eat

What Is Normal Eating?

If you’ve ever wondered what the heck constitutes “normal eating”, check out the post I wrote for the Head to Toe Wellness Blog:

http://headtotoewellness.weebly.com/mind-and-body/what-is-normal-eating

We may not know what “normal” even means. But it definitely doesn’t mean perfect! Normal eating is a mix of habits, and a whole lot of self-compassion. Read on, and please leave any questions or thoughts you have hear or on Head to Toe!

Love yourself,

Samantha ❤

Mixed Messages

Normally I feel the hospital I work at is tends to promote health well, and supports their employees in lifestyle-improving endeavors. There is a gym on the premisis, our cafeteria food is typically well balanced, and most food items offered even have bar codes next to them so you can link to your My Fitness Pal account, directly scanning in nutrition facts. Oh–and nutrition facts print out on your receipt! All wonderful steps toward a health-conscious and wellbeing-friendly work environment.

However, today I came across this:

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Now I know there’s often room for interpretation when it comes to determining which foods are “smart choices,” and which are maybe those you should eat less frequently. But I don’t think anyone’s ever classified Twix bars, cookies, or Corn Nuts as health foods. So, rating this vending machine as “S for Smart”? No wonder this country is confused…

What’s your take? How do you combat misinformation related to food and nutrition? Any tips that have worked for you in regards to staying healthy at work?

Happy Friday, everyone!

Challenge Yourself: Eating Mindfully

Challenge yourself today! If you do not already practice mindful or intuitive eating, set an attainable goal for yourself to start. My suggestion is to set a goal to eat one meal today with mindfulness. This means no distractions: turn off the TV, put down the phone, close the book/magazine. Pay attention! If you can recognize the signal, stop when you’re satisfied–BEFORE you’re full. And enjoy every bite.

It’s not easy, but I know you all can do it. Check back for a more elaborate post on mindful/intuitive eating–the philosophy that truly changed my life, and that of many others.

Happy Thursday (it’s almost Friday)!

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Do We REALLY Need Carbs?

Of course we do, ya numnuts! Our brains use carbohydrates as their primary source of fuel, and to feed them we require a MINIMUM of about 130 grams per day.

Today’s video is a RAP (yes, rap) that explains the details of the Krebs Cycle (aka TCA or Citric Acid Cycle)–the process our bodies use to convert carbohydrates (and other important nutrients) into energy to help us get through our days. This may be complicated information, but the point is–our bodies have a necessity for carbs, and a cycle designed specifically to utilize them.

It should be made clear that we require CARBOHYDRATES. This does not equal REFINED SUGARS. There is a huge difference between whole grain breads, pastas, and brown rice, even the carbs we get from plant sources like fruits, vegetables, and legumes, versus white flour based products (think Wonder Bread), cookies, and processed, sugar- and fat-laden treats. These should be consumed very sparingly, and please do not convince yourself that they are brain food!

I hope everyone is having a great Sunday, and please check back next week for a new topic to be covered. Suggestions for future videos welcome and encouraged!

And now… This one’s for all the science nerds (and Macklemore fans)…

Mac n’ Cheese Craving About MORE Than Our Lack of Will Power?

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What an interesting <24 hour span…

After a challenging but incredible day working at my new job, getting to visit some patients in the ICU, I head to my typcically oh-so-reliable vehicle (the Kia Sportage), in a bit of a rush to make it to my second job–about an hour away–on time. In the ignition my keys go, and with a clockwise turn forward, I see my afternoon flash before my eyes. Sportage was…. Dead. =’O

After a brief panic-laden call to my father, during which he told me a bunch of things that under more serene circumstances I would have already known, I called AAA, made my job aware, and awaited my knight in shining new battery’s arrival.

Battery’s replaced, I’m one hundred clams poorer, but I’m on the road. With extreme traffic (usual 1 hr drive took 2hrs), I felt my blood boiling and my mind racing with what innovative Chinese water torture method my job might use to punish me. (Side note: something I really enjoy about a commute is the time I’m forced to spend calming myself down :))

FINALLY, I arrive back into town. As I let out a serious sigh of relief, apparently, so does my rear right side tire. Tire pressure light comes on, and as it turns out, I have a flat. I decide to hold off until after work to deal with it, at which point I stop by a gas station and fill the tire with air. A large part of me knew that this likely would not fix the issue, but it was 8pm, and I needed to get home.

This brings me to this morning… Around 10am, I go to my car to drive to the store to pick up some foods for lunch (which I eat with my clients, so I am obligated to have something). Upon pulling out of my driveway, I learn that my tire is not just a bit low on pressure, but is–you guessed it–flat Stanley. Fantastic. I find the nearest tire repair store, and drive (YES, DRIVE) my poor, just barely pre-mortem vehicle about 3 miles down the road for fixin’. The man fixing my tire was incredibly nice, and when I told him I needed to be at work by a certain time, was sure to get right to it. He informed me that I had, not one but — TWO screws in my tire, and that because I drove my car there, it was incredibly dangerous to continue driving on it (even after repair) due to the damage. Now, I am suddenly in need of a new tire.

Now…. to my point in writing this post. I’m about $250 down, and in SERIOUS need of a hug. With blood glucose levels running low, and cortisol levels running obscenely high, I find myself craving… wait for it…. PIZZA LUNCHABLES. What?

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(Seriously? This sounds good?)

Then I think about it… In my early childhood, before my mother became as well-versed in nutrition as she now is, she would often feed these to us. I remembered a time with my family on Yom Kippur, a Jewish holiday involving fasting. After I had attempted to do this fast for the first time at age 6 (um, earliest signs of ED, perhaps?), and my poor growing body just couldn’t take the hunger, my mom took me out to the car, and gave me my very own pizza Lunchable that she had brought, likely foreseeing me not making it much past 11am. I think this shows that what I really needed today after this stressful experience is not highly processed, naturally stale-ish tasting fake and cold pizzas. What I really want is for my mom to take care of me, to take me out to the (functioning) car, sit with me on the sidewalk, and tell me everything is going to be alright, even though things have not gone according to plan.

The evidence is there. Cravings often have a true emotional tie within us that others may not be able to understand, and sometimes we subconsciously believe that eating certain foods will give us what we lack. So…

I PROPOSE A CHALLENGE:

The next time you have what seems like an odd craving, try to think about WHY. Was it a food your family made every Friday night? Maybe it’s the cookies Grandma would make whenever you went to her house (not my Grandma–but maybe yours did that stuff… ;))? It could even be the crappy dorm food over which you shared a number of laughs and good times with your best college pal. Then, if you’re really NOT hungry, or it’s maybe a food you’d like to avoid due to health reasons, try doing something to fill that need. Maybe you can call a family member, just tell them you miss them. Or if you’re lucky enough, go hang out with them. Maybe you need to call up a friend to hear a familiar voice. Or just go give/get a hug from someone. Does the craving go away? Do you feel fulfilled? I would love to hear any findings or feedback here!

Comment away, my dears :). To LUNCHABLES (or at least the warm fuzzy feeling they give to some of us…)!