I had the pleasure of being introduced to Cynthia Sass last year, and felt an immediate connection. She is warm, genuine, and very down-to-earth! Ok, I love her for those reasons AND because she makes chocolate mandatory daily!! You may know her from her latest best-seller S.A.S.S. Yourself Slim. Or maybe you’ve read her columns in Shape Magazine, seen her on the Today Show, or have tried her oh-so-delicious ‘Sassy Water’ (she also co-authored the Flat Belly Diet, where Sassy Water was featured)…
Her credentials are impressive – one of the most knowledgeable nutrition experts out there, but what’s more inspiring to me is Cynthia’s sincere passion for helping people live their healthiest lives possible! She takes complex information about the way the body works and simplifies it to provide nutritional tools that are realistic to implement, and benefit your body from the inside-out! She not only knows her stuff, but she lives it, and she offered to give us a glimpse of a day in her life (at least the food part!). A question she is asked often asked is ‘What do YOU eat?” Well, she’s telling us here (with pictures!), and just so you know, my mouth was watering as I read about it!!
As a nutritionist, health writer and author I’m often asked, “What do YOU eat?” so I’m thrilled to be able to share a day in my diet with you and your readers. I’m proud to say that I faithfully follow the eating plan from my latest book S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim, which means that every meal is constructed as a ‘5 piece puzzle’ made with specific portions of produce, a whole grain, lean protein, plant-based fat, and natural seasonings (no counting of calories, grams, points, etc.). I love this strategy because it provides structure and balance, but also lots of flexibility, so from meal to meal I can include foods, flavors or textures I’m in the mood for and enjoy what’s in season.
I split my time between New York City and Los Angeles but when I’m in LA I tend to eat more meals at home. Here’s a recent LA day:
Mango Mint Avocado Smoothie. This is one of my favorite recipes from my book, made from fresh mango I cubed and froze, then whipped with rolled oats, organic plain soy milk, avocado, fresh mint and fresh squeezed lime juice. It’s so refreshing and the mint makes me feel awake, alert and ready to start my day.
I’m on the go today so I stopped at the Venice Whole Foods for lunch. I love salad bars because I can decide exactly what and how much to eat and easily apply the ‘puzzle principle.’ Today I chose a selection of organic veggies – spinach, grape tomatoes, shredded carrots, cucumber and zucchini, topped with black quinoa for my whole grain, lentils for lean protein, slivered almonds for heart healthy plant-based fat, and finally a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a few twists or cracked black pepper for natural seasoning – a perfect ‘5 piece puzzle’ meal.
I bought some amazing local cantaloupe at Whole Foods so I whipped up the Picnic Snack from my book – chunks of cantaloupe and organic tofu for lean protein, along with whole grain crackers spread with vegan basil pesto, each topped with a red jalapeno slice.
That jalapeno got me in the mood for Mexican and I had avocado to use up, so I made the layered bean dip from my book. I mashed the avocado and seasoned with lime, cilantro, cracked black pepper and minced jalapeno, as the topping for layers of whole sweet corn kernels and mashed vegetarian pinto beans. But instead of scooping up my dip with chips I use slices of organic red bell pepper and celery. I love the combo of crisp, cold veggies with warm beans and creamy guacamole.
ESCAPE 10:00 pm
I devoted an entire chapter in my book to dark chocolate, and a few tasting squares of 70% cocoa or darker are a mandatory part of the plan. I practice what I preach, so I partake with two squares of Endangered Species brand 88% cocoa extreme dark chocolate. Not only are the antioxidants and minerals good for my health, but this ‘daily dark chocolate escape’ as I call it really does satisfy my cravings, so I’m not tempted when my hubby is eating chips or cookies as we watch House Hunters International.
In a nutshell the message in my book is that losing weight and keeping it off truly can be easy. One of my clients calls it, ‘the puzzle that solves the puzzle’ because the 5 piece puzzle strategy lays out what to eat, how much, why and when, but you can easily dine out, eat on the go, and choose the foods and combinations you like four times a day, so you don’t feel trapped. Plus the balance of each meal allows you to feel both satisfied and energized, so you won’t feel deprived, restricted or starved. Also as a health professional my number one goal is always wellness, so my plan is designed to support optimal metabolism, immunity and energy. It really is a lifestyle, or a new way of looking at food, definitely not the ‘d’ word (you know the one that starts with d-i-e), LOL. Thanks for letting me share!
About the Author:
Cynthia Sass, MPH, MA, RD, CSSD is a registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition and public health. Frequently seen on national TV she’s the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays, a contributing editor and blogger at Shape magazine, and she privately counsels clients across the country. Her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches.