Archive for September, 2009

Rooting for Fall

root

Ah, Fall, how I love you and everything you bring. Slightly cooler temperatures. Anything involving pumpkin. An excuse to wear my Uggs again. Lots of cuddling on the sofa. And although I desperately miss my fresh summer fruits and berries (so long until next year!), I truly enjoy cooking more in the Fall- hearty soups, stews, and roasted vegetables.

What you are going to find now in season are lots of root vegetables. By definition, a root vegetable is exactly what is sounds like: the edible root part of the plant that grows underground. Examples include beets, carrots, parsnips, radishes, turnips, etc. They’re super healthy and nutrious, and I recommend eating LOTS of them this season.

In alternative health and nutrition, root vegetables are known to be very grounding for our energies, empower us and keep us firmly connected to the earth (not literally, obviously, but figuratively, of course!). If you’re feeling spacey, confused, lost, and “all over the place,” as Matt says, try adding some root vegetables to your diet.

Here are some of the more popular root vegetables you’ll see at your farmer’s market or supermarket:

 *Beets: Have the most sugar, but only 35 calories in one-half cup serving

*Carrots: Fabulous source of beta-carotene.

*Parsnips: Relatives of the carote (without beta-carotene). Good source of vitamin C, folate, and potassium. One of my faves since it’s so sweet.

*Turnips: Don’t be scared by their funny shape! Perfect pureed, mashed, roasted, or added to soups and stews.

*Radishes: Sounrce of vitamin C and phytochemicals. Low calorie snack with hummus.Known to be detoxifying. My favorite restaurant offers fresh radishes with homemade butter and salt. Um, holla!

 To get you started on your quest to become more grounded, here’s a great recipe for roasted root veggies. This is Matt’s Fall specialty. The great part about roasting is that you can rarely mess up the recipe!  Enjoy!

 Roasted Root Vegetables by Wolfgang Puck (Find original recipe here)

Ingredients

  • 8 to 12 slender carrots, peeled and trimmed
  • 8 to 12 baby turnips, peeled
  • 6 to 8 fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and cut lengthwise in halves
  • 1 or 2 large parsnips, peeled, trimmed, and cut diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices
  • 1 or 2 medium onions, trimmed, peeled and halved, each 1/2 cut into quarters
  • 1 or 2 large beets , peeled and cut into thick wedges
  • 1 or 2 kohlrabi bulbs, peeled and cut into thick wedges
  • 1 celery  root, trimmed and halved, halves cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices
  • 1 whole head garlic, separated into cloves, unpeeled
  • 2 or 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, sage, or thyme
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put all the vegetables and the herb sprigs in a large baking dish. Season well with salt and black pepper, drizzle generously with olive oil, and toss them with your hands to coat them evenly.

Put the baking dish in the preheated oven and cook, stirring the vegetables occasionally, until they are tender and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Serve the vegetables from their baking dish or transfer them to a platter to accompany a roasted main course.

September 30, 2009 at 2:04 pm 1 comment

Entering Week 2 of Detox

I apologize for my lack of posting the past few days. The Jewish Holidays have been keeping me busy, but I’m back!

First, I want to give a VERY BIG THANK YOU to my favorite ladies of Redefining Diet who mentioned me in their  newsletter today. Visit their site and sign up for their monthly newsletter and to sign up for a class.

So, here’s the latest with me–I’m starting week 2 of my detox (It’s been 7 full days for me so far). This weekend was a little messy due to fasting yesterday, causing me to eat WAY more than I normally would. I did “break” my detox for some of my grandmother’s famous kugle (noodle pudding) and it was well worth it. Maybe having 6 or 7 pieces wasn’t necessary, but let me tell you, it was fantastic. I was proud of myself for allowing myself to ENJOY this treat. I told myself going into dinner that I would only have a taste. Well, that taste turned into many tastes, but I was still kind to myself. This time last year, I would’ve engaged in such a fight with my self-esteem and I would’ve left the meal not only feeling full, but Fat! Not this time! Today is a new day, and I’m back to it.

I’ve lost about 2-3 pounds so far, and I finally have enough energy to get me through to the very end of my day. No more irritability (yay!) and I notice I don’t get as starved as I normally do. I’m making sure to encorporate lots of protein in my meals, from beans, fish, some chicken, and nuts and seeds.  While bloating is gone, I’m having some “movment” issues, so I’m drinking Smooth Move tea to get things going again. Let’s hope I won’t have to take the next step!

My detox partner, my husband Matt, is done with his detox. He dropped about 5 pounds in seven days and feels great. He feels in control of his cravings and his addiction to sugar has diminished.  But I’ll let him tell you all about it.

More tomorrow!

September 29, 2009 at 4:45 pm 1 comment

Diary of Detoxers-Day 3

I’m holding up pretty well, as I am currently in day 3. My energy is increasing and I’m feeling good. There is nothing better than my warm soup in the evening and my sweet, fresh smoothie the next morning on an empty stomach.  I did cheat a little last night because I purchased THE BEST papaya ever (btw, papaya is a very detoxifying fruit) and as I was cutting it last evening after dinner, I ate a bunch of it standing up. I was not “supposed” to eat anything after the soup, but to hell with it. It was damn good papaya and I make the rules!

One strange phenomena is that I have a metallic taste in my mouth. I’ve gotten this before whenI eat massive amount of carbs, like in Italy when I eat pasta and pizza three times a day. I asked my mom (acupuncturist and holistic healer extraordinaire) what it might be, and she thought that perhaps it’s my body detoxing. Who knows.

Here’s Matt’s take:

I start the day with water and lemon. 

 

Breakfast. Same old smoothie. I do notice the bananas in the fridge and desperately want to sneak one in. But i’m already in this. For the first time ever, I gauge our frozen blueberry count in the house to make sure there’s enough for me. 

 

Feeling pretty good. A little spacy, but no complaints. For the first time in a while, I don’t feel ‘gross‘ although I’m noticing my body seems to be warmer than normal. I’m wondering if it’s part of me sweating out toxins or just that it’s hot in the apartment. 

 

Spend the morning doing errands. Cleaning up. trying to stay distracted. It’s time to head out for a bit. I eat a peach. By eat it i mean INHALE it. 

 

1pm. By the time I get back from errands i’m sweating profusely and feeling light headed. I make a salad with avocado and my salmon i made from last night. I think i made a bit too much b/c i can’t finish it. I want to, b/c it’s the most solid thing i get all day. Oh well.

 

130 pm. I’m downing the berry detox tea. I had made a giant batch of it last night and chilled it since when it’s 80 degrees outside it’s hard to keep drinking hot tea. Maybe it’s just me. 

 

 2:15pm. What is this awful taste in my mouth? I think it might be garlic. 

 

OK, i’m going to the U2 concert tonight. Everyone else will be drinking. Me? Not so much. Dinner is a smoothie from juice king since it’s too early to eat soup when i have to leave. 

 

I’m hanging in, but my body is just kind of tired. I pick up a packet of walnuts just in case. 

 

  1. Holy crap. Are we ever getting to the concert? i’m in Seacaucus and still waiting for the train. 

 

 

U2 concert is awesome, although I’m up MUCH later than i normally have been. this is making me tired, and hungry. I call Amanda and ask her if i can have a beer. “What do you think?” she tells me. I hang up and lower my head in shame. 

 

I get home at 1:15. I’m staying at my in-laws b/c i have to be somewhere at 10:15 tmw morning and don’t want to get home at 3am. Of course they have no smoothie ingredients (or a blender!) so i’ll be having just two TBs of Almond butter and then a smoothie after my workout. 

September 24, 2009 at 6:45 pm 1 comment

Diary of Detoxers–Day 2

Matt and I are on to day 3, but wanted to share with you Matt’s notes from yesterday. They’re pretty hilarious.  Yesterday went pretty well but there were a few low points when I was so irritable and grump (I feel badly for my coworkers!).  Whenever I felt a dip, I made a cup of warm herbal tea and that seemed to help.  I went to spin class last night, even though I was tired, and I felt great, although I noticed that I didn’t have as much energy as I usually do.  I fueled up afterwards with a mixed greens juice and butternut squash and carrot soup.

I am pleasantly surprised, however, that I haven’t been obsessed with the though of food, especially at night. I know my dinner is a delicious bowl of soup and then that’s it. It’s filling and I’m not preoccupied with what kind of sweet I want afterwards. It’s a nice mental break.

Here are Matt’s comments about yesterday:

Day 2:

Current weight: 172 pounds. (Keep in mind that i weighed myself in the morning whereas yesterday i weighed myself after breakfast.)

Current mind-frame: So far so good, but then again I just ate. 

 

I’m feeling good. I woke up and drank a cup of water with lemon in it which is making me feel better, and supposedly helps to flush out the toxins. About twenty minutes later I made my smoothie, same as yesterday, although once again without the agave to sweeten it. I will say that I didn’t realize how much sugar overpowers taste. It’s like it blocks your taste buds from noticing the nuances of anything else out there. 

 

I can’t tell right now if i’m suffering from sugar withdrawal, or psychologically I think I’m supposed to be suffering from sugar withdrawal. I don’t feel really any different than I normally do, in fact I feel kind of ‘bloated’ but I think that is because I drank more than a serving of my smoothie. 

 

Off to the coffee shop to do some work, let’s see how I hold up. 

 

11:45. Drinking ginger herbal iced tea. Hipster next to me has crust left from a tomato caprese sandwich. I literally want to rip his head off and steal his crumbs. 

 

12:15. Dude. Totally can’t concentrate. Am supposed to be working on my website and looking for leads and all i can do is drool in a pavlovian response to the guy next to me drinking a cappuccino. Let’s see how long I last. 

 

1:15. I’m still here, although I’ve done what feels like little work. My brain is definitely reacting oddly and I am having an inner dialogue on whether or not I can get through this. It’s no big deal. I’m going to leave here in about 10 minutes and head home and have a salad with leftover chicken. 

 

1:20. Amanda calls me and tells me the chicken we roasted is nasty. THis means no animal protein on my salad, and that I should put an egg on instead. 

 

Lunch consists of a salad with spinach, a hard boiled egg , 1/2 an avocado, 1/2 cup of quinoa, olive oil and balsamic. I also eat an egg white with some hummus. 

 

I’m hanging in. Drinking lots of water. 3pm. I make some tea. Amanda calls me to remind me to eat a snack. I’m not hungry. 

 

Suddenly…i’m hungry. Very hungry. Like, I could totally say screw this and order some pizza hungry. I fight it, and have a macintosh apple and some almond butter. That quells the hunger. 

 

I have a headache. I make some detox berry tea. At this point, I’m doing ok, although I still feel just as full or bloated as I normally do. I think this is because I’m downing too much water at one time. I’m peeing like sea-biscuit (like a racehorse_. 

 

It’s 7pm. Since I’ve just learned to cook and what not, I prepare some salmon that I bought for tmw’s lunch. Hopefully I won’t destroy it like i did a chicken. (I do great, salmon’s much much easier). 

 

Dinner. Butternut squash. Tastes good. got a bit of a headache which apparently is part of the sugar withdrawal. Is it bad that I’m looking forward to sleep so I can wake up and have a smoothie? 

 

One more thing we forgot to put in the regimen…garlic every day. I don’t know what it does, but we take a pill at night. Why? Because eating raw garlic is nasty. Of course, a nice side effect is garlic burps. Kind of like the fish burns from omega 3’s, but these are garlic. Maybe I should take together? 

 

Time for olive oil and then bed. 

September 23, 2009 at 2:45 pm 1 comment

Diary of Detoxers-Day 1 & 2

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Matt and I have decided to go on a 15 day detox to help us get our eating and relationship with food back on track (and yes, to lose some poundage in the process). I usually do some sort of cleanse twice a year, and this time I’m lucky enough to have Matt join me.  The two of us had regressed to eating patterns that were just not serving our higher good. Translation: my struggle with cravings of sugar and “quickie” carbs has gotten out of hand, and Matt…well, Matt was eating too many of his favorite foods too often. So with that, we decided to trim down our diet for the next 2 weeks.

There are many types of detoxes out there, from the infamous master cleanse to a gentler allergy elimination diet. Ours is the latter. A juice cleanse has never appealed to me, and honestly, I love food WAY too much. I have much respect to those who can do a juice fast for a week, but it’s not for me. Plus, I kinda feel that after a week of only liquids, once you start eating food again you will gain back all the weight you lost.

Before moving on, let’s cover some basics, shall we?  First, a detox (detoxification) is the body’s natural, ongoing process of neutralizing or eliminating toxins from the body. During detoxification, these toxins are transformed to less harmful substances and excreted (lots of pooping and peeing in detoxing!) 

Generally speaking, a detox diet can:

*minimize the amount of chemicals ingested (eating organics, not eating packaged foods, etc)

*Emphasize foods that provide vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants that the body needs for detoxification

*Contain foods (high in fiber and LOTS of water) that draw out and eliminate toxins (again, by lots of pooping and peeing)

So, why do people choose to detox? Research suggests that many of the chemicals and pollutants we ingest daily can become deposited in fat cells in our bodies.  This is thought to lead to illness and has been linked to hormonal imbalance, imparied immune function, nutritional deficiency, and inefficient metabolism.  And the benefits? It feels awesome when you’re past the first few painful days.  As someone who has experienced a detox, I can truly say you’ll notice improved energy, clearer skin, regular bowel movements, improved digestion, and increased clarity (I can see all my clinical nutritionist friends rolling their eyes here!)

People ask me if there are any side effects. One of the most common, which I am experiencing as I write this, is a headache and some irritability during the first days. Much of this is due to caffeine or sugar withdrawl.   If you want to partake in a detox diet, I suggest tapering off your coffee/tea consumption over a few days or a week before you start the diet.  Another side effect is constipation, since most people consume excess fiber from vegetables but are not drinking enough water.  Make sure to drink lots of water and herbal tea, and try adding psyllium husks to a smoothie or Smooth Move tea to get things going!  Lastly, you may experience some fatigue, tiredness, irritability, weightloss, acne, and hunger. This is all quite normal, so just take it easy, curtail your excercising, and get lots of sleep.  If you experience any extreme symptoms (or worsening of symptoms) seek medical assistance immediately! If you’ve never done a detox diet, it might help to be guided by a professional.

So given that, what Matt and I are doing is what I call an “anti-inflammatory” detox diet, which is a hodgepodge of a bunch of cleanses I’ve done in the past. The goal: to get back on track, clean up our diet, feel better, and yes, lose weight.  Here’s how it goes:

Morning: Warm water with lemon first thing upon waking. Fruit smoothie (no bananas) with flax, raw cacao, protein powder, almond milk (and/or coconut milk), and greens (today I put in swiss chard)

 **Meal should be eaten 12 hours after dinner. So if I eat dinner at 8, I drink my smoothie at 8**

Lunch: Biggest meal of the day. Greens, quinoa or non-gluten grain, protein (chicken, fish, etc). I can see myself eating lots of sushi with brown rice. I’ve been adding some homemade walnut pesto to it, and also drizzling with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Snacks: Nuts, seeds, fruit (hello apple with almond butter!)

Dinner: a liquid meal of soup, smoothie, or green juice. I made a huge container of carrot ginger soup (see recipe below).

2 tablespoons of olive oil before bed to ease digestion and elimination.

What NOT to eat: sugar, sugar alternatives, caffeine, alcohol, wheat, red meat, dairy, citrus fruits, bananas, soy and soy products.  What’s left? Wholesome, good, real food. LOTS of veggies. LOTS of water.

So, friends, we’ll see how this goes! Matt will be posting (see below for day 1) how he’s doing each day, as will I.  Let me just say that today I’m feeling a bit lightheaded, but drinking herbal detox tea has been helping. I have plans to go to spin class tonight but will skip it if I’m not feeling up to it. The first few days are always the hardest!

Before we get to the recipe, here’s Matt’s take on day 1 of the detox:

Day 1:

Current weight: 173 pounds.

Current mind-frame: apprehensive, but with resolve to get through this.

 

10:am

Ok…today is the day we are starting. for the past month i’ve been indulging, and quite frankly, eating poorly. I’ve been very cavalier about my diet and the results have shown in a newly formed paunch belly. Now, to most people, I may seem like i’m still a prime example of health, and the extra weight that I feel may not be so visible. But it’s visible to me, and I just feel gross. And I think that’s why i wanted to give a ‘detox’ a chance. 1) Because I think it’s a quick way perhaps to drop some weight, but 2), I’d like to give my body a chance to cleanse itself and now’s as good a time as any. I’m a little freaked out because over the past few weeks i’ve let myself get completely addicted to sugar. And I KNOW that i’m going to go through withdrawal. Hopefully i’ll be able to distract myself.

 

 

The only thing that kind of stinks for me, is that they say it’s really great to exercise while you are doing this, as it helps to flush out all the toxins. I of course, hurt my knees on the Appalachian Trail a few weeks ago, so I can’t really get all that much in. It’s going to be an adventure to say the least. 

 

1:30pm Update: 

What the hell is this sluggish feeling? (Sugar withdrawal?) I just walked by the freezer and saw a bag of chocolate chips. I want them. Just one, right? 

Ok, i threw them out. I feel like just the fact that I can’t have sugar makes me want to have it. But it’s early in this thing and I need to just move on. Gave myself a handful of walnuts as a snack. Amanda and I had printed out the rules for the detox, listed below, and it makes it easier 

 

2:30. Lunch time: 

 

spinach

1/2 cup of quinoa (Amanda made a whole bunch of stuff in preperation)

chicken (that we made last night and almost burnt the apartment down doing)

1/2 TB of pesto

olive oil and balsamic

 

Dinner. 745 pm. 

 

Butternut squash soup.

Ok, i’m still hungry, but it’s not too bad. I’ve been drinking this berry detox tea which is pretty good and hits the sweet spot for me which i’m clearly craving right now. Interestingly enough, I find that by not having any sugar, I’m actually paying attention to the taste of things which I haven’t in a long time. 

 

 

And now here’s the carrot ginger soup recipe. It’s super easy to make, and it’s rich and filling. Enjoy!

Carrot, Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup

  • 1 ½ cups of butternut squash peeled and diced
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Handful of fresh thyme.
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bay leaf

Sautee onion, garlic and ginger in olive oil for a few minutes. Add celery, carrots and butternut squash. Add broth and bay leaf and simmer on low for at least 30 minutes or until carrots and squash are tender. Add fresh thyme to broth and puree with hand held blender or in regular blender. Be careful of adding hot liquids to the blender.

September 22, 2009 at 6:50 pm 2 comments

Friday Nibbles

Here we are again. Another Friday…why is time passing WAYYYY too quickly?

To those celebrating Rosh Hashana, Happy New Year!

As you know, eating healthy isn’t always easy. To make it more confusing, some foods may SEEM healthy but in reality are trainwrecks for your waistline.  Check out this list and see if you eat any of these “good for you” foods (which are just plain ol crap)

Continuing the trend, here are more seemingly healthy foods that really aren’t that healthy!

You know I love a good bacteria story since taking (and rocking!)  my microbiology class this summer. Check out the latest findings on where bacteria are lurking!  Oh, and on a side note: I learned yesterday that our body has approximately 100 trillion cells. And we have up to 4x as much BACTERIA in/on our body. Crazy!

Recent studies show that what you eat, and not necessarily your genetics, contribute more to obesity.

My favorite topic: sugar! More tips on how to cut it from your diet.

Have a great weekend!

September 18, 2009 at 3:40 pm Leave a comment

Are you Pouring on the Pounds?

pounds-480

My post featured at the Naked Apartments Blog yesterday:

We are all aware that our country is experiencing an obesity epidemic of gargantuan proportions. As New Yorkers we think we’re different (and, let’s be honest, better) than the rest of the world, but sadly in this case we are not. Although we live in the most walkable city in the country and for the most part can pull off spandex and ankle booties, the truth is that we too are in the crisis.

Our beloved city has watched as our waist size has increased and finally is putting her Christian Laboutin heel down! New York City is taking a stand with a new health campaign.  First topic—sugary beverages.

Did you know that Americans are consuming on average 200-300 more calories PER DAY than we did 30 years ago? More than half of these calories come from sugary beverages, such as soda, iced teas, and sports drinks.The New York Health Department surveyed adult New Yorkers about their consumption of these drinks and the results showed that more than 2 million down at least one sugar-laden drink each day. That’s on average an extra 250 calories, and that adds up….quickly! Did you know that a 20oz Cola contains over 15 teaspoons of sugar? Yikes!

Now is the time to take a look at your diet and see what types of beverages you enjoy.  If you eat healthily and work out yet can’t figure out why the pounds aren’t dropping, take a look at what you are drinking. If sweetened beverages play a role in your day-to-day diet they might be the culprit. Especially if you enjoy alcohol during Happy Hours or on the weekend, it can all add up.

So, what can we do to limit sweetened-beverages?

*The best change we can make is drinking water, plain and simple.  As New Yorkers, we are lucky enough to enjoy safe, great tasting tap water.  But if you just can’t stomach it, try adding a squeeze of citrus, slices or strawberries, cucumber, or mint. Get creative!

*Use seltzer as a vehicle. If you don’t like plain Club Soda, try adding a splash of fruit juice to sweeten.  And for all the vodka tonic drinkers, drop the tonic and use seltzer instead (Tonic is just carbonated water with sugar and quinine)

*Wean yourself off of your soda habit slowly.  No need to go cold turkey. Start by diluting your soda a bit with fizzy seltzer, and as time progresses, add more seltzer and less soda. In a few weeks, you’ll be surprised at how easy the switch was!

*Check the sugar amounts in your drinks. I’m amazed at how much sugar sports drinks, smoothies, and coffee drinks contain. I’m talking teaspoons of sugar per drink!  You don’t want that, do you?

And if those tips don’t help you, just take a long, good look at the new advertisement (featured above). It’s shock value and vomit-inducing graphics might be enough to stop you.

Come on New Yorkers! Let’s make our city proud!

September 17, 2009 at 5:37 pm 1 comment

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