Enjoy Food, the Right Amount & Satisfy Your Cravings

Yes, easier said than done.

Put a homemade meal in front of most people, and suggest they will not have an extra bite, let alone an extra serving – I think we can agree, that would be wishful thinking.

It is clear we live in an obesogenic world – food is readily available, cheap and tasty and there are plenty of commercials, ads, billboards and advertisements telling us we need their meal/snack.

However, we need to be able to moderate our portions and be attentive to what we are choosing to eat. Observed practices which have helped clients and myself include:

  1. Eat on smaller plates and eat most foods at home, composed of real food (i.e. meals don’t come out of a box). “For the average consumer, eating one meal away from home each week translates to roughly two extra pounds a year,” said Lisa Mancino, a food economist for the USDA. How many more calories a diner consumes out depends on the meal. Eating lunch out has the largest effect, adding 158 calories to daily caloric intake, compared to lunch prepared at home. Dinner out increases intake by 144 calories, and breakfast out adds 74 calories, according to the USDA.
  2. Eat a variety of foods. Our bodies require more than 40 nutrients and if we are deficient in one, guess what happens? We get hungry and we get cravings. Diversify your meals day to day and season from season. Most importantly, eat real, clean food. Need assistance understanding what that is, let me know.
  3. Attend to your gut. Yes that’s right. A healthy intestines, housing good gut bacteria, allows for an optimal and controlled appetite. With most clients I recommend a quality probiotic. When our digestion is off and you large intestines doesn’t have support from good bacteria, we can become at risk for infections and inflammation. With both, we get an increased appetite. A healthy gut also entails a good diet avoiding gluten, corny syrup, soy and in some cases dairy.
  4. Eat slowly, focus on the flavors, savor the food, chew your food, chew your food. Also be sure to chew your food (hopefully you got that). The digestion process begins in the mouth and helps you to be in-tune with your hunger/satiety. Data from a study out of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who took smaller bites and chewed for an average of 9 seconds vs 3 seconds before swallowing ate significantly less food.
  5. Do not stock your kitchen with nutrient-deficient “domino foods.” This can be a two part recommendation too; domino foods can be something that is good for us like dark chocolate, nuts, dried fruit. For example, I have a hard time moderating my portions of nut butters. Therefore, I make nut butter fresh with raw nuts, when I want it. Yes, nuts are nutrient dense, but I easily eat too much of it (too much of a good thing is bad) and therefore I control portions by making small amounts when I want and involve labor in fulfilling my desire thus reducing the likeliness of going for seconds. As for avoiding nutrient-deficient foods in your kitchen, no need to have goldfish, chips, candy, sub-par chocolate, etc in your house. Let those foods be eaten on an occasion and when socializing with friends. These are the type of things you will want late in the evening. Out of site, out of mind, out of kitchen, out of luck.
  6. Write what you bite. A food log/journal is such a cheap and useful tool. It keeps us accountable and aware of what we are eating on a daily basis. Starting each day, or do this the night before, jot down what your 3 meals and snacks will look like. I find writing my snacks down is very helpful, especially for the latter part of the day.
  7. Drink tea. Tea is great for us (especially herbal caffeine free versions and the process of heating water and seeping a tea bag, can be therapeutic. let along enjoying the flavors.
  8. Learn how to cope with stress. Since stress can be the biggest trigger for cravings and learning to cope with what you have at hand rather than turning to food, is the best thing for your health overall.
  9. Fulfill your craving with quality food. I often tell clients to make some treats out of clean food options. Examples of this is a frozen banana, Lindt dark chocolate, coconut cocoa treats and more.
  10. Eat square meals with plenty of fat (yes, we need more fat than most people think), protein and moderate carbohydrates. The golden rule I provide to clients is starting their day off with protein (20-30 grams) to prevent cravings and snacking later in the day and then follow-up lunch and dinner with a third of calories coming from healthy fat, a third from protein and a third from carbs. The other 10 percent = wiggle room.
  11. Get up and move. Activity can curb cravings and appetite up to two hours. Sometimes boredom and fatigue can be the reason we are hungry and some movement is the solution. This does not mean to skip your meals, but make activity a priority.
  12. Lastly, make your health a priority. Get up earlier to make a healthy breakfast, make homemade meals in bulk, be efficient with grocery shopping, errands, doctor/dietitian appointments, weave movement naturally into your day, etc. You know what you need to do and just do it. You deserve good health.



Gut Hormones and Appetite Control. Gastroenterology.  

Clean, REAL Food Desserts

I wish I could claim these awesome, paleo and diabetic-friendly desserts, but they were both basically spoon-fed to me and I could not get enough. Enjoy. Gobble, gobble.

Pumpkin “Ice-Cream”

  • 2 Bananas, frozen
  • 1/2 c. Pumpkin purée (good on you if you roast and puree your own. However, we realize that is not always realistic)
  • 1/4 c. Almond milk, coconut milk, or milk of choice
  • 1/4 tsp. Pumpkin pie spice mix
  • Honey, raw, to taste

Throw in a foods processor and enjoy.


Chocolate, Almond Pudding

  • Coconut milk, 1 can
  • Almond butter, crunchy, half to 3/4 of jar
  • Hershey’s cocoa, to taste (~1/2 cup)

Mix all together and die in chocolate goodness. As well, you can vary the measurements of the listed ingredients to adjust the texture.

5 Ways to Enjoy Pumpkin

If you have been following my tweets you may well know my recent love for pumpkin. It. Is.Amazing. Certainly satisfies any taste and easy on the blood sugars. A few ideas for pumpkin include:

1.Pumpkin Soup  – First peel an pumpkin, cube and then roast in the oven. Once tender blend together ingredients such as cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut milk, onion, pepper, sea salt and a touch of honey.

2. Pumpkin Porridge – On a Sunday I will roast a whole pumpkin or throw a diced pumpkin in the slow cooker to have on hand during the week. This comes in handy, especially early mornings when I am pinched for time. My pumpkin porridge includes 2 eggs, 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of pumpkin, cinnamon, sea salt pecans/macadamia nuts all mixed together and microwaved in a coffee mug. Viola.

3. Roasted Pumpkin – As simple as it sounds, I reheat pumpkin and add some spice to my liking. Paprika and pumpkin marry well and go nicely with 2 poached eggs or grilled fish.

4. Pumpkin Dessert – I reheat pumpkin again with a concoction of coconut milk or flakes, cocoa nibs and cinnamon. If I have a really bog sweet tooth, I will drizzle some honey on-top.

5. Pumpkin Salad – Pumpkin over some fresh greens, pine nuts and homemade balsamic dressing is an easy and go-to dinner for me this season. The fiber keeps me full and the pine nuts have the perfect taste. If I want a little sweetness to my salad, I will also throw in some raisins.

As you can see pumpkin is so versatile. Do you have a favorite way to eat it? One thing is for sure – while it’s easy to buy pumpkin in a can (especially in the US), it is much better to buy and roast one, eliminating the preservatives and package contamination. Good health, often takes an extra step but is always worth it.

Cheers to you and good health,

Dear Food Diary – 2/12/11

Today, Friday, I ate:

Breakfast: 8AM
Protein smoothie
Fish oil

Chaotic morning, no appetite around noon. Drank water, ran errands, session in the gym (rowing and lifting).

Lunch: 4PM
1/2 kangaroo burger

Company Christmas Party: 6:30PM
1 1/2 glasses of Pinot Noir (not sure what kind, but it was awesome)

Dinner: 8:30PM

Steer, South Yarra, VIC, Australia

Sauv Blanc, New Zealand, Marlborough (If you ever crave a ncie crisp white wine, always look for one from New Zealand. You will never go wrong.)
Appetizer – 1 scallop with pork belly
1 cheese poof (not sure what it was made of but was ensured it was gluten free)
Lamb (delish)
Dessert – brie & cheddar cheese, grapes, raisins on the vine and more cheese poof bread balls

You may be wondering, “Hey Kelly,  what is up with the dairy when you have trialed this experiment with bad results?” And I am thinking yes, I did cave and I need to take one day at a time on making it goal to eat clean and to consume foods that are best for my metabolism, diabetes, and grain intolerances. Let’s see how I do moving forward, yeah?

Cheers to you and good health!

Dear Food Diary – Day 2

Today, 18/11/11, I ate…

Breakfast: 7AM
Quite hungry this morning
Blood sugar = 83 mg/dl
3 egg version of Sweet and Savory Eggs
Allergy meds

11:25AM blazing hot (90 degrees F), walking home from my appointment for my jaw, craving (and not proud of it) a Diet Coke.

Noon: Not hungry yet
Blood glucose 134 mg/dl.
Dissolved some Glutamine in water; assists with healing (jaw)

Lunch: 1:45PM
Leftover steak, about 3 ounces
Leftover sauteed cabbage

Exercise: 1.5 mile walk
Blood glucose 124 mg/dl

Snack: 5PM
Jello, fortified with Glutamine
10 fresh blueberries

Dinner: 7:30PM
3/4 glass of NZ Pinot Noir
Salad with tomato, avocado and sweet potato
1 natural oyster

Snack: 9:45PM
Blood glucose 116 mg/dl
Surprisingly not satisfied with dinner. Being spoiled with amazing food in Melbourne, I like to think I have mature taste-buds or you can just say, “I have acquired a bit of food snob in me.” Yet, the flavors in my meal just did not seem to work.
1/2 banana
1 mini square of 85% dark chocolate

Hormone Raises Desire for Fattening Foods

You’re dieting, and you know you should stay away from high-calorie snacks. Yet, your eyes keep straying toward that box of chocolates, and you wish there was a pill to restrain your impulse to inhale them.

Such a pill might one day be a real possibility, according to findings presented Tuesday at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in San Diego. It would block the activity of ghrelin, the “hunger hormone” that stimulates the appetite centers of the brain.

The study, reported by Dr. Tony Goldstone, a consultant endocrinologist at the British Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Center at Imperial College London, showed that ghrelin does raise the desire for high-calorie foods in humans.

“It’s been known from animal and human work that ghrelin makes people hungrier,” Goldstone said. “There has been a suspicion from animal work that it can also stimulate the rewards pathways of the brain and may be involved in the response to more rewarding foods, but we didn’t have evidence of that in people.”

The study that provided such evidence had 18 healthy adults look at pictures of different foods on three mornings, once after skipping breakfast and twice about 90 minutes after having breakfast. On one of the breakfast-eating mornings, all the participants got injections — some of salt water, some of ghrelin. Then they looked at pictures of high-calorie foods such as chocolate, cake and pizza, and low-calorie foods such as salads and vegetables.

The participants used a keyboard to rate the appeal of those pictures. Low-calorie foods were rated about the same, no matter what was in the injections. But the high-calorie foods, especially sweets, rated higher in those who got ghrelin.

“It seems to alter the desire for high-calorie foods more than low-calorie foods,” Goldstone said of ghrelin.

That effect was especially pronounced when the participants fasted overnight before the study was done. “We know that when you fast, you tend to crave high-calorie foods more,” Goldstone said. “We mimicked that effect.”

So a pill that blocked ghrelin’s activity could be useful for dieters, and several drug companies already are working to develop one, he said. It wouldn’t be something you could pop when a tempting dish appeared, because the blocking effect would take some time to happen, but it could be part of an overall weight-loss regimen, Goldstone said.

“If developed, it might have the particular effect of blocking the desire for high-calorie foods,” he said.

The study results come as no surprise, said Alain Dagher, an associate professor of neurology at McGill University in Montreal, who has been studying ghrelin.

In his research, MRI scans of animals found that “ghrelin increases the brain response to food,” Dagher said. “So, it’s not surprising that a single injection in humans supports a shift to high-calorie foods in general.”

Dagher is continuing his studies. “We’ve been trying to get more specific about exactly how ghrelin acts on the brain, which brain regions it affects and how those effects translate to eating,” he said.

Ghrelin might not play a role in causing obesity, but it might act to keep people obese by reducing their ability to lose weight, Dagher said.

SOURCES: Tony Goldstone, M.D., Ph.D, consultant endocrinologist, Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Center, Imperial College London; Alain Dagher, Ph.D, associate professor, neurology, McGill University, Montreal; June 22, 2010, presentation, Endocrine Society annual meeting, San Diego

A Dietitian’s Dessert

I was in a grilling mood Tuesday night and I was craving something sweet. My indulgences are usually satisfied with a piece of chocolate or a cookie, but I felt a chef-like inspiration and examined what ingredients I had to execute something with bountiful flavor.

While my groceries were slim to start the week, I resorted to my stash of bananas. My boyfriend and I threw the nanners (bananas) on the grill and from there I unpeeled them and sauteed them in a little bit of cinnamon/sugar mix, margarine and cocoa. Wow!!!

I loved it and it hit the spot.

Not too bad for a dessert, right?

Have a healthy and fit day!