No, Chipotle Doesn’t Make You Chubby

Written by: on Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
ChubbyChipotle

When you see a full-page ad attacking a business that’s been doing extremely well, become very suspicious.

So, I was catching up on the New York Post this morning—and was amazed to come across this full page ad basically bashing Chipotle. Hmm…I thought. Chipotle has been doing extremely well and businesses like McDonald’s have been doing poorly, shutting down restaurants around the country and laying off employees. “Could McDonald’s be behind this?” I thought. “Why else would anyone spend this kind of money to bash Chipotle in a way-too-obvious attempt to negate all the positive feedback Chipotle has been getting.” Or it might be Monsanto: king of the push for GMO’s that’s not doing too well either (Chipotle has vowed to go non-GMO). Some big money group is definitely behind a full-page ad, which can run into the tens of thousands of dollars…if not more.

Turns out my suspicions are justified: This ChubbyChipotle ad is the work of a seemingly innocuous and “helpful” group called The Center for Consumer Freedom, a “nonprofit coalition which opposes activist interference with and legal restrictions on the sale of food and drink, etc…” (according to their website). The only problem: this group is one of many created by Washington, D.C. Public Relations (PR) executive and lawyer, Rick Berman, who heads up a PR group called Berman and Company.

No surprise as I dug deeper, Rick Berman is paid for by big money; while you would never get hold of his client list (most companies have their clients front and center on their websites; this guy supposedly firewalls his list so no one knows whom he represents). This is the same guy behind other websites opposing PETA, GreenPeace, unions, raising the minimum wage, and regulation of trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Click on this independent website to get a bit more background information on this guy (warning: it ain’t pretty).

Chipotle burrito

Burritos can be healthy for you—but don’t load them up with high-calorie cheese and sour cream.

First of all, when it comes to weight gain—eating too much of ANYTHING can make you fat. But choosing Chipotle for your meals definitely won’t make you chubby unless you’re eating 2 giant burritos, plus chips, plus a giant soda at every meal. Moderation is the key to healthy eating and keeping your weight stable. And beans, rice, avocados, tomatoes, lettuce, and a variety of other healthy ingredients that make up Chipotle’s delicious menu are good for you. (Yes, I’m a Chipotle fan—as well as being an advocate for the truth when it comes to your health and wellbeing).

And when it comes to ads like this, dig deeper because there’s some spinmaster at work behind the ad, trying to make you believe something other than what your gut is telling you is right.

Bottom line: when it comes to your health, always, always trust your gut. If you believe, for example, that organic food is healthiest for your family—don’t listen to the cacophony of negatives against organic food saying that organics are no better than foods sprayed with pesticides. If you believe that genetically modified (GMO) foods aren’t good for your health, stick to your guns because there will be plenty of these ads—and even research studies paid for by these companies not telling the entire truth—based on spinning the truth to make you believe that companies like Monsanto are good and are actually there to feed the world and help prevent hunger. (Not)

Your gut is all you have to rely on because where there’s big money, there are big lobbying groups like Berman and Company working to spin the information so they can all make big money (and you’re left with a host of diseases 10/15 years from now).

As a matter of record, I have received no money from Chipotle to write this post—and in fact, have never received anything free from Chipotle. I choose to eat there with my family because I know it’s healthy food—and the ingredients are fresh. My kids love it. And what’s more: none of us are chubby.

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Best. Sunscreen. Ever.

Written by: on Thursday, July 30th, 2015
Sunscreen Application

You need to apply—and reapply—sunscreen all over the body…to prevent skin damage.

Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays is just about the worst thing for your skin (besides smoking). The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are essentially radiation that’s penetrating your skin, right down to the deeper layers. Not only can this mess with your DNA (your genetic mapping that determines how your cells should act)—which can trigger mutations and even skin cancer—it also depletes collagen and elastin in the skin. These are the skin-firming proteins that make skin look more youthful looking. (It’s when collagen and elastin get depleted that skin starts to sag and lose its youthful fullness.) The sun’s UV rays also cause hyperpigmentation (age spots and freckles), rough skin, fine lines and wrinkles, and more.

While not going out in the skin ever is probably the best thing for your skin, it’s just about impossible to do that—particularly if you’ve got kids in swim lessons (outdoors) and in other various activities (like me) that necessitates being out in the sun.

I don’t use chemical sunscreens on my skin or on my kids’ skin. There are just too many questions about the chemicals being absorbed into the skin and showing up in urine. (It begs the question: what could those harmful chemicals be doing to your body—or to a child’s body—over time.)

Enter Raw Elements.

 

Organic, natural sunscreen

When it comes to the beach and the pool and being outdoors, this sunscreen delivers serious protection.

Raw Elements simply makes the best sunscreen. This is a physical, not chemical, sunblock. I swear by this stuff. It’s organic, cruelty-free, non GMO certified, has non nano particles (so nothing penetrates the skin), offers UVA and UVB protection, and not one member of my family has gotten a sunburn yet despite plenty of time spent in the pool (it’s super water resistant) and playing tennis. (I used this last year as well with the same results.) You can find it lots of places online, including amazon.com—where a 3-ounce tube (which lasts about a month or maybe a little less for my entire family) costs $13.74. Another favorite natural skin-care website where I buy this is carenonline (they often have 20% off sales, which brings the prices down).

What’s even better: I can slather this ALL over my kids’ faces … and it never irritates eyes. Have I said how much I love this stuff? (A side note: my 11-year-old son just wants a “spray” sunscreen like all the other kids…and wants me to say he thinks this stuff is too white on the skin. If you rub it in well, this whiteness tones down. But doesn’t bother me—or my younger kids. No chemical sprays in this house!)

Update: I got a call from the Raw Elements people after my post; they suggested that my son try their Raw Elements Eco Tint Stick 30+ tinted sunscreen. I purchased it (see note below) and my son loves this! I have to say I love it too…it’s not white but matches up pretty well to skin tone (it still needs to be rubbed in, though). It’s perfect for the face.

Another Raw Elements fave that I just tried: Eco Formula 30+ Lotion in a recyclable tin (plastic-free packaging); it’s beyond easy to apply and you can use up every last bit. I’m buying some more to finish out the summer (this—and the Eco Tint Stick 30+—will be perfect sunscreens for skiing too!).

(Note: I have bought all these sunscreen products, and have received nothing free—and no discounts—to say I love this stuff!)

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Why I See a Midwife (No, I’m Not Pregnant)

Written by: on Sunday, October 5th, 2014
Midwives

Midwives provide care while you’re pregnant, but they can also provide primary care to women, annual gynecological exams, family planning, and even menopausal care.

I just booked an appointment with my midwife. No, I’m not having a baby — or planning on becoming pregnant — but this midwife  (Tina Alessi, CNM, in Morristown, New Jersey) provides many of the same services as an OB/GYN. In fact, she’s part of an established OB/GYN practice. She worked with me throughout my last pregnancy — and I’ve been with her ever since.

What I’ve found is that I love my midwife’s holistic approach to well-being…she’s kind of like an integrative “doctor” but for female care: she’s versed in natural treatments (as well as natural births—which is what I had for my youngest son, even at 8 pounds 13 ounces!…technically a VBAC, since my daughter was born via C-section), but she’s more than capable of writing a prescription if I need medication (which I did when I was suffering the same nausea as Kate Middleton is now). But I realized that most people don’t know anything about midwives (or if they do, they have some pretty outdated notions about them) — why I thought I’d do a little primer on midwives (particularly because Oct 5 – 11 is National Midwifery Week), addressing some of the myths:

Myth: You only need the services of a nurse-midwife during pregnancy.

Fact: Certified nurse midwives like mine provide primary health care services to women and families in all stages of life, from the teenage years through menopause. These services include not only caring for women during pregnancy but also general health check-ups; gynecologic care; and prescribing medications, including all forms of pain control medications and birth control. Nurse-midwives can also help care for newborns in the first month of life.

Newborn Baby Boy

Certified Nurse Midwives can attend births in hospitals—or be with you at home for a home birth.

Myth: Nurse-midwives can’t attend births in hospitals.

Fact: My midwife has hospital privileges—and in fact, she’s well known (and respected) around the hospital and the community in general. Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM) practice in many settings, including hospitals, medical offices, freestanding birth centers, clinics, and private homes (I had always wanted to try a water birth…and while midwives will help you do it, this wasn’t in the cards for me). In fact, many of them practice in different settings to help ensure women have access to the range of services they need.

By working collaboratively with OB/GYNs, Certified Nurse Midwives can ensure that a specialist is available if a high-risk condition should arise (e.g. an emergency C-section, like I had with my 7-year-old daughter). Likewise, many OB/GYN practices work with Certified Nurse Midwives who specialize in care for women through normal, healthy life events.

Midwife Giving Medications

Midwives can, and do, prescribe medications to their patients—but they always talk you through non-medication alternatives as well.

Myth: You can’t use pain medicine if you use a nurse-midwife for your birth.

Fact: Certified Nurse Midwives partner with families on making decisions around pain-relief techniques. I got a chance to talk with Susan Stone, DNSc, CNM, FAAN, FACNM, who’s president of Frontier Nursing University in Kentucky (one of the oldest and largest midwifery schools in the nation) and she had this to say: “Whether the mom wishes to use methods such as relaxation techniques or movement during labor; or epidural, or other pain medications; a Certified Nurse Midwife will help meet their desired approach. At the same time, they provide information and resources about the different options and choices available should any changes to the birth plan become necessary.”

What is true: Births overseen by Certified Nurse Midwives usually have less intervention – such as continuous electronic fetal monitoring, epidurals, and episiotomies. But, when a medical procedure is necessary, a Certified Nurse Midwife works to ensure that the woman gets what she needs—so it’s the best of all worlds.

Myth: Insurance does not cover midwifery services.

Fact: I’ve got the absolute worst insurance company in the country (United Healthcare), and it still covers my midwife. In fact, thirty-three states require private insurance companies to pay for services provided by Certified Nurse Midwives, and Medicaid coverage for Certified Nurse Midwives is actually required in all states.

stethoscope

Certified Nurse Midwives are trained as nurses first —and have a masters or doctoral degree.

Myth: Midwives don’t need a lot of education.

Fact: All nurse-midwives in the United States begin their education as a registered nurse—and mine started off exactly that way. The fact is: There are many different types of midwives, each holding different certifications based on their education and/or experience. Certified Nurse Midwives have a master’s and/or doctoral degree—and are licensed in all 50 states. This licensing gives them the authority to perform exams, order lab tests, attend births, and prescribe medications.

So there you have it: some basic facts about a pretty old profession. A last bit of advice: I had experience with a midwife (not a Certified Nurse Midwife), who was offering a breast imaging technique called Thermography that I wanted to try (more on this in an upcoming blog!). I would never recommend anyone to her: her office was at the back of her home (which I had to walk through a weedy garden to get to) and I didn’t like her manner or the atmosphere; I couldn’t wait to get out of there—and would never recommend anyone to her. So not all midwives are created equal; that’s for sure! Just as with a doctor, do your research and trust your gut. And make sure they’re a Certified Nurse Midwife!

 

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8 Best Cities for Cylists

Written by: on Sunday, September 7th, 2014
Woman With Road Bike

Biking is one of the best (and most fun) ways to get fit outdoors. You can burn 300+ calories an hour.

I love cycling — there’s just something about being out in nature, with just you and your bike! So happy to see that so many cities are featured here, but even if your city isn’t…you can still get out and ride: all you need is a bike and a helmet (a must). Look for local charity rides or races if you want to take your cycling up a notch; I like active.com to find rides and races, though any local bike store will have info on local rides, too.

 


Brought to you by:SpareFoot.com – See more at: http://blog.sparefoot.com/eight-best-cities-for-cyclists/#washington

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Get Married For a Healthier Heart?

Written by: on Monday, June 9th, 2014
Happily Married Couple

Turns out that love, particularly when it results in marriage, keeps your heart healthy.

A recent survey of 3.5 million Americans has shown that people who are married—regardless of age, sex, or even cardiovascular disease risk factors—have significantly less chances of having any kind of cardiovascular disease than those who are single, widowed, or divorced.

I find this fascinating because while we do so much for a healthy heart—exercise regularly, eat healthy, etc.—there are social factors, like marriage, that play a big role, too (and are often forgotten).

With so many couples griping about their own marriages, I had to ask lead study investigator and NYU Langone cardiology fellow Carlos L. Alviar, M.D., if this research applies to couples, whether they’re happily married or not. And, according to Alviar, these findings do hold true for both happy and unhappy couples. Here’s what he had to say:

“There are some intrinsic factors from just having a spouse or partner that could contribute to better cardiovascular health,” he says. “For instance, a spouse might still take care of his/her significant other and promote healthy habits (medical follow up, diet, exercise, medication compliance, etc.) even if their marriage is not the most harmonious one. In the same way, the fact of not being alone might also contribute to lower levels of physical and psychological stress—which directly affect cardiovascular disease—even if at other times there are disagreements or unpleasant moments.”

There you have it: if you’re worried about heart disease—get hitched or stay hitched. Here are some of the interesting stats from this research, courtesy of NYU Langone Medical Center:

Married People Have Less Cardiovascular Problems

 

 

 

 

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Healthy Vegetable Frittata

Written by: on Friday, June 6th, 2014
Healthy Vegetable Fritatta

Fritattas make a perfect breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Looking for a quick and healthy meal that tastes fabulous? Your search is over. My Spring Vegetable Frittata is super easy to make. Plus, it’s loaded with fresh asparagus, tomatoes, and onions. (You can also add other veggies of your choice like peppers and spinach.) Besides using quality ingredients, the key to making this recipe is your skillet. Make sure you use a really good pan so your frittata cooks evenly and slides out easily. Watching your cholesterol? Go ahead and use egg substitute or instead of 6 eggs use 4 whole eggs and 4 egg whites. My family loves eating a light dinner like a frittata or quiche on warm spring or summer evenings. Last time I made Spring Vegetable Frittata, my teenage son informed me, “Guys don’t eat frittatas, they eat skillets!” Needless to say, he cleaned his plate! Your family is going to love it, too.

Spring Skillet Frittata

4 Servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 small red potatoes (12 ounces), each cut into 8 pieces (I used new potatoes)

2 cups asparagus, cut-up into bite-size pieces

4 plum tomatoes, sliced

3 tablespoons green onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 large eggs

1/3 cup skim milk (or almond, rice, or hemp milk if you’re dairy free)

Salt and pepper (optional)

½ cup feta cheese or dairy-free cheese (optional)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

 

Directions

1 Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add potatoes, cover and cook about 10 minutes or until almost tender, stirring occasionally. Add asparagus, tomatoes, onions, and garlic; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until the asparagus is almost tender, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Add the milk, salt and pepper if using, and beat well.

3. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the skillet. Sprinkle with the feta cheese and basil. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cover and cook about 12 minutes or until the eggs are set. To serve, cut into wedges.

Nutritional information per ¼ frittata serving (with dairy) 327 calories, 17 grams protein, 25 grams carbohydrate, 18 grams fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 296 milligrams cholesterol, 3.5 grams fiber, 341 milligrams sodium

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Why Limiting Screen Time Helps Kids

Written by: on Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
Young Child Playing with Smartphone

If your child is using apps, shut off the wifi before giving your Smartphone to him. This helps reduce the amount of radiation he’s exposed to.

Proof about something I’ve always believed: a new study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, found children get more sleep, do better in school, behave better, and see other health benefits when parents limit content and the amount of time their children spend on the computer or in front of the TV.

But here’s the clincher: the effect isn’t always immediate, says Douglas Gentile, lead author and an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State. It could, says Gentile, have an effect on your kids seven months later!

Does this mean kids shouldn’t have any “screen time” as we call it in my house? No, as that would be almost impossible in this day and age of  iPhones and iPads. But creating limits so your kids aren’t spending hours upon hours of time on the computer or in front of the TV is what’s key.

The study also found that children got more sleep if parents limited screen time, which also resulted in lower risk of obesity. Parents limiting exposure to violent media resulted in increased prosocial behavior and lowered aggressive behavior seven months later.

“As parents, we don’t even see our children get taller and that’s a really noticeable effect. With media, what we’re often looking for is the absence of a problem, such as a child not gaining weight, making it even more difficult to notice,” Gentile said.

“Even with changes that we do notice, we really don’t recognize in the moment how all these things are related to each other across time,” he added. “Yes, as screen time goes up, school performance goes down, but that doesn’t happen overnight. If I watch a lot of TV today, I don’t get an F in my class tomorrow.”

What we do at our house: no more than 30 minutes a day during the school week (though this gets quickly taken away if homework isn’t done, you don’t get ready for school on time, and you fight with your brother or sister)—and then an hour each day on weekends. (Each child has a physical timer that gets set so they know when to cut screen time off.) It seems to work, but I do notice when it creeps up (by lack of vigilance on my part), behavior does get worse: there’s crankiness, more fighting, and plenty more “There’s nothing to do!” comments.

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Great Info About Gluten!

Written by: on Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Gluten
Source: MPHOnline.org

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A Healthier Manhattan Clam Chowder

Written by: on Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

 

clam chowder

Did you know? Clams are mineral powerhouses, with plenty of phosphorus, potassium, copper and selenium.

This Manhattan Clam Chowder is so easy to make. Plus, it’s a broth-based soup, which means it has a lot fewer calories compared to New England Clam Chowder, which is cream-based. If you’re not digging clams, try some of my other healthy and delicious soup recipes: Turkey Tortilla Soup, Southern Corn Chowder and Slow-Cooker Chili. Soup really is good food and made the right way, it can be good for you, too!

 Manhattan Clam Chowder

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

2 (10 ounce) cans fancy whole baby clams, rinsed under running water

1 1/2 cups clam juice

1 cup celery, chopped

1 cup sweet bell pepper chopped (red or green)

1/4 cup carrot, chopped

1 green onion, chopped

2 cups finely chopped, peeled potatoes

1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes

2 cups low-sodium chicken stock (homemade tastes best!)

1/2 cup dry red wine (optional)

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Salt to taste (optional)

Directions

1) Drain the clams but save the juice! Pour the clam juice into a measuring cup. You should have at least 1 1/2 cups of clam juice. If you don’t, add extra water until you have 1 1/2 cups.

2) In a large saucepan, combine the clam juice, celery, sweet bell pepper, carrot and green onion. Bring everything to a boil; reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

3) Add all of the remaining ingredients to the saucepan except the clams. Bring it back to a boil; reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 more minutes.

4) Stir in the clams and return to a boil; reduce the heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes more.

Nutrition Information per serving 115 calories, 10 grams protein, 18 grams carbohydrate. 2.5 grams dietary fiber, 0 grams fat, 0 milligrams saturated fat, 20 milligrams cholesterol, 370 milligrams sodium

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Yummy Black Bean Dip Kids Love!

Written by: on Monday, March 10th, 2014
Black Beans

Black beans are super nutritious: they’re high in antioxidants, fiber, protein…to name just a few key nutrients!

Looking for an after school snack that’s healthy and tasty. Your kids will love this black bean dip. I highly recommend you let them help you prepare it. What child can resist “smashing” beans?! This recipe is in our new book Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens (Eat Right Press, 2012). For more healthy snack recipes pick up a copy at your local book store or order it on amazon. In addition to recipes, you will find all of the latest info on helping your son or daughter reach a healthy weight. If your child is already at a healthy weight, the book will give you the tools you need to help them keep it that way.

black bean dip

This protein-rich dip makes the perfect snack.

Black Bean Dip

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

1 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Directions 

Mash beans to a smooth consistency. Stir in other ingredients. Chill in the refrigerator. Serve with whole grain pita chips, whole wheat crackers, baked tortilla chips, or jicama strips.

Nutrition Information

50 calories, 1.3 grams fat, 0.4 grams saturated fat, 1.6 milligrams cholesterol, 378 milligrams sodium, 12 grams carbohydrate, 4.2 grams dietary fiber, 3.3 grams protein

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