Holiday Beverages…Holy Calories!

The holiday season, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, is one that is often filled with food, food and more food. We all know that it can be a calorie minefield. There are parties, family meals, and the seemingly all-day dessert and high calorie snack buffets camped out on many a kitchen table or counter. We are inundated with so many temptations to knock us off of our healthy eating strategies. Some of us jump right in and don’t look back. The holiday food smorgasbord is fine! Others take more of the middle road, while those whose willpower never takes a holiday, stay on their healthy diet track. We all choose a path and we all face the consequences. Many, but not all, of us are pretty well versed about which often-delectable concoctions are high in calories, fat and more items. I’ve discussed this before and offered tips to avoid the holiday bulge that can suddenly appear from our abdomens in early January, just like the creature from the movie ALIEN. But I’m not talking about the most overt culprit, the food. For more than a few, there’s an overlooked culprit. If it’s not the food, what is it, you ask? What resides in a cup, a can, a mug, a glass, a jug and a bottle? You got it. It’s the beverage. Because it’s that time of year, I’ve been to many a holiday party and hosted a few of my own. I’ve seen all of the typical seasonal drinks being offered and I’ve seen many revelers throw back quite a few. And it’s a caused me a...

A Reader or a Writer, Which Would I Rather Be?

A reader or writer, which would I rather be? What a question that is! I love both so much and to choose one or the other is difficult. It’s the perfect conundrum. As it turns out, I’ve been reading and writing for most of my life, since I was a little girl. Both have been huge interests of mine. Both provide very similar experiences for me. Escape, gratification, learning, joy, happiness, all things these two wonderful occupations have bestowed on me. One is my right hand, the other my left. There’s nothing better than reading a good book. Back in the day, and even now, the weight of the book in my hands; the feel and smell of the pages as I turn them; immersing myself in the words and the story, entering a funny, or a scary or a puzzling world is such a pleasure. Getting the scoop on the life of an historical figure or a take on a current issue or event can be eye-opening. I love being introduced to engaging characters and getting caught in the thickening plot in the fictional world. The nonfiction genre provides a different feeling. They can anger us, comfort us, surprise us and empower us. Gaining knowledge, inspiring passion, the gratification of a story well told, how can it get any better than that? A life without reading would be a very bleak one indeed. But for me, a life without writing would be an incomplete one. A lot of the feelings I get and the things that I want to achieve come through me putting pen to paper and...

The Challenge of Change

Change can be hard. Many of us, including myself, go kicking and screaming into it. It’s just not always that easy to do. Why? Because we’re creatures of habit. We like we what we like and we want to do what we always do. But sometimes life gets in the way and we discover that our habits won’t work for us anymore. I’m speaking specifically about diet and disease, and for many, that dirty word, exercise. I meet with and teach thousands of patients every year at the hospital where I work. For almost every single one of them, I discuss behavior change. Because when we talk about what we eat, a big part of what we’re speaking about is altering what we do. And when it comes to food and physical activity, it hits very close to home. Unfortunately, the reality of life is that certain disease states and conditions require that we change what we eat, even sometimes limiting certain foods to help manage our health. Diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, kidney disease, obesity and more are affected by what we put in our mouths and how much we move our bodies.  It’s hard for so many of us to hear, but hear it we must. Our lives, and the quality of them, can depend on it. How do you feel when you hear some unwelcome news? It typically takes us time to absorb it. We go through many emotions including denial, anger, bargaining and acceptance. It can be hard to get to acceptance and difficult to stay there. But when it comes to certain diseases and conditions, make...

A Crash is a Collision

I’ve recently been asked about crash diets, an eating pattern that is very short-term, perhaps even just a few days, in order to lose a few pounds. I’ve written about fad diets on my blog atwww.fastfoodvindication.com. A fad diet is also short-term, but for many is thought of differently than a crash diet. The reality is that they’re very similar, if not the same. They can beckon us for sure, but so can many other things that aren’t good for us. Let’s be honest. A crash diet is a very calorie restrictive diet that we enter into for a short-term for a big result. Severely limiting calories can harm us in that we don’t get enough energy (think of it as our gasoline) for our bodies to function well. We can become extremely fatigued. Instead of that sleek Porsche cruising along the highway, we become that broken down Pinto on the side of the road. But being very tired isn’t the only problem. Losing weight too quickly just isn’t good for us. It can affect our bodies in a negative way. Imagine a see-saw. There’s a person on each end, but neither has sat down. The see-saw is a straight line. That’s how we want out bodies to be, in balance. When we do something like go on a crash diet, someone sits down and the see-saw and our body “tilts.” This isn’t how we want to be. Crash diets typically limit or eliminate food groups, which isn’t ideal. A balanced, healthy diet is what we need. Our bodies want the right amount of lean proteins, whole grains, low-fat dairy and fruits...