What Eating Right Means to the Future of Nutrition!

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: 

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

I'm Blogging National Nutrition MonthTo learn more about the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic’s National Nutrition Month, please click here to be redirected to their NNM Page. 

Eating in “Peace”

Photo Credit: catface3 via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: catface3 via Compfight cc

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”…

  1. 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)
  2. What am I hearing? (crunch of the kale, not much else)
  3. What am I smelling? (the bread has this hearth-like smell)
  4. What am I tasting? (sweet, yet tart while the mini rolls were earthy and hearth like)
  5. 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.

 

Photo Credit: Robert S. Donovan via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Robert S. Donovan via Compfight cc

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!

“Shattered Image”: An Interview with Brian Cuban

“Shattered Image”: An Interview with Brian Cuban
By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

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Weight Stigma Awareness week just passed and Laura joined her iaedp NY team at NEDA’s walk for eating disorder awareness this past Sunday. To continue raising awareness, here at EALM we are sharing a very honest and intimate interview with Brian Cuban, lawyer, author of Shattered Image, and brave individual who is sharing his own story of body dysmorphia.


1) How old were you when you realized that you suffered from BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder)? And could you describe what BDD is, from a patient’s perspective?

I was in my 40’s before I knew [BDD] had a name. While the disorder has been around for 100 years, BDD has really only been studied “mainstream” in the last decade. From my personal perspective, it was exaggerating the size of my stomach, love handles and the loss of hair on my head to the point where it affected my ability to function and caused me to engage in self-destructive behaviors.

2) The documented number of men with eating disorders is increasing. Why do you think this is? Do you think our society and the field is offering more resources for men to seek support?

I think it’s because more men are coming forward and being diagnosed because of increased awareness. The increase in awareness makes it easier for a guy to not be consumed by gender stereotypes and stigma and be honest with his treatment provider or other trusted person. There are absolutely more resources. When I first started going through it in the early eighties there was virtually no awareness nor were there resources. I didn’t even know the words anorexia or bulimia existed.

3) Where does bullying fit in the “eating disorder and BDD spectrum”? Would you say bullying was a trigger for your EDO and BDD? Or is there a way to describe to readers how all of these: EDO, BDD, and Poly-substance abuse are all likely to fall in the same bucket?

Bullying is definitely one of the things that played a major role in the development of my eating disorder, especially when that bullying was related to appearance.  It was certainly that way for me. Can I say it was the only reason? No. There was also fat shaming at home. I was also a very shy and withdrawn child genetically. It is possible there was a pre-disposition to such behavior for me.

I started with a distorted image in the mirror. In my mind, if I could change that image to what, I equated, as something that would cause me to be accepted, then everything would be ok. For me, that was being thin at first. When eating behaviors did not work to change the image, I cycled into alcohol and drug abuse, and, eventually, steroid addiction.  I call it a “BDD Behavior Wheel” -constantly spinning with no end game until I addressed the core issues of the fat shaming and bullying I experienced as a child.

4) As a man who has suffered from an eating disorder, in what ways could an eating disorder impact a man’s life that may differ from a woman? (If any).

Gender specific health issues aside, I think the impact is probably the same from a social and day-to-day standpoint. Shame, isolation, health, and impaired achievement affect both men and women with eating disorders. It is society that views them differently. From a male’s “going through it’ standpoint, I suspect much is the same for both sexes.

5) Do you have any advice for moms and dads raising boys or what to look for in terms of signs that their son may be developing a negative relationship with food and body?

I try not to take the role of a treatment provider since I am not one. I can only speak for my behaviors. These are the behaviors I engaged in: trips to the bathroom with water and/or the shower turned on to hide purging, evidence of purging in the bathroom, scraped/bruised finger joints from purging, and eating tiny portions. I was eating less, staying below a specific number of calories per day. Depression, isolation and social withdrawal are big ones. Children don’t isolate themselves without a reason, something is wrong.

6) In addition to genetics and other environmental stimuli, what role do you think nutrition played in the development of your eating disorder and BDD? Was there a message of health versus thin in your house and if so how do you think this affected the ED/BDD?

Nutrition played a role in that it was something I had no context for. Healthy eating was not really something that was a huge topic of discussion in the early 1970’s. I honestly can’t remember whether it was a topic of discussion in my home. I think my parents did the best they could to provide a healthy food environment within the constraints of awareness of that era. I can say that I tended to not eat healthy because it soothed my loneliness and depression in the moment. This typically occurred during lunch and during the day.

7) In terms of eating – do you now practice intuitive eating, mindful eating and/or how would you generally describe your nutrition intake?

Currently I would say that I practice intuitive eating but, I have to admit, I go through yo-yo phases like many others. I actually consulted a nutritionist about a year or so ago and did pretty well with it, but I have gotten away from healthy/balanced eating more than I would like recently. It’s nothing that ties into my disorder in itself, its just life although when I gain weight because of it that can have an effect on how my BDD thoughts play out.

8) Do you have any words of wisdom to share with adolescents who may be struggling with similar issues?

You are not alone and you are loved.  Find a trusted person you can confide in. There is an end game of recovery and a great life if you can drop the wall of shame and self protection for one second and take one tiny step forward by confiding in those who love and care about you.  Don’t wait 27 years like I did. Do it now.

Shattered Image - BCuban

One of our lucky subscribers will receive a free copy of Brian’s book, Shattered Image!

First be sure you have subscribed to EALM and then you can submit more than one entry by doing any of the following.  Be sure to leave an additional comment letting us know you subscribed and liked us! Good luck!

  • Leave a comment here and  “Like us” on our Facebook page
  • Follow @MomDishesItOut and tweet “@MomDishesItOut is having a #Giveaway”

Giveaway ends on Sunday, October 20th, 2013 at 6:00PM EST.

How to Feed a Fast!

By Erin Potasnick, Nutrition Student at Yeshiva University and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Most people have heard of the term “fasting” before. And while we don’t encourage fasting for any reason other than religious holidays, like Tisha B’Av or Ramadan, we’ve come up with 7 Simple Pre- and Post-Fasting Tips to help you get through the process:

1.  Schedule accordingly! – If you’re fasting for a religious holiday, many health care professionals encourage you to adjust your medications to the appropriate fasting times.water glass

2.  Stay hydrated ahead of time! – Hydration is critical when fasting, especially when some religious fasts call for no liquids. Therefore, be sure to consume roughly 8-10 glasses (~64 ounces) of water in the days approaching your fast. It is vital for pregnant women to drink plenty of fluids during the designated times of their fast[1], making sure to have water at their side at all times.

3.  Eat a balanced meal pre-fast – Be sure to include complex carbohydrates, protein, and fats. This should allow you to begin your fast feeling neither hungry, nor full, but content.

4.  Rest and take time for yourself! – What better time to take a mid-afternoon nap than during a fast? Not only will this keep your mind off the impending hunger, but it will also allow you to wake feeling refreshed and re-energized. On Yom Kippur, those in observance fast to ask God for forgiveness, making the fasting period a great time to reflect and gain insight.

5.  Hydrate after fasting – When you break the fast, chose hydrating foods, like fruits, vegetables, and soups. It is important to rehydrate and take care of your digestive system post-fast. We encourage drinking herbal teas, like peppermint tea, with traditional post-fast meals, to help ease your digestion. We also suggest you to take a break, go for a walk, and think mindfully when eating to avoid eating in a binge-like manner and any stomach discomfort.

peppermint tea6.  Stay true to your fast – stick with a buddy! Traditionally families fast together when observing Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av. Sometimes having a partner or group of supporters can really help you stay motivated and stick to your plan!

7.  Be safe! – If you are sick or pregnant, you may want to meet with your healthcare provider to make sure that fasting is appropriate for you at the time.

 

How do you prepare and stay on track while fasting? Have any tips or tricks? Stay safe and enjoy!


[1] Pathy R, Mills K, Gazeley S, Ridgley A, Kiran T. Health is a spiritual thing: perspectives of health care professionals and female Somali and Bangladeshi women on the health impacts of fasting during Ramadan. Ethnicity & Health [serial online]. February 2011;16(1):43-56. Available from: CINAHL Plus with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed September 8, 2013.

 

The Best NYC Bites

The experience of eating can be more than fulfilling a basic need. Eating is a sensory experience that can be admired and appreciated whether it is touch, taste, sound, smell and or sight. Eating in moderation is more attainable when being mindful of the five sensory experiences. Dining at a 3 star or even one star Michelin rated restaurant is an experience to be slowly savored. The new NYC restaurants rated by Michelin include Daniel and Eleven Madison Park.  Rouge Tomate with Chef Natalia Hancock (a registered dietitian) has received one star. Go ahead, practice mindfulness and delight your senses while truly experiencing the art of eating at one of these restaurants. I recently enjoyed my culinary adventures at Marc Forgione, and Gotham Bar and Grill (my husband’s fav).