Are you looking to curb mindless eating and slash your overall calorie intake painlessly? And I mean with zero pain?

The tip below (not to mention so many others) from the new book, The Skinny Rules: The 101 Secrets Every Skinny Girl Knows, by registered dietitian Molly Morgan, may help you do just that. Of course being 'skinny' is not something I feel people should aspire to (though admittedly, during the course of my life, I too have succumbed to wanting to be more slim—especially when I was an overweight teenager and young adult.) I also believe that no matter how hard someone works to lose weight and get in shape, he or she won’t necessarily become thin, skinny, or slim from their efforts—genes and so many other variables factor in to what our ultimate body shape and weight are and will be. That being said, Morgan's tips throughout her book are common-sense with a twist, and can help all of us--especially those who have trouble keeping their weight down--eat and live more healthfully and reap the many benefits of doing so.

Here's an excerpt of my favorite tip from The Skinny Rules.....

Skinny Rule #15: Watch Your BLTs

No, not bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches… bits, licks and tastes! This helpful tip comes from a Skinny cousin of mine, Kristie Kinderman: Every bit, lick and taste adds up quickly when you’re watching your calories. So think twice (and even three times) before you have that extra bite, lick or taste!

If you want to challenge yourself, try this fun little exercise. Keep a scrap of paper in your pocket for an entire day and every time you take and extra bite, lick or taste of something, jot it down. At the end of the day try to estimate how many extra calories piled up thanks to those little BLTS. To estimate how many calories are in a small amount of food, go to It is an amazing online database of nutrition facts that lets you see how many calories are in different serving sizes of various foods. To start, go to the web site and in the upper right-hand corner of the home page, type in a food name and then click Search. You will quickly be able to see how many calories are approximately in a bit, lick or taste. Choose the one-ounce serving size from the drop-down menu for the food you’ve selected and it will give you a rough idea of how many calories were in that taste. Of course, depending on how many bites, licks and tastes of the food you had, the amount of calories will differ. And while I’m not calling you a big mouth, the calories may also vary depending on the size of your mouth!

This Skinny rules is especially important because people don’t take the calories from those BLTs into account, but they do add up! Maybe it’s a few extra bites while you’re preparing dinner, followed by the lick of a spoon when you’re cleaning up or a small taste off your friend’s plate at a restaurant. Each of these seemingly innocent and perhaps even mindless acts adds calories. Controlling calorie intake is a delicate balance and nixing the extra bites, licks and taste can and will make a difference in your weight.

Check out some approximate calories that come from just a small 1-ounce bite, lick or taste:

Lick of peanut butter: 165 calories

Lick of frosting:  116 calories

Bite of Cake with frosting: 103

Few Bites of French Fries: 93

Taste of Chicken Wing: 60

Excerpted with permission from The Skinny Rules, by Molly Morgan, RD, CDN.

If you’d like to enter to win a free copy of The Skinny Rules (generously donated by Molly herself), share your thoughts about this post below; or share a tip that has helped you keep weight off/prevent weight gain. A winner will be announced on Wednesday, May 11th. (When you leave a comment, please email me your email address (with "book giveaway" as the subject line) at (p.s. your email address will only be used to contact you if you’re the winner and for no other purpose.)

Full disclosure: I requested and was provided with a free copy of The Skinny Rules by the author, Molly Morgan.

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Going gluten-free--avoiding foods that contain this certain type of protein--has become a popular trend over the last few years. While many who cut gluten out of their diets do so because of sensitivities or because they've been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, others have begun to do so because they think it'll help them cut calories and lose weight, or even get healthier.

The popularity of The G-Free Diet by The View co-anchor and GMA contributor Elizabeth Hasselback*, and the estimated $2.6 billion in sales of 'G-Free' foods in the U.S. in 2010 (not to mention 30 percent growth between 2006 and 2010) show us that gluten-free foods may become, in many ways, more of a rule than an exception for many.

Because May is National Celiac Awareness Month, and because many ask me about the gluten-free trend, I asked my colleague and friend Rachel Begun, a registered dietitian, to share some information about Celiac Disease as well as her personal experiences as someone with the condition.

EZ: What exactly is Celiac Disease (CD) and how common is it?

RB: According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, Celiac Disease (CD) is a lifelong inherited autoimmune condition that affects both children and adults. When people with CD consume foods that contain gluten, it creates an immune-mediated toxic reaction that damages the small intestine and doesn't allow food to be properly absorbed. Even small amounts of gluten in foods can affect those with CD and cause health problems. Damage can occur to the small bowel even when there are no symptoms present.

About 1 in 133 Americans have CD, but of those, only an estimated 3 percent are diagnosed; that means about 97 percent of people with the condition walk around undiagnosed, not knowing they have the condition and not getting the proper dietary and lifestyle treatment they need to manage the condition. Symptoms of CD vary among individuals, but if left untreated it can lead to:

o   Nutrition deficiencies and their associated conditions, including anemia and osteoporosis

o   Neurological disorders

o   Liver and thyroid conditions

o   Infertility (men and women)

o   Depression

o   Intestinal lymphomas and other GI cancers

o   Other autoimmune diseases, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis

A strict gluten-free diet is the only treatment for CD--easier said than done since gluten is omnipresent in our food supply, cross contamination in restaurants is highly prevalent, and standardized gluten free labeling on food packaging has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA.)

EZ: What exactly is gluten, and what foods contain it?

RB: Gluten is the common name for the proteins found in specific grains that are harmful to people with CD. Gluten is found in all forms of wheat (including durum, semolina, spelt, kamut, einkorn and faro) and in rye, barley and triticale. All of these must be eliminated in the diet of someone with CD. And although oats do not specifically contain gluten, they can become contaminated in the manufacturing process; I encourage people with CD to consume only certified gluten free oats.

Question (EZ): When were you diagnosed with CD?

Answer (RB): I was diagnosed in 2009.  I am a classic example of a person with CD who was misdiagnosed for many years. Like so many others, I was told I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Question (EZ): What were your symptoms?

Answer (RB): My whole life I’ve had a “bad stomach” and suffered repeatedly with symptoms such as diarrhea, gas, cramping and bloating.  Then my symptoms started getting much worse.  I was extremely lethargic all the time, sleeping too much and experiencing what I now know to be “brain fog.”  When I had three stomach virus-like episodes within a month, I knew there was something else going on. I wasn’t eating dairy, so I knew it wasn’t lactose.  I began an elimination diet and, when I put gluten back in my diet, I noticed the more severe symptoms returned.  That’s when I went to a GI specialist.  Initial blood tests showed I was deficient in iron, B12 and carnitine.  My doctor then tested me specifically for CD and that's when I found out I had the condition.

Question (EZ): I understand that eating out can be a real challenge for those who have to eliminate certain foods--and such pervasive ones like that including bread and pasta. Having eaten with you, I know that having a conversation with the waiter or the chef at a restaurant, is often needed (and not so bad--especially if they're cute!) What do you and recommend others with CD do when they eat out?

Answer (RB): Whenever possible, I call the restaurant ahead of time to let them know that I have CD and that I have to completely avoid coming into contact with wheat, rye, barley and oats.  Prior to going to the restaurant, I review the menu so I can get an idea of the items I would like to have and which are generally less likely to have gluten or be contaminated so that I can focus my questions on these items. At the restaurant, I clearly communicate to the waiter that I have to avoid gluten and when ordering I ask very precise questions to know all of the ingredients in the dishes I am interested in, as well as exactly how they are prepared and whether they can be made with sterilized cookware, utensils and surfaces.  For example, eggs and omelets are generally gluten free, but not if they are made on the same grill on which pancakes are made, which is common in diners. In such a situation, I would ask that they be prepared in a pan that has been cleaned. If the waiter or chef cannot confirm what ingredients are in a dish or how it is prepared, I err on the side of caution and don’t order it.  There have been times when I’ve (politely) walked out of a restaurant due to not feeling comfortable about eating safely.

Question (EZ): How do you eat at home?

Answer (RB): Eating at home is much easier, as I know exactly what goes into my food.  While I’ve always enjoyed cooking, I do so much more now than before being diagnosed.  My husband is really supportive and has offered to be completely gluten free in the house, but I don’t want him to have to miss out and encourage him to keep some of his favorite gluten-containing items on hand. To make sure I am safe:

  • the counters are always wiped down after a gluten-containing item is prepared
  • we have two toasters and two sets of pots and pans, one for gluten free foods and one for gluten-containing foods
  • we do not share jarred and spreadable items, like butter, jams, nut butters and hummus; instead, we purchase two jars of the same product and print out a gluten free label to put on one
  • gluten-containing items are placed on the bottom shelf of the pantry so that they don’t contaminate gluten-free items

This sounds very restrictive, but it’s really not.  It’s more about getting into a routine and sticking to it. In fact, we have been able to explore cooking with so many new foods and probably eat a wider variety now than before I was diagnosed.

Question (EZ): Do you think people who don't have CD or certain sensitivities should go gluten-free? What are the perks/perils of doing so?

Answer (RB): There are some people without CD or non-Celiac gluten sensitivity that swear they feel better without gluten in their diet.  If that's the case, then good for them and they should avoid gluten.  I say that with a big caveat, however.  I think taking gluten out of the diet is often confused for taking highly processed gluten-containing foods out of the diet and, yes, anyone taking processed foods out of the diet and replacing them with wholesome, natural foods is going to feel better.  That isn’t an effect of removing gluten from the diet, it is the result of removing low nutrient foods from the diet!  For those taking gluten out of the diet (both processed and natural foods) because they think it is a magic bullet for losing weight or being healthier, that just isn’t so.  Unlike their gluten-containing counterparts, many gluten free products on the market aren't enriched with iron and B-vitamins, are made with starch fillers devoid of fiber and trace minerals, and contain more fat, sugar and calories.  The perks come when people begin adding more naturally gluten-free foods like fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean cuts of meat and poultry, fish, beans, nuts and seeds into their diets. The perils come when the diet is heavy in highly processed gluten-free foods.

Question (EZ): What are your favorite resources for those with CD to help them better understand and get a better handle on the condition in the real world?

Answer (RB): There are so many great gluten free resources, but the ones I use on a regular basis include:


The Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Living – Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University

Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide – by registered dietitian Shelley Case

The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide – Triumph Dining


Gluten Free Living

Living Without

Informational/Advocacy Websites

National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (disclosure: I am an Ask the Dietitian expert and consulting dietitian for NFCA)

Celiac Disease Foundation

Gluten Free Recipe Websites

Silvana’s Kitchen

Elana’s Pantry

Gluten Free Girl and the Chef

EZ: Can you share a favorite recipe?

RB: Here's a delicious one (if I say do say so myself) for ChocoCocoNut Cookies. It shows you that you can be gluten-free and still eat deliciously and healthfully.

ChocoCocoNut Cookies

These cookies are gloriously rich and satisfying without containing any refined grains, gluten, dairy or refined sugar. A great way to indulge while feeling good about what you put into your body.
These cookies are gluten free and dairy free.


2 cups walnut pieces

1⁄2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 egg whites, whisked until frothy

1/8 cup plus 3 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1⁄4 cup coconut flakes

1⁄2 cup large semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a cookie sheet. Grind the walnut pieces and cinnamon in a small food processor to a flour-like consistency. Mix the walnut cinnamon mixture with the eggs, honey and vanilla extract to make a batter. Mix in the coconut flakes. Batter should thicken. If desired, toss in chocolate chips. Drop equal-sized portions of batter onto cookie sheet. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes, or until edges start to brown.

Makes 12 cookies.

About Rachel Begun, MS, RD, CDN:

Rachel Begun, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and accomplished food and nutrition communications professional.  She provides food and nutrition marketing, communications, education and spokesperson expertise to food companies, retailers and foodservice/hospitality providers, as well as to schools, camps and health organizations. Rachel also provides gluten-free/allergy-friendly counsel to private clients and educates the public via speaking opportunities and writing, including her own blog, The Gluten Free RD.

*I have not read the book The G-Free Diet, and my mention of it here is not meant to be an implied endorsement.

If you have celiac disease, please share your tips for eating and living in the real world.

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Did you know that, according to a recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids aged 8 to 18 spend an average of 7.5 hours a day on ‘entertainment media’—watching tv or movies, listening to music, and playing video games. They also were found to spend another 2 hours texting or talking on the phone.

Unfortunately, more sedentary behavior (and less active play) usually means a higher risk of being overweight or obese. Screen-Free Week is an initiative that kicks off today, April 18, to promote more healthful lifestyle behaviors for busy parents, teachers, and those who work with and/or care for kids to find active alternatives to screen time.

Here are some screen-free gems--tips and resources to help you help the next generation move more and sit less. Even if you don’t completely turn off the screens in your home or workplace, you can replace some of the time you’d otherwise spend in front of a screen to be more active and reap the many benefits physical activity can provide.

*WeCan! (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity and Nutrition), a science-based national education program from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), helps children ages 8-13 stay at a healthy weight. WeCan! offers several materials to help caregivers and families encourage children to become more active. Some tips to get active include:

*Walk your children to school --I do this as much as possible and find it a wonderful way to connect with my kids);

*Go for a half-hour walk instead of watching TV --you can walk home from school or take a half hour walk with your family right before or after dinner);

*Play with your kids at least 30 minutes per day --you can do this all at once, or divide it into 2 15 minute periods if that works with your schedules—some is better than none, and taking this time to simply play is a great way to take a break during an otherwise hectic day);

*Dance to music with your kids --one of my favorites—AND we often laugh a lot when we dance because my husband and I look so ridiculous when we shake our booties.)

For more GET ACTIVE tips, go here.

To reduce screen time:

*Set screen time limits. Create a house rule that limits screen time to two hours every day.

*Talk to your family. Explain to your kids that it’s important to sit less and move more.

Find more tips to REDUCE SCREEN TIME, go here.

How do you and your family spend your active time? Share your tips for cutting screen time and moving more.

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Earth Day fell this past week on April 22nd, 2011. To celebrate today and every day, here are Jackie Newgent's "8 Eco-Rules" and tips for simply and painlessly becoming a greener eater-or an "ecotarian:"

1.     Prepare plant-based meals. Try to include a fresh fruit or vegetable in every recipe. Fill half of your plate with produce when possible.

2.     Be an energy-wise cook. Let small appliances rule. A toaster oven works just like a regular oven, but more energy efficiently-using only about half of the energy of a conventional oven. And due mainly to faster cooking times, the microwave oven can reduce energy use by about 2/3 (maybe more!) compared with the conventional oven.

3.     Eat by season. The United States is a big place, so aim to mostly use produce that's in-season in your own local area (or, better yet, your own garden!) for the greenest fruit and veggie experience. If a fruit or vegetable is available at your local farmers' market, that's a good sign of seasonality.

4.     Enjoy the great taste of fresh foods naturally. Try "earth-style" on for size, too. Use every edible produce part-skin, seeds, and all-whenever possible to create less waste and add eco-flair. Make sure to scrub skins and outer peels well first. And when you want to boost flavor of your cuisine, reach first for fresh ingredients, like grated citrus zest, fresh herbs, even mushrooms (or truffles, if you're lucky!).

5.     Go organic and eco-conscious when you can. Going organic is an investment into your health-and the health of the planet. It means fewer pesticides and other possibly toxic chemicals end up in the food that you eat-and in the surrounding ecosystem and environment as a whole. To help you decide which foods are most important to choose wisely, check out Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch and the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen produce list.

6.     Buy locally when logical. To get to your table, foods use fossil fuels, contributing to climate changing pollution. Keep this in mind: The average distance a food needs to travel to get to a farmers' market is less than 60 miles. That's quite a difference from what the average food travels from farm to plate ... about 1500 miles!

7.     Practice the 4R's: Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, and Recycle. Buy and use only what you need. Wash and reuse what you can-as long as it's safe to do so. Consider other ways to use something other than how it was originally used. (For instance, a used can of soup may be repurposed as a chopstick holder or pencil container.) Recycle everything allowable ... but don't try to recycle what's not recyclable. (Ask your local municipality for recycling guidelines for your area.)

8.     Be realistic. Being a 100% sustainable eater is not sustainable. Find your own sustainable "sweet spot." If you think you're about 75% green, shoot for 80% as your next goal. Small steps do make a difference.

How do you go green in your kitchen?

Source: Jackie Newgent, RD, CDN, culinary nutritionist and author of Big Green Cookbook.

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Today Show nutritionist Joy Bauer was kind enough to share two scrumptious recipes--one for Chicken Lettuce Wraps, and one for Frozen Hot Chocolate--from her recent cookbook, Slim and Scrumptious. Can you say Yum?!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

"My kids jump at the chance to order chicken lettuce wraps from restaurant menus, so I was thrilled when I perfected this scrumptious version that I can make at home for less. It has all the punch of the original but with a lot fewer calories, less fat and sodium, and still a hearty dose of protein. Loaded with vegetables and chicken and spiced with ginger, garlic, cilantro, soy sauce, and rice vinegar, it’s sure to please kids and adults alike. When I discovered how a manual food chopper made quick work of chopping all the veggies, I was amazed — and a true convert to this handy kitchen device.  (Carefully pulsing the ingredients in a food processor works equally well.)  Be sure you use soft, pliable butterhead lettuce, such as Boston or Bibb, for the lettuce cups.  I promise, everyone will have fun scooping the chicken mixture into the lettuce and eating this out of hand — it makes for a perfect kid-friendly meal!" ~Joy Bauer

4 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced

2 stalks celery, finely diced

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced

1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and finely diced

3 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced

2 tablespoons grated or finely minced fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound ground chicken (at least 90% lean)

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1/3 cup bottled Chinese plum sauce

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon hot chili paste, such as sriracha (or to taste)

¼ cup unsalted roasted cashews, chopped

¼ cup minced fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish (optional)

1 head Boston or Bibb lettuce

1.     Liberally coat a large skillet with oil spray, and preheat it over medium-high heat.

2.     Add the carrots, celery, bell pepper, water chestnuts, scallions, ginger, and garlic.  Sauté, stirring occasionally, until veggies soften slightly, about 5 minutes, adding a tablespoon of water at a time as necessary to prevent scorching.

3.     Reapply oil spray if necessary, and add the ground chicken to the skillet.  Cook until the chicken is no longer pink, breaking the meat into a fine crumble with a wooden spoon as it cooks.  Season with the salt and pepper.

4.     Add the plum sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and chili paste and stir to coat.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer until heated through.

5.     Remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in the cashews and cilantro.  Allow mixture to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

6.     Clean the lettuce and break off 12 individual leaves (trim away stem end of leaves if they are tough).  Fill each lettuce cup with roughly ½ cup of the chicken mixture.  Garnish with additional cilantro if desired.

Serves 4.  Serving Size: 3 lettuce wraps

Nutrition Information

Calories – 298

Protein – 27 g

Total Fat – 9 g

Saturated Fat – 2 g

Cholesterol – 80 mg

Sodium – 610 mg

Carbohydrate – 34 g

Fiber – 5 g

Frozen Hot Chocolate

"Serendipity is a stylish ice cream parlor on the Upper East Side of Manhattan that has been in business for decades and is known for its over-the-top Frozen Hot Chocolate. By my own calculation, each overflowing glass of Serendipity’s “fro-ho” packs in 925 calories, 48 grams of fat, and 100 grams of sugar.  (Clearly I was slurping this up before making a career in nutrition!)  I was determined that this cookbook should include a slimmed-down version of this NYC classic…and here it is!  This sweet, frothy treat will satisfy your chocolate cravings for only 150 calories and with virtually no fat.  Don’t forget to try the variations, as they’re equally indulgent (the peppermint version tastes like mint chocolate chip ice cream!)." ~Joy Bauer

½ cup chocolate syrup

1 cup nonfat evaporated milk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups ice cubes

Reduced-fat whipped topping or dark chocolate shavings (for garnish; optional)

1.     Combine the chocolate syrup, evaporated milk, vanilla, and ice in a blender and blend until completely smooth.

2.     Pour into glasses, and garnish with a dollop of whipped topping or a sprinkling of chocolate shavings if desired.


Mexican Hot Chocolate: Add ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate: Substitute ¼ teaspoon mint extract for the vanilla extract.

Serves 4.  Serving Size: 1 generous cup

Nutrition Information

Calories – 150

Protein – 5 g

Total Fat – 0 g

Saturated Fat – 0 g

Cholesterol – 3 mg

Sodium – 85 mg

Carbohydrate – 32 g

Fiber – 0 g

Source: Slim & Scrumptious: More Than 75 Delicious, Healthy Meals Your Family Will Love by Joy Bauer.

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My blog on food addiction called Might As Well Face It, You’re Addicted to Food…Or Are You? recently posted I had to keep it short, of course, but would be remiss if I didn't share more on the topic from the oh so brilliant David Katz, MD, Director, Yale University Prevention Research Center and Editor in Chief, Childhood Obesity.

When asked if he believes in the actual concept of ‘food addiction,’ Katz said “I don’t think it matters whether or not food addiction formally qualifies as a ‘physiologic’ addiction.” He went on to describe ‘addiction’ as “A word we invented to describe a particular experience that involves 1) wanting something very badly; 2) wanting or needing more of something the more of it you get; and 3) developing withdrawal symptoms when you stop getting the thing you want or need.” According to Katz, “The common experience with food is that it can certainly satisfy the first two and possibly the third. People want, need, and crave sugar, salt, perhaps fat, and starch. The more sweet and/or salty food people consume, the more they tend to want, need, and crave it.” He adds “While there’s no clear withdrawal ‘syndrome’ per se, many people do experience unpleasant effects when they wean off the food elements we most associate with addiction.”

Katz then went on to say “If there’s clear evidence that dietary elements are being manipulated in a way that exploits an ‘addiction’ comparable to that with nicotine,  it might serve—like in the case of tobacco—as an iron clad argument for more regulation. Findings from brain imaging studies can certainly contribute to the idea that people can become addicted to food.

Katz says we know too well that our diets pack in too much sugar and too much salt. He adds “We already know that people like/want/crave sugar and salt, and that the more people have, the more they tend to prefer it.” He feels we don’t really need brain imaging studies to establish a robust basis for action and that the mandate is already there.

Katz says some people might benefit from knowing if, in fact, they have an actual ‘food addiction’ –but for those who want to improve your diet, and don’t find doing so to be too tough a challenge, knowing whether or not they have a food addiction is irrelevant. Katz believes the true value in defining ‘food addiction’ is the role that may play in advancing public policy—not personal progress.

That being said, for those who think they may be addicted to food, Katz offers a few suggestions. He encourages people to use ‘skill power’ instead of ‘will power’ to dial down exposure to food components—like sugar and salt—that may someday prove to be addictive; reading food labels to identify stealth sources of added sugar and sodium and to replace usual picks with lower sugar, lower sodium options. Katz adds “When you systematically remove sugar or sodium from your diet, it won’t be long before you find the taste of things you used to love to be too sweet or too salty.” He recommends you ask yourself if you turn to food to fight stress, boredom, loneliness, or anxiety. If you find the answer is yes, he recommends finding non-food ways to manage stress or seeking out a stress management to empower yourself.

He sums things up by saying “A food ‘addiction’ must be viewed in the context of what else is going on in your life.” He adds “We are not helpless victims—we can direct our behaviors where we want them to go.” Says Katz. He says we can practice more healthful habits, get used to them—we may even find that health and vitality can be addictive too! The better you feel, the more positive reinforcement you have to take better care of yourself. Smart words from a smart man, I’d say.

Your thoughts?

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Here are some terrific recipes to help you eat when your expecting in style! They're from the great book, Feed the Belly: The Pregnant Mom’s Healthy Eating Guide by Frances Largeman-Roth, RD.

Mornin’ Sunshine Parfait

I love parfaits because they are ridiculously easy to make, but they’re pretty enough and girly enough to feel like a special treat. I like making them for weekend guests, or just for myself when I need a little pick-me-up. You’ll need parfait glasses or wine glasses for serving.

Prep: 5 minutes

Makes 4 servings

Baby Bonus: It tastes like you’re having dessert for breakfast, but it has a healthy 13 g of protein to build Baby’s muscles.

Momma Must-Have: Cool, creamy, and delightful. An easy way to entertain for brunch if the in-laws happen to visit.

1½ cups fresh berries, preferably a mix of blueberries,

raspberries, and blackberries

2 cups low-fat Greek yogurt

½ cup Hippie-Chick Granola or your favorite granola

4 teaspoons honey

1. Place about 1 tablespoon of berries in the bottoms of 4 glasses

(enough to cover bottom of glass). Then, spoon about ¼ cup of

the yogurt into each glass. Top with a little of the granola.

2. Repeat layering the fruit and yogurt. Drizzle 1 teaspoon honey

over the yogurt layer, and top each parfait with the remaining

granola. Grab a spoon and dig in!

Calories 202; Fat 4 g (Sat 1 g, Mono 0 g, Poly 0 g); Cholesterol 5 mg; Protein 13 g;

Carbohydrate 29 g; Sugars 20 g; Fiber 3 g; Iron 1 mg; Sodium 46 mg; Calcium 93 mg

Hippie-Chick Granola

This packed-full-of-goodies granola is wickedly tasty, but has all the goodness you’d expect from your local health food co-op. It’s great as a topper for less tasty cereal, and it’s perfect for adding a bit of crunch to yogurt or ice cream. Pack some up for on-the-go treats in snack-size zip-lock bags.

Prep: 8 minutes

Cook: 23 minutes

Makes 6 cups of granola (12 1/3-cup servings)

Momma Must-Have: Skip the high-fructose corn syrup, tropical

oils, and preservatives that you’ll find in many commercial brands

of granola. This one gives you 3 g fiber per serving, plus heart healthy almonds and pumpkin seeds.

½ cup oat bran flakes

2 cups old-fashioned oats

¼ cup slivered almonds

¼ cup roasted pumpkin seeds

¼ cup dried currants or raisins

¼ cup dried cranberries

½ cup dried tart cherries

¼ cup flax seeds

½ cup honey

1/3 cup (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a baking sheet or jelly roll pan with

cooking spray; set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the bran flakes, oats, almonds,

pumpkin seeds, currants, cranberries, cherries, and flax seeds.

Set aside.

3. In a small bowl, combine the honey and melted butter, and pour over the oat and fruit mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined.

4. Spread mixture onto the prepared pan, and bake for 23 minutes or until golden. Cool on the pan, and break into pieces

with a spatula. Store in an airtight container (I like a glass jar)

for up to a week.

Calories 228; Fat 10 g (Sat 4 g, Mono 1 g, Poly 0 g); Cholesterol 13 mg; Protein 5 g;

Carbohydrate 30 g; Sugars 16 g; Fiber 3 g; Iron 1 mg; Sodium 7 mg; Calcium 22 mg;

Folate 3 mcg; Beta-Carotene 104 mcg; Potassium 21 mg

Love That Bump Lemonade

Many women told me that they couldn’t get enough lemonade during their pregnancies, so I wanted to develop a lemonade recipe that was easy and not overly sugary. First, you’ve got to use fresh lemon juice: the concentrate just doesn’t cut it. Then you’ve got to sweeten it. This one’s made with agave nectar, which I find really delicious. If you prefer sugar, heat the same amount of natural sugar with a cup of water on the stove until you get a syrup. This “simple syrup” then gets mixed with the

lemon juice and water.

Prep: 10 minutes

Makes 8 8-ounce servings

Momma Must-Have: This tart beverage may just help nix your

morning sickness—at least for a while.

8 ounces fresh lemon juice (about 5 lemons)

½ cup agave nectar

64 ounces of cold water (8 cups)

Mint sprigs (optional)

1. After you’ve juiced all the lemons, set them aside. Place the agave in a heatproof container, and microwave it for 30 seconds. It should be nice and liquidy. If not, put it back in for another 10 seconds (don’t do it for a full minute, or else it will get scalding hot).

2. Whisk the warm agave nectar into the lemon juice. At this point, you can use the honey-agave mixture as a concentrate, making aserving at a time and keeping the rest in a covered container in the fridge. Add ¼ cup of the concentrate to either cold water and ice for lemonade—sparkling water is a nice twist—or hot water for a soothing lemony beverage. Or you can add it to a big pitcher (filled up the rest of the way with the cold water), add a mint sprig (optional), and pour yourself a refreshing glass.

Calories 71; Fat 0 g (Sat 0 g, Mono 0 g, Poly 0 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Protein 0 g;

Carbohydrate 20 g; Sugars 17 g; Fiber 0 g; Iron 0 mg; Sodium 1 mg; Calcium 10 mg;

Folate 7 mcg; Vitamin C 14 mg

What are your favorite pregnancy recipes? Do share!!

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In last week’s ZIED GUIDE blog, I reviewed Food: The Good Girl’s Drug by Sunny Sea Gold. The book chronicles Gold’s escape from binge eating disorder and charts a healthful path young women can follow, based on Gold’s experience and expert recommendations, to overcome their food-related struggles.

In this week's blog, I wanted to answer the following question by a ZIED GUIDE reader, Mindy B., mother of 3, from New Orleans, Louisiana:

"How can we raise our growing daughters to overcome the media messages they're bombarded with to feel good about their bodies?"

I think the best way to raise daughters to feel good about their bodies is to treat our own bodies with respect and speak positively about them. We also need to speak in a positive way about other people's bodies, especially those around us and those in the media. Most importantly, we need to find a way to focus more on the inside of growing girls than on the outside so that they see there's more than meets the eye and that what's most important about a person is the kind of person you are, and how you treat others. I'd also like to answer Mindy B's question by making a recommendation for a great new book. While this book is meant to be read by young girls, I think it would make for a great read for women everywhere who raise daughters. They can read it on their own to get a sense of how to speak to their young daughters, but they can also read it with their growing girls as a point of reference and as a way to start a discussion about what many girls are likely thinking and feeling as they grow up.

Diet Drama is a timely new book penned by Nancy Redd, a New York Times best selling author of Body Drama, Harvard graduate, and former Miss America contestant (and winner of the swim suit competition, no less). It takes young readers on a journey towards accepting their bodies, and ultimately learning to feed and use their bodies in a more positive and healthful way.

In Part 1 called “Feed Your Body,” Redd provides an overview of why girls may feel badly about their bodies, and how pressure to conform to so-called “ideals”--being thin and beautiful, for example--contribute to the problem.  Redd discusses 5 common 'love your body' dramas and provides suggestions for how to deal with them. For example, for readers who think “I can’t enjoy my life until my body is better,” Redd suggests you to stop blaming your body for all your woes, to start saying yes to social events and invitations (like going for a swim where you'll have to bare all in a bathing suit), and to be positive about your body instead of bashing it and being overly critical about yourself.

In Part 2 called “Move Your Body,” Redd discusses the importance of movement in helping teen girls have energy and feel good about themselves. She provides tons of practical tips about what to do, how to do it, and how to sidestep excuses that prevent girls from exercising. I especially love that throughout the book, Redd used photos of teen girls with different body shapes and sizes as a way to illustrate we all look unique and different and should feel good about whatever skin we’re in. Redd also outlines 5 'move your body dramas' to help girls become and stay active and feel motivated to continue no matter what time of the month it is or how busy they get.

In Part 3 called “Feed Your Body,” Redd outlines the basics of a healthy, balanced diet. She highlights why it's critical to eat regularly and to not skip meals, and why girls should never ever take diet pills. She also provides descriptions of common eating disorders and provides helpful references at the end of the book.

Overall, Diet Drama is refreshing, inspiring, and motivating. It provides great guidance and information about food, body image, fitness, and so much more. Redd has done a great job delivering wonderful, sensible, real-world advice and wisdom to girls, and her voice throughout is sure to resonate with girls everywhere. Diet Drama makes a wonderful, empowering gift for any tween or teen girl.

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Teen girls and young women everywhere have something to celebrate. Two new books are just what this dietitian has ordered to help you (or someone you know) feel better about the skin you're in, get sane about food, and nourish your body.

This week’s blog highlights one of the book-- a great one called Food: The Good Girl’s Drug: How to Stop Using Food to Control Your Feelings by Sunny Sea Gold, deputy editor at Redbook magazine and founder of, a support site for girls and women who emotionally overeat, binge eat, or yo-yo diet.  Sunny and I first met about 6 years ago when I was a contributing editor for Seventeen magazine. Having overcome a 15-year battle with binge-eating disorder, Sunny has bared all in her book, revealing her personal struggles, and rounding up advice from top experts to help young women everywhere know they’re not alone, and that, they too, can overcome their food demons.

Through sharing her own story and those of others who have suffered with binge eating disorder, Sunny helps teen girls and young women identify the causes of their disorder, recognize and understand their eating problems, and relearn how to use food as fuel instead of using it to soothe their feelings.

The book is divided into three parts:

Part 1: Understanding What’s Going on Between You and Food

Part 2: Let the Healing Begin: How to Start Getting Sane About Food

Part 3: Living Your Life Without Relying on the Good Girl’s Drug

Helpful exercises that encourage readers to ponder their irrational thoughts, start a food and hunger journal, and track negative body thoughts are sprinkled throughout the book to help readers identify what the real problem is and how to work towards making healthful changes in their attitudes and behaviors that relate to food and their bodies.

Food: The Good Girl’s Drug ends with a helpful resource list that includes information about support groups, books, reputable online resources, and eating disorder treatment centers.

As a registered dietitian who works with women and children, I find Sunny’s book to be an invaluable resource and think it can be an extremely useful tool to help young women realize they’re not alone when it comes to food, body, and self-esteem struggles. Readers will likely feel they don’t need to surrender to their struggles and that, like Sunny and so many others, they too can get more sane about food, feel better about themselves and the bodies they live in, and have a more healthful, balanced, and fulfilled life.

In next week’s blog (Part Two), you’ll learn about another book designed to help younger girls overcome their diet dramas, so stay tuned!

Have you overcome an eating disorder or food struggle? Please share your story here.

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With Earth Day fast approaching (it's on April 22nd), here's a terrific recipe adapted with permission from Jackie Newgent's Big Green Cookbook. It's sure to help you ease into going green and keep the fire alive in your kitchen (not to mention in your belly). Is your mouth watering?

Watercress Salad with White French Salad Dressing

Makes 4 servings: 1 1/2 cups each

Sure, you can open up a bottle of chemical-laden salad dressing and dump it on some lettuce. (Sorry, I’ll pass on that dinner invitation!) But there’s a fresher, tastier way in this very simple, elegant salad made with dark, peppery greens and a homemade dressing that’s rich in heart-healthful fat and pure decadence. (Please, invite me to that dinner!) It gets even simpler because you can make and serve the dressing and salad all in one bowl.


1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon canola or soybean oil

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

3 tablespoons mild floral honey

1 small shallot, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

2 large bunches watercress, thick stems trimmed (6 cups)

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion


1.     Whisk together the oil, vinegar, honey, shallot, garlic, mustard, and salt in a large serving bowl.

2.     Add the watercress and onion. Gently toss and serve.

Nutrition Info Per Serving: 220 calories, 18 g total fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 490 mg sodium, 17 g total carbohydrate, 1 g dietary fiber, 1 g protein

Little Green Cooking Tip: Use a silicone whisk so as not to scratch a nice serving bowl. That way, it’ll allow you to prep and serve all in the same bowl. And that means less clean up-less soap, less water, less energy, and less time.

Use It, Don’t Lose It: Instead of tossing some parsley onto a plate for a garnish, finely chop leftover watercress stems and sprinkle onto other dishes served at the same meal as a watercress salad.

What are your favorite GREEN recipes?

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