Posts Tagged ‘off the mat’
 
September 22nd, 2013 |

To cleanse or not to cleanse

Hyped as a means to remove harmful pollutants from the body and lose weight, cleanse and detox diets are all the rage. But despite their popularity, research has revealed that cleansing – especially via restricting intake and fasting – brings about unwanted side effects and weight re-gain after restoring a normal diet. These cleanses can be relatively healthy if approached cautiously, such as simply incorporating more fruits and vegetables into the diet. On the other hand, they can be darn right dangerous. Always bear in mind that most cleanses are dreamed up by individuals lacking nutrition credentials – and therefore should be reviewed carefully before trying.

Here are a few things to think about with cleansing:

  • Excess energy intake – juice is a high caloric drink often incorporating much more fruit and vegetables than one could consume in whole form.
  • Liquid meals cause lazy guts. Our gastrointestinal tract needs solid foods including those with fiber and protein to stay healthy and maintain integrity.
  • Decreased satiety, liquid meals take longer for you to feel full causing cravings earlier, not to mention irritability from blood sugar spikes and falls.
  • Our bodies remove toxins; it’s how we’ve survived for thousands of years. So there’s really not much of an incentive to detox via dieting.

The bottom line: There is no evidence that any of these “cleanse” diets enhance the bodies own detox mechanisms. Concentrate on fueling your body right, hydrating appropriately with low-sugar drinks, getting good sleep, and staying active. Take a moment to appreciate the remarkable way the body protects and cleanses itself safely and naturally, without any help from the outside.

By Liz Schneider, guest blogger and nutritionist

 
July 17th, 2013 |

The power of taking a stand.

This post is comes to light from recent political events that involve food and nutrition: the passing of the farm bill by the House of Representatives – a version that purposely neglects the SNAP or “food stamps” section. Real-life hunger games anyone? Obviously the president will never sign such a bill; it’s simply the result of political drama. And for those who rely on food stamps, while they may be frustrated – it’s good to know that the program will run as usual regardless of this bill being passed. The bad news is that it weakens the program, making it more vulnerable to budget cuts in the future.

Leaving out the food stamp section is a blow to the face to millions of Americans including farmers. For me this whole ordeal is maddening. The farm bill is supposed to be the authority on food policy; it’s a blueprint of how we feed ourselves. How can we improve our food system if we waste all this time and energy in a political battle?

This is where public policy comes into play. One of the most important things I’ve learned in nutrition is the power of speaking up and advocating for what is right. Whether it be voicing your opinion in a lecture hall or climbing the stairs of the state house – being heard and taking a stand in something you believe in is powerful.  And it feels pretty awesome too!

As a nutrition student, it was easy to find opportunities to advocate. I could watch and learn from others how to make a strong case on a particular issue. But for many health and nutrition professionals, day-to-day life makes it difficult to (a) gain knowledge of the issues and (b) take that extra step to advocate. For all of you who have thought about getting involved in public policy in the past, now is the time to take the plunge.

Tips and resources needed to take a stand on food and nutrition related issues:

  • Food Politics by Marion Nestle – a great blog and resource written by Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. Marion provides real information in an easy-to-understand kind of way.
  • Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) is the leading national nonprofit organization working to improve public policies and public-private partnerships to eradicate hunger and malnutrition in the United States.
  • Action for Healthy Kids – a non-profit organization dedicated to improving children’s nutrition and physical activity by collaborating with stakeholders to advocate and promote school health initiatives. Check out the website to volunteer and inquire about legislative breakfasts at your state’s capitol!
  • Eat Drink Politics – Michele Simon a public policy lawyer and author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back. Michele writes about policy solutions to food industry and political dilemmas with the goal of improving public health.
  • Center for Science in the Public Interest – CSPI’s goal is to educate the public and advocate government policies that are consistent with scientific. Make sure you sign up for their “nutrition action” newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest nutrition and policy news.
  • Public Policy Workshop – run by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics this workshop is for all you dietitians and dietetic interns out there. A 3-day intensive learning experience that culminates with “hill visits” to speak your mind and share your experiences with US legislators.

Empower yourself by learning about nutrition and food policy, then go out there and speak your mind!

By Liz Schneider

 
March 13th, 2013 |

Off the Mat, Onto the Plate: Quinoa is Sexy.

Rebecca Pacheco, creator of OmGal.com and Boston-area yoga teacher just gets it. Food is a crazy thing for so many health-conscious yogis. She listens. She’s a leader. People want to know what she eats. She silently leads by example. Ladies & gents, OmGal rocks.

We recently sat down together to chat about some of the nutrition buzz circling the yoga world and beyond.  Oh, and we captured a little video.  We’ll be posting more videos in our new Off The Mat, Onto The Plate series. (more…)