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It’s So Easy!


I saw the above tweet on Twitter the other day and was mortified. Really, it’s easy to get strong and flat abs? I’ve been trying to get strong and flat abs for 30 years, however, I must admit I have not tried their 7 minute a day technique. If I had a penny for every time I saw a ridiculous weight loss or fitness claim and how quick and easy it is to obtain, I’d be rich. The claims are absolutely complete and utter nonsense. They prey on those of us looking for the answers. Here are some more outlandish claims:

  • “It literally melted away 25 pounds in just 2 weeks!” Oh, my! What do you do with all that melted fat?
  • “Learn how to trigger your fat burning hormones. Lose 1-4 inches in less than 1 hour.” You better buy smaller clothes prior to taking this product. You don’t have much time.
  • “The magic weight loss cure for every body type.” Said by our reputable friend, Dr. Oz.
  • “Dairy products promote weight loss.”  Ahhhh, no.
  • “40 day diet. Lose 40 pounds in 40 days.” Ahhh, no, again.

Sometimes claims are more subtle. Articles are published daily regarding many products, not necessarily making the benefits sound unrealistic. But they often are. Did you know only 1% of the population has a medical condition known as celiac disease in which the recommended diet is a gluten-free one? Supposedly gluten-free diets can also improve autism, help with weight loss, and aid with depression. Please be cautious with regard to these claims. Are these proven by sound scientific evidence? Most of the time, no. Dr. Daniel A. Leffler,  an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School stated the following:

“People who are sensitive to gluten may feel better, but a larger portion will derive no significant benefit from the practice.  They’ll simply waste their money, because these products are expensive.”

How about the health benefits of coconut water? Most experts feel that the scientific literature does not support the hype that surrounds it. Basically the research is not there to support coconut water’s health benefits . However, if you like it, drink it! Just realize it is not a “miracle” drink.

Green smoothies. I have nothing against these, however, there are a variety of ways to get your intake of green, leafy veggies. If these taste delicious to you, go for it. Are green smoothie’s the answer to all of life’s problems? Very tired of hearing about them! Are they healthy? In most cases, yes. Are they delicious? Many seem to think so. I find them very unappealing. I love spinach, kale, swiss chard, broccoli, cabbage, red and green romaine. Why do I have to feel bad because I don’t want to consume my vegetables in a smoothie? In my opinion, these are for people who want to hide the taste of these foods. In that case, it’s probably a great idea. Some should try Jess Seinfeld’s book – you can get your spinach in brownies, too!

Fitness fads over the years are downright hysterical. Let’s admit we have all tried one or more of these fitness activities: jogging, aerobics, step classes, spinning, jazzercise, pilates, zumba, Wii fit, crossfit, barre fit, yoga, etc. Who can forget the Thighmaster, toning shoes, and sauna suits? Remember all of these various workouts and products make us all kinds of promises – after we spend our hard earned money on them. Does this picture of Jane Fonda look familiar? Yup, we were all dressed like that – including leg warmers. Was there a purpose for wearing them or was it just stylish? My general exercise philosophy that I recommend to my clients is to find a physically challenging activity that you enjoy and just do it!


I get so frustrated when people take advantage of those of us desperately searching for an answer to our weight loss and fitness goals. We are vulnerable. We are are willing to try anything. We need to remember to be extremely cautious and thoughtful when spending our money on some of these products.

You know what the truth is? We can lose weight and get fit without any special products, classes, or equipment. Instead of super foods or special diets, we could eat a balanced diet eating mindfully. We could listen to our bodies. We don’t have to eliminate foods, or food groups, or never eat carbs or bread or whatever it may be. We don’t have to drink a kale smoothie every day. We can exercise on our own by walking or running. No equipment. We can increase our strength with one set of dumb bells. Many of us have grand fitness goals that may require more time and money. That’s ok and I’m not poo-pooing those fitness buffs out there. I’m speaking more to those who just want to incorporate some exercise into their lifestyle.

How can you increase your chances of making permanent health and fitness changes?

  • No change is too small. Actually the smaller the better and the more likely you are to stick with it.
  • Eat foods you like. Try new things but if you’re just not digging something, don’t eat it because  you think it’s good for you. There’s a good possibility there is another “good for you food” you actually like.
  • Do fitness activities that you like.  Again, try new things. I really encourage this. However, if eventually you determine you hate jumping up and down, don’t do aerobics (although, you’d be hard pressed to find an aerobics class these days)!
  • Plan. Have a plan for the day/week of your nutrition and exercise goals. Write them on your calendar. Plan for the unplanned, too! It’s ok when plans change.

Whatever your health goals may be, there is one thing I do believe. IT ISN’T EASY. No matter how, what, when, where – in this day and age of information overload, an abundance of food, and greediness by those trying to make money the misinformation is out there.

We are all capable of making positive changes in our mind and body. Make a change. Pick something small. Start tomorrow – walk the stairs instead of taking the elevator, drink water with one meal instead of diet soda, add a piece of fruit at lunch. These are some examples but pick something good for YOU. Remember no change is too small. What is right for someone else may not be right for you. Don’t think about it, as our Nike friends tell us,  JUST DO IT!

Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids


This is going to be a quick tutorial on omega-3 fatty acids. Just the facts. Hopefully, not too boring. Concise and to the point. Let’s get started. There is much talk about omega-3’s and their benefits on your cardiovascular system. Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the hearts of healthy people, those at risk for heart disease, and individuals who have heart disease. Studies have shown that they can decrease triglyceride levels. Elevated triglycerides puts you at higher risk for heart disease. They have also been shown to slow the growth of arterial plaque, decrease the risk of heart arrhythmias, and potentially lower blood pressure a bit. Omega-3’s assist in reducing the inflammation process that can cause or expedite the development of heart disease.

What are the different types of omega-3’s and where do we find them? Omega-3’s are found in fatty layers of cold water fish and shellfish, plants and nut oils, English walnuts, flaxseed, algae oils, and fortified foods. There are two types of omega-3’s:

  • EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) – when looking for a supplement, make sure it contains these two.
  • ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) found in plants. Although good for you as well, benefits appear to be not as significant as those associated with EPA and DHA.

How much should we be consuming? The American Heart Association recommends consuming fatty fish at least two times a week. What are fatty fish? These include salmon, mackerel, herring lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna. A serving is considered 3.5 ounces of cooked fish or 3/4 cup of flaked fish.

Don’t like fish and still want to get the benefits of omega-3’s? You can take fish oil supplements instead. Studies indicate that the greater benefits come from eating the actual fish. However, if you are going with a supplement you want to make sure you are taking the proper amount – 500 milligrams a day of EPA and DHA combined. I like the supplement Fisol. It contains 150 mg EPA/100 mg DHA per capsule and I take two daily to get 500 milligrams. It has a protective enteric coating which minimizes burping or regurgitation of the fish oil (yuck).


Now to the actual good stuff! I am including an amazing recipe that is delicious and nutritious. Baking fish in foil is so easy and the finished product is moist and flavorful. This recipe uses salmon but you can do this with other fish as well.

Salmon Baked in Foil (by Giada De Laurentiis)

4 (5 ounce) salmon fillets

2 teaspoons olive oil plus 2 tablespoons

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tomatoes, chopped, or 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, drained

2 chopped shallots

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried thyme


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Sprinkle salmon with 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir the tomatoes, shallots, 2 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

Place a salmon fillet, oiled side down, atop a sheet of foil. Wrap the ends of the foil to form a spiral shape.  Spoon the tomato mixture over the salmon. Fold the sides of the foil over the fish and tomato mixture, covering completely; seal the packets closed. Place the foil packet on a heavy large baking sheet. Repeat until all of the salmon have been individually wrapped in foil and placed on the baking sheet. Bake until the salmon is just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Using a large metal spatula, transfer the foil packets to plates and serve.

Hope this helps for those of you wondering if you are getting enough omega-3’s in your diet.  Here is a link with more recipes:

Make a conscientious effort to get more of these beneficial fatty acids in your eating repertoire. There really is no downside. If some of you are wondering about the mercury content in fish and the possible consequences associated with that here is another link for you to ponder:

Make sure you try the above recipe and remember, everything heart health!

Attention, Ladies! February is American Heart Month


Heart disease is a serious health problem in this country. Although this is a broad generalization, it appears men get more attention from their physicians regarding heart disease or signs/symptoms of heart disease than women. This needs to change. There is quite a bit of publicity given to gender specific diseases such as breast, ovarian, and cervical cancers. I am not saying these are not very real and very serious health threats to women. I am saying more attention must be given to heart disease in females by physicians, health organizations, and women themselves.  Here are some facts regarding women and heart disease:

  • One woman dies from heart disease every minute in the United States.
  • Heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined yet only a small fraction of the National Institute of Health’s budget is spent on this deadly disease.
  • Since 1984 more women in the US than men have died from heart disease.
  • 42% of women die within one year of having a heart attack compared to 24% of men.

These statistics were obtained from an awesome website found at  You can find facts and figures on here regarding women and heart disease as well as personal stories. A great link to check out.

Women need to be diligent about discussing their risks for developing heart disease with their healthcare provider.


Your physician will be able to assess your risk for heart disease by assessing the following factors:

  • Family/personal history of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease/stroke.
  • Heart disease symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain or fatigue OR any other symptom you are concerned about!
  • Diet and exercise habits.
  • Smoking.
  • Blood work including blood glucose and complete lipid panel.
  • Physical exam including blood pressure, BMI and even waist circumference.

I want to emphasize that if you have a family history of heart disease, even if you eat right, exercise and believe you are in great shape, the need to get a baseline assessment of your heart health is vitally important and potentially life saving. This should be done as routinely as our yearly mammograms after 40 and a colonoscopy at 50!

Now to discuss some facts about our hearts that are truly amazing.  Did  you know that:

  • The human heart beats 100,000 times a day (assuming an average heart rate of 72 beats per minute).th
  • The average heart weighs 11 ounces and pumps 2,000 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels each day.
  • A kitchen faucet would have to be turned on all the way for 45 years to equal the amount of blood the heart pumps in an average lifetime.
  • Every day your heart creates enough energy to drive a truck 20 miles!

Ok, I’m not sure how they come up with this stuff but point being the heart is an unbelievably strong and powerful organ.

“Give your body the right food and it will do the right thing” said by T. Colin Campbell, an American biochemist who specializes on the effect of nutrition on long-term health. I agree with this whole-heartedly. Study after study proves that putting good things in your body yields better health mentally and physically. Maintaining a healthy heart is no exception! The Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, Florida touts six foods that promote longevity. I can assure you that a plant-based diet, less meat and more beans will promote a healthier heart. Make sure you incorporate these foods into your diet in any way, shape or form that you can.  They include:

  • Beans – an excellent protein source with tons of fiber
  • Vegetables – loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber
  • Fruits – also loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber
  • Fish – high in omega-3 (protective against heart disease), possibly help reduce blood clotting, decrease inflammation, lower triglycerides (recommend two servings a week)
  • Whole grains –  high fiber and lots of vitamins and minerals and has a low glycemic index
  • Potatoes! Yes, preferably sweet potatoes (orange and purple) – again, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber

Incorporate these foods into your diet and I promise in all likelihood you will see some of your lab values (glucose, overall and LDL cholesterol) improve! If I was a betting woman, I’d put money down that your blood pressure and weight will decrease as well.

Listed below is a recipe I tried recently that was very tasty. The main star of this dish is barley – a grain we don’t hear too much about these days. I love barley. It is high in fiber (6 grams per cup) while containing 4 grams of protein. Barley is also loaded with B-vitamins and is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. In these days of quinoa, farro, and other “newer” grains, don’t forget about good old barley!


Creamy Barley with Mushrooms and Spinach

1 cup pearl barley

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 pound mushrooms (cremini & button), chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic (or 1/2 tablespoon fresh)

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1 5-ounce bag of baby spinach

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons flat-leafed parsley, minced or finely chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. In a large sauce pan over medium heat, add onion, stirring until golden and translucent. Add the mushrooms.
  2. Add the barley and 3 cups of the broth to the sauce pan and bring to a boil. After boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until almost all the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Add 1/2 of the remaining broth, along with the tomatoes. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until the barley is tender.
  4. Add the spinach to the mixture and stir until it wilts. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Recipe courtesy of–spinach.

My hope is you take away from this blog the importance of being proactive when it comes to taking care of  your heart. Prevention is always my mantra. Call your doctor today and schedule a screening to assess your risk for heart disease. February is American Heart Month for a reason. Valentine’s Day is in February. This day is a celebration of love. I urge you to say “I love you” to yourself and to your body. Say it out loud and mean it. We take great care of the people and things that we love. Happy Valentine’s Day!

woman hugging herself









Recipe: Cremini Mushroom, Spinach, and Savory Butternut Squash Pizza

thD6E2GCW2It all started when I purchased butternut squash all chopped up and packaged at Wegmans. I needed it for a soup recipe I made earlier in the week. Quite frankly, it’s definitely worth the extra price to buy butternut squash all prepped. It is not the easiest of veggies to peel, chop, and cut up. I love it, though, and wanted to use some of the leftover squash for something else. Letting my creative juices flow, lo and behold I came up with a recipe! Listed below are some of the steps in the process of making this yummy pizza.

After tossing squash with olive oil, salt and pepper, I baked it on a cookie sheet until it was very soft.butternut-squash-baked There is something so delectable about butternut squash starting with its name. It just sounds good. I love the way it smells when it is cooking! I baked it at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes but you need to keep an eye on it. Depending on the size of the pieces, some cook more quickly than others. I finished cooking the pieces that were still a little firm in the microwave with a little water.

While the squash is baking, sauté the spinach and mushrooms (separately).

Usually, I make my own pizza crust or purchase a fresh or frozen prepared dough.  Recently, at Trader Joe’s, I discovered an awesome shortcut!  It’s a great alternative to homemade or fresh/frozen dough that you have to stretch and roll out. It also happens to taste great!51242-organic-pizza-crusts-diWhen the squash is done, place it in a bowl and mash it up with a fork. Smash it and mash it until it is fairly smooth.  After that, place the squash mash on the pizza dough and spread it out. 025Next sprinkle with shredded fontina cheese.  FYI shredded cheese ALWAYS taste better when you shred it yourself.  Next place the cooked spinach and mushrooms on top of the cheese.


Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes (or until cheese is brown and bubbly) and voila!


Cremini Mushroom, Spinach, and Savory Butternut Squash Pizza 

2 cups butternut squash (cubed)

2 cups fresh baby spinach

5 ounces cremini mushrooms

1 1/2 cups shredded fontina cheese

1/2 tsp. white pepper

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1 Trader Joe’s Par-Baked Organic Pizza Crust

  • Drizzle olive oil (about 1 1/2 tsp) on butternut squash.  Toss with salt and pepper.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for  25 minutes.
  • While squash is baking, saute spinach. Squeeze out extra liquid and set aside.
  • Saute mushrooms. Set aside.
  • Shred fontina cheese.
  • When squash is done cooking, place pizza stone in oven turning heat up to 500 degrees until you are ready to put pizza in.
  • While oven is heating, mash soft squash with a fork until fairly smooth.
  • On a pizza peel (sprinkled with corn meal to avoid sticking), assemble pizza by spreading squash mash on crust, followed by fontina cheese.
  • Next sprinkle spinach and mushrooms pieces over the cheese.
  • Turn oven down to 350 degrees.
  • Transfer pizza from peel to stone and bake for approximately 12 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly!

If you have never made homemade pizza before and have any questions, please ask me! This is a great healthy alternative to ordinary pizza. Lower in fat, higher in fiber, and super TASTY! Enjoy!

Why Can’t I Lose Weight? – Part II


Disappointment. Discouragement. Feelings of being a failure. Thinking why can everyone else do this and I can’t? That is how Sally felt after her first day of trying a new weight loss plan. Many of us struggling with weight loss or any change in our health or behavior habits have felt this way. What do we do? How can we not feel like giving up? Well, we certainly can feel like that but it doesn’t mean we have to give in to it. Before I begin to tell you how Sally could have dealt better with her day, I’d like to share some ideas on increasing your chance of weight loss success.

First and foremost, DO NOT LET YOURSELF GET TOO HUNGRY! This is a dieter’s worst enemy. See this guy in the picture to the right? thCA4BDFXOYou think he is running in an Olympic race, right? Actually this guy is famished and running to get some food. This is pretty much how we feel when we get too hungry. We cannot wait to get something and put it in our bellies. Of course, we consume whatever is easy to grab and ingest it in the shortest amount of time possible. man-eating-foodI’ve done it and bet you all have done it as well. Not eating breakfast or skipping that midday meal will get you into trouble later. I guarantee it. The ultimate goal with changing your eating habits is to listen to your body. Are you hungry? How hungry are you? Are you eating by someone else’s rules/guidelines? Are you a clock eater – for example, at noon it’s always time to eat lunch? Your body is different from my body. Getting in touch with your feeling of satiety are key to adapting new eating habits and particularly maintaining them. Secondly, surround yourself with people, things, reading materials that will put you in a mindset for weight loss. The first thing I tell my patients to do is write down one or two reasons they want to lose weight. Place these everywhere and anywhere you can see them several times a day. Place them by your bed, on your bathroom mirror, as a screen saver on your cellphone, or any other places you will see them as frequently as possible. It helps us to train our brain. Eventually, these thoughts become automatic and eventually become the key to long-term changes. If you have a supportive friend or family member, weight loss counselor (dietitian, I hope), weight loss buddy, spend time with them – and I mean as much as possible. Research has shown that having a weight loss coach significantly enhances your chances of success. The other thing people need to remember is TAPThinking, Awareness, Planning. These will be mentioned as I discuss some changes Sally could have made in her day.thCA7939S1

Certainly we cannot always avoid certain situations. We sometimes give in to the behavior we to avoid. We must stop beating ourselves up!  Check out this link to help discover some techniques on how to be kinder to yourself: Great suggestions on how we should to treat ourselves. Sally did too much negative self talk. We are not perfect. Negative self talk often leads to stress which in turn can lead to more overeating.

One positive that Sally did was download an app to document her food intake and activity. Tracking your food consumption and exercise has been scientifically proven to be helpful in weight loss success. She started her day off well consuming a green smoothie and exercising. One thought about the green smoothie is that Sally needs to make sure she likes this and that it is satisfying to her. We don’t really know, but if you are eating something you don’t like or doesn’t fill you up, chances are you won’t stick with it. A hard-boiled egg, apple, and piece of whole wheat toast might be your thing. Who knows, maybe Sally was not only stressed when she entered her meeting but a little bit hungry as well. Kudos to Sally for getting her workout done early in the day. After a busy day at work, it is unlikely she will do this later. It is  important that the exercise you do is (1) enjoyable and (2) done at a time when it is right for you. Maybe you are energized later in the day and that is when you feel best working out. Doing something you like will exponentially increase the chances that you will keep at it for the long-term.

Real problems start while Sally is on her way to work. These are unavoidable things – except for the piece where she left her meeting preparation for the same morning as the actual 8:30 meeting. Sally could not avoid the customer issue (or maybe she could?) or her daughter getting sick. She could have avoided being unprepared for the meeting. If Sally prepared the day before she may not have gone into that meeting so stressed. Stress is a huge trigger point for us to over eat. It is important to think and plan to eliminate those stressors when we are able. It is hard for me to feel empathy for people who cause their own stress.  Consider the possibility that if Sally had been less stressed (prepared for the meeting) would she have been less likely to grab the doughnut? Maybe.

Sally is prepared for the likelihood that someone at work may want to get take-out for lunch. She is aware of this and plans accordingly by bringing her own lunch to work. She also eats her lunch when she is hungry. Not when the clock tells her it’s time. Remember Sally leaves work early as her daughter was feeling ill. Then she realizes book club is that evening. Again, Sally needs to be organized with her plans for the week. She had intended on spending a relaxing evening at home. After discovering she had book club, her stress hormones escalated. She was also hungry prior to leaving for book club. Instead of having a light snack at home prior to leaving, she let herself get too hungry. She went to book club tired, stressed, and ravenous. Sally needs to manage her calendar better to eliminate some of these stress-provoking situations. shutterstock_132130631When starting a weight loss program, you need to look at your schedule ahead of time at least each day but even better for the entire week (any friends of mine reading this may be laughing – I am working on this).  Anticipate those days that may be more difficult and prepare for them as best you can. For example, (Sally’s situation) knowing you have a morning meeting and there are usually doughnuts there which you can’t resist, skip your smoothie, have half of a doughnut, and bring a nutritious lunch. Maybe a different solution would be better for you. Figure out what works. It may take some trial and error.  All of us can benefit from taking control of the avoidable stressors in our life when possible. No excuses. Get a good night’s sleep. Don’t let yourself get too hungry. Work on changing your brain so your new eating habits just become natural to you. Don’t forget TAP – Thinking, Awareness, Plan. Kindness and forgiveness to yourself when set goals aren’t met. Remember small, sustainable changes lead to big results. I had to include the cartoon below – I think it sums things up nicely! Made me LOL. eat-less-and-exercise-more-cartoon-225x300




Why Can’t I Lose Weight? Part I


Recently I read an article in USA Today entitled, “Loosen Your Belts: U.S. Waist Sizes Keep Increasing” (  The author wrote in the conclusion the following statement:  “Just go to the mall and watch people walk by. There’s belly spilling over the waistband on almost everybody.” You know what? As much as we hate to admit it, the author is correct. Have you ever felt frustrated when trying to lose weight? Just about all of us have been on a diet finding it beyond challenging as we are confronted daily with situations that try to sabotage our efforts. Personally, I know there is nothing more difficult than losing weight. I’d like to unfold what a typical day for a dieter looks like. My next blog (hopefully coming within a week or two) will provide ideas on how our dieter could have done things differently. No matter what anybody says (and it would be tough to convince me otherwise) the environment in which most of us live does not make it easy to shed those unwanted pounds.

Let’s take a look at a “typical dieter” and what their day-to-day challenges are when attempting weight loss. My pretend dieter is going to be named “Sally.” Sally has been fighting the battle of the bulge for years. After a recent visit to her doctor, she found her blood pressure to be elevated, borderline high blood sugar, and a body mass index of 34 (25 is normal, above 30 is considered obese). Let’s estimate Sally to be approximately 50 pounds overweight. I want to stress that Sally would be considered at risk for health complications based on her BMI. This is not simply an aesthetic or appearance issue.  This time she is going to track her food and activity with Weight Watchers. She feels extraordinarily motivated as her recent health stats have scared her. Let’s get started and see what Sally’s first day looks like.

The Weight Watchers app is loaded on her phone. Sally is going to track her food intake and exercise. She is all set! Sally gets up in the morning and works out for forty-five minutes before she goes to the office (thirty minutes treadmill, fifteen minutes weights). She makes herself a green smoothie and as she gulps it down, documents her food and exercise for the morning into her phone. So far so good. On the way to work, a customer calls regarding an ordering dilemma and while she is on the phone with her customer, her daughter’s school is calling but she can’t answer the phone. She tells her customer she will look into the situation and get back to them. Meanwhile, school calls again and her daughter has a fever and needs to be picked up. Sally has a meeting as soon as she gets to work and simply cannot leave to do this. Fortunately,  her neighbor is able to pick her daughter up from school. Sally is riddled with guilt feeling like a bad mom for not being able to pick up and be with her daughter.

After arriving late due to a traffic standstill , Sally scurries into work and heads straight to her meeting. Planning to prepare for the meeting when she arrived at work, due to the traffic jam, there is no time. She is near tears. Frazzled, feeling guilty, unprepared and quite frankly, exhausted at 8:30 in the morning she puts on her best poker face. Uh-oh, in the middle of the large, mahogany table is a tray of bagels, doughnuts, and muffins. Sally hones in on that as if her eyes had a zoom lens like her Sony Nikon camera. There is nothing Sally would rather do than bite into a mouth-watering Crispy Kreme doughnut. Paying attention to the meeting as best she can, her mind is distracted playing should I or shouldn’t I. The self talk goes on until she finally grabs a doughnut. Attempting to justify it, she says I had a hell of a morning I deserve it (and we’ve all done this). I’ll add this to my food log, and compensate for it later in the day. Sally enjoys her doughnut while  she’s eating it but feels angry at herself the rest of the morning.


Shortly after that, Sally is approached by a co-worker attempting to collect money to get pizza for lunch. She is feeling tired, bloated, and definitely not in the mood to think about lunch. Fortunately, she had thought ahead and packed her lunch. Just past 1 pm, after she finished her turkey sandwich and apple, her daughter called frantically crying wanting her mom to come home. Sally still hadn’t resolved the earlier customer issue and had a 3 pm conference call. This time she had no choice but to get home. She could feel her blood pressure rising and the beginnings of a slight headache.

When Sally got home, her daughter was sleeping. Phew, she thought. She was able to get her conference call in and wrapped up by 5 pm. Ready to begin dinner, she glanced at the wall calendar and saw she had book club at her girlfriend’s house that evening. UGH, not good!  At around 6 pm, Sally called her husband who was able to come home early from work to care for her daughter. Shortly before 7 pm, Sally flew out the door. In the car, she realized how hungry she was now. Sally got to book club, was greeted at the door with a margarita (how do you say no to that) only to see appetizers upon appetizers on the large coffee table – and she was ravenous. Tired, hungry and anxious Sally decided to eat what she wanted vowing not to track the rest of the day because she had eaten so poorly and surely exceeded her points for the day. This is what leads to the picture at the top of my blog.

I don’t think this is an atypical scenario for any of us. The venues may change. The circumstances may differ. Just about all day every day we are bombarded with food. Quite often food and/or eating cues coupled with runaway emotions make the weight loss process very difficult. Must we wonder why so many people are overweight in the United States today? I think not! What can we do about it? That is a complicated question. How could Sally have handled her day differently? Check out my next blog to find out….















Quinoa – Keen-what?


I’m usually a little skeptical when a new “superfood” is introduced. I don’t believe there is one food that is the  magical cure for everything. That actually drives me crazy.  A balanced diet nutritionally and incorporating foods THAT YOU LIKE to eat is the way to go. However, I have no problem giving kudos to ones that I really like!  My latest discovery is quinoa pasta.  Quinoa itself is not new. It is growing in popularity by leaps and bounds, however, many still do not understand all the nutritional benefits it has to offer. I am a huge pasta fan and always searching for new types that taste great while also providing a vast array of nutrients. Quinoa pasta is my new fav!

  • Quinoa is RICH in antioxidants – particularly, quercetin and kaempferol. The important point to know about these substances is that studies have shown that individuals with high amounts of these in their blood had a 21% lower risk of developing heart disease. We hear that term “antioxidants” a lot.  To simplify things, just think of antioxidants as “protectors” of cells. They are able to help prevent cells from oxidative damage. The oxidation process causes damage which can promote the proliferation of various disease conditions.
  • Quinoa is also a complete protein. There are very few plant foods that are complete proteins. A complete (or whole) protein contains adequate amounts of all nine essential amino acids necessary to meet the dietary needs of humans. Some incomplete protein sources may contain all essential amino acids. A complete protein contains them in correct proportions to support biological functions in the human body. This makes quinoa a great choice for vegetarians!
  • Quinoa is high in calcium compared to other grains. It has twice the amount of calcium as whole wheat when compared ounce for ounce.
  • Quinoa is a superior source of fiber.  It contains twice as much fiber as other whole grains.  Most know I am a HUGE fiber proponent so quinoa is an excellent choice. Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta contains 4 grams of fiber per serving. That’s pretty darn good for a pasta product. Fiber helps to regulate the digestive system and relieve constipation, helps keep cholesterol in check, and can contribute to weight loss by making you feel full! Quinoa also has a low glycemic index making it a prime carbohydrate choice for diabetics.
  • Last but not lease, quinoa is gluten-free for those of you who are suffering from celiac disease or are gluten-sensitive!

If you have not already included quinoa in your diet, it is definitely worth trying. It is flavorful, versatile, and satisfying while lowering your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancers. I leave you with a recipe I found at  I made it this past week and it was sooo good! I encourage you to try this during these last few weeks of

Gluten-Free Pesto Caprese Pasta Salad

1 8 ounce package Ancient Harvest Penne Pasta, cooking water reserved

2/3 cup chilled kale basil pesto (recipe below)

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes

Fresh mini mozzarella balls

Salt and Pepper

Fresh basil, to top

Kale Basil Pesto:

1/4 cup raw walnuts

2 1/2 large kale stems or 5 small

1 medium garlic clove

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp. salt and pepper

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • Boil large pot of water.  Follow directions on the box – AVOID OVERCOOKING!
  • Drain pasta.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Run pasta under cold water to halt the cooking process and chill.
  • Place pasta back in the pot and stir in the desired amount of pesto, adding 1 tablespoon at a time of cooking water to help spread. You will need approx. 2-4 tablespoons.
  • Slice desired amount of tomatoes and mozzarella in halves and mix into the pasta.

To make the pesto:

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place walnuts on baking sheet and toast for 8-12 minutes. Let cool.
  • Place 5 inches of water in a large pot and bring to boil.
  • Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Remove stems from kale and tear into pieces.
  • Stir kale leaves into boiling water for 30-60 seconds. Remove kale with a strainer and place directly into the ice bath. Drain water and pat kale dry.
  • Mince garlic in food processor and add walnuts, kale, basil, parmesan, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Mix until kale is well chopped and all ingredients are incorporated.
  • Stream in the olive oil while pulsing the food processor until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add directly to cooled pasta.
  • Best to chill for 1-2 hours.  Add a good drizzle of olive oil and mix prior to serving.

Happy Labor Day and bon appetit!