November 2004 Issue

FOOD FUN FACT: Lose Weight by Eating More
CHRISTI'S COMMENTARY: Don't Let Peer Pressure Make You Sick!
RECIPE OF THE MONTH: Thai Lettuce Wraps
UPCOMING EVENTS: New Fall Programs - Check Them Out!

Holiday gift certificates now available! (see bottom right for details)

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I always thought peer pressure would end after high school.  Boy, was I wrong! 

There is a strong wave of peer pressure that happens every day in America.  It's the pressure to be unhealthy.  In our country, it's normal to survive on coffee, sugar, lots of overtime, high stress, and lack of sleep.  There's an unspoken badge of honor that comes with being exhausted, overscheduled, and on a first name basis with the guy behind the Starbucks counter

Most of us don't intentionally pressure or encourage friends, family, or co-workers to be unhealthy. Our society is simply not set up to encourage self-care.   Let's count the ways...

We put candy bowls out at work.   We bring cake to celebrate and ice cream to console. We stuff ourselves with candy on Halloween, turkey on Thanksgiving, egg nog on Christmas, and martinis on New Year's Eve.  We skip workouts to get to the dry cleaners before they close.  We lose 3 hours of sleep each night because we're on the internet until 1 a.m. answering work emails.  We drink ourselves silly after a particularly stressful day at work.

I'm not saying that all of these traditions needs to be destroyed forever.  Some of them are tons of fun!  But wouldn't it be great if we could replace some of these unhealthy traditions with some healthy traditions?

There's nothing stopping us except... Peer Pressure! 

Keep reading to learn how peer pressure might be subtly harming your health.  You'll also learn ways you can put your health first without being "uncool" about it.  



A few weeks ago, my fiance informed me that we'd been invited to a very special gathering in honor of the first Red Sox/Yankees playoff game. 

"It's actually a 9-9-9," he said.

"What's that?" I asked (even over Instant Messenger, I could tell he was reluctant to answer me).

"Well, it means that we're going to try to eat nine hot dogs and drink nine beers in nine innings."

Now, you can probably imagine the face I made.  But I know better than to question male Red Sox tradition.  Especially when pride, glory, and honor are on the line.  According to Ben, the guys really wanted me to come along, but they wanted me to be prepared for what might happen that night.

I love hot dogs.  I haven't had one in a while, because they make me feel sick.  But when I was a kid, I could easily throw back a couple of hot dogs in one sitting.  I knew that I could easily be tempted to sample some dogs and beer at the party, even though I knew I would feel terrible the next day.

Want to know what I ate/drank that night?  Keep reading...



Last week, one of my clients told me, "I really want to make changes and eat healthier, but it feels like the whole universe is conspiring against me."

When I asked why, she replied, "Well, because everytime I meet my friends, we're going out to a bar to drink.  Plus, I work at a restaurant where I smell fried calamari and buffalo wings all night."

"Tonight, I'm meeting my friend for our traditional burger special.  I don't really want to order the burger because I've been eating poorly all week and I want to start fresh tonight.  But if I don't order a burger, then he won't be able to get his for half price, and he'll be disappointed. 

Want to learn what I suggested to my client?  Keep reading...



At the last minute, I was invited to a bachelorette party.  It looked like it was going to be a late night of drinks, followed by dinner, followed by dancing.  I LOVE to dance.  The problem?  I am in desperate need of sleep after the late-night Red Sox playoff series. 

My body was telling me that I should stay home and sleep that  night.  But the girls really wanted me to come, and I really wanted to be there for my friend and dance up a storm... What  to do?

Did I choose friends, fun, or sleep?  Read on...



One of my clients has a serious digestive disorder.  She has done a great job of identifying the foods that soothe her stomach and the foods that aggravate it. 

However, she has to go to a lot of lunch meetings for work, and she hates making special requests when ordering her meal.  She says that people always ask why she's eating something different, and she gets tired of having to explain about her sensitive stomach

So, she orders just like everyone else does... and ends up with an angry belly.

How to keep people from giving you a hard time for making choices that WORK for your body?  Read on...


Do you sometimes feel like you're the only person who's trying to eat/live healthy? If so, don't despair!  There are many other people out there just like you.   We're getting louder and stronger, and one day, everyone in America will be able to unabashedly and boldly put his/her health first!

But for now, we have to learn to respond to the peer pressure with confidence, creativity, and humor.  Let's take a look at the situations listed above and see what solutions are available to you if you find yourself in a similar spot in the future.

What happened at "The 9-9-9 Gorge Fest?" I definitely wanted to watch the game with the guys (partly just to witness the hot dog/beer debacle in person).  I knew that I would give in and have a hot dog if I didn't come prepared.  So I brought my own food with me.  The guys were really cool about it - they asked me if I wanted to put it on a plate or heat it up.  They started their hot dog/beer contest, and by the 3rd inning, I noticed them eyeing my tofu and kale with jealousy.  By the fifth inning, the competition had been called off... and I was the only one with a happy belly!  (I did have a bite of a dog - that was enough for me).

What about my client who was headed out for burger night?  She decided to recruit a few of her health-minded friends to start a "stay in and cook dinner" tradition at her apartment.  That would save her money and also allow her to eat delicious, home-cooked foods.  She also decided that next time, instead of suggesting the burger place, she would ask her friend to take a walk with her to get some exercise.

What about the late night bachelorette party?  I ended up going to that one.  I checked in with myself before it was time to get ready and decided that I had plenty of energy to go! I took everything off my schedule for Sunday so that I could totally relax and sleep as late as I want.  What's funny is that all of the ladies were tired that night, too... so we ended up calling it a night after dinner.  So, it all worked out perfectly.

What about my client who didn't want to call attention to her sensitive stomach by ordering a special meal?  Well, since she goes to the same restaurant a lot, I suggested that she call ahead and order her special meal over the phone.  Then the waiter can just deliver "the usual" to her without any special fanfare. 

If you've got food allergies or special dietary needs, there's no need to feel embarrassed.  If you're sick of explaining this to the people you go out with, why not try making up a zany answer to the inevitable "Why did you order THAT?" question?  Tell them that the dish tastes MUCH better prepared that way.  Tell them the chef likes to prepare things special for you, since you're a preferred customer.  Tell them you're following the "November Diet" (this diet doesn't exist, of course, but they don't know that!). 

My last piece of advice? If you're cool with going against the grain and being healthy, other people will be cool with it.  If you're confident about putting your health first, other people will be inspired to do the same. 

If you feel like a certain tradition is putting your health at risk, or forcing you to give into unhealthy peer pressure, then it's up to you to make a change! 

Create a new tradition. Suggest a workout instead of a dinner out.  The choice is up to you. If you need inspiration, or would like me to host a "Get Healthy!" Party for your friends or co-workers this holiday season, email me.



If you want to get your health back on track before the holidays start, please check out the classes and events listed below.  If you have any suggestions for future classes or lectures, please email me.

FREE Tele-class: "Surviving the Holidays without Gaining Weight or Going Crazy!"

This is the last tele-class that I will offer this year.  This seminar will be offered over the phone during East Coast lunchtime.  You will learn tips for making the holidays healthier - and more fun - this year.  All participants will receive helpful handouts and recipes by email after the class.

**THIS SEMINAR IS FREE... you pay only for the cost of the phone call.

TIME: 12:00-12:50 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, November 17, 2004
To sign up or get the class details,
email me.  You must sign up in advance.

"Wild and Well... For Life!" Group Program (For Women Only)

The next 6-week program will begin in January.  Spaces are already limited, and all women who are interested in participating will be asked to fill out an application and have a phone consultation with Christi.  If you want to put your health first in 2005, this group may be a great option for you. The gentle, enthusiastic support of the group will help you design a way of eating that gives your body energy, moves you away from processed foods, and helps calm your food cravings.  This program is designed for women who want help cooking new foods and redesigning their relationship with food.  We will help each other make healthy choices a habit that sticks ... for good!

Location: my office in Porter Square, Cambridge

Time: start date TBD, contact me for information

Your investment in your health: $300

To sign up: email me for more info or testimonials from past participants


Grocery Shopping Tour
Need help getting out of a food rut?  Want to learn how to speed read food labels?  Want to get over your fear of vegetables?  This FUN, INTERACTIVE tour is designed to teach you how to become an expert in healthy shopping.  Participants say this tour completely changes the way they shop.

Location: Whole Foods, River Street, Cambridge

Time: Tuesday, November 2 from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Cost: $20 (free for clients, $15 for TNT runners) - you'll get a $5 store coupon

To sign up: email me


Nutrition 101 for Marathon Runners

Are you a beginning marathon runner who is confused about what to eat during training?  The "Peak Performance Nutrition Program" is a web-based nutrition program that teaches you the dietary changes you need to make during a 19-week training season. The program includes nutrition education, recipes, a runners' shopping list, and free admission to one of my health food store tours.  The entire program costs $80. 

Here is a sample of one of the weekly webpages that you'll receive:

If you are training for the Boston Marathon, now is the time to sign up for PPNP.
To sign up or ask questions,
email me.

Corporate Nutrition Seminars

Do you work with employees who are overwhelmed by the challenge of eating healthy and reducing stress on the job? I've gained a reputation for presenting enjoyable, enthusiastic corporate seminars that include actionable tips and information that participants can use to immediately improve their health. Participants experience increased energy and productivity at work and home... which leads to reduced sick time. They learn the secret to staying healthy when traveling, and become experts at integrating fitness and healthy eating into their hectic schedules.

If you would like to improve the health of your employees, please contact me.

Individual Health Consultations
My mission is to teach my clients how to design personalized diets that boost their energy, heal chronic illnesses, and delight their taste buds.  I also help my clients find relationships, careers, and fitness opportunities that they can be passionate about. I invite you to schedule a health consultation with me.  We will go over your health history, evaluate your current diet, and discuss options that will put you on the road to optimum health.  If you already benefit from reading my newsletter, imagine what a difference working with me can make in your lives. Don't hesitate to contact me.








Wouldn't it be nice to lose weight by eating more?  Well, you can do just that. 

The secret is in the volume.

Volume helps you feel like you've eaten enough food.  The amount of calories in a given food makes a big difference in the number of calories you consume at a given meal or throughout the day.

Nutritionally speaking, this is called the energy density of the food.  The greater the energy density of the food - the more calories packed into a given weight - the easier it is to overeat.

What would fill you up faster? 1/4 cup of raisins or 1 3/4 cups of grapes?  The grapes, of course. Well, raisins are simply dried grapes - they have the same nutrients.  Because grapes have more volume, they will fill you up faster for less calories.

Take a look at this chart:

1 lb. strawberries = 140 calories

1 lb. apples = 270 calories

1 lb. shrimp = 630 calories

1 lb. white bread = 1210 calories

1 lb. pretzels = 1770 calories

1 lb. Oreo cookies = 2200 calories

If you eat a energy-dense (calorie-dense) food like Oreos or pretzels, you will have to eat more calories to get in a satisfying amount of food.

We tend to eat a consistent weight of food each day. But if most of the weight of the food comes from water, we will eat 1/3 less calories.

What foods contain the most water?  Yep, you guessed it -fruits and vegetables!

If you haven't had much success eating LESS fat or LESS carbs, why not try eating MORE fruits and vegetables and see what happens?

I call this the "crowding out the processed foods" technique - and it works great.

After water (which has zero calories) fiber contributes most to the volume of food. Fiber supplies 1.5-2 calories per gram, as compared to fat (9) and carbs and protein (4).

Fiber also holds more water in the digestive tract, which makes you feel fuller longer.

Fiber is found only in plant foods like fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.  These should be a main part of your diet every day.

The bottom line: you will eat less if you eat foods with lots of volume.  If you're eating high-calorie, low-volume carbs like pretzels, chips, crackers, or sweets... you will need to eat more calories before you get full.   This can keep you from losing weight.

On the other hand, if you eat low-calorie, high-volume foods like fruits, vegetables, and soups... you will fill up after eating less calories.

What can you do to boost your food volume?

1. Start meals with a soup or salad.  Have lots of fruits and veggies throughout the day. 

2. If you tend to munch on snacks all afternoon, put out a big bowl of cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, apples, and grapes instead of chips, chocolate or pretzels.

3. Always have dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard with your dinner.

4. Fill up on water throughout the day.

This information was adapted from a NY Times article sent to me by reader Janet V. - thanks, Janet!



RECIPE - Thai Lettuce Wraps

With all this talk of new traditions, I wanted to share a great potluck party recipe.  It's fast, easy, and fun to eat! Warning: it can be a little messy, though.


2 stalks celery

1 red bell pepper

1 carrot

4-5 scallion stalks

10 white mushrooms

4 cloves garlic

2 inches fresh ginger

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 block of extra firm tofu OR 2 cooked chicken breasts

Black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 head of Bibb lettuce

Cooking Instructions:

1. Mince the celery, pepper, carrot, scallions, mushrooms, garlic, and ginger.

2. Saute these ingredients in the olive oil until tender.

3. Add the soy sauce and tofu (or chicken).  Saute until the flavors combine.

4. Season with a pinch of black pepper and sesame oil.  Remove from heat.

5. Wash, dry and separate the Bibb lettuce leaves.

6. Spoon mixture into lettuce leaves.  Wrap the lettuce leaves up like a burrito.  Enjoy!




Tired of giving people "stuff" for the holidays?  This year, why not give the gift of health?

This year, I am offering three different gift options to help your loved ones bump their health to the top of their priority list:

1. One-Hour Health Consultation: includes a complete health history, diet analysis, and my undivided attention.  Your loved one will receive easy-to-implement suggestions that they can use to immediately improve their health... in a realistic, simple way.

Normally $100, holiday consultations are only $60.

2. Gift Certificates for my Programs/Events: Know someone who wants to participate in one of my programs or events, but is short on cash?  You can give them a gift certificate to help them pay their way.  Gift certificates are available for $30, $50, $75, and $100 and can be used for any of my products, services, or events.

3. A Full Month of Health Counseling: this package includes two 60-minute counseling sessions by phone, continuous email support, a health food store tour, healthy recipes, stress-reduction techniques, and nutrition handouts. Normally $250, this month of counseling is priced for the holidays at $195.

** All gift certificates will be mailed in a beautiful holiday envelope with a full description of the services purchased, as well as a special holiday recipe set!

Want to order a gift certificate?  Email me.  Credit cards accepted.



Christi Lehner, H.H.C., AADP, is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. A Holistic Health Counselor is a nutritionist and life coach all rolled up into one. Christi studied Eastern/Western nutrition and modern health counseling at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City and earned a B.A. in Honors in Communication Arts from Villanova Universty. A three-time marathoner and triathlete, an avid pianist, and a newly converted Red Sox and Patriots fan, Christi delights in helping her clients make nutrition and lifestyle changes that boost their energy, heal chronic illnesses, clear up the confusion around fad diets, and reduce stress.

Christi can be reached at or 617.492.6450.


About "Nourishing News"

Note: the information in this newsletter is presented for educational purposes only. This information is not intended as a substitute for diagnosis and treatment by a licensed professional.  To suggest topics for future Nourishing News issues, please contact me.

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