Rachel Miller thought she was eating pretty healthy while a teen in the Town of Tonawanda.
“Growing up, I didn’t feel that we ate a lot of junk, but when I look back we ate a lot of bagels,” she told me for the cover story interview to be published Saturday in WNY Refresh, on her effort to lose nearly 120 pounds – and keep it off for a dozen years. “We would go through dozens and we would eat a lot of white potatoes and a lot of white rice.
“In my college years, when I started to put on more weight, I would think nothing of eating a chicken sandwich and fries and a Diet Coke, which I would never do now.”
Miller is a holistic health coach certified after a yearlong online training program with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York City. She focuses on nutrition counseling and works with personal chef Pat Koch and with help from Studio Sophia in Kenmore. She shared a closer look at her daily eating habits.
Breakfast: “Usually, it’s one or two eggs with vegetables – spinach, tomatoes, onions, asparagus, whatever I can fit into it. Sometimes, I’ll have an oatmeal. Sometimes I do smoothies for breakfast, fruit, yogurt, protein.” Breakfast comes after a 5 a.m. scheduled workout on five or six days of the week.
Lunch: “I’ll make homemade soups and I’ll eat ‘em sometimes for the week, so I’ll have it prepared. Or I’ll have a salad. I eat a lot of protein: Fish, tuna, chicken.”
Dinner: “It varies. Most of the time, it’s vegetables. I will do grains, like quinoa or a brown rice, and again fish, chicken.”
Temptations: “My weaknesses are sweets, still,” she says. “I will do dark chocolate but I’ve learned how to bake healthy. … I do eat dessert and things I shouldn’t, but the key is moderation. Don’t feel guilty. Tomorrow is another day. You can’t (always) deprive yourself.”
Baking: “I use a lot of substitutes or a lot less sugar. The less sugar you eat, the less you crave, so I find I need less sweet than I used to. So I cook stuff with fruit or a pumpkin bread, but I won’t use as much sugar. I won’t use any artificial sweeteners. It’s all real sugars … including something called Yacon syrup – it’s a sweetener from a plant and it doesn’t make your blood sugar spike – and I will use honey or an organic sugar, but just less of it. I use yogurt a lot.
Rarely: “I don’t do a lot of pasta. I don’t do a lot of meats. If I do, it’s organic. I don’t really do dairy. I drink almond milk.”
Juicing: “I juice my own wheat grass shots. It’s a sweet, acquired taste. They sell them at Organic Cafe. I’ll do green juices. It’s all vegetables and I’ll put it in my juicer. You don’t get the fiber from it, but you get the nutrients. I’ll do cucumber, kale, celery, spinach, whatever you have. It’s a great way for people who don’t like vegetables to get them in. Sometimes, I’ll do this for a snack or breakfast.”
For her kids: I will cook slightly differently for them. I can’t get adults to eat some of the things I eat, either, so it’s a process. It’s slow progress.
– Scott Scanlon