Tis the season of food, food and food. So how do we manage our health while entertaining and celebrating? Instead of fearing weight gain or trying for weight loss during the holidays, let yourself maintain your current weight. Think slow and steady wins the race. However this is not a race rather an almost 2 month period of eating and drinking. This year, vow to make the holiday season healthy with family and friends as the focus and these tips to plan a mindful season balanced between food and fitness.
5 Tips Celebrate Health and Holidays
Focus on Family and Friends – Growing up in an Italian family I remember the holidays were about food and family. Instead of making food for 25 people, we made enough for 50 people. Instead of sitting around the fire, we sat around the table. If this was your family, start a new tradition this year. Celebrate you health and the holiday season by focusing on family and friends not food. Have family and friends come over to socialize rather than eat. You can serve food, but don’t center the evening on/around the food and the act of eating all of it.
Plan Fitness – With limited time, shopping exhaustion and colder weather, our fitness routines get displaced. Since moving increases your energy, your mood and your metabolism, this is the last thing you want to give up over the holiday season. Instead, make dates with friends to go yoga together rather than getting drinks. Schedule spin class or any classes that you have to pay for if you miss. This is a great incentive to make sure you attend class.
Make a date. Use you daily planner or PDA to schedule all activities, whether it is food shopping, meal prep, exercise or therapy. If it gets scheduled just like any important meeting, you will set the precedent to ensure this activity gets done.
Slow down and Savor – Being a foodie, I know how hard it is not to celebrate with food. However, you can change your mindset of that of your guests too by hosting smaller more intimate holiday parties. Create small intense flavorful meals. Start the meal off with a prayer, a toast or even a moment of silence to allow you and your guests to refocus, create inner calm, and engage in mindful eating.
Use Your Five Senses: Rather than race through your holiday meal and overeat, be sure to use all 5 senses while eating. Smell your food and think about memories the aroma may conjure up. Touch your food; Is your bread hot and crusty or naturally rough with seeds and nuts? Think about the texture and how it makes you feel. Really look at the plate. Is the food presented beautifully? Are there multiple colors on your plate, there should be. Listen to the food, yes listen to see if the turkey’s skin is crispy or the biscotti crunchy. And finally taste your meal!! Many people eat an entire meal and Can never tell you what it really tasted like. They were too busy talking, or shoveling the food in so they could either leave the dinner table or get seconds. This holiday season, be healthy mentally and physically by truly tasting your food and appreciating each bite. A small amount of food tasted will fulfill you more than a few plates of food you never tasted would.
Life after menopause… By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team
Menopause, the permanent end of menstruation and fertility, is defined as occurring 12 months after your last menstrual period. Women typically enter peri-menopause and then menopause in their 40s and 50s. The average age for menopause is 51.1 The transition into this phase in a woman’s life cycle and living optimally thereafter can be ameliorated through diet and physical activity. Embrace life after menopause by following these five tips for living life healthfully.
Eat your estrogen through soy! Soybeans contain a hormone-like substance called phytoestrogen. It can mimic the effect of estrogen and have a vast impact on your overall health before, during, and after menopause. Fermented forms of soy are ideal. So choose miso, tempeh, natto, tofu and young soybeans in the pod known as edamame. Stick with eating soy in the real form rather than via supplements and bars.2
Stand up straight. Now is the time to use light weights to counter osteoporosis. Osteoporosis, otherwise known as weak bones, is due to risk factors such as age, genetics, and dietary deficiencies in both calcium and Vitamin D. Women experience an increased rate of bone loss during menopause and for the ten years thereafter. Though osteoporosis is not reversibleat this age, woman can manage, slow and or even stop it by strength training among other things. The act of weight training increases the activity of osteoblasts (bone building cells) and increases muscle strength which counters the effect of gravity. The effect of gravity on weak bones is observable as “hunch back.” So stand strong—and be sure to incorporate light weights or resistant weight training twice a week.3
Prevent weight gain in the waist area that is often associated with menopause. All you have to do is curb carb consumption at meals. With a decrease in estrogen, women are likely to see an increase in belly fat. While you cannot reverse aging, you can prevent a wide waist by limiting carbs at mealtime. When you eat carbohydrates and even protein, a hormone known as insulin increases to transport the carbohydrates (also known as sugar) into your blood cells. When insulin levels rise, research demonstrates there is likely an increase in belly fat deposition. Therefore, if you prevent insulin from spiking by minimizing the amount of carbohydrates you eat at a meal, not only will you be cutting calories, but you will also be preventing excess belly fat deposits. Women should use 45 grams of carbohydrate per meal and 15 grams of carbohydrate per snack as a guide.4
Stay happy and heart healthy with essential fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are associated with decreased depression, inflammation and triglyceride levels.5 And women are more likely to experience both depression and heart disease after menopause.6 The key to omega 3 fatty acid intake is first ensuring that you are eating the right form—the fish form such as wild salmon, trout, bass and canned chunk light tuna. These fish contain higher amounts of the omegas known as DHA—docosahexaenoic acid. DHA is the specific fatty acid studied whereas the vegetarian sources of omega 3 fatty acids (pumpkin seeds, walnuts and even algae) contain ALA—alpha-linoleic acid. Only ten percent of ALA gets converted to the beneficial form of DHA. So go fishing for dinner.5
Decrease vaginal discomfort…including dryness and incontinence. Some tricks of the trade help to reduce the pain and improve your sex life. During and after menopause, there can be thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls. The decrease in the hormone estrogen affects the moisture level causing vaginal dryness and “pelvic relaxation.” Incontinence is the inability to hold urine from your urethra due to pelvic relaxation.7 The positive news is that research from the Mayo Clinic suggests limiting alcohol, caffeine and or acidic foods to lessen irritation. Practicing yoga and kegel exercises and participating in vaginal physical therapy can reduce pain and even incontinence.8
1. “Menopause.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 24 Jan. 2013. Web. 26 May 2014. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/basics/definition/con-20019726>.
2. Hyman, Mark, MD. “How Soy Can Kill You and Save Your Life – Dr. Mark Hyman.” Dr. Mark Hyman. DrHyman.com, 25 Feb. 2013. Web. 24 May 2014. <http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/08/06/how-soy-can-kill-you-and-save-your-life/#close>.
3. “General Facts on Osteoporosis.” National Osteoporosis Foundation (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 24 May 2014. <http://nof.org/files/nof/public/content/file/2681/upload/899.pdf>.
4. Cipullo, Laura. The Diabetes Comfort Food Diet Cookbook. New York: Rodale, 2013. Print.
5. “Fish Oil: MedlinePlus Supplements.” MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 04 Sept. 2013. Web. 26 May 2014. <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/993.html>.
6. “Depression in Older Persons Fact Sheet.” NAMI. NAMI – The National Alliance on Mental Illness, Oct. 2009. Web. 24 May 2014. <http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=By_Illness&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=7515>.
7. “Urinary Incontinence.” NAMS. The North American Menopause Society, n.d. Web. 23 May 2014. <http://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/causes-of-sexual-problems/urinary-incontinence>.
8. “Yoga, Kegel Exercises, Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy.” NAMS. The North American Menopause Society, n.d. Web. 23 May 2014. <http://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/effective-treatments-for-sexual-problems/yoga-kegel-exercises-pelvic-floor-physical-therapy>.
Take a moment this week to focus more on the positive, forget black and white thinking, and exercise your passion with this inspirational blog post!
More on the Positive – Instead of focusing on weight, scales or muscles, think about the positive characteristics you possess…humor, creativity, passion. Focusing your positive characteristics can help you build self-esteem and positive body image.
Forget Black and White Thinking – No food is “bad” or “good.” Food provides us with energy and nutrients but in varying amounts. By refraining from labeling foods, we can help prevent ourselves from internalizing those same labels. To learn more about how to foster a healthy habits with food, check out the Healthy Habits Program.
Exercise Your Passion – Do you enjoy swimming, hiking or basketball? Have you ever tried a relaxing yoga session or an upbeat spinning class? Trying a new activity with a friend or simply going hiking with your family can be a great way to socialize and fit in physical activity. Experiment with different activities and find what you enjoy the most. It’s important to exercise for health, wellness and enjoyment rather than just weight loss. For physical activity, think about overall wellbeing rather than pinpointing areas you find negative.
Additional Tips for Boosting Positive Body Image
Surround yourself with positive people
Accept that every shape and body size is beautiful
Understand that the media portrays beauty in varying ways. The media and advertisements project images that are often not realistic.
*This post was originally published on the Bitsy’s Brainfood Blog. To see the original please click here.
Is “Gluten Free” for Your Family: Autism and Gluten, Casein Free By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD, and Mom
There aren’t too many quality research studies reporting on the gluten-free diet and its efficacy for children with autism spectrum disorders. However, you definitely hear the media and parents supporting it. The latest solid research a.k.a. randomized double-blind study only had fifteen children with ASD. This particular study from 2006 looked at the effects of the gluten-free, casein-free diet on autistic symptoms and urinary peptide levels. Surprisingly, there were no statistically significant results, still leaving the need for more research and many parents without answers. When reading the overall research, it seems parents may notice behavioral changes but nothing consistent across the board and nothing significant enough to make the recommendation to follow this diet.
However, when you keep reading, the association between ASD and GI (gastrointestinal) complaints is quite clear. Adverse GI symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain are reported from 9 to 91 percent in different study populations1. The cause of these GI problems is unclear, but it appears to relate partially to abnormal carbohydrate digestion1 and abnormal gut flora possibly due to excessive use of oral antibiotics2. If gut flora is a concern, probiotics may help decrease ASD symptoms.
As parents wait for more information, many are willing to try the variety of diets that promise decreased symptoms. Like any child, a child with ASD is an individual and may/may not respond to dietary changes. It could be like many other foods—there are intolerances or sensitivities not recognizable as food allergies. There are many questions for parents to ask themselves and/or their child’s team. Weigh the pros and cons and decide what you think is best for your child.
1. Williams, B. L., M. Hornig, T. Buie, M. L. Bauman, M. Cho Paik, et al. “Impaired Carbohydrate Digestion and Transport and Mucosal Dysbiosis in the Intestines of Children with Autism and Gastrointestinal Disturbances.” PLoS ONE 6, no. 9 (2011): e24585. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024585.
2. Adams, et al. “Gastrointestinal Flora and Gastrointestinal Status in Children with Autism–Comparisons to Typical Children and Correlation with Autism Severity.” BMC Gastroenterology 11, no. 22 (2011). doi:10.1186/1471-230X-11-22
Is Your Cow Grass Fed? By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team
We all know that organic dairy has become the thing to buy in health stores nationwide, but there has been a movement recently towards grass fed dairy products over just organic ones. Why is that?
Grass fed dairy comes from cows eating a natural diet of alfalfa sprouts, grass, and hay, not corn or soy feed. Grass fed cows are not treated with hormones or given any genetically modified products. Some studies have shown that grass fed dairy contains higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids than traditional or even organic milk. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to protect against heart disease and even stroke, and we cannot make them naturally, so we need to get them from the foods we eat. These are a few of my favorite companies making dairy products with grass-fed dairy; give them a try and see if you can taste the difference!
Kerrygold Cheese and Butter, has a wide selection of good butters and cheese free of artificial flavors and sweeteners that come from entirely grass fed cows in Ireland, who graze outside for over 300 days every year!
Maple Hill Creamery, produces the 100% grass fed milk that goes into their yogurt cups and drinkables. Their yogurts have no added thickeners, preservatives, or unnatural flavors. I met a Maple Hill Farmer at Food Fête who is committed to raising cows that eat only grass and never corn or grains.
Organic Valley, has a whole line of products, from milk to cheese to soy products and meat that are organic and free of hormones and pesticides. They also have exclusive grass milks, made only from cows fed grass, nothing else.
Thanks in part to Maple Hill Creamery, a new labeling initiative is being taken on to certify grass-fed verification and traceability so you know when you buy grass fed, that’s exactly what you’re getting! So be on the lookout for labels that say “100% GrassFed”!
Did you know that your dinner plates can actually affect the amount of food you and your children consume? As a mom and dietitian, I understand the need for parents to feed their kids well while fostering a positive relationship with food. This relationship is more complicated than the nutritional value of what you serve, however; in fact, it actually begins with your servingware.
If you haven’t thought about it before, then consider it now. Beyond ingredients alone, parents need to think about the ways in which the environment impacts children’s associations with food. Eating off of dishes that we find aesthetically pleasing or comforting can set us up for a sense of satisfaction before even taking a bite off our plate – and the same goes for our children.
When it comes to finding the perfect plates that suit your parenting philosophies and personal styles, consider yourselves covered. These five picks won’t just help to foster healthy attitudes in the kitchen; they’ll also eliminate unnecessary stress by prompting your ever-picky eaters to finish what’s in front of them.
1. The No Fuss Mom: Corelle White Dish
I’ve eaten off of these plates for years! Dishwasher safe and practically unbreakable, there is nothing better than these crisp, white dishes – except, that is, the price!
For a mere $50 dollars, you can purchase a set of eight of these family-friendly plates.
Eating off of white dishes creates a colorful contrast with your meal which, based on studies by Dr. Brain Wainsink, lends to eating smaller portions and over time, an easy way to lose weight without consciously dieting.
2. The Eco-chic Mom: Bambooware Santa Barbara Dinnerware
For the environmentally sound mother with a love of anything green, these eco-chic plates from Bambooware are made of bamboo and are decidedly awesome.
Not only are they melamine-free, but these low-impact plates are both reusable and dishwasher safe, making them perfect for every occasion, from family meals to birthday parties and more.
3. The New Mom: Green Eats BPA-Free Kids Dishes
Babies and tots are known for touching, tantrums and throwing, so we’re not exactly serving our little bundles of joy baby food or even finger food off of our finest china. Yet with all the talk and rising concerns about BPA, many parents are hesitant to use plastic servingware, bottles and plates – even if many states, including New York and California, have put BPA-free laws in place.
These BPA-free plates from Green Eats gives new moms everywhere one thing less to worry about, and are ideal for serving wholesome, sustainable foods to our little ones.
I always wanted to do a CSA share. However, I was always hesitant due to the fact I would need to drive somewhere to get the farm produce. It was not practical. But then I found Farmigo. I am now the community organizer for my neighborhood. We get deliveries once a week. So I finally found a way to get really fresh food.
My favorites include the Moxy bread by Free Bread, the farm fresh eggs, and the rainbow carrots! You, too, can get a Farmigo in your area or you can try Spud or Quinciple.
Eating local is becoming more and more popular these days as we shop at farmer’s markets, seek local products in grocery stores, and eat at farm-to-table restaurants. Another way of eating locally is by utilizing CSAs, or Community Supported Agriculture, which create a connection between local farmers and people who want fresh produce delivered right to their neighborhood or even their front door! There are now companies that make it even easier to get these great foods, and these are a few good ones:
Farmigo, farmigo.com, has a large number of pick-up locations in the New York, New Jersey, and San Francisco area, but they also give you the option to organize your own community of farmers and producers in the area you live. You can shop for the products you want – from produce to meats to pantry staples – and they will be delivered to a location close by ready for pick-up! I organized my own Farmigo community for North Battery Park that has 17 members and counting!
Quinciple, quinciple.com, is a New York City based service that creates a box each week of balanced ingredients that can make at least two dinners for two people. Quinciple will deliver to your home or you can pick up from stores in Brooklyn for a flat rate. Quinciple also includes recipes with each box so you do not have to worry about what to cook with items you may not be as familiar with!
Spud, spud.com, is currently only San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Canada based, but their online market is worth checking out even if you do not live in those areas! Spud has an extensive selection of everything from beauty products and pet food to baked goods and ready to eat meals. They will deliver to your door with a guarantee that all products you buy come from local vendors and are organic or produced without GMOs. We hope Spud makes its way to the East Coast!
You can also find smaller CSAs wherever you are located by searching at localharvest.org Happy shopping!
Diabulimia: Learning More about your Teen and their Type-1 Diabetes Diagnosis By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team
Diabulimia is an unofficial term, used by both the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, to define a serious condition effecting, but not limited to, adolescent girls diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
An adolescent diagnosed with diabulimia(known formally as ED-DMT1)is characterized by the intentional misuse and manipulation of insulin for the purposes of weight loss and control. By decreasing, or skipping the necessary dose of insulin, the individual’s body cannot absorb the carbohydrate, which affects weight and causes high blood sugar. This is very dangerous state as high blood sugar can cause Diabetic Ketoacidosis.
Did you know diabulimia’s prevalence is most widely recognized in adolescent girls? Studies conducted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Pediatric Nutrition, report that an adolescent girl, with T1DM, is 2.4 times more likely to develop an eating disorder than her peers. While it is difficult to pinpoint the culprit behind diabulimia, the current assumption is the hyper focus on diet, control and weight. The strict diet associated with diabetes care and the pressures associated with women, eating, and body image could “exacerbate preexisting disordered eating tendencies.” (Childers)
If your tween or teen has diabetes, here are signs that may signify there is an element of disordered eating or an eating disorder:
Frequent Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Use of diet pills or laxatives to control weight
Anxiety about or avoidance of being weighed
Frequent and severe hypoglycemia
Binging with alcohol
Severe stress in family
Frequent Insulin omission (Franz)
This is a relatively new branch to the field of nutrition, displayed by its mixture of symptoms and heath concerns. It is important to remember the American Diabetes Association (ADA) continues to stress that there is no “one-size-fits-all” eating pattern for individuals with diabetes. When it comes to dietary recommendations, there is a strong emphasis on personal/cultural sensitivity and care. If your adolescent shows the above signs, it is highly recommended to seek a registered dietitian who specializes in both diabetes and eating disorders.
What do you think the prevalence of Diabulimia suggests about adolescent girls perception of health? How can we help to reframe this image?
Nancy, Childers, and Hansen-Petrik Melissa. “Diabulimia in Adolescent Females.” Pediatric Nutrition 37.3 (2014): 13-16. Print.
Franz, Marion J., and Kulkarni, Karmeen. Diabetes Education and Program Management. Chicago, IL: American Association of Diabetes Educators, 2001. 159. Print.
The brand Vita Coco, known for their delicious coconut water never made from concentrate, is debuting their very own line of coconut oil. This oil has been used for centuries in ayurvedic therapies and has been making a comeback recently on the general market. The great thing about this tropical fat is that you can eat it and wear it.
Coconut oil has a variety of uses from the kitchen to the powder room. Coconut oil is a saturated fat, but no need to freak out just yet. This type of plant-based saturated fat (or medium chain fatty acid) raises both your “healthy” HDL and your “lousy” LDL, but does not create an unhealthy balance between your HDL and LDL*. Your heart is more in danger when your HDL and LDL are closer in number to each other. Also, because of its saturated chemical structure, coconut oil has a high smoke point. This means that coconut oil can reach high temperatures in the pan or an oven without producing cancer-causing compounds like some other oils. Coconut oil is also solid at room temperature, like butter, which means that it can usually replace butter as a cholesterol-free, non-dairy fat source in, say, your next brownie recipe. Look below for another fun idea to try in the kitchen.
Do you want to feel like you’re in the Bahamas without getting on a flight? Take some coconut oil (about a teaspoon at a time) and slather it on your body as a lotion. This versatile oil leaves your skin feeling silky and hydrated, and the lauric acid (the type of fatty acid in coconut oil) is linked to killing harmful bacteria and boosting one’s immunity.
The researchers are still in disagreement on all of the exact long-term benefits of coconut oil as an anti-viral compound with even the potential power to fight HIV, but there is no doubt that this a delicious addition to your pantry and your vanity.
Before you buy, make sure the coconut oil is as minimally processed as possible. Vita Coco’s version is Extra Virgin, USDA certified organic, 100% raw and cold-pressed, meaning that all the nutrients are retained since the product is never heated. For more information about this product, you can follow Vita Coco on Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #eatitwearitswearbyit, or by visiting their website vitacocococonutoil.com.