Friday, February 26, 2010

Polite Bite

My younger son, Weston, had a fantastic teacher last year. Ms. Sehgal, his Pre-K teacher, was smart and patient, loving and firm. Yet there was one quality Ms. Sehgal possessed that outshined all the others and that was her love of cooking. In Pre-K they have “letter of the week” where the class focuses on the sound the letter makes and words starting with that letter each week. Weston’s class cooked something starting with each letter. There were pumpkin muffins for “P” week and quesadillas for Q week and suddenly Weston was trying all sorts of things he never had or would try before. At lunchtime during school, where a hot meal is offered daily, children were required to take one “polite bite” of the entrĂ©e of the day. Ms. Sehgal succeeded at doing what many parents attempt, that it encouraging children to sample new foods.

Many of us persuade or even bribe our kids to experiment nutritionally though we don’t necessarily do the same. At Foodtrainers, clients fill out paperwork before their initial session. One item asks for favorite foods (healthy and unhealthy) and also foods clients dislike or do not eat. I have always prided myself on creating realistic, individualized food plans for clients. I incorporate clients’ favorite foods or healthier versions of these foods and work around the disliked foods. Occasionally, if a client avoids an entire food group I will offer subtle suggestions. For the most part, I do not push or pursuade them to re-try foods. I then go home and chart my kids “new foods” and for every 10 they get a sticker. I wrote earlier last week about Health Hypocrites  and I’m starting to think this may be an example of that hypocrisy.

As adults, we sample new preparations of foods we like at restaurants or with recipes but feel we know the foods we do not like. For some it’s Brussels sprouts, for others sashimi. I’ve found there are common foods that appear on the dislike list such as cauliflower and mushrooms, mayonnaise and organ meats. A blog called Fit Sugar got my attention today with a post entitled “learn to love: broccoli rabe”. I liked this concept that we can learn to love a food we previously didn’t. I heard a chef, I can’t recall which one, once say that if you think you don’t like a food it’s because you haven’t had it prepared correctly. I think there’s a truth to that and also that we may like certain preparations of foods better. But how will we know if we don’t continue to taste test? Maybe these disliked foods deserve a second date.

I consider myself a pretty broad eater but do have a few foods avoid (or am scared to try). One is sardines, another happens to be broccoli rabe and the final food is organ meats. I purchased sardines and plan to try them this weekend; I am also open to giving broccoli rabe another go. As for organ meats, for many reasons, I’m not interested…not even in one polite bite!
What are some foods you dislike? Are you open to trying them again? Do you think we should learn to love certain foods?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Creatures of Habit

I woke up this morning, read the Dining Section of the Times (I’m not embarrassed to admit I read that first) and headed to Twitter. A few of my nutrition colleagues had posted a link to an article from U.S. News and World Report entitled “Why an All-‘Superfoods’ Diet is a Mistake” which makes a strong case for dietary diversity. For example, even though blueberries are packed with antioxidants and fiber, one should “eat a rainbow” and vary food choices as different foods offer different nutrients and potentially different protection against disease. Another interesting point is that eating a wide array of food may result is less exposure to contaminants, such as mercury, and pesticides.

It is hard to dispute benefits of “playing the field” when it comes to your food as far as your health is concerned. However, when it comes to weight loss variety isn’t always your best tactic. I was in session with a client yesterday, I’ll call her CM. CM is trying to lose weight and, for the most part, is doing a great job. She’s exercising 4 times a week, cooking more, keeping her food journal and eating “good” carbs. Impressive, right? I think so but there’s a catch. CM is grazing after dinner. Its healthy grazing: a little dark chocolate, some berries, perhaps some high fiber crackers with almond butter- but it adds up. The problem, as I so scientifically call it, is there’s a pupu platter. It’s the buffet syndrome, the more foods we have to choose from, the more we eat. Research supports this.

So what did I suggest? I suggested CM choose 1 snack per week as her designated dessert. This week it’s mixed berries. The other items are off the menu, for now. So yes, for weight loss I suggested CM limit her variety. Many of us have a time of the day where we tend to loosen up. The 3 main times are mid afternoon, after work and after dinner. Try organizing or standardizing your choices and you may feel more in control and eat less. In this case, and perhaps with snacking in general, being a creature of habit is O.K. maybe even better.

Are you someone who thinks “variety is the spice of life” or are you a creature of habit? What do you feel is the better way to swing?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Foodtrainers Find: McClure's

A few weeks ago I was sick. I am rarely sick but I was in bed and miserable. And though most people wouldn’t be watching the Food Network in that condition, I am not most people and I was. My distraction came in the form of a DVRed episode of one of my favorite shows “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”  On this show, chefs and food personalities describe their favorite food from a certain topic. I think the topic for this show was “snack foods” though I’m not certain. I will warn you though that many of the foods described are far from healthy and the manner in which they are described makes you want all of them.

About halfway through the episode, Ted Allen came on the screen. He selected McClure’s pickles as his favorite snack. He explained the recipe for these pickles had been in the family for generations. He gushed about the perfect amount of crunch in these pickles. And then he sealed the deal for me by mentioning that these pickles come regular garlic/dill and SPICY! Suddenly I paused the TV, jumped out of bed and ran downstairs to the kitchen. “What are you looking for?” my husband who had not seen me, due to my self-imposed quarantine, in hours asked. “I am looking for pickles.” Now I knew there were no McClure’s to be had but was fairly certain we had pickles. My 7 year olds favorite “fruit” as he says (child of a nutritionist knows cucumbers are no vegetable) is pickles. And we had pickles! I pulled the lid off a container of Fresh Direct half-sour pickles and unfortunately saw one lonely pickle well past its prime. Yuck.

Ignoring my illness, I went to my computer and found the McClure’s website. I eagerly clicked the “BUY” button and was faced with disappointment again. I needed to purchase 12 jars of pickles for delivery. Holy pickles! I took a risk and emailed McClure’s to ask if they could make an exception for a local nutritionist with MANY pickle-purchasing clients. Within minutes I received a reply! Sadly, it was an away message and Bob McClure was out of the country. I closed my laptop and returned to bed.

The next day another email came. This one was from Bob (Mr. Pickle) himself. Bob said they would deliver any number of jars but it would have to wait until the following Friday. I ordered some regular pickles, I ordered some SPICY pickles, the relish for the husband and the Bloody Mary Mix because in my relentless (ok obsessive) searching saw it was written up in the New York Times and made with pickle juice (sounded like the Dirty Martini’s cousin). Friday came and I was frantically trying to tie up loose ends in the office. The doorman buzzed and was holding a package. In the days since my email with Bob, I had forgotten about the pickles but one look at the box instantly remembered.

I took a jar of the regular and a jar of the spicy and added them to the enormous tote of food/water and other items I feel we need for a simple car ride to Vermont. I would wait to try these prized pickles with the family. We picked the kids up and I held up a jar for the pickle-lover to see. “Look what Mom has?” I am sure a normal child from a normal mother would be less than pleased with pickles as an afterschool snack. Not my boy! His big blue eyes lit up and he said “I want one now!” My husband, ever the practical one, said “I don’t think that’s a good idea while we drive.” Well the impractical one was holding the pickles and wasn’t waiting any longer. I handed out pickles to the pickle-lover and his brother. I handed one to my husband who didn’t decline and I took one from the jar for myself. The only sound was crunching (yes Ted, just the right amount), we took seconds and spilled pickle juice in the process. It was one of the best things I ever ate. Once in Vermont, I cracked open the Spicy and may have to declare it THE BEST THING I EVER ATE.

What are your favorite snacks? Are you a pickle person?

Monday, February 22, 2010


*Warning: if you think you are doing a pretty job of working out and staying healthy there may be some bubble bursting here.

Many of you probably wake up; you may go for a run or take a spin class, shower and go on with the rest of your day. The problem, which may well hold the difference between a plateau and losing weight, lies in what happens next. Some of you may head to the office; others run errands or possibly kill some time on the computer. Whatever you do, most of you are primarily sedentary, tush to chair for the remainder of the day. I call this time OTID. OTID is my abbreviation for that after gym time and stands for the Other Twenty-three hours In the Day. Sure, for some of the OTID you are sleeping and it’s impossible to be in constant motion but let’s be honest, for me and probably for you there’s plenty of room for improvement. Let’s make use of the OTID.

There is some research to back this all up. Studies on fidgeters show fidgeters tend to be thinner than non-fidgeters but we’re not all going to do a toe-tapping tango all day long. Here are some suggestions for your OTID:

1. Schlep- where would we be without Yiddish? Kidding aside, you want to be strategic and do your schlepping yourself versus letting others help. This can be carrying your own groceries (see the skinny mule in the photo above), doing some or all of your own housework (befriend the vacuum people) or picking up food versus having it delivered.

2. Walk- now you may not necessarily have the time to walk everywhere in your day, who does? Consider having a mobile meeting, I find a lot of colleagues like to be active and we walk and talk versus sitting in the office. After dinner is another under-utilized time for activity (and not just that kind of activity). Maybe you go for a walk late in the day. Or, if you’re working, just use part of your lunch hour and get some fresh air. Start with 5 minutes of walking every day this week.

3. TV- we all watch too much and reading isn’t much better for these purposes. Limit yourself to 1 hour of horizontal TV viewing a day. DVR if you must and cram that hour. After an hour if you’re still watching do some push-ups or crunches on commercials, grab a pair of free weights or go to the gym in the evening and work out while you watch.

I could go on and on cooking, playing sports with your children, pacing while you’re on the phone and many other ways to use your OTID well. Don’t dismiss this as meaningless because these calories can add up and may even surpass the ones you burn at the gym. I am actually on a unicycle as I type this post, how’s that for efficient OTID?

How are you going to maximize your OTID today? Comment/give yourself a goal and then check back.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Heath Hypocrites

I recently had a conversation with an administrator at a NYC school. She was relaying to me the demands parents placed on her and their school in terms of nutrition. As a parent I could understand some of the requests (hormone free dairy, snacks free of allergens and low in sugar). As a nutritionist, I know how “nutty” some NYC parents can be. At the end of our conversation, the administrator said “and the juice, do you know how many juice boxes leave this school at pick up? Parents give these kids juice but demand we do not.” Interesting.

This made me start to think. Do we, as parents, demand more from schools, camps and babysitters in terms of nutrition that we do for our children ourselves? And do we expect our children to eat in a manner we don’t even replicate in our adult lives? Question: how many of you will have breakfast or lunch today made with organic produce and hormone free meat?

I have had many parents tell me “I made sure we had a healthy snack when your kids came to play.” I can only gather it’s a healthier snack then they normally have. And I’ll be honest; I may up the antioxidant ante when I have kids over at my house. While my kids may have an apple and a cookie afterschool, we may have carrots and celery and clementines for a play date. So am I guilty too? Am I a health hypocrite? This surely extends beyond the parent and child relationship. Ladies, do you shun the bread basket when out to eat but eat the bread when you’re on your own? I always laugh when the sugars and fake sugars are placed on a restaurant table. It often goes untouched. I would love to follow my friends and see if they are “sugar free” when solo at Starbucks.

Many of us want to wear a halo of health. Perhaps our nutrition knowledge and habits are part of our image like the car we drive or the clothing that we wear. I could go on and on (read past posts I do) about reasons to eat well and exercise but this faking it strikes me as a waste of time and likely counterproductive. If all of this faux health creates stress it may well be making us less healthy. Can we all agree to be imperfectly healthy and reduce eating stress and stress in general? I wrote a post entitled Fast Food Slaytons a couple months ago. I described a run in with a burger joint my family had on the way home from Vermont. I cannot tell you the number of emails I received. People were thrilled to hear that I too had slips and that we didn’t have to pretend French fries never happen because, even for nutritionists, they do!

Are you a health hypocrite? Do you have any examples of faking it you’d like to share?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Skin and Skinny

Occasionally clients ask about my skin. “What’s your secret for great skin?” Now, to me, my skin is sensitive and a little dry but it is generally clear and possibly a little behind in the wrinkle department. As much as I’d like to answer the question with a magic food, I am sure genes play a part in all of this. I also have a secret weapon when it comes to skin and it’s not edible or topical.

Joanna Czech is the facialist to Uma Thurman and Kim Cattrall but more importantly she’s my facialist! Joanna and I met when she was working at a spa in a posh NYC gym; let’s just say it rhymes with free- lock. We were both mildly obsessed with a workout called Powestrike. We punched and kicked and eventually I became a client of Joanna’s, she became a client of mine and we’re  now dear friends. Joanna later branched out and opened Sava spa in Hudson Heights. Recently, Joanna expressed a desire for a small Manhattan location. I smiled and directed her to one of the offices in our suite.

Over the years Joanna and I have traded secrets. She was the one who told me about Ren Skincare and Babor foundation (my one must-have makeup item). She always points out that sometimes best to trim brows versus plucking because “after 29 regrowth can be an issue.” Joanna scolds me when I take matters into my own hands “I see you’ve been doing surgery." Joanna feels the best habits I’ve helped her with have been taking a probiotic and omega 3 supplement daily, eating regularly throughout her day regardless of how booked she is, using dandelion tea for bloating and realizing theimportance of purse snacks. Joanna likes Justin’s almond butter packs and our single serving flax packs.

I am thrilled to have Joanna next door to Foodtrainers. Selfishly I am excited for great eyebrows and more frequent facials. Really though, I’m excited to share my secret skin weapon with all of you.
Joanna has generously offered new clients 10% off (mention Foodtrainers blog). For appointments please text or call Joanna at (646)-331-7801.
Any good skin secrets?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Let's Do Lunch Challenge

In our February Foodtrainers’ newsletter we issued a challenge. We suggested readers pick a week and make their lunch for that entire week. Making your lunch saves money, calories and we find usually tastes better than salad-bar salads and salty soups.

Foodtrainers’ favorite lunches:

1. Zoe tuna is this amazing tuna that comes in a jar. Try ½ jar, ½ avocado and beets  over greens. Other great jarred tuna brands are ortiz and callipo.

2. Nori Wraps-I was reminded of this great idea reading The Kind Diet. You can use sheets of Nori and wrap your favorite sandwich filling. Another calorie-saving option is to use large lettuce leaves. Try this with Zoe tuna or curry chicken salad below.
3. Muffin Frittatas- these are a go-to recipe of mine for breakfast or lunch. I make a batch and freeze or refrigerate the leftovers. Recipe below
4. Curry Chicken Salad- Ellie Krieger has some of the tastiest, healthy recipes around. I love her curry chicken recipe.
5. The Easiest Soup in the World- I hosted a cooking class with Jenna Helwig of Rosaberry  a couple of months ago for family friendly recipes. This soup was a hit, takes very little time to prepare and is a staple in my lunch repertoire. Recipe Below


Mini Muffin Veggie Frittatas

2 mini muffin trays

Cooking Spray (I like Spectrum brand Canola spray)

Veggies (experiment with any veggies!) 1 red bell pepper, mushrooms, spinach, onions, broccoli whatever you have.

6 omega 3 eggs, 4 additional egg whites (can use 8 whole eggs, 16 whites, 2 whites=1 whole)

½ tsp each salt and black pepper

1 tsp chopped herbs (parsley or chives)

½ cup grated reduced fat cheddar or any cheese (OPTIONAL)

Spray 2 mini muffin trays with cooking spray. Preheat oven 375. Chop 1 red pepper, handful of spinach and couple of mushrooms (you can use any veggies). Mix together eggs/whites, herbs, salt and pepper. Add veggies to muffin trays. Spoon egg mixture over veggies almost to top. Scatter cheese on top if using or wait until halfway through cooking. Cook about 15 min or until frittatas rise up and slightly brown. These can be reheated in toaster oven at 300 degrees or nuked in a pinch.

The Easiest Soup in the World (White bean and tomato soup)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 can (14-15 oz.) organic diced tomatoes with juices

2 cups chicken broth (I like Pacific regular or low sodium)

2 cans Eden cannellini (white) beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 pound ham, cut into strips or cubes (we used Rosemary ham, delish)

Baby greens, like arugula or romaine (1 bag or 5 oz.)

1/2 tsp. salt.

 Heat oil over medium heat on stove. Add garlic and stir until golden for one or two minutes.
Add tomatoes and juices to garlic. Stir in broth, beans, and ham and bring liquid to a simmer
Simmer soup for five minutes. Stir in greens and cook until wilted, 3-5 minutes. Add salt and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Store in refrigerator or freezer.

What are your favorite healthy lunches? Are you ready to accept the Foodtrainers “let’s do lunch” challenge?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Olympian Nutrition

With the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Olympics less than 12 hours away, I have sports on my brain. I’ll admit it, I’m a little bit of an Olympics junkie. And I don’t stick to the mainstream sports, I will watch anything and everything and even like curling and the sport where they ski and then shoot though clearly the name of this sport didn’t stick with me. As a nutritionist, it amazes me that many athletes train a good part of their lives fine-tuning their training, clothing and nutrition only to board a plane and stay in an Olympic village where Mc Donald’s and Coco Cola are strongly represented. A place where the main catering is done by Sodexho, one of the companies Michelle Obama is working with as their unhealthy offerings in schools are contributing to childhood obesity. The Olympians do have a password which allows them to view the nutritionals (amount of carbs, fat, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals) in various food items but it still makes me nervous.

So for Lindsey and Shaun in Vancouver and all the rest of you, here are my top 5 training foods for winter sports:
1. Quinoa- chances are, you’ve been hearing a lot about quinoa lately with good reason. Quinoa is a good carb and the type of carb athletes need. The Incas considered quinoa like gold because of the stamina it provided their warriors. Quinoa and fruit makes a great breakfast or stir quinoa into soups. Quinoa cooks in 15 minutes and is high in fiber and protein.
2. Chard is a great source of iron. Iron transports oxygen through your body and helps prevent anemia. Chard is also rich in calcium for bone health and a respectable source of Vitamin C, important for winter immunity. Try to have one leafy green (kale, chard, bok choy, spinach) daily.
3. Turmeric is a wonder spice. It’s a potent anti-inflammatory and athletes should use it more. Turmeric is found in prepared yellow mustards and many Indian dishes. Turmeric also works well with cauliflower, on eggs and in dips. Lindsey, I know you have a muscle injury, turmeric may help! I recently posted a great recipe using turmeric.
4. Goji Berries are also known as wolfberries. Goji berries are a fantastic antioxidant. Antioxidants help to repair some of the wear and tear on your body from exercise. In Chinese medicine gojis are known to promote lung health, useful for winter training. Eat gojis as a snack, steep in teas and add to oatmeal water. Gogis also have an added “Valentine’s" bonus.
5. Pumpkin Seeds- seeds are often overlooked and important for your training diet. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, another crucial immune-system helper. Try my Training trail mix.
TRAINING TRAIL MIX: combine 1 cup goji berries, ½ cup dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs, 1 cup pumpkin seeds, 1 cup walnuts and ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut. Mix well and store in an air-tight container. Serving= a small handful or ¼ cup.

What are your favorite winter training foods? Any pre or post-workout staples you want to share?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Investigating Aphrodisiacs

I was doing a TV segment with Chuck Scarborough a couple of months ago on flu-fighting foods. Zinc is an important nutrient for immunity and I mentioned oysters as a food that’s high in zinc. I was prepared to answer questions about the flu, vitamin C and anything else related to staying healthy. I was not prepared, on the nightly news, for Chuck to ask “is it true what they say about oysters?” At the time I brushed it off telling him “perhaps what can make your immune system healthy can make other systems healthy too.” Funny how things work, tonight I will be sitting down with Chuck again answering his original question and talking about truths and myths of aphrodisiacs just in time for Valentine’s Day.

The word aphrodisiac is derived from Aphrodite the Greek goddess of love and sensuality. An aphrodisiac is a food or a drug that arouses sexual desire or enhances sexual performance. Aphrodite rose from the sea on an oyster and the first aphrodisiac food was born. I was surprised, as I researched this segment, the role aphrodisiacs play in every culture from the Aztecs to the Chinese. Let’s see which aphrodisiacs I would classify as myth and which may help you bring sexy back…

Oysters: I think this has to be the #1 alleged aphrodisiac food. There are 2 reasons contributing to this. First, many aphrodisiac foods are what I call “look alike foods. Look alike foods are foods that resemble sexual organs. Oysters are also, as I mentioned, high in zinc. While a deficiency in zinc can cause sexual dysfunction, extra zinc will not help you. As for the look alike reasoning, what a food looks like doesn’t reveal its function. Skinny foods (think French fries) don’t make you skinny and genitalia-shaped foods don’t make you excited. Poor Oysters, I am going to have to put them in the MYTH category.

Champagne and cocktails: If oysters are #1, surely champagne is #2 on this alleged hot list. If we asked people to describe a romantic dinner, chances are champagne would be served. And while alcohol does help lower inhibitions it can contribute to erectile dysfunction and negatively impact testosterone (not sexy). In fact a line from Macbeth said it “increases desire and takes away performance.” Thank you Shakespeare! Certainly any more that 1 glass of bubbly is going on the MYTH list too.

Chocolate: ok so if oysters and champagne aren’t Valentines’ helpers, is the whole chocolate thing myth as well? The aphrodisiac potential for chocolate is based on 2 chemicals it contains. One is tryptophan a building block of serotonin. This is a brain chemical involved in arousal. The other phenyl ethylamine (PEA) is a stimulant related to an amphetamine. PEA increases dopamine centers and stimulates pleasure centers in the brain. The Aztecs seem to be the first to associate the cocoa bean with sexual desire. In fact Montezuma consumed chocolate before romantic encounters but forbade women to consume it. Women, as it turns out, are more susceptible to PEA and serotonin than men. A research team in Italy recently reported women who eat chocolate feel significantly more fulfilled sexually than those who don’t. In my professional opinion,  I would suggest men go out (right now!) and buy some dark chocolate (higher cocoa content) for their mates. Chocolate as an aphrodisiac is TRUE.

Goji Berries: This superfood is considered a potent sexual tonic in Asia. The Chinese have a warning “he who travels over one thousand kilometers from home should not eat goji.” While I am not sure why men traveling less than 1000 km are safe to consume it, after all it is not as if 999 km is an easy distance to rush home when desire strikes. That said, goji berries can improve mood and increase testosterone production. They have a tart flavor and can be purchased at natural food stores. Ladies, forget the watch, wrap up some gojis and happy Valentine’s Day to you. Goji berries, in my book, get a TRUE!

Other foods that make this hot list: chili peppers, ginger, nutmeg, avocados, arugula, fennel and fennel seed and the scent of pumpkin pie spice and vanilla. Now there aren’t heavily funded research studies to support this topic. And this is all quite individual. While some find spices excite them for me it may be my husband unloading the dishwasher. What struck me most about the list of aphrodisiac foods  was that the majority of foods are foods I already tell clients to purchase and eat. It does seem that my quick answer a couple of months ago may be accurate. The foods that make you healthy just may make you horny too. Couldn’t resist that one.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Coveted Condiments

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Sue (now Susan but that’s another story) picked me up in her car. She had come in from Connecticut and we were headed to a reception for a high school teacher who was retiring. All I can say is times have changed since high school. Quickly our conversation turned to cooking and I was entering “Sunny Spain” a lemony spice mixture in my blackberry. I assure you as the night progressed we talked about slightly cooler topics. And then yesterday, I was scanning my Facebook updates and saw this from my friend Nelson’s brother “Sriracha hot sauce on a grilled cheese sandwich! Life-altering experience. How come nobody told me about this?” Maybe it’s our age, that it has been a while since high school, and what we are “consuming” has changed. That reasoning is a little depressing so I’ll go with the argument that condiments just make food more interesting.

Coveted Condiments:
1. Shiracha hot sauce- this hot sauce has almost a cult following. In preparation for this post I requested a chosen condiment from a few cooking pals and received multiple Shiracha replies. Shriacha is a delicious, not super hot, hot sauce. I am testing recipes for homemade Shiracha but for now use the bottle with the rooster on it. Combine it with Greek yogurt for a creamy variation (my secret ingredient on fish tacos).
2. Sunny Spain my friend Sue is the human equivalent of Google. No computer required, Sue will answer your questions. Well this is Sue’s condiment selection. It’s salt free, delicious and great on roasted chicken.
3. Penzeys Extra Fancy Vietnamese Cinnamon as long as we were talking Penzeys (who have a location in Grand Central market) I had to mention this cinnamon. It’s insanely good. My boys love it on applesauce and French toast. I love it on oatmeal.
4. Bernard Michaud’s Thousand Flowers Honey  I received this honey as a gift from a foodie client. Prior to tasting this, I wasn’t much of a honey person but was quickly converted. I now use this in smoothies, tea and marinades. It’s also an excellent gift as it comes in a beautiful red tin pail.
5. Nicolas Alziari Olive Oil- though listed as #5 this is my #1, can’t live without, makes everything better condiment. This olive oil is from Nice and has a unique taste. I combine it with lemon juice and kosher salt for salad dressing and its heaven every time. In NYC, you can purchase it at Citarella Markets.
6. San Giacomo Balsamic Condiment- I didn’t make it up that’s that it’s called on the bottle. This isn’t just balsamic vinegar, this is love. This was another one of those “you have to call this number and order this vinegar” commands I take very seriously. I love this on strawberries…don’t question it until you try it.

Please chime in; what are your coveted condiments? Any interesting uses for them? How did you discover them? I found it funny that my mother (the best cook I know) replied to my request for her favorite condiment very simply “butter and olive oil.”

Friday, February 5, 2010

In Session: Stuck at Work

I was feeling immense blog guilt that I hadn’t posted since Monday. I have had a busy week with book club (which I had to cram for), a lecture on my top 10 winter training table foods and a TV segment on edible aphrodisiacs all of which you will hear more about in future posts. I was logging on to study my notes on oysters and chocolate when I received a great question from a client. In these “in session” posts I like to bring you some of the kernels of wisdom (without naming names) and interesting questions I receive from my nutrition clients.

The question was this: “I've been eating lunch around 12, having my snack at 3 and then if I'm still at work at 7 I'm hungry again. I've been having a snack around 3, and then a smaller snack around 7 (Dr Crackers) to hold me off until dinner (which this week has been at 9-9:30pm). I’m not sure if I should be doing that or holding off completely until I get home.”

 This is a great question because many good eating routines can get thrown off when meals are delayed. Maybe you’re stuck at work or perhaps you have a late dinner reservation but whatever it is there are some key things to do and others to avoid. The biggest “don’t” I would say is holding off. Waiting to eat when you get home at 9pm will only result in overeating. Having a small snack, as this client did, is strategic. You really don’t want to go more than 4 hours without eating and better to give yourself an extra 100 calories than downing 300 when you arrive home.

However, a saying I use in sessions is “at meal time eat meal foods.” If your body craves a meal and you start eating snacky foods oftentimes we eat too many crackers or nuts. I suggested this client bring organic sliced turkey, Pacific brand single serving soups or containers of brown rice into work. These foods are more satisfying. She can then eat the balance of dinner later. This works out to ½ of dinner at 7pm and ½ at 9pm. The other approach would be to eat dinner at work and avoid the 9pm feeding altogether.

The timing of our meals and snacks greatly impacts our results. If you see a week is a heavy work week or jam-packed with events try to strategize in advance. OK now back to oysters…


Monday, February 1, 2010

Resolution Review

A month ago, I sat in Vermont looked out the window at the mountains and the trees and typed a highly motivated post about resolutions. I was away from the city and had time to think about the New Year ahead. My advice was to make a list of resolutions and review the list on the 1st of every month. So here we are, one month into the New Year. How are you doing with your changes?

For me, it’s a little ironic that running the 2010 Chicago Marathon was the first item on my list. It so happens that the sign up for the race was this morning. At 6am I went to the website and its official, I am registered for the race on 10/10/10. I am  running with a few friends and if you’re interested, we’d love the company. Reading for pleasure was another resolution of mine. I have a book club meeting tomorrow night (my first book club meeting) and though I have 100 pages left in The Help, it feels good to have that on my agenda. It's sad to say but the only way to make it happen was to put it on my agenda.

Before you think I’m doing too well with my resolution list and stop reading, I’ll tell you about yoga. I joined Pure Yoga over the summer. I had heard it was this beautiful studio with every kind of yoga imaginable. I told my husband I had joined and he said “but you don’t do yoga!” At the time I dismissed his comment with my own “well I do now”, as if it were that easy. I have been to 4 yoga classes this month. The only part of my body that gets a workout is my neck because I turn it around at odd angles, at all times to see what these yogis are doing. It is a little frustrating and I was tempted to quit. Then, last week I took a hot yoga class with a patient instructor. I was still a long way from keeping up but I liked it. I’m going again this week and will let you know how it goes.

And other items have been neglected this month. I haven’t been to the Farmers market, neither a new one (as per goal) nor my local one, not once. I could say it has been cold (and it has) but if I can run and ski in this weather, I should be able to shop. And patience, did I really put that on the list? I had massive food poisoning this weekend and my 7 year old wanted help with his “important diorama”. Do I need to tell you how that resolution is going?

What’s on your resolution list? You can use that word after January, it’s ok. Where is your motivation at? Any advice on yoga or patience?