Confused About What to Eat? You're Not Alone

Is Sugar the New Tobacco?

Go Vegan to Jumpstart Weight Loss

A Downside of Gluten Free: Higher Arsenic and Mercury Levels

Mediterranean Diet Study Seriously Flawed

The Great Egg Debate: Are They Healthy or Not?

Relax, You Don’t Need to Eat Clean

Researchers Find Red Meat is Good for Your Health

Yes, Bacon Really is Killing Us

Every day, we’re bombarded with headlines like these—along with social media posts, documentaries, celebrity testimonials, podcast remarks, friends’ comments, and so on—that can easily send us tumbling down yet another path in search of a better body or optimal health.

So if you’re confused about what to eat, you’re definitely not alone.

One of the exercises I do with my clients is a review of all the diets, plans and programs they’ve experimented with over the years. They’re often shocked to see the long list of things they’ve tried, often beginning in their teens.

We talk about what they learned from their experiences. One of the biggest takeaways is how much time, energy and money they have spent with very little to show for it other than being more confused and frustrated than ever—and more distrusting of themselves and their body.

Then we talk about how, with Intuitive Eating, they can stop getting pulled in multiple directions by the nonstop flood of mixed messages.

When you return to the Intuitive Eater you came into this world as, you no longer feel confused, alarmed, tempted or swayed by the latest "eat this, not that" headlines because you trust and rely on your body’s internal cues instead of external rules and “experts” to guide you.

Rather than turning to outsiders (who couldn’t possibly know what your body wants and needs), you turn inward by listening to the messages your body is sending you.

Doing so gives you the awareness, insight and clarity you need to do what’s best for your utterly unique being. And, it gives you the confidence to discern when outside information is helpful and true for you—and when it’s not.

In short: you are the expert of your body. Rediscovering this inherent expertise is at the heart of Intuitive Eating.

It’s not a quick fix.

It’s an empowering pathway back to yourself—and to peace and ease with food and your body.

"At best, dueling headlines trigger confusion. At worst, they contribute to a growing food phobia. The negative impact of worry and stress over healthy eating may have a more profound effect on health than the actual food consumed." —Resch & Tribole, Intuitive Eating

A Bowlful of Moroccan Memories

I just spent a very memorable few weeks road tripping around Morocco.

It’s truly a beautiful country from its undulating sand dunes in the Sahara, striking mountains and dramatic gorges studded with Berber villages, and coastlines dotted with sardine fishing boats...

...to its endless groves of olive, pomegranate and orange trees, lush valleys lined with date palms and deep-red kasbahs, and imperial cities with their ancient medinas and ornate riads.

Sunset Camel trek in the sahara desert

Sunset Camel trek in the sahara desert

Local Food Scene
One of my favorite things about traveling is learning about the local food scene, from what’s growing in the fields to what’s cooking in the kitchen. I love talking to locals about what they eat and how they make it (and they love to tell me!).

In Morocco, I was really struck by the simplicity of their breakfast (compared to, say, a green smoothie loaded with a dozen different ingredients).

Numerous Moroccans shared that their typical morning meal consists of tearing pieces off a flat, round, crusty loaf of wheat bread then dipping them in olive oil. This is accompanied by the country’s most beloved beverage, mint tea.

They might also eat bissara, a hearty yet simple soup made with dried fava beans or sometimes green split peas. It’s often topped with a heavy drizzle of olive oil and spices, like cumin, paprika or cayenne.

Bissara was one of my favorite Moroccan dishes. I bought it from a street vendor for around 50 cents. It was deeply nourishing and satisfying.

My first bowl of bissara made by a street vendor in fez.

My first bowl of bissara made by a street vendor in fez.

Soup for Breakfast
I love the idea of a belly-warming soup for breakfast, especially on cold mornings (which occur pretty much year-round in San Francisco!).

While not common in the U.S., many countries eat soup for breakfast, from miso soup in Japan and pho in Vietnam to mohinga in Myanmar.

Eating soup for breakfast is actually something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while. I’ve perused recipes, but nothing tempted my early morning taste buds—until now.

Super Simple, Super Healthy
What I love about bissara is that it’s super simple (and dirt cheap) to make—the recipes my Moroccan friends shared contained only three or four ingredients. Plus, it’s packed with healthy protein, fat and fiber, which will keep you going all morning long.

Now that I’ve recovered from my jetlag, I’m going to cook up a big pot this weekend.

I’ve found a variety of bissara (or bessara) recipes online, some more elaborate than others. I’m planning to start with this one. It includes more seasoning than the basic recipes I learned in Morocco, however, I’m a fan of bold flavors.

Not only will bissara be a hearty, healthy start to my day, it will also be a delicious reminder of my time spent in Morocco.

5 Tips for Managing Your Afternoon Slump (Without Candy or Coffee)

Do you struggle with afternoon sugar cravings?

Many of my clients do.

Around 2:00-3:00 p.m., their eyelids grow heavy, their concentration nosedives, and cookies start calling to them.

Sugar is often their instant solution for boosting their energy. Yet, as most of us have discovered, this short-term fix quickly causes us to crash and crave more sugar.

Caving into your 3:00 p.m. cravings has nothing to do with a lack of willpower.

It’s completely natural to feel sleepy in the afternoon. And it’s completely understandable to seek a quick pick-me-up in the form of sugar—or caffeine, or both.

Programmed for Sleepiness
Your internal body clock produces circadian rhythms, including your sleep/wake cycle. This cycle rises and dips over a 24-hour period, with the strongest sleep drives occurring between 2:00-4:00 a.m. and 1:00-3:00 p.m.*

While there are many reasons why you might crave sugar in the afternoon (e.g., boredom, salt intake), this natural energy dip is certainly one of them.

How to Manage Your Slump
Here are five ways to manage your low energy and recharge without reaching for the candy bowl, cookie jar, cola can or coffee machine.

  1. Get enough sleep. When you’re sleep deprived, you will experience bigger swings of sleepiness and wakefulness—and bigger sugar and carb cravings.
     
  2. Take a catnap. A siesta is the best way to honor your body’s natural rhythm, so take a 15- to 20-minute nap if possible. Research shows that doing so can reduce stress, improve alertness and productivity, decrease blood pressure, and more.
     
  3. Eat a protein-rich lunch. If I eat a carb-heavy lunch (e.g., bread, pasta), I might as well take a sleeping pill.

    I perform best when my midday meal is composed of lean protein, healthy fats and unrefined fiber (e.g., wild salmon with avocado and veggies).

    Like me, you may find this combo gives you steady blood sugar levels, sharper mental focus, a stable mood and longer lasting energy. Experiment to discover what ratio works best for you.
     
  4. Get off your rump. Sitting and staring at a screen for hours on end is a surefire way to exacerbate your afternoon slump.

    To perk up, head outside for a 15-minute walk. The movement, sunshine and fresh air will help restore your energy.
    If a walk outdoors isn’t feasible, cruise around your office building, stand while talking on the phone, or do some stretches, jumping jacks or push-ups.
     
  5. Drink up. Your afternoon slump will feel more intense if you’re dehydrated. Instead of turning to an energy drink, go for a rejuvenating glass of water. 

Despite all these tips, sometimes a bit of sugar or hit of caffeine will be exactly what you need.

What's most important is that you listen to and honor your body's wisdom. Ask yourself: In this moment, what does my body truly need to feel restored at the deepest level?

*Source: National Sleep Foundation