Category Archives: Head Trip

Two Roads Diverged in a Wood, and I Chose … Swedish Massage

Two and a half years ago, I was a Weight Watchers member for the umpteenth time. I hate the idea of counting and measuring food, but as I struggled with my weight I would inevitably get humble enough to sign up yet again for another round of meetings. At this particular time, I heard about a new Aveda spa that offered memberships where you could get a monthly massage (or facial) for $59. I was spending $40 a month on Weight Watchers, not getting anything out of it but guilt and shame, so it was a no-brainer to decide to put that money toward a monthly massage instead. How decadent, how lovely … how smart. 

So what does this have to do with being a healthy, happy eater? Two main things:

  1. nuturing the body is a healthy thing to do
  2. counting and measuring food contributes to neuroses

Massage relieves stress, lowers anxiety, minimizes pain and stiffness, lowers blood pressure and boosts immunity. That sounds alot better to me than getting up early on a Saturday morning for a guilt-inducing WW meeting where you try to learn how to game the (digestive) system with faux food.

I have a sweet, beautiful, trim, fit friend who recently told me she was considering joining Weight Watchers to lose a few pounds. Everything in me screamed, “Noooooooooo!” I hated to see a person with no weight problem tap into the collective neuroses that tries to make food the enemy. My advice to her was to read Nina Planck’s book Real Food: What to Eat and Why. There’s so much misinformation about food – from the FDA, diet experts, nutritionists, the media, pharmaceutical companies, industrial food producers – that Nina’s book was like a gulp of fresh air after almost suffocating. Her approach is so intuitive, I immediately knew it was truth. Michael Pollan says her book is, “Persuasive and invigorating … a valuable and eye-opening book.” I couldn’t agree more!

So the next time you consider counting and measuring, or eating something that’s lowfat, nonfat, industrial-processed-supposed-to-taste-like-something-else … go have a massage (Hiatus Spa if in Dallas) and then enjoy some real food. Not sure what that is? Here’s what Nina calls The Omnivore’s Feast (p. 273):

  • Eat generous amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables daily  
  • Eat wild fish and seafood often
  • Eat meat, game, poultry, and eggs from wild, pastured and grass-fed animals often
  • Eat full-fat dairy foods, ideally raw and unhomogenized from grass-fed cows, often
  • Eat only traditional fats, including butter, lard, poultry fat, coconut oil, and olive oil
  • Eat whole grains and legumes
  • Eat cultured and fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, miso and sourdough bread
  • Eat unrefined sweeteners such as raw honey, evaporated cane juice, and pure maple syrup in moderation
  • Be well!


    Filed under Head Trip, Move Your Body

    I Wanted McDonald’s Today

    …but I didn’t get any. It was an interesting experience. Having been a lifelong fast food eater, and being “sober” for almost four months, I was surprised that it sounded good today. I was surprised, because ever since I discovered real food, I have happily not wanted fast food. So what happened today?

    I’ve been so busy that I didn’t get enough nutrition in this morning … just one glass of raw milk on the way to work. Now I believe that raw milk is a complete food, but not necessarily a complete meal. By lunch time, I was really hungry. I usually bring my lunch, most often leftovers from last night’s dinner, but not today. McDonald’s popped into my head and stayed a few minutes. I thought about the fries, and an extra value meal sounded good.

    I thought those days of eating massive amounts of McDonald’s food and Coke in secret, in my car, were behind me. Instead of freaking out or white knuckling it, I calmly and objectively assessed the situation:

    Q: Why does that sound good?
    A: It just does.

    Q: Ever since getting off fast food, you’ve felt so much better.
    A: Yes, I have. It’s kind of weird that I want it now.

    Q: Where did this thought come from?
    A: I passed a brand-spanking new McDonald’s yesterday. It doesn’t look like those nasty roadside joints. It’s made of stone, and it’s in an upscale area. Maybe I should eat there while the oil’s still fresh and the restaurant is clean.

    Q:  What about the quality of the food. Do you want to rethink that?
    A: Let’s see, there’s:

    • the rancid vegetable oil they cook the fries in
    • the Russet Burbank potatoes that come from a perilous monoculture
    • a cheese-like substance
    • soybean oil in the sauce
    • high fructose corn syrup in the ketchup
    • buns made of refined white flour
    • beef from cattle fed a diet of genetically-modified corn … on a crowded feed lot …whose stench you can smell for miles … who are killed and processed in factories where workers are treated like animals
    • and all that sugar in the Coke …

    My whole thought process was quick, much faster than typing about it, and I moved on. I ended up at Chipotle where I got a carnitas quesadilla with guacamole and water. Read Chipotle’s “Food with Integrity” story, and you’ll see the difference. Will I ever darken the doorway at McDonald’s again? Maybe to buy a bottle of Dasani water, ironically made by the CocaCola company.

    By the way, I’m not opposed to burgers and fries; in fact, it’s one of my favorite meals. But why have low-quality fast food, when you can have a truly great burger and fries? By truly great, I mean delicious, satisfying and nutritious. The best I’ve had so far are the ones I made from the America’s Test Kitchen show, Best Burgers and Fries. I made everything exactly according to the recipe, and I just swooned … so did my husband. Will you let me know what you think if you make it? Be well.


    Filed under Head Trip, Real Food Education, Recipes

    Not Eating Enough Healthy Fat Can Make You Crave Refined Carbs

    … and we all know where that leads. For more information like this, sign up for Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food for Rookies class, which starts Thursday. Kelly’s delivery is straightforward and her content is right on. This is the perfect class for people who want to eat better and feel better, but are confused by all the misinformation around nutrition these days.

    Check out her curriculum to see what you’ll learn. You need this class if:

    • you’ve tried to “eat healthy,” but got discouraged
    • you’re starting to question the low-fat dieting wisdom
    • you want to give up your fast food addiction
    • you’re hooked on sugar and/or sugar substitutes
    • you’re concerned about the increasing outbreaks of e coli and salmonella
    • you want to eat nutritious food, but you’re pressed for time
    • you think eating well costs a lot
    • you’re worried about the rising obesity rates of children

    Sign up for the class, and tell your friends. Kelly the Kitchen Kop has done a lot of research, is a very knowledgeable resource, and her conversion story is inspiring. If you take the class, will you share an aha moment or two?

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    Filed under Head Trip, Real Food Education

    Obesity May Be Becoming the New Norm

    A recent Harris/HealthDay poll found that 30 percent of overweight people think they are normal size. Is this wishful thinking or are we just putting our heads in the sand?

    Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are the biggest threat to the health of our population. I think the vast majority of people are aware of this, but they’re either not willing to do anything about it, or they’ve tried various solutions through the years with no lasting success.

    For me, depending on my frame of mind, I was either ignoring my obesity problem or optimistically trying another diet. I went on my first diet at age 10, the Air Force Diet, a popular low-carb diet in the seventies; I ate a lot of hotdogs. Then I fasted a few times until I almost passed out. In the early ’80s it was Judy Mazell’s Beverly Hills Diet; mangoes and papayas still remind me of that diet. Next was the Cambridge Liquid Diet in my late high school years. My friend’s Dad made her get on it to maintain her at 118 pounds; he actually made her weigh in front of him. Then there was Slim Fast. By then, I was in college and weighed 182 pounds; I had dieted off and on for half of my short life.

    After college in the early ’90s I got into the cycle of going to diet centers for help. I bought a lifetime membership to Jenny Craig and dutifully ate their food-like substances. I lost weight very quickly, eating only 1000 calories per day. I was “perfect,” and I basked in the glory when I was able to proclaim to the counselors that I was “good.” At 132 pounds, I was two pounds away from my goal weight. Week after week, I would go to the Center, buy more boxed food, and I just could not lose those last two pounds. I was frustrated and sad, and the counselors kept telling me to try harder. If only someone (me?) had told me that I should celebrate how far I’d come, and not worry about another couple of pounds. Instead, I quickly gained all the weight back and then some.

    For the next fifteen years, I would be in and out of Jenny Craig, on and off diets, until the past few years when I gave up on even trying to diet. My self-esteem was low, my energy was low, and the comfort of eating McDonald’s all by myself in my car was just too alluring. I was drawn to it, obsessed with it, soothed by it, addicted to it … and poisoned by it. It has been more than three months since my last visit to McDonald’s, and I have lost 26 pounds. I feel calm and strong and completely free of the pull of the Golden Arches. How did I do it? I did the AdvoCare 24-day challenge, with the support of Camp Gladiator, and then I began eating Real Food as described by Nina Planck. The challenge got me off sugar and fast food, and got me accustomed to eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Nina’s book is guiding me for how to eat for the rest of my life. I was afraid that eating well meant limiting your choices; on the contrary, a whole new world of great food has opened up to me.

    If you are obese or overweight, you can break free from that prison. Do you have to do a strict challenge before you start eating according to the Real Food principles? No; it just happened to be my journey. You must understand though how sugar, refined grains and chemical-laden industrial food-like substances are affecting your brain. They are keeping you imprisoned. Get Nina Planck’s book, and start eating real food. One good thing that I did learn from Jenny Craig (way back when) was to shop the walls of the grocery store; you’ll find all the food you need there. Along the walls, you’ll find the produce, fish, meat and dairy.

    Whether you’re gorging food with abandon or white-knuckling it to stay away from “bad” foods, you have a problem. Once you get the sugar and chemicals out of your system, and eat real food, you will realize the blessings of a clear mind and a healthy body. I feel better today than I’ve felt in more than 17 years; I wish the same for you. Obesity does not have to be the “new norm” for you. Eat well, move for fun and be well.


    Filed under Head Trip, Real Food Education

    Julia Ross says, “Junk moods come from junk foods.”

    You’ve probably heard that nutrition plays an important role in how we feel, but have you taken it to heart? If you feel crummy, I’d guess that your diet probably includes:

    1. Junk food (fast food, sugar, white flour, vegetable oil, processed food), or
    2. Foods you think are healthy, but are not (low fat meats like skinless chicken breast, or worse … no meat, soy products, grains)

    Watch this five-minute video from the CheeseSlave’s online cooking class on how plenty of protein and good fats can help you be well:

    Give your brain the nutrients it needs, and you will feel well and be well. The nutrients your brain needs are the same that your whole body needs for optimal functioning. I was addicted to white flour and sugar for years. I have recently ditched junk food, and I feel better than I have in more than a decade! And I’m not being “good” or exercising an iron will, I am eating real, beautiful, delicious food that just happens to be exactly what my brain and body need. I really feel like a new person, and I hope the information I share will help you too.

    To learn about real food, read Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck.

    For more information about how food affects your mood, check out The Mood Cure (by Julia Ross).

    Leave a comment

    Filed under Head Trip