Establishing any new habit is hard. Establishing healthy eating habits is even harder. The foods we choose, how we eat, when we eat…these are all aspects of our lives that are very deeply ingrained in us. There is a reason you haven’t been following healthier habits for years and years. However, if you’re trying to lose weight, clearly whatever habits you have in place aren’t working for you. Realizing and accepting this is 10 steps in the right direction. …
As I’m gallivanting around Thailand undoubtedly gorging on all the delicious tropical fruit, I thought this would be a topical post. Think I’m going to limit my consuming of papaya, mango, lychee, rambuntan, mangosteen, and any other fruit I’ll try? Think again!
I get asked this questions at lest 3 times per day: isn’t fruit high in sugar? Shouldn’t I avoid it? Interestingly enough, this inquiry usually follows people telling me that they eat cookies, ice cream, and candy with reckless abandon. If you’re worried about sugar, shouldn’t you be worried about those foods too? Just saying…
Anyways, the fruit-sugar connection is a big player in the “pop nutrition” world, where fruit has been condemned to the deepest, darkest circle of nutrition Hell. Poor fruit. So what’s the deal with fruit?…
I ask every patient what he or she eats on a typical day. This “dietary recall”, as it is called, gives me great insight into the likes, dislikes, habits, lifestyle, and eating patterns of my patients. The process takes a long time, because with good details and data I can pinpoint areas for improvement. Believe it or not, I don’t judge what you eat. Even in my young career as a dietitian, not much surprises me, so I’m over being shocked.
But what does surprise me, is that people will do anything to be on a “trendy diet”. I have had patients tell me their typical dietary intake, which doesn’t include a single vegetable, and then ask me about the “paleo” diet or “raw vegan” diet because they “heard” people see great results….
Every patient I talk to has a unique story and struggle with his or her health, diet, and weight. That being said, there are very common dietary issues that come up again and again. I’ll feature some of the main issues I see over the next few weeks. Up first: portion control.
You know that old saying “everything in moderation”? Well, I don’t necessarily agree with that, mostly because people’s idea of “moderation” is skewed. Our idea of a “portion” has been so horrendously distorted throughout the past 50 decades. Plates have gotten bigger, steak houses are offering large slabs of meat, fast food can be “supersized”, and words like “33% more” are plastered on chip bags. The message continues to be that more is better….
We eat 147 pounds of added sugar per year. That’s right-147 pounds of pure sugar thanks to a shift in our food production and food preferences. Sugar is without a doubt the dietary villain du jour. Excess sugar consumption has been linked to everything from weight gain and obesity, diabetes, cancer, inflammatory diseases (arthritis, autoimmune diseases), fatty liver disease, cavities, insulin resistance, acne, and hormonal disruption. Heck, weight gain and obesity alone have a huge list of health consequences so you can multiple the direct effects of sugar by 20….
In an ideal world, we would all be eating homemade foods made with local, organic ingredients we harvest ourselves. But, let’s be honest, that is completely unrealistic and a little too Little House on the Prairie to even deal with. We rely on farmers and food-processing plants to take whatever is grown/raised and change it into an edible form.
Let’s first clarify the difference between “processed” and “in a package”. Not all foods sold in a package are a processed, junk disaster. For example, canned beans, canned tomatoes, rice, and frozen fruit/veggies are minimally processed, whole, healthy foods that just happen to be in a package for convenience. It’s the food sold in packages that contain more than a single ingredient that are an issue, which leads me to tip number one…….
Last week was insane for me. I had a week filled with too many commitments, too many new ventures, too much driving, and too much stress. I barely remember writing and posting blogs for Decidedly Nutritious, so please excuse the fact that the usual amount of typos increased ten-fold (my “editor” wasn’t happy). Anyways, never was the topic of today’s post more relevant to me than last week.
Nothing is worse than coming home from a long day at work and staring into the fridge wondering “what the heck should I eat for dinner?” Facing the need to cook dinner is daunting. No one wants to marinate something, chop veggies, wait for the oven to preheat, and actually cook dinner when they’re tired and starving. Sometimes an apple with peanut butter is all you can muster-but hey!-it’s quick and balanced so don’t discredit it completely.
I think the main issue is that people have this idea that dinner=cooking and cooking=creating sauces from scratch and getting fancy. Dinner can just as easily be piecing together foods for a quick, balanced meal. Reframe your idea of dinner. I’ve always said if you have a can of beans, frozen veggies, and a quick whole grain you have a meal. Stock your fridge/freezer/pantry with long-lasting, quick cooking items, piece together balanced options, and you’re good to go. And I promise they’re ready before take-out would arrive :-)…
We’re fast approaching the “holiday season”, the 6-week period where food, drinks, and general merriment are in overdrive. Despite that the average American only gains 1 pound/year during this period, (the real problem is this weight is never lost and, thus, accumulates slowly but steadily), it’s worth examining ways to keep some healthy prospective in the holiday season.
Today I’m sharing some tricks-of-the-trade to keep you happy, healthy, and on track during the hardest part of the year….
At some point in childhood we lose touch with our natural hunger cues. Children are notoriously annoying to feed. They say no to more food after 2 bites and come back starving 30 minutes later (sorry mom!). It can be frustrating, but we should all be impressed! They are really listening to their body telling them when they are hungry and when they are full. I don’t know when that amazing ability is lost, but I wish the natural instinct wasn’t so easy to override. Maybe it’s the “one more bite” mentality or the strong pull of food that just tastes too damn good.
Intuitive eating is a buzzword in the nutrition world now. It refers to the ability to eat what you want, when you want it. To eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied (not full, satisfied). To not obsess over “good” vs “bad” foods. To live in a world where you eat and enjoy food, but food doesn’t rule you. Unintuitive eating is often associated with mindlessly eating junk, but it is just as important to recognize that any relationship where food controls you needs to be improved. It can be mindlessly eating junk but it can just as easily be an obsession with eating only healthy foods. It is about finding balanced nutrition in an unbalanced world….