Monday, October 31, 2016

Is food an issue in your relationship?

Sure you want to eat that?
What are you uncomfortable discussing? Sex? Money matters? I would normally add politics to this list but most of us have extinguished that fear this election season. Today I’m shooting a news segment on couples and food. The producer joked to me “it’s easier to get heroin users to talk to us.” I sent a few emails to clients and friends. We have two women and one man on board to open up about food differences in their relationships. However, the majority of the responses I received went something like “this is a huge issue for us but I’m not sure we want to air our dirty laundry.” Really? We weren’t asking people to strip naked. Rather “he’s a health nut and I’m not” that sort of thing.

When a client enters into a new relationship I always ask, “what kind of an eater are they?” While this may seem unimportant initially, while everyone is on good behavior, you eat three times a day, it will matter. If you love to stay home and cook and he wants to go out every night OR he is gluten free and you are “gluten full” you need a game plan.

No need to completely convert
“We need to work on his eating” a client told me last week referring to her boyfriend.
“No we don’t” I said. Let’s work on your eating. As long as your partner isn’t AGAINST your eating regime, you’re ok. We don’t expect our significant other so think the same way we do and so they don’t need to eat the same exact way either.
My husband loves golf, I promise you he spends more hours golfing than eating. I tried it and I don’t love golf (understatement alert). He doesn’t expect me to golf, we’re good.

Metabolism Matters
When it comes to eating, metabolism, gender and age affect how much you should or can eat.
A tiny woman shouldn’t match a big guy or you’ll have relationship weight gain.

Homemade Helps
Cooking at home allows you to share the experience of meal prep and menu selection. If one person likes fries or steak, you can make baked fries or sweet potato fries and grass-fed steak. Or, you can add a veg for the healthier eater. There’s usually that Venn diagram overlap or some common ground.

No Food Advice While Eating
This is the same advice I give to parents of teens.
“Are you sure you want to eat that?” is never going to be met with “oh you’re right, I don’t’ want to eat that.” If you’re going to say you’re worried about their health, I am sure but don’t worry about it at the table. There is nothing sexy about policing your mate.

Finally, as I said in my blog last week, let’s not be so shy about this. Whether you’re in a new relationship or a longstanding one you can discuss food and eating. Just don’t contact Foodtrainers for “couples Foodtraining” we don’t offer that service for a reason.
We're not on camera, tell me about your relationship food issues. Do you and your partner eat similarly? Was that always the case? If you do not, what do you do to compromise?
And finally, happy halloween...if you missed it here is a link to our "healthy sweets you can eat newsletter".

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Are you thinking about food at the expense of other things

You can be successful in every area of your life and fucked up with food. Oftentimes, you can’t even take in that success if “food stuff” is casting a pall. I recently watched an interview Oprah did with songwriter/composer Carole Bayer Sager (pictured above with the "That's What Friends Are For" crew). Carole described the semi-spiritual way she approaches writing. She spoke of her desire is to help people feel less alone via her songs. There’s a universality to her lyrics that always made her seem like someone who got it. But you can “get it” and not internalize it. 

As the interview moved along Oprah, as Oprah tends to do, delved into Carole’s personal history. In her words, she was a cubby child born to a narcissistic mother. Carole shared a memory where her mother said “fatty, walk behind me”. As we know, those comments sting and stick. I watched his (almost 70 year old?) accomplished, beautiful woman say she had never solved her relationship with food. That chatter over what to eat when to eat and whether she’s eating correctly lingered. That residue of being the “fatty” accompanied her to the Oscars and the songwriters’ hall of fame.

The next day, a story about figure skater Gracie Gold circulated. The first bits I read were that Gracie Gold attributed recent, poor performances to weight gain. Now, Gold is an athlete and her body plays an important role in her results. But when I looked at her performance video I saw a slender, graceful woman. Nobody knows if a couple of pounds on a small frame affected her balance or skills. I don’t know the details about her weight history. What I do know is that one of the top skaters in the world was giving a press conference about her weight.

There are no easy answers here. The more body and weight issues are discussed openly, the more they can be addressed. Many of these issues are traceable to a comment or a crisis (Gold also mentioned she had been depressed) and I can assure you most people have them. New clients often talk about “food noise”. My reply and feeling is that having a system for our nutrition can displace some emotion, can quiet things. But I’ve learned that body image and weight issues do not necessarily fade with age. Like our mental state, there’s a range . We don’t expect to 100% happy and I don’t think we can expect to 100% at peace with our food or bodies either.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

10 tips for an easy fast (and the ultimate fasting secret)

It's not a turnip
I don’t fast for religious purposes but I have many religious and semi-religious clients who fast on Yom Kippur. We've been known to suggest non-religious lent so there’s no reason why everyone can't fast or atone. If you do, some tips:
  1. Don’t feast before you fast- I get the “last supper” (wrong religion I realize) tendency to feast before you fast but that leaves you feeling gross and, more importantly, makes your fast more difficult. Have a dinner portion you’d call skimpy if you were served it at a restaurant.
  2. Fat is your friend- fats take a long time to digest thus providing more staying power. Include avocado (taco Tuesday meets Yom), coconut oil, ghee or tahini in your dinner before you fast.
  3. Go green- fat and fiber are the magic combination, have two cups of green vegetables with dinner (just skip asparagus). 
  4. Portion your  protein- you can have fish or roasted chicken at dinner but protein uses up a lot of water as it digests, so aim for palm-sized portion max.
  5. Drink until you sink :) in the PM hours before a fast have a class of water or herbal tea per hour.
  6. Take a shot- combine 1Tbs apple cider vinegar, a dash of cinnamon and a lemon squeeze in a shot class and bottom's up before dinner (bottoms will come into play in tip #9). This will help balance your blood sugar.
  7. Take D3 to be less hungry- vitamin D decreases appetite, it also helps your body's melatonin relax you. Take your vitamin D after dinner.
  8. 8 is great- be sure to get your sleep before a fast,  less sleep means more hunger. Eight hours of sleep will set you up perfectly.
  9. Another way to get caffeine-try a caffeine suppository. I had 2 orthodox clients mention this so I guess it’s not cheating. It seems silly that the other end is fair game but I don't make the rules. Tylenol makes caffeine suppositories and they will help you remain headache free when fasting. "The fast is best thought of as an instrument to achieve greater things. And so there’s nothing wrong with making your fast as easy as possible, within reason" says a smart rabbi. Why suffer?
  10. Better not bagel! Let’s be honest, even if you’re fasting for religious purposes, a little weight loss never hurt. Or, why gain weight after you spent day fasting? Don’t bagel,  BYO Bagel substitutes such as Organ crackers or Siete, almond flour wraps.
For more fasting thoughts, check out this article from Prevention I was quoted in.
A healthy and happy new year to you! Any other fasting tips or tricks you'd like to share?

Friday, October 7, 2016

Wine just got healthier (for real)

It may come as a shock but I’m not a major wine drinker. My desert island cocktail would involve spirits (specifically Mezcal in case you care). I am, however, obsessed with the whole healthier happy hour concept. If we’re going to drink (you can make your own decision but I am going to), what’s the best way to improve the quality, decrease the side effects and just feel better about it?
Enter üllo, üllo is basically a Brita for your wine. It’s an easy-to-use filter that sits on top of your wine glass. As you pour the wine, the sulfites are removed. Sulfites are preservatives used in most wine production. They can cause allergic reactions and also headaches. It’s estimated 1 in 10 people have a sulfite sensitivity. Even if you’re not the one, sulfites decrease nutrient availability in food. Specifically, sulfites gobble up B vitamins- how rude!
I tested out my Üllo recently for a holiday dinner. Whether it’s bad parenting or not, I had my 12-year-old set it up for me. It was Rosh Hashanah so the wine was sweet which usually leaves me  miserable. While I only had one, small glass (Jam Jar, yum), I didn’t have my usual “red” headache. Cheers and TGIF!
Do you react to sulfites? Seek out wines that are sulfite free? Have you heard of üllo?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Election Eating? We've got you covered.

Something happened during last week’s debate and I’m not talking about Trump losing his s#!t or the Hillary shimmy. No, the something I’m referring to happened to those of us watching.
The hullabaloo disguised as a debate left viewers unsettled and fearful. I felt as if I had witnessed an accident and posted “I need lavender and chamomile and kava and natural calm...and Xanax”  I wasn’t kidding. I couldn’t sleep with the thought that there are people who support “that”. At this point, it’s not being partisan, it’s being human.

The WSJ called it “political anxiety disorder". Sure enough, when there’s anxiety there’s eating, as my clients the next day attested to. Even Carolyn mentioned a half pint of Halo top disappearing as she tried to calm her “Donalds". We coined these election-induced munchies “debate weight” at the office.  With the VP debate tonight, we have a solution:

It contains: healthy, almond cookies, delicious (grain free!) rosemary crackers, crack-like coffee-almond butter (better than that crackpot candidate), a "soufflé" protein muffin and tasty nuts…because this is all nuts. It all comes wrapped in blue tissue paper. Send one to a friend or family member or our vote..send one to yourself.

Have you had any “election eating” or anxiety? I’d love to hear.