Tag Archives: hunger

What’s for lunch? (or a quick snack?) I have no time (to cook or shop)!

One of the biggest problems with eating healthy is lack of planning.  I’m not talking about the kind of planning some people do:  make a list for a week of meals, go to the store and buy the ingredients, cook all afternoon on Sunday to prepare for the week, freeze some . . . .

No, no, no!  That is definitely not what I mean by planning.  Most people will not do that.  They don’t have time, or quite frankly, there are other things they wish to do with their precious spare time.

When I talk about planning, I mean the basics.  Just be prepared for those times when you are starving, creativity is limited, and there are very few options in the refrigerator and/or pantry.  That means you must go to the store sometime!  That also means you must keep a few staples on hand and have a few ideas for quick meals that can be made with these basics.

Some items I keep on hand for times like this, mostly non-perishables or foods that last a while before going bad:

canned salmon (I like the red, not the pink)

plain fat-free or 2% Greek yogurt



canned beans

whole grain tortillas





cottage cheese

Today was one of those days for me.   I was so glad I had at least attended to this level of planning.  I came home hungry and needed a hearty snack.  It was so nice to be able to open a can of salmon, add a chopped cucumber (from our little garden), a little onion and avocado, some plain Greek yogurt and a dash of seasoning to create this beautiful and satisfying mini-meal.  Now I think I will make it until dinner!


Know What You Know!

Common Sense – So Rare, It’s Kinda Like a Superpower . . .  (addictinginfo.org)

Remember the Ninja Turtles? This kinda goes with the super powers theme, and it is getting close to Halloween. Good excuse to pull out an oldie but goodie – 1989

I often remind people to consider common sense.  Why?  Simply because there is so much focus on what is the “right” thing to do as defined by the internet, TV, “experts” and research.

Carbs are good . . . no, wait . . . carbs are bad . . . no, it looks like it depends on what it is . . . no, . . .

Talk about confusion!  And that’s just the biological side of eating.  What about the human side?  That’s even more individual.  Information is good, when it is accurate.  With nutrition research, accuracy is not always absolute.  With so many different genetically different people in the world, there are bound to always be individual differences.

Please pay attention to up-to-date information, but please don’t forget to pay attention to your own body and how it responds to different types of food.  Maybe even more importantly, I believe we all do better when we observe how our eating and our lives interact.

How do you meet your emotional needs?  Do you have an emotional repertoire that includes other soothers besides ice cream with hot fudge sauce?  Do you notice that when you eliminate all pleasure from food in the interests of optimum nutrition, you eat more junk than ever before?

Common  sense will lead most people to moderation in most things.  Food is no exception.  You are the “expert of you”, the PhD of your needs.  When you put all of the information together, you are the only one who can figure out the best way to use it.  Stay healthy!

What Can I Eat On An Airplane?

This is a tough question for many people to answer.  With airport security, there are limited options for foods to pack for longer flights.  You can forget the usual yogurt, unless you pay $5 for a small carton at the airport.

I faced this dilemma recently, knowing I was going to be on the plane for 4-1/2 hours, and knowing that I simply am not happy (or fun to be around) when I have to wait too long for food . . . grrrrr – just ask my husband.

Hibiscus Flower at the Huntington Botanical Gardens in Pasadena

Here is what I ended up taking that worked well:

1.  a bag of walnuts

2.  a piece of fruit

3.  a small dark chocolate bar

4.  a packet of instant oatmeal and a plastic spoon – just ask for hot water

I did not need it all during the flight, but it was nice to know I had  it.  If I had gone on the plane empty-handed, my options would have been cookies and pretzels.  It pays to plan ahead.

Food as Fashion: A Nebraska Cornhusker Fan On His Way to the Big Game in Pasadena Today (Not why I’m here – Go Badgers!)

More Nutrition Confusion: Skip Breakfast?

If you forget to feed me breakfast, you’d better hide your sandwich.

Skip breakfast and feel more mental clarity, lose fat better, live longer?  Huh?!  Haven’t we all been told that people who eat breakfast supposedly live longer.  I also read a recent study that found men to be 20% more likely to develop diabetes if they are habitual breakfast skippers.  I also have believed – based on studies and my own experience – that skipping breakfast does NOT make my head clearer, but instead makes it hard to focus.

But here I am, looking at an article in my husband’s latest Men’s Journal making a case for regular fasting, every day or several times a week for time periods of 24 hours, plus or minus.  “Skip breakfast, feel better”, the magazine cover teases.

Proponents claim that you will burn more fat by using ketones for fuel instead of carbohydrates.  Some of them even recommend exercising in this state of temporary starvation.

I must admit that my brain started bouncing back and forth between these two very different viewpoints, until I stepped back a little to see the big picture – always a much more valuable outlook.

How the science will shake out on the topic is yet to be revealed.  There are studies and experts on both sides.  What I know is that any of the proposed methods suggested in the article would be very difficult for any of my weight loss clients, as well as for myself.

The methods used by those who were interviewed for the article are:

1.  Mark Mattson (“The Alzheimer’s Expert”):  No breakfast or lunch Monday through Friday, while working out 4 of those days.  (My note:  Most people I know binge when they go this long without food, with or without exercise.)

2. John Olson (“The NASA Guy”):   ” . . . normal diet on all days except Tuesday and Wednesday.  Then I limit myself to about 600 calories per day . . . . ”  (My note:  Talk about setting yourself up for a binge and food obsession!)

3.  Valter Longo (“The Cancer Expert”):  “I don’t eat lunch – that’s how I keep my weight in place.  My diet is mostly vegan with low protein.”  (My note:  You keep your weight in place by eating fewer calories than you burn.)

4. Brad Pilon (“Intermittent-Fasting Guru”):  “The way to make fasting work for the masses is to do 24-hour fasts.  It’s easy to remember:  ‘I stopped eating at 2pm today, and I can start again at 2pm tomorrow.’  My program is composed of two 24-hour fasts a week . . . . ”  (My note:  Really?  This is a fast for the masses?  It may be easy to remember when to eat, but how easy is it to do that twice every week?!)

5.  Mark Sisson (“The Paleo Guy”):  Most days, I simply have a compressed eating window.  I eat two meals a day, generally between 12pm and 7pm.  Since I train at 9:30 most mornings, I train in a fasted state and don’t eat for a few hours afterward.”  (My note:  This would probably be easier for me to do than the other methods mentioned, although still far from easy.  I think many people would still be prone to overeating after fasting until noon, unless they consistently wake up late.)

I think it’s great when anyone finds something that works for them and is healthy, but  I don’t think we can definitively say whether or not the intermittent fasters have discovered a healthier way to eat.  Even if we could, this would still be unrealistic and unsuccessful for most people battling extra fat.   Research suggests that overweight people may have exaggerated hunger already.  Hardly a plan for the masses!

This reminds me of the people who deliberately eat significantly fewer calories than they need everyday in order to live longer.  While studies make a case for increasing longevity by doing this, it is clear – at least to me – that this is not a way most people would choose to live.  Starvation – temporary or more permanent – leads to overeating.  This is what I observe, and this is what leads me away from recommending anything too extreme.

How many times a day should you eat?  The answer is not simple.  My personal belief is that 2 times is too few and more than 5 or 6 is not usually necessary or helpful.

Oh no! This is not how it’s supposed to go!!

“That is just NOT how it goes!”

When my daughter Becky was little – say, 2 or 3 – she was already quite precise.  As an adult, she still likes things to be orderly and predictable.  We used to laugh about how she would object to something that was not going according to “Becky Rules”.  “That’s NOT how it goes!” became a family classic line we still occasionally bring out as an affectionate memory.

I heard myself saying this – to myself – a few days ago.  The  circumstances had to do with eating, specifically how much was the “right amount”.  As those of you who follow my running posts know, I have revved up the exercise lately, and of course I am burning more calories.  As a nutrition expert, you would think it would be obvious that I need to eat more, at least some days. Continue reading

So tell me . . . Are you feelin’ lucky??

Allen Stone and his band

I was riding home on the train yesterday, after a day trip to Chicago to see my son play with Allen Stone and his band at the Manifest Urban Arts Festival.  I was feeling lucky all day.  Grateful really.  It completely fills my tank to see my kids happy and doing what they love.

AND it’s like the hummus on my rice cakes (or cherry on an ice cream sundae?) to feel so welcome in their world.  Brent’s world happens to be a fast-paced existence on the road, playing bass with a very talented young soul singer from Seattle. Continue reading