Check Your Negative Self-Talk: 8 Things Never to Say to Yourself About Eating

7526028458_c47ef59722_zWe don’t realize that the voices in our head, the things that we say to ourselves about eating can have a tremendous influence.  That was the topic of my recent post for U.S News & World Report:  8 Things Never to Say to Yourself About Eating.

Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy when it comes to food. Those little things that we say to ourselves before or after we eat may be doing more harm than we even realize. Do you need to re-language your food thoughts?

Here’s what nutrition experts say are the eight things you should stop saying to yourself about eating:

1. “I was so bad today.”

Do not allow judgment or morality slip into your eating lexicon. Guilt and deprivation are two of the most powerful emotional triggers for overeating, says Michelle May, a physician and founder of the “Am I Hungry?” mindful eating programs. This mindset leads to what she calls the “eat-repent-repeat cycle” that keeps people trapped in endless yo-yo dieting. “Eat for both nourishment and enjoyment,” she says.

2. “I shouldn’t be eating this.”

Do not ruin your eating experience with negative thoughts in your head. “Instead of fully enjoying what you’re eating, you’ll plan to pay penance by exercising more or skipping your next snack or meal,” says May, author of “Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat.” “As a result, exercise becomes punishment and you feel you have to earn the right to eat.” Often, the next thought is, “Well, I might as well eat it all then!” Instead, she recommends eating what you love mindfully and without guilt or regret.

3. “I can’t have that.” 

Rather than keeping a mental list of forbidden foodslearn how to enjoy the tempting foods you crave and feel good about it because that’s one of the secrets to life-long weight management, says registered dietitian Carolyn O’Neil, author of “The Slim Down South Cookbook.” She explains that the allotment for “splurge” calories from sugar, fats and alcohol is about 250 per day for a healthy adult who is moderately active. “If you add more physical activity to your day, you get to add more splurge calories,” O’Neil says. “That’s the kind of math I like!”

4. “I blew it.” 

Push those thoughts of perfection out of your head. “It’s the all-or-none approach to eating that leads to overindulgence and guilt,” says registered dietitian Lauren Harris-Pincus, owner of Nutrition Starring YOU. “I would rather hear someone say, ‘I ate more than I wanted at dinner today. No big deal, I’m going to pay more attention to eating slowing and savoring my food.’”

People often catastrophize their eating, says registered dietitian Jill Weisenberger, author of “The Overworked Person’s Guide to Better Nutrition.” These feelings of failure and self-loathing are likely to lead to more overeating. A 500-calorie “mistake” could turn into 2,000 calories or more.

5. “I’ll start over on Monday.”

There’s a mentality that you can’t get back on the healthy eating horse until the beginning of the week, says registered dietitian Vicki Shanta Retelny, who blogs at the website “Simple Cravings Real Food.” “I’d love people to understand that one decadent meal or indulgence doesn’t wreck the whole week.” Maybe you ate more than you intended, but move on. Get back on track with your healthy eating routine at your next meal or snack, she recommends.

6. “I deserve this.”

You always deserve to eat as a human being and have permission to eat anything you want, says registered dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield, a District of Columbia-based health and happiness expert. “Savoring a sweet after a not-so-sweet day once in a while is normal,” she says. “However, watch out if you’re frequently using food as a way to reward yourself or numb your painful feelings.

“Negative emotions are beneficial because they tell you there’s a problem that needs your attention,” Stritchfield continues. “Food won’t solve your problems and ‘reward eating’ can often lead to a vicious cycle of shame, blame and dieting.”

7. “I can’t help it, I’m addicted to sugar.” 

Telling yourself that you are addicted to sugar or certain foods becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, May says. “You are actually giving your brain instructions on how to behave,” she says. “Instead of giving certain foods power over you, remind yourself that you are free to make decisions about eating, then proceed slowly and mindfully.”

8. “I simply can’t control my appetite.” 

That thought is like a Chinese finger puzzle, says registered dietitian Marsha Hudnall, owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run, a women’s healthy weight retreat in Vermont. “The more you struggle, the harder it gets,” she says. “Instead, relax when eating. Believe in your ability to make choices in your own best interest. Use mindfulness to tune into what you feel like eating and add a little gentle nutrition knowledge to check in with what your body may need. Then enjoy.”


image:  courtesy of Anais on flickr


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Friday Food News

A look at the week’s worth of news about food.

Via The New York Times
Southeast Ireland is becoming a destination for high-end culinary experiences with Michelin-starred establishments, unique gourmet bistros and one-of-a-kind pop-up dinners around the town of Dungarvan. Tourists and locals alike are enjoying the influx of better dining options that feature international dishes as well as modern Irish fare made with local, seasonal ingredients.

At Saison in San Francisco chef and co-owner Joshua Skenes uses an open-air hearth to add a tinge of fire and smoke to every one of the dishes in his 18-course tasting menu. The Michelin three-starred restaurant features dishes such as flash-grilled lobster claw chunks drizzled with sauce made from lobster shells, and smoked ice cream made by steeping charred wood in milk.
Asian and Middle Eastern sauces and spices are infiltrating the American dining scene as chefs experiment with different flavor combinations found across the globe. Chef Kyle Bailey uses homemade gochujang, the fermented chili sauce from Korea, to flavor wild boar at Birch & Barley in Washington, D.C., while Seasons 52 Executive Chef Jim Messinger uses the sauce as a glaze for a duck wing appetizer
Move over sriracha — spicy Asian condiments such as gochujang and togarashi are the next big trend in flavor. American chefs are reaching for Korean-inspired spice blends to ramp up heat not only in Asian dishes, such as bibimbap, but in traditional U.S. favorites such as Thanksgiving turkey, roasted vegetables and even french fries.
Mondelez International is set to debut red velvet Oreos, the newest flavor of the cookies aimed at foodies and cake fans, the company said. The red Oreo cookies with cream cheese-flavored filling will be in available for six weeks or more starting early next month.
Squeezable yogurt and baby carrots flavored with ranch seasoning are among the innovative products that the Campbell Soup Company has created to attract health-conscious consumers, according to CEO Denise Morrison. The new creations are part of Morrison’s strategy to recoup slow sales of the company’s soups as fewer consumers cook and more avoid foods with high sodium. “Once upon a time you could throw a casserole in the oven and everyone would have to eat it…We’ve had to develop food products in different kinds of packaging and for different kinds of occasions,” Morrison said.
Wendy’s has pulled soda from its kids’ meal menu boards, joining chains including McDonald’s, Subway, Arby’s and Chipotle in stressing other beverages for children including milk, water and juice. Burger King said it is studying whether to pull fountain drinks from its kids’ menu as well.
Each time a patron at Rosa’s Pizza in Philadelphia pays an extra $1, the house buys a slice for a homeless person. Guests have bought about 8,400 slices of pizza for people in need since the practice started last year, and owner Mason Wartman documented each slice purchased with sticky notes on the wall until the total hit 500.
image: Bangers & Mash by Steven Tan on flickr

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Five Big Food Trends of 2015

I’ve already done a compilation of 2015 food trend predictions.  Now I’m pulling insights from dunnhumby, a customer science company that claims to use a unique methodology to predict the big trends of 2015 — taking the best of food and culinary trends uncovered through research, online recipes, restaurant menus, industry journals, the news, purchasing behavior and talking to consumers.  They describe 2015 as the year of living thoughtfully.  The how of the product — how it’s produced, packaged, and raised will play an increasingly prominent role in how consumers shop and choose products.  Here’s a look at their five big trends:

Natural Sweeteners


Maple syrup by Chiot’s Run on flickr

Natural sweeteners were defined as items containing real and not artificial sugar, including what dunnhumby describes as natural sugar options, like monk fruit, stevia, coconut sugar and agave.  Of course, there’s a big difference in these various sweeteners.  Coconut sugar and maple syrup were two sweeteners appearing on other trend lists.

Responsibly Produced


Baby carrots by ilovebutter on flickr

Fair Trade Certified. Free range. Grass-fed. Certified organic. More recycling. Sustainable packaging.  The responsibly produced definition refers to items that contain claims that get to the sustainability of the production process or a more natural production process. Today, it’s all about good for me, good for society, good for the environment.

Fermented Foods


Sauerkraut and pickles by di.wineanddine on flickr 

Most trend lists have called out the popularity of fermented foods.  That’s a no brainer.  We’re going to see more interest in fermented products like kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles and tempeh.

Small Batch Goods


Marmalade by Sarah Gilbert on flickr 

The small batch trend (handmade or artisan) is seen as providing a more natural experience, allowing consumers to be more proactive about their health and is viewed as having higher quality ingredients.  One consumer quote:  ”Reminds me of when people used to buy fresh goods from vendors in a town square.  You knew where your food came from.”

Religious Standards


Halal takeaway in Times Square by Andrew Middleton on flickr

The trend refers to products, especially meat, that are prepared in line with religious standards, specifically halal.  Maybe that’s why the Halal Guys are expanding so rapidly in New York.  With products prepared in line with religious standards, specially halal, word of mouth was the most important way of learning about the trend, with 40% of consumers discovering the products through conversations with others.

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Fancy Food Show Trends: A Roundup of Trendspotting

FFS1PicMonkey Collage

The 40th Winter Fancy Food Show just wrapped up in San Francisco, where more than 1,400 exhibitors touted everything from artichoke water, toasted coconut shavings, and seaweed chips to Wagyu beef jerky and  insta-beef pho broth.  The breakout flavors and ingredients:  coconut, turmeric, seaweed, chickpeas and maple.  While I didn’t get a chance to attend the show myself (which is convened by the Specialty Food Association),  I’ve been intently reading the trends spotted by others.  Here’s a roundup of what was hot at the annual Fancy Food Show, with a link to the sources at the end.



Chips or crackers made from coconut, brussels sprouts, broccoli, parsnips, seaweed and egg whites with whey protein; meat snacks (fancy jerky); roasted chickpeas; nuts and seeds (including toasted hemp seeds, chili pumpkin seeds); adult nut butters (garam masala, spicy Thai coconut); pasta bites; baked popcorn and hummus (made with various beans beyond chickpeas and dark chocolate); real fruit bars



Artichoke water, hemp water, soda for grown ups (especially flavored ginger ales), tea, drinkable vinegars

Hot lips soda

Fancy condiments 

Bacon jams, boozy jellies, meyer lemon and other upscale marmalades, truffle ketchup, kimchi


Hand-crafted specialty cheese spreads, burrata, flavored cream cheese, Icelandic yogurt, almond milk coffee creamers, whole-fat dairy


Toast, quinoa pop cereals, high-protein pancakes, gluten-free


Dark chocolate (85% cocoa), non-dairy desserts

Check out the stories highlighting what’s hot:

Toast is a Flavor USA Today

Top 5 Trends of Winter Fancy Food Show Specialty Food Association

Trendspotting at Winter Fancy Food Show Food Navigator

Top New Culinary Finds from 2015 Fancy Food Show San Fransisco Chronicle

6 Hot Trends from 2015 Winter Fancy Food Show Inside Scoop SF

Snack Makers Take a Fresh Look at Healthful Fare Los Angeles Times

Snacking Trends at Winter Fancy Food Show 2015 Food Navigator

Heating Up at Winter Fancy Food Food Business News

Winter Fancy Food Show Trends Food Business News

Meat Snack Revolution Food Business News

Cheese Innovations Food  Business News

Adult-Oriented Sodas on Display at Fancy Food Food Business News

The Best New Products You Need to Taste in 2015 PopSugar

2015 Food Trends Christian Science Monitor



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Compilation of 2015 Food Trends: A Roundup of Culinary Predictions


 harissa baked oysters/pyrogenic

Forget kale and quinoa.  2015 will have its own trendy foods to talk about.  Cauliflower is emerging as the next kale, and millet may be the new quinoa.  But there are lots of good vegetable and whole-grain contenders to help us branch out in 2015.  Looking for new tastes in the new year?  It’s shaping up to be quite flavorful.  Harissa may be the new Sriracha.  Global spice blends will be big, including za’atar (one of my favorites!), shawarma spice blend and togarashi, or Japanese 7 Spice.  We’ll be using more fermented flavorings, such as miso and gochujang.  And everything will be smoked, including cocktails and desserts.

For the last few years, I’ve tried to compile all of the food trend lists I’ve spotted. It seems the predictions for 2015 are more plentiful than ever and they come out earlier and earlier each year.  Here’s what I’ve been tracking, along with links at the end to all of the sources.  Hope it’s helpful to you!  Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed one of your favorite 2015 prediction or trend list. Happy eating in the New Year!


togarashi/McCormick Flavor Forecast


smoked, bitter, sour + salt, harissa, peri peri, za’atar, sumac, hot honey (habanero, jalapeño, chili honey), matcha (green tea powder), ahi, gochujang, togarashi (Japanese 7 Spice), marash pepper, Aleppo pepper, smoked spices, savory jams, real maple syrup, flavored salts, coconut sugar, hemp seeds, jalapeno, culinary cannabis


Zucchini noodles/Sharyn Morrow

Food Preparations/Techniques

fermentation, smoking, flavor without fat (rotisserie, slow roasting), DIY food bars (crostini stations, s’mores bars), spiralizing vegetables


Spain, Middle Eastern, Japan, Vietnam, New Age Asian, Korea, Filipino, farm-to-table kosher

Food Issues/Marketing

food waste, sustainable packaging, restaurant tipping, advanced tickets for restaurants, healthier kids’ meals, nutrition labels no longer just on packaged foods (apps, bar codes), supermarkets convert into socializing spaces, grocery shopping goes 24/7 online, fresh food delivery, GMO-free, artificial colors/flavors, gluten-free, return of fats


roasted cauliflower/chiot’s run


ugly root vegetables (celery root, parsnips, kohlrabi), cauliflower (in all its forms, including cauliflower “steaks,” “rice” and pizza crusts), seaweed beyond sushi, radishes, hybrid vegetables such as kalette (kale + Brussels sprouts), broccoflower (broccoli + cauliflower, broccolini (broccoli + Chinese broccoli), rainbow carrots, purple vegetables, spiralized vegetables (veggie noodles like zoodles made from zucchini), kimchi in new places, legumes

buddha's hand

  Buddha’s hand/Dave White


citrons, Buddha’s hand, finger limes, baobab, soursop


toasting millet/Lucy Crabapple

Grains/Baked Goods

millet, kaniwa, teff, freekeh, Chinese bing bread (shoaling, a flaky flatbread), kolache, steamed breads, pita-style bread, naan, gluten-free, local grains, spicy ramen noodles, sprouted grains, fancy toast


Labneh/McCormick Flavor Forecast


savory yogurt, cultured butter, labneh, full-fat yogurt, frozen kefir, stracchino

365.236: Nduja

nduja/Jessica Spengler


nduja (spreadable spicy salami), oysters, bacaloa (dried salt cod), beef tongue, collar, grass-fed beef, free-range bacon, Nashville hot chicken, newfangled and classic tacos, insects, plant-based proteins (especially from legumes),  pistachios, nut butters, sipping broths

hummus PicMonkey Collage

FNCE Exhibits/Janet Helm


Middle Eastern mezze, hummus without borders (beet, edamame, Thai chili, cilantro-chimichurri, lemongrass-chili), seafood charcuterie, Japanese snack foods (flavor-crazy), small plates


Peanut butter and jelly waffle/Nicholas Erwin


gyros, waffle sandwiches, savory kolaches

11790806863_a1ecd58a47_zAvocado toast/Alpha


savory waffles, avocado toast,  avocado + eggs, stuffed pancakes, s’mores pancakes, fancy French toast


Matcha ice cream sandwiches/Kirinohana


shaved iced desserts, savory ice creams, cookies and cookie bars, hybrids like “brookies” (brownies and cookies), soft serve, retro candy, matcha desserts, smoked desserts


smoking negroni/Chris Goldberg


nitro coffee (a cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen), gin, scotch, sherry, small-batch whiskies, creme de pamplemousse (grapefruit liqueur), herbal liqueurs, shrub-based cocktails, smoked cocktails,  hop-free beers, easy-drinking wines from Portugal (Vinho Verde), Old Fashioned, ’70s throwback cocktails (Long Island Iced Teas, White Russians), Pimm’s Cup, port, stouts, Micheladas (spicy beer-based drink), flavored spirits, matcha green tea, coconut everything, cold-pressed juice bars (next-gen coffee houses), artisan cider, high-end tea

Sources of 2015 food trend predictions: 


Sterling-Rice Group

Baum + Whiteman

Andrew Freeman

National Restaurant Association 2015 Culinary Forecast

Supermarket Guru

Supermarket Guru via Food Navigator

Innova Market Insights

Innova via Food Navigator

McCormick Flavor Forecast 2015

Specialty Food

Dataessential: 10 Food Trends to Watch in 2015

Bon Appetit  13 Food World Predictions for 2015 from Andrew Knowlton

Tasting Table

Tasting Table  Cooking Ahead: Chefs, Authors and Artisans Share Their Predictions for 2015

Time Here Are the Only 6 Food Trends You Need to Know for 2015

Kitchen Daily

Better Homes & Gardens

CNN Money These 10 Food Trends Could Dominate 2015

About Food Produce Trends for 2015

NPR, The Salt

Hungry Girl

15 Top Diet Trends for 2015  Today’s Dietitian/Pollock Communications



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