Is Moderation Really Best?
We all know the old adage “everything in moderation” but when it comes to diet is moderation really best? When should we completely cut something out of our diet? And why are we afraid to do this?
Speaking from (my) experience, if a certain food is a trigger for you, maybe consider removing it fully from your diet instead of continually trying (and failing) to effectively eat this food in moderation. For the purpose of this blog post, I’m defining “trigger” as something that sparks destructive behavior (this could be binging, restricting, purging, isolating, etc.)
If you believe that certain foods have addictive properties, then you can understand why moderation might not always work. For example – If you take a drug addict and you tell them to just do drugs in moderation… or an alcoholic, and you tell them to just drink in moderation… we know enough about these addictions to know this isn’t possible. So, why would it be any different if you have someone who can’t control themselves with sugar. Why would we say, just eat cupcakes in moderation. Why are we afraid to say/admit “I have NOT control around sweets – I can’t eat them.” If sugar triggers a binge eating (destructive) habit, why are we so quick to preach the moderation theory and base that persons success off the self-control exercised around eating cookies? Sometimes one CAN be too many.
As someone who measured my self-worth in pounds for many many (many) years, I know my trigger foods and I know I can’t eat these in moderation. I don’t see this as a failure; it’s a safe boundary I’ve outlined for myself to maintain my health.
Moderation has it’s place but it can’t be applied to all situations. Saying no to trigger foods doesn’t mean your (poof!) anorexic. You just know your limits and sometimes a little restrictive behavior is better than the alternative.
A Little Thornton Academy Alumni LOVE!!!
Christina Carr ’99 – Owner of Carr Eats
Christina Carr graduated from Thornton Academy in 1999. She went on to Syracuse University and graduated from Susquehanna in 2003. Upon graduating, Christina and her boyfriend, Roger St. Ours ’99, moved to New Jersey for several years. At that time, Christina worked for the Army as a civilian in the outdoor recreation program.
Later on, a job opportunity took the couple to Arizona for a year. In 2009, they relocated to Maine and bought their first house in Camp Ellis. Once in Maine, Christina worked at Spurwink in the Human Resources Department and later became a pharmaceutical representative.
In 2015, she started going to CrossFit Rising Tide in Saco. “I was in rough shape. I’ve always been physically active but Roger and I had just finished renovating our house. I did nothing to take care of myself during this time. I wasn’t eating that great, I wasn’t sleeping and I was always thinking about work.”
After joining CrossFit, Christina began experimenting with different food groups to help with daily slumping energy levels. After much research about proteins, carbs and fats, along with personal experimentation, she began to feel better and more energetic. She began offering her homemade meals to her CrossFit family and things took off! There was such a demand for her cooking that in 2016 she went into business for herself and CarrEats was born.
CarrEats is a meal prep company that specializes in real, unprocessed foods. Christina cooks out of the Fork Food Lab in Portland and delivers her meals to CrossFit gyms throughout Southern Maine. “Self-employment is terrifying but equally rewarding. There isn’t a safety-net, just ideas and hustle! I love what I do and my clients inspire me daily.”
To learn more about CarrEats and how you can order some of Christina’s delicious and healthy meals visit carreats.com
This post might come off a little harsh – but it’s a brutal reality that impedes happiness all the time. Growing apart.
You can’t be completely successful without the support of others; we’re pack animals. BUT you may have people in your life now who don’t fit your current vision for yourself (maybe an old friend). It’s not selfish to remove these barriers (people); adversity is critical in situational problem solving but if you have a negative influence in your inner circle, this can weigh on you and choke your progress.
For example – If you want to quit smoking and you have that one friend who pushes cigarettes on you and bullies you at every turn… This person may no longer match who you see yourself as, so you have to ponder, “what is this person contributing to my personal growth”?! It’s easier to control your environment than to build willpower.
I see this a lot with diet + fitness. Couples who don’t support each others wellness. They don’t want the other person to succeed because… well… misery loves company. 1/2 of the relationship is trying to cut out processed foods and the other 1/2 is bringing home cookies, candy and pizza. Maybe they have had several conversations about this and the outcome is always the same… “I’m not going to change just because you want to.”
I’m fortunate to have friends + family who challenge me and provide unwavering underpinning for personal growth.
- exercise + eat well together
- plan + progress together
- support + be challenged together
Do you have people in your life that don’t check all the boxes above? And I don’t mean someone going through a rough patch… but someone who constantly lives in this “dead weight” space?! Let them go.
Clutter + Noise : DA’ INTER WEBS
I believe Positive K’s lyrics “I’m not tryin’ to hear that see” may apply well here (of course – entirely out of context)! Not familure with 90’s hip-hop?! Let me explain.
Disconnect to reconnect online.
I don’t know about you, but I get to this point with my Social Media accounts and email, where it’s all consuming. My first morsel of advice would be to disconnect completely, but typically thats not a real option, since many of us need this for work. So here are some tips I use to lessen the madness!!
Follow + Unfriend: Social Media
- Heres the thing. I’m not trying to hear that see… So I WILL unfollow/unfriend you, if you’re not contributing something positive to my live. Scroll through my feed… I have completely eliminated anything that isn’t a positive experienece for me. You’ll see a lot of food, home renovations, Crossfit and dogs… More food! I delete anything that involves negativity, politics, hate or strong opinions (even those I may agree with). Why? I have enough raising my blood pressure in real life – I don’t need to hear/see that on the daily (online).
- I’m friends with people in real life that I have unfollowed online. It won’t hurt their feelings… they won’t even know! There is something about the internet that turns people obnoxious!
- Use it for good. Follow things that make you happy and motivate you! Strong athletes, makeup tutorials, LL Bean Puppies, etc…!
Junk : Email
- Mailing lists: This can really build up. As soon as I get an email I’m not interested in, I force myself to open in, scroll to the bottom and remove myself from the group. This practice has drastically reduced the amount of crap I need to sift through.
- Answer emails right away: Even if it’s not a complete answer! I find this saves me from having to read the email twice. I also find sorting, labeling and flagging emails to be totally helpful.
- Auto response: Do you find yourself giving almost the same answer for several emails? Create a note; copy/paste/modify your response from a note. This saves me a TON of time. I also have “notes” for social media tags.
So until next week… and just because it’s a Friday! I Got A Man
My Two Cents…
Lets cut through that macro chatter!! Counting “macros” means you’re counting macronutrients… it’s basically “fancy” calorie counting.
Some quick science:
- Carbohydrates = 4 calories
- Protein = 4 calories
- Fat = 9 calories
Here’s why Carr Eats doesn’t provide a macro count for meals. Short answer = Because if we did it would NOT be very accurate. Food companies need to have their food analyzed in a lab to have the nutritional facts correct. Then they need to make that product the exact same way every time… using the same proportions and the same nutritionally dense product (down to the fraction of an ounce/gram). Unless there is a machine manufacturing this product, accuracy is doubtful. I find it amusing that companies are slapping this on a label when I know they shouldn’t be. I get it… counting macros is trendy right now, and it sells, but at best it’s an approximation! People that are really tracking their macronutrients don’t do “approximations” they do exact calculations.
So to my point… If you want to track your macros, I recommend deconstructing meals, weighing them at home and entering them into a fitness application (such as My Fitness Pal). If you think I’m wrong and you’re under the impression that the macro breakdown other meal prep companies who haven’t had their food analyzed… is accurate. Just look at what they post vs what you get for numbers on your own after weighing/logging your food at home. I’m willing to bet, these numbers aren’t the same. Maybe not even close!
Lets look at peanut butter. A serving size is 1 Tablespoon or approximately 15grams. You really need to weigh this to be accurate and the difference between 1-2 grams is HUGE! The spoon is useless you need a scale.
What we do offer. Carr Eats provides a range. We aim for about 30 grams of protein and 25-30 grams of carbohydrates in each meal. Roughly 25-30% protein/fat, 30-50% carbs (moderate). The salads are roughly 40-50% protein, 30-40% fat, 10-30% carbs (lower). We never cook with dairy and the added fat source comes from coconut/olive/canola oils.
We strive for a healthy balance. Someday when we are much larger and the FDA requires this, we will take to testing. For now, we will provide you with a wide variety of options and keep your bellies happy + healthy!
“Your Weekly Check-In is Due”
I promised to journal my experience with WAG (Working Against Gravity) throughout the 12 week journey… So here we go.
Today will mark my 4th weekly check-in, so I’m about a month in. What does a check-in mean? Well today I have to send my nutrition coach a weeks worth of macronutrients (what I ate daily), my weight (I log this daily as well), measurements and progress pictures (left/right/back/front). I also do a sleep, mood, stress and energy check-in and provide a journal of my week; accomplishments, problems, etc.
Confession. I went into this with low/no expectations. I really thought I would hate it and write it off as a giant waste of money… but, I LOVE IT! To be perfectly honest, the first couple weeks were a transition period for me (struggle bus). I was really nervous about messing up. I’m paying for this, so my wallet is on the line. I couldn’t really get into the swing of weighing my food and logging it into a nutrition tracker (I use My Fitness Pal). I had reminder post-it notes and macro cheat sheets scattered around the house; I was overwhelmed. There is a BIG learning curve with WAG, especially if you haven’t tracked macros before.
By week three, I had relaxed a little and started to get into it… Now it’s like second nature. The accountability component is awesome. I workout a lot, so one of my goals through this process has been to increase my performance (lift heavier + get stronger). I’m not interested in loosing weight, so weighing myself daily and seeing the progress pictures has been really helpful in observing how the body recomposition is going (PS. Taking progress pictures in booty shorts and a sports bra with poor lighting is terrifying!!!!).
I’ve tried template programs in the past but didn’t have any luck because no-one was checking in on me. Also – I didn’t have anyone to make adjustments for me. They’re generic.. and I was always starving and feeling faint. My coach (Kate) changes my macros weekly based on my results and how I’m feeling. For example, last week I was freaking out because I thought my protein was too low… and I was petrified of loosing muscle mass. So, based off my concerns (and my results so far) we bumped that nutrient up a little. They may change again after todays check-in.
What have a learnt so far? What do I like? What has been the biggest change in my diet?
I’ve learnt that I respond well to structure. Ok that’s actually not a surprise. I’ve been that way my entire life. I have zero spontaneity! I’m a planner and I thrive off organization. Transferring my organizational skills into a meal roadmap has been very satisfying. I naturally gravitate to a diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat/protein, so this program has been great for balancing that out a bit.
I love the 1:1 coaching. It’s great to have a customized plan just for me… It’s even better that my coach is seeing my stats and can visually see whats going on from week-to-week.
The biggest change I’ve made so far… being more mindful. Really taking a self assessment. Am I really hungry? Or am I thirsty? Stressed? Bored? 9/10 times when I think I need to eat, I just need a glass of water. I’m not a big alcohol drinker but I do love a few beers or a cocktail on the weekend. With WAG, you can plan for that. There’s an alcohol calculator… so that’s another thing I’m digging!! With the program I was using before, alcohol was NOT allowed… That’s not realistic for me. If I’m going to dinner with friends/family, I like to have a glass of wine, etc.
So – More to come. So far this has been a win for me!!! Also – You don’t know disappointment until you weigh a serving of peanut butter!!!!! I’ll add you can totally do this program with our food (Carr Eats); just measure/weigh to fit your macros (that’s what I’ve been doing).
[I am not endorsed by WAG. I am endorsing CARR EATS. I am not a nutritionist. I’m doing this for myself and so that I can share my experience with you!!]
The F$# Word. FAT!!!
The 90’s did a bang-up job of shunning this glorious macronutrient… but what did that decade really know anyway?! I mean… Snackwells? Olestra WOW chips? Low-fat, fat-free mayo and margarine? Woof!!! In my opinion, the avocado has single handedly (well I guess, technically they are handless), restored societies trust in “good fat” – Fist pump!!! Hooray, fat is back!!! But how much is too much? And when should we use it?
When I cook, I like to think of fat as an accessory. Like, earrings for your plate… they make the outfit but they aren’t the dress. So what the heck am I talking about? Lets ponder the idea of cooking fats vs finishing fats.
If you cook using relatively fat-less methods, you have room in your macros at the end to add deliciousness!!! Let’s take vegetables for example; you can save a lot of added fat by sautéing or steaming them with water. You could also roast’um! You can do ALL of this “cooking” without oil/butter (fat). BUT! At the end… when the veggies are cooked to your liking, you can add fat to “finish” them off. This adds a ton of flavor + nutrition. It also allows you to control how much you are using.
Carr Eats makes a lemon green bean. We steam these beans in a shallow water bath… then when they are at the right doneness, we toss them in lemon juice, salt + pepper. We also add a touch of olive oil for flavor. Since we didn’t cook the beans in oil we can use much less. Finishing the beans off with oil (as opposed to cooking with it), really allows you to taste all the flavors. Or, if you have something like grilled chicken, you can avoid oil in your marinade and garnish it at the end with a homemade pesto (finishing fat)!
Once you start applying this concept of cooking fat vs. finishing fat, I think you’ll find your cooking to be more nutritionally balanced. Or at the very least – you’ll have enough fats left in your day to start dumping avocado on everything… and that would be delicious!!!!!
Lifting for Lungs
Using this post to drop some cool info!!! The extended Carr Eats team (oh yeah.. The Momma, the Poppa, the Sis’ta and the Mist’a) will be slinging drool worthy burgers with me in support of our friends new lungs. Lifting for Lungs will take place at Crossfit Rising Tide, Saco ME on Saturday October 14th. Let’s get this clear!!! I don’t like mobile kitchens… they stress me out! But this is such an AMAZING cause, that I’ll be dragging gear and getting chef’y out in a parking lot!!!
The Dish. “NEW LUNGS: A Bacon Brunch Burger!!!” $10+ suggested donation. You get… a bed of shredded green cabbage slaw with a black pepper and horseradish all (lean) beef patty. Top that with crispy bacon, a drippy yummy egg, pickled red onion, cucumber chips and lemon aioli drizzle (wow!!). We’re pulling out all the stops here, so pull out your calendar and mark this one down! Stay for the competition or just pull-in for some EATS!!!!
Dear Immersion Blender. I love you. (+Free Recipe)
If you’ve ever seen my counters you know I’m not a gadgets person. I don’t even like toasters because, well… the oven does a fine job at browning bread – so why waste your money?! BUT I love immersion blenders. If you want to save some dinero (and upgrade your meals), BUY one! Carr Eats uses this small appliance heavy handedly… she does a bang-up job on mayo, dressings, and mashed veggies! As your reward for reading this far… The secret behind our Dijon Vinaigrette. PS. If you’re buying store bought salad dressings… just stop that blasphemy immediately!!! They are bogged down with tons of crap and soooo easy to make at home.
Carr Eats Dijon Vinaigrette
- 1c:1c (equal ratio) of Balsamic vinegar and oil (extra virgin olive oil or canola oil) – this is flexible, so whatever you have on hand.
- 1t. of your favorite dijon mustard.
- 1 pinch sea-salt + black pepper.
- Add all ingredients together and use an immersion blender for a few seconds to get a creamy consistency.
- Boom! Just like that you’ve saved a boatload of pennies and you have a superior product. Pour said dressing onto greens or use as a marinate for meats and vegetables.
- PRO TIP: Marry your flavors. If you’re roasting chicken with basil, throw a few leaves in your dress’n. Grilled beef tips with lime? Splash some lime juice in with your vinaigrette. Your family will think you’re brilliant! Never skimp on flavor!!
I like the Breville All-In-One – Ours is wicked old and runs like a champ!!
The Best Laid Plan….
Good morning Eaters! As you can see it’s Thursday and not Wednesday… I know I had promised a new post weekly, but yesterday was lousy for me (I told you I was going to be brutally honest). I wasn’t in the headspace to write. Correction. I wasn’t in the headspace to write anything read worthy!!!
At Carr Eats, we’re big on real life. Yesterday was real for me. It just so happens that the nutritional journey I laid out for myself, coincides with listing our house. I love our home and I’m not 100% onboard with selling it… I’m not really even 25% onboard with selling, but by doing so Mr. Eats has promised more options. Included in these options; the opportunity to build our own commercial kitchen! Exciting but terrifying because if our house sells fast we have NO plan. Where will we live?! No clue. So yesterday I spent a majority of the day sulking and crying and yelling and sulking and panicking and panicking more and… eating well!
By some miracle, I fought to urge to stress eat my face off!! I saw that tub of hummus and we could have gotten real friendly, but instead I carefully measured and weighed my macros. I forced myself to the gym. Then something unexpected happened. I felt good. It took me all day to turn my mood around but I was sort of proud of myself for this small victory.
I got to thinking about the concept of controlling the controllable and not focusing on the unknowns. For example. I had a choice yesterday with my food options. I could have blown off the new program. I could have easily justified that to myself “Woe is me! Today’s hard!” – I could have convinced myself skipping the gym wouldn’t have mattered… but the truth is. It would have mattered. These choices are cumulative. It’s perpetual. Healthy eating is a catalyst for much more than just nutrition modififation; It can change your perspective, develop confidence and boost your ability/likelihood to retain these healthy behaviors.
I can control what I put in my body. I can control what I do with it (sulking vs exercising). I can’t control the unknown three weeks from now. So – let’s move that aside and not use it as a crutch or excuse.
Day One in the books! PS If you want to buy our house, I won’t hate you.
[08.30.17 marked day one of a three month Working Against Gravity (WAG) nutritional coaching program. I hope to chronicle my experience and share it with you. I’m not endorsed by WAG nor am I a Registered Dietitian. Just Carr Eat’ing my way though life.]
Brand Building? Oversharing? Get’n deep!
I’ll preface this by saying my writing style is like a story… I don’t really know how to write any other way. I have a tendency to be sarcastic, swear, misuse punctuation and you’ll probably notice a boatload of spelling errors. This is actually amazing… because I have a BA in Journalism (No – for real I do!). Tuition dollars well spent, I’d say. So if you’re looking for the sweet sweet finesse of Hemingway… You won’t get that here. I’m also obsessed with commas, the em dash, and dot dot dot… So! Let’s start from the beginning.
I started Carr Eats out of necessity. I was a pharma rep, surrounded by crappy chain foods. Lots of catered Panera lunches, takeout pizza and Thai. The gym was the best part of my day and I needed to clean-up my nutrition or I’d be dead tired by 3:00pm. I started meal prepping for me and Mr. Eats religiously on Sundays. Full disclosure. Sometimes this was hard. Sometimes this was really really hard. BUT, I knew if I didn’t do it, my week would get all jacked-up. There wasn’t enough time to eat healthy without carving out a marathon cooking day. And so it began…
To stay motivated, I took to social media. Like a weirdo, I started to take tons of pictures of what I was eating. I was the Tupperware queen. Often pulling over onto the side of the road or lingering in the back of parking lots to eat breakfast and lunch. My food pics were gaining popularity on Instagram and friends and family started to say “we’ll give you money to cook for us!” I’d laugh and brush it off… but after several months of this, I decided “what the Hell!” I threw together a quick menu, purchased a domaine name and let Carr Eats loose!! The name itself was born out of several failed attempts at something better.
I thought – Ok… At best maybe I make 1-2 extra meals each week. How hard could that be? I mean I’m already prepping at home. But, oh baby! I was epically ill prepared for what was next. Over a hundred orders my first week. Honestly – I had a big “oh shit” moment. I mean – I didn’t have room for anything! I had food at my house, food at my parents house, food in coolers in the living room… FOOD EVERYWHERE. I was working 40+ hours at my full time job, then I was cooking and packing meals (by myself) for 24hrs on Sunday. I’d start around 5am and finish around 5am the following day; take a quick shower without any sleep, deliver my meals, then head to my real job.
Always the eternal pessimist, I thought – This must be a fluke! But week after week, the orders grew and it became very obvious, I couldn’t sustain this pace. So… I quit my pharma job. Was I crazy?! Probably – but I haven’t looked back.
This is the hardest I’ve ever worked at anything in my entire life. This company is my baby and I’m a fierce momma bear. My name is quite literally in the company name. I’m part of the brand. I personally value and understand the struggle of each and every one of my customers. From new moms to athletes, each customer is part of something more than just a sale to me. I want to be in your fridge. I want to make your life just a little easier. I am overly passionate about health and nutrition. I am disgusted by what can pass for food.
Starting a business is a beast that isn’t for everyone. 10% of my time is spent producing, the other 90% is spent staying ahead of my competitors, organizing finances/licenses/insurance, streamlining, reading, researching, being honest and true to our company mission, strategizing, menu planning, sourcing ingredients, building a brand, building a community… and now blogging! I know now, that I could never return to working for anyone but myself. I’m too high-strung and love this way too much!
So there’s the story of how my baby business entered this world! Oh… and PS I’m totally legal now… no coolers in the living room! But, the chaos of our first few steps makes for a great story and each milestone means that much more.
Waiting with baited breath?! More to come next Wednesday. Welcome to Carr Eats!
Starting in September, Carr Eats is kicking off a 12 week blog series on Dialing in your nutrition. This will be a brutally honest diary of my personal journey; balancing a business, family, friends, LIFE, play and food.