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It’s Nutrition Month!

When I was working on a campaign for a diet company, we tagged March as the month diets die.  February is just disgusting when it comes to weather and  keeping track of what you are putting in your body has just become tedious.

So it seems perfect that March is National Nutrition Month. You are about to call it a day on your diet and BAM you are reminded that bathing suit season is just around the corner and exercise is only half the battle.

This year’s theme, “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day” makes me pretty happy. I am a sugar addict. I love my post dinner treats and I start thinking about them before I am even done with my meal. Seriously, I haven’t had dinner yet and I am already thinking about how delicious that Skinny Cow Cookies N Cream sandwich is going to be.

So for me, living by that theme means that I can indulge in my lower calorie sugar needs without the guilt. Yes, sometimes I over indulge and my tummy hates me for it, but isn’t that what they made tea for?

Eating your way, every day means you don’t let one bad day send you into a tailspin. Now if only I could get that to be my outlook for work.


Stick to Your Diet Even with the Biggest Distractions

I am trying to watch my weight because there is thing in September where I will be wearing a really pretty white dress. I am an active runner and I really don’t eat poorly (aside from my ridiculous sweet tooth), but in the last few months (let’s go with six) it has been really hard to stick to my eating plan.

That’s because I moved in with my fiancé, who loves Mexican food with all its burritos and rice and beans. It’s tough to stick to a healthy eating plan when those around you are indulging. These stick-to-it tricks will help you side step temptations without becoming a diet czar.

  1. Serve yourself: You can still stick to your healthy eating streak while having others are having—just adjust your portions. Fill half of your plate with fruit or vegetables, a quarter with meat or protein, and a quarter with starches like potatoes or bread. If you are eating out there is nothing wrong with asking a server for a smaller portion.
  2. Monitor your pace: In addition to Mexican food, my fiancé eats really quickly like intensely fast. While I can’t slow him down (I have tried, oh how I have tried) I can avoid getting caught up in the eating frenzy. I try to take a breath between forkfuls and drink plenty of water during dinner.
  3. Menu plan: Starches and heavy carbohydrates are not the greatest for my body. Men however just lurve to eat things like pasta, rice and pizza. I try to space out the heavy carbs for days that we won’t be eating late and add more veggies wherever possible.
  4. Exercise together: Hopefully when it gets warmer we will start running the river again. Even if we just take walks together before or after dinner it will be better than stuffing our face and sitting on the couch.


When Healthy Eating Becomes an Obsession

Everybody knows we should “eat healthy”, but just what that is can be … confusing at best. The thing it shouldn’t be is limiting—in nutrients and your social life.

The focus on quality and purity can deteriorate into orthorexia, a term coined in 1996 by physician Steven Bratman to describe a “fixation on righteous eating.” Like anorexia and bulimia, it can wreak serious damage on the health of someone trapped in the obsession.

Orthorexia is not a formally recognized psychiatric diagnosis or eating disorder, although most experts agree it blends elements of both. While an anorexic or bulimic person is fueled by a desire to lose weight, someone with orthorexia single-mindedly pursues health through food.

Some with the condition eat only raw or organic foods. Some may follow a strict vegan or fruitarian diet. And others may eliminate sugar, processed ingredients, artificial flavors and colors, or anything that contains additives.

As the list of unacceptable foods lengthens, going hungry rather than eating something “unhealthy” seems increasingly reasonable.

The risks are more than physical, as those with orthorexia tend to isolate themselves. Because they may eat only specific foods in specific situations, dining at restaurants with friends becomes impossible. And their world revolves around planning, purchasing, and eating meals.

When you take that to an extreme, when you lose your flexibility, you’re stressing the system—not supporting it. The most important factor is balance.


What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You

Overweight? Even doctors may be side stepping that topic. I’ve written a lot about Americans not knowing or admitting that they are overweight (see here and here).

Now new data shows doctors aren’t even telling them that they are overweight, which isn’t helping the situation.  Getting an honest assessment from a physician appeared to be a key factor in whether or not study participants considered themselves overweight. Almost 37% of people whose body mass index (BMI) indicated they were overweight and 19% of obese participants but didn’t report hearing that news from a physician didn’t think they had a weight problem.

By contrast, only 6% of overweight and 3% of obese participants reporting a weight-focused conversation with a physician thought they weren’t overweight.

While this is troubling, it makes sense. Consumer Reports found that diet and nutrition are among the weakest areas of most doctors’ education in medical school, and few pursue further training on their own.

So if you are oblivious to your weight and your physician doesn’t say anything, how are you supposed to know?


To Pass the Salt or Not…That is the Question

The typical American diet is full of salt. Even if you don’t add salt to your dishes, hidden sodium lurks everywhere—in restaurant meals and packaged foods—can lead to heart disease, diabetes and weight gain. So should you completely cut it out?

If you’re a healthy, active woman, you may not have to limit your sodium intake—despite all the government warnings.

Here is a surprising fact sodium is critical to maintaining every cell in the body. It helps control your heart rate, aids digestion and keeps you hydrated during exercise, among other things.

The sodium in your bloodstream helps keep your muscles functioning optimally when you exercise. You lose the mineral when you sweat, though; the average person may perspire away about 500 milligrams of sodium during an hour-long workout.

Still too much salt can potentially reduce your calcium. Researchers have found that increasing your intake of potassium, calcium and magnesium helps to counteract the negative effects of sodium and balance your mineral levels.

Color Me Yummy!

March is National Nutrition Month®. The campaign is part of the American Dietetic Association’s effort to educate and focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices, developing healthy eating and physical activity habits.  It was started back in the 70s as a week and has exploded to a month.

This year’s theme is “Eat Right with Color.” Meaning RDs are focusing on the benefits of pigment-related phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables that supply them.

Ok enough background. If you want more click here.

I LOVE, with a capital L, eating color. If I don’t have enough color in my salad it just looks sad. Being a pescatarian I don’t get a lot of variety when it comes to my protein colors. Sure, my salmon is pink, but so are my tuna and shrimp.

So I turn to my heaping pile of fruits and veggies. There are times when I crave a fruit salad simply because you can have so much variety that is good for you. I am always the first person to jump into the crudités plate at a party. (See below for the RIGHT portion.)

The point is, when I go to the Union Square farmer’s market and see all the gorgeous radishes, rainbow carrots, apples and pears I get excited. I can’t wait for spring to return so that my colors come back.

Radishes from the farmer's market

Portion sizes

Fruits:  The food pyramid suggests two to four servings of fruit per day. An example of a serving size of fruit would be:

  • One medium apple, orange or banana
  • 1/2 cup of chopped, cooked or canned fruit
  • 3/4 cup of fruit juice

Vegetables: The food pyramid suggests three to five servings of vegetables per day. An example of a serving size of vegetables would be:

  • 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables
  • 1/2 cup of other vegetables, cooked or raw
  • 3/4 cup of vegetable juice