Tag: mom dishes it out

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.

 

 

 

A Year in Review

A Year in Review

A Year in Review

 

  Picture courtesy Wynand van  Niekerk at freeimages.com                                                                                                                                       

by Laura Cipullo and the Whole Nutrition Services Team

Want the scoop on Lisa and Laura’s nutrition perspective? Below are some highlighted press pieces to get a flavor of our nutrition palate.  From nutrition recommendations and recipes to information about our new book and the January 2017 yoga retreat.

Laura and Lisa’s New Diabetes Book

On March 22nd, Robert Rose will release our new book, Everyday Diabetes Meals — Cooking for One or Two. (Pre-order here.) Living with diabetes is made easier with recipes for the single-serve lifestyle. Diabetes-friendly recipes are all for one or two, including options such as Blueberry Yogurt Scones and Beef Tacos. In this book, we’ve got you eating breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks that will please your taste buds and help balance blood sugar, with carbohydrate contents ranging 45- 60 grams per meal. Get a preview here. Publishers Weekly featured our book as a Spring title to look out for. Lisa and I worked so hard on this book and really hope it is a life-changer! Share your experience on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #EverydayDiabetes.

Lisa Mikus, RD, in the Media

Our own RD, Lisa Mikus, was on tap as nutrition expert for Vitamin Shoppe’s What’s Good site, Women’s Health magazine, Eat This Not That, Self magazine and more. Pick up a copy of Women’s Running magazine in January 2017 issue to read about Lisa’s nutrition recommendations!

Very proud to be sharing my practice with such an awesome RD and author!! #Grateful

Read more about her go-to breakfast and holiday food swap on the Vitamin Shoppe’s What’s Good site. She also shared her pre-workout snack on AOL, gut-friendly snacks at Spark People and favorite kitchen gadget on Self.

Get a Taste for the L’ifestyle

Read my advice for balancing blood sugar, preventing weight-loss traps, rethinking rewards and punishments, avoiding yo-yo dieting, and getting your youngsters into yoga. And check out my appearances on Powerwomen TV, talking about my nutrition philosophies (scroll to the Essie episode in the second row), and the Jenna Wolfe Show, where I talked about stress.

This Mom is Dishing It Out in NJ again

What’s on the horizon for 2017? The opening of my L’ifestyle Lounge, which you can read all about right here on my blog. Look for it in February.

Bequia

From January 25-29, I will be leading a retreat with wellness coordinator Ali Quinn in Bequia. I believe it will give you essential tools  — in terms of mindfulness and stress reduction — as you embark on the coming year. Not to mention how beautiful Bequia is as a vacation destination. You can learn more about the retreat here, on Yoga Digest (which profiled my retreat as one of their top choices for Best Yogi Destinations in 2017), in Shape (which called us a best retreat), and on The Observer, which highlighted it as “a yoga retreat that’s all about getting your body and mind right for the new year. ” Couldn’t have said it better myself!

Holly LoRusso, RD, is on maternity leave until March 2017. Congrats, Holly, on motherhood!

Happy and healthy New Year to you and your family.  Thank you for joining Lisa, Holly and me on the L’ifestyle journey.

 

Throwback Tuesday: Grilled, Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Throwback Tuesday: Grilled, Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Throwback Tuesday: Grilled, Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

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Image via Becky Luigart-Stayner; Jan Gautro at Cooking Light

by Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD and Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Memorial Day is coming this Monday and if you’re a foodie you know what that means, BBQ! And there’s no reason you can’t enjoy Memorial Day as a vegetarian or vegan. A nice substitute for meat is the mushroom. When prepared right, it has tons of flavor and a somewhat “meaty” taste. The health benefits of mushrooms are many — from anti-cancer to antiviral. There are also many different types of mushrooms to experiment with until you find one that suits your taste. One that I like a lot is the portabello. Portabello’s large shape means it also can be made to look like a burger as well.

This recipe gets its flavor from a mix of part-skim mozzarella, plum tomato, rosemary, pepper, lemon and soy. Enjoy!

Check out other types of mushrooms and more of mushroom’s health benefits right here.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup chopped plum tomato
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh or 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 4 (5-inch) portobello mushroom caps
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

 

Preparation

  1. Prepare grill.
  2. Combine the tomato, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon oil, rosemary, pepper, and garlic in a small bowl.
  3. Remove brown gills from the undersides of mushroom caps using a spoon, and discard gills. Remove stems; discard. Combine 1/2 teaspoon oil, juice, and soy sauce in a small bowl; brush over both sides of mushroom caps. Place the mushroom caps, stem sides down, on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill for 5 minutes on each side or until soft.
  4. Spoon 1/4 cup tomato mixture into each mushroom cap. Cover and grill 3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with parsley.
  5. Notes: Since the garlic isn’t really cooked, the mushrooms have a strong garlic flavor. Grill the mushrooms stem sides down first, so that when they’re turned they’ll be in the right position to be filled. If you want to plan ahead, remove the gills and stems from the mushrooms and combine the filling, then cover and chill until ready to grill.
 The recipe and photograph in this post were provided by Cooking Light. To see the originals please click here.
Getting Your Children to Chill Out

Getting Your Children to Chill Out

Getting Your Children to Chill Out

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By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD

Kids are stressed out, and really, who can blame them? There’s the pressure to do well in school; to juggle household chores, a social life and extracurricular activities; to fit in with classmates; and to handle all the issues that come with a changing body. Managing that stress is important for feeling good in the moment, and the future: A recent University of Florida study found that kids who experienced three or more stressful occurrences were six times likelier to have physical or mental health issues or a learning disorder than those who did not.

Science backs the benefits of mindfulness when it comes to reducing stress and improving overall health. The University of Massachusetts School’s Mindfulness Program found that mindfulness leads to a 35% reduction in medical symptoms and a 40% reduction in psychological ones. Eating disorders are one example of a psychological issue that can be helped through mindful eating. According to Dr. Susan Albers, “During the past 20 years, studies have found that mindful eating can help you to reduce overeating and binge eating, lose weight and reduce your body mass index (BMI) and cope with chronic eating problems such as anorexia and bulimia, and reduce anxious thoughts about food and your body.”

It doesn’t take long for mindfulness to show a result, either. Carnegie Mellon found that as little as 25 minutes of mindful meditation for three days helped stress. Yoga and meditation specifically help decrease stress hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine.

With all the research showing the benefits of mindfulness, it’s little wonder that schools are catching on and incorporating the concept on a regular basis. A recent Washington Post article reported on how public schools are teaching the concept of mindful eating. Children are getting in tune with their body’s hunger signals, learning to enjoy the flavors of food, and respect the cues the mind/body are relaying to them; they are also learning to respect what they are putting into their bodies, and to respect their bodies as a whole. This all can help prevent eating disorders in middle-school children, a population at high risk for these issues.

In the wake of the Newton tragedy, Dr. Stuart Ablon of Massachusetts General Hospital was brought to New York schools to conduct seminars for 3,000 school safety agents and police officers. Mindfulness — getting children to acknowledge and resolve their feelings — was a key component of the anti-violence program, as was yoga. The goal was for these agents and officers to talk to troubled children before resorting to punishing them.

Mindfulness and meditation are also becoming a part of private school health classes, as the Wall Street Journal recently reported, and are used to strengthen children’s all-around emotional and intellectual wellness.

Spafinder took note of the Oakland-based Mindful Schools, a program that shows adults how to teach mindfulness to K-12 youth, helping over 300,000 children so far.

Beyond schools, mindfulness and general wellness for kids is taking center stage at hotels, spas and resorts, offering children a way to unwind at the same time their parents are enjoying a well-earned vacation.

And don’t forget to check your local meditation or yoga studio! You may be surprised to find they have children’s classes too (like MNDFL, a New York meditation studio not far from my new office). New York even has its own yoga studio just for kids. I recently filmed a news segment there on the very topic of mindfulness for children.

And while all these mindful-based resources are great for kids, it doesn’t mean kids will forge forward without parental support. I ask parents to take responsibility and please introduce, then maintain, mindful experiences at home. Breathing work, meditation apps, mindful eating (check out my books Healthy Habits and Women’s Health Body Clock Diet for more info) and mindfulness meditation are the most studied and effective strategies in the adult population and therefore a great place to start with the kiddies! Leading by example is also important. Consider how you role model gratitude, body acceptance, compassion and mindfulness in your own life. On a personal note, to aid in my own mindfulness journey and lead by example for my children, I decided and am now almost through my own yoga teacher training to become a Registered Yoga Teacher!

 

Throwback Thursday: The Many Alternatives to White Pasta

Throwback Thursday: The Many Alternatives to White Pasta

Throwback Thursday: The Many Alternatives to White Pasta

laura-cipullo-mac-and-cheese

Photo by NYMetroParents.com

By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD

Did you know there’s more to pasta than just white? Pasta comes in so many different types of varieties these days, allowing us to expand our flavor horizons. There’s wheat-free soybean; Shirataki (an Asian pasta made from the root of the Amorphophallus Konjac plant); brown rice pasta; and buckwheat soba, a gluten-free Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour — just to name a few.

Whole wheat pasta has also become a popular alternative, and one that is easily found in your local supermarket. I have a great recipe on Mom Dishes It Out that showcases whole wheat pasta — Whole Wheat Pasta Primavera. The whole wheat adds fiber and complex carbs, and this dish also has peas, zucchini, and peppers as an easy way to increase your veggies. It’s a meal that is full of flavor, doesn’t take all that long to make, and serves four. It’s the ideal dish for a home-cooked Mother’s Day celebration, and a crowd-pleaser for vegetarian friends.

Whole Wheat Pasta Primavera

A delicious dinner made for Mother’s Day..for you or by you…need not be heavy!  Ease up on animal protein with this light and healthy, whole wheat pasta primavera dish! Add seasonal produce like cherry tomatoes, and herbs to naturally flavor this homemade meal.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips

1 cup frozen peas

1 zucchini, cut into quarters

1 onion,  sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried basil

3 tbsp olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound whole wheat farfalle (bowtie pasta)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Method

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Line a large baking sheet with heavy duty foil. In a large bowl, toss all of the vegetables with oil, salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Transfer the veggie mixture to the baking sheet in an even layer. Bake until veggies are cooked and tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, tender but still firm about 8-9 minutes. Drain pasta and set aside 1/2 cup of the liquid.

In a serving bowl, toss the pasta with the veggie mixture. Toss with the cherry tomatoes and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.

For another spin on whole wheat pasta, try my vegan mac and cheese recipe with whole wheat elbows, voted one of the best vegan mac and cheese recipes by NY Metro Parent.

You can also make “pasta” out of the vegetable spaghetti squash. I have two recipes you can try featuring this food on Mom Dishes It Out: Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Basil and Garlic Shrimp with Spaghetti Squash and Spinach.

Try one or all of these fun alternatives to white pasta.  And report back on Twitter or Facebook if you enjoyed!

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