If you’re like me, you may be feeling somewhat sluggish from the change in weather, the shift in light from the end of daylight savings time, and the overindulgence of Halloween sweets. Luckily for us, we can reset our bodies and take a few simple steps to feel and look our best this coming winter. I chatted with my dear friend Emily Kim, RDN - registered dietitian/nutritionist, MS - Masters in science in nutrition & CNSC - certified nutrition support clinician, and uncovered some of her go-to tips for staying in top form and combatting overindulgence. Read on to find out what this nutritionist has almost everyday for maximum health...your kids will love it too! You will also get Emily’s miracle elixir recipe for bone broth, along with so many valuable nuggets of nutritional wisdom and very useful takeaways.
Tell us about your background and what led you to nutrition. What are your focuses and areas of expertise? As an undergrad in college, I started out studying psychology, then took a detour into law where I stayed academically and professionally for over five years. After finding my true calling via personality tests and self-reflection, I went back to New York University and worked through blood, sweat, and tears to become a registered Dietitian.
I have been doing parenteral/enteral nutrition and ICU for the past 10 years, and worked at top hospitals in the area including Lenox Hill, Hospital for Special Surgery, and Beth Israel in various units including Maternity, Cardiovascular Surgery, Psychiatry, and Medical ICU. Helping people survive a disease, or even survive at all when they are not able to use their own gut health for 1 week to 5 months, is very gratifying. I’ve also enjoyed teaching other dietitians, doctors and nurses on all kinds of topics in nutrition. I love doing community work, such as teaching at boys and girls club or senior centers, doing conferences for neighborhoods, and one-on-one counseling.
I’m currently working on my holistic nutrition certification and building my own private practice. This is where my true passion is and why I became a dietitian in the first place. I have a strong knowledge and experience in the clinical area. Now I want to expand to a more holistic approach and combine the two to really help people achieve their health goals. I want to focus more on prenatal and postnatal nutrition for women. I also have about 20 years experience in meditation which I often help patients with in hospitals. I practice energy medicine on myself to see if there's any benefit, and I’ve found that there is. I always like to try to diets, detoxes, and other techniques on myself to really learn about them before I teach others.
What’s your favorite part of your profession?
I love helping others to expand their knowledge for self empowerment; my soul feels warm from this and I feel like this is why I exist. Also as a nutrition support dietitian in the hospitals where I've worked, I've had the chance to be part of teams that saved lives. Knowing that the nutrition formulations that I formulated just for my patients ran through their veins and helped to prolong their lives was SO gratifying.
What is a food and/or drink you have everyday?
About 6 days a week, I have a smoothie for breakfast made by me or my husband. The most important ingredient and the whole reason I drink this smoothie is for the GREENS. Either mixed greens (called Power Greens from Costco) or kale or spinach. All organic of course. Then we add everything we can to disguise that green flavor. Berries, acai, lemon, bananas, avocados, some herbs, I also add chia seeds or flax seeds. I just try to make it as nutritious as possible, as well as drinkable.
I also have herbal teas every day. I like Tulsi, green tea, raspberry leaf, rose, hibiscus, white, rosehip, tumeric, dandelion; whatever I feel like i need. All of these teas benefit some ailment I may be feeling at the moment. Tulsi and hibiscus teas are both anti-inflammatory, stress relieving, and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Dandelion teas are good for many things especially the liver.
(Sidebar: There are some days when a green smoothie is the sole source of vegetables for Curious G and me. We also drink hibiscus tea quite often; warm in the winter with a touch of honey and iced in the summer time.)
Now that the weather is getting cold, should we transition our diet at all? If so, please give us some tips for doing so.
Yes! We are humans organic to the earth and if you live in a place where the weather shifts, your body will shift along with it. Your body will require support for health and balance from a variety of foods from the earth. So from November to February, when it gets cold, it’s always good to eat seasonal local fruits and vegetables. Mother earth knows what you need! For example, this is a handy list of produce to add to your diet now, as they are all in season: apples, avocados, bananas, beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, collard greens, grapefruit, kale, kiwi, leeks, lemons, limes, onions, oranges, parsnips, pears, potatoes, pumpkins, squash, yams, swiss chard, and turnips.
My other tips are:
- Eat more stews, sour and salty flavors, heavy, fatty foods. Eat foods that are hot with more fat and protein.
- Consume less foods and beverages that are cold like salads, smoothies, iced coffees, cold juices, chips and salsa, etc. Drink warm water, warm milk and hot teas. Keep your coffee and alcohol intake low and drink plenty of warm or hot water.
- Use warming spices when you cook like ginger, basil, bay leaf, oregano, saffron, turmeric, garlic
- Use good oils like avocado, coconut sesame, ghee, grass-fed butter, olive oils (not in high heat).
- Sweeten your food with my favorite sweeteners including molasses or honey, You can also use maple syrup. If you have to use sugar, choose raw sugar instead of white sugar.
What are some snack ideas for this season.
Nuts and seeds are always great, especially in cold weather. You can eat more than a handful. I love macadamias. Try to choose raw organic if you can so you can get the most nutrition out of them, which gets lost from toasting or salting. Mix all kinds of nuts and dried fruits like brazil nuts, almonds, pistachios, walnuts mixed with coconuts, dates and figs. Place them in a tupperware and when you’re done snacking, store them in the fridge. Make sure you store nuts in the fridge so the good oils don’t break down quickly and become rancid. Nuts are hard to digest so chew them very well. They should feel like porridge before swallowing. Listen to your body and stop eating when you’re about to be really full.
(Sidebar: Curious G loves nuts. If your kids are not allergic, try a variety of nuts for snacking on. We love macadamia nuts and you can even buy them at Duane Reade! Curious G lives for pistachios and has become quite adept at cracking them open. But, our favorite nuts to snack on are coconut cashews and sesame honey almonds. You can find these at Trader Joe's, along with a larger variety of other flavors. When we are out and about, we love getting honey roasted nuts from street vendors.)
What should we do when we are surrounded by piles of Halloween candy, and later on; when we are attending holiday parties?
Before you enter a place with lots of junk food, mentally allot yourself a set amount of “junk”. For example, you may have 3 kinds of sweets at a holiday party; and consume just one every 30 minutes. Eat them very slowly, take very small bites, and allow yourself to enjoy the flavor. When I have too many sweets or even just a few sweets, I make myself a “cinnamon tea”. I just put 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon in hot water and drink. This helps to decrease the absorption of the sugar. Drink a lot of water ( at least 8 cups a day). Your body is going to need it to help it flush out toxins from your body. Also fill up on “sweet” veggies like carrots and fruits so you don’t crave refined sugar. Always remember what sugar does to your body: too much sugar will turn into triglycerides which then turns in to cholesterol and you store that as your fat.
Tell us some of your favorite things to make this season.
When the weather starts getting chilly, my husband and I make a large stock pot of bone broth and store it in our freezer/fridge. Bone broth is one of the most effective super foods. It’s delicious and easy to digest, and it absorbs like freshly made juice. When simmered right, the bones release essential proteins and amino acids like collagen, glutamine, proline and glycine. There are about 19 different amino acids in the broth. They help our immune system, our gut health, skin, joints ad bones, and are anti-inflammatory. Bone broth is also is rich in minerals that our bodies desperately need. Just remember that store bought bone broth is not the same as the kind you can make at home because it lacks the nutritional value of homemade broth. You can drink this or use this broth instead of water when cooking anything.
Please share your bone broth recipe!
1. Get 4-8lbs of organic, grass fed beef bones from your local farm or wholefoods. Any bones with will do. I know some people what use rib bones after they've ate the ribs!
2. Place them and fill the stock pot just until it covers the bones and bring it to boil. Discard the water and possible toxins from the bones.( If it's not organic, there's more chances of having cows that were given a lot of antibiotics, hormones, GMO feeds.)
3. Add vegetables: 2 lb carrots, 1 whole onion (with skin if organic), 2 branches of celery, 1 bay leaf, 2 Tbs of peppercorn.
You can also add a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to help pull out nutrients
fill the pot with filtered water, leave about 2 inches from top
4. Heat it at low heat and simmer, skim the froth from the top as it forms, and add a little bit of water lost from evaporation.
5. Simmer in low heat for 8-10 hours. Simmer for up to 48 hours for maximum nutritional value (which I have never done, so 8-10 hours will suffice).
This yields 2 liters of broth.
Final Side bar: I break out my Instant Pot when the weather gets colder. Before we got our Instant Pot, I used a crock pot. My go-to meals from the Instant Pot are honey soy chicken thighs and Southeast Asian curries. (Leave a comment below if you would like my recipes!) But, I recently started making this delicious chicken noodle soup from Jo Cooks, and sub in chicken thighs for the other chicken parts, and use shallots instead of onions. It is a big hit with Curious G…and me!