Food is hard. But I’m Going to Keep Going Anyway.

2BuyAgPicWhen I started this blog and coaching business, last year, I was at the top of my game. Eating better than I ever had before, exercising nearly every day, AND I had just lost about 25 lbs. After years of battling my body, battling food and battling nutrition, I felt like I had the eye of the tiger!

And the truth is, I did… what I did not expect was that I would blossom into a Family Food Coach. Coaching has been amazing, but it has also been heartbreaking.

I have watched the pain of eating disorders, and how disordered eating and disordered thinking about food affects entire families. I have witnessed mothers and fathers who were DESPERATE for their children to eat, many of whom made amazing progress, some of which made progress and decided that Food Therapy was the next step (which is a GIFT to parents of kiddos with sensory issues and other major obstacles around food, and I cannot recommend it enough)-and a fair few that confessed to me, “Maybe I’m the one with the food issues.”

I was left with this question, time and time, again, “Why is food so hard?”

Where does our food come from? Does it matter? Why is junk so bad for us, but we love it so much? Why do we eat NINE plates of heaping food at Thanksgiving? Why do some people struggle with eating enough, while others binge eat, and BOTH confess the same thoughts and feelings about themselves, their bodies and food? Why does a vegan wake up one day and decide to eat a cheeseburger? Why does a lifelong meat eater decide to go veggie? When did we stop serving home cooked food at schools? Who decided chicken nuggets were a good idea? Why do we demonize potatoes, bread and more? Why does everyone keep yelling at each other about organics and GMO’s? The rabbit hole is long and vast.

And when our family’s life took a dramatic turn 7 months ago, I was met head on with how hard food still is for me. Anxiety is easily quelled with a donut-or my favorite food guilty pleasure, Filet-O-Fish. Don’t judge me. It’s hot and the bun is soft, and it reminds me of my childhood. Food is hard.

I coached a Whole30 group at the beginning of the year, and while I was cheering them on, I was miserable. Not from the Whole30-it’s an amazing plan, and it did wonders for me, but because I had so much LIFE on my plate, that I couldn’t get excited about returning to peak shape. On day 31 of my THIRD (my second public) Whole30, I fell face first into a giant plate of fluffy buttery pancakes.
Food is hard.

I began to read comments on social media shaming folks for what they eat or what their kids eat. Shaming people for not knowing what macros are. Telling folks that the information is out there, you just have to want to find it. Folks who have always been thin who attempt to tell folks who have always struggled with weight how to eat better and more. I listened to women lament anniversary breakfasts and amazing first dates complete with dessert because it “ruined” their food day.
Food is so damn hard.

I heard story after story about little kids who go hungry over the weekends and summers when school food isn’t there for them. Watched debates over how much food we should serve these kids while they are at school, and now, even proposals to essentially do away with free and reduced lunch. Saw how an agency named the School Nutrition Association spoke in the name of all lunch servers and school food directors claiming that kids don’t eat the healthy food (although it had been proven that they do, and especially the kids in need, do). All the while NOT telling folks that they are a Political Action Committee funded by food giants. Food giants who just so happen to benefit from selling and serving junk to our kids. And listened with jaw dropped when this same agency, recommended that we repeal the healthy food requirements of school and then RAISE the price. In other words, less nutritious food (cheaper to make) for more money, which means those food giants make even more money. But you know, kids, they can eat whatever they want and not worry. As obesity rates and type 2 diabetes rates skyrocket among the youngest of us.
Food is hard.

I’ve watched the debate over GMO’s and Organic foods catch fire. Watched as the sides explode with anger and accusations. Yet, neither one is listening. Went to an Organic Farming conference and learned first hand some of the major issues of coexistence. Most of which no one is willing to acknowledge-including the folks who think they are making a case for organics, and just as much from those who are merely regurgitating talking points from GMO producers.
Food is hard.

Most of all, I have watched my own little bundles of joy blossom into great food lovers. But just like me, when the going got tough, they reverted back to the their happy foods. Buttery toast (albeit whole wheat) and strawberries for one, and Ramen (albeit with veg) for the other. Not terrible, but not the varied and beautiful diet I was foolishly so damn proud of. Food is important. Food brings us comfort. Food helps us. And it can also do the opposite. I’m learning more everyday. And I’m re-committed to helping you learn more, too.

Because food is hard. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. We’ll figure it out together.

Ginger xo

Veggies Are Officially Foodie Darlings! 7 Ways To Eat More!

NPR posted a great article about how veg are taking over plates, and it’s expected to continue on well into next year and beyond.  You know I love me some vegetables, so I must say, I did a little happy dance!

Vegetables have become the darling of true foodies in the way meat did a few years ago.   It’s good news, too.   There is no single food habit that is a greater marker of long term health and weight maintenance than eating veg.   In the Harvard Health study, the single biggest indicator of long term health was vegetable consumption.    The healthiest individuals (over 12-20 years) were those that average 3.1 MORE servings of vegetables per day than their counterparts.

What’s more, the same study found that WHAT you eat is far far far more important that HOW MUCH you eat.  Which continues to be the opposite of what the diet industry tells us and sells us.  So the fact that veg are the new food darlings is welcome news indeed!

And to help you out, I wanted to give you a few tips about how to add more vegetables to your life.  Oh yeah, and beans (like garbanzo, lentils, etc) are not veg, they are proteins/starches, and potatoes (white or sweet), corn and green peas are also starches.   That isn’t to say those things  are unhealthy or that they don’t have a place on your plate!  They do.  Just not in the vegetable category!

7 ways to eat MORE vegetables: Continue reading

Food In The News: Congress Repeals COOL

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

So a thing happened that concerns all of us. Congress repealed COOL-Country Of Origin Labeling. Now, the first thing you will read is that Canada and Mexico were going to levy tariffs against US goods, so that was the major impetus for the repeal. And it did sort of flout our trade agreements. It’s not the trade situation that I take issue with, and in fact, that is not the part that troubles most folks about the lack of Country Of Origin Labeling.

If you read the Yahoo News story (here), it says, “All meat will still undergo inspection by the USDA before it heads into grocery stores”, but that is not really true, or well, it’s a half truth… or maybe a quarter truth.

What really happens to foreign meat is this: Continue reading

FREE 5 Week Course: Survive The Holidays. Restart 2016.

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Bring on the Holiday Food! Right? We all love it.

But it is no wonder that come January 1 (OK, January 2) that much of the population is ready to get refocused on getting their healthy lifestyles back on track!

One of the easiest ways is to “Restart” at the first of the year. There are a LOT of programs to choose from, but they all come with their own set of hurdles. And most folks end up giving up within 3 days. With a little prep, now, you can ensure your success. (Yes, even with Aunt Suzy’s banana bread staring you down from the kitchen counter.)

Sign Up by clicking HERE  anytime between NOW and December 28, 2015 to receive your FREE 5 Week Course!

Week 1 is already up! Explore great tips, restart program suggestions, and 2 Assignments to help you get on track BEFORE you start!!!

There Is No Such Thing As Good Food/Bad Food

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Of course, if you were to Google “Good food bad food”, you would come upon 671 million (yep, million) hits.  And most of them say things like “10 Bad Foods That Are Actually Healthy!”  “5 Healthy Foods That Are Bad For You!”, and so on and so forth.

Our national eating disorder, as it is wisely and aptly named by Michael Pollan, is mostly to blame.  We are pushed the message to consume the worst types of foods, while simultaneously, and often in the same commercial break, told how if we were thin our lives would be 9000% better.  So we come up with “rules”.  We try really hard to classify “good foods” and “bad foods”.

In my coaching, this is easily the most common subject of conversation. Clients all want to be told precisely what to eat, and just how much of it. They want rules dammit, and they want them, now.  Which foods are “good” and which foods are “bad”? Continue reading

Does thin equal healthy?

Disclaimer: This post is not attempting to treat any medical condition or to replace any medical or nutritional advice given by a licensed professional. It also is not in any way saying that you should go out and eat as much of whatever you want whenever you want.

It IS saying that our obsession with losing that “extra 5 or 10 pounds” is something it’s time to let go.

I don’t follow celebrity gossip or chatter much. (And despite being inches away from writing my first ever rant on this blog about Nicole Arbour, I typically stay away from “trending” news.)  Today, though, this quote by Khloe Kardashian popped up on my Facebook feed as I was sitting down to write this article

“For a long time, I had insecurities about the way I looked physically. Sadly those insecurities were given to me by others. I personally felt I was beautiful bigger.”

It made me sad. Here is someone who actually personally liked herself as she was put on this Earth, but felt like she had no choice but to spend every waking moment crafting a new body in order to be accepted. That, to me, is nuts.

If fitness is your thing, and it keeps you juiced and you WANT to do those things for yourself (not for others), I am going to be the first one cheering you on. If however, you eat well, and you are quite happy to take a walk most days or hop on the elliptical, and call it good, I’m going to be right there to tell you what a great job you’re doing, too.

Because they are both valid, they are both healthy.

It’s troubling this thin worship thing we have going on these days. It’s troubling that about 15% of Americans are dieting (not to be confused with changing your diet) trying to attain an ideal. I’ve talked quite a bit lately about dieting, and shared a great article by Brandi Davis about being thin and the troubling message it sends to our kids, especially our girls.

Really, though, it all comes down to one thing.  We equate thinness to health and longevity.

The thinner you are, the healthier you are. Right?  Not so fast…  Continue reading

Ground Beef Safety And Consumer Reports

Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy

Last week, I promised you the low down on the Consumer Reports report about ground beef. It was not a particularly fun article or report to read, but important nonetheless. I have also read the responses of several champions and critics of the report.

So, my goal is to break it down for you, so you can take the information and use it as it was intended, which is to make sensible decisions about buying ground beef (if you decide you still want to eat ground beef after reading the report).

First, the published report, unfortunately, is clearly biased, and with that, I agree with the critics.

However, I don’t think that negates the findings, which are troubling to say the least. 

Before we get into the whole report there are a few things you should know about ground beef in particular. First, ground beef comes from the parts and pieces of several cows. And often, those several cows can not only come from different producers, but even different countries of origin. Something only touched upon in the report. And it is one of the reasons food folks have lobbied for country of origin labeling (COOL). The biggest rub of doing away with country of origin labeling is that the USDA only spot tests those meats, and relies on a paper trail of testing rather than ACTUAL testing to determine its safety. You can read about that here.

The biggest revelation of the report was that of the 458 lbs of ground beef they purchased to test ALL 458 reportedly had fecal matter in them. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of ground beef, huh?

But what really does that mean? Continue reading

When You’re Thinner. You’re A Winner.

This week, I have been reminded several times of how, for women and girls, especially, the message remains “Be thin. Be happy.”  I actually read in a comments section on an article talking about how weight is not the only factor in being healthy, and the dangers of a culture where being skinny is more important than being healthy. “Skinny IS healthy! Are you stupid?” I also watched a triathlon club try to defend, and subsequently deny, its posting of a fat shaming meme, and then subsequently say about one of its calendar events “No Fat Chicks”.  I want to believe these folks are being ironic, but alas.

It’s easy to sit back and push all that thin idolizing and fat shaming onto the media and their handy use of Photoshop, and let’s be honest, they deserve to be singled out. The problem is that this lets us off the hook for our bad behavior, and how we play along with this idea everyday.

As parents, we have a very real responsibility to do better and change the conversation.

I’m super happy to share with you an article by Parent Coach Brandi Davis from Child and Family Coaching about changing the message.  I first read this over at A Child Grows In Philly, and absolutely love what Brandi has to say.

When You’re Thinner, You’re A Winner. Sigh. Continue reading

The Hijacking Of Nutritional Science

Can we talk about Coke? 

In truth, I wish this were something I never had to talk about, again, but alas. Our friends at Coca-cola have been, for quite some time, spending a fair bit of their marketing dollars on changing the conversation about food from how much we EAT to how much we MOVE. They are not alone, by the way, but we’ll talk about that in a minute.

They have been funding Global Energy Balance Network whose sole purpose is to tell people that more exercise is the ultimate key to a healthy life and healthy weight-not eating less/better quality foods.

The problem is that it is both an untruth, and another page in a long story of how the food industry is shaping the conversation about food and nutrition. And it matters because it’s almost as if the food industry is treating nutritional science like a Wikipedia entry that they are at liberty to edit at any time.

But let’s go back to hijacking the obesity crisis with “just exercise and everything will be fine”. In the Harvard Health Study, they found that exercise was not directly proportional to healthy weight. Take a moment and let that sink in. Now, I want to be clear that the study absolutely concluded that exercise was important, particularly for the prevention of heart disease and the management of things like diabetes, but it was NOT directly related to healthy weight over time (subjects were studied between 12-21 years).

And they found that, as a whole, calories in/calories out was not nearly as related to healthy weight as was WHAT people ate-or didn’t eat as the case may be.

And the number 1 food related to long term weight gain? Soda. Shocker, I know.

What’s more, it didn’t matter how much someone exercised if they ate all the wrong foods.

So why then, does the story keep getting hijacked by the food industry (and let’s be honest the weight loss industry) to say that exercise is what really matters. That if you eat a piece of cheesecake, all you have to do is run a little extra on the treadmill, and you’ll be just fine.

Well, here’s the short, unpleasant truth of it all. The food industry produces 3800 calories of food per person per day each year. I’m just going to let you work out if it’s in their best interest for you to eat less.

There are all sorts of dodgy things the food industry has done to sneak in those extra calories, but none is so insidious as trying to convince folks that if they just exercise more they can eat whatever and however much they want.

Is Coke alone? Is the Global Energy Balance Network concocting a unique story? Nope. Continue reading

Book Review: Feeding The Whole Family

While my passions for eating well, eating mindfully and creating a healthful family food life run deep, my excitement about books on food and nutrition has waned considerably.

It’s because even though I follow a paleo-ish diet, I don’t follow it very well. I’m prone to veganism, but have learned that I need some animal protein to stay well. For other folks, eating completely plant-based works super well for them. I’ve come to learn that HOW we eat is much more influential to our health and weight than WHAT we eat.

Our psychology, our prescribed notions and our feelings about food and food groups have a far bigger impact than the minutiae of nutrient tetris many of us attempt to play with our daily diets.

In Mindful Eating, Jan Chozen Bays points out that nearly everything we once thought was good is now bad, vice versa and back around, again. So it is probable that focusing on good and bad nutrition is not terribly helpful. Over time, I’ve come back to that point repeatedly. Eating well, eating healthy is not about dietary dogma. It can’t be… Or every healthy person of the past was “doing it wrong”.

Needless to say, I take most dietary advice with a grain of salt, and focus instead on what we know to be true and what will likely not wane in favor. Focus on whole foods, especially vegetables. Limit refined ingredients, especially sugars. Care about where your food comes from, how it was grown and be able to read and easily identify label ingredients as food.

So what a lovely surprise to come across a cookbook and food philosophy that excited me. Found while visiting family in Portland, OR, and given my line of work, I’m astonished I haven’t seen or read this book before! Then again, ye olde universe gives us just what we need right when we need it most.

The book is Feeding the Whole Family: Recipes for Babies, Young Children, and Their Parents by Cynthia Lair. I suggest that you run (don’t walk) and get a copy, today! (You can just click the link above if you’re in a hurry!)

While so much of it was like reading my own thoughts and words, it was still enlightening and inspiring. Like me, Lair eschews dietary dogma, and getting caught up (at least mostly) in the latest craze or fad. She believes in the family table, food without labels and eating vegetables and whole foods as a cornerstone to a healthful diet.

But what really excited me was that this idea that I’ve really come to form through being a family food coach was echoed repeatedly.

As parents, WE shape our children’s food lives. And often, we are carrying on about how picky our children are when we ourselves are modeling picky eating behavior or regularly categorizing food as “good food” and “bad food”. Children are by nature mirrors, after all. They learn about the world through modeling and the people they model most are their parents. Continue reading