Food and Nutrition

Why Diets Don’t Work

Posted by on May 12, 2013 in Body image, Food and Nutrition, Health Tips | 0 comments

Why Diets Don’t Work

Did you know that nearly all dieters (95%) can expect to regain two-thirds of their lost weight within a year of completing their diet plan? These dieters can also expect to regain all of their weight, and possibly more, within 5 years.

Diets are a billion-dollar industry; companies spend millions and millions luring you to try the latest diet (low carb, high protein, low fat, no fat, you name it) with promises that this will (finally!) be the solution—your shortcut to a thinner body. Advertising efforts also deeply affect our children, who develop distorted body images and are often on diets as early as nine or 10 years of age.

Our culture touts diet pills, celebrity workouts, convenience foods and trendy diets to help us achieve our desired weight, but these quick-fix solutions have backfired. America’s population has reached its highest weight in history. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly two-thirds of all American adults are overweight and 34% of Americans are clinically obese.

Diets steer us away from our common sense and dip deeply into our pocketbooks while eliciting few, if any, lasting results. Why?

Too General

Diets don’t work because each person is unique, with different needs based on gender, age, ancestry and lifestyle; how could one diet be right for everyone?

Too Extreme

Diets don’t work because they are extreme solutions. As in physics, if a pendulum swings to one extreme, it has to swing equally to the other. A diet might work for a short amount of time, but research shows that almost all diets result in a 10-pound gain once off the diet.

Too Restrictive

Diets don’t work because they are too restrictive. People who fail on diet plans are not flawed or weak. Diets by nature require discipline and restriction at levels that are unsustainable by a healthy human body.

 Too Narrow

Diets don’t work because they don’t consider the emotional or spiritual needs of the client. Most people are disconnected from why they gain weight and see diet as the only culprit. For example, ignoring or discounting emotions is often the first thing to cause weight imbalances and overeating.

If diets don’t work what are we to do? I know first hand the frustration and the deep agony of wanting to be a different size. I have struggled with “my weight issue” for all of my life (literally).

As a holistic health counselor my goal is not only to teach people healthy food choices and habits that last a lifetime, but also to empower people to break free from emotional eating and truly accept who they are.

Stay Tuned for next week’s blog when I discuss how to lose weight without dieting.

dieting

 

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Ditch The Dairy

Posted by on Aug 1, 2012 in Food and Nutrition | Comments Off on Ditch The Dairy

Ditch The Dairy

Lately a lot of my clients have been asking about the dangers of dairy. People are very confused about whether or not they should consume dairy products. While it appears to be one of the “latest health trends” it is actually a bit more complicated then that. Since our government controls and regulates much of our food supply the message that they have been sending us for years is, we need to drink milk, drink milk for strong healthy bones. I recently heard someone say “milk is for babies, adults should not drink milk”.

Here are some of the most important reasons why you should ditch the dairy!

May lead To Osteoporosis

According to the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, which followed more than 75,000 women for 12 years, showed that women who drank 2 glasses or more a day, were twice as likely, as women who only had 1 drink per week or less to get bone fractures. In fact, the study proved, that an increase risk in calcium from milk also increased your risk for getting bone fractures. In order to decrease your risk of osteoporosis you should decrease your risk of sodium and animal protein and increase the amount of fruits and dark leafy greens you eat.

May Cause Chronic Disease

Eating a diet high in saturated fat, like the ones in cheese, ice cream, milk, and butter, all contribute to an increased risk of chronic disease, such as, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Type-1, or childhood-onset diabetes is now linked to daily dairy consumption. Research in 1992 found that there is a specific protein found in dairy, which can cause an auto-immune reaction that can destroy insulin producing cells found in the pancreas.

Linked To Cancer

Several cancers, especially ovarian cancer, have been linked to a high amount of dairy consumption.  Some women lack the enzyme needed to break down galactose in their bodies, which leads to a build up of dairy in their system. Breast and prostate cancer have also been linked to dairy consumption. This is due to insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). IGF-I, which is found in cow’s milk and has been shown to increase levels in the blood of people who consume dairy products on a regular basis.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose Intolerance is very common among many populations, affecting approximately 95% of Asian Americans, 74% of Native Americans, 70% of African Americans, 53% of Mexican Americans, and 15% of Caucasians. These individuals may experience symptoms of gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, and flatulence, which occur because their bodies lack the proper enzymes to digest lactose. These individuals should not consume any dairy.

Harmful Contaminants

Significant synthetic hormones, such as, bovine growth hormone (rBGH) are commonly used in cows to increase their production of milk. When cows produce too much milk, more then nature intended, it results in mastitis, or inflammation of the mammary glands. They then use antibiotics to treat these diseases. Do you want to consume a product that is not only infested with disease, but also pumped up with drugs?

Health Concerns For Children

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics infants below one year of age should not be given whole cow’s milk, as iron deficiency is more likely on a dairy-rich diet. They also suspect that cow’s milk may be a reason that 1 out of 5 children develop colic. It is also thought that mother’s who drink milk while breast-feeding may pass harmful antibiotics to their babies through the blood stream. Additionally, food allergies appear to be common results of milk consumption, particularly in children and may lead to chronic constipation.

Milk and dairy products are not a necessary part of our diet and as you can see may even be harmful to our health.

If you want to prevent or reverse chronic diseases, such as, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, eat a plant based diet rich in whole natural foods, such as, fruit, dark leafy greens, whole grains, legumes, beans, and limited animal protein. If you do consume cows make sure they are grass fed and hormone and antibiotic free.

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Break The “Bad” Eating Cycle

Posted by on Jul 18, 2012 in Body image, Food and Nutrition, Health Tips | Comments Off on Break The “Bad” Eating Cycle

Break The “Bad” Eating Cycle

As someone who is a food addict I know all too well the up and downhill battle with the scale.

I spent many years of my life being morbidly obese, weighing in at almost 300lbs.

During most of that time I was a teenager. As you can imagine being a fat teenage girl can be pretty damaging on the psyche. I became depressed and lonely.

All I cared about was food. When I was 17 I was diagnosed as being a compulsive overeater, but I had no idea what that really meant. I knew there were things I wasn’t “supposed to” or “allowed to” have, and I ate them anyway.

I filled myself up with food as a result of being empty inside.

More then a decade later, being half my size, I am here to tell you what I have come to discover. These are just some of the tools that have really helped me get to where I am today. I will not lie. It has not been easy. It is a daily practice that I cultivate and something I am always working on. Even if you only take away one of these tools today I promise you will see results.

Don’t Make Excuses

A lot of people want to loose weight. Most of these people also have a long list of excuses. I know most of them because I have used every single one. When I catch myself making an excuse I ask myself: What do I really want? You need to decide how badly you really want to loose weight. Yes you might have to make some sacrifices, but I can promise you that is worth it. 

Eat What You Want

When we deprive ourselves or restrict our food selection we are setting ourselves up for failure. This is one of the reasons why diets don’t work! If your body is craving something and you don’t allow yourself to eat it, you are most likely to overeat on anything and everything until your body is satisfied. When we think we are “not allowed” to have certain foods we only create a deeper desire to eat them. Of course, you need to be careful with the amount of food you are consuming, but in my world there is no food that is off limits.

Tune Into Your Body

This is one of the most important tools that you need to Cultivate Nourishment. The best way to reduce cravings and overeating is too understand what is right for you. You can only eat what you truly want when you are aware of what your body truly needs. Everyone is unique and different. Tune into yourself.

Enjoy Your Food

If you are always worried about what you eat you are more likely to go into restriction mode, or punish yourself. When you eat your food you should savor every bite. Eat it slowly and stop when you are full.

Find What Nourishes You

Make a list of all the things that nourish you. This can be the food you eat, the relationships you have, or the work that you do. The more you add nourishment into your life from sources other then food, the more likely you are not to turn to food for comfort. Start NOW by only choosing food that makes your tummy hum.

Connect To Your Spirit

Your mind is very powerful. It controls your thoughts and your thoughts control your actions. When you learn to cultivate awareness around what you do and how you do it, you are connecting with your inner guide, your higher power, your spirit. When we connect with ourselves in a deep and meaningful way it can change the way we do everything! Be still with yourself. If you are really brave start practicing meditation!

Love Yourself

Get rid of the negative self-talk. Are you a perfectionist, always saying “I am not good enough”? Having a negative opinion about ourselves can have a huge impact on who we are and what we do. Next time you catch yourself saying something negative about yourself ask, would I speak to a child like that? Turn your negative talk into positive affirmations. “I am getting better and better everyday in everyway.”

Remember, I am always here to support you!

Contact me if you want to find out more.

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Eating More Raw Foods

Posted by on Jun 28, 2012 in Food and Nutrition | Comments Off on Eating More Raw Foods

Eating More Raw Foods

 

Summer is a great time to eat more raw foods. Our bodies naturally crave cooling foods during the summer heat. People who follow a raw food (also called living food) diet consume at least 75% uncooked vegan or vegetarian diet, which consists of berries, fruits, vegetables, roots, nuts, flowers, sea vegetables, germinated seeds, sprouts, and sometimes raw dairy. Nothing is to be heated above 115 degrees F in order to preserve the integrity of the enzymes associated with digestion and absorption. Dehydration of food is permissible but only if the process is kept below 115 degrees. Followers of a raw food diet claim that they have increased energy, weight loss, and overall better health. Raw foods are live foods. The more raw foods you eat the more alive you will feel! Here are some of the most beneficial reasons for going raw.

Benefits of Eating Raw Food

Improve Digestion

When we cook our food we also destroy the enzymes contained in that food. Without the proper enzymes to break down our foods, we begin to accumulate undigested materials in our system. This leads to weight gain, inflammation, stagnation, digestive distress, and fatigue. The more raw food we eat, the more enzymes we accumulate. The more digestive enzymes we have the better we are able to properly digest and absorb our food.

Increase Energy

Digestion can be one of the most energy draining activities for your body.  Our body uses 85% of its stored energy to digest our food. When you eat a diet high in raw foods, you digest your foods much faster, which means you get more energy. It can take anywhere from 1-4 days to digest cooked food completely and have it be eliminated. Conversely, when you eat Raw food, your digestion can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours, depending on how the food is combined. The more raw food we eat the quicker we digest our food and have more energy to do what we want.

Glowing Skin

Eating raw foods helps create healthy glowing skin. Raw foods are whole, natural, live foods. They are the best medicine you can give your body. When you eat a typical raw food diet you are also bound to get a healthy amount of the “good fats”. These include mono-unsaturated fats, which you can find in avocados, almonds, and olives, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids, which are in flax seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts. The “good fats” are healing for the body and help produce healthy glowing skin. Eating half an avocado a day can have powerful healing properties for the body!

Reduce Disease

Raw foods contain lots of vitamins and phytonurients, meaning plant nutrients. These nutrients are loaded with anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which help prevent chronic diseases, most notably, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Dark leafy greens are one of the most beneficial of the raw foods because of their dense nutritional profile. For more information on this topic check out an article written by the Journal of Nutrition.

Lose Weight

Weight loss is directly related to our digestive system. The better and more effective we can digest, absorb, and then properly eliminate our food; the more we are likely to achieve a healthy weight. As I mentioned above, raw foods help us improve our digestion and eliminate toxins from the body. Eating a raw foods diet also means you will be eating a lot of fiber. Fiber helps promote weight loss and allows us to feel fuller longer. 

If you find it overwhelming to go completely raw, try incorporating more raw foods into your diet. Add seeds and nuts to your dishes. Eat more avocado and healthy fats. Summer is the best time to transition into a more raw food type of diet. Start by eating at least one raw food meal a day and slowly increase it so you are eating mostly raw, whole, natural foods. Check out my Recipe page for some healthy salad ideas!

 

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Seasonal Summer Foods

Posted by on Jun 21, 2012 in Food and Nutrition | Comments Off on Seasonal Summer Foods

Seasonal Summer Foods

Summer Is Here

The Temperature in New York City hit a high of 97 Degrees this week. That means that it felt like well over 100 degrees. When the city gets to be that hot it usually means one thing, summer is here and the heat is on! Do you notice that as soon as it gets to be hot our bodies crave cool and refreshing foods, like salad or ice cream. I am a firm believer of feeding your body what feels good. Our bodies are very smart and always communicate to us what they want. When I work with my clients I teach them how to tune into the messages that their body tells them. Once they learn to tune into that they can really begin to nourish the body with what it needs.

Eating seasonal foods is a great way to feed the body what it truly needs. When we eat with the seasons we are allowing our bodies to remain in that balanced state. We are tuning into our cravings and learning to interpret our body’s messages. We are learning to feed the body what it really wants and needs. Eating seasonally helps us get closer to achieving that balanced state of wellness. Isn’t that what we all want to achieve?

Here are my favorite foods to help beat the heat and curb those cravings during summer.

Seasonal Summer Foods

Berries

Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries satisfy your sweet tooth and are rich in nutritional bonuses, such as vitamin C. These summer superfoods are loaded with antioxidant phytonutrients that help neturlize free radicals, stabilize brain function and protect the neural tissue from oxidative stress.

Cherries

Studies show that a diet that includes a lot of cherries lowers all the overall risk factors for heart disease, including inflammation, body fat, and cholesterol. They are also considered an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant that help fight free-radicals in the body. Cherries are great for improving memory function and contain melatonin, a hormone that regulates the body’s sleep cycles. 

Salads

Eating salads with dark leafy greens are a great way to keep cool, give us energy, and even help us loose weight. Spinach and Kale are especially plentiful during this time of year. Using them to make a salad is a great way to beat the heat and get your daily dose of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.

Cucumber

Cucumbers are one of the best foods for your skin, joints, & energy levels. Not too mention they are also full of potassium, magnesium, & vitamin C which give it a powerful alkalizing effect within the body. Eat them as a snack or simply add them to your salads. You can also cut it up and add to your water for a cool and refreshing treat.

Perk Up Your Water

Speaking of water, we all know how important it is to hydrate, but in the summer our bodies sweat more and we increase our risk of becoming dehydrated. On those days in NYC when it reaches almost 100 degrees, think of fun ways to perk up your water. Watermelon, for example, is a great source of water and a sweet summer treat. Try adding citrus for some extra flavor and Vitamin C.

Foods With Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential for healthy teeth and gums, aids in the absorption of iron, and helps maintain connective tissue health which is important for defending against infection. Summer is a great time to add natural Vitamin C to your diet. Peaches, Nectarines, Plums, & tomatoes are all great ways to incorporate more C into your diet.

Smoothies

In the Summer when my body craves ice cream I go for a smoothie instead. If you have a blender at home, blend your favorite frozen fruit with some almond milk or coconut milk. Add some natural peanut butter for some extra flavor and protein punch. My favorite combination is frozen banana with almond butter and almond milk. It definitely helps curb that ice cream craving!

Watermelon

Watermelon is a great summer fruit that can help curb a sugar craving. Watermelon is a powerful antioxidant and helps to neutralize free radicals than can lead to inflammation, general sickness and chronic illnesses such as stroke and heart attack. The high water content of watermelon is part of what gives it fat burning benefits, helping to make your metabolism work more efficiently. With a healthy amount of fiber and protein, your body will still work harder simply processing watermelon.

Find What Works For You

There are many ways to stay cool and beat the heat in summer. When we seasonal foods during summer, we are nourishing our body with those cool and refreshing foods it needs. Pick your favorite one and try it the next time you are feeling the summer heat.

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Gluten Free

Posted by on Jun 14, 2012 in Food and Nutrition, Health Tips | Comments Off on Gluten Free

Gluten Free

What Is Gluten?

As our food gets more and more processed they become more toxic and dangerous to eat! We keep discovering new health concerns. This leaves many of us confused, frustrated, and in need of support. In my last blog I talked about the difference between whole grain and whole wheat. In today’s blog I am going to take this a step further and discuss gluten.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and oats. It is hidden in pizza, pasta, bread, wraps, rolls, and most processed foods. Since our Standard American Diet (SAD) contains a lot of those foods, gluten is a staple of the American diet.

What most people don’t know is that gluten can cause serious health complications for many. There is scale of gluten insensitivity. This ranges from full blown celiac disease (being allergic and even lead to death) to a gluten intolerance. Even if you don’t have full blown celiac disease you should still avoid it whenever possible.

Dangers of Gluten

Eating gluten over an extended period of time can have serious affects on your intestinal lining. If our intestinal line is damaged our body is not able to properly absorb and assimilate nutrients. This can cause malnourishment and other inflammatory diseases in the body.  This damaging reaction to gluten does not happen instantly.  Rather, the damage is done over a period of many years, and many people are not diagnosed with a gluten intolerance or disease until after they have experienced serious symptoms such as, diarrhea, excessive flatulence, abdominal pain, bloody stool, and abdominal bloating or distention.

The side effects of gluten and its symptoms vary from person to person.  Not every affected person’s digestive system gets damaged.  Some people experience allergic reactions caused by antibodies created by the immune system.  These antibodies attack the gluten, but in the process may also cause physical reactions. Below are some common symptoms associated with a gluten allergy.

  • Irritability or depression
  • Anemia
  • Stomach upset
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Skin rash
  • Mouth sores
  • Dental and bone disorders (such as osteoporosis)
  • Tingling in the legs and feet (neuropathy)
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps, gas and bloating
  • General weakness and fatigue
  • Loss of focus or “head fog”

What To Do?

If you think you have a gluten allergy or intolerance ask your doctor to be tested. After the results you will know if you need to avoid gluten. Even if you are not allergic to gluten, seriously decreasing the amount you have in your diet can help you feel better. When I eliminated gluten from my diet my digestion improved. I have less bloating and most important I have more energy. Many of the foods that contain gluten are highly processed and when we eat them we are left feeling tired, bloated, and heavy. When we consume foods that are whole we are eating their energy and we are left feeling lighter and more fit inside our bodies. What kind of energy do you want?

 

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