Category Archives: Food

26 Jan

Too much of a good thing

blog_italianThis past week, I was reminded of an important lesson… too much of a good thing, is never a good thing at all! I do my best to practice the act of moderation as a part of my daily lifestyle, but sometimes while practicing with the best intentions, my vision gets blurred.

On Wednesday, my family and I went out to celebrate my mother’s birthday. We dined at a delicious Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side called Pappardella. This restaurant, over the last few years has revamped itself… I don’t know for sure – but it seemed like there was a new chef, there was definitely a new menu and plenty of mindful options for the more health conscious diner. There were grass fed meat options as well as an entirely gluten free (GF) Italian menu! People like me… and possibly you (if you maintain a GF diet) hardly ever get the pleasure of enjoying (and devouring) a “traditional-style” Italian meal.

Well, we did certainly that on Wednesday evening….. TOO MUCH so! We ordered the GF garlic bread, GF Margherita pizza, GF pasta with mushrooms in a delicious white wine and olive oil sauce and ANOTHER GF pasta dish with tomato, mozzarella and basil sauce! Clearly this wasn’t all for me, and we all shared, but it seemed like I couldn’t get it into my mouth fast enough! I wasn’t consciously thinking about the fact that I might have been eating it all too quickly, and definitely didn’t pause to think about how it would make me feel afterwards… Almost immediately after dinner I felt completely stuffed, uncomfortably full and borderline SICK!

It comes back to the basic, but hard to manage “all in moderation” theory. It’s okay to splurge, in fact it’s important to listen to your cravings once in a while, but when you are not used to stuffing your face with heavier foods (even if they are GF)! it’s imperative to take it slow! Even if you are choosing to indulge in your meal of choice for an evening, moderation is a practice that should be maintained.

Although the meal we had was deliciously amazing, the way I felt afterwards took away from the experience as a whole… and even the way I felt the next day effected the experience too.

Bottom line – splurge, indulge and enjoy…. but just do it in MODERATION! Eat your hearts out and have a great weekend. :)

xo

13 Jan

6 Reasons to Drink Water

blog_water* As seen on Anatomy in Motion:

It’s no magic bullet, but the benefits of water are many.

Americans seem to carry bottled water everywhere they go these days. In fact, it has become the second most popular drink (behind soft drinks). But water lovers got a jolt recently when we heard that a new report had found that the benefits of drinking water may have been oversold. Apparently, the old suggestion to drink eight glasses a day was nothing more than a guideline, not based on scientific evidence.

But don’t put your water bottle or glass down just yet. While we may not need eight glasses, there are plenty of reasons to drink water. In fact, drinking water (either plain or in the form of other fluids or foods) is essential to your health.

“Think of water as a nutrient your body needs that is present in liquids, plain water, and foods. All of these are essential daily to replace the large amounts of water lost each day,” says Joan Koelemay, RD, dietitian for the Beverage Institute, an industry group.

Kaiser Permanente nephrologist Steven Guest, MD, agrees: “Fluid losses occur continuously, from skin evaporation, breathing, urine, and stool, and these losses must be replaced daily for good health,” he says.

When your water intake does not equal your output, you can become dehydrated. Fluid losses are accentuated in warmer climates, during strenuous exercise, in high altitudes, and in older adults, whose sense of thirst may not be as sharp.

Here are six reasons to make sure you’re drinking enough water or other fluids every day:

1. Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids. Your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.

“Through the posterior pituitary gland, your brain communicates with your kidneys and tells it how much water to excrete as urine or hold onto for reserves,” says Guest, who is also an adjunct professor of medicine at Stanford University.

When you’re low on fluids, the brain triggers the body’s thirst mechanism. And unless you are taking medications that make you thirsty, Guest says, you should listen to those cues and get yourself a drink of water, juice, milk, coffee — anything but alcohol.

“Alcohol interferes with the brain and kidney communication and causes excess excretion of fluids which can then lead to dehydration,” he says.

2. Water Can Help Control Calories. For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. While water doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help.

“What works with weight loss is if you choose water or a non-caloric beverage over a caloric beverage and/or eat a diet higher in water-rich foods that are healthier, more filling, and help you trim calorie intake,” says Penn State researcher Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Weight Control Plan.

Food with high water content tends to look larger, its higher volume requires more chewing, and it is absorbed more slowly by the body, which helps you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans.

3. Water Helps Energize Muscles. Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. “When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer,” says Guest.

Drinking enough fluids is important when exercising. Follow the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for fluid intake before and during physical activity. These guidelines recommend that people drink about 17 ounces of fluid about two hours before exercise. During exercise, they recommend that people start drinking fluids early, and drink them at regular intervals to replace fluids lost by sweating.

4. Water Helps Keep Skin Looking Good. Your skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. But don’t expect over-hydration to erase wrinkles or fine lines, says Atlanta dermatologist Kenneth Ellner, MD.

“Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration,” he says. “But once you are adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids.”

You can also help “lock” moisture into your skin by using moisturizer, which creates a physical barrier to keep moisture in.

5. Water Helps Your Kidneys. Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine, explains Guest. “Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate,” he says.

When you’re getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions.

If you chronically drink too little, you may be at higher risk for kidney stones, especially in warm climates, Guest warns.

6. Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function. Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation. When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration — and the result is constipation.

“Adequate fluid and fiber is the perfect combination, because the fluid pumps up the fiber and acts like a broom to keep your bowel functioning properly,” says Koelemay.

5 Tips to Help You Drink More

If you think you need to be drinking more, here are some tips to increase your fluid intake and reap the benefits of water:

Have a beverage with every snack and meal.

Choose beverages you enjoy; you’re likely to drink more liquids if you like the way they taste.

Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Their high water content will add to your hydration. About 20% of our fluid intake comes from foods.

Keep a bottle of water with you in your car, at your desk, or in your bag.

Choose beverages that meet your individual needs. If you’re watching calories, go for non-caloric beverages or water.

By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD

13 Feb

A Healthy Way to Enjoy Valentine’s Day

blog_healthyvalentines1Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and although in my opinion, it’s just another day… some of us might make it mean different things. Like any other Hallmark holiday, we often reflect on where we are in our lives, the good, the bad, what we wish we had… or didn’t have.

How about looking at it from a different angle? What DO you have to be grateful for on this Valentine’s Day? What do you have going for you that makes you feel GOOD? Instead of harping on the bad, or focusing on what you don’t have… try flipping the coin and acknowledging all that you do have. Positive thinking is a huge step in changing things around. The power of a positive mind can do wonders for you.

On another healthy note… with this time of love, flowers and reflection comes CANDY… and sweets! Try these healthier ways to fill your sweet cravings this year!

1. Chocolate! The cocoa in chocolate contains heart-healthy antioxidants that can help lower blood pressure! Instead of the alternatives like Valentine’s heart candy with messages or sweet tarts… try chocolate!

2. Dark Chocolate! If you’re steering clear of the more sugary options and towards chocolate, you might as well go for dark chocolate. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the better!

3. Nuts! Dark chocolate with nuts tends to offer the best benefits when it comes to heart health. Skip chocolates filled with creams and other sugary flavored substances and go for almondy, nutty delights. (If you’re not allergic, of course!)

4. Control the portion! Know your limits… if you are having chocolate, limit your intake to one or two pieces max! Moderation is key!

5. Combine fruits and chocolate! For desserts that are good for your heart and just the right amount of sweet to fulfill your sweet tooth… try melting dark chocolate and drizzling it over strawberries and other favorite fruits. It’s a delicious alternative!

Here’s to a day of love… most importantly the love you have for yourself!

 

07 Jan

Yummy Veggie Soup

blog_veggiesoup2We had a taste of the cold weather earlier this week… and since then I’ve been craving warm and delicious soups! Soups are one of the easiest meals to make, so I decided to try my own veggie soup at home. It was SO EASY, and came out tasting great!

Veggie Soup

Ingredients you need:

1 peeled potato
4 peeled carrots
1 can of organic chickpeas (garbanzo beans) – soak the chickpeas first so that the skin comes off
Box of mushrooms to slice
1 zucchini
1 yellow zucchini
5 stalks of celery
1 red or yellow onion (I used red)
a bunch of dill
1 vegetable bouillon (Knorr is a good brand)

Boil water with added salt (not too much) in a big soup pot that can hold all of these veggies. As the water starts to boil, and after peeling and slicing the necessary vegetables, throw them into the pot and let them boil for about 2-3 hours. You may need to add more salt to taste as the soup is cooking.

I also boiled a box of quinoa pasta to add in as extra protein.

The end product was absolutely delicious! Once you’re all done cooking, you can refrigerate and/or freeze to have for days or weeks! Enjoy!!!

07 Jan

January Detoxification

blog_detoxSo, I had mentioned in an earlier post that for the month of January I was going to be participating in a cleanse/detoxification. I am certain that I’m not the only one, as many things that I’ve seen and read lately are all about cleansing at the start of a new year. It’s a good opportunity at the turn of a New Year… since cleansing or detoxifying the body is ALWAYS a good idea. It gives the digestion system and your organs a much-needed break (whether it’s January or July!), but somehow it just seems easier when the calendar year changes and we are hungry for health!

I have done a ton of research about this stuff and talked to many different people, many of whom have participated in versions of their own cleanse or have had problems that led them to eliminate certain aspects of their diet all together. I have chosen to eliminate alcohol, gluten, dairy, and most sugars (will explain more in detail below).

Why Gluten?

Gluten is a special type of protein that is commonly found in rye, wheat, and barley. Therefore, it is found in most types of cereals and in many types of bread. It gives elasticity to dough, helping it to rise and to keep its shape, and often giving the final product a chewy texture.
For this reason, flour that has had most of its gluten removed, produces a sticky dough that feels much like chewing gum. GA-ROSS! Imagine all of that attempting digestion in your body, whether gluten-intolerant or not. I’d say, generally speaking, removing gluten from your diet or at least cutting back significantly on the amount that you ingest on a regular basis will be a tremendous help in how you feel from day to day.

I often find that when I eat too much gluten I feel lethargic and bloated. My body doesn’t know how to process it well anymore because I don’t eat too much of it. When I do eat it (like during the holiday overload of cookies, pumpkin pie, pasta, etc…. I am human!), I felt like my body was working way harder than usual to breakdown all of the crapola I was eating, which in turn was making me feel tired, etc… it does make a difference.

Gluten-free options: Grains like wild rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, teff, oats, soybeans, and sunflower seeds. Gluten-free bread (good brands to try are Rudy’s and Food for Life). Quinoa or brown rice pasta is actually delicious and does not leave you feeling full, bloated and like you have to roll your way home from the restaurant!

Why Alcohol?

I am eliminating alcohol for the simple and profound purpose of giving my liver a break! I am not a big drinker as it is, but I find that when I don’t drink at all, I feel clear-minded and I sleep better. Around the holidays, we all tend to drink a little bit more than usual, and so, I have been craving an alcohol-free state of mind and being.

Another good thing to do during a cleanse is start your day off with a glass of hot water with 1/2 juice of a lemon squeezed into it. You might want to add a little bit of honey or agave if it’s too sour for you… this helps detoxify the liver as well. This is something that can be done every day, not just during a cleanse.

Why some sugars, not all?

Let’s be real, the only sugars I am not eliminating are the occasional piece of dark chocolate (which I just can’t live without!) and one cup of coffee in the morning sweetened with coconut milk creamer. These are my hooks, what can I say?

Sugar and refined carbs are incredibly addictive. The more you have, the more you want, and it takes increasingly larger amounts to satisfy. A good way to satisfy a sweet craving is with fruit… and continue eating fruit through these cravings until eventually they subside.

In order to eliminate sugar, first start checking the labels of foods you eat and make sure there’s no sugar in the list of ingredients. This includes high fructose corn syrup or any ingredient ending in “ose,” like dextrose or glucose. Once you raise this level of awareness, you will notice that these ingredients are in EVERYTHING! I highly recommend eliminating as many processed foods as you can (ex: canned goods, microwavable foods, etc). and start buying fresh ingredients to cook your food with! Keep a wide-eyed look out for refined carbohydrates which include: white flour, white bread, white pasta, white rice, etc.

Why Dairy?

Dairy is one of the most mucus-forming foods we can consume; mucus is the body’s way to protect itself from unwanted toxins. The digestive tract is designed to absorb the nutrients from the food that we eat, and with too much dairy intake/mucus build-up, it becomes covered with a mucoid plaque or film which protects our blood from toxins, but would make us crazy sick if absorbed. Our body tries to rid itself of these toxins through whatever outlet it can… the nose (allergies and sneezing), the lungs (asthma and other bronchial conditions), and the skin (rashes, outbreaks, soreness) as outlets for these toxins. This same film does not allow us to absorb any nutrients, and over the years, as this mucoid plaque gets thicker and harder, we become under-nourished, exhausted, congested and miserable. YUCK! By eliminating dairy, numerous health conditions (e.g. asthma, allergies, rashes, etc.) could clear up quickly and completely.

Options to try: almond milk or coconut milk instead of cow’s milk. If you’re going to eat any cheese at all, I would suggest trying raw cheese instead of pasteurized. Organic Valley makes really good raw cheese that is sold at Fairway, Whole Foods and other health food markets. As a replacement to butter, try Earth Balance made with olive oil (not soy).

*As a side note, but an important note: I generally always try to keep the soy intake of my diet to minimal amounts. Soy is a processed form of protein that is not good for us to consume in large amounts. Again, anything processed is generally not the best for you. Soy also has controversial estrogen levels, has been known to decrease testosterone levels, increase the risk of breast cancer, and in general is just no good! Check out labels before buying, try to avoid brands that use soy, soy lecithen, or anything of a soy derivative nature.

Lastly, drink lots of water! It’s hydrating for your organs, muscles and great for the skin!

Happy healthy eating. You can always message me if you have any further questions. And be sure to take the time to stop and notice the changes you are experiencing as you cut certain things out of your diet. It’s the small little shifts (based on the bigger decisions) that change your overall quality of life. Good luck!

xo

03 Jan

Holiday Overeaters Anonymous

blog_cleanse1So why is it that we all tend to gorge ourselves over the holiday season? There is something neurologically built into our systems that allows us to cut ourselves that extra bit of slack… go for the second or third cookie or piece of cake… I get it… Although I understand that this is both the nicer part of what feels like letting go, it also feels somewhat extreme to me. The aftermath of “letting go” by way of gorging ourselves doesn’t isn’t natural. And after the fact, when it’s time to get “back to reality”, it hits a little harder than we think as it’s an adjustment all over again of finding our way back to eating things in moderation.

It’s been a whirlwind of the past few months for me, not only did I get married, but the entire wedding planning process was like entering a wedding planning vortex that took me out of my reality for the last several months, and then the wedding, and then the honeymoon, and then the holidays! When we got back from Thailand, it was time for Thanksgiving, and I had no idea where the month of November had gone. Needless to say, I was completely off of my regular eating routine, eating all sorts of new foods from around the world, and my body was most definitely feeling it. I do believe strongly in moderation, however, I will say – that moderation is relative for everyone. We are all different, and I, myself might not be the most moderate when it comes to eating, according to some. My healthy way of eating might seem extreme in the sense that I actually care A LOT about what I put into my body, not because of weight and vanity, but because I truly feel like my body is my temple… and what I put into it affects EVERYTHING. Because I am so fine-tuned to this, when I don’t eat in my usual way, I feel it.

As we now turn the corner into 2012, it’s a good time to come back to our routine, let go of the holiday splurges, and perhaps even participate in some kind of detox or cleanse. For the month of January, I will be cleaning out my body by simply (not so simply) heightening my awareness of what I eat on a daily basis. I am cutting out alcohol, gluten, most sugars and dairy. My blog will list in detail the intricacies of what I am choosing to eat, why I have chosen to eliminate the above ingredients, and I’ll also document the changes I feel in my body.

Happy New Year, and here’s to starting this New Year off right!

xo

07 Feb

Wellness Retreat in Jamaica!

blog_retreat1Hey friends,

Hope you are all doing well! I wanted to share some exciting news…

I will be part of a week long retreat in Ocho Rios, Jamaica this coming May!!!

Being healthy is more than just a visit to the gym or eating well. It is also about investing in your emotional and spiritual health. Picture yourself waking up with the sun, having breakfast by the water and stretching your limbs with a yoga or boot-camp class. Enjoy all day exercise and activities, see the sights or simply lay in the sun. It’s up to you!

Recharge your batteries at the beautiful Scotch on the Rocks villa on the shores of Ocho Rios, Jamaica, a location known for its breathtaking beauty and relaxing charm.

If you are interested, you can email: reserve@fabulouslyhealthyyou.com

The early bird price is $1150 if you register by February 25th.

Regular price after 2/25 is $1250

$300 due upon booking and the remainder due by 3/25.

Price includes: Accommodations for 6 nights/7 days, 3 meals per day, transportation to and from the airport, and daily exercise classes and activities.

Sounds pretty good, right? There are thirteen spots available… if you are anyone you think might be interested in this awesome deal, please forward on, or email the above address for more info! Of course you can always email me for more info too! The flyer for this retreat is attached to this email as well. Check it out!

Love to all.

04 Dec

Be mod.

blog_bemodTo quote my favorite acupuncturist Aimee Raupp, “Be Mod” is a term used to describe being moderate… and taking all things in moderation. A term that can and should be applied to the decisions we make when it comes to the food that we put into our bodies, the various choices we make on a daily basis, and basically everything we do in life.

I read this article the other day on Elephant Journal – which is an online blog dedicated to Yoga, Sustainability, Politics and Spirituality. I get the Facebook feed directly on my page, so there are constantly interesting articles posted.

The article attached to this post is quite refreshing. In the yoga world, there is a lot of stipulation around Vegetarianism and/or Veganism. Some would say that in order to reach the next level of enlightenment, one can never eat meat or flesh, as this is harmful to the animal you are eating, and therefore a step outside of the yoga Yama, Ahimsa. Ahimsa = Non-violence. Not harming other people or other sentient beings. Not harming onesself. Not harming the environment. Tolerance even for that which we dislike. Not speaking that which, even though truthful, would injure others.

I can say from personal experience, that I have tried being Vegan, and after my month stint of eating only grains and veggies… I was feeling weak, hungry, agitated and unfulfilled! It wasn’t working for me… and I was craving eggs and fish. I generally do carry a vegetarian diet… eating fish and eggs, but I cut chicken out of my diet a long time ago, after seeing the movie Food Inc., a movie that if you haven’t seen yet – wait no longer and cue it up on Net Flix today! That movie seriously changed my life… and it will change yours too. Ignorance is not bliss people… we are what we eat! Grass-fed beef, every once in a while does my body good as well.

I digress… getting back to my main point – the article written on Elephant Journal was written by a respected yogi, explaining that she does yoga, and she eats meat! Big shocker… but if we, who eat meat, are unable to become enlightened, or get just as much out of our spiritual practices than fellow yogis, vegans out there – then who is she? And who am I? I think it’s so important to listen to what your body needs. After all, isn’t that what we teach in our yoga classes? Listen to YOUR body, YOUR breath… allow YOUR breath to move YOU through each pose… Skip the Vinyasa if that’s what is good for YOUR body… same should apply to our diet as well, if you ask me. We are all different, and require different things for daily nutrition. Not everyone can function on a no meat, only veggies and soy diet, which by the way, soy is soy soy bad for you as well, if not eaten in EXTREME moderation!

Send me your thoughts on the topic, if you can relate and or feel differently! I’m interested in hearing all different points of view.

22 Sep

Blue Print Cleanse – Day 2 and 3

I am finally at day 3 of the BPC. I cannot wait to eat a normal meal again! Although I haven’t felt starved throughout, I am definitely ready to eat solid foods again and resume my regular, already healthy, eating schedule.

Day 2 was probably the best day for me. Both Ryan and I were full of energy, feeling upbeat and practically bouncing off the walls… well not exactly… but seeing as we hadn’t eaten a stitch of food since Sunday night, it was amazing that we were actually still going and had extra energy to spare. I also had a massage last night, which I highly recommend if you are planning on doing a juice cleanse. Massage helps eliminate toxins and move things around in addition to the rest you are already giving your digestive system.

Day 3 has been a little harder… I have felt some hunger pangs throughout the day, not to mention that the thought of having to down the last and final “green juice” makes me want to barf. I’m just over it. I’m not thirsty anymore, and I want to eat something savory and delicious! I feel a little less bloated, but don’t see much of a change in my body. I haven’t practiced yoga since Monday and I am just ready to get back to “life”.

Overall, I’m not sure I would recommend the BPC. I find it to be an extreme way of cleansing… and although I understand that cleanses ARE extreme — I think next time I would make my own juices, save some cash, and do it for one day only. The three days was a bit too long for me personally. Some people love it, and I get that it makes you feel better, healthier, cleaner, less gassy, whatever it is that you notice if you try it… but still – there are other ways of finding this kind of feeling.

Another thing I have realized through this experience is how much our NYC lives revolve around food, eating, meeting for dinner, drinking, etc. Each time I have thought to myself about the plan of the evening for one of these past 3 nights, I’ve sadly remembered that I would be drinking either bottle number 5 or 6 for dinner, and any plans around eating had to be put aside. :( It’s all good though… I’m glad I did it for the experience… now I know what it’s like. For what it’s worth, it does take a serious amount of restraint and willpower, and those are always good things to keep in check.

It’s almost time for breakfast!!!!!

20 Sep

Blue Print Cleanse – Day 1

Well, Ryan and I are officially well into our cleanse at this point in the day… and I’m still not quite sure how I feel about it. We are voluntarily participating and subjecting ourselves to the Blue Print Cleanse for three days. You can check out their website for all the details.

I have to say, I’m not starving… but I definitely do not feel energized or like myself. I feel sluggish, I have a dull headache… and I’m just not feeling 100%. I had one point during the day today where I hit with a complete lull, and it was at the end of a yoga class that I might have been overly confident about taking. I fell asleep during Savasana, the final relaxation pose, which is something I never do, and literally had to wonder if I was snoring! I was definitely in another world.

BPC (Blue Print Cleanse) delivers all of the drinks that you consume during the length of your cleanse, and they have come up with a formula of mixtures that fill your body with essentially all of the nutrients that you need. The “green juice” is making me sick to my stomach, and the option we have selected has three green juices per day! Blech! I just hope that tomorrow it gets better, and my energy level lifts up a bit.

Will keep you posted!