Become a Foodist and Lose Weight Without Dieting: Podcast With Darya Pino Rose

Foodist Book CoverWhether you have struggled with your weight or just want to find out simple ways to eat better, you’re going to love this interview with Darya Pino Rose.

I have been following Darya’s website, Summer Tomato, for a couple of years now. As a science-geek myself, I can appreciate Darya’s balance of science and practical advice in her writing and approach to food.

Keep reading below to find about our book giveaway!

In this podcast we talk about:

  • the importance of being a mindful eater
  • organic vs non-organic foods
  • why you should spend more time in your kitchen and less time at the gym
  • Darya’s new book, Foodist
  • quick tips to kick-start your healthy eating
  • The Biggest Loser
  • if weight loss is simply a calories-in, calories-out equation
  • building healthy eating habits

You can listen or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here.

You can also listen to the podcast on Stitcher Radio or by clicking here to listen now.

Book Giveaway!

Darya has arranged for us to giveaway 2 copies of Foodist.

How to Enter

Entering is easy. Simply leave a comment below with your biggest weight loss or nutrition struggle.

Leave your comment by May 10, 2013 to be eligible. I will pick two entrants at random to win a copy of Foodist.

Good luck!

Items mentioned in this post:

If you enjoyed this episode with Darya Pino Rose or any other Healthynomics Podcast episode, please leave a review on iTunes. Reviews go a long way in helping the podcast reach more listeners.

 Foodist Book Trailer


Full Transcription

Mark: Hey everybody I’m Mark Kennedy and welcome to another Healthynomics Podcast. Today I’m extremely excited to have Darya Pino Rose as my guest. Darya is the author of Foodist and the creator of Summer Tomato one of Time’s 50 Best Websites of 2011. She received her PhD in neuroscience from UCSF and her bachelor’s degree in molecular and cell biology from UC Berkeley. Darya writes about food, health, and science on her blog and for several other publications. She’s a dedicated foodist, health enthusiast, and advocate of local seasonal foods and I should add that I’ve been following Darya’s blog for about two and a half years now and I really love it. It’s some great and practical advice and it dives into the science where she needs to and anyways, Darya, welcome and thanks so much for joining us.

Darya: Yeah, thanks Mark. Great to be here.

Mark: Great. So first of all, let me congratulate you on a couple things. Firstly the launch of your new book which I guess is, you said May 7th it’s coming out?

Darya: Yeah, just a couple weeks; exciting.

Mark: Cool. So you must be running around doing lots of interviews. I saw your video which was very cool. Your video, your book launch video.

Darya: Oh yeah, that was fun to make.

Mark: And you recently got married as well. So, congrats on that.

Darya: Thank you.

Mark: You’re certainly busy.

Darya: Yeah Not that [inaudible 01:28] year so far, but it’s been really exciting.

Mark: Good. Good. So let’s get into a few questions here. I did a brief intro of what you do, who you are, but can you give us a bit more details, introduction of yourself and your blog Summer Tomato and how that came to be?

Darya: Sure. So, basically I was like anybody else, I was a kid and I was growing up in Southern California, sort of in the frenzy of the dieting 90’s, 80’s and 90’s and so for me I grew up on the beaches and bikinis and ballet class and everybody was always trying to be skinny and so I was sort of, I just thought that was normal. I just thought dieting was how you, if you wanted to look good I just thought you were on a diet for your whole life. And so I was moving in and out of all these different diets starting at age 11 believe it or not. All through high school. I didn’t eat any fat. All through college, I didn’t eat any carbs. Went to grad school, I was like running marathons; I was basically doing everything under the sun.

Mark: Now, sorry to interrupt, were you overweight doing this or you were like just trying to do what everyone else does?

Darya: I went up and down like most dieters. You know, I would get on a new diet; I would lose a bunch of weight. Sometimes I’d be real thin and then you know eventually it would stop working. I find my way round and I’d gain some weight back, you know. At my heaviest I was probably maybe a little bit more than 20 pounds heavier than I am now. I don’t think, I was always on a diet so I was never like completely overweight to the obese level but I was definitely unhappy and I think that was sort of the main thing. Food was always a struggle and I felt like I was never eating. I would skip breakfast. For lunch I’d have like a Slim Fast shake or like a Power Bar or some other diet thing and I’d eat salad for dinner, but you know you just can’t sustain that and so I felt like I was always unhappy and I never liked my body and it was just this constant struggle. It was awful.

Mark: So that brings me sort of into my next question. Why do you think people, I mean this is a huge question, but why do people struggle so much with weight loss? I know there’s a ton of factors at play but what are your thoughts there?

Darya: Yeah, for me it was sort of this revelation I had and this is sort of why I started the blog and why I eventually wrote Foodist. It’s because I didn’t realize and I think that this is a big disconnect between people trying to lose weight and just what they’re doing and what works, is that I was under the impression that dieting was a completely different thing from health. Like I thought if you wanted to be healthy you ate granola and worked in your garden and if you wanted to be skinny you ate diet foods and power bars and diet Coke and you just didn’t eat any carbs or whatever. Whatever like the diet at the time was and for some reason in my mind they were just completely disconnected.

What clicked for me was when, I became, my real job for a long time was a scientist and I didn’t, I got really frustrated with the way my weight loss regimen was going. I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere. I was really unhappy. So, I decided to dig into the science myself and what I found out when I did that was that two things. One, that there is no perfect diet. I thought that there was going to be some perfect restrictive diet and none of them really worked for very long periods of time. And the other thing is that the thinnest, healthiest people they’re the same. Thin people are healthy people and they do that by not sticking to a crazy diet but eating real food and eating overall healthy patterns of food and not restricting any one thing at all. And that was a big revelation for me. So, I sort of went in like with this, reading this and thinking to myself, gosh, this sounds crazy like healthy people eat breakfast. Like ‘I’m supposed to eat breakfast? That doesn’t sound right. This is just going to make me gain weight’.

I sort of had to take a leap of faith by starting to eat real food and kicking all the processed diet foods out of my life. In the back of my mind I was like, oh gosh, if this doesn’t work I’ll just go back on my leek soup diet for a couple days. But it worked, eating more and better tasting foods that I’ve ever eaten in my life, I started losing weight. And I quickly lost like five to ten pounds which was shocking to me and then I continued to lose weight, just two to three pounds a year and slowly I settled at a new set point which is lower than I ever thought I wanted to be. But not in a bad way and I think, I look in the mirror and I look like the way I’m supposed to look. I love food now. I eat all the time. At least three times a day. And it’s just a complete revolution for me and my mind and my quality of my life. And that was when I realized I need to tell people about this. People are being fooled by the dieting industry and I need to tell people that you can eat and that you should eat and that your life will be way, way better if you do.

Mark: So the people you’ve, you touched probably a positive way in thousands of peoples lives but is it a common disconnect you find with other people you’ve talked to between healthy weight and being healthy? Do a lot of people have that disconnect?

Darya: I think so. I pretty much don’t know anybody who isn’t like a dieter. Not like crazy, but everyone’s always kind of dieting and none of them really, they still drink soda, none of them really make the connection between what health is and what weight loss is. They don’t understand. They think it’s good to get the super processed ‘oatmeal’ and I’m going to put quotes around ‘oatmeal’ and like extra protein and extra fiber added to it as if oats need more fiber or something. And they buy into that stuff no matter what and health is just really not on the radar at all.

Mark: So one of the things I like to talk about, what about habits? Where do habits play in? I haven’t read your book but I have gone through some of the excerpts you’ve sent and chapter summaries and I know there’s going to be quite a bit about habits, so perhaps you could talk about habits a lot. I know I have a couple friends that struggle with weight and go on diets and I know for them they talk about habits all the time. Yeah, they can go on a diet for a week or a month maybe but creating those lasting healthy eating habits, that’s very tough.

Darya: Right. So, that’s the key. So what I sort of figured out once I started doing this was that I could pretty much whatever I wanted but it was dependent on me eating healthy most of the time. So what I did was I set up habits basically to automate the food choices that I make most often. When you think about it, like there’s data that it’s something like 90 percent of our food choices aren’t really conscious. If you think they’re conscious but they really are just you reacting to your environment in the same way over and over and over again and that’s what a habit is. So what I realized is that if you just set up the big ones, breakfast, lunch on weekdays, weeknight dinners, if you set up 80 percent or so of your habits to be automatically healthy so where you don’t even think about it, it tastes good, you enjoy it, it gets you closer to your goals rather than farther from your goals, then on weekends, on your anniversary, on your birthday, you can go have pizza and cake and it doesn’t even matter. And so that’s why the habits are so important because it means you never, ever, ever, have to diet again. You just are automatically healthy.

Mark: That’s an excellent point. Yeah, I totally agree with you. Now what about deprivation as well. You often hear if you feel deprived that’s a diet or an eating plan that you’re not going to subscribe to long term. Do you agree with that?

Darya: Absolutely. So, one of the things about habit, you can’t have a habit that’s like, I’m not eating pizza, right? That’s not a habit. One thing you need to understand about how habits are formed or what they are basically, a habit is something that you react to as a cue, your environment or internally. So basically your alarm clock goes off, you wake up, you’re hungry, you go eat breakfast. Your cue is like its morning. Or, you see an ad on TV and it shows somebody drinking a soda and you’re like, oh my gosh I’m totally thirsty, that sounds good. So, the trick, the reason habits form is because there’s always a reward at the end and it’s really important to understand this because if you torture yourself, there is no reward. In fact a habit will never, ever form and it might may even become more difficult for it to form in the future if you try to create a reward. So, torturing yourself is the absolute wrong way to lose weight because you can’t form habits when you torture yourself and if it’s not a habit it’s not going to stick. So, this is the best news ever, right? You have to like your food. You have to like your habits. You have to enjoy the ones you pick and the ones that you decide that they’re going to stick with you for your whole life and that means you don’t have to suffer any more. Not only do you not have to but you can’t. If you do it that way you’re going to fail. It’s great. It’s great news.

Mark: Yeah, exactly. But that actually totally reminds me of, I shouldn’t bring this up, but, I’d love to get your thoughts on the Biggest Loser because, I’ve seen the show, my wife and I watch it once in awhile and it seems like torture to me and it seems like a bit of a disaster in the waiting. A lot of these people are losing a ton of weight but I think, I don’t know how these people are doing months or years down the road but…

Darya: They gain it back.

Mark: That seems like deprivation to me.

Darya: The Biggest Loser makes me so sad. It’s to me one of the saddest phenomenons on TV. Basically they get these people who are vulnerable and they torture them so that they lose weight which makes them feel good about themselves briefly but they don’t really give them the tools to maintain that weight. Most of them gain it back. Some of the past contestants have been very vocal about what it did to them psychologically and I can’t imagine personally what it would feel like to have lost 100 pounds, 150 pounds and then have it come back and have all that undone. Would you ever try again? It’s just horrible. I just think it’s so sad and there’s no need to torture yourself like that. It drives me nuts and I’m glad you brought it up because it really bums me out and I would love all the contestants to read my book. I’d give it to them for free.

Mark: Yeah, I know Dr. Yoni Freedhoff who’s up here in Canada as well he’s not too fond of it as well.

Darya: Right.

Mark: I like reading some of his commentaries once in awhile.

Darya: Tom Venuto wrote a really good opinionated post about it a few years ago too that I loved.

Mark: Okay, maybe I’ll get that link from you and I’ll throw it up on the notes for the episode. Now let’s quickly dive into just a little bit to the science of things. I would often wonder about this. I never really battle with my weight but I figure this is probably a question that a lot of people have and there’s a lot in the media and books and stuff talking about the whole weight loss and is it a calories in calories out equation or is there more involved? I hear a lot about hormones and that there are not a good arithmetic, it’s not as simple as calories in calories out but I’d love to get your thoughts on that.

Darya: Right. So calories definitely counts and that whole equation of how many calories you burn versus how many calories you eat, that’s true. The problem is the idea that you think you can manipulate it with your free will. That’s the problem. Because that’s where the hormones come in, right? The hormones are what tell you when you’re hungry and when you’re full. Your habits are what tell you to eat an extra 20 percent more than you might not have if you had a smaller plate or if you had just put your food on a plate and sat a table instead of just eating out of the bag. So, yes, the calories are important. They do work slightly differently. Like some create sugar calories can increase your more likelihood of storing fat whereas protein calories are less likely to do that. But that’s all sort of a slight manipulation.

The biggest issue for most people is the psychological will, right? How those calories impact your hunger levels. Because if you’re starving, and definitely sugar calories will mess up your insulin. If you have too much sugar on a regular basis, you will mess up your insulin signaling pathways and you will lower your metabolism and you will become just more susceptible to all the problems and you’ll be more hungry and eat more and store more fat. It’s a bad cycle and that’s definitely true. But the bigger issue is I think what makes you make those decisions in the first place. What makes you eat more versus less? What makes you eat well versus not.

Mark: Yeah. And back to the whole calorie thing, do you like calorie counting or I know some people have success with it. A couple of my friends have had a lot of success with it. What do you think about calorie counting?

Darya: Here’s the tricky thing about that. I’m a big fan of tracking your food. So what I mean by that is keeping a food journal, writing down what you’re eating, especially if you’ve never done it before because most people are completely oblivious what they’re actually eating, and the volume they eat, and how often they eat, and how much sugar they really eat and all these things. So, I think that, that practice is very, very valuable and I do recommend keeping a food journal.

As somebody like for me I have been a dieter my whole life and I’ve kept food journals forever and so I don’t really need to do it anymore. But I think if you’re new at it I think it’s a great tool and so if you look at most diet studies, the control group which is the group is not supposed to change their diet, they almost always lose weight. And the reason they almost always lose weight is because part of the thing they’re supposed to do is just track their food.

Mark: And that’s an awareness thing isn’t it?

Darya: Exactly.

Mark: You’re just more aware of what you’re eating.

Darya: So tracking your food will make you lose weight. The issue I have with calorie counting specifically is that it’s A) it’s a little neurotic and I just feel like it creates this tension between you and your food and I don’t think that that’s healthy to do long term. Like I said, a short term food journal I think can be a variant, give you a lot of insight into what you’re eating. The other issue is that if you look at the FDA requirements for package labeling, they are legally allowed to be off 20 percent for the calories that they label as in the packaged food. So and you know if you get on the treadmill, you put on your little heart rate monitor, you’re not really getting a very accurate count of how many you burn either. So, I feel like you’re sort of deluding yourself to think that you can actually accurately track your calories. I mean, it’s crazy sometimes, most people underestimate the calorie intake by a lot. And it’s largely because the packages are wrong and it’s largely because they aren’t, they can’t tell the difference between one cup and two cups. They think two cups is maybe 30 percent more than one cup even though it’s double. So, and that’s a portion size issue. That’s a scientific thing that’s been shown, we’re worse at judging large portions. So, I think if calorie counting is helping people I would never tell them to stop doing something that was working but at the same time I think there’s a little bit of delusion there about what you’re actually tracking and why it’s actually working. I don’t think people can really accurately intake their calories unless they have like a device that’s measuring their blood sugar plugged into their vein for an extended period of time. And I know people have done that.

Mark: Wow, that’s insane.

Darya: Yeah it is. But for the most part I think it’s tough to do and I recommend focusing more on whole foods and other habits that are, to build healthy habits rather than counting calories.

Mark: Cool, okay. I’ve got a few other questions but let’s just get to your book because I want to touch upon that and I know you want to spread the message about your book because I think it’s going to be fantastic. I look forward to reading it. So the book is called ‘Foodist’. So I’ve just got to, firstly what is a Foodist and what was your motivation to write the book and who’s it for?

Darya: So, ‘Foodist’ came from, basically comes from the work I was doing on Summer Tomato and it just basically compiles everything that I’ve learned and understand and the science and all that and puts it into a manual to teach people to stop dieting and get healthy and lose weight without that dieting mentality that doesn’t work. It teaches you about habits, how they form, which habits to choose, where to start, how to deal with the social pressures because your friends aren’t always supportive, it’s sad, but a lot of friends and family members won’t necessarily support you and there’s a lot of psychological issues there.

So, basically in a lot of ways it’s like a letter to 18 year old Darya who is struggling and suffering with these issues and it’s the manual that I wish I had 15 years ago before I wasted so much time and was so unhappy with food for so long. So basically, in another way to say this, chronic dieters, it’s great for them. But even if you just want to be a little healthier and you just want to know a little bit more and cut through the BS of the dieting industry. I think most people find it entertaining and enjoyable. I’ve had nothing but positive responses from the people who’ve read it so far.

Mark: Yeah, I definitely want to check it out. I was showing my wife your book trailer video this morning and she’s like, ‘What’s she having for breakfast? (?) a little steel cut oats because you know those take too long and we’ve got a little one and ask her what she has for breakfast.’ So, I read actually the summary in your book and its Muesli isn’t?

Darya: Yeah, it takes two minutes [laughs].

Mark: Okay, cool [laughs].

Darya: I mix it up. I have oats and I mix up some trail mix in there. I literally just pour them into a container and stir it and then I put a up of it in a microwave safe bowl, put in a splash of water, stick it in the microwave for two minutes, take it out, splash on some, I like almond milk, and then a little bit of cinnamon and it’s go time. It’s delicious.

Mark: Yeah, we’ll try that. And from your blog I’ve read, you talk a lot about mindful eating and this is something again, I’ve never sort of had a weight problem but I’m terrible at mindful eating. If my metabolism starts to slow down as I get a bit older, I think I’m in trouble because I eat so fast and my wife calls me out on it all the time, ‘Slow down. Slow down. Enjoy your food.’ Can you talk a bit about mindful eating and how that plays into eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight? And as on a side note I saw a smart fork today on Kickstarter. I don’t know if you’ve seen that but it encourages slower eating apparently.

Darya: Amazing. You sort of hit on it there about why mindful eating is important. It forces you to slow down, pay attention to what you’re eating, and you eat less and enjoy that food more. So you actually enjoy it more. So it’s double win, right? It’s like the opposite of deprivation. And one of the reasons it’s so important is because in 2013 and for the last 10 years or more, we are bombarded with food cues to eat more, eat faster, eat worse, you know, be glutinous, eat in your car, eat while you’re running around, eat in front of the computer, eat while you’re watching TV and the sizes, the portions keep getting bigger and bigger. And what happens is all these things will subconsciously force you to eat more than you need and that’s pointless. You don’t want to waste calories. You don’t want to waste health when you don’t have to. Especially if it’s something you’re not even conscious of, right? That’s not fun. Like if I want to eat extra calories I want to enjoy those. I want that to be ice cream, I want it to be good.

Mark: Exactly.

Darya: So my point with the mindful eating is if you can train yourself to develop the habit of eating mindfully you will naturally eat less and know your boundaries a lot better and get more out of your meals and get more out of food which is really the point, right? This is a life we’re living. We want it to be good. We don’t just want to be skinny.

Mark: Yeah, I know, you’re right. You touch upon an interesting point there because I think sometimes I’ve been very active in sports and stuff and I run quite a bit but I think for me I often look at food as fuel and sometimes I forget to enjoy it because I’m just so worried, you know, I’m hungry, I just want to shovel down a bunch of food and satisfy my hunger. But sometimes I think the practice of just slowing down, enjoying it, and I think that’s better sort of a long term approach and it probably helps with other things like digestion I’m assuming as well.

Darya: Absolutely. You know what it also helps with? Which has sort of been a revelation to me, work. Like when you think I’m more mindful of one part of your life, it sort of trickles into the others and I’m much better at writing because it’s much easier for me to ignore Twitter and Facebook for a few hours because I’ve been doing these mindful practices now for a year or two. It’s really amazing.

Mark: Interesting. It’s like meditating while you’re eating.

Darya: Totally. Totally. It’s all part of the same thing and it’s like the easiest, cheapest, best diet advice I have. Whenever people are like, ‘I eat healthy but I can’t lose weight,’ I’m like, ‘Have you tried chewing?’ And they look at me like I’m crazy. But I’m like, ‘No, no, no, really. Try chewing.’

Mark: [laughs].

Darya: It’s amazing.

Mark: Yeah, well I have to try that. What else? I want to touch upon, there’s ton of different diets out there and people sort of seem to want to cling to a certain diet that identifies them. You know there the Paleo people, and Vegan and Fruitarian and slow carb, what do you think of all these, like don’t go into each one but, to me it seems like all these different diets confuse people and I think there’s probably a balance, you know, some good things to take from all of them and probably some bad things from all of them. I don’t know. What do you think?

Darya: That’s a good question. So diets are tricky. I would never tell anybody that if something was working for them that they should stop doing that. Because everyone’s different. What works for me is not necessarily going to work for you. But at the same time, my biggest issue with diets in general is that they can get really dogmatic and that’s where I start rolling my eyes. I’m like, really? Because I eat carbs and I’m fine. Sometimes the Paleo people can get pretty self righteous. If you eat a grain or if you eat a bean or a lentil, it’s got all these things in there and you’re going to die. And it’s just like, you know what? I just went to the doctor and I’m really, really healthy and I like Indian food.

Mark: Yeah, exactly.

Darya: So, that’s an issue for me. But you know, sometimes things like that can be great for if you have a specific event or I think Tim’s slow carb diet, people can really lose a lot of weight with a fairly healthy diet really quickly and that’s the goal there to lose fat really fast and if that’s your goal I think those can be used every now and then for something like that. Personally I don’t see the point. I just want, as a normal person who just wants to go through my day enjoying my food and looking and feeling healthy, I don’t see the point. But it’s something that works, makes sense for you at the time I don’t see any problem with that.

Mark: Exactly. I think some people just, they like it because it gives them some guidance and you know if along the way they do lose some fat and then they go to the doctor and they say, ‘Side note, your cholesterol’s lower and your healthy fats are good,’ that’s a bonus.

Darya: Yeah, as long as they can maintain it though, that’s the issue with the diets is they train you to not do that. They actually, we haven’t even talked about this that there’s a psychological component to dieting that’s restrictive mentality and what happens is when you go off the diet, dieters are far worse than normal people at controlling their eating after that. So, it almost encourages weight gain. So you have to be really careful, you’re playing with fire if you ever really want to go on a diet. This is like an extreme [sounds like 27:14] that way.

Mark: Let’s go into that just a little bit because, yeah, that’s an interesting point because I mean often you see and I hear that people, when your body has a certain I guess, homeostasis and it wants to maintain a certain weight and it fights very hard to maintain that weight so if you lose a bunch of weight, your body tries to stay there but I guess if you get sidetracked it’s quite easy to get on that slippery slope again. So, how does that all work?

Darya: Yeah, that’s absolutely true. So if you lose weight too quickly your metabolism will slow so drastically the homeostatic response. So losing weight slowly, which, you know, my plan, if you’ve been a long time dieter you’ll probably lose weight slower on the Foodist plan than you would on maybe some other super low-carb diet or something like that.

That said, if you are a normal person and you’ve just sort of eaten bad your whole life and you just sort of want to get a little healthier, I’m interviewing someone this week who just picked up the book randomly from a friend of mine, the books not even out yet but my friend had it and he grabbed it and he’s lost 35 pounds in four months. And he has done, he doesn’t feel like he’s dieting, he’s just like done little, tiny little changes here and there that’s made a big difference.

But what I was going to say about the dieting, what happens is in your, when you’re a dieter you restrict your food, right? So you’re on a plan and it’s like well I’m hungry now, right? But it says I can eat a chicken breast in two hours or whatever so you train yourself to not pay attention to your hunger and continue what you’re doing and then eat when you’re supposed to eat and what happens when you do that, is not only do you train your body to stop paying attention to when you’re hungry, you also stop paying attention to when you’re full. And when you fully derail those internal signals, so you don’t know when you’re hungry or full, you’re far more vulnerable to all those external triggers that you were talking about that can cause you to over eat and eat mindlessly.

That’s the problem with the dieter is they’ll be fine when they’re on their diet but once if they break for any reason, they tend to go nuts and over time they A) slow their metabolism and B) have completely forgotten how to eat properly and eat to nourish themselves and it can be a really dangerous cycle, that’s why most dieters gain weight over time, that’s like a very high predictor to weight gain is having gone on a diet in the last two years.

Mark: I know my mom she did, this is years ago, did sort of a, I don’t know what it was, a Nutri System or one of those weight loss programs and she lost a ton of weight but she had to her gall bladder removed.

Darya: Oh my gosh.

Mark: Like a couple of a years later, she lost weight so fast that I think it really threw her system out of whack when, you know, if she had lost it probably slower and made just simple healthy changes. She’s fine today, she probably maybe gained some weight back and lost it and now she’s a very healthy weight and working out a lot but, yeah, I got to think that perhaps that sort of extreme diet and caloric restriction really throws off your system.

Darya: That’s a terrible story.

Mark: [laughs] It’s good now. It’s a happy ending now, but, yeah, that’ wasn’t good. So what are sort of big bang for your buck things? Someone wants to get healthier, eat a bit better, and right now what are a few sort of simple big bang for your buck things they can do starting today?

Darya: Yeah, this is a great question. So I would definitely recommend chewing, try chewing 25 times per bite or more if you can. Just that act of paying attention and remembering to chew will cause a lot of people to lose weight. I texted somebody the other day who lost 15 pounds just from chewing. There’s that. There’s, I recommend, one easy habit to get in the habit of eating more fresh vegetables, well generally eating real food in general. So, the more often you can shun the processed food, shun the food that doesn’t grow, that doesn’t look like it comes from the earth or the sea or the air, then the more often you eat real food, the easier it will be to feel satisfied with your food and to maintain a healthy weight. And if you’re doing that it’s best to eat seasonal too because the healthy food will taste better. Like broccoli tastes way better when it’s in season than when it’s out of season. And then I would recommend people wearing a pedometer and try to get 10,000 steps a day. And I think it can sound like a lot but it’s so effective and for a lot of people that’s a lot easier than actually getting into a gym and getting all sweaty. And then I would recommend generally eating something green with lunch and dinner as a good habit to develop. Just to get in the habit of eating vegetables. You know even if you’re going to eat pizza or eat something bad for you, that’s fine, but just order a side salad and make yourself eat it.

Mark: Yeah, exactly. What about organic versus non-organic? That’s always a big question. People wonder should I buy organic? Is it worth it? Is it not worth it? Are the benefits so far ahead of the non-organic? What about that aspect.

Darya: This is a tricky one. I have found that if you’re just shopping in a regular grocery store then organic versus non-organic is mainly a political and cost decision. I mean, if I had a baby that I was feeding who was going to be more vulnerable to pesticides I would definitely go organic no matter what. But, for like an adult who’s just trying to eat as healthy as possible, in a grocery story to me, if you want to help the farm workers and all that and you can afford the organic produce, it’s not going to taste that much better, and I don’t think it’s going to be that much better for you except for the absence of pesticides. That said, the farmers market and organic produce that’s local and fresh and that was grown in small farms and rich soil, by people who care about their product, those are going to be much higher in nutrients and they’re going to taste a lot better so you’ll actually, that reward for your habit will be there because the food actually tastes good. And for me personally I am a fan of the farm workers and I don’t them expose to the pesticides and I do want to make that political statement and sort of vote with my fork so I actually buy organic whenever possible and generally even more so I try to get my stuff at the farmers market. Or even if I end up at Whole Food’s or something they sometimes have local farms that they represent so it’ll be different depending on what city you’re in and I try to buy those whenever possible as well. And I just, I’m happy to pay a extra couple dollars to support that part of the food movement.

But you know, if you can’t afford it, or if that’s not a priority for you and you’re just looking at healthy, I say a good a guideline is a dirty dozen that the Environmental Working Group puts out and those will tell you the ones that are the highest pesticides that they most likely to get into your body. And then they have the clean 15 or whatever and those are the, you know, even when they’re not organic they’re not as bad for you. So if you’re just sort of going sort of, not as hard core as I am about this stuff, those are good guidelines to go by and they come out every year, updated.

Mark: Yeah, and I’ll put a link to both those lists in the show notes here. So let’s go to the last question here. I interviewed Dr. Yoni Freedhoff probably last year sometime and one of the interesting points he made is for people who want to lose weight he said spend more time in your kitchen then you do in the gym. I thought that was a great point and that it made me really think. But I think cooking at home, preparing your own food is vital and I know you talk a lot about that. How important do you think it is?

Darya: I think it’s huge and I completely agree with him. I mean, well first of all, he knows and one thing he’s referring to is the fact it is difficult to lose weight just by exercising. It’s great for maintaining weight it seems. Like it’s important in weight maintenance and it’s also great for looking good. Like, you’ll look better in any size if you have some muscle in your body and are less flabby, so that’s great and I definitely recommend strength training and stuff. But if weight loss is your only goal, working out makes you more hungry so you’re much better off focusing on making sure the foods you eat is clean, it’s fresh, it’s local, and it’s tasty and it’s nutritionally dense than buying a lot of diet products, eating out a lot and just trying to spend all your time in the gym and getting healthy that way. It’s definitely not the best way. But, yeah, kitchen, the kitchens a great place to hang out.

Mark: Yeah, cool, okay. So let’s start wrapping this up here. I don’t want to take too much of your time. But your publisher was nice enough to give away or give our listeners a couple copies of your new book. So we figured to be eligible to win a copy of the book, go to and I’ll set up that link and enter a comment there at the bottom of the blog with anything that you struggle with the most on nutrition or weight loss perspective. Yeah, just drop a comment there and we’ll pick two winners at random and I’ll arrange to get the books sent off to you.

Darya: Awesome. Yeah, everybody go get it.

Mark: Yeah, no definitely, I’m really looking forward to checking it out. So anyways, Darya, thanks so much for your time and expertise. Can you let us know where listeners can stay in touch with you and follow what you’re up to?

Darya: Yeah, absolutely. I spend most of my time at my blog Summer Tomato and I post there pretty often and if you want to find me on Twitter, I’m at Summer Tomato on Twitter and actually do well on Google Plus for some reason so I’m Darya Pino Rose at Google Plus and I’m Darya Pino I think on Facebook. No, no, I’m Darya Pino Rose on Facebook too and there’s a Summer Tomato page.

Mark: Awesome.

Darya: Twitter is where I really answer a lot of questions if you’re into the Twitter.

Mark: Cool. Okay, well I’ll make sure I’ll put some links to those so people can get in touch if they want to. Anyways, Darya thanks again and we will chat to you soon. I look forward to, and hope a successful launch of your book.

Darya: Thanks so much Mark. It was great to be here.

Mark: Thank you. Bye-bye.

Darya: Bye.

  • irisvk

    My biggest nutrition struggle is definitely cutting back on sugar. I find it really hard to eat once in a blue moon but am also stubborn about not having any zero tolerance policies!

  • Edward Rohen

    My biggest struggle is portion control and eating on the go. Cooking at home for one is a challenge because I always make too much then either eat too much or throw the leftovers away.

  • Karen Lacey, MS, RD

    My biggest struggle is helping others see that there is no magic diet/pill/food that will make their weight loss dreams come true. Darya has great scientifically-based advice that I often share with clients. Looking forward to reading her book.

  • Yuri Artibise

    Late night snacking!

  • seanbperiod

    Biggest struggle is having access to fresh produce. I live in an area where there is no super market within walking distance.. Fortunately, a CSA drop off will be coming within the next month. Hopefully that will suffice!

    I’m so excited about this book! (crossing fingers) :)

  • Kat McCullough

    My biggest struggle was slowing down while I ate and planning my meals. When I wasn’t planning my meals, I would always eat out or something that was not (probably some Cap’n Crunch my roommates had).

  • mamaniq

    my biggest struggle is believing that it can be done – would love to read Darya’s take

  • Cathy Edens

    My biggest challenge is sticking to it. I thikn I deprive myself of too much, then get tired of deprivation and I give up. I’ve never reached my goal and I really want to!

  • Val Camarena

    nutella. Nutella. NUTELLA.
    I’ve lost close to 80 pounds in these last two years, and the thing I miss having as much is Nutella and PB sandwiches. Great post-workout though.

  • Liliana

    My biggest struggle is chocolate.

  • Vanesa

    My biggest struggle is emotional over eating and controlling carbs and sugar cravings.

  • Gregory Mault

    Sitting at my desk for hours on end doesn’t help my midsection. Plus, I have quite the sweet tooth.

  • J. Chantale Sutherland

    I HATE mornings. They are the absolute worst for me. How do I eat a healthy breakfast without having to wake up early?

  • Tom Collins

    My biggest weight loss struggle is both eating healthy around family and fighting the late night cravings. Your blog posts through out the year have really educated me and I would benefit greatly from your new book.

  • Marquita Marie Arguello

    My biggest nutrition struggle is dealing with my daily cravings for sweet things and weaning myself off of diet coke!

  • Erin White

    Biggest challenge: healthy eating for one without produce waste!

  • Jen Jones

    My biggest nutrition struggle is the lunchtime at the office. I can’t figure out how to pack a healthy fresh lunch in a convenient way that I will stick with. I end up eating too many packaged or processed foods in a stupid attempt to be healthy or low-cal (lying to myself that it’s healthy because it’s a veggie/fake chicken patty or whatnot).

  • Fernanda Saboia

    My biggest weight loss struggle is to stay away from sweets.

  • wyvers

    The biggest struggle I have felt ties in with money as well. The more disposable income I had the more indulgent I was yet also I ate a little more healthier. The lack of funds usually meant going to cheap low quality foods and cravings for horrible processed foods.

  • tomnart

    My biggest nutrition struggle is snacking. I don’t need to lose weight, I exercise daily, and I eat healthy in every meal. I tend to have ice cream for dessert and I’m getting sick of eating nuts.

  • Sandy Simmons

    Biggest struggle: trying to get my family to eat the healthy food I prepared.

  • Kelsey Smith

    Why focus on struggles instead of success, accomplishments, or healthy habits? To stay healthy, I aim to walking or biking everywhere I go, not snacking between meals, and eating a large green salad at lunch.

  • Scott Kauppinen

    I would love a copy of darya’s book

  • Katet

    My biggest struggle is actually sifting through all the miseading and non-information about food to get to the real truth out what is real food, and what really works.

  • Aless

    Biggest nutrition struggle is coming to terms with the fact that 28 year old me can’t eat what 18 year old me could eat! When I was 18 I could eat no breakfast, burgers and candy all the time, and not even gain weight. Now, when I eat like that, I get a poor night’s sleep and waking up feeling horrible.

  • Tamara Vandenbroucke

    The most challenging part of eating healthy with reasonable portions is cooking for my husband and myself! He is not always a fan of leaner dietary choices, and at 6’2 and 160 lbs he doesn’t need to be haha :) But Summer Tomato has helped me be a health-conscious newlywed so far!

  • Keres

    Currently the biggest hurdle I have regarding nutrition and weight loss is the lack of a working refrigerator and funds to fix the underlying problem. My dwelling’s electrical circuits will simply not support a draw of power that high without a complete overhaul. The ice available at the grocery store (for a cooler) melts quickly and lasts only a day, so it’s not a viable solution either. This has caused me to have to stock more shelf stable foods than I am comfortable with, as they are more processed and unhealthy. I live within walking distance of a grocery store but it’s a big hassle to have to make a complete round trip there for any ingredients which are perishable and then have to cook right away. Imagine the time waste it causes me having to do this 2-3 times a day, not to mention food waste (no leftovers! :( ) since there are only 2 people in my household and packaged portions are huge. There is something to be said for the convenience of an always cold box inside your house, haha.

    That said, I’ve been following the Summer Tomato blog for the past few years and I’m pleased with the smart nutrition advice it provides, even if I can’t always incorporate it into my lifestyle. I’m greatly looking forward to the book as a comprehensive and easier to use resource for everything I’ve read on the blog so far.

  • Laura Rossi

    I never know what to snack on when I get hungry in the morning before lunch or in the afternoon before dinner, I get bored easily and I would like to have more healthy options. I recently moved to the US and I find it hard to make good decisions regarding food!

  • Linda Wellman Barton

    Tired of the whole process. Just wanna eat healthy all the time.

  • Michael Lussier

    I struggle with navigating the explosion of nutrition information on the web and trying to apply it to a sustainable lifestyle for myself and my teenage son. There is conflicting information presented from reputable and/or certified sources. In addition, it sounds straightforward to apply the principles, but they are hard to apply in the “wild” where fast food and prepackaged processed products overwhelm supermarket selves. I am not looking for a silver bullet, but I searching for sustainable practicality to help my son develop healthy patterns.

  • Samantha Brown

    I have done research after research which usually leaves me confused at what is truly healthy. For example wheat bread vs whole grain bread or sugars vs carbs vs fat% on what truly makes you gain unwanted fat. I started my lifestyle change 6 months ago and made great strides to a better me, but I am still not were I need to be to say I am healthy and happy with my mind and body. I am not considered an over weight person for my height but I do have extra body fat that is not supposed to be there (tummy and arms) and I still don’t always make the right decisions about my meals (loose motivation). I feel like I am at a stop light that will never turn green. I haven’t made progress in well over 2 months and my motivation is starting to disappear. I must be doing something wrong, but I have high hopes that your book will turn that light green.

  • Andrea Gorlani

    I have no major weight problems but I tend to overeat especially when eating meat.

  • BiancaC

    I have a bit of an “obsessive” personality so it messed with my mind when I merely wanted to lose a few kilos gained in college.

    There were also a few times when I was a teenager when I got a “kick” from restricting my eating or from losing a kilo, but I never took it far, being afraid that someone could find out. I’m not sure where it comes from – I’ve never been impressed by skinny model figures (heck, I don’t even read fashion magazines).

    Then I started college and took my crappy eating habits with me. Sure, I learnt how to cook and had some decent, healthy meals but still ate a lot of junk in addition to them: Candied nuts and fruit, halva, chocolate, cake, cookies, puddings, tiramisu, a lot of processed stuff. I felt perfectly fine eating all this between and after meals, because ‘I
    cannot get fat. I’m a special case with a badass metabolism’.

    Imagine my shock when after the first 3 months of college I weighed myself and realized I had gained 5kg. No shit, Sherlock. Despite looking the same as always (and I scrutinized my figure in the mirror very closely), I was still horrified because the scale said ‘You
    were wrong. You CAN get fat. Did you seriously believe you were somehow special? Well, you are not!’

    I told myself that something had to be done. I needed to lose those five kg. In retrospect that made no sense: my weight was perfectly normal. I’m guessing I did that because I felt I had somehow lost control. Losing those 5kg was an attempt to regain power and control. I might have fooled myself with my careless eating, but I was smarter now and
    would fix things!
    I did not think of myself as “fat” but I was suddenly terrified of gaining weight, because “if I can’t trust myself with food, anything can happen!”

    Of course I knew about eating disorders, and I was perfectly sure that such a crazy thing could never happen to me. Why the hell would I want to become like that? No, that could not possibly happen to me. Because I was in power. Because I had control. Something had changed. It was as though a gear in my mind had been shifted from a careless
    attitude about food to a new, radically different attitude: Now, all of a sudden, food was dangerous. Something to be controlled, regulated, and restricted.
    I did not realize that this is an extremely dangerous mindset.

    So I counted calories. And obsessed. I lost those five kgs. And it was a real kick. I was hungry a lot, but thought that was okay. I ignored my body telling me that it was not getting enough nourishment.
    One day I decided I had enough practice in calorie-counting, and now could be trusted to manage without it. After all I’d been successful. One could not count calories for their entire life, right? So I stopped calorie-counting.

    Sure enough, over the course of a few months, those five kilograms returned. I was horrified.
    And then several small realizations came. The first one was, ‘perhaps I have been fooling myself again.’

    As more time passed, more realizations and questions came. For example…

    Why and how had some foods become so ‘dangerous’?

    My boyfriend loves my body. Neither he nor I could notice a visual difference between five more or less kilograms. Was it truly that important?
    What did my body really want and need? Had I truly ever listened to it?
    Most importantly, I slowly realized that there was something wrong; that obsessing about food and calories is not normal.
    Something was messing with my mind! My mind used to be different! What had happened?
    It was as though I had lost my ‘innocence’ when it came to food. I had unjustly declared it a danger, an enemy.
    How could I do that? Food is something I need for survival and health, something I should appreciate!

    Now, for the past 2 years, I’ve created habits for eating healthily, and realized that with these habits I can easily eat whatever I want and maintain a healthy weight. The key is not to obsess! Habits help because they don’t require much thinking, and especially no obsessing. For example:
    Three meals a day, because that’s what I grew up with.
    If I get very hungry between meals – which is now rare – it means the meal hasn’t been substantial enough.
    Each meal needs to have a decent protein source and some fat. Each lunch
    and dinner needs to have some vegetables. That way, 5 daily servings of fruit and veggies are easily achieved, even exceeded.
    No sweet drinks but that’s okay because I’ve never liked them anyway.
    When eating grains, use whole grains at least 80% of the time.
    Fruit for dessert. An easy „rule“ because I’ve always loved fruit anyway.

    I eat 80% healthy and 20% ‘unhealthy’ now, and have been for the past 2 years. It works beautifully.

    No food is forbidden. People tell me I have „great self-control“ when I’m not taking a second piece of my grandma’s yummy cake, but it has nothing to do with self-control. ‘If
    you only knew’, I then think. My body simply doesn’t need nor demand any more of the sweet stuff. It knows that it’s gonna be fed well, and soon. It knows I won’t neglect it. Self
    control, or the illusion thereof, is something that has mind-fucked me, so I don’t want to hear any compliments about it, even though they’re well meant.

    I’ve learnt how to be kind to my body, so now my body is being kind to me.

  • Cori Evans

    I had a baby 6 months ago and have been struggling to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight and eating habits. Once you get used to eating for 2 while pregnant and nursing it is really hard to go back!

  • Moongazing

    My biggest struggle is trying to understand the nutrition labels and deciphering mystery ingredients in the list of ingredients.

  • Jane Scurfield

    I loved this podcast. I have been eating Museli everyday for a week now and feel amazing! I really like how Darya discourages dieting. Diets never last in my experience. I struggle with “treats”. Can you have a cookie once a week or once a day? Mark, you know I love a sweet treat!

  • Ryan J Riehl

    My biggest struggle ever was spending 6 years figuring out I have a gluten intolerance. Doctors never even suggested trying a gluten-free diet. Once I cut out wheat, it was like “Bam.” I felt better in every area of life.

    Now-a-days, my biggest struggles are desserts and snacking. Also, I need to get into the habit of buying food from well-grown sources.


    My biggest struggle is eating on time i hardly eat on time whether its lunch or dinner and to stick to a diet rule

    i think people will easily get benefit ted from this
    Thanks and regards