How to Eat Half a Donut

by | Jan 6, 2014

Photo by rpavich

Donuts are tasty, and foodists eat things that are tasty. I, therefore, eat donuts.

Although I’ve explained extensively what it means to be a foodist, people are often surprised to learn that I really do eat donuts and other indulgent foods. And I eat them whenever I feel like it.

But I’m so thin, how is this possible? If I can eat something so good at any time, why am I not currently lying in a pile of donuts and stuffing my face with glee?

This is an important question, because one of the most common concerns I hear from readers is that they feel out of control around snacks and other indulgent foods, and don’t know how to reign in their habit of overeating.

If you often feel helpless and out of control around certain foods and wish you could change your behavior but don’t know how, put away your phone and close your email. This one will require your full attention.
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10 Reasons You Aren’t Losing Weight When You Think You’re Doing Everything Right

by | Jun 17, 2013

Photo by EverJean

Weight loss can sometimes be very elusive, even for a foodist. You already know that dieting will never give you the long term results you want, so you focus on eating real food and going to the gym.

So why are you still overweight?

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6 Tips For Not Regretting Your 4th of July BBQ

by | Jun 27, 2012
Blueberries & Raspberries

Blueberries & Raspberries

Holidays are for celebrating and are meant to be enjoyed, but you don’t have to sacrifice your health or beach body every time you attend a BBQ. These 6 BBQ survival tips can save you hundreds of calories you won’t even miss, and keep your health and fitness goals on track.

6 Healthy Eating Tips For Your 4th of July BBQ

1. Use small plates

Research clearly shows that people who choose smaller plates and utensils eat less without even noticing it. The difference can be as substantial as 50% fewer calories consumed, yet everyone reports the same level of fullness and satisfaction. Try borrowing a plate from the kids table or the dessert tray.

2. Eat slowly and mindfully

People who eat more slowly eat fewer calories over the course of a meal. BBQs are a perfect opportunity to pace yourself as you mix and mingle with friends and family. The more you’re chatting, the less you’re eating.

3. Eat healthiest foods first

If you are eating slowly and off small plates, you may as well fill up on the healthiest stuff first. Salads are a great place to start because watery vegetables slow digestion and have very few calories. Try to choose something with oil and protein as well, because these will help you feel full sooner.

4. Skip the chips, crackers and bread

Refined carbohydrates are the worst things you can eat because they offer little satisfaction, loads of calories and dangerous insulin spikes. BBQs are filled with wonderful food, so do yourself a favor and save your calories for the really good stuff.

You don’t have to eat your burger without a bun, but pass on the pointless chips and other snacks that lure you when you’re not thinking. If you’re feeling bored, grab a Frisbee instead.

5. Keep dessert small

The difference between a large slice of cake and a smaller slice of cake can literally be hundreds of calories. And to reiterate, sugar and refined carbohydrates are the most dangerous foods. You don’t have to pass on dessert completely, but keep your portion sizes in check for this course.

6. Think before you drink

There is a place for alcohol in a healthy lifestyle, but making smart choices can be the difference between losing or gaining weight (not to mention your self-control). One sugary margarita can have 600-800 calories. That means 3 margaritas is more food than you should be consuming in an entire day. Is that really worth it? Stick with wine or beer, drink plenty of water and remember to pace yourself.

Small tricks can save you hundreds and potentially thousands of wasted calories that you will never notice or miss. Why sacrifice a good time when you can just upgrade your healthstyle?


What are your favorite tips to eat healthy at a BBQ?

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For The Love Of Food

by | Jun 1, 2012

For The Love of Food

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

This week learn why we were better off with quarter pounders, butter is better than “buttery,” and frankenfish are the next Monsanto.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomatoGoogle+ 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).

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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For The Love Of Food

by | Aug 19, 2011

For The Love of Food

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

It was a very difficult week for my family as well as the food blog community. Heart disease is still the #1 cause of death in this country, and I hope that what I’m doing here at Summer Tomato can make a small (or, hopefully, large) dent in that in the years to come.

The good news is I found a ton of fantastic articles this week, with my top 10 including why carbs aren’t the obvious enemy in obesity, why sitting too much is not the same as working out too little and why being a nudist may extend your life.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Digg. I also share links on Twitter (@summertomato) and the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week


Life is short, fill it with love.

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How Mindful Eating Can Help You Eat Less

by | Aug 8, 2011
Red Flame Grapes

Red Flame Grapes

Today’s guest post is by Jyoti Mishra Ramanathan, a fellow UCSF neuroscientist who studies attention and distraction in the human mind. In her article Jyoti reveals how attention impacts our experience of food and how we can harness this power to help us eat less without feeling deprived.

Learning to be a mindful eater will permanently change your relationship with food and is essential for upgrading your healthstyle.

Mindful Eating and Portion Control

by Jyoti Mishra Ramanathan

I grew up in India where life revolves around food. One wakes up to plan breakfast and as soon as that is over plans lunch, then immediately prepares for a typical 3-4 course dinner. When I visit aunts or my grandma, I’m barraged with food at every moment: eat this, eat that! Oh! You aren’t eating enough! Oh! Do you not like my dishes?

If you don’t accept all or any food that comes your way, it is seen as a sign of disrespect. And if this isn’t enough to make you over-eat, remember too that food is sacred in India. How could one waste the grains on one’s plate when there are millions around us suffering from hunger? Consequently, I grew up believing it is normal to forever be bursting at my seams–to eat to the point where taking another bite might even make me sick.

But a few years ago my eating habits changed.

I was at a meditation workshop and one evening we were told we’d be given one grape for dinner. This sounded impossible. However, I obediently sat cross-legged with the other attendees and was handed my single juicy purple grape.

As I popped it in my mouth, I was told to shut my eyes and sense the grape in its totality: I rolled my tongue around it becoming aware of the soft and smooth exterior of the tiny fruit, I imagined its rich purple color, and then as I slowly bit into it, I savored every trickle of juice that I could extract from the grape.

The process took me a full five minutes and never in my life have I remembered eating such a delicious grape, although it was from no extraordinary vine. Miraculously, I felt full as well.

Try the grape exercise. I do not promise the satisfaction of a full meal, but it is a beautiful exemplar of mindful eating that consequently taught me portion control.

4 Simple mindful eating tips

1. Never eat distracted, i.e. while watching TV or running to catch the bus. Observe the deliciousness on the plate, the colors, textures, flavors and smells, savoring each bite. As the meal makes its way to the stomach, start to notice the fullness in your tummy. I found that there is an initial satiation simply from this sensory overload of observant eating.

One could stop here, but this is not enough nourishment and hunger tugs again relatively soon. But as you slowly chew on your food and enjoy each bite, you experience a real fullness that completely satisfies your hunger. This sensation precedes the contentment of the taste buds, which may still desire a few extra bites of that rich chocolate cake. But as I learned to identify the hunger satiety point at each meal, I found I could also control the desires of my taste buds.

2. Do not visit a restaurant starving. It is harder to control how much you eat when faced with novel delicacies at a restaurant, especially when you get there on an empty stomach. My best defense against this is to eat a small snack right before. My favorite is a quick salad.

At home I always keep miscellaneous salad ingredients on hand: mixed greens, cheese, raisins, walnuts, candied almonds, grains like quinoa, blueberries, avocado, sundried or cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, figs, grilled chicken strips, smoked salmon, etc. Mix-and-match any of these in varying proportions and add some homemade dressing. Each time you will have a novel salad that never gets boring. After a light snack it is much easier to have restraint while ordering and eating, keeping both waistline and budget in check.

3. Share a meal. My husband and I more often than not share an appetizer, entrée and dessert at a restaurant. This is not because we can’t afford more. We simply enjoy sharing–describing the new tastes to each other, immersing ourselves in the experience and appreciating new food. In these happy moments satiety emerges effortlessly.

Try this even when out with a group of friends: order for 3 with a group of 4 and share. If there is still food left over and there are no pets or family at home, I offer my extras to the homeless. I just gave away a carrot cake a couple of nights ago and the delight in those eyes was like someone who had just found a treasure!

4. Don’t aim for 100% full. Hara Hachi Bu is Japanese for eating until 80% full. Okinawan islanders practice this and are known to be one of the longest living people on the planet. Their longevity is attributed to this moderate calorie restriction in combination with consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, which protect against free radicals that damage your body’s cells.

Conclusion

In summary, there are many benefits to portion control: feeling better right after a meal, long-term health, weight management, saving cash by eating less and perhaps even living longer.

Practice mindful eating to make portion control a reality for you.

How do you control your portion sizes?

Originally published September 2, 2009.

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How To Eat Healthy In Restaurants: Advice from SF food critic Michael Bauer

by | Jul 7, 2010

by Misserion

a-dogs-dinner

Most of us take it as given that eating out makes us fat. Modern restaurants are famous for super-sized portions and customers with over-grown bellies.

But renowned San Francisco Chronicle food critic, Michael Bauer, recently took issue with this assumption. In his blog post Eat Healthy, Eat Out Bauer argues that rather than compromising his health, his daily restaurant habit keeps him healthier than the majority of American homebodies.

To find out more about his eating habits, I asked Bauer to share with Summer Tomato readers how he manages to stay healthy while eating out almost every single day.

(This post is part 4 of the series How To Healthy Eat In Restaurants, originally published July 27, 2009. The rest of the series includes Healthy Tips for Real Life (or how I learned to stop worrying and never eat fast food), Neighborhood Convenience, Sit-Down Chains and Truly Special Occasions.)

For a food critic, eating out is a way of life.

Bauer eats dinner in a restaurant every night of the week, always orders three courses and usually eats with a friend. He re-patronizes the same restaurants over and over until he has tried nearly everything on the menu–always with a cocktail and frequently with a glass of wine.

There is no escaping high-calorie and decadent food on his diet.

So how exactly does he keep himself healthy?

“Here, we’re blessed with great produce, which makes it easy to eat out and eat well.”

Without a doubt the Bay Area has fantastic farmers markets that make healthy eating a piece of cake, so to speak. But portions at restaurants can also be problematic.

Bauer is careful to distinguish between large chain restaurants and the independent establishments where he dines. High-end Bay Area restaurants show more restraint and offer more reasonable portions than places like Denny’s. This too comes from the difference in food quality.

“Many chains can’t afford to (or don’t) buy pristine seasonal products. Instead they rely on fat, sugar and salt to make foods palatable.”

Better ingredients mean smaller portions and balanced meals. But some of us still find ourselves overeating in restaurants, even here in San Francisco.

“In the Bay Area we love our fried chicken, pork belly and pate, but we also equally embrace vegetables and moderation, which is key.”

Moderation is the holy grail for eating what you want. But it is often easier said than done, especially at fabulous restaurants. Bauer has taught himself not to eat everything he is served, though he grew up in a household “where you clean your plate.”

He says this habit of portion control has evolved naturally over the course of his career, but when pressed further he confessed that his motivation for self-restraint does not always stem from a desire to be healthy. Instead it sits patiently in his home, anxiously awaiting his return.

“I’ve gotten to the point where I start to feel really guilty if I come home without something for my dog.”

Extra meat and other leftovers from Bauer’s meal never go to waste, nor do they add to his waistline. It seems his dog’s taste for high-end dining is Bauer’s biggest diet secret.

Sheba and Bella

Sheba and Bella

Those of us without pets can mimic this tactic by substituting children, roommates, family members, co-workers and even your-future-self-at-lunch-tomorrow as our own calorie-saving opt-outs. The point is to do something to prevent yourself from eating everything in one sitting. Practice moderation and you can eat whatever you like, it does not matter where you get your inspiration.

Bauer admits that small portions and high-quality ingredients are not the only things that keep him svelte. He skips breakfast (though this was muttered with a hint of shame) and only eats a light salad or soup at his desk for lunch.

“I’m also pretty religious about working out every morning on the treadmill. I set the goal of burning 500 calories.”

Having a fast metabolism doesn’t hurt either.

Overall Bauer finds his health by living a balanced life full of nutritious meals, reasonable portions, plenty of exercise and an affectionate relationship with what sounds like the best-fed dog in the city.

Do your pets help you upgrade your healthstyle?

Michael Bauer is the executive food and wine editor and restaurant critic for The San Francisco Chronicle. Read his blog Michael Bauer and follow him on Twitter @michaelbauer1

Also see the commentary in The New York Times Well blog by Tara Parker-Pope.

Correction: This post was changed to correct an error. Bauer normally eats dinner with a companion, not by himself.

Read more How To Eat In Restaurants:

  1. Healthy Tips for Real Life
  2. Neighborhood Convenience
  3. Sit-Down Chains
  4. Healthy Advice From SF Food Critic Michael Bauer
  5. The Truly Special Occasions

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For The Love of Food

by | Aug 28, 2009
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.

It was a great week at Summer Tomato! My now famous squash pasta recipe was featured over at Lifehacker, which is a tremendous honor. There has been a flood of positive feedback about the recipe and one reader even claims her 6-year old can make it. I also wrote a guest post on finding time to cook over at Dumb Little Man, another one of my favorite tips and tricks blogs. Bookmarks (especially Stumbles) and comments at either of those posts would be very much appreciated!!

Also this week you may have noticed that my FoodFeed stream that was in the far right sidebar stopped working. I’m not sure what the problem is on their end, so rather than have a stagnant list of my meals from last week I replaced it with links to guest posts I’ve done, as well as some mentions of Summer Tomato around the web. If you are still interested in my eating habits I will continue to post my most interesting dishes on Twitter. Let me know if you’re heartbroken about not knowing my every bite and I’ll find another way to get the info here (I have some ideas).

I read many more wonderful articles than I post here each week. If you’d like to see more or just don’t want to wait until Friday, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@summertomato) or the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. For complete reading lists join me on the social bookmarking sites StumbleUpon and Delicious. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you there.

I also invite you to submit your own best food and health articles for next week’s For The Love of Food, just drop me an email using the contact form. I am also accepting guest posts at Summer Tomato for any awesome healthstyle tips you’d like to share.

This post is an open thread. Share your thoughts, writing (links welcome!) and delicious meals of the week in the comments below.

For The Love of Food

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For The Love of Food

by | Jul 24, 2009
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 I found yet another reason to eat fish for health, as well as some great discussions on the pros and cons of food industry regulation. For those of you who still don’t have a pressure cooker, Mark Bittman says you might still be able to prepare delicious bean dishes.

If you would like to see more of my favorite articles each week or just don’t want to wait until Friday, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@summertomato) or the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. For complete reading lists join me on the social bookmarking sites StumbleUpon and Delicious. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you there.

Submissions of your own best food and health articles are also welcome, just drop me an email using the contact form. I am currently accepting guest posts at Summer Tomato for any healthy eating, living and exercise tips.

For The Love of Food

Did you write any fabulous food or health articles this week? Share your links in the comments!!

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7 Day Detox and Weight Loss Plan

by | Jul 6, 2009
Vegetables

Vegetables

I don’t know about you guys, but I had a crazy weekend. In a very uncharacteristic move (I usually work weekends) I found myself at 5 different parties over a 3 day period. Four of these parties involved food.

I did my best to stick with my plan to eat healthy, and mostly I did, but the sheer volume and frequency of eating and drinking was a bit too much and by Sunday night I felt pretty gross.

It is natural to occasionally let your healthstyle slip, and there’s no need to get upset about it, but it is important to get it under control as quickly as possible. This is the essence of weight maintenance–something we all need to master if we want to stay healthy.

I never follow strict schedules or diets, but there are a few rules I keep in mind when I want to get my health and weight back into my comfort zone. These things work best for me, but please let us know what works best for you in the comments section.

10 Weight Loss Rules

  1. Cook at home The most important thing for me when eating healthy is cooking for myself. Eating small portions of healthy food is nearly impossible at restaurants. Every breakfast, lunch and dinner this week will be made from scratch from the beautiful veggies and fruit I got at the farmers market on Saturday.
  2. Small portions I will be cooking and serving myself smaller portions of food this week, approximately 80% of the volume I would normally eat. I will cut down on everything in general, but most of the calorie reduction will come from starchy carbohydrates and protein. Basically, vegetables (and the olive oil I cook them in) are the only foods I will not restrict.
  3. No dessert I didn’t mention cutting out sugar in point #2 because I don’t consider sugar a regular part of my diet. However, normally I allow myself to indulge in dessert for special occasions and other events. This week I will politely turn down any offers of extra calories.
  4. No carbs Flour-based products, also not a staple of my diet, are off the table this week too. No bread at all in any form, no pasta, noodles, white rice, etc. I will still eat whole grains like my morning muesli and the occasional addition of brown rice or quinoa to salads and dinners, but these servings will be smaller than usual.
  5. Less protein Many self-proclaimed fitness gurus will disagree with me on this one, but I find that my optimal protein intake for weight loss is not as high as you might think. I have nothing against protein as a weight loss tool (especially when greater weight loss is necessary), but protein adds a lot of calories to your diet compared to vegetables. So really this rule is more about portion control than protein itself. For the next few days my protein will come from lentils, nuts, whole grains and fish. Servings will be about 3 oz. I will still be careful to get enough protein and fat in each meal so I don’t increase my appetite.
  6. No alcohol Alcohol can be healthy, but it can also impair your judgment about what and when to eat. It also has quite a few extra calories and can create hormone imbalances when consumed regularly. I’m going to skip the wine with dinner, at least until Friday.
  7. Daily workouts I always try to work out every weekday, but excuses come easier on some days than others. No excuses this week: weights and cardio Monday through Friday. I may even try to work in a hike or some other physical activities next weekend.
  8. Stay hydrated People will argue about how much or how little water is really necessary, but none of this changes the fact that water makes me feel better. Water helps me control my appetite, feel more awake and have better workouts. I always carry around my CamelBak, but this week I will try to fill it up a little more often.
  9. Enough sleep For me, the hardest healthy habit to maintain is getting enough sleep. I usually stay up too late and get up early, but this can really take its toll over time. For the next several days I will try to keep myself on something of a regular sleeping schedule.
  10. Be good next weekend I have found one of the more futile activities is eating right and being healthy all week then completely throwing all self-restraint out the window on weekends. To really recover from a bad weekend, I need a full 7 days of self-control and good behavior. In essence this will translate into two good weeks, since the inertia from one healthy week can sustain me until the following weekend. The only real barrier is that first weekend, filled with parties and dinner invitations. It’s fine to go out with friends, but skip the fried mac and cheese and hold it together for just a few more days.

What are your favorite tips for getting your health back on track after a wild weekend?

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