Mindful Eating

Even if you’re not overweight, your eating habits can affect you. In fact, we’re learning more and more about the effects of nutrition and microbes in the gut on physical and emotional well-being. Before you leave this post, I promise, this will not be a shaming lecture. Really. It won’t.

Most of us had to take a health class or two in school, and we can all draw the food pyramid (I still insist that chocolate cake follows the food pyramid if you add some zucchini!). Then there’s the myriad of fad diets to which we are exposed, all explaining their version of  nutrition and healthy eating. It can be confusing, and very misleading.

If you chose to view the lecture series offered by the Culinary Institute of America that were discussed in previous posts, you now know how to cook and to choose healthier options. So, if we all know the core components of nutrition and healthy eating, and have numerous allegedly healthy and successful diet options available to us, why are the diabetes and obesity rates in the United States high and ever-increasing? Why do so many of us gravitate toward junk and fast food? Because it’s not about the nutrition. We eat for a variety of reasons- to be polite, to be social, out of boredom, to mask pain or otherwise avoid dealing with relevant issues… Unless we address these matters, we’re likely to struggle with our food choices and the effect they have on our well-being throughout our lives.

Taken directly from her own website, “Lynn Rossy, PhD, is a health psychologist, author, researcher, and Kripalu yoga teacher specializing in mindfulness-based interventions for eating, stress, and workplace wellness. She developed a mindful eating program called Eat for Life. She is the President of The Center for Mindful Eating and Executive Director of Tasting Mindfulness.”

Dr. Rossy wrote a book entitled, The Mindfulness-Based Eating Solution: Proven Strategies to End Overeating, Satisfy Your Hunger, and Savor Your Life. I like this book because, unlike other mindfulness-based books addressing eating habits, readers do not complain that the book seems to be written by a nutritionist, with a smattering of mindfulness techniques interspersed. Instead, it focuses upon the mind-body connection and addresses the various contributing factors to poor eating habits. In fact, the book was listed as one of the Top 10 Mindful Books in 2016 by Mindful.org. Give it a glance or two. It may be the only “diet” book on your shelf that you actually find useful!

Disclaimer: This blog is not designed to diagnose, treat, or prevent illnesses or trauma, and Dr. Emick is not responsible for your use of this educational material or its consequences. Furthermore, reading this blog does not create a doctor-patient relationship. The information contained within this blog is not intended to dictate what constitutes reasonable, appropriate, or best care for any given physical or behavioral health issue, nor does it take into account the unique circumstances that define the health issues of the reader. If you have questions about the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of a condition or illness, you should consult your personal health care professional. As always, consult with your personal health care professional before beginning or changing any fitness or nutrition program to make sure that it is appropriate for your needs. Dr. Emick reserves the right to modify her positions on a subject based upon new research or data as it presents.

Dessert!

So, we’ve been covering healthy food options for the past several weeks, but what about the balance of which I I so often speak? Life is meant to be lived to the fullest, which means sometimes treating yourself. Note, I said sometimes, not all the time. How about we split the difference between healthy and not so healthy and make the pastries we all like to eat?! The Culinary Institute of America also offers a video lecture series called The Everyday Gourmet: Baking Pastries and Desserts. In this six, thirty minute video series, Chef Stephen L. Durfee reviews:

 

Basic doughs

Methods for cakes

Pies and biscuits

Cream puffs

Custards

Mousse and dessert sauces

 

If this doesn’t encourage you to get cooking from scratch, I don’t know what will. Again, this lecture series can be purchased through Amazon or The Great Courses, or rented from various libraries.

Disclaimer: This blog is not designed to diagnose, treat, or prevent illnesses or trauma, and Dr. Emick is not responsible for your use of this educational material or its consequences. Furthermore, reading this blog does not create a doctor-patient relationship. The information contained within this blog is not intended to dictate what constitutes reasonable, appropriate, or best care for any given physical or behavioral health issue, nor does it take into account the unique circumstances that define the health issues of the reader. If you have questions about the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of a condition or illness, you should consult your personal health care professional. As always, consult with your personal health care professional before beginning or changing any fitness or nutrition program to make sure that it is appropriate for your needs. Dr. Emick reserves the right to modify her positions on a subject based upon new research or data as it presents.

 

Making Quick, Healthy Meals

Now that you’ve learned how to cook healthy, tasty meals, let’s spend some time talking about how to do so quickly.  This, to me, is the most difficult part of cooking. I typically don’t have time to food prep for an entire week in advance. I come home, often late, after a long day, and really don’t have much energy left to cook. It is so much easier to go to a drive through or to call for a pizza. But with a little bit of knowledge and planning, I can have a much  better meal at home than I can if I use the other options available to me. The Culinary Institute of America also offers a video lecture series called The Everyday Gourmet: Great Meals in Less Time. In this six, thirty minute video series, Chef Bill Briwa covers the following:

Into the mind of a chef

Launching the day

One fresh thing

Evolution of a quick dish

What makes a meal?

A chef entertains

 

Again, this series can be purchased through Amazon or The Great Courses or rented from various libraries.

 

Disclaimer: This blog is not designed to diagnose, treat, or prevent illnesses or trauma, and Dr. Emick is not responsible for your use of this educational material or its consequences. Furthermore, reading this blog does not create a doctor-patient relationship. The information contained within this blog is not intended to dictate what constitutes reasonable, appropriate, or best care for any given physical or behavioral health issue, nor does it take into account the unique circumstances that define the health issues of the reader. If you have questions about the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of a condition or illness, you should consult your personal health care professional. As always, consult with your personal health care professional before beginning or changing any fitness or nutrition program to make sure that it is appropriate for your needs. Dr. Emick reserves the right to modify her positions on a subject based upon new research or data as it presents.

Cooking Healthy Food That Tastes Good

Yes, it can be done. In fact, it’s really not that hard. The Culinary Institute of America offers  a video series called The Everyday Gourmet: Making Healthy Food Taste Great. I have to admit, I find this particular video lecture series less engaging than the others in the series. However, I do like that Chef Briwa presents good, better and best ways to prepare healthy foods, which is a lot more realistic than always expecting me to take the high road or spend a lot of time prepping and cooking a meal! In this six, thirty minute video series, Chef Bill Briwa and Professor Connie Guttersen, R.D., Ph.D . introduce us to:

Good, better, best

Nutritious and satisfying whole grains

Adding flavor with healthy oils

Protein—understanding your choices

Powerful micronutrients—cooking with color

Making healthy cooking a lifestyle

Again, this series can be purchased through Amazon or The Great Courses, or rented from various libraries. By the way, Dr. Guttersen earned her Ph.D. in Nutritional Physiology from Texas Woman’s University.

 

Disclaimer: This blog is not designed to diagnose, treat, or prevent illnesses or trauma, and Dr. Emick is not responsible for your use of this educational material or its consequences. Furthermore, reading this blog does not create a doctor-patient relationship. The information contained within this blog is not intended to dictate what constitutes reasonable, appropriate, or best care for any given physical or behavioral health issue, nor does it take into account the unique circumstances that define the health issues of the reader. If you have questions about the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of a condition or illness, you should consult your personal health care professional. As always, consult with your personal health care professional before beginning or changing any fitness or nutrition program to make sure that it is appropriate for your needs. Dr. Emick reserves the right to modify her positions on a subject based upon new research or data as it presents.

Mediterranean Cooking

I’m always amazed when a patient begrudgingly tells me they’ve been put on a Mediterranean diet. Are you kidding me? How could you not find something good to eat from the Mediterranean?!

Since Americans are known for their lack of geographical savvy, let’s begin with a geography lesson. The Mediterranean Sea is almost entirely surrounded by land. The countries that surround it include France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Monaco, Morocco, Montenegro, Albania,  Israel, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Malta and Cyprus are island countries within the sea itself. What a variety of cuisines and cooking techniques!

Unfortunately, many Americans are not familiar with these cuisines, and assume that a Mediterranean diet must be bland. While it’s true that your health care providers want you to assume a Mediterranean diet because of its health benefits, this way of eating is far from bland. The main premises include the following:

  • Daily consumption of vegetables
  • Daily consumption of fruits
  • Daily consumption of  unprocessed, whole grains
  • Use of healthy fats such as olive oil
  • Fish, poultry, beans and eggs as the primary sources of protein
  • Moderate consumption of dairy products
  • Limited consumption of red meat

That allows for a lot of wiggle room!

Once again, The Great Courses can assist you on your culinary journey. In the video lecture series The Everyday Gourmet: The Joy of Mediterranean Cooking, Chef Bill Briwa introduces us to:

Tastes of the Mediterranean

Butter and cheese: Northern Italy

Classical Italian cuisine: Central Italy

Bounty from the sea: Southern Italy

The everyday joys of olive oil

Paella: The landscape of Spain in a pan

A Spanish tradition: Tapas and sherry

Tunisia: The home of harissa

Technique and polish: Mastering Moroccan food

Health and wellness: A Mediterranean diet

Sharing abundance: The cuisine of Greece

Tastes from the palace kitchens of Istanbul

A favorite street food from the East

Foundations from the South of France

Fresh catch: Seafood of the French Riviera

Bringing the Mediterranean home

The series consists of sixteen, thirty minute videos and can be purchased through Amazon or the Great Courses, or rented from various libraries. Now that you’ve learned about the various regions, cuisines and cooking techniques of the Mediterranean, are you ready to at least consider a Mediterranean diet? The Mayo Clinic offers these tips to help you get started:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. Aim for 7 to 10 servings a day of fruit and vegetables.
  • Opt for whole grains. Switch to whole-grain bread, cereal and pasta. Experiment with other whole grains, such as bulgur and farro.
  • Use healthy fats. Try olive oil as a replacement for butter when cooking. Instead of putting butter or margarine on bread, try dipping it in flavored olive oil.
  • Eat more seafood. Eat fish twice a week. Fresh or water-packed tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel and herring are healthy choices. Grilled fish tastes good and requires little cleanup. Avoid deep-fried fish.
  • Reduce red meat. Substitute fish, poultry or beans for meat. If you eat meat, make sure it’s lean and keep portions small.
  • Enjoy some dairy. Eat low-fat Greek or plain yogurt and small amounts of a variety of cheeses.
  • Spice it up. Herbs and spices boost flavor and lessen the need for salt.

 

Disclaimer: This blog is not designed to diagnose, treat, or prevent illnesses or trauma, and Dr. Emick is not responsible for your use of this educational material or its consequences. Furthermore, reading this blog does not create a doctor-patient relationship. The information contained within this blog is not intended to dictate what constitutes reasonable, appropriate, or best care for any given physical or behavioral health issue, nor does it take into account the unique circumstances that define the health issues of the reader. If you have questions about the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of a condition or illness, you should consult your personal health care professional. As always, consult with your personal health care professional before beginning or changing any fitness or nutrition program to make sure that it is appropriate for your needs. Dr. Emick reserves the right to modify her positions on a subject based upon new research or data as it presents.

 

The Art of Grilling

Now that you’ve mastered basic cooking techniques and are more familiar with spices, let’s move on to grilling. If you grew up in America, you’re probably used to the old charcoal or gas grill in the backyard, typically with hamburgers, bratwurst or steak cooking on it. But there’s so much more to grilling! There are so many other foods that grill well, other techniques to learn, different kinds of woods to use…. Again, we turn to The Great Courses. In The Everyday Gourmet: The Art of Grilling, Chefs Bill Briwa and Patrick Clark cover the following topics:

The art of grilling

Grilling vegetable starters and salads

Flatbreads and pizza

Seafood

Mediterranean-style grilling

Poultry

Latin American-style grilling

Lamb and beef

Asian-Style grilling

Grilling veggie savories and sides

The American tradition of barbecue

Grilling for a group

The series consists of twelve, thirty minute videos and can be purchased through Amazon or the Great Courses, or rented from various libraries.

 

Disclaimer: This blog is not designed to diagnose, treat, or prevent illnesses or trauma, and Dr. Emick is not responsible for your use of this educational material or its consequences. Furthermore, reading this blog does not create a doctor-patient relationship. The information contained within this blog is not intended to dictate what constitutes reasonable, appropriate, or best care for any given physical or behavioral health issue, nor does it take into account the unique circumstances that define the health issues of the reader. If you have questions about the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of a condition or illness, you should consult your personal health care professional. As always, consult with your personal health care professional before beginning or changing any fitness or nutrition program to make sure that it is appropriate for your needs. Dr. Emick reserves the right to modify her positions on a subject based upon new research or data as it presents.