The online food world can be a stressful arena of conflicting information. The all or nothing extremes of different diet trends can feel overwhelming. Join us as we talk about all of the things people hesitate to address with plant-based and vegan diets. We will call out hard truths, stand up for unpopular opinions and create new space for the fluidity many of us need when it comes to food. We are fighting to make food choices less stressful, even if that means pushing some buttons along the way!
Why is a Healthy Balanced Diet Best?
Diet culture and the social media world is in a constant battle of what "diet" is best, fastest, the answer to all your problems. But in reality, it's an overall healthy balanced diet that wins.
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When we set out to better our health, it's easy to fall victim to the diet world and the stringent rules that these diets place upon us. However time and time again, studies show that diets don't work.
Why Do Diets Fail?
The focus with eating should be on an overall lifestyle and habits. It's not about one meal, or even one season. Life changes, it brings ups and downs, crazy non stop and more calm days.
In order to get through, we need to let go a little and realize it's about what we do as a whole, not about one specific moment.
Putting rules on your eating, especially those that make you cut out things you love, will only cause you to crave them more and can end up in binging.
This is why we don't put rules on what we eat, and don't like to label ourselves. While we do focus on a plant rich diet, we also allow things we crave and love. Hence, balance.
A big reason that diets fail is that they don't focus on creating life long habits. The focus on results within a certain set of restrictions, but if those restrictions aren't how you want to live your life forever, then eventually you go back to what you enjoy.
What is a Healthy Balanced Diet
This term can mean something different to everyone. Which is another reason why we need to step away from stringent rules.
To us, this means that our foods consist of plant rich options, including all the macronutrients (fat, carbs and protein) but also allows for things we love that may or may not be nutrient rich.
I really like to listen to my body when it comes to food. If I focus on being present and purposeful, I am able to eat what it is I crave, which leaves me feeling satisfied.
One Size Fits All Doesn't Works
What one person may need is not necessarily what another person needs. Sure, we all can benefit from plant rich diets. However there is space for other foods.
My husband for instance cannot do any, or very little, animal based products in order to feel his best. His heart is affected quickly and his body just doesn't process them well.
I on the other hand cannot do any gluten. My body hates it and I immediately feel the inflammation all over.
So when we go out, I focus on avoiding one thing and he focuses on avoiding the other.
Balance is Key
So the main thing we decided to focus on was balance. Avoid what you know affects you negatively and then let go of the rest.
This also plays a huge role in our mental health. While some people may not have the mental health piece, we do. So avoiding rules and labels allows us to be at our best both physically and mentally.
This is the key to wellness. When your mental health is in balance you are able to reduce stress and approach any stress that comes your way without wreaking havoc in your body.
People tend to forget this part of wellness when focusing in diets and placing rules on themselves. While following a diet may help you achieve things like weight loss goals, the mental health toll and rise of stress will eventually counteract all that.
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The Diet World and Food Racism
Many people don't think about food racism, but the diet world can be a big contributor to making what we buy and how we eat a classist issue.
As we scour the online world for recipes under whatever diet we follow, it's easy to assume that everyone has access to the ingredients so often found. But what happens to people that struggle to obtain those foods?
Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN of Brooklyn-based Maya Feller Nutrition is a registered dietitian nutritionist, nationally recognized nutrition expert and adjunct professor at New York University. In her practice, she provides medical nutrition therapy for the management of and risk reduction of non-communicable diseases.
Maya received her Masters of Science in clinical nutrition at New York University, where she is adjunct faculty. Whether addressing the nation or working one on one and with groups, Maya believes in providing nutrition education from an antibias patient-centered, culturally sensitive approach.
Maya is dedicated to promoting nutrition education that helps the public to make informed food choices that support health and longevity.
Maya shares her approachable, real food-based solutions to millions of people through regular speaking engagements, writing in local and national publications, via her social media account on Instagram, @mayafellerRD, and as a national nutrition expert on Good Morning America, GMA3: What You Need to Know and more. She is the author of The Southern Comfort Food Diabetes Cookbook: Over 100 Recipes for a Healthy Life.
Inequality in The Wellness Space
As a whole, the wellness space struggles when it comes to being a welcome and accessible space to all people. Because of the "look" portrayed, many don't feel represented and therefore they don't believe it is a space they belong in.
But we need to radicalize this space so that it feels more inclusive. This isn't easy as the issues run deep. A few things we can do to help make change are:
Share others in the wellness space that come from all cultures.Share accounts with people who range in size, ability and ethnicity.Recognize your implicit bias and when working with clients don't make assumptions about their diet based on their culture or size. Allow clients to be a part of the process from the beginning.Recognize that foods aren't bad and good, and all foods can have a place in someones diet if planned correctly.Open space to talk about things that may make you uncomfortable.
This issue is seen across diets, whether it's veganism or medical centered diet's like the Mediterranean and DASH diet. The research shows great gains when following these diets so at the core they are great, however they don't translate to race and ethnicity for people that don't eat in those ways.
The bottom line is that there is not just one path to health. There are many ways to reach health goals that can honor the person as a whole. It is possible to support a diagnosed condition with a diet that includes cultural foods.
When it comes to wellness, there is an underlying assumption that it needs to be expensive and fit a certain theme. But not only is this not true, it also doesn't recognize that not everyone has access to the same foods.
Depending on where someone lives, whether they have a car, what hours they work and many more other factors, being able to shop for, afford and even find things like fresh produce, specialty ingredients, grains, etc may not happen.
But there are ways to help clients and readers wit...
How to Deal With Trauma
It is hard to know how to deal with trauma when you're in the thick of it. Learning strategies you can easily put in place is key!
When we are struggling, it's hard to have the energy to come up with ideas on how to make it through. Which is why having these tools in our back pocket is so important.
Suzanne Falter is a podcaster and the author of multiple self-help titles including The Extremely Busy Woman’s Guide to Self-Care. She also hosts the ever popular Self-Care for Extremely Busy Women podcast and an active Facebook group.
Grab her How's Your Self-Care worksheet here!
What is Trauma?
According to the American Psychological Association, Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Trauma can have many forms and range in severity.
Nothing prepares you for traumatic events. It is really important to seek help to navigate life after a traumatic event.
The Stages of Trauma
After a traumatic event, we go through a similar set of stages as we process what happened. Here is a general idea of these stages:
Denial- you question the event and often can't believe it is happening.Anger- feelings of anger, getting upset and asking why this happened.Bargaining- making compromises and promises to do something if XYZ would just stop or go away.Depression- a feeling of doom, loneliness and sadness having to adjust to the truth of what happened.Acceptance- accepting the truth of what happened and starting the process to heal.
Best Ways to Navigate Trauma
With traumatic events comes a lot of emotional and some even physical feelings. Being able to move forward as these pass through you is hard but there are things you can do to help. Here are some ideas:
Read to learn more about the trauma or strategies to help.Be open and willing to make it into a transformational experience.Telling the truth about it, instead of pretending it didn't happen.Meditation or self care practice.Exercise or any movement of the body.Eat nutritious whole foods.Surround yourself by supportive people, family, friends and support groups.Find a way to get your feelings out, like writing or painting, etc.
Does Trauma Ever Go Away?
A traumatic event isn't something that will go away, but it can be navigated so that life can move on and even transform into a better place.
We must allow ourselves to feel each stage we pass through in order for healing to happen. Once we reach acceptance and let ourselves experience all the feelings we will be able to slowly move past them. While the pain maybe always be there in some respect, it can begin to fade.
Always remember that this is not to be taken as medical advice and you should always see a licensed professional for your mental health needs.
Starting Solids with Baby
Having a baby and knowing about starting solids can be scary, confusing and overwhelming. Our guest today walks us through it all!
Caitlyn Edson is a pediatric registered dietitian specializing in infants, toddlers, and young children. She is sharing all the tips to help parents feel secure and confident to start feeding their baby!
She has a passion for helping people feed their families confidently in a way that feels manageable. Caitlyn works with families of children starting solids (particularly baby led weaning), picky eaters, those with growth struggles, youth athletes, and more!
Grab her free starting solids guide here!
Age to Start Solids
There are certain signs of readiness when it comes to starting solids. Here are the main ones:
Sit unassisted: not necessarily long periods of time but at least a couple seconds or in high chair being able to sit upright.Loss of tongue thrust reflex: when you put something into their mouth you don't want them to push it out of their mouth.Show interest in food: things like them watching you closely when you eat, grabbing for your food, etc.
Traditionally we used to start feeding at 4 months but current research shows these readiness skills happen closer to 6 months. But it really depends on the baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends closer to 6 months.
How to Start Feeding Your Baby
There are many correct ways to start feeding your baby, you need to do what works best and feels right for you and your family. While there are things you shouldn't do, like starting too young or feed foods that are not the right consistency for their stage, overall their really isn't a wrong way to get started.
There are two main avenues with starting solids:
Baby led weaning- the premise behind this feeding technique is infant self feeding, giving the baby real whole foods in a safe consistency. While some say you don't do purees at all with Baby Led Weaning, it isn't necessarily true. The idea is you want to get the infant to feed themselves. So you put the puree on the spoon and put it in their hand and they get it in their mouth.Puree feeding- starting with purees can mean making your own or buying premade foods. You can choose foods that are naturally soft like bananas, apple sauce, yogurt or you can create your own by cooking foods and blending them.
Before you start any feeding, it's a good idea to take a cpr class and learn the difference between gagging and choking because gagging is normal. You never want to stick your finger in a gagging baby's mouth because it can cause choking.
What Foods to Introduce First
Overall, you can really start with any foods you prefer. However there are a few things to avoid or think about:
Avoid allergens if you have a family history and your pediatrician recommends it. Avoid honey until they are 12 months old.Better to avoid added salt and sugar until they are older. Not only are their bodies not able to process it well, but the flavors are too strong for them.Things like meat can be hard for babies to eat due to the consistency so you may want to avoid it until they are older.
We use to say to start with rice cereal but that isn't necessarily the case. You can start with anything now!
Starting with softer foods is a good first step. Things like avocado and bananas, or cooked foods like apples, zucchini, sweet potatoes and squash.
You want to cut the foods into long thin strips when fi...
How to Throw a Vegan Dinner Party
Throwing a vegan dinner party can be challenging and stressful. Listen in as our guest expert gives the tips and tricks for party success!
Everybody loves a good dinner party, but how do you make it work so you are not drained, stressed and ready to fall apart by the end of the night? We got your back with all you need to know!
Diana Goldman is a Vegan Caterer, Sierra Club Cooking Show Host and Plant-based Nutrition Educator based in Boston. She received a B.S. from Cornell University in Nutrition Science and an Ed.M. from Harvard University. Her blog Beantown Kitchen was awarded one of the top 100 plant-based blogs by Feedspot.
She loves sharing recipes on her YouTube Channel and Instagram. Sign up to receive a free Healthy Vegan Made Easy ebook on her website Beantown Kitchen.
How to Get Started
Sometimes the hardest part of taking something on is getting started. When it comes to having a dinner party, knowing all that you need to do in an easy step by step format can really help reduce the overwhelm. Here are the basics to get you going:
Find a date.Decide who your guests will be, make sure to take note of kids versus adults.Find out if there are any allergies, dislikes etc with your guests.Decide location, where and also if you will be inside or outside.Plan a theme and menu.
Accommodating All Dietary Needs
There are so many recipes available for us to use for free, so we shouldn't be stopped when we need to accommodate allergies or other foods our guests need or prefer to avoid.
All you need to do is search online and look in cookbooks you have. Google, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook are all great for finding recipes for every diet.
Sometimes the cuisine can guide us too. For example Indian and Thai cuisine use coconut for creaminess so can help if you have a guest that is nut free but can have coconut. While Italian cuisine tends to have a lot of cheese and vegan cheeses are often made from nuts, so it may not be best with nut allergies.
Overall when you are used to making plant-based recipes, accommodating needs and preferences is second nature.
What to Serve
There are many avenues you can take that will help guide you when it comes to narrowing down what to make for your dinner party. Here are a few ideas:
Start with a familiar main meal first and then pick sides that stem off of that main meal. Like if you do burgers, you can do fries, salad, potato salad, macaroni salad, coleslaw, etc.Pick a cuisine and focus your menu around that theme. If you do Italian, you can do lasagna, salad, risotto and tiramisu.Serve food buffet style so you can make a variety of things for people to serve themselves. Salads, and sides do great to get in variety with buffets.Have a build your own theme and allow people to make their own tacos, pizzas, bowls, etc. This is great when feeding people that have a lot of dietary differences so they can pick and choose what to have.
The people coming to your dinner party, where you will eat and your dietary needs can all help guide which direction is best to take.
How to Prep
Prepping ahead can help keep the stress at a minimum. Once you have nailed down your menu, you should use that to find what ingredients you need. Then, check to see what you have at home and what you need to buy, and make a list for the grocery store.
Figure out what you can make ahead. This is what you can do ahead of time:
How to Live With Diabetes
Learning how to live with diabetes can feel overwhelming and impossible. Our guest today shares how she not only lives but thrives!
Lynne Bowman has been living with diabetes and enjoying life to the fullest. She loves to share her story to help others do the same!
Lynne has been featured at women's expos throughout the country, speaking on kitchen table culture, community planning and the gift of diabetes. She teamed with actress Deidre Hall to write and publish Deidre Hall's Kitchen Closeup (2010) and Deidre Hall's How Does She Do It? (2012).
In a previous life, she worked with Silicon Valley companies as a creative director, winning national awards. She was Creative Director at E&J Gallo Winery, Advertising Manager at RedKen Laboratories, and held various other positions with agencies and clients in San Jose, Los Angeles, and on the East Coast.
She has also worked as an actress, makeup artist, screenwriter, illustrator, legal journalist and television Weather Person. She is the mother of three grown children, with one absolutely perfect grandchild, and one more on the way.
Sign up for "Lynne's List" and receive the recipe for Mimi's Badass Brownies, plus The Seven Sugar Substitutes That Will Change Your Life.
Can You Live a Full Life With Diabetes?
Yes! Not only can you live a full life but you can thrive. While we now know that we can do things to prevent chronic disease, there are still instances where no matter what we do, we have to live with it. But this doesn't mean you are destined for an unfulfilled life!
Learning how to manage your diabetes is possible, other than medicine, between what you put into your body, how often you exercise and how you manage your mental health there are so many things you can do.
How to Manage Daily Life
When it comes to day to day life, nourishing your body with lots of plants, whole foods and getting in movement along with any medicine you need, should be part of your routine.
A whole food plant-based diet is so beneficial for chronic disease. Plants give us nourishment we need and help us avoid the saturated fat that animal products contain.
While adding some animal products from time to time is still okay when you want to maintain some balance, making sure they are high quality is important.
It's also important to take care of your mental health. Yoga, meditation and mindfulness can all help control stress. As can doing things like family dinners, movie nights and other ways to connect with those you love. When we keep ourselves in a mostly stress free state this helps our health overall. The mind and body are very connected!
Sleep is another thing our body needs in order to stay at optimum health. Our diets, exercise and mental well being can be so influenced by how rested we are!
It's also very important to check in regularly with your doctor and see your doctor should you feel something is wrong.
Things to consider/watch out for
Learning how to live life with diabetes comes with complications and extra things you need to think about. Here are a few things you want to keep in mind:
Read food labels to check for ingredients you can't haveListen to your body and detect any changes earlyThink about your meals ahead of timeLearn strategies that work for youWatching the glycemic index of food you eatYou should always listen to your medical professional
Can Diabetes Go Away?
Sophia, is an amazing chef, but more importantly an amazing human. Great day to day tips, easy, tasty recipes and the cutest boys!!!
Important topic, great show!
Sophia has such a passion for healthy food choices and is a great podcast host. This is such an important topic!!
LOVE this podcast. Great variety of topics and approaches and conversations around health. Sophia is an excellent host who facilitates thoughtful questions too!