Simple Weight Loss (free PDF poster)

The major causes of weight gain are:

  • over-eating
  • under-moving
  • stress

And I’m betting you knew that already.   You already have the knowledge you need to maintain a healthy weight and feel great.   The hard part is finding the motivation for action – getting exercise, cooking a healthy meal, etc.

On occasion, we all need friendly reminders on how these choices benefit us and how great they make us feel.

I’ve created a free poster PDF that will keep you motivated.  Its got 8 little mantras that you can say to yourself to help you eat right, move more, and feel less stressed out.  Hang it someplace you’ll see it everyday and make a point to read over it from time to time.  Maybe reading it will become a short part of your daily routine.

Promise your body the best!  Say it out loud:  “Today is the day I will make permanent lifelong changes so I will feel great and be happy.”

Be sure to share this with your friends on Facebook.  Or you can click on the retweet button (below-right) to share it on Twitter!  If your a blogger, tell your readers about it and/or give them a free copy directly – no need to even send them here if you don’t want.  Thanks for spreading the love.

 

Categories: Blogging Health & fitness

5 Often Forgotten Power Foods

Overlooked and underused in the American kitchen, these five foods pack a nutritional uppercut. Shoot for incorporating at least two of them into your diet each week.

1. Sun-Dried Tomatoes

With potent lycopene levels, these delicious gems may reduce cancers of the lung, stomach, and prostate. Sun-dried tomatoes are also high in antioxidants and vitamin C.

Throw them in your next pesto dish, on a home-made pizza, or in a lunchtime veggie wrap. If your feeling really frisky, head over to pickyourown.org to learn how to make sun-dried tomatoes all by yourself.

2. Sardines

You’ve been told a million times to eat more fish, specifically salmon and tuna for the high Omega-3 fatty acids. Well, dare I say, these are even better (for you). They are tiny little fishes, so they haven’t had the time and energy to bio-accumulate so much mercury. They are extremely low in mercury contaminants.

Buy them packed in extra virgin olive oil and you’ll see they totally deserve a spot on your Caesar salad tonight. Yum! Or, Sometimes we buy them packed in mustard sauce and spread on whole-wheat crackers for a mid-afternoon snack. Crown Prince brand is really good and you can buy them in bulk on Amazon to save time at the grocery store if that’s your thing.

photo by diongillard
photo by Dion Gillard

3. Sunflower Seeds

Firm and tender? Yes, that’s totally possible!! And sunflower seeds are the perfect example. These anti-inflammatory mini-guys pack a huge amount of vitamin E in every serving, which is a very important nutrient. Vitamin E is the body’s main source of fat-soluble antioxidants. They are also high in thiamin and magnesium. And BONUS: the flowers are beautiful!

The eating possibilities are many. Throw them on salads or just eat them by the handfuls. You can also incorporate them into your favourite granola bar recipe.

4. Quinoa

A favorite amongst vegetarians. And Mayans!

The grain-like quinoa have been gaining popularity for good reason. They have a perfect set of amino acids which form a complete protein. Also, there are so many great recipes to make with quinoa. We are big fans of just putting some lightly sauteed or steamed vegetables over them. Here is one of my favourite recipe websites, 101 cookbooks, showing you how to do quinoa for breakfast or as an interesting dinner.

5. Black-Eyed Peas

These are good for you despite being named after the low talent music group (haha, j/k). And don’t confuse them with the pea family either, they’re actually beans!

Black-eyed peas are all about the fiber – good for your heart and intestines (and pooping!). They are high in folate, low in fat and sodium, and contain no cholesterol. And for the protein junkies, good news – black-eyed peas are extremely high in protein.

Buy from the bulk bin and relish in your frugality or buy fresh for maximum flavor and nutrients. Here’s how to cook fresh black-eyed peas:

Place black-eyed peas in a large pot or saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce heat to low. Simmer covered until peas are soft when pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and serve.

I’ve got some other ideas for “Often Forgotten Power Foods” so I’ll probably do another post sometime in the not-near future. Make sure to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss out on all the exciting things I’ve got coming soon, including more free stuff. Let me know in the comments if your a fan of any of these foods.

Categories: Blogging Eating Strategies

You Should Create a “75 Favorite Healthy Foods” Master List

1st, a special announcement….

We’ve been working hard on an eBook we’re creating called Organized Eating. I say we because my fiancé Nate has volunteered to occasionally help write for the blog (this blog!). Nate reads a ton and has a killer memory and therefore probably knows as much about healthy eating like me. So welcome him aboard as an occasional writer and at the very least contributor/editor/moral supporter!

Anyways, back to Organized Eating….

We’ve been hard at work creating this eBook that has the potential to help a lot of people save time and eat better. The eBook will be released sometime in the next few months and it will be absolutely free, no e-mail sign-up or anything will be required. It’s going to be AWESOME my friends!

While putting together a section of the book about strategic meal planning, we decided to make a list of our ultimate favourite healthy foods. We posed the question: “If we could eat/drink nothing else for the rest of our lives besides 75 things, what would they be?” AND…here’s the catch…they must be considered healthy (by someone’s definition at least).

I have posted the results below and I encourage you to create a list of your own. Sit down and write it with the people you cook for- trying to shoot for 75 items. It’s a great list to have on hand as a personal resource; use it as your base of reference when you sit down to plan meals. Or take it to the grocery store and buy lots of stuff off it – try to eat it all before anything goes bad (using common sense!).

Here is our list (excluding herbs & seasonings):

  1. carrots
  2. milk (soy or reg)
  3. cantaloupe
  4. tuna (troll or pole caught only, from US or B.C.)
  5. wild salmon
  6. sardines
  7. grass-fed beef
  8. Sriracha sauce
  9. quinoa
  10. brown rice
  11. tamari
  12. chicken
  13. lamb
  14. romaine lettuce
  15. turkey
  16. hazelnuts
  17. onion
  18. eggs
  19. yogurt
  20. butter
  21. extra virgin olive oil
  22. cheese
  23. parsnips
  24. spinach
  25. tomatoes
  26. strawberries
  27. blueberries
  28. avocado
  29. garlic
  30. shallots
  31. almonds (and processed for almond butter/milk)
  32. banana
  33. potato/sweet potatoes
  34. chia seed
  35. black beans
  36. coconut/coconut water
  37. walnuts
  38. pinto beans
  39. whole oats/oatmeal
  40. kale
  41. kombucha
  42. tea
  43. coffee
  44. beets
  45. oranges
  46. grapefruit
  47. blackberries
  48. raspberries
  49. dark chocolate
  50. lentils
  51. chickpeas
  52. pine nuts
  53. sweet peppers
  54. hot peppers
  55. sunflower seeds
  56. sun-dried tomatoes
  57. pistachios
  58. coconut oil
  59. whole-wheat bread (esp sprouted!)
  60. grapes
  61. beer
  62. cherries
  63. red wine
  64. asparagus
  65. green beans
  66. watermelon
  67. artichokes
  68. cucumber
  69. pears
  70. pluots
  71. honey
  72. squash
  73. celery
  74. red snapper
  75. dates

(notice how we cleverly said the all inclusive “squash” instead of zuke, butternut, or pumpkin. You can find clever ways to cheat on the 75 things limit too if you want)

I know I’m going to remember some favorites that I left off here, so don’t hold me to this list forever. You can look at updated versions whenever you want at http://healthyeatingroadmap.com/favoritefoodslist/. Feel free to try and talk me into adding something to my list if you want, but make sure to also mention what I should remove in the process! (haha, tricky stuff right!)

So, are you considering making a list? Think your family’s input will give you greater confidence to cook for that picky kid/husband/wife of yours? Do you think it would make meal-planning easier for you? Tell us in the comments.

It would be really fun if you created your own list and blogged about it! If you do, give us your link in the comments so we can check it out.

Categories: Blogging Eating Strategies

Healthy Things from Healthy Bloggers

This is a new series!  Healthy Things from Healthy Bloggers will run every couple months and feature healthy eating tips and recipes from the bloggers doing it right!  If you want to be featured in a future edition, just write me a note –>    michelledodsonrd (at) gmail (dot) com.

Today we’ll feature four awesome “Healthy Things” from the writers behind the wonderful blogs Eater Not A Runner, Oh She Glows, The Candid RD, and Chow and Chatter.  I’ll turn it over to them:

1.   If you love something, eat it…..Without guilt!

I think this is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned on my journey to become healthier.  I used to think if I wanted to lose weight, there were certain foods that were just “off-limits.”  One cookie would turn into a guilt-fueled binge of 10 cookies, with me promising to just “do better tomorrow.”  Now I happily eat the cookie with no regret, and just continue to eat healthy otherwise.

It helps for me to look at my diet as 80-20…..80% of the time I eat healthy, whole foods and 20% of the time I eat whatever I want.  On some days it’s 70-30 and on others it’s 95-5, but overall I know I’m eating in a way that makes me feel great physically AND satisfied mentally.  You would be surprised how liberating it can be to look at chocolate as your friend, not your enemy!

This tip was brought to you by Lauren, the blogger behind Eater Not A Runner.  Be sure to stop by her blog and say hey!

2.   A delicious Green Monster anyone?

Wait, what is a Green Monster, anyways?

My healthy living website, Oh She Glows, is where I first started writing about my first shot at making a green smoothie that I called ‘Green Monster’. Let’s just say my first attempts did not turn out that great!

Now, I blend together kale or spinach, milk (almond or soy), fruit, seeds, powders, etc. and come up with some amazing Green Monster drinks! I have noticed a HUGE increase in my energy, along with a decrease in cravings for sweets. My skin has also become more clear and my hair and nails started growing like weeds! The response has been huge online and offline.

Try this fail-proof Virgin Green Monster recipe and you too will be hooked. :)

This recommendation was brought to you by Angela, the gal behind the Green Monster Movement and the fabulous blog Oh She Glows.

3.  Natural Born Eater

My biggest tip as far as healthy eating is to be intuitive, and eat like you did when you were a kid.  As a kid you ate when you were hungry, and didn’t eat when you weren’t. Most importantly, you didn’t eat everything on your plate if you were too full to finish (unless your parents made you, which is a practice in which I don’t agree).

Most of us no longer eat intuitively, especially the older we get.  We no longer listen to our bodies to tell us when we are hungry or when we should stop eating.  We are surrounded by food in ads, commercials, on signs everywhere we go, on the internet, and at just about every social event.  It’s basically in our face 24/7 and we no longer have the ability to say “no thanks” when food is offered or given to us. It’s as though we think we have to eat when everyone else is, despite what our body is saying or the signals it is sending.

It’s a problem.

We all need to get back in touch with our own hunger cues and learn how to eat intuitively again.  It doesn’t mean dieting and eating “rabbit food”.  It means eating what you want, when you want it, but not too much, and not at every eating opportunity.  This is how we were born to eat.

This tip was brought to you by Gina of The Candid R.D. Check out her site for lots of important nutrition tips and fun stories.

4.  Rebecca’s Carrot Soup

It is my great pleasure to contribute to Michelle, a fellow RD blogger.  I love this soup, it’s simple to make and packed with nutrients. It’s wonderful for little ones even when weaning and with the addition of the lentils it packs in some protein. In today’s culture families are always running here and there with their kids, but with a little forward planning, healthy nutritious meals can fit it. A soup like this would be great to have on hand for a light meal or snack.

Ingredients:

  • carrots – 6
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1.2 l vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh coriander/cilantro about 1/2 a bunch
  • one cup small red lentils
  • 1/2 cup frozen petite green peas

Method:

  1. heat oil and add onions and carrots, then add spices
  2. add broth, peas and lentils and simmer for 30-45 min until very soft
  3. use a hand blender to make into a puree
  4. then add fresh chopped fresh cilantro

This healthy recipe was brought to you by Rebecca, the cheery blogger behind Chow and Chatter.

Categories: Blogging Eating Strategies

Recipe: Chicken Breast Zucchini Pappardelle

If you want something light and refreshing to eat for dinner then you’ve got to give this a try.  I made it last night…its amazing and very easy!

Serves 2

Start to finish- 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb zucchini
  • 1 garlic cloves
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup torn basil leaves
  • Accompaniment: Lemon Wedges

Directions: Shave zucchini lengthwise with carrot peeler or slicer and put in a large bowl.  Thinly slice garlic and reserve separately.  Pat chicken dry, then cut crosswise into thirds.  Season chicken all over with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers.  Saute chicken until golden brown about 8-14 minutes.  Add chicken to the bowl of zucchini.  Then add garlic to skillet and cook until pale golden, about 1 minute.  Add the 1 Tbsp water to skillet and scrape up any brown bits, then drizzle over chicken and zucchini.  Add basil and 1/8 tsp salt to bowl and toss until zucchini wilts slightly.  Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!!

Categories: Blogging Eating Strategies

Are Chia Seeds Good For You?

I’ll admit that I quickly became excited about chia seeds when they first entered my world. I did a bit of research after reading about them in Born To Run, and got excited about this newly discovered supposedly excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

I ordered a big bag off Amazon.com and started incorporating some into smoothies and otherwise eating them by the spoonful. Recommending them to family and friends, I was a major chia fan to say the very least.

If you’ve never heard of chia seeds, here is a quick rundown:

  • They were a major food source of the Mayan and Aztec civilizations
  • They ARE the same seeds that grow chia pets (just don’t eat these ones, they’re processed differently)
  • They are very high in Omega 3 fatty acids (even higher than flax seeds)
  • They are becoming BIG TIME popular with a mention on Oprah by Dr. Oz
  • Hold approx. 12 times their weight in water, and thereby aid in hydration
  • High in antioxidants

A one ounce serving contains approximately:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids:  5g
  • Omega-6 fatty acids:  1.6g
  • Fiber:  11g  (primarily soluble) – total carbs 12g
  • Protein:  4g
  • Calories:  137
  • Calcium:  180 mg

Pretty good stats right?

These stats are great for such an inexpensive food, but they don’t form the complete picture.  Much like flaxseeds, the Omega-3 fatty acids contained in chia seeds are in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) form. Herein lies the problem. The main benefits of Omega-3 ALA consumption is to try and get our bodies to convert it into EPA/DHA fatty acids (the kind found in fish oil), but in most cases our bodies just don’t seem to be efficient at making the conversion (sources: 1,2,3). ALA bio-conversion to EPA is very limited and conversion to the even more important DHA is practically absent. I said “in most cases” because there has been some evidence of the conversion rate being higher in vegans and EPA conversion higher in chronically-ill African-Americans (sources: 1,2).

To put all this more simply: most of the Omega-3’s we get from chia seeds get wasted.

Getting enough of the right (EPA/DHA) Omega-3 fatty acids is extremely important for overall good health – one of the most important dietary things you can do in my opinion. In order to reduce chronic inflammation, we should try to get closer to a 1:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids. This is vitally important. Most of us get far too much Omega-6 fatty acids, with the typical American’s ratio more around 30:1.

What does all this mean for you?

Most people should be supplementing with Omega’s 3’s to get the O6 to O3 ratio closer to 1:1. And as long as your not vegetarian/vegan, you probably should be taking fish-oil instead of relying on chia seeds. Chia seeds (or flax seeds) just can’t give you the proper Omega-3 benefits.

That being said, I’m going to recommend you still eat them, but for different reasons than you’ve previously heard. Chia seeds are mainly a good food option for their high content of soluble fiber and antioxidants as well as their hydrating properties (when prepared as a gel). So yeah…don’t give up on them just yet!

Categories: Blogging Eating Strategies

Egg Connoisseur

Ever since my husband started the SCDiet, our egg consumption has skyrocketed!

Before Eggs didn’t consume our lives, we were purchasing them from Kroger’s………blah.

But once I found the secret egg man, things changed.  Read more to find out how I met this crazy man.

One rainy morning my sister had me over for breakfast.  And yes, we had
Eggs…Scrambled eggs!  The first thing I noticed about her eggs was the shell color.
They were not just white or brown, but they were green, blue, and yellow!  I screamed, “where did you get these eggs!”
She replied “my friend Seth, he raises his own chicks just down the road”.  As excited as I was about the different colors, she had me hooked when she cracked the first egg open and plopped it into the mixing bowl.  I felt my mouth drop, my eyes widen, and a little drool drip from my lip. These eggs were not only good lookin on the outside but beautiful on the inside too.
The yolk was so vibrant that it nearly blinded me. I was able to finally use my food chemistry knowledge about the anatomy of eggs and point out to her the albumin, and inner/outer membrane. Kroger eggs don’t even compare to these eggs.  It was at this point I decided I would never eat another Kroger egg again!
So I bet you are wondering about the crazy egg man.
After consuming the rich and delicious scrambled eggs with some piping hot coffee I stated to my sister “I’ve gotta get me some of these”. The next week my sister introduced me to Mr. Crazy Egg Man (AKA Seth).  He gave me four cartons of eggs for the week (remember eggs consume our life now). He said “Here ya go mam, can I get you some goose eggs, ostrich eggs, duck eggs, or quail eggs to go along with those chicken eggs.  I didn’t know what to say…so I stuttered and spit out the words “You are a crazy egg man!”  So that’s the story of the crazy egg man.

Since eggs became a major staple of our diet. I decided to research them a little bit more and share some knowledge with you that I stumbled upon.

When shopping for eggs, its best to buy pastured eggs (and local if possible).  Pastured eggs are more nutritious than factory eggs.

Pastured eggs contain:

more Omega-3’s
10% less fat
40% more Vitamin A
34% less cholesterol
5 times more Vitamin D
3 times more Vitamin E
8 times more beta carotene

Pastured eggs are not only healthier for your body but for the hen too.

Pastured hens get to roam around outside and soak up the sun, while factory hens are forced to live indoors in crowded cages.  Since factory hens are not able to roam free on pasture and have to live in their own feces they get sick easier and have to be pumped full of antibiotics. Pastured eggs do not contain traces of added hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs.  And they get to live a stress free wonderful life.

Diet of:

Pastured Hens Vs.       Factory Hens

Bugs                                   Grain based

Earthworms                    Antibiotics

Grass                                  Feces

other critters

So pasture eggs are not only good for you but are delicious too!!
Try this recipe with the first batch of pastured eggs you buy.  You will be obsessed!

Categories: Blogging Eating Strategies

6 Lightning Fast Mini Dinners

Warning:  this strategy might not work so well if you have kids or a grumpy spouse

I don’t know about you, but when summer comes around, I’m not big on slaving away for hours over a hot stove. I like to enjoy some free time outdoors. You know – get outside and really experience life.

I’m not against cooking nice filling dinners in the summer, but doing it every night is a real time drain. I’d rather be hiking around a neat park or reading on a blanket in the shade. I’d rather be playing tennis and taking the dogs to play at the dog park. You with me?

When you don’t get home from work until 6 or 7pm, spending an hour or more on dinner is a good way to drain the rest of your energy while simultaneously killing your good mood.

photo by Antikris
photo by Antikris

As long as you get an adequate breakfast and nutritious lunch (lots of veggies), there’s no need to go overboard with big dinners all the time – especially if you’ve packed on some winter pounds.

Here are some ideas for tiny snack-like dinners that you can prepare and eat in just a few minutes. They all have enough protein to give you some energy to go out and explore the world.  And you could always toss them in a cooler with some wine and go for a picnic in the park.  (Tip: If you get hungry again close to bed, sip on some warm milk with cinnamon and nutmeg.)

1.  Banana w/ nut butter and granola. Grab and partially peel a banana. Use a knife to spread a blob of your favorite nut butter on the next bite of banana. Dip it into a bowl or bag of granola to coat.  Eat and repeat.

2.  Tuna in a pouch. (made using the solid-white albacore tuna in air-tight pouches)  Cut open the tuna pouch and throw in a small forkful of mayo (or avocado instead) and some random stuff from the fridge. Maybe toss in some grapes or nuts or a little lettuce and some radish. Eat straight up with a fork or on crackers (my favorite crackers are Wasa).

3.  Fresh mozzy’s. Cut up a fresh mozzarella ball and put on toasted bread, crackers, or in a wrap with fresh basil and tomato. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and add a sprinkling of salt and pepper and enjoy.

4.  Simple  salad. Grab a handful of spinach or micro-greens and throw on a hard-boiled egg  (precooked earlier in the week) or goat cheese. Add a couple other veggies of your choosing (onion, radish, broccoli, etc) and drizzle with a quick dressing (whip together extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fancy brown mustard). You can crumble some cracker on top if your feelin’ it.

5.  Cottage cheese with strawberries. Pretty simple stuff here, just slice strawberries on some cottage cheese (or yogurt if you’d rather) and eat with a fork or wrap in lettuce and eat with your fingers.

6.  Yogurt dipped veggies. Combine just a little bit (to suit your taste) of a ranch seasoning packet with some plain yogurt. Serve with raw veggies of your choosing.

So, there you go. I’m giving you permission to eat small for dinner once and a while. Permission to get out of the kitchen and out enjoying the world.

Do you have any idea’s of your own?? Leave them in the comments.

 

Categories: Eating Strategies Food Rules

Food Rule: Born From Love?

Here it is folks, I’ve come up with a simple rule to help you choose foods that will keep you on the path of health.

As a Dietitian, I am constantly asked ” What should I do to lose weight?”.   I’d always relay to them the simple message from author Michael Pollen “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”  Its a practical statement ringing with truth and clarity and shifts the focus on health instead of the guilt that arises from weight issues.  If only I’d thought of it myself.

I figured it’s about time for a Dietitian to come up with a statement of simplicity for our community.  We can’t let the journalists take over all our authority.   I’m here today to reveal my food mantra and explain the meaning behind it.  Here it is:

If you think about where your food comes from, there are two general paths.  Either it comes from loving situations or non-loving situations.  And there are two ways in which food is consumed – loving and non-loving.

Non-Loving Situations

by lu_lu
by lu_lu

Non-loving situations lack care for the environment and care for the consumer.  These are the factory farms, the dirty feed lots, the crowded dark hen house, the fast food restaurants , and the chemically showered fields.   These are the animals injected with growth hormones and antibiotics to the point they can no longer stand on two feet.  The plants and animals that don’t receive the love and respect that human interactions demand.

And the consumer loses.

Our health declines and disease become more common even in the midst of scientific breakthroughs.   We might save a couple bucks at the grocery store, but we end up spending it on material items that clog our life and mask happiness.   The burden on our health and the health of the environment is  shifted from producer to the consumer or government.

It’s also possible that we are not consuming our food in a loving manner.   To me, love is about pleasure and acting with care.  It’s a feeling thats hard to describe and easy to debate.   One thing I do know:  Scarfing down a plate of food in less than five minutes is not love.   Making no attempt at tasting the individual ingredients is not love.   And stuffing yourself until you feel sick is not a loving situation.

Loving Situations

Many of us choose to nourish our bodies with  food that is born of love.   Vegetables fertilized with healthy compost and handled with care come from love.   Animals given room to run and fresh air to breath are loved.   Cows and pigs raised primarily on grass and allowed to naturally come to maturity are living a life of love.   Chefs who prepare our food with pride and attention are dishing out the love – and the really great ones always use the freshest local foods when possible.

Wild antelopes running through the prairie breeze feel the love.  Farmers that return waste to the very soil the animals graze on instead of  letting it pool and leach into our precious water supplies are showing love for the environment.   And growing our own food is the ultimate gift of love – its like getting to raise quiet, happy children year after year.

And the consumer wins.

Eating food from our garden is a magical, appreciative experience.  Meat from pastured or wild animals is lower in total fats (especially the saturated kind),  lower in calories, and two to four times higher in omega-3 fatty acids.  It’s higher in vitamins and minerals, and bigger on flavor.

Pastured meats are more expensive, and its a good thing.  Farmer’s undertake preventative measures for the health of the environment and our government’s liability is reduced.  They understand that we want to pay more for our meat because we know it’s healthier and that our investment will pay dividends down the road in the form of reduced medical expenses.

When we choose to only eat meats raised with love, we afford less and will gradually shift our dietary reliance to heart-healthy fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains.  These fruits and vegetables should be free of the chemicals that can negatively affect our reproductive systems and brain function.  This will probably result in less calories consumed and a gradual return to a healthy, maintainable weight.

We should be consuming our food with more love.

Take some time to consider where it came from as you sit at the dinner table.  Taste the different flavor sensations – the bitter, sour, and sweet.  Try to decode the individual ingredients and notice how they play off each other.  Notice how the acid from our wine perfectly cuts through the sweetness of our roasted carrots.   Put down the fork for a minute and engage in conversation with your friends and family.  Appreciate how it nourishes our bodies.  Smell your food!  Chew your food!  Love your food!

Categories: Food Rules Health & fitness

4 Unconventional Tips for Healthier Eating

We’ve been told a million times to eat more fruits and vegetables and reduce processed carbs and sugars. Oftentimes, healthy eating advice can be boring and ineffective. What follows are four actionable ideas that are not conventionally preached as eating advice. Some may even help you save a buck.

1. Get Smaller Plates

The main reason people gain weight is by simply eating too much. We forget to watch our portion size. Although I definitely don’t advocate fast food, an interesting video documentary by James Painter called Portion Size Me proved that even a 30 day diet of nothing but fast food can make you lose weight and lower cholesterol. The key is proper portions.

Want to automatically trick yourself into eating less food? Get smaller plates. Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, refers to studies that show you eat less food with smaller plates. The average plate size in America has been steadily increasing since the early 80’s, resulting in national weight gain.

To get back to the way things should be, get yourself some nice 8-10 inch diameter dinner plates and donate the big ones in your cupboard to your local charity or throw them off train tracks (I’m kidding, I swear!).

2. Start Gardening

Most everything that comes out of a garden is healthy and delicious. You will be eating the freshest food on the planet resulting in a maximum amount of nutrients.

And BONUS- you will be saving money! According to Vegetable Gardening for Dummies, a garden that is 20 feet by 30 feet requires an initial investment of $70 for things like seeds and soil, and produces more than $600 worth of vegetables over the course of a season.

There are several ways to get started depending on your situation. You can start small by potting plants in containers on your porch or just growing herbs from your kitchen window. Take it up a notch by creating raised beds in your backyard or at a friend’s house. You might also look into joining a community garden, where you’re sure to get expert advice and meet friendly neighbors. You can find more tips and links in my article “How to Start Gardening“.

3. (Beef Eaters) Organize a Cow Share

If you’re a beef eater who has seen documentaries such as Food, Inc that expose the horrors of factory farming, you’re probably interested in getting more of your beef from local farms raising animals on fresh pasture. You may also have noticed that grass-fed beef is more expensive.

For some, the high price of grass-fed can be beneficial by causing you to rely more on fruits and vegetables. For many people however, it’s a deterrent which causes them instead to choose factory farmed beef that’s higher in saturated fat and lower in good fats and omega-3s. To make the switch to grass-fed without killing your wallet, buy in bulk.

Get a few friends together who prefer grass-fed and go in on a whole or half cow from a local farm and store it in your freezer. With whole butchered cows typically selling for less than $3.00 a pound, you can stand to save a lot of money over time. Visit eatwild.com to find an ethical farming operation in your area.

4. Read a Compelling Book

Sometimes, a well-written compelling story is needed to drive a point home and solidify it in our minds. Over time, these ideas can turn into habits that shape our actions. I think one easy way to eat better is to read about healthy food and the surrounding industries. Here are 4 books you might consider to get started:

Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. Great information! If you haven’t already, check out Darya’s thorough review of this life changing book.
The Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan. One of the most talked about food books of the last few years and for good reason. A beautifully written book that is part policy and all heart.
In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan. This is a great follow up to The Omnivores Dilemma, loaded with fascinating information I hadn’t a clue about.
Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink, Ph.D. It shows why you might not realize how much you’re eating, what you’re eating, or even why you’re eating.