My Approach

A Locavore

Reflects my core values by supporting the importance of living local and recognizing that every food choice I make effects Earth, its inhabitants and my own bio-unique being physically, mentally and emotionally.

Focuses on enjoying the diet that works best for the individual, in their own home. Outside the home, making room for allowances (as able or willing) to accept food that has been offered and lovingly prepared by others, who have invested their time and energy in nourishing their family and friends in their own way. By practicing "moderation", you are free to enjoy occasional "treats" out, never depriving yourself of the foods you love. This does not mean "flexing" on your core values, however... but rather on inviting others to share in your own discovery of the diet that is complimentary to you.

Utilizing my education and degree in Behavioral Psychology, it can be demonstrated that making small changes to our food and behavior, gradually over time, is the most sustainable and successful way to improve our overall health and well-being for the long term.

Understanding Primary and Secondary Food:

From a very early age, we're taught to feed feelings. When a child has a scratch, he gets a treat. When someone loses a loved one, we bring food. When you're celebrating a new love — or mourning its loss — you indulge in chocolate.

But food rarely crosses your mind when you're involved in an engaging project or engrossed in a best-selling thriller. Your stores of "primary food" are full, making you less likely to eat for emotional needs.

Primary foods, a term coined by Joshua Rosenthal, M.Sc.Ed., founder and director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and author of Integrative Nutrition: The Future of Nutrition, include healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career and a satisfying spiritual life. When primary foods are present, your hunger for living is satisfied, making what you put in your mouth secondary. Without them, individuals may express an unmet need in various ways, including food cravings.

Food for Your Soul

Intense food desires provide critical information about what our body needs to maintain balance. When we don't sleep well, we may crave caffeine to stimulate our bodies and minds. If we're lonely or depressed, we might reach for chocolate to lift our mood. When we feel weak or empty, we long for protein and/or comfort foods. And the vicious cycle of relying on foods to fill emotional needs begins.

"Eating, especially comfort foods, feels good," says Cynthia Sass, M.P.H., M.A., R.D., spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and author of Your Diet Is Driving Me Crazy: When Food Conflicts Get in the Way of Your Love Life. "And there's no delay to its effectiveness — while you're eating, you can temporarily forget about why you're not happy."

Stopping the Cycle

The occasional splurge is fine as long as you're aware of what you're eating and why. In general, follow a healthy eating regimen, remembering a few simple principles:

1. Eat a diet of home-cooked whole foods, vegetables (especially of the green leafy variety), whole grains, water and lean protein sources. "Ideally, half of your plate should be covered by vegetables, a quarter with whole grains (such as brown rice, whole grain bread or pasta) and a quarter with lean protein.

2. Be mindful. With time at a premium these days, many of us rush through meals without recognizing what or how much we've eaten. Listen to your body: If it craves something, ask yourself what you really want. Once you determine what's behind the craving, you can position yourself to make better choices about how to fill those needs.

"It may feel awkward at first," says Sass, "but the more you tune into your body, [the sooner] you'll realize that your body isn't telling you it needs food; your mind is telling you it wants food because of an emotional need that can be addressed some other way."

3. Find balance. Instead of turning to food, try to find other ways of coping with your emotions. Write in a journal, read a good book, take up a new hobby or go for a walk.

"The real issue here is whether you love your body," says Rosenthal. "Your body does everything it can to keep you alive and functioning. You can feed it garbage and it digests it for you. You can deprive it of sleep, but it still gets you up and running the next morning. In any relationship, if one partner is loving, faithful and supportive, it's easy for the other to take that person for granted. That's what most of us do with our bodies. It's time to shift this paradigm."

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