Are You Eating to Please?

Byline: Jane Schwartz and Stephanie Goodman

eat to pleasePeer Pressure: “The social influence a peer group exerts on its individual members, as each member attempts to conform to the expectations of the group.”

Now we know what you’re thinking – most people view peer pressure as something related to drugs, smoking, or sex. But what about food peer pressure? We see this all the time with our clients, who despite good intentions find themselves either overeating or giving in to foods they may not normally eat simply because they can’t say “no thanks” or don’t want to draw attention to themselves by looking like a party pooper.

Not sure if you fall into this category?

See if you recognize yourself in one or more of the following situations:

  • You are out with friends or work associates and you realize you are full, but the people around you are still eating…so you keep eating.
  • You are out to dinner and everyone at the table orders dessert. You are no longer hungry or you don’t typically eat dessert, but you don’t want to be the odd one out…so you wind up ordering anyway.
  • You are at a friend’s or relative’s house for dinner and you feel as if you are being rude by not finishing the food you are given…so you eat everything on your plate way past the point of being full.
  • You are self-conscious that others will think you are wasting food (or you believe this yourself)…so you clean your plate.

Get the picture? Rather than listening to your body’s signals and stopping at the appropriate time or honoring your healthy lifestyle, you end up eating to please others instead. Not only are you asking a lot of your digestive system, you are also not giving your body the respect it deserves.

Let’s flip the above situations around.

Take a step back and notice how you feel viewing these scenarios through a different lens:

  • You are out with coworkers and while everyone else continues to eat, one coworker has stopped but is still fully participating in the conversation and enjoying herself.
  • You have company over for dinner and one guest leaves some food on her plate.
  • You are out to dinner and one friend chooses not to order dessert and just gets some tea.
  • When out at a restaurant, you notice that a friend does not finish the food on her plate and allows the waitress to take the food away (and put it in the trash), or she asks for a container to take the leftovers home with her.

Feel any different? Are you judging your friends for not overstuffing themselves? We are guessing the answer is NO. Here’s the thing: you need to stop worrying so much about what people think – especially to the amount that it affects your health. Get past this obstacle and see how much easier it becomes to regulate your intake of food.

Here are some strategies and motivating thoughts to keep in your toolbox:

Don’t be afraid to be honest. The simple statements of “I’m not hungry,” “I’ve had enough,” or “I’m trying to eat healthier” can work just fine. Practice this before you leave the house.

Remember, you are in control. If you wind up with a piece of pie, a bowl of chips, a bread basket, or leftover food in front of you, remember that you’re in control. Take a deep breath. You can always set the fork down, keep your fingers in your lap, or simply eat just a small portion. Most importantly, if you have room and you want to partake, go right ahead! Give yourself permission. Just be sure to eat slowly and enjoy every bite. AND, make sure it’s YOU driving the decision, not pressure from the outside.

It’s your body. What you put into your body matters. If the choice is between “wasting” food (or “waisting” it!), remind yourself that you don’t need to be a human garbage can. In lieu of leaving the table feeling stuffed and uncomfortable, feel good about the decision that you are taking care of your body, not abusing it.

So tell us, do you eat to please? We’d love to hear from you.

Jane Schwartz, RD and Stephanie Goodman, CNC are The Nourishing Gurus. Together they help women resolve weight, energy and digestive issues so they can feel vibrant and achieve lasting long-term health. Be sure to check out their Facebook page and receive their free email series “Ditch the Bloat” here.

7 Simple Steps to Looking and Feeling 10 Years Younger

This is a guest post by Sukie Baxter.

Growing older is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you have to feel like you were born when rocks were soft and dirt was newly discovered. Have you ever heard the saying that age is simply a mindset? Well, this is half true. Certainly, if you focus on being happy and leading an active life, you’ll be less likely to notice the years passing. But what about when age related conditions such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure set in? It’s difficult to defy your chronological age when physical dis-ease is holding you back from doing the things you love.

But, believe it or not, there’s an underlying thread connecting not only these conditions but also depression, memory loss, fatigue, digestive disease, fibromyalgia, allergies, lupus, psoriasis, diabetes and autoimmune disorders. Chronic, systemic inflammation
is the root cause of all diseases and also triggers early aging. In fact, elevated C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker, is the strongest predictor of a future heart attack, much stronger than cholesterol levels!

So, what causes systemic inflammation? There are several factors, but fortunately, all of them can be controlled or eliminated. Below are seven keys to reducing systemic inflammation, which will leave you with fewer aches and pains, younger looking skin, a stronger immune system and more energy for life!

1 . Consume foods that are raw or cooked at low temperatures.

Cooking food on high heat chemically alters the sugars and fats, creating glycotoxins, the same residual matter produced in your skin and joint tissues as a result of normal aging. Consuming foods high in glycotoxins – i.e. cooked at high temperatures – promotes the formation of glycotoxins in our tissues, accelerating the aging process and contributing to increased levels of systemic inflammation, according a National Academy of Sciences study.

A Mt. Sinai Medical Center study compared levels of glycotoxins in two groups of participants. One group followed a normal western diet while the other group avoided grilling, frying or baking their food in favor of poaching, stewing, or steaming their meals. The latter group showed a 60% reduction in blood levels of inflammatory markers after four months, so it stands to reason that a healthy dose of raw veggies each day will help keep the doctor away!

2 . Eliminate food sensitivities.

Allergies first happen on the cellular level with the production of white blood cells to fend off the ‘foreign invader.’ As we age, foods that didn’t used to bother us, like dairy or wheat, can become problematic. Constant consumption of foods that create cell-level inflammation can lead to systemic issues down the road. If you suspect that you have a food allergy, consult a qualified naturopath who can assist you with an elimination diet to determine which foods are the culprits, and then avoid those like the plague.

3 . Eliminate sugar, starch and refined carbohydrates.

Anything white or foods that can be bleached white like bread, flour, rice, corn, sugar, cereals, baked goods, etc, will cause inflammation. Carbohydrates create an insulin spike that puts your body on red alert, causing the production of arachidonic acid, a pro-inflammatory agent. Look for foods with a low glycemic index that will not cause insulin spikes to keep your inflammation levels in check.

4 . Take magnesium!

A 2005 article in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition demonstrated that as magnesium levels fall, C-reactive protein levels rise. Even worse, the study found that most adults consume less than the daily recommended amount of magnesium (between 310 and 420 mg).

There are no foods that contain large amounts of magnesium, and this might be responsible for our nationwide deficiency. We are constantly reminded by the dairy industry to get enough calcium and by the orange juice companies to drink up for vitamin C, but no one is pushing magnesium, so we don’t really think about it. Also, most of us now drink bottled or softened water instead of well or spring water that is rich in magnesium.

Since dietary magnesium can be difficult to absorb, I recommend using transdermal magnesium oil from Ancient Minerals for direct delivery into the blood stream.

5 . Reduce stress and get more sleep.

There’s good stress, like that of entering a sports competition or going on a first date, and there’s bad stress. Bad stress tends to be chronic, like a cranky boss, a job you hate, financial worries or even a poor
diet. Chronic physical and psychological pressure results in elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol. High levels of cortisol are linked to increased systemic inflammation. In addition, a study conducted by the Emory University School of Medicine in partnership with the Morehouse School of Medicine found that acute sleep deprivation resulted in elevated inflammatory hormones.

So, it stands to reason that taking time to alleviate stress will result in increased levels of health. Taking magnesium, as I mentioned in #4, will help you to sleep more soundly, but there are other strategies you can use to reduce stress such as getting regular massages and diffusing stress relieving essential oils into your home or office (I recommend a blend of lavender and peppermint…smells delicious!).

6 . Take systemic enzymes.

If you’re suffering from painful conditions like arthritis, back and neck pain or muscle stiffness, systemic enzymes will be your best friend. Whereas most people treat pain with NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
drugs) like ibuprofen and aspirin, these medications only cover up the pain without addressing the root cause. Systemic enzymes, on the other hand, work holistically throughout the body to clean up excessive fibrin. When fibrin is too thick, it restricts blood flow, which slows healing and makes it impossible for your circulatory system to remove metabolic waste that causes further pain and inflammation. Systemic enzymes are available at most health food and supplement stores.

7 . Soak up the sunshine!

Whenever somebody moves to my hometown of Seattle, the first thing I suggest is to start taking supplemental vitamin D right away! We have one of the highest incidences in multiple sclerosis in the entire nation, and it’s
all because cloudy skies cause vitamin D deficiency. But we’re not the only ones!

According to a recent study from the Archives of Internal Medicine, 75% of Americans aren’t getting enough of the sunshine vitamin. A nutrition science researcher at the University of Missouri discovered that a slight drop in vitamin D levels caused increased inflammation even in healthy women.

You can get more vitamin D by exposing 25% of your skin to sunlight for 10 minutes a day, three days per week. Consuming fatty fish is a good dietary source of vitamin D, or you can choose to take dietary supplements. The amount you need to take depends
on your geographical location. Those who live in cloudy cities (like Seattle) will need to take significantly more vitamin D.

Clearly, inflammation is on the rise, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a victim. By taking simple steps to eliminate pro-inflammatory agents from your diet and environment and feeding your body the right nutrients, you can avoid a lot of the common age related symptoms. That means more life in your years, so get out there and play!

Sukie Baxter is an anti aging and longevity specialist who helps you defy your age! You can get tons of rejuvenation secrets and discover your younger, happier self at!