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30 of the healthiest foods to add to your regular grocery list

February 24th, 2011 2 Comments

“We consume way more protein than our bodies need and get less than half the vegetables and fruits we should,” says Marissa Lippert, a registered dietitian and the author of The Cheater’s Diet.

So what should you be eating and buying???

Real Simple put together a list of the 30 Healthiest Foods.

  • Mushrooms
  • Barley
  • Walnuts
  • All-Natural butters
  • Avocados
  • Quinoa
  • Almonds
  • Blueberries
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Eggs
  • Chicken breast
  • Wild Salmon
  • Broccoli
  • Oranges
  • Edamame
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Oatmeal
  • Skim milk
  • Lentils
  • Bulgar
  • Sardines
  • Kiwi
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kale
  • Kidney Beans
  • Chard
  • Pumpkin
  • Non Fat Greek Yogurt
  • Black Beans

You can click through to read a little blurb on each.

I’m not in total agreement on their list, but if you ate according to it, you would probably notice a huge change in your taste buds and appetite.  Eating a clean, unprocessed diet makes me feel SO much better on many levels.


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Beat The Afternoon Energy Slump

January 24th, 2011 No Comments

Mary Note: When I feel tired around 3pm, I always grab a coffee, but find that it really doesn’t pick me up like I want it to.  Something else I do, which is much more effective, is take the stairs to get my heart pumping a little faster.  That tactic makes Jeff’s list!

— By Jeff Halevy, the MTM Trainer

People tell me all time they get really tired midday.  Their first instinct is to reach for coffee or soda.  NOT a good idea.  There are three keys to staying energized throughout a long day, and I’ve come up with a helpful way for you to remember them.

N + R + G = Energy

N = Nutrition –  R = Rest  –  G = Get going!

Now think about it. N-R-G sounds like “energy.”  Clever aren’t I?!

When you’re feeling tired, use one of these three tactics to get energized instantly!

Nutrition

What you eat not just at lunch, but throughout the day will  affect your PM energy levels.

Eat breakfast, period.

When you skip breakfast you create an energy deficit that can plague you for the whole day. Start with a healthy
breakfast that combines protein, carbohydrates and healthy fat. For women, 300-400 calories and men 500-600. And no skipping carbs; they’re not the enemy!

(e.g. spinach and feta omelet with whole wheat toast;  oatmeal with almonds; a smoothie made from fruits; Greek yogurt and wheat germ)

Drink Water.

The first sign of dehydration is usually fatigue. To keep energy levels up and avoid dehydration we need to make sure we’re taking in adequate fluids — and I don’t mean diet soda. Water is the most preferable form of hydration, and in order to avoid dehydration we must consume at least 2 liters — minimally — though 3 should be a target, throughout the day.

Avoid starch, not carbs altogether.


The foods we eat around lunchtime can drastically affect energy levels. Heavy foods that need a lot of energy for digestion — rich,
fatty foods — and foods that spike and subsequently drop blood sugar — simple carbs and sugars — will totally drain you of energy.

(e.g. fettuccine alfredo; pizza; hero/sub)

Don’t Fill up.

Keep meals small and don’t stuff yourself.  Even if you’re at a nice meal out, eat until you’re full.  Otherwise you’ll want to crawl into bed instead of tackling your to-do list.

Snacking is good.

It’s also important to eat smaller meals, or snacks, throughout the day. These snacks, just like lunch, shouldn’t include simple carbs and sugars which will only make you feel more tired. Healthy snacks should provide some carbs and protein as well.

(e.g.  almonds and raisins; banana and almond butter; raspberries; blueberries and Greek yogurt – combine your sugar with protein)

Rest

It’s totally normal to feel a dip in energy in the afternoon due to our natural body clock (circadian rhythm). The dip we feel is from the release of melatonin which makes us sleepy. If you’re already sleep deprived much more likely to be hit hard by this dip. The best way to avoid the energy slump — or at least avoid its severity — is to get eight hours of sleep per night.just like our mothers told us. If your sleep pattern is normal, evidence supports that a short nap — 20 minutes or so, but not much longer — can improve energy levels for the rest of the day.

Get up and at ’em!

Unlike energy drinks and supplements, a quick fix that’s free and good for you is simply getting up — preferably outside — and moving.

1.  Take a walk outside.

Sunlight affects our internal body clock, so when you feel tired get out and get some daylight. Even better is doing so and getting a brisk walk in because.

2.  Exercise.

A short bout of exercise/activity is a great way to boost energy levels. Even if you can’t get outside, do some exercises right at
your desk that circulate blood around the entire body.  Mary has been giving you small challenges to do every day for a week – 100 squats, 20 pushups, 100 crunches –  these are a great example of ways to stay energized.

(e.g. squat, walkout, dips on chair or desk)

3.  Think about your posture.

Poor posture can absolutely zap you of energy. When you sit slumped over the desk, you compress your chest cavity and put extra stress on the neck and back which lead to fatigue. When you sit up correctly, you get deep quality breaths which can alone beat back fatigue.

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Don’t Get Cheesed about Cheese

January 20th, 2011 7 Comments

MR Note: This is the best news I’ve heard all week!! I’m obsessed with the Under $3 bin at Whole Foods and any soft white cheese that melts in my mouth at room temperature. Umm…did that come out wrong?

— By Nutritionista

Sorry for the cheesy title. And sorry again for the bad pun!

Recently, I got a reader question about this New York Times article. The gist of the article: Americans are eating more cheese. Cheese has saturated fat. Saturated fat = very bad, heart disease, etc. Thus, Americans should eat less cheese. Michelle Obama agrees.

The reader was concerned because she loves cheese and doesn’t want to have to stop eating it. And she shouldn’t — and neither should you! With some exceptions, cheese is a great source of (yes, saturated) fat and protein. Let me break it down for you:

  • Yes, cheese has saturated fat. But if you haven’t heard me say it enough times, saturated fat has not been sufficiently linked to heart disease, or any other disease. There is absolutely no reason to avoid a food just for its sat fat content. Saturated fat is filling, and if it doesn’t come from overly processed sources, absolutely fine to eat from both a health and weight loss standpoint. Here‘s a good (if overly cautious) article about it if you’re still skeptical.
  • No, processed cheese isn’t a great pick. This is not the post that will legitimize your love of Kraft American cheese. Sorry! Overly processed cheese isn’t good for you in the same way that any other overly processed food isn’t good for you: it’s full of fillers and other nasty chemicals.
  • Yes, your best cheese option is raw goat’s cheese. I know, I know. You’re like, “What crazy hippie food is that?!” Here’s why it’s best: raw cheese is less processed and goat’s cheese has less lactose and is easier on your digestive system than other types of cheese. Also, did you know that goat’s milk has a similar nutrient profile to human milk (more similar than cow’s milk)? The more you know!
  • No, you don’t need to avoid other cheeses. As long as it’s not Velveeta, I feel good about giving the okay to most cheeses. High quality cheeses are generally going to be better, and they’re also usually more expensive. That’s okay! Spend a little more to get a little more.
  • Yes, cheese is high calorie. So? It’s more filling, so you’ll probably eat less of it, and I don’t really subscribe to the calories-in/calories-out paradigm. More on that in another post! I’ve already told you not to fear calories, so don’t do it — as long as they don’t come from processed/fake food sources.

The bottom line on cheese? It’s totally fine. And I’m not even going to add “in moderation.” Cheese that’s not super processed is totally fine to enjoy on a daily basis, as long as it doesn’t upset your stomach — some people are pretty sensitive to lactose.

You can and should detox in Vegas

January 13th, 2011 No Comments

I usually get a colonic during a cleanse, but it can also be helpful after a big intox like the holidays or Vegas.  Coincidentally, I have just been through both!

Colleen, my therapist from Los Angeles, has her main Healing Waters clinic a short 10 minute cab ride off the strip.  Lucky me!!

She uses the Libbe machine (see it behind her above), which is the most gentle of the hydrotherapy techniques. Watch this video of my first encounter with the Libbe.  The other technique I like is called The Woods Gravity method, which I get at Release in New York City.  See the video of my first time here and a follow up that shows it’s not painful at all!  I get the procedure about twice a year while I’m cleansing.  For more of my insight and experiences, click here.

(Full Disclosure: Media discounts and comps were provided by clinics.  A colonic runs around $85 per session but decreases when you buy multiple.)

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To Carb or Not to Carb?

January 13th, 2011 11 Comments

–By Nutritionista

As some of you may know, I don’t think grains are great. I don’t think humans were meant to eat as many grains as we currently consume, and Idefinitely don’t think we were meant to eat as many processed grains. But I also don’t think Dr. Atkins was completely right about carbs.

I personally cut grains out of my diet almost completely last year — I looked and felt better for it. But I do think there are some good reasons to eat carbs (grains, starchy vegetables, etc.). There are also good reasons not to, so you all should know both sides of the story.


CARB PRO: Carbs are usually pretty filling. There’s something about adding a few potatoes to a soup, or eating your stir-fry with a small portion of rice that just does the trick in terms of satisfaction.

CARB CON: …But they’re not filling for long. Unfortunately, carbs aren’t filling for very long. Did you ever notice that, after eating a carb-heavy meal, you’re hungry again a couple hours later? When you eat a lot of carbs, you’re full, but not satisfied. That can cause you to overeat later.

CARB PRO: Carbs can give you instant energy. Before a long run, I used to always have an English muffin with peanut butter and banana. Tons of carbs, tons of energy.

CARB CON: …But again, that energy doesn’t last long. And if you don’t use it, your body will proabably store it as fat.

CARB PRO: Eating some carbs can prevent binges. What do people binge on most? It’s not meat, I’ll tell you that. It’s mostly carb-filled goodies: pastas, cookies, breads, bagels, muffins, etc. You won’t find someone sneaking pats of butter late at night! When you incorporate some unprocessed carbs into your diet (sprouted grain bread, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.), you may not feel as inclined to gorge yourself on carbs than if you deprive yourself completely.

CARB CON: …But eating carbs can also lead to carb binges. It goes back to the last pro/con: Carbs are filling, but they’re not satisfying. At least not on their own. So you can end up eating way more than you intend to. You can help prevent that phenomenon by eating unprocessed carbs with plenty of protein and at least a little fat (and hopefully very little sugar!) in order to prevent overeating.

CARB PRO: Carbs are delicious! I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that carbs are just TASTY! That can’t be denied. And I never deny myself deliciousness.

CARB CON: Other foods are just as delicious, and that’s easy to forget. A really well-seasoned, juicy chicken breast can be just as heavenly as a plate of mac ‘n’ cheese, but the chicken may need a little bit more TLC. Non-carby food can be devine! So don’t think carbs are the only type of food that pleases the palate.

As you can see, carbs have their benefits, but there are some downsides too. Ultimately, how many carbs you choose to consume is up to you, but whatever you do, choose unprocessed carbs as often as you can!

Any other carb pros/cons you can think of?

Five Ways to Deal with an Office Full of Food

January 6th, 2011 No Comments

Five Ways to Deal with an Office Full of Food

–By Nutritionista

I’m sure at some point, most of us have worked in an office where free food is ABUNDANT. Somehow, when it’s free, it’s that much harder to turn down. Or maybe it’s just me? Anyway, it can actually be really difficult to deal with food coming at you from all sides. I should know. At my new office, food is just everywhere. But it’s not all bad! Tuesday is fruit day, when the office brings in fresh and dried fruit. Thursday is veggie day, where we get veggie crudites and dip (hummus, ranch, etc.). So far, so good. But Wednesday is bagel and doughnut day. And that’s where things get difficult (not to mention all the extra food — food leftover from meetings, treats people bring in, etc.!).

So how does someone who strives for health deal with a plethora of not-so-healthy food? Here are five places to start:

  1. Use the Hear and Now Concept. When you get a hankering, choose treats you can only get HERE and NOW. It’s a good way to categorically eliminate all the stuff that’s just not worth it (stale Dunkin’ Donuts, for example – reminder to self). Some of the food at your office might be totally worth it (a coworker’s homemade apple pie, for example), so trying to avoid everything completely is not only unrealistic, but also unnecessary.
  2. Participate, but in your own way. This is something I constantly tell my clients. As I explained above, it’s unrealistic to try to avoid all office treats. But when you do feel the urge to indulge, try to compromise a bit. Here’s an example: On one of the bagel/doughnut days, I had brought in pre-cooked scrambled eggs to eat for breakfast. But I was drooling over the thought of one the delicious cream cheese spreads on a bagel. So I compromised with myself. I added some of the flavored cream cheese (chive and bacon, mmm) to my eggs to give them a little extra flare. My eggs were a little more special, but I didn’t totally throw away my healthy breakfast for an empty carb-filled bagel. The idea is that you can get a taste without having to eat EVERYTHING.
  3. Save it for later. This is a strategy I’ve seen one of my coworkers employ, and it’s super smart. Here’s how it works: Let’s say there are leftover sandwiches from a meeting that someone put out in the kitchen for public consumption. But you already ate lunch! But you want a sandwich! But you’re not that hungry! But they’re from your favorite sandwich place! Ahhh! It’s a dilemma, no? Well, all you need to do is pack a sandwich away in a baggie and save it in the fridge for future enjoyment. Free lunch tomorrow, and you won’t overeat today. Win-win!
  4. BYOS. Bring Your Own Snacks, people! This seems obvious, but imagine this scenario: It’s 3:30pm, and lunch was hours ago. You notice the box of cookies someone set out earlier in the kitchen. You’re feeling snacky and you don’t have any options, so you grab a cookie. Do you see what you did wrong? Even if you don’t plan on snacking every day, keep SOMETHING around for emergencies. Sometimes just seeing snacky food can trigger that snacky feeling, so if you can’t abstain altogether, make sure you have something you can feel good about munching on. My coworker keeps a tub of unsalted mixed nuts on her desk, and it’s perfect. My picks have been Larabars, seaweed snacks, or Just A Handful trail mix packets from Trader Joe’s.
  5. Treat yourself. Abstaining from treats/treat-like experiences can be sort of depressing. So my coworker and I have an agreement: If we go to the gym Monday through Thursday during lunch, we can treat ourselves to sushi, a mani/pedi, or a long session in our gym’s sauna on Friday. It’s so nice to know that we have something fun to look forward to when we’re sweating it out at the gym. So treats don’t have to come in the form of food, but they can (as long as it’s worth it!). Make sure your workplace doesn’t turn into a total non-pleasure zone just because you aren’t indulging in the office candy bowl.

Looking to flush out 2010?

December 31st, 2010 7 Comments

So apparently many of you are looking to cleanse in the new year and want to know if I have any tips for you.

Obviously the answer is yes!

You have some great questions that I’ll answer here as well as add a few more notes.

My Experience with Cleansing

To read about my experience with cleanses, click here.  You’ll read all you need to know on the first two pages, including how to start cleansing, different types of juice cleanses, and colonics.

What’s the best kind of cleanse?

I believe it’s crucial your body continues to be nourished while you are cleansing.  The Master cleanse, fasts, and most bottled/boxed cleanses will not do this for you.

A juice cleanse will help flush out your system and provide you with nutrients, calories, and natural sugar to keep you healthy.  There are several companies that offer 3-5 day juice cleanses:

They’re all different, so read my reviews here.

My mom has been very successful using Isogenix which is a processed cleanse based on a protein meal-replacement shake.  It’s also considered a diet and lifestyle choice.  I enjoy the shakes, but I do not feel comfortable consuming so much packed and processed products.

Can I do it at home on my own?

Of course you can juice and cleanse on your own at home, but if you’re new to the regimen, it can prove to be a challenge in my opinion.  Part of what you are paying for with a branded cleanse is the ease of just grabbing  a juice or meal from the fridge and keeping on a certain schedule.  It sounds easy, but when life gets going, you need to be able to not worry about the cleanse.

September, the owner of Red Carpet Cleanse in LA has made a menu and shopping list for you if you’d like to do a cleanse for a day, which she advocates.

Here are MTM posts on green smoothies from Nutritionista and myself.

You could also eat raw for 5 days, which is also a very effective way to change your diet.  The issue here becomes nuts.  I would suggest only drinking fresh nut milk instead of eating raw nuts because they can be very hard to digest.

How do I start?

If you want to truly be effective with your cleansing, you need to realize that it will consume more than just the 3 or 5 days you’re juicing.  To prepare you should start taking meat, flour, and sugar out of your diet a couple days before.  Afterward you should ease back into real food, eating raw for a day or two after.  You’ll want to reach for a cupcake, but the longer you can wait, the better off you will be in the long run.

Will I lose weight?

If your diet is pretty bad before you start, you could lose weight, but don’t expect to shed pounds like crazy.  Don’t kill yourself working out while you’re cleansing.  You can absolutely exercise, but keep it light.

So what are the benefits then?

The main reason you’re cleansing is to detox your system, improve your digestive efficiency, and clean up your diet!

A cleanse teaches your body not to crave processed sugar.  You’ll appreciate the natural sweetness of fruits and veggies so much more when they don’t have to compete with white sugar and syrups.

Less sugar means a more stable blood sugar, more nutritious foods, and a more efficient metabolism.

But I’m scared!

I understand a cleanse can be intimidating and scary.  Look at this way, it’s only a few days of your life to give up certain foods.  They will be there for you when you ease back into a regular diet (in moderation of course).

The benefits exponentially outweigh the price in my opinion.  You’ll FEEL so much better.

And the colonic….

Well, this is a very controversial issue.  All I can tell you is that I find them helpful when cleansing because it compliments the process and helps take care of the constipation that you might experience from the lack of whole food (if you’re juicing).

There are two main methods – machine and Woods Gravity.  People condemn the machine because they say it’s addictive, but that’s only if you do it regularly.  The Woods Gravity method (no machine) Libbe machine (which is unique and hard to find) both force your muscles to work instead of relaxing.

Here are my experience with colonics – using both methods, prepping, frequently asked questions, etc.

If you were me, what would you do?

My preferred method of cleansing is eating raw two days prior to a a five day juice cleanse from one of the companies I mentioned above, getting a colonic on day 3 and day 5, and eating raw two days afterward.

Even though I’m a veteran cleanser, I still limit my social activity and try to stay focused on work and DO NOT go out to bars or dinners unless I absolutely have to.  I exercise lightly and try to get good rest.

For me, a cleanse is a way to refresh my mind and body completely.  When the 9 days is over, I really feel like a new person.

If you have any other questions, comment below and I’ll be more than happy to answer them!

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Getting a head start on New Year’s resolutions!

December 30th, 2010 3 Comments

I hate new year’s resolutions…

I believe in evaluating my habits on a regular basis in an attempt to live a more enjoyable life.

That being said, this year, I’m jumping on the bandwagon.

I’m at a point I need to make some lifestyle changes, in particular cleaning up my diet.  I’m a firm believer that certain foods can effect body chemistry and therefore your attitude drastically.

Eating crap has left me feeling crappy.

For me, sugar is the main culprit that takes my mind and appetite on a roller coaster ride.  Flour and alcohol are just flat out bad for you and really serve no benefit in terms of nutrition.

So I’m going to clean up my diet in a effort to feel better and regain some personal motivation.

For me this means:

Minimizing

FLOUR, SUGAR, AND ALCOHOL

I would love to abstain all together, but that’s not realistic, or enjoyable, so I’m just going to cut back.

Four days ago, I started this agenda.  Honestly, I’ve been craving CLEANER food and more veggies so it hasn’t been challenging.

Instead of bread I eat quinoa, oatmeal, or potatoes.  I get sugar from fruit and juice.  As for the booze, well, I had a glass of wine the other night, but one glass isn’t going to kill anyone.  Most people substitute vodka for wine when they are on a “diet.”  But I’m just going to drink less altogether.

Protein is important so I’ve been eating: preservative-free chicken, turkey, shrimp, and fish.

Other things I’m cutting back on:

  • Sauces, spices, and salt
  • Nuts
  • Cheese
  • Bananas

Eating out is easier than you would think as well.  I just request “light sauce” and no salt.

If you’re cleaning up your diet too, share your strategy with us below.  I think it’s interesting to hear what makes people tick.  For me, as you know, for me, it’s cookies :)

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