Thursday, September 5, 2013

The sweet life

Last night, at the end of a successful Day 1 on Whole 30, I decided that the gorgeous organic peach I picked up at the market would make a yummy little dessert.

And boy did it!

The peach was diced -- skin and all, kissed with a bit of fresh lemon juice, and lightly sauteed in a small pan with a tiny bit of coconut oil until a bit soft. Into a small baking dish it went.

I mixed together a few chopped pecans with a little shredded coconut, and sprinkled this on top of the peaches. A few minutes under the broil -- to crisp the topping -- and it was done.

No deprivation here! It was the perfect end to a wonderful day of clean eating. I could eat like this forever....

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Whole 30!

My decision to eat Paleo was not spur-of-the-moment. It came about gradually, but became a natural progression after -- with the help of my doctor, Tamara Sachs --  I discovered the foods my body can't tolerate.

Today, I am taking my Paleo experience to a whole new level, starting the Whole30 -- 30 days of clean eating:
  • Organic, grass-fed chicken, beef and pork
  • Wild fish
  • Organic fruits and veggies
  • Raw nuts and seeds
  • Good fats, such as avocado, ghee, coconut butter, nut butters and olives.
I will eat three meals a day, and skip snacks because I really don't need them when I eat well. And although some might argue that this way of eating is way too expensive, I actually save some money because I am not buying crap -- and crap takes it toll, financially and physically.

The Whole30 concept is the brainchild of Dallas and Melissa Hartwig,who ask followers to think of the 30 days as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, calm systemic inflammation and put an end to unhealthy cravings, habits,and relationships with food.

The Hartwigs outline the 30-day program on their Web site, It's there for free, although I recommend their book, "It Starts with Food," a bargain at less than $14 on Amazon. They have no agenda, and although they think the way they eat is the best way possible, they understand that we are all human and have to eat in a way that works for us.

But one sentence from the book keeps repeating in my mind:
"You are what what you eat eats."

Say that five times. And then think about it. If we eat meat, poultry and fish raised on genetically modified corn and soy and injected with hormones, we are eating those things as well. If we eat non-organic fruits and veggies, we are eating pesticides.

I won't promise to post daily the next 30 days, but I will try. I am pumped. And I can't wait for Day 30 because I know I will feel terrific. I also plan on posting lots of recipes, because the more I cook, the better my chances of staying motivated.

I am so looking forward to Oct. 2, the morning I wake up with 30 days of clean eating under my hopefully much-smaller belt!

Monday, September 2, 2013

My body knows best

For months I've taken one day at a time, recording what I eat daily, and then listening to my body tell me whether I made good food choices the day before. On days when I eat something that does not agree with me my sleep is restless, and in the morning my tummy aches and I feel as if I am in the throws of a mild hangover. That sums up how I feel today.
The culprit: The chia pudding I made with coconut milk in a package, not the can. I was cleaning out my pantry yesterday, came upon a box, and immediately whipped up a batch of pudding, a great dessert after dinner, topped with some luscious berries. What I didn't do was read the ingredients on the box of coconut milk, which I did this morning. I was shocked by the unpronounceable items it includes, the stuff I have avoided for months.

The experts always say to listen to your body, but before I felt as good as I do now, I had no idea what good felt like or that my body could tell me when I've eaten something that does not agree with me.

For the past few months I have religiously read ingredients, and either tossed ones I shouldn't eat from my pantry or left them at the grocers. So why did the coconut milk stay? Along with the almond and rice milks in my pantry, I assumed they were nutritious. And you know what they say about making assumptions.

Never again!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Not so sweet

I have long been an admirer of Anna Louise Gittleman, even though I cannot follow her Fat Flush Plan for more than a few weeks.

But I love her newsletter because it is packed with valuable research. Her latest post concerns sugar, what she calls the greatest poison in our diet, linked to more than 60 sixty ailments, including Type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and Metabolic Syndrome.

Go anyplace and just watch the fat people parade by. More than 30 million have Type 2 diabetes and another 70 million qualify as pre-diabetic. Although the reasons why we are fat are many, if we simply cut out sugar we would all see some great changes.

I did two months ago, and I am not looking back. I thought it was going to be difficult to do, but honestly, once the first few days had passed, I haven't missed it at all. And it's not as if it hasn't been  offered. But now when I think of eating that piece of wedding cake or cute little cupcake, I think about how crappy I felt just a few short months ago and how well I feel now.

Gittleman talks about hidden sugars, the ones we have no idea we are eating. You'll find them in most processed foods, from packaged meats to soups to commercial salt. It's also in vitamins, aspirin, prescription and over-the-counter drugs and in cosmetics.

She cites studies that have linked sugar and refined carbs to cardiovascular disease. For example, the Masai and Samburu tribes of East Africa suffer no heart disease even though their diet is composed of mostly meat and milk.

And let's not forget sugar substitues -- artificial sweeteners and high-fructose corn syrup. Gittleman believes it's no coincidence that our cholesterol and triglyceride levels and our abnormal liver tests started escalating when HFCS began being slipped into much of our processed foods.

Why? Because our borides cannot metabolize HFCS, which skips right past the need for insulin production and goes right into our cells where it becomes an uncontrolled source of trouble to our organs. Since our bodies have no idea what HFCS is or what to do with it, it gets stored as fat.

No wonder we are all singing the sugar blues!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Allergic to what?

Lentils. Beans. Eggs.

We've been told for years to include all these in our diets, which I did. An egg for breakfast. Beans on my salad with the goal to eat vegetarian all day -- saving the meat, poultry and fish for dinner. Lentil soup before dinner, to fill me up before the main event.

That was my diet for months. Unfortunately, I am intolerant to all three -- PLUS ! Throw all dairy and gluten into my new list of no-nos. I also lack any kind of B or D vitamins, although I have supplemented these two for decades.

My allergy to all these foods is not the kind that has me grabbing an Epi pen and being rushed to the hospital. Mine is a food intolerance, which has caused me, in no particular order, to have:
  • Inflammation throughout my body, including excruciating carpal tunnel
  • Insomnia
  • An 18-wheeler-sized tire around my waist
  • Exhaustion
  • Red eyes
  • Dull skin
  • High blood pressure.
For a week, the bad foods have been banished from my diet and I feel fantastic.
  • More energy than I have had in years;
  • Nights of restful seven-hour sleep with no getting up three or four times to pee; 
  • And the wheel around my waist, although still there, is more the size of a luxury car now. But hey, it's only been a week.

I always knew the role good food plays in a body. I never suspected that the foods I eat could play such a role in all that was ailing me -- and that it could happen so quickly.

And I owe it all to Dr. Tamara Sachs, a functional medicine MD who doesn't treat symptoms. Instead, she's a doctor/detective, searching for the underlying issues of what is going on in your body.

I am forever thankful I found that woman!

Thursday, August 22, 2013


I have been eating really healthy for the past eight months, but about six weeks ago turned it up a notch and got really serious. I breeze through my days hardly ever tempted to eat something I know will upset my tummy, but once I fall asleep, things change.

Every night I dream that I am chowing down on my old go-to comfort foods: Twizzlers. Pints of Ben & Jerry's. Nona's biscotti. I could go on.

I've had these anything-but-sweet dreams for more than a week. Granted, when I wake up in the morning and  discover it was a dream, the relief is huge and my commitment renewed.

But why am I having these dreams? Turns out, they are totally normal and it is not my sub-conscious telling me that my willpower is weakening. In fact, one sage person in a blog says when you have these dreams, enjoy them.  Revel in the tastes because they are costing you zero calories. Eventually they will go away, sort of like the dreams ex-students have that they missed a test.

Can't wait to see what tonight's treat will be.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fish tales

I love fish. And once I found out that our local fish market was selling fish previously frozen, I decided to give the markets a try. I would seek out the fish not marked "previously frozen" because I had no idea when the market started the thawing process. For all I know, it could have been a week ago. And to me, that's not fresh.

But what really galled me was that much of the fish I bought tasted, well, fishy. 

I started buying all our fish at Trader Joe's and Costco. The fish is frozen solid, I defrost it as needed, and the fish tastes like the ocean.

Which is why I was very happy to see that Barton Seaver, director of the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard School of Public Health agrees with me. 

“The technology of freezing fish has evolved to the point where it’s comparable to, if not better than, fresh fish,” Seaver told“Historically, seafood was frozen as a last-ditch effort to keep it from spoiling. If fish wasn’t sold by Friday, it was frozen so it could be sold when demand was up. So it was a crappy piece of fish to begin with. But these days, fish is pulled from the water, filleted, and frozen within hours. That sounds pretty good to me.”

He goes on to talk about stores that sell previously frozen fish, which he says are "shortchanging the consumer of many benefits.f it’s frozen, it can stay in the freezer until you use it on your schedule,” says Seaver. “Why thaw it and start the process of spoilage? Retailers are playing to a taboo about frozen fish.”
 So frozen it is.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

All about the scale!

One of my new fave Web sites is Whole9, a community based on health, fitness, balance and sanity. Although I embrace all four concepts, it’s the last one – sanity – to which I relate the most.

One of the most helpful articles I have read on Whole9 is why we should take a hammer to our scales. For anyone like me who struggles to lose pounds, this is one habit I am trying to break. What follows are Whole9’s reason why the scale is woman’s worst friend:

  1.  Scale weight fluctuates, and over the day weight can fluctuate by as much as five pounds. Seeing the number jump from one day to the next is anything but inspiring. Weighing daily does nothing for the big picture.
  2. Scale weight says nadda about health. Plenty of skinny people are sick. Whole9 says that anyone can cut calorie count in half and exercise for two hours daily to drop weight. But does that say you’re healthy? No. Plus, your willpower will run out, you will start eating, and those numbers on the scale will jump up. That number says little about your relationship with food, hormones, digestive health or inflammatory status.
  3. The scale blinds you to real results. Here, here! I have been trying to fit into a dress for a wedding. A month ago it fit, but looked horrid. Today, it looks fine, and I’ve only lost a few pounds. But my stomach has decreased inches because of the way I am eating. Plus, I am sleeping better, I have tons more energy, and I am just enjoying life more.
  4. The scale keeps us stuck on food. We equate that number on the scale with the food we eat. Actually, a sleepless night can add some weight, but I never step on the scale and blame the higher number on lack of sleep.
  5. The scale controls our self-esteem. Using a number to determine your worth – which is what that number means to many of us – is just wrong. A daily weigh-in can determine how the rest of your day goes. A little gain, and we’re angry. I little loss, and we might just eat.

I think it’s time to ditch my scale. Or at the very least hide it away and take it out on the first day of every month.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Full circle

After a week on my doctor's elimination diet, eating only fruits, vegetables (no nightshades), poultry, fish and lamb, nuts and seeds, beans, legumes and whole grains (except wheat, which I know I am allergic to), the scale remained stuck and my stomach still sported a double tire.

So I gave up beans, legumes and whole grains, which means I am eating Paleo, except I cannot eat eggs. And within five days I dropped seven pounds and my double-tire is beginning to deflate.

Amazing? I think so. I am also sleeping better, although I still wake up around 2, but within five minutes I am back asleep, averaging about seven hours a night. For those with no sleep issues this might not seem like such a big deal. Those with insomnia understand how monumental this really is.

What is so interesting is that I haven't once minded my diet. In fact, I am preparing some pretty fantastic dinners, and trying new foods at breakfast and lunch. The good news about Paleo is that the Internet is flooded with recipes, and the three Paleo cookbooks I own are becoming my bibles.

My husband, who has suffered through every diet I have been on, just asked me to do him one favor: Stick to this one this time. He never asked me that before, and I really don't want to let him down.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

An important question

That's not me, but it's a perfect illustration of what goes on in my mind every time I think about food.

The allure of a diet is sometimes too great to resist. Thankfully I am determined not to give in, because I have learned that my previous all-or-nothing mentality did nothing but make me yo-yo through three decades.

I am devising my own way of eating and learning some important new tricks. For example, before I put a bite of food in my mouth I ask myself this simple question: AM I REALLY HUNGRY?

The amazing thing is that many times I scream "NO!" and that alone is enough to stop a trip to the fridge for a snack.

I also ask myself that question while I eat my meals. And when I get to the point that I begin to waver, I begin to chew my food even slower than I had been. What I am finding is that I am eating smaller meals, all more satisfying because I am really tasting the food. 

I made ONE New Year's resolutions this year: to think mindfully when I eat. Mindful eating is multifaceted, but the aspect I needed to concentrate on was to slow my eating down, to chew each bite of food, and to swallow when the food is liquefied. Not an easy task for someone who is always the first to finish my meals.

But one I am beginning to master, one meal at a time.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Food allergies: Magic pill?

Albert Einstein: One pretty sharp guy!
Yesterday, I had a long-anticipated appointment with a functional doctor, Tamara Sachs, M.D. The best way to describe what Dr. Sachs does is to call her a medical detective, looking for the underlying causes of disease that engages both patient (me) and doctor (her) in a therapeutic partnership.

What this means is that in order for me to achieve optimal health, I have some work to do.

I went to her for three reasons:
  1. High blood pressure
  2. Weight
  3. Insomnia

When I started my 90-minute sit-down with her, she keyed in on my insomnia, something that has plagued me for three decades. Actually, she thinks it is key to why I am not losing weight easily. But that goes hand-in-hand with her theory that I am plagued with food allergies.

Today, I begin an interesting elimination diet for the next 30 days, one filled with produce, lean protein in the form of grass-fed organic poultry and lamb, wild fish and nuts, seeds and beans. And no booze, so good-bye wine for 30 days.

I am having extensive blood work done to determine what is going on internally, in addition to a test for food allergies. Her part of the equation will be analyzing the results of my blood work, so that when we come together in mid-August my observations on how I feel coupled with her analysis will determine the way I live the rest of my life.

It's empowering to become a partner in my health care. Will I ever have perfect blood pressure without mediation? Probably not, and I have come to terms with that. But at the very least I will understand what makes me sick, tired and sluggish. If it does nothing more than cut down on my twice-annual bouts with sinus infections/bronchitis, the cost of all this will be priceless.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The circle

A few days ago I read over some past blog posts. I have been in a circle of losing, gaining, losing, gaining since this blog started four years ago. (Actually for decades, but I haven't been documenting my failures.)

Yo-yoing at its best. The above graphic was my life. But not just mine. I think it's our national pastime. Consider these stats from CBS news:
  • $20 billion is spent each year on diet books, diet drugs and weight-loss surgeries.
  • 108 million Americans make four or five attempts each year to lose weight.
  • 85 percent of people buying weight-loss products and services are female.
  • 220,000 morbidly obese people have had bariatric surgery.
I could go on, but I think I made my point. The more we spend on diet fixes the fatter we get. I have. Many times over, which is why I cannot diet anymore.

I also must admit that the thought of losing weight quickly is still attractive. It's like a drug. But now, each time I am tempted, I look at the list I made of all the diets I have tried. It is long and sad. And it has cost me a small fortune, money I would much rather now spend on a trip somewhere interesting and exciting.

I have officially been eating as a normal person for six months now. It really feels good. I feel in control. I have tons more energy. No more indigestion. I never feel uncomfortably stuffed. I am sleeping better. Last year, if I slept five hours I considered that a milestone. Now, I sleep 7, 8, sometimes 9 hours each night. And I wake up ready to start the day.

I can honestly say I am brand new. Lighter, with still lots of weight to lose. But it will come off in time. By this time next year, I know I will be exactly at the weight I want to be. What a goal!

Sunday, June 30, 2013


When I started this blog almost four years ago, I was determined to shed pounds without dieting. Some weeks that idea worked, other weeks found me on a diet du jour that I swore -- once again -- was going to work for me. Weight Watchers. Fat Flush. Dr. Cohen's 1st Personal. Beyond Diet. Paleo. Actually, I am counting Paleo four times since there are so many different types of Paleo and I tried at least four. DASH. I even went to a nutritionist.

AND NOTHING WORKED. No surprise here.

You can tell when I was dieting because I did not blog. I felt like such a fraud I couldn't admit that I had once again succumbed to a diet. And if I did write about it, I couched it by saying I was not really dieting -- only finding an eating plan that works for me.

Since January I have shed 26 pounds -- not earth shattering weight loss but steady and consistent. I eat what a want to eat but key here is that I am making really good food choices. I think about everything I put into my mouth. And if it is something that I know can pack on the pounds -- notice I didn't say something I should not eat -- I eat it very slowly and have only one serving. It does not send me into a binge, where I tell myself since I have "cheated" I should just go one eating and start "dieting" the next day.

I never cheat now, because I have given myself permission to have some treats. The next day I wake up and eat foods to fuel and nourish my body. What I am not doing is beating myself up for eating something the night before that I really enjoyed. In fact, that food I ate is out of my mind.

Food is not occupying my thoughts. That does not mean I am not planning my meals. I am. But I am planning healthy, well-balanced meals that make me feel great.

I owe this to Diane Bahr-Groth, the hypnotist I started seeing in February. Diane does virtual lap band hypnosis, and although really pricey, will hopefully save me money in the long run -- money I won't have to spend on medication and hospital stays -- the direction I was heading pre-Diane. 

I have also come to terms with the fact that I have an eating disorder and I have to work very hard each day to stay on the track I am on now. I have lots of things to do each day, but it's my life priority so I do them:
1. Before I get out of bed, I listen to one of the CDs Diane made for me, positive reinforcement that my stomach is smaller, that I need less food to feel full, and reminders to eat slowly with intent.
2. I do not go to sleep without reaching 10,000 steps a day. I exercise throughout the day, and I make sure that 30 minutes after every meal I stand up and walk a 12-minute mile with Leslie Sansone -- my favorite DVD exercise guru.
3. I cook. Although I love pizza and going out to dinner, I have been preparing some pretty amazing meals every night, meals that keep the calories low and nutrition up. For lunch, I always make a big salad that includes a protein, usually black beans because they are filling and loaded with fiber. 
4. I eat three servings of dairy a day -- feta on my salad and two 6-oz. containers of organic, low-fat plain Greek yogurt. One goes into my morning smoothie. The second is the perfect pick-me-up around 3 p.m. with just a little vanilla extract added for flavor.
5. My other snack of the day is mid-morning: sunflower seed butter smeared on celery sticks.
6. I have dessert every night: An Edy Outshine bar. Every flavor is in my freezer so I never get bored. It is just enough sweet to keep me sated.

There is no magic formula here. Just a desire to get healthy and live and long life, one that will see me dancing at my grandkids' weddings!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Supertaster I am not!

Yahoo Health has developed a simple test to determine if you are a supertaster. Why should we care? Because how you taste can determine your attitude toward food.
Here's the test: Place a very small sample of saccharin on the extreme tip of your tongue. Close your eyes and ask yourself: What do I taste?
  • No surprise here: I tasted only sweet, so I am an under-taster. My group has a high tolerance -- and desire -- for fatty, salty and sweet food. Because of this, when I eat I should remember that my sense of taste is underactive, which means I have to concentrate really hard on not eating when I am not really hungry or thirsty.
  • Average tasters taste bitter and sweet. When eating they need to avoid distractions and focus on the food they are putting into their mouths. They also need to pay attention to portion size.
  • Lucky supertasters, who find the saccharin very bitter. Although they love food, they tend to be leaner than most of the general public. But they also don't like fruits and vegetables that are sour or tart, they are sensitive to creamy and fatty foods, and in most cases they dislike beer and hard liquor.
Finally! I have something to blame for my blubber other than my mom and my love of Twizzlers. From now on, I'm pointing to my underactive tastebuds!

Monday, June 24, 2013

4 things that keep me fat!

Thank God this is not me. But it could be if I don't get moving!

I sat down at my desk this morning and here it is 1 p.m. Didn't eat breakfast. Did get in 45 minutes of exercise in before my butt hit my chair, but what happened to the two 12-minute miles to Leslie Sanson's DVD I was planning to fit in before lunch.

These tips from the Cleveland Clinic came at the perfect time for me, a gentle reminder that I really need to pay more attention to my work day.

  1. I love my chair. Not really, but I spend more hours of my day in this chair than anyplace else. According to the Cleveland Clinic, prolonged sitting puts us at risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Yuck! And one bout of exercise does not make up for a day in a chair. I know have a note on my computer screen that simply says: Get vertical!  I also set my iPhone's timer to 2 hours. And every two hours I will reset it, key up the DVD and get moving.
  2. We need to pretend that we are hunter-gatherers and eat throughout the day. If we starve ourselves -- and I admit I do this -- it messes with our metabolism and when we start eating normally again, we pack on the pounds. The goal is to start the day with a healthy breakfast full of fiber and protein. Then eat small but frequent meals and snacks throughout the day to keep metabolism high.
  3. Avoid eating out, especially at lunch. The Cleveland Clinic points to a 2012 study that found that women who ate lunch out once a week lost 5 pounds fewer than women who eat out less frequently. And eating one fast-food meal every week increases your risk of dying from a heart attack by 20 percent. Make nice with your kitchen.
  4. I know that when I am sad, anxious or feeling down, Twizzlers start calling my name. One study found that when we are stressed, our bodies release cortisol and that makes us reach for junk food. The Cleveland Clinic suggests that in times of stress we reach for mood-enhancing foods: whole grains, lean protein, Brazil nuts, whey protein and black tea.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Letting go

I finally made a New Year's resolution that is as strong as it was on Jan 1: To lose weight in the most healthy way I possibly can. I also knew I needed help.

I began seeing a hypnotherapist in February. For some, hypnotherapy is an immediate fix. For me, it has taken months, probably because of some deep-seeded baggage I have been carrying around for years. I identified two major issues: One, too personal for me to share in print, the other, an issue I think many of us face: our mothers.

I am not about to mom-bash, because honestly, she was a wonderful mother. But she wanted me, her only child, to be perfect, and for her that meant I had to be thin, gracious and gorgeous. After all, she was.

But she was also petite; I took after my dad. In sixth grade I was 5'6" tall and weighed 96 pounds. Mom decided that was too much for a sixth-grader to weigh, and put me on my first diet. In high school, she steered me to Weight Watchers, the original diet that let you eat just about nothing. I remember meals of farmer's cheese, chicken and iceberg lettuce. I was tall and skinny, but I thought I weighed a ton because mom told me I weighed too much. I was my adult height, 5'10" and weighed 130 pounds.

In college I discovered beer, and yes I gained the freshman 15 -- but I what I remember most about college were Aids, candy chews I would eat before every meal to make me eat less. Most days, Aids were my meal. Other days, I binged.

Yo-yoing? It was my normal, one that has continued throughout my life. I have also spent too much time and energy blaming my mother for creating my eating disorder, and although she was the catalyst, I knew how to drive that engine.

Through hypnotism I have let it all go. Now, when I think about my mother, I think only kind thoughts and imagine her playing with my children, the activity she enjoyed most in her golden years. I see her glorious smile and personality. I see her loving me as I know she did. Negative thoughts are gone.

And since I let this all go, the weight is beginning to finally come off. I haven't binged in months, and that is a major accomplishment. I have a long way to go, but I know it is only a matter of time before I will be at my goal.

As one of my hypno-CDs says at the end:
I like this!
This works for me!
This is better than it used to be!
And the weight takes care of itself....

Here's to letting go.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Remaking my body

I was just sent a few stats so worth sharing:
  • Every 28 days, our skin replaces itself;
  • Our liver, every 5 months;
  • Our bones, every 10 years.
Our bodies make these new cells  by the food we eat.

I guess my mom was right: We really are what we eat.

This came to me in the middle of a food detox I am doing, to determine exactly what foods are poorly impacting my body. I have known for years that I am allergic to wheat, but I also know there has to be other things.

So after seven days of eating cleanly, something weird is beginning to happen: My patch of eczema, which for the past year has kept growing, is all of a sudden shrinking. It's about 80 percent gone, which I think is pretty amazing.

I still have another five days left eating from a small list of food, and then on Saturday, I gradually start adding food groups back into my system, waiting two days before adding another food. During this waiting period I have to pay attention to my body, looking for signs of bloating, upset tummy, headaches -- the list is long. And although this will probably take me months to finish, I am so ready for the challenge.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Don't look back

I've spent entirely too much time beating myself up over not losing weight years ago. A few days ago I had an aha moment: Stop looking back.

Instead, I am looking forward to spending the rest of my life concentrating on the present. It's all about the big picture and my goal: to lose weight so that I am a healthier person. It's not about dieting. It's about making good food choices consistently.

I've had slip ups in the past, but it's time to move past the past.

Consider the word present. It means the here and now, but it also means a gift, and that is how I want to consider each morning wake up. A chance to start all over, to enjoy the day, to learn something new, and to make incredible food choices that will make me a healthier person.

Here's to the present and looking ahead to the future, one with me in it, the healthiest g-mom around.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Did I really need a Cornell University research study to tell me that hungry shoppers buy higher-calorie products?

Researchers paid 68 people to avoid eating for five hours before hitting the supermarket. A follow-up study tracked 82 participants shopping at different times of the day, when they were either likely to be famished or full.

So here's what they found:
The hungry participants chose a higher number of higher-calorie products. If they shopped between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., they bought less low-calorie food compared with those who shopped sated.

My question:
How much money was spent on this survey? When the desire to publish is so great that the topics studied are ridiculous, the question WHY needs to be addressed.

What is most distressing is that this study comes out of Cornell. 

For cripes sake: Anyone with a weight problem knows to never set foot in a grocery store if you are hungry. Eat. Then shop. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chew on this

My friend Mary Ellen has perfected the art of eating slowly. I could eat 10 meals in the time it takes her to get through a salad. And I know she is on the right track.

I just read a study that found that people who chew their food well eat 12 percent less than those of us who gobble it down. Watching Mary Ellen, I can attest to this. Not only does it take her an hour to eat a plate of food, she leaves half of it untouched.

How did this happen? She didn't always eat slowly. And as the mother of seven kids (yup, seven), her meals were always being interrupted. It was a life change she made about a decade ago, and one she forced herself to think about each time she sat down to eat.

It's all about mindfulness, that new buzz word that has us thinking about everything we do. But when it comes to eating, it can do wonders for our waistlines.

The goal for every bite of food you take is to liquefy it. When I have succeeded in eating this way, I am amazed by how much more I have enjoyed my food. I really get a chance to taste each morsel, discovering hidden ingredients that don't come through with gobbling.

And there's one more bene: Chewing food aids digestion, since digestion begins in the mouth. The digestive enzymes in our saliva break down starches into simple sugars. That's why chewing a piece of bread actually makes that bread taste sweet. Studies show that chewing each bite for up to a minute will digest half of the starch before you swallow.

Saliva also contains fat-digesting enzymes, so if we chew well, by the time we swallow, the process of breaking down the fats  has already started. Chewing also gets stomach acid and pancreatic juices primed, so the digestive sequence happens smoothly.

Thanks to wikiHow, here are five steps for slowing down and chewing:

  1. Give yourself enough time. Do not eat if you are in a rush. Instead, allow yourself enough time so that you can take your time and chew thoroughly.
  2. Cut the food into small portions. It is important not to put too much in your mouth at once, as this makes it more difficult to chew the food thoroughly. The smaller the bites, the better. And the longer it will take you to eat your meal.
  3. Chew thoroughly. The exact number of chews vary with the food's texture and individual salivary glands, the goal is to have the food a complete liquid before you swallow. 
  4. Swallow slowly. No gulping, which can cause choking or damage to the esophagus.
  5. Wait until you are completely finished chewing before taking another bite. While you chew, put your fork down and concentrate on what is going on in your mouth. When there is nothing left in your mouth, pick up your fork.
I'm printing this out and leaving it by my plate.