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.  

Let’s Talk New Year’s Resolutions

Do you have one? I have a few in mind, and while my yearly goals do not always last the 12 months, they are still good to have.

Come 2013 I will be embarking on an auto-immune diet protocol during my January Paleo Infused Nutrition Pledge. I am doing this because it will be a good challenge that will bottom-line improve my health. Most recently my thyroid has been showing some variation (signs of hashimoto’s) and ensuring my gut integrity is optimal for my well-being and defense in thyroid problems.

If I suggested this resolution to be last year or the year before, I would have set myself up for failure. It will (hopefully) work for me for this year coming, because I have a clear understanding of what I need to do, and my food intake is already rather restrictive, and more than half way in meeting the auto-immune protocol guidelines.

Overall though, the Paleo Infused Nutrition Pledge is not about restriction. It is a Pledge you come up with that aims to improve your health. You make a commitment/goal to yourself and to me your dietitian. And through the 4 week Pledge I help you stay on-top of your health game and propose some guidelines of being your healthiest you. So if you are interested, just let me know. It’s nothing to be scared of, it’s an opportunity to learn a whole new way of looking at food. Best part, you don’t have to spend time commuting to appointments, etc. The Pledge is an online private forum, where you have a dietitian, me, at your fingertips for questions and/or to voice your successes and struggles. Who wants to join?!

If you want something more hands out, I can also offer a Clean Eating Bootcamp developed by myself and an excellent Personal Trainer, Becky Schlageter, here in Chicago. Our Bootcamp is composed of 6 sessions, giving the client personal attention to their diet and fitness program. This Bootcamp will start the second Monday of every month. Who wants to join?

As a health professional, I make it my duty to create programs that are appealing, yet attainable for consumers. If neither of the above attract you, let me know what does. Nonetheless, aim to be your best person this year. Because you deserve good health, and the quality of life that goes with it.

Cheers to you and good health,.

Happy Holidays,


Sunday Session – Paleo Infused Bites, Pumpkin Soup +

In one way or another we all know that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Relating to health and healthy eating, this is so true. It’s hard to eat the right things if you do not have food in your kitchen. If you have nothing on hand, take-out usually falls into place. And even when you have plenty of food stocked in your refrigerator, if you don’t think about when you are going to eat what, food may spoil, you may not get as much satisfaction out of your meals and more.

One solution is to carve out some time during the week to make some meals and snacks for the following 5-7 days. A few items I did this Sunday included:

Pumpkin Ginger Soup

Ingredients: Japanese pumpkin, vegetable stock, coconut milk, onion, ginger, garlic, pepper, salt

Method: First heat the pumpkin in the oven for about 15 minutes on 400F. Take out, let cool to the touch. Slice off peel with a good knife  Cube and place in a slow-cooker. Add in a gluten free stock, coconut cream and remaining spices. Let cook for ~6 hours and then puree with a hand blender.
Usage: Easy compliment to lunch/dinner. Exploding with nutrients, and making me feel healthy going about the week.



Paleo Infused Bites (very similar to what you see in the store as Lara Bars)

Ingredients: Almonds, cocoa nibs, dates, prunes.
Method: Mix the nuts and cocoa nibs first, until it becomes close to a paste/butter. Mix in the dates and once it is finely blended, add in prunes to make it all stick together better. Portion the ingredients into balls and let sit for a few hours to dry-out.
Usage: Easy, satisfying snack for when time is short. Lately I have been eating these before a 6:30pm yoga session.










Salad – this is as easy as it sounds.

Ingredients: Spinach, carrot, scallion, basil, green bell pepper
Method: Use some sort of leafy greens for the base and add in whatever other raw vegetables you have on hand.
Usage: A colorful and premade salad is more tempting than a bag of spinach sitting in the back corner of my refrigerator. This preparation makes it uber easy to throw together a meal for lunch during the week.


Hard Boiled Eggs

Ingredients: Free range eggs
Method: Boil eggs on a stovetop. Trick to make them easier to peel is to add teh eggs after the water is brought to a boil.
Usage: Protein rich food to have as a snack or to add to a meal/salad.

Monday Movers – Journaling

If you frequent my site, you may be aware of some of the food logs I have posted, predominately in the beginning of 2012. Since sharing my meals on my blog, I often track my food intake and health goals with traditional pencil and paper. What have I realized with both methods? Keeping track of what I eat is a SUPER easy way to stay motivated and it facilitates making the right health decisions.

The best thing about a diary is it does not have to be all about what you eat. Just logging some personal thoughts can go a long way. As mentioned above, I make weekly goals and write them down – if I do not write them down, I find I do not stick to them. Certainly I have learned to phrase my goals in a positive light as self-talk is nearly as important as laying out a personal goal. For example instead of saying, “do not eat nuts this week,” I phrase the goal to say, “seek out meals and snacks that include good protein, vegetables, fruit and good fats.” Other things I jot down include intentions to do some fitness classes during the week or no caffeine for better sleep on school nights.

The benefits of keeping a journal are extensive and can include the following:

–        May help with self-intuition and stress management.

–        You may realize that some of your staple snacks/meals may not be making you feel your best. I just realized this with nuts. I love macadamia nuts but lately I have been making my way around them and found I feel better and have more stable blood sugars.

–        It can help build self-esteem. Once you make goals or write down anything you have overcome, it is as if you are patting yourself on your own back. Start with small goals and slowly make bigger ones, week by week.

–        May help keep optimal health in check. Whether you are looking after your weight or nutrient consumption, logging information is making you attentive and cautious of what you want.

–        If you decide to jot down some notes in a journal or on some scrap paper, make sure you do not stress over keeping a perfect record. This diary is to help you, not to fuel more strain.

What weekly goals do you intend to make for yourself? Do you have any good experiences with journaling?

Cheers to you and good health,


Monday Movers – Don’t Worry, Be Happy

After wrapping-up some must needed domestic duties this weekend, I found myself reading one of the most interesting and epic studies of the year – the research was all about smiling.

In a nutshell, doctors Marc Gillinov and Steven Nissen reported on a study rating the smiles of 230 baseball players (pre-1950 athletes) from the Baseball Register. Can you guess what they found when cross-checking these player’s smiles to their longevity?

  • No smile = age 73
  • Partial smile = 75
  • Full smile = 80

Pretty interesting, right? This study is consistent with other data addressing emotional health to heart disease, cholesterol, blood pressure and weight. Optimistic people have half the risk for cardiovascular diseases when compared to the least optimistic folks. Stress does more than just turn the wheel in our heads. It has been associated to harm our arteries and our tickers. Shall we let the science speak and turn all frowns upside down?

If only it were that easy.

But it can be. If you are having a tough time right now, relax. If you are frustrated about something, try to let it go, or work it out. But do not fret; too much.

A smile may not be a game-changer but our outlook on each day may be. This data along with other supporting research on mental health share a common denominator of a positive, optimistic outlook on life and each day.

Mondays are no fun nor are cold days (it’s winter in Australia) but they can be. A change in perspective is all it takes. Find out what you like doing, who you enjoy hanging out with and what invigorates you and do more of it.

This Monday I have booked a yoga class for the evening and plan on walking to work (LOVE walking). What is on your agenda? I hope it is something that makes you smile.

Cheers to you and good health!

Monday Movers – Almost Christmas

Christmas is one of the biggest holidays for my family and I think it is safe to assume for many Americans. But this year, living in Australia, it is easy to forget that the festive holiday is just a few short days away. It is the middle of the summer, there are more palm trees than pine, no one in the neighborhood has holiday lights and when snooping through the windows I am convinced we are the only ones that have stockings hanging up. This may be an exaggeration because we live in the city but it is extremely different than my experiences in the US.

However, it is okay to be different and it is okay to put your time and energy in other things. Perspective is everything and this concept came to life when catching up with my parents this weekend when feeling a little homesick (Don’t get me wrong, I love Melbourne and I love living in another country; it’s just holidays, birthdays and newborn babies that get the best of my emotions). In life there is not always an answer and even when you believe everything happens for a reason, you have to stay strong and live in the moment of good company and faith.

As today’s Monday Mover think of something you love and think of something, a situation or a position that you do not enjoy. What can change about the something, situation or position? Start with altering your perspective.

Your outlook on life is everything. You are in charge of how you think, how you act and how you treat others, including yourself. Make the most of each day, no matter where you are. If you feel like you have hit rock bottom, know the only way to go is up and if you are glowing and full of energy, share it with others.

Today is a new day, a new week and if you want, a new you. This week I am starting early on one of my New Year’s resolutions by being the best person I can be. Starting with positive internal thoughts, appropriate compliments, extending a hand when able, making good food choices and exercises for my body and sharing the holiday spirit.

Cheers to you and good health!

Monday Movers

Tis the season to be Jolly…falalala la la la…

Have you finished you holiday shopping? Have you started? Right about now I am thinking that I could have easily done some Christmas shopping this wekeend and….I did not. In all honesty at this point in the game I have only frequented my friend Amazon for gifts. But really, eeek, Christmas is around the corner! Along with this beloved holiday there can be a truckload of to-dos, let alone breaking your nice daily routine of work, gym, personal time, etc.

However, embrace the chaos and alter your perspective; if your thoughts are similar to the Grinch’s. Christmas comes only once a year and this week go with the flow and choose your food wisely and fit in fitness where you can. Hey, why not sing some Jingle Bells in the shower while you are at it. I will.

Along with my caroling this week I am lacing up my sneakers and plan to get back to running. It’s been months! My jaw is healing pretty well, the pain is subsiding and running is calling my name. For a little inspiration and perspective alteration, read what Dean Karnazes has to say:

“Running has an uncanny ability to mellow the soul, to take the edge off hard feelings, and put things back into healthy perspective.”

Monday Mover

Case of the Monday’s already? You just woke up.

Monday’s are not my favorite day of the week but it is a good day to plan what is ahead for the next 5-7 days. Think of any adjustments you can tweak, let it be organise your calendar, plan some dates with friends and husband/partner, wake up early and watch the sunrise, clean up your indulgences from the weekend, etc.

Look at Monday’s as a fresh start, as something new. It’s a new week, new day and you can be a new you. Set you mind to something and reach for it and beyond.

Make a goal this Monday. Typical, I first think of health goals, then fitness then creativity. This week, this is what I am reaching for:

  • Take at least 1 picture a day that inspires me
  • Eat the cleanest I ever have for a week straight – avoiding inflammatory foods such as legumes, dairy, sugar, grains. No slip ups.
  • Hit the gym as often as I can and as often as my body wants to, channeling in when I feel I need rest. And attend one new fitness class.
  • Start reading a new book. I just wrapped up “One Day,” which was so divine. Loved it.
What are you aiming for this week? Nonetheless, have a great Monday and treat yourself to some nice green tea or coffee.
Cheers to you and good health!

Dear Food Diary – 3/12/11 – Christmas BBQ Party…

Today, Saturday, I am prepping for a gathering of friends to celebrate Christmas. Let’s see how I behaved at the BBQ, keeping in mind these few goals:

1. Avoid all dairy and grains
2. Drink plenty of water and do not over eat on anything
3. Avoid all dairy

Breakfast: 9AM
Long black
I was not hungry when I first woke up so I waited an hour or so. I also had rubbish sleep last night, so I will be interested in how my cravings run today.
Protein, Coconut oil smoothie
Fish Oil
Allergy meds

Exercise: I have graduated from my walks and am back in the gym! Do not get me wrong, I love walking the parks but I am beyond ready to get my heart rate up and to life some weights.
11AM: Kettlebell workout – wow, I am out of shape.

12noon: met Schmidtty at the market and picked up some wild barramundi for tonight’s barbie! Enjoyed some preservative free sausage samples.

Lunch: 1:35PM
1/2 banana and nutbutter
Ham, deli

Exercise: 4 mile walk with friend

Snack: 4PM
Blueberries and Glutamine fortified jelly (Jell-O)

Party begins 6PM
Grazed in sweet potato chips, sliced pears and apples, hard boiled egg, wine and some tuna-like dip (gfree no doubt)

Dinner: 8PM
Wild barramundi
Salad, Greek-like

Bites of my husband flourless chocolate cake (to.die.for.)

Dietitian & Doctor Recommend Simpler Eating

Ever since my mom foresaw my love of nutrition and desire to be a dietitian, she would collect all sorts of health related articles and newspaper clips to insure I was on-top of the “latest” wellness talk. And since I just moved from Chicago to Columbus, Ohio, I came across one of these articles pulled from a 2008 Columbus Dispatch newspaper, “Doctor recommends simper eat.”

Yes, it’s slightly bizarre I am sharing a dated write-up but the included Q&A addresses topics that are taking place today, for example gluten free eating. I’ve typed the article below AND included my thoughts as a registered dietitian beneath Dr. Glen Aukerman’s comments.

Enjoy and please share your thoughts!

Doctor recommends simpler eating
August 11, 2008

Dr. Glen Aukerman, medical director of the Ohio State University Center for Integrative Medicine, sees patients from throughout the world who are seeking alternative approaches to health care.

“Someday, this probably won’t be called integrative medicine,” said Laura Kunze, program coordinator. “It will just be called medicine — good medicine.”

Aukerman recently answered some questions about nutrition.

Q: You say that eating the wrong types of fruits and vegetables ranks among the biggest mistakes that people make. What should they eat?

A: You need to have fruits and vegetables that are grown locally and harvested locally.

Kelly A: I fully believe in locally grown and harvested fruits and vegetables, but I would ALWAYS recommend consumers to eat any fruits and vegetables rather than not eating any at all.

Q: You say that consuming too much gluten might cause symptoms such as fatigue, dry skin, abdominal pain and difficulties with concentration, among other things.

A: We eat foods with gluten in high levels (which sometimes cause malabsorption and autoimmune diseases). Our ancestors were not able to eat at that level, and we can’t. Because our ancestors did not eat high levels of gluten, most of us do not have the enzymes to break it down. We need to be limiting our wheat, barley, rye and spelt.

Kelly A: I couldn’t agree more. Our society is so caught up in “whole grain” everything that people are eating far too many grains and not enough produce. I have been gluten free for over 6 months and have never felt better. I will also add that I am not replacing whole grain breads and sweets with gluten free products, but I am choosing to eat far more vegetables and fruit in-place of grains.

Q: One of your biggest nutritional concerns involves omega-6 oil. Recent research shows that humans are getting too much of it. In what is it found?

A: The most common example is poultry — because those (animals) are fed corn and they accumulate the corn oil. (It is) also in granola products, tortillas, hummus, chips, all nuts, peanut butter.

Kelly A: The average consumer today is eating a much higher ratio of omega 6 fatty acids to omega 3 fatty acids and this is not consistent with our ancestors. For an explanation of an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio click here. Omega 6 fatty acids are commonly found in snack foods, crackers, and sweets. To improve your omega 3 to omega 6 ratio include more fruits and vegetables in your diet daily.

Q: Why are artificial sweeteners bad?

A: We can’t burn them, so they have to be detoxed like a chemical by our liver. Rat experiments show that, if we put rats on artificial sweeteners, they can gain more weight than if they’re eating real sugar.

Kelly A: I am not the biggest fan of man made food and I recommend that if you are not diabetic, you should make room in your calorie budget for regular sugar instead of sugar substitutes. And that is only if you choose to eat sweets at all.

Q: What should people start eating that they don’t eat — and why?

A: They should be eating lamb, pork or beef; omega-3 eggs; wild salmon; fruits and vegetables in season, frozen or canned; and rice products. Limit the corn products because of the corn oil. We advocate a diet that’s fairly simple.

Kelly A: I agree with the above mentioned foods yet I would add nuts and seeds. A few favorites are almonds, pecans and pumpkin seeds. I want to highlight that peanuts are a legume and legumes were introduced the human diet much after nuts.

Q: What are some of the most intriguing results that your patients have had?

A: We have had (older) couples go on it (a simpler diet). In six months, they’re not getting up to go to the bathroom. And in another three months, they claim their sexual appetites are what they were at 17.

Q: Walk me through a typical day of eating for you.

A: Rice (cereal) or a non-instant oatmeal; or a cornflake breakfast with either yogurt or milk on it; or some fruit that’s regional, seasonal, canned or frozen.

My lunch will sometimes be a baked potato with some broccoli and real sour cream, and an apple or a peach or a pear or some canned or frozen fruit.

And then my dinner will usually be similar, whether it’s lamb, beef, pork or beans. I may go rice and beans with some fruits and vegetables.

Kelly A: I’ve blogged a 5 day food log about a month ago. Click here to begin viewing with day 1.

Q: You noted a study showing that people who eat cornflakes or rice cereals for two meals a day are healthier by about 50 percent.

A: Yes, the Spanish School Nutrition study indicates we eat way too complex.We think variety is more important than it is for health.

Q: What Web sites do you recommend checking when creating a personalized nutrition plan?

A: efaeducation.nih.gov, www.nutritiondata.com and www.mypyramid.gov.

Kelly A: I love reading articles from whfoods.com and I love using the diet tools on fitday.com.