April 14, 2014

The Spicy Jew

Filed under: Uncategorized — JBNUT @ 10:53 am

Today is the start of the Jewish holiday, Passover. It is one of my favorites, mainly due to the beautiful symbolism around food. An important story is told and we eat a delicious meal full of meaning. 

One of these foods is horseradish. These “bitter herbs” are to remind Jews of the bitter times endured as slaves in Egypt. My father makes a legit, homemade horseradish every year. It is more of a clear-your-sinuses-and-make-you-cry version, but, it is quite tasty. Funnily enough, I have been going through a bit of a horseradish phase these last few weeks. I bought it for no particular reason at the market and I seem to be adding it to all my meals. It is delish! So good! Full of flavor and spice (quite a kick!) and no calories. Why isn’t everyone eating horseradish? 

People tell me I have a bit of a spicy personality, not sure about that one, but I do love spice in my food!

If you like spice or not…take this opportunity to look at the sauces and dressings you add to food and ask yourself, “what is in there?” You would be amazed at what is in condiments – often filled with sugars, empty calories, chemicals and a bunch of junk. Consider using herbs, spices and acids such as vinegars and lemon and lime juice to add flavor without the calories.

How have I been eating horseradish?

I have been making a quick dressing of horseradish, red wine vinegar, zaatar spices, a squeeze of lemon and olive oil and adding it to my “everything under the kitchen sink” meals. Yesterday, I hadsome hummus and added a spoonful of horseradish which was just was divine. And a few weeks ago, I was cooking lentils and squash and threw some horseradish in while it was cooking and each bite was so much better.

So, whether you are celebrating Passover or not, take this opportunity to add some spice, some kick, some flavor to your food and savor each bite. It is fun to be a bit spicy!

April 11, 2014

The truth is in the label…

Filed under: Uncategorized — JBNUT @ 10:14 am

Finally….a step forward in understanding what we are eating.The infamous “food label” is hopefully getting a much needed makeover. So many of my clients look at food labels as if it is written in stone…they believe every piece of information on there. The problem is it is so confusing and difficult to interpret, that I often recommend not looking at the label at all. 


I may change my view. The new label would have portion sizes that are comparable to what we really eat, larger font for calorie counts, a separate row for added sugars (vs naturally occurring sugars) and would cut out the line that tells you calories from fat (which is irrelevant in many ways). 

However, if it happens…still not approved yet….it wont be for a few years…so what to do now? READ THE INGREDIENTS! So many of us go right to the food label and look at calories and grams…but what is in your food?!? Always look at the ingredients first to make sure it is what you want. Then, look at the label and compare calories or whatever other measure you are interested in.

It all goes back to being more aware of what you are actually eating. Do you know what you are eating?

A step towards progress! Yay!

April 2, 2014

Try not to laugh at me…

Filed under: Uncategorized — JBNUT @ 5:23 am

Last week, I was teaching my lovely study participants at Stanford and we were talking about properly fueling pre and post workout. Many participants were sharing how they don’t know what to eat before or after exercise and one woman asked me to share my morning. I told her I had some plain yogurt and a banana before my morning run and then when I got home, I had two eggs over lentils and butternut squash with some tahini sauce for breakfast. Two folks started laughing right in my face, most of the room looked at me like I was insane and the other said, “Well that is totally unappealing!” – I had to laugh too. 

They were laughing at me for having dinner for breakfast. I was laughing at how my nutrition has changed so much over the years that dinner for breakfast is now something I crave and seems totally normal. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE breakfast…and often have breakfast for dinner, but that is a whole other story.

The point is, I eat food that fuels me, is good for me, satiates me and tastes delicious. While I love breakfast foods, I am often not full afterwards. It doesn’t always do the job and lately eating something warm and filling in the morning after a good hard workout has been the perfect trick to set me up for a successful day.

I encourage you to think outside the box! Change things up a bit, throw everything up in the air and see where it falls. 

Maybe you have dinner for breakfast, lunch at 11am instead of 2pm, a snack at 3pm and breakfast for dinner at 7pm. What would happen?

Maybe you try soup as a snack paired with some protein and see how it makes you feel. What if you had chicken soup for breakfast???

Consider bringing leftovers from dinner and eat mid afternoon - does that make your afternoon more productive and you eat less at dinner?

The point is that food is fuel! We all have different needs, cravings, schedules, goals and routines. If you keep following a routine that doesn’t work, how are you ever going to get what you want???

Change it up…make it happen…have fun…and don’t laugh when you see me eating steak and potatoes in the morning. 

March 25, 2014

Cook breakfast while you sleep

Filed under: Uncategorized — JBNUT @ 9:59 pm

This is just too perfect I had to share. Don’t have time in the morning to make breakfast? Do this the night before and start your morning off right. Yum! And so quick and easy!

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. It jump starts your metabolism, gets your brain working, allows you to start burning fat, lowers stress hormones, balances your mood and helps decrease cravings. A no brainer.

Remember to get protein and carbohydrates in to make a balanced breakfast. So add proteins such as yogurt, milk, nuts or nut butter to your overnight oats. Or hard boil some eggs the night before and grab them too.

Oats are a fantastic whole grain filled with fiber. Add some spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla to add flavor rather than processed sugar. If you need some more sweet, add some fresh fruit.

Don’t like oats? Try quinoa or quinoa flakes, flax and chia seed or even rice.

If you are not a breakfast eater….get on it and make it happen. Focus on getting breakfast in every morning for the entire month of April and you will be a new person. Trust me! You will thank me later.

March 17, 2014

Catch it before it catches you

Filed under: Uncategorized — JBNUT @ 3:18 pm

Your alarm goes off way too early in the morning.…you snooze a few too many extra minutes…you rush out the door and grab a banana….get some coffee on the way to the office, work comes full of meetings…and then a few too many calls…you make it to lunch at 1pm and you grab a healthy salad with some chicken, no bread so you avoid those “fattening” carbs….afternoon continues with more emails/calls/meetings….

It is 4pm now and you are hangry – that mix of hungry and angry that is not cute. You are craving cookies, coffee, sweets, but you stay strong and do not give in because you want to stay on a healthy track. You are proud of yourself when you grab an apple rather than chocolate and go back to work.

7pm now, post workout and you are about to bite your arm off. You walk in the door cranky, moody, tired and so hungry…hangry really. You are so proud of yourself for not giving in to sweets and getting a workout in that you feel you deserve a reward. You pour yourself a glass wine, enjoy some bread and cheese while you and your spouse/friend/roommate/family cook and you cannot stop eating. No amount of vegetables, proteins and healthy foods will fill you up and you just keep eating and eating and eating.

Sound familiar? It should, as this is a majority of my clients! So many of us do not front load our calories and we wait too long to satiate ourselves – we do not catch our metabolism in time – and then we eat way too much at dinner. It is a myth that eating late at night will turn into fat…but it is a truth that eating too much at one meal will turn into fat since the body does not need that much food at one time. 

Get smart about your schedule, plan in advance and get those mid morning and mid afternoon snacks in so you keep yourself fueled throughout the day. You are doing things right if you do not walk into dinner starving. Or walk into any meal starving. Eat small, balanced meals every 3-4 hours so you work like a well oiled machine.

Get your schedule to work in your favor rather than your detriment. Make it work!

March 11, 2014

Olive oil cannot be trusted? Wait….what???

Filed under: Uncategorized — JBNUT @ 2:30 pm

Last week, some friends were discussing how obsessed people are getting about food. Gluten free, dairy free, allergen free, raw, cooked, local, seasonal, organic, sustainable grown, grass fed, low sugar, high saturated fat….when you say it all out loud it does sound a bit nuts! One friend asked me if, as a nutrition professional, I felt this is a good thing or a bad thing and my answer was that while some folks may be getting a bit too specific and unnecessarily restricting their diet, I am thrilled that individuals are noticing what they are eating, are becoming more aware of what they put in their mouths and are asking questions as to where their food comes from. Even if we all have become a bit too high maintenance, I am so happy that we are asking these important questions.


So…when I saw this very disturbing article in the New York Times, I just got sad. I knew there were some issues with olive oil, but I did not know it was this bad. I honestly didn’t want to pay attention because it felt overwhelming. 


In a moment of panic, I asked my dear cousin Maia Hirschbein, an olive oil expert (how lucky am I!!!), and she gave me some scoop. You must check out one of her workshops (click here) if you are in the area….and here is what she had to say about choosing olive oil:


“I generally recommend choosing California olive oils both to support local producers, and because I know that the oil is high quality and extra-virgin. Price is not always an indicator of quality; the best oils are often expensive because they are more complex and costly to make. I always have two extra virgin olive oils in my kitchen: one mild oil that is less expensive to cook with like California Olive Ranch, and one more complex oil that I use to finish dishes and never heat, like Frantoio Grove. Opt for darker glass bottles and buy in smaller quantities. Once you’ve opened a bottle, use it within a month.”


The wonderful Chef Samin Nosrat also has a great write up on how to choose olive oil which is very helpful. Check it out and be a smart consumer.


So yes to high maintenance, making smart decisions about what you eat and eating good food from wholesome origins. 
Yes to high maintenance!!!!

March 4, 2014

Get back on the wagon…NOW

Filed under: Uncategorized — JBNUT @ 10:03 am

Last month I took a trip to New York City. Spent time with some of my favorite people, ate very good food (thank you Narcissa and Mile End Deli!), explored the beautiful city, did some seriously good shopping (!!) and froze my tushy off in the ridiculously cold weather! As great as it felt to get away, I was craving my routine when I got home. It is so easy to lose your mojo, tell yourself “you are going to start on Monday” and never get back to eating well, exercising and taking care of yourself. 

I flew back into town Tuesday and woke on Wednesday and went for a run. Now part of it was I was so happy to be able run outside and it wasn’t snowing (jeez!)…but as I was running it got me thinking about how important it is to create a consistent routine and plan so you set you can easily set yourself up for success.

I am here as someone who just jumped back on the wagon and am rallying all of you to join me (in case you fell off recently…)

  1. Start a workout routine – NOW. Go for a walk, sign up for a class, email a friend and ask for help, hire a trainer, go try that new studio everyone is talking about, walk up a hill or a flight of stairs. Do something….every…single…day. Even if it is just 15 minutes – do it.
  2. Go grocery shopping – NOW. Go buy snacks for your office/purse/car, buy some vegetables so you always have things available and grab some fruit you like, some plain yogurt that you can eat on the go and grab some whole grains and lean protein and healthy fats while you are at it. If you are not a cook just buy some easy foods you can “prepare” so you have snacks. if you are a cook, get ingredients for a recipe you can cook in bulk so you have food for the week.
  3. Take 3 minutes RIGHT NOW to write down what is NOT working. And then flip it to make it work. Why cant you get into a good routine? What is holding you back? What could assist you in moving forward? Who can you ask for you help? What do you need to do to jump back on the wagon? Be honest and truthful and lets see what comes up.

Jump on the wagon and join me up here! Its fun! 

February 14, 2014

My Nemesis: The Calorie

Filed under: Uncategorized — JBNUT @ 8:50 am

Check out this great video of what 200 calories looks like. It does a nice job at explaining that a calorie is not always just a calorie and reinforces how confusing this all is! 

On the one hand do not eat too many calories…but if you are eating foods that are high in fiber (vegetables, fruit and whole grains) you do not need to worry about the calories as much…and you also need to know what macronutrients those calories provide (protein, carbs or fat)….they did not even discuss where the food comes from (locally sourced, seasonal, pesticides and GMOS present?) - I mean it is a lot to deal with! Jeez.

How do you know if you are making the right decisions when it comes to calories? What is an easy way to know you are eating well?

I do not know really know the answer…reassuring isn’t it? Again – jeez!

That being said, here is what I do know.

  1. Eat vegetables – lots of them. Non starchy vegetables are all vegetables except for peas, corn, potatoes and winter squash. They are full of fiber, very few calories, packed with micronutrients and an essential part of a healthy diet and a diet that will promote weight loss.
  2. Stop eating sooner than you think. Consider portioning out your food into smaller portions than you usually eat, eat off a smaller plate or just stop eating before you get too full. We all eat more than we need so stop when you are ahead of the game.
  3. Eat protein, carbohydrate and fat - If your diet is too restrictive, your body will start to yell at you. Some of you may need more carbs while others may need more protein or fat – that is specific to each individual – but I am certain we need all three.
  4. Drink water - lots and lots of water. We are all a bit dehydrated and the body does not want to run dry – have that water bottle near by and fill regularly. I know it is annoying and doesnt taste sweet, but do it anyways!
  5. Eat every 4 hours. We all have different systems, routines, digestions and bodies, but rarely are folks on a successful plan when they go more than 4 hours without food. It usually backfires and the next meal is huge and we tend to overeat on foods that are not necessarily part of the weight loss plan.


So, how many calories do you need? Maybe that is the wrong question to ask… I do know that if you take some time to be truly aware of the foods you eat and the patterns around your eating, you will figure out what is the best way to eat – for you. Take some time to notice how it all works for you.

January 16, 2014

Death or Nuts??

Filed under: Uncategorized — JBNUT @ 5:28 pm

Last November, very convincing research was published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggesting that overall mortality rate is lower in those who consume nuts as a regular part of their diet. An inverse relationship between death and eating nuts – Which one would you choose??

There is also research coming from Purdue University suggesting that eating nuts could assist with weight loss since you feel more satiated when eating nuts over a junk food as a snack. Great article and video –click here to check it out. The Principal Investigator Richard Mattes says “They’re high in protein, and protein is satiating,” he said. “They’re high in fiber, and fiber is satiating. They’re rich in unsaturated fats, and there is some literature that suggests that has satiety value. They’re crunchy, and that would suggest just the mechanical aspect of chewing generates a satiety signal.”

But this gets tricky….I have told you to watch your portions closely as many of you eat way too much and take on way too many calories. I can think of a client who lost a huge amount of weight by simply removing the can of peanuts that sat on his desk. Or another client who mysteriously started gaining weight and we realized it was the cashews he was munching on at home.

So what gives? Are nuts a part of the problem? Or are they the solution? The answer? I have no idea.

I do know for those of you who are eating junky processed foods, I guarantee having nuts instead is a better idea. And not nuts covered with salt, sugar and a bunch of added chemicals and ingredients that you cannot understand – but just plain, raw nuts. Nuts are full of nutritious fat soluble vitamins, have protein, fat and fiber – a perfect little bite!

I also know that if you are endlessly snacking on foods that are not filling you up, maybe a serving of nuts thrown into the mix will help you feel full.

I usually stick to the standard serving size of ¼ cup or about 2 tablespoons. Maybe some of you can have several servings a day and lose weight? While others can only tolerate one serving?

Many of you are trying to clean out your diet, eat whole foods and really stick to a sustainable healthy plan that promotes weight loss. I think nuts are a part of it…how much? I just do not know.

So go nuts! Well, don’t…maybe just a little and see how nuts you can get? Oh there are just too many jokes here so I am signing off….

January 8, 2014

Bucket List

Filed under: Uncategorized — JBNUT @ 5:41 pm
Happy happy new year everyone!
It is time for the resolution speech. Even though the whole “lose weight” and “get in shape” thing is my business, I am not really into resolutions since most people set themselves up for failure. It is hard to watch folks fail but more importantly, I do not understand why we all set these big goals January 1, ultimately not achieve our goals and then beat ourselves up when it doesn’t work out… It just seems like every year it never works out – so why do it?
Why not just set ourselves up for success? Why not get to root of why things are not working?
I have been thinking about this a lot, talking to colleagues and experimenting with what will work and I am thinking it really comes down to sorting things into buckets.
Food - protein, carbs, fat, recipes, portion size, label reading, food education, alcohol
Behaviors - planning your day and week, having all the supplies you need for a successful day, creating consistent patterns
Exercise - figure out what exercise program will work for your goals, schedule, physical limitations, motivators and lifestyle
Emotions - all the baggage we hold around food – rewards, being hard on ourselves, guilt, coping, mindless eating…
Which bucket would you like to work on? If you wanted to focus on ONE area…only ONE..which would it be? This is not the time to set your resolution as  lose weight, train for a marathon, talk to your spouse about emotional eating and learn to cook. While all are great, choose one thing to focus on and achieve success.
Be specific. When making goal, have a plan.
“I will workout 3 times a week during the week. Each workout will be a minimum of 20 minutes”
“I will find three new recipes that I can cook in bulk so I can have food for the week for lunches”
“I will buy a water bottle and start drinking 1 liter for three days and then start adding 8 ounces a day until I get to my goal of 3 liters a day”
“I will talk to my spouse about cooking on Sundays. Together we will plan into our schedule for the week and weekend so this becomes a regular routine. If there are problems, we will reach out to Jae to come up with strategies. Goal is for us both to have lunches 3 days of the week and 3 dinners for the week.”
Need an accountability check? Email me your goal so I can keep an eye on you…
It is going to be a wonderful year – quite excited for what is to come!
So…what is on your bucket list??? The moment is now – set yourself up for success!!!
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