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Alton Brown’s Healthy Diet Advice

Posted: January 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Nutrition, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »
If you haven’t seen Alton Brown’s show ‘Good Eats’ on the Food Network, you are missing out. It’s one of the best shows to improve your skills in the kitchen, and is most entertaining to watch. The tools and tricks he teaches are invaluable. The man is a creative GENIUS.
One of the most current episodes of Good Eats actually focuses on weight loss, given his own recent drop of about 50 pounds. He gave some simple lists of what he eats (and doesn’t eat.) While everyone’s body is different, his lists seem like a pretty sound way to eat nutritiously. And deliciously.
His Daily list includes: fruit, whole grains, leafy greens, nuts, carrots, and green tea.
His 3 times a week list includes: oily fish, yogurt, broccoli, sweet potato, and avocado.
His Once a week list includes: red meat, pasta, dessert, alcohol.
His Never list includes: fast food, soda, processed meals/frozen dinners, canned soup (too much sodium), “diet” anything.
PLUS: Eat breakfast every day, no exceptions.
Rather than being a diet, these are all pretty sound recommendations for a healthy lifestyle, and for the most part, how I aspire to eat.
Although oatmeal is my breakfast of choice, he also makes a good breakfast smoothie suggestion: a total of 24 ounces (by weight) – to do so, put your blender on a digital scale and tare to zero. Add 4 ounces of acai juice, 4 ounces of light soy milk, 4 ounces each of frozen fruits to add up to 24 ounces). And his suggestion was to make it at night and put them all in the refrigerator overnight before blending. He also gave useful blending advice, including to start out slow and then build speed to a slow vortex in order to get it to mix thoroughly.
This seems slightly easier than Dr. Oz’s Magical Breakfast blaster, which I’ve also been tempted to make recently: From here: (
A 1/2 large ripe banana, broken into chunks (or other fruit of your choice), 1 scoop (1/3 cup) Soy Protein (like Nature’s Plus Spiru-Tein),1/2 tablespoon flaxseed oil, 1/4 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 tablespoon apple juice concentrate or honey, 1 teaspoon psyllium seed husks, 8 ounces water (serves 2)

Cravings: Your Body’s Natural Alert System

Posted: December 23rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Nutrition, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »


Reducing Cravings: A few simple tricks

A craving is a healthy tool that is actually your body telling you that you need something! Unfortunately, when you don’t listen carefully to your cravings on a regular basis, and you fill your craving with a junk food, you mix up the senses your body is telling you. Here are some common situations where you can act quickly to cut those cravings!

Cravings are most often your body crying out for nutrients. A good solution is taking a good look at your diet and trying to fill the gaps with what you may be needing, natural vitamins and minerals from food. Cravings also have the tendency to go on high both at work, in relationship troubles, and during the holidays. Why is this? Often a craving is a non-food related craving: you might be bored, stressed, or even nostalgic, and this has the tendency to manifest itself in cravings for real food. The best solution in these cases are to try to solve the root of the problem!

Some common cravings and some easy solutions:

You have had lunch already at work, but your co-worker microwaves something delicious and you are hungry again: this is a tough one, for which I’d offer a few different solutions. The first is to switch your eating to bento style lunches – a lunch made up of a lot of small components – which will help you to eat throughout a longer period of time until you are more satiated. You might also consider bringing a little snack for the afternoon to curb this as well – just plan it into your diet. The second line of defense here is drinking herbal tea or green tea throughout the day – bringing a warm liquid to your face to smell helps to mask those other smells, and keeps you hydrated throughout the day. I often will reuse the same tea bag many times, as to limit the amount of caffeine intake, but still giving some flavor to my water.

You crave hot chocolate, pumpkin spice lattes, and egg nog:
There are a few different reasons why we crave seasonal foods – partially because we are living in a media driven society that reminds us around every corner that we want to have these things, but naturally speaking – a lot of these foods respond to a seasonal craving that makes absolute sense – in winter we want warming, heavier foods, that protect our bodies and give us energy. Unfortunately, a lot of these drinks are high in refined sugars and are likely to give you a rush and a crash. Ultimately, one or two of these a season is perfectly healthy – choose a high quality version (fat and all), and savor it slowly. Create a food memory instead of just downing these every few days and you will feel much more fulfilled. On the off days, go for seasonal alternatives – adding cinnamon to your coffee and drinking steamed soy steeped with a peppermint tea bag are some of my favorites.

Learn the signs of Dehydration – better yet – avoid it entirely! WATER, WATER, WATER. First line of attack, when you crave any foods – your body doesn’t usually tell you it needs water until after you are getting dehydrated, and then it often warns you in the form of mild hunger. When you get hungry, or an odd craving, drink a glass of water first, and then wait a few minutes (even if it’s hard!) before eating something.

Craving breakdowns:

Sweet craving?

#1 Try adding naturally Sweet Vegetables to your diet: Often when we have sweet cravings, our first response is to want a little candy bar, a handful of m&m’s , you name it. This isn’t completely off base – your body needs sweet foods, just not the junk! Help curb sweet cravings by adding naturally sweet foods to your diet, particularly during the winter months – sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squash are all good options, and taste great simply roasted, so that the sweetness really comes out. The key here is that you are going for complex carbohydrates instead of simple ones, and choosing foods that will break down slowly to give you energy without a crash in energy after the initial highs.

#2. Use natural sweeteners: Honey is a great sweetener, and using local honey has the added benefit of preventing many seasonal allergies. Pure Maple Syrup is a favorite in New England and goes particularly well with sweeter vegetables, root vegetables, and even meats. For those concerned about blood sugar, natural sweeteners such as Agave, made from agave cactus is much sweeter than sugar, and has the added benefit of not raising blood sugar levels.

Salty Craving? This is most often due to a mineral deficiency – because natural sea salts are high in minerals, over time our bodies have associated mineral deficiencies with salty craving that most often leads us to the chips, popcorn, you name it. A good solution here is to eat foods high in mineral contents – dark leafy greens are one of the best ways to combat this, as are sea vegetables (seaweeds). By incorporating these into your everyday diet you will find these cravings reduce themselves. You might also consider investing in a high quality sea salt for your kitchen – one that is slightly gray or brown in color will contain all the natural minerals your body is wanting – sprinkle just a tiny amount as a finisher and it will be much more flavorful than dousing your foods.

Chocolate Craving? Sometimes a chocolate craving is so overwhelming that nothing else will fulfill it. In this case, take a really good quality high cocoa content piece (a small one!) and sit down and savor it over several minutes. Or, if you are hungry for more, stir a half ounce of good quality dark chocolate into some oatmeal.

Start listening to your body and feeding it what it wants to eat and drink, and you will find your cravings reduced in no time

For more reading on cravings and general health:

Integrative Nutrition by Joshua Rosenthal

8 Weeks to Optimum Health by Andrew Weil

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