Low-Carb Winter Veggies

Learn how to substitute starchy foods with satisfying low-carb veggies that pair well with hearty winter dishes

Ask The Nutritionist

by Melissa Diane Smith

Spaghetti squashQ: I ate too many baked goods, breads, and potatoes during the holidays and ended up gaining 15 pounds! I am more successful at losing weight when I cut back on carbs, but it’s easier for me to do this in the summer (when I just naturally crave salads and raw veggies). It’s freezing here in the winter, and all I want to eat are warm, hearty meals. Can you suggest a few satisfying low-carb vegetables that I can put on my winter menu?  —Sue M., Minneapolis

A: No matter what time of year it is, the general idea of cutting carbs to lose weight should be to replace grain products and starchy vegetables with lower-carb, non-starchy vegetables. Here are a few of my favorite low-carb foods to use as ingredients in wintertime meals.

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Healthy Holidays the Paleo Way

Paleo vegetable stuffingAsk The Nutritionist

by Melissa Diane Smith

What you need to know to keep following the Paleo diet from Thanksgiving through New Year’s.

Q: My husband and I have experienced amazing health transformations since we began eating a Paleolithic diet about six months ago. We have lost weight, have more energy and improved digestion, and have normalized our previously high blood sugar levels. We want to keep that good health going during the holidays, but we know there will be many temptations. Are there any tips you can give for going through the holidays the Paleo way?

– Amy T., Chicago, IL

 

The Paleo diet, often referred to as the “caveman diet,” advocates eating unprocessed foods that our ancestors would have eaten during the Paleolithic era – i.e., meat, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil – and on some versions of the diet, organic grass-fed butter – may also be included.

As you and your husband found out, eating Paleo food provides the body the foods it needs to thrive, stay healthy, and normalize weight. The key to continuing both the diet and the health benefits you’re experiencing is to plan ahead. Doing so is extra important during the holiday season when there are many more activities, food temptations, and social pressures than normal. It takes a little effort, but if you keep the following tips in mind, you can have healthy holidays the Paleo way:
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Join the Food Fight and
Take Back Our Right for Real Food

Independence Dayby Melissa Diane Smith

Whether you are aware of it or not, powerful multinational corporations have been exerting undue influence over government and elected officials, and gradually hijacking and taking control of our food system in ways that profit the corporations and sabotage our and our planet’s health. Increasing numbers of people are learning this, getting angry, and taking action against it, and an unprecedented food fight is currently taking place in this country that literally will decide the future of our food.

I wrote about this several years ago, but it’s a message that some people weren’t ready to focus in on then so it bears repeating. What follows is a slightly updated reprint of an article, “An Independence Day Message: Fight for the Right for Real Food,” that I wrote in 2010.

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Cutting Sugar from Your Diet

Eliminating sugarby Melissa Diane Smith

Eat sugar comes with bitter health consequences – see my article A Reminder about The Bitter Truth About Sugar – and just this week a new study came out that estimates that sugary drinks alone kill 184,000 a year through diabetes, heart disease and cancer (see story). Even knowing the risks of sugar, many people are addicted to sugar and have a hard time eliminating it from their diet.

So, how do you kick the habit and adopt a sugar-free diet when the sweet stuff is so hard to resist? Here are three plans.

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Spring Cleaning Time!

PICT0168_edited Ask the Nutritionist

by Melissa Diane Smith

Try a liver detox program to give your body a reboot.

Q: I overindulged in alcohol and sweets during the holidays, then ate a lot of heavy foods during the winter, got sick a number of times, and now feel overweight and sluggish. What do you suggest I do to “spring clean” my diet to help give my body a fresh start?

– Samuel from Cleveland, OH

 

You sound like a perfect candidate for a liver detox program. Most people are, and spring is considered the best time of year to employ nutrition strategies that cleanse and revitalize the liver to help produce a personal spring within.

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Gluten Free and Healthy?
Many Times the Answer is No

by Melissa Diane Smith

This is a slightly revised version of an article I wrote in 2012. It is based on a presentation I gave to the Southern Arizona Celiac Support group entitled “It’s Gluten Free, but Is It Healthy?” in January 2012. Many people still don’t know this information, so I think it’s important to run it again.

Gluten-free symbol 2The gluten-free diet is one of the most talked-about and followed diets these days for good reason: It’s the nutritional answer for the growing number of people who realize they are gluten sensitive. It’s the best example we have of food as our best medicine. The vast majority of people who are gluten sensitive have experienced the amazing feeling of having longstanding bothersome or even debilitating symptoms dramatically improve or completely go away when they eliminate gluten from their diet.

However, for all the good eating gluten free can do for those of us who are gluten sensitive, it can do plenty of harm if we eat gluten free the wrong way. Unfortunately, many people are doing that without realizing it. It’s common for people to experience a big improvement in health when they first go gluten free, and gradually develop unwanted, unhealthy weight gain or new health problems, such as diabetic or prediabetic blood sugar levels, the longer that they eat gluten free. In one study, 82 percent of people who went on a gluten-free diet gained weight in the first two years of eating that way, including 81 percent of the people in the study who were originally overweight.

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Which Impacts Your Weight More: Exercise or Diet?

which is more importantby Melissa Diane Smith

Knowing the right answer to that question can make a difference in whether you drop excess pounds or not.

Q: I want to lose weight in the new year. I am thinking of joining a gym and starting a regular exercise program to drop the extra pounds. Is exercise really more important for losing weight than what I eat?

A:  No, it’s not. Scientific evidence supports that changing your diet is the most important factor – and much more important than physical activity – in whether you lose unwanted weight. Furthermore, whether you believe that or not appears to have a big bearing on controlling your weight.

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