It’s New York African Restaurant Week!

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ImageImageImageImageLittle old me had the pleasure of being invited along as press to the Edible Bazaar Benefit,  the launch party for NY African Restaurant Week (#NYARW)! I knew I was in the right place when I opened the doors of Suite 36 only to be greeted with the most enticing aromas and music I’d experienced in awhile. Then there was the fashion! The textiles, patterns and bright colors were such a sight for sore eyes after such a hard, gray Winter, my friends! Upon entering I ran into Yolanda Sangweni, Entertainment Editor for Essence  Magazine and author of the AfriPop online magazine.  More on our conversation later but of note, she was one of 2 MC’s for the night. 

The Edible Bazaar Benefit was the kick-off event for the 2nd annual NYARW which is held in both Spring and Fall. In the spirit of community support, ticket sales benefited Keep A Child Alive and the Alliance of Hope for Lupus and the party was sponsored by Edible Communities, locally known for Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan magazines. While our palates were enticed with South African and West African flavors offered by restaurants Madiba and Accra respectively our ears were treated to the soulful sounds of Congolese songstress Rafiya. The owners of these restaurants also received awards for their positive impact in the African and African diaspora community.  

According to the NYARW website

“Most restaurants will be offering 3 course Prix Fixe meals at various prices (most restaurants offering at 28.95) visit BeUevents.com to buy tickets. Some restaurants will be offering the full menu at a 10% discount to all African Restaurant Week dinners” 

14 Ideas for your #Change1Thing Checklist

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Sometimes the smallest tweaks yield the biggest results which is what the Change1Thing Campaign is all about. Instead of doing  major overhaul on your body and life, it is probably more manageable to take small steps towards your goal. As innocent as that sounds, it can be overwhelming so enter moi with this handy list for you to try out.

  1. Add sprints to your running routine
  2. Take your run outside
  3. Change the weights in your lifting routine
  4. Try a new class
  5. Try a sport you’ve never tried before
  6. Walk more than you drive & take the stairs more than the elevator.
  7. Train for a race (5K run/walk or obstacle race, anyone?)
  8. Eat one salad per day for either lunch or dinner
  9. Drink at least 24 oz of water each day
  10. Have a bigger breakfast and a smaller dinner
  11. Bring your own lunch
  12. Cook most meals yourself
  13. Quit your soda and chips habit!
  14. Get more sleep during the week

Do this to banish cravings

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Do you have a sweet tooth

Do you have a sweet tooth

We’ve all been there. That moment when all you want to eat is that one thing or type of thing. Before you know it, you’re surrounded with empty junk food or take out containers and the guilt has set in. It doesn’t have to be this way, at least not all of the time or even half of the time. Put your cravings into perspective By asking :

How do I REALLY feel now? Are you overtired, bored, depressed and/or susceptible to mood changes due to weather changes or menstrual cycle (ladies) ? Then you might be craving simple sugars aka quick carbs to boost your energy and mood. Are you dehydrated, overtrained and/or stressed/anxious? Then you might be craving salty, crunchy foods to level yourself out. Are you PMSing and/or suffer from difficult periods? Then all of the above might be true at any given moment as your hormones take you on a roller coaster ride —> forgive yourself but plan for and around your cycle by keeping healthy options on hand. On the flip side, sometimes all you want is a cookie for a cookie’s sake which isn’t necessarily emotional eating  but can have the same effects.

What do I REALLY need/crave? That first bite that floods our mouths with flavor can seem so fulfilling, albeit in the short term.  Why else would we have taste-buds if not to enjoy eating, right? True but emotionally eating means turning to food to provide what we aren’t getting in real life. Do you really just “want something sweet or salty” or are you in need of comfort, a sense of familiarity/ nostalgia for more secure times, or simply an energy boost? In short, do you just want a burst of feel good hormones because you’re not feeling so good right now?

What home-made version can I substitute? Not gonna lie: I eat so much that I often run out of food because healthy foods perish quickly. After realizing how much I was spending and just how MUCH butter and salt is added to even the most innocent looking take-out food, my dining out days were reduced. Now I stroll by buffets looking for recipe ideas to make on my own. Take pizza for example: I haven’t needed to buy a slice or pie since I realized that it’s the gooey, salty crunchiness of it that I like. Why waste money and calories when you can make a more nutrient rich version for yourself? A whole wheat pita (gluten free if need be) brushed with olive oil, baked to crispiness and topped with yogurt or cottage cheese and tomato sauce is far less expensive in both calories and cash.

How will I feel after I eat this? If, after you have asked all of these questions and the answer is “guilty or even worse than before”, indulging surely it isn’t worth the trouble. Do you have that nagging feeling that you will still be thinking about it later?  Then it’s probably best to diffuse it early by having a small portion. Otherwise you might find ourself eating the substitution AND giving into the craving for even more calories.

You know the saying that the definition of insanity is to continue doing the same thing repeatedly and expect different results? Not changing how you respond to cravings can be what’s keeping you off track. Get them under control and you might just break through that plateau!

Catch me on Dr. Oz? 6 more foods you SHOULD buy organic

6 foods you SHOULD buy organic
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Organic Food

Organic Food

Good news! Although food marketers would have you believe otherwise, everything you eat does NOT have to be organic and the fact that you even eat fruit and vegetables is better than not eating them. I recently appeared on the Dr. Oz for a segment on organic vs non organic food shopping (watch it here). Still, there are some foods that you SHOULD buy organic. The Environmental Working Group states that these items show residues of contaminants that are seriously toxic to your nervous system. There are more on the EWG’s list but selfishly, these are the foods I eat the most:

  1. Spinach
  2. Strawberries: FYI, the tiny pits on strawberries are little craters for pesticides. Eww
  3. Zucchini
  4. Celery
  5. Kale/Collard greens
  6. Sweet bell peppers

5 Signs of Disordered Eating/Eating Disorder

5 Signs You May Have An eating Disorder
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eating disorder

Eating disorder, diet, weight-loss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First, let me say that the subject of eating disorders is a serious and complex one that cannot be reduced into a handy list. With that being said, the following is only a fraction of the behaviors a person can exhibit that could be red flags for having food issues. Having any of them should set off bells but having more than half of them might be a bigger deal than you realize. If you want the full rundown on ED then click here for more info.

  1. You’re ALWAYS dieting and justifying your disordered eating patterns: If you’re constantly claiming allegiance to limited ways of eating ( i.e. one meal a day? check? overeating one day and under-eating on another? check? juicing? check!). A normal eating pattern is one that includes enough calories to support your organ function and energy needs. If you routinely fall below or exceed these requirements by a large margin and for no other reason than you’re always starving or pretending not to be ..look into that.
  2. You regularly booze your calories: Going out for drinks does not a meal make. Find out what’s really at the root of the need to dull the edges of life with alcohol but deny yourself food. You deserve food too.
  3. You mostly hide food/don’t eat in public/push food around on your plate: These are grouped together because they are part of the same idea. Shame in eating, a need to exert control over your appetite, denial of what you’re really feeling (hunger, hurt?)
  4. You choose constantly choose a restrictive lifestyle: Do you consistently choose activities that require a completely ascetic lifestyle? Be careful and ask yourself the real reason why you need such control over all aspects of your life.
  5. You order much larger meals when you’re alone/ don’t eat unless in public:  Like the above, these might indicate food control issues: (1) that you lose control and binge when alone  and (2) you want to prove to the public that you do eat even though you don’t really.

Eating disorders are serious business and equally troubling is that wide gray category that many men and women fall into. Eating or not eating out of emotional distress is a vulnerable place to be. Do a heart and head check to make sure you’re nourishing yourself properly.

The 4 Thanksgiving Food Commandments

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ImageBaked, broiled, roasted, toasted, sauteed, brined, pulled, toasted, aged, savory, sweet…the food preparation is afoot…and endless! Do you have your eating plan ready? Hope so! Otherwise you could be getting upwards of 3,000 calories at that dinner table. Thou shalt avoid feeling guilty or bad at all costs. So let’s avoid all of that nonsense with some pre-ememptive damage control, shall we?

Rest:. I know it’s tempting to start the party early the day before but alcohol can interfere with your sleep. A tired brain and body = an increased craving for high fat high sugar foods. 

Quench: Thirst can mimic hunger AND lead to a wicked hangover. Start drinking water well before you start eating and in between cocktails if you’re boozing. 

Green: Eating in courses can be really helpful and starting with the salad course will ensure that you get the vegetables in and don’t gobble  up the rest out of hunger. Think of it as the foundation for the rest of your favorites. 

Be Picky: It’s a just a day so don’t get crazy, folks. You WILL see food again!! That being said, pick the dishes you very rarely get to enjoy as your indulgences and watch the portions. Personally, I think it’s best to pick 1-2 of your most favorite items and  call it a day. 

 

 

 

 

The Sunday Scoop Round-up: Best of the Web

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A few interesting tidbits (edible and otherwise) from around the web.

Thanksgiving BreadIt always seems like there isn’t enough stuffing for my liking at the Thanksgiving table so I’m totally on board with this idea for a loaf of the stuff from MyheartbeetsI’m going to try it out and I’m going to omit the bacon because

Tyson Hates Pigs–  I have 2 words for this: Sign It. I also have 2 choice words for Tyson but I’m a lady.

Almond Crown PieApril P., author of the cook-book Gluten is My Bitch and the blog of the same name, is my reliable source of keeping things real about living gluten-free. She doesn’t lie about taste so I’m definitely trying this one.

Is being a drunk Mommy ever funny, really?
I’m not a Mom but it does seem like motherhood is a wine dependent endeavor in today’s culture. When does that become alcoholism? you decide.

Food Banks are farming for the needyWell, it makes sense that the Food Banks are turning to farming to grow more food for poor families.

Every Single Brussel Sprout Recipe worth makingThe folks at Food52 have gone through the trouble so we won’t have to.

A natural hair doll for everyoneIs it weird that I’m envious of these dolls’ wardrobes and hairstyles? They are so sassy! Seriously though, all kids should have access to these if only to eliminate the inevitable “can I touch your hair?” awkwardness.

Blair Warner is 50!and she made an exercise video. I’m kinda glad she’s speaking up about aging and fitness.

The Cheesy VeganI asked for non dairy cheese recipes last week and then found this cookbook of 25 different cheese versions and 125 ways to use them. Universe, I would now like a million dollars, please and thank you.

A reminder of the protein marketing mythI love when Fooducate drops some knowledge on us. This one dates back to 2010 but is still relevant. Too much of anything is still too much.

20 things we should say more often : Kid President never gets it wrong 🙂

A hearty cup of Make Stuff Happen!

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Homemade Coffee DrinkIt’s Monday and it was a fun but active weekend. What does that spell? Coffeeeeee! Now before the nutrition police go haywire with “she drinks caffeine?” judgments please note that… Yes, yes I do. I am a big time tea drinker and in the cold months I am also a big fan of a tiny bit off coffee swimming in a sea of warm almond milk. Caffeine in moderation is very good for you, especially if you exercise as much as I do! This particular concoction saves me oh I dunno, 300+ calories at the fancy coffee shop? As the title of the post indicates, it will start your day off on a peppy but not high calorie foot AND it has ingredients that are good for you! It’s:
8oz unsweetened almond milk, warmed
1 tbsp honey
1tsp pumpkin pie spice ( cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, lemon, cloves, all spice)
1tsp instant coffee.
Pour the warm almond milk into a mug filled with the other ingredients and stir. Voila, you just made 50 calories of awesomeness. Now go Make Stuff Happen!

Homemade Coffee Drink

Low calorie coffee drink

Greek inspired chicken and tzatziki plate

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ImageI sit before you a satisfied woman because I literally just licked my plate  after eating tonight’s creation you see here.

Recipe

1lb chicken, chopped

1.5 TSP Sea Salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 TBSP olive oil,

1.5 TBSP curry powder (optional )

Tzatziki Sauce

6-6 oz Greek yogurt ( I used  Fage 2% because I wanted it creamy)

3 TSP cayenne powder

3 Tsp lemon juice,

4 slices cucumbers, finely chopped

1 pinch dried thyme

1 pinch dried basil

1 pinch sea salt

Mix all garlic, salt, curry and olive oil with chicken and refrigerate to marinate for at least 30 minutes ( I left mine for a few hours).

Cooking

Mix all ingredients for tzatziki sauce together and refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees to prepare for pita; warm pita for 5 minutes

Brown chicken in saute pan on medium high heat in 1 tsp of olive oil until golden brown- about 3 minutes per side . Add 2 TBSP water  to pan and lower heat to medium. Cover and set timer for 20 minutes, turn periodically. 

Serve with chopped lettuce to get your greens in too!

Paula Deen is healthy, ya’ll!

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Paula Deen is healthy, ya’ll!

Paula Deen made herself a very rich woman feeding people deliciously heart hating meals. It was no surprise then that she found herself with a diabetes diagnosis last year. NOW Deen is back, skinnier and healthier than ever and with a family to match. I wonder what her new “health kick” will look like when it comes to TV and bookshelves near us?