Rose Reisman: 6 Tips for Better Health and Longevity
Rose Reisman with her daughter and two grandkids.
For health expert and cookbook author Rose Reisman, learning to eat well came out of necessity. Here, health and wellness tips from the “nutrition guru of Canada.”
“My family is eastern European, so we ate a lot of meat and potatoes when I was growing up,” she says. “I was an overweight child and I watched a lot of my family members die young of complications from diabetes and heart disease.” Although she took up running in her 20s, Reisman admits she continued to eat poorly—until the day her doctor told her she had high cholesterol. “After that, I wanted to live by example,” she says.
In 1993, she released her first book on light cooking. Now, 19 cookbooks later, the chef and motivational speaker has recently introduced a children’s lunch program at her catering company. The nut-free facility delivers meals to 22 schools across the Greater Toronto Area, feeding about 500-600 kids a day.
“My philosophy is to give kids what they want—it’s essentially fast food made healthy. We deliver grilled cheese, hamburgers, things like that.”
1. Get at least one thing right
Don’t strive for perfection because it’s impossible to attain, Reisman cautions. “So many of us have an ‘all or nothing’ approach to life. If we get one thing wrong, our world falls apart. You know the feeling: you start a new diet, but a week later the temptation of cake to celebrate a coworker’s birthday is overwhelming and you succumb. Now you feel guilty, but the floodgates have opened and you inhale a container of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.”
However, excess weight and poor habits don’t just happen overnight and can’t be reversed with a simple juice cleanse. So don’t forget to be kind to yourself. “My advice is to get just one small thing right each day and then build on those small successes,” she says.
Learn to let go, Reisman says. “Everyone wants to ‘have it all,’ but balancing the stresses of our daily lives can be overwhelming. Learning to let go of attaining perfection is freeing. Identify your top priorities, and don’t get bogged down by anything else. For me, it’s my family, my health and my work.”
3. Have passion project
Whether it’s your career, a new hobby or a cause close to your heart, passion projects are important. “I’ve found fulfillment, both professionally and personally, from food,” says Resiman. “Not only have I succeeded in getting my family to eat well, I also seized upon the opportunity of turning this love for food into a career and business.”
5. Don’t skip meals
We’re all busy, and mealtime can easily escape us. “If you’re skipping breakfast or lunch because of a jam-packed schedule, don’t expect to drop pounds or have the energy or focus you need to successfully fulfill your day,” Reisman cautions. “Studies have found that cutting out breakfast increases your likelihood of obesity by 4.5 times. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When you skip meals, you slow down your metabolism, and your body starts to store fat. Also, when you’re starving and you finally eat, you’re more likely to eat excessively.”
Reisman’s favourite go-to breakfast consists of quinoa with Greek yogurt and berries on top. “It fills me up and I’m good for another three to four hours afterwards.”
Plan simple meals in advance, and be sure to include a lean protein, whole grains, fruits or vegetables and lower fat dairy. “Snacking is key to keeping your blood sugar levels and energy high,” she adds. “Keep snacks on hand for a quick refuel—nuts, seeds, yogurt, berries, even cheese and whole wheat crackers.”
6. Try meal planning
If you’re working late hours at the office or you’re constantly car pooling with the kids or grandkids, you’re more likely to end up ordering takeout for you and your family. Restaurant and fast food establishments can vary in the quality of food—not to mention excess fat, salt and sugar for taste.