Archive for July, 2009
A UK study was published this week saying that organic produce is no more nutritious than conventional produce. OK, but what about pesticides? The impact on the environment? Supporting small farms? ‘
Marion Nestle’s wise words in response to the above study.
Oprah’s got issues. Do you? The lowdown on the thyroid.
Abuse? Neglect? I think it’s just plain ol’ sad.
In honor of my latest studies in microbiology, here’s an issue that affects us all.
Chilean salmon may sound fancy on a menu, but you may want to know what you’re actually eating before you order it.
Chlorine is for the pool, NOT for your carrots
If this gets you to eat less artificially colored food, then good.
The honeymoon is over…break out the fat pants!
My post today over at Naked Apartments…
Tell me if this sounds familiar: Wilted lettuce in the fridge. Mushy cucumbers. Dried-out broccoli. Overripe bananas. Yeah, thought so. It’s always been a race against time to finish all the produce I buy from the supermarket or farmer’s market. Especially during summer when everything looks so good and is quite irresistible. Unfortunately, I never seem to be able to eat all of my fruits and veggies before something starts to go bad, squishy, or grow fuzzy mold.
I’ve found the answer to our problems, fruits and veggie lovers: Debbie Meyer’s Green Bags! You may have seen these at your local health food store or advertised on TV. These greenies are storage bags for your produce that will extend the shelf life of your fruits and vegetables without chemicals. Cool, right?
Here’s how they work: after fruit and vegetables are harvested, they begin emitting a gas called ethylene, which speeds up ripening and aging. Green bags (non-toxic) are formulated to absorb and remove the ethylene, thus keeping your produce fresh for longer.
Check out the website to order Green Bags and delve into the how’s and why’s of this cool product. A word of caution, however: the manufacturers say that you can keep produce safe for weeks. I would advise, however, not to keep produce longer than a week or so. Taste something that’s picked fresh and then something that’s been lying around for too long, and you’ll see what I mean. Plus, fresher foods are more nutrient dense than the not-so-fresh.
Green Bags are a great addition to your kitchen, will keep your food fresher for longer, and will save you some cash, too—they’re reusable AND you won’t be wasting food anymore.
Once again, I had a different post prepared for today but of course life always seems to get in the way of our plans. I promise you’ll learn all about energy drinks tomorrow!
I felt compelled to write about what happened to me last night– a pretty big moment for me.
I got home from class and back to Brooklyn on the later side, around 8:30pm. I went to my favorite vegetarian café to pick up some vegetables for a late dinner, but unfortunately due to the late hour they were all gone (and probably for the better because who knew how long those veggies were sitting out in the open). Pissed, hungry, and grumpy (Matt and I call the combination of grumpy + hungry = grungry), I trudged home and started rooting around for something to make for dinner.
If you recall, in an earlier post I mentioned that I have a rule that I don’t east past 8pm, or 3 hours before bed. (I just feel so much better in the morning when I have an empty stomach—breakfast tastes so much yummier!) But, it was 8:45pm, I was hungry, and I decided I wanted to eat anyway. I figured the easiest and quickest meal to make was scrambled eggs with some purslane from my CSA, so I went ahead and made it.
Upon sitting down to the dining table, I paused for a moment, looked at my plate of food and literally asked myself out loud: “Amanda, do you really want this?”
“Yes, of course I want it,” I answered. “I’m hungry, I’ve had a long day, it’s not that much food, and it’s only protein. I think I’ll be OK in the morning”
“But remember your guidelines you created,” my inner-self answered. “Do you really NEED to eat this food” (Mind you, I’m still talking aloud)
So I looked down at my food, and I mean, really looked at it. Noticed the texture of the eggs, the smell, the yellow of the yolks and the green of the purslane. Did I really want this food in my body?
And as if by magic, I suddenly got up from the table, walked to the garbage, and threw it out. The entire meal I made, into the garbage. I went to the coffee maker and made myself some teeccino with rice milk instead. I stopped for a moment, thought about what I did, and a big smile came across my face.
What did I do? I stopped. I paused. I slowed down. I actually listened to what my body wanted instead of running on automatic pilot like I usually do. I took the time to think about how I would feel in 2 hours when I went to bed and how my body would be digesting the food as I slept. And I considered the state of my being 8 hours from then, when I woke up to eat breakfast and would feel bloated from the meal.
In the past, I probably would have gotten home, quickly eaten the meal, and most likely topped it off with something sweet, like chocolate. Again, auto-pilot. But this time was different. I practiced mindfulness and honored my body and my commitment to feeling my best.
So what can this tale do for you?
Remind you to listen to your body. Talk to yourself (it’s OK to sound like a crazy person!), ask if you really want what you are going to put in your mouth. Are you eating it for the right reasons? Are you honoring the commitments you made to yourself? And is that the exact food that is going to nourish you at that moment? I actually realized I had wanted something warm because I had eaten cooling salads and vegetables all day, and my body just craved warmth, despite the heat. I didn’t need the food to satisfy me. The warm drink was all I needed.
Be mindful of what you are doing when you are doing it. It’s a lot of work but the benefits you reap are well worth it. My body is really thanking me this morning, and I know yours will too.
Where in your life do you need to slow down and be more mindful?
Happy Monday, readers! I hope you had a wonderful weekend.
I graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition on Sunday, making me officially a certified holistic health counselor. I received my certificate, as well as the one from the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, and they’re ready to be mounted on the wall. On Saturday morning, I stood up in front of 1500 fellow students and told them about my sugar addiction, and that I haven’t had a bout of binging or uncontrolled eating since I stopped eating sugar and sweeteners. I was completely freaked out to be speaking to a group that large, but it was also extremely cathartic and exhilirating. Needless to say, I finished up the weekend feeling very proud of myself for all I have accomplished (and grateful for YOU, my supporters, for joining me on this journey)
The school was an incredible experience. I can 100% confirm that my life has been transformed (for the better) and what’s even better that this is only the beginning! I already have my eyes on the next training I want to do, but nothing is official yet. And in a week and a half, I’ll be done with my microbiology class and I’ll have glorious month off from school Yessssss!
I had another post prepared for you, however, when browsing the Huffington Post website this morning I came across an article that the founder of IIN, Joshua Rosenthal, wrote. In it he highlights the 12 steps to a healthy life, and these are foundation of what we learned at IIN (and is also my approach to health and wellness)
Article below, written by Joshua Rosenthal:
I’ve spent over 25 years observing how people eat and what they eat and it’s fascinating. What I’ve noticed is that people are confused and frustrated. One month there will be a study claiming the health benefits of eggs and the next month there will be a study claiming it’s a bad source of cholesterol.
I’m going to give you the non-frustrating approach to healthy eating and living. An approach that will be easy to follow for the rest of your life. It’s based on two little theories that have helped my clients, over 9,000 Integrative Nutrition students and their clients.
For several years I followed a macrobiotic diet and I counseled and taught others to follow these principles to improve their health. I experienced improved health so I truly believed my clients would too. I got very mixed results. Some people experienced better health, but not everyone. So I began to experiment. Some of them got better if they ate more raw foods, while others got better if they ate less raw foods. I realized that one person’s food is another person’s poison.
When I was experimenting with my clients on different ways of eating I came across people who experienced improved health by leaving a dysfunctional career or falling in love. It was fascinating! I realized that there’s more to health than the foods we eat. Yes, it’s good to eat your vegetables, but relationships, career, spirituality and exercise is food for the soul.
These are the two “big concepts” that I’ve found have the largest impact on my clients and students.
However, there are also a lot more detailed concepts you can play with. But remember, in the spirit of bio-individuality, these are not hard-and-fast rules that work for everyone. Try your own take on them and see if they might be useful for you.
1. Drink more water: There is no right amount of water to drink, but generally the bigger and more active you are, the more you should drink. By increasing the amount of water you drink you can significantly reduce cravings, aches and pains and increase your energy.
2. Practice cooking: You might hate me for saying this, but cooking is a fundamental step to healthier living. By making your own meals you know what’s going into them. Meals don’t need to take hours to prepare and involve multiple ingredients.
3. Increase whole grains: Trust me it’s not these types of carbohydrates that have led to the obesity epidemic, but rather the processed goods like doughnuts. Whole grains are some of the best sources of nutritional support and provide long-lasting energy.
4. Increase sweet vegetables: People forget that these exist and they are the perfect medicine for the sweet tooth. Instead of depending on processed sugar, you can add more naturally sweet flavors to your diet and dramatically reduce sweet cravings.
5. Increase leafy green vegetables: These are seriously lacking in the American diet and they are most essential for creating long-lasting health. More specifically they help eliminate depression, improve liver, gallbladder and kidney function.
6. Experiment with protein: The majority of Americans eat way too much protein and mostly in the form of animal meat. Try other forms like beans or soy.
7. Eat less meat, dairy, sugar and processed foods; consume less coffee, alcohol and tobacco: Did you notice I said eat less instead of don’t eat? If I told you not to drink coffee or chocolate you would want it all the more. By increasing your whole grains, vegetables and water you will naturally crowd out the more processed items.
8. Develop easy self-care habits: People get so wrapped up in their busy lives that they forget to take care of themselves. This can be something as simple as a relaxing bath and as nice as a day at the spa.
9. Have healthy relationships: I call love the ultimate superfood. A loving, supportive relationship can nourish your soul. What’s more is when you feel love and happiness you are more likely to eat better. Reach out to that one person who makes you feel loved and nourished.
10. Find physical activity: You don’t need to spend hours at the gym. What gets you moving?
11. Find work you love or a way to love the work you have: So many of us spend 8 hours a day in a job that is unfulfilling and end up stressed out which leads to a slew of health problems. Ask yourself if your job is aligned with your values.
12. Develop a spiritual practice: Some people freak out when I tell them this, but it’s really about connecting with yourself. You don’t need to start going to church or praying every day. Maybe being spiritual means taking a walk in nature. Finding a spiritual practice can help you slow down and appreciate the non-material things in life.
This is the most laid back health program ever, but it really works. You don’t need to follow the steps in order and you can do one step a week. Pick the step that you are most interested in trying. Have you wanted to try a pilates or yoga class? Go for it! Maybe you’ve wanted to experiment in the kitchen.
I also recommend that you don’t do it alone. Everyone has someone in their life that also wants to improve their health. Who is that for you? You can be each other’s supportive coach and hold each other accountable for making the small changes to improved health.
I look forward to working with you on this journey to improved health and happiness.
Once again, here are some of my favorite articles and posts I’ve read this week.
This weekend I am graduating from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. What a wonderful, life-changing experience its been. I’m sad for it to end and to not see my amazing group of IIN girls every month anymore. But it’s time to take all that I’ve learned and get to making people healthier and happier!
And just an update from Monday: I haven’t had one single cracker this week! AND–I have officially been sugar-free (regular sugar and artificial sweeteners) for over 3 weeks now. I have NOT had even one instance of binging or nighttime foraging (picture a squirrel going through the pantry-that was me). Binging was a weekly (or often multiple times a week) event for me, and it’s amazing that it seemed to be directly correlated to my sugar intake. I feel alert, clear headed, and stable, although Matt might think otherwise. It’s seriously a miracle. Hooray for me!
Without further ado, the news:
Here are questions you should ask your farmer when at the farmer’s market. Don’t be afraid to chat them up–everyone loves talking about themselves!
The 10 best foods to boost your mood–we need all the help we can get!
Listing calorie counts on menus: Good. The fact that they are wrong: Bad.
Now this is a superhero comic book that I can get into!
Who doesn’t want to be a Hot Chick? (or Hot Dude?) Here’s how to eat like one
And lastly: The latest viral sensation making waves on Facebook. I thought Matt and I had a great choreographed dance. This one is better. Way better.
Cross posted from the Naked Apartments blog today, adapted from one of my earlier Cake & Carrots posts:
July 23rd, 2009 by Amanda Goldfarb
It’s almost impossible to maintain a healthy lifestyle if you don’t cook. Believe me, I’ve tried. Unfortunately for most of us, as take-out obsessed New Yorkers, are kitchen illiterate. We store wine glasses in our stoves! (If we even have a stove). A major perk is to have a dishwasher. Some of have never even had that luxury in our small apartments.
So, we’re faced with a dilemma. We know we need to cook in order to maintain and improve our health (since we control the ingredients we use). Even more, we need to rekindle our romance with food. And remember that the taste of a home-made meal is so much more nourishing and nurturing than anything that comes in a take-out box. Let’s start a revolution, New York, and take back our kitchens!
To help you, here are a few very basic, inexpensive gizmos that I love and use around the kitchen. Even better, they don’t take up a lot of storage space!
*Blender: Smoothies galore! Mix any fruit combination and you’ve got breakfast or a snack. Try putting in some spinach or kale, too, for a sneaky way to add your veggies. I promise you won’t taste it!
*Scale: How on earth do you figure out what an ounce of nuts and dried fruit looks like? Or 3 ounces of tofu, meat, or fish. I had no clue, so I bought a scale and started weighing my food. Now I know exactly what portions are supposed to look like. Now I just have to work on eating one portion instead of three!
*Graters: Box grater: I use this to grate apple for my meusli in the morning, or zucchini for turkey meatloaf. Microplane grater: everything from hunks of cheese to chocolate, nutmeg, zest.
*Cuisinart Food Prep: I have a large and small, but we use the smaller one more often as it’s portable and easier to clean. I’m a pretty lazy chef.
*Silicone: LOVE this stuff! I have a spoon, measuring cups, colander, tongs, pot holders. I love how the measuring cups can be stored flat. And a major plus is that silicone is so easy to clean.
*Misto: (insert like www.misto.com) After years and years of spending money on crap PAM spray (complete with chemicals and propellant) I discovered the Misto. I fill it with organic cold pressed EVOO and use it instead of Pam spray. And I can use it on veggies and salad. Way healthier.
*Crock Pot: I know this gadget takes up a lot of counter space, but it’s a life saver! Perfect for the time-pressed (which we all are) and you can make some fabulous meals. Few things are more satisfying than getting home after work and having dinner warm and waiting for you. I suggest buying a healthy slow-cooker cookbook, since most typical recipes are heavy on fatty cuts of meat, cheese, and sauces.
*Steam Basket: You might not use one, but I’m sure you’ve seen it. The simplest, greatest tool ever to make veggies. Be careful not to overcrowd the basket and make sure the water level does not rise above the perforated bottom of the steamer. You don’t want to steam until your veggies are a bland mush…1-2 minutes for leafy greens, 3 minutes or so for heartier veggies like carrots and broccoli– Remember that they’ll continue to cook a little after you take them out.
So, now you have no excuses… Get into the kitchen and get cooking!