PAMPERS V. HUGGIES

When I was pregnant with my first child, a good friend of mine, who had an infant daughter, said, “Whatever you do, don’t use Pampers because they don’t work—you must use Huggies.” Ok! I was armed with this great information, only to be perplexed when Huggies didn’t work for my daughter. Oddly, I felt extremely pampers-huggies-300x186-1.jpgdisappointed.

Given the diet information overload that bombards us 24/7, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Intermittent fasting? High-fat diet? The new Weight Watchers plan? The F-Factor diet? Frequent meals throughout the day? What’s the best way to eat?

Well, just like the Pampers v. Huggies scenario, there is not one plan that will work for everyone. It is so easy to get sucked into a new fad and jump right in. The problem with this, is that we lose our common sense. I have seen this with many of my clients. Extremely smart, rationale women seem to lose the plot and want to try an eating program that they either have tried in the past and have failed, or embark on an endeavor that makes no sense.

I, for example, can’t do a very long fast, even though intermittent fasting has some health benefits.  If I go too long without food, I feel shaky, angry and get a headache. Clearly, this isn’t the best way for me to eat, given that I have an active job and have to work with people all day long. However, just because this doesn’t work for me, doesn’t mean that this wouldn’t work beautifully for you.

So, if you’re reading an article about a new method of eating, or listening to a podcast showcasing the best way to lose weight, pause for a moment. Give yourself some time to weigh the pros and cons to see if this will really work for you given your lifestyle. If it doesn’t make sense, don’t do it. Trying new plans and failing is not good for your brain, your confidence, or for your sense of well-being. Instead, it promotes negative feelings, shame, and self-loathing.

Bottom line: Huggies don’t work on every baby.  Many of the new eating plans and  programs are the same way. Stop, investigate, and think critically so you can figure out what works best for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment »

LOW-COMMITMENT WEDDING SOUP

The best thing about making soup is that there are no rules–you can tweak any recipe to make it your own. This is a wonderful soup recipe! If you don’t want to use sausage, substitute ground turkey or chicken. I didn’t want to be bothered making the panko garnish, so I just sprinkled the soup with Parmesan cheese and it was perfect. I also used Swiss chard instead of the escarole and pinto beans instead of cannellini. Have fun with this!! REALLY DELICIOUS!

ingredientsbonappetit_low-commitment-wedding-soup

1 lb. sweet Italian sausage

¾ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided

6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

8 garlic cloves, divided

Kosher salt

1 medium head of fennel with fronds

2 medium onions

½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

½ cup dry white wine

1, 4-oz. piece Parmesan with rind

1, 15-oz. can cannellini (white kidney) beans

1 small head of escarole

directions

Cut shallow slits in each sausage link, then remove sausage from casings; transfer sausage to a medium bowl. Add ½ cup panko, 2 Tbsp. oil, and 2 Tbsp. water. Peel and finely grate 1 garlic clove on a microplane into bowl. Season lightly with salt and mix with your hands until breadcrumbs are evenly distributed.

Portion meat into small meatballs about 1″ in diameter (oil your hands to help with rolling if mixture gets sticky) and transfer to a plate.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a Dutch oven over medium. Add meatballs, spacing evenly apart, and cook undisturbed until first side is dark brown, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, turn meatballs and cook until other side is also well browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer back to plate and set aside.

Remove pot from heat and prep the rest of the soup ingredients: First, remove fennel fronds from 1 head of fennel and save for garnishing the soup. Cut fennel head in half lengthwise. Cut a V-shaped notch in each half to remove the core. Place halves cut side down, then thinly slice crosswise.

Peel and trim 2 onions. Cut in half lengthwise and coarsely chop. Smash 6 garlic cloves (keep remaining clove for the end) and peel. Place Dutch oven back over medium heat and add fennel, onion, and smashed garlic; season with salt and ½ tsp. red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are golden brown and softened, 6–8 minutes. Stir in ½ cup wine and scrape bottom to dissolve any remaining stuck-on browned bits. Add 8 cups water; season generously with salt. Slice down along Parmesan rind to remove and add to soup; set cheese aside. Bring to a simmer, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook uncovered until broth is golden and flavorful, 25–30 minutes. Season with more salt if needed.

Open 15-oz. can beans and pour into a strainer or small colander. Rinse beans and shake to remove excess water, then transfer to pot along with meatballs. Bring back to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until broth is slightly thickened from beans and meatballs are cooked and have released some of their flavor into the broth, 10–15 minutes.

While soup is simmering, separate leaves from 1 head of escarole and rinse to remove any dirt. Tear into small pieces, then stir into soup in batches to wilt. Remove soup from heat.

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a small saucepan over medium. Finely grate remaining 1 garlic clove into skillet. Add remaining ¼ cup panko. Season with salt and cook, stirring often, until panko is golden, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Prepare your other garnishes: Finely grate about ½ cup cheese from reserved hunk of Parmesan (you might not need it all). Finely chop fennel fronds. Taste soup and season with salt if needed. Ladle soup into bowls and top with chopped fronds, grated cheese, and toasted panko.

(Recipe found on https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/low-commitment-wedding-soupIf you click on the link you will see a video of this recipe—very helpful!)

Comments (2) »

PF CHANG’S CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS

I wasn’t expecting to love this dish as much as I did! IT’S UTTERLY DELICIOUS!! It’s also very easy to make and fun to eat! This is a keeper! Give it try–you might be surprised too!

ingredientsdelish-190611-asian-lettuce-wraps-522-landscape-pf-1561383352

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound ground chicken

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, diced

¼ cup hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

1 tablespoon Sriracha, optional

1 (8-ounce) can whole water chestnuts, drained and diced

2 green onions, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 head butter lettuce

directions

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add ground chicken and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the chicken as it cooks; drain excess fat.

Stir in garlic, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger and Sriracha until onions have become translucent, about 1-2 minutes.

Stir in chestnuts and green onions until tender, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

To serve, spoon several tablespoons of the chicken mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf, taco-style.

(recipe found on https://damndelicious.net/)

 

Leave a comment »

JUST MAKE IT BETTER

A client of mine, let’s call her Cindy, has been struggling to eat healthier. In the past, she’s gone on several diets and like most people, was only successful in the short run. In Cindy’s case, being on a diet reflexively makes her feel denied, which is never a good thing.  Since I hate diets, we are creating new plan, which includes a different way of thinking about food. Our plan is called: JUST MAKE IT BETTER

JUST MAKE IT BETTER means you get to eat foods that you love but have to “doctor” iStock-1131794876.t5d482e40.m800.xtDADj9SvTVFjzuNeGuNUUGY4tm5d6UGU5tkKM0s3iPk-620x342them up to make the meal healthier. For example, if you love chicken Parmesan from your local pizzeria, instead of eating the whole portion, cut it into thirds. Eat 1/3 with a giant salad. Eat 1/3 with bowl of broccoli. Eat the last 1/3 with a bunch of raw fruits and vegetables. I would  rather Cindy eat a small portion of food that makes her feel satisfied, than eating something she doesn’t like but chooses it only because it’s “healthy”.  That strategy never works.

JUST MAKE IT BETTER can look like this:

Instead of eating two pieces of white toast with jam for breakfast, change it to one slice whole-grain toast, and add some avocado slices and/or an egg.

Instead of eating 2-3 slices of pizza, have one small slice with a large salad or veggies.

Instead of eating a large carton of greasy Chinese food, get a small container along with a large container of steamed veggies. Mix ½ of the small with all of the large and you have just made your meal a heck of a lot better!

JUST MAKE IT BETTER gives you freedom to stay clear of feeling denied. You can have fun being creative. You can slowly include more and more fruits and vegetables and swap out most processed foods. If you do it slowly and have an open mind, you might find this way of eating a perfect plan for you, too. You don’t have to overthink…..you have to JUST MAKE IT BETTER!

 

 

Leave a comment »

VINEGAR CHICKEN WITH CRUSHED OLIVE DRESSING

This is one of the most popular NY Times recipes and for good reason! It is easy to make and beyond scrumptious. The ingredients work magically! This one is a keeper!! 

ingredients23romanrex-articleLarge

3 ½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

6 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and black pepper

½ cup white wine vinegar

1 ½ cups green Castelvetrano olives, crushed and pitted

2 garlic cloves, finely grated

1 cup parsley, tender leaves and stems, chopped

directions

Heat oven to 4500 F. Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with turmeric and 2 tablespoons olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Make sure chicken is skin-side up, then pour vinegar over and around chicken and place in the oven.

Bake chicken, without flipping, until cooked through and deeply browned all over, 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine olives, garlic, parsley, the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Once chicken is cooked, remove baking sheet from the oven and transfer chicken to a large serving platter, leaving behind any of the juices and bits stuck to the pan.

Make sure the baking sheet is on a sturdy surface (the stovetop, a counter), then pour the olive mixture onto the sheet. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, gently scrape up all the bits the chicken left behind, letting the olive mixture mingle with the rendered fat and get increasingly saucy. Pour olive mixture over the chicken, then serve.

 (recipe found on https://cooking.nytimes.com)

 

Leave a comment »

NO TIME FOR EXERCISE? NO NEED TO PANIC!

A good friend of mine, Lydia, is in graduate program that is wreaking havoc on her regular routine. Because of her new internship hours, she can no longer exercise in the morning. She is in full-time position with two young kids at home, and when her day finally ends, she is beat. I knew that this was making her feel anxious when I received an SOS text message from her asking, “WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND??? WHAT CAN I DO?”

There are so many body weight exercises that you can do ranging from lunges to IMG_1397.jpegpush ups. Lydia would love to have a routine of body weight exercises, but there is place to do them. No need to panic–there is good news! Studies show that breaking up exercise into smaller pieces can be just as effective as one longer session. In Lydia’s case, she has several breaks throughout the day.

Before I continue, I have to pause to remind you that “exercise” simply means moving your body so that your heart rate goes up. As I mentioned in previous blogs, dancing around your house like a maniac IS exercise. (Think Zumba!) Lydia has access to several flights of stairs so as long as she climbs them and gets her heart rate up, she will be exercising!

More good news: Lydia can progress her stair climbing. She can walk faster up and down; she can do more stair climbing throughout the day; she can run up the stairs; she can take two steps at a time. She also has a lunch break where she can go for brisk walks.  The other day I received a text from her telling me that she did a 15-minute UPHILL walk during lunch. Between these walks and the stair climbing, Lydia IS exercising.

Even if you have time to do “traditional” exercise, incorporating more activity during the day is important for good health.  It’s moving away from being sedentary (the new smoking) to living a more active life!

 

 

 

Leave a comment »

BUTTERNUT SQUASH POMEGRANATE AND GOAT CHEESE SPINACH SALAD WITH RED WINE VINAIGRETTE

A client of mine made this salad during the holidays and it was a major hit!! Feel free to play around with the ingredients–I’m going to add more spinach. The ingredients work magically!

salad ingredientsbutternut_squash_pomegranate_salad10.

5 cups (1 ½ lbs) cubed butternut squash, cut into ¾ inch pieces

1 ½ Tbsp olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

10 oz baby spinach

1 ¼ cups pomegranate arils

4 oz goat cheese or feta, crumbled

dressing ingredients

½ cup olive oil

¼ cup red wine vinegar

3 Tbsp minced shallot

2 ½ Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp dijon mustard

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

directions

For the butternut squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash in a mound on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to evenly coat in oil. Spread into an even layer.

Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes then remove from oven and toss. Return to oven and bake until tender, about 10 minutes longer. Allow to cool several minutes before adding to salad.

For the Salad: In a large salad bowl toss together spinach, squash, ½ of the pecans and ½ of the pomegranate arils.

Drizzle with desired amount of dressing and gently toss. Sprinkle with remaining pecans, pomegranate arils and goat cheese and serve immediately.

For the dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender and season with salt and pepper to taste (about ½ tsp salt ¼ tsp pepper). Process until well emulsified.

 (recipe found on https://www.cookingclassy.com/)

 

 

 

Leave a comment »