Wednesday, July 29, 2009

LA trip

100 people looked at the blog yesterday. I guess because of the article in the Chicago Trib. They probably wondered, "Who is this strange dietitian?". I thought I should post again today just in case some of them (you?) come back. There should be something to read.
On vacation. In Los Angeles. Here to see the premiere of the movie my daughter produced, Paper Heart. That was last night. So exciting. Red carpet. Paparazzi. "Famous" people. Audience seemed to like the movie. Some reviews should be out today. We'll see.
To me, vacations are about the food. Where will I eat? What will I eat? So far, nothing too exciting. And not too many calories. We drove here from Phoenix. Six hours. Three potty breaks and food breaks. Packed a cooler. Ate fruit, turkey sandwiches and vegetables! Forgot to pack the bag of potato chips. Interesting. Forgot, Dr. Freud? Maybe not. Forgot to pack the container of mini chocolate chip cookies from Trader Joe's. Interesting.
First dinner out, burger and fries. Didn't eat the bun because it wasn't worth eating. Didn't finish the fries because they weren't worth finishing. But felt I "deserved" an ice cream so went to Whole Foods and bought some. Oh, and ate it!
Next up, lunch yesterday. Went to one of our favorite restaurants in Santa Monica, Huckleberry. Had turkey meatballs and snap peas. AND shared chocolate pudding for dessert. Exceptional texture on the pudding. Exceptional.
Dinner was after the premiere at the party. Mexican food. A little of this and a little of that. Too excited and tired to eat much.
Today is a new day. Already worked out. Thinking about lunch as I'm finishing up breakfast (bialy from the NY Bagel place down the street). So far, no plans except for fried chicken on Thursday night. Maybe a little sushi one night. And what else? Funny. I'm not sure. Am I losing interest in eating????

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Me and my big mouth

Okay. We all know I have a big mouth. Lots of food goes into it every day. But sometimes my mouth (or in this case my fingers on the computer keyboard) take over and I run amok with words spilling out. So if you read today's Chicago Tribune article about the Surgeon General (front page), you'll see what I mean. (,0,3509415.story)
Now, I'm not sorry about anything that is quoted. In fact, I laughed out loud when I read the last sentence! I did indeed write that in an e-mail to the journalist. I just hope the rest of the dietetic community thinks it's funny..........
I already got one e-mail from someone telling me that I don't look that fat! Love it. I know. Isn't that great. If I did look that fat maybe I would work a little harder at controlling my mouth.
The article made my day. I love seeing my name in print even when it's not my byline.

Friday, July 24, 2009

My menopausal brain and fat

So, are they ( saying that I have a fat brain?
Great. Not only do I have to worry about my expanding waistline but now I will be obsessed about losing formerly functioning brain cells as they turn to fat.
Is there any hope? Am I destined to be a female Jabba the Hutt with fat for brains?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Turtles and other transgressions

I'm sitting here eating turtles (yes, the chocolate kind). And I did say "turtles", plural. Mmm. That was the last one. All gone. While eating the turtles, I was contemplating how poorly I ate this week. Daughter was here for premiere of her movie (Paper Heart) and we ate where she wanted to go, when she wanted to go. Sort of wreaked havoc with our schedule. BTW...that's an EXCUSE. And now I've just eaten three turtles. Not sure I would have eaten more but there were only three in the box. Am I feeling guilty? No. Am I sorry? Not yet. Will I be later? Doubt it. I do wish they had more nuts, though.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Apologies to Rice Cakes

I never thought I'd say this but here goes....I apologize to rice cakes for a previous post. I apologize for maligning rice cakes. Whew. That was hard.
Here's the thing....there's not much in the house to eat today. Had a busy week and no chance to get to the store. No milk for cereal. No bread. No yogurt. (The frig really is empty!). I still had those chocolate rice cakes that I bought a few weeks ago. So I spread some peanut butter on them. Hey, not bad. Not bad at all. In fact, pretty good. Still a little too sweet for me and really not chocolatey but I would eat that again even if I had other breakfast options.
It does still scare me, though, that they were crunchy and fresh after all this time.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Calories, longevity and do I care

Last week, the all the media were abuzz with stories about the research indicating that people who restrict their calories (and we're talking restricting from what they "should" consume to about 30% of that) may live longer. The findings are based on research with animals. The best review of that research that I've read is on Sandy Swarc's, BSN, RN, CCP, web site (

She goes thru the media reports and actual published research data step by step, refuting or at least pointing out the holes in much of the reporting, findings and logic.

I've often thought about what I can do to ensure that I will live longer. But then I think, "Do I want to live longer or just more comfortably and disease free?". Because that's really the issue. And at my age, how much can I add onto my life by changing what I eat and losing weight? And if it were just one month, would it matter? Possibly, if there was something important to "live for".

Isn't most of the damage done by now? If I were to restrict my caloric intake considerably at my age, I would be hard pressed to get the nutrients I need to keep my body in good working order. As people age, their ability to digest and absorb nutrients declines. It's just a fact of aging. Some of the needs decrease and others increase with age. As it is, it's hard enough for me to meet my protein needs because besides fried chicken and hamburgers (which, mercifully, I do not consume daily or even sometimes weekly), I don't like protein that much. I get most of my protein from dairy products like yogurt and milk.

And it seems to me that to follow the recommendations to restrict up to 30% of calories, one would have to deny hunger. That surely goes against the principles of mindful and intuitive eating. I mean, you'd recognize that you are hungry (so you'd be mindful) but by not eating or not eating enough to satisfy the hunger, you'd be breaking the rules.

A few months ago, I did see a news story about a group of friends (a dinner club???) who meet regularly for a meal....such as it is! They all restrict their calories because they believe it will increase their life span. Interestingly, most of them were older (or looked older!) and were pretty emaciated looking. Kind of skin and bones. Not much muscle. Gaunt. Their shared "happy" meal consisted of tofu and vegetables. No fat. No sugar. Very sparse.

So I wondered at the time, "Are they enjoying the life that they are extending?" I mean, what good is it to live longer if you are suffering hunger (and they all admitted to being hungry most of the time)? Wow. Being hungry most of the time.

Of course, one could not embark on the journey to starvation for the sake of longevity (sorry, maybe that's a little harsh) unless pretty much everyone around her was on board. It wouldn't work for one member of a couple to fill the frig with delectables while the other subsisted on beans and lettuce.

I know most of the reported research seems to substantiate that being fat means you're going to get some dire disease (diabetes, heart disease or cancer) earlier than you should or would if you weren't fat. And the preponderance of reported research seems to support that you will die earlier if you are fat (and get one of those diseases). But I'm not sure I buy it all.

So I'll stick with trying to reduce my caloric intake a little by making "better" choices and not reach for the moon just yet.

Please read the following dietitians' blogs. We are all participating in Women's Health Blogfest.

Angela White at Blisstree's Breastfeeding 1-2-3 - Helpful Skills of Breastfeeding Counselors
Angie Tillman, RD, LDN, CDE - You Are Beautiful Today
Anthony J. Sepe - Women's Health and Migraines
Ashley Colpaart - Women's health through women
Charisse McElwaine - Spending too much time on the "throne?"
Danielle Omar - Yoga, Mindful Eating and Food Confidence
Diane Preves M.S.,R.D - Balance for Health
Joan Sather - A Woman's Healthy Choices Affect More Than Herself
Laura Wittke - Fibro Study Recruits Participants
Liz Marr, MS, RD - Reflecting on Family Food Ways and Women's Work
Marjorie Geiser, MBA, RD, NSCA-CPT - Healthy Women, Healthy Business: How Your Health Impacts a Powerful Business
Marsha Hudnall - Breakfast Protein Helps Light Eaters Feel Full
Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD - A Nutritionista's Super Foods for Super Skin
Monika Woolsey, MS, RD - To effectively work with PCOS is to understand a woman's health issues throughout her life
Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog - How breastfeeding helps you, too
Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RD, LD - Four Keys to Wellness, Just for Women
Renata Mangrum, MPH, RD - The busy busy woman
Robin Plotkin, RD, LD - Feeding the Appetites of the Culinary, Epicurious and Nutrition Worlds-One Bite at a Time
Terri L Mozingo, RD, CDN & D. Milton Stokes, MPH, RD, CDN of One Source Nutrition, LLC - Crossing the Line: From Health to Hurt
Wendy Jo Peterson, RD - Watch Your Garden Grow

Monday, July 13, 2009

Eating Competence Model from Ellyn Satter

Ellyn Satter is a dietitian whom I've admired since the first time I heard her speak at a meeting many years ago. In fact, I've quoted her before when interviewed for an article in our local newspaper about feeding children. I know she's right. She's so right. I found the following from a twitter link sent in my Marsha Hudnall, another very savvy dietitian--

Ellyn Satter Eating Competence encourages you to base your eating on your body’s natural processes: hunger and the drive to survive, appetite and the need for pleasure, the social reward of sharing food and the tendency to maintain preferred and stable body weight.

There it is. In one sentence. Everything anybody needs to know about how and what and when to eat. I love that she distinguishes between hunger and appetite. I made a big point of doing that in my thesis 25 years ago. It drives me crazy when I read stuff that uses the words interchangeably. It's important to make a distinction because there's a difference between eating to survive and eating for pleasure. There's a difference between eating something because you're hungry and you want to get rid of the hunger and eating something because you're hungry but you want something special to eat. And then there's just eating for pleasure without hunger. That's the killer, of course. And don't you love how she includes the social aspect of food? Sharing food. Pleasure. Sharing. Survival.
Although her books are about feeding children and families, her advice is for all of us.
I've been eating sort of out of control for a few weeks. Just eating. And truly not enjoying. And aware that I'm not enjoying much. And feeling slightly more empowered to make some changes. Not the kind that are superficial. Not following a diet--because I cannot sustain that.
I've been thinking a lot about the obesity statistics that are quoted almost daily in the newspaper. My daughter bought me a vintage felt appliqued jacket for my birthday. You'd have to know vintage clothing to know what that is. It's a jacket from the 1940s. Anyway, the arms are too tight and it doesn't even come close to closing in front. People were just smaller. They were smaller and yet they drank whole milk, ate butter and had pie for dessert all the time (well, maybe that's an exaggeration). They didn't know about fat free this or that or Splenda or "options". They didn't order dressing on the side nor did they obsess about taking the skin off chicken.
Just some stuff to think about for today. On my way to meet up with my trainer for some heavy grunting, groaning and sweating.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cookie Cravings

For days, for many days, I have been thinking about eating a cookie. Pretty much any kind of cookie as long as it is crispy. But I didn't. I tried to do what the diet gurus tell you to do. Wait. Perhaps the desire will go away. Try to eat something more nutritious. I did. But cookies kept dancing thru my brain. So I finally gave in to the desire. I had some chocolate chip cookies in the freezer. I baked them a while ago. They didn't come out the way I wanted them to so I didn't gift them as I had originally intended. Still, I couldn't throw them away. So I froze them. I see them each time I open the freezer--which is many times a day. I didn't really want them. They have too many chocolate chips in them which is why I didn't eat them when they were hot and fresh out of the oven. Too much chocolate. I know. For many of you chocoholics, there's no such thing as too much chocolate. But I don't really like chocolate or, better said, I don't lust for chocolate.
Today, though, I needed those cookies. Badly. I don't even know why. Well, I'm trying to write three articles, all long ones, due on the same day. All requiring lots of research. None at all related to the others. So I guess you could say this cookie desire was stress induced.
I tried to quell the desire with cantaloupe. Ripe, sweet cantaloupe. It was delicious but didn't satisfy the craving. Cookies!
I heated one in the microwave. I ate it. Too many chocolate chips. And yet, satisfying. I'm okay now. I don't want another one (probably because it wasn't the best chocolate chip cookie I ever baked) and I'm feeling okay. One cookie. Who woulda thunk it.
Now off to the gym. Not because of guilt but because it's time for step class. Gotta go.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The guilt of feasting

The previous post on indulgences has kept me occupied in deep thought for a few days now. Because I realized another purely person phenomenon--not sure if any of you feel the same way. So I tend to indulge all the time. On the other hand, I hold back when I should allow myself to indulge. It's a holiday. A holiday that demands indulgence: barbecue, potato salad, hot dogs, burgers, ribs. All the foods that most sane people eat only on special occasions. Like this one. So today would be the perfect day for me to enjoy, without guilt, these foods. Especially the ribs and perhaps some chicken wings. With garlic bread. Yum. But, no. I keep telling myself "no". Not good for you. Don't do it. And, yet, I might happily eat a burger tomorrow. I don't get it. Punish myself with deprivation when it's okay to indulge and then indulge when it's better to eat more sanely. Help me work this one out. It's totally confounding.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Indulgence light bulb moment

What was I thinking? I wasn't. I haven't been. OMG.
I was just looking through a new web site ( because they've asked me to write an article for September. I wanted to get familiar with the site. I was checking out the women involved with the site.
Each woman answered several questions including what are your indulgence foods. OMG. That's when I had a light bulb moment--I don't really have any indulgence foods because I eat them all the time. Sure. Sure. I try to control the urge to eat pizza or fried chicken. And sometimes I'm successful. But for thin people, an indulgence really is a once in a while kind of thing. For me, it's normal to indulge. To eat one pint of ice cream. To eat 1/2 chicken, all crispy and fried. To eat three or four potatoes, fried. To eat five slices of pizza. To dip my fries in aioli. To drink Pepsi after Pepsi, refill after refill. To bread and fry.
What's an indulgence to a normal eater is an everyday food for me.
My mother loved chocolate. Loved it. She kept one of those very super huge Hershey's chocolate bars on the counter in the kitchen near the stove. The bar could last one week or more (unless I ate it) because she took off little squares, one at a time and not every day. Just one little square. That was her indulgence.
Or she'd bake a cheesecake. She also loved cheesecake. NY cheesecake. Dense and heavy with cream cheese and sugar. All she ate was what was left on the knife after serving someone. For real. She would just scrape off what was on the knife and call that her portion. Can you believe it?
That's how a normal eater treats an indulgence. Someone like me eats the indulgent food to excess, to pain and discomfort.
So much to learn.