Apple Nachos

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What you need:

2 medium Gala apples (Fuji or Granny Smith would be delicious as well)
1/4 cup strawberries
1/4 cup blueberries
2-3 tablespoons shredded coconut
2-3 tablespoons granola
2-3 tablespoons sliced almonds
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon coconut oil

What to do:

  • Slice the apples.
  • Toss the apple slices with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.
  • Slice the strawberries into bite sized pieces.
  • Melt chocolate chips with the coconut oil. You can leave the oil out but it makes drizzling the chocolate much easier.
  • Assemble the nachos!
    • Start with a layer of apples and then drizzle on some chocolate.
    • Continue this process until you use up all the apple slices.
    • Add the strawberries and blueberries and some more chocolate.
    • Top it all off with a sprinkle of granola, coconut, sliced almonds…and of a little more chocolate.
  • Put the nachos in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes or until the chocolate hardens.

What is Mindful Eating?

This is a guest post by nutrition student Naomi Oh.

Naomi is a 2nd year nutrition student from Vancouver, Canada and is studying to become a dietitian. She is passionate about health promotion and enjoys reading health blogs/articles, books, as well as spending time doing creative projects and discovering new places in her city. 

A GUIDE TO MINDFUL EATING

WHAT IS MINDFUL EATING?

The practice of mindfulness is to be fully present and aware of the moment you are experiencing. Mindful eating involves concentrating on the process of eating and enjoying the sensations of food, such that we become aware of our body’s hunger and satiety cues. Mindful eating guides us to eat with joy while nourishing our bodies with energy. Instead of worrying about factors such as weight, we can learn to trust our bodies to tell us when and what to eat in order to feel our best. Research shows that mindful eating helps with weight management and the development of healthy, maintainable eating habits.

Mindful eating helps us move away from:

  • Feeling guilty
  • Dieting or imposing restrictions on certain foods
  • Keeping track of calories
  • Binge eating
  • Concerned with weight or appearance
  • ‘Perfect’ healthy eating

WHY SHOULD YOU EAT MINDFULLY?

1. IT PROMOTES A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD.

Individuals who practice mindful eating are reported to feel happier with their food choices and are associated less with unhealthy eating behaviors.

2. IT HELPS US MAKE LONG-TERM IMPROVEMENTS IN OUR HEALTH.

In a study that examined chronic dieting, it was found that group members learning about an intuitive eating model were able to make long-term improvements, while the dieting group members lost weight initially, but regained it later on.

3. IMPROVES OUR PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING.

Self-compassion is a type of emotion regulation that is linked with higher levels of intuitive eating and reduced disordered eating in women.

10 Tips to Eat Mindfully

GETTING INTO THE ‘MINDSET’ OF MINDFUL EATING:

10 TIPS TO EAT MINDFULLY

1. ENJOY AND INDULGE

Use all five senses as you take a moment when you bite into your food to savor the flavors, the smells, and its textures. Bring out your inner ‘foodie’ and appreciate the beautiful colors and presentation of your food.

2. SLOW DOWN

Sit down, take your time, and chew your food slowly. Organize your day and manage your time to ensure that you have an established meal time, without feeling rushed. If you don’t have the time to eat every meal mindfully, start off by choosing one or two meals a week to eat mindfully.

3. PREPARE YOUR MEALS

Try to plan your meals in advanced and cook your own meals using real ingredients. Be involved with your food every step of the way, from purchasing the ingredients at the grocery store, to preparing and cooking it. Even the simple act of slicing and stirring can feel soothing. The result will be a delicious meal for you to sit down and enjoy.

4. FIND THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT

Bring yourself into an environment where you feel comfortable, happy, and relaxed. Remove yourself from a stressful atmosphere and clear your mind. If you work in an office, take your lunch outside on a sunny day with a co-worker. If you are a student, find your favorite spot on campus.

5. FOCUS ON YOUR FOOD

Remove any distractions such as T.V., any electronics, and work. Clear your ‘meal space’ and remove any clutter. This is not the time for multi-tasking! This is your time to enjoy your meal.

6. BE AWARE OF YOUR BODY’S NEEDS           

Throughout the day, be aware of your energy levels and have a snack ready for when you are feeling hungry. Eating slowly is especially important in recognizing when you start to feel full and should stop eating.

7. TREAT YOURSELF

Make sure to eat nutrient dense foods often but also allow yourself to enjoy those extra special treats. Remember that eating mindfully does not mean ‘perfect’ eating.

8. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

You do not have to follow a certain type of diet or way of eating (vegetarianism, paleo, gluten-free, etc) to be healthy. Identify the foods that make you feel energized and happy and stick with them! By no means is there a ‘correct’ way of eating.

9. CONCENTRATE ON THE EXPERIENCE.                       

Mindful eating is a process. Although it is beneficial to have goals, remember that taking care of your health is a journey. Forget about the number on the scale or the size of your clothing and be as present as possible in the experience of eating your meals and nourishing yourself.

10. LOVE YOURSELF

Before you eat, clear your mind and take a moment to be grateful. Love your body, be proud of your accomplishments and be kind to yourself!

Blueberry Muffin Bread

IMG_0563.JPGBlueberry Muffin Bread

What you need:
2 cups spelt, all-purpose, or Bob’s gf flour
1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon, optional
If using gf flour, add 1 tsp guar gum
1/2 cup xylitol or sugar of choice
pinch stevia or 2 extra tbsp sugar
1 cup milk of choice
1 tbsp white or apple cider vinegar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp coconut or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups blueberries

What to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F, and grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
  • In a large measuring bowl, stir together the first 7 ingredients (plus guar gum, if using).
  • In a separate measuring bowl, whisk together all liquid ingredients except the blueberries.
    Pour wet into dry, stir until just evenly combined, then add the blueberries and VERY
  • gently stir them in only until evenly mixed. Do not over-stir, as this would break the blueberries and you’d end up with purple bread.
  • Pour into the loaf pan and bake 45 minutes on the middle rack.
  • Do not open the door, but turn off the oven and let the bread sit inside the oven for another 30 minutes.

My Health Hero: On Track With a Little Help from My Friend

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Society has programmed us to reach for the donuts when we’re stressed, to sit and watch endless shows on TV to unwind, to seek instant gratification from our fingertips via social media, to watch other people’s “exciting” lives on  Facebook while we wallow in the mundaneness of our own existence. We watch TV while we check out our Instagram feed, while music is playing in the background somewhere– talk about multi-tasking!

It takes effort to live in the moment in this world of distraction. Even more so, it takes much effort to lead a healthy lifestyle (whatever that may mean to you)– to eat right, to work out, to unwind (the right way), and to make time for fun.

Through my health journey, I have had one person who has been there for me, motivated me, supported me, and inspired me– my boyfriend and roommate. We will call him J for privacy purposes.

He has lost over 50 pounds within the course of a year– healthily. Here’s his story.

When we had first moved to the big apple, we started indulging in all the ethnic and unique cuisines the city had to offer– from gourmet cookies, frozen hot chocolate, to street meat. Even with all that walking and public transportation, the lifestyle started to catch up with us. Being at the “unhealthiest” we had ever been and constantly feeling sluggish, we decided to make a change.

He started off working out every single day (it is his relaxation and release), and slowly started changing his diet. At first, he changed what he ate, but still ate the same portions. Later on, once he was accommodated with the healthy foods, he cut down the portion sizes and started listening to his body. In congruence with his consistence workouts, the pounds slowly came off.

Throughout the course of my eating disorder, he has always the one there for me, reminding me to nourish myself when the urge to restrict crept in. His dedication and consistency encouraged me to stay healthy– not lose weight.

**This post was written in tandem with Oscar Insurance’s ‘Health Hero’ initiative–which allows people to express their appreciation for those who have helped them achieve greatness through health! Currently, Oscar is providing one of a kind health insurance to those residing in New York City.

The Truth About Weight Loss and Diets

People around me are constantly jumping on the weight-loss bandwagon with an end-goal of a certain weight that they think will finally bring them happiness, bliss, and the “perfect life.” They embark upon this journey with a mindset that certain foods are good, others are bad, there is a certain caloric limit per day or per week, and there are only certain cheat days permitted throughout the diet.

With that mindset, you are setting yourself up for failure. What happens once you lose the weight? What if you’re not content once you reach your goal? What if you really want to indulge past the allotted cheat meal?

Below are some of the reasons most diets do not work.

The Real Truth about Weight Loss Diets

WHY WEIGHT LOSS DIETS DON’T WORK

Parts excerpted from Mindful Meals Blog:

  • The diet industry makes $60 billion a year off weight loss attempts. Do you think they have your best interests in mind?
  • Post-dieting binges occur in 49% of all people who end a diet, according to one study. The diet-binge cycle is real.
  • Dieting is a predictor of weight GAIN, in a review of 31 long-term studies. Up to 66% of people regained more weight than lost.
  • 81% of TEN-year-olds were afraid of being fat.
  • Dieting is a risk factor for eating disorders.
  • In the Minnesota Starvation study, underfed participants experienced a slow metabolism, obsession with food, intense hunger and food cravings, irritability, depression, apathy, cold intolerance, binging, and even bulimia. These were previously well participants that had severe symptoms from cutting their calories in half.
  • Dieting is linked to eating disorders.
  • Dieting is linked with feelings of failure, social anxiety, and poor self-esteem.
  • Yo-yo dieting is linked to heart disease.*

Your body and mind are connected. Your body is aware when your mind begins to prepare for a diet. So once you start restricting (whatever that may mean to you), your body prepares to hold onto the sugar, calories, and fat you ingest when you do indulge. With dieting, our mindset around food has changed how we naturally see food. Instead of thinking of food as pleasure, fuel, and sitting down to enjoy meals, many of us rush around eating on the go. We buy processed foods marketed as health foods, or buy into the latest news story about what is good or bad for us.

Eat with Love & Respect for your Body

Diets don’t work.

Instead of falling into the trap of restriction, guilt, and shame around food, you can dissociate these emotions from food by giving yourself unconditional permission to eat whatever your body feels like.