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Monday, December 31, 2012

Thinking of starting a diet? Think again!

Before you make that habitual New Year's Resolution to go on a diet, chew on this food-for-thought first:
Dieting is a good predictor of weight gain. Two-thirds of those who diet will regain more than they lose.
Chronic, repeated or 'yo-yo' dieting causes some serious, long-term damage. Here are a few of the risks you take when you decide to embark on yet another diet:
- Your body retains more fat when you go off the diet and resume eating.
- Each time you diet, the rate of weight loss slows.
- Your metabolism will decrease.
- Your cravings and tendencies to binge will increase (resulting in guilt).
- You increase your risk of heart disease and premature death.
- Your body shape changes as you regain weight, with increases in the abdominal area.
- You lose touch with your body's natural hunger and fullness signals.
- You are at increased risk of eating disorders.
- Your example most likely will negatively affect your family's relationship with food and body image. As the lyrics in the musical Into the Woods say: "Children will listen".

We all know that the word diet is simply die with a 't' on the end. That 't' stands for temporary. Diets as the word is used in our society are a temporary means to an end. So if you aren't going to sustain the regimen happily for the rest of your life, don't start it at all.

I can't emphasize enough the power of your example to younger people within your influence. Young girls especially pick up on those subtle, destructive cues that teach: body size, shape and self-worth are inextricably linked. Just say no to that right now with your personal example of a healthy, non-diet lifestyle. Truly, if you cringe at the thought of an 8 or 10 year-old girl imitating your "diet", that should be a huge red flag. This advice does not just apply to parents. If you have nieces, nephews, neighbors, students, etc., please think about the message you send every time you go on another diet.

So, before starting another "miracle" diet, ask yourself if you're up to ending the year with more guilt, more girth and less health than you started. If that doesn't sound so appealing, you might want to consider a healthful, life-long, non-diet approach. Contact a registered dietitian and break the addictive cycle of dieting permanently.

(Source: Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D.; & Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D., F.A.D.A., C.E.D.R.D)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Healthful and Decadent Dessert

At our last class, we discussed creative uses of leftovers. So, for the tasting table I brought a chocolate dipped fruit plate.

Hopefully fresh fruit is a part of your year-round festivities. But rarely does one fit the entire carton of strawberries, or the entire pineapple on the fruit tray. So instead of forgetting about the delicious fruit until it starts to mold, re-invent it as a delicious, decadent dessert. Nothing could be simpler than following these steps:
1. Let fruit dry slightly. Lay the cut up fruit on paper towels and blot well. This will allow the chocolate to cling effectively to the fruit.
2. Melt some dark or bittersweet chocolate. If you don't have bittersweet on hand - melt some chocolate chips with a few squares of unsweetened baking chocolate and stir well. (Microwaving for 30 seconds at a time and stirring in between until melted is the easiest method.)
3. Dip about half of the fruit in the chocolate, allowing the excess to drip off, then place on a cookie sheet or tray covered with wax paper.
4. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or until the chocolate has set up.
5. Plate up and enjoy. (after about a day, the liquid from the fruit will start to make an oozy mess of the chocolate.)

On this tray I used strawberries, pineapple, mandarine oranges, kiwi and I also dipped some fresh cranberry clusters (they are tart, but yummy). Not only does it make a gorgeous statement at any food gathering, but it doesn't get much healthier than fresh fruit and dark chocolate.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Amazing Avocados

Some of us shy away from buying avocados at the grocery store because we only need a few slices or half an avocado, and we know that the remaining half will only go brown and end up in the garbage. Well, no need to leave the fiber-rich, veggie known for it's heart-healthy fats on the produce display. Lets say you're planning tostadas for dinner. Dice up the half you'll use at the meal, then save the remaining avocado half with the pit in place. Fill a small bowl or container half full with cold water, place the avocado cut-side down in the water and keep in the fridge for up to a day.

Well, that might keep the avocado from going brown, but what to do with the remainder? Have a veggie sandwich at lunch, or make a California omelet for dinner the following night.

Ciabatta with swiss, avocado and some balsamic vinegar makes a great sandwich especially paired with some grape tomatoes and sugar-snap peas which are available year-round.
It may not be easy being green, but it sure is tasty!