I often get emails from well-meaning people who want to do the best thing for their families when it comes to buying nutritious food—but as is the case for so many of us, the best choice is often cost-prohibitive. When it comes to fruits and veggies, we know that eating fresh, organic fare is the optimal choice. Since buying organic can more than double your food bill, it helps to know if there are items for which buying conventionally grown (not organic) is safe, from the standpoint of not being laden with a high number of pesticide residues.
According to the Environmental Working Group, their Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce ranks pesticide contamination on 48 popular fruits and vegetables. EWG’s analysis is based on the results of more than 35,200 samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration. It’s important to know that these pesticide residues remain on produce even after items are washed and, in some cases, peeled. Recent studies of insecticides used on some fruits and vegetables found that children exposed to high levels were at a greater risk of impaired intelligence and ADHD.
Each year, the Environmental Working Group releases a list of fruits and vegetables called, “The Dirty Dozen.” The Dirty Dozen lists the fruits and veggies that have been contaminated by multiple pesticides and have higher concentrations of pesticides. This year, strawberries ranked at the top of the list for detectable pesticide residues.
Dear Tara Marie,
I really need some inspiration. I’m having a tough time getting to the gym regularly and eating well. I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I am feeling really unmotivated, and I just hate what’s happening to my body after all of the hard work that I put in to get where I am now. I really need some inspiration. Can you help me?
Thanks, Carolyn, New York City
I have gone through what you are describing many times, especially after a knee surgery, serious injury or an illness that takes me out of my usual routine for an extended period.
Two things are happening: 1) you are physically out of shape and not where you want to be, and 2) you are mentally out of shape and not where you need to be to make a shift in your life.
There is a mind-set that you had when you were at your physical peak, and you need to get this back, as well as get your training on track.
We want to slowly get your body moving toward your goal and, at the same time, get you mentally in the game of consistent training and conscious eating.
Try my 3-week jump start plan to course-correct fast!
As someone who used to be an emotional eater, I’m always sensitive to my clients who struggle endlessly with this issue. It’s such a complicated matter that I could (and likely one day will) write an entire book about it. For this week, I wanted to at least make it the subject of my blog post, as it seems to be a recurring theme in my work with clients.
I recently hosted a guest on my radio show, TARA MARIE LIVE, named Jesse, age 64. He is suffering terribly and feels trapped in an endless cycle of binge eating and the self-loathing that goes with it. Consumed with despair, he feels like he’s fallen into a dark hole and can’t see the light.
For people who don’t struggle with this problem, it is impossible to explain how FOOD can CONTROL every thought, action, and desire in an otherwise normally-functioning person.
For people who do struggle, it is impossible to put into words how out-of-control they can feel around a gallon of ice cream, a package of cookies, or any other trigger food. I had a client once tell me that she would literally salivate if she walked by a vending machine.
I’m currently working with a private client whose whole life is about food—what he ate for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner; what he wanted to eat; what he should have eaten; what he will eat later, and what he misses eating (when he’s trying to be “good.”)
I remember those days well, but not fondly—when there was hardly room for fun in my life because all of my time was consumed with obsessing over food or being disgusted with myself for losing control around food. It was a horrible way to live and a terrible waste of time.
I always give my clients the same advice—it’s based on knowledge that I learned the hard way, as for years of my life I tried to solve my “food” problems by focusing on food.
I am often asked (especially by women and seniors) how to build strong bones naturally. For obvious reasons, having strong bones is a must. Regardless of your age, extreme diets or diets high in processed junk and low in nutrient-dense whole foods can ravage bones and age your body prematurely. Naturally increasing bone mineral density is function of what you eat, what your body absorbs, and how you move.
My top 3 Quick Tips to naturally build strong bones are as follows:
Eat foods rich in easily absorbed dietary calcium from sources like dark leafy greens and sesame seeds. I prefer these to milk products, which can be hard to digest. Collard greens, spinach, kale, turnip and mustard greens are great! Grind sesame seeds in a dedicated coffee grinder, used only for seeds. Sprinkle them on veggies, salads, cereal, etc. Tahini is also loaded with sesame seeds and therefore, calcium!
Build resistance training into your weekly routine. When you strengthen your muscles, your bones become stronger from the mechanical stress of exercise. You can use free weights, machines, bands, tubing, your body weight, soup cans, etc. You have to stress muscles and bones to make them grow! Aim for a minimum of 3 sessions a week for at least 30 minutes.
Stop drinking soda! The phosphoric acid in soda (both diet and regular soda) is believed by researchers to leach calcium from bones and/or interfere with calcium metabolism in other ways. Cut it out of your life. Soda does nothing good for your body!! I used to be a diet soda addict and feel (and look) so much better now that I’ve stopped. Enjoy iced herbal teas instead, and do something good for your body.
By making a few simple swaps and incorporating some healthy habits into your life, building strong bones and staving off osteoporosis is something anyone can do at any age!
Shine on! Tara Marie
Many of the guests on my radio show, TARA MARIE LIVE are authors, and prepping for each show has given me an opportunity to read a plethora of great books. This week my guest is the author of a fantastic little book that provides no-nonsense, practical tips to burn off the excess body fat that has plagued you for years. This 103-page gem is called, FIRE UP YOUR FAT BURN, and its author is Dr. Lori Shemek. This is the perfect book to toss in your bag or briefcase, and devour a few pages every chance you get. It’s an easy read and chock-full of information written in terms that everyone can understand. She explains why inflammation in your body is a key reason that you’re over fat and suffer with other diseases–and she tells you how to reduce inflammation and optimize your health. We have been led to believe that it’s a “calories-in, calories-out” equation, but the truth is, a calorie is not a calorie when it comes to their expression in our bodies. As I was reading this book I kept thinking that rather than, FIRE UP YOUR FAT BURN, the book should be called, COMMON SENSE…as it simply is this. Dr. Shemek gets a gold star for this one!
I am offering a FREE teleseminar for people struggling with binge eating. It will be based on my blog, Battle Binge Eating with R.A.G.E.®
We will be discussing what binge eating is, what it is not, and how to connect the behavior to your emotions so you can bring self-awareness and self-control to any situation. Please join me for this event and pass this information along to anyone who would benefit from it!
Battle Binge Eating with R.A.G.E.®
Date: Tuesday, November 27
Time: 8 PM Eastern Time
Conference Line: 805-399-1000
Access Code: 534333
I’ll meet you there!
Happy Thanksgiving, Tara Marie
I had a male client that wanted to lose body fat and increase muscle mass. When it came to eating and drinking he was a bit of a disaster, so he asked me to write some general guidelines to help him understand the basics of what he would need to do. I have had so many people ask me this same advice that I decided to post the information as a blog. This client was a mid-60’s male, but it is the diet plan that I follow and it is advice that I give all my clients across the board. Enjoy!
-Drink about 1 oz. of plain water per pound of body weight. Staying hydrated will keep your metabolic rate running at its peak.
-Cut out soda, diet soda, etc. Extra calories and extra chemicals do NOTHING good for your body and A LOT of damage.
-Cut down or cut out juices. They are high in sugar and I prefer that you EAT your calories rather than drink them.
-Increase your intake of fresh or frozen veggies: collard greens, spinach, turnip greens, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, etc. can all be purchased frozen and fresh. I usually buy frozen since I do not have a lot of time for food preparation.
Also, eat all the brightly colored veggies: carrots, beets, squash, pumpkin, bell peppers, radishes, etc.
-Dramatically DECREASE sugars. READ LABELS. Sugar here and there adds up.
When you are trying to be LEAN, sugar is your enemy. Sugar promotes an insulin response and insulin is the fat storing hormone. Keep your sugar intake low and you will keep your insulin levels low. You will also keep you blood sugar steady if you keep your insulin levels from spiking and dipping.
A client asked me the other day about CLA: what it is and how it works in the body. Well known in the world of body building as a “must take” supplement, this is one that I have been taking for years and recommend to all my clients who want to get lean and mean.
CLA stands for conjugated linoleic acid—a fatty acid known for promoting good health. Decades of research indicates that CLA actually changes body composition by reducing body fat and increasing or preserving lean muscle mass—giving you a leaner, healthier appearance. It prevents the storage of fat on your belly and in the liver. Studies have shown that you literally can lose 6-8 lbs. of belly fat in the first 6 months of usage.
Are you eating a low-fat diet rich in complex carbohydrates with moderate amounts of protein, and you’re still one of the millions of people getting fatter and fatter?
Did it ever occur to you that even though your diet may be low in fat it’s too high in calories, and that’s why you’re not losing weight?
The “eat-all-you-want-as-long-as-it’s-low-fat” approach is the reason that many people think it’s OK to eat half a box of low-fat cookies everyday as an afternoon snack…then they wonder why they can’t zip their pants!
Think of your body as a bank account: if you make more deposits than you do withdrawals, your bank account grows. In the same way, if you consistently eat more calories than you need (and make too many “deposits” in your fat cells) your hips grow!
While there are many factors that determine how many calories your body utilizes each day, the bottom line is that you cannot eat as much as you want just because it’s low in fat; calories do count!