Monthly Archives: November 2014

Your Simple Diet – Veggies Are Sexy

Do you need a simple diet that will help you lose weight and keep it off?  You may have had success with Weight Watchers, Dr. Adkins, Jenny Craig and even a gluten-free diet but the weight has crept back on because it is too rigid and structured.  As any one knows in health care, the hard part is not in losing weight; it is maintaining the weight loss.  What if your strategy was not focused on losing weight by counting points. calories and reading all kinds of labels for carbs, fat, and fiber?  What if the plan was to simply take away the chips, cookies or candy that might accompany your lunch, snack or dinner and replace it with something crunchy, colorful and low-calorie like vegetables.   Not a temporary diet, but a whole new way of eating.  Ok, so you laugh.  But really, what if those veggies were really tasty and actually satisfied your taste buds?  What if you actually found some recipes that were simple and delicious?  Isn’t this the real barrier to adding the color to your plate aside from mustard and ketchup?  I know not everyone is like Popeye, ready to pop a can of spinach down their esophagus, but this is a simple diet plan that never has to end and will help you to keep the weight off for good.

Veggies Are Hot

Yes, veggies are really sexy.  Lather them in a bit of olive oil and a smattering of oregano, salt, garlic powder and they are roasting hot.  Let them dance in your chili and your meal will have an extra eye-stimulating allure.  Braise your fish or cook your eggs in them and you will be hopping all night – and I don’t mean to the bathroom.  Veggies leave you full but not stuffed, they satisfy the mouth and the waist.  They leave you feeling happy and not guilty.  What other food does all that?  If that is not sex appeal, then you must think that candy bar, those chips or cookies are completely guilt free – and notice these are plural, most overweight people are not eating just one serving of these.

Your Simple Diet Plan

Be aware that not all vegetables are created equally.  There are some vegetables that are starchy and naturally high in carbohydrates which will raise your blood sugar.  Adding too many of these with other carbs that might be on your plate can lead to a spike in blood sugar and insulin, making your weight loss plan stall.  Starchy vegetables look starchy or taste sweet, and have less water.  They include potatoes, corn, peas, winter squashes, pumpkin, parsnips and even beets and carrots if eaten in large amounts (greater than one cup).   When I eat these I combine them with large amounts of non-starchy veggies.  Here are some ways you can add more sex appeal to your simple weight loss plan.  The highlighted words will connect you to some delicious recipes.veggie yogurt protein smoothis

1.  Four or five days a week try making a smoothie for breakfast.  My recipe takes 5 minutes and it is naturally high in protein and fiber and low in carbs and calories.

simple diet

roasted cauliflower and potatoes

2.  Try roasting an assortment of veggies.  I like to toss them in some olive oil and season them.  I am mindful of the oil I use – one tablespoon of oil has 120 calories.  You can use whatever veggies you like but I love roasting cauliflower and Brussels sprouts together.  If you want some extra color you could add some beets and carrots.  I cut the vegetables into similar size pieces and roast them on a cookie sheet at 400 for about 30 minutes.  I make a bunch of these and have them for leftovers or you could even have them as a snack for that mid-afternoon hunger.

baked egg3.  Try cooking your fish or eggs in a simmering pot of tomatoes with veggies.  I serve this on a bed of brown rice or bulgar.  As a step saver, when I make rice or bulgar I make several cups to have for several meals or freeze the extra for a later time.  This is a one pan meal with easy clean up and little preparation

4.  Add a couple of bags of frozen chopped veggies like broccoli, spinach, or cauliflower to your chili or any kind of soup.  It’s a great way to stretch a meal and to get everything you need in one pot, one bowl.

5.  Make a chicken/slaw wrap.  I take leftover chicken breast and shred it.  I take a large whole grain tortilla wrap and top it with a large amount of prepared slaw mix, you can even use broccoli slaw.  Then I add the chicken, 1/2 can of black means, salsa and low fat grated cheddar cheese.  The whole meal is in your hands, ummm.  Now that is sexy.


Flamboyant Frittata

6.  Make a frittata.  Frittatas are like crust-less quiches but much more flamboyant and sexy baking in a well-seasoned cast iron pan, coming out of the oven all in a huff and a puff!  I like to slice a leftover piece and put it in a whole wheat tortilla on a bed of arugula.

6.  Cut up enough celery, carrots, cucumbers and cauliflower for the whole week to have with some hummus.  You could even package them into individual bags to have them ready to grab when you know you are going to be out of the house during a meal time.

Why not look at getting healthy as a permanent lifestyle change.  Going on a “diet” implies rigid structure and a lot of time.  By just cutting out the cookies, chips, candy and desserts on a regular basis, and adding more colorful, fun veggies in a variety of ways you will get your sexy back and keep it!




Hungry? What Kind Are You?

The tough part of trying to lose some pounds is that you still have to eat.  At least with quitting smoking, excessive drinking, drug abuse, or gambling, you don’t need to do them even a little bit to stay alive.  Furthermore, so much of our culture includes celebrating holidays and special occasions with excessive tasty foods that can make you feel like a party-pooper if you don’t indulge in them along with everyone else.  Moderating food choices can feel a bit like paddling up stream while everyone else is floating with the current.  Being aware of your hunger type will put you in charge of your health destination instead of letting life direct your course.

Hungry Types

Real Hunger

We have all experienced that stomach growling hunger that gnaws at the belly and clears the head of any other thoughts other than the need to GET FOOD NOW.  This kind of hunger happens after going more than 4-5 hours without eating, when ghrelin levels, our hungry hormone, are high and blood sugars are low.  If blood sugars are low enough then people may experience shakiness as the nervous system is stimulated to get the body to release its stores of sugar for the brain.  People may feel irritable as a result of the low blood sugar which makes them want to fix the problem as fast as possible.  If that candy bowl or the leftover donuts from the morning meeting are visible you can bet that those foods will be scarfed.

Solution:  Keep healthy foods like packaged almonds, a nut granola bar, an orange or some whole grain crackers that are not too tempting (like WASA or Rykrisps) near by and eat if it’s been about 4-5 hours since you last ate, before you experience this kind of hunger.  These foods are high in fiber and will take the edge off your hunger until you can eat a real meal.

Two Hours After A Meal Hunger

This hunger is a physiological hunger caused from eating too many simple carbs like donuts, candy, sweet cereal, white rice or pasta in a meal that results in an initial rise in blood sugar making you feel good, followed by a sharp plummet in blood sugar, leaving you with food cravings.

Solution:   What keeps you fuller longer, avoids the sugar spike and prevents weight gain is when you eat meals that have fiber, some healthy fat and lean protein.  Meals should include foods made with lots of whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, steel cut oatmeal, nuts, fresh fruit and vegetables, and lean protein sources like chicken, plain Greek fat-free yogurt (put your own fruit in), lean cuts of meat and fish.   Click here for a Sample Menu.

Afternoon Hunger

This hunger happens around 3-4 pm when the end of the day is in sight, dinner is still a ways off and there’s a hint of dread at having to finish up a few more things.  This is not physiological hunger, this is get-me-through-the-day hunger.

Solution:  If possible, do the things you dislike the first half of the day when you have more energy and are refreshed.   Make sure you are staying hydrated.  Thirst is often times disguised as hunger.   If your urine is not light yellow, then you are not drinking enough water.  Take a few to talk to a coworker or friend.  What you really need is a break, not a mouth deposit.

Visual Hunger

This is probably the easiest hunger to control.  This happens when you are not even hungry but you have the visual cue that stimulates desire and leads to mindless eating, losing track of all the calories consumed because it happens out side of meal time.  And people don’t realize how much they eat when these treats readily available.  Those little Dove chocolates come at a calorie and health cost with 5 pieces containing 205 calories and 7 gms of saturated fat, that’s almost a third of your daily allowance of saturated fat for a 2000 calorie diet.

Solution:  Clear all visual cues.  Plain and simple.  Keep them off the counter and get rid of candy dishes.  Get coworkers to agree on healthier desk top foods like nuts, fresh fruit, or even air-popped popcorn.

Stress Hunger

This hunger happens when you feel you have too much to do and you are not feeling in control.  Your pulse rate may be elevated, stress hormones are circulating and you want this feeling to go away.  The quick fix is to enjoy the sweet tasty morsel of candy, or the crunch of a chip or cracker, or the soft melting sensation of a warm cookie or cool ice cream.  Ummm, now doesn’t that feel better?  Yeah, for as long as you are eating it.  But then when your splurge is over, not only is the stress still there but you are now feeling guilty on top of it!

Solution:  First, identify all the components that are making you feel stressed.  Then, separate the areas you need to address immediately and shelve the areas that can wait.  Separate the emotion from the action.  You may feel stressed but tell yourself that you are doing the best you can and doing your best is all you can do.  Literally, put them out of your mind and focus just on the present.  Then address the physiological symptoms of stress.  Stress causes the release of cortisol which raises blood pressure and increases heart rate.  Both these symptoms can make someone feel anxious.  Take a few minutes and do some slow deep breaths.  Deep breathing increases oxygen to the brain and has a calming effect.  When you are calmer, you feel more in control, you get more done.

TV Hunger

This is probably the most common of hungers and can develop within an hour of eating!  All those visual cues of food commercials just make the kitchen call out loudly!  And even if there are no visual cues, you know if you have ice cream, cookies, chips, candy or crackers around.  That is one thing our minds just never seem to forget!

Solution:  This is where you do some environmental control.  You make your home environmently safe.  You keep tempting foods out of the house.  You find substitutes like low fat popcorn, fruit or even herbal teas to get you through.  You keep your hands busy with a puzzle, knitting or some other handy work.  I have one client who takes his Synthroid after dinner which means he can not eat for two hours afterwards.  This prevents him from splurging.  You could even try turning off the TV during commercials, change stations or even just go to bed early and read.

Are You Floating or Paddling with Purpose to Your Health Destination?

What do you want for your health?  Do you have a plan to get where you want or are you just floating along not taking charge of your destination?  If you are trying to lose weight, then you need to know your types of hunger and have a plan in place for all of them if you want to reach your health destination.  Otherwise, you are just floating and you’ll never be prepared for the rocks and waves up ahead.