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Nutrition

Nutritional Trends Debunked

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Nutritional Trends Debunked

Did you know that March is National Nutrition month?  With so many schools of thought in the nutritional world, I wanted to take a closer look at some of the newest trends.  What’s here to stay, and what’s just a fad?  Here I discussed and debunked some of 2016’s top trends.

 

Souping-  They say that “souping” is the new juicing.  Similar to juice cleanses, there are entire meal plans (dessert included) that are entirely broth-based.  The main difference between souping and juicing is fiber!  The key component missing from juice diets is the fiber, which is trashed after the juice is extracted from the fruits/veggies.  Soups, however, often contain whole vegetables, and in the case of meal plans with breakfast and dessert bowls, even fruits.  The soups therefore, keep the fiber, seeds, rind, and pulp, which juices discard.  So what’s the ruling on souping?  I think this trend is here to stay.  It might take a little while to pick up full speed but it has already begun to do so in LA.   Juicing has been a huge phenomenon and having the fiber significantly increases the nutritional benefits.  That being said, like any “cleanse,” I do not think this is a sustainable way of eating.  This is beneficial for individual meals or for a short period of time to kick starts your diet into high gear.

 

Plant-Based Push- In 2016, Meatless Monday meets Tuesday-Sunday.  As consumers we have become far more educated when it comes to nutrition.  More and more people are reading labels, asking questions, and adjusting their diets accordingly.  We now know that there are plenty of protein sources, outside of animal products.  With an emphasis on farm to table, the food scene has also taken to making vegetables the star.  So is this here to stay?  Absolutely!  This trend is successfully debunking the misconception that a plant-based diet means going totally vegan.  Actually plant-based simply refers to the idea of a more sustainable eating pattern for both health and environmental reasons.

 

Pulses- Pulses are lentils, dry beans, beans, and chickpeas.  Pulses are a vital source of plant-based proteins.  With a new emphasis on plant-based diets, pulses are taking center stage.  Did you know that pulses come from plants that have nitrogen-fixing properties?  Ok we’re not in NASA, what does that mean?  Pulses can contribute to increasing soil fertility – good for our stomachs AND the environment.  Pulses are an excellent source of protein and fiber and for that reason I do not think this is simply another trend.  That being said, many people have sensitivities to legumes.  Play around with different preparation methods when consuming legumes as this can all affect how we digest them.

 

Full-Fat Foods- Fat is back!  This phenomenon can again be attributed to the fact that as consumers, we are more educated on what we are eating.  “Low-fat” means more sugar and chemicals.  Healthy, full-fat foods, like avocados, nuts, etc. are good but only as good as the quantity in which they’re eaten.  As aware of labels as we have become, we must do the same with serving size, especially when it comes to full-fat foods.  If you do not have a dairy intolerance, don’t be afraid to try the full-fat Greek yogurt, for example. 

 

Biodynamic- Biodynamic is the most environmentally friendly form of farming out there.  It’s like Organic on steroids.  Biodynamic crops are free of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, and the farms are entirely self-sustaining.  This is a wonderful movement and a great initiative to support. As a trend however, it will take a significant amount of time to really gain traction and pick up, if it ever does.  It is extremely difficult for farmers to produce crops this way and as such may also increase the cost of goods (same way we see that organic items are more expensive).  I say show these farmers some love whenever possible, but don’t worry about buying everything biodynamic, the way you would organic! 

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Why Do We Hate?

I contemplated posting this, because this was only a therapeutic exercise for myself, not intended for other people to read.  Ultimately I decided to share it because I know other people experience the same thing and I hope that maybe this can help them.  I became a health coach to help people and sometimes, actually a lot of the times, that means willing to be extremely vulnerable. 

I hope that this speaks to you in someway, as it did to me.


I’m not perfect.  Tonight I ate way too much. I wasn’t hungry.  I was eating from a place of boredom, sadness and a destructive desire to feel out of control.  I’m going to bed feeling bloated and uncomfortable and disgusted by my actions. 

As these thoughts are circling in my mind, creating a palpable negative energy, it occurred to me.  My boyfriend and I have a rule that keeps our relationship strong, positive, and flourishing.  We never go to sleep angry.  Why is that we treat the relationships with those we love with such respect but we cannot do the same for the most important relationship in our lives, that with ourselves.

I want to try a day of treating myself with the same love and respect that I give to others.  I deserve it.  So I am making a vow.  I will not go to bed angry with myself.

I am human.  I make errors.  I will only grow stronger by learning from my mistakes, but I have to let myself.  So tonight I overate.  Instead of berating myself as I fall asleep, I want to apologize to myself for abusing my body and know that tomorrow is a new day and I will not repeat these mistakes. 

 

Sarah, I love you.  Good night x

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Breakfast On-the-Go

I know you’ve heard this before, but breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  It kick starts your metabolism, helps with weight management, and gives you energy and focus for the day ahead.

Sure, we rarely have time for a sit-down meal and we don’t always have time to cook something up on our way out the door, but that’s no reason to skip breakfast.  Here are some grab-and-go breakfasts that can be made ahead of time!  I like to make all of these in big batches so I’m all set for the week.

 

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3-Day Detox #MadeSimple

I'm so excited to announce this!! I'll be hosting a 3-Day Detox program, and it's completely FREE!  So what's the catch?  There's no catch, I promise!  It's free because I know money is tight, especially after the holidays, and I really just want to help you eat clean and rid your body of toxins.  

It's now mid-January and many of us set out with the best intentions for 2016.  We want to eat cleaner and be healthier versions of ourselves.  But two weeks in and turning down dessert or another cocktail is harder than you imagined.  Maybe a little guidance will help!

During this 3-Day program I will provide a full meal-plan, grocery list, and unlimited support.  We will be in this together and I will hold you accountable every step of the way.  The detox is focused on crowding out processed foods and sugar for more nutritious alternatives (this REAL food like fruits and vegetables).

To sign up simply fill out the form below!  Definitely be sure to include your detox goals so I can tailor the program accordingly - I want this to be as effective as possible for YOU.  

Timing:

1/24: Grocery lists sent including all necessary items for detox meal-plan

1/25-1/27: 3-Day Detox with Unlimited Support

 

Name *
Name

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New Year, New You- Join the Resolution Challenge

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New Year, New You- Join the Resolution Challenge

Have you repeatedly started each New Year with a resolution, only to fall back into old habits by mid January?   Maybe you want to lose weight in 2016, or maybe just eat healthier, after a slew of holiday parties with cookies and cocktails.  Perhaps you want to spend less money, or reduce stress at work.  You’re not alone! 

But for all good intentions, only a tiny fraction of people actually stick with their New Year’s resolutions.  In fact, most people’s New Years resolutions are obsolete in a matter of days!

If you are looking to make a fresh start in the New Year and actually stick with it, I have the tools for you!  Starting January 10 (right about the time that people’s resolutions fall by the wayside) I will be conducting a month-long coaching group, to get 2016 off to the right start! Whether you’re looking to shed pounds, get in shape, improve sleep, you name it, we will work together as a group to help one another succeed.

Joining this program will provide you with the proper tools, motivation, and support to encourage your success.  Each week as you progress with your resolution, you will feel amazing, energized and motivated by your success, and the success of fellow participants.

If you are committed to making 2016 your best year yet, this is the group for you.   For just $125 you will be lead in 4 group-coaching sessions throughout the month.  Join with a friend and you can each join for $100!  Don’t miss out on this opportunity!  Are you in?

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I See the Beauty Beyond my Size

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I See the Beauty Beyond my Size

From the moment I could speak, my parents said I was a performer (probably due to my intense dramatics).  I began formally acting as a teenager and continued throughout adolescence.  Play after play, I always received positive feedback and began to feel like a star.

To be quite honest though, I was a big fish in a small pond all the way through my late teens. The same week I found out I was accepted into the drama program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, I was cast as the title character in my high school production of ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie.’ Millie’s character resonated with me.  As Millie sings in the opening number, "I studied all the pictures in magazines and books... Manhattan I prepared for you," and I did. Or at least I thought I had...

Growing up weight was always “my thing.” It was the one part of my life that I felt like I was losing in a constant battle. I have always been tall. I’m now 5'10" and until all the boys caught up to me in high school, I was the bigger girl who towered over everyone. However, it was not something I was conscious of until about 6th grade. Up until then I knew I liked food and I was aware I was chubbier than all my friends, but I didn't think of it as something “bad.” That is, until I came home from a vacation with my family, to a message on our home answering machine from a few immature 12-year old boys, telling my parents they should sign me up for heavy weights camp.  This marks my internal calendar as the first time the word “fat” became relevant to me. That's when the true battle against myself officially started. 

My eating disorder began as a desperate attempt to lose my unwanted belly freshman year of high school. All the “hot girls” in our class were toothpicks and if I was ever going to get a guy to notice me as something other than their “fat friend,” I had to lose weight and I had to lose it fast. I had no clue that I was doing anything to harm my mental and physical self. I thought I was “just cutting carbs.” I stopped eating them cold turkey and saw results. I thought I was being “healthy” and I thought I was solving the problem, when in reality, I was making it much, much worse. 

I wasn't very active at that time aside from dancing in musicals. I noticed cutting carbohydrates paired really well with running and I started going for 30-minute jogs a couple times a week. As expected, the football boys paused on bullying me and started noticing me. I would be lying if I said that I didn't love the attention, but something wasn't quite right.

I couldn't understand why my stomach was shrinking but my confidence wasn't growing in tandem. 10, 20, 45 lbs later I looked in the mirror daily, hoping I'd love my new self, but I didn't. It wasn't enough and for the next 8 years, it was never going to be enough.

The battle with my weight continued and the fight was ruthless. The worst part of it all though was that I never looked sick, so no one ever said anything or intervened. Aside from my random food freak-outs, no one thought my intense weight loss was unhealthy because I fit society’s standards of “beautiful.” I was skinny, I was tall, and I knew how to hide behind one hell of a smile when I had to.

Externally positive things also continued to happen. I got the lead in the big school musical; I was accepted into my dream college and a prestigious drama program. I received very positive accolades from my peers and parents, so I slowly started believing I was “ok” and started to reintroduce carbohydrates and eat normally again. Then, off to New York I went, with 24 cardboard boxes, and a whole lot of baggage (literally and figuratively).

If anyone ever tells you that college is easy, they are lying. College is overwhelming and I did not know how to manage my anxieties. As if college requisites aren’t challenging enough, my acting teachers were constantly talking negatively about my body. I felt hopeless and looked for a solution. The idea of restricting food seemed impossible at this point in my life. I enjoyed it way too much again. So this time my disorder decided to wear a different costume- B.E.D., otherwise known as Binge Eating Disorder.

What many people don’t know is that B.E.D. is the most common eating disorder in the US, more common than anorexia and bulimia combined. I would get stressed out and I would eat. I would feel depressed and I would eat. I didn’t even realize I was doing it, but afterwards I felt horrible and my self-hatred skyrocketed. The worst part of it all was that I was in New York trying to break into the most judgmental industry in the entire world. What do you get when you combine a young woman, plus low self-esteem, plus the entertainment industry? Let’s just say it doesn’t equal success.

I constantly felt run down and not only by my intense workload, but also by myself. I couldn’t go one full minute without thinking about how ugly I was, or how overweight I was and how I was never going to be successful because I didn’t look like the size 0’s on TV. I was so lost and by my senior year, I had completely fallen out of love with my passion for the arts. I stopped going to class. I began failing studio. I started wanting success for all the wrong reasons.

I thought if I became famous, I would suddenly not feel so alone. What I didn’t realize though was that if I didn’t believe in myself, no agent, manager, or casting director ever would. I knew I had to take a step back if I was ever going to come out of the battle with myself alive. Luckily, I have the most supportive family in the world and they encouraged me to find myself and take some time to figure out what inspired me again. I knew I couldn’t solve the problems in my head alone, so I had to ask for professional help.

When I first entered The Beacon, an eating disorder clinic in New York, I was at the point where I felt like I had tried everything. Every diet, every supplement, every type of exercise, but nothing ever worked. I was at the point where I wanted to stop the binging, stop the dieting, stop the self-hate but this time I wanted it to stay stopped and find a permanent solution. The entire staff supported me and held me accountable. I also got extremely into fitness in a healthy way. Between the support staff at Beacon and my exercise program, I felt like I finally found places that understood exactly what I was going through and supported me constantly. For the first time in my life, I saw the possibility of an end to the mental madness.

Fast forward to now. It has been nine years since I enlisted in the war against myself and I can confidently say that I have won. It took hard work and strong commitment to myself.  Now I look in the mirror and I love what I see. I see the beauty beyond my size. I see the sexiness in my curves. I accept who I am and recognize that today I am my best self.

If you would have told that 15 year old girl that one day she would become a model, she would have started crying and said models can’t be bigger than a size 00.  I know now that that couldn’t be further from the truth. I currently work as a model, as an actress and as an acting coach. I have found my passion again and I have found myself in the process. I want to share my confidence with the world.

My goal is to inspire young women to feel comfortable in their own skin and to have the courage to be exactly who they are. Change that inner dialogue; tell yourself how proud you are every single day. It may not be easy, but I can promise you it is worth it.

 


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Rethink your Drink

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Rethink your Drink

With the holidays right around the corner, our calendars are consumed with holiday parties.  Before you let the cocktails flow it may be time to rethink your drink!

Liquid calories, such as alcohol, come in undetected by the body but can have enormous repercussions on our diets.  Simply put, our bodies do not recognize liquid calories as food.  Alcoholic beverages are ‘empty calories’ because they supply calories but no nutrients.

When people eat calories in the form of solid food, they become full and naturally compensate by reducing the rest of their food intake.  However, when people ingest liquid calories, they don’t eat any less. This is because liquid calories do not affect our satiety.  You will not eat less, or feel “full” if you are consuming a caloric beverage, the way you would if you were eating actual food.

Now, before you go ahead and call me a party pooper and cancel all of your holiday party appearances, I have some suggestions!  Here is a list of alcoholic beverages that all net out at 100 calories or less!

 

  • Mojito- Mojitos are still fair game if you remove or even reduce the simple syrup (sugar) by half.  Mint, lime, and club soda are all naturally low in calories and a shot of rum is ~100 calories.
  • Vodka Soda- Vodka averages 96 calories per 1.5 oz.  Soda water, is of course, no calroies. 
  • Tequila Soda- Craving a margarita?  Most margarita mixes are high in calorie, preservatives and sugar.  Instead opt for a shot of tequila, topped with club soda and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
  • Champagne- Bring on the bubbly!  Not only is it festive, but a glass of champagne is approximately 85 calories.  Cheers!
  • Wine- A small glass of wine typically only has between 75-80 calories, which is significantly less than traditional cocktails.  The less sweet the wine, the less natural sugar, so opt for a Pinot over a Riesling.
  • Bloody Mary- Don’t worry brunch, I didn’t forget about you!  This brunch staple won’t break the calorie bank.  Most bloody mary’s come in at ~90 calories.

 

Whatever drink you choose, my recommendation is to try drinking one glass of water for every cocktail or glass of wine.  If you stick to this, you’ll end up drinking half the calories you normally would and wake up feeling a lot better the next morning.  Win, win!

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4 Essential Holiday Travel Tips

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4 Essential Holiday Travel Tips

Vacation is a time to relax and rejuvenate but it can prompt a bit of anxiety.  Whenever we stray from our regular routines, this unknown can be unsettling.  If like me, you are accustomed to a daily workout class and regularly accessible healthy meals vacation can test our nutritional instincts. 

What do you mean Costa Rica doesn’t have soul cycle??  Will there be kale??  Take a deep breath and know that with these simple steps, you can enjoy your vacation, without your nutritional habits taking a vacation as well! 


1.    Plan Ahead- Planning is the key to your success!  I can’t emphasize this enough.  In fact, I’m giving you five tips, because I’m super nice, but this first step would be entirely sufficient on its own.
Here are ways that I like to plan ahead:

·      Bring a Meal- Airport and airplane food is gross.  Yes, I’m making a generalization and if you’re sitting in first-class eating a gluten-free, organic meal, than good for you, but I promise you are in the minority!  I like to bring a meal to the airport (breakfast, lunch or dinner, depending on flight time) so I don’t have to eat processed food with excess sugar, fat, etc. 

·      Bring Snacks- I also like to bring packaged foods with me when I travel.  The RIGHT packaged foods, like Larabars or dried fruit and nuts are perfect for on-the-go.  Asalways, watch the sugar and look for snacks with protein and fiber that will keep you fuller longer.  Having these snacks on hand will help you make smart healthy choices, rather than eating things you wouldn’t normally eat at home.  Whether you’re at the airport, or touring a new city, being prepared with healthy snack options is a great tool.

·      Research Restaurants- Most restaurants these days have at least a couple of healthy options, and any tropical destinations will most likely feature fish on the menu, which is a great healthy meal.  However, looking at the menus online ahead of time will ensure that you’re never in a bind.  There are also apps that work domestically, such as AroundMe, that can help locate healthy restaurants in the area. 

2.    Drink Water- Staying hydrated not only curbs jet lag, and prevents your skin from drying on the airplane but it also curbs cravings.  As I mentioned in my tips for weight loss we often confuse hunger with thirst.  Especially on vacation when you’re probably having one more cocktail or some fun in the sun, we are more likely to dehydrate. 

3.    One and Done Rule- You’re on vacation and you want to indulge, I get it! It’s more than ok to indulge, in fact, I encourage it.  Especially on a trip, you don’t want to feel like you’re missing out.  And you definitely don’t want to travel all this way and not enjoy the local food.  That being said, it’s ok to indulge, but not at every meal.  Like anything else, enjoy in moderation.  I call it the one and done rule because I indulge on no more than one thing a day and then call it quits.

4.    Exercise- Don’t let your workouts go on vacation too.  Sure, there may not be a FlyWheel or SLT but I promise you’ll survive, and so will your workout.  If you’re touring a city, walking and seeing the sights is a great way to get exercise.  I also love this hotel room workout from Shape.com.  No equipment, no problem!

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Ellary's Greens - Food with Integrity

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Ellary's Greens - Food with Integrity

I first had the pleasure of meeting Leith Hill when she was a guest speaker at the Natural Gourmet Institute.   This NOLA native is bringing her culinary perspective to the streets of NYC.  In 2013 Leith opened Ellary’s Greens, which offers an array of healthy, gourmet organic foods.

In the restaurant, Leith warmly greets every member of her team, from the head chef to the deliveryman.  There isn't one person she doesn’t know by name.  As guests enter, she waves hello and catches up with regular customers, making sure that every guest is properly tended to.

However, don’t let her sweet southern accent, and bubbly personality fool you.  Leith is a busy and driven woman on a mission!  Her mission?  Serve quality sourced food, dedicated to nourishment.

I sat down with Letih to discuss how she’s accomplishing her mission and bringing foods with maximum health to the masses.


What is the concept behind Ellary’s Greens?

Just like the concept of Made Simple by Sarah, the concept of Ellaray’s Greens is that eating for optimal health can be simple!  Everything you eat should be nutrient dense, delicious and again, simple.  It’s about eating with integrity and connecting people to their food.  Everything we serve here is completely recognizable as a food. 

Tell us a little bit about your background?

I'm from New Orleans, which is the land of butter, booze, beignets and béarnaise sauce.   But the nice thing about being from New Orleans is because we have Creole and Cajun influences in our food, and we’re surrounded on three sides by water, we have the opportunity to have amazing fish.  Many of our dishes are tomato-based and rice-based.  Growing up, we always had brown rice and wild rice.  I never had anything fried, and it’s something that made a huge difference in how I looked and felt. 

Who/what are your inspirations (in food and in life)?

My father was a health foods aficionado, very ahead of his time.  He was born in 1923.  When he was 12, he lost both of his grandfathers to heart attacks.  He vowed that he would never let anyone he loves die of a heart attack.  So at the young age of 12 he started looking into the link between diet and exercise, and heart health, which is pretty remarkable.  He educated himself and raised us eating nutritionally dense, whole foods.

What is your favorite menu on the item?

I love our salmon burger.  We use salmon from North America, sourced from a fully sustainable farm.   We filet everything in-house and our salmon burger is simply filled with salmon.  There is no binder, no filler - just salmon.  All too often, salmon is substituted in a salmon bugger with fillers like rice, breadcrumbs, bread, you name it, to bulk up the burger.  Our burger is completely gluten free and starch free.  You don't have to compromise on taste and still have nutrient density.

What is the most popular menu on the item?

There are four: the bacon mac and cheese, chickpea fries, roasted chicken, and chocolate mousse.  The bacon mac and cheese is made with gluten free pasta and organic cheese.  Our chocolate mousse is completely vegan, organic, gluten and dairy free, and raw.

What is your favorite thing to cook?

I love to make sautéed okra and tomatoes.  I also love making eggs- fried eggs, scrambled eggs, frittatas.  Ellary’s has amazing house smoked deviled eggs. 

Ellary’s highlights all organic ingredients.  What is your favorite ingredient right now?

Coconut.  We use all parts: milk, water, sugar, flour, and amino acids.

What is a staple in your kitchen at home?

Coconut oil.  Whether sweet or savory I cook everything with coconut oil!

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5 Tips to a Thinner Thanksgiving

You’ve just finished inhaling your dinner.  Not just any dinner but Thanksgiving dinner, which you look forward to all year.  You threw caution to the wind as you gorged on sweet potatoes with marshmallows and stuffing covered in gravy.  Now you have to unbutton your pants in an attempt to even breathe.

Sound familiar?  Thanksgiving, by nature, is a recipe for over eating.  You wait 364 days for this meal, its commonly served buffet style, and the traditional “staples” are loaded with calories.

Last year, ABC News revealed some disturbing stats about America’s time-old tradition.  “The Average American consumes 3000 calories during the Thanksgiving meal plus another 1500 on snacks and drinks…That’s 4500 calories in all, and about 45% of them come straight from fat,” according to the Calorie Counting Council.

Before you have a heart attack and tell Grandma you’re not coming (I swear that wasn’t my intention!), here are 5 tips that will you help you have a thinner Thanksgiving!

  1. Eat Breakfast- It is a common misconception that you should starve all day in order to save up room (and calories) for the big meal.  In fact, if you’re hungry, you’re more likely to overeat.  Instead, have a healthy breakfast containing protein and fiber, to curb your appetite and get your day started off on the right foot.  Try scrambled egg whites with a piece of whole grain toast. 
  2. Go Easy on Alcohol- Alcohol is usually the forgotten calorie source.  But those glasses of wine you’re self-medicating with in order to make family conversation more tolerable, add up!  Alternate sips of wine with water and avoid high-sugar juice mixers
  3. Portion Control- When Thanksgiving is served buffet style its easy to load up your plate, and feel compelled (or inclined) to finish everything.  But your eyes are often bigger than your stomach.  Go into the buffet with a portion plan.  Your serving of protein (turkey most likely) should be approximately the size of your hand.  Serving of starches like potatoes or sweet potatoes should be only half the size of your palm.  And use the rest of your plate for green vegetables – brussel sprouts for the win!
  4. Bring Healthy Alternatives- Don’t feel left out Thanksgiving.  Bring healthy options that you too, can enjoy.  Offer to bake these pumpkin donuts...I promise, they won't even know they're paleo!
  5. Enjoy the Company!  In an effort to get all of the food safely into our mouths, we forget to enjoy the company of family and friends.  After all, Thanksgiving is all about coming together with family and friends to enjoy a meal.  Talk with guests and be present in the conversation, slowly savoring your food.  I promise, the stuffing will not get up and leave your plate, if you stop to talk to your cousin.   

 

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The Organic Debate

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The Organic Debate

For a while now, there has been an ongoing debate about eating organic.  We all want pesticide-free food but we also must be cognizant of the fact that organic food is generally more expensive.  Is it worth the cost?

The answer: this is personal.  Your bank account, your body, your decision.  That being said, there are certain foods where due to their porous skin and the way they're grown, it is recommended to opt for organic.  Similarly,  there are foods, such as fruits with peels, where buying organic may be less significant.  

The "Dirty Dozen and Clean 15" is an easy guide for when to buy organic, and where it's ok to save on cost. The EWG, Environmental Working Group, comes out with this list every year.  


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Top 10 Tips for Weight Loss

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Top 10 Tips for Weight Loss

Weight loss and weight management is not a one-size fits all.  Bio-individuality is the concept that what works for one person may not work for another.  After all, all of those fad diets came into existence because they worked for someone, somewhere.  Does that mean that you should eat nothing but cabbage soup though, please no!

That being said, there are certain measures we can all take that will not only benefit our weight loss efforts, but also our overall health and wellness. 

  1. Drink Water- Hunger is often confused with dehydration.  Try and drink 8 glasses of water per day.  This will help you feel fuller and also slow down your “auto-pilot” mode when you normally reach for a snack.  Additionally, a glass of water before a meal or snack will help you eat less.  Drink up!
  2. Eat Carbs- Real Carbs- Carbs have mistakenly become the enemy.  We need carbs in our diet.  Our body uses it for energy and fuel.  However, not all carbs are created equal.  Replace refined carbohydrates like bread, pasta, pretzels, etc. with complex carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.  Complex carbs are high in fiber, which slows digestions and promotes stable blood sugar levels. 
  3. Choose Healthy Fats- A common misconception is that fats make you fat.  In reality, we cannot live without fat.  The body utilizes dietary fat for energy, healthy hair, skin, and nails, vitamin absorption, and normal every day bodily functions.  Choose good fats, like avocados, nuts, and seeds, fish, and extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Emphasize Lean Protein- Our bodies require protein to continuously renew and replenish our cells, stabilize blood sugar levels, and give us energy.  The richest sources of protein include animal products (meat, eggs, and fish) and plant sources (beans, nuts, and seeds).  You can be a vegetarian and get ample amounts of protein, but you also don’t have to be!  If choosing animal proteins choose learner proteins, like chicken, fish, and turkey, rather than red meat.
  5. Eat Breakfast- I know so many people who skip breakfast.  They’re not hungry, don't have time, the list goes on and on.  Ditch the excuses.  Eating a hearty and healthy breakfast will give your metabolism a jumpstart and help you better control cravings throughout the day.  When we miss our first fuel opportunity of the day, by mid-morning we are hungry and more likely to engage in mindless nibbling, snacking, overeating, and over compensating for any calories “saved” by breakfast.  
  6. Eat More Frequently- Try and balance your food intake throughout the day by eating smaller main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and supplementing with healthy snacks.  Don’t forget to eat until you’re no longer hungry rather than eating until you’re full.  There’s a huge difference!  Our eyes are often bigger than our stomachs and we take HUGE portions at mealtime.  Eating regularly throughout the day will help cut down on mealtime portion size.
  7. Exercise your Body and Mind- Exercise has enormous benefits for your mind and body.  Decreased body weight, smaller waist circumference, lower resting heart rate and blood pressure, and endorphins to boost your mood- all results of exercise!  We’re all busy so exercise smart and efficiently rather than spending hours in the gym.
  8. Catch Some Zzz’s- Did you know that according to research, those who sleep five hours or less weight five pounds more than those getting at least seven h ours of sleep per night!  Lack of sleep can lead to irregular energy balance, metabolism and appetite.  Sleep more, eat and weigh less- awesome!
  9. Cook- Again, I know we’re busy and or you simply may hate cooking.  It feels tedious and requires clean up.  But isn’t it worth it if you can control portion sizes, quality of ingredients, and cut back on your intake of sodium, fat, and calories.  Check out some of super fast recipes for more tips, but get cooking in the kitchen!
  10. Keep Track of what you Eat- Be a label detective!  Regularly check labels.  My rule of thumb is if I can’t pronounce it, I probably shouldn’t be eating it.  The healthiest foods are those found just as nature intended- whole and unprocessed.  When was the last time you saw an ingredient list on an apple or stalk of celery?  Additionally aim for foods with lower sugar content.  Read more about sugar here and try and stay away from foods with no sugar, or 5 grams or less. 

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Fresh Start to Fall - The Whole30 Challenge

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Fresh Start to Fall - The Whole30 Challenge

On the heels of a summer filled with ice cream and rose, Labor Day marks a harsh snap back to reality.  While you should have no regrets about rose all day, maybe your jeans are feeling a little tight and you’re craving a fresh start to fall.

Enter the Whole30 Challenge.  Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes), while “healthy” foods, could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. 

If you’re reading this to find the perfect post-summer diet, just stop reading now.  This is not a diet.  Let me repeat- this is not a diet. As a health coach, I am generally very anti-diet, in favor of lasting lifestyle changes.  I resort to the Whole30 Challenge as a good food ass kicking, when I really need to knock my sugar and junk food cravings

I know it sounds like a diet because you’re removing, well basically everything.  But it is actually an eye opening, food enlightening experience.  The first time I completed the challenge, I was shocked at how much delicious, whole foods, there really are to eat, once you remove packaged and processed crap.  I was also appalled at how many foods contain sugar, unnecessarily.  Sure, you’re usual sugar suspects like cookies and candy are expected on the list but what about chicken sausage, and roast turkey?  Sugar??  Yup! 

You learn to be completely aware of what you’re consuming and how these removed foods may have been affecting your body.  When stripped from your diet completely, your body can heal and recover.  It’s like pushing the “reset” button on your metabolism.

It sounds crazy, like the extremist equivalent of a foodie, but it completely changed my life.    In just 30 days, it changed the way I felt and thought about food. 

This is not to say it’s easy.  It takes a lot of effort and preparation to avoid some of these foods.  You have to carefully check labels and ask questions, especially when eating out.  But you can do it!  And you’ve done things that are MUCH harder.  To quote the Whole30, “It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will have in this lifetime.”

Even though I’m a health coach, I’ll be the first to admit that this is challenging and I am inclined to “slip.”  To avoid this and encourage myself to complete the challenge, I recommend finding something or someone to hold you accountable while doing it.  This could mean doing it with a friend or blogging about it (like I am doing now), so everyone knows you’re doing it.   

And now you know, I’m doing the Whole30 challenge again.  I am responsible for my own health and I’m taking it into my hands for the next 30 days.  You all are holding me accountable, so thank you!

Over the next 30 days, I will share my challenges, recipes, and more.  If you have any questions or comments, please email me, or post below.  I also encourage you to check out the resources on the Whole30 website.

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by Chloe- 100% Vegan, 100% Delicious

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by Chloe- 100% Vegan, 100% Delicious

If you haven't already, make a date to check out by Chloe.  Having only opened a few weeks ago, there are consistently lines out the door for lunch and dinner!  This new West Village staple is truly unique.  By Chloe is a fast-casual concept offering a plant-based, vegan menu- serving real food that does not sacrifice any flavor or satisfaction.  And for all you vegan skeptics, fear not.  This not your granola-crunchy, hippy dippy, kind of restaurant.  The menu features popular items such as a Guacamole Burger and Pesto Meatballs.

Chef Chloe Coscarelli is the brains and talent behind by Chloe.  A lifelong vegetarian, and vegan for ten years, Chloe is an award-winning chef and best-selling cookbook author.  Chloe first earned national attention after winning Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, as the first vegan chef to win a culinary competition on national TV!

I sat down with Chef Chloe to talk about her new restaurant, favorite foods, diet, and more!


How did you find your passion for food & cooking?  Being in the kitchen with my mom growing up!

Walk us through “a day in the life.”  What does your daily routine and diet consist of?  Most days now it consists of being at by Chloe - in the kitchen, interacting with customers.  When I can, I try to make it to a yoga class or just go for a long walk.  Luckily being at by Chloe, I’m never at a loss for delicious food!

What are you favorite foods? Vegan Mac & Cheese and cupcakes

What are the most popular items at by Chloe?  Avocado Toast & our Guac Burger

What’s your favorite item on the menu?  Our collection of homemade ice creams- they are made from almond milk, coconut milk, and agave!

By Chloe highlights locally sourced ingredients, what is your favorite ingredient right now?  Local sweet corn!! I like it grilled, in soup, salad, or even ice cream!

What made you decide to become a Vegan?  I was a vegetarian at a very young age and have been an animal lover my whole life.  Once I made the connection between animals and food, I went vegan and never looked back.

What tips would you give someone trying to be a vegan or vegetarian? Don’t get caught up in the labels and don’t overthink it.  Take it one day, or one meal, at a time and go from there.

What tips do you have for making things healthy without sacrificing flavor?  Fresh herbs and lots of avocado is the key to making anything rich and flavorful!

What’s a staple in your kitchen at home?  Fresh coconuts- have to hydrate!

Can you weigh in on the two opposing schools of nutrition- low carb vs. low fat?  Not a fan of low carb at all.  Not a fan of low fat either…hello avocado and cashews!  I like to go low meat and low dairy- viola!  You can eat everything delicious in that diet. 

 

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Navigating Nutrition in the Office

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Navigating Nutrition in the Office

For those of you who work in an office setting, myself included, nutrition can be hard to manage.  There are a variety of factors that make healthy eating a challenge.  Today I’ll tackle two of the most common issues in the office: eating a well-balanced meal & snacking!

If you have a kitchen and/or storage space in your office this can be a blessing or a curse.  Unlike in the comfort of your own kitchen, most likely you are not selecting the office food supply.  Whereas at home you can more easily avoid temptation by simply not keeping it in the kitchen, at the office, such temptations may be staring you right in the face.  On the other hand, you can use this space to keep all of your “cooking” essentials to create a delicious and nutritious meal!

In what I like to refer to as Top Chef, Office Edition, I bring in my own groceries for breakfast and lunch to whip up quick, easy and healthy meals!  Not only is this is a huge money saver but its also healthier than any takeout options.  Great breakfast ideas include oatmeal topped with berries and nut butter or chia seed pudding.  As for lunch, I stock up on lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.  Basically, anything you like for lunch (salad, sandwich, etc.).  I prefer to put the meal together at work, to avoid soggy lettuce and schlepping Tupperware everywhere.    

Now that you’ve become a Top Chef Master in the office, let’s take a look at snacking.  Many people are victims of eating mindlessly at their computer, completely unaware of how many calories they’re consuming.  My advice is to PORTION YOUR SNACKS.  Instead of bringing an entire bag (of anything) over to your desk, take out a single portion.  This will ensure that you are not mindlessly eating more than you intended.  Another key is to balance your snacks.  What do I mean by this?  Include a protein in your snack to keep you fuller, longer.  Some healthy snack options include carrots and hummus, celery and almond butter, fruit and nuts, etc.

We spend a majority of our time in the office (working 9-5? –Hah I wish!) so it is imperative that we maintain our healthy habits!  There are definitely challenges when it comes to navigating nutrition in the office but it’s no excuse to eat poorly. 

 

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