Losing Weight is Never Easy But Doesn’t Have to Be a Chore

Food & Drink – Jan 3, 2007
By Jeannette Ross

After six weeks of saying “What the heck, it’s the holidays!” January often brings with it a day of nutritional reckoning, and resolutions for more healthful eating.

Unfortunately, many people find their efforts at healthful living to be no fun at all, and soon enough these plans fall by the wayside like so much roadside litter.

Maybe what you need is a little help, a little direction, a little support. Renee Simon of South Salem, a certified nutritionist and author of Take Back Your Health, is a familiar figure around Fairfield and Westchester counties. She is offering a program called Six Weeks to Weight Loss & Better Health Using The Slow Down Diet. It begins Tuesday, Jan. 9, from 7 to 8 p.m., and continues though Feb. 13, at the Katonah Healing Alliance, 15 Parkway, Katonah, N.Y. The program combines nutrition education, accountability, and support while it looks at the emotional aspects of overeating and helps you boost your metabolism and eliminate cravings for sugar and other carbohydrates. It also uses the book, The Slow Down Diet by Marc David. The cost is $150. To see if there is still room, call 914-763-9107.

With this program, Renee will outline five basic points of consideration: quality of food, quantity of food, when you should eat, how you think about food, and exercise and movement. “We talk a lot about stress,” Renee said, and the benefits of meditation. Renee is also certified to teach tai chi and qi gong, and she will show you how to do some movements at home. “I’m not going to tell you to do an hour of aerobics a day,” she said. Instead she focuses on what is best for each individual.

I asked Renee what are the biggest impediments to losing weight. “Not being prepared,” she said. “People have junk in the house and not enough healthy choices. Time is another one. You don’t have time to cook a healthy meal or you eat on the road. Men complain about traveling and business meals.”

Even bigger issues are emotional. That’s where comfort foods and stress eating come into play.

“It’s my job to find better ways to deal with them,” Renee said. “All problems have solutions.”

What I like about Renee’s philosophy is that it’s not an all-or-nothing attitude. She has what she calls “the 80/20 rule. If you eat healthy 80% of the time, you should eat without guilt 20% of the time,” she said.

“A lot of people know what to do, but they might not have all the information. It’s not all just eat more fruits and vegetables, but how to balance them out.”

To that end, Renee has created her own food pyramid, with activity at the base. Then, she said, come “whole grain foods two to three times a day; healthy fats; vegetables in abundance; fruit two to three times a day; nuts and legumes one to three times; fish, poultry, eggs two times; dairy one to two times a day. On top is red meat, butter, and white (flour) foods.”

I also asked Renee if she had any overall tips for weight loss and she offered three. “First, think about the quality of what you’re eating,” she said. “If it has no nutritional value, think about giving it up.”

The second has to do with portion control. She suggested using a 12-inch plate and dividing it into quarters. Each quarter holds a protein, starch, vegetable, and salad. “That way,” she said, “you can’t overeat the starch or protein.”

Finally, drink at least eight glasses of water a day. “If you’re dehydrated, you might think you’re hungry,” she said.

If you want to take a different approach, later this month or next, Renee will offer an Integrated 21-Day Detoxification Program that is not a fast, but an “experience in eating well and cleansing toxins simultaneously. Common toxic foods – meaning they are often difficult for people to digest – include gluten, found in wheat, barley, oats, and rye; milk products other than plain yogurt; red meat; alcohol; coffee; and sugar. “The program opens your eyes to all the foods that are good for you,” she said. “After you take the toxic foods out, you add them back one at a time so you can measure your sensitivity to them. Most people lose five to 10 pounds during the program, but everyone says they feel better.”

In addition to her programs, which she also offers through local adult education programs, Renee counsels private clients and is available as a guest speaker. She has offices in South Salem, Katonah, and Ridgefield. For details, call Renee at 914-763-9107 or visit her Web site www.totalwellnessnutrition.com.

Pineapple Fried Rice with Maple Glazed Cashews

    • 1/2 cup cashews
    • 1/4 cup maple syrup
    • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil, divided
    • 1 lb. tofu, cubed
    • 2 tsp. chopped garlic
    • 2 tsp. ginger root, minced
    • 1 cup onions, medium dice
    • 2 cups carrots, medium dice, blanched
    • 2 cups celery, medium dice
    • 1 cup red peppers, medium dice
    • 1 cup bean sprouts
    • 3 cups pineapple, medium dice
    • 7 cups brown rice, cooked
    • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
    • 1 cup cilantro, leaves only

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cashews on a sheet pan and toast them four to five minutes. Coat nuts with maple syrup and return to oven for two more minutes.

Add 1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil to a hot saute pan. Sear tofu over high heat until golden brown.

Heat the remaining oil in a wok or saute pan. Saute garlic, ginger, and onions until translucent, add remaining vegetables, and cook for five minutes.

Add the bean sprouts, pineapple, seared tofu, and rice; stir well and season with soy sauce.

Garnish with cilantro and glazed cashews.

Quinoa Salad

    • 1/3 cup quinoa, cooked
    • 1 tsp. olive oil
    • 4 tsp. lime juice
    • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
    • 1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
    • 2 Tbsp. scallions, finely chopped
    • 1-1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 2 cups diced tomatoes
    • 1 cup sweet red pepper, diced
    • salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine oil, lime juice, cumin, coriander, cilantro and scallions.

Stir in beans, tomatoes, and peppers.

Add the quinoa, salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly.

Adjust seasonings and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Almond-Crusted Trout

    • 1 Tbsp. parsley, minced
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
    • 1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped
    • 2 tsp. canola oil
    • 4 4-oz. trout fillets

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine parsley, salt, black pepper, and almonds.

Coat the top of each piece of trout with the mixture.

Add oil to a hot pan and sear the bottom side of the fish, about four minutes.

Place the trout on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes, or until fully cooked. The fish should flake apart easily with a fork and should be a creamy white color.

© Copyright 2006 by Hersam Acorn Newspapers

Renee Simon is a Nutrition Consultant and teacher who lectures on a variety of health related topics and the mind and body connection. She specializes in helping clients make dietary and lifestyle changes to achieve optimal wellness. She has a private practice in South Salem, N.Y. and can be reached at (914)-763-9107. Her training is in Holistic Nutrition from the American Academy of Nutrition, and she is in the final stages of completing a Masters in Science in Clinical Nutrition from Bridgeport University.