Friday, June 3, 2011

I hope "my plate" isn't your plate

Food groups, food pyramid and its incarnations, and now our beloved government presents My Plate in order to help Americans figure out what and how much to eat. The representations on the plate are:
  • fruit
  • vegetables
  • protein
  • grains
and then there's dairy, which didn't make it onto the plate, but seems to be a side serving. Apparently fat, which is essential to the nervous system, is undeserving of it's own group and is now considered part of one of the other groups. Are they saying "don't worry, you're getting enough"?? Well...that's sort of true. Most people are getting way too much and should keep an eye on it.

My Plate indicates that a little less than 1/4 of each plate should be protein. This is presumably at EACH MEAL. Yet when I research RDA protein guidelines, the highest number I can find indicates less than 2.5 ounces PER DAY for most women. Several other sites -

- quote amounts based on weight and if you do all the conversions (numbers are given in grams and kilograms) they indicate about 1.5-2 OUNCES PER DAY. These numbers are for the average, sedentary person. Athletes or those with physically demanding jobs will require more.

Right now the maximum weight of a letter that can be mailed first class is 3.5 oz. This is MORE THAN DOUBLE the amount of protein "they" say we should eat, when we look at numbers. Yet somehow that translates to about 1/4 of each plate of food that's being eaten at each meal?!?!?! Please tell me what I'm missing or how I am misinterpreting this.

Oh, wait. I see where I went wrong. They're having green smoothies for breakfast and not even using a plate. LOL!

I am also confused about the groupings. If we're going to talk about nutrients, like protein, then why doesn't My Plate have calcium, magnesium and other essential nutrients? Probably because, like protein, they are contained in food. Vegetables have protein. So do fruits and grains. It's just like they've decided we don't need to list fat because it's in (nearly) everything.

I hope my readers will use discretion if inclined to adopt My Plate. It doesn't have to be your plate. I know it won't be mine.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Thump, Sniff and Touch - The Art of Selecting Melons

With summer fast approaching there are a plethora of juicy and flavorful fruits to choose from. It’s almost overwhelming when you walk into a produce section - should it be grapes, cherries, perhaps some peaches and nectarines, and of course, we cannot ignore melons. Actually, while I enjoy all of these wonderful fruits, a perfectly ripe melon is probably my favorite. But finding a perfectly ripe melon and feeling confident that you are taking home a ready-to-eat piece of fruit is a challenge for most any shopper. So as melons begin to fill out your racks, I wanted to go over a few very simple techniques for selecting ripe melons; at least covering the big three - cantaloupes, honeydews, and watermelons.

With cantaloupes there are 5 key indicators of ripeness and maturity: the stem end; the netting; the color; the touch; and the smell.

- The stem end of a cantaloupe is actually one of the key indicators in determining the ripeness of the fruit. The stem itself should not be on the cantaloupe. If you see a stem on the fruit, it should automatically be ruled out from your selection. If some of the stem remains attached, the melon is not mature. This is an indicator that the melon was picked too early. Also check for tears in the rind around the stem end. These too can indicate a premature harvest. The stem end should be slightly indented, indicating that that the fruit easily came away from the vine when it was picked. If it protrudes, this indicates of premature harvesting. Lastly, on the stem end, make sure to avoid fruit with soft moist-looking areas around the indentation.

- The netting on the skin should be thick, course, and pretty well defined, and should stand out more dramatically in some places than in others.

- Color is pretty straightforward - the base skin color of a ripe cantaloupe should be tinted gold, not green.

- Touch is always important when selecting any melon. A good cantaloupe should feel relatively heavy for its size. Pick up several melons on display to compare. Also, the blossom end should yield just a bit when pressed.

- It’s always good to trust your nose when selecting a cantaloupe. The best area of the fruit to smell for ripeness is the blossom end - the end opposite the stem area. Raise the fruit so that the button is just under your nose and take a good whiff. You should detect the scent of a ripe cantaloupe! In general, a ripe cantaloupe will have a noticeable sweet aroma.

If the cantaloupe passes all of these tests you have a wonderful piece of fruit that is ready to eat!

Unlike cantaloupes, honeydew melons have a very smooth rind rather than a course netted skin. As honeydews ripen, they turn from green, to creamy white, to yellow. Avoid green ones, but a creamy white one will (unlike other melons) ripen on your counter in a few days. A perfectly ripe honeydew will yield just a bit to pressure at the blossom end and have a sticky, velvety rind. That tackiness that you feel on the skin is actually the fruit sugar within the melon coming to the surface. Honeydews should have a strong sweet smell when ripe, and this aroma is most evident when the melon is at room temperature.

It’s not uncommon to see people shake their melons as a ripeness indicator. Believe it or not, this can actually work with honeydews. When you shake a ripe honeydew, you can feel the seeds actually rattling around. Shoppers will also try this on cantaloupes, but I do not recommend this as a ripeness indicator for cantaloupes; it yields very inconsistent results.

It’s pretty difficult to tell if a watermelon is ripe by just looking; it must be examined. A really good indicator of ripeness for watermelons is color. Look for the spot where the melon rested on the ground; a yellow-white, yellow, or a cream-yellow color spot suggests ripeness and a white or pale green spot indicates immaturity. A green watermelon will have a white bottom; a ripe melon will have a cream or yellow-colored bottom.

Many rely on the old thumping test as an indicator of ripeness, even though most of us really aren’t sure what it is that we are listening for. When you thump, if the melon sounds hollow, it is usually ripe. The unripe melon will have more of a thud-like sound. This technique however, is pretty challenging to perfect and not all that reliable for the less-gifted ears. The thumping technique is not a guarantee because the hollow sound (which indicates ripeness) can also be heard when the melon is overripe. Many produce experts have likened watermelon thumping to kicking the tires on a car. "It makes you feel good when you do it, but you don't really know what it will accomplish."

Well there you go - a little guide to melon season. Eating a perfectly ripe melon is really one of the true eating pleasures of the summer. Help your customers indulge!

~ reprinted from
Simcha Weinstein
Director of Marketing, Albert's Organics

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Top 7 Symptoms of Toxicity

Breathing air, absorbing cell phone tower waves and not always eating the best foods are just some of the ways we re-toxify our bodies. Yes - even someone as "clean" as I am is constantly re-toxifying my body just by living.

Part of the equation is what I'm putting onto and into my system. Part of it is how efficient is my system to get rid of the toxins?

The Top 7 Symptoms of Toxic Overload are:
  • low energy/fatigue
  • sugar/caffeine/food addiction
  • excess weight
  • poor concentration/memory
  • aches and pains
  • frequent or chronic illness
  • low level depression
Even lifestyle habits such as multi-tasking, not breathing deeply and not taking private time overload our physiology. When we don't slow down and act in our own best interest, the Universe makes us slow down or slows us down. When that happens it's usually not very pleasant.

Learn how to relieve your body of toxic overload! And learn how to live a life which promotes letting the toxins flow out with ease, regularly. If you're serious about changing your lifestyle to strengthen your immune system, build health and experience more joy visit me online today:

It's my birthday this month and very likely that I'll be giving away some free coaching....

Thursday, March 24, 2011

127 Hours....or at least 24

Wow, I watched the movie 127 hours last night. It blew me away. Not so much the story but Aron's character - as in moral fiber. Caught in desperate measures, this man thinks about what he needs to successfully get out of his situation. He tries to save himself a number of times, then asks the universe for hardware, lengths of rope and 8 burly men. In between he suffers delirium and recalls happy memories and treasured moments with loved ones.

For anyone not familiar with the movie, it's about a mountain climber whose hand gets caught under a boulder and he chooses to cut off his own hand in order to save himself. He was caught for 127 hours. The story was widely acclaimed and, as appropriate, Aron appeared on many talk shows and became famous.

How many of us, caught in that situation - or any other - would spend the time wallowing in self-pity? How many hours would you wile away in "shouldas"?

What I really wonder, though, is how many followed this story with zeal and then when the excitement died down, went to the next story? How many of us look for that next miraculous story rather than living in our own story?

Each of us has miracles. Maybe not as dramatic as Aron's. Yet instead of living our lives, completely present, we look for distractions - that great story, the remarkable event, even the fun saga. How many were enthralled with Susan Boyle's singing? How many tuned in to see where Matt was dancing today? How many spend hours in YouTube or forwarding emails?

What if you spent 24 hours completely with yourself?

What would be the story there?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Becoming a Holistic Health Practitioner

"How can I do what you're doing?"
"I've always thought about helping people"
"I want to do the kind of work you do"

If I had a dollar for everyone who made one of those comments....I could retire! But I wouldn't because I love my work. What I don't love is people who walk one way and talk another.

Would you trust a heart surgeon who did it on the side?
Would you trust a dentist who fixed fillings for a hobby?

Why trust your health to someone who is not invested in it full time?

These people are comfortable asking me because they know me, personally, and know my work. Interestingly several of them have approached me about being clients and not followed through. In some cases the money wasn't there (how much does it cost to NOT address your health issues?) in other cases they were simply not ready to commit to changing their habits.

If you're not ready to change, how can you teach others?

Worse yet...I just read ANOTHER ad for a school which trains "holistic health coaches" -- it's such a great program because --
* You don’t need to be a fitness expert
* You don’t need to be a medical expert
* You don’t need to be a nutritional expert
* You don’t need to be fit from day one

H-E-L-L-O -- you're going to coach people to health but you don't need to be fit or to have expertise? My grandparents would call those who practice this shysters. I think in today's world it's called MLM. LOL.

The four core values of this company are:
* Commit and deliver on your promises.
* Treat people with respect and be courageously forthright.
* Take initiative to improve everything.
* Work with passion, enthusiasm, and common sense.

These are great values. I bet they make great salespeople. And surely that's part of a nutrition business, but personally, I'd rather work with someone who knows about nutrition and who has had the experience of changing their diet and reaping benefits.

In order to stay current, I read a ton of books. I'm nearing the end of one now about someone who took an ugly raw food journey. He followed people who did NOT know about nutrition. And nearly ruined his health. He DID ruin his teeth and now has more than 30 fillings. Yikes!

When I trained as a Life Coach, the first part of the program was to be coached. For six months. I had to make the changes in my life and to experience being a client.

I've received so many inquiries about becoming a Holistic Health Coach, I am seriously considering creating a curriculum. I've already spoken to the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. They would consider endorsing it and certifying my graduates.

If you are thinking of becoming a Holistic Health Practitioner...please ask yourself, first, are you willing to embrace a holistic lifestyle? It's okay to define what that means for you - it doesn't have to be all raw. However, I think it should come close to the kind of lifestyle or nutrition coaching you plan to offer your clients.

I sure wouldn't want to learn skiing from a yogini (who doesn't ski).
I wouldn't want to learn how to drive from someone who doesn't drive.

Please don't teach or learn nutrition from someone who doesn't eat well and isn't fit even if he/she does work with passion, enthusiasm, and common sense.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Top Foods for Colds and Flu

Clients and class participants often ask what are the top foods for colds and flu or what to eat for a specific condition. While certain foods can be helpful, one has to look at the bigger picture.

Juan wants to know if eating more oranges and eating kale will help prevent colds. He knows that vitamin C is key to wintertime health.

While there is truth to this...if the rest of his diet consists of burgers and soda, then oranges and kale will not be very helpful.

Let's suppose that he eats a "healthy" American diet - oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, salad and low-fat yogurt for lunch, chicken or fish and a vegetable for dinner. He only has one cup of coffee per day and occasionally has some soda.

Juan lives alone and spends most of his non-work time watching movies. Every day he excitedly checks to see what Netflix has brought to him.

Increasing citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables might have some marginal effect on Juan's health. But to really ward off colds and flu, he needs to exercise. Movement increases the flow in our lymphatic system and keeps the blood clean - empowering it to ward off undesirable bacteria and viruses.

Cindy eats a great raw, vegan, organic diet. She starts every day with a green smoothie - heavier on greens than fruit. At lunchtime she eats a large salad with homemade dressing that has no fat. At dinnertime she has another salad or maybe raw soup and includes a little fat. If she uses seeds or nuts, she always makes sure to soak them.

Cindy also has enormous stress at her job and spends a lot of time being anxious and angry. She doesn't have time for a social life and on weekends feels lonely. She usually gets sick in the wintertime and has a cold for months at a time. She wonders if she should be eating blueberries or include acai powder or perhaps a superfood in her smoothie.

In my view, it doesn't matter what she eats. If the other parts of her life are not in balance, she will get sick. Dis-ease is an imbalance in our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being.

The top foods for colds and flu are not magic. One cannot ingest something and have it supersede other efforts to make up for lack in other parts of life. Food is merely one part of health. What are the best foods for colds and flu? The ones that are part of a healthy LIFESTYLE and promote health, happiness, curiosity and creativity. The foods which fuel your body, appropriately, for exercise and fun. The foods that inspire creating a wonderful meal for yourself - served on pretty dishes in a lovely ambiance. These are the top foods for colds and flu.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Skin Care and BPAs

Many people are aware of BPAs in plastic bottles, liners of aluminum water bottles and plastic bags. But did you know they are in store receipts, too?

Natural Foods Merchandiser reports:

"Although BPA had come under fire mainly for its presence in food packaging and baby bottles, the EWG reported that “the total mass of BPA on a receipt is 250 to 1,000 times greater than the amount of BPA typically found in a can of food or a can of baby formula.” What’s more, research revealed that BPA can be transferred from paper to skin quickly and easily and penetrate deep enough that it cannot be washed off. And, according to EWG senior scientist David Andrews, PhD, “study results indicate that short or infrequent contact with BPA paper is similar to multiple contacts with BPA paper. That said, people who have constant dermal exposure to BPA, such as cashiers, have BPA levels up to 30 percent higher than the average adult.”

(EWG is the Environmental Working Group)

New receipts are being used in many stores. To determine if they are BPA free look for red threads on the back. Otherwise..handle with care or better yet, gloves!

On a related a recent festival I saw T-shirts being sold with recycled plastic in them. Sounds environmentally responsible, right? My initial thought was "what about the BPAs?" Now we know that exposure on the skin is far more detrimental than other exposures. Please be wary of these shirts when shopping.