Here's what keeps me up at night.
You know all of those commercials for weight loss regimens, diet pills, exercise programs. Etcetera.
You know how at the end, they all tell you to "consult your doctor before making any significant dietary or lifestyle changes"?
The fine print. Black box warning. FDA-mandated disclaimer.
Well. Someday. Someone will stroll into my office and ask me whether they can join Weight Watchers or run a marathon or go on a soup diet.
Or my mother will call me and tell me about this itchy rash that she has on her neck and ask me whether or not, in my professional opinion, I think it's cancer. Or she could be thoroughly impatient and not even wait until I know anything about medicine to ask me this. In fact, she could have asked me on Saturday. Just a hypothesis.
(And for the record. Cancer is not itchy. That sounds to me like a mosquito bite. Put some toothpaste on it and call it a day. Yes. Toothpaste.)
My point being that someday. Someone is going to call me wanting answers.
Answers about nutrition and diet and exercise. And, based on the medical training I am going to have had, which includes barely any nutrition and nothing about exercise. I'm kind of afraid that I'm not going to be able to answer them.
And this is the source of the gray hairs that I'm currently sprouting. Although those might be due to the fact that I'll be one year older in approximately eleven days. Hard to say.
So while I'm still an amateur at this whole medicine thing. I plan on deferring to a real expert.
This week at Eat.Live.Be. we are "asking the expert" and so my friend Nicole, writer of the blog Prevention, RD who is, in fact, a registered dietitian, was sweet enough to share with us five tips on how we can be healthier. Take it away:
Eat Well, Be Well: 5 Tips to a Healthier You
These 5 simple tricks will help improve your nutrition status, and quite possibly your waistline.
1. Snack on fruits or vegetables. Eating low-calorie, high-fiber snacks between meals can help curb hunger and increase your nutrition each day. Also, this allows for a bit more flexibility in choices at meal times. Remember, try to get in 5-9 fruits a vegetables a day!
2. Switch to whole grain. Most any carbohydrate favorite is available in a whole grain version -- brown rice for white rice, whole wheat pasta for white pasta, and so on. Grains are a great way to meet your daily vitamin, mineral, and fiber needs without giving up the foods you love and crave.
3. Don't drink your calories. While juice with breakfast, a soda at lunch, and a glass of wine with dinner are certainly pleasureable, they add little to no nutritional value while providing a shocking number of calories. Save caloric and alcoholic beverages for special occasions, in moderation, to trim loads of calories from your diet.
4. Dine-in. It doesn't matter where you go to eat, chances are you will eat more calories (plus fat and sodium!) than if you were to dine-in. Or, offer to host a get-together in your home so that you can control the menu while still being social.
5. Don't get bored, try new foods and recipes. Spend time at the grocery store checking out new products and make it a goal to try a new, healthy recipe on a regular basis. There are free, healthy recipes littered all over the internet. Planning weekly menus and meals can be a huge help, as well.
Thanks so much, Nicole! Love you girl!
And be sure to check out the other Eat.Live.Be. bloggers for some more tips from the experts:
- Sarah Caron - www.sarahscucinabella.com
- Cate O’Malley - www.sweetnicks.com
- Maris Callahan - www.ingoodtasteblog.net
- Chris Arpante - www.melecotte.com
- Faith - www.clickblogappetit.com/
- Kristen - www.dineanddish.net
- Emily - http://andersonfamilycrew.blogspot.com/
- Jenna - FireMom - http://stopdropandblog.com/
- Casey - http://www.thestarnesfam.com - e-mail
- Patsy - http://familyfriendsandfood.blogspot.com/
- Tri-Fit Mom - http://trifitmom.blogspot.com/
- Claire - http://cookiedoc.blogspot.com/
- Allison - http://sweetflours.blogspot.com/
- Jen - http://njepicurean.blogspot.com/
- Leslie - www.thehungryhousewife.com.
- Rivki Locker - http://www.healthyeatingforordinarypeople.com/
- Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook
- Jennifer Schulz - http://lick-a-plate.blogspot.com/
- Sarah Rogers - http://sarahssweetcreations.blogspot.com
- Denise and Lenny - http://www.chezus.com
That being said, I am not a total dimwit when it comes to nutrition. And so the one thing I plan to recommend to all of my future patients. Is to eat sweet potatoes.
For they are the most nutritionally dense vegetable out there. They are loaded with vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and vitamin A, are full of fiber, and are low on the glycemic index.
Thus, I am sharing with you today a meal that has been nutritionally optimized (especially for those of us in marathon training gear, who need our carbs as well as every possible vitamin imaginable in order to get our muscles to where we need them to be). Sweet potatoes, arugula, leeks, whole wheat pasta. And, of course, some feta cheese which has just enough fat to let us absorb all of the fat-soluble vitamins that sweet potatoes has to order, but not so much that our arteries will be clogged by it. Hot damn.
Plus it tastes damn good. In my most authoritative and professional opinion.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Pasta with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Feta and Arugula
Serves 4-6, adapted from Donna Hay via Sidewalk Shoes
1 1/2 lb sweet potatoes, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
4 leeks, chopped
1 tbsp rosemary, chopped
1 lb whole wheat pasta
6 oz feta cheese (I used Trader Joe's Mediterranean herb blend)
8 oz arugula
cracked black pepper
1. Toss the sweet potatoes with 1 tbsp oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast at 400 for 30 minutes or until soft and browned.
2. Place 1 tbsp oil in a small skillet. Add the leeks and rosemary and cook for 7 minutes, or until soft and golden.
3. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water. Drain and place in a large bowl. Toss with sweet potatoes, arugula, leeks and feta.
I am submitting this to this week's Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Pia of Cook Healthy, Meatless Mondays hosted by Chaya of My Sweet and Savory, Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays hosted by Rebecca Jean of Midnight Maniac, and the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop.