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October 31, 2005

Halloween, Kids & Candy

Happy Halloween!  Today ranks as kids’ favorite holiday.  And no wonder – what a stash most of them bring home from the evening’s revels.  And what a quandary it presents for many parents who worry about their children’s diet.  So I thought I’d revisit the subject of kids and food.  Gina posted a few weeks ago on her observations of kids’ eating habits, and perceptive observations they were.  Certainly in agreement with the advice of one of the leading experts about how to help without harming when it comes to children’s weights.

That expert is

Ellyn Satter, MS, RD, and her new  book, Your Child’s Weight: Helping Without Harming, is about just that.  Ellyn’s bottom line is that parents recognize the division of responsibility in feeding kids.  Basically, it’s that parents provide structure, support and opportunities by choosing what, when and where food will be offered.  Children then choose how much and whether to eat from what the parents provide.  Parents must trust children to decide how much and whether to eat. 

That sounds like a pretty reasonable approach but it becomes difficult when parents have their own struggles with food and weight.  When it comes to Halloween, the biggest obstacle is the ‘good food, bad food’ concept.  This belief about food can end up leaving children deprived of certain types of food (translated: sweets, chips, etc.), who then overeat such foods whenever they get the chance.  If parents instead focus on balanced eating - or mindful eating - which includes occasional sweets, etc., this problem can be prevented.

On Halloween, Satter advises that parents treat candy the way they do other sweets, to help children eat them in proportion to other foods.  In Your Child’s Weight, Satter says that “Halloween candy presents a learning opportunity.  Work toward having your child be able to manage his own stash.  For him to learn, you will have to keep your interference to a minimum.  When he comes home from trick or treating, let him lay out his booty, gloat over it, sort it and eat as much of it as he wants. Let him do the same the next day.  Then have him put it away and relegate it to meal- and snack-time: a couple of small pieces at meals for dessert and as much as he wants for snack time.  If he can follow the rules, your child gets to keep control of the stash. Otherwise, you do, on the assumption that as soon as he can manage it, he gets to keep it.  Offer milk with the candy, and you have a chance at good nutrition.”

Satter also emphasizes the importance of structure for meals and snacks.  Children need to eat regularly; to help minimize the pleas for Halloween candy, be sure to regularly offer meals and snacks timed to manage your child’s hunger.

If children learn to eat sweets and other low-nutrient foods as part of a healthy eating plan, enjoying them as they desire on special occasions, they’ll come to view them as just any other food they like.  They eat it when they want it, but don’t want it to excess because they get tired of it.  Now that’s a concept!

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Programa Green Mountain para una pérdida saludable de peso
Pérdida de peso, Saludable, Estilo de vida, Vida sana, Actividad física, Filosofía vital, Perder peso, Ejercicio, Modo de vida, Retiro, Sana ,Sano,Retiro sano

Posted by Marsha on October 31, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 27, 2005

Butternut Squash-Apple Cider Soup

Squash_2One of the loveliest things about this time of year are the wonderful smells that fill our homes. Warm spices that fill the air and surround us with memories of our mother's and grandmother's kitchens at the holidays. This delicious recipe offers a silky soup with just the right amount of spices. Try these unique roasted seeds for a special treat, your kids will love them!

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded (seeds reserved) and chopped
(about 4 1/2 cups)
4 medium onions, chopped (2 cups)
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups apple cider
2 cups fat-free (skim) milk
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Reduced-fat sour cream, if desired
Spiced Squash Seeds (below), if desired

Heat squash, onions and chicken broth in 6-quart Dutch oven or large stockpot to boiling. Reduce heat to low; simmer about 30 minutes or until squash is tender.

Place squash mixture in blender or food processor. Cover and blend on high speed about 30 seconds or until smooth. Pour squash mixture into Dutch oven. Stir in cider, milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar, salt, and pepper until well mixed. Reheat soup over low heat.

To serve, garnish each serving with 1 teaspoon sour cream and a few Spiced Squash Seeds.(Makes 8 servings)

Spiced Squash Seeds

Reserved squash seeds
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350°. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Rinse reserved squash seeds in bowl of water; pat dry with paper towels.

Toss squash seeds with sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Spread seeds evenly on cookie sheet. Bake about 30 minutes or until seeds are golden brown.

If you enjoyed this recipe, come and enjoy our complete collection of healthy eating recipes.

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Programa Green Mountain para una pérdida saludable de peso
Pérdida de peso, Saludable, Estilo de vida, Vida sana, Actividad física, Filosofía vital, Perder peso, Ejercicio, Modo de vida, Retiro, Sana ,Sano,Retiro sano

Posted by Cindy on October 27, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 26, 2005

Will McDonald's Finally Beat The McWrap?

McdonaldsMcDonald's announced Tuesday they will be printing nutritional information on their wrappers in the beginning of 2006. Although, CEO Jim Skinner assures us that the company’s new found philosophy toward nutritional visibility is due to customer demand (not consumer group pressure, or the result of the embarrassing documentary ‘Supersize Me’), at least they’re taking steps to provide consumers information about their products.

Some points of interest: 

  • The information provided is based on an adult sized man.  Meaning any information about offerings targeted at children (Happy Meal’s, etc.), should be weighed carefully when considering the size, age and diet requirements of the targeted consumer.
  • The labels do not offer any distinction between saturated and trans fats, (those fats which increase the risk of heart disease).

That being said, the information on food labels shouldn't necessarily be the deciding factor whether we eat something or not.  Occasionally we're going to eat things that are high in calories, sat fat etc., as part of a balanced approach to eating. Intuitive eating or mindful eating - eating based on internal cues of hunger and sateity -will help us figure out when we've had enough of any type of food. 

Although it's nice to have awareness around caloric content and nutritional value before you eat something, there are enough things to worry about it in the world without getting too crazy about what labels are telling you.  As long as the information is used in your overall education about healthy eating and not something to fixate on, I think it can be a useful tool. If I'm learning to listen to and trust my body to tell me when I've had enough, that's the important lesson.

Hopefully, other food chains will step up to the plate and offer similar visibility.  I would like to know just how many calories and fat are in a Grande Carmel Vanilla Frappucino! Or maybe I wouldn't...

Photo Credit: AP Photo

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Posted by Cindy on October 26, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 25, 2005

Some viewers find ‘Starved’ tough to swallow

This article was written by Eleanor Kohlsaat who is studying for her master's degree in health and eating behavior at Goddard College in Plainfield, VT. Her email is [email protected].

Although "Starved" was not renewed for a second season, we felt that this article was relevant in fostering useful conversation about eating disorders, body image and our culture.

If your goal is to quit watching TV and snacking late at night, this show just might help you.

“Starved,” the FX cable network sitcom that debuted a couple of months ago, does not exactly inspire healthy eating habits -- instead, it engenders powerful feelings of nausea. In the first three episodes (I couldn't force myself to watch any more), the show portrayed characters variously eating from a garbage can, vomiting prodigiously into the camera, receiving repeated colonic irrigation treatments, and performing various other unmentionable and painful activities related to food and body image.

“Starved” purports to bring out the humorous side of eating disorders. The show follows four 30-something friends, three men and a woman, all of whom suffer from various food and weight issues, including anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating. We glimpse their dysfunctional families and learn about their intimacy problems. We accompany them to meetings of “Belttighteners,” a therapy group that offers not support, but snarling derision, as a deterrent to bad behavior. (Sample comment from group leader: “You’re pathetic. If you were a dog, I’d kick you in the face.”)

Are you chuckling yet?

Many critics have applauded the show’s ground-breaking use of a serious topic as fodder for comedy. Time magazine called it “crudely brilliant” and said the show “treats Sam and his friends with sympathy but not sentimentality.” The Hollywood Reporter pronounced the show “divertingly clever.”

Not everyone, however, shares that point of view. “I really didn’t think it was very well done, and I’m amazed that they thought it would work,” said Dr. Karin Kratina, a dietician and consultant for Green Mountain at Fox Run. “The show was very cynical. It had such a hard edge to it, and it had no compassion to it. ...The pain of each of the characters was so palpable. To me it’s amazing that people would take that as funny.”

Kratina found it especially bothersome that three of the four characters on “Starved” are men, when in reality the majority of people who suffer from eating disorders are young women. Not only that, but the woman character, who’s anorexic, is almost never shown eating, while the male characters are the ones engaging in uncontrollable bingeing. Kratina pointed out that women are not often depicted eating on television, even in commercials, unless it’s a diet food or other portion-controlled meal. Instead, they are shown preparing or serving food to others. “In a way, it parallels capitalism and consumer culture. We need to consume, but we can’t look like we’re consuming -- that would be shameful.”

“I think they knew that they couldn’t show a woman stuffing her face and throwing up,” Kratina said. “That would have been way, way too painful to watch.”

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) has urged advertisers and viewers to boycott “Starved.” According to NEDA’s Web site, “the portrayals of individuals with eating disorders are cartoonish and inappropriate. ...‘Starved’ perpetuates the stigma associated with eating disorders by depicting characters with such over-the-top behaviors as to make them appear absurd and pathetic.” NEDA also suggests that the show could be dangerous: real-life people with eating disorders may draw inspiration from “Starved” and attempt to emulate what they see.

According to the show’s publicity, all four actors on “Starved” have past histories of food problems. It would be nice to think that the show’s creators demonstrated sensitivity with that casting decision, or maybe it was more calculating: it’s always more acceptable for members of a minority group to lampoon themselves. Some reviews have compared “Starved” to “Seinfeld”: both ensembles are made up of four trivia-obsessed urbanites, and both groups of friends meet in diners to discuss their trials and tribulations. But Jerry and the gang were lovable despite their self-absorption, and the show’s plot machinations were frequently dazzling. The plot on “Starved,” if one exists at all, is an afterthought, and the characters aren’t sympathetic; they’re merely miserable and borderline creepy. Don’t worry, NEDA; no one will watch this show and think eating disorders are cool.

I’m not saying that food and weight issues are off-limits as a subject for comedy. Great comedies have been made about alcoholism, Hitler, and the atomic bomb, after all. The problem is, “Starved” just isn’t funny. See it on an empty stomach.

Posted by Gina V. on October 25, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 24, 2005

Can Simply Reducing Your Stress Help Reduce Your Waistline?

  • Gm_meditationDepression
  • Weight Gain
  • Lower Coping Skills
  • Higher Risk for Illness and Disease

And the thread that strings all these unwanted maladies together?  STRESS!! 

There was actually a time when I believed a certain amount of stress was necessary in my life.  I guess it helped me feel ‘tuned in’ to the world. Rushing around, trying to do too many things and thinking it was some indicator of success. Oh, I complained about it, ‘I’m so stressed out!’, yet there was still some kind of addiction to it. Adding insult to injury, I actually believed that being overworked in some way helped me lose weight.  When I was undergoing real stress I lost my appetite – not an entirely bad thing, right?

But of course, when the stress subsided and things got back to normal (is there such a thing?), my appetite returned with a vengeance. Whether because of deprivation or a sense of reward the previous abstinence from food was short lived.  Hindsight is 20/20 as they say, but the real key is connecting the dots in our behavior when it is happening.

Other women I know have just the opposite reaction to stress. The more stress piles up, the more they eat.  Trying to fill up, or satisfy a void that stress creates…that void, I believe, is a sense of peace and contentment.  Either way…it all links back to the same cause and effect.

Paula Rhode, PhD, a professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine did a research study which showed evidence that women who were unsuccessful keeping lost weight off, fell victim to old negative eating behaviors due to stress and the inability to cope effectively... 

"Incorporating stress and mood-management techniques into future weight loss programs may help to prevent or delay weight regain,” says Rhode.

These findings seem logical enough, but it’s easier said than done to simply vanquish stress from your life.  Like anything else we have to work at it.  Putting ourselves first and making that a priority.  There are many ways to get stress under control . The first and best step is to begin taking control of our schedules.  Decreasing unnecessary activity (be realistic!), and increasing activity that is good for the mind, body and soul. Because it really should be Love Your Body Day’ – everyday!

A healthy lifestyle weight loss program:

On this topic, Green Mountain at Fox Run is holding their second annual Self-Nurturing Mindfulness Retreat for Women this January starting on the 4th - 7th.  This may be a great start to the New Year, with a healthy weight loss program  that teaches mindful eating and a new outlook on how to  get back to and stay in touch with a healthier, happier you.

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Posted by Cindy on October 24, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 20, 2005

Baked Apples with Fresh Figs and Vermont Maple Syrup

Bakedapples_2Ahhh…fall. Time to make the trip to see the colors and time to visit the apple orchard to pick (or just  buy) delicious, fresh, crispy apples. We all probably have our favorite apple recipes, but the great thing about this one is that it takes only 10 minutes or so to make! You don't need to tell anyone how easy it is. Just serve…and enjoy the compliments!

(Makes 4 servings)

4 crisp, tart apples*
2 tablespoons Vermont maple syrup
1 ripe fresh fig
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon chopped pecans (optional)
Vanilla yogurt or light whipped cream (optional)

Core apples and pare a 1-inch strip of skin around the top or middle. (This helps prevent the skin from splitting). Peel and chop the fig and combine with syrup and cinnamon. Fill each apple with small amount of fig mixture. Place apples in a glass pie plate or other flat microwave-proof dish. Microwave on high for about 6-7 minutes, or until the apples are soft when pierced with a fork. Serve warm or at room temperature. For an added treat top with a dollop of vanilla yogurt or light whipped cream.

Note: If you make ahead and want to serve warm, reheat in the microwave-about 30 seconds per apple.

Conventional oven method: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Pour about ¼ inch of water into baking dish. Bake about 35 minutes or until apples are tender when pierced with fork. (Makes 4 servings)

*Use your local favorites such as Jonathan, Cortland, Macintosh -a favorite here in Vermont - or Minnesota's favorite-Haralsons.

If you enjoyed this recipe, come and enjoy our complete collection of healthy eating recipes.

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Posted by Cindy on October 20, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 19, 2005

It’s Love Your Body Day

Today is Love Your Body Day, Love_your_body_2 a campaign from the Women’s Health Project of the National Organization for Women (NOW). The project was originally conceived as a way to educate women about health risks of smoking and fashion advertising – advertising that features emaciated models and entices young women to smoke. According to NOW, the tobacco and fashion industries target young women, prompting the negative body image that is so prevalent and so destructive among women.

The website for Love Your Body Day provides a host of ideas about how to celebrate this day. One of my favorites:

“Make a pact with yourself to treat your body with respect. Give yourself a break from women’s magazines and the mass media. Try a new physical activity just for fun, not to lose weight. Stop weighing yourself, and change your goal from weight loss to improving your health.”

It then goes on to offer a wealth of ideas on how to promote positive body image.  If the campaign is successful with ideas like these, we could expect a sea change in women’s perceptions of themselves.

Our small contribution is to encourage you again to read our FitBriefing “Accept Your Wonderful Self.”  If we can adopt a few of the attitudes and practice some of the strategies for developing a better self image described therein, we could expect a sea change in our personal perceptions of ourselves.

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Posted by Marsha on October 19, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 18, 2005

A Healthy Welcome to Karin Kratina, newest addition to Green Mountain staff

Karin Kratina, PhD, RD joins Green Mountain at Fox Run as Clinical Advisor.

For the past 20 years, Karin Kratina, PhD, MPE, RD/LDN, has devoted her work to the treatment of women and men with eating and weight issues, including those with eating disorders. Her passion is to help people break out of “diet prison” and guide them back to the freedom around food and body that is so rightfully theirs. Besides serving as Clinical Advisor to Green Mountain, Karin is in private practice in Gainesville, Florida. She is the Nutrition Coordinator for the Eating Disorders Program at the University of Florida.

A noted speaker, Karin is an author and nutrition therapist who holds a BS degree in nutrition, MA in exercise physiology and PhD in cognitive anthropology (where she examined the unconscious thinking processes of women regarding food and body and how it impacts their behavior).

Her first book, Moving Away from Diets: Healing Eating Problems and Exercise Resistance, was released in its second edition in 2003. Her most recent book is It’s the Calories, Not the Carbs.

She is on the Clinical and Scientific Advisory Board for NEDO (National Eating Disorders Organization), the Advisory Board for the Foundation for the Advancement of Grain Based Foods, and the Editorial Advisory Board for the Health at Every Size journal.

In her free time, Karin is an avid dancer, and regularly teaches her favorite dance, called zydeco, locally and at festivals around the country. And, although she refuses to “exercise,” she is a zealous mountain biker. She resides in Gainesville, Florida with her miniature long-haired dachshund, Logan.

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Posted by Gina V. on October 18, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 17, 2005

Does Healthy Eating Include Pickles?

When I was cleaning out the frig yesterday, I noticed a monster jar of pickles – empty except for a lot of pickle 'juice' and two lonely spears of just what happened to be my favorite pickle.  Wanting to open up the frig space for something else, I decided to finish off the pickles at lunch, putting a nice finishing touch to what I considered delicious healthy eating. 

So imagine my horror when I read this web page about the dangers of pickles.  (If you’re at all fed up with nutrition insanity, you have to click on this link.)

Okay, it’s a joke.  Pickles really aren’t something to be afraid of.  This rant against pickles, however, does underscore the madness of basing healthy eating recommendations on correlations as I discussed several weeks ago in my post looking at whether diet sodas make you fat (a question raised in a recent study that found that people who drink diet sodas weigh more than those who don’t).

Healthy eating really isn’t that complicated…as long as you don’t believe everything you read!  Sometimes common sense makes more sense than headlines.

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Posted by Marsha on October 17, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 13, 2005

Autumn Chicken and Butternut Squash Stew

When the New England wind starts to blow those brightly colored maple leaves about, nothing warms the heart and stomach like a good stew!  Whether you're in Vermont or on the West Coast,  this autumn chicken and butternut stew recipe is a special way in which to savor the flavor of the season.                 

(Makes 8-10 cups) 

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ½ pounds bone-in chicken breast, skin removed*
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 cup chopped celery
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
6 ounces white wine
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
4 cups peeled, chopped butternut squash**
½ cup frozen peas (optional)

Heat oil in a large (4 1/2 quart Dutch oven. Add chicken and brown about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove chicken and add onion, garlic and celery to pan; sauté on medium heat about 5 minutes. Return chicken to the pan with vegetables. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, wine, salt, pepper, sage, thyme and bring to a boil; simmer about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Add squash, bring to boil and simmer 30 minutes or until squash is tender.
Stir in frozen peas (optional) and reheat for a minute or two.

*We think that bone-in chicken adds a little more flavor and bones can be removed after cooking but before serving stew. As a short cut, you can use boneless, skinless breasts, or if you like dark meat, substitute chicken thighs for some or all of the chicken breasts.

**Acorn squash or pumpkin is a good substitute for butternut squash.

If you enjoyed this recipe, come and enjoy our complete collection of healthy eating recipes.

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Posted by Laura on October 13, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack