Tag Archive | Carbs

Dr. Glenn Gaesser Tells The Truth About “Carbs”!

Dr Glenn Gaesser, exercise physiologist, professor at Arizona State University, and author of Big Fat Lies, posted a fantastic YouTube video debating Dr Oz’s claims that carbohydrates make us “fat”. Dr Gaesser is a well-respected pioneer in the “health at every size” movement, an approach to health that includes intuitive eating and pleasurable movement. Health at every size demonstrates that people can be fit and healthy at any size and that size alone is NOT a predictor of health. This video, debunking the myths about carbohydrates, is the best source of information I’ve seen!

Last week, Dr Gaesser was a guest on the Dr Oz show debating the “obesity epidemic” issue with Dr Oz.

I personally feel that our society has become so “fat obsessed” that we are missing the real truth of the matter, that wellness has much less to do with size and weight and much more to do with fitness, the quality of the food we eat, and overall lifestyle. One individual can be perfectly healthy and yet be considered “obese” by medical standards and another can be unhealthy and be considered “thin” by medical standards.


It’s time we place our focus on the goals that will truly make us healthy instead of trying to diet our way to “health and happiness”. These goals are:

  1. Trying to achieve an improved overall level of fitness
  2. Eating a balance of foods – some healthy, and some just for fun (I believe in the 80/20 guideline – 80% healthy food, 20% fun food)
  3. Practicing healthy and effective coping mechanisms and communication skills
  4. Maintaining good overall physical, mental, and spiritual self-care


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Why Is This Food So Misunderstood???

How can a simple wheat product that naturally contains protein and carbohydrate, and is fortified with iron and B vitamins, (and sometimes omega-3 fats) get such a bad reputation that people avoid it like it is a toxic substance, a drug, the devil?

Pasta is such a fabulous and versatile food. I cannot understand why so many people eliminate it out of their diet. I have heard countless times that pasta is “fattening”. If I had a dollar for every time I heard a negative comment about pasta, I’d be rich.

Let’s clear up some misinformation about pasta.


So why then do so many people avoid pasta? Why are they afraid of pasta?

People who don’t have the accurate information about the nutritional value of pasta “buy into” what they hear in the media and from other people who perpetuate myths and misconceptions.


  1. Pasta is a carbohydrate containing food that also contains protein, B vitamins, and iron.
  2. Pasta has approximately 100 calories per ½ cup (cooked), similar to other grains and starches, including starchy vegetables.  

End of story.

So…why do people fear this food??? I don’t want to upset or trigger anyone reading this post, but I want to present the facts and my professional opinion, instead of perpetuating the misconceptions.

In my opinion, when “most” people eat pasta, they are eating probably upwards of 2 cups (cooked), which seems like a reasonable entree amount when you see it in a bowl or on a plate. 2 cups cooked is approximately 400 calories. Unless you eat it plain, you are probably adding some type of sauce and protein (like meatballs), which will also contribute to the caloric value of the meal. Then, you might add bread with butter or dipping oil, salad with dressing, and other components to the meal. Your meal could therefore be naturally higher in calories than the original 400 for the pasta.  So perhaps the total meal is of higher nutritional value, and then all the “blame” gets placed on this wonderful “harmless” grain.

Pasta is a versatile food. It can be combined with all sorts of proteins, cheeses, sauces and veggies. It can be added to salads. It can be eaten hot or cold. It can be an entrée or a side dish. It comes in all different shapes and sizes. There are even whole grain versions, high protein versions, and non-wheat (gluten-free) versions. If you haven’t had it in a while, you could first have it as a side dish. Or, you could sample a few bites of someone else’s.  If you are “afraid” of pasta because of all the myths you have heard or because you have had a “bad” experience with it, remember, it is just a grain. It is worth trying it again. You might actually surprise yourself and have a positive experience! Bon appetit!!


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Holiday Parties with ED

Holiday parties can be stressful for people who suffer from eating disorders. Below are my top 10 ideas to help you negotiate through some of the difficulties you may face. Ultimately, it’s important to prioritize your self-care during the holiday season and try to make it as stress-free as possible.

  1. Try to stick with a routine of eating as often as you can. This doesn’t mean restriction; it means a comfortable yet structured way of eating…a routine. If you need to attend a party or family function, eat as normally before it as possible so that you stay as “regulated” as possible.
  2.  Before you go to any type of party, get as much information about it in a advance as possible, including what will be served, how it will be served (ie: buffet or sit down dinner) and when. This way, you can mentally prepare yourself for the food aspects.
  3. If need be, bring something with you that you are comfortable eating. Bring enough for others to share with you. It could be an appetizer, side dish, or comfortable dessert. The hostess will think you are very thoughtful and you will be more comfortable with that particular food.
  4. Inform a trusted person in advance that you may need their help during the party. Ask them to help you if you need it. Develop a “signal” that only the two of you know that means you need them. It may be that you need their help in an awkward social situation or with a food issue.
  5. Never go to a party or event overly hungry. Excessive hunger will heighten obsessions about the food and may cause you to feel “out of control”.  Again, eat on a regular schedule the day of the party.
  6. In terms of the food, do the best you can at the party. Remember, it is one meal of one day. Try not to catastrophize what you eat or how much you do or don’t eat while at the event. Once you leave the party, move past it. Try not to dwell on what you did or didn’t eat.  Once it’s over, it’s over.
  7. Spend as much or as little time at a party as you feel comfortable with. Because social events can cause anxiety for numerous reasons, plan your time according to your comfort level.  Also, try to have flexibility built into your plan in case you want to stay longer or shorter than initially planned.  
  8. Try to remember that the food is only one aspect of a party. There are other aspects that you may want to focus on. There may be one or more people there that you’d love to catch up with. There may be kids who you can play with to give their parents a break. There may be elders there who would love to share stories with you. 
  9. If someone comments to you about your eating, weight or size, try to immediately change the subject to something related to them. People like to talk about themselves. Take the focus off of you and put it onto them. For example, if someone says “Wow! You look like you lost (or gained) weight.” You could say “More importantly, how are you doing? What’s new in your life?” Also, try to realize that people who don’t understand eating disorders don’t realize that discussions about food and weight are very personal. They are usually just curious. Put a mental “protective barrier” around yourself and don’t let comments penetrate it.
  10. After a party is over, get back to your routine. End the day on a positive note. Give yourself a “pat on the back” for doing the best you could.


These are just some of the things you could do to make holday parties less stressful for yourself. Do you have any tips and tricks on coping with stressful holiday functions?  I’d love to hear your suggestions.

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Carbs, Carbs, Wonderful Carbs!

You are a human. You are not a plant. Therefore you cannot photosynthesize to get energy to live. You must get your fuel/energy from food. The “essential” nutrients in foods – carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water, provide the “raw material” to give your body life! The reason these nutrients are called “essential” is because life ceases without them!

Today’s post is on the topic of carbohydrates. Bashing carbohydrates is OLD NEWS. In fact, it never should have been news in the first place. Carbohydrates are your body’s NUMBER ONE source of energy. There are between 75 and 100 trillion cells in the adult human body. All those trillions of cells need carbohydrates to thrive.

Carbohydrates are essentially carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O) organized in teeny little carbon rings, either by themselves or bound together with another similar ring or in longer chains of rings. They are found mostly in foods of non-animal origin.

This is glucose. It is the only carbohydrate your cells can use. All other carbohydrates you eat have to eventually convert into this cute little molecule in your body. So no matter what food your carbohydrates come from, they ultimately will become glucose to give your cells energy.

Carbohydrates are the PREFERRED source of fuel for most of your body’s trillions of cells but they are the ONLY type of fuel that your brain and central nervous system can use. They cannot use any other type of nutrient as their energy source. They need carbohydrates to survive. Have you ever felt a lack of concentration, brain fog, from eating too little carbohydrate? After going long hours without carbohydrates, have you gotten weak and shaky, your muscles begin to tremble and your heart begins to race? Ever wonder why that happens? When your brain is “starved” of carbohydrates, it senses that it has no energy to survive. It sends messages to your muscles to tremble to release any stored fuel (carbohydrate) to send to the brain and it makes your heart beat faster to get the blood quickly to the brain to prevent the brain cells from “dying”. This isn’t a pleasant scenario and your brain is obviously showing you it is in danger.  Your brain is telling you it is desperate and has no fuel to work!

You need carbohydrates all day, every day for sustained energy for your brain and body. So, every time you eat something, whether it is a meal or a snack, it would be ideal to include a carbohydrate source with your other nutrients.

Also, contrary to some peoples’ beliefs, carbohydrates are NOT “fattening”. This concept is misleading and incorrect! Remember, from another post on this blog that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Calories coming from carbohydrate-containing foods are no more or less able to change an individual’s weight than calories coming from other foods. That is a MYTH!  The more you avoid them though, the more you will set yourself up to crave them. If that has happened to you, the more consistently you are able to include them into your daily meals and snacks in a “safe” way, the more comfortable you will become.

In addition to the energy you will give your body and brain by eating carbohydrate- containing foods, you will also give it other fabulous nutrients, depending on which foods you choose. For example, if you choose to eat whole wheat bread you will also be giving yourself fiber and B vitamins. If you eat yogurt, you are also getting calcium, protein and vitamin D.  If you eat fruit, you are getting fiber and antioxidant vitamins. Or you could have a fun food like a candy bar and you will benefit from the energy from carbohydrate and a side benefit of pleasure (an essential ingredient in my opinion)!!

So, the next time you are considering what to eat, remember that carbohydrates are essential!  Your trillions of cells will thank you!

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