Practical NOT Radical Nutrition in Your 40s with Amy Shapiro

EPISODE 3

I can't tell you how many fad diets I have tried. Staring at skinny Moms I know on Instagram and they're posting their shakes, bran crackers and whatever else they are doing. After many years, I discovered that none of that is me and none of that works.

Amy Shapiro
Amy Shapiro

Being healthy, enjoying food (I LOVE TO EAT) and just being confident in your body is the most important thing. I reached out to Amy when I was having a hard time with some health issues. She was practical, calm, understanding and the same age, so she just got it. Nutrition in your 40s isn't just about weight, it's also a mindset. So you need to be in the right place mentally to approach nutrition healthfully. Amy Shapiro of Real Nutrition NYC makes that possible...


Products Mentioned:

-Further Food Collagen https://shop.furtherfood.com/collections/collagen-collection -Nounos Yogurt https://www.nounoscreamery.com/


And remember: It's not a crisis!

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Doryn Wallach:

Hi, everyone. Welcome to episode two of It's NOT A Crisis. I'm your host, Doryn Wallach. This is a podcast for women in their 40s who are navigating the joys and the challenges of midlife and learning to make the most of it.

First, I just want to say that I hope everyone is doing okay. This has been a crazy rollercoaster ride, and I know it will continue to be. I've really just come up for air for the first time and feels good to be doing something, but it's been difficult. I'm just very grateful to be healthy and that my family is healthy. I also just want to thank anyone who's listening that's an essential worker. Thank you so much for doing what you're doing and allowing us to stay home. We really appreciate it. I haven't had an opportunity to do my thank you’s, so hopefully, there's somebody listening that knows how grateful we are.

I also want to mention that you the listener has a very big part in this podcast. I do this because I want to give back to other women, so I want to make sure that this is the right place for you to be getting information. So, if you have anything that you want to discuss, please DM me on Instagram or Facebook. Feel free to comment in one of the posts, as well as email, itsnotacrisis@gmail.com, and please subscribe anywhere that you listen to podcasts. Your subscribing helps the podcast to be known to other women. So, it's really important you subscribe, you rate, you share, anywhere that you listen to podcasts. Also, you can find us on Instagram, It's Not A Crisis Podcast, or Facebook, same thing. We also have a private group. I would love you to join the group. We will use that place for discussions.


Amy Shapiro:

If we really put in an effort to eat really healthy, and nutritionally, and balanced, and to support our body throughout the day, there's always space for that indulgence.


Doryn Wallach:

Amy Shapiro is the founder and director of Real Nutrition, a New York City based private practice dedicated to healthfully and successfully guiding clients to their optimal nutrition, weight, and overall wellness. She is internationally recognized for her individualized lifestyle focused approach, which integrates realistic food plans, smart eating habits and active living. Through encouragement, education, and the right tricks of the trade, Amy believes that anyone can achieve their nutritional goals while still enjoying the foods and flavors that they crave.

It's always really important to me to let you guys know where I find my guests, because they have some sort of connection to me, I know who they are. And when I work with anybody, I'm extremely picky about who I work with and I do a lot of research, so I think it's only natural for me to bring you the best of the best, and hopefully I will continue to do that. I found Amy through my gynecologist when I was experiencing a little bit of a hormonal crisis this fall, and I really wanted to get my nutrition on track. And in such a vulnerable time in my life, Amy was wonderful, and accepting, and kind, and patient, and not extremist. She didn't scare me about nutrition, and I just thought that, especially during this time right now, she was the perfect guest to speak to all of us. I think we're a few weeks into this and our nutrition has probably been all over the map, and at the same time, we're still the age that we are, so we still have to pay attention. So, Amy, welcome to the show.


Amy Shapiro:

Thanks for having me. I'm so excited.


Doryn Wallach:

Before we get into what we're going to chat about, we were talking and we felt that it was impossible to just talk about being in your 40s and dealing with nutrition alone, because we are going through what we're going through, and there are a lot of new nutritional challenges that we're all facing, with the lack of food resources, and having the kids around, and trying to give everybody meals, and this person's picky, and this one doesn't like this, and that one loves this, and then just kind of taking care of yourself right now. So, I think we're going to talk a little bit about that, but also at the same time, we're still the age that we are, and nutrition has become more of a challenge as we get older.


Amy Shapiro:

Yeah, for sure. I do joke with some of my friends that if you have a birthday during quarantine, that it doesn't count, so maybe we're not really getting older.


Doryn Wallach:

I love that. I also think calories count, but we'll talk about that.


Amy Shapiro:

Right.


Doryn Wallach:

So, I want to start with this. Two sides to this. First of all, I think a lot of us, as we get older, are finding it harder to lose weight, and yet we have these hormonal fluctuations that are making us crave stuff that's bad for us. So, there's that component. And the second part of it is, I personally, in this quarantine, have gone through a range of issues with food. So, I have to be really upset to not eat because I love to eat.

So, for me, it started with not eating at all, I couldn't even look at food. And then I started to buy like 80s crap, just comfort foods from your childhood, then I went into that stage. Then I started to feel gross and wanted to eat better but was a little overwhelmed with the day to day because I'm trying to pack in grocery deliveries, as well as ordering stuff on Amazon, and then it just looks like a whole mess of things. And personally, I'm not that person that can creatively put things together. It's just not me. So, I think that's where I've been struggling, is just trying to figure out the next meal and then ultimately ends up, I just don't eat. So, I would like to get your thoughts on that and what you've even seen with your own self and family.


Amy Shapiro:

Yeah. It's a lot. I mean, it's a lot and there's a lot of feelings, and there's a lot of feedings, and there's a lot of emotions, and so I don't think there's an easy solution for anyone. I think now that the "hoarding period," I think has passed, where we all were just stocking up on dry goods we've never cooked before just in case we couldn't get to a supermarket, I think that period has kind of passed, and in most neighborhoods, you can probably get some food and Amazon has more food. But it's challenging to stock up on all the things that we usually recommend to stock up on, a lot of fresh foods, fill half your plate with vegetables at every meal, have lean, healthy, clean, organic, grass-fed proteins.

These things aren't always accessible now, and even myself, I'm finding myself just saying, "I don't even know what label chicken cutlets this is, but it's here, so I'm going to get it." So, I think part of it is really prioritizing what's going to keep you sane. How can you feed yourself and your family in an easy, ideally, healthy-fashion, but also kind of stock your house with staples.

So, I think it's really just getting the basics. It doesn't have to be gourmet. Some people are gourmet. I had a great friend email me that she was making quail the other day, or pheasants. And I was like, "Great, I'm grilling some chicken again." But I think stocking your house with some things that can make a meal. So, it would be some lean proteins. That can include anything from your pantry, like lentils, and garbanzo beans, it can be chicken, it can be yogurt, and then having some vegetables, fresh or frozen, or having some fruit, and then having some sort of a whole wheat slice of toast, if you can find it, or some grains. So, I really think it's just kind of looking at the basics and making sure that you have something to put together. I don't even know if that answers your question because there's just so much going on around all of this.


Doryn Wallach:

Just to step back a little bit, what are things that we should be incorporating in our lives? Pretend this is not happening right now, and then I have a follow up question for that. But in our 40s, nutrition changes. I don't want to be deprived of things I love, and I used to like going to restaurants, but that's gone. I still want to be able to indulge in things, and I think for me, and I think we talked about this when we met, there's this anxiety or this all or nothing thing that when I start eating healthy, I feel guilty if I eat something else. But I want to know what we're supposed to be eating at this stage of our lives, and how much we're supposed to be eating, and realistically, when we can indulge.


Amy Shapiro:

So, I think that it really depends. First, let's like talk to me indulgent part, because I think that it depends on what do you as an individual feel or crave as an indulgence, right? So, some people want to indulge in alcohol, some people want to indulge in pasta, some people want to indulge in chocolate, so it really depends on that. And I think at the time like this, or anytime no matter how old you are, I think there's space for indulging lightly, not overeating, but really having what you love every day. I think that it just comes with balancing out, "Am I having everything that I love at the same time or am I choosing to have one thing that I really love today and tomorrow's another day?"

So, I think that's kind of where indulgences can get people into trouble or can make them feel guilty, is kind of when they're saying like, "Well, this is all or nothing, and now I'm indulging in my thing, and I got to do it all right now," or saying, "I'm going out to dinner," back in the day, "and I want to indulge in a couple of glasses of wine, because it makes me feel great, and I really love that, and I'm going to edit a few other things out of my meal so I can really indulge in that thing." So, I think it's important to kind of hone in on what you truly want to indulge in in that moment. Does that make sense?


Doryn Wallach:

Yes, that does make sense, and I think that's kind of what I do. Yesterday, all I wanted was brownies. Actually, instead of making them, which I even have a box, I ordered brownies online from this place that I really liked their brownies. So, I ate really healthy all day knowing that I was going to have that brownie after dinner.


Amy Shapiro:

Yeah. And also, though, if you're indulging, it should be you are worth the best, right? So, if you're going to indulge, it's great that you didn't make the box brownie because you wanted this great place's brownie, and that is truly an indulgence. You're indulging yourself, and you're indulging your taste buds, and you're having something that's worth it. So, I think that's also a really important component, because it's easy to eat the brownie that you make for your kid that's stale for two days in your kitchen because you're walking through, or you're consciously saying like, "Woof, I really want that brownie. I'm going to order it and I'm going to have it."


Doryn Wallach:

But the box brownies are so good.


Amy Shapiro:

Right. True. But if they're around in the kitchen and they're not fresh and gooey anymore, you might still eat it because you're walking through and it's there. Whenever I talk to my clients about indulging, especially in your 40s, it's A, you're worth the best, so wait for something that's really worth it. Don't eat off of your kid's plate, don't have a bite of your kids crappy chocolate bar, really elevate. "What do I want? Because that's what I deserve." So, it's kind of when you indulge, you're making yourself feel good about it too, and I think that's important.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah, I agree with that. Sorry. Go ahead.


Amy Shapiro:

I was going to say, and then also, it's how do we eat overall, which is the first question that you kind of tuned to, and if we really put in an effort to eat really healthy, and nutritionally, and balanced, and to support our body throughout the day, there's always space for that indulgence. I know we can get more into that, but it's also saying, taking the time to think about how you're going to set up your day as best as you can, especially right now, to allow for that indulgence, which might just be what you need at the end of the day, or in the middle of the day, or at homework time.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah, exactly. So, just getting back to age, I feel like the most important thing for me with every passing year is keeping my blood sugar level throughout the day, and I used to not eat breakfast, and fast until two o'clock, and I know that works for a lot of people, for me, that just didn't work. I would be really irritable, and even doing it for a long term, it just wasn't feasible for myself. But I do feel like, though, that if I don't keep my blood sugar up, it affects me, like everybody, but it affects my mood, and it makes things harder.

So, with that being said, today, I feel like... I don't know, I feel like I'm busier now than I was before, in some ways, and then some days I find myself tapping my fingers on my desk like, "What do I do?" But I'm sure there are a lot of things I could be doing. How do you feel about that? I feel like you're not a big fan of snacking in between meals, if I remember correctly. Is that right?


Amy Shapiro:

Well, ideally what I try to set up for my clients is, you want to eat balanced meals so they can sustain your satiety for at least three to four hours between meals. And then I do usually recommend one snack a day, and that tends to be between lunch and dinner because that's a longer stretch than between breakfast and lunch usually for most people. Now, this isn't my recommendation, of course, when we're not stuck in our homes and have access to our pantries 24/7, but you might be eating dinner earlier now that you're home with your family and you don't have to get home from work.

So, if you are eating balanced and balancing your blood sugar levels, because that's what will control your hunger and your mood, then you should be able to go three to four hours between meals. So, snacking is optional. If you're not hungry then you don't have to have it, but I do recommend a snack in the later afternoon because, one, it helps that three or four o'clock slump that most people hit because their blood sugar is low, that's why you reach for that coffee, or that soda, or that candy at that time, but also it helps you to show up to dinner not ravenous, so you can mindfully go into dinner without overeating. So, I do recommend that afternoon snack to help you meet your goals and to power through the rest of your day.


Doryn Wallach:

What are super easy ideas for that snack?


Amy Shapiro:

So, that snack, to me, is usually anything from whatever fruit you can get your hands on these days, so let's say an apple with 10 walnuts, or it could be an apple with nut butter, if you have that in your pantry, because it is definitely shelf stable, it could be a cup of berries and a scoop of yogurt, it could be some rolled up turkey slices with carrots and celery. So, what you can hear me saying and all of these recommendations is you're going to be pairing some sort of carbohydrate, which is anything plant based, with a protein or fat to slow the digestion and to help your blood sugar to remain stable.

So, if you just had the apple by itself, which is a very healthy snack, you'd be hungry again in 45 minutes, because an Apple has natural sugars in it and it's the carbohydrates, so you digest it very easily and quickly. So, great, if you're eating it right before you go out to dinner, and you just want to curb your appetite, but if you need to sustain yourself for a couple hours, you're going to be starving in 45 minutes. Pair that Apple with a protein or a fat such as some nut butter, or some nuts, or some yogurt, you'll go longer because you'll slow down the digestion and you'll be able to withstand a couple hours. So, that's kind of your magic bullet for meals and snacks, it's just going to be the portion which really makes it different for what makes a meal and what makes a snack. But that's kind of the equation to help you sustain your energy.


Doryn Wallach:

It's funny. I always tell my kids to have an apple when it's getting close to dinner because I want them to eat their dinner and I know it won't fill them up, and they're like, "I don't want an apple, I want Cheddar Bunnies," or whatever they want.


Amy Shapiro:

Same difference, I mean not nutritionally, but they'll still be hungry.


Doryn Wallach:

Right. Exactly.


Amy Shapiro:

Yeah. I give my kids cucumbers. They love those mini Persian cucumbers, so I give them those right before dinner, because then it's like, A, I got the vegetables, and B, they're still showing up hungry. So, if you're "dieting," that's a great snack, but not by itself, because you too will be very hungry.


Doryn Wallach:

Right. By the way, the other advice that you gave me, which has been life changing for me is full fat yogurt as opposed to the low fat, and I was eating low or no fat for years, and then I started buying full fat, and it really makes a difference in how much it fills you up.


Amy Shapiro:

And it also makes a difference in what it tastes like, right? So, you and I and anybody listening to this probably grew up in the age of fat free, right? It's like an old habit just like cardio, excess cardio workouts. If you eat a fat free yogurt, you can eat so much more because you just don't get as full, but if you eat full fat, A, the mouthfeel is better, the texture is better, the taste is richer, and you just can't eat as much, and it's satisfying, right? The fat is there, along with the protein of the Greek yogurt, in this case, to really hold your appetite, because your body has to process the proteins and the fat, and that takes a long time.

Additionally, both protein and fat don't have any carbohydrates in them, so they don't manipulate your blood sugar levels at all. So, a half a cup of plain full fat Greek yogurt with some berries in it can possibly hold you for a good two to three hours.


Doryn Wallach:

I also put a little chia, a little flax, and some pecans. My husband doesn't. He puts sugary granola in his and he's like, "I'm still hungry." I'm like, "Well, you just don't put that in there. Put nuts or something else." I feel like that [crosstalk 00:18:54].


Amy Shapiro:

Yeah. But there's also that sweet flavor of the granola with sometimes your brain is like, "Ooh, I want more of that." Right? So, he's pairing it correctly because it's paired with the Greek yogurt, which has protein and fat in it, but it's that flip the switch craving where your brain is like, "Yum, more and more and more," whereas the chia, flax, and pecans, delicious, but more decadent, so you're kind of like, "I'm good."


Doryn Wallach:

Right. But it's actually vanilla yogurt, so there's sugar in it already, so it's probably not the best for him but it works. It's a good brand. It's Nounos. Have you ever had theirs?


Amy Shapiro:

Yeah, Nounos is good, and the portions are really small, they're very moderate.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah. They actually ship, so they deliver out here, so-


Amy Shapiro:

Directly.


Doryn Wallach:

... you have to buy 12 of them, but they'll deliver right to your door.


Amy Shapiro:

Oh, see that? Look at all the things we're learning [crosstalk 00:19:45].


Doryn Wallach:

I know. I'm learning so many things Important. I'm actually keeping a list. They are all crucial things.

So, just getting back to this kind of midlife stage of lives, let's talk about what is important ingredient-wise or food-wise to incorporate into every day.


Amy Shapiro:

Yeah. This is nothing new, but what's really important to make sure you're incorporating into every day are plants, right? So, fruits and vegetables are so important. One, they help us with blood sugar regulation, which is something we've been talking about through this whole podcast. Two, is they have all vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and those are the things that fight disease. So, it's kind of scary to think about it now, but we're at that age where we want to prevent illness, especially where we are current day, but we want to prevent illness. So, all of those antioxidants fight free radicals, which are what cause anything from cancers, to illnesses, to inflammation, but also wrinkles, skin integrity.

So, these are all important... not ingredients, but they're important compounds that we only find in plants, in these fruits and vegetables. And you can tell what they are through the colors, right? So, we always say, "Eat the rainbow," and that's because all different colored fruits and vegetables have different antioxidants, which are super powerful in protecting your skin from sun damage, helping to repair your skin, helping to improve your inflammation, helping to improve your digestion, helping your cells to regenerate, so there's so many things.

So, that's always my first go-to, I don't think anybody needs to be a raw foodist, but I do think that you really need to make an effort to fill half your plate, at least, with fruits or vegetables at every meal, and vary the colors, which is great now. I just went to the supermarket and they only had red peppers, so I bought them, but there were no green or yellow peppers in sight. Great, I'm covered in that color area, right? But then I bought pineapple because I already had the reds, now I have the yellow. But it kind of forces you to try out different varieties of items. So, that's one reason why we want to eat plants.

The other reason is, let's face it, we don't want to be bloated, we don't want to have a [poopy 00:22:02] belly, and high fiber plants help us to be regular. So, the more fiber we have in our diet, the more we eliminate and go to the bathroom, and that's great for vanity sake, but also it's great for preventing illnesses that come up later in life, like high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes. Because what the fiber does for our bodies is, again, it's going to help regulate our blood sugar levels and it's going to capture those toxins and remove them from our body.

So, one, it helps us to go to the bathroom more regularly, two, it helps to remove toxins, three, it helps to lower cholesterol, four, it helps us to stay full. And they're super low in calories but really high in water and really high in nutrients, so they're like a more bang for your buck food, right? So, if you're going to fill up most of your plate with vegetables, you're going to feel satiated but you're not going to fill out, you're just going to fill up. Does that make sense?


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah. It's funny. Vegetables are hard for me. I can eat tons of fruit, but when it comes to vegetables, it's difficult for me to eat them, which is so funny. There are just a few I love, and then I have allergies to peppers, which is a weird allergy, but a real one. I found vegetables very difficult in this time right now. I feel like I have to get like a [crosstalk 00:23:24] or something like that at some point.


Amy Shapiro:

Well, they are difficult. And also, what makes vegetables great, if you're somebody who doesn't really love them or you have some restrictions is preparation, right? How do you make vegetables taste great. Sometimes they can be a lot of work, especially if you go to the supermarket and all they have are carrots and parsnips, like, "Yay." So, it's what are you dipping them in? What are you cooking them in? How can you jazz them up in a really easy fashion? Or just focusing on what works for you, because I also like to point out that fruit and vegetables have a lot of the same compounds. So, if you love fruit, then you can make sure to eat some fruit, and then just have your staple vegetables that you can get by. If it's spinach, eat spinach every day, if it's not peppers but it's-


Doryn Wallach:

Broccoli, I eat a lot broccoli.


Amy Shapiro:

... [crosstalk 00:24:10].


Doryn Wallach:

Sorry. I eat a ton of broccoli but then I get so sick of it.


Amy Shapiro:

Of course. I mean, a ton of anything, you get really sick of it. So, again, it's going to be how are you preparing it? And that can be hard. I mean, we are also in our 40s, so we're grown up, and it's kind of like, "All right, listen, I got to eat vegetables at every meal. It's just something that's got to happen and I'll make sure the rest of my meal is something that I really love," or something to that nature.

And even what you're doing with breakfast by putting chia and flax and pecans, you're also getting a lot of important compounds. Chia and flax have omega-3 fatty acids, which are really important for our brain, our heart, and our skin, and then it also has fiber in it. So, there's that component of helping with bathroom regularity, toxin elimination, cholesterol balance, and all of that. So, fruits and vegetables are ideal if we can get you to eat them or if you can even get your hands on them, but if not, there are definitely other nutrients too. But that's always been my first recommendation.

And then, just to kind of go along with that, and since we're talking about fruit, unfortunately, as we get older, we process sugar a little bit less efficiently, and a lot of my clients who are in their 40s or older love fruit because they've given up a lot of their other intelligences, so fruit is their go-to treat because they've given up candy, and they've given up bacon, and they've given up chocolate.

And then I have to point out, and this is where people are like, "Oh, I don't know if I like you so much." I like to point out that sugar, sugar, sugar, and if we're overeating fruit all day, if we're eating a banana and mango and our smoothie in the morning, and then we're having an apple for snack, and then we're going to snack on some frozen grapes at night, and then we're going to eat a few figs, all of that is really healthy and plant based and providing us with lots of different nutrients, but at the same time, what are your goals, right?

If your goal is weight loss, that's not going to work for you because it's just too many carbohydrates and too much sugar throughout your day. So, you're going to want to make sure to reach for lower sugar fruits that you can eat more volume of throughout the day and meet your markers. So, there is that piece. But once I do make that switch, and I'd say if weight loss is your goal, depending on how active you are, two to three servings of fruit a day max, and I cut people back on that, they'll start to see a huge shift. And I wouldn't say like when people are like, "Oh, I don't eat bananas or I don't eat beef," I'm like, "How many people do you know gained weight eating a banana?" Nobody. That's not the issue.

But when I have clients who come in... because most of my clients are fairly educated about nutrition and they come in and they're saying, "I'm doing it all right. I know what to eat, I don't live in a food desert, I'm buying good foods, but I can't get my weight to budge." And oftentimes, it's just I call it you're over-fruiting. Are you over-fruiting. And there's a few things that people overdo that are "healthy," which they are, and they over-fruit and they over-nut, and those are two food groups that can keep you at maintenance, or slowly over time, again, depending on your activity level, can start to cause weight increase if consumed in excess, just like anything else.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah. So, I find the other big topic question is carbs. So, many women I know, many friends that I know won't go near a carb, they won't eat bread, they won't eat anything, and I honestly don't know how anybody does that, and I love bread. It's something I've tried many times to do and I just can't do it. I just can't. And I feel like it's funny, the older I get, the more I'm like, "Fuck it."


Amy Shapiro:

Yeah. The less willpower you have against the things that really move the needle for you.


Doryn Wallach:

And I understand, by the way, I understand how carbs make you gain weight, I really do, because I feel like if I have an indulgent week of carbs, it goes right on to my hips, and I see a difference in my body at this age. So, I think it would be helpful to share how to keep carbs in your life, even if they're somewhat processed, but whole wheat or whatever it is, but I think being able to... and I know everything is moderation, but I think some people are a little bit confused about what moderation means.


Amy Shapiro:

Yeah. I mean, I think the whole world is confused what moderation means, and I think that's really a hard concept, which is why when people come to me or people talk about nutrition in general, they kind of want quantities, measurements, and "How much can I have something?" Even if they're a moderate eater, what does that mean?

So, let's just go back a little bit to talk about what the big group carbs, what is it made of, right? So, it's made up of dairy, it's made up of fruits and vegetables, it's made up of grains, and cereals, and breads, and then it's made up of desserts and sugars, right? So, nobody thinks about... all of these individuals who are like, "I don't touch any carbs," and this is where the weight gain from fruit comes in... is those are all in the carb family, so we're going to process them and break them down the same.

So, that's why when I start to eliminate some of the fruit or limit the fruit, it's because it's a carb, and how many carbs can your body digest and break down without storing them as fat, right? So, they all come together. So, how do they all work out in your favor to consume them all?

So, someone might ward off whole wheat bread, and let's not get into the gluten conversation just because it's a carb, but they might be eating two bananas in their smoothie. Guess what? You could have two pieces of toast with some avocado on it, and it's just going to be that your body's going to break it down the same, right? So, carbs across the board, it's how many of them are you eating in your day, and that's one of the big aha moments for people no matter where it comes from. So, if you're going to put oat milk into your coffee because it's dairy free and it's all the rage right now, you have to consider that a cup of oat milk has 21 grams of carbs in it, right? It might be dairy free, yay, but it still has 21 grams of carbs. So, if you're drinking a latte, guess what, you just had one and a quarter servings of carbs from oat milk.

So, it's one of those things where these carbs sneak in, and so some people might omit the obvious carbs to make room for these healthier carbs because they prefer them, or on the flip side, you can make room for the bread in your day because you just say, "Hey, you know what, I'm not going to have an apple for a snack, and I'm not going to have a latte, I'm going to have a cappuccino, so I can have that piece of toast in the morning." So, it's just kind of making swaps. Does that make sense? It's like a very long introduction to carbs.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah, no, no, it does. Actually, I had two pieces of sprouted bread with avocado this morning. It was actually pretty satisfying.


Amy Shapiro:

Very.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah. And why is it that carbs are the enemy to our bodies as far as gaining weight or putting weight on in places that are typical for women, hips, thighs, stomach, butt?


Amy Shapiro:

Yeah. Well, carbs, one, let's just talk about what they do for our body. So, they provide energy, period, the end, right? We eat carbs, they break down into sugar in our body, we either use them for fuel, or we store them for later use. That's kind of how carbs work. So, there's just so much of them that we can store without starting to store them as fat. So, if you have a day where you're just kind of... or if you live a pretty sedentary, and in your 20s you were able to eat whatever you want because who cares and you burned everything up, but then in your 30s it's starts to trickle, but I'm really not changing what I'm eating, and then in your 40s you are like, "Wait a second, it's all coming out to my hips but I'm not doing anything different."

We need to burn what we consume of carbs before we store them as fat, and we burn less efficiently as we get older unless we're maintaining muscle mass. So, carbs, we need to burn them in order to not use them. So, that's where our activity level comes in, or our limits come in. I think that's one piece.

The other piece is that when we break down carbs, we break them down into small sugar molecules called glucose, and then we store those, because this is a stored form of energy, and this is getting a little scientific... we store it in our liver and our muscles for later use, but we store it with two molecules of water. So, that's why when you go on the Atkins diet and you cut out all carbs, you lose 10 pounds really fast because you burn up your stored energy but you also flush out all the water they're stored with.


Doryn Wallach:

I don't think anyone's really explained it that clearly. I've just seen on Instagram recently, or it's TikTok, I just started looking at TikTok because my daughter's on there, but there's this one woman who has this virus... maybe her husband's doing it, she puts this green face on him and he looks scary, and to me, that's how carbs, I think, are to so many women. It's the enemy. And I think it's good to be able to understand why, but also to be able to understand that we still can. So, thank you.

I think many times when I talk to a nutritionist, it's like, "Cut out all the carbs," so often, and you were the first one who didn't do that, and so I appreciate that.


Amy Shapiro:

Well, I mean, there's a time and a place for cutting out all the carbs. And I always say like, "Are you going to walk down a red carpet? Are you getting married in two weeks? Are you trying to fit into a dress last minute?" I get it, and it works, but it's a short term solution, and you're also going to be hungry, you're going to be grump, all of those things, they come into play. But if you have an overindulgent week of carbs, sure, you're going to feel puffy because you're storing them with water, but if you stop the next week, you'll feel back to your normal self.

So, it's also taking a minute to think about your day. If your snack in the afternoon is usually popcorn, and for lunch, you guys are having sandwiches, and for dinner, you guys are having rice and grains, rice and beans, that's a clean but carb heavy day. And if we're stuck in quarantine and we're not really moving as much as we might, especially as New York City people, that slowly creeps up because we're not burning what we're consuming. It's not bad, we just need to make space for it, which brings the moderation piece.


Doryn Wallach:

Do you think it would help all of us right now to kind of plan out in our heads even? Honestly, I can't do anything in the future right now, but I think at night, I could plan the next day, and that's about as far as I've been able to go. It's just been difficult. So, do you think it would be helpful to kind of think about, "Okay, what am I going to do for breakfast and lunch, and then what are we going to do for dinner?"


Amy Shapiro:

Yeah. And I usually say breakfast is the easiest meal to edit probably on your own, because even if you are sitting down as a family to eat breakfast, it's kind of the easiest meal to piece together. It's like you have yogurt, you have cereal, you have this, I'm going to make eggs or whatever, right? We all have a little bit more flexibility, maybe not, but in general, I find that. But I do think planning ahead for what are we going to have for lunch and dinner tomorrow will help the individual focusing on their nutrition to say like, "Okay, cool, if we're going to have sandwiches tomorrow for lunch, I'm just going to have mine open face. So, I'm only going to have one piece of it because I know we only have pasta left in the pantry before I go food shopping."

So, I would focus on what's happening for the family meal, if you are cooking as a family, or if you're cooking individually or just for you and your partner, what are we eating together that I really can't edit that much and what can I have complete control over? If that makes sense. So, I think it's kind of thinking ahead to the next days first. Which, with our food shopping capabilities right now, and our emptying fridges, and our visits in the supermarket. I think that that makes sense as well.

And then something I also say to everyone across the board is, you really just have to nail breakfast, right? Breakfast is either you don't eat it or you do, but it's the most in your control. So, if you nail breakfast, you have more wiggle room for lunch and dinner. This plays true right now in quarantine, this plays true when you're on vacation, right? If you nail breakfast, you might not know what's coming out for lunch and dinner but you've had a little bit more wiggle room. So, I always say breakfast is a no excuse meal.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah. And listen, I just want to say to everyone listening, this is an extraordinarily overwhelming time. I know that there's a kind of a moment that we've all hit where were some ways getting used to this, but it's very overwhelming. I think one of the gifts that I've been given in this is that I'm not being so hard on myself as I used to be, because you just can't, because everybody's going through this at the same time and everybody's experiencing. You don't need to be doing X, Y and Z right now. If you just want to sit with yourself, that's okay.

And I think when it comes to food, for me and I'm sure other women, it's very overwhelming. I'm a person who's used to ordering takeout, or eating out, I order lunch to my desk at work a lot, I eat breakfast at home, and I cook a few nights a week, but this new normal is even hard with nutrition, and I think being able to give permission to not be so organized, and at the same time, one day... I think we should all start with one day of planning in our head, and I think that that's a good starting point.


Amy Shapiro:

Or one meal, right?


Doryn Wallach:

One meal.


Amy Shapiro:

It's really one meal at a time, or just thinking ahead. But also some people in this time are looking for something to control, because everything feels so out of control. So, maybe this is a good time for you to kind of focus on planning your day, because that might give you some peace and calmness about like, "How am I going to meet my needs and my goals while I'm preparing all this other stuff for everybody else."

And then two is the flip side, there are some people who are just like, "I don't have the brain space for this right now." But I say to those individuals, just make sure that you're eating food that makes you feel good, because who cares if you put on five, 10 pounds during quarantine? Maybe that's going to happen. It's not permanent, you can definitely get it off later, but you don't want to be eating the Oreos and the ice cream because their comfort foods because they're not going to do anything for your health right now, if that's you're just like, "Screw it. We're all eating mac and cheese, we're all ordering pizza, we're all doing this." Because now we need to think about other things.