Category: What to Eat?

Celebrities who regret dieting

Celebrities who regret dieting

Celebrities who regret dieting

 

 

Jennifer Lawrence picture by Gage Skidmore

by the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Team

Even though strides have been made in the body-positive movement, we still live, by and large, in a diet-happy culture. Women’s websites and magazines try to promote body positivity, but they also publish news about the latest fad diets with annoying regularity. Both types of articles must be popular with audiences or they wouldn’t publish them, and I think that says a lot about us as women. We want to embrace body positivity, yet we’re still stuck thinking we have to be a size 6 (or what-have-you) to be “perfect.” Those who are older can remember when it was even worse: The body-positive movement wasn’t even a thing, so we lived in a world where bigger bodies were never celebrated in magazines or TV, not even a little. All of us –regardless of age — have been subtly brainwashed for years to think diets make us healthier and prettier, but the truth is health does not come from weight and all sizes are beautiful. Celebrities face even more pressure to look thin, but now more and more are speaking out about not dieting. Their voices are important because they have the reach to influence the most vulnerable.

Emma Thompson is one who is speaking out. In a recent interview with the Guardian she said, “Dieting screwed up my metabolism, and it messed with my head. I’ve fought with that multimillion-pound industry all my life, but I wish I’d had more knowledge before I started swallowing their crap. I regret ever going on one.”

Kate Upton has likely experienced even more pressure than Thompson, as a model. But she has said she’s refused to starve herself to become more commercial.

“I still want to hang out with my family and be a normal girl. You have to be confident, and that doesn’t mean starving yourself.”

Jennifer Lawrence, who had been pressured by Hollywood in the past to lose weight, told Vanity Fair that she simply cannot work without food, that she needs the energy it gives her for the day. “Dieting is just not in the cards for me.”

And that’s a great way to think about food – as something that provides you with energy, as fuel. That takes the emotion out of it. It’s not good; it’s not bad; it’s not a reward for doing well at work or a treat “just because.” Food is there so you can get through your day – so you can enjoy yoga class, so you can finish up those last-minute assignments your boss asks you to do, so you can play with your kids! And while all foods fit, you will likely want to choose foods that stay with you throughout the day, that give you nourishment so you can lead your life.

I’ve said this before, but I want us to get to a place where we go back to the original definition of diet (from all the way back in the 13th century!). It originally meant “habitual nourishment” and that’s what it should mean now. That means you take the time to listen to your body throughout the day and feed it regularly, being prepared for “hungry” moments with cheese sticks, Cliff Z bars, or similar snacks that’ll keep you going. And the snack does not always have to be a “healthy” one. Gone are the days of deprivation or treating food as the enemy.

You might think because I have a popular diet book out that I am pro-dieting, but I think of the Women’s Health Body Clock Diet as the anti-diet. Unlike traditional dieting, my book encourages you to consider your body’s needs and not your need to see a certain number on the scale. All foods fit, so have the ones you like (including cookies!) The goal is to create a whole new relationship with food and unlearn harmful messages you may have been taught in the past. It helps you avoid emotional eating and understand when your body actually is hungry (which can be quite difficult, as so many of us are used to mindless eating in front of the TV!). And the best part is once you understand how mindfulness in eating works, you can pass the wisdom onto your kids, helping them have a healthy relationship with food right from the beginning. (If you’re wondering what you can say to your child to promote mindfulness and healthy eating with your kids, check out this blog post.)

You may have spent a lifetime learning and internalizing destructive thoughts about food, so don’t expect it to turn around in a day. I hope you will look to the anti-diet celebrities and to my anti-diet book for some encouragement.

 

The Truth about the BMI

The Truth about the BMI

The Truth about the BMI

by Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD, CDN, Whole Nutrition Services

 

BMI is a term you might have heard of — through either your doctor or a health article or maybe even your child’s teacher. If you don’t know what it is, the initials stand for Body Mass Index, and it is determined by making a calculation using your height and weight. The BMI categories are Underweight (any BMI less than 18.5), Normal (18.5-24.9), Overweight (25-29.9) and Obese (30 or more). These categories are taken very seriously by some in the medical community. The Harvard School of Medicine believes that measuring BMI can tell you if a person is at a “healthy weight,” while WebMD says “it’s important for your health to understand what it is and to know your number.”  Yet Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania researchers believe it does not accurately measure body fat content, or consider attributes like muscle mass, bone density, overall body composition, race and gender. The BBC says that by itself, BMI can’t predict what diseases we will or won’t get.

I believe the BMI can be both misleading and quite damaging. This is something I speak about at length in the Women’s Health Body Clock Diet and my former blogs at Mom Dishes It Out and Laura Cipullo LLC. I certainly do not use it to measure my own, my clients’ or my children’s health.

The BMI reduces poor health to being caused by just one issue – weight. With its’ categories, it clumps bodies to fit into “healthy” and “not healthy” boxes when the science doesn’t always back that up. These categories can lead you to assume that everything above a 24.9 is a problem. But this is not proven. In adults, only BMI measurements of more than 35 or less than 18.5 are affiliated with higher mortality. In fact, as TIME points out,  “some studies show that people with higher BMI tend to be healthier and have lower premature death rates than those with lower BMI.” Overweight and healthy are not mutually exclusive categories. It is entirely possible to be both. And it is possible to be thin and unhealthy. Researchers from Oxford Brookes University discovered that more than a third of 3,000 people who were measured as having a “normal, healthy” BMI were potentially likely to have cardiovascular disease, something you might think only affects those who are overweight. Athletes also may naturally have a higher BMI, and even the CDC admits that it is not sure the overall BMI requirements should extend to them. The CDC’s list of health consequences associated with a high BMI also do not necessarily apply to everyone whose BMI is higher than 30: Mental illness, certain types of cancer, and low quality of life are a few of the things a person with a high BMI is supposedly at risk of, but I’m sure there are plenty of folks in this category who are living and will continue to live happy, healthy lives with BMIs over 30, and many affected by those issues who have a “normal” BMI.

You can see, then, how taking the BMI as gospel could lead you down a dangerous road. Your health choices are your own, but I would personally not see a healthcare professional who uses the BMI as a health tool.

Health is a complicated thing, and it’s not something that can always be relegated to numbers. We have to see the bigger picture, and that’s what the Health at Every Size movement is all about. BMIs can make a person obsessed with numbers, which is such a terrible thing to do to folks who already feel biased against for being a certain weight. People with eating disorders fight daily with an obsession to hit a certain number on a scale, and an obsession with hitting a BMI can lead to similar negative consequences. Dieting to get to a lower BMI can be physically dangerous as well. As I mentioned in the Women’s Health Body Clock Diet, “The famed Framingham Heart Study showed that weight cycling (aka yo-yoing) as a result of restrictive dieting is something that is indeed associated with higher mortality and cardiac disease. It’s actually healthier to be at a higher set weight than to allow your weight to fluctuate up and down by 20 pounds.” Putting pressure on your child to be at a certain BMI can set them up for an unhealthy relationship with food for life. Remember that as a parent you are a role model. Don’t put your child on any kind of fad diet in an effort to achieve any arbitrary weight goals. Body dissatisfaction, body shaming and eating disorders are some of the things a focus on BMI can do to kids.

That being said, you should know that there is a chance your child will get screened for BMI in school. One agency – the Institute of Medicine – endorses that, but others – including the CDC– do not. New York, Arkansas and California are some of the states that do BMI screening for children in schools. BMIs are also part of the FitnessGram. If your child does bring the results of a BMI screening from school, consider asking your child if they have any questions about this screening. Whatever you do, don’t place urgency on it and restrict your child. Be curious. Ask yourself questions such as, Is my child active on a daily basis? Does my child eat in respect to his/her body? Does my child eat all foods without guilt? Does my child hide their food? This is not a question of how many veggies are they eating. Rather, is your child getting caught up in using food or restricting food for emotional reasons? Any concern you have about your child’s health should be discussed with your pediatrician and/or registered dietitian specializing in the prevention and treatment of eating disorders or HAES. And always remember, choose healthcare professionals who share the same All Foods Fit, All Bodies Fit value system you do.

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday: Entertain the Concept of Health this Holiday Season

Throwback Thursday: Entertain the Concept of Health this Holiday Season

Throwback Thursday: Entertain the Concept of Health this Holiday Season

 

                                   Picture courtesy Kimberly V. at freeimages.com                                        by Laura Cipullo and the Whole Nutrition Services Team

The holidays are almost here! I thought now would be the perfect time to revisit an older blog post about how to celebrate without thinking about your weight and instead just enjoying the present — all the happiness, family and great food that comes with the holiday season. Read on for my tips on how to celebrate health and holidays during the month of December and beyond.

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. Slow and steady wins the race. However, this is not a race, rather an almost two-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 to Celebrate Health and Holidays

  1. 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 your 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.
  2. 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 to 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.
  3. Make a Date – Use your 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.
  4. Slow down and Savor – Being a foodie, I know how hard it is not to celebrate with food. However, you can change your mindset and 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.
  5. Use Your Five Senses – Rather than race through your holiday meal and overeat, be sure to use all five 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.
Bone Broth: Should You Dig It?

Bone Broth: Should You Dig It?

Bone Broth: Should You Dig It?

Image via FreeImages.com/Jean Scheijen

by Laura Cipullo and the Whole Nutrition Services Team

 

As we head in to 2017, bone broth continues to lead the food trends. Wonder what it is? Is it really worth braving the farmer’s market in these cold temperatures for the expensive bones? Let’s navigate the what, the claims and the nutritional value as evidenced by research.

What is bone broth?

Bone broth is a collection of animal bones that are boiled in water and combined with different herbs and spices. It is thought to be very similar to regular soup stock – the kind your grandmother made with the chicken carcass. The biggest difference between regular soup stock and bone broth is that the bones are boiled in water for approximately 24-48 hours.  Grandma’s only boiled for about three hours.  You can drink the broth, add it as a soup base or cook with it when making foods such as mashed potatoes. The greater duration of boiling is thought to be beneficial because it allows the bones to release nutrients and minerals into the boiling water.  It is also thought that by soaking the bone, collagen, gelatin, and amino acids, which are nutrient-rich, become easier to digest.1  

What are the claims about bone broth?

Claim 1:

While there are very few if any evidence-based studies supporting bone broth’s benefits, people are consuming it regularly.  There are claims assuming collagen from the animal bones will make human’s bones stronger. In reality, your body breaks down the animal’s bones into amino acids, which are then used to build hormones and muscles, like any other source of amino acids2.  This is similar to how dietary fat is absorbed by your body and gets used to make hormones, line your nerves and does not necessarily get stored directly as fat.

Claim 2:

Time Magazine’s ‘You Asked’ writes that the book Nourishing Broth claims bone broth reduces inflammation, speeds healing, calms allergies and combats fatigue. It is a mouthful of claims that points back to the collagen found in bones and the connective tissues of the animal’s body and your body, too. When specifically focusing on collagen it is important to know that Vitamin C is needed to bind the two amino acids found in collagen (known as lysine and proline) to form pro-collagen in your body. This means if you are drinking bone broth, you need to have Vitamin C with it to get the collagen benefit (helping to make collagen in your body). But does this reduce inflammation or speed healing? Read The Collagen Connection3 for more food for thought.

Below are four of at least 14 types of collagen documented in Linus Pauling’s Unified Theory of Human Cardiovascular Disease3 by Jim English and Hyla Cass,

What is Collagen Anyway?

Type I: Makes up the fibers found in connective tissues of the skin, bone, teeth, tendons and ligaments.

Type II: Round fibers found in cartilage.

Type III: Forms connective tissues that give shape and strength to organs, such as the liver, heart, kidneys, etc.

Type IV: Forms sheets that lie between layers of cells in the blood vessels, muscles, and eye.

Continue reading “Bone Broth: Should You Dig It?”

How Your Dinner Plate Can Affect Your Health

How Your Dinner Plate Can Affect Your Health

 

How Your Dinner Plate Can Affect Your Health

By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE and Mom

plates1

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.

TheseBPA-free platesfrom Green Eats gives new moms everywhere one thing less to worry about, and are ideal for serving wholesome, sustainable foods to our little ones.

4. The Mom Gone Crazy: Waechtersbach Warehouse Funfactory II Dinnerware

Having a selective, or “picky,” eater can give any mom grey hairs. While eating off of white plates helps to decrease portions consumed, go ahead and apply the opposite logic with these funky, brightly hued dishes. Purchase an entire set of these vibrant plates, one in every color of the rainbow, for variety, fun and for the picky eater, a low contrast combination.

In Dr. Brian Wainsink’s study, people ate more when they were served pasta with red sauce on a red dish and greens on green plates. These low contrast combinations may unconsciously convince your picky eater to nosh on just a few bites more of their meal.

5. The Party Planning Mom: Harvest Table Setting

What can be better than sitting down to a tasty fall meal at a beautifully decorated table? This year, embrace the changing seasons with an aesthetically pleasing dinner table, set for the harvest theme. Choose pumpkin bowls, candles and a fall hued centerpiece to go a step further in creating an environment that fosters an appreciation of feeding and eating.

I personally love the idea of entertaining family and friends, but fall short when it comes to patience and getting the look I want. Use Pottery Barn’s party planning website to learn how to create this warm and inviting Harvest Table Setting.

With your table set and your confidence high, all that’s left now is to decide on what to feed the kids. If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration, be sure to refer to my personal blog, Mom Dishes It Out, where I “dish” on delicious, kid-centric meals and answer real questions posed by real moms everywhere.

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