Archive for August, 2009

Brush. Floss. Scrape.

My blog post from Naked Aparments:

nakedapartmentscom

Here’s something new to add to your nighttime get-ready-for-bed ritual: Tongue scraping.

 I’ll be the first to admit it, this sounds like a medieval torture, but I assure you it’s not.  A tongue scraper does exactly what it sounds like it does—it scrapes the top layer of the tongue, getting rid of yucky leftover food, debris, and plaque. Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that approximately 70% of the bacteria in your mouth is on your tongue? It’s true. These microbes contribute to plaque on your teeth, causing periodontal problems, gum infections, tooth decay, and in the worst cases, tooth loss. No thanks!

 If that’s not enough to get you to use a scraper, try my #1 reason: Cleaning the tongue daily is known to cut sugar cravings. Why? Because you are ridding your mouth of any food debris that may be lingering. It’s amazing (but true!) that cravings can be triggered by tiny food particles left in the mouth from earlier in the day.  So, to keep those cravings away I scrape, scrape, scrape.

 Even better than that—Do you know the sense of accomplishment and excitement you feel when you floss your teeth (you DO floss your teeth, right?) and some big hunk of food comes out? Well, you get that same end result when you scrape your tongue. Just watching all that gunk come out will make you proud. 

 Tongue scrapers are super cheap and can be found easily. So no excuses, and repeat after me: Brush. Floss. Scrape.

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August 31, 2009 at 3:46 pm 1 comment

Burger King: Have it? No Way.

Happy Friday! In lieu of this week’s nibbles, I bring to you far more exciting content. Read on as Matt details his experience with fast food. It’s not pretty, let me tell you.  As you’ll see, I too dabbled in fast food and quickly felt like crap. I seriously cannot believe that THIS “food” is what the majority of our country (including children, yikes!) is living on. Can you imagine a world where everyone had access to affordable, whole, unprocessed food? Imagine the possibilities!

And let it be known for the record that I ultimately  ordered a Morningstar veggie burger, not the chicken sandwich. It was impossible for me to do after seeing Food Inc. After wiping off gobs of mayo, the veggie burger was actually pretty good. AND…I couldn’t resist french fries, so I ate those too. AND…half of Matt’s diet coke  (I can’t remember the last time I had a diet coke or ketchup, or a hamburger bun).  So did it taste good? Actually, yeah, it was pretty satisfying. But the way my body felt afterwards was definitely not worth it. Read on for Matt’s story!

There’s a scene in the movie Super Size Me when Morgan Spurlock, on his first venture to McDonald’s, goes through the drive-thru and orders, like a kid in a candy store, a value meal, and then proceeds to super-size it. The look of glee on his face is uncanny. It’s hard to see the unbridled enthusiasm at a chance to eat something you just know is really, truly, not good for you. But you do it anyway. For him, it was because he was making a documentary. For me, it was because I had just hiked (not even the right word, mountaineered) for 3 days and 30 miles by foot across some of the most treacherous hiking on the Appalachian Trail, and damnit, I deserved to eat whatever the hell I wanted.

So it was with great glee that I ordered a double bacon cheeseburger with fries and a diet coke. Enter video.

See the look of happiness?

Later in the movie, as Morgan Spurlock is going to the drive-thru for yet another Mickey D’s run, he gets sick and vomits out his car window. Man, can I relate.

The purpose of this post is to give a first hand account of what my body went through for the 24 hours following my burger king attack. (I went to BK b/c since reading Fast Food Nation, I can’t bring myself to patron a McDonald’s).

I’ll admit, eating a Burger King burger made me feel good. Pretty damn good. The meat was tasty, the cheese and bacon tasted extraordinarily good, especially after 3 days of eating less than high quality food at the various huts we stayed in. I drank my first diet coke in over 2 months, plus salty fries and ketchup. I took satisfaction in knowing it wasn’t even that bad for me considering all the calories I had burned up over the previous few days.

All was well. Then I hit the plane ride. A quick 45-minute trek from Portland, Maine back to La Guardia.

Something happened.

I started to feel ill. Like really ill. Like the kind of ill where you don’t know if you have to vomit or poop, but all you do know is you need a toilet and fast. My body had a seriously violent reaction to the food. I started to sweat, head spun…I tried drinking water and green tea to calm my system down. Nothing worked.

We got home from our trip and as Amanda unpacked, I laid on the couch, feeling sick to my stomach. I barely ate dinner. The only thing that helped was sleep. I went to bed at 9:30.

The next morning I woke up, still feeling a little nauseous, but definitely a little bit better. Then I got to work, and all the nausea I had been feeling over the past day caught up with me. I know this is gross…but I spent the better part of the day in the bathroom. I thought I had caught a stomach bug because of the non-stop cramping and unpleasantness. I broke out in sweats and drank almost a gallon of water to keep from dehydrating. It took about a day before my system started to right itself.

Let’s just say I’m over Burger King and Fast Food in a big way.

It’s in reflection that I find myself continuously amazed to see people eating the same fast foods every morning for breakfast. True, I’ll admit it’s part jealousy because of the seductive power of the food, but more often I wonder to myself: How can a person eat like this and not get sick?

Of course, they do get sick…in the long run, as fast food is one of the leading causes of obesity in this country, (amongst a whole bunch of other scientific things that this unscientific opinion piece won’t attempt to attack). But it makes me wonder how a person can habituate themselves to eating in this fashion.

It makes me think back to when I was a smoker, and how when I first started even though it made me feel like crap I did it anyway. After a while, my body adjusted and I stopped feeling sick all the time. My body got used to the poison. Maybe that’s what happens when you eat fast food all the time. You get used to the grease, the oil, and the sodium. Your body adjusts and doesn’t realize how bad it really makes you feel.  And it’s not until you stop eating it and have it again that you truly can see how much it disagrees with you.

Now, if I take a puff of a cigarette, it makes me feel so crappy that I wonder how I ever got myself smoking in the first place. Burger King’s motto is “have it your way.” Thanks to this latest experience, when it comes to fast food and me it’s “Have it? No way.”

For some last moment fun, here’s Amanda debating what to order at the drive thru:

August 28, 2009 at 3:07 pm Leave a comment

What is Normal Eating?

normalGood question, right? What the heck IS normal eating? What does that look like? Honestly, I have no idea. I’ve played around with so many different ways of eating over the years that nothing seems normal to me anymore. Read one magazine and they tell you to eat frequent meals throughout the day. Read another one that same month and they instruct you to eat three meals a day with no snacking in between. Which one is it?

I’ve struggled with the definition of “normal” eating for awhile now. With a history of emotional and some binge eating, in addition to a PhD in dieting, I certainly don’t have the answer to what normal is. After all, I’m still figuring out what works best for me.  And since I’ve cut out the sugar and the binges have stopped, does that mean I’m eating normally now? Again, what the heck does normal mean, anyway?

Here’s a definition of Normal Eating, written by Ellyn Satter RD, LCSW, that was absolutely MIND-BLOWING to me. I think you’ll see why in a minute.

Normal eating is being able to eat when you are hungry and continue eating until you are satisfied.  It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it–not just stop eating because you think you should.  Normal eating is being able to use some moderate constraint on your food selection to get the right food, but not being so restrictive that you miss out on pleasurable foods.  Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good.  Normal eating is three meals a day, or it can be choosing to munch along.  It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful when they are fresh.  Normal eating is overeating at times:  feeling stuffed and uncomfortable.  It is also undereating at times and wishing you had more.  Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating.  Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area in your life.

In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your emotions, your schedule, your hunger, and your proximity to food.”

Um, what? You mean…..there really is NO such thing as normal eating? That eating 10 chocolate chip cookies that I really wanted could be considered normal? Or that eating because I’m tired or bored is normal, too? I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this definition and how much it rocked my world when I read it a few months ago. In a way, it took the pressure off of me to be a “perfect” eater (and what the heck is perfect, anyway?).  What Satter is saying is that our body knows best. Listen to it. Trust it. Eat how and when it feels good for you at that moment. And give yourself a friggin break once in a while, too.

I hope that the next time you see the buzz words “normal eating” you’ll stop and question what that means, and remember that there is NO such thing as normal. Plus, who wants to be normal, anyway?

What does normal eating mean to YOU?

August 27, 2009 at 6:02 pm 4 comments

One more to avoid: BPA

Hi everyone! It feels so great to be back and posting again.

As you know, this past weekend I hiked part of the Appalachian Trail in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. At the risk of being long winded, I’ll sum up my trip in three words: Oh. My. God. It was gorgeous, yes, but the “OMG” refers to the fact that I endured three full days of intense mental and physical challenges. It was one of those rare life experiences where you come out the other end (alive!) and are forever changed. I can 1000% say that I have the utmost respect for myself, my perseverance, and for my body which kept chugging along after three 12 hours of intense hiking.

But now I’m back. I’m limping, I have a nasty cut on my leg, a large black and blue mark on my butt that is more black than blue, but needless to say, I’m back. And I couldn’t be happier.

These items most likely contain BPA

These items most likely contain BPA

I checked Facebook when I returned home and saw that a friend had posted an article about how Sigg waterbottles (of which I own many), previous to August 2008, used BPA in their aluminum water bottle lining. Most of us have heard that BPA is a bad for us and a is no-no, and have seen that most plastic companies are touting the fact that they don’t use BPA. But I didn’t exactly know what BPA is and WHY it so bad for you. So I’ve decided to take a closer look.

What exactly is BPA?  It stands for Bisphenol A, a chemical that is found often in #7 plastic water bottles (but not all) and a wide variety of plastic consumer products.  BPA is the main component of polycarbonate, the hard, clear plastic that is used to make products like baby bottles, food storage containers and even contact lenses, among many other products you wouldn’t even think of. It can also found in tin cans.

 In 2005, many studies were published that indicated that BPA was indeed toxic, and that women who had frequent miscarriages had upwards of three times the amount of BPA in their blood levels than did women with healthy pregnancies. BPA has been linked to health problems such as breast cancer, early puberty, hormone trouble, low sperm count, depression, IQ reduction, and as I mentioned, reproductive health problems (even infertility).  Most recently, BPA was found to interfere with chemotherapy treatment of cancer patients.

 Here’s the kicker, though.  The Food and Drug Administration says that BPA is SAFE for you. As many of the studies have been done with rats and not humans, they are not yet claiming that BPA has the same effects on humans.  Quite honestly, I’m not so trustworthy of the FDA, and I’m going to go out on a limb and just say NO to BPA. Even large companies such as Walmart, Toys-R-Us, Playtex, and Nalgene have stopped using plastics with BPA in them.

BPA free So what can YOU do to avoid BPA in your life? Many of these are new to me, too, and I know I’m going to adopt these practices now:

*Look for BPA-free labels on packaging.

*If using baby bottles, use glass bottles or those made of #5 plastic (Remember not to use #7). Examples of safe bottles include those from ThinkBaby, Born Free, and Green to Grow

*Only buy canned foods from companies that use BPA-free cans, such as those from Eden Organic Foods. It’s better to buy food in GLASS jars (think tomato sauce, salsa, etc) instead of cans

*Buy tuna or salmon in pouches, not cans

*Buy frozen fruits or veggies in pouches instead of canned

*Buy soda in plastic or glass bottles, not cans!  However, did you know that the caps on the plastic bottles can contain BPA?  It’s everywhere!

*Choose BPA-free reusable water bottle, such as Nalgene, Camelbak or the new Siggs (with a whitish lining)

August 26, 2009 at 1:50 pm 1 comment

This week’s nibbles

appalachian_trail_signThis week’s links are coming to you a day early since I will be away Fri-Monday (so new post on Tuesday) Lucky me, I’ll be hiking in New Hampshire on the Appalachian Trail. Pictures will definitely be posted after the weekend.  Unfortunately, the forcast calls for rain every day (requiring another trip to the store to buy gear that I will probably never use again) so that should make the hiking interesting. But a weekend away, banning the buzz (cell phones, computers, etc) is MUCH needed.

A few more notes:

As you know, I am the nutrition blogger for Naked Apartments. The site is finally LIVE–so all you New Yorkers who are looking to rent an apartment, please check it out. It’s a fabulous site.

Second, I’m now a twitter-head (Check out my twitter feed on the right side of the blog). Find @cakeandcarrots at Twitter and follow me! I post and discuss nutrition issues that I don’t talk about on the blog. Plus you can learn a little bit more about my daily activities!

The Cake and Carrots blog is currently undergoing a renovation. I hope to unveil a new website by early next month. I can’t wait to show you.

And lastly, many of you know that I’ve been using this week to rest, relax, and restore (aka create some new brain cells)  between my crazy Phish roadtrip last weekend and my upcoming hiking trip. Hence the shorter posts and recipes. Next week, however, I’ll be back with some NEW content.

Have a great weekend….and without further ado, your links of the week:

*Think twice before putting your bag on the counter. Microbes abound!

*Love avocado so much you want to take a bath in it? (Or is that just me) Whether you like it a lot or a little, it’s a wonderful food to incorporate into your diet.

*Detox your body without the master cleanse

*Want to live a long, wonderful, happy life? Just do four simple things.

*A candlelit dinner is so cliche. Try yoga for a unique first date! Written by one of my most favorite divas ever!

*Try this for a morning boost. Matt and I love it!

August 20, 2009 at 6:35 pm 1 comment

Mountain Muffins

Mountains of Love

Mountains of Love

In honor of my Appalachian Trail vacation coming up on Friday (I’ll be hiking the trail in Maine and New Hampshire Fri-Monday), here’s a great recipe from my friend and fellow holistic health counselor, Tamra at Be Will 2 Live Well. She’s one of the most fabulous people I know and also creates the most incredible baked goods.

Here’s her recipe for MOUNTAIN MUFFINS (never shared before!):

Mountain Muffins
½ olive or canola oil
½ sucanat sugar
½ cup applesauce (unsweetened)
2 large eggs
1 cup flour – Spelt or Gluten Free Pamela’s
½ cup ground flax seed
¾ tea. Baking soda
1 tea. Cinnamon
1/8 tea. Salt
1 ½ cup cranberries
½ cup chopped almonds
¼ cup chocolate chips
¼ cup coconut
Mix ingredients together, pour into lined muffin pans.

Oven to 400* bake 20-25 minutes

Voila!

August 19, 2009 at 1:01 pm 1 comment

Sizzling Tempeh Cutlets (from Hadley Holistics)

Raw tempehCheck out my recipe featured on Hadley Holistics’ blog this morning.  This is Matt’s FAVORITE recipe..he has perfected it and I make a request for him to make it every week. It’s SO simple, and a great way to enjoy tempeh.

I know you’ve heard of tofu, but what is tempeh exactly? Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans. Unlike tofu, in which soy is processed differently by curdling  fresh hot soymilk with a coagulant, you can actually see the soybeans. This gives the tempeh a wonderful (in my opinion) chewier texture. It has more protein than tofu (15.5 grams in 1/2 cup), more fiber (3.5 grams in 1/2 cup) and more calories (160 calories in 1/2 cup vs. 97 calories in 1/2 cup of tofu).  Because tempeh is less processed than tofu, I think it’s healthier for you.  You can find it in health food stores in the refrigerated section (and some supermarkets are starting to carry it, too).  Prepare by grilling, broiling, steaming, baking, and using as a meat subsitute.  If Matt has grown to like it (actually love it!), so can you!

This is the most popular tempeh you'll find in the store. Look for variations such as flax and wild rice!

This is the most popular tempeh you'll find in the store. Look for variations such as flax and wild rice!

 This is one of my favorite recipes, and it’s a cinch to make. It comes from the New Age Health Spa, an adorable getaway in the Catskills. I like to prepare this in the morning and leave the tempeh marinating in the fridge while I’m at work. When I come home and it’s time for dinner, the tempeh is perfectly marinated and utterly delicious.  I’ll usually add a grain like quinoa or buckwheat to make it a complete meal. Enjoy!

SIZZLING TEMPEH CUTLETS OVER STEAMED GREENS

8 oz tempeh
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 c steamed kale or other leafy green

Instructions
1. Cut the tempeh into 3″ slices and cut each slice in half diagonally to form wedges
2. Combine the remaining ingredients (except for the greens) and marinate the tempeh in this mixture for 6-8 hours or overnight if possible. The longer tempeh merinates, the more tender and flavorful it will be.
3. Sear tempeh in a hot pan (about 3 minutes per side) and serve immediately over steamed greens.

Enjoy!

Yields: 3 servings

August 18, 2009 at 1:12 pm Leave a comment

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