Tag: real mom answer

The Evolving Meaning of Yoga

The Evolving Meaning of Yoga

What does YOGA mean to Me? And Soon, You?

Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD

Yoga can be exercise, quiet time, meditation, breathing, practicing kindness and compassion, a lifestyle, a way to turn inward and listen. It can be whatever the individual makes of it. My personal experience of yoga has changed from my very first class in the fall of 1994 through this present day. I am sharing my journey in hopes that you, the reader will feel free to experience yoga in whatever way serves you. Instead of saying “Oh, I don’t do yoga,” perhaps you will tell yourself “I can do yoga and I can make it what I need it to be.”


My Yoga

Now, yoga to me means to breathe (The literal definition means to yoke or to bind). To me, the most important thing my clients and or students can take from practicing with me is how to use your best tool – the breath. It is how to bind the breath with the movement to create a moving mediation. It is at times to lose yourself on the mat and to let go. To get out of your head and out of your body – to just be – without complications. And sometimes it is to connect with your body, to feel discomfort and to breathe through it – learning you can tolerate discomfort by focusing on your breath. Sometimes it is to move in my body, to feel my body, to challenge my mind and my muscles. To face fears, to lose balance, to fall and get back up. To let go of my ego and to recognize my mind and body are different every single day and that is 100 percent okay. That is what yoga is to me today, but it has been an evoling relationship with myself and my mat.



Yoga had always intrigued me. As a freshman in college I took beginner’s yoga as an elective course. Once I felt comfortable with the basics, I ventured into town –Fort Collins, Colorado to really experience something more authentic. I can still recall vividly the first three yoga studios I ever practiced in. I believe I was trying to find a sense of calm and let go of emotional baggage. Well, I let go. I literally hung upside down at this studio in Fort Collins, held by a piece of fabric. I think it would likely be considered acro yoga today. I woke up at 6 am to attend Women Warrior class. Only now do I realize this class was Ashtanga yoga. I remember thinking, “Are we supposed to be female warriors bowing down to the sun?” I also remember feeling my arms shake and the fatigue of the never-ending chattarangas. The physical commitment and the fact that the class was at 6 am – the time of sunrise, led me to abandon this class. (Did I mention I had to ride my bike to class?)


Pre-natal Yoga

My practice was inconsistent throughout years until 2005/2006. I was pregnant for the first time and had an unfound fear that my regular routine of pilates would squish the baby. I felt more confident in the idea of prenatal yoga with a private yoga instructor. My instructor’s name was Jen Guarneiri. She taught me to move with my body. While alignment was important, it should not sacrifice the safety of your body. If my palms didn’t touch over my head, that was okay. This yoga was very accessible. It also felt incredibly good to do while being pregnant. No other movement felt as natural and easy as yoga did while being pregnant. I felt unstrained and at ease in my body. The best part of this scenario is that my husband whom I had thought would never ever practice yoga, became intrigued. My instructor offered him a free yoga session and he too became a yogi. The breathing, the stretching and the need to keep your mind free of chatter brought a new challenge and a reprieve. Yoga and mindfulness became part of our everyday life so much that it was one of the premises of my third book, Women’s Health Body Clock Diet.



After almost 20 years in NYC, we left for the burbs. My world turned upside down. I could not find a yoga studio similar to those in NYC when I needed it most. I could not quiet my mind, nor could I access my authentic self – I needed that – a place to provide a sacred space free of judgment. While I did not find that space, I did find a form of yoga that energized me. Ironically, I realized this yoga was the same form of yoga that I had first experienced in 1994. The opportunity for yoga teacher training presented itself and I knew I needed this now more than ever.


The teacher training experience was pivotal as I reached a new understanding of yoga and that was binding the breath with the movement. I never fully understood Ujjayi breathing until my teachers Lucy Feaster, Renee Scherer and Jenny Mirmelstein at Life Power Yoga emphasized the significance of the breath in Ashtanga yoga. It changed my entire practice. And has since changed my life.


L’ifestyle Lounge

Now my yoga has become the L’ifestyle Lounge, in Closter, NJ. It is all the different types of yoga we offer. It is 80 degrees Rock, Sweat and Glow, it is Breathe and Bend and it is yours, as much as mine. I invite you to begin your yoga experience with me and my amazing staff who are hand picked for individuality. Our classes range from warm power flow to prenatal to open class with instructors such as Lisa Schnall and Elyssa Toomey allowing for authenticity, alignment and your own yoga philosophy. Leave judgment home and come to the mat.

Throwback Tuesday: Dealing with a Picky Eater

Throwback Tuesday: Dealing with a Picky Eater

Throwback Tuesday: Dealing with a Picky Eater

 Image via Flickr/Wendy Copley
Here is the repost of the blog.
Real Mom Question:

“So we are reaching the picky toddler phase already — my daughters will be 17 months on Sunday and they have decided they do not like a lot of the foods they used to, such as eggs, avocado, peas, carrots. They also do not like mozzarella cheese, tomatoes (but like tomato sauce), and no Muenster cheese. Needless to say, I am in need of some lunch options.”

1. I am thinking of peanut butter and banana sandwiches and tuna with cranberries and apples (they like their tuna plain — weird, but I do not ask).


2. Are there healthy deli meat options?


3. We usually give whole wheat pasta with ground beef for dinner and/or turkey meatloaf or chicken from chicken soup. They do like brown rice, but now no veggies.


What does Mom Dishes It Out suggest?

Real Mom Answer:

I most definitely remember those days and it seems the food adventures continue. Do not fret if your child or children decide they are no longer interested in eggs, avocado, peas or carrots. It may not mean that they no longer like these foods, rather they may have grown tired of these foods. Keep these foods in your children’s diet or you will soon be left with no additional options. Instead, continue to offer one of these foods with new favorite foods every few days so that your child continues to be exposed to their former favorite foods. They will also realize they don’t have to eat it. Reintroducing foods is key in food exposure.

So when thinking lunch options, you can still include a side of avocado or egg, just in a new form. Think outside the box:

1. Peanut butter with bananas is a great option for lunch. Serve with whole milk and a veggie squeezer.

2. Tuna with apples and cranberries sound delish! Just be sure the cranberries are easily chewed and not a potential choking hazard. Most important, be sure the tuna is chunk light from skipjack and not albacore to minimize the mercury level. Only give the tuna in 3 oz portions and no more than 3 times per month to your toddler.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund, canned light tuna is the safer choice (with 0.12 parts per million of mercury). They advise that children “under six years of age can eat up to three 3-ounce portions per month. Older children and adults can safely eat it once a week. But look out for “gourmet” or “tonno” labels. They are made with bigger yellow fin tuna and can contain mercury levels comparable to canned white.” (For more information on this topic, please visit the Environmental Defense Fund.)

3. In terms of deli meat, there are now deli meats that are without added nitrites. However, they can still contain nitrites or nitrates from the salt or celery salt listed in the product. Your best bet is to make a homemade organic turkey or chicken and serve this in small pieces.

4. Brown, wild and white rice or whole-wheat pasta with beef, meatloaf and/or chicken are great options to serve the kids. Think about adding a tomato sauce with pureed veggies to this blend. Ratatouille and pesto are other great options to serve with pasta and proteins.

5. Finally, some serious lunch options:

— Pesto Pizza – Spread pesto sauce over a toasted mini whole-wheat pita and sprinkle with shredded Parmesan or provolone cheese. Serve with sliced apples.
— Hummus Wrap – Thickly spread some hummus and a thin layer of avocado on a wrap and roll. Serve with pitted olives, cucumbers, cheese cubes and thin blanched carrots.
— Grilled Cheese with cheddar (use real cheese, not cheese food product) melted on each side of the bread and an egg white in the middle for added protein. Serve with something red – grapes and strawberries for color.
— Mashed Cauliflower – Try the yellow and/or purple varieties for added antioxidants with a homemade chicken cutlet (or Bell and Evans for a quick fix) and sweet potato cubes.
— Sundae Yogurt Parfait – Mix Greek yogurt with granola, frozen fruits pieces and wheat germ in to a yummy bowl for a an easy lunch. Sprinkle with nuts and top with a berry. Take caution with nuts in case of food allergies.
— Turkey Meatballs with veggies like onions or peppers finely chopped into the meatball. Serve with child’s favorite tomato sauce and multicolor pasta.
— Chicken Soup with roasted asparagus tips (just the tips and roasted with olive oil) and a baked sweet potato.


Throwback Tuesday: Is Your Tween Hiding Her Lunch?

Throwback Tuesday: Is Your Tween Hiding Her Lunch?

Throwback Tuesday: Is Your Tween Hiding Her Lunch?

 by Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD

I’d like to share an interesting question I received on Mom Dishes It Out. I understand many of my blog readers may not be aware of my former blog, so once a week, I will be sharing older posts from that site. This week’s throwback post is about a little-recognized issue: Many folks understand that teens greatly suffer from eating disorders, but younger kids can have them too.
Photo Credit: sherimiya ♥ via Compfight cc
REAL GRANDMOM ASKS: My 11 year old granddaughter is hiding her sandwiches and Lunchables that are packed for her lunch in her room — sometimes before she even leaves for school. She takes a bite out of the sandwich or Lunchable and puts it back in the container and seals it up, then hides it in her room. She doesn’t have an explanation for this and you can tell she is embarrassed when you talk to her about it. None of the food is new or disliked, that is why this is such a puzzle to us. My daughter is going bonkers over this and I simply don’t know how to advise her. Maddie has hidden evidence of “sneaked” food before when she was very young, but this is a new behavior. What do you think?

Thanks, Debbie A., a perplexed Grammy



Thank you Debbie for your heartfelt question. I am sure many other grandparents and parents share in your sincere concern for both their daughters and granddaughters. There are a few things you can do without alarming your granddaughter. Be sure to keep this as confidential as possible. It is a very sensitive subject and privacy will help to ensure your granddaughter’s privacy and thus minimize any shame or embarrassment. I will answer the question directed at a mom (or dad) since mom (or the primary caregiver) will need to do the follow through.

In general when any tween is hiding food, consider checking in with the school nurse or guidance counselor (in private) to see if your tween is:

A)   Eating a different type of food at school?

B)   Eating any lunch at school?

C)   Attending lunch at school (some students hide during the lunch period to avoid social anxiety, bullying or to enable skipping the meal for restriction purposes)?

This will give you a better idea of what is happening with your daughter.  There are many things to consider, such as is your child:

A)   Embarrassed to bring a home packed lunch?

B)   Perhaps your child doesn’t like the way their food smells?

C)   Perhaps your child is uncomfortable with their changing tween body?

D)   Has anyone said anything to your tween to make them feel shameful of their body?

E)    Is your child restricting their intake in effort to gain a false sense of control due to changes in friends, family, school…?

F)    Is your tween newly aware of her body and thus restricting her intake to prevent it from maturation?

Next and most importantly, sit down with this wonderful child and let her know you are there to listen. Let her know you promise not to be angry (if you truly do) and can help to support her. Validation is the most important piece. Moms don’t need to solve every problem, rather we just need to listen. Tell your tween you love her and are there for her when she feels ready to share. Giving your tween an unbiased outlet and a few hugs may get her to be honest with you.

If your tween is not ready to confide, you can also offer to take the tween food shopping to see if that helps to resolve the issue. This may give you a better sense of what is going on if your tween actually takes you up on the offer.

If the issue continues, it is best to have your tween see a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (therapist specializing in eating disorders) or a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian (RD specializing in eating disorders). This accreditation is only given to experts trained in the prevention and treatment of eating disorders by the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (www.iaedp.com).

For more blog posts like this one, be sure to head to Mom Dishes It Out.

The Reality: What This Mom Eats

The Reality: What This Mom Eats


Homepage-Mockup3By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD and Mom

This blog was originally posted on MomDishesItOut.com on November 28, 2012

Someone recently asked me, “Do you only eat organic foods?” People have also asked me, “Are you really healthy?” Others, who do not know me well have commented, “I should probably order healthy since I am sitting at the table with a dietitian.” Let me cure your curiosity!! I eat all foods and so do my kids. So what does this mean?

To start off the day, I typically eat what my boys are eating since I can’t resist! Lately I make them homemade multigrain pumpkin pancakes with dark chocolate chips, using eggs and 1% milk.

On average, I eat two big pancakes and my son eats about one. If I am hungrier, I will eat more; this is especially true on Sundays when I spin. I eat prior to spinning and after. Some days I use syrup and some days I don’t. On mornings when I’m not enjoying pancakes with my sons, I have Kashi’s Good Friends cereal with almond milk (as I am lactose intolerant), with a pack of almonds and a banana. Breakfast may vary but one thing remains constant: It’s always followed by a double-tall soy latte!

Lunch during the weekday varies depending if I am home or lunching with clients, colleagues or friends.  Previous meals have included corn bread with a cup of chicken soup from Whole Foods, and from time to time, a chicken gyro. When dining out for lunch, once I am full I take what is leftover and bring it back to the office. Last week was different since I was able to bring Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch. Since I am not a huge fan of turkey, the chicken sausage stuffing was my protein source (and although not low-fat, was balanced by the other sides.) However, if I am home lunch may be a simple peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread with a Greek Yogurt. I am also a huge fan of homemade wraps with melted cheese and avocado.

Dinners always vary. There is no standard since I eat out quite often. Tonight we are having whole-wheat pasta with meatballs (beef – 93% lean and made by me last night). I try my best to cook three meals a week for the family. Ideally, I like to make a grain, protein and serve two veggies but this is not always the case. For example, last night’s dinner was simple: a two egg and cheese omelet with pasta. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing and wasn’t ideal, I couldn’t bare to make anything more complex.  Monday’s dinner was salmon with leftover quinoa and salad topped with cranberries and goat cheese. Sunday was Tandoori Chicken, dried fruit and quinoa. I had red wine with dinner Sunday and Tuesday. When dining out, my  favorite restaurants are Lupa, North End Grill, Commerce and Hudson Clearwater. Recently I have eaten at Acme, Harry’s Italian Pizzeria (with the family which is easy and always a favorite!), and The Lamb.  Meal choices vary depending what is on the menu. It may be pasta at Harry’s, veal meatballs with polenta at Commerce or fish at North End Grill.

Last but not least, I am a chocolate and sweets “mom”ster, so many evenings involve cookies (I love cookie dough too), chocolate bunnies, ice cream or at the very least chocolate chips. The kids enjoy a night snack with me, too. Sometimes we eat yogurt, fruit or perhaps fruit only smoothies.

The reality of my food? I think I eat healthy the majority of the time but don’t stress about it the rest of the time. That means, I eat white baguettes and white pasta from time to time and when the kids have Starbuck’s chocolate chip banana bread, it happily becomes mine when they are full. Fortunately, nutrition is second nature to me, so there is no crazy thought process or anxiety around food decisions. Please know, I never look at another’s dish to critique it when I am out. Going out to dinner is my time off from work, a time to socialize and enjoy with my family, friends and kids. The only plate I am looking at is my plate and when it’s almost empty!

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