When in Italy…Eat like the Italians

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We all know of the Italian grandmother who makes you eat and eat and eat. What if you ate like that and lost weight?! Guess what? You can!

Recently, I traveled to Italy and it was oh-so-amazing! The contrast between the way they eat and the way (most) Americans do, has really inspired me to keep ardently educating people about the importance of eating fresh, wholesome food, like the Italians do!

Let me tell you about what I ate in Italy—I indulged to say the least!

Our trip to Italy started in Florence….can you say gelato? There were gelato stands about every 50 feet and it was the most delicious thing you have ever tasted! My favorite was the Nutella flavor.

As we walked through the beautiful city, we stopped and had freshly cut prosciutto with buffalo mozzarella and perfect cherry tomatoes with the absolutely best house wine!IMG_1805

We then ventured down to Siena where we had margarita pizza, octopus, and gnocchi. We also had more phenomenal wine called Brunello. It is grown in Italy and was so delicious.

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Lastly, we went to Cinque Terre (five villages on the sea). As we got off the train, we smelled something astounding! It was fresh calamari, shrimp, fish, and crab being served at a beach stand. Unbelievable! So good, so simple, and so fresh!

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The most shocking thing was that with all that food and wine, my boyfriend and I both lost weight!

You see, when you eat food that is fresh, there are no preservatives. There is no junk to quite literally weigh you down.

And then of course we walked 8 to 14 miles a day. I know that it is not realistic to walk that much in your everyday life and you probably shouldn’t gorge even on fresh food every day. However, I do encourage you to choose fresh food like I did in Italy for most of your food and truly savor it. Don’t count calories. Often low-calorie food is so junky and will not satisfy you!

Opt for the homemade ice cream from your local ice cream stand, not the chemical-induced soft-serve ice cream from the ice cream truck! If you live in the Finger Lakes like me, try some of our local wines and not wine that has traveled from across the world. Buy free-range eggs from a local farmer. When it’s taco night, make your own corn tortillas (they’re actually easy). Skip the frozen meals and make your own (Google “easy fresh meals;” you’ll find tons of five-ingredient recipes from popular publications like Bon Appetit and Cooking Light).

Choose fresh whenever you can and try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day! Your body will thank you today and for years to come. Fresh food isn’t great for weight loss alone; it’s great for helping to prevent the chronic illnesses that plague so many people throughout o

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What I Mean by Real Food

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You know what my tagline is right? It’s, “We are real people who promote eating real food.”

I teach people how real food can prevent chronic conditions and I provide suggestions that work for the individual or family, sports team or corporation! This is not a diet! This is about building a healthy lifestyle. So what is real food, you ask. Here are some distinguishing facts about Real Food.

Real Foods have few ingredients,  are mostly unprocessed, and are nutritious.

There are several single-ingredient real foods. Think fruits and vegetables, low-fat cheese, lean chicken breast, plain Greek yogurt. There are so many healthy choices to choose from. There are some minimally processed real foods too, like whole grain bread or Kind bars for example. If a packaged food product has words on it you cannot pronounce, it is not real food!

The nutrition is what makes real food awesome. Whole, unprocessed foods are phenomenal for your health. Studies show again and again how these foods can prevent chronic illnesses and can help you to lose weight as well if you need to. A diet rich in nutrients helps weight loss by reducing nutritional deficiencies and preventing hunger.

Real Food is rich in protein.

Protein is absolutely essential as it is the building block to skin, cartilage, bones, and your blood. Eating a protein-rich diet helps you increase your metabolism, reduce hunger, and affects the production of hormones to help you maintain a healthy weight.

Real food sources of protein include lean meat, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and low-fat dairy.

Real Food is filled with fiber and antioxidants.

While I just promoted protein, do not misinterpret that as real food means avoiding carbs because real food carbs are good for you; in fact, they are imperative!

Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, teff, millet, or even whole grain bread are fiber-rich. Whole grains have been shown to help reduce risk of Type II diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. The combination of fiber and antioxidants makes whole grains so powerful.

Fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds are also packed with fiber and antioxidants.

When you eat fiber-rich foods, you are filling yourself up too, which helps with weight-loss efforts.

Want to give real food a go? Do you already eat a lot of real food, but fall for unhealthy indulgences a little too often? Feel free to email me at kspringer@kellyschoice.com to learn more about how I can help you. Once it becomes routine, you will find a real food way of life to be fun and easy!

By Kelly Springer, RD, MS, CDN

 

Take the Five-Week No White Flour Challenge with Me!

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Like many of you, my schedule can get jam-packed. I love what I do, delving into nutrition education at corporations, in magazines, on TV, and with my individual clients, but sometimes I slip with my personal nutrition. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I feel awful! I had an epiphany this week about this.

After a busy day with clients and a big presentation, I had to eat my lunch quickly. I looked for the boxed Panera lunch that they gave us at the presentation. Included with the lunch was a great big Panera cookie. Ordinarily, I would not eat one of these, but it was packed for me and surely I wouldn’t want it to go to waste so I indulged. It tasted so good. The problem is that later that evening, I went to a pasta dinner fundraiser. When I returned home, my stomach was in knots and I had a splitting headache—I had eaten more processed carbs in one day than I usually have in a week!

And then I thought, “What if people who eat like this regularly feel awful all the time like how I feel right now? I wouldn’t wish this feeling on my worst enemy!” So many people I have worked with change their dietary lifestyle to lose weight or to treat health ailments like diabetes, but it’s not too often that people want to work with me for the main reason of FEELING better!

Do you feel lethargic, unmotivated, stressed, and TIRED? Do you feel bloated, experience frequent stomach cramps or headaches? Boosting your nutrition and ditching processed carbs can make you FEEL WAY, WAY, WAY BETTER! I promise!

So, here’s what I dare you to do: JOIN MY FIVE-WEEK NO WHITE FLOUR nutrition challenge with me! I am going to be posting recipes, tips, and secrets to maintain this type of lifestyle.

It all boils down to choosing whole, fiber-full foods over processed foods and keeping yourself ultra hydrated. Are you ready to join the challenge? Follow this blog, my Facebook page, my Twitter feed, my Instagram feed, and my Pinterest page for support along the way.Also, check out awesome recipes on my website. Feel free to email me at kspringer@kellyschoice.org and let me know how it’s going!

Help prevent cancer this New Year

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The scary “c” word is hard to think about. Chances are you have known someone diagnosed with cancer. In fact, 40 percent of all men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime! It’s a terrible, terrible disease, one that you wouldn’t wish upon even your worst enemy.

Unless the person has been previously diagnosed with cancer, it’s rare that I have a client who creates a New Year’s Resolution about developing a cancer prevention plan. In my series about New Year’s Resolutions, I am including this because I think it’s a great one for everyone to have! Here are my top tips to help prevent cancer through your food choices.

Tip # 1: Focus on eating mostly WHOLE foods.

You don’t have to become a vegetarian on my cancer prevention plan, rather, just eat food in their most original form. Eat potatoes, not potato chips or French fries. Aim to have half of your plate be vegetables and include dairy and a lean meat. Try to kick out most of the processed food in your diet.

Tip # 2: Get serious about increasing your fruit and veggie intake!

Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They contain minimal fat, sodium, and calories. These characteristics are what your immune system requires to protect against illness, including cancer! Try to get in at least five servings of veggies and fruit!

Tip # 3: Reduce your meat intake and increase your fiber!

While I mentioned that you don’t need to become a vegetarian on my cancer prevention plan, you should at least reduce your meat intake. Research does show that vegetarians are 50 percent less likely to get diagnosed with cancer. The main reason for this is that meat lacks fiber, so reduce your meat intake and increase your fiber intake.

You will automatically increase your fiber intake by following tip # 2. Another way to increase your fiber is by consuming whole grains, which in part, is what tip # 1 includes. Have oatmeal for breakfast. Have whole-grain bread when you eat sandwiches. Have brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, or millet with your dinner.

When it comes to meat, pay special attention to reducing red meat and processed meats (deli meat, hotdogs, sausage, bacon, etc.). Reduce the portion sizes of meat. Consider adding it for flavor in a casserole instead of having a whole hunk of it as the main portion of your meal—see it more as a condiment!

Tip #4: Get 30 minutes of exercise a day!

Most people don’t associate exercise with cancer prevention, but there is a huge association! Physical activity decreases the risk of colon, endometrial and postmenopausal breast cancer. As fitness improves, aim for 60 minutes or more of moderate, or for 30 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity every day. Definitely be under a doctor’s guidance if you are not used to regular exercise.

I sincerely hope you follow these tips not just for the New Year, but as a lifestyle. Not only will they help lower your risk of cancer, they will help you live a healthier life for a long time!