Posts Tagged ‘fruits’

Healthy Jumpstart

June 29, 2015

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I am vehemently opposed to fad diets. Over the years, we have been told that lots of fat is good for us, (hello original Atkins) until someone else decided that it was fat that made us fat. Low carb, gluten free, juice fasts and the ultimate extremes of Master Cleanse have all had their moment in the sun. Packaged and portioned meals, ala Jenny Craig, or group diets, like Weight Watchers have become large national chains that could rival McDonalds. At the end of the day, we just need to learn how to eat healthfully, and embrace it as a way of life, not a temporary diet. Easier said than done.

I am usually a healthy eater, but lately, I seem to keep going off track. I become so restricted in my eating that I end up binging afterwards. I keep gaining and losing the same few pounds, which come off slowly and come back quickly. When I am restrictive, my stomach settles down, starts to flatten out and I sleep better. Once I start eating more “normally,” I experience bloat, wake up in the night with a burning belly and have trouble staying asleep. This week, after one stressful day of poor eating and not enough sleep,powering through my workout was more difficult than usual. I am ready to embark upon a change for the better.
Whether it is referred to as an eating detox, Paleo, FODMAP, or Whole 30 plan, many nutritionists recommend a period of eliminating foods that could potentially cause inflammation, leading to gastrointestinal issues, sleep disturbances, skin problems or sluggishness.

This week I am going to give it a try. I am going to eliminate dairy, sugar, alcohol, legumes,        (including beans and soy products,) wheat, and grains, while concentrating on pure, whole foods, such as seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats. Lean cuts of meat are also allowed, but I choose not to eat them.

The premise is resetting our minds to eliminate cravings for foods that aren’t good for us, while allowing all of the things that may be making us unwell to exit our bodies. At the end of the elimination period, which is recommended from anywhere from 2 weeks to 30 days,(or a lifetime if you go Paleo.) depending on the plan, one should add back the things they eliminated and missed, slowly and in moderation, to evaluate how they feel. Many find that dairy, or wheat does not bother them at all, where others react immediately to reintroduced foods. The ultimate goal is to find a way of eating that works best for you on a long term, sustainable basis.

I am going to start out with a seven day goal, and hope that at the end of the week I will want to keep going. Many people have attested that the first week is the hardest, and they don’t start to reap the benefits until they are well into week two, and then its downhill from there.  I don’t think I eat enough sugar, or drink enough alcohol or coffee to experience any withdrawl symptoms that some have recounted, but it won’t be easy to live with others who are not doing this with me. I am ready, and I am going for it. In writing this, I just shared my plan with a whole lot of people, so the pressure is on me not to fail.

I will keep you posted on my progress. Who wants to join me for on a journey for more energy, better skin, better sleep, and a healthier all around relationship with food? Let do this!

Photo:  Glasshouse Images

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What Would a Caveman(or Woman) Do?

October 23, 2013

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Back in prehistoric times, cave people were incredibly fit. They didn’t diet, and they didn’t workout. There was no gym, no Soul Cycle and no Crossfit to join.They didn’t count calories, and had no trendy food related ailments or phobias.

While the Paleo diet, based on how our ancestors ate in Paleolithic times has certainly become a craze, there is something to be said for eating and behaving like our forefolks did.

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Cavemen and women travelled everywhere by foot. They didn’t have cars, or subways, or even bicycles. Everywhere they went, they walked. Often, that journey was several miles per day. If a saber tooth tiger was chasing them, they ran: fast!  Reconsider your transportation choices and try walking where possible.

They hunted and gathered their own food, and never, ever called for take-out.     Procuring food was very physical, and preparing it was also a task. Think about the energy needed pick berries, hunt and skin animals and even the act of rubbing sticks together to create fire. While we don’t really expect anyone to be hunting and fishing in urban areas, the act of preparing your own food increases your activity level, and provides you the opportunity to prepare cleaner, healthier meals.

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Our prehistoric pals ate a diet rich in fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries. Fast food, sweet treats and refined carbs didn’t exist. Clean eating was a way of life.  If you aren’t ready to go Paleo, consider giving up things that come in packages and eat only fresh foods.

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Neanderthals had overdeveloped right arms, originally thought to be a result of carrying heavy spears. Recent findings from archeologists in Cambridge debunked this theory, citing the many hours spent scraping animal skins to make clothing as the reason for this discrepancy. What repetitive motion based chores do you do that require a little muscle?

Many of our health woes have emerged due to the conveniences of modern living. Before you jump in the car and drive to the fast food restaurant, ask yourself “ What would a cave man do?” The answer just might be the secret to good health.

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Eat Your Vegetables

July 20, 2012

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of the Union Square Greenmarket.

I tend to go on Saturday mornings, after a particularly grueling cycling class down the street, and pick up whatever strikes my fancy.

While the greenmarket goodies tend to last longer than their supermarket purchased counterparts, fresh produce only lasts so long.

I was thrilled to stumble upon some tips in the New York Times Dining section this week, on how to prolong the freshness of summer’s vegetable bounty.

Here are a few key tricks to preserving the produce of the season:

Greens, like lettuce, are best washed in advance, dried and stored.

Soft herbs such as basil and soft produce such as mushrooms and berries should be washed when used, as the water will speed spoilage. I find that putting basil in a glass of filtered water that comes a few inches up the stems, keeps it fresh for several days. Frequent readers will note that I am also a big proponent of making pesto, and basil oil while it’s still green and “perky”.

Anything that comes in bunches, should be released from it’s binding, as the closer the vegetables are packed, the faster they will rot.

Leafy tops of root vegetables, such as carrots and beets should be trimmed to 1” long to prolong freshness but prevent them from drying out.

Fruits and vegetables should be stored separately, as the ripening fruit emits ethylene, which damages vegetables.

Some produce will continue to ripen on the counter: stone fruits, melons, mangoes, apples, pears, tomatoes and avocados.  Bell peppers, citrus fruits, and berries will only deteriorate.

Bananas ripen quickly, and will speed the ripening of anything they are stored with.

If you can, cut and simply cook vegetables, as they will last longer in the refrigerator that way. Prepare them separately, to allow more flexibility in their use.

Intimidated by the skills needed to slice and dice vegetables? Have no fear.

The specialty market Eataly, just north of Union Square employs a fulltime vegetable butcher who will peel and cut your produce to order.

Photo: Glasshouse Images


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