Calories, macros (macronutrients), daily weights, water intake…the amount of data one can track on dieting apps can really add up. For me, as a person who has made her living talking, writing, and teaching about nutrition and food intake, tracking my diet when MyFitnessPal and other similar apps were new was an interesting (even fun!) thing for me to do. It fit with my mindset about weight control (calories matter…and I still think they do). I wrote about macro tracking on this blog in 2017 if you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about. But, somewhere along the line, tracking my food intake and weight became less fun, much less fun. I also grew as a nutrition professional over time, and found that diet tracking didn’t suit me or fit my food and health philosophy anymore.
In a perfect world we’d all have a few hours a day to devote to nourishing ourselves well—growing and harvesting our own organic produce (if that’s your kind of thing), planning well-rounded meals, carefully preparing beautiful and healthful meals all from scratch and then allowing ourselves plenty of time to mindfully savor those meals with friends and family. Doesn’t that sound amazing? It makes me smile just to think about all that. Of course, that scenario isn’t real-world for most of us. In fact, with the autumn season arriving, your life may be getting busier by the day.
It seems to me that main dishes and desserts get all the glory. Lots of times side dishes are an afterthought, and coming up with something to put “on the side” ends up being a hunt through the fridge or pantry for anything that can fill in the empty space on the plate. When we do that, we shortchange both our plates and our palates.
No doubt you’ve noticed the growing number of milk-like products that have appeared in the dairy case (or in close proximity to it). The colorful containers and variety of flavors available make for an attractive, yet somewhat confusing display. Whether the source of these beverages is a nut (cashew, almond, macadamia, hazelnut), a grain (oat, rice, hemp), a seed (flax), a fruit (coconut, banana), a tuber (tigernut) or a legume (soybean, pea), plant-based beverages offer a variety of nutrients. Sales of these beverages are increasing each year, but they aren’t really milks, are they?
I love a good road trip, don’t you? There’s something about the freedom of driving oneself around in the comfort of your own vehicle, going where you want to go, and doing it all at your own pace that just makes road trips special. And one of the nice things about a road trip is that you are in control of most aspects of the journey. That means that you can work in opportunities for wellness that you might not otherwise be able to if you were traveling by air. Not sure what I’m taking about? Here are a few of my favorite tips for taking your wellness routine on the road.
When you ask someone about the Mediterranean Diet, typically the first thing they’ll mention is “Oh, yeah, lots of olive oil!” So that message has gotten through (though don’t forget the other basics of the diet: loads of veggies, seafood, whole grains, little meat, and very few sweets). Most folks also know that doctors, dietitians, and other health professionals sing the eating plan’s praises for its potential to bring important health benefits such as better blood cholesterol levels, help prevent chronic diseases, decreased likelihood of obesity, and others.
I’ve written about various aspects of exercise for this blog over the past several years, including what to eat after exercise, getting back into an exercise habit after a break, and how to just get started moving around more. One of the exercise topics that I find the most interesting, however, revolves around the tendency that we have to consider our workouts to be more strenuous (and therefore more intensely calorie-burning) than they truly are—and how that impacts our food intake. I have written about how not to out-eat your workout previously (what might be called compensatory eating), but this time I’m going to focus on the science behind why we shouldn’t rely on exercise for weight loss.
Several of my sisters and I like to share photos of our “used it up” culinary creations on social media. I’m not sure if it’s because we were raised in a big family by two parents who were children during the Depression, but I think that likely has something to do with it. Our mother managed to feed lots of mouths by making wise and creative use of inexpensive, yet healthful, food. Seeing her refashion leftovers or aging ingredients into something new taught us how to stretch our food dollar and avoid wasting food. She wasn’t heavy-handed about teaching it; we just sort of “soaked it up.” We now all pride ourselves on being able to “make something out of nothing.”