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Welcome to my blog! I've combined my nutrition blog with my performance calendar. If you’d like to sort through a little more quickly, you can choose whether to read Performing entries or Nutrition ones.

Friday
Feb072014

Getting my body back

As those of you who follow me on social media or receive my newsletter know, I'm currently growing a human being in my body. I'm in the home stretch of my pregnancy, expecting my first child, and I'm feeling really well. And as much as I appreciate a complication-free pregnancy and the magic of both my body and the baby's as it grows, I haven't been a big fan of pregnancy. I'm totally looking forward to motherhood but the last 37 weeks have been hard for me. I'm just not one of lose ladies that loves pregnancy. I'm okay with that. 

And of course, there's the inevitable talk of "getting your body back". Ah, that old chestnut. When I was three months pregnant, a popular recording star was on the cover of a fitness magazine baring her 6 pack of abs taken three months after giving birth to her son. Intimidating. And then we all praised Princess Kate for allowing us to see her still swollen belly when she was discharged from the hospital and how "real" she was and how "healthy" an image. And then just a few months later, her perfectly flat, stretch-mark free, taught belly was on display in a picture of her playing volleyball and we all praised her again for "getting back into shape". There are countless examples of celebrities (who have lots of help and lots of money and often, lots of plastic surgery) bouncing back after pregnancy. And it's very difficult, even while pregnant and focusing almost entirely on the health of the baby, not to become worried and preoccupied that your body will never look like it looked before. 

Add to this 21st century anxiety the fact that I'm not only in show business but in the health business. How distorted will my body be? Will I look like I used to look? How long will it take to get the weight off and the tone back? Will anyone in either field take me seriously or judge superficially and will I constantly feel like I have to announce to the world that I just had a baby, not because I'm proud but apologetic?

None of these feeling is appealing to me. I want to be proud of my baby and proud of my body for what it's done. I hope to have a natural, non-medicated, non-surgical birth and I hope to breast feed for as long as possible. If I can achieve these goals, I want the world to be as fascinated by my ability to do it as I presently am. Pregnancy and birth and breast feeding are positively magical and I don't want for a second to feel sad or self conscious or ashamed of my body while it's happening.

As I think now about the concept of getting my body back, I look forward to the things my body used to be able to do that it can't do now because I'm sharing it. I want to sleep on my stomach (oh, bliss!) or my back again. I want to be able to bend at my waist (and I'd like to have a waist again). I want to put my shoes on without becoming winded because my airway is restricted by 30 pounds of fluid and baby. I want to run up and down the subway stairs without holding on to the railing because I know exactly where my center of gravity is. I want to run! I want to twist in yoga class. I want to take an Advil if I have a headache.

Many of my overweight clients focus so much on the aesthetic results they hope to achieve in weight loss. I like to help them focus on all the great things they could be doing with a healthier body. One client recently took a very long walking tour of Chicago and saw a thousand things she never would have seen unless by foot. And now that weight is less of a factor for her, she was able to have this amazing experience. That's a great reason to want to lose weight and it takes some of the pressure off of needing our body to look a certain way. What is your body good for besides what it looks like? A MILLION THINGS.

I’m trying to take these thoughts to heart as I near the end of my pregnancy. I have to remember that a huge percentage of that million things is in play for me as I finish growing my beautiful child: as I birth it, as I feed it and as my body continues to accommodate two of us for the next year, even after my child lives in the outside world. I plan to get my body back in the way we usually mean after pregnancy. I hope it happens sooner rather than later. But mostly I'm looking forward to what my body will be able to do again. I hope I can keep appreciating all of the things it's doing now and will do in the future. I think my little one will be a wonderful reminder of what’s important.

 

Sunday
Dec082013

DON'T LET THANKSGIVING KICK YOUR BUTT

Did Thanksgiving kick your butt? You know what I mean. Did you go into the holiday with the best of intentions to not overeat, to have only one serving of dessert and to not make that extra turkey sandwich in the middle of the night? And then all of that sort of went out the window? 

I know the feeling. Most people kind of blow it in the way of eating healthy and taking care of themselves starting around Thanksgiving (if they manage to keep it together from Halloween on) and then just give up. Why is it that we feel we've "blown it" because of one day? 

This week on the blog I want to encourage you to really remember what special occasion eating is. Thanksgiving is a holiday about family, togetherness, watching football, relaxing, spending time together and lots of other fantastic things. It's also about food. It's a harvest festival and because the last harvest of the year yields lots of rich, sweet and starchy foods, many of our traditional Thanksgiving foods are much heavier and less healthy than our everyday eating. But Thanksgiving is ONE DAY. It's not the Friday after or the Wednesday before. I want to encourage you to enjoy eating on special occasions but know what those occasions are and don't sabotage your health or your weight loss goals completely on the days and weeks that surround those special occasions.

I counted the big and obvious ones up: Valentines Day, Easter, Passover, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Your Birthday (whenever that may be), Your Anniversary (whenever that may be), Labor Day, Halloween, Rosh Hashana, Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas and New Year's Eve. Even if you celebrate EVERY one of those days with a full tilt eating extravaganza (which you probably don't), that's 15 times in a year or a little more than once a month. Having a food celebration once a month will not ruin your plans for amazing trimness and fitness UNLESS you let little celebrations turn into big ones. Keep your eye on the greater goal - wellness, fitness, longevity and health - and celebrate on real celebration days only. And find ways to celebrate that aren't about food! How can you make a romantic Valentine's Day with your partner that is not food centric? It might make for a much more authentic time together.

When I became a nutrition counselor, I assumed January 1st would be my busiest time of year with everyone making New Year's Resolutions. It's my second busiest. Oddly, my busiest time of year is the Fall, after nearly a year of failed resolutions has left people fatter and unhealthier than ever before. And then the challenge of the Thanksgiving/Xmas or Hannukah/New Year's trifecta hits and we forget what got us here in the first place. Just because one day or one weekend turned into a food fest, don't say "Eff it!" and give up on yourself. I promise your enjoyment of your holidays can be found in feeling physically great and not in another lackluster, dry holiday party cookie.

If you think you need more help and more guidance staying on track with good, healthy eating and not letting the holidays manage your life, please get in touch with me for a free consultation. In the meantime, please enjoy your families, your food and your good health through the end of the year.

Sunday
Nov032013

With or Without Glu(ten)

I recently noticed a popular brand of cake mix now offers a gluten-free mix.

Now as a practitioner who advocates for whole foods, I can't say that cake mix is something I usually recommend to anyone but the ingredient list intrigued me. Even if you are not eating a gluten free diet, you might consider the gluten free mix if you see it at your store. A look at the ingredient list revealed this:

 

Ingredients:

-Rice Flour

-Sugar

-Potato Starch

-Leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate)

-Xanthan Gum

-Salt

You add eggs and butter if memory serves.

Those super scientific sounding names in the leavening are pretty standard, mostly sodium based ingredients in baking soda, fairly harmless and Xanthan gum is a corn based thickener very common in gluten free baked goods.

 

Here's how the same brand of regular yellow cake mix listed their ingredients:

Ingredients:

-Enriched Flour Bleached (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid)

-Sugar

-Corn Syrup

-Leavening (baking soda, sodiumaluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate)

Contains 2% or less of:

-Modified Corn Starch

-Corn Startch

-Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed oil

-Propylene Glycol Mono and Diesters of Fatty Acids

-Salt

-Distilled Monoglycerides

-Dicalcium Phosphate

-Natural and Artificial Flavor

-Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate

-Xanthan Gum

-Cellulose Gum

-Yellow 5 & 6

-Nonfat Milk

-Soy Lecithin

 

WOW! That is a mouthful in more ways than one. Aside from containing a LOT of words I really don't like including "partially hydrogenated" and "enriched", I have no idea what a huge number of these ingredients are. Many of them are chemicals and, if we follow Michael Pollan's wise "no more than 5 ingredients" rule of thumb, we're in deep water.

You may not be gluten free but this is a good lesson in reading a list of ingredients versus comparing fat grams or coutning calories. Some gluten free foods have ridiculous ingredients and should probably be avoided so use your common sense.

Are you confused about what to look for on a food label? Or about what it means to be gluten free? Think you might have a food sensitivity? Get in touch for a free consultation and I can help you get on a road to wellness.

Saturday
Oct122013

SPIRITUAL TUNE UP: WHAT I LEARNED FROM LEAVING MY CELL PHONE AT HOME

I wish could say I made a deliberate choice to leave my phone at home last Monday. I wish it was an exercise is non attachment and personal connection that I had meant  to make but it was totally an accident. As with most unfortunate circumstances, I try and find a way to learn from the experience and be present in the discomfort of the moment, breathe through it and enjoy whatever outcome results. Here is what I learned from my 24 hour separation from my phone.

 

THE LEAVING OF THE PHONE

I’m up working in Rochester, NY and needed to fly in to New York City for a day to rehearse a project. My flight left Rochester a little before noon and arrived in NYC at about 1:15. My cast mate Nathan dropped me off at the airport at 10 and as soon I stepped into the terminal, I realized my phone was still sitting on my coffee table in my Rochester digs. 

 

THE DECISION

After a brief moment of panic, I called my husband Dan on a pay phone (there was one!) because, well, I only know his, my and my mother’s phone numbers by heart. One option I considered was trying to hail a cab, go back to my housing, get my phone, come back and go through security with maybe a half hour to spare. If only I knew Nathan’s number, he was surely close enough to come back and get me but my dependence on the phone knowing everything for me became apparent quickly. Dan encouraged me to brave it. I knew where my rehearsal was and at what time and if I needed anything, I could call him. He said, “Just pretend it’s the ‘90s”. I went for it.

 

THE TRIP

The first thing I noticed was my inability to check the time. I had to keep finding arrival boards to make sure I wasn’t cutting anything too close. I sat down at my gate really early and read my book. The woman next to me talked with me for a just bit. I realized there’s something sort of inviting about a person who’s not looking at their phone. This happened throughout the day. Phone lookers sort of close off their whole body to the world. I was making more eye contact and people were a little chattier. 

My plane was late and my cab ride took forever. A sense of panic set in. How will I let the stage manager of this project know I might be 10 minutes late?! Of course I didn’t have his number either nor did I have a way to text or email - I needed a phone. I needed my phone. I grew more and more nervous as the trip dragged on and I couldn’t communicate. 

 

THE END RESULT

I was about 10 minutes late to rehearsal, frazzled and anxious. But in truth, everything was fine. I explained and everyone understood. My anxiety was more about my expectation that my lack of communication would be a problem and less about actually being able to communicate. On my subway ride home, I was a little bored, a little forced to look around and observe, nothing we all haven’t experienced when our phone battery dies. When I got home, the one  phone number I had written down was my show stage manager. I texted her from Dan’s phone to ask for my other cast mate Erin’s number. I had to set a firm time for her to pick me up at the airport the next day. This is how we all used to do it - make a solid plan and stick to it. 

My next day traveling, I read a magazine from cover to cover and struck up a few conversations. I worried less about the sense of disconnection I felt the day before. I remembered that everything could wait a few hours. I enjoyed looking up, taking a little more time.

Guess what? I made it to every place I was supposed to be, relatively on time. Everyone who was supposed to find me found me. I came home to 4 voicemails and 11 text messages, none of which needed to be responded to immediately. Everyone lived.

 

SO WHAT DID I LEARN?

I remembered that I don’t need to be constantly distracted by something. I learned that if you allow life, even in New York City, to move at it’s own pace that things actually slow down a little bit and there’s room and time to breathe. I learned that almost nothing is so urgent that it can’t be planned for and waited for. And I learned to be present again. All of this was accidental of course but a wonderful and helpful lesson. I’m kind of thankful to my brain for leaving my phone at home. Maybe I’ll do it on purpose next time.

Sunday
Oct062013

LISTEN UP!: AMAZING COVERS

I've recently been thinking about the very best cover versions of songs I love so I thought I'd share some fo the awesomeness in case you weren't familiar. Some of these are part of popular culture and I'm sure you've rocked out to them multiple times and others are sort of secret. And for good measure, I've thrown in one of my own at the end.

IKE AND TINA TURNER REVIEW - PROUD MARY

This song kicks ass in the original Credence version and, somehow, more ass here.

ARETHA FRANKLIN - ELEANOR RIGBY

Perhaps the best cover of a Beatles song ever.

STEVIE WONDER - WE CAN WORK IT OUT

Perhaps the second best cover of a Beatles song ever.

GEORGE MICHAEL - THEY WON'T GO WHEN I GO

There are countless amzing covers of Stevie Wonder songs (Red Hot Chili Peppers' version of Higher Ground should definitely be paid attention to) but I think George kills it on this song. He does all the back up vocals himself.

TALKING HEADS - TAKE ME TO THE RIVER

They totally make it their own.

EVA CASSIDY - FIELDS OF GOLD

I never really liked this Sting song until I heard the beautiful voice of the late Eva Cassidy sing it. In fact, any or all of her cover songs are worth listening to and in many ways far superior to the original recordings.

FARAH ALVIN AND DANIEL MATE - REELING IN THE YEARS

Well, we hardly belong on the "amazing" list but I always sort of disliked this song until Daniel presented me with this arrangement and we kind of threw it together for a show we did at the Laurie Beechman. Enjoy!

Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite covers are!