When you sit down to a meal, do you see food or macronutrients?
Let's say you're eating grilled vegetables, rice, and a piece of chicken drizzled with olive oil and lemon. Do you see a variety of food or start calculating the percentages of proteins, carbs, and fats—even before taking a bite?
For many Americans, the focus of healthy eating has shifted from variety, balance, and pleasure to mathematics, regimen, and precision. As our interest in nutrition has increased in recent years, particularly in the US, our perspective of food has changed dramatically.
The entire approach of the Mediterranean eating style is quite opposite to that of our American mindset of fearing foods and avoiding fats. When Mediterraneans sit down to a meal they are having too much fun to think about the foods to avoid or calories to count.
Fortunately—or maybe unfortunately—you don’t have to move across the Atlantic to eat more like the Mediterraneans. There are fundamental elements which can be adapted to any lifestyle or location as a way of boosting your energy, reducing risk of chronic disease, living longer, and aging gracefully.
The top three winners of 2018 excel in their rule-breaking approach to eating by promoting overall health and joyful eating. As Americans, we tend to talk—okay, obsess a little—about dieting, rules, restrictions, guilt, and willpower. Yet, the top three “diets” flip this concept on its head, breaking apart from the pack of American fad dieting culture. To find out why, continue reading here.
Meal-planning, shopping, prepping, and cooking delicious home-made meals on a consistent basis requires time, organization, and a good system. You can’t just wing it. I’ve tried. It requires time and planning. So for those of you who don't have time for the planning and who can’t yet afford a personal chef, the meal-kit delivery services are an affordable and nutritious option.
I get a ton of questions from my students and clients about meal-delivery services, yet haven’t been able to review the subscriptions myself, living just outside most delivery zones—in Spain. That’s why I’m delighted that Reviews.com has taken on the job of ordering up the ingredients, cooking up the meals—50 of them to be exact—and detailing the pros and cons of the top 15 meal-delivery services.
Once you’ve made your own granola at home, the packaged stuff will seem dry, hard and tasteless. I dare you to try this simple and wholesome recipe. You’ll never go back! Not only is this mix tasty, but it’s filled with healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants.
Today I'm delighted to share this guest post and recipe from my colleague, Megan Casper, M.S., RDN of Nourished Bite. Megan believes that eating well, enjoying life and its indulgences, and keeping active are the best approaches for a long, healthy life!
In this video, I show you exactly how to pack low-prep high-energy snacks to power your life on-the-go. By grabbing these natural energy foods, you'll have the fuel you need to power through the day with ease!
This week´s video I lay out the details of how to make whole grains using one simple method, and how to use my no-brainer recipe template to make whole grains taste delicious!! Oh, and I even created an infographic for you, with all the details!
What are whole grains? How do you buy whole grains? How do you make whole grains? How do you add whole grains to the meals? These are the 4 questions I hear the most. I get it. In my first YouTube video—ever—I answer these questions and much more...
Years ago, in my youth, I spent my Junior semester in France “studying” French and history. I use the word “studying” loosely since it was more like an exploration of culture, food, art and travel. I learned a great deal about the European food and lifestyle during my travels, hopping from train to train on weekends and holidays.
On the hectic days of mom life, when you need to feel energized and awesome, the food you eat matters more than anything. To do it all, you have to nourish your body, brainpower and inner excellence, so that you have the power to perform at your best. You can´t be fizzling out or feeling tired halfway through the biggest moments in your life . . . right?
The recent trend in showcasing perfect foods as a means of achieving health might be leading us down the wrong pathway. The food images we see on social media are so pristine … so clean … so pure. It's about time we disrupt dieting and focus on long-term health and having more fun! #disruptdieting
How can a fall tradition of mushroom hunting, roasting chestnuts and donning a tattered apron and handkerchief go toe-to-toe with modern day Halloween costumes, a carnival of candy and epic haunted houses?
It does. This ancient tradition survives in a modern world because it's simple and realistic.
Whether you are hustling with children or without, we all get hangry (hungry + angry) when we don´t eat nourishing foods to keep us satisfied. Yet, determining which foods supply the optimal nutrients can be daunting.
In an effort to streamline that task, I've created a simple list of real foods / rustic foods / whole foods—whatever you call them—to keep stashed in your gym bag, purse, glove box, or European shopping tote. These are low-prep and travel well.
You´ve just finished a great strength training or resistance workout. It might even feel like a small miracle that you made it to pilates class today, considering your crazy schedule and overwhelming desire to sleep in an extra hour. But hey, you did it!
Being a mother is truly one of the greatest gifts on Earth … it also happens to be the most exhausting job in the galaxy. I know for me, the biggest challenge in keeping up with the many tasks of motherhood is just that—keeping up.
What matters most to me each day is having enough power (a.k.a. energy) to enjoy precious moments with my family, and having the clear mental focus required to be super productive in my work. I do this by emphasizing my food and prioritizing my health. I don´t overthink my diet or get bogged down with the minutia of dieting mantras, labels, or rigid rules. I do eat real food—and lots of plants—without striving for perfection.
Why has eating become so confusing? Making what should be a simple decision about what to eat has become almost paralyzing—given the abundance of food options and contrasting opinions on what foods are best for health.
Staying in the know about the latest food and health news can be a bit of a challenge... even for us nutrition nerds. With an overwhelming abundance of news headlines, research studies and diet fads in the media, it is a full-time job sifting fact from fiction. This month I share my favorite links, hot off the press, in this first edition of Freshly Pressed Nutrition & Health News Roundup from Health Out of Habit!
This shift in eating, what I call a Rooted and Rustic approach is focused on increasing your plant foods and whole foods… more whole grains, veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, olives, herbs and spices... yet allows the personal freedom to add some meat, fish, poultry, dairy or eggs, without having to give up all of the foods you love.
Recently, grains and breads have developed a bad-boy reputation, perhaps from the old-school days of low-carb diet trends. You know what I mean. Grains (usually in the form of bread products) toy with our emotions, calling to us across the dinner table from the bread basket or eyeing us through the pastry display case during our morning coffee run. We know on some level we shouldn't indulge in these delights, but who can resist? It´s in our genes to love these highly processed specimens. Then, after we take a bite we feel guilty, creating a conflicting love-hate relationship with breads—and by association—the grains.
Wouldn't it be great if modern superwomen had a toolbelt like Batman, but instead of grappling hooks, it was equipped with special tools for urban life? For example, I would love a mini espresso machine with milk frother built right into my travel mug. That would be nice. I don't know if that´s a thing, but I do know a few tricks for your superwomen toolbelt to minimize the heavy lifting of the mealtime workload.
As a nutrition professional, I´ll be the first to admit that dietitians go a little overboard with the minutia of micronutrients. While I believe it is important to understand the science behind nutrient-health association, trying to apply the academics of nutrition to every meal choice is impractical and makes eating less enjoyable. Rooted and Rustic is the Health Out of Habit approach to food and health by going back to the basics.
Chances are, you know that you need to eat wholesome food to feel better; you saved about a thousand recipes in Pinterest for creating healthy meals; you understand how to boil water and turn on the oven — yet getting into the routine of eating well is driving you crazy. One way or the other, life just has the audacity to get in the way of your idyllic plans of culinary creativity and masterful meals.
There is an expression in Spanish, cambia el chip, which literally translates to “change the chip” but signifies a change in mindset. It originated from changing the memory chip in cell phones when visiting another country to avoid crazy roaming charges. For example, you arrive in a foreign country, swap your home memory chip for a local one, and low and behold, commence communication with the natives. The expression conveys the idea that if something is weighing heavily on your mind or getting you down, cambia el chip and start fresh!
I can safely say that we need to cambia el chip in the way we eat.
There is no shortage of information telling us what to eat and what not to eat. There are entire books devoted to that, yet these methods don’t seem to be helping our ability much.
Instead, what if we change the way we think about food so that the how, what, when, with whom and why would just follow naturally.
We all remember the low-fat diet craze of the 1980’s, right?
Back then we were afraid to eat too much fat out of fear of gaining weight and having a heart attack. However, over these past 30 years, while our percentage of calories from fat has decreased, our waistlines have continued to increase worldwide. What happened was that most people replaced the fat in their diet with refined carbohydrates like muffins, crackers and processed snack foods. Additionally, low-fat diets were difficult to follow long-term since fat, the pleasurable and satisfying part of the meal, was missing. As a result, the low-fat diet offered little benefit for either weight loss or disease prevention.
During that time period, health professionals labeled nuts, along with potato chips and crackers, guilty-by-association for also being high in fat and calories. However, researchers, physicians and dietitians now agree that all fats are not created equal. Healthy fats like mono- and poly-unsaturated fats found in avocados, olive oil, fish and nuts are actually beneficial to the heart, while saturated and trans fats found in potato chips, crackers and processed foods are unhealthy.
Grains have taken a hit over the past few years as a result of the low-carb, gluten-free and paleo diets. There are a number of reasons cited for giving up grains, gluten or wheat, most of which are related to celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, gut health and diet trends.
In the Mediterranean, grains form the foundation of the diet as depicted in the pyramid from theMediterranean Diet Foundation. The graphic shows 1 – 2 servings of bread, pasta, rice, couscous or cereals (preferably whole grains) typically consumed at every main meal.
Mediterraneans are into grains as part of an overall healthy, balanced and varied diet. Just the thought of sitting down to a meal without pa amb tomaquet – a toasted baguette rubbed with sliced garlic and squeezed tomato then lightly drizzled with olive oil – would cause outrage in Barcelona.
One of the most spectacular days in Barcelona is the holiday affectionately called the Day of Lovers, yet more traditionally known as Diada de Sant Jordi in Catalan. The way my 4-year-old daughter says Diada de Sant Jordi is as spectacular as the tradition itself. The many hours of school here in Catalunya have taught her well; however, for me, it’s very hard to fit 3 syllables into the short word Jordi.For now, I’ll stick with Day of Saint George.
The holiday is what I would consider a Catalan version of St. Valentine’s Day but slightly better! This highly celebrated tradition includes a knight, dragon, princess, rose and lots of books. There simply is no better formula for starting a romantic tradition.
The story of Saint George and the dragon is recited around the world. If you need a refresher, you can read about the Catalan version here on the Barcelona City Hall website. In a nutshell, the legend begins with Sant Jordi (Saint George), the patron saint of Catalonia. The heroic saint is said to have rescued a princess moments before from — what could have been — a fiery death by a dragon.
The ultimate guide on how to buy lupini beans, make lupini beans and eat lupini beans. . .without killing yourself. Technically, the beans are poisonous, yet many cultures around the world—from Spain to South America—enjoy these protein-packed, fiber-rich treats for a delicious afternoon snack. This lupini bean recipe shows you exactly how to render the inedible beans edible.
Last week, it came to my attention, via Twitter, that I had indirectlyendorsed Kraft Singles as a healthy food choice for children. Yes, you know, the sliced rubbery “pasteurized prepared cheese product” individually wrapped for your convenience and used to make a shiny food blanket after a few seconds in the microwave.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), formerly the American Dietetic Association, had licensed its Kids Eat Right seal to the Kraft Singles cheese product:
Getting permission to use the academy’s new Kids Eat Right label, derived from the logo for the Kids Eat Right nutrition education program run by the academy’s foundation arm, is a major coup for the Kraft Foods Group, the company behind Claussen pickles, Capri Sun juices, Breakstone’s dairy products and other staples of the American grocery store. The label is approved to appear on the packaging for the regular and 2 percent milk versions of Kraft Singles, which account for roughly 95 percent of the Singles brand.
The label is the first piece of what is to be a three-year collaboration between the academy and Kraft. Kari Ryan, director of nutrition, science and regulatory affairs at Kraft, noted that 80 percent of girls and 75 percent of boys ages 4 to 18 do not get enough calcium, while almost half of all children’s diets lack adequate vitamin D.
Easter here in Barcelona doesn’t center around the Easter Bunny, and you won’t find a single peep to eat – gasp! The bunny doesn’t even make an appearance; there are no baskets draped in cellophane grass, no egg hunts, no plastic eggs, and absolutely no Cadbury cream eggs – double gasp! Easter traditions in Catalonia, Spain, are quite different from our holidays back home, yet fortunately for me, the tradition is very rich in chocolate.
Locals celebrate the age-old tradition known as the Mona de Pasqua (Easter Cake). Over the years, the cake itself has gone through quite a number of transitions, yet Catalans still consider it central to the Easter celebration. From humble brioche beginnings to celebrity chef culinary craft, the traditional Mona de Pasqua has turned into elegant haute couture.
While the origins of the word mona are unclear, some suggest that the word may have come from Morocco and translates to “gift.” Dating back to the 15th century, the cake was traditionally a large ring-shaped brioche filled with cream, jam or marzipan. It was typically made at home and decorated with boiled eggs.