August 22, 2014
August 13, 2014
Happy Wednesday! Wowza – week is already flying by, things are a little more crazy than I expected, thought I had a little more food prepped in the fridge, man I am tired…what the heck are we going to eat for dinner? Sound familiar?
When life gets crazy and we get hangry, it is very difficult to motivate to cook something. That is when the convenience, processed, less-than-ideal foods come into play. Take a look at the article for some ideas to motivate and inspire you. I love breakfast for dinner so their fried egg idea is a go to for me.
Some other quick dinners:
A hearty soup with a beans, lentils or quinoa in it to fill you up. Throw some leftover protein in there and heat it up…or fry an egg and throw it on top (you will see a theme here with fried eggs, by the way). Always have some soups in your pantry/fridge as a back up plan.
Leftover tomato sauce. Heat up some leftover tomato sauce, or throw a can in a pot, add some leftover meat if you have some, leftover vegetables, some spices, olives, capers, vinegar…and oh yeah, throw an egg on top.
Have some proteins always ready to go such as canned salmon, tuna or sardines or some precooked sausage…pair that with some frozen brown rice that you have stocked for emergencies and throw some hot sauce on top for flavor. If you have any vegetables leftover throw those in the mix, or heat up some frozen vegetables you have on stock.
Breakfast for dinner - make some porridge from oats, quinoa or buckwheat and add yogurt, nuts, fruit…maybe an egg or some turkey bacon on the side?
Smoothie it up - check out my blog from last week and make a quick smoothie with protein, fat and carbohydrates.
Veggie and fat - grab whatever vegetables you have in the fridge, sauté them up, squeeze a lemon over it all and add some fat such as tahini, avocado or olives….and maybe throw an egg on top for some added protein. There is that egg again…
Doesn’t have to be fancy, doesn’t have to be gourmet, keep things quick and simple….keep things tasty and healthy.
Enjoy dinner tonight!
August 6, 2014
Ahh smoothies…so many of us think they are the healthiest choice. Smoothies can be the perfect addition to your meal plan or they can truly be your saboteur.
Be smart! It is very important that you know why you are adding what you are adding and there is a purpose to it. Otherwise, the calories and sugar can get totally out of control and you arebasically drinking dessert and empty calories.
See below a list of categories of different things you can add to your smoothie. Based on your goals, palate, creativity and level of motivation, make your smoothies work for you. This could be a quick pre or post workout meal, a meal replacement during the day or a meal supplement to add to your day for extra calories. Use a good quality blender or I prefer my immersion wand to make it even easier to prep and clean. Do not forget to make in bulk! You can whip up several servings of your favorite smoothie and place cups with lids in the freezer and you will have smoothies for the week.
Food categories for your smoothies
Vegetables - Great addition to a smoothie to get some extra vegetables in. And in a blender you keep the fiber which is so important. Most do not love the flavor of 100% vegetable juice and add a lot of sugar to cover it up…not exactly the goal. So…be mindful of what you add and if it still does not taste good for you, take the veggies out and eat a salad later!
- Eat fresh or frozen vegetables of choice
Fruit - Delicious and nutritious, but many people add 2-5 servings of fruit in one smoothie! Watch the portions. One portion is the size of a tennis ball, about 3/4-1 cup or 1/2-1 fist
- Eat fresh or frozen fruit of choice. NOTE: I am not a fan of fruit juice…eat your fruit, do not drink it!
Fats - Excellent addition to a smoothie! Especially for those of you trying to gain weight or keep weight on. 1Tablespoon of oil/butter is considered a serving, 2 Tablespoons of nuts, dairy or avocado is a serving. Some of you need one serving, some of you can handle 3-5 servings. This is how you can make this smoothie packed with calories – each gulp will count. NOTE: If you are trying to lose weight, watch the portion sizes!
- Nut butter
- High Fat Dairy – yogurt, milk, kefir (cow, goat or sheep milk)
- Coconut Butter or milk
- Grass fed butter
- Coconut oil
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Oils – olive oil, nut/seed oil such as walnut, almond or flax
Protein - Essential part of your smoothie! You must add protein to make it a balanced meal.
- Protein powder – As you all know, I am not really a huge fan of powders and supplements, but if you really want it, the key is to find a product that is made of only one ingredient – whey protein powder. That is it! So many powders have so much junk and added stuff in it. I do not support crazy processed products. Find a powder made from organic, local, sustainable sources. Here is one brand I like.
- Non fat Dairy – Greek yogurt, milk, kefir (cow, goat or sheep)
Flavor - This is just the beginning of a list of things you can add for flavor – what do you like? Please note, some of these have calories and some do not…be smart about your choices!
- Cinnamon or Nutmeg
- Vanilla extract
- Almond extract
- Cayenne Pepper
- Lemon or Lime
- Fresh herbs like mint or basil
Flavor and sweet but have sugar and calories!
- Honey, Agave, Maple syrup, Molasses
- Cocoa powder
- Coconut water – not a ton of calories and has potassium in it
- Almond Milk – not a ton of calories and dairy free
- Coffee – no calories, added caffeine and quite tasty!
- Tea – use your favorite tea as your base – no calories
Grains/Starches - add some bulk and fiber
- Oats, quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat and any whole, unrefined grain or starch
Want a recipe? I know I know, many of you are going to want a specific recipe for a smoothie. The truth is only you know what you want! Choose a few flavors above that you like and throw it in the blender and see how it works. You cannot really mess this up…just keep adding a bit of this and that until you get what you want. Here are some ideas of Food52 to get you started too.
Email me your favorite recipe and mix of ingredients – I want to hear!
August 1, 2014
Thank goodness it is Friday – yay! Hope you all have fun weekends ahead. Do me a favor though…take a moment today to look at your schedule for next week to figure out how food is going to fit in..how can you create a successful plan for yourself?
You all know by now what a fan I am of batch cooking – spend 1-2 hours over the weekend getting food ready for the week ahead. You do not have to cook though, you can simply grocery shop for the week, or get food prepped for the week…Whatever works for you.
Because here is the thing...if you do not have a plan, you are likely going to get yourself in tricky situations. You are going to rush out of the house without breakfast and then get super hungry later in the day. You are going to work through lunch and then munch on that cookie at 3pm. You are going to go into dinner starving and eat whatever you want. I wish I could say there will always be whole, nutritious food available to you, but that is not usually how it works. Sugary, high fat, high salt food is usually what is accessible and that is what we go for when we have not planned our day.
Lets make it work:
Today: Look at your weekend and next week’s schedule. Is your weekend so busy that you actually need to go grocery shopping today since Sunday will not work? Do you have dinner plans all next week or do you have some nights at home? Is work jam packed with client meetings or are there some days you can bring your lunch? Are the kids still on summer break or do you they have a camp or school next week? Once you look at your week you can see just how much you have cook and prep, when can you eat out and how to put it all together. Take today to assess the next week and get a plan in place.
Saturday and/or Sunday: Execute the plan – grocery shop, prep and cook. Buy plenty of food to get you through the week. Cook and prep more than you think. Seriously – cook/prep more than you think so you do not have to worry about it for days.
Next week: Be a step ahead rather than three steps behind. If you are going to a restaurant with friends or clients, take a look at the menu in advance so you know what to order. For the days where you have a jam packed schedule, pack some extra snacks so you can be prepared. Or maybe there are a few days where you need to buy two lunches at noon to get you through the afternoon.
May seem like extra work but TRUST ME when I say it will make life so much easier. This is how to create a long term habits – life is so much less stressful when you have a plan.
Have a plan. Make it work. Own it. There is no perfect answer that works for everyone… as long as it is working for you, go for it!
Want to make a plan? Email me and let’s make it work.
July 23, 2014
All true stories…
A client told me he was mad at himself for pressing snooze at 4.30am (4.30am!!!) and got to the pool at 6.30am instead of his usual 6.00am.
A client was frustrated with herself for having two glasses of champagne instead of one at her 20th wedding anniversary dinner.
Another client is planning the most fantastic trip abroad, but is so worried about gaining weight on holiday that she doesn’t want to go.
A bride to be is worried that the food is going to be too good at her wedding and she may gain weight over her wedding weekend.
This all breaks my heart. Truly breaks my heart. Life is too precious to be beating ourselves up like this. Can we just give ourselves a break?
Being good to yourself will lower stress and you will feel better when you are not being so hard on yourself. However, “giving yourself a break” does not mean stop working out and start eating whatever you want…often when we are “being good to ourselves” we pick up really damaging behaviors and habits.
Eating healthily, being mindful, staying active, taking care of ourselves and being consistent is just life. It just is. However, life happens! And it is crazy out there sometimes. Things go wrong, things go really great, there are hilarious moments, joyous celebrations and dark times. Life happens.
You press the snooze on your alarm clock, have that second glass of wine, enjoy the piece of cake and then move on. Enjoy it, be present with it, embrace the moment and then move on.
Being so hard on yourself is not helping anything. It takes the fun out of the high moments and makes the low moments really low…
Next time you are about to really beat yourself up, take a moment, take a breath and give yourself a break. Day by day..step by step.
Want to chat about making nutrition work for you? Click here and lets talk.
July 16, 2014
We all have unique preferences, motivators, stressors and pet peeves.
Some of you enjoy waking up at 5am to workout while others go for runs at 10pm.
Some of you crave chocolate and ice cream, while others crave potato chips.
Some of you need bourbon at night, some of you need espresso in the morning.
Some of you can eat the same thing everyday while others need to mix it up.
Some of you need a specific goal to stay motivated, while others get stressed out with a goal.
We all have our “shticks” – yiddish for themes or gimmicks. We all have our unique bag of shitcks that make us who we are. They can hold us back as well as motivate us to improve. Regardless, they are there and it is essential to know your shticks and how to get them to work in your favor, rather than your detriment.
When you take the time to know who you really are, you thrive.
Do you know a characteristic about yourself that is holding you back? Preventing you from reaching your goal?
Know yourself, embrace your shticks and thrive.
July 8, 2014
Last week, there was a great article in the Wall Street Journal highlighting how the snack industry has taken over how we eat – “according to a 2013 survey, 48% of Americans skipped meals at least three times a week, and 63% decided what to consume less than an hour before eating.”
So? To Snack or not to snack? Here are the pros and cons of snacking
PRO: Life is busy and you must make it work for you! There are a lot of great snacks out there – find pre-packaged food that is real food – and works for you. There are now pouches of high quality cooked proteins available that you can keep in your fridge ready to go. Vacuum packed cooked lentils that you can make into a quick salad. Yogurt, string cheese, nuts, cut up veggies, fruit, whole grain crackers…have these foods available and ready to go so you can eat on the fly!
CON: READ THE INGREDIENTS – whole, real foods only. You would be amazed at how much junk is in packaged foods. Nuts and nut butters should be made of nuts – no added sugar, salt, oils and chemicals. Kale chips should be made of kale, a little oil and some salt. Dried fruit should be made of fruit only. Yogurt is made of milk. Bars should be made of whole read foods and not chemicals and weird powders. Soups and pre made meals should be made of the vegetables, grains and protein – cut out the junk!
PRO: There is no set research that you must eat 3 meals a day – small, frequent balanced meals throughout the day is what the body usually likes. So smaller than a meal…maybe a snack size…every 3-4 hours. Each time you eat there is a protein, carbohydrate and fat present.Please remember -GRAZING IS DIFFERENT THAN SMALL FREQUENT MINI MEALS. Grazing means you munch on food all day long..similar to a cow grazing on grass. You still want to wait 3-4 hours between eating. Leave the grazing for the cows…that is not exactly the body type most of us are going for.
CON: Often times snack foods are not satiating. You can easily eat 400-600 calories of snack food and still want more. If you eat really bland food all the time, you are likely going to get bored and then overeat on something sugary and fatty – be sure you are eating foods that satiate you physically and mentally. Add spice, eat something crunchy, add textures and get protein and fat in there to fill you up.
PRO: Use snacks to your advantage. If there is one time of day that is always tricky – you are in meetings, sitting in traffic, headed out the door – find the snack that works to set you up for success.
CON: If you do not have a plan, you are likely going to make a bad decision. It is very difficult to expect that the foods you want are always going to be available so for the 63% of you who do not plan more than an hour ahead, I can GUARANTEE if you took just a bit of thought into your day, you would likely improve your nutrition, weight, health and energy.
So what do you think? To snack or not to snack?
Want to chat? Email me and lets discuss how to make nutrition work for you.
July 2, 2014
We talk a lot about stress. How stressed we are, how stress is such a problem, how if life were less stressful things would be better…stress is major player in our lives.
Often when clients are trying to create a nutrition or exercise plan that is intended to make them healthier, they often feel very stressed by the process. Ironic right? You are trying to do something to make life better, but it only causes more difficulty.
What if stress was not a bad thing? What if stress was not harmful to our health? What if we embraced it rather than trying to fight it? I am loving (slightly obsessed, actually) this TED talk by Kelly McGonigal. She highlights different research that suggests that when you “make stress your friend” you can live a long, healthy life.
One study found, “people who experienced a lot of stress but did not view stress as harmful, were no more likely to die. In fact, they had the lowest risk of dying of anyone in the study, including people who had relatively little stress.”
McGonigal states that the science suggests “when you change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to stress. What is found is that those who are the most stressed did not die earlier, it is the ones who do not acknowledge that they are stressed that drop sooner.”
It is really stressful to put on a happy face and keep saying “I am fine” “Everything is great” “All is going well” – can you relate?!? I know I can. I used to think that if I just didn’t pay attention to the stress and focused on the positive it would help, but the truth is it made it all worse. There is that irony again. The more honest I was and just admitted, “I am really stressed!!!” the less stressed I was. It feels pretty fantastic!
Think about how this applies to food and exercise….you are stressed about your weight, health, nutrition and exercise and do not know what to do about it. You feel like you are spinning and do not know how to get a grip on it. You keep telling yourself (and others) that “ it is going to be okay” and “starting Monday you will get control on your diet” and “once this really busy time at work ends you will start working out again” but the truth is IT NEVER HAPPENS.
Another study McGonigal highlights in her talk is about the benefits of a stress hormone called oxytocin. A study she discusses found that “this stress hormone strengthens your heart, and the cool thing is that all of these physical benefits of oxytocin are enhanced by social contact and social support, so when you reach out to others under stress, either to seek support or to help someone else, you release more of this hormone, your stress response becomes healthier, and you actually recover faster from stress.
What if you just admitted, “this sucks” or “this is really difficult and I need help” - can you ask for help? Can you start slow? One small step to get you in the right direction? It makes all the difference.
We are all stressed these days. We live in a stressful world. Whether you live in the country or city, rich or broke, happy or sad, healthy or sick….there are a lot of stressful things going on and it is easy to get sucked in.
I do not think any of the stress is going away…so lets just accept it as is, embrace it and use it to our benefit. Ask for your help in your journey. Continue moving forward to take of ourselves, eat right and be well.
Need some support embracing the stress in your life? Email me and lets chat.
June 18, 2014
Oh I adore my clients, but (you knew a “but” was coming), many of you are “work hard, play hard”folks. You give everything 100% and anything less than that is not worth doing. It is a beautiful trait and watching your intensity, commitment, willpower and work ethic is inspiring. However, that “more is better” approach may be adding unwanted stress to your body that could actually be preventing you from achieving the results you want.
Some new research is suggesting that those who participate in too much high intensity exercise may actually be at a greater risk of dying of heart disease. Shame isn’t it? You push yourself so hard at the gym, sweat flinging, show up at the break of dawn to workout and it may actually be seriously hurting you.
One study suggests that while the least physically active individuals were at an increased risk of heart problems and earlier death, the most active group – those who did daily strenuous physical activity – also had an increased risk of dying of heart disease.
A second study found participants who worked out for more than 5 hours of a week of strenuous exercise were 20% likelier to have developed an irregular heartbeat by the age of 60 than those who exercised less than an hour a week.
It seems maximum cardiovascular benefits are found with “moderate” exercise rather than “very high intensity and prolonged” exercise.
Well jeez…what the heck are we supposed to do now? Many of you are giggling right now, thinking I just let you off the hook from exercising. Others are quite frustrated because you go out of your way to be consistent and diligent about your workouts and they may be hurting you.
You will not be surprised when I write that I do not know the correct answer here. However, it seems clear that “work hard, play hard” may not be the best for long term heart health. That stress does a number on the system and many of us are paying a steep price for it and we don’t even know it.
Can you do high intensity workouts less often? Can you incorporate more moderate exercise into your life? Maybe it is time to get that heart rate monitor to see just how hard you are working and assess what are some appropriate ranges. Consider going hard 1-2 days a week and find moderate exercise the other days.
More may not better…but doing nothing is not the solution either. I think the work is finding that sweet spot in the middle…finding some balance in moderation. Not quite as sexy as “work hard, play hard” but may lead to happier, healthier life…that sounds pretty good to me!
June 11, 2014
Many of you know I work at Stanford conducting nutrition research for a very large weight loss clinical trial. Participants show up on the first day of class and are told if they are going to be following a low carb or low fat diet for the next year….and after they find out what diet they are on, the first question seems to be “can we drink alcohol?”
I joke with all my clients that I am also a quasi AA counselor in addition to being a dietitian, since alcohol seems to be the main habit that is so difficult for many to break when it comes to weight loss and behavior change. My clients are not addicts, they just love their cocktail and don’t want to give it up.
I get it…trust me! Bourbon on the rocks with an orange twist is a beautiful thing….I am a big fan. That being said, for many of you, the calories from alcohol are the thing that is holding you back from getting those pounds off.
I have yet to tell anyone to stop drinking, but I guarantee you all could drink less.
So here are my booze rules…
- Take a good, honest look at your weekly routine and figure out how many servings of alcohol you are drinking in a week. One serving is 5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounce of hard alcohol or 12 ounces of beer.
- Then, once you have that number, negotiate with yourself with what you want to set as your new number. So if you have 10 drinks a week, could it be 6? If you have 6, could it be 4?
- Then decide if you want to manage how many nights you drink a week OR how many drinks you have per night. Some of you really want to drink every night to wind down after your day and are okay with only one drink. Some of you find having only one drink a waste a time and are willing to only drink on weekends. Everyone is different, make it work it work for you.
Once you have a plan, email me. “I am committing to 5 drinks a week, only on the weekends” or “I am committing to 6 drinks a week and I will have them how I want” – go get em! As long as it is less than what you are currently doing, I am cool with it.
Have a good summer! I swear you can enjoy yourself with a little less booze in the system. Honest!