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Q&A with Tanya from Skinny in the City


I recently met the fabulous Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, celebrity nutritionist, creator of The F-Factor Diet and founder of She has really inspired me to eat healthy and incorporate fiber rich foods into my diet.  After meeting Tanya and discovering her daily newsletter, I was thrilled to learn that even though I can't see her in person every day, her daily newsletter would provide me with my "daily Tanya fix"-helpful options on dinning out, delicious recipes, and fashion and beauty tips from her. Love it!! Check out my Q&A with Tanya below.###
What inspired you to create the F-Factor Diet?
People may assume that I broke into this industry because I wanted to create a new diet and that I’m solely interested in weight loss.  However, my interest in this field truly began in the clinical application of nutrition.  I focused on patients with cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  I began by working off of referrals from cardiologists and endocrinologists, to help their patients reduce the risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. I created two diet programs for each group and after three months repeated the blood work for both cardiovascular and diabetic patients.  The good news was that all of the diabetic patients had better blood sugar control and the cardiovascular patients had lowered their triglycerides, LDL's, and their total cholesterol came down. Another thing happened: across the board each patient lost weight.
I did not set out to create a weight loss program, it was just the cherry on the sundae. When I looked at the common denominator of both of the diets that I had created I saw that that they were essentially two very high fiber diets. Everyone was losing weight because fiber has no calories. Fiber takes a long time to digest so the patients were naturally feeling fuller longer from the foods that they were eating, causing them to eat less. At the end of the day the laws of thermodynamics dictate calories in versus calories out.  Today, while many of my clients come to me for weight loss, their results are not purely physical but their overall health is also improved.
What is your favorite fiber friendly recipe?
My favorite fiber friendly recipe is a bean soup that I make for my family every week. I love that it can be made several different ways. Not only is there a variety of beans that I can choose from when making it, the beans can be omitted altogether to reduce the calories and grams of carbohydrate per serving.   Having a high fiber and protein packed soup in the fridge at all times makes eating healthy on my tight schedule manageable.  
Tanya's Bean Soup
·      1 medium onion, diced
·      1 bag baby carrots, chopped into bite sized pieces
·      1 bag celery hearts, diced
·      1 8 ounce carton mushrooms, sliced
·      4 zucchinis, diced
·      1 head cauliflower, diced
·      1 head broccoli, diced (can substitute fresh for a bag of frozen flowerets)
·      1 pound boneless, skinless cooked chicken breast, cubed
·      32 ounces chicken broth, low sodium
·      2 cups beans*, dry
·      2-4 cups water (2 cups without beans, 4 cups with beans)
·      salt and pepper, to taste
Bean Variations:
Lentil: add 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp coriander, 1 14.5 ounce can chopped tomato
White Bean: add 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil
Split Pea: add 1 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp marjoram
Black Bean: add 1 diced small jalapeno, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin
1. In a large, nonstick stockpot over medium heat add onions and sauté until soft and translucent.
2. Add all the vegetables, chicken and broth.
3. If including beans, stir in with 4 cups of water and corresponding seasonings. If omitting beans, reduced water to 2 cups.
4. Cover and let simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours (1 hour without beans, 1 ½ with beans).
Serves 10
Nutritional Information Per Serving (with beans):
205 Calories, 23.8 g Protein, 23.6 g Carbohydrate, 7.2 g Fiber, 2.8 g Fat
Nutritional Information Per Serving (without beans):
162 Calories, 20.4 g Protein, 15.9 g Carbohydrate, 4.2 g Fiber, 2.6 g Fat
What do you enjoy most in your free time?
On my free time I love cooking with my children. I find that when children participate in cooking, they are more likely to try new foods because they feel a sense of pride and ownership making them more willing to try the end result.
What’s a quick way to drop five pounds fast?
Step 1 of The F-Factor Diet!  Patients typically lose 2-6 lbs in the first two weeks.  Those who embrace The F-Factor Diet are able to not only lose weight at a healthy pace, but to keep it off by incorporating high fiber and low net carb foods into their diets. Unlike many diets that can be unsustainable, The F-Factor Diet is satisfying because you are eating high volume foods, yet consuming few calories. 
What is your favorite beauty secret?
I love emphasizing and playing up my eyes, so to balance this look I go light on my lips. To create the nude lip look, I line my lips with a mocha liner and blend with my fingertips. Then, I add a few dabs of concealer to my lips and top it off with a clear lip glass. This probably sounds nuts in writing and people are always so surprised when I tell them how I achieved this look, but I get compliments on it all the time.
What is your favorite beauty product you couldn’t live without?
I love my e.l.f. blush and bronzing powder duo.  The bronzer allows me to achieve a sun kissed look year round.
What’s your advice on making the right food choices when eating out?
I tell my patients to always begin their meal with a salad, dressing on the side or a clear broth soup.  This way you will be able to resist the breadbasket and fattening appetizers.  Starting off with either of these healthy options not only sets the tone for the meal, but you are also filling up on few calories leading you to eat less overall.
Any advice for mom’s looking for great fiber fun food choices for their kids?
We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so make sure that your child starts the day right with a high fiber cereal. Get your kids involved when choosing high fiber foods.  I play a game with my kids where I allow them to choose their own cereal at the grocery store. The rule to the game is that the cereal must contain 5g of fiber or more. This allows my children to feel a sense of accomplishment and they are more likely to want to eat the food that they have picked out. Fiber is very important for children, because it allows their energy levels to stay consistent throughout the day. In order to calculate how many grams of fiber your child needs per day, add the number five to their age.
What are your thoughts on the diet/beauty connections?
There is a direct connection between diet and beauty.  Foods with refined carbs and excess sugar lead to premature aging and wrinkles. On the other hand, a diet rich in fiber filled foods, antioxidants and healthy fats can be attributed to beauty that shines from the inside out.
What foods do you recommend to start feeling healthy and looking great?
Foods that are high in fiber will not only improve your energy levels, but will also assist in weight loss and management.  A diet high in fiber is a truly sustainable and natural detox.
Check out more information on Tanya and the F-Factor and
And for every valid web comment on this blog only we will give you a Free $5 e.l.f. coupon via email just to say thanks (1 per person, to the first 25 posts only).