How to Know When You’ve Eaten Enough

by | Jul 2, 2014

Photo by Wiertz Sébastien

When I was in college I was pretty much always on a diet. Except when I wasn’t.

The way it worked was I’d grab either a protein bar or diet shake from my kitchen on my way out the door in the morning. At lunch time I would hit one of my favorite three salad places near campus. In the evening I’d either get another salad or make a chicken and vegetable stir fry at home.

I should have weighed nothing, but I was nearly 20 lbs heavier than I am now. Or, more accurately, I’d fluctuate between 10 and 20 lbs heavier, depending on how long I’d be able to go without having a burrito or ice cream meltdown.

My problem was that I was basically starving myself as much as I could, then would periodically eat a 15″ tortilla filled with rice, beans, cheese, guac and a mountain of carne asada. Or maybe in my weakness I’d buy a pint or two of Ben & Jerry’s and eat the entire thing during The Simpsons.

So much wrongness.

I could point to dozens of reasons my actions were idiotic, and I have. But today I want to focus on one of the long-term consequences of restricted eating (then overeating) that recovering dieters need to learn to overcome: knowing the amount of food you really should be eating.
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9 Tips to Eat Without Guilt This Holiday Weekend

by | Jun 30, 2014

Photo by rushdi13

For many newly minted foodists, the upcoming long holiday weekend will be the first real test of your new anti-dieting healthstyle that embraces real food and enjoyment.

Although it can be a little challenging to get started, switching from a dieter’s mindset to a foodist’s mindset is fairly straightforward when we’re in the comfort of our normal lives. But when confronted with a situation where we have multiple days of sun, fun and celebration, fear of sugar, fat and binges can easily seep in.

Can we really handle all this freedom?

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For the Love of Food

by | Jun 27, 2014
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week Ben & Jerry’s fights the good fight, Cheerios go protein-style, and why you shouldn’t “eat healthy.”

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

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Oddly Delicious: Cabbage and Eggs

by | Jun 25, 2014
Cabbage and Eggs

Cabbage and Eggs

I must confess that I’ve been reluctant to share this recipe for a long time because, well, let’s just say it isn’t the most photogenic thing that I cook.

However, I realized that this simple cabbage and eggs dish has become such a staple of my home court recipes that it isn’t fair to keep it from you any longer.

This recipe is special for a few reasons. First, even though it may look funny it tastes (and smells) absolutely amazing. The secret is adding just a splash of soy sauce to the cooked cabbage before adding the eggs, which gives it a rich umami flavor that our mouths crave.

Second, it’s surprisingly filling given that it’s just two eggs and a handful of leaves. Something about the combination makes it feel almost luscious and decadent to eat, and it keeps me full for hours.

Last, but certainly not least, how often do you get to eat (and actually enjoy) vegetables for breakfast? Although I’ve been known to make this for any meal of the day, the egg component makes it easy to add to your morning healthstyle and double down on your veggie consumption for the day.

One final bonus is that when I use certain varietals of purple cabbage in this dish my eggs turn an almost neon blue. What’s not to love?
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No Really, You Have Time to Eat Better

by | Jun 23, 2014

Photo by flik

Excuses are awesome, aren’t they? Letting you get away with doing nothing about a problem and still feel self-righteous about it. What’s not to love?

I’ve heard them all: I don’t like vegetables, I can’t cook, my husband is too picky, my kids won’t eat it, I work too hard, my knees hurt, my friends are jerks, I love McDonalds, it’s too expensive, I’m too busy.

Yes, yes. Of course you are. But aren’t these still just excuses, illusions we create to mask the real reasons we’d rather watch TV than do something to improve our own lives?

STOP (***Record scratch sound effect***)

If you aren’t getting mad yet, you should be. I didn’t say it, but the implied message is clear: You’re really just making excuses to be unhealthy because you’re lazy.

But that isn’t your experience, is it?

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For the Love of Food

by | Jun 20, 2014
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week the senate calls BS on Dr. Oz (yay!), broccoli protects against pollution, and “natural” products are under fire (in the good way).

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

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Introducing Homo nutritiocus: The Perfect Eater

by | Jun 18, 2014

Photo by Kaptain Kobold

Since the discovery of the vitamin, scientists have hypothesized the existence of a previously undiscovered species, Homo nutritiocus. Homo nutritiocus or Nutricons, as I like to call them, eat for one reason and one reason alone: optimal health and nutrition.

Nutricons are completely rational about their food decisions, which is why they are so insanely healthy. They eat three balanced meals every day and always include five to seven (depending on the current health recommendations) servings of fruits and vegetables.

Green leafy vegetables and lean protein are their favorite foods, of course. They never add extra salt to their food, because flavor is irrelevant. They do treat themselves to dessert every now and then, but only in moderation.
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7 Reasons Keeping a Food Journal is Better Than Counting Calories

by | Jun 16, 2014

Photo by Paul Papadimitriou

I’m often asked why I don’t put more emphasis on calories and calorie counting, particularly for people trying to lose weight. The answer is that while I think there is great value in understanding and monitoring the types and amounts of foods that you eat––especially if you’ve never paid attention––your effort is much better spent keeping a food journal than on an endless race between your mouth and the treadmill.

The idea behind calorie counting is that you write down the calories in everything you eat and make sure it stays below a certain number each day. If you want to take it even further you can monitor the calories you burn during exercise as well, and factor that into your daily allowance. In theory it helps to know your resting metabolic rate (the number of calories your body naturally burns if you sit around and do nothing all day––this is your baseline), but that involves an expensive test in which you breathe through a tube for 15 minutes. I’ve done it, it isn’t fun.

Food journaling also requires writing down everything you eat, but emphasizes portion sizes (e.g. ounces, grams, etc.) instead of calories. It can also include information like the time of day you eat, other activities related to eating (e.g. working out, watching TV, etc.), and how you feel after eating. In Foodist I recommend keeping a food journal for at least two weeks to build awareness of what, why, when and how much you eat. The ultimate goal is to help identify the habits (along with their triggers and rewards) that shape your healthstyle. You can then use this information to build on what works and learn from what doesn’t.

While I would never tell anyone to stop counting calories if it works for them, here are seven reasons I think keeping a food journal is more effective for most people.
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For the Love of Food

by | Jun 13, 2014
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week fun is necessary for weight loss, how self-identity shapes success, and why pregnant women need more fish.

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

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Away Court Habits: Living Well on the Road

by | Jun 11, 2014

Photo by ikarl67

When I was a kid I used to dream of one day having a job that would take me all over the world.  I have always loved to travel, so in my brain I envisioned a non-stop vacation filled with exotic places, foods and adventures.

Of course, reality is nothing like that.

There is a huge difference between traveling occasionally (whether for work or play) and traveling regularly, several times per month. When traveling is a special occasion, there really are no rules. Foodists have accounted for periodic indulgences in their healthstyle already. But when travel becomes your normal, your Home Court Habits become diluted and you need to integrate a new set of (much more complex) habits to make up the difference.

This year for the first time, my travel schedule has moved from periodic to frequent. And adjusting my healthstyle to account for the change hasn’t been easy. Putting aside the difficulty of eating well at airports and on the plane, simply being outside your familiar environment can throw off even your most ingrained habits, like cooking and exercise.

After 6 months––and much trial and error––I’ve finally developed a set of Away Court Habits that help keep my healthstyle in check while traveling. I won’t pretend that these are as powerful as my Home Court Habits, but after nearly two weeks away on my last adventure I came home feeling pretty darn good about my state of health and fitness.
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