Mommies Nutrition Made Easy For Mother’s Day By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team
Pregnancy is both an exciting and life-changing experience. Your body undergoes many changes and with pregnancy lasting approximately 38 to 40 weeks, EALM thought it would be helpful to give pregnant moms three easy to follow daily nutrition samples.
Just So Know:
An additional 25 grams or more of daily protein is needed while pregnant. The extra protein is essential in helping your baby grow while in utero.
Eating for Smart Minds
Among the nutrients needed during pregnancy, DHA and EPA – essential fatty acids are of utmost importance. DHA and EPA are associated with brain development and better vision in children. The body cannot make these nutrients so eat up! (Just be sure to not exceed an intake of 3 grams per day while pregnant1.
Building Strong Bones
Calcium is a vital nutrient to consume during pregnancy. It is currently recommended that pregnant mothers ingest 1,000 mg of calcium daily to maintain optimal stores for both her and baby1.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. It is recommended that pregnant mothers consume 600 IUs of Vitamin D per day. Vitamin D is found naturally in few foods such as, fatty fish and eggs but is often fortified in foods such as milk, yogurt and even orange juice.
Importance of Folic Acid3
Folic acid is an essential B vitamin in pregnancy. It helps prevent premature delivery and birth defects such as spina bifida. It is recommended pregnant moms get 600 mcg Folic acid per day.
What About Coffee?
Drinking 1-2 cups of coffee per day is safe during pregnancy. Phew!!
Here are 3 days of meals adequate in calories, calcium, protein, and necessary nutrients, broken into the three trimesters. (Please click on each plan for a larger viewing size)
1. Brown, Judith E., and Janet S. Isaacs. Nutrition through the Life Cycle. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, CENGAGE Learning, 2011. Print.
2. “Vitamin D.” — Health Professional Fact Sheet. National Institutes of Health, 24 June 2011. Web. 10 May 2014.
3. “Folate.” — QuickFacts. National Institutes of Health, 23 Apr. 2013. Web. 10 May 2014.
Fueling Your Passion Ensuring Adequate Nutrition for the Athlete By Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team
In this post, please note that another name for sugar is glucose.
Calling all athletes!
Whether you’re running the NYC marathon or your first triathlon, nutrition is an important key to performance excellence. Knowing the best foods to eat before, during, and after you compete is essential for a successful event and, of course, not “bonking out”! Here’s the lowdown for fueling your race.
2 to 3 days before the event:
Consume a meal consisting mostly of carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein plus some amounts of fat; it’s the most favorable repast for athletes before entering a competition. Eat simple, easy to digest (lower in fiber) carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta approximately two to three days before you compete. Louis Burke, PhD, recommends this lower residue intake to minimize intestinal contents —and therefore prevent the need for bowel movements during the event.1 Eating this way is a key element of running free from bloat and gas during the competition.
This meal focuses on carbohydrates because they are digested faster than protein and fat, thus providing the muscles with adequate glucose (sugar) for glycogen stores (your body’s storage form of glucose). This gives athletes enough energy reserves to maintain higher and longer levels of intensity during the event.2 Adequate glucose storage in the muscles will prevent you from experiencing weakness and fatigue when participating in events requiring extra endurance.
Eating your pre-event meal three to four hours before the game or race is another key element to performing at your very best. A balanced meal will provide you with the maximum available energy you need for competition. Giving your body enough time to digest the meal is key.3
Here are some good examples of pre-competition meals—to be consumed 3 to 4 hours before the event:
Cheerios with low-fat milk and fruit-flavored Greek yogurt with banana
Omelet with cheese and baked hash brown potatoes
White English muffin with avocado and hummus and an applesauce side
Keeping yourself well hydrated both before and during exercise is essential to successful performance. Drinking two cups of fluid (8 oz. per cup) at least two hours before your event can be helpful in preventing dehydration. It’s also important to make sure that you drink another two cups of water for every hour you are competing.5 Preventing dehydration can keep you from feeling fatigued and can prevent your muscles from cramping during your competition. If you’re an athlete participating in an event lasting over an hour, you should also think about electrolyte depletion. Excessive sweating causes you to lose important electrolytes such as sodium and potassium—and can adversely affect your performance. To replace lost electrolytes, consider choosing a sports drink such as Gatorade which will aid in electrolyte repletion and rehydration. Sports drinks usually contain carbohydrates, sodium and potassium. Gatorade (and other sports drinks formulated especially for athletes include water, glucose/sugar and electrolytes) provides the ideal ratio for rehydration and repletion of electrolytes and glycogen stores.6
Recovery foods to consume at your post-event meals are just as important as your pre-event meals. During exercise, your body breaks down its muscle glycogen stores. When your body uses the available glucose in your blood, it needs to switch to reserves. It can quickly break glycogen down into glucose which causes the glycogen stores to become depleted. Due to this breakdown, replenishing your body with carbohydrates is crucial for adequate recovery.7 Make sure you eat enough carbohydrates to restore the glycogen in the muscles that was depleted during the event. Protein will help to repair the muscles that were stressed. Antioxidants are also beneficial at this time; they aid in repairing any free radical damage that occurred during your intense exercise. In general, consuming carbs and proteins within thirty minutes of your workout is ideal for muscle recovery. This muscle recovery period will last for about 30 minutes to four hours post exercise.
Here are some post-event meal ideas to help you recover and prepare for your next workout:
Oat bagel toasted with almond butter and fresh strawberries
Whole grain wrap with grilled chicken, hummus and tricolor peppers
Whole-wheat burrito with white rice, beans and veggies
Grilled salmon and quinoa with steamed squash
Smoothie with low-fat milk, banana, peanut butter, protein powder and wheat germ
Spaghetti and meatballs with spinach
On average, it’s recommended that a female athlete (about 5’4” and 140 lbs.) consume approximately 500 grams of carbohydrates and 76 to 89 grams of protein per day. It’s recommended that a male athlete (about 6’0” and 180 lbs.) consume approximately 700 grams of carbohydrates and 98 to 113 grams of protein per day.7
Providing yourself with the proper energy foods both before and after your competition can make a huge difference in your performance. Eating a low residue, carbohydrate rich diet is important for your pre-event meal while eating within thirty minutes of a competition is crucial for your post-event recovery. What you feed your body both before and after competition can be the most important key for turning an adequate performance in your event into an excellent one!
What do you eat before and after an event? What foods work for your body? Do you have any secrets to your success that you can share with our readers?
Don’t miss out on our giveaway! Click here to enter for your chance to win some great fitness prizes!
7. The Position Statement from the Dietitians of Canada, the American Dietetic Association, and the American College of Sports Medicine, Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research in the Winter of 2000, 61(4):176-192. Accessed April 13, 2014.
FODMAPS: A Look at their Role in Managing IBS By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team
Can you recall the last time you felt bloated, gassy, abdominal cramping, diarrhea or constipation? For most people, these symptoms are mild and once in a blue moon, but for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), there is no cure for this gut disorder and these symptoms are chronic issues that can disrupt the quality of life. The great news is that you can help manage your symptoms through nutrition!
When people think of gut symptoms like those mentioned above, one of the most common suggestions is limiting irritating food triggers like caffeine, alcohol, and fatty foods, as well as increasing fiber intake and fluid intake. However, when dealing with IBS, since these gut symptoms are broad and can vary from person to person, managing them with a one-size-fits all approach is not ideal. While there are various treatment suggestions for those suffering from IBS, following a low-FODMAP diet is the new nutrition therapy approach in town that has the potential to manage symptoms in most people with IBS.
Last month, we were fortunate enough to attend the Nutrition Grand Rounds at New York-Presbyterian Hospital to learn more about FODMAPs and their potential benefits in the treatment of IBS. The presentation featured two speakers Dr. Julie Khlevner, M.D., an expert in pediatric gastroenterology who oversees the new Pediatric Gastrointestinal Motility Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, and Patsy Catsos, MS, RD, LD, author of the book IBS – Free at Last!. While Dr. Khlevner and Patsy both discussed treatment options for people with IBS, each speaker touched on very different areas and treatment options. Dr. Khlevner explained the process of testing, diagnosing and treatment in children and young adults. In terms of treatment options, Dr. Khlevner suggested keeping a food log, keeping an eye on trigger foods, taking probiotics, as well as IBS hypnotherapy. Patsy educated the audience on a food-based approach to treating IBS and the potential benefits of this dietary therapy.
Patsy Catsos explained dietitians play a starring role in the management of IBS. A high fiber intake has been a common recommendation for treating IBS symptom management, however, research has found that few people find the increased fiber to be helpful. Thankfully the use of FODMAPs has been becoming increasingly popular in the management of IBS symptoms and with a relief in symptoms. In fact, evidence has shown a FODMAP-elimination diet to reduce symptoms in 3 out of 4 people with IBS1.
What is IBS?
To start, lets give a background on Irritable Bowel Syndrome. IBS is classified as a Functional Gastrointestinal (bowel) Disorder and can consist of a variety of symptoms. Dr. Khlevner explained the symptoms as the “ABCs of IBS” –
Abdominal pain or discomfort
Change in bowel habit
Stool urgency or straining
These symptoms often greatly impact a patient’s quality of life, especially in children and adolescents. Treatment for IBS can vary greatly per patient; however, common treatment options can include the use of probiotics, increased fiber intake, pharmacological interventions, psychological therapy, and lifestyle and dietary modifications.
What is a FODMAP?
FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates that tend to be malabsorbed in people with IBS and can trigger or exacerbate symptoms. FODMAP is an acronym that stands for:
Fermentable (Produce Gas) Oligosaccharides (Fructans and Galacto-oligosaccharides) Disaccharides (Lactose) Monosaccharides (Fructose) And Polyols (Sorbitol and Mannitol)
How do FODMAPs affect IBS?
The origination of IBS symptoms can, too, be caused by a number of factors, some including, chemicals found in packaged foods, such as nitrates or sulfites, as well as FODMAPs. The ingestion of FODMAPs are not the cause of IBS, rather what can trigger the troublesome symptoms like abdominal pain or bloating. Patsy spoke about the use of FODMAP elimination trials in patients with IBS. This idea behind FODMAPs is that when people with IBS consume sugars that their body can’t properly breakdown, it contributes to their symptoms. The FODMAP approach includes a 1-2 week elimination of all FODMAPs, which Patsy called the Elimination Phase. The FODMAPs are then reintroduced into the diet one at a time to allow for proper monitoring of the patient’s tolerance. It can help you determine which sugars you may be sensitive to, and what foods to limit in quantity or what foods to avoid altogether.
Where are FODMAPs Found?1
Fructans, galactooligosaccharides (GOS), and inulin
Vegetables: cauliflower, button mushrooms, and snow peas
Sweeteners: sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol, and isomalt (often found in sugar-free products like gum, mints, cough drops, and medications)
Important to Note:
Many foods contain FODMAPs and they may be very hard to avoid. You’ll likely find hundreds of food lists and suggestions of foods to avoid, which can lead to both confusion and restriction. Because of this, it’s very important to understand that the FODMAPs approach is not recommended for everyone to follow and is certainly not a weight loss diet or a cleanse, but a nutrition therapy that has the potential to help people with IBS figure out what foods trigger symptoms (…because let’s face it, constant bloating and gas isn’t fun for anyone or anyone around you!). If you’re still unsure about how to treat or manage your IBS symptoms, speak with your doctor, your dietitian, and/or check out the resources below:
And yes, there is an app for that! The research team at Monash recently launched a smartphone application: The Low FODMAP Diet. The app provides a list of hundreds of foods using traffic light signals i.e., (Red = Avoid and Green = Eat without fear) and according to serving sizes since smaller portions may be better tolerated.
Getting Good GUT Flora: The “Pres” and “Pros” of GI Bacteria By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD, CDN and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team
We all hear a great deal about probiotics and their amazing gastrointestinal benefits, but what are the exact benefits and do probiotics need prebiotics to be effective? In honor of Irritable Bowel Syndrome Month, EALM will help you with the “pres” and “pros” of getting good gut flora.
There are prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotics are natural, non-digestible carbohydrates (insoluble fiber). They include “fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) such as inulin and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS).”1 They are “selectively fermented ingredients that allow specific changes in the gastrointestinal microflora that benefit the health of the host.”2 They are “good bacteria promoters” and “may even enhance calcium absorption” per registered dietitian Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, as reported on the eatright website. “Foods naturally with prebiotics include bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans and whole-wheat foods.”1 Foods such as yogurt, and specifically brands like Maia yogurt (a favorite of Ilisa Nussbaum, RDN, CDN at Yale-New Haven Hospital), are adding the good bacteria promoters allowing you to get both the prebiotic and probiotic in one serving. Foods or supplements with both prebiotics and probiotics are called synbiotics.2
Probiotics are “gut-dwelling bacteria that keep pathogens (harmful microorganisms) in check, aid digestion and nutrient absorption, and contribute to immune function.”3 Bacteria such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, L. reuteri, bifidobacteria and certain strains of L. casei or the L. acidophilus-group are used in probiotic food, particularly fermented milk products.2 Think kefir and yogurt.
These probiotics work on the prebiotics. So it’s suggested that one eat plain yogurt (which is fermented and contains live bacteria) with wheat berries and or bananas (foods that contain indigestible carbohydrates) or a yogurt containing prebiotics and probiotics (an easy option for those on the go). One of the best sources of probiotics is yogurt, of course, because it contains lactobacillus and or bifidobacteria. Other probiotic food sources include sauerkraut, miso soup, kimchi, fermented soft cheeses (like Gouda) and even sourdough bread. The common feature of all these foods is fermentation, a process that produces probiotics.4
The 7 Pros of Probiotics5
Probiotic therapy, specifically with Lactobacillus GG, is well supported by research for treating diarrhea.3
Prevention and/or reduction of duration and complaints of rotavirus-induced or antibiotic-associated diarrhea as well as alleviation of complaints due to lactose intolerance.4
2. Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Studies suggest that certain probiotics may help maintain remission of ulcerative colitis and prevent relapse of Crohn’s disease.3
Prevention and alleviation of unspecific and irregular complaints of the gastrointestinal tracts in healthy people.
3. Cancer Promoting Enzymes
Reduction of the concentration of cancer-promoting enzymes and/or putrefactive (bacterial) metabolites in the gut.
Beneficial effects on microbial aberrancies, inflammation and other complaints in connection with inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, Helicobacter pylori infection or bacterial overgrowth.
Normalization of passing stool and stool consistency in subjects suffering from obstipation or an irritable colon.
Prevention or alleviation of allergies and atopic diseases in infants.
7. Colds and Infections
Prevention of respiratory tract infections (common cold, influenza) and other infectious diseases as well as treatment of urogenital infections.
Whether you are trying to prevent the common cold, or manage IBS, prebiotics, probiotics and synbiotics are worthy of consideration. You are probably already eating these foods and don’t even know it. If you need assistance, eating yogurt daily would be a very easy way to make your gut happy.
Happy GUT Meals
Whole-wheat pasta with artichokes, asparagus and olives.
Sourdough pizza crust topped with Munster cheese, onions, garlic and, of course, tomato sauce.
Salmon in a Greek yogurt sauce served with grilled asparagus.
Navigating the Gluten-Free Aisle: A Guide to Gluten-Free Shopping By Lindsay Marr and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team
The gluten-free world can be daunting, especially for a newly diagnosed celiac or gluten-intolerant. Navigating the aisles of the grocery store can seem even scarier. Thankfully, there are more gluten-free options in stores and the labeling laws are becoming stricter, making gluten-free shopping less of a matter of chance. We took to the grocery stores to try and help ease the confusion and offer you a list of some healthful gluten-free tips.
You may remember we wrote about the new gluten-free labels this past summer and touched on the different aspects of the gluten-free diet in the fall. To touch base, the FDA has decided to consider foods with no more than 20ppm (parts per million) of gluten as gluten-free. But, what does 20ppm mean, you ask? 20ppm is the least amount of gluten that can be found in foods via reliable scientific analysis testing. It is also the level that meets many other countries’ standards for safety.
Can you trust a gluten-free label?
With the new FDA rulings, you can expect food companies to be more cautious in their labeling. In fact, we may even see a few gluten-free products come off the shelves, as some manufacturers may not want to go through the trouble of abiding by the FDA’s gluten-free rulings. If you feel uneasy before the August 2014 deadline, you can look for two seals on packages to assure the products you’re buying are gluten-free.
This image was used with the permission of The Gluten Intolerance Group.
Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO): The GFCO is currently the leading gluten-free certification program in the world. It is an independent organization that verifies the “quality, integrity, and purity of products” and certifies gluten-free products to no more than 10 PPM.
CSA (Celiac Sprue Association): The CSA seal is given to products that have undergone a review and testing of ingredients to ensure the product is free of wheat, rye, barley and oats.
Which gluten-free products should I choose?
Gluten free food companies are making efforts to make their food products more healthy by adding fiber, using brown rice flour instead of white rice flour and some are even using gluten free grains like buckwheat for this first ingredient. EALM was quite impressed to see these changes. However, some food labels noted the addition of added fibers like inulin, which is a non-digestible form of fiber that can cause gas.
Let’s Go Shopping!
When searching for the gluten-free foods with the most nutrition, we recommend using the following tips:
Always double check!
Be sure to read the ingredients list for potential gluten, even if the product boasts a GF label or seal of approval from the organizations mentioned above. Food products and manufacturing practices change often and some companies even use the GF seals fraudulently. So, be aware and read those ingredients!
Read the ingredients to educate yourself on which product is more nutrient dense!
When searching for healthier GF packaged goods look for nutrient-dense flours like quinoa, garbanzo bean, and brown rice. Also watch where these items are listed within the ingredient lists – ideally they are listed in ingredients one through five.
Look for natural fiber!
As mentioned before, many high-fiber GF foods contain added carbohydrates like inulin or psyllium husk. While these carbs add fiber without affecting the texture or taste of the food, they can result in gas production (not so comfy for sensitive stomachs). Look for products that are naturally gluten-free, like corn meal or certified gluten-free oats. When in doubt, you can increase your fruit and vegetable intake for a boost of fiber, too.
When in doubt…
Tap into some resources! There are a number of apps, subscription services, and organizations that keep consumers updated on all news relating to gluten-free. Take a look at our list below that will help you be a GF detective.
The CDF offers numerous resources for those affected by Celiac Disease, including a list of GF medications and supplements, tips for managing the holidays, as well as the latest research and gluten-free news.
The CSA’s website offers a host of resources for those with Celiac and gluten intolerance. With lists of restaurants, recipes, and information on GF labeling, you are sure to find great information on all things gluten-free.
Get Political: Speak Up About the Proposed New Nutrition Labels and Serving Sizes (A Huffington Post Blog)
Do you catch yourself staring at the back of packaged foods trying to decipher what the nutrition labels mean? Let’s face it… food labels can be very confusing. Now is our opportunity to have a voice in making changes!
Have you seen the proposals for the new food label? This change would be the first major adjustment since food labels were mandated in the early ’90s. Up to this point, the only modification has been adding trans-fat amounts. The chance to finally update the label gives us an opportunity to help make these labels less puzzling for all of us!
For more of this article and information on the proposed nutrition food labels click here to be redirected to Laura’s article on Huffington Post.
In honor of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic’s National Nutrition Month, we wanted to share our views on eating right. Read what eating right means to the women who make up the team of dietetic interns at Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services:
Courtney Darsa Dietetic Intern at University of Delaware
When someone asks me how I define eating healthy, many different things come to mind. Consuming a balanced diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low fat dairy products, is only part of my definition. The most important part of healthy eating is to have a positive relationship with food. When a person enjoys the food they are eating, it can become a big surprise as to how much more satisfying eating can truly be. Developing a positive relationship with food is not as easy as it sounds. When you slow down to eat a meal, it becomes easier to savor and enjoy the flavors of the particular food you are eating. This gives your body the time to recognize whether or not it is still hungry. Another definition for this is Mindful Eating.
Mindful eating is defined as eating with awareness. It is a great way to measure healthy eating because there is no right or wrong answer. It is about realizing that each individual’s eating experiences are unique and cannot be compared to any other person’s experience. Mindful eating is about listening to your body’s cravings and satisfying them. It is about recognizing that there are no “good or bad foods”, eating food in moderation is important. Yes, there are foods that contain more vitamins and minerals than others (these foods should be eaten more often) but it does not mean that foods that do not contain as many nutrients should be restricted. Healthy eating is all about balance and listening to your body’s wants and needs. By developing a healthy relationship with food, you will be come surprised as to how much more enjoyable your eating experiences can be!
Laura Iu Dietetic Intern at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Instagram: @dowhatiulove
As an alumna of NYU and now a dietetic intern, I’ve realized that studying in the nutrition field by no means makes me perfect in the way I eat; but the way I eat is perfect for me. I’m at my happiest and healthiest when I’m able to cook my own meals, which I prefer to do instead of dining out. I love knowing exactly what ingredients are going into my food which helps me eat healthier, and being in the kitchen is my go-to de-stressor. With every new experience, my definition of “healthy” is evolves. To simplify what “healthy” means to me, I’ll begin by telling you what “healthy” is not. Healthy is not about eating only low-fat foods, low-calories, or feeling guilty after enjoying something tasty. In fact, healthy means not feeling hungry, guilty, or deprived. Being healthy does not mean one must follow a specific diet (i.e. vegetarian, vegan, paleo, etc.) and it also doesn’t mean it must be expensive or the food always organic.
Eating right and being healthy is a balancing act! It requires us to embrace all foods in an amount that makes us feel good, fitting in physical activities for enjoyment, setting aside time for yourself to de-stress, or simply sleep! It’s about nourishing our bodies with wholesome foods—so that we’re not just satisfied, but also energized to live to the fullest today and to another tomorrow—for the people we love, the things we love to do, and most importantly, for ourselves.
Valery Kallen MS Candidate at New York University
Eating “right” means nourishing both my body and my mind. When I think of food, I don’t just think of calories or nutrients – I think of the whole mind/body connection. So when I try to eat healthy, it’s not just to maintain a certain weight, it’s also because I know that I will feel stronger, more focused, and more at peace with my food choices. And that doesn’t mean depriving myself either; it means eating mostly whatever I want, in moderation. So if I feel like having a scoop of ice cream while watching a Saturday night movie, that’s eating “right” to me. Eating healthy means not feeling guilty about the foods you eat. There are no good foods versus bad foods – it’s not a superhero comic book! When you eat a wholesome, balanced diet the majority of the time, you’ll find that you no longer feel shame over eating the occasional cookie, or two. And there’s something very “right” about that.
Lindsay Marr BS Nutrition and Dietetics, New York University
In my opinion, eating right doesn’t have to mean deprivation or limitations. In fact, I believe it means the opposite. Eating right is striving to eat all foods in moderation. As both a nutrition graduate and a person with dietary restrictions, eating right is very important to me. Throughout my time as a nutrition student, I worked to maintain a healthy diet filled with wholesome ingredients and balanced meals. To this day, I continue to do so. My version of eating right means reading labels on the foods I buy to ensure the ingredients are safe for me and checking the quality of the products I eat to be sure I am eating the most nutritional items. I eat a diet rich in fresh foods and make sure to enjoy all foods. Eating right is more than aiming for a certain number on a scale or looking a certain way: it is important to maintaining our health. I eat right to fuel my body with the necessary nutrients it needs to thrive. I eat healthfully to feel good now and to continue to feel good later in life. Most importantly, I eat right to enjoy life.
Alyssa Mitola Dietetic Intern at New York University
Eating right is all about balance, a balance of flavors, tastes, culture, and nutrients. I believe it is essential to nourish your body with adequate nutrients. It is also important to enjoy your food and feel satisfied. When feasible, I love to eat fresh wholesome foods. We are lucky that nature is abundant with so many delicious choices. There is nothing like a fresh tomato in season or a ripe apple picked straight off the tree. But it is important to remember that no food should be off limits when “eating right.” I believe we should eat with intent and take time to enjoy the smells and flavors of the food we eat. Living in NYC, one of my favorite things to do is taste cuisines from all over the world. It amazes me how similar ingredients can be made into so many different dishes. I love discovering new foods and flavors each day. Food and eating not only fulfill essential biological needs, but also social, psychological, and cultural needs. For me, eating right is about understanding all aspects of food and cultivating a healthy relationship with food. Eating right means purposefully choosing foods to fuel one’s mind, body, and soul! Happy National Nutrition Month!
To learn more about the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic’s National Nutrition Month, please click here to be redirected to their NNM Page.
Lunching Revelations While With Your Nutritionist A client of Laura’s opted to go to lunch with Laura one day. Here are her notes on the experience:
A belated happy “Take your Nutritionist to Work Day”! Okay, so it’s not a real holiday…yet (give politicians or Hallmark a hot minute), but I celebrated it a few weeks ago.
See, I have this love-hate relationship with my office cafeteria. My midtown office “caf” is just like most office cafeterias. It’s run by one of the big companies that do these sorts of things, and they offer a lot of selections—hot foods, ethnic food days, taco stations, salad bars, soups and sandwiches. I’ve been eating at the caf off and on through five jobs and for a total of 17 years now. And the experience still stresses me out! So I decided to seek professional help and get nationally recognized nutrition expert and general fun person Laura Cipullo to help me out.
I’ve been working with Laura for a couple of years now. I’ve participated in her meal group (“Supper Club” we called it, even though it wasn’t at all like a Supper Club…starting with the “no alcohol” part) and seen her individually as a private client. While growing up, my parents always expected me to clean my plate. Now, I’m trying to get accustomed to “Mindful Eating.” But I’m getting better at it…and I have fewer food rules. I learned a great deal during our lunch together—both about how to navigate a caf lunch (as well as lunch generally) and my eating habits.
“Walk around,” Laura says, whispering like we are in a movie theater… without the popcorn smell or the movie! I tell her she doesn’t have to whisper; we can talk like grown-ups. She explains that at lunch, we want to get the most nutritional bang for our caloric buck. “Keep it basic,” she says. She tells me to skip the hot food—that it’s better to spend those calories on food when there’s a nice environment and I can really enjoy it. I like my desk, but she’s right. Even when I grab a minute and sit down to eat at a table (ideally with someone), it’s not the swankiest setting. “I want to savor my cornmeal crusted calamari at a fancy restaurant,” Laura says with a smile…and I agree. She’s right about these things!
Still in the cafeteria, I bump into some good friends and introduce Laura. By now, she is using a normal inside voice. She reminds me that there is no “perfect”— and that this is a choice, not a rule. Good thing, because I’m starting to feel a little stressed. She asks me about breakfast and dinner plans. We talk about what I have brought with me for a snack…or what I could pick up.
I end up with one of my regular go-to meals—a salad from the taco station made out of lettuce, black beans (a little soupy), mango, corn and jicama, mixed with a chipotle dressing. I get some guacamole added on the top plus about eight corn chips. She gets a salad from the salad bar with chicken and cheese as her protein. She notes the salmon and the steamed green beans that are the chef’s special along with wasabi mashed potatoes. Laura says that would be a good option if I passed on the mashed spuds. She also okays my go-to veggie burger (no fries). I do know that the buffalo chicken wings (available every Friday)—even if I put them on top of a nice bunch of arugula—are a “Sometimes” food, so I don’t bother to ask about them.
Laura and I then head over to the salad dressing station to talk about the hidden dangers lurking thereon. Later, she texts me that the little plastic dressing cup which looks so cute and innocent actually holds four tablespoons— TABLEspoons! The salad dressing station is like a little island of deceit! Laura recommended to stick with the oil & vinegar and limit the reduced fat dressings – they’re often higher in sodium and added sugars. Laura’s all about the olive oils!
We check out (I’m a privacy lawyer, so I’m using my anonymous credit card that’s not tied to anything that knows I’m me), and I can tell that Laura’s scanning the next aisle to start on a discussion about snacks. I’m glad; I need all the help I can get.
I long ago realized that my biggest issue was letting myself get way too hungry—generally for dinner. But by then, I’m not able to think rationally about portions…or listen to how hungry I am…or even to figure out what foods go together. While knowing the problem is always the first step to solving it, there are still times when I look up from my computer and realize that I have skipped having a snack. And then I’m beyond hungry and don’t have any snack with me!
Laura suggests that I eat half of my salad, take the other half back to my office, and then check in with her in an hour and a half to two hours. We chat about travel plans and what’s going on generally. (Uh, did she tell you that she authored a Rodale cookbook? Ahem!)
We spend 35 to 40 minutes eating—far longer than I usually put into lunchtime chewing if I’m on my own and eating at my desk. I confess that I’m satiated for now with the half-salad, but I wonder (out loud, she flits over my shoulder even when she’s not really here, for goodness sakes) how much of that is because I ate it so slowly…relatively slowly!
And back to the snack dilemma: Laura picked out a Kashi bar (yum) and a yogurt for snack options. I went with the Kashi bar and expanded my horizons (yogurt is my usual snack).
So to summarize:
Those little plastic salad dressing containers are not to be trusted unless you have measuring spoons.
Eating at my desk makes me eat faster and more.
I overthink lunch…and pretty much everything else too! “More healthy and less fancy,” Laura said.
Salad dressings are not to be trusted! Stick to the vinegar and oil.
As in so many things, keeping it simple is best!
And there’s still no “perfect”!
For more tips and tricks on navigating food choices in the office environment, take a peek at Laura’s blog on her sister blog Mom Dishes It Out by clicking here.
Do you have a favorite food brand that you constantly buy? We all have our go-to, tried and true brands that we stock in our cupboards and pantries. Maybe your favorite brand is a classic like Progresso breadcrumbs or Hunts tomato products. Or perhaps it’s a smaller brand like Alexia Foods or Happy Family Foods.
We all pick the foods we purchase based on different reasons. Some of us decide depending on the price of the food, the ingredients, the nutrient content, or even the company’s mission and values. Take natural food brands for example, they advertise their efforts to only choose natural and wholesome ingredients, maybe they’re organic or don’t contain GMOs. And who doesn’t love the idea of supporting a company that gives back to the community?
Maybe you pick a food brand to avoid another brand whose mission you don’t agree with? You may not purchase the major soda brand because you don’t agree with their negative health effects, so you opt for the all-natural, organic juice company instead. You may think that you’re avoiding the big soda company, but you might actually be purchasing from them anyway. That’s right, the larger food corporations own a number of these smaller natural and organic food companies. To see what we mean, take a look at the list below:
Odwalla Smoothies and Juices – listed under brands on the Coca-Cola website. Coca-Cola purchased Odwalla in 2001 in an effort to compete with rival company, PepsiCo.
Vitamin Water – listed under brands on the Coca-Cola website.
Hunt’s Tomato Products – Hunt’s wears the label 100% natural on the majority of its products. It is listed on ConAgra’s list of brands.
Alexia Frozen Foods – Alexia Foods also totes the 100% natural label. They are also listed on ConAgra’s list of brands. ConAgra was sued earlier this year when customers questioned the company’s “all-natural” labeling and their use of a chemical to prevent browning in their potato products. The case settled.
Cascadian Farms Organics
Food Should Taste Good – This company was acquired by General Mills in 2012 as an addition to it’s Natural Snack Food Business sector. The founder of Food Should Taste Good, Pete Lescoe, continues to act as the company’s creative director.
Larabar – Larabar is listed under General Mills’ brands on their website. A letter written by Lara, the founder of the acquisition of the company can be found here. The site also states that Larabar remains 100% committed to their values.
Happy Family Brands – their site states their partnership with Group Danone earlier this year.
Stonyfield Yogurt – According to a press release on Dannon’s website, Group Danone acquired 40% of Stonyfield Farm in 2001, with Gary Hirshberg remaining as active CEO, chairman, and President. Group Danone currently owns Stonyfield Farm and Gary Hirshberg has since resigned as CEO, but remains an active chairman.
Eating in “Peace” By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD, CDN
No matter our age, our education or our past experiences, we are always able to learn more…especially new and different things. Two Fridays ago, alongside my peers, Andrea Gitter, MA, LCAT, and Jill Castle, RD, I delivered a presentation on Intuitive Eating and Diabetes to the New York City Nutrition Education Network (NYCNEN). After the presentation, NYCNEN offered the attendees a mindful lunch meal experience. I was super excited to partake with other registered dietitians and to share lunch with some former colleagues. However, when I arrived at the mindful lunch space, I was told we would be, believe it or not, eating in silence.
Ugh! I was not at an Ashram! I was definitely disappointed by this pronouncement. Of course, I wanted to chat and be mindful at the same time. After all, I live in NYC because, by genetic make-up, I am a confirmed, card-carrying multitasker. This was precious time I could be using to write, work and/or run errands. But I quickly had to let this mind set go and embrace the “silent eating.” I listened to our mindful meal leader Rachel Knopf, RD who was wonderful and engaging.
I took out the meal I had brought with me for the occasion: Thai chicken salad over primitive kale salad with two rather small rolls from Hu Kitchen—one of my favorite lunch spots! Rachel handed each luncher a page from Discover Mindful Eating that posed “Five Simple Questions”…
What am I seeing? (bright green, wet kale leaves; red, mush and chunks – Thai chicken salad; toasted brown and shiny lumps, perhaps millet in the little bread-like rolls)
What am I hearing? (crunch of the kale, not much else)
What am I smelling? (the bread has this hearth-like smell)
What am I tasting? (sweet, yet tart while the mini rolls were earthy and hearth like)
What am I touching or feeling? (the rough texture of the goji berries, the wet kale leaves, the cool temperature of the chicken salad)
I immediately thought to myself…I already know to use my five senses when eating! I just want to talk with these fascinating women. But then I reminded myself that I surely could learn from this “silent” experience…and I did. When we are truly quiet and have nothing to do but pay attention to our food and/or our body, the experience of eating becomes like no other. While I regularly lead mindful meal groups, this experience was truly different because there was absolutely no speaking—from start to finish. Although there were people around me, I sat totally immersed in my own thoughts. I observed how I would so easily and quickly move from concentrating on my five senses while eating to diverting to my to-do list and what I wanted to chat about with my colleagues. Back and forth. Back and forth. I chuckled at the idea that I was really not doing a very good job of being mindful. I thought this must be what it feels like for my clients when they can’t settle their thoughts or focus on their meals. But just then I noticed this ever so slight small change seeming to indicate I was about full. I thought to myself: “Will this hold me for about three hours?” I wasn’t 100% percent sure…or 100% full. As I sat there, I noticed that I still had a physical need to eat more. So I took a few more bites. The experience reminded me of the very subtle feelings of fullness and the need to return to quiet at times during my own meals so that I can really check in with my internal cues. Note to self: I need to be more mindful than I have been of late.
So what else did this “quiet” experience teach me? Well, Rachel helped me to understand that in the world of meditation, mindfulness is simply the act of observing our present thoughts. She helped me to recognize that my thoughts about eating versus my thinking about my to-do list actually were the mindfulness. And switching back and forth between the two was 100% appropriate because I was both aware and observing. I also decided that it may be helpful to engage in this “silent eating” experience with the women who work with me. There is just something transcendent about eating in peace and quiet for an entire meal. I typically encourage people to start with the first few bites only. But if tolerable, it would be an extraordinary learning opportunity to eat a complete meal or snack in silence while just observing personal thoughts. I am so thankful to Rachel and this experience because, quite honestly, I never would have sat down for a meal with a bunch of friends or colleagues and even dared to suggest being 100% mindful instead of talking. And by the way, I also realized that I didn’t care for the Thai chicken salad or the little bumps of bread, but I absolutely love Hu’s kale salad!
So now, I challenge all of you to arrange a meal or snack where you eat in peace and quiet at least just once! We would love to hear what you learn!