If you’re feeling like you could use a dietary reset, maybe there’s a star-studded solution to feeling sluggish and less-than-nourished. Nutritionist Nicolette Pace, MS, RDN, CDE, CBC, CDN, CFCS, FAND, has helped everyone from models to real housewives to Broadway stars to TV anchors tweak their diets to work for their lifestyles — so she knows a thing or two about healthy eating.
Luckily, you don’t have to be a celebrity to use her clever tips and tactics. In an interview with SheKnows, Pace shares how she keeps her A-list clients fit and a few pro-tips for eating your way to feeling your best.
Juice it up
Drink warm lemon juice with water in the morning. Take the juice of half a lemon and add a pinch of cayenne pepper to strengthen the body and detox. “It wakes up the digestive system, and contains Vitamin C for skin and immunity and to balance the pH of the body,” Pace says. “It flushes out the system and rehydrates the body — a fluid break-fast!”
“Plate food out away from the serving area to limit the potential to pick and eat seconds,” Pace advises. “Family style is a no-no for celebrities who need to be slim for performing on camera or stage or modeling.”
“Measure volume in serving utensils like a favorite ladle or serving spoon as well as glasses, cups, mugs, bowls, and plates that you use frequently with water if liquid or solid food to see how much they hold and how full you generally make it,” Pace says. “This is an easy, failsafe way to measure once for portion control ease.”
Caffeine can perk you up in more ways than one. Take some before a workout since it is a clinically proven ergogenic aid, which means it acts on the central nervous system, reduces fatigue, and allows for greater exertion as feelings of work load and pain are reduced. “It’s great for endurance performance, and an easy and inexpensive way to boost your athletic capabilities,” Pace says.
Go with your gut
“Eat probiotic-rich foods to enhance your good gut bacteria, which in turn will keep your weight down,” Pace says. “Look to work in fermented foods by choosing kombucha tea, kefir, yogurt, lebne, miso and fermented vegetables.”
Skip processed foods
Eat minimally processed foods as much as possible. “Uncured meats (naturally done with celery juice), organic poultry and other meat, foods without labels, in season fruits and vegetables, and seafood (preferably locally or regionally grown) will give max nutrients for energy, vitality, and anti-aging and beauty inside and out,” Pace says. “I tell my clients to eat protein and veggies if they need to drop a few pounds quickly before a big event or photo shoot. But this shouldn’t be your go-to. Eat whole foods and avoid processed foods as your long-term diet.”
Do a detox
“Detoxing will help with bloating if you do not go overboard on fiber or dairy (if you’re sensitive), which can actually make bloating worse,” Pace says. “As it targets digestive and endocrine organs (including the liver, pancreas, abdomen, bowel, and lymphatic system), fluid balance and relief from bloating is a natural and desired benefit.”
She notes that restrictions on portions can help retrain your stomach “to be more receptive and satisfied earlier with less food.”
“Large meals and frequent overeating leads to excessive stomach stretching and belly bloat,” she says. “Cut down, if not eliminate, all foods and beverages that sap your energy and lead to bloating, such as processed starches and sweets, which have a high glycemic load, as well as fatty foods and excessive sodium in prepared foods.”
Lighten up on caffeine and replace sugary beverages, artificial sweeteners, and alcohol with nutrient-rich green tea, white or black tea, yerba mate, or cocoa. Drink citrus-, fruit-, or herb-infused waters; herbal tea; and mineral water for daily hydration.
“Before exercising, avoid large volumes of fluid or food, especially when toning core muscles, to avoid cramps and digestive upset,” Pace says. “However, be sure to take at least 12 ounces of fluid an hour and a half before so you have adequate hydration. Dose protein and slow carbs one to four hours before to enable sustaining energy.”
Mind your morning meal
Don’t eat if you’re not hungry when you wake up. Just make sure that you eat within four hours of waking up.
Flush it out
Pace recommends doing a potassium and nutrient flush. “It will infuse your body with energy and vitality to help keep your belly flat for a big day,” she says. “Choose grapefruit, pineapple, mango, papaya, watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, and berries, and combine with ice and whey or hemp powder for a between meal pick-me-up.” Or, you can use silken soft tofu, kefir or yogurt for a meal replacement. Chilled or savory hot soups can also be great — try gazpacho, herbed cucumber, carrot and turnip puree, creamy guacamole, or butternut ginger for amazing flavor and concentrated nutrients.
A version of this story was published March 2019.
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