Lisa Drayer

by Charles Platkin, PhD

Lisa received her B.S. with Distinction in nutritional sciences from Cornell University, where she received the Robinson Award for Academic Excellence. In 1997 she was the recipient of the New York State Dietetic Association Scholarship. She completed her dietetic internship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. Lisa earned her masters degree in the Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program at New York University.

Birthday: February 8th

Location: New York

Diet Detective: Is there anything about yourself that you’ve changed your mind about in the last 20 years?

Lisa: My career. I was pre–med in college, but soon realized I was more interested in nutrition. I transferred colleges to become a registered dietitian.

Diet Detective: What keeps you going (your motivation)?

Lisa: Being able to see the results of my work — whether it is helping individuals to lose weight, or writing a book that people find helpful in their daily lives.

Diet Detective: If you could eat one forbidden food whenever you wanted without gaining weight, what would it be?

Lisa: I don’t have any forbidden foods!

Diet Detective: What dessert do you dream about?

Lisa: Chocolate chip cookies.

Diet Detective: If there were one healthy food item (something you love) that you had to eat every day, what would it be?

Lisa: Raspberries.

Diet Detective: What do you think is the most important thing that makes or breaks a diet for someone?

Lisa: How motivated the person is.

Diet Detective: How did you come to your conclusions about weight loss and dieting?

Lisa: By counseling many different people over the years. You can learn a lot about the science of nutrition in school, but working with people one–on–one really gives you insight into behavior change and what really works.

Diet Detective: What kind of changes do women experience once they hit 30? How can they combat them?

Lisa: Lots of changes take place when women hit the big 3–0. Metabolism slows down, and the pounds creep up. Wrinkles and fine lines start to appear. A diagnosis of a medical condition may become a reality; fertility concerns may take center stage.

Basically, this is the decade when women start to change their thinking about their health, and because of this reality, I felt that women in their 30’s and beyond needed a whole body solution for staying healthy, beautiful, and slim. So my book, Strong, Slim, and 30! Eat Right, Stay Young, Feel Great, and Look FABULOUS, offers a diet plan to help women combat these changes. The nutrition prescription is specifically tailored to help you boost your metabolism, lose weight, protect against disease, and of course, look your best.

A couple of notes: “30” can be thought of as a threshold — it’s the point in time when all of these issues come into play. But it does not mean that if you’re in your 40’s, 50’s, or even 60’s that you can’t benefit from the book. You can. Also, the advice and meal plans are perfectly suitable for men.

Diet Detective: What are some ways that women can boost their metabolism?

Lisa: Chapter two in the book offers lots of helpful tips and suggestions to makeover your metabolism. Here are two tips:

Plan to have a mid–morning and mid–afternoon snack every day. Eating every three to four hours at work will allow your body to continuously burn calories as it digests, absorbs, and metabolizes food.

Pack some protein on your lunch plate — at least three ounces of turkey, tuna or chicken. Protein helps to preserve muscle mass, and the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn, even when you’re sitting at your desk!

Diet Detective: What kinds of food can women eat to keep their skin glowing and their hair silky and shiny?

Lisa: Healthy fats, such as nuts, peanut butter, avocado, olive and canola oils, and fish oils. Consuming at least 20% of calories from healthy fats is important for maintaining smooth skin (The meal plans in Strong, Slim, and 30! contain 25% fat).

Consuming iron–rich foods, such as lean meats, chicken, fish, and shellfish is important for maintaining healthy hair. Even if you are not clinically anemic, you can suffer hair loss and dry, brittle hair if you are not meeting your iron needs.

Diet Detective: How can women protect against osteoporosis, heart disease, and breast cancer?

Lisa: By following the meal plans in the book! Each day includes a special Anti–aging (“A”) snack, to boost disease–fighting antioxidants, and a Bone–building (“B”) snack, rich in nutrients to keep bones strong while warding off osteoporosis.

Diet Detective: What are some tips for women to help them make smart choices when dining out/socializing?

Lisa: Adopt my “Two Appetizer Strategy”. When dining out, stick to two appetizers — a salad or vegetable, and a protein-rich dish. Go for shrimp cocktail with a salad, or grilled chicken skewers with edamame. Another tip is “Wear Your Favorite Outfit”. Choose something you feel great in— a fitted sweater with a slimming pair of pants, or your favorite skirt and boots. Chances are you’ll be less inclined to overeat if you are wearing something you love. A great pair of jeans with a belt can do the trick too.

Diet Detective: What do you consider the world’s most perfect food?

Lisa: I’m not sure it’s “perfect”, but thin crust pizza with light cheese and broccoli packs in a lot of nutrition: It has protein, carbohydrates, calcium, fiber, and antioxidants, including lycopene.

Diet Detective: What physical activity do you do to keep yourself in shape?

Lisa: Brisk walking, Pilates, and dancing.

Diet Detective: Do you have a favorite healthy recipe or cooking tip? If so would you share it?

Lisa: The salmon Dijonnaise recipe in the book: Broiled salmon fillet (5 oz) with light mayonnaise (1 Tsp) and Dijon mustard (1 Tbsp) spread on top.

Diet Detective: Do you have a Calorie Bargain? What food did it replace? Was that an important food in your diet, since you ate it so often?

Lisa: Skinny Cow ice cream cones! They didn’t formally replace anything; I just enjoy them because they taste good and they’re only 150 calories. I also like Nabisco 100–calorie packs instead of full–fat cookies.

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