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“A Sweet Trip”

February 15, 2014

1077_9Shirley Temple movies seemed to air on TV almost every Saturday during my childhood. So when Shirley Temple Black died this week and her songs were all over the airwaves, I couldn’t get the tunes out of my head. I actually caught myself singing “On the Good Ship Lollipop” one evening while making dinner. Who knew I could remember the lyrics?

And for a nutrition educator, they’re pretty insidious lyrics. They’re all about taking a boat trip to a candy shop to get everything from bon-bons, peppermints, and Cracker Jack to Tootsie Rolls and “a big fat devil’s food cake.” Yow.

I couldn’t remember the final verse, so I looked it up online. And surprisingly, like Bobby Ewing coming back to life, the whole thing was a dream!!

On the good ship
Its a nice trip
Into bed you hop,
And dream away,
On the good ship

The lyrics turn out to be spot-on: “If you eat too much, ooh, ooh/You’ll awake with a tummy ache.” Go, Shirley!

If you feel like that you’ve become addicted to sugar, you’re not crazy … or alone. Dr. David Ludwig and Dr. Robert Lustig have spent valuable research hours determining that sugar acts like an opiate in the brain. And like drugs, there’s a downward spiral to sugar consumption: once you start overeating it, you just want more and more and more. The best way to break free is to “detox.”

If you’ve had it with your sugar dependency, check out my “Delightful, De-lovely Detox: Break Free from Sugar in 2 Weeks.” It’s one sweet way to get your life — and your waistline — back!

Juicing Jive

January 28, 2014

I always extol the benefits of juicing – it’s a surefire way to get more vegetables, and it tastes great, too. Note that I said “vegetables” – aside from apples, I don’t juice fruits, because I think most of us get enough fruits in our diets already. But veggies! That’s another story. 

This colorful array is a version of what I call “Immune Boost Juice.” It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals, and neatly translates into about 16 ounces of juice. Right now, it consists of 2 apples, an inch of ginger, 2 chard leaves, 2 kale  leaves, about 10 springs of parsley, a spear of broccoli, 2 carrots, 1 golden beet and 2 celery ribs. Another version substitutes about 1/2 cup red cabbage for the beets – it’s not as sweet. I drink this juice in the morning, 5 days out of 7, and I am almost never sick. It’s also a great energy boost. Be sure to have it with some healthy fat, like a few nuts, to help your body absorb all the beta-carotene.

And then just wait for your friends and family to tell you that you’re “glowing”! Cheers!

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This Year, Wouldn’t You Like to Be “Done with Diets”?

January 8, 2014

DietsHas your New Year’s resolution to “lose weight” failed you time and again? Have you tried every fad diet imaginable and still haven’t lost weight … or have you lost pounds, then gained them all back? Do you try to “eat healthy” but still have trouble shedding extra pounds? Is it possible to eat and be satisfied and still lose weight?

The word “diet” really just means “a way of life.” It doesn’t mean — as many of us have come to believe — “a painful time of depriving yourself in order to lose weight … so that you can then return to your old eating habits, and start all over again!”

For my Pittsburgh readers, on January 29, I will be teaching the basics of losing weight naturally and keeping it off at the “Done with Diets!” workshop. Tips, recipes, menu ideas and a healthy snack are included.

This workshop is for you if you:

*  Are sick and tired of being “on a diet”
*  Have tried more than one of the hundreds of “diets” out there (and have the bookshelf to prove it)
*  Have hit a weight-loss plateau
*  Keep clothes in different sizes, because your weight yo-yos
*  Love to eat, but hate the taste of cardboard “diet foods”
*  Do better losing weight when you have support from others
*  Worry that weight gain will lead to health problems down the road … if it hasn’t already

If alarms went off as you read that list, you can be “Done with Diets!” in 2014! Here are the deets:

Done with Diets!
Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
The Nuin Center, 5655 Bryant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Cost: $25/person
Register online — sign up with a friend and you’ll each save $5!
Hurry! Registration is limited, so please sign up by January 25.

And better yet: after the workshop, you’ll have the opportunity to join a “Done with Diets!” peer support group and check-in, offered monthly for a low fee. Being part of a group of folks with similar goals will help you stay motivated and stick to your guns. Details will be provided at the workshop.

I hope to see you soon — in the meantime, have a joyous, healthy new year!

Be SMART in 2014

January 1, 2014


If you’re sitting down to write your New Year’s Resolutions, take a moment to plan how to make your goals more achievable in 2014. Make those resolutions SMART ones this time around!

SMART resolutions are ones you can actually, conceivably keep. The template goes like this:






The way many of us have learned to write goals is way too vague – that’s a big reason we never really achieve them. We set ourselves up for letting our fuzzy goals slip out of view.

For example, writing “Lose weight” as a goal doesn’t give you a SMART way to make that resolution a reality. However, writing “Lose 1 pound a month” gives you a specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely goal to aim for. It also means that, when you hit your mark next December, you will have shed 12 pounds.

“Eat at home more” is easily dismissed as a goal. But “Cook dinner at home 4 nights a week” isn’t.

Similarly, writing “Exercise more” doesn’t hold you accountable to your goal. But writing “Walk briskly for 30 minutes 3 times a week” or “Bike to work and back twice a week” gives you a concrete plan of action.

After you write your resolution, create a list of strategies for attaining the goal. For example, if your goal is to “Walk briskly for 30 minutes 3 times a week,” your strategies might include asking a friend or partner to go with you, getting some walking music to play on your phone or downloading a step-tracking app that will make you proud of your progress.

A strategy to support your specific weight-loss goal might be to take a workshop, like my “Done with Diets!” workshop offered later this month in Pittsburgh.

How can you quantify your resolutions so you set yourself up for success?

Nutrition U: 2013 in review

December 31, 2013

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. Happy New Year, one and all!

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,900 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

10 Tips for Surviving Thanksgiving Dinner

November 13, 2013

turkey-pictures-clip-art-2Just because it’s Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you have to gobble everything in sight. Try a few simple techniques for maintaining a healthy relationship to food, even on holidays.

1. Drink a glass of water before dinner or a party. This helps cut back on hunger.

2. Don’t skip a meal before eating dinner, in preparation for “The Big Meal.” Eat a normal breakfast and lunch, so you’re less likely to be famished for dinner and more likely to stick with healthful amounts.

3. Use a smaller plate, and put your fork down between bites.

4. If the holiday dinner is family style, enjoy a serving of what’s on the table, then remove your plate to also remove the temptation for seconds … or thirds.

5. If there is a buffet or hors d’oeuvre table, bring your own healthy dish to share. Have a small plate of healthy stuff – fruits, crudités, goat cheese. Pass on breads, chips and other addictive, salty/sweet calories. Go for dips like hummus or tapenade.

6. Recall happy holiday food memories while knowing you don’t have to repeat experiences of overindulging or overeating because you attach a pleasant memory to holiday meals. Tell a story at the dinner table instead of reliving the experience of overindulgence.

7. Decide in advance what your sweet indulgence will be and stick with it. For example: “I love pumpkin pie, so I’m going to have a slice” – instead of being faced with a smorgasbord of pie, cake, brownies, cookies, etc., and then bingeing on all of them. Enjoy a smaller slice that will still satisfy your desire for the taste.

8. Alcoholic drinks are empty calories. Limit yourself to a glass so that you can choose another indulgence instead.

9. Lead by example. Families and friends sometimes overindulge at holidays because “everyone’s doing it” or “what the heck, it’s Thanksgiving!” Show your loved ones that you’re serious about healthful eating by limiting your amounts and sticking to your guns. They may then be less likely to try to cajole you into unhealthy overindulgence – and may even cut back themselves.

10. Give food away. If you’re the host and find yourself left with too many sweets or other foods, have takeaway bags or containers handy so that you can portion them out to guests. If your guests decline the doggie bags, share leftover food with a local shelter. If you’re visiting relatives or friends, opt to take home turkey instead of cookies or pie.

Sugars R Not Us

October 2, 2013

41c+G4xASTL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_As a nutritionist, this didn’t surprise me, but I still loved hearing a Harvard scientist expound on it: Human bodies were not designed for the amount of sugar and processed foods we dump into them. Hence, many illnesses – from the big diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease to lesser ailments like acid reflux – have become epidemic in our society.

Dr. Daniel Lieberman is an evolutionary biologist whose new book, The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health and Disease, was featured on NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross the other day. Give the show a listen or a read; it’s well worth your time!