Archive for the ‘Heart Health’ Category

Feed Me Friday!

Friday, November 8th, 2013

I am a huge fan of cooking on the weekend for the week ahead. It saves time, money, energy and YOUR SANITY!

That said, I know how easy it can be to get into a cooking rut, making the same dish over and over and over; many of my clients struggle with this. Because my mission is to provide nutrition solutions to my client’s nutrition dilemmas, I thought a “Feed Me Friday” theme, featuring a new plant-based recipe each week could help.

I don’t have an actual pic of my dish, simply didn’t get it done, so I’m using “other” photos. I’ll be better in future – promise!

The photo below is one I took while dining at a Persian restaurant in San Diego. My dish is similar in appearance, so this gives you an idea of the finished product.

Here’s my inaugural post, I hope you enjoy the delicious results.

Curry-Kissed Lentil Millet Soup








1 medium onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons turmeric

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 tablespoon curry powder

3 tablespoons black mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 can pumpkin (not pie filling)

1 can tomato paste

8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

3/4 cup green lentils

1/3 cup millet

1. In a large stock pot, saute onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons water until soft (add more water as needed to prevent sticking).

2. Add turmeric, curry powder, black mustard seeds and kosher salt, mix well with the onion and garlic. Cover the pot; the mustard seeds will begin to pop and jump and you don’t want them to escape. When the popping stops, remove the cover and stir the spices again, adding a bit of water as needed to prevent sticking. Cook the spices and vegetables ~ 5 minutes.

3. Stir pumpkin and tomato paste into the spice/veggie mixture, blend well and cook for 5 minutes.

4. Add broth, lentils and millet, stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down so the soup simmers gently. Partially cover the  pot and let cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally until lentils are soft.


* Add more water if you like “soupier” soup.

* Find millet in grocery stores sporting a bulk section that includes a variety of grains, dried beans, etc. Whole Foods, of course, but also check co-ops and other nutrition-forward locations. If you can’t find (or don’t want to search for) millet, don’t let it stop you from making this soup; it’s delicious even without it. However, this small yellow grain is a good source of fiber and protein, vitamins and minerals. It also contains the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, beneficial in promoting eye health. Learn about millet.


Raw Millet








* This particular collection of spices is common in Indian cooking. As a whole, this combination adds a rich, satisfying layer of flavor; individually these spices contribute important vitamins, minerals and strong antioxidant properties.  About this link: I haven’t used this particular company to purchase spices, but the founder is a fellow Chicagoan (solidarity!). I ran across her work one day and was smitten, partially because I love Indian food, but also because I found her story fascinating! Indian Spice Selection.

Indian Spice Collection

Indian Spice Collection








Get Well Dishes

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Early in 2013, my father-in-law was diagnosed with bladder cancer. If that wasn’t startling enough, tests to determine whether the cancer had spread revealed lung cancer; different from the bladder cancer. Which turned out to be a good thing, in the hierarchy of cancer goodness that is.

Needless to say, it’s been a long, bumpy ride. As we head into fall, I’m visiting my in-laws to help as best I can with recovery from a radical surgery (fingers crossed, the final major medical hurdle in his journey back to health), one that hopefully has kicked this unwelcome visitor to the curb.

We’ve got a recovery team in place, with each of us playing to our strength. As the dietitian/nutritionist/chef/personal trainer, I’m in charge of meals and walks. I confess, the opportunity to cook up nutrient-rich, plant-powered and delicious meals each day has me giddy.

A long-time follower of a vegetarian/vegan diet (with fish rotating through on occasion), I’m a huge advocate of plant-based meals for preventing and managing disease. Not that my cooking will be the ultimate cure, but it certainly can’t hurt. For the last 90 days or so, I’ve been experimenting with a 100% vegan diet, so I’ve packed those principles along for this trip.

Several days into my stay, we’re raving about the taste and the EFFECT of my cooking. My father-in-law is gaining strength daily, experiencing a perkier appetite, has color returning to his cheeks, and a small but perceptable pep to his step on our daily stroll. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not running a marathon any time soon – but by his own account and what we’re observing, he’ll be tough to hold back!

John Enchilada

I’m featuring one of my “get well dishes” here; vegan enchiladas. I made a huge batch, which with leftovers makes it easy to simply reheat and eat (they’re just as delicious the next day)!

EnchiladasVeggie Enchiladas

1 medium red onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 red bell peppers, diced

1, 6 ounce bag organic baby spinach

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced

8 ounces extra-firm, water-packed tofu, drained and crumbled (I used sprouted tofu)

2 cups cooked pinto beans (I cooked my own, but you can use 1, 16 oz. can, rinsed and drained)

1 cup cooked quinoa

12 whole wheat tortillas

2, 12 ounce jars low-sodium salsa

1. In a large skillet, saute onion and garlic in 3 tablespoons water (add more water to prevent sticking/burning). Cook and stir 10 minutes, or until onion is soft.

2. While onion is cooking, place the sweet potato and 3 tablespoons water into a glass bowl; microwave 8-10 minutes, or until soft. Mash with a fork or potato masher, set aside.

3. Add bell peppers to the pan, stir and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the sweet potato, mix well. Tear the baby spinach leaves in two, toss them into the pan with the other vegetables. Stir and cook until spinach is wilted. Remove the cooked vegetables from the heat.

4. In a large bowl, mash the tofu and beans together (it’s ok to leave some of the beans whole). Stir in the quinoa.

5. Combine the vegetables with the bean/tofu/quinoa mixture; mix well.

6. In a 9 x 13 glass baking dish (larger if you have one), spread enough salsa to cover the bottom of the dish (save some for topping). Place ~ 1/4 cup filling on the long side of a tortilla, then roll tortilla around filling and place in the pan (I used an additional smaller dish, 12 enchiladas won’t fit into a 9 x 12 pan).

7. Spread remaining salsa over top of filled tortillas. Cover pans tightly with foil, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.

8. Serve topped with chopped green onions, fresh cilantro, and sliced avocado, or if you’re feeling ambitious, the following avocado “cream”.

Avocado Cream

In a food processor combine 2 large avocados, 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 cup packed fresh cilantro, 1/8 cup water. Blend until creamy, adding additional water as needed to thin into a pourable consistency (from “Oh She Glows” food blog).

Enchilada Avocado Cream


Eating Well While Eating Out. . .A Chicago Loop “Gem”

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

I love Chicago. Although I moved here years ago, rarely do I pass up an opportunity to spend time simply reveling in the energy and urban vibe of the city. My passion for the city is one of the reasons I established a Chicago office; it’s a perfectly fine justification for escaping the ‘burbs and heading back to my beloved city streets.

Also, need I mention, the dining options in the city are (duh) just so darn more plentiful, varied and inventive! With one of my professional mantras being “Eat In”, you can probably imagine that I’m a bit particular when I choose to “Eat Out”.

This past weekend brought family in from out of town. Another fine excuse, er, justification for ambling the city streets; SOMEONE has to play tour guide. As I hurried to the weekend visitor hotel headquarters, I inadvertently found myself in front of Native Foods Café, a dining establishment mentioned to me months ago by one of my clients (you know who you are, and I sincerely thank you), yet mysteriously missing from my memory. Somehow, I’d completely forgotten her recommendation.

20130822_155206[1]I tugged my husband toward the menu posted in the window, excitedly explaining how I’d learned of this place. Scanning the menu, our taste buds began whispering “when, for the love of God, is lunch?” Fortunately, we’d arrived at the right time (the fam, wholly uninterested in “weird food” was lunching around the corner at a ubiquitous chain, which shall remain anonymous). Unfortunately (for us), Native Foods was hopping, and we were on a be-there-in-time-for-the-first-pitch Cubs/Cards time schedule. Sadly, we had to skip it. Vehemently, we vowed to return.

Native Foods Café is a vegan restaurant, and the loop location I’d stumbled upon is one of three in Chicago. 20130818_153409[1]What makes this especially astonishing to me is that years ago, when I began eating a vegetarian diet, finding a restaurant like this in the meat and potatoes Midwest was similar to moving heaven and earth – essentially impossible. I am giddy about the many vegan/vegetarian/plant-based restaurants popping up in and around Chicago. It makes “Eating Well While Eating Out” so much easier.

As it turns out, I returned to Native Foods Café at the close of the whirlwind weekend, albeit sans husband (long story). But I took plenty of food pics, shared my (very positive) experience with him, and promised we’d go back to try other options, together. On a closing note, I must mention that not everything on the menu is uber-healthy. Native Foods serves fries, battered “chicken” (a combo of soy, wheat and pea protein), island jack fritters (code for FRIED), and plenty of desserts. Remember, vegan or not, calories are still calories!

"Saigon Roll"

“Saigon Roll”

"Bangkok Curry Bowl"

“Bangkok Curry Bowl”

Cooking My Way Through “Forks Over Knives” – Better Late Than Never

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Though “The How-To Companion” to the feature documentary “Forks Over Knives” has been out for a couple of years, I’ve only recently picked up a copy. The reasons for only now getting to this small but mighty book are many, but primarily, I didn’t know it existed.

Yum Yum!

Yum Yum!

I did, however, know about the documentary, and this past weekend I actually viewed it. What can I say? It’s a “must-see”, even if like me you’re a little late to the party. As a nutrition professional, my radar is always up for the latest on the health and nutrition frontlines, but it can be a struggle to keep up with it all. I mean, even though I LOVE my field, there are times I want to simply absorb a great foreign film and give my professional brain a (temporary) break.

That said, I highly recommend both the documentary and the book (you can check out both from your local library to sample, then purchase your own copy). The great thing about the book is that parts 1 and 2 illustrate the connection between a plant-based diet and health (in a reader-friendly way), and highlight some of the folks featured/profiled/starring in the film, while part 3 is all about the recipes. The bonus? Part 3 is bigger than parts 1 and 2 combined! Why is that so exciting? Because the recipes offer so much in the way of variety that I can’t imagine my taste buds ever getting bored. Oh, and every, single recipe that I’ve prepared has been surprisingly DELICIOUS.

It’s not that the actual deliciousness of plant-based recipes surprises me. On the contrary. I’m a longtime vegetarian/vegan constantly on the prowl for new plant-based recipes and ideas. The surprise comes from discovering such a strong consistency of deliciousness. Sometimes cookbooks have a handful of stellar recipes while the remainder merely fill pages. I’m five recipes into this cookbook and haven’t found that to be the case – so for me, it’s a winner.

I’m including a soup recipe here, along with the changes I made. Unfortunately there’s no photo – we ate it before I snapped a pic! Even though summer is in full swing here in the Chicago area, my husband and I love soup. Any time of year, really. It’s easy to tote to work, quick to re-heat for lunch, and is typically a meal-in-one-bowl. Love soup’s simplicity and utter satisfaction, especially this one.

 Yellow Split Pea and Leek Soup

2 cups yellow split peas

6 cups water

2 carrots, cut into small dice (I had no carrots, so I used a large sweet potato, peeled and diced)

1 red onion, cut into small dice

3 leeks, white and light green parts, cut into small dice

4 celery stalks, cut into small dice

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari

1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil and add the peas. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the peas are soft (start checking them 45 minutes into the cooking time; it will vary).

2. When the peas are soft, add the carrots, onion, leeks and celery. Cook for 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Add salt and tamari, stir to blend well.

** I used an immersion blender to produce a smooth, creamy textured soup. I also added a cube of vegetarian bouillon (can’t remember the brand) along with the vegetables. Although I used water as the base, a good vegetable stock would also work nicely.




Inner Strength – Find It. Keep It.

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

20130713_075248[1]Recently, just a little over a mile into my Morton Arboretum East side running route, I spied this bench. I’ve run this stretch of the Arboretum many times, so I couldn’t believe I’d never before seen this amazing piece of functional art.

Perhaps because the location of the bench coincides with the “just getting warmed up” portion of my run, it was easy to overlook. During a warm up, I’m typically not focused on the scenery, rather, I’m simply working to find my running rhythm for the day. Regardless, I had to stop, wander over and snap a photo. I love the way this shot turned out.

I felt like the message was speaking to me, and I imagine I’m not the only one. You see, when you challenge yourself to do something, well, challenging – like running long distances, facing a food fear, or taking the first steps to changing your behavior to lead a healthier life – there are days when you feel you need super-human strength. And when you DO have one of those days, how do you find and hold on to that strength?

For me, it helps to think about the payback I’ll get for tackling a challenge. If I’m running, I think about how I’ll feel when I’m finished; accomplished, proud, strong, happy to be done! If it’s a work challenge, I think about how the outcome will move my business forward, help me become a better dietitian/nutritionist and personal trainer, or provide me with a skill to help my clients even more.

So what’s your payback for tackling a challenge? Or, let’s back up a bit to first identify the challenge. Once you’re done that, what helps you tap into your inner strength to attack that challenge head on? Then, what helps you hold onto it – on those most challenging of days?





Countdown to 1/2 Marathon – Day 6

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

It’s been only 1 week since the Boston Marathon bombing, and it has been for me, as it has for countless others, a week of tremendous emotion.

When I ran my last long run on Saturday, it was such a beautiful day, and a beautiful run, but Boston loomed. As I head into the final week before my race, the pall of last Monday is woven through the excitement I feel. What to do? What every other runner in America (and beyond) is doing; run strong for Boston. In fact, this evening there are two informal runs taking place; one in Chicago and one in Deerfield that are doing just that. Wish I could participate, but work calls, so I’ll be there in spirit.

Now, a quick recap of today. Just when I thought that running through wind, rain, and snow, up seemingly never-ending hills, and putting in the long training mileage even when my body wasn’t cooperating was as hard as it would get. . .I hit taper week.

OMG! Let me be very clear. When I work out, I work out. I don’t get myself to the gym at the ridiculous hour that I do to socialize or do a few spins on the stationary bike. I’m focused, I sweat, I squeeze out every ounce of determination I’ve got, whether it’s lifting weights, doing cardio, yoga or core.

And this week? I can’t. Well, of course I can – but I’m cutting back in order to save energy and strength for the run. And it’s so hard!

Monday’s are my strength training days, and when I lift, I lift heavy (for me). Lots of women don’t lift beyond 10 pounds, give or take a couple pounds on either side of that number. It reminds me of the joke, “You should always lift weights that are heavier than your purse.” Well, plenty don’t. But I do (and so should you). You may think that lifting weights won’t impact running energy, but think about it, every extra ounce of energy your body spends repairing and getting stronger (which is essentially what happens when you lift weights) takes away from energy stores you need to run strong. If lifting weights during training impacts your running by making you stronger, why would it not have an impact now? So I had to ease back. Wicked hard.

But backing off on running? Now that I’m looking forward to. It’s a huge psychological boost to realize I only need to run 3 miles tomorrow and 2 on Thursday. Piece of cake!

So this week requires a different type of determination; scaling back, after I’ve spent 4 months pushing. And by the way, after tossing my purse on the scale in my office (hey, I’m a dietitian/nutritionist), it weighs just under 5 pounds.

My 4.75 lb. purse.

My 4.75 lb. purse.


Countdown to 1/2 Marathon – Day 16

Friday, April 12th, 2013

This week has been quite the week at the NutriFit studio for nutrition questions and discussion about who is qualified to know their (nutrition) stuff or not. I know this post is starting off a bit differently from my other Countdown posts, but at the end of the day, let’s not forget that I AM a dietitian/nutritionist, who also happens to be a fitness professional and a running junkie.

First up, the nutrition questions. I received two separate questions about SUGAR, and one, just this morning as I was working out, about PROTEIN SHAKES. I’ll save those for a future post, and for now will address the issue top of mind for me; who, exactly, is qualified to work as a nutrition expert? Two things got me going on the topic.

The first: The gym where I work out each day (no, I don’t work out at my own studio, I’m too busy WORKING when I’m here) is kicking off a series of nutrition programs led by a woman who, to the best of my knowledge (because if she had credentials they’d be highlighted on all of the program materials, right?) has only the experience of “The Academy of I Lost Weight” as her nutrition training. No nutrition degree, no credentialing by The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Nothing. Zip. Nada. Wait, she is listed as a “Healthy Living Adviser”. . .which is what, exactly?

The reason this sticks in my craw is because I worked long and hard to earn my nutrition degree, complete my internship, and earn my masters degree. I do medical nutrition therapy, and work as a nutrition therapist, helping people each and every week make changes that literally save their lives. I take the work that I do VERY seriously, and am privileged to be able to do it.

Not that this woman doesn’t take nutrition seriously. In fact, I’m sure she’s very enthusiastic and pro-nutrition, and probably a generally lovely person. I mean, good for her that she wants to help people be healthier – nothing wrong with that. But when, during the course of her programs she receives questions that can’t be answered from her book of “life-experience-with-losing-weight”, I shudder to think how she’ll respond. People frequently receive erroneous (and potentially harmful) nutrition information from people not qualified to be sharing it. This is also how nutrition myths and untruths are fueled.

The second: This article,”Actually, No You’re Not A Nutrition Expert”, by Dr. David Katz, eloquently and brilliantly captures the essence of the madness that surrounds the “everyone eats, so everyone is a nutrition expert” school of thought. Thank you, Dr. Katz, from a highly credentialed and experienced nutritionist who can proudly and legitimately call herself a nutrition expert.

The moral of this post? Check out the cred of anyone who calls themselves anything other than a registered dietitian/nutritionist. To be fair, I know there are qualified nutrition experts who aren’t RDN’s, but then, I know what to look for in credentials and can ferret them out – but I’m not confident the general public can.

Whew. Thanks, I feel so much better.

Generally Agreed Upon To Be a Healthy Choice.

Tossed, Green Salad. Generally Agreed Upon To Be a Safe, Healthy Choice.



Countdown to 1/2 Marathon – Day 20

Monday, April 8th, 2013
Check Out Number 9!

Check Out Number 9!

I thought this sign was too funny! Especially number 9 – NEVER EXERCISE ALONE.

Last Monday I did a treadmill run at the Holiday Inn Express in East Peoria, IL. The hotel staff was extremely friendly, the room was quiet, clean and spacious, the bed was fabulous. But the fitness room? I’ll start by giving them a thumbs up for even having one. It was clean and not too cramped, with furnished towels and a water dispenser – and wonderfully outdated exercise charts that were fun to look at, especially the 80’s workout attire! Yet if you were interested in anything other than cardio, you were out of luck.

Outdated Hotel Workout Poster HIEP

Love The Bike Shorts

Outdated Workout Poster Holiday Inn EP

And. . .More Bike Shorts

Workout Room HIEP

Nice Light, Good Variety of (working) Cardio Machines

While one weight machine was available, exercisers were limited to chest press, chest press, or chest press. And the decline mini-bench? It was fit only for teeny, tiny, inhumanly short little people – I’ve yet to figure out what one could actually do with it. I used it as a resting place for my heels while doing tricep dips. . .not ideal, but it worked.

Chest Press Machine

Chest Press Machine

Now back home, today was my “regular” Monday workout – so thankful! That meant a 20 minute warm-up on the stationary bike followed by 45 minutes of strength training, WITH DUMBBELLS, working biceps, shoulders, and triceps, with a little light leg work tossed in. Seriously, dumbbells should be your new BFF – especially if you’re a woman. Building muscle builds strength, stamina, and energy, and helps you burn calories more efficiently (even when not working out). All reasons why I was so disappointed there were no free weights (aka dumbbells) at the hotel. I missed my BFF’s.

With that said, I give the Holiday Inn Express in East Peoria, IL a two dumbbell rating (out of five). My recommendations for an improved workout experience? Move out the chest press machine and slanted mini-bench, and move in a rack of dumbbells ranging in weight from 3 – 50 pounds. Add 4, 6 and 8 pound medicine balls, and a BOSU balance trainer. Voila! That’s plenty of tools for a varied, effective workout.






Countdown to Marathon – Day 22

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

The Benefits of The Buddy System

Since it’s Saturday, it’s a long mileage day, and I’m happy to report I got in 12 (and then some) miles by 10 am. The last two Saturdays, one of my good friends has joined me for the first half of my run. Last week we did 4.5 together, today 6.30. Why is it that the second six felt much longer?

Well duh, it’s because I was by myself. Watching the time or miles fly by is one of the benefits of running with someone. Normally I don’t. I like the solitude and time alone to let my mind wander and really connect with my body. But, for a variety of reasons, it’s been beneficial for her to join me – and as it turns out, I’m enjoying it.

For some people, the accountability of meeting up with a partner to work out is the only way they can get and stay moving. I say, go for it! It’s a great way to keep each other motivated and focused.

Arboretum Run

Arboretum Run

Remember When Soda Pop Was A Treat?

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a client that flashed back a memory of my childhood. He shared how each Friday his mom would make popcorn for him and his three siblings. When they had popcorn, and only when they had popcorn, they got to drink SODA. Root beer, to be exact.

When I was little, my mom would let us have Pepsi (the REAL thing mind you – diet Pepsi didn’t exist, gasp!), only when we had pizza (homemade, of course – not takeout – that wasn’t available where I lived, either) or movie night popcorn. Oh, and this was a t.v. movie – no dvd’s, no video, no dvr. Lord. How did we survive?

Anyway, it’s not that I’m oblivious to or surprised by the fact that now, many people consume soda pop – diet or otherwise – practically nonstop throughout the day. Heck, my brother is one of them! It’s that the memory made me think about how at the time, neither my client nor myself considered drinking pop only for a treat as unusual – it was simply the norm at the time.

It made me think just how far “the norm” has shifted.

Avoiding the F-Word: Stoke Your Immune System With Nutrition & Exercise

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
Never Go Without.

Never Go Without.

Everyone knows the U.S. is caught in the steely grip of a flu smackdown. I’m not saying “epidemic”, because the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) stops short of calling it an epidemic; using instead, “widespread”. With New York’s governor Cuomo declaring a Public Health Emergency, and Boston experiencing a flu crisis, the media has us on alert – and like the spread of the flu itself, panic can quickly follow suit.

I’m not exempt from the panic, although I’m working to keep it low-grade. I confess, I didn’t get a flu shot. But then, I never have. One of my clients got the shot AND the flu; NOT fair.

Be that as it may, it makes sense to do all you can to bolster your defenses. There’s no guarantee, but there is interesting research supporting the benefits of stoking your immune system with nutrients and exercise in the name of evading the smack of the F-word. So add the following to your constant handwashing, antibacterial gel/wipe swiping, and avoidance of public places (that one is TOUGH). Be well!


  • Vitamin C-rich foods: Citrus, green and red bell peppers, strawberries and kiwi, and SURPRISE. . .potatoes!
  • Yogurt: The probiotics found in yogurt are “friendly bacteria”; actual superstars in the world of immune support.
  • Broccoli, mushrooms, and spinach: Antiviral and antibacterial compounds (diindolymethane) in broccoli, vitamin D, selenium and B-vitamins in mushrooms, and antioxidant vitamins A, C and E in spinach create a powerful (and delicious) immune defense trio.
  • Almonds: Vitamin E, the naturally occuring antioxidant found in these tasty morsels is an important nutrient for optimal immune function.
  • Garlic: Some research suggests that this odiferous member of the lily family can help prevent colds and/or help the symptoms go away sooner. Suffering a cold weakens your immune defense, so why not include a food that helps fight off what could be a precursor to the F-word?


Although the mechanism by which exercise bolsters immunity is not well understood, there are several theories:

  • Flushes bacteria out of the lungs.
  • Sends antibodies and white blood cells (the bodies defense cells) through the body at a quicker rate.
  • The temporary rise in body temperature may prevent bacterial growth.
  • Slows the release of stress-related hormones.



“The Essential Guide to Healthy Healing Foods.” Victoria Shanta Retelny, RD, LDN





2013 Goal? Pay Attention.

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
You Know Christmas Is Over When They Haul Away The Tree

You Know Christmas Is Over. . .
When They Haul Away The Tree.


Happy 2013.

It’s been 2013 for 8 days. If you’ve made a resolution to completely overhaul your eating and exercise habits, to generally “get healthier”, 8 days can feel like an extraordinarily long time. All that planning. All that measuring. All that logging, tracking and FOCUSING.

It would be so much easier if only YOU didn’t have to be responsible for all of the logistics. Actually, it would be so much easier if you didn’t have to think about it at all – if you could just press a button and presto, you’re eating better, exercising more, drinking lots of water, getting enough sleep, destressing and deep breathing.

Nothing that big is ever that simple.

However, making all of those changes can start with the simple act of paying attention. That’s the FOCUS part I mentioned above. Paying attention to the foods you buy at the grocery, the recipes you cook from, the restaurants you frequent, how much food you load onto your plate or your fork.

And that’s where an intesting gadget that gets your attention comes in; Are You Eating Too Fast? Ask Your Fork. With the exception of my Ipod, I’m not much of a gadget girl (if you can call an Ipod a gadget). But, many people like gadgets to help them over or around the hurdle of making those big food and exercise changes.

I’m all for tools that keep you focused. But if the vibrating fork isn’t your cup of tea, try putting your fork down between bites; even every 3 bites. It will slow you down, force you to pay attention, and shift the focus back to meeting the goal of overhauling your eating habits. Completely gadget-free.

Fun Nutrition Presentation!

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

This morning I was privileged to be featured as a speaker at our local cozy, cute bookstore aptly titled, “The Bookstore” Two women from my community are participating in the AVON Breast Cancer walk and were interested in bringing folks together over healthy food in support of their fund raising efforts. I came in to speak about nutrition and cancer prevention, and eating to fuel activity (like a 2-day, 30+ mile walk!).

A few points that I made during the program were 1) focus on REAL food, 2) choose food that is as close to its original form as possible, 3) focus on a plant-based diet.

I prepared energy bars made with wheat germ, nuts, dried fruit, and oats, and whipped up soy smoothies made with vanilla soy milk, frozen strawberries, and orange juice concentrate. I wanted to share these easy recipes and tips to show just how simple (and inexpensive) it is to make your own energy bars.

I find that many of energy/meal replacement bars on the market are glorified candy bars. Preparing them yourself allows you to control the sweet, salty, and fat components of the flavor profile. You can even customize with your favorite dried fruit and nut combo – recipes are really just a guideline.

We had a great turnout, everyone loved the food, and we had an interesting conversation about the power of “real” food. As I like to say, make your kitchen your medicine cabinet!

Here’s the recipe for the smoothie we sampled; enjoy!

Fruit and Soy Smoothie

  • 2 Tbs. orange juice concentrate
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, unsweetened
  • 1 cup vanilla soy milk

In a blender, puree all ingredients until creamy. Serve immediately.