Food With Friends

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Some of the most memorable times in my life surrounds food I have eaten my family and friends.  Food brings us so much comfort when we are gathered at a restaurant  or sitting around the dinner table with friends savoring the taste of exotic meals or family recipes.  I never really ask how many calories are in that delicious crab dip or fat grams in that caesar salad but I know exactly how much I can eat and what to politely pass on.  I have a tool called the 90/10 rule that I started using when I began my own weight loss journey in August of 2014.  I am determined and terrified at the same time not to gain the 68 pounds back that I had so much fun putting on while eating healthy food with my family and friends.

Let’s explore some secrets to get you on track that I learned.  The first secret is portion size does matter and Boy-Oh-Boy does it matter!  I eat on a salad plate at home so that I keep in mind that there in no need to fill the entire plate up.  My second secret is that I eat my protein first and the size fits in my palm of my hand.  My third secret is my vegetables come second and they can take up half of my salad plate. Keep in mind I do not consider any kind of potato or squash as my vegetable.  My fourth secret is simple I take 3 table spoons of a starch like potatoes, rice, corn, bread, beans or pasta.  I eat my food in that order so that I know by the time I get to my potatoes or pasta that I will be full. I can tell you that I do not eat 9 serving of fruits and vegetables a day or my weight will be 200 lbs and I do not follow the my plate rule because my body just does not need that much food.  I limit my fruits to morning only and berries, bananas, apples and melons made my short list.  I stick to 1/4 of a cup serving on these.  The last shocker is that I do not drink water or any beverage during or 1 hour after my meals.  I read an article that stated when you drink with your meals you actually push the food through your stomach into your digestive track faster and that allows you to eat a greater volume of food.  This habit that we are taught is actually causing many people to gain weight due to the fact they are not feeling full because the upper portion of the stomach is emptying more quickly.  Drinking with your meals also dilutes digestive enzymes and can effect on how efficiently your stomach digests your food.  You can drink your beverages and water through out the day and you will not be dehydrated doing so.  My other little trick that I practice while socializing with family and friends is choose skinny cocktails, put ice in a wine glass or choose white wine over red.  Red wine is for me a true pleasure so I only drink it after I have eaten and stick to sipping  two ounces at a time.  I find after the second glass I am cautious about reaching for a third because family and friends may have the impression that I am over indulging and I am using peer pressure to keep my calories in check. My final trick is that I grab a hand full of protein bars and keep them in my purse so that I do not hit the snack machine, latte stand or drive through when I am to busy to sit down and eat. I struggle everyday with food and I don’t always make the best choices and the 90/10 rule allows to indulge on my cravings 10% of the time without the guilt and return to eating healthy the other 90% of the time.

Please try out what work for me and let me know how well my tools for weight loss have helped you.

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10 Tips To Reduce Stress And Weight During The Holidays

thCA8WORZRThe holidays are here and so is the stress of making it through the holidays without gaining weight.  This time a year can be stressful to many people in multiple ways and the stress alone can cause you to gain 10 to 15 pounds over the next six weeks.  Managing stress during the holidays can be difficult and unless we take time for ourselves, slow down and make healthy food choices.   When we are stressed and over-tired it  is much easier to turn to sugar and carbohydrates to boost our energy and mood.  Once the cycle of using sugar and carbs is established we start to crave these very types of foods and the cycle of gaining weight begins.  We are bombarded with food at the stores, on the TV, magazines and with our own holiday traditions making it all most impossible to stay committed to our diets.  After a weekend of shopping during the day, catching a bite out at our favorite place to eat we notice that on Monday morning the scale reflects what we ate over the weekend.  Lets do the math; we have 6 weeks of living the holiday lifestyle and we gain two pounds a week that equals 12 pounds.  Now the average Thanksgiving dinner is 4,500 calories, this year throw in the eight days of  Hanukkah for those who celebrate and it can easily be a 3 to 5 pound weight gain.  Wait a minute because we have not even calculated in parties, Christmas and New Years.  You can see why more people go on a crash diet for their New Years Resolution and why it is the favorite time of year for weight loss centers, diet book sales and gyms.

My plan is to set some healthy boundaries before the holidays to help you manage your stress during the 6 weeks of Holiday Madness.  Here is a list of 10 tips to make your life simpler, happier and your waist smaller.

1.  As crazy as this sound keep a regular sleep schedule and try to get at least 7 hours of quality sleep each night.  It is okay to leave parties early if your perfect excuse is ” I have to be up in 6 hours”.

2.  Shop from your favorite stores on-line and have your gifts wrapped and shipped to your friends and family.  Your time, gas for your car and eating out will cover the wrapping and many on-line stores offer free shipping.

3.  Take veggie snacks, protein shakes and water with you if you are going to be out all day.  You are less likely to make high carb food choices if you are not starving or dehydrated.

4.  Eat a salad with protein before you head out to a party or dinner to take the edge off your appetite.  Food does not have the same effect on our feel good part of the brain if you are not hungry.

5.  Keep your exercise routine in place as much as possible so you keep your fat burning machine going and the thought of staying healthy on your mind.

6.  Buy your holiday outfits early and hang them up where you can see them everyday.  Trying to buy the perfect outfit at the last-minute can be impossible and seeing it everyday makes it more likely that you will keep your weight down.

7.  Find a skinny cocktail for holidays and stick to it. Keep your cocktails to one drink so that your blood sugar remains stable.  Studies show that when people drink they eat more and blood sugars are higher which leads to weight gain.

8.  Keep your cravings under control by taking your daily vitamins and make sure that you are getting your Omega’s.  When your body feels deficient in a vitamin, mineral or amino acid cravings start to emerge and the cravings will be stronger than normal. Because they are of biological origin it is highly likely that you will give in with a wrong food choice if you are not in tune with your body.

9.  Maintain healthy relationships and focus on reducing or resolving any conflicts prior to the holidays.  If a relationship or friendship is unhealthy for you and causing you stress then let it go and move on rather than go through the holidays with someone you do not want in your life.  I know this sounds harsh but it also is empowering to start the New Year without emotional baggage.

10.  Be silly, laugh, dance, surround your self with positive people, have fun any way and any where you can.  When we are happy it makes dealing with the moments of stress much easier on our bodies and we have less desire to give into cravings and overeat.

Thank you for reading my blog and may you find peace and happiness during the holidays.

The Skinny on Fats

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Are all fats created equal?  Yes and NO!

Heavily processed, hydrogenated “trans” fats used in prepared, packaged foods can be extremely damaging to the body. They can compromise the cardiovascular system, immune system, and contribute to behavior problems. They can also lead to weight gain, skin breakouts, high blood pressure, and liver strain.

That said, our bodies need fat for insulation, vitamin and mineral absorption, brain function and to protect our organs. High-quality fats can steady our metabolism, keep hormone levels even, nourish our skin, hair, and nails, and provide lubrication to keep the body functioning fluidly.

Where to Find Healthy Fats

Avocados, olives, and coconuts are great sources of healthy fat, along with wild salmon and omega-3 rich organic eggs.

Whole nuts and seeds, and their butters like almond butter or tahini

Look for the highest-quality organic oils when shopping.  Words to look for: organic, first-pressed, cold-pressed, extra-virgin, and unrefined. Avoid expeller-pressed, refined, and solvent extracted.

How to Use Healthy Fats:

For cooking at high temperatures (stir frying and baking), try butter, ghee (clarified butter), or coconut oil

When sautéing foods, try organic extra virgin olive oil.

Oils like flaxseed, sesame, toasted sesame, walnut, and pumpkin seed are best used unheated in sauces or dressings.

Try this delicious, easy recipe:

Avocado Dip

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Makes 1 cup

1 large peeled and pitted avocado

2/3 cup plain yogurt, goat yogurt, coconut yogurt, or almond yogurt

1 diced tomato

a squirt of lemon or lime juice

dash or two of cayenne pepper

sea salt and black pepper

Mash avocado with a fork until very smooth.

Add yogurt, tomato, cayenne. Blend until smooth. This may be done in a food processor, in a blender, or with a fork.

Add sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste.

Serve chilled with mixed raw vegetables.

Tip: Best made a maximum of 1 hour before serving.

GET EVEN HEALTHIER!

Want help learning how to choose and use nutritious fats and other good-for-you foods? Curious about how health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Content on this webpage contains the copyrighted material of Integrative Nutrition Inc., © 2013 (Used with permission).”

 

Time to take a closer look at pumpkins the other squash

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Pumpkins and its seeds are not widely utilized as other natural health foods, so many people might not even know the health benefits of pumpkins.  I think it is time that we finally acknowledge the pumpkin for the many benefits this fabulous squash can bring.  The pumpkin can finally be just what the doctor has ordered.  Pumpkin seeds have many nutritional benefits and they are loaded with minerals including copper, iron, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.  The seeds are full of Vitamin K, E and the B’s and they have phytosterols compounds which aid in the lowering of LDL cholesterol.  Did you know that pumpkin seeds promote sleep and lower depression.  What a great way for Vegans to get natural tryptophan because when absorbed in the body tryptophan becomes serotonin.  Serotonin keeps us happy and helps us sleep so reach for a handful of pumpkin seeds the next time you are feeling blue or need a good night sleep.  The zinc in pumpkin seeds can help reduce hunger and aid in weight loss by increasing the hormone leptin that controls how hungry we feel.  Pumpkin seeds are full of protein with a whopping 9 grams per ounce.  The oil in pumpkin seeds has proven to reduce some symptoms of an enlarged prostate by alleviating urination that occurs in some men.  Guys raise your testosterone by eating pumpkins seeds. Eating pumpkin seeds can reduce inflammation and ward off kidney stones.

If you suffer from digestive problems like high acid content in your stomach the pumpkin seed is for you.  To counteract the negative effects of highly acid foods, take in to consideration of adding pumpkin seeds into your diet.  Now that I have discussed the seeds of the pumpkin lets talk about what to do with the rest of this magnificent squash.

Pumpkin puree is consider a low carb food with 9 grams of carbohydrate per cup and provide 7.1 grams of fiber.  Fiber is essential for controlling blood glucose levels, aids in the intestines in absorbing nutrients from your food, helps with constipation as well.  With only 9 grams of carbohydrates per cup pumpkin puree is one of the perfect super foods for people who need to maintain healthy glucose levels.

Want to starve off cold and flu’s try adding a cup of pumpkin to your diet daily to give your immune system a healthly boost of iron.  Just 1 cup of pumpkin a day supplies men with 43% of their daily iron and 20% for women.  The vitamin A found in pumpkin boost your immune system, keeps your eyes and teeth healthy.  A real plus to include pumpkin in your diet is that the Vitamin E found in pumpkin keeps your immune system healthy and protects your cells from the damage that can lead to diseases like cancer.  The bright orange color contains compounds that reduce inflammation that can lead to diseases like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and arthritis.

Next time you pass by a farm stand or a pumpkin patch stop and pick up a pumpkin.  Stir some pumpkin puree in soup, stew, pasta sauce or chili as the flavor will not be change significantly and your dinner will pack all the nutrients of this wonderful super food.  Canned pumpkin can be found at almost any grocery store or market just read the label to insure that additional sugar has not been added to sweeten the puree.

Let food be our medicine and have a cup of pumpkin seeds or puree a day to keep the doctor away.

Whole fruit deters diabetes, why juice boosts risk!

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Eating more whole fresh fruit, especially blueberries, grapes, apples and pears, is link to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, but drinking more fruit juice has the opposite effect, says a study involving more than 187,000 nurses and other professional caregivers conducted in the United States.  People who ate at least two servings each week of whole fruits reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 23 percent compared to those who ate less than one serving a month.   Those who drank one or more servings of fruit juice each day saw their risk of diabetes increase as much as 21 percent.  This was reported by the BMJ.

Just think what can happen if you eat blueberries, strawberries, apples and pears every morning!  Fresh fruits introduce fiber into our intestines which help stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce craving for sweet foods and help regulate bowel movements.  The nutritional value from these super foods are beneficial to our health.  Berries and grapes, for instance have compounds called anthocyanins which have been found to lower the risk of heart attacks.  Strawberries are loaded with Vitamin C which supports the immune system and helps maintain healthy resilient skin.  Apples and Pears are loaded with fiber and other phytonutrients that have cardiovascular benefits in lowering bad cholesterol.  The old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” just might ring true.

When purchasing fruits always keep in mind that Organic really does matter!