Tag Archives: staying healthy

Can Pasta be Part of a Healthy Diet?

Pasta is often fiercely frowned upon in the health and fitness world. Thanks to the low-carb diet craze, everyone is all concerned these days about eating enough protein and limiting their carbohydrates. In fact, almost every time one of my new clients admits to eating pasta for dinner, it’s accompanied by an embarrassed attempt to justify or excuse their choice.

pastaThe war against pasta stems primarily from the fact that pasta is a high-carbohydrate food. And carbs have developed a pretty awful reputation in the health industry these days. But, when it comes down to the science, your body actually NEEDS carbohydrates – and a good amount of them, too – in order to function and thrive. Added bonus: pasta is delicious.  🙂

We need to stop feeling like we’ve “messed up our diet” because we ate lasagna or fettuccine or some other delightful form of noodles for dinner last night. And maybe the night before that.

Because, honestly, pasta isn’t the problem. 

Now, before you run out to Pasta House for an all-you-can-eat pasta feast, let me clarify my views on noodles:

There are several components of pasta dishes that often make them not-so-great choices, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.  However, there are also some simple changes you can make to health-ify (for lack of a better word) your pasta and enjoy it without regret.

Here are a few ideas:

1) Try gluten-free noodles.
This one goes without saying. Because of the way our wheat is processed and the horrible digestion issues that many of us have, it’s more than likely that your body has some level of sensitivity to gluten. Even if you don’t have any specific symptoms that you can link to those pasta dinners you enjoy, chances are that gluten could still be undermining your health. It’s worth it to experiment by going off of gluten for 30 days to see if it changes the way you feel. Bonus: you can’t even taste a difference with gluten free noodles! My favorite is either Brown Rice or Brown Rice and Quinoa noodles, available at Trader Joes, Schnucks, Dierbergs, you name it. They’re inexpensive and much easier on your digestion.

dog and pasta

2) Watch the sauce. 
The sauce is what usually sends the calorie count through the roof on pasta dishes. If you’re eating out, try to order pasta dishes with an olive-oil based sauce, rather than a cream sauce. Or if you absolutely must get the Fettuccine Alfredo, try to eat half and take the rest home for another meal. When making pasta at home, use Extra Virgin Olive Oil or full-fat dairy products for your sauces (not low-fat, sugar-laden junk!) and look for recipes that use real-food ingredients and not processed packets and pre-made sauces.

3) Add veggies to your pasta dishes.
Almost every pasta dish I cook has some sort of vegetable in it. Broccoli, asparagus, and tomatoes are my favorites. The fiber from the veggies will help fill you up and keep you from going back for endless plates of noodles.

lemon-pasta2

4) Watch your portions. 
This is my mantra with pretty much any food out there. Everything in moderation. A healthy diet doesn’t mean extremes and restrictions and lists of “bad foods” to avoid. That’s why I ordered Fettuccine Alfredo a few weeks ago at Maggiano’s and enjoyed every bite. Life’s too short to miss out on pasta. Right?!  Just make sure that you’re eating until you’re comfortably satisfied, and don’t stuff yourself to the brim.

Eating more slowly and savoring each bite will often help you eat less as well. Your hunger and fullness signals take 20-30 minutes to kick in as you are eating, so try not to scarf down multiple plates of pasta before your brain has a chance to say “that’s enough!”

Now, go find a delicious pasta recipe you can make this week! Here are a few ideas…

Teriyaki Noodle Bowls

Lemon Chicken Pasta with Broccoli

Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti

When all else fails, search “healthy pasta recipes” on Pinterest and feast your eyes on all the delicious goodness that appears on your screen.  🙂

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Just a quick picture to say…

From my Instagram this morning:

cards game ice cream

“Being ‘healthy’ for me looks like this. Enjoying ice cream at a Cards game because it sounded good, and not worrying about how many calories or grams of sugar it had. After recovering from #anorexia, I have grown to love a life of BALANCE. Everything in moderation, folks!! There’s nothing fun to me about depriving myself of sweets and treats. Been there, done that, been that person eating carrots while everyone else enjoys cookies. #itsnofun 😦  I no longer try to have obsessive control over everything that goes into my mouth.  Life’s too short to miss out on things like ice cream. 🙂 I’m so thankful for my journey of #recovery and that I’ve learned to let go of the obsessions!! I feel better now – emotionally AND physically – than I ever have before. #eatingdisorder #everythinginmoderation #balance #lifeistooshort #dontmissout #iloveicecream #edwarrior #edrecovery”

3 Ways to Ward off Sickness This Winter!

It’s that time of year…Christmas is in the air, but so are lots of cold and flu germs!

No one wants to miss out on the holiday parties, cookie baking, and gift exchanges, so I’m here to give you my 3 top tips for warding off the germs this season!

 TIPS FOR STAYING HEALTHY:

1)      Build your immune system up so you’re better able to fight off the germs. This means eating lots of nutrient-rich veggies, drinking lots of water, and taking your vitamins. Regular exercise also helps equip your body to fight infection.

2)      Keep the sweets to a minimum. There’s no reason to deprive yourself of Christmas cookies altogether, but try not to go overboard. Large amounts of sugar temporarily weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to getting sick. Enjoy your candy, cookies, and chocolates in moderation – this means eating one or two, not the whole bag or plate!

3)      Get your zzzz’s. It’s a hectic time of year, but make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night. When you don’t get enough sleep….you guessed it, your immune system is weaker! Beginning to see a common theme to these preventive tips? A lot has to do with keeping your immune system strong – i.e., giving yourself a fighting chance in the battle to stay healthy!

Ok….well, what happens when I do get sick??

As much as I’d like to say the 3 tips above will completely prevent a single sick day this winter, it’s just not realistic. Life gets the best of us sometimes, and even the healthiest person will find themselves nursing a scratchy throat and sniffling at a Christmas party sooner or later. It happens. And it happened to me this past week. (Which is largely what inspired me to write this post!)  head cold

 

Wednesday afternoon, my throat started getting sore and I began to feel that dread that comes the night before a cold really sets in. You know that feeling when you just know you’re about to get sick? It’s not fun. And before learning about holistic health, I would usually raise the white flag of surrender at this point, and resign myself to 5-7 days of a horrible head cold. Time to start stocking every room of the house with a box of Kleenex.

However, this time around, I decided I wasn’t going to go down without a fight. The battle was on. It sounds dramatic, I know, but if you understood how much I DID NOT want to get sick this week, you’d be in battle mode too.

So, here’s what I did:

1)      Pumped myself full of immune-system-boosting vitamins! My favorite is Congaplex from Standard Process.    Since this is made of completely natural, whole-foods products, you can take them as often as possible. Whenever I start feeling sick, I pop 2 or 3 of these every hour!

apple cider vinegar2)      Gargled. With apple cider vinegar. It’s not fun, and it’s not tasty, but it gets the job done. Apple cider vinegar is amazing for many reasons (see the graphic on the right), one of which is clearing out the “gunk” in your throat and sinuses! However, not all apple cider vinegar is created equal; it’s important to get it raw and un-pasteurized, so that it still has the “mother” in it . My favorite brand is Bragg’s, which is available at Whole Foods and several other health foods stores.

3)      Drank lots of Throat Coat tea! My chiropractor was the one who first told me about this amazing remedy, and I’ve had a box in my pantry ever since. It’s available at your local grocery store, as well as CVS and Walgreens. I drink Throat Coat tea whenever my voice is feeling a little sore or hoarse, even if I’m not technically sick. It’s great stuff! throat coat tea

4)      SLEPT. I realized as I thought back on the past week that I hadn’t been getting nearly enough sleep, which is probably one of the reasons my body finally succumbed to the head cold boogie monster. Thankfully, I only had one client on Thursday morning and was able to reschedule with her so I could get some more sleep. I slept until noon and woke up feeling slightly better. Even though I didn’t notice a huge difference immediately after my nap, I really think the extra sleep helped me come out on the winning side with this cold. As I said earlier, when your body is sleep-deprived and exhausted, you are much more susceptible to the germs and viruses around you.

Thankfully, my story has a happy ending. By Thursday evening, I was feeling much better and the cold never actually went to my head or chest. The sore throat was annoying for those 24 hours, but I’ll take that over a week-long head cold any day!

I know there will still be times that the cold, flu, or other nasty virus gets the victory over you and me, but why not do everything possible to nip it in the bud and get healthy again as soon as possible? Your body (and your friends and family) will thank you!

Here’s to a healthy Christmas season!

head cold