All posts in DietWhore

Jessica Simpson losing points because of Pregnancy?

US Weekly reports that Jessica Simpson is pregnant. Again. Not only does the lucky *&^%$ have a fashion empire and a lucrative contract with Weight Watchers, but she’s clearly blessed with the gift of fertility! My heart goes out to all my TTC sisters out there who might be just a tad jealous of Ms. Simpson’s latest news. Our time will come ladies.

So what does Weight Watchers (WW) have to say about all this? Well, pretty much nothing according to US.  After all, pregnancy is hardly the ideal time to be counting calories unless you’re morbidly obese and it might impair the growth of your fetus. Here’s WW’s response to the beautiful news:

“Any questions related to Jessica’s personal life can only be answered by her team,” Stephanie Schulman, Weight Watchers’ public relations manager, told E! News Wednesday. “We do not disclose financial details about our relationships with any of our ambassadors.”
Is this a cold shoulder from the women’s weight loss chain capital!? It kind of sounds like one to me. How about a congratulations? Or a cheers! Something like “This point’s on us, Jessica.” I understand the need to protect the precious corporate entity, but WW should know that women everywhere are watching to see what they’ll do next. A passive statement like the one already released, just doesn’t cut it.

So what ARE the legal ramifications when pregnancy prevents one from following through on their end of a contract? Is this considered an act of God? I know some certainly think so. Wouldn’t WW walking away from an inked deal count as pregnancy discrimination? Yet how can Jessica uphold her duties as a weight loss spokesperson while trying to grow a baby? Perhaps they’ll view her pregnancy as a 9-month hiatus or maternity leave?

Regardless, WW better proceed with caution.

After all, a  lawsuit against Sisley Cosmetics is underway because Sisley managers asked “questions about [a female employee’s] future reproductive plans who strongly implied that a second child “wouldn’t be good for her job” and all but threatened to make her “redundant” by eliminating her position.” If this is true, it’s very uncool Sisley. I don’t know how they do things in France, but in the United States pregnancy discrimination is illegal and violates Title VII of the  1964 Civil Rights Act, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of  1978.

Also recently, a Price is Right model prevailed in her lawsuit against the show claiming similar discrimination. She alleged that she wasn’t able to return to the show after maternity leave because she had been pregnant. The production company responsible for Price is Right hopes to appeal, claiming that the Jury wasn’t allowed to consider evidence that 40% of their models have had children.
Considering these recent lawsuits,  WW responses going forward will say a lot about the company’s culture, PR and marketing teams. I personally think they should embrace Jessica’s pregnancy and chart her progress as she nurtures her body to a healthy pregnancy weight. While caloric needs are different for expectant mothers, there’s no reason Jessica needs to gain 70 pounds this time around. WW should be able to work with that in a way that extends their reach beyond the everyday woman just trying to slim down.  No lawsuits required.

Nice to Meat You

I remember the day I decided to become a Vegetarian. 

I was 14-years old staring down at my plate with contempt as the rest of my family sat around the table happily chomping on chicken thighs. It just looked so disgusting, that sad, slippery piece of flesh waiting there for me to devour it. Meat had ALWAYS seemed GROSS. For as long as I could remember, it was the last to leave my dish, no peas left to re-arrange. But now I was a teenager. I had opinions. I had ideas. I had the will to be different. And so I decided not to eat meat ever again, right then and there. When my mother made a comment about “wasting food,” I declared abruptly, “I am a vegetarian now.” I pushed my plate aside and smiled victoriously as my dad shot me an exasperated glance. “You heard me,” I had said confidently. “NO MORE Meat.”

It took a few years for them AND me to adjust. I went through a carb phase, bingeing on pizza and pasta. I’d given up chicken, beef, fish, and pork, so what was left? Back then books and magazines were my only source for nutrition information. Google wasn’t an option in 1994 and I was too busy with high school concerns anyway. Nutrition? All I cared about then was staying skinny, writing bad poetry, sneaking downtown to punk rock shows, and of course, not eating meat. I was fine having  french fries for dinner.

My family was confused, however. My parents piled my plate high with mashed potatoes and green beans at Thanksgiving per my request, but usually included a small slice of Turkey, “just in case.” And I couldn’t go through a holiday dinner without some comment about my decision. “Don’t you want just a little taste of ham?” My aunt would ask. “But it’s Christmas Eve!” my Grandmother would squawk when I’d decline for the trillionth time, as if I’d insulted baby Jesus himself.

Then in college, I went through my Morningstar Farms period. I lived on veggie chicken nuggets. Fake buffalo wings. Veggies Burgers ground up with scrambled eggs. And cheese. SO. MUCH. CHEESE. (This was before I knew about my dairy allergy). Fruits and vegetables were thrown in there of course, but I was seduced by the clever marketing of the early 2000s. “Soy Protein is the BEST Protein,” they said. It’s all you need! And so easy. If it came from Soy it had to be healthy, right? It was meat-free, after all. A day didn’t go by when I didn’t have some form of processed soy product for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Soon enough, I became sick of fake meat products. This was around the time that the trends were changing. Apparently, there was  a Dark Side of Soy. One food expert even said that ‘Soy protein isolate was invented for use in cardboard, It hasn’t actually been approved as a food ingredient.’ I also began reading labels and noticed that Soy was everywhere. Mary Vance Terrain said it best in her 2007 article about Soy:

“Soy is everywhere in our food supply, as the star in cereals and health-promoting foods and hidden in processed foods. Even if you read every label and avoid cardboard boxes, you are likely to find soy in your supplements and vitamins (look out for vitamin E derived from soy oil), in foods such as canned tuna, soups, sauces, breads, meats (injected under poultry skin), and chocolate, and in pet food and body-care products. It hides in tofu dogs under aliases such as textured vegetable protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, and lecithin–which is troubling, since the processing required to hydrolyze soy protein into vegetable protein produces excitotoxins such as glutamate (think MSG) and aspartate (a component of aspartame), which cause brain-cell death.”

So I did what any prudent consumer would do, I switched out my Soy milk for Almond Breeze. I went on a vigilant hunt for a new protein. I was already eating a few bean burritos a week, but I felt like something was missing.  I decided, one day when a plate of lime soaked ceviche was placed in front of me, that it was time to start eating fish again. I reluctantly relinquished the title of octo-lavo vegetarian for the less glamorous option of pescatarian – or one who eats creatures of the sea.

This worked for a while, but then fish started to scare me too. In 2008 Jeremy Piven got mercury poisoning from too much sushi. I was doomed. That’s all anyway ever wanted to do in Los Angeles. “Getting sushi” was the dinner of choice for most of my late 20’s.

Worse still, was all the press about PCBs. This large group of related chemicals is typically found in fish obtained near industrial areas. But most of the fish we find in the grocery store is farm raised, so I was OK, right? I pictured lovely little fish farms full of smiling happy fish swimming along merrily. But not so reported CNN in a January 2010 article. “Studies found that farmed salmon had higher levels of contaminants than wild salmon did, ” they said. CNN clarified that the benefits of eating ANY fish far outweigh the risks, however. Whew. But I was still concerned and as a result, I started thinking. And researching.

Now 15 years after my initial decision to stop eating beef, chicken, and other animals of the mammal variety, I couldn’t remember what truly motivated me to stop eating meat over a decade ago. When people asked me why I had stopped eating it, I didn’t really have an answer. “Did I think it was healthier,” they wondered. “Or perhaps it was for ethical reasons?” they’d implore. “Not really,” I’d answer. “I just think it’s gross.” But I was beginning to question that logic and truth be told, I was bored. I was bored with shrimp. I was completely turned off by salmon. And well, there was no really GOOD Mexican place by my new condo. My husband’s ribs were looking better and better.

I began reading blogs like 100 Days of Real Food. These people were dedicated to eating healthy, unprocessed foods, but they still ate  meat occasionally. Lisa Leake, the author of the blog, called her family flexitarians.  They viewed meat as a side dish rather than the main event. Maybe I could do that. I didn’t have to be all or nothing.

I also considered the many healthy meat eaters I know. Two of the oldest living members of my family, my Grandmother at 89 and my Grandfather at 94, have been eating cow tongues and lamb shanks for their entire lives. They’ve no cancer. They’ve no serious afflictions aside from the detriment of old-age. I’d love to look like my granny at almost 90.

I wasn’t thinking about all of this a few nights ago when I sat with my husband at a chain BBQ joint after work. I was hungry, but I didn’t want fish. I didn’t want a salad. I wanted barbecue sauce all over my face. I wanted bits of flesh in my teeth that I’d later dig from my gums with floss, satisfied and full of animal. And so I did it. I ordered three juicy ribs and they were delicious. I’m pretty sure I can no  longer refer to myself as a vegetarian and I’m just fine with that.

Perfection IS Possible

I have a new found respect for Gwyneth Paltrow. Where I once scoffed at her graceful cellulite-free legs as the product of good genetics (just like her movie career), I now gape in awe, mouth open and drooling with hunger. By trying the Tracy Anderson Method diet plan for just 3 days, I’ve learned that Gwyneth Paltrow, or GP, earns every ounce, or lack thereof, of that body she proudly displays on this month’s Harper’s Bazaar Cover.

For the last several years, I’ve watched my cousin in law transform just as GP has. She’s gone from beautiful blond with a few extra pounds, to beautiful blond supermodel. She’s now lean and svelte like a ballet dancer, but looks sturdy and strong. No wind will blow her over, despite long thin legs and jiggle free abs. At my Hawaii wedding this summer, she proudly thanked the Tracy Anderson Method for her body’s metamorphosis. Even my husband remarked that she looked “Hot!” Annoying, YES. But also very motivating.

I just had to try it. Read about what happened on my personal blog by clicking here!

Attack of the H.U.M.A.N. vending machine!

Healthy Vending Does Exist!

It’s 3 PM and you’re hungry. Sequestered to your desk like a convict on house arrest, you’ve spent the hours between lunch and now tickling your PC’s ten key, while politely disagreeing with your co-worker’s choice of power point theme via email. You haven’t left your station once, so why are you SO  hungry? Your brain has been gobbling up glucose like a vacuum cleaner after dog hair. The most important organ in your body needs fuel. Now.

Walking briskly to the company lunch room, you have hope. Maybe this time the woman who stocks the vending machine will have deviated from potato chips and preservative plumped pastries. Maybe this time you’ll walk away from that lunch room and that vending machine, having sacrificed the change from your desk drawer willingly. Maybe this time you’ll actually get some FOOD, instead of a hunk of sugar with an ingredient list so foreign it might as well have been written in Alien…

But just like yesterday and all the days before that, nothing has changed. The case of high fructose corn syrup candy and oil fried corn chips taunt you from their coil posts. You have that same feeling you get when you hopefully unwrap a birthday gift from Grandma, disappointed to discover a glass cat figurine (you are NOT a cat person). If only there was a another way. If only there was a vending machine that swapped out Alien snacks for something REAL.

That’s the way H.U.M.A.N founder Sean Kelly felt after a grueling workout in NYC several years ago. Hungry as hell after kicking his own a$$ at New York Sports Club, he discovered he was surrounded by bleached flower bagel shops and empty calorie soda machines.  A light went on. Necessity is the mother of invention and Sean was about to be the answer to his body’s, AND society’s, greatest need.

As he explains in H.U.M.A.N.’s handbook, “The fact was that there was a serious void in the market and it was having a disastrous effect on peoples’ lives. Thoughts of obesity, diabetes, and malnutrition filled my head.”

From there the first H.U.M.A.N. Healthy Vending Machine was born. But it wasn’t without its highs and lows. Sean explains that in 2003 the operation wasn’t “all smiles.” He’s smiling now, however, because without these mistakes H.U.M.A.N. would not be what it is today, Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Top 100 Brilliant Companies of 2011”, Forbes Magazine’s “America’s Most Promising Companies,” and  CNN Money’s “10 Generation Next Entrepreneurs to Watch.”

For more about bringing healthy vending, through nutritious drinks and foods, into your workplace (goodbye Vending Machine Lady!), gym, or school, visit the H.U.M.A.N website. I certainly plan to spend some time there and might see if I can get a H.U.M.A.N. in my living room.

Delicious Blog – 100 Days of Real Food

Articles and blogs on fitness and nutrition always catch my eye (duh). One in particular reeled me in. I am now a willing fish, ready to bite real food made by real people!

100 Days of Real Food showcases a family of four and their quest to kick processed foods out of their diet. Sounds like the work of a stay at home mom, right? Right. Though the blog’s popularity probably makes for one busy lady (I post rarely, this woman posts more than daily)! Luckily, the author is just as real as the food she prepares.

In her post Day 7: Break From The Kitchen she shares: “Last night a friend of mine asked me if I am having to cook a lot…and the answer to that is YES. I feel like I am running my dishwasher at least two times a day (it used to be only once a day), but some days I do manage to get more of a break from the kitchen than others.” I thank Lisa for not-glamorizing the difficult task of preparing and cooking and cleaning. That alone is a daunting task. Throw in some very strict rules and you have just created a challenge only Super Woman could handle.

The moral of the story, eating real food is a full-time job! However, Lisa has been nice enough to share a meal plan with those brave enough to prepare every single using unprocessed ingredients. Check it out by liking her Facebook page.

While Lisa’s method is unrealistic for my current life style (work, school, AHHHH!) I’ve discovered some delicious and surprisingly quick tips in her plan. The egg salad, for example, sounds DELISH!

BJ’s Elightened Menu – AMAZING!

With only 11 days left until my Hawaii wedding, I’m doing whatever I can to fill my body with low calorie fuel. Being a pescatarian, this can be a difficult feat, but not so with a BJ’s Brew House right around the corner from my new spot.

Last night I devoured BJ’s Creole Tilapia, which is supposedly under 575 calories! I say supposedly because it was SO GOOD that I have a hard time believing this lemony buttery tasting fish, rice, and salad dish had skimped on anything.

This was my first time at BJ’s and I will more certainly be back for another bite!

Click here to go directly to BJ’s Enlightened Menu.

Tell me more Mendocino Farms

So, after a 2nd follow-up, I finally got a response from the Mendocino Farms Team about their nutrition info. Maybe they were too busy concocting delicious teas and dreaming up succulent salads to get back to me the first time!? Nonetheless, I’ll forgive them, because believe it or not, quick, healthy, vegetarian options aren’t as easy to come by as one Los Angeleno might think.

See below for info fresh from the farm.

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Hi FitnessWhore,

Sorry I didn’t get back to you about this. It’s totally my fault. We haven’t calculated the nutritional information, and we probably won’t carry that info until we grow to a few more locations. But I can definitely share the ingredients with you! We’re using Morningstar Farms Veggie Bacon and they have a nutrition label available on their site. http://www.morningstarfarms.com/products_veggie-bacon-strips.aspx

We use Vegenaise – here is a link to their nutrition label http://www.followyourheart.com/products.php?id=3

Unfortunately I don’t have any information on the pepperjack (4 slices per sandwich), tomato, greens, red onions, or sourdough wheat bread. It might not be the lowest calorie sandwich on our menu – but we’ve kept it on as a vegetarian alternative to a BLT. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best, Isabelle