Posts Tagged ‘how we eat’

Food Cleansing or Conscience Cleansing?? Defect in the Cause and Effect

October 3rd, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I have been doing more thinking about kids, eating and the wrath of forbidden foods lately, hmmmmmm. You know what I’m talking about: totally removing high energy dense, low nutrient foods, aka junk. The intent usually has noble roots, wanting to do better for our kids as they mean the world to us. They are our future, after all. But extreme measures in this regard could create the opposite effect and even unintended consequences.

Being a paediatric dietitian many years ago I have learned the delicate balance of the feeding relationship with kids, not only focusing on “what” they eat but behaviour and “how” they eat in their food environment. Ellyn Satter, a guru on the subject has provided a multitude of sage advice on offering kids a variety of food which they choose “the what” and “the how much” to eat from your offering, ideally in a stress- and emotions-free place. Day by day kids’ eating waxes and wanes, sometimes eating more, sometimes less, soldiering on through food jags, pickiness and those “hollow leg” periods as they grow.

Food also means so much more than simply the vitamins and minerals it contains, but has a place within our social and physiological fabric. Kids are sharp as tacks too being intuitive, sometimes more than we adults ever realize. When we the “gate keepers” cleanse and purify our food environments or worse punish kids for eating treats, kids go into “food seeking” mode and will gorge on it when they get it. Research has shown this. This unintended consequence not only creates the opposite effect by ingraining food seeking behaviour of these foods but could result in psychological eating issues which could shackle kids in a vortex of disordered eating for decades.

A teacher once told me how they now catch kids in the bathroom stalls at school scarfing down Doritios. An act they often get punished for. In my day, kids would be caught smoking there. Good grief, times have changed. My Italian grandmothers would roll over in their graves if they knew kids got punished for being caught eating…..

Ideally we all want kids to establish a positive relationship with food or as I describe in my e-book “establish a love affair with food”. This involves coming together, eating and enjoying food, some treats, guilt free. This is not a black or white issue, not all or none, but grey zone. When we deem foods as forbidden or shame anyone when “caught in the act” of eating it, the unintended consequences could be staggering. That’s not the goal is it: to create a bad situation by being so virtuous?

Our collective conscience might feel clear when we applaud total removal and cleansing of every treat in kids environments. Consequently this may certainly be creating a bigger problem: a defect in the cause and effect, don’t you think? Some food for thought to digest as Halloween approaches….

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Gotta New Drug….Yet Again…

September 15th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

I heard that the FDA just approved yet another new weight loss drug, sigh. Perhaps it should have been called Burn-Off-Alot! We live in a land where anything seems possible. We assume someday someone else will find something to help solve our dilemmas. The proverbial “they”….. Alas, “they” and we already know the solution to this problem – burn more calories than you consume, repeat day after day, month after month until your weight is where it ought to be? It’s reality, albeit a harsh one for some.

We can compare life to a game of Snakes and Ladders. Remember that one? You roll the dice, hit a good tile with a ladder on the game board and move ahead a bunch of spaces…get a bad roll and you hit a snake and fall behind a bunch of spaces. Well a drug like this is like hitting the tile with the snake that really looks like a ladder, which eventually turns into a snake. Got it? Every miracle weight loss solution is the same. Not a ladder to success but a snake of a deal wrought with failure….eventually.

I find the most unfortunate part of this is that the user bares the brunt of the problems and feels something’s wrong with THEM when they yo-yo to lose then regain weight. How disheartening! The only thing wrong with this notion is the search for a miracle solution when there isn’t one.

The other thing we need to remember is we live in a land where ultra-slimness is idolized. I’m not sure if we even know what “normal weight” looks like if we bumped into it. I don’t know about advertisements you see, but the ones I see are chocked full of images of skinny wenches. Aren’t yours? Anorexia nervosa is NOT in, nor has it ever been. We’d all be better off finding a realistic comfortable weight to shoot for then stay there. Check out what the range of weight for your Body Mass Index is at the link in the right margin, be realistic and take it from there.

I can hear the laundry list of disclaimers already:

Burn-Off-Alot works best when you follow a 1,200 calorie/day diet and exercise 30-60 minutes/day. Avoid all fast food drive thrus while using Burn-Off-Alot. Avoid eating pillow sacks of junk food in front of the TV, especially after midnight or any serving the size of your head while taking Burn-Off-Alot, except a head of lettuce. Drink enough fluids while taking Burn-Off-Alot. Jumbo Slushies do not qualify as one of these fluids. Burn-Off-Alot may cause sensations of satiety (i.e. feelings of fullness) so stop eating when you feel this sensation. Keep out of reach of children, especially the skinny ones….

The next thing we know the competition will launch False-Hope-to-Slim then Skinny-Genie-Tonic with the claim “magic in a bottle”. Whatever you do, don’t fall for it….

Want more juicy details about what not to try with practical, real-life suggestions of what TO try, get my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books.

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Posted in Francy Rants, Nutrition News | No Comments »

High Action Thriller Filler

September 3rd, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Another interesting study has been published by the Cornell Food & Brand Lab led by Dr. Brian Wansink. This time this savvy research team looked at various types of TV programming paired with eating. They found that people eat double while engrossed viewing a high action thriller, compared with watching a talk-show. They had the same findings whether they used M & M’s or with veggies. They also found people still ate 36% more when the volume was nixed on the thriller program. Hmmmm.

All of this got me thinking more deeply about eating with distractions which led me to impart 1 main message, and that is to avoid paired eating activities especially those involving TV viewing of any kind. One of the articles I read mentioned how it would be a good way to get “non veggie eating kids” to eat their veggies – NOT! That is a slippery slope of a strategy NOT to consider EVER as this would indelibly ingrain this bad habit.

Numerous studies have been done looking at eating with distractions that show time and time again that viewers can eat so much more mindlessly. Think about it folks, we’ve all been caught at one time or another eating with distractions whether it was a mother-load-tub of popcorn at the movies or noshing while working. Instead of focusing on the wonderful food, taste and eating experience your focus is elsewhere and that’s just a crying shame because eating enjoyment is one of life’s simple pleasures.

The take away message on this is to avoid eating with distractions at all costs, whether it’s TV viewing, driving, working. Prepare a plate of fab food, sit down at a table, eat and enjoy!

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Mulling Over Menus…. Let’s Do a “Better Choices” Makeover

August 8th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

Eating outside of the home has become a more popular pastime for many. The latest research tells us we eat more when eating out. However, who doesn’t love to eat out, have a fab chef whip up my food while a hospitable waiter tops up my wine glass? No on, that’s who! I find in the summer dining out, especially at an open air restaurant is just what the summer season ordered. There’s nothing finer than sipping an icy chilled glass of pinot blanc at an outdoor cafe on a wonderful summer eve, wearing strappy sandals and a cool flowy dress….. ahhhhhh

Let’s do the Surf & Turf - Let’s face it folks, as eating out becomes more and more a part of our routine, we can no longer use the excuse “…oh my, this is an occasional treat…” now can we? If your summer wardrobe has shifted into MuMu wear because of the whining after all of the dining, we need to take stock, now. I’m not being a Debbie downer saying stay home and nosh on cottage cheese on your deck. I AM suggesting you take stock of my “awareness is bliss” strategies from my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books advice and do some number surfing and choice turfing to sub in better choices. Sound good?

I did some number surfing, as an example using popular menu items from The Keg. Here are some of my findings:

Starters
Garlic Cheese Bread – 1193 calories, 79 g fat
Calimari – 466 calories, 17 g fat
Spinach Salad – 428 calories

Main Course
Sirloin Oscar – 899 calories, 66 g fat
Garlic mashed potatoes – 379 calories, 23 g fat

Dessert
Brownie Sundae – 1105 calories, 51 g fat
Chocolate cake – 889 calories, 50 g fat

Dinner Do-Over – Making Better Choices – Easy As 1, 2, 3

So let’s rewind this tape folks. If you indeed go out to eat more regularly AND want to remain in summertime shape, making better choices isn’t all that hard. Listen up:
1) For starters, have a little snack before you go out to take the edge off of your appetite. When you do that you won’t eat like a buzz saw when you sit down.
2) Next, wear something you feel fabulous in and focus on the fun time out. You’re not in contention for winning the pie eating contest at the county fare – so get chatty and enjoy the overall experience.
3) Start sipping bubbly…. mineral water, that is. You want to get hydrated AND have your wits about you as you deal with a waiter full of delectable “up sell” ideas and social saboteurs, so if you start into the alcohol too soon you will throw all caution to the wind before you put the napkin on your lap. Don’t do it to yourself! If you plan to order alcohol limit yourself to 2 glasses max.
4) Eat slowly and enjoy your food. Plan to take some home. You KNOW those serving sizes are enough for 2 meals so focus on having half right at the beginning, then you’ll bring home the rest to savour tomorrow. Double the pleasure!

Starters
Table Bread (1/4 loaf) – 140 calories
Mixed Greens Salad – 132 calories Or salad noted above and ask for the dressing on the side and make it half dressed (ooo-la-la!!)

Main Course
8 oz Steak – 321 calories, 14 g fat
Baked potato 385 calories, 10 g fat (ask for the fix ins on the side and proceed with caution)
Mixed Veg 132 calories

Dessert
Mint tea, finish the mineral water

Just a few more pointers:
5) I usually don’t have any bread as I figure why waste calories on this sort of thing. If it’s super amazing I’ll enjoy a piece with soup or salad, but will have 1 slice.
6) When my main meal comes I’ll cut my entree and potato in half as I make a conscious decision to take half home. As the wine flows I may finish it all unwittingly so doing this is my way of making up my mind first.
7) As dinner time lingers so does my feeling of fullness. I hate that “stuffed like a sausage feeling” especially when I’m all dressed up so decide to stop despite how amazing the waiter makes the desserts sound. I can have it, some other time. I use my “just for today” strategy, that I will forgo dessert today, but can enjoy it another time.

If you find yourself eating out more often because of the season, or because of business travel or you’re just a socialista, do some menu mulling and meandering to help you make better choices. Remember a lot of these are loaded with sodium so beware of that nutritional nugget too. Aim to get your full activity level up when you do eat out more often. Keep in mind, if you walk a 3 mile an hour saunter it’ll be a 3 hour, 9 mile walk to work off the calories of that piece of chocolate cake alone!

Learn to trade off by surfing and turfing and enjoy the entire dining experience, not only the eating part. Sound good?

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Lunchtime Wisdom at Work

July 30th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve been thinking about how to approach lunchtime at work recently, hmmmmm. When you want get the most out of your workday, choosing what you nosh on at noon can help you sail through the afternoon if you’re strategic about it. Here are some words of wisdom to approach this daily meal:

Just Right – You want to satisfy your hunger, but not overeat which’ll make you sluggish for the balance of the afternoon.

Just in Time – Ideally, have lunch a few hours after breakfast, when you’re hungry but not ravenous. Raging hunger can result in ordering and eating more than you actually need.

Slow as you Go – Up your enjoyment quotient of your meal and slow down your eating pace. Aim to eat away from your desk and workstation.  Try not to eat while you’re working so you can relax.

Balancing Act – Your food will be absorbed more slowing and you’ll feel more satisfied longer when you choose a mixed meal containing protein, some fat with complex crab’s.

Fill-er-UP – Including high fiber choices will also help fill you up so choose whole grain bread, beans/peas/lentils, fresh fruit and veggies, nuts/seeds. Protein foods also helps you feel satisfied when you eat.

Keep it Real – Choose real food in place of those meal replacement bars and drinks whenever possible which will infuse some joy into your day instead of fueling up artificially.

Find a Friend or Split & Save – Find a friend at work to share lunch with if you’re choosing a larger than usual portion OR split what you order in half and refrigerate it to enjoy tomorrow.

Wash it Down – Enjoy your lunch with Mother Nature’s elixir – water. Whether it’s straight, or frizante (mineral water), or boiled (to make tea/coffee) why not keep it simple? Aim to have water at your desk to keep you hydrated for the whole day, to avoid a slump like a wilted flower.

Take it Outside – Get your circulation moving and get out for a walk. This will help clear out cobwebs, sort your thoughts and ideas and energize you.

Fuelling up at lunch with a stealthy approach can keep you blazing through the day to be as effective as you can possibly be. Enjoy!

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Thoughts on “Full”

June 30th, 2014 1 Comment Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ve been doing some thinking about the word “full” lately, hmmmmm. I found myself travelling again and wound up into a semi-annoyed state. It was a long hot day of trekking from point A to B to C and I was eventually waiting a while for my flight. A fellow’s voice over the PA said over and over “this flight is VERY full, blah blah blah….” Feeling like queen cranky pants I said under my breath, ok buddy either the flight is full or it isn’t full, what does “very full” mean in the context of travel?

Then I got to thinking about this same term “full” in context of eating, hmmmm. There certainly ARE shades of difference, from “almost full”, to “full” to feeling like a “stuffed sausage, kind of full”. What we’re really talking about here is fullness and satiety, being able to recognize that satiation is upon you then making a concerted effort to hit the “whoa horsey” button, put your fork down and stop.

In the context of eating, fullness and satiety are definitely a “grey zone” issue with many factors that can result in overdoing it on a more regular basis. Here’s some food for thought to help you ease into becoming “full”:

Slow as you Go – Yes it’s true folks, it takes 20 minutes for your stomach receptors to register fullness to your brain, so eating slowly is the name of the game. If you’re a fast eater, chances are you end up overdoing it regularly and experience that overstuffed feeling often. Slow down, you move too fast!

Choose to Chew – Make a switch from being a gobbler to a chewer. No you don’t need to chew your food a ridiculous number of times, but chew your food thoroughly, swallow, repeat…until full.

Savour the Flavour – One of the greatest joys of eating is experiencing the taste of fab food. When I see people eating on the run it makes me sad to think they’re really missing out on an everyday pleasure that’s so wonderful when we choose to savour the flavour.

Down with Taking Two – Some people think of having a second helping of their food without even finishing what’s on their plate. Learn to make an assessment of where your fullness gauge is before you automatically start taking seconds. Chances are you’ve had quite enough and you don’t need seconds.

Stop Right There! When you do feel that warm, comfortable feeling of fullness, put your fork down and push your plate away. If you’re used to regularly overeating this seemingly simple behaviour will take time to learn, but you will do yourself a huge favour when you do. If you’re hungry later, have a little snack!

If you want to take control of your eating and weight as you “fill UP” daily check out my e-book Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books with healthy and stealthy ideas to help you work this out.

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Posted in Eating Vortex, Foodie Fundamentals, Miss Behavin', Successful Loser Logic | 1 Comment »

Springtime Scoop – Serve Less with Contrast…

June 4th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

I just got some scoop from a FB video by none other than Dr. Brian Wansink, author of Slim by Design from the Cornell Food Lab. His team did a study on the colour of your plate in contrast with the colour of your food, hmmmmm. They found that people portion as much as 18% less food if the colour of the food contrasts the colour of the plate, say what? An example of this is spaghetti with tomato sauce served on a white plate, like the one in my blog post, made by none other than my Mom. The opposite is true if you plate food of the same colour as your plate of choice – say mashed potatoes on a white plate – you’ll dish up more for yourself.

Ok so we can’t really have sets of dishes of varying colours, so how do we manage when we’re having a “white on white meal” with mashed, rice or noodles? Well, fill half of your plate with veggies first, allow one quarter to your starch and the final quarter for your protein. This will certainly help even more.

I love healthy and stealthy eating strategies that work in your favour. Dr. Wansink has conducted a remarkable array of these studies that are so practical and helpful explained in his books Mindless Eating and Slim by Design. Check these out after you read mine, Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books!

These can be a dynamic duo strategy of sorts too that’ll help you manage your serving size that’ll eventually help your trouser size!

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The Flaw of the ‘Forbidden Food’ Strategy

April 28th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

I read yet again about another study on forbidden food and kids. You know what I’m talking about folks. Those empty snack foods loaded with nothingness except sugar, salt and/or fat that goes crunch that are brought into the household and hidden in hard to reach places from our half-pints. You don’t even need to tell your child they ought not eat this freely, they intuitively know by your actions. Kids are certainly smarter than you think! They don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure this out. Half baked home food strategies like this backfire every time and can create disordered eating in your kids for a lifetime.

The study I read about described the “reactive eater”. Studies show that children who grow up in homes with restrictive food rules, where a parent is constantly dieting or desirable foods are forbidden or placed out of reach, often develop stronger reactions to food and want more of it when the opportunity presents itself. Talk about a strategy that backfires with a capital “B”.

“The message is that restriction is counterproductive — it just doesn’t work very well,” said Brandi Rollins, a Penn State postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the study, which was published in February in the journal Appetite. “Restriction just increases a child’s focus and intake of the food that the parent is trying to restrict.” The same thing happens with kids and adults alike when are posed with the forbidden food.

The take home message here is to have food and snack options at home that are better for you, but still enjoy treats such as having an ice cream once a week outside of home setting.

When I think more deeply about this flawed strategy my thoughts wander to schools that have been cleansed of any sort of treat yet are surrounded by them with fast food joints, coffee shops and junk food havens. School boards cheer of their accomplishment, but I shutter at the thought of how the students have reacted to this same sort of strategy. Are we creating a new generation of reactive eaters that will take longer to help cure in the long run? Something to gnaw on, that’s for sure….

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Posted in Eating Vortex, Miss Behavin', Policy for the People, Who's Zoomin' Who?? | No Comments »

Facts on Snacks

April 23rd, 2014 4 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well folks, snacks have significantly nibbled their way into our daily eating repertoire. In fact, they account for about 20% of what we eat daily. In addition to that, about that same proportion of our diets are filled with empty foods considered extras, hmmmmm.

I find snacks in the day help keep my appetite at bay. I remember my Grandma used to say not to eat before dinner or that’ll ruin your appetite. Now curbing extreme hunger can certainly help slow you down to be in control for your meals.

What’s a stealth snacking strategy you ask? Its one I talk about in my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books having a healthy and stealthy approach. For me, my first line of hunger defence is fruit. Ya you heard me right, fruit- an apple, an orange, a pear, a few small plums, some grapes, a banana and the list can go on. I don’t leave home with one or two. The trick here is to eat a piece of fruit and take 15 minutes to reevaluate your degree of hunger. Often times that’s all I need to tide me over until my next meal, be it lunch or dinner.

My second line of defence when I’m still hungry after eating fruit is having food that contains protein. My go-to choices are a glass of skim milk, portion of yoghurt or cottage cheese an ounce or two of almonds, pistachios or walnuts in the shell. I love to snack on nut in the shell at home because you can’t gobble them down by the handful. You crack each nut and enjoy it’s freshness and crunch which satisfies me every time.

Take last week for example, I was travelling on a biz trip that found me on the run from the airport to my meeting while my blood sugar took the plunge. Luckily I had a banana and a package of unsalted almonds in my purse that saved the day as my power snack on the fly, literally.

Take a few minutes to think about those snacks that have nibbled their way into your repertoire. Are they filled with nothingness from a nutrient perspective that makes your blood sugar go boing or are they rich with nutrients that hold you up and never let you down? Maybe it’s time for a change!

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Posted in Foodie Fundamentals, Miss Behavin', Successful Loser Logic | 4 Comments »

Salad for Supper? Simply Cook & Enjoy!

March 24th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Well folks even, though the last week of March is upon us we can let Nutrition Month live on every month of the year! I’ve been featuring the theme Simply Cook and Enjoy! throughout the month. You don’t need to be an expert chef, you can be a klutz in the kitchen and eat well.

I trust you’ve downloaded Dietitian of Canada’ popular free app now available for any format  Cookspiration. We are looking to load more recipes and features in Version 2 in April, 2014.

Get fresh with simple dinner salads for two!

A dinner salad is a simple solution for couples to crunch on a variety of veggies. Buy a container of baby spinach, mixed greens or arugula and make 3 different salads this week. Top them with a little olive oil vinaigrette and:

  • Sliced fresh pear, dried cranberries, toasted almonds and crumbled blue cheese
  • Grilled salmon, green onion, grapefruit or orange pieces, and celery, and serve with a side of crusty whole grain bread
  • Cherry tomatoes, English cucumber, minced red onion, lentils and barley

Turn up the heat with this spicy jerk chicken salad.

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Posted in Food Revolution Recipes, Foodie Fundamentals, Miss Behavin' | No Comments »