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.”
So, what does Reisman offer as one of her soundest pieces of advice when it comes to living well?
“Eat like a king in the morning, a prince in the afternoon and a pauper at night,” she says. “You should always wake up hungry, otherwise it means you’re eating too late at night.”
Read on for more health and wellness tips from the “nutrition guru of Canada.”
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.”
4. Make time to unplug
Whether it’s checking emails, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, we never take enough time to disconnect from others and recharge ourselves. Looking at a screen 24/7 can lead to sedentary lifestyle, which increases the risk of obesity and other diseases. So, get offline and get moving!
“Too much screen time affects our sleep,” Reisman says. “Start by setting boundaries around work. I know some jobs require constant availability, but make sure you still have time for yourself. It’s not only good for your mental health, but will energize you physically and creatively. Your friends and family will thank you. Being present is so important.”
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.
“It’s important to get kids eating healthy at a young age—overweight children turn into obese adults,” Reisman says. “Get the whole family involved in meal planning and prep for the week ahead so you have pre-made homemade meals on hand that you can easily reheat.”
It sounds simple enough, but you need purpose when you walk into the grocery store. “List all the items you’ll need for the dishes you want to make, and pick items that can be used in more than one dish,” suggests Reisman. “Also, use items that are more perishable to avoid waste.”
Visit Rose Reisman’s website for recipes and more tips for living well.