?> fill your plate « Namaste Nutrition | Transformative Yoga, Private Yoga & Nutrition Services | Greater Boston.

Blog: Yoga, Nutrition & More

Posts Tagged ‘fill your plate’

Taking a look at everyday nutrition

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Diana Cullum-Dugan

What you’re about to embark upon is the result of a really fun hour with Gwenn Friss, journalist with the Cape Cod Times.

Diana Cullum-Dugan, a registered dietitian and yoga teacher, managed the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at Boston Medical Center and created meal plans and recipes for “The Overnight Diet” featured on TV shows “Dr. Oz” and “Good Morning America.” Cullum-Dugan hosted her first on-Cape seminar this weekend at the Sage Inn & Lounge’s Cape Cod Wellness Weekend. In a telephone interview on her way back from Provincetown to her Watertown office (namastenutrition.net/), she answered some questions:

Q: What is the most common nutrition mistake you encounter?

A. No. 1, all the time, is lack of planning. People work all day, they come home, they’re starving. They grab cheese and crackers or chips to munch while they figure out and cook dinner. Calorie-wise, they’ve already eaten dinner, but they go ahead and eat the dinner because they’ve made it.

Q: What are some solutions?

A. I ask clients to go online and Google two to four meals they would like to make for dinner, and to try one new recipe a week. Print them out, make a grocery list. Shop and prep on the weekend so you know what you are making. If you are hungry while cooking, throw together a green leafy salad with homemade olive oil dressing to munch. Or sometimes something savory will hold you. I microwave three Italian-seasoned olives for 10 seconds and savor each one while dinner is cooking.

Portion control is important, but I have clients who don’t want to measure or keep a food log. I recommend the plate method: half your plate is veggies at lunch and dinner so then I know you are getting at least your three cups a day.

I find a lot of people eat at work. If you have a refrigerator, shop on the weekend and bring food for the week. Even for breakfast, bring a box of cereal and a container of milk.

Q: Is nutrition different for different ages?

A. A lot of times, the metabolic rate is different. Peri-menopausal women may gain 8 to 10 pounds and can’t lose it until they are post-menopausal. Some women can lose it. Typically, yes, for everyone, eat a little less as you get older, when metabolism slows down and activity is less.

Q. How about people with Type 2 diabetes?

A. I would tell someone with diabetes the same as anyone. My approach is more of an anti-inflammatory one. My No. 1 go-to for people with diabetes is that they eat a lot more veggies and fruits (spaced over three to four meals). They say ‘Isn’t fruit sugar?’ Yes, but it’s important along with vegetables and whole grains. Try high-protein quinoa or farro; oatmeal instead of a bagel. And less oatmeal in the bowl, more stewed apple or blueberries.

Good fats are important: Olive oil salad dressings; avocado slices; if you eat animal proteins, eggs (an excellent clean protein that have gotten a bad rap); and, occasionally, omega-3 rich salmon. Limit dairy, milk, cottage cheese and yogurt, because it tends to cause inflammation.

Ground flax seed is good for inflammation. Eat it ground in cold cereal or oatmeal. It has to be ground because the shells are so hard our digestion can’t handle them. Flaxseed oil doesn’t give the same benefit.

Stay away from manufactured fat-free stuff. Make your own dressing with olive oil, flax seed, Dijon mustard, garlic, a little chili with lime.

Q: Is this country making any progress toward good nutrition?

A. When you get government involved in our lives, people get very frustrated. But when the government was thinking of, and now is, banning trans fats, it was helpful. Even when the government was just talking about it, manufacturers starting changing their recipes. (Margarine sticks becoming tubs without hydrogenated fats, for example.)

And after the mayor of New York required calorie posting, others started posting calories. Starbucks and McDonald’s do.

Some studies are showing posted calorie counts don’t change how people order. But recently I tried Burger King’s “Satisfries” because they are advertised as having 40 percent less fat and 30 percent fewer calories. I liked them; they were thicker waffle fries that tasted more like potatoes. The interesting thing was I had to wait while they made them because eight people in the line ordered those instead of regular fries.

Q: What’s one change you got across this year?

A. I have a client who is a chef. She came in because she was gaining weight steadily. After a while, she said, ‘I realized it’s from food I’m cooking at the restaurant so I’m looking for ways to get the same flavor with better (more nutritional) foods.’


By Gwenn Friss


January 22, 2014



Want to knock off 10% of your calories?

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Gotcha! Course you do. We all do. It’s that last 5 pounds. Or maybe it’s the first 20 or 30. Either way, you can knock off 10% of your calories easy wheezy. Slenderizing your meal is just freshness away.

On 5 different occasions, women were offered a large 100-calorie salad. Lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, celery, cucumber, shredded light cheese and fat-free Italian dressing graced the bowl. It accompanied a cheese tortellini and tomato sauce entree on this fare date.

When told they had to eat the whole salad, these women ate 11% fewer calories in the meal than when they had no salad. Here you go….when told to eat as much of the salad as they wanted, they only ate 2/3rd’s of it, and ate the same number of calories as when they didn’t have a salad.

When I work with nutrition clients, it’s always about what you can add to your plate. Deprivation sucks. I know that. We’ve all been there. Good grief, the Thank-God-I’ll-Never-Do-That-Again 3-day diet of wieners, cottage cheese and green beans was the grossest thing ever. We don’t want to feel like we have to give up anything. We don’t want to eat less of our favorite foods, or never have pasta or Thai food or cake again.

Speaking of cake, seems like this is an easy way to have your cake and eat it too. Add a salad. A large one. Or add roasted asparagus to supper. Caramelized carrot pennies to the menu. Broccoli and cauliflower saute. Fill half your plate with veggies and enjoy the quarter-plate each of your favorite protein and grain. Enjoy that 11% less calories that leads to 11% less waist.

Food as Fuel, Not Food is Fattening

Monday, October 5th, 2009

Pasta, bread, butter, cheese, rice, spaghetti, chocolate chip cookie – these are foods on your Do Not Eat list, right? Why? Because they make you fat, huh?

Guess what? They don’t! That’s right, they don’t. Now, in excess, any food leads to weight gain – if you eat more than you use in regular and purposeful daily activity. But in appropriate amounts, all foods have a place at the table.  So invite them over.

Your body needs fuel so you can work and play all day.  Instead of skimping on food, thinking it’s fattening, here’s an idea to get you started on fueling up. Divide a plate in half (use your imagination) and pile one half with colorful veggies (raw or cooked are okay). Divide the other half of the plate in two and fill one-quarter of the plate with a lean protein, like baked or grilled chicken, grilled or pan-cooked salmon or other fatty fish, tofu or legumes, and fill the remaining quarter with a grain, like rice or quinoa, or pasta, like couscous, noodles or macaroni. Add a side of fruit and 8 oz low-fat dairy and dinner is filling, satisfying AND you didn’t give up the pasta or rice.

Healthy PlateHow about nuts or a sweet taste in your mouth?  Easy…..take a little away from the grain and protein section and have a small cookie or a few almonds. 

Bottom line:  Make vegetables the main course, add a bit of grain/starch and lean protein and eat real food – not junk.

For a great visual and tips, link here http://michigantoday.umich.edu/2008/03/great-plate.php.