Food Is Not Your Enemy


How Much Water Should You Drink?
May 24, 2017, 3:53 pm
Filed under: Healthy Lifestyle, Water, weight loss | Tags: ,

“How much water should I be drinking each day?” I get this question a lot.

The answer? It depends.

First off, it’s important to note that most people do not drink enough water. The consequences of mild to moderate dehydration can range from headaches, poor digestion, cravings, and sluggish thinking to skin breakouts, bad breath, and general fatigue. Water is necessary to keep every system in the body functioning properly, and plays a role in carrying nutrients and oxygen to our cells, preventing constipation, cushioning our joints, keeping our heartbeat stable, regulating body temperature and blood pressure, and more.

According to the Harvard Health Letter, most people need about four to six cups of water each day. But I think most of us would benefit from more than that, and over the years I’ve seen people feel better and reduce cravings from drinking more water. I actually prefer the almost clichéd advice of six to eight cups a day. In the warmer months, when we tend to play hard, sweat, and spend prolonged time in the sun, drinking even more water that that might be necessary. And of course, if you’re working out you’ll need a greater quantity of water as well.

To start your day off on the right foot, drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up. Drinking water first thing in the morning pulls out toxins from the previous day and freshens your system for the day ahead. Keep a bottle or cup of water accessible throughout the day, whether you are on the go or at a desk. Having water close by will remind you to take a sip when thirsty. The first sip will usually let you know how much more water you need. A sip or two may be enough, or you may need a big glass. If you drink most of your daily water before early evening, you most likely will not be thirsty before bed. This is good, because drinking before bed and then waking to use the bathroom disturbs your peaceful night’s sleep.

If the taste of plain water is unappealing, experiment to see how you can make it tasty and drinkable. Try adding a few mint leaves, a wedge of lemon, a sprig of parsley, slices of cucumber, a twist of lime, or a squeeze of orange to make water more tempting. Herbal tea counts as water intake too! Whichever way you prefer it, make water an important priority each day.

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Instead of Counting Calories…
February 1, 2017, 10:37 pm
Filed under: Beans, Dairy, Fruits, Grains, Healthy Lifestyle, Meat, nuts, Sweets, Vegetables, Water, weight loss | Tags: ,

Counting calories is a pretty reliable way to help you lose weight, no question. But most of us hate doing it. It’s unpleasant and tedious. And because it’s no fun doing math problems every time you put food in your mouth, most of us stop doing it eventually. And then the weight comes back.

So why does the weight inevitably come back once you stop counting, despite your best intentions? The short answer: because you never learned how to eat.

Rather than focusing on meaningful changes to your diet, and moving toward healthier foods and habits, it’s likely that all you paid attention to were the numbers. And hey, if you ate a tiny dinner, there was caloric room in your day for a sleeve of Oreos! That kind of thinking doesn’t bode well for your long-term health or weight goals.

Instead, I’d recommend getting back to basics and focusing on these key principles for eating well and losing weight:

-Avoid or reduce foods that act as appetite stimulants. That would be foods with added sugar and anything made with white flour.

-Eat fiber-rich foods. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans are deeply nutritious foods that help fill you for very few calories.

-Minimize fried stuff. Deep-fried foods such as French fries, donuts, and fried chicken and fish are among the worst foods you can eat. They just contain a ton of calories from all that oil.

-Choose snacks that are not marketed as “snacks.” Rather than chips, crackers, pretzels, and bars choose fruit, nuts, vegetables with hummus, or any other whole food. Why not even a cup of soup, or a chicken leg?

-Cook. Restaurant food is high-calorie food, and we’re often served overly large portions of it as well. You will lose weight if you start cooking more at home, no matter what you cook (unless you’re frying chicken regularly).

-Watch what you drink. Water should be your default beverage. Unsweetened tea and seltzer work too. Banish sodas, sweetened teas, sports drinks, and other garbage liquids from your diet.



Do You Suffer From “Portion Distortion”?
May 25, 2016, 8:54 am
Filed under: Healthy Lifestyle, Restaurants, Water, weight loss | Tags: , ,

The more meals we eat outside of our homes, the more food we’re likely consuming. Why? Because restaurants give us huge servings of food—enough to feed a family of four sometimes. We get so used to these serving sizes that they start to feel normal. That’s when we hit peak “portion distortion,” where we’re only satisfied by eating overly large amounts of food.

The Perils of Supersizing

Eating too much food in one sitting is hard on your body. Here’s why:

  • Overdosing on too much food at one time causes pain, upset, and sluggish digestion.
  • A surge of glucose is released into your blood. Your pancreas has to work overtime, pumping insulin through the body to absorb all that extra glucose. This can make you feel spacy, weak, irritable, or headachy.
  • Thinking there is some type of emergency, your adrenal glands go into “fight or flight” mode and release adrenaline and cortisol, which is the body’s natural response to stress.
  • When your blood sugar levels finally plummet, you experience cravings for more food–specifically simple carbs or sweets.
  • Research has found that immune system function is affected for at least five hours after consuming large amounts of simple carbohydrates.

6 Tips to Kick Portion Distortion

  • Cook and eat at home more. We never serve ourselves the amount of food restaurants do.
  • Don’t over-order–go for salads, soups, and appetizers, which are typically more reasonably sized than entrees.
  • Choose high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains to keep you feeling full and energized.
  • Chew well to aid digestion and give your brain time to register you’re full before you overeat.
  • Get enough water. Often we mistake thirst for hunger.
  • Carry your own snacks so you’re not tempted to grab pizza or a candy bar when the 4 p.m. munchies hit you. Stock up on snack-sized containers and fill them with baby carrots, popcorn, or nuts.


Cool, Now We Know When Haggis and Mallomars Were Invented

Check this out: Found this “food timeline” online that details when different foods first came into use and/or were invented. Rice and millet, for instance, have been eaten since before 17,000 B.C. (but brown rice didn’t hit the U.S. until the 1960s). Marshmallows have been around since 2,000 B.C. And seedless watermelon first entered the market in 1949. Plus, recipes!



Popular Kids’ Drinks: Safe or Scary?

Ah, the soft drink aisle. Shelves and shelves stacked with bubbly and brightly colored liquids, all seemingly engineered to attract children. Milk? Forget it. Water? How can that compete with a sweet and slippery orange drink that promises a taste explosion in your mouth, especially when cool athletes drink it, too? But are all these drinks so bad? Read my latest column on AOL’s ParentDish to find out.



Bottled Water: Necessary?
July 17, 2009, 4:38 pm
Filed under: Water | Tags: , ,

Marion Nestle, NYU nutrition professor and expert on food politics and marketing, can really make you feel like a sucker for drinking bottled water. Is it safer and more clean? Hardly. It’s essentially just tap water in a pretty package, marketed to us by food industry giants.

Yes, bottled water can be a great thing when you’re out and about and you get thirsty. But after you finish your bottle, instead of recycling it, why not reuse it instead? Wash it out, refill it with tap water, and bring it along on your next outing.