The New Yorker

Big news this week: my letter to the editor was published in the New Yorker. If you're like me, you get sucked into reading The Mail every week, so by the time the next issue arrives, you've barely made it to Talk of the Town. When I heard that my letter might be included, I was over the moon - especially because it's such an important topic.

My original letter was heavily edited, so I've included the first draft below.

In case you're wondering what prompted my response, here's the original article. The author is thisclose to hitting the nail on the head, especially when she's quoting Tom Wadden and William Dietz, but never quite gets to what I think is the crux of the matter; namely, that we have created a society where weight loss is nearly impossible - and more importantly, that we have the power to change that!

The problem starts at the highest echelons of government and trickles down through conventional medical education all the way to the obesity epidemic. All is not lost yet, but without change on every level, the article's hypothesis may very well come to pass.

I think we can do much, much better. And I'm committed to doing my part to see it through.

xo
E

***************************

from: emily wade
to: themail@newyorker.com
date: Tue, Oct 4, 2016 at 9:30 PM
subject: Letter to the Editor re: "Bariatric Surgery: The Solution to Obesity?"

Before we all rush off to get bariatric surgery, it would be smart to examine exactly why diets and exercise don't work for obese patients.

First is a systemic problem with medical education. Many doctors are trained to treat symptoms instead of uncover the root cause of disease, and nutrition education in medical school is often minimal. 

Second, patients need more support in making these tough lifestyle changes. Doctors might advise their patients to eat right and exercise, but without any follow-up or a clear plan of action, success is unlikely. 

In addition, patients need more tests, and insurance needs to cover those. Obese patients are often battling dysbiosis, psychological issues, food sensitivities or addictions, or hormonal imbalances, all of which can contribute to the inability to lose weight. Without diagnosing and addressing these contributing factors, patients are more likely to struggle. 

Finally, the biggest hurdle: the food system in the US. People are eating foods that contribute to obesity because these foods are accessible, cheap, easy to prepare, tasty, addictive, and because people are largely misinformed about what's healthy (the low-fat movement discussed in the article is just one such example). 

Obese patients need a holistic, personalized program in conjunction with ongoing support so they can make lasting behavioral change without feeling overwhelmed or giving up. Diets & exercise do work, but there is not a one size fits all solution, and we need to provide patients with not only a strategy, but also the support to help them see it through.

-Emily Adams, Certified Nutrition Consultant





Eating for Mental Health

This is part 4 of a 4-part series designed for Bend + Bloom Yoga's May Challenge. Click to read Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3.

Just as the final limbs of yoga highlight the unity of the Self & the Divine, there is a very close link between your gut and your brain. Supporting your gut through proper nutrition can improve general mental health, and may facilitate the mental fortitude necessary to explore these advanced yogic techniques.

Probiotics are "friendly" gut bacteria that help nourish our gastrointestinal tract and protect against the bad bacteria that comes from excess consumption of sugar, processed foods, alcohol, or medications. Probiotics are found in naturally fermented foods like real pickles, kimchi, kombucha, or real sauerkraut (not the fake stuff with vinegar).

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Homemade Sauerkraut
1 head green cabbage
1.5 T. salt
1 T. pickling spices (optional)
Large glass jar
A weight that fits inside your glass jar (e.g., a smaller jar filled with pie weights)
Cheesecloth & rubber band

Chop cabbage into thin slices. Mix the cabbage and salt together in a big mixing bowl and massage it together with your hands until it wilts & gets juicy, about 5 minutes. Fold in optional pickling spices and transfer cabbage (and its juices) to a large glass container, pushing it down as you go. Place a weight on top of the cabbage. Place cheesecloth over the mouth of the glass container and secure it with a rubber band.

Over the next 24 hours, press down on the weight every so often until you end up with a layer of liquid on top of the cabbage, completely submerging it.

Keep the cabbage on a countertop away from direct sunlight. After 5 days, taste the sauerkraut. You’ll know when it’s done by how it tastes - it could take 10 days or more. Once it’s done, pop a lid on the glass container and transfer it to the fridge.

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Awareness in Eating

This is part 3 of a 4-part series about healthy eating as it relates to yogic principles, designed for Bend + Bloom Yoga's May Challenge. Click to read Part 1, Part 2, or Part 4.

When it comes to eating, hunger can derail the best of intentions. Who hasn’t made a 3-o’clock trip to the office cookie jar after skipping lunch? That’s because when your blood sugar is low, your cells send a message to your brain that they need fuel - and quick. This translates to a primal craving for simple carbohydrates like sugar … and a biochemical response that makes willpower and mindful eating nearly impossible.

Snacking is the secret weapon that will help you stay on track and maintain awareness in all your eating choices. It sounds counterintuitive: eat more, weigh less. But it works because you end up making better decisions (read: you’re more aware) when you aren’t famished.

Of course, snacks have to be healthy to be helpful. This week’s recipe provides complex carbohydrates to satisfy your cells, but also offers plant protein and healthy fats that will keep you satiated for longer.

Plus, these things are delicious! Enjoy your third week of the May Challenge, and have fun testing your ability to maintain mindfulness on the mat and off.

Homemade Snack Bars

2 c. nuts your choice (almonds and cashews work well)
1 c. dried fruit of your choice (I like apricots but feel free to get creative!)
½ t. Spice of your choice (optional, but I love cinnamon and allspice)
2 T. coconut oil, melted (more or less depending on your nut choices)

Place first three ingredients in a food processor and pulse until pulverized. With the food processor running, slowly add as much coconut oil as you need to make the mixture congeal into a batter-like consistency. Roll out batter to ½” thick on a silpat or other flat surface. Use a pizza cutter to slice into bar shapes. Carefully wrap bars in parchment or wax paper and put in the refrigerator until they’re set. Enjoy!

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Eating for Respiratory Health

This is part 2 of a 4-part series about healthy eating as it relates to yogic principles, designed for Bend + Bloom Yoga's annual May Challenge. Click to read Part 1Part 3, or Part 4.

You’ll be breathing a lot this week, so take good care of your lungs! Here’s how:
  1. Take a deep breath before you eat: this shifts your nervous system into a parasympathetic state ("rest & digest"), crucial for optimal digestion. Yep, that's right: your lungs help you digest!
  2. Pump some iron: Iron is essential for transferring oxygen in your blood from the lungs to the tissues and storing oxygen. Spinach is a great plant source of iron.
  3. Stop the sneeze: Just like pollen, allergenic foods can have respiratory effects. The Big 8 allergens are wheat, dairy, corn, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, and soy. In addition, inflammation from eating foods like refined carbohydrates (flour, sugar) and alcohol can negatively impact lung health.
  4. Add antioxidants: counter the oxidative effects of air pollution and smoke by consuming antioxidant-rich foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds.
Support your lung health with this antioxidant-rich, hypoallergenic smoothie bowl.



Smoothie Bowl

It’s amazing what you can throw into a smoothie! I like to add whatever I have lying around that may not get used otherwise: carrots, ½ avocado, ½ apple, nut milk, nutritional yeast, seaweed flakes… the list goes on!
½ c. filtered water
½ banana or mango
½ c. frozen organic berries
Big handful organic spinach (baby spinach is OK too!)
Small handful nuts of your choice (omit if
1 T. chia seeds
Top with shredded coconut, toasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or nut butter

Place water into blender. Add next 5 ingredients and puree to desired consistency, about 15-30 seconds. Pour into a bowl, add toppings, and enjoy!


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Sources:
https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/hemoglobin_and_functions_of_iron/
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=70

Nutrition for Inner Strength

This is part 1 of a 4-part series about healthy eating as it relates to yogic principles, designed for Bend + Bloom Yoga's May Challenge. Click to read Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

What we eat directly affects how we feel mentally, emotionally, and physically. Proper nutrition can strengthen our bodies and minds.

On a physical level, protein is responsible for building muscle. It is also a slow-burning energy source, which means that eating protein helps us feel satiated for a long time. Hunger can derail health, and protein is one of our best defenses against it.

Animal foods are the best source of protein because they are complete (meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids), but we must take care when choosing animal foods due to health, ethical, and environmental concerns. Pastured eggs are sustainably farmed and provide optimal health because hens roam free and graze on natural feed. The nutritional benefits are obvious in the orange color and robustness of the yolks, which are rounder and more orange than factory-farmed eggs, signifying a higher beta-carotene content and an overall healthier egg.

Starting your day with an egg breakfast is an excellent way to stabilize blood sugar, prevent hunger, and give your body the protein it needs for inner and outer strength. This easy recipe takes just a few minutes to prepare and can be adapted based on what you have on hand.


Easy Egg Breakfast
The simplest way to enjoy this breakfast is to follow the below recipe as-is, but it’s also super-easy to jazz up and enjoy for lunch or dinner, too. Serve over ¼ cup of rice, beans, lentils, grains, or a sprouted organic corn tortilla. Fake a shakshuka by placing eggs over warm crushed tomatoes. Top with Sriracha, hot sauce, a sliced avocado, sprouts, chives/scallions, paprika, microgreens, and/or toasted sesame seeds. Pair with pastured bacon on the weekends. #putaneggonit! You can pair this with almost anything - be creative!

Extra-virgin olive oil, more if needed
Pastured butter
2-3 pastured eggs (organic or free-range are good too if you can’t find pastured)
Handful of organic dark green leafy vegetable like kale, chopped as needed (I get boxed baby kale for easy grabbing - no chopping necessary)
Salt & pepper

First, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot (about 1 minute), turn the heat down to just over medium, and melt a few swirls of olive oil with a pat of butter. Once the butter is fully melted, gently crack the eggs directly into the pan. Cook for 1 minute and move to the side of the pan so you can add the greens to the pan (you may need to add a bit more olive oil). Cook until greens have wilted, about another minute or so. At this point I flip the eggs and turn off the heat, cooking them just until the whites are set. Season with salt & pepper, transfer to a plate, and serve immediately.

Sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20048505
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