Author Archives: Amy

About Amy

Amy has a passion for natural, sustainable health and living that she shares by educating her clients. She runs half and full marathons, is fluent in Dutch, and grows an urban garden on her Brooklyn terrace.

Enjoying the Holidays with Food Allergies

The holiday season is in full swing with Thanksgiving less than a week away, kicking off multiple events and get togethers with family and friends. I love this time of year because it really does bring people together and inspires us all to reflect on the past year and what to look forward to in the next.

What I used to not like about this time of year is all the stress of wondering what I was going to be able to eat at these various holiday events with my many food allergies: wheat, dairy, egg, and peanuts. The good news is I’ve learned to manage my allergies as a guest and have some great ideas for hosts who may not be as familiar with food allergies.


The Numbers are in on Fast Food and Our Kids’ Health

Yale health researchers just released their report on fast food nutrition and advertising with some interesting findings. We have highlighted some of the stand-out results.

$4.2 Billion dollars – the amount the fast food industry spent on advertising for 2009 alone.

84% – Percentage of parents who take their kids to eat fast food at least once a week. (more…)

Today Show Host Meredith Vieira on Health and Running the 2010 NYC Marathon

If you tuned into the Today show on Friday, October 29th you likely saw host Meredith Vieira dressed up as Lady Gaga for the annual Today Show Halloween special. She looked fantastic, and at first I honestly had to take a double take as to whether it really was Lady Gaga or not. In an interview with Ladies’ Home Journal magazine, Veira speaks about her career (she just renewed her contract with the Today Show through 2011) and also her decision to get real with her diet when she encountered sleepless nights and low energy days.

To address her concerns, Vieira decided to meet with a nutritionist and revamp her diet and exercise regimen. The nutritionist put her on a 28-day detox diet, banning some of the worst offenders to our bodies – sugar, gluten-containing foods, alcohol and caffeine. Meredith also changed her fitness routine, which when your day begins at 2:30am can certainly pose its challenges. Not only did she increase the number of workouts, she also began utilizing weights to build muscle for a faster fat burn. Viera can now attest to having more energy to keep her going through late nights preparing for the next day’s show, as well as her extremely early and rigorous morning schedule. (more…)

Find Allergy-Friendly Restaurants at

With the thousands and thousands of individuals suffering with food allergies, it can be hard to navigate menus or even find a restaurant where you can safely eat. I remember when I first learned that I had to avoid wheat, dairy and eggs. I was convinced I would never eat out again and avoided dinner parties with friends and family, not knowing what I would be able to eat. Many years have passed since that diagnosis and I have learned how to navigate foods to ensure I eat yummy, wholesome foods without feeling like I’m missing out. (more…)

Foodie Gwyneth Paltrow Reveals Her Top Ten Food Blogs

Healthy eating enthusiast Gwyneth Paltrow has been writing her GOOP newsletter for quite some time now, providing her readers with all sorts of tips and information on places to visit, things to do and see, along with some inspiration from her circle of celebrity friends. In her latest issue of things to see, Gwyneth outlines her top 10 food blogs. This time they aren’t all celebrities, per say, but people that love food and love to blog and share their knowledge, experience and most of all – amazing recipes.

After reviewing her list, it turns out that I actually follow some of Gwyneth’s favorite blogs, as well. Below, I’ve selected my top 3 food blogs that I recommend checking out: two from Gwyneth’s list and one as my own recommendation. (more…)

8 New Food Rules From 13 Scientists

Michael Pollan had his 64 rules for eating healthy and in recent weeks, 13 scientists who were appointed to an advisory committee released their new “food rules”. This early release of “rules” is not yet the final dietary guidelines for Americans, so now is our chance to have some influence by providing our feedback. Final dietary guidelines will become available at the end of 2010, so make sure to give your 2 cents in our comments section and we will work to roll these up and help steer our country to a healthier place.

1. Eat fewer calories. The average person needs to consume roughly 2,000 calories per day. Most don’t know what they should consume for their individual height and weight, let alone how much they are actually eating. To find out what your daily calorie consumption should be, visit: DIR Health Calculator. (more…)

Best Milk Containers for the Environment

Many times in grocery stores when you are at the check-out counter, you will be asked paper or plastic. That question now extends to your milk purchase, as milk comes in a variety of containers and travel varied distances to get your local store.

In a research study performed by Pablo Paster, an environmental consultant for, one of my favorite eco-friendly websites, the environmental impact was measured for a quart of milk. The 4 types of containers tested were cardboard, plastic, glass and TetraPak, which is a method used to allow milk to be stored unrefrigerated prior to opening.

Included in the measurement was how the milk container was manufactured, transported and stored. (more…)

Excessive Pregnancy Weight Gain Can Lead to Obese Children

Here at, we dedicate a lot of time to providing information and tips to help you shape a healthier you. Keeping yourself healthy just got even more important with new evidence showing that for women who are pregnant, excess pregnancy weight can lead to childhood obesity. The findings show that bigger than average babies can be programmed to become overweight children, which further can lead to diabetes and heart disease.

The Institute of Medicine suggests that for healthy a pregnancy, women with the following BMIs, gain the corresponding amount of weight:

• Body Mass Index of 18.5 or lower, recommended weight gain: 28-40 pounds
• Body Mass Index of 18.6-24.9, recommended weight gain: 25-35 pounds
• Body Mass Index of 25-29.9, recommended weight gain: 25-25 pounds
• Body Mass Index of 30 or higher, recommended weight gain: 11-20 pounds

(Please note you should always consult with your doctor to find out the healthy range for you.)

There was also evidence to show that it was not just the weight gained during pregnancy that could lead to child obesity, but the weight you are before becoming pregnant. If a mother is overweight or obese before they become pregnant, their child is more likely to be obese, as well. It is alarming to learn that children can enter into the world with pre-determined health issues, but the good news is that by working to keep ourselves healthy, mother’s can have a direct impact on their families.

This holds true that the examples you set for your family today, by the foods you keep in-house and your active lifestyle, will shape the way the habits they form, too. If you need help on setting a good example, make sure to check-in with our Chief Mom Carmen Stacier. She is a regular contributor, providing news and tips to help you improve and maintain your own health, and that of your family.

Below are links to some great tips for keeping kids healthy from DIR Chief Mom, Carmen:

How to Select a Healthy Peanut Butter

How to Pack a Healthy Lunch: Kid-Friendly Beverages

Grocery Store Shopping Tips

Win a Bobble – The Reusable Filtered Water Bottle

Making sure you drink enough water throughout the day is extremely important. Equally important to keeping ourselves hydrated is also minimizing our environmental impact. Not only do Americans spend $17 billion a year on bottled water, which is a huge hit to our wallets, but all those plastic bottles have to end up somewhere and it’s typically in our oceans and landfills.

Brita has been a great example of how easy it is to drink clean, filtered water using reusable water pitchers with replaceable filters. The Biggest Loser franchise has partnered with Brita for several seasons of the show to encourage us all to stop buying disposable water bottles through their “Filter for Good” program. All contestants, trainers and staff used Nalgene bottles that they would refill with their Brita pitcher. (more…)

Is Crunchy Fruit the New Snack Trend?

I recently came across a new product called Funky Monkey, which is a snack tailored towards children. The product promotes being all-natural, real fruit made with the company’s own proprietary freeze-drying process of creating fruit that crunches. Each bag highlights that there is one serving of fruit in every bag. Similarly, Chef Boyardee just started advertising in their canned food line that one serving of vegetables is in every can.

Since when did a serving of fruit come in the form of a crunchy chip or a serving of vegetables come in the form of canned pasta with artificial flavors, colors and preservatives? The healthiest and best options will always be eating the whole fruit or vegetable to get all vitamins, minerals and fiber these amazing produce have to offer. (more…)