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Eating the Write Foods {Guest Post with Cari Kamm}

03 Wednesday Apr 2013

Posted by Kristin Conroy in Food For Thought, Health & Well-being, Interviews/guest posts

Kristen says: I met Cari Kamm at a wellness event in Soho about 3 years ago. Intuition told me I had to get to know this lovely lady…and I was right! Not only has she become a friend, but she’s also become a writing buddy and mentor to me as I embark upon my first novel. Cari knows a thing or two about those–she just published her second novel, For Internal Use Only, which made the list on my A Few of My Favorite Things post in February. Her writing is witty, entertaining, and just plain gorgeous, and her stories have meaning you can chew on. I highly recommend you get to know this future best-seller!

Now on to the guest post…

I finally got the message years ago that what I eat affects how my mind and body performs. Whether we realize it or not, the quality of food we take in permeates all aspects of our life. It either gives us the energy, attitude, and fortitude to help us get through the day…or it doesn’t. Cari’s post is a fantastic example of just how extreme a difference eating the right food makes.

Eating the Write Foods

by Cari Kamm

When I’m not writing . . . I’m eating. Well, I’m thinking of eating or where I want to be eating.

I’m a self-proclaimed foodie and seriously enjoy every bite. My rule is “don’t pick before pics.”  I love to look at food. Take pictures of food. Dissect food. And of course eat food. A chef is an artist and unlike admiring a painting or absorbing words, you get to literally bite into their work and digest it.

So . . . how does this affect my creativity? The saying is you are what you eat. I find the same goes for my writing. My eating habits are different when it comes to the writing stage and editing process.

I begin writing first thing in the morning. Before anything can shift my mood or motivation, I make coffee and boost my body with breakfast before I hit the keys. Writing is my morning stretch. I write from home or head out to one of my spots in New York City. Sometimes, I just walk into random restaurants, bookstores, or coffee shops. I find inspiration in the unexpected. Not having a plan is sometimes the perfect plan for creativity. For eating…that’s not so productive.

My breakfast always includes a fresh pressed juice, scrambled eggs and oatmeal or wheat toast. My favorite morning juice includes apple, pear, pineapple, wheatgrass & mint or carrot, beet, apple, pear, lemon & ginger. Also, eggs contain Choline and that helps my memory and builds strong mental muscles. The benefit of this is keeping my characters and scenes straight!

There are foods I eat to nourish my mind. However, when emotions come into play during the creative process, I try to remember that I need to write my feelings…not eat them. Depending on which stage I’m in during creating my manuscript, food definitely contributes positively or negatively to my writing health. Knowing this allows me to be a better writer.

The creative process. My favorite part of the writing process is creating the outline of the story I have in mind. Then several months down the road realizing where the characters actually took me while reading the story they created. My creativity tends to crave carbohydrates. Unfortunately, this can lead to a food coma. Sugar becomes a big saboteur and doesn’t help my writing or my waistline! At first, eating sweets tends to make me feel happier and comfortable when I beginning a new project. One thing I know is that with all of the unknowns in developing a new story…I get nervous. When I hit the emotional rollercoaster peak and quickly come crashing down off the sugar high, I tend not to feel proud about a scene or a character even if it’s terrific. My characters’ emotions somehow control my food cravings. Well…I like to blame it on them! A romantic scene may call for chocolate and wine; a stressful scene made lead to Twizzlers or Thai takeout. If all else fails, I drink more wine.

The editing phase. This stage requires concentration, patience, and attention to detail. Protein keeps me on point! My characters cannot afford any food mood swings. I tend to focus on protein, fruits and vegetables! My favorite foods that are rich in antioxidants, folic acid and omega-3s include salmon, walnuts, blueberries, goji berries, cantaloupe and kale. I’m addicted to the deliciously dark green leafy guy! My favorite recipe at the moment is from the New York City restaurant Lupa.

The only culprit left is Mr. Coffee. I’m striving to lower my cups per day and sip more green tea or calming teas, especially during those late nights of writing or revising my manuscripts.

So…what’s the bottom line?  When I eat better, I feel better. When I feel better, I write better!

Cari Kamm has worked in the beauty industry for over a decade, building brands, working behind the scenes, and even selling her own skin care line. She has a master’s in clinical nutrition from New York University. Kamm currently works in corporate social media management with clients in the beauty, fashion, and restaurant industries. Living in New York City with her mutt Schmutz, Kamm loves finding inspiration in the most unexpected places, being a novelist, and convincing her fiancé that ordering takeout and making dinner reservations are equal to cooking. More information can be found on her website, CariKamm.com. To check out the book trailer, click here: http://tinyurl.com/bdr7bfn.

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Lookin’ for Love in all the Wrong Places?
“Food, glorious food” the hungry orphans sing out and celebrate in the musical, Little Orphan Annie. And that is actually what I want to talk about in this blog — food, not candy, but I couldn’t resist the picture! On the psychological level, that is what many psychologists and medical professionals will attempt to explore with an overweight person.
 
Well, that’s me, but I have found much love in this wondrous world and have gratitude for all that’s been given me. So that’s not an answer to a dilemma I’ve had with food over the major part of my adult life.
 
I am a healthy, getting healthier (by all medical tests) by the moment senior adult,  fairly schooled  and credentialed in the basics of good nutrition, have practiced them for a long period of my life, and added a lifestyle of active exercises to fit my “taste” — and yet, I still must monitor and carefully choose “my daily bread!”
 
While I do this, I still do not achieve a desired weight loss, nor have I ever come near that elusive “after” picture, many women display in their weight loss ads. Having to step on a scale is the number one reason I do not like to go to a doctor, any doctor — and by the way, what does your weight have to do with a doctor having to look at a trigger finger? Would it not be locked up if I were ten pounds lighter?
 
That’s usually what I start with. I’d like to just get ten simple pounds off and go from there. Yeah, right. I have a comfortable food plan, that keeps the calories in line for me and the sugars down for Tom, doesn’t exclude any nutrient group and fairly balances out the carbs, proteins, and fats. And I’ve zoomed my attention in on portion size, making sure I am eating what the package says one serving actually is.  (My first big mistake in days gone by, that I’m still susceptible to today). But I’m confident that  today’s plan is healthy by anyone’s standard.
 
But do the ten pounds leave? No, again and again. Maybe three-fourths of the way there. Then it stops! Current nutrition experts say — do NOT starve yourself. And they even say, if you are of “a certain weight” to even ADD more food to your plate. Now that is really tough to do when you don’t trust food to begin with because of previous trials and errors.
 
I can’t really fix much in my eating pattern these days because I gave up dieting.  Diets don’t work — permanently.  I, again from experience, know that has been true for me. They were something I went off. Now I just have a healthy plan with high hopes, it will treat me to some slow-as-a-turtle losses that add up. I’ve given this a lot of time. I have a very, very slow turtle.
 
So along side my food journal now, I am writing my knowledge of this food journey and quoting some of the experts, whom I’ve read over the years and have formulated  my “game on” approach to eating.
 
I’ll share a few of them.
 
As I said above — balanced in nutrients, moderate in amounts, eat often and small which amounts to a major breakfast, medium to light lunch, and a 1 SERVING SIZE dinner (no family dining at our place anymore!) along with 2 small snacks during the day, and a very small treat at night (highly recommended by an authority) so you don’t ever feel you have to “go off” something.
 
Outside the home, in uncontrolled eating environments, I attempt to get my plate to resemble home eating and if not possible I watch portions closely. I will readily and humbly admit, however, that a small piece of Laura’s lasagna, is almost not humanly possible.
 
Now here is some tidbits (pardon the pun) from my journal:
 
FACTS:
“A complex relationship exists between food, blood sugar, insulin and fat.”
 
“Use an eating guide that is really NOT a diet. It allows you to eat all the foods you like in the proper amounts and still control insulin resistance and lose weight.”
 
“If you  (I) eat more calories than your (my) body needs, you (I) will gain weight. It doesn’t matter where the calories come from; protein, carbs, or fats.”
 
“Typically, diets do not work, in the long run. Weight loss from dieting is usually followed by weight gain to your previous or even higher level.” (Over my lifetime, this has been true, so I need to listen to this.)
 
“Keep in mind that any food can be part of a healthy food plan, if used in moderation.”
 
Brisk activity is the most effective activity for burning fat. It does not have to be continuous to burn fat. It adds up cumulatively” (kinda like fat does?) Work any kind of activity into your day as often as you can ie. biking, walking, for ten minutes at a time, several times a day.”
 
“When you have the time, add a thirty minute or hour gym session in something you like, spinning, Pilates, swimming; the key is to be sure you really like it, or you won’t want to stick with it.”  (true, true).
 
“Adapt a lifetime activity habit. It is the KEY to weight loss maintenance.”
 
“Learn to splurge successfully, safely, and OCCASIONALLY. It is an essential skill to master in order to achieve long-term weight loss maintenance.”
 
For me, having a Weight Loss Food PLAN means that “cheating” is impossible and no longer viable in my food vocabulary.”
 
Today, I want:
         To quit being afraid of food.
         To quit being angry at food.
         To quit being driven or overpowered by food.
         To quit envisioning a before & after photo.
 
Today, I simply want:
          To enjoy my food
          and have it feel good
          in my body.
 
Today, what I no longer want from food:
          Is to cover up my anxiety.
          Is to overcome my fear.
          Is to solve my problems.
          Is to love the unlovable parts of me.
 
Today, in a world where some of us have feasts and others suffer real and painful famines, I Am  deeply grateful for the nutritional abundance that is always available to me and I look to help others in whatever small way I can to put food on their tables.
        
 
 
 

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