Are you ready for a revolution in your approach to nutrition and eating?
We've got Kathy Smart, a holistic chef and nutritionist, in the house, bringing her wisdom on maintaining a positive relationship with food.
She's here to debunk some myths, redefine the misunderstood term 'diet,' and reinforce the importance of making mindful eating decisions. Together, we will decode the enigma of portion sizes, unlocking the secret to a balanced meal with the perfect mix of protein, complex carbs, and fats.
Have you ever considered indulging your cravings while staying on track with your overall health goals?
Kathy's unique 10% rule is a game-changer. It's all about finding the balance between what your body needs and what your taste buds desire. We'll also dive into healthier ways of satisfying those cravings, focusing on whole sweeteners over refined sugars.
So, join us on this eye-opening ride, where Kathy reshapes our eating habits and takes us on a tour of her Le Cordon Bleu-approved cookbook. Let's get ready to chew on some food for thought!
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Chapter 6. Eat Smart. Most of us have struggled with food at some point in our lives, and it's not hard to see why Understanding good nutrition can be confusing. Every day, we are bombarded with the latest food vads, including newfangled celebrity diets and what so-called food experts tell us we should never put in our shopping carts again. I am intimately aware of the challenges of healthy eating. Before digging into some simple nutritional guidelines, I'd like to share some of more about my previous relationship with food. During my teens, when I decided to lose weight and get healthy, I had a strict list of 10 safe foods that allowed me myself to eat. These were basically my go-to foods. They were as follows Cottage cheese, yogurt, chicken, tuna, rice, sweet potatoes or yams, almonds, salad greens, apples and cantaloupes. I never deviated from it. I successfully worked my way out of obesity, but in hindsight, my limited diet was not sustainable. My diet became something that controlled me rather than something that I controlled, and it wore me down emotionally and mentally. The true meaning of the word diet is not restrictive eating plan, but, quite simply, the foods we eat. Our diet is meant to provide us with the fuel we need to nourish ourselves. It includes the vitamins, the minerals, the nutrients we need for our bodies and minds. Within a few years I tried. Well, I tired of harsh, restrictive eating and constantly telling myself no, no to the piece of cake at a friend's birthday party, no to cream in my coffee, no to juice, no to fruits I thought contained too much natural sugar, no to muffins and other baked goods and no to new food experiences because I didn't feel they would fit my lifestyle. In hindsight, I messed out on a lot of great flavors and cultural experiences because of my rigid outlook and my warped understanding of the word diet. Food is a significant part of our cultural development. Along with death and taxes, the need to eat is one of the great constants in life. Why not explore the health benefits of all foods and develop a positive relationship with the way we nourish our communities and ourselves? As my take on food is evolved over the years, one hand on heart mantra has emerged realistic, doable, practical, livable. The trouble with an overly restrictive eating plan is that it won't be missed because it will become so tiresome. Remember if you aren't having fun with something, it will start to feel like work rather than a lifestyle choice and it will eventually grind to a halt. Every one of the food choices we make throughout the day will either help or hinder us from achieving our health goals. These goals ultimately come down to each of us as individuals. One of my main motivators to stay on a healthy eating path is to envision what my life might be like in 10, 20, or 30 years time. With each food related decision I make, I fast forward into the future and pose the question are these mouthfuls bringing me closer to where I would like to be, or further away? Personally, I'm inspired to eat my way towards a picture of health expressed in Michelangelo's David. This sculpture represents one of my physical ideals, so I proudly keep pictures of it on my vision boards. A side note a vision board is a tool that includes inspirational quotes and images to help a person visualize desired future outcomes. As a reminder of what's possible, the statue of David looks athletic, healthy and has great proportions, but he's not a muscle-bound freak. So ask yourself how do you want to look in 20 years? If your honest truth is your current diet is dragging you further away from your ideal future, then the choice in front of you should be fairly clear. Now I understand that occasionally we slip up, and I think that's okay too. Balance is about owning our decisions, being conscious of our choices, being proud of our eating habits and not stressing. I do my best to eat balanced meals every day. As a family, the majority of the time, we aim to consume a Paleolithic diet, sometimes known as the caveman diet, which puts the emphasis on whole foods, fruits and vegetables, grass-fed beef, poultry and fish, as well as nuts and good fats. Foods that are excluded include sugar, dairy products, salt, processed oils and gluten-rich grains, weed, organic foods as much as possible. And, as my wife Christy often says, beige is bad, greens are good, which is a playful guideline to bear in mind when you sit down to eat. That's not to say you can never eat a bagel or pasta, but defaulting to them just because they are convenient or because you find yourself craving them isn't the greatest way to nourish yourself. Honestly, our family feels physically and mentally better for these so-called restrictions, although we never view them as restrictions. To us, they are enhancements or, better yet, they are our least. One surefire tip of becoming more conscious of food is to take a picture of everything you're about to put in your mouth over a single day, a 72-hour period or perhaps a week. This will help you to see what went and how much you're eating and drinking. A number of fitness professionals recommend weighing every morsel of food and drink that enters your body, or to document everything you eat in a journal. I don't know how well this works, but I know that most of us have smartphones with us pretty much all the time, which we established earlier so it's easy to take a quick picture of everything you're about to consume Over a few days. You'll get a good sense of where you are with your current eating habits. This exercise in documenting your nutrition can be an eye-opening experience. Good nutrition not only keeps you alive, but it also lists your energy levels, boosts your mood, keeps your skin and hair looking good and helps you maintain a healthy weight. Undeniably, good nutrition is the obvious partner of exercise and health and fitness success. Healthy eating is not something you do for a while. When you're trying to improve your health and fitness, don't think of it as temporary or something that you'll abandon once you reach your goal weight. If you have one, healthy eating is a change for the better that becomes a new way of life. Kathy Smart's Nutrition Tips. Kathy Smart is one of the most infectiously enthusiastic food experts I've ever met. A holistic chef, a nutritionist, host of her own TV show, live the Smart Way, an author of Live the Smart Way Gluten Free and Wheat Free Cookbook. Kathy is a strong advocate of the food as a lifestyle philosophy. For this book, I interviewed her to get her best nutrition tips and little sign. I will be interviewing her again for a future podcast episode. To help people return to you or find for the first time that feel-good state. Kathy encourages people to integrate a healthier nutritional plan into their lifestyle. She sets people up for success by establishing basic nutritional guidelines on which types of food and which combinations are best on your plate. The message is clear Change how you eat and you will change how you feel. And who doesn't want to feel great? Kathy emphasizes the importance of balance with most of the meals we eat, including a muscle building protein hit Now. This may be in the form of fish, such as a halibut, or salmon. Meat such as chicken, lamb and beef, dairy or eggs. These can choose plant-based proteins, such as tempeh, or a wide range of nuts and legumes, or fiber-rich complex carbohydrates. That applies to gluten-free whole grains such as quinoa and corn, as well as other whole grains such as barley. She recommends steering away from traditional forms of fiber, such as bran-rich bread, which is often over-processed. Instead, think outside of the box. Did you know, for example, that coconut flour has 58% fiber compared to wheat bran, which only contains about 27%? Also consider starchy, fiber-rich vegetables such as swiss chard, yams, peas or broccoli. Low GI vegetables GI. Referring to glycemic index, a little side note on glycemic index before I continue. The glycemic index is a system that ranks foods on a scale from one to 100 based on their effect on blood sugar levels. It is used to measure how quickly a particular carbohydrate will raise your blood sugar after it is eaten. As not all carbohydrates are created equal, a higher rating is given to a more refined carbohydrate, such as white sugar, which is likely to cause your blood sugar to soar, and we know what happens after you soar crash. That's why sugar brings on a rush of energy followed by a dip that leaves you craving more. Low glycemic index foods will break down more slowly in the body, giving you a steady release of energy over a longer period of time. Foods lower on the GI scale and particular low GI carbohydrates have been associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes, stroke, depression and the whole lot more. So low GI vegetables. These include asparagus, bell peppers, cabbage, celery, collard, greens, cucumbers, fennel bulbs, kale, romaine, lettuce and other high fiber, low starch, low sugar veggies. And then there's healthy fitness. These might be found in your proteins, or you might think of serving a small portion of unsaturated fats on their own. For example, almonds contain monounsaturated fats, which help to reduce cholesterol levels, and there will be a note as well. In the book, there are pages that are dedicated to giving you examples as well as calorie needs and how to figure out how much should you be eating in a day from a calorie perspective. But also I have some free tools that live on my website, diamondwellcom. Go there. There's actually a calculator that will help you figure out all this stuff. So, just as a side note, if you wanted to dive a little deep and really figure out what it is you should be doing specifically for you and for your family, either pick up the book, or pick up the book and use the free tools on my website. All right, cool Fruit. All right, from bananas to oranges. Have a small portion on the side of each meal Once you've worked on your food groups and you know how to put together a balanced, nutritious meal. Here's the crunch question. Pardon the pun how much can you eat? Kathy explains that portion size depends on who you are, that is, whether you are a male or female, your age and activity levels, your height and your size. What's right for you may not be right for your best friend. So remember that guidelines are based on general principles and it's up to each of us to work out how our bodies respond. Women usually require fewer calories than men, but an extremely active one may require more than an inactive man. Basically, everyone is different, so these recommendations may not be entirely right for you. Kathy explains, as a simple guideline, it's useful to aim to fill half of your plate with vegetables and the other half with equal portions of protein and complex carbohydrates, thinking along these balanced lines that every meal or snack covers a lot of your nutritional basis. But what do these figures actually look like at your meal times? We all know that plate and therefore portion sizes can differ. So Kathy recommends that people refer to their hand to work out how much food they should be consuming. After all, everyone's hand size is proportional to their body size and no matter where you are at a party, a work function or eating in a restaurant. You always have your hand with you. So, with no pun intended, it's a handy guide to getting your portions right. It keeps it really simple, says Kathy. I'm not a big fan of people weighing and measuring their food, because I think that food should be something that's a joy and not restrictive like a science experiment. So put away those kitchen scales right now. When we don't immediately need the fuel glucose in the food we're eating, the body stores it as glycogen in the liver and skeletal muscles. If our glycogen capacity is full, that glucose is stored as fat. When we exercise, this glycogen is depleted from the muscles Immediately after exercising. We're in what Kathy calls a golden hour for building muscle tissue. That means that eating a nutritionally balanced snack within an hour of intensive activity helps to refuel your muscles right when they need it most. Ideally, this should be a snack-sized portion of the perfect combination of protein, complex carbohydrates and fat For a well-balanced snack that's great on the go. Try Kathy's high-energy macabals made from oat, cinnamon, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, raisins and the superfood maca. That's a Peruvian root revered by generations as an energy enhancer and mood stabilizer, which can be found in powder form in many health food stores. You can find these resources, along with some other recipes, on my website, diamondwellcom. A new food attitude. And actually, before I jump into that, let's talk about this handy guide for a second. If you want to see a photo of what that looks like, you can definitely find it on my website or one of my Pinterest boards. But realize that if you look at your hand when it's fully opened fingers, extended thumb out to the side right, if you look at just sort of the top digit of your thumb that's from where it bends the knuckle to the tip, that is roughly the size of serving a fat to have on your plate. When we talk about protein, right, think about the actual palm of your hand. That's not taking the fingers of the thumb. Take all your hands out there. That would be roughly the size of a serving of protein for you. And please do keep in mind I know that some people order a baseball steak, but if you look at how high that thing stands, that's actually quite a bit more than what your body requires. But think about that size of protein being roughly a pinky in thickness. All right Now when it comes to the whole grain's, fruit or dairy products make a fist right. That's roughly that serving, and the neat thing is, if you're going to opt in, something that I like to do occasionally is I'll have. Well, one of my favorite go-tos is I really do enjoy tempeh. If I'm going to have some meat rather than, say, a veggie power food, I will then look at my dish and do double the size of vegetables instead of having a whole grain on the side. So you can pretty much double down, because when you actually look at it from a carbohydrate perspective, the vegetable still won't ever equate, say, the size of a potato or half potato or even a full yam. So for me I like to feel more satiated. So I'll do a plate of veggies, a little side of lean protein along with some healthy fats, and I tend to go to coconut oil or avocado especially. Those are my go-tos. Anyways, I've got lots more ideas and strategies which we'll also share in future episodes, but this is a complete aside. If you're trying to read along with the book, you're probably like where are we now? And, trust me, we are way off the page. So we're going to bring it back to the book now and we're going to talk about a new food attitude, having established which foods to aim for and how much is the idea of eating well starting to feel like a chore. If eating well, or even that idea, does start to feel like a chore, well, those days should be over, okay. Kathy is passionate about giving healthy food a creative makeover. She's a leading nutritional movement and ensuring it's uncomplicated, convenient and downright yummy, and she has some pretty tough critics to satisfy over nearly two decades in the business. When her cookbook received the seal of approval from Le Cordon Bleu, the renowned culinary school, kathy felt she had cleared a big hurdle she shared with me. If people were used to find rich food, eat like my recipes, eat and like my recipes and didn't know it was healthy, then my job was done. I mean, think about that. If you eat this rich meal and sometimes we might be thinking, man, that's so rich, it's so tasty, there's no way that can be healthy for me. I think we've all had that sort of moment, right, but that's what she strives for, which I think is something we can all strive for when we're in the kitchen. Just as I encourage people to find and exercise they love to do, kathy stresses that we need to find healthy foods that we love to eat and to make it delicious. It's that simple. I think there is a preconceived notion of people thinking that healthy food is gross. Kathy explains. So she makes sure she gives people healthy choices that taste good to them. Specifically, honor their palate. So if they have a more savory palate, obviously give them more savory, and if it's more sweet, then give them healthier sweet choices, because as humans, we're always going to gravitate to things we like. So what's your palate like? Are you drawn to mixed greens and dried cherries and goat cheese, spicy chicken with creamy peanut sauce or Mediterranean style salmon? Perhaps you enjoy desserts such as Kathy's healthier version of pecan maple date scones, double-fruge brownies or high-protein tempé chocolate cake. See Repeat after me. Wholesome diets don't need to be boring. Whatever your preference, is worth evoking the old adage everything in moderation To ensure you have a balanced diet which runs from breakfast through to your evening meal. Another of Kathy's top tips is to always have protein within an hour waking up. For anyone who suffers from a mid-morning slump or afternoon cravings, this advice is significant If you're having cravings or even late-night dinges. Look at your breakfast. This relates to the GI rating of the foods you eat. When you have protein first thing in the morning, it helps you to stabilize your blood sugar for the whole day. This will have a domino effect and will set you up to succeed. To make the success truly sustainable and enjoyable, pick a high protein or low GI food that you really like, she advises, such as steel cut oats, smoked salmon or zesty omelettes. Going for a couple of pieces of toast and orange juice at breakfast will spike your blood sugar, and what goes up must come down, kathy reminds us. When it comes down, you start to crave sugar and carbohydrates and so you're up and down all day and therefore you get moody Foods and Moods. Understanding how food effects or moods is crucial. We all notice if our kids are bouncing off the wall after eating cake and candy, then it's probably the cake and candy. The immediate effects of different foods are not necessarily so obvious in adults, so I encourage my clients to look through the pictures of the food they took that day and figure out which foods are or aren't working for them, based on how they feel an hour after eating them. Notice your physiological reactions after eating. Are you feeling satisfied and light, are you still hungry or are you feeling bloated and heavy. Also, notice how you feel emotionally and energetically. Are you upbeat and raring to go, or are you feeling sluggish and low? These are all descriptors you can replay in your mind next time you consider eating a piece of sugary chocolate cake, a slice of triple cheese pizza or a mountain of heavily buttered toast. Our eating and exercise habits constantly return to the fact that we are making choices that affect our long-term well-being throughout the day, every day. By taking note of our experiences and our responses to them, we will soon naturally begin to see what the right choices are for us. You need to know how to feel. Know how you feel after certain foods and certain amounts of food, to really start working out what is correct for you. If you have a healthy relationship with your body how it looks, how it feels, how it moves you'll soon discover that it's paramount to have a healthy relationship with food. The meaning that we give food and the way in which we connect with it play a huge part in our overall health, beyond the battle of the bulge. It's so important to make those healthy choices because you want to feel amazing and awesome, not just because you're going to lose weight. Cathy says Weight loss is a side effect of health. You don't lose weight and then become healthy. There are a lot of skinny, fat, unhealthy people out there. You can lose weight by smoking cigarettes and drinking Diacola Clearly not a healthy way to live. Another suggestion for working toward a great relationship with healthy food comes from Don Warren, cathy's longtime naturopathic doctor. Cathy cites this as one of the most lingering nuggets of nutritional advice she's heard, because it evokes such a powerful visual. He told me to eat vegetable like. It's my job to eat as many vegetables as I can, adding that research is continually stressing the role in helping to fight cancer and heart disease, among other health complaints, because they fill you up with all the nutrition and goodness, you won't even want other food or crave sugar. This will change how anyone eats. Kathy uses two glass containers to portion out about 960 mL. That's four cups of vegetables to be eaten each day. She's on the run, she takes her veggies along for the ride in plastic baggies Et voila, goodbye sugar cravings. Hello satisfying nutrition. My equivalent is having what I like to call my bag, my big ass healthy green salad every day. We all know there can be days when it seems you're too busy to even chop vegetables, but Kathy has an answer for that too. If it feels like an overwhelming task, I will buy a vegetable tray. If you eat vegetables, kathy swears, you won't crave sugar. If, however, you find that you still do, there are other factors you can look at beyond your breakfast and your vegetable intake. For example, how much restful sleep are you getting at night? Are you going to bed immediately after an evening, or watching TV or being on the computer or, worse, with the blue light of your smartphone or tablet near you? I can tell people to eat baby carrots instead of ice cream, but if they are actually craving sugar because their body hasn't slept and recuperated, that carrot thing ain't gonna work, kathy says. That's about their body needing an extra hit. Consider, then, whether you are setting yourself up for a successful, undisturbed night's rest. Could you go to bed earlier or turn off the electronics at winding downtime? Your energy levels will thank you. There are a lot of rules making the rounds about eating in the evening, such as no food past 7 pm, but Kathy doesn't go for arbitrary cutoff times and says she suggests that you avoid eating food within three hours of your bedtime, whatever time that may be. It's a tough one because so many people work shift work, such as nurses, doctors, journalists and firefighters, so having to set time doesn't always apply. She says this is an easier guide than can accommodate everybody. No name calling it may be double-cooked french fries for one person or an ice cream sundae with extra whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles for another, who is tempted by their favorite indulgent treat every once in a while? Before we go any further, I want to veer into the hot debate over labeling food as either bad or good and right or wrong. Personally, I believe in reading food labels, not labeling food. Okay, kristi and I do have fun with our Beige's Bad Green is Good mantra, but really we're not demonizing beige foods. Taking a moral stand against particular foods will not help you to develop a positive relationship with your body and the food that goes into it. I encourage all of my clients to take a non-judgmental approach to food. Rather than strict calorie counting and chastising yourself when you go over your set limit, try to think of food as nourishing and enjoyable support system for your whole life. If you can make your food routine fun too, you are more likely to stick with it. Each of us is fully empowered to make our own decisions, as we're the ones who have to live with the repercussions of those decisions. It's so important to recognize that you're in the driver's seat of your own decisions, not bound by someone else's rules. How do you perceive the foods you choose to eat? Do you feel guilty about certain foods? Why is that? These questions create strong emotions and may be time to shift your perspective. Sometimes cultural norms dictate our perceptions of particular foods. For example, do you know that in France, chocolate cake is associated with fun, revelry and celebration. It is a special dessert with a positive meaning. In North America, however, chocolate cake is often seen as a guilty pleasure. One of these labels and associations aren't set in stone can give you the freedom to reexamine your own assumptions about food. So be it resolved. We're not going to demonize the food we eat, but how we do resist the constant temptation of junk food in sweets. It's a good question. Can we use these treats as a way to occasionally motivate ourselves? I'll be honest there are nights when I want a piece of cheesecake and nothing is going to stop me from having it. I prefer in the benefits of having a cheat meal or at least taking a break from my traditional way of eating. I actually like to refer to these as a free meal. Pick one day a week and call it your free meal day, and on that day enjoy one meal that falls outside of your normal everyday lifestyle. On my free day, I like to enjoy a few slices of pizza followed by a big bowl of ice cream. It's true, you can see my pictures on Instagram. It's your ideal free meal of choice. Tweet me, instagram me, facebook me, join the rest of the week knowing what your meal is coming, that your free meal is coming. This song is going to help you behave on the other days. This concept is one of Kathy Smart's backs. Wholeheartedly. Whatever your indulgent Kathy advises, make it amazing and don't cheap out on it. If you have some french fries on a Friday night cheat night, it's not going to be the end of the world. Have a couple of bites, enjoy it, make it the most decadent thing, and then you will find you won't want it anymore. You may even choose to satisfy your craving with the version of your favorite treat made with whole sweeteners, such as maple syrup, honey, agave, nectar or brown rice syrup, rather than refined sugar, corn syrup, glucose or sucrose. But my feeling is that if you really want the full fat, full sugar, full cream versions of your lust have foods, just own a decision Eat them, enjoy them. These occasional cheat moments that they like to say are not meant to encourage binge eating. Kathy urges us to think in terms of moderation. Kathy recommends what she calls the 10% rule. This means that if 90% of your diet is clean and healthy, you can indulge in treats for the other 10%. She's also a big fan of dark chocolate, which she describes as hit of happiness. That also happens to have appetite-suppressing properties. Now that's a tasty thought. Everything comes down to balance, kathy's stresses. Food is to be enjoyed. One of the psychological benefits of eating food you love is that the feel-good chemicals released in the brain outweigh some of the detrimental effects of, say, a little cheesecake Now that sounds good. Or, to quote her wonderful catchphrase, healthy eating is all about us trying to live life delicious.