Wednesday, November 23, 2016

This is your brain on pumpkin pie

Image credit: Evan Amos
Thanksgiving is a special time in the United States when we gather our loved ones and celebrate the abundance of fall with a rich palette of traditional foods.  Yet a new study suggests that the 6-week holiday period that spans Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve accounts for most of our country’s weight problem (1).  Understanding this fact, and why it happens, gives us powerful insights into why we gain weight, and what to do about it.

Elina Helander, a postdoctoral researcher at Tampere University of Technology in Finland, and her colleagues set out to answer a simple question: how does a person’s body weight change over the course of the year?  To find out, they used internet-connected scales to collect daily body weight data from nearly 3,000 volunteers in the United States, Germany, and Japan.  After crunching the data, a striking pattern emerged: no matter what you celebrate, at any time of year, the holidays are likely to be your period of greatest weight gain.

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This post was written by Stephan Guyenet for Whole Health Source.

from Whole Health Source

2016 Gratitude Jar

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, friends!

Our friends gave us a Gratitude Jar at the beginning of 2016 as a way to remember the little things we are thankful for throughout the year. I figured the eve of Thanksgiving would be the perfect time to share what we’ve accumulated throughout the year. FYI: Some didn’t include dates on them, so I just listed them at the bottom of the list.


1/8: Podcasts

1/8: A job that gives me time with my family

1/9: How Quinn says “soy sauce”

1/11: Remicade

1/13: How Quinn says “hello”

1/19: Murphy <3

1/13: Parking in the garage when it snows!

1/21: Golden Grahams

1/21: Chocolate-covered cashews from CVS

1/23: Quinn’s running hugs

2/9: Really good hospitals in Boston

2/13: Good neighbors

2/19: School vacation!

2/20: New books

4/8: Wrestling on the couch and laughing!

4/15: School break!!

6/11: When Quinn eats broccoli

6/13: Reading books with Quinn

7/15: Entyvio

7/22: Air conditioning

7/23: Living on the South Shore

7/25: Beaches nearby

7/28: “procured cured meats”

8/23: Littleton friends

9/25: FORTS

10/1: Ice cream sandwiches from Hornstra

10/25: Alexa

11/1: “Just farts”

11/11: New convenience store

11/20: Our Friendsgiving tradition

Trader Joe’s almond croissants

Qman talking

Having Trader Joe’s so close

Delicious meal plans

Ladies’ hour at Salt Shack

New car

Working out with friends

M&T happy hour

Our donut tradition at Coffee Shack

Question of the Day

What “little thing” are you thankful for? 




from Carrots 'N' Cake

Should You Rethink Your Meal Timing for Weight Loss?

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Will Soda in Your City Soon Cost More?

Is it time for budget- and health-minded beverage buyers to switch to seltzer or stick to water? If you live in a growing number of U.S. cities, sucking down sodas and other sugary beverages will now cost you more, thanks to new taxes.

Here’s a rundown of cities and counties that have enacted soda taxes, starting with five that did so just this month:

Cook County, Ill.: The populous Illinois county that is home to Chicago will see a penny-per-ounce beverage tax — over and above the usual sales tax — added to the purchase of sweetened drinks such as soda, iced tea, lemonade and sports drinks, whether bottled, canned or from a fountain. The tax, which goes into effect July 1, was approved by the Cook County Board on Thursday, November 10, and is expected to raise $224 million in revenue per year.

San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, Calif.: Voters in these Bay Area municipalities overwhelmingly passed soda taxes on Tuesday, November 8, in an effort to lower rates of diabetes and obesity — and raise revenues.

Boulder: Residents of this Colorado city voted to pass a two-cent-per-ounce tax on soda and other sugary beverages on Election Day this year; the tax will be levied on beverage distributors, not at stores.

Philadelphia: In June 2016, the city council approved a 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on both sugary and artificially sweetened beverages. It will go into effect on January 1, 2017.

Berkeley, Calif.: Proceeds from Berkeley’s 2014 soda tax have thus far totaled $2 million, which has been used to support cooking, gardening and nutrition programming at public schools and community organizations working to address health issues, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Meanwhile, one study found soda consumption there had dropped by 21 percent.

Public health advocates have cheered the initiatives, which have received backing from former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. And nutritionists like Amy Gorin, M.S., RDN, and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, predict it could be part of a growing movement that has long-term positive effects, including lowering BMIs for both children and adults.

While drinking an occasional soda doesn’t pose a major threat to your health, Gorin notes, regular consumption of sugary beverages may, increasing the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. She cites research indicating that consuming even one extra 12-ounce sugary drink every day can lead to weight gain of one extra pound every four years.

Soda taxes “could certainly help lower soda consumption,” Gorin says, noting that not only has sugary beverage consumption gone down sharply in Berkeley, but people there are drinking more water as well.

Gorin says she’d like to see more being done to educate consumers about making healthy, nutritious food choices, too. “Soda isn’t the only culprit,” when it comes to empty calories and chronic diseases, she says, “but addressing intake of it is a good start.”

Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. A regular contributor to The Los Angeles Times, she has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, Marie Claire, The Daily Beast and Wine Spectator, among others, as well as for Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer. In addition to contributing to Healthy Eats, she blogs for Food Network’s FN Dish.

from Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy...

Happy Thanksgiving

We have much to be grateful for: above all for the people in our lives; including the many PHD readers who have brought us joy. Thank you! Via David Warren, I came across this touching video (sadly, banned in France) …

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The post Happy Thanksgiving appeared first on Perfect Health Diet.

from Perfect Health Diet

Revisiting Intuitive Eating

A few years back (well, almost 8 years ago actually…) I read the book Intuitive Eating and wrote a post about it. With the biggest meal of the year on the horizon, I thought it might be good timing to revisit the Intuitive Eating concepts and share how my thoughts and actions have or have not changed over time.


In 2009 I summarized the steps to becoming an Intuitive Eater. Here are some of my 2016 thoughts.

  • Honor your hunger – eat when you are hungry. Period.

If I am hungry, I eat. But not always immediately, as hunger is the best sauce. I have learned that a little hunger is actually a good thing, and I always enjoy food more if I come to the table with an appetite. I used to write a lot about the battle between having an afternoon snack and spoiling my dinner appetite, and with time I’ve leaned more towards not having a snack and eating a bigger dinner. Or having just a tiny snack to take the edge off, rather than a big snack to avoid all hunger until 7:00 p.m.

  • Make peace with food – give yourself permission to eat anything you want.

I absolutely eat whatever I want these days, and because of the reasoning in my recent balance post, my choices are generally still good ones that leave me feeling my best.

  • Feel your fullness – stop when you are satisfied. Take a break during a meal to “check in” with your stomach. You can continue eating if you want, but take the moment to pause and listen.

I have definitely become better over the years at not needing to clear my plate. It’s almost as if a dish just stops tasting good when I have had enough. I no longer worry about wasting a little bit of food, or I will put it back in the fridge and sometimes finish it later.

  • Challenge the food police – rid yourself of the “you were good” and “you were bad” thoughts.

There is none of this left in my head. Over time I have learned that your body and health are made up of the thousands of choices you make consistently and not one meal or one day. I also can sense and feel when I’ve had a few too many heavier days (or weeks) and naturally cut back a bit moving forward. It feels refreshing, not restrictive.

  • Cope with your emotions – learn other ways to deal with emotions besides food.

I think I used to eat out of boredom more often than I do now. Way back I was working in an office and taking classes that I wasn’t 100% excited about, but now I love my job and my day-to-day life doesn’t lend itself to too much daytime boredom. I still do sometimes eat emotionally. On a celebratory day I want to eat more, and when I’m sad I do sometimes crave a treat to make me feel better, so this is still a work in progress.

  • Discover the satisfaction factor – make the eating experience pleasant.

I think I have gotten worse on this one! Mealtime used to be so special with placemats and candles and a dish I had taken the time to style, but now I admit sometimes I eat standing up in the kitchen while finishing up Mazen’s lunch, or cleaning up so we can get out the door. But more often than not, I do sit down to enjoy my meal, especially lunch and dinner. And the older Mazen gets, the more we can actually sit down, relax, and eat together.

  • Respect your body – and accept your “genetic blueprint”.

YES. When I look at pictures of myself in 2007 when I was at my lowest adult weight, I see a child. My body now is far from “perfect” in that airbrushed, Hollywood way, but I don’t really care because in the context of my Charlottesville, mom, true-adult life, my body feels right at home. I am not willing to put in the time or effort that would be required for me to be chiseled, and I am 100% ok with that decision.

  • FEEL the difference – exercise because it makes you feel good.

I wrote my balance post and touched on this long before I refreshed my memory on the Intuitive Eating topic. This is perhaps my biggest change of the years – learning to love exercise for how it makes me feel and not doing it because of guilt or to burn off a big meal.

  • Honor your health – choose foods that satisfy both your tastebuds and health.

I love this one, and it again reminds me of the point I made in my balance post. Strive to find the best balance between enjoying what you eat and making your body feel good on the inside. I have definitely embraced this concept to the fullest!


I actually really enjoyed reading my old review. Because I hadn’t read it in so long I felt like someone else was doing the talking! The paragraph I wrote about “good” verses “bad” foods was well stated! I still agree with that one.

I think one of the biggest changes in my relationship with food over the past 8 years has been learning to go with the flow.

In 2009 I wrote:

The authors state that intuitive eaters “go with the flow.” This is something I am working on. I used to bring food with me to events in fear there wouldn’t be anything “healthy” to eat (= total Careful Eater behavior). Recently (even before reading this book) I’ve looked at events where the food is out of my control to be a time to enjoy foods I might not normally eat. It’s been fun! I’m working instead on just enjoying a smaller portion of whatever is served.

It wouldn’t even cross my mind to bring my own stash of food somewhere now! LOL! I think in a lot of different areas of life I have gotten more laid back (my family would agree), and food is one of them. Either I learned to be more flexible when I became a mother or I just got tired of being in charge. I actually prefer to be surprised by the food at events and parties now – it’s more fun that way!

I also wrote:

One last topic I connected with was honoring my hunger. I do think I sometimes fight with my hunger in the afternoons. I try to push back my snack and avoid spoiling my appetite at dinner. But why go through that anguish if you can just have a snack and then eat less at dinner!? I think it’s my practical side that wants to “save” my hunger for the more formal meal, but I am working on eating when my body wants it most because we can always have leftovers.

I solved this problem pretty quickly by having bigger lunches. Afternoon hunger gone! I used to be obsessed with breakfast, and it was my favorite part of the day. Breakfast was a king, lunch was a prince, dinner was a pauper. These days my tier is reversed. I look forward to dinner most of all, and I am eating less for breakfast than I used to. What is really odd about this is I feel that I am less hungry in the afternoons then I used to be. You’d think having smaller breakfasts would make me feel starving in the afternoon. That’s what dietitian me would predict. But my breakfasts are not small – it’s not like I’m eating 5 grapes or skipping breakfast, so perhaps they are just a better combination of energy and glycemic index than they used to be, despite being a bit smaller. Or maybe they aren’t even smaller in calories – they may just be different macros!

The last change I want to mention is that when I wrote the 2009 post, I was out of my house a lot of the time on campus, working towards my degree in nutrition. I packed my lunch and would spend stretches of time in classrooms or commuting, so I wasn’t able to just go to the fridge for a snack. Yet, ironically, I snacked way more then than I do now. I think this might have something to do with the fear of getting hungry when food isn’t around. A big point in Intuitive Eating is to listen to your satiety cues and trust that food will be available if you should get hungry later. Since I work from home now, I am always near my kitchen so any subconscious fear of food not being available melts away.


I loved this book then, and I love it now. It really is the ultimate guide for anyone who has broken the relationship with food that they were born with. When I read it the first time I didn’t trust the information, but I am here today to tell you to trust in this concept. The Intuitive Eating approach works.

My favorite quote from the book is this:

Make food choices that honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel well. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistency over time that matters. Progress, not perfection, is what counts. -Intuitive Eating

from Kath Eats Real Food

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