Spring clean your diet

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A new beginning can technically be whenever you want it to be, but there's something special about the ones marked by the calendar—like the first of every month, new moons, and the first of day of spring, which is just around the corner. They feel like an invitation to start fresh. 

This week I invite you to start fresh with your diet. I'm sharing five ways to sustainably declutter your diet so that you can fuel the increased activity levels that naturally accompany spring. 

1. Say a sweet goodbye to sugar. Most of us get way more sugar in our diet than we need to! The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day for women and 9 teaspoons for men. If you're looking at a nutrition label, there are about 4 grams in 1 tsp. Here are three healthy swaps to make this week:

  • Instead of soda have Hint water—you'll get the carbonation and flavor without the added sugar and fake ingredients.
  • Instead of energy drinks have green tea—you'll have improved mental clarity and performance without jitters and may even experience boosted metabolism.
  • Instead of bottled smoothies and juice have home-made smoothies. Bottled smoothies can be a one-way ticket to type 2 diabetes. For example, Odwalla’s Original Superfood Smoothie has 51 grams of sugar per bottle. That is 8.5x the daily amount of sugar for women and 5.6x for men! I'm a total supporter of smoothies as long as you make your own, with no more than 2 fruits. 

2. Eat better, not less. You can do this by focusing your diet on whole, unprocessed foods. A helpful guide to setting up your plate for success is 1/4 protein, 1/4 whole grain or starchy carbohydrate, 1/4 fibrous carbohydrate (aka vegetables or fruit), and 1-2 tablespoons of healthy fats. These proportions will help keep you satiated and your blood sugar stable. 

3. Take interest in ingredients. Ingredients are always listed in order of predominance from those used in greatest quantities to those used in least quantities. The fewer ingredients, the better and if you can’t pronounce it or your grandmother wouldn’t recognize it, steer clear.

4. Write a pre-snacktual agreement. The afternoon slump is one of the biggest times for making an impulse snack purchase—and it's usually something sugary. Instead, plan ahead by packing your snacks. The best snacks are high-protein, high-fat like a handful of nuts and dark chocolate (72% or higher), Gruyere cheese kebabs with cherry tomatoes and veggies, banana or apple with nut butter, or hummus and whole grain crackers.

5. Eat like a cow. And by that I mean plant-based and chew slowly. Digestion starts in the mouth. Ideally, each bite should become a baby food-like consistency before you swallow and move on to the next bite. Take your time to enjoy the flavors and textures and put your fork down between bites—you'll slow down in no time. Additionally, it takes 20-minutes for your hunger hormones to relay to the brain that they are satiated so the slower you eat, the better. If you're thinking of getting seconds, wait 20-minutes and then evaluate how hungry you are.


As always, please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about decluttering your diet; I always love hearing from you!

In good health,

Briana

Take yourself on a date...

 

If you don’t want to date you, who will?

You might be thinking, “Briana, you’re a nutritionist and health coach, why are you talking about relationships?” Because it’s all connected, that’s why. No amount of kale will make you feel better if other parts of your life are unbalanced. So let’s bring a little balance, a little va va voom, to our relationships this month, starting with our lovely selves.  

I often work from coffee shops. Maybe it’s just a San Francisco thing, but 99% of the time everyone else in the coffee shop is also working on their computer (or at least pretending to be). The other day in Saint Frank’s a man caught my eye, not only because he was good looking but also because he didn’t have any electronics with him. All he had was his $5 cup of single origin, sustainably farmed, designer coffee and a book. A real paper book. He was simply enjoying time with himself.

It got me thinking about how little time I intentionally spend alone. I’m a solopreneur so a lot of my time is spent alone when I’m not working with clients but I couldn’t remember the last time I chose to take non-work time alone—to treat myself to a date.

Now, if the idea of spending time alone in public makes you nervous, cool, welcome to the club. It can be a little uncomfortable at first, just like a date with another person, but after a few minutes your anxiety will dissipate and you’ll start having fun. And think about this: I didn’t judge that coffee shop stud for being alone—I was inspired by it! Chances are people won’t be judging you either. Whether you are single or in a relationship, taking rejuvenating alone time is so important to your wellbeing. So, what do you say? Ready to take yourself out?

Date Guidelines

1. Lose your security blanket (aka iPhone, iPad, iMac… you get it). If you went out with someone who spent the date on their phone, you probably wouldn’t have a very good time and they definitely wouldn’t be getting a second date. Show yourself the same respect—be present and enjoy what’s around you. You’re also much more inviting when there isn’t a screen blocking you; you never know who might come say hello ;).

2. Netflix and chill doesn’t count. Your solo date should be a treat, not something you can do every other night of the week. You deserve better.  

3. Don’t rush, it’s going to be okay. I remember the first time I went on a date with myself I sat at the bar at some Asian Fusion restaurant. I was so unbelievably self-conscious for being alone that I was sweating, anxious, and ate as quickly as possible. By the time I got home, I had a stomach ache and pit stains that never came out of my white shirt. If I could give my younger self advice for that date, I would say, “breathe into the discomfort. Slow down. No one thinks you’re lame. Most people are too concerned with themselves wondering if they have food in their teeth or if they left the stove on or if they should get the chicken or the steak. Enjoy your freakin' meal."
 

In good health,

Briana

How to be healthy(ish) during Super Bowl Sunday

 

Because the Super Bowl is the second biggest eating day in the U.S. after Thanksgiving, I wanted to share 7 health tips to help you feel at least half-human on Monday morning. 

WARM UP

1. Get in some exercise before the game even if it's a quick 30-minute walk.

2. Don't show up to the party starving. Have a snack before you go like almond butter/banana, hummus/veggies, or yogurt/berries. This will help you avoid overindulging. You'll be more inclined to look at all of your food options before selecting your favorites instead of getting all the things because they're there. 

GAME TIME

3. Beer strategy: choose to have either a few (1-4) quality beers or, if you're going for marathon drinking, stick to light beers or Guinness because they have under 130 calories per serving. Bonus: alternate between beer and water; you'll thank yourself tomorrow if you do this. 

4. To lower pizza's glycemic index and to make it a more balanced meal, add veggies and chicken. This will help keep your blood sugar stable. If you prefer plain pizza, you can have a couple of wings and a vegetable on the side. As delicious as processed meats are like sausage and pepperoni, steer clear of those on your pizza today since you’ll likely be having other treats.

5. Speaking of blood sugar, skip the soda.

6. Choose either guac and chips OR nachos but not both—they are basically the same thing anyway. For guac, try to get baked chips instead of fried (you can always bring a bag to the party). If you're going for the nachos, pull from the bottom where there is less cheese and toppings.

7. Remember to get up during commercial breaks every now and then. Do a little stretch or walk around—those extra steps add up.

Have fun and may be the odds be ever in your favor!

In good health,

Briana

Water, coffee, alcohol — how to drink more mindfully

 

Hydration, hydration, hydration. I often get asked about water, coffee, and alcohol, specifically, "how much" to be drinking. Here are a few helpful guidelines on how to be more mindful about these commonly consumed liquids.

Water: aim to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 160 lbs., then drink at least 80 oz. (10 cups).

Alcohol: pace yourself by drinking one glass of water after every alcoholic beverage. Moderate alcohol consumption includes up to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men, so aim to stick as close to that guideline as possible. 

  • Wine: has health benefits from the antioxidants resveratrol.
  • Beer: Guinness and stouts are usually made with whole grains so they pack a little more nutritional punch, plus stouts have antioxidants. Regular beer usually has upwards of 130 calories per serving so if you're going for quantity over quality, then stick to lite beers, which have about 95-115 calories per serving. Alternatively, you can choose a beer you really enjoy drinking and stick to one to three servings.
  • Hard liquor: when it comes to cocktails, the fewer ingredients the better. If straight liquor or "on the rocks" is too intense for you, then opt for drinks like vodka soda or tequila soda with just a splash of cranberry, lime, or other fruit juice, mules, or add muddled berries, which will you give a little sweetness without all the extra sugar that syrups have.

Caffeine: coffee and tea are both excellent options that provide health benefits. When it comes to coffee, the Mayo Clinic even suggests that up to four cups per day is safe for healthy adults. BUT the key with coffee (and most caffeinated beverages) is to know your body and how sensitive it is. For example, for me, when it comes to tea, I can usually drink 3 cups of caffeinated tea per day and feel great but my body can only tolerate 1, single shot cappuccino and I have to drink it before noon otherwise it impacts my sleep. Crazy right? One more note about coffee: fancy coffee drinks like pumpkin spice lattes can be masked as dessert so it's best to steer clear of syrups, whipped cream, and other elaborate ingredients OR choose them intentionally as a treat and be mindful of your sugar consumption throughout the day. 

In good health,

Briana