Press Release: Eating Disorder Workshop

Vineyard Gazette
June 10th, 2016


Thirteen Island health professionals recently attended at two-day advanced eating disorders workshop led by eating disorder expert Jessica Setnick.

The workshop held May 19 and May 20 was designed to help the professionals serve Island youth who struggle with eating disorders, according to a press release.


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If the Blues Hit, Reach for Greens

by Prudence Athearn Levy
Vineyard Gazette
April 16th, 2015
The winter was long and hard this year, but surprisingly it is now, when spring begins to show itself, that one’s mood can also be adversely affected. I find myself getting excited when the calendar turns, but then suddenly I am chilled for months. But spring is really here, and with it comes nature’s renewal of energy. Perennials are starting to poke through the soggy earth and represent renewal, awakening and hope. If you are feeling a bit sluggish from the long and unrelenting winter, or the slow start to spring, use the power of the season to help you move forward, break out of your winter eating habits, change up your nutrition and improve your mood. Targeted nutrition therapy has been proven to help uplift our moods, our hearts and our minds. 
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What Ails You? I Put On Weight This Winter

by The Martha’s Vineyard Times 
On behalf of those of us who partook in too much comfort food over this long — so very long — winter, we asked our panel of practitioners if they had a single tip that would help us take off a few pounds and keep them off.


Josh Levy, Vineyard Nutrition

Eat your calories, don’t drink them.

A big, fancy coffee drink has about the same amount of calories as a large bowl of clam chowder. And for that same amount of calories, you would feel satisfied for hours and load up on nutrients with a 100 percent whole-grain wrap filled with grilled chicken and vegetables, a side salad with low-calorie dressing, and a small bowl of berries. Liquid calories, including specialty coffee drinks and juices, while tasty, do not keep you full, and many are loaded with extra sugar and fat. And they are an expensive way to spend your calories. In place of high-calorie drinks, try aiming for no-calorie options like water, seltzer, herbal tea, or unsweetened iced tea or coffee. You can also try adding a squeeze of lemon, lime, or orange or adding cucumber, mint, or a packet of True Lemon to your water.

Remember, you don’t have to totally eliminate all liquid calories — just keep them small and limited to special occasions. This small change will help you lose weight and feel better.

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Winter 2015 Newsletter

By now you’ve probably heard that nuts are a great addition to a heart healthy diet. And they are! Theyare filled with fiber, protein, and heart healthy fats (which help you stay satisfied longer), good sources of vitamins, minerals, and disease fighting phytochemicals, and some, like walnuts, even boast heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

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No Fear, Embrace the Egg

by Prudence Athearn Levy
Vineyard Gazette
February 19th, 2015

Winter makes me nostalgic for my Edgartown childhood, for sledding at Sweetened Water Farm and ice skating on Jernegan Pond, for pink cheeks and frozen toes that didn’t bother us because we were having so much fun. It seems like when I was a kid there was significantly more snow, and more opportunity for ice skating on ponds, but probably every generation says that.

It is interesting how we remember things. As a nutritionist, my nostalgic thoughts often turn to food. Was food and nutrition simpler back then, I wonder. My family’s farm was certainly simpler than it is now — just an open roadside stand across the much less busy West Tisbury Road in Ed Tyra’s old lot. At that point we also still sold raw milk from our three Jersey and Guernsey cows, and fresh eggs from our 25 farmyard chickens out of the back door of our house.

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Island Coalition offers nutrition workshops for high school students

by The Martha’s Vineyard Times

Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS), Island Grown Schools (IGS), and Vineyard Nutrition have teamed up to offer a series of nutrition workshops for high school students in January. The workshops, led by Josh Levy of Vineyard Nutrition, will focus on both sports nutrition and helping graduating seniors prepare for eating well at college, according to a press release.

“At IGS, we are able to bring school garden based learning to children across the Island from the time they are in preschool,” Noli Taylor, Island Grown Schools program leader said.  “At the high school level, we want to empower students to take what they’ve learned in the gardens and classrooms and translate it into action, making healthy food choices for themselves and seeing themselves as active participants in the community food system.”

The sports nutrition workshops will teach athletes what and when to eat and drink to excel at their practices and games. “The athletes train very hard,” Mr. Levy said. “We know proper nutrition can help them get the most out of their workouts and do their best during their competitions.”

Workshops for graduating seniors will be held in June and will focus on how to eat healthy in college. “College is the first time these students will be able to eat whatever they want at whatever time of day or night,” said Mr. Levy. “Especially growing up on the Island, with limited access to fast food, the transition can be challenging. We want to make sure they have the tools to eat healthfully and do well in college.”

For more information contact Claire Lafave at

Island Grown Workshops Help High Schoolers Eat Well

by The Vineyard Gazette

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, Island Grown Schools and Vineyard Nutrition have teamed up to offer a series of nutrition workshops for high school students. The workshops, led by Josh Levy of Vineyard Nutrition, will focus on both sports nutrition and helping graduating seniors prepare for eating well at college. The sports nutrition workshops will be held this month, and will teach athletes what and when to eat and drink to excel at their practices and games. The workshops for graduating seniors will be held in June and will focus on how to eat healthy in college, where there will likely be much more access to fast foods with less nutritional value.

For more information on the workshops, please contact Claire Lafave at

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The best intentions: How to make 2015 the year you keep your resolutions.

by Josh Levy 
MV Times

The New Year can be an exciting new start. It gives us the chance to think about all the things we want to change. But New Year’s resolutions can also cause dread or fear, especially if you’ve tried those same resolutions before and felt that you somehow failed at them.This year, instead of trying major (and unattainable) resolutions when it comes to what you eat, let’s try a different approach. Start slow, make lasting changes, and remember there is no finish line. Look at some of the options below; choose a place to start, and start having more energy and feeling better today.

• Set small, realistic, and measurable goals. Let’s say you are not exercising, and you set a goal to exercise five days this week. You try it for a week, and exercise three timesWhile you made a lot of progress, your unreachable goal set you up to fail. Instead, set a small, attainable, and measurable goal, like walking twice a week for 15 minutes. Slowly increase it by one day every week until you are exercising five or six times a week.

•  Aim for three meals a day. Research studies — and my work with clients — shows that people who eat three meals a day better control their weight and blood sugar. It helps you not overeat and gives you sustained energy and level blood sugar. If you normally skip breakfast, aim for breakfast twice weekly. Then slowly work your way up to eating it every day. After a few weeks, you will start to wake up hungry.

•  Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies. They are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and are low in calories. Plus, when you have a big salad on your plate, there is less room to load up on pasta or mashed potatoes.

•  Eat more whole grains. Packed with fiber, whole grains will help you feel full longer and help control your blood sugar. Slowly swap your white carbs for whole-grain varieties.

•  Eat your calories, don’t drink them. A big Starbucks holiday coffee drink has about the same amount of calories and fat as a small hamburger. Liquid calories, while tasty, aren’t filling, and are loaded with extra sugar and fat. Try aiming for water, herbal tea, or unsweetened iced tea or coffee, or try adding a squeeze of lemon, lime, cucumber, or mint, or a packet of True Lemon, to your water.

•  Write down what you eat. Awareness is key — you learn what opportunities there are for you to change. Recording your food keeps you accountable, and helps you remember all the extras we tend to forget, such as the handful of nuts or chips, or the extra piece of chocolate, which all add up. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Try a piece of paper, the notes section on your phone, or one of the many available apps.

•  Organize your home and workspace. You can’t eat what is not there, so clean out the fridge and cabinets of holiday “extras.” Put all leftover snack foods out of sight, and leave a fruit bowl on the counter. Move the fruits and veggies out of the “rotter” (what I call the refrigerator drawers in many houses) and onto the top shelf where you can see them. Last, make healthy snacks convenient by keeping them in your desk, purse, or car.

• Eat out less. Even healthy restaurant choices have more calories than you would eat at home. If the breadbasket is tempting, ask the wait staff to remove it. Start with a small salad; choose plain or grilled chicken or fish with lots of veggies. Skip dessert, and watch what you drink. Sharing a meal is another way to eat less, and allows you to enjoy time with friends. Last, limit eating out to once or twice a week. You can buy lots of fresh fruits and veggies with all the savings.

•  Exercise most days of the week. A few years ago, I worked with a client who hadn’t exercised in more than a decade and would rather clean her sock drawer than take a walk. We started slow — one minute a day — and then added a minute a week. Seven months later she was walking 30 minutes a day and loving it. Start small, do something you like, get some music, exercise with a friend, sign up for a class, or work with a trainer. This has to last forever — going big your first day and hurting yourself will set you back.

•  Be wary of fad diets. currently has 142,624 diet books available. Some work in the short term for some people, because they make big changes and help you focus on what you are eating. However, most people can’t keep a fad diet going long-term, which is why they are called fads. If you plan to use them as a jumpstart for making changes, make sure you have a good transition plan back to regular foods.

Remember, aim for progress, not perfection. Start small, make a few changes at a time, and ask for professional help if you need it.

A helping of healthy holiday eating

by Keya Guimaraes 
MV Times

Health through the holidays can seem like a cruel oxymoron when presented with the blitz of cookie exchanges, indulgent buffets, cocktail parties, and family feasts served up wholeheartedly between the short weeks of Thanksgiving and New Years Day. The Family Center and local nutritionist, Josh Levy, will offer an evening workshop on navigating this delicious, but weighty season of food and festivities to keep your entire family healthy.Josh Levy of Vineyard Nutrition knows the nutritional trials unique to Island residents. “We definitely have the usual holiday activities of kids events, parties, concerts, business and community get togethers, which offer more and more opportunities to knock you off your routine; but in addition to those, for us on the Island, add the off-Island shopping trips, day trips to Boston and Falmouth, then extra trips for family travel, and our schedules just get layered with stress.”

Appreciative of the season of indulgence, and the concerns that accompany it, the Family Center of Martha’s Vineyard is proud to host a workshop on maintaining optimal health, both nutritionally and emotionally, on Wednesday December 10. “We can still celebrate the holidays with family and friends,” Levy told The Times. Sometimes it’s about creating new traditions, sometimes it’s about making choices ahead of time, and most of the time it’s just about planning ahead.

At the workshop, Levy will provide specific tools to gracefully maneuver the maze of sugary, caffeinated, and fatty merry making that seem to throw our bodies and minds for a loop at this time of year. Levy explained, “We see the roller-coaster of managing stress and busy days by eating junk food or drinking more coffee, which in turn has more cream and sugar, which in turn leads to craving more sweets, and then all day long the blood sugar goes up and down. And that’s just the adults. For kids, there are all these high sugar treats and snacks that show up, causing the same blood sugar fluctuation, leading to crabbiness or sadness, and finally affecting sleep… which in turn affects the adults.”

Levy suggests bringing food with you. “Pack a cooler, fill it with cheese sticks, yogurt, apples, veggies, so when you get stuck in traffic you reach in and everyone’s fine, or mid-shopping you grab your snack and can keep going. If it’s a longer trip, find out if you’ll have a kitchenette in your hotel room, or if you can contribute to the shared meals by bringing some of your own healthier food. Look ahead at menus, plan ahead so you don’t make that impulse grab.”

Levy will show how replacing unhealthy habits with new traditions can be fashioned to celebrate the true essence of the season. He said, “I worked with a mother and daughter who had always done a cookie swap together. But talking to both of them, we discovered neither of them really wanted to bake twelve dozen cookies again. They both wanted to feel good, lose weight, and control a medical condition. So they created a craft project tradition to replace the baking, and still got the special time together, but in a new way. It was really wonderful to see that change.”

Living on the Vineyard does not make us exempt from stress and health problems due to poor nutrition, yet Levy says we have unique resources, “we are free from the fast-food chain industry, we have a strong community which often supports healthy attitudes and awareness, and we have the beautiful environment. Bundle up the kids, go outside for a walk, jump in the leaves, and play together. It will do them, and you, a world of good.”

Attend the free workshop and learn more about how to take care of yourself and your family over the holidays. Dinner and childcare provided. 5:30-7pm. Wednesday, December 10. Pre-registration is required. 508-687-9182.

State Grant Sets in Motion a Healthier Vineyard

Thursday, November 13, 2014
Vineyard Gazette 
by Alex Elvin 
A three-year state grant that ended in September has transformed Island school lunch programs and helped set a course for healthier living for residents of all ages, the Dukes County commission heard in a report this week.The Vineyard Mass in Motion grant was part of a federally-funded initiative to promote healthier lifestyles. More than 50 communities statewide have been funded by the initiative since 2011.

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