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Food, Color + Holistic Living @ 3rd Ward

It's a huge perk to be able to take a classes at a place I love. I'm a pretty analog person-- mostly a writer and visual artist-- but have lately been wondering about things like sustainability, nutrition and general health (30 awaits, in like two weeks!) That said, I recently took nutritionist Ashley Spivak's class "Nutrition // Take Control of Your Health" --as a shot in the dark at "activating" myself. As a lot of you probably can relate, hitting the reset button sometimes can help balance out "the grind." It's different for each of us--for some, it's 9-5 no matter what we do, whether it's in an office or as an artist/maker, for others it's super-freelance style, on-the-go. Either way, it gets easier to eat out, order in, sit at the desk, and never feel like you're drinking enough water!

Ashley teaches numerous workshops throughout NYC, and is the nutritional consultant for Clean Plates. She was once a vegetarian (13 yrs!), but learned the hard way that no one prescribed diet works for every body. Check out Ashley's website, Wholistic Habits, for more information!

She started the class off with a lecture with A LOT of info about what happens to food in our bodies. Some key points:

  • Food is in our stomach for 2-6 hrs
  • Food doesn't come out of us until 24-72 hrs (OMG?)
  • Barley malt, fruit juice, fructors, maltose, sorghum syprup, srbiton, molasses, raw sugar ALL EQUAL THE WORD SUGAR. There's another 50 words that mean that. Womp.
  • For some people, an elimination diet is the only way to figure out what makes you feel like crap. Gluten, dairy, red meat (or all meat) corn, tomatoes, nuts, soda, coffee, dried fruit--prime offenders. Cutting things out for a week, then reintroducing them can help you figure out what works for you, and what really DOES NOT.

We then shared food journals -- a diary of what we'd eaten for the last few days, and the created food palettes--basically you give colors to different food groups. Gray = processed foods, sugars, soda, coffee, tea ; Green: leafy goodness, Pink = Meats; Blue--blueberries and anything else that might be blue...etc. Things like hummus (chickpeas) and pecans (nuts/legumes) would be the same color (I picked yellow for these).

Here's my palette:

Tanwi's Food Palette = Lots of Gray! :-/As you can see, my days were gray. It's hard to eat around here in Bushwick (as any of you know that cowork here or chill/live around here) Newtown's falafel/hummus plate is a saving grace, or Gringa Taqueria or Roberta's. But eating a pizza midday doesn't always feel quite...right.

Sooooo. What to do? We were given a bunch of options to remix and eat as we liked: cucumber, hummus, pecans, spelt wheat bread, raisins, feta, mint leaves, squash, plums. Easy things to eat, a nice mix of colors (green, yellow, yellow, brown, gray, white, green, green, purple)

Here's a fellow class takers version of what to eat:

Ashley summarized this process of eating as living in a way where our palettes had variety--of color, of type (if you cook with olive oil, try sesame or peanut), steamed veggies vs. raw, different grains (try quinoa or millet instead of whole grain or oat).

Seems basic, but sometimes jumpstarts what you need. Since the class, I've not had coffee or soda (two of my faves, but also a main culprit in my dietary woes). I've also (for now) cut out the red meat. I love me some steak or a side of bacon, but the fat and grease just isn't worth it. 

What's your feeling about what you eat? Learn how to eat in a way that transforms some habits, and bring lots of color to your life--Ashley will be teaching this class again on October 1st. Check it out! 


Tanwi is 3rd Ward's Brand Manager, which means she connects our community to 3rd Ward's social media and blog, and PR. When she's not writing here, she's been working on a novel, BRIGHT LINES, forthcoming from Viking in 2013. Her writing has appeared in  CURA: A Literary Magazine for Art and Action, Escape into Life, Thought Catalog,  Dash Literary Journal  and   Brooklyn Bodega; her play, Nayana's Passing , debuted at Dixon Place's HOT! Festival in 2005. She received her B.A. in Women's Studies from Vassar College, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College. 

Follow her on Twitter // @tanwinandini // Follow 3rd Ward on Twitter // @3rdWardBrooklyn