The Buddy System

     My four year old talks a lot about his line partner in his pre-k class. He walks to lunch with his line partner, he goes to the yard with his line partner. It took me awhile to realize that a line partner is a new fangled way of saying buddy. Hearing about Trevor’s buddy and his reliance on his buddy for support, help, security, knowledge and friendship makes me think about my own friendships and “buddies”.  

     Healthy living isn’t always easy. It is almost always rewarding but not always easy. I am often asking clients about their support system at home or at work. Is there someone that can help you along the way? Is there someone that will try to make these changes along with you? Is there someone that you can call your buddy?

     A few weeks ago, one of my best friends, asked me to join a workout challenge for the month of May. She explained that this challenge had various rules to follow and required a lot more working out than I am used to. I immediately panicked. I found myself making excuses before it started.  Well, I won’t be able to work out for these two particular weekends in May….   I work long hours some days that I see clients so those days I won’t be able to work out….. Now keep in mind, I am an active person who already does work out frequently but any change to this, any increase, felt impossible.  Like a good buddy, my friend didn’t push. She started inviting other people to the challenge, started a group email, and just like that, I was in and I was in deep. I am working out more often than I ever thought I would have. Are there days I don’t want to? Of course. But now my nine other buddies are there, even just in name on a spreadsheet as they fill in their daily exercise, to support and push me. And with more exercise, comes more desire to eat healthy and clean up my diet more. Win win.


     So what is the point of this all?  I don’t think it matters how old we are: 4 or 40- we all need a buddy. Who is yours? Who can be yours? Who can you be a buddy for?

 

Posted on May 9, 2017 .

Holiday Parties!

Yes, it's the most wonderful time of the year...!  We're here to help you make it through this festive season without derailing your healthy eating habits and yet still enjoy the gatherings and the food!  Here are some of our tips for this time of year:

  • Don't arrive at the party starving: eat before going to the party - maybe not a full meal but at least a healthy, balanced snack or hearty salad.
  • Bring with you to the party: veggies and fruit (see Sweet Endings below for fruit ideas).  Yes, bring those fresh crudite and dip appetizers, veggie side dishes, a colorful tossed green salad with avocado and pomegranate, or fresh tomato bruschetta on crispy bread or pita. And then fill your plate with more of these then the other party foods.
  • Avoid the cheese, chips, fried hors d'oeuvres: Unsalted nuts, or an assortment of good olives are a great accompaniment to any party.
  • Sweet endings: Dark chocolate covered nuts and dried fruit, or chocolate covered strawberries also make an excellent choice for dessert.  Bring a fresh fruit trifle, ambrosia salad, poached pears, baked apples, or fresh fruit with caramel or chocolate dipping sauce. Delish.
  • Cocktails:  please enjoy (if you're not driving), but drink a water spacer or seltzer in between each glass of wine or cocktail.
  • Remember to stay active to help burn off any extra calories consumed between now and New Year's and to help manage stress during this time of year.

Happy Holidays!

 

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Posted on December 8, 2016 .

Yes, that's tofu!

People love to discuss tofu with me. Occupational hazard. It comes with following a mostly plant based diet and a being a nutritionist. And I always answer honestly which is that I often eat it at restaurants and if prepared well, I love it but I just can’t figure out how to make it at home. It’s something that bugs me. So with 2016 came my desire to expand my cooking repertoire and I decided to try a new way to make tofu and this partially had to do with what I already had in my fridge on the snowy night I decided to try to make it. That happened to be a delicious spicy barbeque sauce Pam had picked up for me at the farmers’ market in Huntington, LI this summer. So I googled bbq tofu and came up with a few ways to try it and decided to take all that advice and make it my own. Oh and hope it’s palatable.

Spoiler alert: it was.

Ingredients:

Extra firm tofu

BBQ sauce (you can make your own or store bought)

Tofu is wet and mushy if left it to its own devices, even the extra firm. So I took it out of the package and wrapped it in a dish towel and put a heavy book on top of it. I leave it there for probably a half hour. Then I cut in small cubes and put in a baking pan. That pan will not be used in oven but just to marinate tofu. I poured almost entire jar of barbecue sauce on the tofu pieces and let sit for an hour. During that hour, I rotated the pieces (gently as they fall apart) in the sauce to coat them. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Transfer tofu from baking pan to a baking sheet with tin foil on it to help simplify clean up. Put in oven for 20 minutes. Then rotate tofu (once again gently) and pour more bbq sauce on it and put back in for 20 minutes. At that point I checked it and assumed it would be done but it wasn’t as toasted looking as I wanted and the tofu wasn’t as solid as I was hoping for so I put it back in for another 10 minutes. Then- voila. Delicious firm crispy barbecued tofu!






Posted on January 29, 2016 .

Soups' On

It’s that time of year again – yes, for soups! So here are two of my favorite go-to soups.  I always keep dried split peas and lentils in my pantry because they do not need to be soaked overnight.   They will cook up in an hour or so, depending on how you cook them.   These soup recipes are easy, healthy and delicious, of course!   They are high in fiber, protein and flavor.   Oh and they are meat/dairy/oil/salt/gluten-free also…!   A lot of my cooking is this way, so I add certain ingredients that add a lot of flavor: like carrot juice instead of oil (yes, carrot juice), Bragg’s Liquid Aminos instead of salt (it’s a low sodium version of soy or tamari sauce, but it doesn’t really taste like soy or tamari sauce), and lots of flavorful veggies (garlic, onions, mushrooms), veggies that have naturally-occurring sodium present in them, and therefore, full of flavor (carrots, celery, tomatoes) and salt-free seasonings and fresh herbs…you can adjust the amount of garlic and seasonings to your taste.   You can substitute vegetable broth, celery juice or water instead of carrot juice.   And I like to use my slow cooker so I don’t have to be watching the soup on the stove, but I’ve included directions for the stove-top method also.

This Split Pea Soup recipe is not a Dahl recipe, but I add some spices that remind me of some delicious Dahl I’ve eaten at restaurants.   And for me this works for any color split peas: green, yellow, or red lentils.  If you don’t want the Dahl flavor, simply omit the Vindaloo/curry seasoning.

Pam’s Split Pea Soup

Ingredients

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, minced

4 carrots, sliced

1 cubed potato with skin

2 tsps vindaloo seasoning or hot curry powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp black pepper

1 Tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

2 cups dry split peas (rinsed)

1 cup carrot juice

3 cups water, plus more as needed

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Fresh parsley

 

 

Slow Cooker Method:

Add all ingredients to slow cooker, set on high for 2 hours.  Stir occasionally; add more water as needed, depending on how thick you like your soup.   Adjust seasonings to taste.  Serve hot topped with freshly ground black pepper, and garnish with fresh parsley.

Stove-top method:

Saute garlic, onions, carrots in some of the carrot juice for about 5 minutes, add potatoes, seasonings, and rest of ingredients (and rest of carrot juice) except for parsley.   Bring to a boil, then simmer for about one hour or until peas are as soft as you want them.   Adjust seasonings to taste.   Serve hot with black pepper and parsley on top


OK - so now here’s a soup recipe that’s really close to the last one – like I said: easy, healthy, delicious, high fiber/protein, and meat/dairy/oil/salt/gluten-free.

Pam’s Lentil Soup

Ingredients

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, minced

1 package crimini mushrooms, sliced

2 carrots, sliced

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped

2 tsps smoked paprika

2 tsps Adobo seasoning, salt-free

1 tsp ground cumin

1 Tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

2 cups dry lentils (rinsed)

1 cup carrot juice

3 cups water, plus more as needed

2 cups fresh kale or spinach, chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

Fresh cilantro

 

Slow Cooker Method:

Add all ingredients to slow cooker, set on high for 2 hours.   Stir occasionally; add more water as needed, depending on how thick you like your soup.   With 5-10 minutes left to cook, add the chopped greens (kale or spinach) to wilt (kale may take more time to wilt, spinach a little less).   Adjust seasonings to taste.   Serve hot topped with freshly ground black pepper, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Stove-top method:

Saute garlic, onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery  in some of the carrot juice for about 5 minutes, add tomatoes, seasonings, and rest of ingredients (and rest of carrot juice) except for kale, black pepper, cilantro.    Bring to a boil, then simmer for about one hour or until lentils are as soft as you want them.   Add in kale or spinach and wilt (about 2-5 minutes, kale may take more time to wilt, spinach a little less).   Adjust seasonings to taste.   Serve hot with black pepper, cilantro on top.

Enjoy and tell us how the soups come out!





 

Posted on October 26, 2015 .

Even Nutritionists Need A Little Motivation….

Me and instructor extraordinaire, Erin West

Me and instructor extraordinaire, Erin West

A frequent comment I get when I mention I am a nutritionist is, wow you must eat SOO healthy or wow, do you ever eat junk food?  The answer is yes and yes.  Yes, I do eat very healthy MOST of the time.  Which means the other times, I can be found potentially eating something not as healthy.  Knowing what is best for me to eat, does not always mean that I make those perfect decisions every time.  It’s actually what I think makes me an awesome source of motivation and education.  I know what it is like to sometimes want that cupcake and I will never pretend that I don’t.  The struggle is real.

So you have hopefully read my blog posts about my fitness journey, but this is going to be a bit different because this journey is still in progress and it has changed me in so many positive ways.  My journey with Body Conceptions by Mahri all started with attending an event hosted by Beyond Moms and Randi Zinn.  I love Randi's events as they are a great way to network and hang with like minded moms who love to work out and find time for things other than being a mom.  At this event, I took my first Body Conceptions class and was hooked.  It is an excellent combo of a fun dance party with some moves that I can rock out to and some moves that I can only pretend to rock out to and something similar to barre.  Or something called toning and sculpting.  Not sure what that means.  So here is the thing, I hate barre.  Or maybe I thought I hated barre and this isn’t exactly barre but it involves pulsing, seat work and small weights so its basically all I know of barre.  But somehow I love it.

After taking this class, I decided to go to a Monday morning class taught by Erin West and I was immediately obsessed with her energy and dedication.  I worked so hard and sweat so much that I knew this had to be good for me!  But with my busy schedule, I found myself only making time for that one class a week because I told myself I should continue prioritizing other fitness classes that I thought were going to get me the best results.  However, in the back of my head, I always wished I could just take these BoCo classes.  So when a June challenge was announced, it didn’t take me long to decide to jump on board.  An email was sent to me with my teammates and some rules of the challenge which basically was just to come to as many classes as week as I could and give it my all.  Ok, I can do that.

And that is exactly what I did.  I went to around 4 classes a week, tightened up my diet, at times literally following  the same spreadsheet I give to my clients to follow.  Some of my clients’ successes motivated me more which is an amazing part about my job.  I had some immediate success in my measurements and then some plateaus.  I needed motivation from instructors just like I give motivation to my clients.  Expressing my disappointments or concerns to Mahri Relin, the powerhouse behind Body Conceptions, was always easy.  She was always there to tell me how I did succeed in that particular part in class today.  Her commitment to my success was always felt.  The motivation and help I received along the way from fellow challengers was also immeasurable.  Seeing my teammates everyday in class was such an excellent perk.  We could discuss how hard it felt today after last night’s class or how much stronger I felt getting on a spin bike after doing all that seat work.  And in the end, I kicked ass (excuse my French).  I lost inches everywhere.  But most importantly, I gained strength and confidence that I can succeed in a barre class, I can dance along with an instructor that is a professional and I am FAR from that.  I can follow the diet I give my clients to a T and see excellent results, again.

At the end of the month, I expected to say, yippee, I can relax a bit now or great, now I can head back to those other classes I haven’t been taking but I found myself wanting more of BoCo.  So more is what I’m getting as the challenge has been extended through July and I couldn’t be happier.  Here is to more success as the possibilities feel endless right now.  

 

Posted on July 13, 2015 .

Just Do It

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I consider myself very lucky for many reasons. Many reasons are obvious, such as a healthy, loving family, good friends, a career that I love, but what isn’t as obvious is that I have friends in the fitness world in NYC. One of the perks of being connected to the NYC fitness scene is having access to creative and inspiring Nike events through my good friend, Holly Rilinger, a rock star in the fitness world (Flywheel and Nike master trainer).

These Nike events are often described as epic and that really is the only way to describe them. I have gone to events that require taking a boat to Ellis Island and work out with fireworks above us and Lady Liberty behind us!  Oh and did I mention the workout was outside and it was snowing?! This past weekend, I went on an annual trip to Los Angeles for Nike’s Women NTC (Nike Training Camp) event in downtown LA.

Let me tell you that this event did not disappoint. We were told to arrive at a given address at 6:30 pm from where we will be shuttled to the actual event. This level of secrecy was enough to get the adrenaline pumping before we even arrived. Once at the event, which was located in a huge outside warehouse area of downtown LA, we are bombarded by lights, music, a million swooshes and thousands of women! Now here is where the good part comes in, we are about to work out with a huge group of strangers. These are people we have never met and will most likely never see again. But we are all there for a common goal - to get our sweat on, to be inspired and have fun!

The event consisted of a kick ass Nike workout with my friend Holly doing her thing on a huge stage with crazy lights, graphics and choreography. Then we go to breakout sessions where we do workouts we may never have done before like boxing, hip hop dancing, sprinting and spinning. I took a Flywheel class outside under the stars at 11 pm!  Delicious and healthy food is provided by Whole Foods - quinoa bowl with veggies and a fruit salad. This food was just what we all needed to fuel up for the rest of our night of squatting, jabbing, spinning and dancing.  The event eventually ends with a dance production that is over the top and to re-use the word, epic.

light up trainers

While all of this is fantastic, the takeaway for me  is the camaraderie. I am never alone while sweating, jumping, and struggling, next to a stranger, we are somehow in it together. We are inspired by the trainers, the professional athletes we see and our fellow attendees. We are motivated to try a little harder doing the workouts, try a workout we have never done before (hello, what is Pound?) and to wake up the next day and use that inspiration and momentum to push us a little further in our daily lives. That inspiration and momentum helped me come back from a tiring weekend and remain focused on hitting my fitness goals for the week.

I often get asked in nutrition counseling sessions about fitness. I always answer that while I’m not a trainer, I do recommend a significant amount of physical activity for optimum health. Well wouldn't that significant amount of physical activity for optimum health be a lot easier with a huge dose of inspiration, camaraderie and motivation? Go out there and get some then! Find a buddy to talk about your meals with and plan your workouts with. Make it fun as that is what will keep it going and make you more successful in the long run! To quote Nike - just do it.

Priya Sign

For more information on Holly Rilinger visit her site @ http://www.hollyrilinger.com/

For more information on Nike women's activities visit Nike @ http://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/women/events

Posted on May 11, 2015 .