Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Yet ANOTHER Diet…When Will We Learn!?

I recently have been reading about yet another new diet plan called the "8 Hour Diet." In general I pretty much ignore the latest diet fads, as I have long known that they are usually more of the same. Pretty much any diet will work in some way – at least short-term – but will it be the lasting long term change you are looking for? Likely not…and in some cases these diet fads can be dangerous.
I enjoy reading David Zinczenko’s segments on “Eat This, Not That” as it provides great tips for people who may not be aware of some of the hidden calories, fat, etc in the foods they regularly eat, particularly with regard to eating out. However when I read about this new diet, I was really bothered by it. For those of you who are not familiar with it, the focus is on eating all your food for the day within a particular 8-hour window (of your choosing), thereby allowing your body 16 hours of fasting. Premise being that our bodies are meant to have periods of rest/fasting, to allow for repair. This seems to fly in the face of what seems to be the most common dieting advice of late around having many mini-meals throughout the day.
I believe my negative response had to do with 2 key things:
  1. I love to eat! And quite frankly confining my meals to an 8 hour window seems very difficult, particularly during the weekdays. I tend to get to work rather early and by the time I go to the gym in the evenings, I am way past the 8 hour window. Additionally, it would mean eating at least 2 (if not all 3) meals at work, which despite my best attempts, meals are not relaxing or enjoyable at the office. I don’t have the luxury of eating at home or taking an hour to slowly enjoy my food – lunch is usually perfunctory, even though I do trying to eat slower and be more mindful of my eating. I know some people just eat to eat, but I genuinely enjoy eating (likely why diets have never worked for me) and the constraints of only 8 hours to eat would be a challenge for me. I currently get up earlier than I need to so I can take 30 minutes to quietly eat my breakfast at home and enjoy my meal and similarly dinner is probably my most enjoyable meal of the day. I look forward to what I am making and enjoy ever bite.
  2. There are NO forbidden foods on this diet! Now I agree that diets with tons of restrictions is difficult for anyone to follow, so in general I do not restrict myself, but rather the more good I add to my diet the less I crave the bad (and of course I have my treats from time to time). But the sample meal I saw on this included 2 slices of pizza, potato chips and a brownie...as long as that was in your 8 hour window…seriously!? Is this really the diet we want to be promoting?
Are you going to lose weight by doing this diet? I don’t know – it may work for people, but I just feel like this goes against all that I believe with regard to NOT dieting and just eating whole, real food. I eat more now than I ever have on any diet ever and I feel better, look better and guarantee I am healthier.

Further Reading:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Treating Myself…

So in the spirit of Valentine’s Day I am treating my body to some self love! Although I still curse the mounds of chocolate yummies in every store I pass, I am going to do something much more decadent this year…and its HEALTHY!!! I am sure I am not alone when I say that I am totally an emotional eater. When I am stressed out or upset, I easily can inhale a bag of Doritos or allow one glass of wine turn into 3 or 4…you see where I am going with this. Although I have found much healthier outlets for my emotions/stress in recent years, I still have times when I struggle to stay on track. And once off, reining it back in can be a challenge!
This is particularly true when coming off of a holiday or a vacation when I may have indulged a bit more than usual or perhaps a prolonged period of stress in my life. For me, if I can get in a solid week of super healthy eating, that tends to break the cycle. But let’s face it, I am not a cooking extraordinaire and in the winter there is just not as great of a variety of fresh and interesting produce, so I tend to get a bit bored (or lazy!!!) with my choices.
This is when I rely on the awesome people at Sakara Life! I discovered this company about a year ago and have been an avid fan (and customer) ever since. Based here in NYC (sorry for you non-New Yorkers, but I am guessing there are similar services elsewhere)…so for any of you locals I would definitely recommend giving it a shot! Sakara Life provides an organic food delivery service. It is based on a whole food, plant based diet that can be catered to your dietary needs and they offer a variety of delivery packages. This week I am doing the “LOVE Cleanse” and it is as amazingly delicious as always. It is astonishing how healthy food can feel so decadent! If I could afford it, I truly would have them feed me every day! Luckily I can treat myself once in a while.
I know a lot of people boast about juice cleanses and although I have nothing against them, they have never really worked for me. I have tried several and I definitely do believe in all the benefits associated with adding juicing to your life (hence my fantastic Vitamix purchase), but living on liquids alone is just not for me. With juice-only I felt deprived and spent my whole day waiting for when I was able to drink my next juice! I never felt satiated, despite how yummy they were, and I definitely felt like I was dragging (no energy boost felt by me!!). I also found that when it was over, I was so excited to have real food again that I did a poor job of slowly easing back into it (although I must admit it did kill my cravings for crap!) and I ended up overdoing it. One of the most amazing things that my nutrition program promotes is the idea of bioindividuality; they don’t promote a certain diet or lifestyle, it is all about providing people with the knowledge and letting each person discover what truly works best for them. So if juice cleanses help to recharge you or get you back on track, go for it! There are definitely some great benefits and I have friends who swear by how fantastic it makes them feel! For me, I prefer the whole food approach and being lucky enough to live here in NYC, I have Sakara Life to support me when I need it. On Day2 and loving every minute of it!!!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Need A Little Reishi In Your Life!

In an effort to guard myself against all of the bugs going around this season; the flu, norovirus, various colds and coughs...I discovered the power of the Reishi mushroom. Well known in Eastern medicine, it is also referred to as the "mushroom of immortality." The power of this little immune boosting mushroom is slowly making itself known in more mainstream circles. In addition to providing support to the immune system, there is some evidence that the Reishi mushroom has some antiviral benefits. They contain polysaccharides, which may impact the flu virus.1 Although Reishi may help if you are already sick, prevention is its true benefit, namely if its combined with another powerful herb called Astragalus.2
While this is a great addition given the brutal flu seaon we have had, the Reishi mushroom also have been shown to provide some other significant health benefits. Reishi has been shown to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, fight against cancer, provide cardiovasculat support and regulate blood sugar.1, 4 Reishi can be found in several forms including as a powder or liquid extract. Drink a little in your water before bed and it may even help you get a better night sleep! It can also be enjoyed as a tea and there is a coffee which includes an immune boosting mushroom blend, which contain Reishi. Given all the information out there around the potentially powerful benefits of Reishi, I am certainly3 glad that I have discovered it and no include it in my daily health regimen.

Learn more:

Sunday, February 3, 2013

It's That Time Again!!

So it"s the start of a new month and it's time to set new goals for February. Last month I set 2 goals; to add strength training into my weekly workout routine and to experiment with a new grain. So as you saw from my yummy blueberry millet breakfast recipe, I definitely was digging the millet in January! I have also successfully added 2 strength training sessions a week to my workout. I have not done any regular strength training in many years. I have taken different classes, which incorporated some weights or body weight exercises, but I can't say that it has been a significant part of my workout for a while. I forgot how much of love it!! Beyond all the benefits of strength training, it just makes me feel great. I feel strong and confident and it's definitely something I am going to continue. I am in search of my inner, bad-ass Lara Croft! Ha - not there yet, but I do spy a slightly more toned tripep!
So February is all about rest and stress reduction. After the holiday lull at work, things are back into full swing and I am mindful of my increased stress.
1. I strive to get more sleep!
I must say I am not someone who requires a lot of sleep, but I definitely need more than I am getting. I am easily up until midnight during the work week and need to be at work fairly early - not a good recipe for good sleep! I also have gotten into the habit of watching the news in bed at night. So this month I am going to get to bed at the latest 1130pm and no TV once in bed! We will see how this goes....wish me luck!
2. Committing to 1 yoga class a week.
I am generally a rather wound up person - I have one speed and never really slow down unless I am forced to. Yoga has never really been my thing, however whenever I do get to a class I feel amazing and definitely believe fully in the benefits. I really believe it is healthy for me to slow down and it does take practice for me to do so. I have found a class near my home on Saturday mornings that I really do enjoy...when I get there! So this month I am committing to taking 1 class a month, which really should be doable.
So what are your goals for February??