Tag Archives: eating out

Trying to Eat Healthy Ruined Friday Night Dinner : Why We Need a Change

carbseatornoI spent Friday night out at a movie and dinner with a dear  friend whose partner didn’t want to see Thor in a dark world or a dark theater. We Since we’d forgone the pleasures of GMO popcorn laden with insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, fumigants, trans fats, artificial flavors, artificial flavoring and preservatives, we were hungry by the end. Which is where the night took a distinctly different turn from any other “dinner out” night I’ve ever had.

“Pizza?” Tess asked as we buckled up in my car.

Now pizza is my favorite food group in the whole wide world—right after popcorn. Could I dodge both bullets in the same night? I mean it was Friday and party time. Come on!

For once in my life there wasn’t even an inner struggle. “Um. Well. Maybe not.” What’s wrong with me? Somehow a carb fest of gluten with BGH-laced cheese just didn’t seem appealing.

“You’re joking. You love pizza.”

Tell me about it. “Yeah, well, not tonight, I guess. How ‘bout sushi?”

We live in a small town and food and entertainment options aren’t far apart. I drove the short way to the Japanese restaurant where the night’s theme of Consumer Apprehension continued to play out

Ordering a beer and saki wasn’t difficult. But then came the menu. I swear, it could have been labeled, “Pick Your Poison” the way we both eyed it. Tuna? Too much mercury. Crab? Sorry, it’s imitation (red-dyed Alaskan Pollack). Unagi (eel)? Yellowtail?

“Where’s the yellow tail from?” Tess asked the waitress. Another trip back to the sushi chef and we had the answer: Japan.

We looked at one another, the deadly word Fukushima hanging unspoken in the air between us. Forget the yellowtail. Forget the eel. What about the Northwest fallback favorite, salmon? I shook my head. Since Fukushima, for the first time in the 24 years I’d lived in the Pacific Northwest I hadn’t made the annual November pilgrimage to my fishing connection at the local Nisqually Indian tribe to buy the fresh-caught silver salmon that ran upriver from the Puget Sound estuary only 15 miles away.

Just say no to Pacific salmon.

Shocked at our dilemma, we continued to plod through the menu. Chicken? Neither of us could stomach the idea of eating agri-business chicken because of the ghastly tortured existence the birds endured. Same with beef and pork. “Shall I come back?” the restless waitress inquired.

“Sure.”

“Christ. I can’t believe this,” I murmured. Eating out used to be so much fun.

“You know, I went to Safeway the other day and walked through the whole store and couldn’t find one thing to eat that wasn’t processed, filled with sugar or artificial crap,” said Tess.

“Really? What about their organic section?”

“Trucked from God know where with a carbon footprint the size of Texas?” she shook her head. “I finally drove to the co-op, bought a bunch of local organic vegetables and we made a stir-fry.”

“Maybe we should just get uki-udon noodles and some veggies?” I suggested unenthusiastically. Maybe we should go to my house and cook?

The waitress came back. For lack of any other real choice, we both ordered miso soup and east coast shrimp. By that time all I wanted was another beer—or something stronger.

But dammit, I’ve numbed myself long enough. Last night was inevitable. It’s been coming ever since Rachel Carson first started blowing the whistle in her book Silent Spring way back in 1962. And although we’ve come a long way on the environmental front, we’re far from a widespread populist movement demanding clean air, clean water and healthy food on our tables. Hell, state amendments to label GMOs have been beaten out in the two most progressive states in the US through the vast injection of Monsanto Money into ad coffers.

We’re being sold bad health with a vengeance and we’re buying it with hardly a blink.

What will it take to change? Glow-in-the-dark caviar appearing on Elitist Corporate Tables worldwide and them finally waking up? Maybe. Or maybe more of us just need an educational Friday night out now and then.

Why You Should Stop Making Excuses & Cook at Home

IMG_4493As a fitness expert, I know everyone wants to look like a supermodel and eat like Miss Piggy. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work unless you are one of those rare individuals with exceptional genetics and metabolism. Eating out all the time is too tempting and thus we blow our diets. So I recommend that most people cook at home. In most cases I encounter initial resistance, and a lot of “genuine” excuses. From my experience, the best training results from being careful about what you consume and eating a healthy, balanced, protein-rich diet with fiber, healthy carbs, and healthy oils. Unless you have a personal chef, you will need to shop wisely for healthy, affordable food and cook at least some of the time.

Let me share with you some objections to healthy food preparation that I have heard from my clients, along with my own commentary and insights:

“It’s too expensive for me”
True, it costs more to buy healthy food, but at the end of the day, it’s worth it to add a few more dollars to the grocery bill in order to boost your intake of essential vitamins and minerals for the benefit of your skin, hair, body and immune system. There’s no doubt organic food is more expensive than conventionally grown food, but it’s so worth it. It’s your body and you only get one. Even if you buy organic, cooking at home ends up being cheaper when you factor in the cost of health care. Food is prevention; food is a cure to whatever ails us. So many diseases are stopped dead in their tracks by your immune system when you get the nutrition your body needs. We are all exposed to the same environmental stressors (viruses, pollutants and so forth), but not everyone gets sick or to the same degree. Viruses are more likely to thrive in an unhealthy body that is full of pollutants such as chemical additives, preservatives and saturated fats and lacking in vitamins and minerals. Your immune system needs proper fuel to function. Invest in yourself and your health by cooking at home, and spare yourself the days off work, the medication, and the medical bills.

“I don’t have time”
Maintaining health takes time: time to train, to shop, to cook, to research, to plan, to attend workshops, to watch educational or inspirational videos. He who doesn’t invest time in his health will eventually spend that valuable time treating and recuperating from disease. Those who want something badly enough will find the time to accomplish it. If you are a busy person, simply cook for the whole week in advance on the weekend — partition the food into meal-sized portions in Tupperware containers and freeze half of it. Before you leave the house, just grab a container of prepared food and you have a healthy meal ready to eat. If mornings are chaotic and rushed, prepare your breakfast the day before. For example, prepare your shake/smoothie the night before by loading the blender with the various fruits and vegetables and put it in the refrigerator; then in the morning simply take it out, and the ice, liquids (almond milk etc.), powders (protein powder, green powder, etc.) and hit the Smoothie button. Or prepare steel-cut organic oatmeal the night before and reheat it in the morning for a quick and healthy breakfast.

“I have no idea how to cook”
Everyone has family (parents, aunts, uncles, cousins) or friends who know how to cook. Spend some quality time with them in the kitchen and — who knows — you might even enjoy it! Also, we live in the Internet age, with so many recipes, tips, and instructional videos available at our fingertips. With this wealth of information there’s no way you won’t understand how to cook. Be willing to experiment, to make mistakes, and it will turn out fine.

“I’m not a good cook”
This one is a total cop-out. This means you haven’t put enough effort into it. With enough trial and error, you will get to competence. There’s no need to cook gourmet meals to eat well and healthy. Start with something simple, like an omelet, and move on from there. Take it one step at a time, like a child learning to walk. You wouldn’t expect a baby to run long distances at one year old, so don’t set unreasonable expectations of yourself as a cook either. Encourage yourself every step of the way, celebrate your successes, and be patient with yourself. Like anything, the more you do it, the better you’ll be at it. One day you just might surprise yourself by teaching someone else to cook.

You can find me online at www.orionsmethod.com

6 Tips for Eating Healthy While Traveling

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Not sleeping in your own bed makes it much easier to get off the healthy eating track. Even a personal trainer and health coach friend told me it’s hard for her to keep her normal eating routine when she visits her Italian dad (for the record his homemade pizza is to die for). I know she’s not the only health professional that goes through this, so it’s time us mere mortals give ourselves a break when we’re on the road.

That being said, you have to be conscious of your food choices so you don’t feel bloated, sick, tired, or worse –feel guilty or regret what you’ve eaten. As my two-week visit in the U.S. ends today, I feel great about my overall eating choices and maintaining my overall health habits. I even had a few hometown classics that hit the spot big-time (Kansas City BBQ, for starters). That’s what it’s all about – eating to fuel yourself, but also enjoying yourself while on vacation.

Healthy eating while traveling wasn’t always this easy for me. I’ve had plenty of trips where I returned feeling like a bloated, unhealthy mess. Now, I’ve developed a system that works for me – and I’m sure you can benefit from it too. Below are my tips for keeping your healthy eating habits in check while still enjoying the local cuisine or some special treats (you’re on vacation after all!).

1.       Start out strong

Before you travel, buy or make healthy snacks like nuts, nut butter sandwiches, protein bars, trail mix, pumpkin seeds, fruit, cut veggies, kale chips, and tuna packs that you can take with you and eat on the go. These are great for road trips and as substitutes for the often unhealthy and overpriced airplane and airport food. Plus, any extras you have you can eat throughout the trip and on the way back home.

2.       Indulge, but make it (oh so) worth it

If you want that authentic pizza, award winning BBQ (yes, it was definitely worth it), decadent cupcake, or exotic cocktail then just do it. Don’t go crazy and do it every day, but trying new things or enjoying a classic favorite is so worth it – and makes for a fun vacation.

3.       Eat a breakfast of champs

Eat a healthy, filling breakfast that includes protein and fiber. While most hotel breakfasts want you to eat the carb, sugar-laden muffins, bagels, and cakes, focus on the healthy choices they do offer (although sometimes scarce). My last hotel had apples, oranges, bananas, eggs, yogurt (watch out for high sugar in these bad boys), and oatmeal with fresh walnuts. If your hotel has a refrigerator or you’re staying with family or friends, you can always stock up on your personal favorites and make your own breakfast.

4.       Be restaurant savvy

You will be eating out – it’s just a fact. Even if you are staying with family or friends, you’re still going to eat out at least a few times. Instead of throwing your hands up and saying who cares I’m out of town (hey, we’ve all done it), choose healthy options. Ignore the tempting smell of fried foods that are often stables of many restaurants and choose grilled foods instead, don’t fill up on the chips and bread (rule #1 of eating out, even at home), always ask for sauces on the side (including salad dressing), and skip dessert (unless it’s one of your “oh so worth it” indulgences). As long as you go in with a game plan to eat healthy and stick with it, you’ll be fine.

5.       Keep movin’ everyday

Whether you’re in business meetings all day, enduring long airline flights, or hours in the car, make a point to get moving every day, even if that only includes some walking and stretching. If you’re at a hotel use their gym or walk around the neighborhood. If you’re staying with friends or your hotel doesn’t have a gym (or a good one), contact a local gym and ask about a free day pass or daily rates. I did this while visiting my sister and to my surprise, the gym gave me 2 free day passes. Not only did I have some fun workouts for free, I was able to try a new and super fun class called Nia. Keeping your body moving will help you feel like yourself and less inclined to overindulge for no reason.

6.       Stock your backpack or purse with snack essentials

Make sure you always keep snacks and water (no sugary drinks) with you throughout the day (that’s what big purses are for ladies). It’s important to have snacks so you don’t feel an urge to stop at a fast food joint when hunger creeps up. If you run out of the snacks you packed from home, stop at a local grocery store. I do this all the time – I buy veggies, fruits, nuts, and gallons of water. I can chug the water at the hotel room morning and night and fill smaller bottles to take throughout the day. Keeping hydrated is so important while traveling and keeps unwanted hunger away too.

Eating healthy while traveling is possible if you make it a priority and are mindful of your choices. Of course, if you want to enjoy something you don’t typically eat at home, go for it – and have no regrets.

What are your favorite travel snacks? I’m always looking for new food to take on the road. Share in the comments below.

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The Healing Powers of Burgers and Fried Chicken

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 4.10.30 PMCan burgers and fried chicken really be good for you? Yes. But not the Five Guys killer burger—not that kind. It’s burgers and chicken you cook yourself. And why do you need to cook them yourself? Here’s why.

Eating out can kill you, especially if you eat fast food or the addictive processed sugar and fats typically packed into almost every food that is made in a factory. The average American eats 29 pounds of French fries, 23 pounds of pizza, 24 pounds of ice cream and consumes 53 gallons of soda, 24 pounds of artificial sweeteners, 2,736 grams of salt, and 90,700 milligrams of caffeine per year. Do we really think we can create health in that toxic food environment?

A young New Zealand woman with eight children recently died after consuming 2.2 gallons of Coke per day, which, by the way, contains two pounds of sugar and 900 milligrams of caffeine (enough to give an elephant palpitations).

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a study that showed life expectancy declining among women in America, especially in the South (the area with the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the country). The authors of the study were quoted as being surprised by this data. One Harvard researcher said that trying to figure out why “is the hot topic right now, trying to understand what’s going on.”

Really? Life expectancy drops as obesity, diabetes, and the consumption of junk food, fast food, and sugar soars, and researchers fail to see the connection? It’s not rocket science. And yet, Harvard scientists are perplexed, and the National Institutes of Health spend $800 million each year studying the cause of obesity.

The cause of obesity is complex, to be sure—increased stress, environmental toxins, our sedentary lifestyle, and our sleeplessness as a nation all play a role. But the elephant in the room here is our toxic industrial food supply, specifically sugar. To paraphrase President Clinton, “It’s the food, stupid.”

I just returned from China where they are experiencing the same chronic diseases and obesity we find in the West because, on every corner, at every turn, our industrial food culture has permeated their world—KFC, McDonald’s, Subway, Coke, Pepsi are everywhere. Today, China has the most type 2 diabetics in the world. Yes, they have more people, but their diabetes rate is about the same as that of the United States: about 10 percent. Thirty years ago, I traveled to China and saw only one overweight woman, and she was riding a bicycle. In 30 years, the rate of diabetes there has gone from one in 150 to one in 10, and now, one in five people above the age of 60 in China are diabetic—and 60 percent are not even diagnosed. Obesity and diabetes are rampant there, increasing at a far faster rate than in the United States, and this shift can be tied directly to how fully they have embraced our processed, industrial, high-sugar diet.

I am the chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, and we were asked by the Chinese to come and teach their physicians how to deal with lifestyle-related chronic disease. A group of us went to show them how to return to their traditional ways of using food as medicine.

It’s sad that a country in which food has long been considered medicine—with specific care taken to include special foods with healing properties at every meal—would need to relearn this knowledge. In fact, the word for “take your medicine” in Chinese is “chi yao,” which means, “eat your medicine.” We went to a special restaurant where everything on the menu was chosen for its medicinal properties, including all sorts of exotic fungus and plants and animals like sea cucumbers.

But we don’t need to eat funny-looking plants and animals with weird textures and tastes to eat our medicine. In fact, we can start with burgers and fried chicken.

I recently did a segment on The Dr. Oz Show during which I demonstrated how to use food as medicine, cooking recipes from my new cookbook, The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. I carefully selected healing, medicinal, blood sugar-balancing ingredients, disguising them as our favorite foods.

It might surprise you that burgers and fried chicken can be healthy, but keep in mind, my versions of those foods have stealth healing properties. All the recipes in my cookbook contain medicinal foods. They are medicine, but they don’t taste like medicine, because at the end of the day, if they did, no one would eat them. But they are made from real, whole, fresh food cooked from scratch, and they taste amazing. To help you truly understand how food is medicine (not just like medicine but actually real medicine), I have analyzed two recipes from my cookbook that we demonstrated on The Dr. Oz Show.

Sweet Potato Burgers (on page 114 of the cookbook)

Here are the ingredients, along with information on how each affects your health and your biology:

  • Sweet potatoes contain carotenoids, which is reflected in their orange color. Their phytonutrient properties help with weight loss by increasing adiponectin, a fat-reducing, insulin-balancing, anti-diabetes hormone made by your fat cells.
  • EVOO, also known as extra virgin olive oil, is a phytonutrient superfood. It contains oleic acid and dozens of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory polyphenol compounds that lower blood pressure and promote health. They also contain good monounsaturated fats.
  • White beans contain good plant proteins, fiber, and magnesium. The fiber helps lower your blood sugar.
  • Curry contains turmeric and other anti-inflammatory spices. Obesity and diabetes are inflammatory conditions. Turmeric is nature’s ibuprofen. It also prevents cancer and dementia (both related to diabesity).
  • Almond flour contains protein, fiber, magnesium, and healthy monounsaturated fats. It helps lower LDL, or bad cholesterol, prevents diabetes, and promotes weight loss. People who ate more almonds have been shown to reduce their risk of diabetes significantly.
  • Avocado contains phytosterols, which are fats that lower cholesterol. They also contain omega-3 fats (ALA), as well as carotenoids, selenium, and zinc. Avocado has eight grams of fiber in one cup and is very low in carbs. The fats in an avocado help you absorb all fat-soluble antioxidants, just like the carotenoids in the sweet potato do. Avocado also contains these special seven-carbon carbohydrates that help to lower blood sugar.
  • Tahini is made from sesame seeds, which contain a special fiber called lignan (seamolin and sesamin) that lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. It is very high in magnesium and calcium, containing over 30 percent of your daily needs in just one quarter of a cup. It is the best source of dietary calcium (far better than milk).
  • Lemon zest contains limonene, which boosts liver detoxification, and the lemon juice contains anti-cancer bioflavonoids.
  • Garlic contains 1,2-DT (1,2-vinyldithiin), which is an anti-inflammatory sulfur compound that can inhibit the number of fats cells that form in our body. And it can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and is a natural antibiotic.

Not bad for a burger!

The next recipe is fried chicken. I call it “unfried” chicken. Click here to check it out!

 

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com

3 Inside Tips on How to Dine Out—on a Diet!

Enjoy your favorite restaurants and still lose weight with our insider’s guide to dining out. 

By Kimberlee Roth

Most restaurants are designed to derail your diet: From sumptuous specials to decadent desserts, every element makes it easy to eat up. But you can indulge and stay slim. We asked waiters and waitresses who’ve worked at all types of eateries to tell us the most fattening mistakes customers make, then we turned to experts for healthy (and fun) solutions. Now make a reservation and leave guilt at home!

Meal mistake: Not sleuthing out sauces

Waitstaff can provide crucial information, but you have to inquire. "A diner might ask if a dish has meat, but then order pasta with marinara that’s made with a stick of butter, thinking it’s healthy," says a former waitress at an Italian restaurant in Nyack, New York. Adds a former server at a Japanese eatery in New York City: "I once heard a table congratulating themselves on not eating carbs, but they had eaten fish in a sugary sauce."

Personalize your plate "Ask if the chef uses cheese, butter or cream in a dish," says nutritionist Joy Bauer, R.D. "If a sauce sounds creamy, for instance, choose something else." Request grilled or broiled dishes and make sure your meat isn’t doused in extra fat—steaks are often basted with butter before they hit your plate. And if a dressing seems sugary or high in calories, get it on the side and use only a smidgen.

Meal mistake: Gorging on bread

Women ask for "extra bread, always, and then ask for more. Lots of butter, too," says a server at a family restaurant in Lincoln City, Oregon. "We dished out honey butter, which was spiked with sugar," says a waitress who worked at a bar and grill in Hanover, New Hampshire. And a former bartender at a seafood chain noted, "The cheesy biscuits were already swiped with melted butter, so you got a double dose [of fat]." You can consume hundreds of calories before the main course hits the table.

Bust your bread habit Avoid arriving hungry, says Keri Gans, R.D., a spokeswoman in New York City for the American Dietetic Association. "A lot of women save their calories when they know they’re going out to eat, so they’re ravenous when they sit down." Snack on fruit and a handful of nuts an hour or so beforehand; choose a bread stick or a small whole-grain roll and dip it lightly in olive oil. A study in the International Journal of Obesity revealed that diners who used olive oil ate 23 percent less bread than those spreading on butter.

Meal mistake: Washing down veggies with piña coladas

The good news: Women sometimes order vegetables instead of fries. The bad? We often drink more calories than we realize. "Women do funny trade-offs, such as ordering a salad but having three or four margaritas," says a former server at an Italian restaurant in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Raise one glass Indulge in one 100- to 120-calorie drink while you’re eating your meal, such as a small glass of wine or a vodka and soda, says Heather Bauer, R.D., author of The Wall Street Diet (Hyperion). "After that, you get one more carb: a starchy side such as roasted potatoes, a slice of bread or another drink." When you’re done drinking alcohol, sip water during the rest of the evening.

Hungry for more? Discover 8 more inside tips on how to dine out on a diet!

 

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