take a moment and watch this clip before reading on.
Man Says 'Fuck It,' Eats Lunch At 10:58 A.M.
Don't 'Reboot with Joe' A guest post by dietetic intern Shalini.
A little while back I was told about this “life-changing” documentary that I had to watch; it was called “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.” It fell within my scope of interest, so I watched. The cartoon illustrations between the major segments were amusing, but overall I found the content of the documentary to be extreme: a 60-day juicing fast to lose weight? Really? Of course! It all comes back to what extreme measures we can come up with to further destroy our bodies and minds.
In the documentary, Joe wants us to ‘reboot’. He explains to us what that means:
“A Reboot is a period of time where you commit to drinking and eating only fruits and vegetables, herbal teas, and water in order to regain or sustain your vitality, lose weight and kick-start healthy habits that recharge your body and get your diet back in alignment for optimal wellness.”
Well, that sounds fantastic, right? Nope. It sounds more like a disaster waiting to happen! A 60-day all fruit and vegetable juicing diet goes against what our body needs to sustain itself. With this “diet” we are only getting simple carbohydrates, which digest quickly and do not keep us feeling full throughout the day. Staying hungry all day sounds like a pretty miserable way to spend the day. Our bodies need a mix of carbohydrates (simple and complex), protein, and fat in order to properly function. By cutting out complete food groups we are not only harming ourselves physically, but we are also training our minds to believe that we need to treat our bodies unhealthily to look healthy? Wait… That doesn’t make sense!
Even though fruits and vegetables should be a part of a healthy diet, we need more that just that. Even in the documentary, the individuals who began the “reboot” program felt miserable when starting their juicing way-of-life. By restricting ourselves, we are just setting ourselves up for future disappointment and loss of control. When we are hungry, we need to eat; when we are satisfied, we need to stop. That’s it.
If you are trying to lose weight, the best thing you can do is follow a balanced ‘diet’ (and I use the word ‘diet’ loosely), consisting of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. We should not punish ourselves by having only juiced fruits and vegetables every day, being unable to enjoy the foods we desire! Is that any way to live? (No, its not.) There are so many creative and tasty meals we can incorporate into our day that can be part of a balanced lifestyle. And guess what? It’s okay to occasionally eat foods that have zero nutritional value just because they taste good – that’s what they are there for!
By restricting yourself from the foods you love, you will only be setting yourself up for a feeling of failure and regret. Don’t do that to yourself!
Well, from a nutritional perspective you’ve heard why I don’t feel these quick fixes are a good idea… Do you have any other reasons why you think this ‘reboot’ is a terrible, awful, horrible idea?
March is National Nutrition Month! And this year The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is celebrating with the theme "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day." I actually love the theme this year because it embodies my belief that what is "right" in terms of nutrition is individual. And the key to good nutrition is honoring your own internally guided cues of what's "right" for you.
So in honor of National Nutrition Month, I'd like to share with you a video of my niece. Not only will this video bring a smile to your face but it will remind you of the amazing ability to intuitive eat that we were all born with.
Below are some of my favorite resources to help you "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day."
This past weekend, we had a major storm out here in New England. In fact, I’ve never seen so much snow at once! As I was watching Facebook, my inbox, and news reports I was intrigued with everyone’s efforts to prepare for the upcoming deluge. In fact, I found it incredibly interesting. Many people headed to the grocery store and stock piled their cupboards, fridges, and freezers (along with grabbing cash and filling up their gas tanks).
I think this behavior has such relevance to the world of nutrition. When we fear impending famine, we stock pile “just in case.” How many of you repeat this pattern with your diets? If you have ever participated in a “diet” than you have repeated it even if you don’t know it! Creating a famine by cutting out certain foods or food groups actually triggers a natural and healthy survival mechanism to feast. This survival mechanism causes us to think obsessively and crave those forbidden items. And as many of you know from experience, when we are both psychologically and physically restricted we don’t just crave moderate amounts of those items, we yearn for COPIOUS amounts of them. And before you know it, a terrible pattern has emerged… Famine (even with the best of intentions) has set you up for feasting.
I was recently invited to guest blog for The Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition's blog "Today's Diet and Nutrition." There are a plethora of "tips for the holidays" articles out there so I suppose I added mine to the mix. While the blog post is specifically geared toward individuals with an eating disorder, I actually think it's advice that applies for just about anyone. So even if you don't have an eating disorder, check it out!
The holidays are a wonderful—and wonderfully stressful—time of year for all of us, but the stress is amplified for anyone struggling with an eating disorder. Numerous celebrations with particularly indulgent food and potentially socially stressful situations with friends and family is a lot to manage!
On the surface an eating disorder manifests itself with unhealthy eating behaviors. But underneath, those behaviors carry with them important meanings about relationships and implications regarding emotional health. While I cannot possibly address all of these complicated issues in one blog post, I have created a list of tips to address the different facets clients need support with during the holiday season.
If you are going to a holiday party in the evening, ignore the traditional dieting advice to reduce your intake during the day. Eat as normally as possible so that you are ready for a meal but not starving when you arrive to the party. "Primal hunger" triggers most people to overeat; to avoid the feeling of being overly hungry and out of control, make sure your hunger needs are met during the day.
If you are particularly nervous about what food is being served, see if you can talk to the hostess prior to the event and ask about the menu. This will give you some time to come up with a game plan or work with your treatment team to develop a food strategy for the evening.
Remember that a part of normal eating is eating things that simply taste good, even if they have no nutritional value! Ask any dietitian and they will tell you that eating foods for fun and flavor can be a part of any balanced diet.
Part of recovering from an eating disorder is learning to set boundaries. By nature, most people who struggle with an eating disorder give away too much of themselves. This year, you can give yourself the gift of saying "no." No, you do not have to attend every party. And no, you do not have to stay the whole evening. Consider leaving a party early, then going home for a bubble bath to unwind. Before the holiday season is in full swing, think about one way you can lessen the stress of your calendar by saying no.
If you have family members or friends who know about your eating disorder, enlist their help. They can take over certain tasks or assignments that you don't feel up to doing. For instance, have a friend call the hostess about the menu if you don't feel comfortable. Ask your husband to buy a pre-prepared treat if you feel too overwhelmed to prepare food for the party. You don't have to do it all yourself!
Give the gift of self-care this season rather than neglecting yourself. Get creative! This can include buying your favorite scented candle, making time to watch your favorite holiday movie, or even hiring a cleaning crew to come in for a deep cleaning session if you don't have regular help with your home. There are endless possibilities for any budget. If you believe that self-care is indulgent and unnecessary, I will strongly disagree with you! Recovery is, in essence, learning the art of self-care.
Sleep is your ally and best friend. Sleep will help you ward off illness and keep your emotions more balanced. It also keeps your body functioning at its best. It is a precious asset, so hold on to it with all your might, even when the calendar gets packed!
I hope this blog post will help you embrace the true purposes of this holiday season: connecting with loved ones and celebrating with gratitude. You deserve it.
What's your best strategy for managing the holidays healthfully?
Thanksgiving is a wonderful yet stressful holiday for a lot of people. The entire day is centered around food. And if food is a source of stress and anxiety for you, that's a lot of pressure! I won't be providing you with a list of food do's and don'ts at your Thanksgiving meal. So if that's what you were hoping for, I do apologize. But I will provide you with some ideas to contemplate. If you are anxious about Thanksgiving, I'd encourage you to take a pen and paper and journal about some of the questions below.
1. What gives Thanksgiving value and meaning for you?
2. What contributes to or detracts from the "specialness" of the holiday?
3. When it comes to food, what are you worried about specifically? Really give this some thought. What concerns you?
4. How would you like THIS Thanksgiving to be different from past Thanksgivings?
5. How would you like it to be the same?
6. List 3 specific factors that will make it hard for you to have a different experience?
7. How can you plan for those challenges? Can you do it on your own? Do you need support? Do you need a new/creative strategy?
8. What thoughts and beliefs do you have about eating on Thanksgiving? Where do those thoughts and beliefs come from? Are they really yours? Really listen to those thoughts. Do you believe them? How do those thoughts affect your feelings and actions?
9. When it comes to eating, food, and your body- what are you truly grateful for? What makes you feel good?
Thanksgiving, just like all eating experiences is highly individual. While eating is the central event in most homes on Thanksgiving, I hope your holiday is also filled with positive relationships, peace, and gratitude.
What tips have helped you have a positive food experience on Thanksgiving?
I don’t often use a lot of self-disclosure on my blog. In fact, the last time I shared something personal was July 2011 when I talked about my body image. But after finishing my dinner tonight I had a little conversation with myself that I wanted to share.
I love chocolate…like, a lot. I especially love German chocolate. Ok, to be more specific I LOVE Milka Schoko and Keks and I love the Butter Biscuit by Rittersport. As luck would have it, Trader Joe’s sells those Rittersport bars at a very reasonable price. I typically have at least one back up bar in my treat bowl at home. (Yes, another reveal, I have a treat bowl at home.)
So I came home tonight after a very full day at work. In fact, it was an unusually full day. I sat down to a meal that was just what I needed on a cold, rainy evening. I was tired and hungry and couldn’t wait to eat. After I finished my meal I started to think about my Butter Biscuit waiting for me in the treat bowl. I got all excited knowing that it was just what I wanted to finish my meal. I broke off a line of chocolate and noticed that I was eating it with tremendous delight. The chocolate was making me quite happy, quite warm and fuzzy, and I noticed the stress of my day begin to dissipate.
And that’s when I started to think about the difference between eating WITH emotion and emotional eating. I talk about emotional eating most days with my clients and I can assure you that there is a difference! Emotional eating has a few particular qualities:
- It is used to cover up, diminish, numb or avoid challenging emotions.
- It happens with great speed and little pleasure. It goes in the mouth and down the hatch before you can savor a single bite.
- It leaves you feeling physically unwell after you have eaten.
- It creates disconnection with yourself.
- It is often followed by guilt, remorse, and shame.
Now what I described above is light years away from eating WITH emotion! Eating WITH emotion includes getting super excited to eat a meal you love or try a new restaurant you’ve heard friends raving about. Eating WITH emotion is eating things that are super yummy and satisfying. Eating WITH emotion leaves you feeling physically satisfied and content and emotionally balanced or even happy!
Not every snack is going to be the zen experience I described earlier. Not every meal will send you to Cloud 9. BUT, I truly believe that experiences of eating WITH emotion are vital to our health and well-being.
So when was the last time you ate WITH emotion? What did you eat? And if you haven’t lately, what’s stopping you? Hop to it, your body will thank you. J
I was recently asked to give an interview on essential fatty acids. I was actually thrilled to talk about this because getting enough essential fatty acids (omega-3) in your diet is essential to brain health, mental health, and satiety! Through the 90's dietary fat got a very bad rap. But slowly people seem to be coming around to the idea that fats are crucial to eating well.
In fact, did you know that inadequate dietary fat is association with increased levels of anxiety and depression! Seriously.
So what's your biggest obstacle to getting more omega-3s into your diet?
Serves: 4 to 6 servings
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 cups Israeli couscous (or barley or orzo)
• 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
• 1 medium green apple, diced
• 1 cup dried cranberries
• 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted, see Cook's Note
• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
• 2 tablespoons maple syrup
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup olive oil
For the couscous: In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the couscous and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly browned and aromatic, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 to12 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the cooked couscous to a large bowl and set aside to cool. Add the parsley, rosemary, thyme, apple, dried cranberries, and almonds.
For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until smooth. Pour the vinaigrette over the couscous and toss to coat evenly.
Cook's Note: To toast the almonds, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange the almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely before using.
I have never been a fan of pre-made diet-based meals like Jenny Craig. They are tasteless, nutritionally inadequate, and provide a “quick fix” without the ability to facilitate lasting and healthful change. And it wasn’t until I was recently introduced to The Foodery that I fell in love with the idea of home delivered meals. To be brief, The Foodery is everything that Jenny Craig isn’t.
A couple of months ago, the owners of The Foodery contacted me. They were relatively new to the area and trying to get connected with local business owners. Originally when they reached out to me for a meet-up I made it very clear that I do NOT promote diets and am not an advocate of any type of company that sells meal replacements and low quality food for people desperate to lose weight. And they quickly reassured me, that’s not what they are in business for. Phew.
Turns out I have a lot in common with Mike and John from The Foodery. One- we like food a lot. But we don’t like just any food, we like food that tastes really really good. Two- we care about quality ingredients. And three- we don’t always have the time we’d like to prepare delicious and nutritionally balanced meals. If you’d like to learn more about their history and business philosophy, definitely check out their blog and website.
After our meet-up, Mike and John invited me to taste test their food in order to provide them constructive feedback. (I know, my job sounds really rough sometimes.) When the food arrived, it felt a little like Christmas.
The packaging and presentation made the whole experience totally enjoyable. I sampled three different meals:
1. Filet, spinach, watercress salad, blueberry dressing
2. Porcini-topped lamb, butternut squash, couscous
3. Shrimp veggie pizza, whole wheat crust
What I LOVED:
1. Presentation- the meals were beautifully presented. The balance, color, and variety were very visually appealing.
2. Variety- I selected items that I probably wouldn’t prepare at home. It was really fun to have such a wide variety of tastes and flavors in the course of a few days.
3. Freshness- All of the food tasted incredibly fresh. No wilty vegetables. No store bought flavor. Even the blueberry dressing for the salad was homemade and bursting with flavor.
4. Nutritional Quality- Each of the meals was really nicely balanced from a nutritional perspective. The only meal I found lacking in the nutritional department was the salad. I would have liked a grain integrated in to the meal. That was the meal that left me feeling less than fully satisfied.
Things to consider:
If you are looking for high-quality, nicely prepared, organic, nutritious, and yummy food delivered to your door- The Foodery is IT. Right now the meals are delivered on Sunday evening within a 3 hour time frame. If you aren’t typically home from 6-9 on Sunday evenings, this could prove to be problematic. Also, the price point is $23 per meal. Given the time and costs of preparing an organic meal, seems pretty reasonable to me, but something to keep in mind.
So if you give The Foodery a try, be sure to tell ‘em Marci sent you. J Happy eating.