7 Instant Diet Boosters

7 Instant Diet Boosters

(I wrote this title using HBH’s tips)

  1. Eat in color. Your food should be as diverse in color as a rainbow – seriously. Colorful foods are appealing to the eye because they are good for us (not talking about food dye color here!). Brightly colored foods generally have more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Take the grapefruit for example – pink and red grapefruit both have lycopene (a heart-healthy antioxidant) while white grapefruit does not (lycopene is what gives the pink and red ones their color).

    (This picture is a colorful Italian open air market (in Venice).)

  2. Choose brown rice over white. Brown rice is not only more flavorful and satisfying, but it has 6 times the fiber of white rice, exponentially more nutrients, and it’s great for digestion.
  3. Choose rich leafy greens over watery lettuce. Lettuce is a healthy start, but leafy greens pack a powerful punch of calcium, iron, folate, and vitamins A, K, D, and E.
  4. (My favorite leafy green = KALE (click for recipe).)

  5. Choose whole grain bread and grains over white. Same logic as the brown rice – whole grain breads have more fiber, iron, and potassium than their white counterparts. (Beware of brown breads like pumpernickel – they’re not actually whole grain. I love pumpernickel, but I don’t kid myself by saying it’s whole grain. I just eat it cuz it’s good.)
  6. (This is one of my first recipes: Spiced Holiday Braid from 12/07.)

  7. Drink iced (or hot) tea instead of soda. Soda is very bad. Sweeten your iced tea a little (sugar, honey, etc…) and drink up. Green tea is supposedly very healthy (I think all tea is healthy).
  8. (This iced tea is from Slanted Door in San Francisco.)

  9. Pick nut milk over dairy. Nut milk has no cholesterol and no added hormones. Plus, a lot of people are sensitive to dairy and they don’t even know it.
  10. (Chocolate Almond Breeze is my favorite.)

  11. Try fruit sorbet for dessert. Fruit has lots of vitamin C and phytochemicals (color, remember!).
  12. (This is from San Fran too.)

You have any more diet boosting tips?

Exercise of the day: walking home from work (1.4 miles) + the first 25 minutes of Crunch: Fat Burning Pilates.

Here is a cool deal from FreshDirect (a very affordable grocery delivery service that I use a lot) for you – 20% off all local products with this code:

Go local!

More Tips for Beating IBS: Soothe Your Tummy

I had no idea my “help your tummy tips” would be so well received. I got so much wonderful feedback that I want to go on about this a little more.

Go Dairy Free book

(My review of Alisa’s book here.)

Many people suggested that I might be allergic to something – and you are probably right. I spent most of last year dairy-free (my macrobiotic experiment), and during the dairy-free times my symptoms were much less severe. I also tried food combining last year, which helped as well, but for various reasons I stopped doing that.

So I’m going to try something yet again. One commenter (hi Kim!) has a great website about how she deals with her IBS. When I was diagnosed (back in 2004, when the cafeteria food at college made my stomach a writhing mess) I kind of ignored it. My doctor didn’t tell me there was anything I could do; he just suggested that I stop eating the cafeteria food.

The longest respite I had from the syndrome was from 2005-2007. To solve my problems I just didn’t eat much. Great for my digestion, but not that healthy in general – I was too thin.

Now… I’m going to buy a book Kim mentioned on her site called Eating for IBS. From what I can tell, it’s about food combining (but not in the raw sense), trigger foods, and having a happy stomach. I will come up with a plan and post it – if you have IBS too maybe you can try it out as well.

And here are more tips that you all had for calming IBS and pissy stomachs:

  • Don’t overdo the fiber
  • Drink tea (peppermint is particularly helpful)
  • Get checked for food allergies (dairy, gluten, etc…)
  • Stress is a trigger… so chill out
  • Small snacks can help, but don’t snack too much
  • Don’t eat past the point of fullness
  • Careful with whipped cream
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Rubbing your belly in clockwise circles
  • Get some exercise each day – get moving to get moving one might say 🙂
  • Cat/cow yoga stretches
  • Don’t forget about probiotics (supplements)

I am going to try to follow them!

Tonight I have a date with Bobby (I have hardly seen him all week) and tomorrow I’m going to New Jersey to do some wedding tasting with my 2 best girlfriends, my sister (my MOH), and my mom (my wedding savior). Bobby and I are going to Miami next week (oops – think I forgot to mention this) so I need to get lots of stuff done this weekend (work and otherwise).

What are your weekend plans?

Easing a Grumpy Tummy… Who Knew It Could Be So Easy?

I have a love-hate relationship with my stomach. I know I’m not alone. I feel like half of the blogs that I read are written by young women with similar problems. And we’ve all been told we have IBS, the all-encompassing (and oh-so-unhelpful) diagnosis for grumpy tummies that will not cooperate no matter how hard we try. (Aside: my stomach happens to be misbehaving right now, this very minute. Sigh. Will have to try these tummy tips.)

I’m not going to say I have a definitive solution, because I don’t. But I do have a few tricks up my sleeve that help me keep my disobedient stomach in check. I’ll share my top 3, and maybe if I find more I’ll do an Ease-My-Tummy-Tricks Part 2.

  1. Do NOT snack. I find that the more often I eat, the more my stomach bothers me. Forcing myself to eat 3 meals a day (and 3 meals a day only) and possibly an afternoon snack, if desired, definitely offers major improvements to the stomach situation. When I am eating constantly my digestive system never needs a rest. I give myself rest each day, so why not do the same for my stomach? It makes sense.
  2. Do NOT overeat (especially fiber-y foods). Yes, salads are great – but in moderation. If you eat a salad for every meal you will be uncomfortable. You’ll also start to think that over-fullness is normal. I spent years overloading with almost too many veggies, and now I’m still trying to get used to being satisfied when I’m not stuffed. The Japanese have a great expression to summarize these healthy eating habits: “hara hachi bu” – which means precisely, “eat until you’re 80% full”. I look up to both Bobby (who is half Japanese) and his mother for their ability to eat moderately.
  3. Yoga twists. If all else fails, this is what I turn to, because in addition to helping my tum, yoga stretches are soothing for me. One of the best ways to massage and ease the digestive tract is to breathe deeply while in a twist. My favorites are…
    • supine twist: lie on your back. Pull one knee into your chest. Drop the knee to the opposite side (right to left for example) and look away from the knee (if you’ve dropped your right knee to the left, look right). Take 10 deep breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.
    • seated twist: Cross your right knee over your left. Twist to the right. Take 10 deep breaths. Repeat on the opposite side. Make sure your back is elongated and upright; your shoulders should draw down the back. As you breathe out each time, twist a little deeper.

Does your stomach get angry at you? What are your tricks to calm it down?

Link Love: Fix Cold Hands; Drink at the Right Times

I’ve been keeping a list of articles or links that I want to post about, but I keep forgetting. Here they are now:

To Drink Or Not To Drink?

Source.

This article talks about how it’s important to drink a lot of water… except just before and after eating. So many people forget to do the simple things that make digestion easier. The lesson? Don’t drink 20 minutes before or after a meal. It’s that simple.

My next link – I have had cold hands and feet since I was in high school. I googled some remedies, and found this page:

Warmer Hands Naturally! Ten Easy Free Tips Help Cold Hands

Source.

The gist? It gave some physical things you can do that don’t really solve the problem (keeping covered, exercise, don’t smoke), but it also gave some other interesting insights:

  • The wrong kind of calcium supplement can be bad for circulation
  • Margarine is bad as well (duh)
  • And some supplements can help (ginger, fennel, cayenne, potassium, niacin, iron, B C E vitamins, lecithin, Ginkgo Biloba, ACV, etc…)
  • They note that eating meat could help as well.
  • Then there are “warming teas” like sarsparilla root and fenugreek (neither of which I have tried, and I am a tea fiend, so I must!).

Another thing the article said that I thought was very important was that you *must* must must wait 30 days for a dietary change to have an effect on your health. You can’t just go around changing your eating habits willy-nilly and expect something to result in a week. It just won’t happen, especially if you are tackling an issue that has been around for a while.

More tips:

  • Be aware of anxiety and other fear issues and deal with them.
  • Try to breathe better (more deeply).
  • And try to stop stressing.

I will definitely try the tips.

This morning I walked to work. For the last week I was kind of in non-exercise mode (no reason really, aside from the fact that New York was rainy and gross and I didn’t feel like doing anything) but today’s glorious sunshine got me energized and happy. So I did 2 miles in the morning light while chatting with my dad.

The day was busy and eventful, and my lunch was a lovely break – a macrobiotic meal of random steamed veggies and roots with my favorite: miso-tahini dressing. This meal does not get boring to me because I am constantly changing the veggies. I have a nice rotation going on – spinach, broccoli, burdock, sweet potato (purple), kabocha, carrots, daikon, and probably some others I am forgetting.

I also made a delicious bean concoction earlier this week and I’ve been having it often – it makes an appearance at breakfast and either lunch or dinner most days. Recipe to come.

Since I’m still at work I don’t know what dinner will be, and I don’t know what else I will do tonight. Perhaps a leisurely stroll home (probably not – I don’t like lugging the computer more than I have to) or a yummy dessert.

I’m off to have some water and wait at least 20 minutes before I eat. What do you do on the weekday nights?