Kefir Smoothie

6 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Pantry from New York Dietitian

Healthy, Inexpensive Nutrition Must-Haves Without Compromising Flavor (No Fooling!)

Basil Tomato

Finally, FINALLY the first buds of spring are here. It’s been a long, long winter. Many of us feel like we’ve been stuck inside for the last few months, waiting out the storm. Our pantries, and perhaps eating habits, have suffered.

Oftentimes, when we think healthy eating, we think a high price tag and no flavor. 

It’s time to get in the Mediterranean frame of mind. Not all of us can take a trip to the coast, but we can all strip down. Well, peel off the heavy wool sweaters and clean out the pantries that might be glutted with not-so-flavorful-or-healthy food choices. So, clear out those chips and crackers for something way tastier and healthier that fits any budget, via the Mediterranean.

  1. Replace chips & crackers with …
    1. Baked corn tortilla chips. Everybody loves a chip. But packaged potato chips hit rock bottom on the nutrition chart. Baked corn tortilla chips are a great way to get the crunch without all the funky preservatives. AND, you can make them even healthier at home. Take your corn tortillas, divide them in eight triangles, brush with olive oil and lime juice, and sprinkle them with your favorite flavors. Bake for about 7 – 10 minutes and voila!
    2. Homemade sweet potato chips. Bake them in the oven, paper thin, for the crunch you’re looking for. Kale chips, apple chips, mixed nuts and more! Get creative. Snacking never tasted so good!
  2. Replace salt with spices … rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil. Americans already have too much sodium in their diet. Plant a small herb garden in your kitchen, on your balcony. What a great way to get the family involved in healthy eating, kids involved in taking care of things, and having fresh, flavorful food.
  3. Replace white, simple carbs with complex carbs. White rice, white bread, and white pasta can go, making room for whole-grain rice, bread and pasta, quinoa, chia and more. Complex carbs are essential to fueling our brains and bodies. Moreover, by skipping carbs – which is something many diets recommend, causing me incredible angst – your brain stops regulating serotonin and can cause crankiness. Don’t skip carbs, choose the right carbs.

    Egg Muffins

  4. Replace quick go-to-meals like mac & cheese with eggs. ‘Tis the season, and eggs with their magical properties are an ideal snack food. Protein, choline, minerals, cholesterol, lecithin, vitamins A, D, E & K … eggs are a power player when it comes to healthy eating. Omelets, frittatas, boiled eggs with whole-grain toast and more. Easy, tasty and healthy!
  5. Replace ice cream with yogurt, drizzled over fresh fruit or in a delicious smoothie. Replace sour cream with sugar-free yogurt to scoop over eggs or in creamy salsas.

    Kefir Smoothie

  6. Replace meat with legumes and beans in sauces, pastas, and soups. High fiber, low fat, beans and pulses are a great way to add texture and variety to your meals.

It’s time to go Mediterranean. Healthy, low-cost choices can turn your pantry from a high-fat, high-sodium, high-sugar trap to a nutritional, flavorful experience! It just takes a little imagination.

No-More-Diets

New York Registered Dietitian Takes a Critical Look at the Keto Craze

Beware of the Fads in a Month to Debunk the Myths

No-More-Diets

Diet crazes abound, and in 2018 and 2019, it’s all about the Keto. Halle Berry and Kourtney Kardashian are poster girls for the Keto Diet. There are even articles dedicated to what Halle Berry eats in a 24-hour period. 

Let’s backtrack. For those who don’t browse the magazine racks in the checkout line, you might have heard about the keto craze but might not know what it’s really about. Some might be aware of the term ketosis. Ketosis happens when the body doesn’t have enough glucose for energy, so it burns fat instead.

How can this be a bad thing?

I just crashed my head against the keyboard.

The Keto diet is a bit of an Atkins’ diet recycled. The Mayo Clinic explains it’s a very high-fat, low-carb diet. Not just low – extremely low. Instead of following the Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ recommended 45 – 60% of daily calories coming from carbohydrates, the keto diet reduces carbs to 20 – 50 grams a day, between 10- 20% of what is recommended.

What does this mean?

As with any new diet, people who follow keto find results. But we have to take a critical look at why:

  1. Reducing carbs reduces the array of food choices necessary to get the nutrients we need. The keto diet all but erases fiber-rich grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits and starchy vegetables from our diets. This, then, can really affect our digestion and gut health. Americans are already low on necessary fiber. Fiber, found in complex carbohydrates, reduces the risk of constipation and helps with digestion. 
  2. With such a huge reduction of food options, people eat less. Lack of variety often leads to weight loss, but at the cost of our bodies missing out on valuable nutrients (point #1).keto.diet
  3. The less we eat, the slower our resting metabolic rate. And by severely limiting food options and losing weight too fast, we’re putting a huge kink in our metabolisms that are likely to never recover. 
  4. Any diet trend that focuses on weight loss and not health is problematic. And, precisely, this is the essence of the keto diet. This is a BIG ISSUE for me, as you all know by now. The focus of anything we do should be on whole body health and developing a healthy relationship with food. Just the word “diet” makes me uncomfortable. 

The keto diet has been used since the 1920s for epilepsy, with success. But by following such a restricted diet, we’re losing out on critical nutrients. More matters! Variety matters.

keto.blackboard

Before diving into any diet trend, please consider discussing it with your health care professional or a registered dietician. Remember, health first and health at every size!

Recommended articles:

 

Beauty in All Sizes

Why Weight is Not the Only Indicator of Health

NYC Registered Dietitian Busts Diet Myths

Beauty in All Sizes

I recently came across this Atlantic Monthly article, “Why it Was Easier to be Skinny in the 1980s.” Though I begrudge the word “skinny” in the headline, the article made a lot of sense. 

40 – 50 years ago, we ate, and moved, a lot differently. Even McDonald’s was a very different food – less processed and fresher than what we get at the golden arches today. Moreover, science is looking hard into the chemicals we are exposed to in the environment, our food, drugs, and additives like artificial sweeteners. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone is looking at genetic alternations to the genome to see if these factors have made changes at a genetic level as well.

Group Fitness

And consider movement – or lack thereof. Everything from having to stand up to change the TV channel to having to physically get to a library to get information (librarians are the original Google), have bumped us down a notch (or ten) when it comes to movement. This is especially true regarding younger generations who, at one time, spent their summers outside but now have fallen into the allure of technology – video games, social media, and selfies. Oh-the-selfies! 

I’m not waxing nostalgic. But the changes in our bodies and how it seems more difficult to maintain a healthy weight warrants thought. Our bodies have changed, and the environment, technology, and thousands of other factors have added to this change. So many clients come to me with a goal of losing weight. But weight is far from being the only indicator of health, and dieting is not necessarily the best way to improve health. 

So, let’s tuck the word “diet” away, and talk about what really matters.

  1. Health is not a number. A person’s BMI is not diagnostic of a person’s body fatness or health. BMI doesn’t tell anyone how much muscle mass a person has or where body fat is distributed. Also, weight is not an indicator of health. Weight is simply the number that tells you how much pressure your body puts on your shoes. 
  2. Healthy bodies come in different shapes and sizes. Though popular magazines and fashion shows want to force-feed us skinny, these covers are not a reflection of the beautiful body diversity of the world. Body diversity honors different ages, races, ethnicities and genders. Body diversity doesn’t stick us in a cookie-cutter world. It “challenges scientific and cultural assumptions,” as Linda Bacon writes. 
  3. What you eat matters. This is essential. The quality of the food you eat will make a big impact on your health. Eating clean, being aware of what is on your plate, where food comes from, is one of the biggest differences between healthy and unhealthy bodies. Plain and simple. Food quality and variety mean health. 

Adventure

This month take time to consider what your body is capable of – whether your legs take you through a hike in the park, a stroll in a museum, even through a rigorous spinning class. Celebrate the gifts of your body instead of its “perceived” flaws. Step away from the scale and out into life! You deserve it. Your body deserves it.

dancing couple

NYC Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Celebrates National Nutrition Month

How to Make Smart Food Choices for Better Health

kefir

There is so much information on nutrition and health. I googled “best nutrition tips.” There are 324 million results. There’s information on toddler nutrition, sports nutrition, weight-loss and pre-workout nutrition. And, I realize, I’m adding to it.

But in those 324 million results, from the Eat Nothing White Diet to juice cleanses, if we look at the in-between information, a lot of it is solid information. It’s just hard to find it in the glut of trends. 

To celebrate National Nutrition Month, I want to give you 8 tips on how to make smart food and exercise decisions for better health. We’re going to take “never” and “always” out of the equation and talk about some pretty easy ways to make better health choices. 

  1. Know thyself. Nutrition needs differ depending on age, gender, weight, physical activity, whether you’re expecting a baby or are in the throes of postpartum. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all nutrition plan. 

Fix: Talk to your health care provider. Get an appointment with a registered dietitian to come up with a meal plan to fit your budget and needs.  

  1. Where are you getting your information? Steer clear of fashion magazines and trends! Your friends aren’t particularly reliable either. For solid information, there are some great resources I recommend. (There are more, but these are my top go-to resources). 

Fix:

    1. Harvard Health
    2. Health At Every Size
    3. The Ellyn Satter Institute
    4. Nutrition Action
    5. Choose My Plate
  1. Save the bling for clothes. Shiny packaging is alluring and usually a sign of high-sugar, high-salt, high-fat products. Eating clean is a growing trend. It’s all about ingredient awareness and being able to pronounce the food you put in your mouth. The shinier the packaging, the more likely the food is unhealthy. Become a food-label reading expert and keep things simple!

Fix: Shop the parameters of the supermarket. Steer clear of the inner aisles where you can easily get sucked into a trap of color! Keep the color to the fruits and vegetables, cheeses and yogurts, and protein products you choose!

  1. Don’t cut out carbs! Oh-the-dreaded-carb. It always gets the shaft. There are people who visibly cringe at the sight of a bread bowl. Carbs are not evil. Carbs are essential. They provide our bodies with energy (so so needed). Also, all of our cells have something called antigens. These are little tags to tell other cells recognize one another. Antigens are made of carbohydrates joined to proteins. 

Fix: Choose good carbs – not no carbs. Choose whole grain breads and crackers, pastas and rice. Quinoa, fruits, and vegetables are all complex carbohydrates that feed our brains, our cells, and give us the energy se so need!

  1. Power up with healthy protein. Proteins are essential for building and repairing tissues, to make enzymes, hormones, and are the building blocks of muscle, bone, cartilage, skin and blood. No protein is not an option.I’m not talking the fad of going 100% protein. Though hamburger is tempting, there are many more economical, and healthy protein choices. 

Fix: Fish, lentils and beans, lean meats, and nuts are the best choices for protein. Replacing red meats with vegetable-based proteins is a great way to reduce cholesterol and save money. Soy beans, tofu, quinoa, amaranth and hemp are all sources of vegetable proteins. Get creative! Go for meatless Mondays.

vegetables

  1. Pile your plate with color: Increase your fruit and vegetable intake, the more colorful, the better.

Fix: Add shredded veggies (zucchini, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower) to sauces, soups, chili and meatloaf. Give frozen fruits and vegetables their due. Nutrients and minerals found in fruits and vegetables are incredibly tough. In fact, the fiber and iron content of fruits and vegetables, whether fresh or frozen, don’t change. Further research has found that there’s not a discernable difference between fresh and frozen corn, carrots, broccoli, spinach, peas, green beans, strawberries, and blueberries. Make fruits or veggies your go-to snack or mid-morning treat.

water

  1. Drink up! Water is the key to hydration. Hydration is critical for colon and gut health. It’s important for your skin … for everything. You’re probably more dehydrated than you think. But steer clear of sugary drinks like sodas. 

Fix: Keep a bottle of water at your desk. Set a timer to remind you to drink water. Log your water intake. Drink, every time you remember to drink.

dancing couple

  1. Make it matter. Go to your friend’s wedding, drink margaritas, and dance on the beach. Have an ice cream cone with your grandchild while walking through the park. Celebrate life with its vast array of flavors and incredible moments that take your breath away. One of my favorite quotes, from Brian Andreas, is, “Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life.” Every moment, every bite, every movement is nourishment … so make them matter. This is your shot at a beautiful life. Live it well. 

I could go on with many more nutrition tips. But I think I’ll leave it here. Celebrating nutrition means celebrating health. Celebrating health means celebrating life. Be well.

chickpeas

6 Tips from NYC Registered Dietitian and Personal Trainer to Reduce Chances of Developing Colorectal Cancer

Understand the Risks, Take Action

March is colorectal cancer awareness month. Awareness is key to prevention. Unlike many other cancers, colorectal cancer is mostly preventable, all based on a healthy diet and lifestyle and early detection through screening.

That said, it is also potentially fatal. Oftentimes detection of colorectal cancer comes too late to treat or cure. Considering it’s the third most common kind of cancer, and second most fatal, it’s important to talk about it, share information, and be aware of how to prevent a mostly preventable cancer. Your health is on your plate and in your movement!

But how?

So often, we hear, “eat healthy”, “get more exercise”, without actionable ways to do so. So here are some ways you can take charge of your health and reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer.

  1. Get regular screenings. Yes. The dreaded colonoscopy. But early detection is almost a guaranteed survival.  After the age of 50, the American Cancer Society recommends you get regular screenings. But there are other options, besides a colonoscopy. At-home stool tests. check the DNA (non-invasive!). There are also virtual colonoscopies now that use X-rays to check for polyps. The key is to check with your healthcare provider. Find out if you’re eligible for free or reduced costs colonoscopy screenings. Have the conversation with your doctor and be an advocate for your health.
  2. Stop smoking and lower alcohol consumption. There’s no magic wand for this one. Addiction is its own beast. That said, heavy smokers and drinkers have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer and not surviving.water with lime
  3. Drink. (Water!!) Most of us are dehydrated. All the time. Hydration is critical to regular bowel movements. So, drink up. Most dietitians recommend between 8 and 9 glasses of water each day.  People who suffer chronic constipation have a higher incidence of colorectal cancer (an association, not causation). Keep a bottle of water next to you all day. Have water in the fridge with citric fruits to keep you tempted to drink more and more. Replace sugary drinks with flavored water. Put on an alarm to remind you to drink water. (I bet you’re thirsty now!)chickpeas
  4. Increase your fruit and vegetable consumption.#MoreMatters … more fruits, more vegetables mean better bladder and colon health.  
  5. Fiber up! High fiber diets – an increase in natural fibers – translate to better colorectal health. More vegetables, legumes, beans, grains, and fruits can improve your health all around. Start by substituting one meat-based meal once/week with a grains and beans-based meal. Increase fiber intake slowly (because a sudden increase might leave you feeling bloated and gassy).cycling
  6. Get moving! Why? Exercise improves digestion, increases muscle control and the body’s urge to go to the bathroom. This all leads to a healthier colon. Finding time to exercise can be tough, but it’s essential to good health. Walk away bad habits, make movement a mindset, even at the office. Download a walking app to try to outdo yourself every day. 

Being aware of how at risk you are for developing colorectal cancer, and taking the steps to reduce that risk, are invaluable tools. Only 5% of people who develop colorectal cancer have a genetic syndrome. The rest can be prevented through awareness, healthy eating and exercise habits, and regular screenings. 

International Women's Day

NYC Registered Dietitian Celebrates Women’s Day and #BalanceforBetter

Find Balance and Celebrate Women

International Women's Day

Celebrate you!

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #Balanceforbetter – “Better the balance, better the world.” I love this theme because it translates to so many relevant and necessary issues for women. Not only does it refer to balance in the workplace, the gender pay gap, and political representation, but I also believe it deals with balance in life, sustainable eating, exercise, and nutrition.

Of course I do! That’s my job!

Women’s Day has been celebrated since 1911, yet women can and should be celebrated and supported all year. We all must be feminists. We all must work to build one another up. This Women’s Day, I want you to celebrate you. And it all starts with the way you build yourself up.

International Women's Day

Here are 4 tips to take care of yourself this women’s day and all year.

  1. Be kind to yourself. Turn off the TV and put away the fashion magazines. Our brains have been wired to believe we’re not thin enough, strong enough, pretty enough … enough. YOU. ARE. ENOUGH. Recognize the negative conversations you have in your head about you. Turn off the non-stop commentary and break those habits of breaking yourself down. Look in the mirror and celebrate you and all the beautiful you are!
  2. Nourish yourself. Food isn’t good or bad. It’s just … food. By making choices to nourish your body with a variety of nutritious foods, you’re giving your body the tools it needs to be healthy. This means no going “cold turkey” on any food group. It means building a beautiful relationship with food (no more yo-yo dieting). It means celebrating your heritage when you make your grandma’s lefsa recipe. It means finding the balance of nutrients your body needs.
  3. Find joy in movement. Exercise, like food, isn’t a punishment or reward. The way our bodies move is reason to celebrate. Everything from a hug to a dance, diving into a crashing ocean wave to flipping pancakes on the grill – is movement and marvelous. Fall in love with exercise again. Find spaces to celebrate your body. Do things you love. Experience and experiment with new ways to move. Find the balance!International Women's Day
  4. Support women. This is a big one. We need to stop tearing one another down. Society has ingrained the idea that other women are threats, not allies, and we have the power to turn that around and build one another up. This makes sense, as there hasn’t been balance at board tables and in politics. These coveted slots are for the select few. This isn’t a zero-sum game. We’re all in this together. So, stand tall, share the achievements of women you know (and don’t know). Celebrate women, women’s bodies, the diversity of women’s bodies … every day.

Women’s Day shouldn’t be relegated to one day each year. Instead, every day is reason to celebrate the beauty and accomplishment of women. This post, then, is just a reminder for you to take care of yourself. Find that balance in your life between work, family, nutrition and exercise. Better the balance, better the world.

National Eating Disorder Awareness

Build Compassion and Shed Shame to Recover from Disordered Eating from NYC Registered Dietitian

Healing and Forgiveness During Eating Disorder Awareness Week

 

National Eating Disorder Awareness

The last week of February is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDA), a week to promote body acceptance: Come as You Are. As easy as Hollywood wants it to look, building true body acceptance takes a lot more than a revelatory moment or big kiss. 

The reality is that recovering from disordered eating is really hard. It’s lonely. It’s scary, and it can feel almost impossible. The same goes for caregivers and loved ones trying to navigate this road. 

Many who battle eating disorders have spent a lifetime convincing themselves they’re not enough. A lifetime tricking their bodies to ignore hunger signals or signs they’re sated. It’s fundamental to realize that healthy body acceptance is a lifetime of work.

A lifetime sounds daunting. 

When it’s a lifetime of self-love and health, it’s worth it. 

But how?

National Eating Disorder Awareness

Here are tips to build compassion and shed shame to recover from disordered eating.

  • Define shame. It’s important to understand what shame is. As opposed to guilt, shame is the feeling of being bad, not doing bad. Dr. Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly, explains that shame is the feeling of being so flawed that we are unworthy of love and acceptance. We simply don’t belong because we don’t deserve it. Shame is probably one of the most destructive characteristics of our culture and one of the most prevalent characteristics of disordered eating.
  • Break the cycle: 
    • Know your shame triggers. Self-criticism and judgement are two powerful shame triggers. Recognize that little voice as soon as it goes off. 
    • Voice your experience. Shame has made eating disorders a silent killer. Those who struggle with disordered eating often live with the idea they are alone. Statistically speaking, this is anything but true. According to ANAD, at least 30 million people suffer from an eating disorder (everything from anorexia nervosa to binge eating disorder)in the United States. So many tuck it away and hide it, living alone and scared. It’s critical to find a support group, therapist, trusted counselor … somebody to open up to. 
  • Self-compassion is a key force in the healing process and countering the power of shame. It’s quite possibly the only antidote. Self-compassion means you are as caring and empathetic to yourself as you are to others. This takes self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. 
    • Self-kindness: Radically accept yourself, your flaws, your beauty. Recognize destructive behavior and thoughts and change them. Talk to yourself like you talk to your best friend, your daughter, the person you love most in the world. When your brain goes down that road of self-hate, take pause. Start to treat yourself like your own best friend.
    • Common Humanity: Everyone is imperfect, flawed. Everyone fails. You are not alone. Ask for help. Reach out to a support group, a trusted friend. Share your struggles and story and connect with others who are going through the same thing.
    • Mindfulness: 
      • Challenge your triggers. Remember, you’ve spent years nurturing shame. This goes back to the famous Cherokee story. You have two wolves inside you: one darkness and despair, one hope and light. Which one wins? Which one do you feed? You’ve been feeding shame for years. It takes so much mindfulness and awareness to stop feeding shame.
      • Reconnect with your body: How does it feel when you stretch on your back. How does it feel to lean to the side? What is the temperature like? Reconnect with the basic sensations of your body – the feel of a child’s sticky hand in yours; the way a blast of air conditioning gives you goose bumps. These simple feelings are the first steps to reconnecting with your body and rebuilding a damaged relationship.

        happy woman

      • Gratitude connects the mind to body: Building body self-esteem takes time, and it’s not a straight road. Write down what you’re thankful for every day, whether it be fingers that can type, or ears to listen to your favorite music. Gratitude begets gratitude. 

Tearing down walls of shame takes time and courage. You’re not alone in this. Please reach out for support, for help. You are beautiful. You are worthy. You deserve love and kindness. You are enough. 

National Eating Disorder Awareness

 

Mom & Baby

4 Postpartum Nutrition and Exercise Tips From New York Registered Dietitian

Celebrate the Beauty of a Woman’s Body in a Month of Love

Mom & Baby

“What a cruel scheme to keep a woman from knowing her power. To put the focus on what pregnancy did to her body rather than focus on what her perfect body just did. Here we sit, creating and nourishing the future, and we are diminished to “baby weight.” I will not succumb to your demeaning ideals.” – Amethyst Joy

This quote so resonated with me when I read it the other day. My daughter is a mid-wife. Her life is dedicated to the celebration of life and the beautiful bodies that make this life happen. Likewise, some of my favorite clients are those who are expecting – both mothers and fathers – or those who have just had their child. Yet, if you google post pregnancy, the articles start popping up:

16 Effective Tips to Lose Baby Weight

8 Tips for Losing Weight

Weight Loss After Pregnancy: Reclaiming Your body

The focus is on the weight and this idea that our bodies were lost to … pregnancy. And the most important thing for a woman is losing that weight. Moreover, postpartum health is sorely neglected. The focus is always on prenatal care – which makes sense to a degree – but helping a woman deal with the physical changes of giving birth, talking about those changes, isn’t part of mainstream medicine.

Over half of women, postpartum, experience pelvic injury or disfunction. 70% – 80% of women experience the Baby Blues. Between 10% and 20% of women experience clinical postpartum depression. Where is the support? You certainly won’t find it in mainstream rack magazines reminding women that they should look and feel a certain way.

Water

So, in a month of love, I want women to take back their power and recognize how phenomenal they are. During pregnancy, women gain weight, lose muscle tone, all over a period of 40 weeks. Right after birth is not the time to stand on the scale. Instead, think health, nourishment, and healing. Your body needs the right amount of exercise, good food and high-energy snacks. (Always, always check with your health care professional before changing your diet or exercise regime.)

Here are 4 postpartum exercise and nutrition tips to feel healthy and celebrate your body.

  1. Rest! As much as you’re anxious to get back to your exercise routine, you need to listen to your body. Find moments to sleep when you can. Moments of restoration are critical to new moms, especially after exercising.
  2. Swimming and yoga are ideal postpartum exercise choices. Most women experience a large separation between abdominals after birth. After mastering the Kegel exercises, working yoga into your workout can help strengthen abs, which will help alleviate that lower back pain. The Bridge Pose is a great one to battle anxiety – which is so so common.
  3. Drink up! No … I don’t mean guzzling wine (however a glass every now and then is perfectly fine!). Hydrate! I would bet that almost 100% of new moms are dehydrated. Women lose so much liquid during birth and often experience night sweats. Set an alarm to remind you to drink. This can alleviate cramping as well as help with constipation.Sandwich
  4. Stop counting calories, eat what counts! New moms need nutrition-packed calories, especially if they’re breastfeeding. A woman breastfeeding one child needs 2700 calories/day. If you’re breastfeeding twins, bump that up to 3200 calories/day. Every bite matters! 
    1. Proteins. 20 – 25% of calories should come from protein: lean meat, eggs, dairy, beans, and low-mercury fish. 
    2. Healthy fats should make up 30% of your diet postpartum. Nuts, avocados, and fatty fish are great options.
    3. High-fiber, whole-grain carbs can take the rest of your diet. Whole-grain pastas and rice, quinoa, beans, fruits and vegetables, and whole-grain breads and cereals are all great options. 
    4. Snack ideas include whole-grain toast with avocado and cheese, drizzled with olive oil;  steel oats with cinnamon, almonds, fruits, milk, drizzled with honey; a boiled egg with whole-grain bread or crackers. There are many fast, nourishing options.

Peanut Butter

Postpartum can be, strangely, one of the loneliest times in a woman’s life. Give yourself time. It’s hard. You’re waking up every two hours, or more, for feedings. You’re so tired, you probably feel like an extra from The Walking Dead series. Everything probably feels overwhelming. Don’t add the garbage of “pregnancy weight” into the equation. Give yourself time to recover. 

If you need more detailed information, I recommend Dayna Kurtz’s (LMSW, CPT) book Mother Matters: A Holistic Guide to Being a Happy, Healthy Mom. It brings the focus back to the mom during this transition time after birth. 

Most moms say the first year is a blur of late-night feedings and groggy pre-dawn wakeups. Nature is magical that way … after leaving the wake of fatigue, we only remember those good bits.

 

Relaxation

New York City Registered Personal Trainer and Dietitian Recommends You Take a Break

Celebrate Slowness in a Month of Love

Relaxation

Busy is the new black.

The ability to raise a family, keep down a 60 hour/week job, volunteer at your kids’ school, train for a Tough Mudder while planting and maintaining the neighborhood’s organic garden, making sure to post every moment on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter is a badge of honor. 

A friend of mine often says, “I’ll sleep when I die.”

Hmmm …

Technology has afforded us fast non-stop connection. Instead of giving us more free time, it seems we’ve all fallen into the black hole of hyper-connectivity. We get more done. No time to waste, right? But what’s the price we’re paying? On our bodies? On our relationships?

When was the last time you just sat with a cup of coffee, quiet in your kitchen, without reading or organizing anything? 

When was the last time you let the dishes pile up while playing cards with your kids?

When was the last time you took a walk to the park with your favorite book to read?

Ouch.

Be Here Now
As a registered personal trainer and dietitian, I see busy all the time. My clients carve out time for everything in their lives except one thing: time to relax.

Do you ever turn off and give yourself relaxation time? This isn’t sleep. I mean honest-to-goodness relaxation? And are you capable of doing it without feeling guilty?

Relaxing, recuperating, and slowing down are ways to show love for yourself. So, in a month of love, I’m going to give you 4 tips on relaxation. (I bet you’re getting antsy just reading this! Who has the time??)

  1. Understand the importance of relaxation: Good sleep and relaxation are essential for muscle recovery, maintaining glycogen synthesis, lowering stress, and staying healthy. A person can go longer without food than rest. If our bodies’ biology demands rest, why are we so quick to dismiss it?

    Relax with tea

  2. Put on your relaxation vest. Bear with me here. A friend trains Search & Rescue dogs. The dogs have a vest for each type of S&R task they have to do. The vest tells them what their job is. One of her dogs was super hyper and anxious. The dog never could seem to settle down. When my friend took her dog to a behaviorist, the behaviorist told her to make the dog a relaxation vest. When the dog wore the relaxation vest, she knew she could turn off and relax. Humans aren’t so different! So find something – some article of clothing – that you connect with relaxation. 😊 Wear it when you just can’t settle down.
  3. Schedule it. This might seem anti-relaxation, to pencil in relaxation time, but if we’re so stuck on keeping schedules, why not make relaxation part of that schedule? Soon relaxation will become a habit. Whether it’s a few minutes in the morning, when you first arrive to the office, or the first half hour when your kids come home from school, schedule time to relax and not think about all the things you have to do, instead enjoy the things you’re doing.

    relax with kids

  4. Slow is sustainable. The human body is a phenomenal, miraculous machine, yet we’re more likely to take better care of our smart phones than our bodies. We eat standing up, in the car, unaware of what is going in our bodies. The way we treat our bodies is not sustainable over the course of a lifetime. Being thoughtful about how we eat, what we eat, and taking the time to nourish ourselves well means we have to slow down.

This is probably a little unexpected. Personal trainers are supposed to push you to your limits, make you feel the pain, right? Every minute matters. 

Every minute does matter. Relaxation isn’t being lazy. It’s being mindful to what your body needs – its cues. Hey. Instead of chocolates and flowers, give yourself time this Valentine’s Day. GUILT FREE!

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

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6 Problems with Dieting from New York Registered Dietitian

Celebrate Valentines and Love by Not Dieting

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Love has always been, and will continue to be, one of life’s great mysteries. For thousands of years, poets, authors, philosophers, musicians, even jingle, bumper sticker and billboard writers have attempted to define love. (Or at least come up with something insightful or catchy for it!)

And since February has a day designated to celebrate love – Valentine’s Day – I thought what better way to celebrate the mystery of love than with a series of blogs about how love has to begin with you. 

Okay, I could feel the eye-roll there. Hang with me.

Let me be clear, I’m not talking about narcissistic personality disorders here or some mega-personality giving an hour talk about the greatness of self-love. I’m talking about something very basic, very important, and too-often overlooked, I’m talking about loving yourself enough to let go of dieting and trust your body.

Don't DietUnlike a bunch of cynics out there, I love Valentine’s Day. In a world so chock-full of hate and anger, why not celebrate love? More importantly, why not learn to love your body? So, in a month of love, my first blog post is about NO MORE DIETING.

Here are 6 reasons why you should not diet:

  1. Dieting is about restricting your food intake. It’s pretty basic. But by doing this, you’re also training your body to not listen to critical hunger signals. Basically, you’re tricking your body, not trusting it to tell you what it needs. Inversely, when you do this, your body won’t feel when it’s full.
  2. Dieting slows your metabolism … permanently. That quick weight loss after a highly restricted diet is exciting. It’s inspiring. But our bodies weren’t built to think about weight and how we look. They are machines that respond to nutrition deficit by slowing down your metabolism. Permanently. So, once you have a highly restricted calorie count and lose weight, you can’t go back to eating “normal.”
  3. Dieting plays tricks on our brains. Modern-day diets aren’t just about food restriction but also entire food-group restrictions. Diet fads play into that billion-dollar business, and line our bookstores’ shelves. Again, people see results (or else Atkins would not be a millionaire). Those results, though, are statistically short-lived as our bodies fight to put that lost weight back on.
  4. Diets encourage you to cheat. They play with the idea of will power and, “Well, I
    blew it this morning with that chocolate croissant, why bother today?”Yo-Yo Dieting
  5. Weight cycling is unhealthy. Weight cycling is the repeated loss and regain of body weight that can range from 5 – 10 pounds per cycle up to 50 pounds per cycle. When this weight loss occurs during dieting, it’s referred to as yo-yo dieting. This causes some serious health problems like lowering our metabolisms, the increase of cortisol in our bodies (which is the primary stress hormone), and cardiovascular disease.
  6. Dieting is “temporary.” It’s a quick-fix. A lifetime of health and love comes from a lifetime of good food choices and nutrition. It comes from a healthy relationship with food. There isn’t a shortcut to it. 

Why not begin February with love? Loving yourself enough not to diet. Instead, make food, exercise, and nutrition choices every day to support your body and its health.

This isn’t easy. Over the next few blogs, I’m going to give some helpful tips to make self-care a priority in your life. As Lucille Ball said, “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”