Author: Kylie Viens, RDN
If we think of our body as if it were a car, we know our car needs adequate fuel to start and get us where we need to go. Our bodies truly are no different, as they need optimal fuel to “go”—not to mention, thrive and survive.
If you were to think of eating as a way of refueling, and base your decisions purely off of how your body would respond, would your food choices change? What if you had no tastebuds and an infinite amount of money. What would you eat then?
Having a healthy relationship with food is a very important and not commonly talked about issue in our society. The following article is one Registered Dietitian Nutritionist's brief insight onto the topic!
It's very normal for me to hear from my patients that when they eat better they feel better, and science continues to prove this reflection as having much validity.
The answers to what I've asked you so far are fairly obvious, but we are emotional and feeling beings, thusly not every food will provide us with the same sense of satisfaction.
All foods whether they are nutrient dense or not, serve a purpose—some for nutrition, some for the soul, and that's okay!
The 80/20 Rule
No one has a perfect diet (even dietitians!); however, there is a rule that applies to many aspects of life called the Pareto Principle, or 80/20 rule.
This isn’t a bad way to look at the big picture, meaning that if you can focus on nutrient dense foods 80% of the time, and enjoy your grandma’s homemade macaroni and cheese or brownies 20% of the time—there’s a good chance you will maintain a healthy weight and lessen your risk for chronic diseases.
You could also think of filling your plate following this rule!
A healthy relationship with food most certainly includes our comfort food favs as it helps us be in tune with what will both satisfy hunger and our tastebuds. Further, it is not absurd to eat outside of physical hunger, or something we should be guiltily beating ourselves up about.
There are many reasons as to why we eat other than just responding to our biological hunger signals.
In terms of emotional eating, food will not fix feelings of boredom, stress, procrastination, depression, sadness, anxiety, and so forth.
Although a normal reaction to reach for food, it is important to find healthy ways to cope with emotional feelings outside of eating.
Listen to your Body
Eating should be an enjoyable experience! Unfortunately, the society we live in today has made that more than a challenge for many. Eating should not create feelings of regret, remorse, guilt, or questioning one’s will-power!
Physical activity, meditation, talking to a friend or family member, starting an art project, and gardening are just some examples of “outs” for people without pursuing food to suppress feelings.
If you are interested in taking your commitment level up a notch, personal food logs can be a valuable tool for assessing not only the type and quantity of food and beverage consumption, but also our feelings before, during, and after eating a particular meal or snack.
*I have no stake in the recommendation of this book.
Eating healthy doesn't have to be such a puzzle or stressful part of your day. There are simple tips, like the 80/20 rule and eating intuitively that can help you make good decisions in regards to your diet.
Skinny, low calorie, weight loss, why does everything have to sound so diety? In America, we live in a strange paradox; overall, we are a very unhealthy country but are totally obsessed with health.
Contrary to popular belief, healthy food does not have to taste like a shoe, and weight loss oriented goals do not have to eliminate all the enjoyable things in life, case in point: the svelte enchilada and mindful margarita.
In this article we are staying away from words like skinny and weight loss because more negative connotations typically come to mind than positive.
Personally, skinny makes me think of the underweight models seen on magazine covers or the housewife on an obsessive journey to get back to her high school weight.
When I think weight loss, I think of the focus obsessively being on weight, numbers, and literally loss. This does more harm than good to our psyche, while the process should instead be about how it makes us feel: stronger, more energized, more in control of our life, etc.
When I imagine svelte on the other hand, I see someone who is strong, lean, elegant and healthy.
It is less diet and more lifestyle, as is being mindful about what you eat and how it affects you; thus, the mindful marg! Okay, a little cheesy I know, but let's get to how to make this healthy and delicious dinner!
This recipe is so simple and delicious, part of me wants to cry tears of joy. Okay, maybe not that dramatic, but this is an amazing alternative to a normal margarita that, will run you between 450 and 1100 calories (depending on size), and between 50-150g of sugar. Holy crackers.
In a sense, there are two extremes with alcohol consumption, the people who are heavy handed on their pours, and those who obsessively count portion size or restrict consuming them altogether.
Being mindful is a balance that falls in between these two extremes. It's nice every now and then to have a drink at the end of a long day, and when paying attention to your health, in general it's important to know what you put into your body.
Mindfulness is knowing that you can substitute your standard ingredients for alternatives that are going to be way better for your body, and drink in moderation by picking 8-12oz. glass sizes and leaving the 16-20oz. glasses in the cupboard.
Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as up to 1 drink per day in women, and 2 drinks per day for men. A standard drink is 12oz. beer, ~5oz. of wine, and 1.5 ounce shot of hard alcohol - the higher the proof, the higher the calories.
Compared to the Cantina marg, that's not too bad at all!
We're bringing this recipe back for everyone who didn't get a chance at it the first go round! These muffins have no flour, no sugar, no butter, and yes, are still delicious!
Not only is the taste on point, but they are way easy to make with very little clean up after. They are perfect as a to-go breakfast snack in the morning, post-workout snack, lunchbox item for kids or spouse, or substitute it for those store bought granola bars you keep reaching for in a hunger pickle.
2 cups oats
2 large, very ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
1-3 tablespoons honey (depending on how sweet you want your muffins)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt
Optional add-ins: (up to ½ cup) chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit, blueberries, or 1-3 tablespoons of nut butter
Is it normal for you to feel tired during the day, experience headaches often, get dizzy when exercising, or have dry skin? These, are common symptoms, amongst others to be described later, that are culprits of dehydration, in which an estimated 75% of the population unknowingly and chronically lives with on a day to day basis.
Hydration: How to be a grape
Ever thought water was the best thing ever during a workout? You just couldn’t get enough? Water is just as important when we aren’t throwing around weights or sweating and panting profusely on a StairMaster. Though not always the most exciting beverage, it is essential for optimal health and survival.
We are approximately 60% water. A true liquid asset to our health, water does so much for us including the regulation of body temperature, lubrication of our joints and body tissues, delivery of nutrients and oxygen to cells, flushes out waste products, prevents constipation, and maintains blood volume.
So how much do you need? A basic recommendation is 8 cups a day (imagine a half gallon of milk). That's the pretty bare bones minimum though, so if you aren't even meeting this, it's time to step your game up.
Depending on your age, weight, gender, environment (extreme heat or cold), and obviously how much you exercise, this number could be a serious low-ball.
Math Cap On
The infographic above gives guidelines on ounces for the average man, woman, and additional liquid if you are an athlete. You can also use the following basic equation:
Before you consider wearing adult diapers with how much you may be needing to use the restroom consuming that amount of liquid, let me let you in on a little secret – this number can also include water in food.
Water and other beverages will supply 70 to 80% of our intake for the day, while foods will contribute to the remainder.
What's Your Pee Look Like (Not Trying to Be Creepy)
Most of us know that a dark colored and smelly urine is a sign of dehydration. Anything leaning towards more yellow than clear is a sign you need to sub the coffee for some agua.
Additional physical signs of dehydration can include a dry or sticky mouth, weight gain, joint pain and stiffness, and bladder or kidney problems¹. Yes, you read right, weight gain. Water helps us suppress hunger, reduces our body's sodium levels, and maintains muscle tone and metabolism. Motivated to drink more water yet?
Night time activities like drinking alcohol and sleeping can also dry you out. Drinking a large glass of water right after you wake up is a great way to rehydrate from sleeping and kickstart your day.
Tricks and tips
If drinking water consistently really is a struggle for you, spice things up by adding slices of fruits, vegetables, or herbs. Fruits may include orange slices, fresh or frozen assorted berries, cucumber slices, watermelon slices, lemon and lime slices. Herbs can be anything from mint, sage, cinnamon sticks, and basil—explore!
Another tip is to buy a "water timer bottle". When it’s in sight, it’s in mind, allowing you not only easy access, but an easy decision when you need a drink.
Secondly, create a chart that will allow you to see your daily water consumption from drinking water specifically. This will allow you to see if you met your goal for the day. The small wins add up! Eventually, you may be able to do without the charting as it becomes habit to consume the proper amount of drinking water.
1 "Dehydration and Weight Gain." Spirit of Change. October 19, 2017. Accessed August 03, 2018. http://www.spiritofchange.org/alternative-health/Dehydration-and-Weight-Gain/.
2 "Water, Hydration, and Health." Popkin, B., D'Anci, K., Rosenburg, I.
Water, Hydration, and Health. Accessed August 03, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/
Looking for a change up to your dinner tonight? This dish will bring a little Eastern flavor to your table by using a uniquely sweet/savory combination of cumin, lemon, and fish sauce while replacing rice, pasta, or potatoes with Israeli (pearl) couscous, peas, and a massive amount of heart healthy veggies.
Meat & Miscellaneous
When to couscous
Disclaimer, couscous is not gluten-free! Also called Israeli couscous, this pasta-like grain has a slightly chewy texture and bland flavor that is enhanced by the addition of sauces and spices.
It is made by rolling durum wheat with salted water to form little balls. Finally, you can add it to so many things, from soups to salads, just be careful as it has a similar nutritional profile to that of traditional pasta.